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Microsoft Ignores Usability With All-Caps Menu in Visual Studio
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-glass-house-sure-is-pretty department:
mikejuk writes "The recent release of Visual Studio 2012 contained a UI element that few believed could make it into the final version — ALL-CAPS menus. After lots of user criticism and disbelief, Microsoft has moved swiftly to do something about it — by tweaking the typography. '... we explored designs with and without uppercase styling. In the end we determined it to be a very effective way of providing structure and emphasis to the top menu area in Visual Studio 2012.' This must be a new meaning of the word 'structure,' because putting the menu items into all-caps means that they are all the same height. When each menu items starts with a cap then there is structure because you can see the change in height, marking the start of the next menu item. The idea that putting a menu into all caps adds structure is something that is very difficult to see. If you wanted to put structure into a menu, well how about color? Oh wait, I forgot the design department dumped color in favour of the 'everything-is-grey UI.' Developers are the people who invented CamelCase to make sure that the structure of run together words would stand out better — and now we are asked to believe that making a menu all-caps adds structure. I don't think so."

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Could Cops Use Google As Pre-Cogs?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-sure-that's-easy department:
theodp writes "Remember the Pre-Cogs in Minority Report? Slate's Will Oremus does, and wonders if Google could similarly help the police apprehend criminals based on foreknowledge collected from searches. Oremus writes: 'At around 3:45 a.m. on March 24, someone in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., used a mobile phone to Google "chemicals to passout a person." Then the person searched Ask.com for "making people faint." Then Google again, for "ways to kill people in their sleep," "how to suffocate someone," and "how to poison someone." The phone belonged to 23-year-old Nicole Okrzesik. Later that morning, police allege, she and her boyfriend strangled 19-year-old Juliana Mensch as she slept on the floor of their apartment.' In theory, Oremus muses, Google or Ask.com could have flagged Okrzesik's search queries as suspicious and dispatched cops to the scene before Mensch's assailants had the chance to do her in." I bet you're already thinking of just a few reasons why this might not such a good idea.

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Ask Slashdot: Enterprise-Grade Linux Networking Hardware?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's 12-linksys-boxes-and-a-disposable-intern department:
An anonymous reader writes "In spite of Linux's great networking capabilities, there seems to be a shortage of suitable hardware for building an enterprise-grade networking platform. I've had success on smaller projects with the Soekris offerings but they are suboptimal for large-scale deployment due to their single-board non-redundant design (eg., single power supply, lack of backup 'controller'). What is the closest thing to a modular Linux-capable platform with some level of hardware redundancy and substantial bus/backplane throughput?"

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Why Do Programming Languages Succeed Or Fail?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's larry-ellison-blesses-them department:
magicmat writes "UC Berkeley EECS graduate researchers Leo Meyerovich and Ari Rabkin have compiled an interesting data set on the sociological aspects of programming language usage and adoption. 'Socio-PLT' is the result: compiling survey results from Berkeley's recent 'software engineering' massive online open course, SourceForge, and two years of The Hammer Principle online surveys, they have discovered some interesting phenomenon about what we, as programmers think about our languages, and why we use them. You can head over and explore the data yourself using cool interactive visualizations, and even fill out a survey yourself to have your say."

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CryptoCat Developer Questioned At US-Canadian Border
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's algorithms-please department:
Dangerous_Minds writes "ZeroPaid is documenting some comments made by an encrypted chat developer who was interrogated at the U.S. border recently. According to the CryptoCat developer, border guards confiscated his passport and interrogated him about the application he developed. Most notably, he commented, "The interrogator (who claimed 22 years of computer experience) asked me which algorithms Cryptocat used and about its censorship resistance.""

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Oracle's Ellison Vows "Most Comprehensive Cloud On Earth"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's silver-lining department:
CWmike writes "Oracle CEO Larry Ellison declared the company is ready to offer 'the most comprehensive cloud on the planet Earth,' during a webcast event on Wednesday. 'It's been a long time coming,' Ellison said of the Oracle Public Cloud, which encompasses Oracle's suite of Fusion Applications delivered as both SaaS (software as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) features, including the Java Cloud Service and Database Cloud Service. It's also the home of Oracle Social Network, the company's foray into Facebook-like collaboration tools for enterprises. Wednesday's event — and Twitter (where his first tweet is a gem) — also provided Ellison with an opportunity to tout what he called Oracle Public Cloud's many advantages over rivals such as SAP and Salesforce.com, as well as to engage in some of his traditional competitive trash talk."

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"Oil Strider" Device Mimics Water Strider Insects
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 01:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's tech-imitates-life department:
LilaG writes "Who hasn't marveled at the ability of water bugs to skate along the surface of lakes and ponds? Now materials scientists in China have taken a cue from water striders and created a device that can coast along the surface between oil and water. The tricky part was figuring out how to make an oil-repelling surface that worked underwater. It came down to coating copper wires with copper oxide microstructures that look like flowers made up of nanopetals. Scientists think such coatings could enable robots that clean up oil spills, bug-proof car windshields, and ship hulls that don't build up barnacles."

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A Day In the Life of a "Booth Babe"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 07 '12 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-day-in-the-life department:
jfruh writes "Booth babes," promotional models paid to showcase products, are ubiquitous figures at tech trade shows. Ever wonder what they think of their jobs? Well, it may not surprise you to learn that standing up for eight hours in heels isn't much fun. Some enjoy the work, while others don't enjoy being the subject of stares. And one model adds that 'The industry is now moving towards making models show more skin.'"

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Dept. of Homeland Security To Build Better Cyber Workforce
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's assemble-the-team department:
coondoggie writes "Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today said the agency will form a cybersecurity workforce task group that will consider strategies such as expanding DHS involvement in cyber competitions and university programs, enhancing public-private security partnerships and working with other government agencies to develop a more agile cyber workforce across the federal government. The new task force will be co-chaired by hacking expert Jeff Moss who now works for the Homeland Security Advisory Council and Alan Paller is director of research at the SANS Institute."

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EU "Clean IT" Project Considers Terrorist Content Database
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's consider-yourself-reported department:
schliz writes "Internet users could contribute to an official blacklist of suspected terrorist content under a budding 'Clean IT' project, backed by the European Commission. Participating governments are putting together 13 proposals in a text that commits web hosts, search engines and ISPs to helping to weed out content that incites acts of terror. From the article: 'Among those 13 courses of action is a proposal for a system that will allow users to "flag" content they believe to be illegal when surfing the web. These alarms would be sent for review to the service provider and in turn, a government agency.'"

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New Analysis Shows Dinosaurs Not As Heavy As Previously Believed.
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's he's-not-heavy-he's-my-dinosaur department:
Cognitive Dissident writes "Discovery.com has an article on a new study using computer modeling to estimate the actual amount of flesh needed to cover the skeletons of dinosaurs. Based on a comparison with modern animals, it indicates that these animals could have weighed dramatically less than has been previously estimated. 'A huge Brachiosaur, once thought to weigh 176,370 pounds, is now believed to have weighed 50,706 pounds.' That's only about two-and-a-half times the weight of a modern African elephant. If other evidence can be reconciled with this, many estimates of the ecosystems dinosaurs lived in will also have to be revised."

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Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-need-for-a-loan department:
First time accepted submitter GCA10 writes "Forbes reports on the latest project of Google Fellow Sebastian Thrun (the proponent of self-driving cars.) He's moved on to education now, believing that conventional university teaching is way too costly, inefficient and ineffective to survive for long. So he started Udacity, which aims to deliver an online version of a master's degree for $100 per student. From the article: 'Udacity’s earliest course offerings have been free, and although Thrun eventually plans to charge something, he wants his tuition schedule to be shockingly low. Getting a master’s degree might cost just $100. After teaching his own artificial intelligence class at Stanford last year—and attracting 160,000 online signups—Thrun believes online formats can be far more effective than traditional classroom lectures. “So many people can be helped right now,” Thrun declares. “I see this as a mission.”'"

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US Labor Board: It's OK To Discuss Work and Pay with Coworkers On Social Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lets-talk-numbers department:
itwbennett writes "Your employer won't like it, but they can't stop you from discussing working conditions and compensation with your coworkers on social media. In his most recent social media memo, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Lafe Solomon said that in 6 of the 7 employers' social media policies he reviewed, he found violations of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which allows employees to join labor unions and to discuss working conditions with each other."

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An Asian Origin For Human Ancestors?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's different-neighborhoods department:
InfiniteZero writes "Researchers agree that our immediate ancestors, the upright walking apes, arose in Africa. But the discovery of a new primate that lived about 37 million years ago in the ancient swamplands of Myanmar bolsters the idea that the deep primate family tree that gave rise to humans is rooted in Asia. If true, the discovery suggests that the ancestors of all monkeys, apes, and humans—known as the anthropoids—arose in Asia and made the arduous journey to the island continent of Africa almost 40 million years ago."

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FBI Used FedEx To Sneak Dotcom's Hard Drives Out of NZ
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's overnighting-the-evidence department:
First time accepted submitter bpkiwi writes "FBI agents, working with New Zealand police on the Megaupload case, took a copy of Kim Dotcom's hard drives and then immediately sneaked out of the police facility and FedEx'ed them back to the USA. Despite the fact that removal of evidence in this manner without official approval (and a chance for the defendant to challenge it) appears to be illegal, the New Zealand government is now left arguing on a technicality — that the law only covers 'physical' items." Things got slightly better for Megaupload users trying to get their files back today. In a court filing the MPAA said users can have their files back as long as access to copyrighted files is blocked. “The MPAA Members are sympathetic to legitimate users who may have relied on Megaupload to store their legitimately acquired or created data, although the Megaupload terms of use clearly disclaimed any guarantee of continued access to uploaded materials,” MPAA lawyers write.

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Microsoft To Run Linux On Azure
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's odd-couple department:
snydeq writes "After years of battling Linux as a competitive threat, Microsoft is now offering Linux-based operating systems on its Windows Azure cloud service. The Linux services will go live on Azure at 4 a.m. EDT on Thursday. At that time, the Azure portal will offer a number of Linux distributions, including Suse Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2, OpenSuse 12.01, CentOS 6.2 and Canonical Ubuntu 12.04. Azure users will be able to choose and deploy a Linux distribution from the Microsoft Windows Azure Image Gallery and be charged on an hourly pay-as-you-go basis."

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Ask Slashdot: How Long Should Devs Support Software Written For Clients?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-until-the-next-venus-transit department:
lucky4udanny writes "My client says any software/website we develop for them should be supported with bug fixes forever, with no further compensation. We have generally supported our work for two months, to give the client adequate time for real-world testing, after which we charge by the hour for all support. How long should a company fix bugs without compensation in software they developed? What is the industry convention?"

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Carmageddon: Reincarnation Linux Version Confirmed
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's putting-on-the-tux department:
An anonymous reader writes "Stainless Games has been fundraising for Carmageddon: Reincarnation, a modern day remake of the classic Carmageddon racing games, on Kickstarter for weeks. Stainless said that if they hit $600,000 in pledges before time runs out, they would commit themselves to creating a Linux port of the game, as well as a MacOS port. Today they made it official: the fundraising has come so close to netting $600K overall, with a few more hours left to go, that they are officially committing themselves to creating a Linux port of the new game. PC gamers will get to play Carmageddon 4 first, with a February 2013 release date. The MacOS & Linux versions will follow the PC version later in 2013."

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Sequencing the Unborn
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-reboot-gattaca department:
sciencehabit writes "What if you could read much of your child's medical future while it was still in the womb? Taking a major step toward that goal, one fraught with therapeutic potential and ethical questions, scientists have now accurately predicted almost the whole genome of an unborn child by sequencing DNA from the mother's blood and DNA from the father's saliva (abstract)."

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Is Microsoft's Kinect a Gaming Failure?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wave-your-hands-in-the-air-like-you-just-don't-care department:
MojoKid writes "E3 is well underway in Los Angeles, and Microsoft has already made a major splash with its 'SmartGlass' technology, game demos, and its announcement that a Kinect-powered version of Internet Explorer will debut on the Xbox 360. This is a marked change from last year, when Kinect was the unquestioned centerpiece of Microsoft's display and the company's demos focused on how Kinect-powered games used your full body as a controller. Kinect is in the interesting position of having sold extremely well while failing to move the bar forward in any of the ways Microsoft projected in the run up to its launch. Scroll through the ratings on Kinect-required titles, and the percentages are abysmal. Kinect's biggest problem is rooted in ergonomics. Gamepads with buttons may be crude approximations of real life, but they're simple and intuitive. They're also flexible — a great many games have conditional scenarios that allow the same button to perform different functions depending on what's going on within the game. Pure Kinect games don't have a simple mechanism to incorporate these features, and there's no easy way around them. The motion-controller's most enduring features may ultimately be its capabilities outside the gaming sphere."

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