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Boot To Gecko – Mozilla's Web-Based OS
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's browser-incomplete-'til-it-has-operating-system department:
kai_hiwatari writes "Mozilla has launched a new project called 'Boot to Gecko.' The aim of this project is to develop a complete operating system for the open web. Unlike Google's version of a web-based OS — the Chrome OS — Mozilla's version is not aimed at netbooks. With Boot to Gecko, Mozilla is aiming for smartphones – and Android forms a part of their plan."

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Former Google CIO Suggests 'Do Dumb Things'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-all-things-are-dumb-in-the-same-way department:
itwbennett writes "Speaking at the CA Expo in Sydney, Australia, former Google CIO Douglas Merrill shared some management tips he learned during his tenure at the search giant. At the top of the list: 'Don't be afraid to do dumb things.' Merrill recalls that 'most of the early Google hardware was stolen from trash and as the stuff they stole broke all the time they built a reliable software system. Everyone knew we shouldn't build our own hardware as it was 'dumb', but everyone was wrong. Sometimes being dumb changes the game.' Another pearl of wisdom from Merrill: 'the more project management you do the less likely your project is to succeed.'"

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Rise of the Low-Power Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-exactly-skynet department:
1sockchuck writes "Low-power many-core processors are gaining traction st some of the largest web sites. Facebook recently test-drove servers using Tilera processors, which provided three times the performance-per-watt of x86 servers when running key-value store applications like memcached. Meanwhile, Mozilla has begun using SeaMicro servers powered by Intel Atom processors, which were brought online for the launch of Firefox 4. Both Tilera and SeaMicro are harnessing dozens of low-power processors in servers to help manage soaring power use in data centers."

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Amazon, Google Cave To Apple, Drop In-App Buttons
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-wanna-play-in-our-hothouse department:
CWmike writes "Amazon bowed on Monday to Apple's newest App Store rules, and removed a link in its iPhone and iPad Kindle apps that took customers directly to its online store. The move was required to comply with new rules designed to block developers from evading the 30% cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases. In February, Apple CEO Steve Jobs laid down the law. 'Our philosophy is simple — when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30% share,' said Jobs in a statement released Feb. 15. 'When the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100% and Apple earns nothing.' Rhapsody updated its iPhone app last week to, among other things, remove the in-app subscribing link. Also on Monday, Google complied with Apple's new rules when it re-released Google Books — which had been yanked from the App Store — minus an in-app purchasing button."

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Hotspot Found On Moon's Far Side
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thermal-exhaust-port department:
derGoldstein tips this news from Discovery.com:
"Scientists have found evidence of volcanoes on the far side of the moon. The new discovery, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience (abstract) is a rare example of volcanism on the lunar surface not associated with asteroid, meteor or comet impact events. ... They focused on an area containing numerous domes, some more than six kilometers high. The domes featured steeply sloping sides which Jolliff and colleagues interpret as, 'volcanic in origin and formed from viscous lava.'"

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The Internet's Age of Rage
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's none-of-us-are-as-obnoxious-as-all-of-us department:
RackNine sends this excerpt from an editorial at the Guardian:
"The worldwide web has made critics of us all. But with commenters able to hide behind a cloak of anonymity, the blog and chatroom have become forums for hatred and bile. ... The psychologists call it 'deindividuation.' It's what happens when social norms are withdrawn because identities are concealed. The classic deindividuation experiment concerned American children at Halloween. Trick-or-treaters were invited to take sweets left in the hall of a house on a table on which there was also a sum of money. When children arrived singly, and not wearing masks, only 8% of them stole any of the money. When they were in larger groups, with their identities concealed by fancy dress, that number rose to 80%. The combination of a faceless crowd and personal anonymity provoked individuals into breaking rules that under 'normal' circumstances they would not have considered. ... One simple antidote to this seems to rest in the very old-fashioned idea of standing by your good name. Adopt a pseudonym and you are not putting much of yourself on the line. Put your name to something and your words are freighted with responsibility."

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The Oslo Massacre and Violent Video Games: the Facts
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's broken-record department:
An anonymous reader writes "Media hysteria is once again blaming a real life massacre on violent video games. But looking at every single gaming reference in the Oslo killer's manifesto shows that such accusations are ridiculous. He played games to unwind from plotting and used them to mask his activities."

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Ubuntu 11.10 Down To 12-Second Boot
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's faster-than-a-speeding-ocelot department:
deadeyefred writes "Even though it's still only in alpha, it appears as though the forthcoming version of Ubuntu, version 11.10, will be much faster than earlier versions, according to this story. Quoting: 'After installing the OS onto a PC with an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 at 3.00 GHz and a hard disk drive, we stop-watched boot-up time at 12 seconds — more than three seconds faster than the previous best time we’ve measured.' It looks as if the switch from GDM to LightDM will have a significant impact as Ubuntu gets closer to 'instant on' status."

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Single Photons Do Not Exceed the Speed of Light
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-quite-as-tautological-as-it-sounds department:
GhigoRenzulli writes "A group of physicists at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) led by Prof Shengwang Du reported the direct observation of optical precursor of a single photon and proved that single photons cannot travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum. HKUST's study reaffirms Einstein's theory that nothing travels faster than light and closes a decade-long debate about the speed of a single photon. ... Discovery of superluminal propagation of optical pulses in some specific medium 10 years ago has evoked the world's dream of time travel, but later scientists realized that it is only a visual effect where the superluminal 'group' velocity of many photons could not be used for transmitting any real information. Then people set their hope on single photons because in the strange quantum world nothing seems impossible — a single photon may be possible to travel faster than the speed limit in the classical world. Because of lack of experimental evidence of single photon velocity, this is also an open debate among physicists. To tackle the problem, Prof Du's team measured the ultimate speed of a single photon with controllable waveforms. The study, which showed that single photons also obey the speed limit c, confirms Einstein's causality; that is, an effect cannot occur before its cause."

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Blockbuster Trying To Woo Disgruntled Netflix Customers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's come-on-baby-remember-how-good-we-had-it department:
jfruhlinger writes "'Netflix Customers, Say Hello to Blockbuster' is the subject line of an email making the rounds trying to convince customers to switch services in the wake of Netflix's contentious price hike. The bankrupt video store chain is now owned by DirectTV and has its own streaming service. How did Blockbuster even get these email addresses? Are its services really going to be cheaper and/or better than Netflix's in the long run? Is 'You'll hate us less than Netflix' really a viable business model?"
Relatedly, reader assertation asks, "Can anyone suggest a streaming movie service that has a selection comparable to Netfix and will run on a computer using GNU/Linux?"

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Japanese Man Arrested For Storing Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's intent-to-distribute department:
Orome1 writes "38-year-old Yasuhiro Kawaguchi is the first person in Japan to get arrested for storing malware on his computer after the upper house's Judicial Affairs Committee has confirmed the new anti-malware law passed by the Japanese parliament. The law considers the creation, distribution and storage of malware a crime punishable with up to three years in prison and a fine that could reach the sum of 500,000 yen ($6,200)."

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Is the Master's Degree the New Bachelor's?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's controlling-the-rate-of-eduflation department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Laura Pappano writes that the master's degree, once derided as the consolation prize for failing to finish a Ph.D., or as a way to kill time waiting out economic downturns, is now the fastest-growing degree, with 657,000 awarded in 2009, more than double the level in the 1980s. Today nearly two in 25 people age 25 and over have a master's, about the same proportion that had a bachelor's or higher in 1960. 'Several years ago it became very clear to us that master's education was moving very rapidly to become the entry degree in many professions,' says Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. 'There is definitely some devaluing of the college degree going on,' adds Eric A. Hanushek, an education economist at the Hoover Institution. 'We are going deeper into the pool of high school graduates for college attendance,' making a bachelor's no longer an adequate screening measure of achievement for employers. But some wonder if a master's is worth the extra effort. 'In some fields, such as business or engineering, a graduate degree typically boosted income by more than enough to justify the cost,' says Liz Pulliam Weston. 'In others — the liberal arts and social sciences, in particular — master's degrees didn't appear to produce much if any earnings advantage.'"

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Microsoft Extending Linux Patent Deal With SUSE
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's shades-of-gray department:
darthcamaro writes "No big surprise, but Microsoft has now officially extended their patent, interoperability and Linux resale deal with SUSE. This was the deal that Novell had originally signed. Now, with the Attachmate sale, Microsoft is bringing the deal back to SUSE. The deal is being extended until 2016 and Microsoft is set to invest another $100 million into SUSE Linux Enterprise Server certificates. This is on top of the $300-million-plus they've already bought since 2006."

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Massive Solar Tower Planned For Arizona
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-can-see-my-house-from-here department:
inkscapee writes "It's simple, clean, low-maintenance, and cost-effective: using hot air on a large scale to generate electricity. No, this not a plan to use Congress to generate power, though that would certainly be an endless supply — EnviroMission will use air rising up a tall tower to generate 200 megawatts of electricity. The concept is simple: a giant greenhouse at the base of the tower warms the air. The warmed air rises through the tower and turns turbines, which generate electricity. The taller the tower, the faster the air moves, which increases power output. This structure will be a monster at over 2600 feet tall. It works in all weather, and if there is a feasible water source, food could be grown in the greenhouse."

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Iran Forced To Replace Centrifuges To Stop Stuxnet
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's going-to-have-to-amputate department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Reports that Iran had recovered from the infection of the Stuxnet worm may have been overblown, as a new report suggests the country is being forced to replace thousands of expensive centrifuges damaged by the worm. The report from the website DEBKAfile cites 'intelligence sources' in claiming that Stuxnet was not purged from Iran's nuclear sites and that the country was never able to return its uranium enrichment efforts to 'normal operation.' Instead, the country has said in recent days that it is installing newer and faster centrifuges at its nuclear plants and intends to speed up the uranium enrichment process, according to the country's foreign ministry."

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Why IT Won't Like Mac OS X Lion Server
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 09:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sounds-oxymoronic-to-me department:
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's John Rizzo sees Mac OS X Lion Server as a downgrade that may prompt a move to Windows Server. 'Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Server adds innovative features and a new low price tag, but cuts in services and the elimination of advanced GUI administration tools may force some enterprise departments to think twice about the role of Mac servers on their networks,' Rizzo writes. 'Looking more deeply inside Lion Server, it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that Lion Server is not built for those of us in IT. The $50 price tag — down from $500 — is the first clue that Lion Server trying to be a server for the consumer. But the ironic part for IT administrators is that Lion Server actually requires a greater degree of technical knowledge than its predecessors.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Geeky Volunteer Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 08:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's lend-a-hand department:
An anonymous reader writes "I plan to be in-between jobs for 1-2 months later this year and use part of this time to do some volunteer work in Africa. My naive question: what to do and where to go? Is it possible to make good use of the skill-set of a typical geek? Any interesting projects worth supporting on-site?"

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Cast-off Gadgets Spy on Owners (on Purpose for a Change)
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-see-what-you-did-there department:
Eric Smalley writes "For the project, dubbed Backtalk, researchers sent refurbished Netbooks to developing countries via nonprofit organizations. They set up the computers to record location and pictures, and send the data home to MIT--with their new owners' consent... The MIT team used the data to build visual narratives about the computers' new lives."

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Review: Captain America
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's first-avenger-or-something department:
If you have been living under a rock, you might not be aware that the next in the ongoing series of Avengers prequel movies came out this weekend: Captain America follows Steve Rogers origin, and sets him up for next summer's kajillion dollar Whedonesque mega blockbuster. But how is it as a movie in its own right? Hit the link to read my 2 cents. Standard spoiler warnings apply.

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Gates: Not Much To Show For $5B Spent On Education
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-feel-dumber department:
theodp writes "Since 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has poured some $5 billion into education grants and scholarships. Ten years into his record-breaking philanthropic push for school reform, the WSJ reports that Bill Gates is sober about the investment and willing to admit some missteps. 'I applaud people for coming into this space,' said Gates, 'but unfortunately it hasn't led to significant improvements.' This understanding of just how little influence seemingly large donations can have has led the foundation to rethink its focus in recent years. Instead of trying to buy systemic reform with school-level investments, a new goal is to leverage private money in a way that redirects how public education dollars are spent. Despite the good intentions, some are expressing concerns about how billionaires and the Gates Foundation rule our schools, including the lack of transparency and spotty track record of the wealthy would-be reformers. Perhaps Gates should consider funding a skunkworks educational project for retired Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie, who was working on networked, self-paced computer assisted instruction in 1974 — 36 years before Bill and Google discovered Khan Academy!"

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