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IBM Seeks Patent On Retailer-Rigged Driving Routes
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's go-here-you'll-like-it department:
theodp writes "On IBM's Smarter Planet, you may drive further than need be to get to your destination. Big Blue's pending patent for Determining Travel Routes by Using Fee-Based Location Preferences calls for the likes of Walmart, Starbucks, and Best Buy pay a fee in return for having your route calculation service de-optimize driving instructions to make you do a drive-by of their stores, and an additional fee if GPS tracking of your car indicates you actually took the suboptimal route. The same IBM inventors also have a patent pending for Environmental Stewardship Based on Driving Behavior, which calls for yet another fee to be assessed when a retailer-friendly-but-suboptimal route causes your vehicle to enter a congested area and produce more pollution."

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Wi-Fi Cards Can Now Detect Microwave Ovens
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-how-much-would-you-pay? department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at UW Madison have used regular WiFi cards to detect non-WiFi interference sources like microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, Xbox controllers and video cameras. They call their software Airshark. Current products like Wispy, Spectrum Expert are expensive and need extra hardware, whereas Airshark is a software-only solution that can directly work on the Wi-Fi cards on your laptops and APs. This also paves way several interesting applications. For example, your WiFi network will not be affected anymore just because your neighbor switched on a microwave oven or a cordless phone — the newer WiFi APs will be able to switch the channels and adapt to the interference accordingly."

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Steam Translation Community Slaving Away
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-their-air-conditioned-galleys department:
An anonymous reader writes "Steam has decided to build a community effort to get its Steam platform and game files translated by the community, but here is the catch: Translators do not get paid. Millions could be saved by Steam by making the community work for free. The article describes basic estimates on how much is saved by Steam in translation costs."

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Facebook Timeline Shows Who Has Unfriended You
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-aunt-lucy-it-was-just-a-figure-of-speech department:
An anonymous reader writes "Currently, Facebook does not notify you when someone unfriends you on the social network. That may soon change with the upcoming Facebook Timeline feature, which will soon replace your current Facebook profile. Unless Facebook changes this, you can actually see who has unfriended you during any point in time while you've been on the social network."

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New Mac OS X Trojan Hides Inside PDFs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's see-enclosed-nude-document department:
Trailrunner7 contributes this snippet from ThreatPost: "Malware that targets Mac OS X isn't anywhere near catching up to Windows-based malware in terms of volume and variety, but it seems that OS X malware may be adopting some of the more successful tactics that Windows viruses have been using to trick users. Researchers have come across a sample of an OS X-based Trojan that disguises itself as a PDF file, a technique that's been in favor among Windows malware authors for several years now."

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Amendment: Violation of ToS Should Not Be a Crime
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's only-partway-to-bill-becomes-a-law department:
Khyber writes "Three data and security breach notification bills have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of which includes an amendment that adds clarity with regards to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. These three bills would require businesses to develop data privacy and security plans, and it would set a federal standard for notifying individuals of breaches of very sensitive personally identifiable information, such as credit card information or medical records. This clarification is welcomed, making the statute more focused towards hackers and identity thieves, instead of consumers that run afoul of ToS or AUPs of websites and service providers."

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Ask Slashdot: Calculators With 1-2-3 Number Pads?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's count-backwards-divide-by-zero department:
dotancohen writes "Although the telephone has the 1-2-3 key on the top row, most calculators and keyboards have 7-8-9 on the top row. Switching between the two destroys muscle- and spatial- memory. Do any slashdotters use a scientific calculator with 1-2-3 on the top row? I've already scraped and resoldered my Casio fx-82 calculator to have 1-2-3 on the top, and remapped the numpad in Kubuntu, but if there exist any calculators like this already on the market, I'd buy two."

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Launch Date Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fully-operational department:
BioWare announced today that their upcoming MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, will launch on December 20 in North America, and December 22 in Europe. They've released a new trailer for the game, and reiterated that they'll be throttling logins early on to prevent server instability. Gamasutra recently spoke with SW:TOR project lead James Ohlen about finishing up the game and preparing it for launch. He said, "We're also focused on game balance for combat, for itemization, for the social systems. We've been running a lot of tests, we're getting a lot of feedback on the game. And when we get that feedback, we use it to make tweaks and changes. We're not making major changes now, we're just making changes that we can."

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High School Student Launches a Trash Bag Aircraft
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's only-terrorists-want-that-much-helium department:
An anonymous reader writes with a great write-up of a project completed last month by Manuja Gunaratne: "A high school student at Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada managed to launch an aircraft using trash bags. The trash bag aircraft traveled for hundreds of miles and rose to thousands of feet while capturing thousands of images of the Earth. The trash bag craft consisted of household equipment and only cost $50."

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TOSAmend Automates Counteroffer Terms For Service Agreements
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cross-out-with-a-broad-brush department:
First time accepted submitter BigSlowTarget writes "Are we simply subject to whatever a software provider demands of us in their clickthrough TOS agreement or are they real contracts where we can counteroffer our preferred terms and expect a refund if they are rejected? One blogger has come up with an applet to change TOS agreements and automatically submit the changes for approval (or rejection). Even he is not sure of the legal standing for the offer, but with these contracts so common they have been featured on South Park the issue certainly could be coming to the courts soon."

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Swedish Daycare Tracks Kids With GPS Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's girl-who-kicked-the-reflective-vest department:
An anonymous reader writes "A daycare center in Sweden is testing a new system for that will prevent missing children by placing GPS tracking devices on kids while they are outside of the confines of the nursery walls. The transmitters will report to a synced mobile phone, alarming teachers if a child moves out of a certain distance. The tracking devices clip easily to reflective vests that the children of the Malmoe daycare wear when outside of the school."

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Work Underway To Finally Build Babbage's Analytical Engine
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's steve-jobs-of-cabbage-computer department:
mikejuk writes "Last year John Graham-Cumming launched a project to create a fully-functional implementation of Babbage's original design for a computer — the Analytical Engine. Now it looks as if the project is going ahead. The first phase is to digitize all of Babbage's papers and designs. These will be available to the general public in 2012. The machine to be built is no simple calculator: it is a full computer with a store for between 100 and 1000 values, each of 40 digits, and it was programmed using punched cards in a modern 'operator/address' format. There was even a plan to send the output to a printer. When this device is built it will make it clear that the computer age nearly began in the 18th century."

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Is ARM Ever Coming To the Desktop?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's my-arms-are-there-now department:
First time accepted submitter bingbangboom writes "Where are the ARM powered desktops? I finally see some desktop models however they are relegated to "developer" models with USD200+ price tags (trimslice, etc). Raspberry Pi seems to be the only thing that will be priced correctly, have the right amount of features, and may actually be released. Is the software side holding ARM desktops back? Everyone seems to be foaming at the mouth about anything with a touch interface, even on the Linux side. Or are manufacturers not wanting to bring the 'netbook effect' to their desktop sales? Are ARM powered desktops destined to join the mythical smartbook?"

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NASA Satellite Falls Back To Earth; Landfall in Canada
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you're-welcome department:
CNET, among many other sources, reports that the declining orbit of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite has declined all the way; the satellite reentered and broke up in Earth's atmosphere last night, though the exact time, and thus location, of the reentry was unknown at the time. CNET quotes NASA's release, which says the satellite "fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23, and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24." The Christian Science Monitor has a newer story, which reports that at least some debris from the satellite hit land in Okotoks, Canada, with no injuries. NASA's Science Office page on the satellite (not yet updated to account for the deorbit) says the satellite was launched in 1991, with a planned operational life of three years.

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EA's New User Agreement Bans Lawsuits
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what's-the-eula-equivalent-to-jury-nullification department:
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet: "Electronic Arts has updated its Terms of Service Agreement for the Origin platform. Following Sony's steps, and taking it even further, EA has added a new clause that prevents users from suing them in both class action and jury trial forms."

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Crowdsourcing Speeds Evolution of 3D Printable Objects
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 03:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-print-me-a-glock department:
First time accepted submitter JimmyQS writes "The Cornell Creative Machines Lab, which brought us chatbots debating God and unicorns, has developed Endlessforms.com, a site using evolutionary algorithms and crowdsourcing to design objects that can be 3D printed in materials such as silver, steel or silicone. MIT's Technology Review says 'The rules EndlessForms uses to generate objects and their variants resemble those of developmental biology — the study of how DNA instructions unfold to create an entire living organism. [The Media Lab's Mediated Matter research group director Neri Oxman notes] that this could ultimately have an impact on design similar to the impact that blogs and social media have had on journalism, opening the field to the general public.' The New Scientist has a quick video tour."

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PLAYterm: a New Way To Improve Command Line Skills
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-they-say-the-word-paduan-run-away-fast department:
chrb writes "Linux Journal points out PLAYterm, an interesting project that offers up recordings of Linux command line sessions, with the aim of helping viewers to improve their skills by watching gurus at work." And there's no bad excuse to link to Neal Stephenson's excellent (and free-to-download in delicious zipped-text form) In the Beginning was the Command Line.

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Australian Aboriginal DNA Suggests 70,000-Year History
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '11 at 10:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-a-timeline department:
brindafella writes with a link to an abstract at the journal Science that says "Scientists have obtained a DNA genomic sequence from a 100-year-old, voluntarily donated hair sample from a full-blood Australian Aboriginal man. [Analysis of the hair] shows 'Aboriginal Australians are descendants of an early human dispersal into eastern Asia, possibly 62,000 to 75,000 years ago. This dispersal is separate from the one that gave rise to modern Asians 25,000 to 38,000 years ago. ... [Their] findings support the hypothesis that present-day Aboriginal Australians descend from the earliest humans to occupy Australia, likely representing one of the oldest continuous populations outside Africa.' A news story gives more detail."

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Windows 8 Introduces a New Cross-App Data-Sharing System
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '11 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's at-least-it-won't-get-exploited-by-malware department:
There's been a lot of attention to the way Windows 8 looks; reader aabelro writes with an interesting look at one way it behaves. The article begins thus: "Microsoft has created a new mechanism for sharing information between applications in Windows 8 called Windows Share. Apps can share text, bitmaps, HTML, URI, files, and other type of data, and the usage scenarios are numerous. For example, the app receiving the information can post it to Tweeter or Facebook[, making] it easy to post information to a social network without actually visiting it." Here's a short (video) explanation at MSDN, too.

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Ask Slashdot: Best Copyright Terms For a Thesis?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 23 '11 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's try-the-must-pay-my-loan-license department:
plopez gets in his first Slashdot submission with this question, writing: "I am wrapping up an MS. In the past I have had problems getting copies of others' work, due to lack of copyright notices on their thesis or dissertation. I don't want that happen to me. I know the joke is 'No one will ever read your thesis,' but in the slim chance it is useful to others I don't want them to be required to hunt me down for a release. Basically I want to say: 'Copyright is released as long as this work or excerpts is properly attributed. Also, any published excerpts cannot be copyrighted by other parties, nor can the original work in its entirety.' Is this good enough? I don't want to encumber legitimate uses of the work but I also don't want some pirate coming along and stealing it out of public domain. Is public domain good enough? Or does it allow the work to be restricted by commercial interests? I know of copyleft, but copyleft is a family of copyright notices and I am unsure which one is right for my intent. Please help."

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