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Global Broadband Speeds Dropped At the End of 2011
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's new-jersey-isn't-a-city-oh-wait department:
darthcamaro writes "A strange thing happened at the end of 2011. For the first time in years, global broadband adoption and speeds dropped. According to Akamai, broadband adoption declined by 4.6 percent and average speeds declined by 14 percent. In a somewhat strange twist, New Jersey now also dominates the top 5 list of fastest broadband cities in the U.S, though Boston is the fastest overall at 8.4 Mbps."

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Data Engineer In Google Case Is Identified
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's under-the-bus department:
theodp writes "Meet Engineer Doe. A NY Times report has

identified Marius Milner as the software engineer at the center of the uproar over a Google project that used Wi-Fi sniffing Google Street View cars to collect e-mail and other personal data from potentially millions of unsuspecting people. Milner, creator of the wardriving software NetStumbler, referred questions to his lawyer. Google declined to comment. A patent search shows the USPTO awarded Google and Milner a patent in June 2011 for protecting Internet users from 'hackers and other ne'er-do-wells [who] may seek to tap into communications on a network.'"


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Introducing SlashBI
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '12 at 04:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
By now you’ve noticed that Slashdot is growing. We recently introduced Slashdot TV, which offers up everything from “amateur” rocket launches to the return of Leisure Suit Larry. We revamped our newsletters. Now we’re launching some new sites devoted to very specific corners of tech. Our first one, SlashBI, focuses on the fast-changing world of business intelligence, and features articles and opinion pieces on everything from how Big Data and analytics could make salespeople extinct, to B.I. apps for your iOS device, to choosing the right database for a business. No matter what your background, chances are good you’ll find something of interest here. Swing on over, give it a look-see, and let us know what you think.

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"Cyber War" Is Just the Latest Grab for Defense Money
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's monocle-polishing-terrorists-are-stealing-our-yachts department:
New submitter Curseyoukhan writes "The phrase 'cyber war' is being used to scare us into coughing up money and liberties, just like 'anarchist' once was, and 'terror' still is. To quote H.L. Mencken, 'The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.'"

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Star Wars Exhibition Explores Human Identity
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's psych-ward-far-far-away department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Telegraph reports that a new exhibition has opened at the Montreal Science Center that explores human identity through the Star Wars saga and its quirky characters combining the latest scientific research in areas of psychology, neuropsychology, and genetics with some 200 costumes, props, models, and artwork from the Lucasfilm archives to ask the fundamental questions: who we are and how do we become who we are? Visitors to the exhibition will rediscover their favorite Star Wars characters 'in a whole new light' while also developing a better understanding of their own complex identity. 'Since Star Wars takes place in a fantasy world, the characters need to be identifiable so that the audience can connect to them,' says Star Wars creator George Lucas. 'These larger-than-life characters come complete with friends, enemies, values, and beliefs. This exhibition examines how the Star Wars characters are like us, what we may have in common, and what makes up our individual identities.' Each visitor is given a bracelet, which records the decisions they make during the tour and each visitor's decisions combine to create an avatar, which is revealed at the end of the tour. 'When I finally took the tour with the audio guide and bracelet, it was thrilling,' says LucasFilm exhibits manager Kyra Bowling. 'When I saw my hero (avatar) at the end, I felt like a kid again. After I was done I immediately went through a second time and made different decisions so I could end up with a different hero.'"

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Apple's North Carolina Data Center Will Feature Biogas Generators
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's iHippies-guilt-over-worker-abuses-assuaged department:
1sockchuck writes "Apple's North Carolina data center will tap landfills for biogas, which will then be converted into electricity using fuel cells from Bloom Energy. The 24 'Bloom boxes' will have a capacity of 4.8 megawatts of power, and along with a large solar array, will provide Apple with a significant on-site generation of sustainable energy. Microsoft is also developing biogas-powered data plants where modular data centers will be housed near water treatment plants and landfills. GigaOm has a useful primer on biogas in data centers, as well as video of the new higher capacity Bloom boxes that will support Apple's server farm."

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Tor Researchers' Tool Aims To Map Out Internet Censorship
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's developers-mysteriously-disappear-during-senate-csipa-vote department:
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Tor developers Arturo Filasto and Jacob Appelbaum have released OONI-probe, an open-source software tool designed to be installed on any PC and run to collect data about local meddling with the computer's network connections, whether it be website blocking, surveillance or selective bandwidth slowdowns. Unlike other censorship tracking projects like HerdictWeb or the Open Net Initiative, OONI will allow anyone to run the testing application and share their results publicly. The tool has already been used to expose censorship by T-Mobile of its prepaid phones' browser and also by the Palestinian Authority, which was found to be blocking opposition websites. The minister responsible for the Palestinian censorship was forced to resign last week."

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KegDroid: Combining Arduino, Android, and NFC to Dispense Beer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 06:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's red-solo-cup-sales-down department:
mikejuk writes, quoting I Programmer: "If you are looking for an exciting hardware project, KegDroid deserves a look. It is a sophisticated system that involves Android, Arduino, NFC, plumbing and — beer. Perhaps the final stroke of genius is to package the whole thing in a Droid body. Some how the little green fella looks at home on the bar. You have heard of desktop and laptop apps now we have bartop apps to add to the list"

Details are fuzzy currently, but from all appearances this is a repackaged KegBot in a very fancy shell. (Video for those without Flash.)

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Cash For Tweets and Facebook Posts? Aussie Startup Pays You to Astroturf
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 06:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's mcdonalds-makes-the-tastiest-burgers department:
An anonymous reader writes "While the celebs are already charging big money for their Tweets, an Aussie startup is ranking everyday people and turning them into product salespeople. After a successful start Down Under they have now hit Silicon Valley, but will Americans embrace selling to their friends?"

From the article: "In a nutshell, individuals sign up to the Social Loot website and are assigned companies to promote to their circle of online friends. They are then paid on a sliding scale based on the amount of traffic their posts generate, and the quality of referrals and number of resulting sales. This is tracked by a code embedded in the links promoted by Social Loot’s spruikers."

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Ask Slashdot: Building A Server Rack Into a New Home?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 04:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bitcoin-mining-farm-in-the-closet department:
jawtheshark writes "I'm building a house, and obviously I want a modest network built-in. Nothing fancy, two RJ-45 per room, four in the living room, and that's basically it. I already got myself a rack mountable Cisco Small Business switch and I have a self-built 4U server (low-power, won't make much heat) which can be rack mounted (505mm deep). Now, the construction company suggests a wall mounted rack (6U: 340mm x 600mm x 480mm — 6U definitely won't be enough, but a 12U model exists). It's not expensive, but I have never worked on a rack where the backside is unreachable. (For work, I get to work in a data center with huge racks that are accessible from both sides). Now obviously, I don't need a data center-grade rack, but these wall-mounted racks scream 'switch-only' racks to me. What are your experiences? Is it possible to put servers in racks like these, or should I find a 'both-side-accessible' rack instead?"

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Congress Wants To Resurrect Laser-Wielding 747
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's it-works-on-tee-vee department:
Harperdog writes "Noah Schactman has a great piece on the Airborne Laser, the ray gun-equipped 747 that became a symbol of wasteful Pentagon weaponeering. Despite sixteen years and billions of dollars in development, the jet could never reliably blast a missile in trials. Now the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces wants the Airborne Laser to be used to defend us against the threat of North Korea's failed missiles."

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How Lasers Could Help Fingerprint Conflict Minerals
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lasers-for-the-ethical-treatment-of-people department:
New submitter carmendrahl writes "Diamonds might get most of the media's attention, but they're not the only minerals being sold to underwrite militias. Two chemistry teams are developing portable instruments that can detect an elemental fingerprint in mineral ores, to verify that the samples don't come from militia-controlled mines. One technique uses laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (PDF), which vaporizes a small amount of an ore sample with a high-energy laser pulse, and detects elements in the sample by their characteristic light emission. The other technique couples the laser ablation to a mass measurement and a scanning electron microscope."

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Is Humanity Still Evolving?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's survival-of-the-fit-ish department:
sciencehabit writes "In a world where we've tamed our environment and largely protected ourselves from the vagaries of nature, we may think we're immune to the forces of natural selection. But a new study finds that the process that drives evolution was still shaping us as recently as the 19th century (abstract). 'The finding comes from an analysis of the birth, death, and marital records of 5923 people born between 1760 and 1849 in four farming or fishing villages in Finland. ... Natural selection was alive and well in all of the villages the researchers surveyed."

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Hulu To Require Viewers To Have Cable Subscriptions
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nice-knowing-you department:
The NY Post reports that Hulu, the video streaming service with over 30 million users, has plans to force those users to prove they have a subscription to cable or satellite TV if they want to keep watching. Quoting:
"The move toward authentication is fueled by cable companies and networks looking to protect and profit from their content. The effort comes as entertainment companies continue to face drastic shifts in home viewing habits. Overall spending on home entertainment edged up 2.5 percent to $4.45 billion in the first quarter as a surge in digital streaming — which rose more than fivefold to $549 million — offset a continuing collapse in video rentals, according to Digital Entertainment Group. ... Hulu racked up some $420 million in ad revenue last year and is expected to do well in this year’s ad negotiations. But the move toward authentication, which could take years to complete, will make cable companies happy because it could slow cord-cutting by making cable subscribing more attractive."

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Book Review: Drupal Intranets With Open Atrium
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
New submitter nuvoleweb writes "Drupal Intranets with Open Atrium, by Tracy Charles Smith is a comprehensive guide to Open Atrium, the popular open source Intranet system. Open Atrium is a derivative (distribution) of Drupal specifically meant for group collaboration, and the author works in the Open Atrium core team at Phase2 Technology." Read below for the rest of Andrea's review. Drupal Intranets with Open Atrium
author Tracy Charles Smith
pages 284
publisher Packt Publishing
rating 8/10
reviewer Andrea Pescetti
ISBN 978-1-84951-112-4
summary A good manual for (prospective) end users of Open Atrium

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How Online Black Markets Work
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's probably-better-than-most-real-markets-these-days department:
CWmike writes "The internet is no stranger to crime, writes corporate investigator Brandon Gregg. From counterfeit and stolen products, to illegal drugs, stolen identities and weapons, nearly anything can be purchased online with a few clicks of the mouse. The online black market not only can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection, but the whole process of ordering illicit goods and services is alarmingly easy and anonymous, with multiple marketplaces to buy or sell anything you want. Gregg started with $1000 and a took journey into the darker side of the Internet using two tools: Bitcoin and the Tor Bundle."

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1 World Trade Center Becomes the Tallest Building In NYC
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's touching-the-sky department:
darthcamaro writes "On 9/11, terrorists took the lives of thousands of Americans — and removed a pair of icons from the New York City skyline. For the last 10+ years, The Empire State Building was the tallest building in NYC, but that changed today. 'Poking into the sky, the first column of the 100th floor of 1 World Trade Center will bring the tower to a height of 1,271 feet, making it 21 feet higher than the Empire State Building.'"

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Silicene Discovered: Single-layer Silicon That Could Beat Graphene To Market
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's a-few-months-before-never department:
MrSeb writes "Numerous research groups around the world are reporting that they have created silicene, a one-atom-thick hexagonal mesh of silicon atoms — the silicon equivalent of graphene. You will have heard a lot about graphene, especially with regard to its truly wondrous electrical properties, but it has one rather major problem: It doesn't have a bandgap, which makes it very hard to integrate into existing semiconductor processes. Silicene, on the other hand, is theorized to have excellent electrical properties, while still being compatible with silicon-based electronics (abstract). For now, silicene has only been observed (with a scanning tunneling electron microscope), but the next step is to grow a silicene film on an insulating substrate so that its properties can be properly investigated."

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Australian Billionaire Plans To Build Titanic II
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's of-course-he-does department:
SchrodingerZ writes "Just in time to miss the 100-year anniversary of the fatal voyage of the Titanic, Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer announced he has plans to recreate the Titanic, calling it Titanic II. 'It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st Century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,' says Palmer. He stated it was to be as close to the original as possible, with some modern adjustments. Its maiden voyage is set for 2016."

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Why Desktop Linux Hasn't Taken Off
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '12 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-the-flaming-begin department:
alphadogg writes "It's free, easier to use than ever, IT staffers know it and love it, and it has fewer viruses and Trojans than Windows. So, why hasn't Linux on the desktop taken off? When it comes to desktop Linux, the cost savings turn out to be problematic, there are management issues, and compatibility remains an issue. 'We get a lot more questions about switching to Macs than switching to Linux at this point, even though Macs are more expensive,' one Gartner analyst says."

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