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DoD Descends On DEFCAD
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's where-there's-a-whip-there's-a-way department:
First time accepted submitter He Who Has No Name writes "While the ATF appears to have no open objection to 3D printed firearms at this time, the Department of Defense apparently does. A short while ago, '#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State' appeared on
the group's site, and download links for files hosted there began to give users popups warning of the DoD takeover."

Well, that didn't take long.
Note: As of this writing, the site is returning an error, rather than the message above, but founder Cody Wilson has posted a similar message to twitter. At least the Commander in Chief is in town to deliver the message personally.

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Real World Stats Show Chromebooks Are Struggling
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's show-me-your-pony's-next-trick department:
recoiledsnake writes "The first real world stats for Chromebooks show that they're struggling to have any traction in the marketplace. In its first week of monitoring worldwide usage of Google's Chrome OS, NetMarketShare reported that the percentage of web traffic from Chromebooks was roughly 2/100 of 1 percent, a figure too small to earn a place on its reports. The first Chromebooks went on sale in June 2011, nearly two years ago, with Acer reportedly selling fewer than 5000 units in the first six months and Samsung selling even fewer. In the past three years, Chromebook sales have been worse than even three months worth of WindowsRT sales. Perhaps users are heeding Stallman's warning on Chromebooks. We previously discussed reports of Chromebook topping Amazon sales, selling to 2000 schools and wondered whether QuickOffice on ChromeOS can topple Microsoft Office." I find ChromeOS good in some contexts (any place that a browser and a thin layer of Linux is all you need), but the limitations are frustrating — especially on hardware that can run a conventional Linux as well as Google's specialized one. We'll watch for developments in the Google hardware world at next week's I/O conference.

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Debian + Openbox = CrunchBang Linux (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's a-derivitive-distro-that-sounds-fun-and-useful department:
"CrunchBang Linux is a Debian based distro with the Openbox window manager on top of it. So it is Debian under the hood with Openbox on the surface," says distro supporter Larry Cafiero. A glance through the #! (CrunchBang) forums showed an exceptionally fast response rate to problems posted there, so even if you haven't heard of #! (it's not in the DistroWatch Top 10), it has a strong and dedicated user community -- which is one of the major keys to success for any open source project. In order to learn more about #! Linux (and to share what he learned), Timothy Lord pointed his camcorder at Larry during LinuxFest Northwest and made this video record of their conversation.

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How Netflix Eats the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's my-what-big-eyes-you-have department:
pacopico writes "Every night, Netflix accounts for about one-third of the downstream Internet traffic in North America, dwarfing all of its major rivals combined. Bloomberg Businessweek has a story detailing the computer science behind the streaming site. It digs into Netflix's heavy use of AWS and its open-source tools like Chaos Kong and Asgard, which the Obama administration apparently used during the campaign. Story seems to suggest that the TV networks will have an awful time mimicking what Netflix has done."

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When Vote Counting Goes Bad
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-increments-the-database-or-else-it-gets-the-hose department:
ZipK writes "Television singing competition The Voice disclosed on Wednesday 'nconsistencies' with the tallying of on-line and SMS-based voting. Although host Carson Daly claimed the show wanted to be 'completely upfront,' the explanation from their third-party vote counter, Telescope, was anything but transparent. In particular, Telescope claims that disregarding all on-line and SMS-based voting for the two nights in question left no impact on the final results, but they haven't provided any detail of the 'inconsistency' or their ability to predict a complete lack of impact. Sure, it's only The Voice; but tomorrow it could be American Idol, and by next month, America's Got Talent."

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Ask Slashdot: Becoming a Programmer At 40?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's late-bloomer department:
New submitter fjsalcedo writes "I've read many times, here at Slashdot and elsewhere, that programming, especially learning how to program professionally, is a matter for young people. That programmers after 35 or so begin to decline and even lose their jobs, or at least part of their wages. Well, my story is quite the contrary. I've never made it after undergraduate level in Computer Science because I had to begin working. I've always worked 24x4 in IT environments, but all that stopped abruptly one and a half years ago when I was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy and my neurologist forbade me from working shifts and, above all, nights. Fortunately enough, my company didn't fire me; instead they gave me the opportunity to learn and work as a web programmer. Since then, in les than a year, I've had to learn Java, Javascript, JSTL, EL, JSP, regular expressions, Spring, Hibernate, SQL, etc. And, you know what? I did. I'm not an expert, of course, but I'm really interested in continuing to learn. Is my new-born career a dead end, or do I have a chance of becoming good at programming?"

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Zoomable World Videos of Satellite Imagery For the Last 29 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's corpus-terra department:
New submitter simonff writes "Yearly composites of 30-meter Landsat imagery were used by Google and Time to produce zoomable, scrollable videos of changes in land surface since 1984." So now you can watch glaciers shrink and Vegas gobble up the desert, in what we're all lucky is not real time.

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New 'Academic Redshirt' For Engineering Undergrads at UW
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-dub-not-you're-dumb department:
vinces99 writes "Redshirting isn't just for athletes anymore. The University of Washington and Washington State University are collaborating on an 'academic redshirt' program that will bring dozens of low-income Washington state high school graduates to the two universities to study engineering in a five-year bachelor's program. The first year will help those incoming freshmen acclimate to university-level courses and workload and prepare to major in an engineering discipline."

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Watch a Lockheed Martin Laser Destroy a Missile In Flight
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's missiles-missiles-missiles department:
An anonymous reader writes "As well as providing the equipment necessary to fire missiles, defense contractors also want to offer customers the ability to defend against them. Lockheed Martin is doing just that with its Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system. ADAM is a high energy laser system mounted on a trailer allowing it to be transported around quickly to help defend high-value targets. It is still in prototype form, but basically uses a 10-kilowatt fiber laser which can be focused on to a moving target up to 2 kilometers away."

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The NSA's Own Guide To Google Hacking and Other Internet Research
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's summer-reading-list department:
Wired has published a book review of sorts of a freely downloadable book called Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research. If that title came from O'Reilly, Apress, or other big name in tech-publishing, it might be perfectly nice but less interesting. Instead, it was prepared as an internal guide for the NSA, and came to public attention through a FOIA request by MuckRock. (See this video interview with MuckRock's Michael Morisy at this year's SXSW.) The version that's been released is several years old. From Wired's report:
"Although the author's name is redacted in the version released by the NSA, Muckrock's FOIA indicates it was written by Robyn Winder and Charlie Speight. A note the NSA added to the book before releasing it under FOIA says that the opinions expressed in it are the authors', and not the agency's. ... Lest you think that none of this is new, that Johnny Long has been talking about this for years at hacker conferences and in his book Google Hacking, you’d be right. In fact, the authors of the NSA book give a shoutout to Johnny, but with the caveat that Johnny’s tips are designed for cracking — breaking into websites and servers. 'That is not something I encourage or advocate,' the author writes."

(Hat tip to ThinkGeek's Jacob Rose.)

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Printable Gun Downloads Top 100k In 2 Days, Thanks to Kim Dotcom
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-be-careful-out-there department:
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "The promise of a fully 3D-printable gun is that it can spread via the Internet and entirely circumvent gun control laws. Two days after that digital weapon's blueprint first appeared online, it seems to be fulfilling that promise. Files for the printable gun known as that 'Liberator' have been downloaded more than 100,000 times in two days, according to Defense Distributed, the group that created it. Those downloads were facilitated by Kim Dotcom's startup Mega, which Defense Distributed is using to host the Liberator's CAD files. And it's also been uploaded to the Pirate Bay, where it's one of the most popular files in the filesharing site's uncensorable 3D printing category."

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Microsoft's Most Profitable Mobile Operating System: Android
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's profit-through-judo department:
puddingebola writes "Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a piece of commentary discussing Microsoft's profit from their patent claims on Android. From the article, 'To some, Windows 8 is a marketplace failure. But its flop has been nothing compared to Microsoft's problems in getting anyone to use its Windows Phone operating systems. You don't need to worry about Microsoft's bottom line though. Thanks to its Android patent agreements, Microsoft may be making as much as $8 per Android device. This could give Microsoft as much as $3.4 billion in 2013 from Android sales.'"

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Ouya Game Console Retail Launch Delayed Until June 25
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's reset-button department:
PC Mag is one of several outlets reporting that the Kickstarter-funded Ouya Android game console has been delayed by a few weeks; the new target date for launch is June 25. Says the article "The delay does not affect early backers, who are still on track to receive their devices by month's end.
Helping to meet that demand will be $15 million in funding, led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers." Also at CNET.

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Tool Reveals iPad and iPhone User Locations
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cat's-away-mice-will-play department:
mask.of.sanity writes "A researcher has found that Apple user locations can be potentially determined by tapping into Apple Maps and he has created a Python tool to make the process easier. iSniff GPS accesses Apple's database of wireless access points, which is collected by iPhones and iPads that have GPS and Wi-Fi location services enabled. Apple uses this crowd-sourced data to run its location services; however, the location database is not meant to be public. You can download the tool via Giuthub."

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Israeli Singer Publishes a Song In Hebrew — and Perl
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's tank-driver-coder-songwriter->-singer-song-writer department:
Noiser writes "The Israeli pop singer Aya Korem published her new song "Computer Engineer" as a website that shows translation to the Perl programming language along with the lyrics. Perl is quite a good match, given that the Perl community has a long tradition of publishing "Perl poetry", and this song proves that this tradition is very much alive. No Flash is required to view the website, so if you are an HTML5 geek, have no worries."

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San Francisco Abandons Mobile Phone Radiation Labels
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-sticker-is-a-choking-hazard department:
judgecorp writes "The city of San Francisco has abandoned a law proposed in 2010 which would have required mobile phones to be labelled with their radiation level. Mobile phone industry body the CTIA fought the bill in court, arguing that there is not enough evidence of harm. The city is not convinced phones are safe — it says its decision to abandon the law is simply based on the legal costs."

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New Zealand Set To Prohibit Software Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's panic-in-the-streets department:
Drishmung writes "The New Zealand Commerce Minister Craig Foss today (9 May 2013) announced a significant change to the Patents Bill currently before parliament, replacing the earlier amendment with far clearer law and re-affirming that software really will be unpatentable in New Zealand. An article on the Institute of IT Professionals web site by IT Lawyer Guy Burgess looks at the the bill and what it means, with reference to the law in other parts of the world such as the USA, Europe and Britain (which is slightly different from the EU situation)."

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Did the Queen Just Resurrect the Snooper's Charter?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 02:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's by-the-way-monarchy-has-some-downsides department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "This time last year the Queen officially introduced the Communications Data Bill (known as the Snooper's Charter to those opposing it). Last month it was effectively killed when the UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said it went too far and he wouldn't support it. Today the Queen was back and while there was no official mention of the Communications Data Bill, there was mention of 'crime in cyberspace' and a very strong hint that more legislation to monitor people's online activity is on the way."

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Btcd - a Bitcoind Alternative Written In Go!
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '13 at 12:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bang-for-the-buck department:
An anonymous reader writes "The folks at Conformal have announced btcd, an alternative full-node implementation to bitcoind, written in Go! They have released the first of their core packages, btcwire, available for download at GitHub. As a bitcoin user myself, I love the idea of a full alternative. It will only make bitcoin stronger and more independent. This will be great for the Go community, too!"

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80FFTs Per Second To Detect Whistles (and Switch On Lights)
Posted by News Fetcher on May 08 '13 at 09:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-is-awesome department:
New submitter Mathieu Stephan writes "Hello everyone! Some people told me that my latest project might interest you. I'm not sure you publish this kind of projects, but here it goes. Basically, it is a small platform that recognizes whistles in order to switch on/off appliances. It will be obviously more useful for lighting applications: just walk in a room, whistle, and everything comes on. The project is open hardware, and all the details are published on my website." The linked video is worth watching for the hidden-camera footage alone: it would be hard to not keep playing with this sensor.

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