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The Gradual Death of the Brick and Mortar Tech Store
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's say-hello-to-the-dodo department:
Cutting_Crew writes "As we all know brick and mortar stores have been closing left and right recently. We had CompUSA, Borders and Circuit City all close their doors within the last 4 years. According to an article on Forbes.com, it is spelled out pretty clearly why Best Buy is next in line to shut its doors for good. Some of the reasons highlighted include a 40% drop is Best Buy stock in 2011, lack of vision regarding their online services, management too concerned with store sales instead of margins and blatant disregard for quality customer service."

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Hackers Hit Apple Supplier Foxconn
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-it-down department:
wiredmikey writes "Protests against Apple and Foxconn due to furor over reports about working conditions have gone digital. A group known as SwaggSec has successfully hacked computers at Foxconn, and posted the stolen data to The Pirate Bay website. News of the hack comes as protesters paid a visit today to Apple stores around the world to deliver petitions demanding the improvement of working conditions at factories run by Apple suppliers in China and other countries. In response to the attack, Foxconn reportedly took down a website that explains the services it offers to some of its partners, including Apple, Cisco and Acer."

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Engelbart's Keyboard Available For Touchscreens
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-you-can-drive-too department:
An anonymous reader writes "Doug Engelbart should be known to everyone on Slashdot — he did invent the mouse after all, among many other inventions all of us rely on today. There was one more obscure device he came up with that never really took off, though. It was called the Chorded Keyboard, and consisted of a system that allowed you to type using just one hand. The key to this system was finger combinations, which allowed up to 32 different characters — more than enough for the alphabet. Now that one-handed keyboard has been ported to work with touchscreens, and it could end up being quite popular. The key benefit is the fact you can type anywhere on the screen and don't even need to see where you are typing. The only difficulty is learning all the key combos, but once you have them cold you may be able to type faster than with two hands on your smartphone or tablet." Bonus: being software-only and open-source, it's much cheaper than a Twiddler.

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The Himalayas and Nearby Peaks Have Lost No Ice In Past 10 Years, Study Shows
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's antifreeze-be-damned department:
DesScorp writes "A story from UK's Guardian reports on a study of ice levels from the Himalayas area, and finds that no significant melting has occurred, despite earlier predictions of losses of up to 50 billion tons of ice. 'The very unexpected result was the negligible mass loss from high mountain Asia, which is not significantly different from zero,' said Professor Jonathan Bamber, who also warns that 8 years simply isn't enough time to draw conclusions. 'It is awfully dangerous to take an eight-year record and predict even the next eight years, let alone the next century,' he said." Readers have sent in a few other stories today relating to melting (or persisting) ice around the globe; read on for more.

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Hacked Emails Reveal Russian Astroturfing Program
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you're-putin-me-on department:
gotfork writes "Quoting The Guardian: 'A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous.' While a similar program has operated in China for a long time, and some commentators have suggested that a similar program exists in Russia, this is the first confirmation."

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How Much Stuff Can Timothy Jam Into His New Hoodie's Pockets? (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's someday-we'll-all-carry-more-than-our-body-weight-in-our-jackets department:
Timothy Lord is exactly the kind of person for whom the SCOTTEVEST Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece was designed; He's on the go all the time, needs to travel light, and wants to carry lots of stuff on his person to avoid checking luggage when he's flying. Yes, we know; before long half the people waiting to board airliners will be bulked out to double their normal width. Meanwhile, Timothy managed to jam an amazing amount of stuff into his new hoodie. Or jacket, as he prefers to call it.

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Mild Electric Shock To Brain May Boost Spatial Memory
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-where-was-I? department:
An anonymous reader writes "A mild electrical shock to the brain before learning a new task may enhance memory, researchers reported on Wednesday. A team of neuroscientists demonstrated that electrical stimulation to a critical junction in the brain appeared to boost memory in a few patients with epilepsy, a surprising finding that have implications for Alzheimer's disease treatment."

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Pink Floyd Engineer Alan Parsons Rips Audiophiles, YouTube and Jonas Brothers
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's projecting-himself department:
First time accepted submitter CIStud writes "Famed 'Dark Side of the Moon' engineer Alan Parsons, who also worked on the Beatles 'Abbey Road,' says audiophiles spend too much money on equipment and ignore room acoustics. He also is surprised the music industry has not addressed the artists' rights violations taking place on YouTube, wonders why surround-sound mixes for albums never took off, and calls the Jonas Brothers 'garbage' all in one interview."

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Online Privacy Worth Less Than Marshmallow Fluff Six Pack
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sounds-about-right department:
nonprofiteer writes "With a program called Screenwise, Google is offering a total of $25 in Amazon gift cards to anyone willing to install a Chrome browser extension that will let the search giant track every website the user visits and what they do there over a year-long period. Google says it will study this in order to improve its products and services. Forbes points out that $25 in Amazon credits isn't quite enough to buy a six pack of Marshmallow Fluff ($26.75)." The money isn't much as a pure trade for privacy, but I suspect that many people would like to have their preferences be among those that shape how Google — and other companies, too — actually organize their interfaces. (Note that the tracking can be selectively turned off by the user.)

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Double Fine Raises $700,000 In 24 Hours With Crowdfunding
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's more-money-more-money department:
redletterdave writes "San Francisco-based game developer Double Fine took to Kickstarter to fund its next game project, and so far, the studio has enjoyed unprecedented success through crowdsourcing. The project, which was announced by the studio's founder Tim Schafer on Wednesday night, has already raised more than $700,000 in less than 24 hours. The funding frenzy has set new Kickstarter records for most funds raised in the first 24 hours, and highest number of backers of all-time, though both of those numbers are still growing. Schafer says he will build a 'classic point-and-click adventure game' in a six-to-eight month time frame, and will document the entire production process for fans to observe and give input on the game's development, which 'will actually affect the direction the game takes.'"

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US Approves Two New Nuclear Reactors
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's blue-moon-rising department:
JoeRobe writes "For the first time in 30 years, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia. These are the first licenses to be issued since the Three Mile Island incident in 1979. The pair of facilities will cost $14 billion and produce 2.2 GW of power (able to power ~1 million homes). They will be Westinghouse AP1000 designs, which are the newest reactors approved by the NRC. These models passively cool their fuel rods using condensation and gravity, rather than electricity, preventing the possibility of another Fukushima Daiichi-type meltdown due to loss of power to cooling water pumps." Adds Unknown Lamer: "Expected to begin operation in 2016 or 2017, the pair of new AP1000 reactors will produce around 2GW of power for the southeast. This is the first of the new combined construction and operating licenses ever issued by the NRC; hopefully this bodes well for the many other pending applications."

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FBI File Notes Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Bloomberg reports that the FBI has released a decades-old file it kept on Steve Jobs, the deceased Apple co-founder, after a background check for a possible appointment by former President George H. W. Bush conducting interviews with unnamed associates of Jobs to judge his character, drug use and potential prejudices. 'Several individuals questioned Mr. Jobs' honesty stating that Mr. Jobs will twist the truth and distort reality in order to achieve his goals,' according to the materials. Several people commented 'concerning past drug use on the part of Mr. Jobs,' according to the file including marijuana, hashish and LSD during the period 1970 – 1974. The file also noted that Jobs was not a member of the communist party."

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Ask Slashdot: Where Are the Open Source Jobs?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's employment-wants-to-be-free department:
stry_cat writes "My company has bought into the FUD and is going 100% Microsoft. Rather than work in this environment and be continuously at odds with upper management, I have decided to seek employment elsewhere. Where do I look for an open source job? I've started with the local paper's Sunday classifieds. I've looked on dice.com and monster.com. However almost all are Microsoft related. The few that aren't are some sort of dinky contract or temp job. So is there a place to find a job in an open source environment?"

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Sponsor a Valve On Colossus
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-worry-they-have-tubes-too department:
mikejuk writes "The UK's National Museum of Computing has come up with a novel idea to raise funds for its new gallery for its rebuilt Colossus computeryou can sponsor a valve. All you have to do is buy a small area in a picture of Colossus (at £0.1 per pixel — min £10), upload a picture to occupy the space, set a URL and pay using PayPal."

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IBM Seeks Patent On Judging Programmers By Commits
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's combine-with-eye-tracking department:
theodp writes "How'd you like to be deemed unworthy of a job based upon a scan of your GitHub updates? That's what proposed in a newly-published IBM patent application for Automated Analysis of Code Developer's Profile, which proposes weeding out developer candidates for certain roles based on things like the amount of changes one typically makes with each commit, how frequently and regularly one makes commits, what hours of the day one makes commits, the percentage of commits with conflicts that one resolves, and the 'depth' of one's commit comments ('shallow', 'mid-range' or 'deep'). Big Blue explains that commit or repository interactions can be used to produce a 'conclusion report' that compares a developer to others who have profiles on the repository, which helps management 'avoid wasted time with ineffective developers."

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Therapy Over IP Draws the Young, Isolated
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-does-therapy-over-ip-make-you-feel? department:
Lucas123 writes "Psychiatrists say VoIP technology is more popular with patients than even in-person therapy when it comes to counseling — especially for their younger patients who are less intimidated by it. Along with many patients who like the convenience, telepsychiatry is a necessity for others who live in rural areas or are in, prisons, nursing homes or hospital ICUs. 'We've had just over 60,000 patient encounters. To my knowledge, only six have refused to be seen via teleconferencing,' said Dr. Avrim Fishkind, an emergency psychiatrist. 'We're tailor made for telemedicine because we don't check people's livers. We just talk.'" I wonder whether Eliza can be sued for practicing medicine without a license.

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Ask Slashdot: How To Deal With Refurbed Drives With Customer Data?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-scan-for-gossip department:
An anonymous reader writes "I just received 3 'refurbished' SATA drives from Newegg. All 3 had some sort of existing partition. Most appeared to be factory diagnostic partitions, but one had a full Dell Windows XP install complete with customer data. How big a deal is this? Should I contact someone besides Newegg about this?"

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Three Unexpected Data Points Describe Elementary School Quality
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's real-estate-value-is-a-simpler-proxy department:
garthsundem writes with a link to his story in Wired, according to which "Test scores and student/teacher ratio are nearly meaningless. But three new numbers do describe school quality: 1. (Test Scores/Parent Education): How do scores outpace expectations? 2. Test Score Growth: Any single score can be socioeconomics, but growth is due to the school. 3. (Teacher Salary*%Highly Qualified/Teacher Age): The best teachers will become highly qualified early, and will gravitate toward the best paying jobs." These factors seem to be at least interesting starting points; if you've shopped around for elementary schools, what else did you consider?

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WSJ Says Pro-ACTA Forces Helped Drive Anti-ACTA Reactions
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's didn't-properly-market-or-disguise department:
pbahra writes with commentary from the Wall Street Journal: "Europeans will take to the streets this weekend in protest at the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, an international agreement that has given birth to an ocean full of red herrings. That so many have spawned is, say critics, in no small part down to the way in which this most controversial of international agreements was drawn up. If the negotiating parties had set out to stoke the flames of Internet paranoia they could not have done a better job. Accepted there are two things that should never be seen being made in public—laws and sausages—the ACTA process could be a case study of how not to do it. Conducted in secret, with little information shared except a few leaked documents, the ACTA talks were even decried by those who were involved in them."

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Google Close To Launching Cloud Storage 'Google Drive'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-gdrive-isn't-good-enough-for-you department:
MrSeb writes with this selection from ExtremeTech: "Why doesn't Google offer a cloud storage service to rival Dropbox, Box.net, or Microsoft's SkyDrive? Google has the most internet-connected servers in the world, the largest combined storage of any web company, and already offers photo storage (Picasa), document storage (Docs), music storage (Music), but for some reason it has never offered a unified Google Drive. According to people familiar with the matter, however, our wait is almost over: Google's Hard Drive In The Sky is coming soon, possibly 'within weeks.' Feature-wise, it sounds like Google Drive will be comparable to Dropbox, with free basic storage (5GB?) and additional space for a yearly fee."

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