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An Early Look At Mac OS X 10.8
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's more-bricks-for-the-garden-wall department:
adeelarshad82 writes "Earlier today Apple announced their next OS, Mountain Lion. According to an early look, OS X 10.8 does more to integrate social networking and file-synching into a personal computer than any other OS. It tightly integrates with the whole Apple ecosystem that includes iOS devices and the free iCloud sharing service. Moreover Mountain Lion adds a powerful new line of defense against future threats where a malware app is prevented from running even if it is deliberately downloaded to a computer.Even though Apple's clearly got a lot of fine-tuning to do—and possibly a few features to add, but there's no doubt that Mountain Lion already looks very fine."

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Why People Don't Live Past 114
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's mostly-it's-because-of-tax-benefits department:
kkleiner writes "Average life expectancy has nearly doubled in developed countries over the 20th century. But a puzzling part to the equation has emerged. While humans are in fact living longer lives on average, the oldest age that the oldest people reach seems to be stubbornly and oddly precisely cemented right at 114. What will it takes for humans to live beyond this limit?"

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HP CEO Says Google-Motorola Deal Could Close-Source Android
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '12 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's yeah-well-that's-just-like-your-opinion-man department:
swandives writes "WebOS could be an important player in the long run as an open-source mobile OS, because Android could become closed source with Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said during a speech at the HP Global Partner conference in Las Vegas. It may take up to four years for the complete impact of webOS to be felt, Whitman said. HP has said it would release WebOS — originally developed by Palm for phones and tablets — to the open-source community. The company bought Palm in 2010 but late last year announced it will not make devices that use the software."

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Microsoft's Killer Tablet Opportunity
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '12 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's claiming-the-prize department:
snydeq writes "Advice Line's Bob Lewis sees ripe opportunity for Microsoft in the tablet market: Forget about outdoing Apple's iPad and give us the features that finally improve the way we work. 'The game isn't beating Apple at its own game. The magic buzzword is to "differentiate" and show what your technology will do that Apple won't even care about, let alone beat you at. One possible answer: Help individual employees be more effective at their jobs,' Lewis writes, outlining four business features to target, not the least of which would be to provide UI variance, enabling serious tablet users to expose the OS complexity necessary to do real work."

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Decision Time For SKA Telescope Bids
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '12 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-telescope-time department:
angry tapir writes "An independent scientific committee will this week make a recommendation to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project's board of directors in London about whether the array's core should be based in Western Australia or South Africa. A further month of negotiations is likely before the countries are officially notified about whether they have won the $2.5 billion project. Once built, the SKA will be able to survey the sky 10,000 times faster than existing technology. Scientists hope the SKA will provide answers about how galaxies evolve, how the first black holes and stars were formed, and whether there is any other life in space. Cio.com.au has posted an interview with the head of Australia's bid for the project, Dr Brian Boyle."

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SEC Decides Telcos Must Give Shareholders a Vote On Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's time-for-a-vote department:
suraj.sun writes with a link about a SEC decision that telecommunications companies must give shareholders an annual vote on wireless net-neutrality resolutions. "The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has told AT&T and other telecommunications companies they must include a resolution supporting wireless net-neutrality in annual shareholder votes. In a letter posted on the SEC website, the agency asserted that net neutrality — the idea that Internet service providers must treat traffic equally — has become a significant policy consideration and can no longer be excluded from shareholder ballots. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Nextel must now grant shareholder requests for votes this year on resolutions that would support net neutrality. In view of the sustained public debate over the last several years concerning net neutrality and the Internet and the increasing recognition that the issue raises significant policy considerations, we do not believe that AT&T may omit the proposal from its proxy materials, the SEC said in the Feb. 10 letter."

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Ask Slashdot: Tech Manufacturers With Better Labor Practices?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's best-of-the-worst department:
First time accepted submitter srs5694 writes "In light of the recent flood of stories about abysmal labor practices at Foxconn and other Chinese factories that produce most of the tech products we consume, the question arises: Who makes motherboards, plug-in cards, cell phones, and other devices WITHOUT relying on labor practices that are just one rung above slave labor? If I want to buy a new tech gadget, from whom can I buy it without ethical qualms?"

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Sony Raises Price of Whitney Houston's Music 30 Minutes After Death
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-not-right-but-it's-okay department:
First time accepted submitter M.Nunez writes "Just 30 minutes after Whitney Houston died, Sony Music raised the price of Houston's greatest hits album, 'Ultimate Collection,' on iTunes and Amazon. Many technologists, including chairman of the NY Tech Meetup Andrew Rasiej, suggests that Sony should be boycotted for the move. In a tweet, Rasiej wrote, 'Geez Sony raised price on Whitney Houston's music 30 min after death was announced. #FAIL...We should boycott Sony.'"

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Scientists Study How Little Exercise You Need
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's i'm-tired department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Millions of Americans don't engage in much exercise, if they complete any at all and asked why, a majority of respondents, in survey after survey, say, 'I don't have time.' Now Gretchen Reynolds reports that instead of wondering just how much exercise people really need in order to gain health and fitness, a group of scientists in Canada are turning that issue on its head and asking, how little exercise do we need to maintain fitness and the answer appears to be, a lot less than most of us think — provided we're willing to work a bit. Most people have heard of intervals, or repeated, short, sharp bursts of strenuous activity, interspersed with rest periods. Almost all competitive athletes strategically employ a session or two of interval training every week to improve their speed and endurance. Researchers have developed a version of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves one minute of strenuous effort, at about 90 percent of a person's maximum heart rate (which most of us can estimate, very roughly, by subtracting our age from 220), followed by one minute of easy recovery. The effort and recovery are repeated 10 times, for a total of 20 minutes and the interval training is performed twice a week. Despite the small time commitment of this modified HIIT program, after several weeks of practicing it, both the unfit volunteers and the cardiac patients showed significant improvements in their health and fitness. 'A growing body of evidence demonstrates that high-intensity interval training can serve as an effective alternate to traditional endurance-based training, inducing similar or even superior physiological adaptations in healthy individuals and diseased populations, at least when compared on a matched-work basis.'"

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Why Open APIs Fall Far Short of Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-due-credit department:
itwbennett writes "451 Group analyst Jay Lyman opined in a LinuxInsider column that because of open APIs, 'non-open source software is often open enough.' Not so, says ITworld blogger Brian Proffitt. Sure, open APIs are an easy way for a small developer to 'plug into a big software ecosystem,' but it's a trap. 'If open APIs are the only connector to a software project, the destiny of that code lies solely in the hands of the owners,' says Proffitt. 'Which means that anyone connecting into the application will have to deal with the changes imposed from the top down.'"

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EFF Launching 'Patent Fail' Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-patent-for-you department:
netbuzz writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has long been at the forefront of fighting software patent abuse with its Patent Busting Project, is launching a new initiative called 'Patent Fail: In Defense of Innovation.' EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels tells Network World: 'The project has three components: educating individuals about the problems with the current patent system, providing individuals with resources to deal with patent issues, and then exploring what the system should be in the long-term.'"

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Brain Implants Can Detect What Patients Hear
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's grandma,-what-big-electrodes-you-have department:
kkleiner writes "A group of 15 patients suffering from either epileptic seizures or brain tumors volunteered to allow scientists to insert electrodes into their brains. After neurosurgeons cut a hole in their skulls, the research team placed 256 electrodes over the part of the brain that processes auditory signals called the temporal lobe. The scientists then played words, one at a time, to the patients while recording brain activity in the temporal lobe. A computer was able to reconstruct the original word 80 to 90 percent of the time."

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Hotmail's Spam Filter: The Best In the Business?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-the-flaming-begin department:
Barence writes "Microsoft claims an "independent" report proves it has the best spam protection in the industry — an argument deconstructed by PC Pro. 'Our own internal metrics, customer feedback, and even a recent third-party report confirms that no mail service offers better protection than Hotmail,' Microsoft's Dick Craddock wrote in a Windows Live blog post earlier this week."

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Buy an Elite HP PC, Get Your Own Support Staffer
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's personal-touch department:
jfruh writes "HP reversed its decision to spin off its PC business, but it's still left with the question of how to make money in a commodity business selling standard-issue machines manufactured overseas. One idea they're contemplating: improved customer service. If you buy an HP 'Elite' PC and have problems, you won't have to phone into a tech support call center where an entry-level drone reads off a script and tells you to reboot the machine; you'll have access to a specific support tech who will work with you as long as you own the computer."

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300k Organic Farmers To Sue Monsanto For Seed Patent Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's corn-is-mine department:
microphage writes "Monsanto went after hundreds of farmers for infringing on their patented seed after audits revealed that their farms had contained their product — as a result of routine pollination by animals and acts of nature. Unable to afford a proper defense, competing small farms have been bought out by the company in droves. As a result, Monsanto saw their profits increase by the hundreds of millions over the last few years as a result. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto tackled 144 organic farms with lawsuits and investigated roughly 500 plantations annually during that span with a so-called 'seed police.'"

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Jeff Grubb On the Life of a Game Designer
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's thanks-for-all-the-pretend-time department:
First time accepted submitter Synchis writes "Fantasy Author Thomas A. Knight continues his 29-day blogfest today by posting a special interview with Author and Game Designer Jeff Grubb. Jeff has been involved in projects ranging from the original D&D Unearthed Arcana and Monster Manual II, to more recent games such as Guild Wars Nightfall, and is also the author of various novels set in DragonLance, Forgotten Realms, Magic: The Gathering, Warcraft, StarCraft and the Guild Wars shared universes."

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The Unspoken Rules of Open Source Hardware
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's actions-speak-louder-than-words department:
ptorrone writes "MAKE Magazine's article talks about some of the {unspoken} rules most/all the open-source hardware community seems to follow. Why? Because the core group of people who've been doing what is collectively called 'open source hardware' know each other — they're friends, they overlap and compete in some ways, but they all work towards a common goal: sharing their works to make the world a better place and to stand on each others shoulders and not each others toes : ) There will be some folks who agree strongly with what they've outlined as 'unspoken rules,' others, will completely disagree with many points too. That's great, it's time we start this conversation!"

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Apple Seeks Court Permission To Sue Kodak For Patent Infringement
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's picking-through-the-bones department:
First time accepted submitter yankexpat writes "The patent battles in the mobile communications space has taken another turn as Apple has asked a court for permission to sue the bankrupt Kodak for patent infringement. From the article: 'Apple Inc. (AAPL) asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to sue Eastman Kodak Co. over allegations it’s infringing patents that Apple says cover technologies used in printers, digital cameras and digital picture frames.

Apple said in a filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York that it intends to file a complaint against Kodak at the International Trade Commission and a corresponding suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan based on patent-infringement claims. The suit will seek an order blocking Kodak’s infringement, according to the filing.'"


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Doctors "Fire" Vaccine Refusers
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-vaccine-neigh-keeps-the-doctor-away department:
phantomfive writes "In a study of Connecticut pediatricians published last year, some 30% of 133 doctors said they had asked a family to leave their practice for vaccine refusal. Pediatricians are getting tired of families avoiding vaccines, which puts their children at higher risk of disease. From the article: 'Pediatricians fed up with parents who refuse to vaccinate their children out of concern it can cause autism or other problems increasingly are "firing" such families from their practices, raising questions about a doctor's responsibility to these patients.

Medical associations don't recommend such patient bans, but the practice appears to be growing, according to vaccine researchers.'"


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Foxconn's Other Dirty Secret: the World's Largest "Internship" Program
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '12 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's apprentice-slave department:
pigrabbitbear writes "In light of a series of reports that have emerged over the years, one of many dark stories of suicide now points at one of the lesser-known but more unsavory aspects of Foxconn's much-criticized labor practices: with the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on 'compelled' factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation

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