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EU Central Court Could Validate Software Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 02:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-have-come-seeking-rent department:
protoshell writes "'Software patents in Europe could be validated with a central patent court,' warns Richard Stallman in an article published in the Guardian. After the rejection of the software patent directive in 2005, large companies have shifted their lobbying towards the validation of software patents in Europe through a central patent court, which is foreseen with the Unitary Patent project. Even if the European Patent Convention literally excludes software from patents, the European Patent Office and the German courts interpret the exclusion narrowly, which makes software patents valid in the end."

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Symbolic Violence Beats Lava Lamps All To Pieces
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's next-version-needs-harmless-electrodes department:
cdance writes "Traditional Lava Lamps, and of course email, are the tools of choice to notify your dev team that the build in your continuous integration system is broken. However, lava lamps, just like pink curtains and shag pile, don't really fit into the culture of many modern development teams. There is now a solution. Retaliation is a new Jenkins CI build monitor that automatically coordinates a foam missile counter-attack against the developer who breaks the build. It does this by playing a pre-programmed control sequence to a USB Foam Missile Launcher to target the offending code monkey."

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After Rick Perry's Stem Cell Treatment, Misplaced Enthusiasm?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's plug-and-play-delicious-genes department:
oxide7 writes "Presidential candidate Rick Perry underwent a controversial stem-cell treatment this past month, prompting some doctors to fear the high-profile event would send the wrong signal to desperate patients. "As a highly influential person of power, Perry's actions have the unfortunate potential to push desperate patients into the clinics of quacks,"Dr. George Q. Daley said."

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No Higgs Just Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's explain-how-finding-it-would-help-me department:
gbrumfiel writes "Last month, scientists reported a number of 'excess events' that could be caused by the appearance of the long-sought Higgs boson inside the LHC. But it looks like they'll have to put the champagne back on ice. New data presented at a conference in India shows no new signs of the Higgs. The signal was probably just a statistical fluctuation."

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Atari Targets Retro Community With Cease & Desist
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's make-friends-influence-people department:
svenski writes "Atari User reports that Atari Inc. have begun to target the retro community and have now turned their attentions to atari2600.org, a website first registered in 2000, demanding the domain name be handed over."

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Microsoft Pursues WebOS Devs, Offers Free Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's worth-it-at-twice-the-price department:
CWmike writes "Taking advantage of Hewlett-Packard's departure from the tablet and smartphone market, Microsoft has offered webOS developers free phones, tools and training to create apps for Windows Phone 7. Brandon Watson, Microsoft's senior director of Windows Phone 7 development, made the offer on Twitter on Friday, and has been fielding queries ever since. 'To Any Published WebOS Devs: We'll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl. free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.,' Watson said a day after HP's announcement. Before Friday was out, Watson said he had received more than 500 emails from interested developers, and later, that the count was closing in on 600."

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When Schools Are the Police
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-daily-metal-detectors-are-perfectly-nice department:
First time accepted submitter Is Any Nickname Left writes "The Washington Post has an article on school systems with their own police forces. Focusing on Texas, which has the highest number of 'School Police Departments,' of which there are so many the have their own trade association. Highlights: 1) Houston fourth-grader stood on a stool so he could see the judge. He pleaded guilty. To a scuffle on a school bus.; 2) 275,000 juvenile tickets in fiscal 2009, to students as young as 5; 3) Austin middle school student ticketed after she sprayed herself with perfume when classmates said she smelled; 4) a 17-year-old was in court after he and his girlfriend poured milk on each other. 'She was mad at me because I broke up with her,' he said. I waiting for the Alamo Heights Special Airborne Brigade and SEAL TEAM CROCKETT."

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Download.com Now Wraps Downloads In Bloatware
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-want department:
MrSeb writes "At Download.com, page designs have been repeatedly tweaked over the years to push its updater software (now called TechTracker), TrialPay offers, and the site's mailing list. Bothersome, perhaps, but certainly not inexcusable. They've got to make money off the site somehow, after all, and banner ads don't always do the job. Now, things have taken a turn for the worse: Cnet has begun wrapping downloads in its own proprietary installer. Not only will this cause the reputation of free, legitimate software to be tarred by Cnet's bloatware toolbars, homepage changes, and new default search engines — but Cnet is even claiming that their installer wrapping is 'for the users.'"

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FSF Uses Android FUD To Push GPLv3
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's some-people-say department:
jfruhlinger writes "We've already seen claims from Edward Naughton and Florian Mueller that most Android distributors are in violation of the GPL — claims that the open source community has, for the most part, rejected. Therefore it's disheartening to see that the FSF is using this line of reasoning to push the GPL v3 over the supposedly more troublesome GPL v2. The FSF's press release on the subject emphasizes 'worries' without bringing up a specific concrete case of infringement — a classic FUD technique."

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World's Oldest Fossils Found On Australian Beach
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-knew-larry-king-liked-to-vacation-these department:
sciencehabit writes "Researchers say they have discovered the fossils of 3.4-billion-year-old cells in between the cemented sand grains of an ancient beach in Western Australia, possibly the oldest fossils ever found (abstract). Chemical analyses of the minerals near the cells suggest the microorganisms depended on sulfur for fuel. Such a beach might have been life's first breeding ground, one author says."

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Web Surfing At Work Can Boost Productivity
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you're-welcome department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Wall Street Journal reports on a study into productivity and efficiency in the workplace, which found that people who are given a break to surf the web return to their work with 'lower levels of mental exhaustion, boredom and higher levels of engagement.' Researchers tested against two other groups; one continued working, and one was given a break that did not involve web browsing. They concluded that 'browsing the Internet serves an important restorative function.' In contrast, dealing with personal email was 'particularly distracting.' In the end, the researchers recommended that employers loosen restrictions on employee web access."
This backs up a similar study out of Australia from a couple years ago.

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Google's Amazon River Street View Project
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's turn-right-at-the-capybara department:
Thanks to Google and the Foundation for a Sustainable Amazon (FAS), your days of paddling up and down the Amazon basin looking for a fishing camp are over. Google is expanding its Street View service to cover a 30-mile section of the Rio Negro River tributary from Manaus to Terra Preta. FAS project leader Gabriel Ribenboim said, "It is very important to show the world not only the environment and the way of life of the traditional population, but to sensitize the world to the challenges of climate change, deforestation and combating poverty."

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Motorola's Identity Crisis
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's coulda-just-bought-a-ferrari department:
An anonymous reader writes "An article at the NY Times discusses the awkwardness of Google's recent purchase of Motorola Mobility, an acquisition widely thought to be motivated by Android patent concerns rather than a more straightforward business plan. From the article: 'While industry analysts and insiders say the rationale makes sense, they also say it leaves Motorola in an unusual position. ... Heightening the uncertainty is that the companies involved, both of which declined to comment, are in some ways as different as two technology companies can be. Google makes Internet services and software, thrives on high profit margins and distributes its product using giant data centers. Motorola makes hardware, has modest margins on a good day and moves its products on trucks and airplanes and through brick-and-mortar stores. ... "It's like, thanks for everything you did in the 20th century, but you're being bought by a search engine," said Roger Entner, a telecommunications industry analyst and founder of Recon Analytics, a market research firm. He added, "Nobody ever buys a company and leaves it alone."'"

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Anonymous Breaches Another US Defense Contractor
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's diminishing-expectations department:
JohnBert sends this excerpt from and IDG report:
"The politically oriented hacking group Anonymous has released 1GB of what it says are private e-mails and documents from an executive of a U.S. defense company that sells unmanned aerial vehicles to police and the U.S. military. The documents were publicized in a post on Pastebin, with links leading to the actual material on another website. The material purportedly belongs to Richard Garcia, a senior vice president at Vanguard who was a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent for 25 years. Anonymous took special delight in the breach, as Garcia is director of InfraGard, an organization that liaises between private sector companies and the FBI. A group affiliated with Anonymous called LulzSecurity, or LulzSec, breached and defaced one of InfraGard's websites belonging to its Atlanta chapter in June."

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Earth Ejecta Could Seed Life On Europa
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-now-fear-the-europaraptor department:
KentuckyFC writes "Various astronomers have studied how far rocks can travel through space after being ejected from Earth. Their conclusion is that it's relatively easy for bits of Earth to end up on the Moon or Venus, but very little would get to Mars because it would have to overcome gravity from both the Sun and the Earth. Now, the biggest ever simulation of Earth ejecta confirms this result — with a twist. The simulation shows that Jupiter is a much more likely destination than Mars. So bits of Earth could have ended up on Jovian satellites such as Europa. Astrobiologists estimate that Earth's hardiest organisms can survive up to 30,000 years in space, which means that if conditions are just right, Earth ejecta could seed life there."

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Why Amazon Can't Manufacture a Kindle In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's american-line-workers-try-to-eat-them department:
theodp writes "Ever wonder why all those job listings for Amazon subsidiary Lab126 — the internal group behind the Kindle and, by all accounts, an upcoming Android tablet — have travel requirements? Over at Forbes, Steve Denning explains why Amazon can't make a Kindle in the U.S., and why that really does matter. 'The idea that there is a lot of outsourcing going on is hardly news', writes Denning. 'The idea that it is irreversible and destructive of the economy's ability to grow is less well known. Even so, it's not exactly new news: the HBR article that I cite is two years old. What is really new news is that (1) these fairly obvious truths haven't yet dawned on economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, CEOs, accountants, politicians, among others and (2) the way to manage in a radically different way to deal with these issues is now more fully articulated than it has been before.' Denning concludes his trilogy-of-management-terror by noting that the decline is also occurring in software."

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Early Earthquake Warning System In iOS 5
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's escape-the-quake department:
tekgoblin writes "A very important and functional feature has been added to Apple's iOS 5 for Japanese users: an earthquake warning system. This new feature may allow the people of Japan to be warned early enough to get out of harm's way and ultimately save lives. Most phones sold in Japan have some way to warn the user of Earthquakes."

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Teachers, Students Fight To Be Facebook Friends
Posted by News Fetcher on August 22 '11 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's teachers-pet-has-a-friend-request department:
An anonymous reader writes "State Governor Jay Nixon recently signed Senate Bill 54, making it illegal for students and teachers to be friends online as of later this month. Now, a Missouri teachers group is fighting the state's new law that prohibits them from being Facebook friends with their students by filing a lawsuit. From the article: 'The Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) filed a lawsuit on Friday, challenging a new law. MSTA is specifically asking the Circuit Court of Cole County to determine the constitutionality of the law’s social media portion.'"

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Antarctica's Ice Flow Fully Mapped For the First Time
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '11 at 10:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-out-all-that-ice department:
tvlinux writes "Antarctica is a big continent, so mapping all of its ice flow isn't exactly a piece of cake. But for the first time scientists have been able to get the complete picture of the southernmost continent's ice flow, from the South Pole to the shoreline. From the article: '"This is like seeing a map of all the oceans' currents for the first time. It's a game changer for glaciology," said Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California (UC), Irvine. Rignot is lead author of a paper about the ice flow published online Thursday in Science Express. "We are seeing amazing flows from the heart of the continent that had never been described before."'"

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Hand-Mounted Sonar For the Blind
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '11 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's daredevil-approved department:
GeekTech.in writes "The Tacit, a wrist mounted sonar device with haptic feedback, is like strapping a bat to your wrist to help you see. It makes use of two sonar ping sensors to measure the distance to the nearest obstacle, the relative distance to an object is then fed back to the user using two servos which apply pressure to the back of the wrist."

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