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Toy Robots Can Guard Your Home
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 12:15 PM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's outside-is-for-suckers deptartment:
Orome1 writes "Worried about burglars ransacking your house? Buy yourself some toy robots! It is what Robert Oschler, a Florida-based programmer, did. He bought a Rovio — a Wi-Fi enabled mobile webcam robot that can be picked up from toy sections of many stores — and modified it to suit his needs. The robot already has a camera, a microphone and speakers, but the improvements he made to the software allowed him to enhance the audio and video quality of this existing equipment, and to create specific routines for the robots. This way, every time he feels the need to check what's going on in the house, he simply goes online with his laptop and directs the robot through the house."

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Google Give Searchers 'Instant Previews' of Result Pages
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 11:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's no-time-to-waste deptartment:
First pressing 'Enter' was to much work... now actually clicking on the links and visiting the sites is to much too... Google is now testing instant previews where you can see a miniature rendered view of the landing page without requiring you to click through and back-arrow.

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Steve Ballmer Reveals His Secret Twitter Account
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 10:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-wanna-watch-the-steves-wrestle deptartment:
alphadogg writes " Quietly" is not a word that would usually describe any action performed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. But quietly is exactly how Ballmer has conducted himself on Twitter, a site he joined over a year ago unbeknown to most of the technology world. Just a few days ago, Ballmer was speaking in Kiev, Ukraine, and according to a transcript on the Microsoft website, Ballmer responded to an audience member who asked "when are you going to start tweeting?" Ballmer said: "I have a Twitter account. I'm just very private about who I really am on Twitter."

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Mystery Missile Launched Near LA
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 10:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's he-did-it deptartment:
J. L. Tympanum writes "CBS News is reporting the launch of an unidentified missile of the coast of California. No one wants to take credit for it." The article has visuals taken from a CBS affiliate's helicopter, and a Navy spokesman said it wasn't theirs.

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Motus Lets Users 'Film' Within Any 3D Environment
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 09:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's still-need-a-zoe deptartment:
Zothecula writes "In the creation of the film Avatar, director James Cameron invented a system called Simul-cam. It allowed him to see the video output of the cameras, in real time, but with the human actors digitally altered to look like the alien creatures whom they were playing. The system also negated the need for a huge amount of animation – every performance was captured in all its blue-skinned, pointy-eared majesty as it happened, so it didn't need to be created from scratch on a computer. Now, researchers from the University of Abertay Dundee have built on the techniques pioneered by Simul-cam to create a new system that lets users act as their own cameraperson within existing 3D environments."

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Toshiba Begins Selling MacBook Air SSD
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 09:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's double-it-please deptartment:
Lucas123 writes "Toshiba has made the solid state drive used in the new MacBook Air generally available for use by equipment manufacturers. At just 2.2mm thick, the company said the drive represents a new form factor that is about one-third the thickness of a thin hard disk drive and that is 42% smaller than even a mini-SATA SSD module. The new Blade X-gale SSD series has a maximum throughput of 220MB/sec. and can store up to 256GB of data."

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NVIDIA's New Flagship GeForce GTX 580 Tested
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's waiting-for-4d deptartment:
MojoKid writes "Even before NVIDIA's GF100 GPU-based GeForce GTX 480 officially arrived, there were a myriad of reports claiming the cards would be hot, loud, and consume a lot of power. Of course, NVIDIA knew that well before the first card ever hit store shelves, so the company got to work on a revision of the GPU and card itself that would attempt to address these concerns. Today the company has launched the GeForce GTX 580 and as its name suggests, it's a next-gen product, but the GF110 GPU powering the card is largely unchanged from the GF100 in terms of its features. However, refinements have been made to the design and manufacturing of the chip, along with its cooling solution and PCB. In short, the GeForce GTX 580 turned out to be the fastest, single-GPU on the market currently. It can put up in-game benchmark scores between 30% and 50% faster than AMD's current flagship single-GPU, the Radeon HD 5870. Take synthetic tests like Unigine into account and the GTX 580 can be up to twice as fast."

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Rackspace vs Amazon: the Cloud Wars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 07:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-hear-the-music deptartment:
fdicostanzo writes "The folks at Mixpanel are leaving Rackspace's server cloud for Amazon and have left a little note about their reasons. There's been some talk that Rackspace's offering has not been up to snuff once you scale. Analysis suggests that Rackspace's offering still has some advantages however."

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Pee On Your Phone STD Test
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's there's-a-drippy-app-for-that deptartment:
Shakrai writes "British health officials are hard at work on a new app that will allow users to pee into their cell phones and find out within minutes if they have an STD. From the article: 'Doctors and technology experts are developing small devices, similar to pregnancy testing kits, that will tell someone quickly and privately if they have caught an infection through sexual contact. People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have. Seven funders, including the Medical Research Council, have put £4m into developing the technology via a forum called the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.'"

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Is Your Laptop Cooking Your Testicles?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 06:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sterility-seems-like-value-add deptartment:
Velcroman1 writes "Whoever invented the 'laptop' probably didn't worry too much about male reproductive health. Turns out, unsurprisingly, that sitting with a computer on your lap will crank up the temperature of your nether regions, which could affect sperm quality. And there is little you can do about it, according to the authors of a study out today in the journal Fertility and Sterility, short of putting your laptop on a desk. The researchers hooked thermometers to the scrotums of 29 young men (!) who were balancing a laptop on their knees. They found that even with a lap pad under the computer, the men's scrotums overheated quickly. "Millions and millions of men are using laptops now, especially those in the reproductive age range," said Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who led the new study."

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LimeWire Lives Again
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there's-a-lesson-here deptartment:
Slayer Silver Wolf writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "'On October 26 the remaining LimeWire developers were forced to shut down the company's servers and modify remote settings in the filesharing client to try to harm the Gnutella network. They were then laid off. Shortly after, a horde of piratical monkeys climbed aboard the abandoned ship, mended its sails, polished its cannons, and released it free to the community.' And so, LimeWire Pirate Edition (LPE) was born. Based on the LimeWire 5.6 beta that was briefly released earlier this year and then withdrawn when Lime Wire LLC lost its lawsuit, LPE is now in the wild. In many ways, it is better than the version killed by the RIAA."

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Bethesda Criticized Over Buggy Releases
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 04:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-don't-kill-off-patrick-stewart-at-the-beginning deptartment:
SSDNINJA writes "This editorial discusses the habit of Bethesda Softworks to release broken and buggy games with plans to just fix the problems later. Following a trend of similar issues coming up in their games, the author begs gamers to stop supporting buggy games and to spread the idea that games should be finished and quality controlled before release – not weeks after."

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Telstra Violating the GPL?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-playing-by-the-rules deptartment:
daria42 writes "It looks like Australia's largest telco, Telstra, hasn't exactly been paying attention to its responsibilities under the GNU GPL. Australian coder Angus Gratton has been investigating the company's branded T-Hub, T-Box and T-Touch products — all based on Linux, and all without any source code or GPL license attached. Naughty. However, it's not as though Telstra is the only one to blame — the goods are manufactured by Sagem, Netgem and Huawei respectively." Telstra responded quickly to Gratton's claims, saying they would work with the vendors to straighten out the licensing situation and fix any compliance issues.

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Strong Contender Already For Adafruit's Kinect Challenge
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '10 at 01:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wave-your-hands-in-the-air deptartment:
sammyF70 writes "Adafruit's bounty on open source drivers for Microsoft's Kinect may have been already won. Someone called 'KinectMan2' has posted videos of Kinect's output as seen on Windows 7 to YouTube. That was fast. Hopefully Linux drivers are coming soon." A few more details are available on a forum post the man made. Adafruit said the bounty could be his if he posts the source code, and they also upped the reward to $3,000 in response to another silly statement from Microsoft.

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Gosu Programming Language Released To Public
Posted by News Fetcher on November 08 '10 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hello-public deptartment:
llamafirst writes "Guidewire Software released the Gosu programming language for public availability. Gosu is a general-purpose programming language built on top of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is object-oriented, static typed, imperative, and 100% Java compatible (use/extend Java types, implement Java interfaces, compile to Java bytecode). It has type inference (very readable code yet static typing!), in-line functions that you can pass as objects (closures / lambda expressions / blocks), enhancements (inject methods + properties, even on Java types!), and simplified generics. Gosu is provided via the Apache License v2.0. The language itself is not yet open source, although that is planned for a future community release. You can read a complete introduction to the Gosu language, a comparison to other languages, and syntax differences from Java."

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Mob-Sourcing — the Prejudice of Crowds
Posted by News Fetcher on November 08 '10 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's familiar-territory deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet takes a look at how crowd-moderation can capture and reflect the prejudice of individuals. 'As more web content is crowd sourced and crowd moderated, are we seeing only the wisdom of crowds? No, we're also seeing their prejudice. The Internet reflects both the good and ugly in human nature. ... Any system relying on people implicitly encodes prejudices as well. In a world where one politician with a call girl is forced to resign and another is handily reelected, there is no hope for moral or intellectual consistency in crowd-sourced or moderated content.'"

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Should Being Competitive With Windows Matter For Linux?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 08 '10 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reply-hazy-ask-again deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Is Linux being held back by distributions bent on competing with Microsoft Windows? This article argues that it's a real possibility. Quoting: '... what was apparent early on during my Linux adoption was my motivation for making the switch in the first place — no longer wanting to use Windows. This is where I think the confusion begins for most new Linux adopters. As we make the switch, we must fight the inherent urge to automatically begin comparing the new desktop experience to our previous experiences with Windows. It's a completely different set of circumstances, folks. ... The fact that one platform can support a specific device while the other platform cannot (and so on) doesn't really solve the problem of getting said device working. You can see where this dysfunction of thought can become a big problem, fast."

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Malicious Websites Can Initiate Skype Calls On iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on November 08 '10 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's buck-passing deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "In this article, security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani shows how iOS insecurely launches third-party apps via registered URL handlers. Malicious websites can abuse this to launch arbitrary applications, such as getting the Skype.app to make arbitrary phone calls without asking the user. Dhanjani 'contacted Apple's security team to discuss this behavior, and their stance is that the onus is on the third-party applications (such as Skype in this case) to ask the user for authorization before performing the transaction.' He also discusses what developers of iOS apps can do to design their software securely and what Apple can do to help out."

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Central Dogma of Genetics May Not Be So Central
Posted by News Fetcher on November 08 '10 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-we-blame-aol-for-this deptartment:
Amorymeltzer writes "RNA molecules aren't always faithful reproductions of the genetic instructions contained within DNA, a new study shows (abstract). The finding seems to violate a tenet of genetics so fundamental that scientists call it the central dogma: DNA letters encode information, and RNA is made in DNA's likeness. The RNA then serves as a template to build proteins. But a study of RNA in white blood cells from 27 different people shows that, on average, each person has nearly 4,000 genes in which the RNA copies contain misspellings not found in DNA."

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Net Pioneers Say Open Internet Should Be Separate
Posted by News Fetcher on November 08 '10 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's digital-segregation deptartment:
angry tapir writes "The US Federal Communications Commission should allow for an open Internet separate from specialized services that may prioritize IP traffic, a group of Internet and technology pioneers has recommended. The document, filed in response to an FCC request for public comments on proposed network neutrality rules, steers clear of recommending what rules should apply to the open Internet. Among the tech experts signing the document are Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple; Bruce Perens, founder of the open-source software movement; Clay Shirky, an author and lecturer at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program; and David Reed, a contributor to the development of TCP/IP and an adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab."

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