By Soulskill from Slashdot's getting-in-touch-with-your-fuzzy department
New submitter JestersGrind writes "Blizzard has announced that Mists of Pandaria, the latest expansion of the popular World of Warcraft MMO, will be launched on September 25, 2012 and can be pre-ordered now."
The game page
has a good deal of information about the new expansion. The level cap is increased to 90, there is a new race (Pandaren) and a new class (Monk), and the talent system has been completely redesigned. They've added Challenge Modes for dungeons, which normalizes player gear and lets them compete to see who can clear it the fastest. The MMO-Champion
website keeps track of all the minor details, if you're interested.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's do-not-disturb-taken-as-challenge department
writes with an excerpt from Extreme Tech about a presentation at Black Hat: "Bad news: With an Arduino microcontroller and a little bit of programming, it's possible for a hacker to gain instant, untraceable access to millions of key card-protected hotel rooms. This hack was demonstrated by Cody Brocious, a Mozilla software developer, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. At risk are four million hotel rooms secured by Onity programmable key card locks. According to Brocious, who didn't disclose the hack to Onity before going public, there is no easy fix: There isn't a firmware upgrade — if hotels want to secure their guests, every single lock will have to be changed. I wish I could say that Brocious spent months on this hack, painstakingly reverse-engineering the Onity lock protocol, but the truth — as always, it seems — is far more depressing. 'With how stupidly simple this is, it wouldn't surprise me if a thousand other people have found this same vulnerability and sold it to other governments,' says Brocious. 'An intern at the NSA could find this in five minutes.'"Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cash-for-secrets department
mask.of.sanity writes "The Tor Project is considering paying exit relay hosts to make the network faster and more secure. The project has called for discussion on the idea, notably from relay hosts. Its founder has suggested $100 a month would attract fast and diverse nodes. Exit nodes are the last hopping point on the Tor network and are critical to its performance and safety."
The problem: "But lately the Tor network has become noticeably faster, and I think it has a lot to do with the growing amount of excess relay capacity
relative to network load ... on today's network, clients choose one of the fastest 5 exit
relays around 25-30% of the time, and 80% of their choices come from a
pool of 40-50 relays
. ... Since we're
not doing particularly well at diversity with the current approach,
we're going to try an experiment: we'll connect funding to exit relay
operators so they can run bigger and/or better exit relays." As to funding: "We've lined up our first funder (BBG, ...), and they're excited to have us start as soon as we can. They want to sponsor 125+ fast exits."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mining-our-old-people-for-boosterspice department
writes "The first competitor has swaggered up to the starting line for a contest that aims to push the limits of genome-sequencing technology. The X Prize Foundation of Playa Vista, California, is offering a US$10 million prize to the first team to accurately sequence the genomes of 100 people aged 100 or older, for $1,000 or less apiece and within 30 days. Ion Torrent, part of Life Technologies of Carlsbad, California, believes that its semiconductor-based technology gives it a shot, and on 23 July it announced that it will compete. The Archon Genomics X Prize competition, to be held in September 2013, is intended to spur technology, boost accuracy and drive down costs — currently $3,000–5,000 per genome. Peter Diamandis, the X Prize Foundation's chief executive, says that the contest will help to establish a standard for a 'medical grade' genome, with the high accuracy needed to diagnose or treat a patient. This time, the X prize Foundation has relaxed the time frame, allowing competitors 30 days — rather than the 10 specified by the 2006 contest — and focused on centenarians, who might carry gene variants promoting longevity. The winning team will be the first to sequence all 100 genomes to 98% completion, with less than one error per million base pairs, and to determine which variants appear on which of the paired chromosomes."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's even-clippy department
writes "Microsoft has detailed the extensive changes made to the Windows 8 graphics subsystem and DirectX 11.1. In short, everything in Windows 8 is hardware accelerated, and as a result its text, 2D, and 3D performance will blow Windows 7 away. DirectX 11.1 has also received a significant overhaul that should result in faster and more efficient games and applications. The bulk of the graphics changes in Windows 8 pertain to hardware acceleration for simple, typographically-rich Metro-style apps. In Windows 8, the rendering speed of text and simple shapes has been massively increased across the board: Title and heading text renders 336% faster than Windows 7; Lines render 184% faster; Rectangles render 438% faster; and so on. The rendering of JPEG, PNG, and GIF image files has also been improved in Windows 8, mostly by expanding SIMD usage. In one demo, Windows 8 decodes and renders 64 JPEGs in 4.38 seconds, while Windows 7 performs the same task in 7.28 seconds. Amongst a few changes to DirectX, the most significant feature in DX 11.1 is the new, simplified, unified Direct3D 11.1 API, which finally brings together the many API offshoots that MS has implemented in recent years."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cave-man-army-activated department
NASA reports that measurements taken from orbiting satellites indicate the Greenland ice sheet underwent melting over a larger area than they've seen in 30 years of observations
. On July 8, the satellites found evidence that about 40% of the ice sheet's surface had melted. Observations just four days later showed 97% of the surface had melted."This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland's weather since the end of May. 'Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one,' said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16, it had begun to dissipate. Even the area around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles above sea level is near the highest point of the ice sheet, showed signs of melting. Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11-12."
Photos also surfaced last week showing the Petermann Glacier in Greenland 'calving'
— some very large chunks of it broke off and started to drift away.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-it-be-both department
Yesterday the NY Times ran a story about the worry in Silicon Valley of addiction to gadgets
, and how it might affect stress levels and people's ability to focus. But today an article in the Atlantic takes issue with "gadget addiction," and instead highlights how workplace concerns are intruding more and more on employee's private lives, suggesting that the inability to put down your smartphone is merely a symptom, rather than a disease
."To elide that one of the reasons we spend so many hours in front of our screens is that we have to misses the key point about our relationship with modern technology. The upper middle class (i.e. the NYT reader) is working more hours and having to stay more connected to work than ever before. This is a problem with the way we approach labor, not our devices. Our devices enabled employers to make their employees work 24/7, but it is our strange American political and cultural systems that have allowed them to do so. And worse, when Richtel blames the gadgets themselves, he channels the anxiety and anger that people feel about 24/7 work into a different and defanged fear over their gadgets. The only possible answer becomes, 'Put your gadget down,' not 'Organize politically and in civil society to change our collective relationship to work.'"Read Replies (0)