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Details of Initial "Disc to Digital" Program Emerge
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's digitize-your-digital-video-disc-today department:
MojoKid writes with an excerpt from an article at Hot Hardware: "Walmart's burgeoning partnership with the Ultraviolet DRM system backed by major Hollywood studios and their plans to 'assist' customers in registering DVDs with the Ultraviolet system, made headlines not long ago. Walmart has also since announced additional details to the program and it's a clever attempt to drive more users to Vudu, Walmart's subsidiary movie streaming service. Here's how the service works. 'Starting April 16th, 2012 in more than 3,500 stores, Walmart customers will be able to bring their DVD and Blu-ray collections to Walmart and receive digital access to their favorite titles from the partnering studios. An equal conversion for standard DVDs and Blu-ray discs will be $2. Standard DVDs can be upgraded to High-Def (HD) for $5.' Anyone who doesn't have a Vudu account will have one created for them as part of this process. That's part of the genius to the plan. If customers embrace the offer, Walmart signs up hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people for Vudu. Even better, from Walmart's perspective, is that first-time users who pony up $2 for a digital version of their DVDs are effectively paying to create Vudu accounts."

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Looking For iPad, Police Find 750 Pounds of Meth
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's youtube-more-addictive-than-meth department:
An anonymous reader writes "Hot on the trail of a stolen iPad using the 'Find my iPad' feature in iOS, Police in San Jose tracked the stolen device back to an apartment complex where they then stumbled onto 750 pounds of meth. All told, the meth is worth about $35 million on the street. The seizure was one of the largest drug busts in recent memory."

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It's New. It's a League. It's for Gamers. It's the League for Gamers! (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's get-your-nose-out-of-that-monitor-and-help-change-the-world department:
Intrepid correspondent Timothy Lord writes, "I talked at SXSW with Kari Hale of League For Gamers, an organization started just a few months ago by Red 5 Studios founder CEO Mark Kern. (Kern was also team lead for World of Warcraft.) League for Gamers shares some of the goals of groups like the EFF and EPIC, but — as you might guess from the name mdash; is tightly focused on the world of gaming. The group owes its existence to SOPA; the money used to start it up had initially been budgeted for Red 5 Studios' appearance at the most recent E3, but E3 sponsor's Entertainment Software Association's support for SOPA led Kern to withdraw from the show. Kari gave a quick rundown of the origins of the League, what it hopes to accomplish, and what sorts of efforts it's so far undertaken."

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Huge Triangle-shaped Spot Over the Sun
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's elaborate-advertising-campaign-for-new-x-files-movie department:
jojo_it writes "NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed a gigantic spot on the sun's corona, that takes the shape of a black triangle. The spot is visible on the AIA 193 channel [of NASA's solar dynamics observatory] since March 11th. 2012 doomsday-theorists should be delighted."

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Multiword Passwords Secure Or Not?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's never-ending-passphrase department:
Gaygirlie writes "An article over at Gizmag says: 'It's a meme that's been doing the rounds on the internet in recent years: multi-word pass-phrases are as secure as long strings of gibberish but with the added benefit of being easy to remember. But research from Cambridge University suggests that this may not be the case. Pass-phrases comprised of dictionary words may not be as vulnerable as individual passwords, but they may still succumb to dictionary attacks, the research finds.' I find this to be twisting of words and general consensus; of course any password whatsoever is going to be insecure against offline attack, and using common, popular words is going to make guessing the password much easier. But is this really an issue in a world where most attacks are done online? Should general populace still be coaxed into using randomly generated passwords?"

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Beta Version of AIDE Enables Application Building On Android
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's not-enough-cloud department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Hackers can now build applications directly on their Android devices with the beta release of AIDE. The Android IDE ... is at beta version 7, and already allows editing and compiling of apps as well as integration with LogCat. AIDE is even compatible with projects started on Eclipse so you can move a project over and work on it. ... Finally, a reason to get yourself that Transformer keyboard dock?"

sl4shd0rk also provided a screencast which is attached. InfoQ has a short interview with the developers. Mildly interesting is that it does the compilation on device instead of shipping the work off to some network service or other. The app is, like a lot of Android stuff, only free cost with no corresponding source code at the moment.

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James Whittaker: Focus on Ads and 'Social' Destroying Google
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's that-annoying-meat-between-ad-and-wallet department:
theodp writes "In June 2009, Google welcomed James Whittaker as its newest Test Director. In February 2012, Whittaker rejoined Microsoft. On Tuesday, Whittaker explained why he left Google: 'The Google I was passionate about,' Whittaker writes, 'was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus ...The old Google was a great place to work. The new one? -1.' Welcome to the real world, quips CNET's Charles Cooper in response to Whittaker's still-awesome-even-if-a-tad-naive rant."

More from from his post: "It turns out that there was one place where the Google innovation machine faltered and that one place mattered a lot: competing with Facebook ... Google could still put ads in front of more people than Facebook, but Facebook knows so much more about those people. Advertisers and publishers cherish this kind of personal information ... Larry Page himself assumed command to right this wrong. Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn't enough."

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Righthaven Ordered To Forfeit Its Intellectual Property
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's chickens-coming-home-to-roost department:
New submitter BenJCarter writes with an update on Righthaven, the company that tried to make a business model out of copyright trolling. According to Wired,
"[Righthaven] was dealt a death blow on Tuesday by a federal judge who ordered the Las Vegas company to forfeit 'all of' its intellectual property and other 'intangible property' to settle its debts. ... U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro of Nevada ordered Righthaven to surrender for auction the 278 copyrighted news articles that were the subject of its lawsuits. ... Righthaven's first client, Stephens Media of Las Vegas and operator of the Review-Journal, invested $500,000 into the Righthaven operation at its outset. With Judge Pro's ruling (PDF), the media company is losing financial control of hundreds of articles and photos. 'The irony of this? Perhaps those who buy the copyrights could issue DMCA notices to the Review-Journal stopping them from redistributing them?' [opposing lawyer Marc Randazza] said via an e-mail, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."

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The Blistering Hot Exoplanet Where It Snows
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's blame-the-space-alien-groundhogs department:
cylonlover writes "Today's weather on HD 189733b: It will be hazy with high wispy clouds. The wind will be steady from the east at speeds approaching 6,000 miles per hour (9,656 km/h). Daytime temperatures will average a balmy 800C (1,472F), while the equatorial hot spot at 30 degrees longitude is expected to top 900C (1,652F). But, there is a high chance of silicate snow showers, with accumulations expected except in the vicinity of the hot spot. Just how much can astronomical observations tell us about exoplanets — those worlds orbiting other stars in our galaxy? With patience and cunning, more than you might think."

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The Consoles Are Dying, Says Developer
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's they-hide-it-well department:
hypnosec writes "While you might have often heard that PC gaming is dying — detractors have been claiming this for over a decade — one developer has a different take: that consoles are the ones on the way out. In a 26-minute presentation at GDC — available now as a slideshow with a voice-over — Ben Cousins, who heads mobile/tablet game maker ngmoco, uses statistics of electronic and gaming purchases, along with market shares of developers and publishers from just a few years ago, to come to some surprising conclusions. The old guard, including the three big console manufacturers — Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft — are losing out when compared with the new generation of gaming platform developers: Facebook, Apple and Google. With the new companies, the size of the audience is vastly increased because of their focus on tablets, mobile and browser-based gaming."

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Microsoft: RDP Vulnerability Should Be Patched Immediately
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 10:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's barn-doors-and-horses department:
wiredmikey writes "Microsoft is urging organizations to apply the sole critical update in this month's Patch Tuesday release as soon as possible. The critical bulletin – one of six security bulletins issued as part of Tuesday's release – addresses two vulnerabilities in the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Those IT admins who use RDP to manage their machines over the internet, which is essentially the default in cloud-based installations such as Amazon's AWS, need to patch as quickly as possible, said Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek. Besides the RDP bugs, this month's Patch Tuesday addressed five other vulnerabilities: two denial-of-service bugs and an escalation of privileges issue in Microsoft Windows; a remote code execution vulnerability in Microsoft Expression Design; and an escalation of privileges issue in Microsoft Visual Studio."

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White House CIO Describes His 'Worst Day' Ever
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's need-a-bipartisan-effort-to-swap-out-a-machine department:
dcblogs writes "In the first 40 days of President Barack Obama's administration, the White House email system was down 23% of time, according to White House CIO Brook Colangelo, the person who also delivered the 'first presidential Blackberry.' The White House IT systems inherited by the new administration were in bad shape. Over 82% of the White House's technology had reached its end of life. Desktops, for instance, still had floppy disk drives, including the one Colangelo delivered to Rahm Emanuel, Obama's then chief of staff and now Mayor of Chicago. There were no redundant email servers."

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Can $60 Games Survive?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's inflation-vs-customer-expectations department:
donniebaseball23 writes "Game budgets continue to rise with each successive console generation, and with the Wii U launching later this year, the industry is on the cusp of yet another costly transition. Publishers have been regularly charging $60 for games this generation, but that model simply cannot survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim said in an interview. 'I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they're going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging,' Kim remarked. 'Today it's free-to-play, and I'm convinced that that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry.' He cautioned, 'If your mind is just set on keeping the current model of buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours, buy another game for $60, play for 40 hours, that model I think is eventually going to change. It's going to have to change.'"

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'The Hobbit' Pub Threatened With Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 05:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-does-not-do-to-leave-lawyers-out-of-your-calculations department:
An anonymous reader writes "'The Hobbit,' a small pub in Southampton, England, has been threatened with a lawsuit by lawyers representing the Saul Zaentz Company in California. The pub, which has traded under the name for the last 20 years without incident, now faces closure if it does not change its name. It's yet another example of big business throwing its weight around to get its way. The pub's landlady said simply, 'I can't fight Hollywood.'"

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After 244 Years, the End For the Dead Tree Encyclopedia Britannica
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-encyclopedia-needn't-outweigh-you department:
Rick Zeman writes "According to the New York Times, it's the end of the road for the printed Encyclopedia Brittanica, saying, '...in recent years, print reference books have been almost completely wiped out by the Internet and its vast spread of resources, particularly Wikipedia, which in 11 years has helped replace the authority of experts with the wisdom of the crowds.' The last print edition will be the 32-volume 2010 edition."

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Nomad Planets: Stepping Stones To Interstellar Space?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cold-dark-rocks-make-good-stepping-stones department:
An anonymous reader writes "Ian O'Neill suggests in an opinion piece at Al Jazeera that brown dwarves and nomad planets (planets not orbiting any star) could be a much needed stepping stone on our way to foreign stars. Quoting the article: 'In February, a fascinating paper was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society detailing calculations on how many "nomad planets" the Milky Way must contain after estimating our galaxy's mass from how much gravity it exerts on surrounding space. Scientists from the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) had uncovered something surprising — there are likely many more planets in the Milky Way than stars. ... Louis Strigari and his Kavli team calculated that there must be 100,000 planets for every star in the Milky Way (PDF). That's a lot of planets! But how can this be? Every star can't have tens of thousands of planets ranging from Pluto-sized to Jupiter-sized. This planetary "excess" actually suggests the existence of planets that were born without a star — nomad planets. ... we need all the help we can get if we are to venture to another star, so these ultracool brown dwarfs could become much-needed "stepping stones" for future starships to refuel on their light-years of journey time. There may be the possibility that these sub-stellar objects may even become more desirable targets for interstellar travellers. After all, there may be dozens of these invisible objects between here and Proxima just waiting to be uncovered by the sophisticated infrared telescopes of the future; they'd certainly make for more accessible scientific curiosities.'"

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US, EU, Japan Complain To WTO Over China's Rare Earth Ban
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mommmm-he-won't-share-his-toys department:
eldavojohn writes "China's rare earth monopoly has resulted in a shortage as China blocks their export and the rest of the world resumes their operations. Now, in a first-ever joint filing from three members of the World Trade Organization, Japan, the EU and the U.S. are not sitting idly by as China repeatedly ignores the WTO's orders to export rare earth metals and raw materials at a fair price to other countries. China claims the embargoes are in place to protect its environment, while Obama denounces China as being unfair and not playing by the rules of the WTO. In 2009, the WTO released a report (PDF) that explained how actions like China's hurt trade partners."

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Interplay Ex-CEO Brian Fargo Kickstarts Wasteland II
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's eyeballing-a-new-business-model department:
New submitter 0111 1110 writes "Attempting to emulate Double Fine's success to fund another currently dead genre of computer game, Brian Fargo of Interplay fame has started a kickstarter project for a sequel to Wasteland, his1988 post-apocalyptic RPG which inspired Fallout. It will be turn-based and party-based, with a top-down perspective and 2D graphics. Fargo has managed to attract many of the original developers, such as Alan Pavlish and Mike Stackpole, as well as Jason Anderson, who was a designer for Fallout, and Mark Morgan, who did the music for Planescape: Torment and both of the original Fallout games. Fargo's goal has been set at $900,000. Anything above that will be used for additional game content. At $1.5 million he will offer an OS X version. An interview with Fargo by Rock, Paper, Shotgun provides some additional insight into what he and his group are planning, as does a video interview with Matt Barton."

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Companies More Likely To Outsource Than Train IT Employees
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's flatten-and-reinstall department:
snydeq writes "IT pros feeling the pressure to boost tech skills should expect little support from their current employers, according to a recent report on IT skills. '9 in 10 business managers see gaps in workers' skill sets, yet organizations are more likely to outsource a task or hire someone new than invest in training an existing staff. Perhaps worse, a significant amount of training received by IT doesn't translate to skills they actually use on the job.'"

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Mozilla Debates Supporting H.264 In Firefox Via System Codecs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 13 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's necessary-evils department:
An anonymous reader writes "Adoption of the HTML5 video element has been hampered by the lack of a universal video format that is supported in all browsers. Mozilla previously rejected the popular H.264 video codec because it is patent-encumbered and would require implementors to pay royalty fees. The organization is now rethinking its position and is preparing to add support for H.264 video decoding in mobile Firefox via codecs that are provided by the underlying operating system or hardware. The controversial proposal has attracted a lot of criticism from Firefox contributors, including some employed by Mozilla."

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