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Walmart To Close Online Music Store
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 02:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's survival-of-the-most-convenient department:
UnknowingFool writes "Beginning August 28, 2011 Walmart will close its online downloadable music store. After eight years, Walmart will no longer offer music for download but will still sell physical music formats. Walmart will keep their DRM servers online for customers that purchased their music with DRM. Despite having cheaper music, the store's market is tiny compared to No. 1 and 2, Apple and Amazon respectively."

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Military Working On Laser Powered Drones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 01:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's amazing-laser department:
disco_tracy writes "Modern militaries depend on fuel. Nearly 80 percent of the supplies delivered to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan consist of fuel, and it's no surprise that those military convoys are frequently the targets of insurgents. In the last decade, 1000 soldiers have died delivering gasoline to military operations. A new approach using lasers could provide power to drones in flight or to machines on the ground and remove the need for gas deliveries to army bases."

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Wall Street: Software More Valuable Than Oil
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 01:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's rich-in-ideas department:
CWmike writes "The tech industry's answer to this week's stock market roller coaster was delivered on Tuesday by the mighty Apple Inc. Apple saw its stock price rise enough — gaining more than 5% — to briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil as the most valuable company in the U.S., according to an AP analysis of its market cap. (Exxon Mobile wound up the day slightly ahead of Apple.) Most of the other major tech companies — including Intel, IBM, Dell, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard — all finished in positive territory yesterday, as markets made up ground lost in the big sell-off on Monday that also hit oil prices and other commodities.Tuesday's rally may be all that's needed to shake away, at least temporarily, some of the economic concerns the IT industry still faces. By closing in on Exxon, Apple effectively affirmed that there are few limits to tech growth. CW blogger Jonny Evans posits that ideas are why Apple beats Exxon on market cap, noting, 'While Exxon drills, hammers and crushes its way to find its billions, Apple's mind-miners explore myriad complexities to develop and understand new technologies.'"

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NASA Taps 7 Commercial Firms For Suborbital Flights
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 12:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's space-outsourcing department:
coondoggie writes "NASA this week picked seven commercial space companies to fly a manner of experiments on their suborbital aircraft. According to NASA the companies will split $10 million and get a two-year contract that will let NASA set up a pool of reusable suborbital systems that could help it test applications in everything from astrobiology to measuring the impact of a solar storm."

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New Drug Could Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 12:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's universal-cure department:
HardYakka writes "A team of researchers at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory have designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection. The researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever."

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Apple Now Offering Free Recycling For PCs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's out-with-the-old department:
MrSeb writes "Do you have a few old, dusty beige-box computers kicking around that you'd like to turn into money? Or perhaps you'd just like to get rid of them, but you lack the means to dispose of them properly? Well, if you're in the US you're in luck: Apple will now provide postage-paid packaging to allow you to recycle your old laptop or desktop PC and its monitor for free, and if it's worth anything, you'll even get an Apple Gift Card in return. In addition, your old iPhone or iPad can now be returned for an Apple Gift Gard, too."

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New Type of e-Paper Can Be Used Up To 260 Times
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 11:46 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's e-erasable department:
joaommp writes "Taiwanese scientists developed a new type of film that can be printed on a thermal printer and erased up to 260 times. The boffins at the Industrial Technology Research Institute claim it as an ideal replacement for paper signs and posters. It does not require patterned electrodes. It is based on a plastic film covered with cholestric liquid crystal, a type of liquid crystal structured similarly to cholesterol molecules and can be erased by simply plugging it to a power source and an A4 sheet costs only US $2. It is expected to be available to consumers within the next two years."

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Court Rules Sending Too Many Emails Is "Hacking"
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 11:16 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's if-you-send-it-more-than-twice-your-hacking-it department:
An anonymous reader writes "An appeals court has ruled that having people send a company a lot of emails (in this case, a union protesting a company's business practices) qualifies as hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. We're not even talking about a true DDoS action here, but just a bunch of protest emails. Part of the problem is that the company apparently set up their email to only hold a small number of emails in their inbox, and the court seems to think the union should take the blame for stuffing those inboxes."

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Dashboard Avatar To Replace Car Owner's Manuals
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's clippy-says-you-need-oil department:
cylonlover writes "At one time not all that long ago, cars had a warning light on the dashboard that simply said 'ENGINE.' That's pretty vague. Really, it might just as well have said 'CAR.' Some newer automobiles now have codes that appear on the console, which the driver must then look up in an index in the vehicle's owner's manual. Working with Audi, Germany's Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) Institute of Business Informatics is now working on taking things a step farther, with the development of an on-screen avatar that will talk to drivers, and even understand their spoken questions."

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CERN To Tap Unused Desktop Power To Help Find Higgs Boson
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's god-particle-the-home-game department:
hypnosec writes "Research institute CERN has launched a new project to tap into the extra computing power from the public for its Large Hadron Collider atom smashing project. According to the organization, the LHC@home project will, for the first time, allow volunteers to aid in high-energy collisions of protons in CERN's Large Hadron Collider and in turn helping physicists to unravel the mysteries of the origin of the universe"

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Google Pulls Plug On Programming For the Masses
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 09:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's hacking-is-cancelled department:
theodp writes "Google has decided to pull the plug on Android App Inventor, which was once touted as a game-changer for introductory computer science. In an odd post, Google encourages folks to 'Get Started!' with the very product it's announcing will be discontinued as a Google product. The move leaves CS Prof David Wolber baffled. ' In the case of App Inventor,' writes Wolber, 'the decision affects more than just your typical early adopter techie. It hurts kids and schools, and outfits like Iridescent, who use App Inventor in their Technovation after-school programs for high school girls, and Youth Radio's Mobile Action Lab, which teaches app building to kids in Oakland California. You've hurt professors and K-12 educators who have developed new courses and curricula with App Inventor at the core. You've hurt universities who have redesigned their programs.' Wolber adds: 'Even looking at it from Google's perspective, I find the decision puzzling. App Inventor was a public relations dream. Democratizing app building, empowering kids, women, and underrepresented groups — this is good press for a company continually in the news for anti-trust and other far less appealing issues. And the cost-benefit of the cut was negligible-believe it or not, App Inventor was a small team of just 5+ employees! The Math doesn't make sense.'"

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Old Arguments May Cost Linux the Desktop
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's water-under-the-bridge department:
itwbennett writes "The old Linux arguments that pit one tool against another — Evolution vs. Thunderbird, LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice, and GNOME3 vs. Unity vs. KDE vs. everything else — may cost Linux its shot at the desktop, opines blogger Brian Proffitt. 'We can compare LibreOffice to OpenOffice.org to Office till the cows come home,' says Proffitt. 'But what happens when Google Docs gets truly robust enough for business and high-end document production? Or Prezi gets enough mindshare to start an upwards trajectory of user numbers?' It should be the case that increasing reliance on cloud software will make it easier for businesses to choose Linux, but for that to happen, Linux communities need to stop fighting the old fights, says Proffitt."

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Orange Goo Invades Alaskan Village
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's invasion-begun department:
s31523 writes "When the residents of the Alaskan village of Kivalina woke up last week, the unexpected sight of an orange goo covering the surface of the water was quite alarming. Suspecting a oil spill or some other man-made disaster, the residents worried about the toxicity of the substance. After NOAA investigated, it was found the that goo is an unknown species of microscopic eggs. According to NOAA scientist Keep Rice, 'We now think these are some sort of small crustacean egg or embryo, with a lipid oil droplet in the middle causing the orange color.' More work is needed to identify what the eggs are and what caused them to show up."

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Wireless Charging On the Droid Bionic?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's stop-gnawing-on-cables department:
mahiskali writes "New documents pertaining to the ever-hyped and much-delayed Motorola Droid Bionic have surfaced on the FCC website. Perusing through the documents, I noticed a very interesting feature: an inductive charging coil (click 'Internal Photos'), built into the battery door housing. It seems Motorola may have some tricks up its sleeve yet--but will it be enough to beat out the competition (read: Samsung Galaxy S2, iPhone 5)?"

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4G and CDMA Reportedly Hacked At DEFCON
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's hack-and-slash department:
An anonymous reader writes "At the DEFCON 19 hacking conference it seems that a full man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack was successfully launched against all 4G and CDMA transmissions in and around the venue, the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. This MITM attack enabled hackers to gain permanent kernel-level root access in some Android and PC devices using a rootkit, and non-persistent user space access in others. In both cases, whoever launched this attack on CDMA and 4G devices was able to steal data and monitor conversations. For now the only evidence that such an attack occurred is a Full Disclosure mailing list post, but in the next few hours and days, depending on the response from cellular carriers, we should know whether it's real or not."

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Why The US Will Lose a Cyber War
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's not-enough-code-red department:
An anonymous reader writes "There's not another nation in the world that can wage kinetic warfare as effectively as the United States, and that's probably at the heart of the reason why the United States will lose a war fought in cyberspace, leading cyber security analyst Jeffrey Carr writes."

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New USB Specification Promises 100W of Power
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's now-you're-playing-with-power department:
Blacklaw writes "The group behind the USB 3.0 specification has announced a tweak which could lead to impressive new devices, including large-format displays, printers, and even laptops that are powered entirely from a USB port."

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IBM Plays SimCity With Portland, Oregon
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-your-godzilla-and-wildfires department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Portland, Oregon will be the first city to use IBM's new software called Systems Dynamics for Smarter Cities, containing 3,000 equations which collectively seek to model cities' emergent behavior and help them figure out how policy can affect the lives of their citizens. The program seeks to quantify the cause-and-effect relationships between seemingly uncorrelated urban phenomena. 'What's the connection, for example, between ... obesity rates and carbon emissions?' writes Greg Lindsay. 'To find out, simply round up experts to hash out the linkages, translate them into algorithms, and upload enough historical data to populate the model. Then turn the knobs to see what happens when you nudge the city in one direction.' One of the drivers of the 'Portland Plan' is the city's commitment to a 40 percent decrease in carbon emissions by 2030, which necessitates less driving and more walking and biking. After running the model, planners discovered a positive feedback loop: More walking and biking would lead to lower obesity rates for Portlanders. In turn, a fitter population would find walking and biking a more attractive option. But as the field of urban systems gathers steam, it's important to remember that IBM and its fellow technology companies aren't the first to offer a quantitative toolkit to cities. In the 1970s, RAND built models they thought could predict fire patterns in New York, and then used them to justify closing fire stations in NYC's poorest sections in the name of efficiency, a decision that would ultimately displace 600,000 people as their neighborhoods burned."

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A Quest For the Perfect SNES Emulator
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-a-barrel-roll department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from the Opposable Thumbs blog:
"It doesn't take much raw power to play Nintendo or SNES games on a modern PC; emulators could do it in the 1990s with a mere 25MHz of processing power. But emulating those old consoles accurately — well, that's another challenge entirely; accurate emulators may need up to 3GHz of power to faithfully recreate aging tech. ... As an example, compare the spinning triforce animation from the opening to Legend of Zelda on the ZSNES and bsnes emulators. On the former, the triforces will complete their rotations far too soon as a result of the CPU running well over 40 percent faster than a real SNES. These are little details, but if you have an eye for accuracy, they can be maddening. ... The primary demands of an emulator are the amount of times per second one processor must synchronize with another. An emulator is an inherently serial process. Attempting to rely on today's multi-core processors leads to all kinds of timing problems. Take the analogy of an assembly line: one person unloads the boxes, another person scans them, another opens them, another starts putting the item together, etc. Synchronization is the equivalent of stalling out and clearing the entire assembly line, then starting over on a new product. It's an incredible hit to throughput. It completely negates the benefits of pipelining and out-of-order execution. The more you have to synchronize, the faster your assembly line has to move to keep up."

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Ask Slashdot: What OS For a Donated Computer?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '11 at 01:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's free-and-tax-deductible-software department:
chefwear writes "I am thinking of donating retired computers to a local charity for kids. What OS do you think would be best for this? From reading tips regarding the donation of computers, it's widely recommended to keep with the currently installed OS (which is Windows XP in this case). Since XP will be unsupported in about two years, I'm not sure I would be setting the little ones up for success. Would anyone suggest donating a computer with a Linux distro like Ubuntu to a local charity for kids?"

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