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Microsoft Explains Windows Phone 7 'Phantom Data'
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '11 at 06:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's deptartment:
Fuzzy Eric writes "Microsoft has confirmed that some handsets running its Windows Phone 7 software are sending and receiving "phantom data". The problem surfaced in early January with some owners of phones running Windows Phone 7, claiming that their phone was sending "between 30 and 50MB of data" every day; an amount that would eat into a 1GB allowance in 20 days. Microsoft said its investigation found that most problems were caused by a unnamed "third party" service. It said that the problem seemed to only affect "a small (low single-digit) percentage of Windows Phone customers"."

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Starbucks Gets Mobile Payment System
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '11 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
Ron writes "Starbucks has started accepting mobile payments. Customers can now use the Starbucks Card Mobile app on their iPhone, iPod touch, or BlackBerry at nearly 6,800 company-operated Starbucks stores in the US plus more than 1,000 outlets inside Target stores. To pay with their phone, app users simply select 'touch to pay' and hold up the barcode on the screen to the 2D scanner at the register. The app also lets users manage Starbucks accounts and find nearby stores. To start using your device as tender, you can download the app now for iOS and BlackBerry. An Android application is also said to be in the works, but the company has not yet given a release date, and there's no word yet on plans for a Windows Phone version."

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Wikipedia and the History of Gaming
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '11 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Wired is running a story about Wikipedia's tremendous contribution to documenting the history of video games, and why it shouldn't necessarily be relied upon. Quoting: "Wikipedia requires reliable, third-party sources for content to stick, and most of the sites that covered MUDs throughout the ’80s were user-generated, heavily specialized or buried deep within forums, user groups and newsletters. Despite their mammoth influence on the current gaming landscape, their insular communities were rarely explored by a nascent games journalist crowd. ... while cataloging gaming history is a vitally important move for this culture or art form, and Wikipedia makes a very valiant contribution, the site can’t be held accountable as the singular destination for gaming archeology. But as it’s often treated as one, due care must be paid to the site to ensure that its recollection doesn’t become clouded or irresponsible, and to ensure its coalition of editors and administrators are not using its stringent rule set to sweep anything as vitally relevant as MUDS under the rug of history."

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Road Train Completes First Trials In Sweden
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '11 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports technology that links vehicles into 'road trains' that can travel as a semi-autonomous convoy has undergone its first real world tests with trials held on Volvo's test track in Sweden. Researchers believe platoons of cars could be traveling on Europe's roads within a decade cutting fuel use, boosting safety and may even reducing congestion. SARTRE researchers say that around 80% of accidents on the road are due to human error so using professional lead drivers to take the strain on long journeys could, they say, see road accidents fall. They also predict fuel efficiency could improve by as much as 20% if 'vehicle platooning' takes off, with obvious benefits for the environment. 'An automated system is likely to make it safer as it takes away driver error but it would have to be 100% reliable,' says John Franklin 'This kind of system would also require a complete change in motoring culture for drivers to hand over control.'"

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Catholic Bishops Support Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on January 20 '11 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "This week, in their annual 'State of the Union' address, the President of the US Catholic Bishops Conference spoke on a number of issues, in particular a surprisingly strong statement in favor on Net Neutrality. 'As the Internet continues to grow in its influence and prominence in Americans' lives, we support legislation and federal regulations that ensure equal access to the Internet for all, including religious and non-profit agencies, as well as those in more sparsely populated or economically distressed areas. True net neutrality is necessary for people to flourish in a democratic society,' said Archbishop Timothy Dolan. It's always interesting to see the Catholic Church joining in a crusade that means so much to so many Slashdotters!"

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Nintendo 3DS Launching On March 27 For $250
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Sam writes "Nintendo executive Reggie Fil-Amie today revealed US availability and pricing for the Nintendo 3DS at an event in the Nintendo World store in New York City. The 3DS will launch on March 27, 2011 with a retail price of $250 and will be available in two flavors: Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black. There will be roughly 30 games released between the launch day and E3 2011 (June 7 to June 9). These include Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Madden NFL Football, The Sims 3, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. The device will have the same form-factor as the DSi and will be backwards compatible with both DS and DSi games. Users will also be able to download games via an online store, called the eShop. In Europe, the 3DS will launch on March 25, 2011. While Europeans will get the device two days early, pricing is not good news. Nintendo held a second event in Amsterdam today and said that pricing would be left up to retailers. Retailers in the UK are reportedly planning a £229.99 ($367.64) price tag, while other European retailers are going with €249 ($336.00)."

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Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 10:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
itwbennett writes "The FBI issued a warning Wednesday about a new twist on a long-running computer fraud technique, known as Automated Clearing House fraud. With ACH fraud, criminals install malware on a small business' computer and use it to log into the company's online bank account. In this latest twist on the scam, the criminals are apparently looking for companies that are hiring online and then sending malicious software programs that are doctored to look like job applications. One unnamed company recently lost $150,000 in this way, according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. 'The malware was embedded in an e-mail response to a job posting the business placed on an employment website,' the FBI said in a press release. The malware, a variant of the Bredolab Trojan, 'allowed the attacker to obtain the online banking credentials of the person who was authorized to conduct financial transactions within the company.'"

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The Companies Who Support Censoring the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 07:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
RichiH writes "From Techdirt: 'A group of companies sent a letter to to Attorney General Eric Holder and ICE boss John Morton (with cc's to VP Joe Biden, Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, IP Czar Victoria Espinel, Rep. Lamar Smith, Rep. John Conyers, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Charles Grassley), supporting the continued seizure of domain names they don't like, as well as the new COICA censorship bill, despite the serious Constitutional questions raised about how such seizures violate due process and free speech principles.' A full list of companies who you might want to avoid buying from is included, as well."

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Motorola Sticks To Guns On Locking Down Android
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 06:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
jeffmeden writes "'These aren't the droids you're looking for' proclaims Motorola, maker of the popular Android smartphones such as the Droid 2 and Droid X. At least, not if you have any intention of loading a customized operating system. According to Motorola's own YouTube channel, 'If you want to do custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we'll continue with our strategy that is working thanks.' The strategy they are referring to is a feature Motorola pioneered called 'e-fuse', the ability for the phone's CPU to stop working if it detects unauthorized software running."

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California Spam Law Upheld By Appeals Court
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
www.sorehands.com writes "In the first California appeals court ruling (pdf), in Hypertouch v. Valueclick, it is ruled that the I-CAN-SPAM Act does not preempt California Business & Professions Code Section 17529.5. California Business & Professions Code Section 17529.5 prohibits the use of falsified headers and subject lines that are likely to mislead recipients. Spammers have been claiming, and some courts have been ruling, that to survive preemption, a Plaintiff has to show all the elements of fraud (false representation, knowledge, reliance, and damage from the reliance.) The reliance and damage from the reliance is difficult as it would essentially require the recipient to buy the penis enlargement pills and show that they don't work, or to send the money to the Nigerian prince. An ISP could never show reliance and harm, as they are not the recipient and would not be responding to e-mails traversing their systems. The ruling also made it clear that the advertiser is responsible for the acts of their agents, even if their agents promise not to spam."

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DSL Installation Fail
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Here's an example of fine Qwest workmanship. In our business park, they just installed a DSL connection for our neighbors, for which we share an exterior utility space. They left: a DSL modem stuffed in a cardboard box, wrapped in a Wal-Mart bag, sitting outside in what will be below-zero (F) temps, on top of a bank of ten natural gas meters in some of the driest air of the year. They also left it plugged into an exposed exterior power outlet above a snowbank, with network cables running around the building, through snowbanks, coupled and protected by zip-lock baggies, and into our neighbors office. Not to mention the hack-job of patching the phone cable directly into the demarcation box. And if you're wondering — I was told upon calling them that this is not their problem, and I need to contact my primary phone service provider."

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Canadian Firm Plans 78-Satellite Net Service
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
matty619 writes "A CNET article is reporting on another try at low earth orbit satellites for internet access, reminiscent of Teledesic, an ill fated $9Billion Bill Gates/Paul Alen et al venture originally consisting of 840 low earth orbit satellites (LEO-SAT). From the article: 'MSCI, which stands for Microsat Systems Canada Inc., is trying to be a bit of a maverick with its project, called CommStellation. The company said today that its approach of using small, inexpensive satellites in low orbit--about 620 miles above the Earth--means better coverage of the world's population, quicker launch, and better network capacity.' Each MSCI satellite has a data-transfer capacity of 12 gigabits per second. The expected lifespan of each is 10 years, and they can be sent back into the atmosphere at the end of their lives to avoid more orbital clutter."

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Amazon, Rackspace Add New Cloud Capabilities
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
miller60 writes "Amazon Web Services has rolled out Elastic Beanstalk, a free feature which automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring. AWS execs tell GigaOm that Beanstalk represents a move up to Platform-as-a-Service and is designed 'to address the idea of vendor lock-in and inflexibility that commonly afflicts other platforms for application development.' Meanwhile, Amazon rival Rackspace Hosting has extended its cloud platform to its European data centers, opening the service to customers bound by data protection regulations, and says it now has more than 100,000 cloud customers."

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US Supreme Court Says NASA Background Checks OK
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
coondoggie writes "In a long-running dispute about privacy and security, the US Supreme Court today sided with NASA saying its background checks were not invasive and that the information required for not only NASA but most government positions was a reasonable security precaution and that sufficient privacy safeguards existed to prevent any improper disclosures. You may recall that in this case, 28 scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory filed suit against the US government and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 2007 saying that NASA's invasive background investigations as required by government regulations."

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World of StarCraft Mod Gets C&D From Blizzard
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "If you've been following the team who created World of StarCraft (an amazing mod of StarCraft II to be more like World of Warcraft), their YouTube video of what they've done so far has already resulted in a cease and desist from Activision/Blizzard. Evidently when you are given tools to make custom mods to games you should be careful about making something too good. The author of the mod is hopeful that it's just a trademark problem with the name of his mod, but few reasons for the C&D were given." In other StarCraft news, reader glwtta recommends an article about how a Berkeley team won the world's first StarCraft AI competition with code that can beat even pro-level human players.

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Pro Silverlight 4 In VB
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
jddp writes "MacDonald is a programmer's programmer, and Pro Silverlight 4 in VB is a model of what a programmer's guide should be. He explains a mass of technical information in considerable detail without losing the big-picture. His clear and concise exposition of concepts and functionality is never confusing or needlessly repetitive. The book's organization is logical, yet the chapters can be read in isolation, as the need or interest arises." Keep reading for the rest of jddp's review.

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Mail Service Costs Netflix 20x More Than Streaming
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
Jake writes "Netflix currently pays up to $1 per DVD mailed round trip, and the company mails about 2 million DVDs per day. By comparison, the company pays 5 cents to stream the same movie. In other words, the company pays 20 times more in postage per movie than it does in bandwidth. Doing some simple math, Netflix is spending some $700 million per year in physical disk postage. Rising content prices are offset by declining postage fees for the company, as more and more users choose the streaming-only option. Furthermore, subscriber revenues will continue to increase as Netflix increases the size of its streaming library."

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The iPad Will Get Playboy In March
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
Stoobalou writes "Playboy boss Hugh Hefner has confirmed that — despite Steve Jobs' protestations that Apple is pure and Android is for porn — an app for browsing uncensored back issues of Playboy is to launch later this year on the iPad. The news, which is likely to generate significantly more buzz for Apple's popular tablet as a publishing device than Rupert Murdoch's delayed digital newspaper The Daily, comes courtesy of Hefner's Twitter stream, in which he proclaimed: 'Big news! Playboy — both old & new — will be available on [the] iPad beginning in March.'"

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New Sunlight Reactor Produces Fuel
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 10:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "A new reactor developed by CalTech shows promise for producing renewable fuel from sunlight. The reactor hinges on a metal oxide named Ceria that has very interesting properties at very high temperatures. It exhales oxygen at very high temperatures and inhales oxygen at very low temperatures. From the article, 'Specifically, the inhaled oxygen is stripped off of carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or water (H2O) gas molecules that are pumped into the reactor, producing carbon monoxide (CO) and/or hydrogen gas (H2). H2 can be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells; CO, combined with H2, can be used to create synthetic gas, or "syngas," which is the precursor to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Adding other catalysts to the gas mixture, meanwhile, produces methane. And once the ceria is oxygenated to full capacity, it can be heated back up again, and the cycle can begin anew.' The only other piece of the puzzle is a large sunlight concentrator to raise the temperature to the necessary 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The team is working on modifying and refining the reactor to require a lower temperature to achieve the two-step thermochemical cycle. Another issue is the heat loss which the team claims could be reduced to improve efficiency to 15% or higher. Since CO2 is an input, the possibility exists for coal and power plants to collect CO2 emissions to be used in this process which would effectively allow us to "use the carbon twice." Another idea listed is that a "zero CO2 emissions" is developed along these lines: 'H2O and CO2 would be converted to methane, would fuel electricity-producing power plants that generate more CO2 and H2O, to keep the process going.' The team's work was published last month in Science."

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Yahoo IPv6 Upgrade Could Shut Out 1M Users
Posted by News Fetcher on January 19 '11 at 09:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's deptartment:
alphadogg writes "Yahoo is forging ahead with a move to IPv6 on its main Web site by year-end despite worries that up to 1 million Internet users may be unable to access it initially. Yahoo's massive engineering effort to support IPv6 — the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol — could at first shut out potential www.yahoo.com users due to what the company and others call "IPv6 brokenness.'"

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