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Mobile Ads May Serve As a Malware Conduit
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's send-you-this-advert-to-have-your-advice department:
alphadogg writes with this excerpt from Network World: "Many mobile apps include ads that can threaten users' privacy and network security, according to North Carolina State University researchers. The National Science Foundation-funded researchers studied 100,000 apps in Google Play (formerly Android Market) and found that more than half contained ad libraries, nearly 300 of which were enabled to grab code from remote servers that could give malware and hackers a way into your smartphone or tablet. 'Running code downloaded from the Internet is problematic because the code could be anything,' says Xuxian Jiang, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State."

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Satellites Expose 8,000 Years of Civilization
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's scratching-the-surface department:
ananyo writes "By combining spy-satellite photos obtained in the 1960s with modern multispectral images and digital maps of Earth's surface, researchers have created a new method for mapping large-scale patterns of human settlement. The approach was used to map some 14,000 settlement sites spanning eight millennia in 23,000 square kilometres of northeastern Syria — part of the fertile crescent of the Middle East. Traditional archaeology has focused on the big features such as cities or palaces but the new technique uncovers networks of small settlements, revealing migration patterns and sparking renewed speculation about the importance of water to city development."

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Sweden Moving Towards Cashless Economy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-pancakes-and-lingonberries department:
cold fjord writes "Sweden is rapidly moving towards a cashless economy. How will Sweden, and other countries in the future, balance efficiency, privacy, government control, and civil liberties? Or will they do all that technology allows? 'Bills and coins represent only 3 percent of Sweden's economy, compared to an average of 9 percent in the eurozone and 7 percent in the U.S.,. . . The Swedish Bankers' Association says the shrinkage of the cash economy is already making an impact in crime statistics. The number of bank robberies in Sweden plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011 — the lowest level since it started keeping records 30 years ago. It says robberies of security transports are also down. The prevalence of electronic transactions — and the digital trail they generate — also helps explain why Sweden has less of a problem with graft than countries with a stronger cash culture, such as Italy or Greece, says economics professor Friedrich Schneider of the Johannes Kepler University in Austria. The flip side is the risk of cybercrimes. According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention the number of computerized fraud cases, including skimming, surged to nearly 20,000 in 2011 from 3,304 in 2000.'"

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The Risk of a Meltdown In the Cloud
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's precipitating-danger department:
zrbyte writes "A growing number of complexity theorists are beginning to recognize some potential problems with cloud computing. The growing consensus is that bizarre and unpredictable behavior often emerges in systems made up of "networks of networks", such as a business using the computational resources of a cloud provider. Bryan Ford at Yale University in New Haven says that the full risks of the migration to the cloud have yet to be properly explored. He points out that complex systems can fail in many unexpected ways and outlines various simple scenarios in which a cloud could come unstuck."

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SpaceX Gets Astronauts To Try Out Its Dragon Crew Cabin
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's want-to-get-inside-it department:
Zothecula writes "With the space shuttle program now officially over, the United States needs a new reusable vehicle for getting supplies to and from the International Space Station. NASA is considering the Dragon spacecraft, designed by California-based SpaceX Exploration Technologies, to take over that role. The Dragon's scheduled late March/early April test flight to the ISS will be unmanned, utilizing a cargo configuration of the spacecraft. Last Friday, however, SpaceX released photographs of an engineering model of of its planned seven-passenger crew cabin, complete with a crew that included real live astronauts."

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Ask Slashdot: Any Smart Phones Made Under Worker-Friendly Conditions?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ethics-vs-aesthetics department:
New submitter unimacs writes "So Apple has been under fire recently for the conditions at the factories of their Chinese suppliers. I listened to 'This American Life's' recent retraction of the Michael Daisey piece they did a while back. Great radio for those of you who haven't heard it — rarely has dead air been used to such effect. Anyway, while his work has been discredited, Michael Daisey wasn't inaccurate in his claims that working conditions are poor in iPhone and iPad factories. Given that, are there any smart phone manufacturers whose phones are made under better conditions?"

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Seagate Hits 1 Terabit Per Square Inch
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-take-a-minute-to-wonder department:
MrSeb was one of several readers to submit news that drive manufacturer Seagate has announced (and demoed) the first hard drive to squeeze a terabit into each square inch of platter. "'Initially this will result in 6TB 3.5-inch desktop drives and 2TB 2.5-inch laptop drives, but eventually Seagate is promising up to 60TB and 20TB respectively. To achieve such a huge leap in density, Seagate had to use a technology called heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). Basically, the main issue that governs hard drive density is the size of each magnetic "bit." These can only be made so small until the magnetism of nearby bits affects them. With HAMR, "high density" magnetic compounds that can withstand further miniaturization are used. The only problem is that these materials, such as iron platinum alloy, are more stubborn when it comes to writing data — but if you heat it first, that problem goes away.' With HAMR, Seagate has strapped a laser to the hard drive head; when it wants to write data, the laser turns on. Reading data is still done conventionally, without the laser. In theory, HAMR should allow for areal densities up to 10 terabits per square inch (magnetic sites that are just 1nm long!), and thus desktop hard drives in the 60TB range."

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D-Wave Announces Commercially Available Quantum Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-either-have-one-or-you-don't department:
New submitter peetm writes "Computing company D-Wave has announced that they're selling a quantum computing system commerically, which they're calling the D-Wave One. The D-Wave system comes equipped with a 128-qubit processor that's designed to perform discrete optimization operations. A qubit is the basic unit of quantum information – analogous to a bit in conventional computing. For a broader understanding of how qubits work, check out Ars Technica's excellent guide."

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Google Files Amicus Brief in Hotfile Case; MPAA Requests It Be Rejected
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's complying-with-the-law-is-insufficient department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google has once again stood up in court for the rights of users and services online, this time defending Hotfile from copyright infringement accusations. [Quoting the article]: 'Google takes a sort of hard-line approach via the DMCA, telling the court that however the MPAA may try to mislead them, Hotfile is in fact protected under safe harbor provisions. And furthermore, Google suggests that the MPAA's approach is contrary to the language in and precedents surrounding the DMCA. The onus is on copyright holders to alert a service to the nature and location of an infringement, and the service's responsibility is to alert the user if possible and remove the material within a reasonable period of time'"

< article continued at Slashdot >

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CEO of TuCloud Dares Microsoft To Sue His New Company
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's conversation-via-lawyer department:
Fluffeh writes "Word from Ars Technica is that OnLive, a service provided that seems to totally flout Microsoft licensing and offers iPad users a Microsoft Desktop for free (or a beefier one for $5) isn't being sued by Microsoft as this blog quotes: 'We are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario.' The people who are angry include Guise Bule, CEO of tuCloud. He accuses Microsoft of playing favorites with OnLive — whose CEO is a former Microsoft executive — while regularly auditing license compliance for companies like tuCloud that provide legitimate virtual desktop services. Bule is so mad that he says he is forming an entirely new company called DesktopsOnDemand to provide a service identical to OnLive's, complete with licensing violations, and dare Microsoft to take him to court. Bule hopes to force Microsoft into lifting restrictions on virtual desktop licensing that he says inhibit growth in the virtual desktop industry, and seem to apply to everyone except OnLive."

One of the restrictions applied to licensed remote desktop providers is that each user must have his own dedicated machine (pretty onerous in the days of 16+ core servers costing a mere grand or two).

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DIY Augmented Reality Heads-Up Display
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 11:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's because-reality-is-boring department:
mkwan writes "A PhD student in Melbourne, Australia, has built an augmented reality head-up display using a baseball cap, an Android smartphone, and off-the-shelf optics. It won't win any awards for style or practicality, but it's a fun way to use Wikitude. All we need now is a Terminator-vision smartphone app."

Not nearly as modern, but vaguely related: the Private Eye P4.

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Apple Sued By Belgian Consumer Association For Not Applying EU Warranty Laws
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's regulation-is-only-ok-if-it-benefits-us department:
An anonymous reader writes "Following the recent Italian case. Apple is now being sued by the Belgian consumer association 'Test-Achats' (french/dutch website) for not applying the EU consumer protection laws by only giving 1 year warranty on its products. At the same time, Apple is not only refusing to give the mandatory 2 years warranty but is also selling the additional year of warranty with it's Applecare products. If the consumer association wins it's case, Apple could be forced to refund Applecare contracts to it's Belgian customers while providing the additional year of warranty for free."

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iFixit's Kyle Wiens On the War On DIY Electronics
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 06:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's insert-car-analogy-here department:
pigrabbitbear writes with an excerpt from an article at Motherboardv: "Anyone planning on buying a new iPad should know what they're getting themselves into by now. In recent years, Apple and other hardware manufacturers have made it liquid-crystal clear that they're not fond of the idea that customers can tear open and fix products without the help of licensed repair specialists. Even if it's as easy as ordering a part online and following a few instructions gleaned from a Google search, hardware companies generally seem to prefer we keep the hood closed. It should not be surprising, then, that the latest version of Apple's much-desired tablet has one 'killer' feature that's finally getting the attention it deserves: A design that stops you from getting inside of it."

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Express-AM4 Satellite Salvage Plan For Antarctic Internet In Jeopardy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's no-youtube-for-antarctica department:
First time accepted submitter amcenwest writes with news on the fate of the mis-launched Ekspress-AM4. From the article: "A modern, state of the art communications satellite stranded last August in a useless orbit will constitute a double failure if Russian officials de-orbit the spacecraft as planned, according to an expert from the team hoping to salvage the spacecraft. 'A new Express AM4 orbit could provide 14 to 16 hours of daily Internet coverage for the international scientific research bases in Antarctica,' said Readdy."

Unfortunately, the satellite is scheduled to begin a deorbiting burn between March 20th and 26th, so it looks unlikely that it can be salvaged at this point.

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Woman Wants To Replace Her Non-functioning Hand With a Bionic Prosthesis
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-inject-techno-organic-virus-instead department:
erice writes about the case of Nicola Wilding: "Injured in crash which damaged the nerves in her arm, she has reached the limits that can what be accomplished with nerve transplants. She can move her arm but doctors have given up hope of restoring use of her hand. So she wants doctors to amputate the hand and replace it with a bionic version that does work."

The doctor, Oskar C. Aszmann, first performed a similar operation last year.

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Boycott of Elsevier Exceeds 8000 Researchers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's no-paywalled-journal-shall-touch-this-citation-list department:
kkleiner writes with an update on the boycott of Elsevier started in January. From the article: "Academic research is behind bars and an online boycott by 8,209 researchers (and counting) is seeking to set it free, well, more free than it has been. The boycott targets Elsevier, the publisher of popular journals like Cell and The Lancet, for its aggressive business practices, but opposition was electrified by Elsevier's backing of a Congressional bill titled the Research Works Act (RWA). Though lesser known than the other high-profile, privacy-related bills SOPA and PIPA, the act was slated to reverse the Open Access Policy enacted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008 that granted the public free access to any article derived from NIH-funded research."

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Ask Slashdot: What Are Your Tips For Working From Home?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's play-with-the-thermostat-as-much-as-you-want department:
ichard writes "In a couple of months I'm going to start working from home full-time. I've been thinking about the obvious things like workspace ergonomics, but I'm sure there are more subtle considerations involved in a zero-minute commute. What are other Slashdot readers' experiences and recommendations for working from home? How do you stay focused and motivated? "

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Wil Wheaton's New Show: Tabletop
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-interns-were-harmed-(yet)-in-the-making-of-this-show department:
xwwt writes "Wil Wheaton is working with Felicia Day on a new show called Tabletop, which will air on the YouTube Channel Geek and Sundry. The show will be about board games and gaming in general. This is how he describes it: 'My ulterior motive with Tabletop is to show by example how much fun it is to play boardgames. I want to show that Gamers aren't all a bunch of weirdoes who can't make eye contact when they talk to you, and that getting together for a game night is just as social and awesome as getting together to watch Sportsball, or to play poker, or for a LAN party, or whatever non-gamers do with their friends. I want to inspire people to try hobby games, and I want to remove the stigma associated with gaming and gamers.' The first show airs April 2nd."

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Book Review: Microsoft Manual of Style
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke writes "The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), now in its 16th edition, is the de facto style guide for American writers. It deals with aspects of editorial practice, grammar, usage, document preparation and more. It's just one of many style guides for writers. The Microsoft Manual of Style, just released in its 4th edition, attempts to do for the technical writers what the CMS has done for journalists and other writers." Read below for the rest of Ben's review. Microsoft Manual of Style
author Microsoft Corporation
pages 464
publisher Microsoft Press;
rating 10/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-0735648715
summary Invaluable guide to becoming a better technical writer

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Geologic Map of Jupiter's Moon Io Details an Otherworldly Volcanic Surface
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-wait-for-juno-to-get-there department:
An anonymous reader writes "More than 400 years after Galileo's discovery of Io, the innermost of Jupiter's largest moons, a team of scientists led by Arizona State University has produced the first complete global geologic map of the Jovian satellite. The map, published by the U. S. Geological Survey (PDF), depicts the characteristics and relative ages of some of the most geologically unique and active volcanoes and lava flows ever documented in the Solar System."

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