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Ask Slashdot: Good, Relevant Usability Book?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-does-this-fitt? department:
First time accepted submitter osman84 writes "I've been developing web/mobile apps for some time, and have managed to build up some decent experience about usability. However, as I'm growing a team of developers now, I've noticed that most of the young ones have a very poor sense of usability. Unfortunately, since I was never really taught usability as science, I'm having trouble teaching them to develop usable apps. Are there any good books that make a good read for general usability guidelines for web/mobile apps? I have a couple from my college days, but I'd like something more recent, written in the era of mobile apps, etc."

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Astronomers Find Three Exoplanets In Old Hubble Images
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-where-did-you-see-them-last department:
The Bad Astronomer writes "Using new software techniques on Hubble data from 1998, astronomers have teased out direct images of three planets orbiting the Sun-like star HR 8799, 130 light years away. These planets were discovered in 2008 using a different telescope, but had been sitting in the Hubble pictures this whole time, invisible due to their proximity to the bright star. Many other images of other stars are available, so it's entirely possible more planets will be found in this way."

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Help Shape the Future of Slashdot
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's come-on-it'll-make-you-feel-good department:
Long-time readers will know that we try not to clutter the front page of Slashdot with much stuff about the site itself; this is a rare exception, but we hope you'll like the reason: we want your opinions. You should see above a link to take a survey about Slashdot, and (just to be heavy handed) here's the direct link. The questions there are simple, but we're going to read the answers carefully. The reminder bar up there will remain active for some time, but this story will scroll down the page like all Slashdot stories. Comments are welcome below; surveys have their limitations, after all, but please don't comment without also giving the survey a visit — if it makes sense, feel free to cut-and-paste any answers from there as comments, too. The engineers who build this site (and the editors, too!) are counting on your honest opinions and hoping for some great ideas; ideas outnumber the hours we have to do things, so we hope you'll make a case for the ways that Slashdot should change (and the ways it shouldn't!).

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UBS: Our Risk Systems Did Detect $2bn Rogue Trader
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's meant-to-do-that-says-pee-wee department:
A few weeks ago, UBS employee Kweku Adoboli (universally described as a "rogue trader") ran up a $2 billion loss for his employer; many readers wondered how it is the systems which allow trades to happen at all aren't better tuned to catch such massive cash flows without triggering alerts. Now, reader
DMandPenfold submits a report from Computerworld UK in which the bank claims that such triggers were in place — they were simply not acted on. From the article: "UBS has insisted its IT systems did detect unusual and unauthorised trading activity, Interim chief executive Sergio Ermotti, who is running the company following Oswald Grubel's resignation last month, sent a memo to employees saying the bank is aware that its systems did detect the rogue activity. In the memo, Ermotti wrote: 'Our internal investigation indicates that risk and operational systems did detect unauthorised or unexplained activity but this was not sufficiently investigated nor was appropriate action taken to ensure existing controls were enforced.'"

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Civil Suit Filed, Involving the Time Zone Database
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-preferred-the-old-system department:
An anonymous reader writes "Arthur David Olson, the creator and maintainer of the timezone database used in about every unix/linux platform in use on the planet, just sent the message to the timezone mailing list: 'A civil suit was filed on September 30 in federal court in Boston; I'm a defendant; the case involves the time zone database. The ftp server at elsie.nci.nih.gov has been shut down. The mailing list will be shut down after this message. Electronic mail can be sent to me at @gmail.com. I hope there will be better news shortly.
--ado' A Google search does not yet reveal anything about this; does someone know what is going on?"


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Can Relativity Explain Faster Than Light Particles?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's old-woman-your-lap-for-a-minute department:
gbrumfiel writes "Two weeks ago, researchers claimed particles called neutrinos were travelling faster-than-light and violating the laws of special relativity. But now it looks as though general relativity might be behind the experiment's unusual result. An independent analysis claims that the original experiment, known as OPERA, failed to take into account differences in earth's gravitational field between the neutrino source and the OPERA detector. As Nature News reports, gravity can distort time according to Einstein's theory, and the effect could explain why neutrinos appear to arrive 60 nanoseconds ahead of schedule. The OPERA team is now reviewing the new analysis."

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Satellite Glitch Leaves Northern Canada In the (Internet) Dark
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's back-to-gold-oil-and-moose department:
zentigger writes "At approximately 06:36 EDT Thursday, October 6, 2011, the Anik F2 satellite experienced an attitude control issue and lost earth lock, affecting C, Ku and Ka services. The satellite went into safety mode and moved from pointing to the earth to pointing to the sun. This has put most of Northern Canada in the dark as all internet and phone services come in over F2."

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Searching For Mark Pilgrim
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's privacy-vs-curiosity department:
First time accepted submitter microphage writes "Mark Pilgrim, author of many 'Dive into ...' books and guides, has — as the saying now goes — 'committed infosuicide,' which happily isn't like the real sort. Except it affects the info that you've created. Let's hope Dive Into HTML5 has some sort of permanence."

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Phelps Clan Tweets Intent To Picket Jobs Funeral Via iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's god-hates-turtlenecks department:
It comes as no surprise that Margie Phelps of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church has already declared the church's intention to picket Steve Jobs's funeral. What is interesting, is that she did so using an iPhone. The 142 characters of wrath read: "Westboro will picket his funeral.He[sic] had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin. MT @AP: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died at 56."

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Does Italian Demo Show Cold Fusion, or Snake Oil?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-much-would-you-bet department:
An anonymous reader writes "Today, Wired.co.uk is running a story, 'Cold fusion rears its head as "E-Cat" research promises to change the world.' It gives an overview of the technology that claims to fuse hydrogen and nickel into copper, with no radioactive by-products, to produce copious amounts of heat, inexpensively, with a 1 megawatt plant scheduled to come on line later this month. Apparently, Wired was not aware that today is a big test in Italy by scientists from around the world, who will be observing the technology in operation, including self-looped mode. A real-time update page has been set up at PESWiki, which has been a primary news provider of this technology since it was announced last January." Wired's article is remarkably optimistic. I'd love for this to be true, but many decades of scientific-looking free-energy machine scams make it hard to be other than cynical; the claim of a secret catalyst which "can be produced at low cost," controlled-access for outside observers, the lack of published science to explain the claimed effect, and skepticism even from the free-energy world — along with a raft of pro-E-Cat websites registered anonymously earlier this year — all make it sound like this follows the marketing style of previous "over unity" / perpetual motion machines. I invite Andrea Rossi to take part in a Slashdot interview, if he's willing to answer readers' questions about his claims.

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Ask Slashdot: Spreading the Word About At-Risk Open Source Projects?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night department:
An anonymous reader writes "There is a piece of software, released under the Modified BSD license, that risks becoming abandonware and, IMHO, is worth being saved. Where can I post an announcement to find people than can take care of it?" This seems like a problem that a lot of projects run into; is there a clearinghouse for open-source projects at risk?

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Microsoft To Bring Cable TV To 360
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's aggregation-and-disaggregation-in-one department:
iONiUM writes with a CNET article outlining the next step in Microsoft's plans for cable television, which he says "seems like yet another step forward in killing traditional cable companies." From the article: "[Microsoft] announced this morning that nearly 40 television content providers — including Comcast, Verizon, and HBO in the United States — will roll out programming over Xbox Live. The company also has deals lined up with providers in the U.K., Spain, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Italy."

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Iran Blocks VPN Ports
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-do-you-hate-freedom department:
First time accepted submitter Parham90 writes "After the Iranian post-election events that led to massive riots and break-outs through the world, the Iranian government started blocking all social websites, including Facebook, Youtube, Orkut, MySpace and Twitter. The Iranians, however, started using VPN (virtual private network) connections to bypass censorship. Since Thursday, September 30, 2011, all VPN ports have however been blocked, in the first attempt to start what the Iranian government calls the 'National Internet.'"

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HP Investigates Android TouchPads Delivered With Android
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's prank-or-mistake department:
angry tapir writes "HP is investigating how several TouchPads reportedly shipped to end users running Android, instead of webOS. Shortly after HP announced it would stop selling TouchPads and began offering the remaining tablets for US$99, reports surfaced from a few users who say they received TouchPads that run Android instead of HP's webOS software. At the same time, developers have been working on porting Android to the TouchPad, since it's uncertain how much support and development HP will dedicate to webOS in the future."

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Calif. Appeals Court Approves Cell Phone Searches
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's say-what's-your-unlock-code? department:
Local ID10T writes with this excerpt from The Blaze: "In a case explicitly decided to set a precedent, the California Appellate court has determined
police officers can rifle through your cellphone
during a traffic violation stop. ... Florida and Georgia are among the states that give no protection to a phone during a search. In particular, Florida law treats a smartphone as a 'container' for the purposes of a search, similar to say a cardboard box open on the passenger seat, despite the thousands of personal emails, contacts, and photos a phone can carry stretching back years. But after initially striking down cell phone snooping, California has now joined the list of states that allow cops to go through your phone without a warrant."
Interesting additional commentary, too, from UCSD law professor Shaun Martin.

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OpenStack Spun Out From Rackspace Control
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 04:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's they-grow-up-so-fast department:
angry tapir writes "Responding to the rapid adoption of their software, the folks behind the OpenStack cloud software are planning to form a stand-alone nonprofit foundation to steward future development of the open-source software suite. They will formally announce the foundation at the OpenStack conference, being held this week in Boston. Hosting provider Rackspace, which currently owns the OpenStack trademark and copyrights, plans to transfer ownership of these resources to the not-for-profit foundation once it is operational."

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Europeans Needed To Create Broadband Performance Measure
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '11 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-track-of-things department:
An anonymous reader writes "The European Commission has launched a project to recruit 10,000 volunteers across Europe to measure the performance of their broadband connection over two years. The trial, believed to be the world's biggest follows similar projects in the US and the UK, run by the EC's partner SamKnows. The data collected will be used to plan the next generation of services. Those interested in signing up to take part can do so here."

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HADOPI To Disconnect 60 People In France
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '11 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-internet-for-you department:
bs0d3 writes "Today in France under the new HADOPI law, 60 people have received their third strike and are facing disconnection from the internet. The first 60 may only be the beginning. 650,000 people have received their first strikes, and 44,000 are on their second."

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BT Promises 300Mbps FTTP By 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '11 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's speeding-up department:
twoheadedboy writes "UK service provider BT has launched its Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) product, pledging it will offer downstream speeds of 300Mbps by spring next year. At present, the service can hit 110Mbps downstream speeds and will be available in just six locations from the end of October. More locations will be added and speeds will rise, however, with a 1Gbps service currently being trialled in Kesgrave, Suffolk. There may be continuing disputes over BT Openreach's pricing of fibre products, given the recent industry in-fighting. Nevertheless, 300Mbps fibre will provide some pretty speedy downloads for end users."

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Android Malware Using Blog As C&C Server
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '11 at 06:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's command-and-comment department:
wiredmikey writes "Security researchers have discovered a unique feature circulating in some Android-based malware. The malicious application is using a blog in China to act as a Command and Control (C&C) server. On Tuesday, Trend Micro discovered a malicious Android application out of China using the new trick to receive instructions, and appears to be the first time Android malware implemented this kind of technique to communicate with its server."

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