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Microsoft Cancels Bing Cash-Back Program
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-couldn't-last deptartment:
pjfontillas writes "Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Online Audience Business Group, has recently announced: 'One of the principles we have here at Bing is to constantly experiment and learn. We do this to ensure we are keeping pace with new social and technology trends, and can continue to deliver great value for our customers and advertisers. As part of this "test-and-learn" mentality, we will be retiring the Bing cashback feature, which means that the last day you can earn cashback will be July 30, 2010.' From the look of the comments, Microsoft has at least 35 saddened users. eWeek does a follow-up attempting to explain the situation in more detail."

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MorphOS 2.5 Released, Supports More Old Macs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's raid-the-attic deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The MorphOS Team has released version 2.5 of its PPC computer-only operating system. The new version extends its support of the PPC Mac range to include the eMac, which was the 2002-2006 Mac model consisting of a CRT monitor and computer in a single housing. MorphOS previously and continues to support the PPC Mac mini, as well as the Pegasos and Efika niche computers (all discontinued but available second-hand). MorphOS includes a web-browser and TCP/IP stack and a few traditional baseline OS-associated apps among its features. Further software is available from a range of online repositories. MorphOS 2.5 comes on a bootable 30-minute demo LiveCD ISO which may also be installed. The ISO is available for free download by anyone. The 30 minute limit is removed by online purchase of registration/key-file which is available for a limited period for the sum of 111 euros to celebrate the launch of this version."

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Space X's Falcon 9 Appears As UFO In Australia
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's only-looks-suspicious deptartment:
RobHart writes "ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Commission) has reported extensively on a bright spiraling light that was seen in Eastern Australia just before dawn. They have just broadcast a report from an Australian astronomer who has suggested that the light was probably the successful Falcon 9 launch, which would have been over Australia at that time on its launch trajectory."

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$11 Mistake Costs Couple Slot Machine Jackpot
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oopsie-daisy deptartment:
ainandil writes "Engineering mistakes, while frustrating, seldom definitively alter the end user's life. Not so in Cripple Creek Colorado — MaryAnn and Jim McMahon thought their money troubles were over when they hit an $11 million jackpot at a casino Tuesday. Before paying the jackpot, the Wildwood Casino turned the machine over to the Colorado Gaming Division for inspection. A glitch was found, aha! The Wildwood Casino blamed a slot machine malfunction for the $11 million jackpot. Total actually won by the McMahons? $1627.82."

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Porn Sites Pop Up In China
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's har-har-har deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes "It may only be a temporary glitch, but it's one that's providing some pleasure for internet users in China. Previously blocked websites, including ones with pornography, are suddenly accessible in China. The country has a long history of cracking down on online pornography. One analyst says it's far more likely that this is a glitch, not a change in internet censorship policy."

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Does the Internet Make Humanity Smarter Or Dumber?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-sure-does deptartment:
Nemilar writes "The Wall Street Journal is running a pair of articles asking whether the internet is making humanity smarter or dumber. The argument for 'smarter' is that the internet is simply a change in the rules of publishing, and that the bad material is thrown away; the second story critiques the 'information overload' aspect of the internet, claiming that we have traded depth of knowledge for velocity and span. What do you think? Does the internet make you stupid?"

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Urine Test For Autism
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's urine-trouble-now deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Defining and diagnosing autism has been a controversial process — but maybe a little less so now. Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children, according to new research. The difference stems from a previously documented difference in gut bacteria found in autistic individuals. The possibility of a simple pee test matters because currently, children are assessed for autism through a lengthy testing process that explores a child's social interaction, communication and imaginative skills. Being able to identify the condition earlier and at a lower cost could leave more time and money for treatment."

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Adobe Warns of Flash, PDF Zero-Day Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-even-uses-that-stuff-anyway deptartment:
InfosecWarrior writes "Adobe issued an alert late Friday night to warn about zero-day attacks against an unpatched vulnerability in its Reader and Flash Player software products. The vulnerability, described as critical, affects Adobe Flash Player 10.0.45.2 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris operating systems. It also affects the authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.x for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX operating systems."

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Hardware Companies Team Up To Fight Mobile Linux Fragmentation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's isn't-that-cheating deptartment:
Nunavut writes with news that a number of hardware companies have banded together to battle the fragmentation of the mobile Linux market. ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments are forming Linaro, a nonprofit organization that plans to focus on "low level software around the Linux kernel that touches the silicon, key pieces of middleware that enable new markets and tools that help the developer write and debug code." "Linaro's chief goal is to reduce the time that it takes to bring a new ARM-powered product to market with Linux. This effort is largely neutral with respect to what software environment and components individual vendors choose to run in user space. Linaro will not compete with existing platforms such as MeeGo and Android. Instead, it will attempt to improve the shared underlying software components that allow those platforms and others to run on ARM SoCs. In principle, this could actually reduce fragmentation at the lower levels of the Linux stack."

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US Climate Satellite Capabilities In Jeopardy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's potent-potables deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Wired: "The United States is in danger of losing its ability to monitor key climate variables from satellites, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The country's Earth-observing satellite program has been underfunded for a decade, and the impact of the lack of funds is finally hitting home. The GAO report found that capabilities originally slated for two new Earth-monitoring programs, NPOESS and GOES-R, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Defense have been cut and adequate plans to replace them do not exist. Meanwhile, up until six months ago, NASA had 15 functional Earth-sensing satellites. Two of them went down in the past year, and of the remaining 13, 12 are past their design lifetimes. Only seven may be functional by 2016, said Waleed Abdalati, a longtime NASA satellite scientist now teaching at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. Taken together, American scientists will soon find themselves without the ability to monitor changes to key Earth systems at a time when such measurements could help determine the paths of the world's energy and transportation systems."

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Amazon Seeks 1-Nod Ordering Patent
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sold-to-the-gentleman-with-the-slight-facial-tic deptartment:
theodp writes "Amazon.com is famous for its patented 1-Click ordering system. But what about 1-Nod ordering? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is seeking a patent on a system that would let people make purchases with a nod, a smile or even a raise of the eyebrow. Bezos' invention — 'Movement Recognition as Input Mechanism' — envisions a computing device that could interpret certain facial expressions and enhance or potentially replace conventional input devices such as keypads and touch screens."

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UK Gov't Spending Details Now Online
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '10 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's I'll-have-what-they're-having deptartment:
krou writes "The UK government has released a treasure trove of public spending data in an effort to lift what Prime Minister David Cameron calls the government's 'cloak of secrecy.' 'The first two tranches of data are from 2008/09 and 2009/10. The Combined Online Information System (Coins) includes what departments were authorised to spend, what they actually spent and what they are forecast to spend in future.' Since the government admits that 'some degree of technical competence' will be needed to use the files, they have asked the Open Knowledge Foundation to help make it 'more accessible,' and have also promised 'more accessible formats' by August. The datasets can be downloaded from data.gov.uk." And on a similarly happy note, reader mccalli writes "Bletchley Park's archive is to be digitised and put online. It seems HP made an offer to help out with scanners and expertise, and the result is that these texts will be made available to all."

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Visual Network Simulator To Teach Basic Networking?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sounds-like-a-good-video-game-too deptartment:
unteer writes "I am a US Peace Corps volunteer currently teaching a computer technician course at a technical college in Kenya. My students have all completed the Kenyan equivalent of high school and have been accepted into a program where they give a year of nation-building non-military service in return for a technical education. My students' course load includes an introduction to computer networking, and this is where my problem lies. Do any of you know of a visual network simulator that can create an interactive network map that allows me, the instructor, to manipulate various components of a network, including the physical media, routing configuration, and which applications are being used to submit data? An example would be to have a visual of the differences between mail traffic and web traffic, and be able to show how the configuration of a wireless network might be different from a wired network. I know this may seem silly, but visuals of all this are critical to getting ideas across. It doesn't even have to be technically accurate, but rather just pictorially accurate, possibly just labeling the various components correctly. Also, it would be highly preferable if it ran on Linux, as I teach using FOSS only."

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NHTSA Complaint Database Oozes Personal Data
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that-sounds-jes-disgustin' deptartment:
EWNiedermeyer writes "Are your name, address, date of birth, driver's license number and Social Security number publicly available online? If you've been involved in an accident, they might be and you would never know. The Department of Transportation's National Highway Safety Administration solicits defect complaints from the public, which are hosted on NHTSA's public database. There are about 792,000 of these complaints currently online, and as the video at the link proves, many of them are improperly redacted. As a result, the most personal information imaginable is available to anyone who takes the time to troll the database. This is a clear violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, and NHTSA needs to shut down the database until it can control the personal data stored there."

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Hands-On With Dell's Streak Android Device
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's 5-inch-abs deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "Dell Streak, the android-based 5-inch tablet (which has also been called out as a smartphone rather than a tablet) is set to ship out starting July, both from a U.S. carrier and direct on Dell.com for $500. Even though Dell has not disclosed the name of the carrier, some experts believe that it will be AT&T because the Streak is a 3G GSM 850/1900 device and AT&T is the only major U.S. carrier that supports those frequency bands. According to a hands-on, Streak is a sharp looking device with a black front and candy-apple red back which unfortunately shows fingerprints very easily. On the upside though Streak's curved body is comfortable to hold. Streak runs a customized version of Android 1.6, however the Android aficionados will have to get used to the unusual button layout. Its 800-by-480 screen makes images look tight, and web pages will benefit from the horizontal resolution. The 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the same as in the HTC Incredible and Sprint EVO 4G, functions snappily. There's a 5-megapixel camera on the back, a VGA camera for video calling on the front, and a MicroSD memory card slot under the back cover."

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McDonalds, Cadmium, and Thermo Electron Niton Guns
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's got-one-on-my-swiss-army-knife deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes, snipping from a story at NPR: "'How did the Consumer Products Safety Commission find out that cadmium, a toxic metal, was present on millions of Shrek drinking glasses now being recalled by McDonald's? Well, an anonymous person with access to some pretty slick testing equipment tipped off Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) about the problem. Her office confirmed that somebody using a Thermo Electron Niton XRF testing gun found a lot of cadmium, sometimes used in yellow pigments, on the surface of the glasses. The source overnighted glasses to Speier's office last week, which then turned over the test results and specimens to the CPSC. ... By law, no more than 75 parts per million of cadmium is supposed to be present in paint on kids toys. Speier's office said the amount found on the glasses was quite a bit higher than that.' Seems like the answer to a previous question about at-home science — this blogger seems to have been one of the anonymous sources."

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Drunken Parrots Falling From Sky
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's polly-want-a-gin-and-tonic deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Parrots intoxicated by a mystery substance are dropping out of the sky near Darwin, Australia. From the article: 'It seems that the birds get intoxicated by something they have eaten and it renders them unable to fly and function ... they can get very sick as a result.' Around eight to ten birds a day have been brought to the hospital after falling to the ground in backyards and along roadsides. A total of 40 lorikeets are now receiving treatment."

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Mixed Reception To AT&T's New Data Pricing Scheme
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's infinite-monkeys-streaming-infinite-shakespeare deptartment:
Several readers have sent in followups to Wednesday's news that AT&T was eliminating its unlimited data plan. Glenn Derene at Popular Mechanics defends the new plan, writing, "Imagine, for a moment, if we bought electricity the way we buy data in this country. Every month, you would pay a fixed amount of money (say, $120), and then you would use as much electricity as you wanted, with an incentive to use as much as you could. That brings price stability to the end user, but it's a horrible way to manage electricity load." Others point out that this will likely engender more scrutiny from regulatory agencies and watchdog groups. A ComputerWorld article says that one way or the other, AT&T's decision is a huge deal for the mobile computing industry, influencing not only how other carriers look at data rates, but how content providers and advertisers will need to start thinking about a data budget if they want consumers to keep visiting their sites. AT&T, responding to criticism, has decided to allow iPad buyers to use the old, unlimited plan as long as they order before June 7th, and Gizmodo has raised the question of "rollover bytes."

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Aquaria Goes Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's come-on-in-the-water's-fine deptartment:
A post on the Wolfire blog yesterday announced that the source code for Aquaria has now been released. Aquaria, an action-adventure, underwater sidescroller from Bit Blot, was part of the Humble Indie Bundle, which was so successful that the developers of four games pledged to release them as open source. This marks the final release, following Lugaru, Gish, and Penumbra: Overture. The source code is available from a Mercurial repository.

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Yahoo Faces Questions After Discovery Of Comment Replication
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '10 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's never-attribute-to-malice deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Someone noticed that certain Associated Press stories on Yahoo seem to be appending old comments to new stories in a way that was highly misleading (suggesting new stories had a lot more interest than they really did). The initial theory was that this was some sort of nefarious scam, potentially by Yahoo and the AP. However, Mike Masnick at Techdirt dug into the details and found evidence that it's more about incompetence in the way Yahoo built its comment system, combined with the way that the AP pushes and rotates its articles to partner sites."

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