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Web Guru To the Blind
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's evolving-web-sights department:
the_newsbeagle writes "Chieko Asakawa went blind at age 14, learned to program mainframe computers by sense of touch, and has spent her 27 years at IBM-Tokyo bringing personal computing and the Internet to the blind. From the article: 'By 1997 she had developed a plug-in that worked with the Netscape browser, mapping Web navigation commands to the computer keyboard's number pad and using text-to-speech technology to read out content. Computer stores around the world sold IBM's Home Page Reader, and Asakawa says its effect on the blind community was immediate, electric, and sometimes touching. ... Other browsers for the blind followed IBM's groundbreaking efforts, and Asakawa moved on to addressing a deeper problem: the fact that designers were unintentionally creating inaccessible websites. She and her team wrote a program called aDesigner ... to allow designers to experience a site as blind users do and to suggest ways to improve navigation for audio browsers.'"

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Steve Appleton, Micron CEO, Dies In Plane Crash
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
CR0WTR0B0T writes "Micron CEO Steve Appleton was killed in a plane crash around 9AM on Friday, February 3rd. He was flying an experimental fixed-wing single engine Lancair, which crashed in between two runways at the Boise airport."

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ACTA's EU Future In Doubt As Poland Suspends Ratification
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hitting-the-brakes department:
superglaze writes "Poland has suspended its ratification process for ACTA, throwing the copyright crackdown into doubt for the whole European Union. ACTA is being handled as a 'mixed agreement' in the EU due to its criminalization clauses, so if a single EU member state (such as Poland) fails to ratify it, it is null and void across the entire union. If that were to happen, at least six of the remaining international signatories would have to ratify ACTA for it to apply anywhere in the world. Outside the EU, only eight countries — including the U.S. — have signed."

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Firefox's Web Push Notification System Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's convergent-alert-evolution department:
eldavojohn writes "Describing Notifications as 'somewhere between email and IM,' Mozilla has announced this push technology as a way to receive notifications from websites without having to keep them open in your browser — as well as receiving them on your mobile device. A JavaScript API reveals early interface ideas by the team. This core concept is not new — both Google and Apple have their own push notification systems for Android and iOS respectively. However, 'It's important to note that this push notification system is distinct from the existing desktop notification mechanisms that are already defined in pending standards. The desktop notifications that websites like GMail and Seesmic Web display to Chrome users, for example, will only work when the website is left open in a tab. Mozilla's push notification system moves beyond that limitation.' Mozilla is attempting to take push notifications to the entire web for any website to use."

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Did North Korea Conduct Secret Nuclear Tests?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's poking-around-inside-atoms department:
gbrumfiel writes "In May of 2010, North Korea made the bizarre claim that it had achieved nuclear fusion. Many, many commentators (including faithful Slashdot readers) mocked the dear leader for his outlandish boast, but could there have been a kernel of truth in the claim? Apparently some odd radioactivity was spotted by detectors surrounding the North just days after the announcement. Now, a new analysis by a Swedish scientist suggests that the radiation may have leaked from covert experiments into boosting fission warheads. The evidence is tentative at best, and many are skeptical, but it does seem that something odd was up on the Korean peninsula that spring."

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Windows Phone 8 Detailed, Uses Windows 8 Kernel
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's starting-from-scratch department:
MrSeb writes "Thanks to a leaked video — a video that Microsoft made for Nokia — we now have lots of details about Windows Phone 8 (WP8). From deep Windows 8, Skype, and SkyDrive integration, through to the addition of NFC 'wallet' payments and BitLocker encryption, it sounds like Windows Phone 8 will be close to iOS and Android in terms of features. The interesting stuff is under the hood, though: WP8 will have the Windows 8 kernel instead of the Windows CE kernel of its predecessors. Through the Win 8 kernel, WP8 will support native code and multi-core processors. It will also have the same network stack, security, and multimedia support as Windows 8. While Win 8 apps won't be directly compatible with Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore says developers will be able to 'reuse — by far — most of their code.'"

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RIAA Wants To Scrap Anti-Piracy OPEN Act
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-far-enough-by-half department:
silentbrad writes with these selections from an article at Ars Technica: "The Recording Industry Association of America found itself in an unusual position this week: opposing an anti-piracy bill that's gaining momentum in Congress ... the RIAA argues the bill won't be effective at shutting down rogue sites. The trade group warns of 'indefinite delays' as claims of infringement are investigated. And it complains that the process envisioned by OPEN would allow for 'endless submissions by parties such as Google,' further gumming up the process. All the while, the alleged rogue site would be able to continue operating. The RIAA also warns that the need to hire an attorney to navigate the ITC's arcane legal process will 'put justice out of reach for small business American victims of IP theft.' The trade group complains that sites aren't held responsible for the infringing activities of their users, a rule the trade group says 'excuses willful blindness and outright complicity in illegal activity.' RIAA also says it's 'virtually impossible' to prove that a site infringed willfully, as OPEN requires."

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What's the Damage? Measuring fsck Under XFS and Ext4 On Big Storage
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's disks-groaning-with-shame department:
An anonymous reader writes "Enterprise Storage Forum's long-awaited Linux file system Fsck testing is finally complete. Find out just how bad the Linux file system scaling problem really is."

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Anonymous Posts Audio of Intercepted FBI Conference Call
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sounds-like-a-job-for-rupert-murdoch department:
DrDevil writes "A member of the computer hacking group Anonymous has hacked into a telephone conference between the FBI and Scotland Yard (London Police) and posted it on the internet. The Daily Telegraph has a comprehensive article on the hack. The audio of the call can be heard here." Reader eldavojohn snips as well from the AP's story as carried by Google: "Those on the call talk about what legal strategy to pursue in the cases of Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis — two British suspects linked to Anonymous — and discuss details of the evidence gathered against other suspects."

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Chinese Boy Claims To Have Cat-Like Night Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-see-you department:
Oswald McWeany writes "Reports swirling around the Internet are that a boy in China may have cat-like night vision. The boy with eerie blue-eyes was able to fill out a questionnaire in the dark and his eyes reflect like a cat's when a light is shined on them. No reports yet if he marks his territory or is litter box trained."

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Thanks to DRM, Some Ubisoft Games Won't Work Next Week
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-about-a-nice-game-of-chess department:
hypnosec writes "Several of Ubisoft's biggest titles won't be playable as of next week thanks to a server move by the publisher and the restrictive DRM that was used in their development. This isn't just multiplayer either. Because Ubisoft thought it would be a smart plan to use always on DRM for even the single player portion of games like Assassin's Creed, even the single player portion of that title won't be playable during the server move. Some of the other games affected by this move will be Tom Clancy's HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 and The Settlers 7. The Mac games that will be broken during this period are Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction and The Settlers. This move was announced this week as part of a community letter, with Ubisoft describing how the data servers for many of the publisher's online services would be migrated from third party facilities to a new location starting on the 7th February. The publisher didn't reveal how long the transfer would take."

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Alzheimer's Transmission Pathway Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-it's-all-greek-to-you department:
smitty777 writes "Two separate studies by the Taub Institute and Harvard have discovered the pathway used by Alzheimer's Disease to spread through the brain. The studies indicate it's not a virus, but a distorted protein called Tau which moves from cell to cell. Further, the discovery 'may now offer scientists a way to move forward and develop a way to block tau's spread in Alzheimer's patients, said Karen Duff, a researcher at Columbia's Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's disease and co-author of one study published Wednesday in journal PLoS One. "It's enlightening for us because it now provides a whole other area for potential therapeutic impact," said Duff. "It's possible that you can identify the disease and intervene (with potential tau-blocking drugs) before the dementia actually sets in."'"

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Credit Suisse Traders Manipulated IT Systems To Hide $500m Losses
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's doubling-down-down-down department:
New submitter Qedward writes with a snippet from ComputerWorld UK: "Two traders at Credit Suisse have pleaded guilty to wire fraud and falsifying data after authorities said they had manipulated the bank's record systems, as the credit crunch approached, in order to help conceal over half a billion dollars' worth of losses. The traders admitted to circumventing a mandatory real time reporting system introduced by Credit Suisse, manually entering false profit and loss (P&L) figures as the products they handled collapsed in value. They did so, according to the accusations, under heavy pressure from their manager, who has also been charged."

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Google Starts Scanning Android Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bender's-job-between-seasons department:
eldavojohn writes "A recent blog post has Android developers talking about Google finally scanning third party applications for malware. Oddly enough, Google claims this service (codenamed 'Bouncer') has been active for some time: 'The service has been looking for malicious apps in Market for a while now, and between the first and second halves of 2011, we saw a 40% decrease in the number of potentially-malicious downloads from Android Market. This drop occurred at the same time that companies who market and sell anti-malware and security software have been reporting that malicious applications are on the rise.' So it appears that they allow the software to be sold even before it is scanned and it also appears that no one has been bitten by a false positive from this software. Apparently Bouncer is not as oppressive as Apple's solution although given recent news its effectiveness must be questioned. Have any readers had their apps flagged or pulled by Bouncer?"

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Researchers Create Glass Just 3 Atoms Thick
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's barely-a-glaze department:
sciencehabit writes "Researchers have created the world's thinnest pane of glass. The glass, made of silicon and oxygen, formed accidentally when the scientists were making graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon, on copper-covered quartz. They believe an air leak caused the copper to react with the quartz, which is also made of silicon and oxygen, producing a glass layer with the graphene. The glass is a mere three atoms thick — the minimum thickness of silica glass—which makes it two-dimensional. The team notes that the structure 'strikingly resembles' a diagram drawn by a glass theorist attempting to unravel its structure back in 1932. Such ultra-thin glass could be used in semiconductor or graphene transistors." See Nano Letters for an abstract (and another picture) to the paywalled article.

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How the GOP (and the Tea Party) Helped Kill SOPA
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's two-party-narrative department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Strengthening intellectual property enforcement has been a bipartisan issue for the past 25 years, but Stewart Baker writes in the Hollywood Reporter that when the fight went from the committees to the floor and Wikipedia went down, the Democratic and Republican parties reacted very differently to SOPA. 'Despite widespread opposition to SOPA from bloggers on the left, Democrats in Congress (and the administration) were reluctant to oppose the bill outright,' writes Baker. 'The MPAA was not shy about reminding them that Hollywood has been a reliable source of funding for Democratic candidates, and that it would not tolerate defections.' That very public message from the MPAA also reached another audience — Tea Party conservatives. Most of them had never given a second thought to intellectual property enforcement, but many had drawn support from conservative bloggers and they began to ask why they should risk the ire of their internet supporters to rescue an industry that was happily advertising how much it hated them." (Read on, below.)

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Craigslist Donates $100,000 To the Perl Foundation
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's have-a-few-bucks department:
mikejuk writes "The craigslist Charitable Fund has donated $100,000 to the Perl community for Perl5 maintenance and general use by the Perl Foundation. Craigslist gets more than 30 billion views per month and it is mostly written in Perl. The entire architecture of the system is open source — a proxy array based on Perl and memcache and a backend provided by Apache, memcache, MySQL and, of course, Perl. This is a successful enterprise giving something back to open source — which is how it should be."

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Apple Loses German Court Bid To Ban Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N, Nexus Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's and-the-hits-keep-coming department:
chrb writes "Apple has failed to get a patent ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1N and the Nexus phone in Germany. Presiding Judge Andreas Mueller stated, 'Samsung has shown that it is more likely than not that the patent will be revoked because of a technology that was already on the market before the intellectual property had been filed for protection.' The patent in question covered list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display. This news follows the recent Appeals court ruling that upheld the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 ban."

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Norway Brings DNA Sequencing To National Healthcare
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '12 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's giant-book-tha's-hidden-inside-you department:
ananyo writes "Norway is set to become the first country to incorporate genome sequencing into its national health-care system. The Scandinavian nation, which has a population of 4.8 million, will use 'next-generation' DNA sequencers to trawl for mutations in tumors that might reveal which cancer treatments would be most effective. In its three-year pilot phase, the Norwegian Cancer Genomics Consortium will sequence the tumor genomes of 1,000 patients in the hope of influencing their treatments. It will also look at another 3,000 previously obtained tumor biopsies to get a better idea of the mutations in different cancers, and how they influence a patient's response to a drug. In a second phase, the project will build the laboratory, clinical and computing infrastructure needed to bring such care to the 25,000 Norwegians who are diagnosed with cancer each year. Similar projects are under way in the United Kingdom and at research hospitals in the United States, France and elsewhere. But Norway's will be among the first to look for tumor mutations using next-generation DNA sequencing rather than conventional genetic testing."

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New Exoplanet Is Best Yet Candidate For Supporting Life
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '12 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-neighborhood department:
First time accepted submitter uigrad_2000 writes "With all the new exoplanets discovered recently with Kepler, it seemed a sure thing that the first exoplanet in the habitable zone of a star would be found soon. The irony is that Kepler was not involved. GJ 667Cc, is at least 4.5 times as massive as Earth, and lies in the habitable region of its host star, reports Scientific American. It was discovered by comparing public data from the ESO to recent observations from Hawaii and Chile. As opposed to the stars Kepler is watching, this is only 22 light years away, making it even more interesting."

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