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New Facebook Messaging System Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's riding-the-wave deptartment:
Mark Zuckerberg just held a presentation to unveil Facebook's "next generation messaging" system. He repeatedly drove home the idea that "this is not email," nor is it "an email killer." Their plan is to tie together multiple forms of communication — email, texts, social updates, etc. — and blend them into conversations. As users go about their days, interacting with a variety of devices, the communication method automatically updates to whatever is appropriate at the time. If a user receives an email while he's at a desktop, browsing Facebook, it will bring up the message in a Facebook chat window. If the user is browsing on a smartphone, it will bring up the message there, instead. If it's a dumbphone, then a text message can be sent. Another central feature is the idea that conversation histories from multiple sources and different forms of communication can be integrated through Facebook, so that you no longer have to separately root through IM logs, SMS logs, old emails, etc., to see old correspondence. (Users will have the ability to delete these, should they desire.) The last major feature they mentioned is what they call the "social" inbox, which is based on whitelisting. Users will be able to set up primary inboxes which only display communications they definitely want to see, while leaving low-priority messages, spam, and all the other noise typical to email in an inbox they check less frequently. The new system will be rolled out slowly over the next few months.

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2010 Geek IQ Test
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-do-you-know deptartment:
snydeq writes "Windows NT name size limits, network cabling and protocols, Linux printer daemon commands, AD&D character alignments — find out how much you know where it really counts by taking InfoWorld's 2010 Geek IQ Test."

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Scientist Proposes One-way Trips To Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 10:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's thousands-would-do-it deptartment:
vortex2.71 writes "Invoking the spirit of "Star Trek" in a scholarly article entitled "To Boldly Go," two scientists contend human travel to Mars could happen much more quickly and cheaply if the missions are made one-way. They argue that it would be little different from early settlers to North America, who left Europe with little expectation of return. 'The main point is to get Mars exploration moving,' said Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University, who wrote the article in the latest 'Journal of Cosmology' with Paul Davies of Arizona State University. The colleagues state — in one of 55 articles in the issue devoted to exploring Mars — that humans must begin colonizing another planet as a hedge against a catastrophe on Earth."

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Apple the No. 1 Danger To Net Freedom
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 10:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's but-we-like-the-shiny deptartment:
CWmike writes "Columbia law professor Tim Wu, who coined the term 'net neutrality,' now says that Apple is the company that most endangers the freedom of the Internet. Wu recently published the book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, in which he details what he calls 'information empires' such as AT&T, NBC, Facebook, and Google. He told The New York Times, 'It's largely a story of the American affection for information monopolists and the consequences of that fondness.' When asked whether the Internet could similarly be controlled by large companies, he told the Times: 'I know the Internet was designed to resist integration, designed to resist centralized control, and that design defeated firms like AOL and Time Warner. But firms today, like Apple, make it unclear if the Internet is something lasting or just another cycle.' Asked which companies he feared most, Wu replied: 'Right now, I'd have to say Apple.'" Wu has been in the news a bit lately.

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Scientists Propose One-way Trips To Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 10:00 AM
GET YOUR ASS TO MARS!

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Web-Users Fall For Fake Anti-Virus Scams
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 08:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-use-magnum-xl-av deptartment:
jhernik writes "Fearing their computers may be prone to viruses, many web-users download fake anti-virus software, only to find later that their bank details have been hacked. According to the latest research by GetSafeOnline.org, the UK's national internet security initiative, a rising nunber of organised criminal gangs are tricking security-conscious intenet-users into purchasing anti-virus software to access their bank details. Posing as legitimate IT helpdesks, these fraudsters target internet users concerned about protecting their computers. By offering free virus checks, they normally tell consumers that their machines are infected and offer fake security software protection – usually costing around £30 – which is actually malicious software in disguise." The fact that there is such a thriving market for fake AV scams really says something about the present state of the legitimate AV market.

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Did Microsoft Alter Windows Sales Figures?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's smoke-and-mirrors deptartment:
Saxophonist writes "InformationWeek claims to have analyzed Microsoft's most recent Form 10-Q and observed that a reported increase in earnings for the Windows unit may be due to accounting trickery rather than actual sales growth. Microsoft apparently increased its reported revenues for its Windows, Server & Tools, and Office units at least partly through shifting revenues from other units. While there may be nothing "to suggest the company's revisions violate any accounting rules," the actual growth in Windows sales was likely nowhere near the high double-digit percentage growth claimed. InformationWeek speculates that revenues from Xbox and Surface may have been among the revenues shifted to the other divisions."

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Interview With Head of Pixar Animation Ed Catmull
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 07:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's all-hail-pixar deptartment:
CowboyRobot writes "Stanford professor Pat Hanrahan discusses graphics with Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull. Hanrahan and Catmull share an Oscar award for developing RenderMan. "Among the many things that are inspiring about Pixar, and one way you've had a huge impact on the world, is that you changed many people's views of what computing is all about. A lot of people think of computing as number crunching whose main application is business and engineering. Pixar added an artistic side to computing. I've talked to many students who realize that art can be part of computing; that creativity can be part of computing; that they can merge their interests in art and science. They think of computing as a very fulfilling pursuit."" I liked this, and not just because I spent the last week watching Toy Story 3 multiple times with my kid. He talks a lot about the intersection of science & art and the time before Pixar. Anyone else think Pixar might be the geek Mecca? Do they do tours?

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Exciting Kinect Stuff Already Coming Out
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-love-this-stuff deptartment:
Just last week we learned that the Kinect had been hacked wide open and already we're seeing a flood of innovative stuff coming out. Jamie found a page with a lot of pictures and screenshots, and engadget has more.

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WSJ Warnings About Cookies Carry Cookies
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pot-meet-kettle deptartment:
itwbennett writes "The Wall Street Journal has 'a pretty useful section tracking privacy issues, privacy protection tools and the threats thereof from online marketers, from the point of view and on the technical level of a relatively savvy consumer,' says blogger Kevin Fogarty. The downside: He discovered that reading two stories from the WSJ's privacy section left behind deletion-resistant Flash cookies."

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Georgia College's New Policy — Reporting All P2P Users To the Police
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's because-networking-is-wrong deptartment:
An anonymous reader excerpts from an article at TorrentFreak: "Georgia's Valdosta State University has updated its network with software that can pinpoint students who use P2P software. The university is committed to stop file-sharing on its network even if that results in prison sentences for students. Offenders will be disciplined by the school and then handed over to the police, the university has announced." School policy is one thing ("don't use file-sharing software on our resource-constrained network, or we may kick you off"), but I suspect the police wouldn't appreciate the task of sorting out legal from illegal use of widespread, essentially neutral software tools.

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China To Build Its Own Large Jetliner
Posted by News Fetcher on November 15 '10 at 02:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's rising-tide-lifting-boats deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "China's domestic airlines will need to buy an estimated 4,330 new aircraft valued at $480 billion over the next two decades to meet demand in commercial aviation. Now the LA Times reports that the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China expects to begin producing its 156-seat C919 by 2016, competing with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. China has staked billions of dollars and national pride on the effort but what may surprise some Americans worried about slipping US competitiveness is that some well-known US companies are aiding China, putting US and European suppliers in a tough spot: Be willing to hand over advanced technology to Chinese firms that could one day be rivals or miss out on what's likely to be the biggest aviation bonanza of the next half a century. 'If they launch a commercial aviation industry, you've got to be part of it,' says Roger Seager, GE Aviation's vice president and general manager for China, whose company has garnered contracts worth about $6 billion for the C919. 'You can't take a pass and come back in 10 years.'"

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Robot Actress Makes Stage Debut In Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 11:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-a-wee-bit-freaky deptartment:
Robotron23 writes "The BBC reports that a robot named Geminoid-F has made its acting debut (video) in Japan. The short play in which it appeared was a sellout with the Japanese public, who were curious to see the robot's performance. However an actress who co-starred pointed out that the lack of human presence made the droid difficult to act alongside."

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Wikipedia Could Block 67 Million Verizon Customers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-that's-why-the-internet-exists deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A particularly nasty Wikipedia vandal has forced a discussion to take place over whether to block edits from an address range used by over 67 million Verizon customers. Verizon has not responded to abusive Wikipedia users on their network before, even though the abusive Verizon users have released private information (phone numbers, etc.) of numerous individuals, and made countless threats that have also been reported to law enforcement. Wikipedia has done something similar in the past with users on the AOL network, which used proxy servers and thus allowed vandals to continue disrupting the site. Discussion is also taking place on alternate solutions to deal with abuse from this Verizon user, named 'Zsfgseg' on Wikipedia. If a block of millions is enacted, Verizon could potentially change how they assign IP addresses, or be forced at least to address a PR nightmare."

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Google Preparing To Launch G-Town
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's owe-my-soul-to-the-company-store deptartment:
theodp writes "The Mercury News reports that Google's aggressive online growth increasingly has a counterpart in bricks and mortar, with the company's Mountain View HQ mushrooming in the past four years to occupy more than 4 million square feet. And that's just for starters. On Silicon Valley's NASA Ames base, Google is preparing to build a new corporate campus with fitness and day care facilities and — in a first in the valley — employee housing, adding 1.2 million sqare feet to Google's real estate holdings. 'I don't want to say it's the new company town,' said commercial real estate VP Gregory M. Davies of Google's role, 'but it's not far from it.' Presumably, no anti-suicide nets will be needed for this one."

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Australian Researchers Devise Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's majority-rules deptartment:
schliz writes "Researchers have devised a theoretical quantum computer that could function even if one in four qubits were missing. The design is claimed to be the first that tolerates both qubit loss and decoherance to this extent. It performs calculations by measuring, rather than manipulating qubits, so there are fewer points of failure."

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Why There's Still No Netflix App For Android
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's wouldn't-exactly-say-I-was-missing-it deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Why is there a Netflix app for iOS devices and Windows Phone 7, yet no Netflix support for Android? Well, Netflix has been working on an Android app but has run into a few technical hurdles because Android lacks a universal DRM solution which means that the company has to work with different handset manufacturers separately in order to ensure that the installed DRM protocol meets the requirements laid out by the movie studios."

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Where Do I Go Now That Oracle Owns OpenOffice.org?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-do-you-hate-america deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "So I noted that there was better support for my processor in the latest BIOS for my mainboard. After downloading the update, there was a .doc file containing flashing instructions. No matter, I have OpenOffice.org installed on this machine and just opened it up. And, as should be no surprise, there was an Oracle logo splash screen while OpenOffice.org 3.2 started up. At my job, I've had a less than favorable history with Oracle that I'm not going to get into — rather let's just say I never want anything to do with them again. Including installing any of their software on my machine. So I'm facing a dilemma. I've looked into the forked LIbreOffice but that's still in beta and I'm a little wary of depending on that. Has anyone used LibreOffice (it's installing as I type this) extensively? Does it handle complex Powerpoint files okay? Is there some alternative out there that I'm completely overlooking for open source? Can anyone convince me that there's no reason to fear the Oracle OpenOffice.org? Will it remain the de facto standard? Will it eventually lock me into a commitment with Oracle? If you get by without one of these heavyweight monster editors, what do you use and how do you handle doc, ppt, (etc.) extensions?"

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Windows Cluster Hits a Petaflop, But Linux Retains Top-5 Spot
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's heating-up-the-whole-outdoors deptartment:
Twice a year, Top500.org publishes a list of supercomputing benchmarks from sites around the world; the new results are in. Reader jbrodkin writes "Microsoft says a Windows-based supercomputer has broken the petaflop speed barrier, but the achievement is not being recognized by the group that tracks the world's fastest supercomputers, because the same machine was able to achieve higher speeds using Linux. The Tokyo-based Tsubame 2.0 computer, which uses both Windows and Linux, was ranked fourth in the world in the latest Top 500 supercomputers list. While the computer broke a petaflop with both operating systems, it achieved a faster score with Linux, denying Microsoft its first official petaflop ranking." Also in Top-500 news, reader symbolset writes with word that "the Chinese Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin takes the top spot with 2.57 petaflops per second. Although the US has long held a dominant position in the list things now seem to be shifting, with two of the top spots held by China, one by Japan, and one by the US. In the Operating System Family category Linux continues to consolidate its supercomputing near-monopoly with 91.8% of the systems — up from 91%. High Performance Computing has come a long way quickly. When the list started as a top-10 list in June of 1993 the least powerful system on the list was a Cray Y-MP C916/16526 with 16 cores driving 13.7 RMAX GFLOP/s. This is roughly the performance of a single midrange laptop today."

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Windows Phone Permanently Modifies MicroSD Cards, Warns Samsung
Posted by News Fetcher on November 14 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-didn't-we-mention-that deptartment:
dotancohen writes "Don't put your MicroSD cards into Windows Phones. According to Samsung, doing so is a 'permanent modification' to the card, and it can no longer be used in other devices."

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