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Opera Acquires Fastmail.fm
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hopefully-for-more-than-a-song deptartment:
mattcsn writes "Opera Software just bought email service provider Fastmail.fm. Here's hoping that Opera uses a light touch and keeps the email service as unchanged as possible. From the article: 'FastMail has included a FAQ, in which it says that users who wish to not transfer their accounts over to Opera have to go into settings and indicate just that. Not acting upon the email the company sent out to its users or actively accepting the transfer will result in Opera assuming control over the mailbox and the account registration details. As to the reason for selling, FastMail says the market was getting increasingly competitive and that Opera's expertise in web browsers and especially the mobile market would help the company grow and take on the next big challenges in running and building an email service.'"

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What Happened To Obama's Open Source Adviser?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 09:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's get-over-it deptartment:
gov_coder writes "Back in January of 2009, various news articles announced that former Sun CEO Scott McNealy was to become the Obama administration's Open Source Technology adviser. Currently, however, a search for Scott on the whitehouse.gov website yields zero results. Searching a bit more, I found that Scott is currently working on CurriWiki, a kind of Wikipedia for school curriculum. So my question is, what happened? Did some lobbyist block the appointment? Did Scott decide his other activities were more important? Scott, if you are out there — please tell us what happened. There are many people working in government IT, such as myself, who were really excited about the possibilities of an expanded role for open source software in government, and are now wondering what went wrong."

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Purple Pokeberries Yield Cheap Solar Power
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 08:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's poke-salad-annie deptartment:
separsons writes "Researchers at Wake Forest's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials created a low-cost solar power system geared towards developing nations. By coating fiber-based solar cells with dye from purple pokeberries, a common weed, scientists created a cheap yet highly efficient solar system. Wake Forest researchers and their accompanying company, FiberCell Inc., have filed for a patent for fiber-based solar. Plastic sheets are stamped with plastic fibers, creating millions of tiny 'cans' that trap light until it is absorbed. The fibers create a huge surface area, meaning sunlight can be collected at any angle from the time the sun rises until it sets. Coating the system with pokeberry dye creates even greater absorption: researchers say the system can produce twice as much power as traditional flat-cell technology."

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Apple To Shut Down Lala On May 31
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 08:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's so-much-for-competition deptartment:
dirk and a large number of other distressd readers let us know that Apple is shuttering Lala, the music service they bought last December, on May 31. "Apple will transfer any remaining money in user's account to iTunes, and will credit users (via iTunes) for any web songs that were purchased. It's a real shame, as Lala was a much better music service, offering songs in straight MP3 format. Their web service was innovative and ahead of it's time. And they were one of the few places that would let you listen to an entire song to sample it (after 1 complete listen, you then could only hear a 30-second sample)." Reader Dhandforth adds: "10 cent favorites will now cost 9.9x more. What's worse, a community of music fans (followers and followees) will disappear on May 31. Evil. Sigh."

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Recourse For Draconian Encryption Requirements?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 07:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cold-dead-fingers deptartment:
CryoStasis writes in with this question, which likely resulted from the new Massachusetts data security law. "I work for a major hospital in the Northeast. Recently the hospital has taken it upon itself to increase its general level of computer security. As a result they now require full-disk encryption on any computer connected to their network on site. Although I think this stance is perhaps a little over-exuberant, most of these computers are machines that have been purchased with hospital funding. In the department that I work in, however, many of the employees (myself included) bring their own personal machines to work every day. For obvious reasons we're rather reluctant to allow the hospital's IT staff to attempt installation of the encryption software. Those who have allowed the installation have had major problems afterwords, on both Macs and Windows machines — ranging from severe/total data loss or frequent crashes to general slowness — which the hospital does very little to remedy. To make matters worse, the hospital is now demanding that any machine that is used to check email (via email clients or webmail directly) be encrypted, including desktop-style machines at home, which must be brought in to the IT department as they refuse to distribute the encryption software to the employees for install. By monitoring email access they have begun harassing employees who check email from off campus, stating that their email/login access will be disabled unless they bring in their computers. I have no intention of letting these people install anything on my machine, particularly software of which their IT staff clearly doesn't have a solid grasp. Have other Slashdot readers come across this kind of a problem? Do I have any recourse, legal or otherwise, to stop them from requiring me to install software on my personal machines?"

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VirtualBox Beta Supports OS X As Guest OS On Macs
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 06:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's macs-on-macs-oh-my deptartment:
milesw writes "In addition to a slew of new features, VirtualBox 3.2.0 Beta 1 offers experimental support for Mac OS X guests running on Apple hardware. Got to wonder whether Larry Ellison discussed this with Steve Jobs beforehand, given Apple's refusal to allow virtualizing their (non-server) OS."

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DNSSEC May Cause Problems On May 5
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 05:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's packets-available-but-not-to-you deptartment:
An anonymous reader notes the coming milestone of May 5, at 17:00 UTC — at this time DNSSEC will be rolled out across all 13 root servers. Some Internet users, especially those inside corporations and behind smaller ISPs, may experience intermittent problems. The reason is that some older networking equipment is pre-configured to block any reply to a DNS request that exceeds 512 bytes in size. DNSSEC replies are typically four times as large. "DNSSEC is in fact already rolled out across most of the world's 13 root servers... But to date... it would only have resulted in a slight lag in the loading of a web page for those with outdated network equipment. The beauty of DNS is that should a request made to one root server not receive a response, the DNS resolver on a user's machine simply makes the same request along the line of the 13 root servers until it gets a satisfactory response. But on May 5, once all 13 root servers are live with the DNSSEC signatures, responses from all 13 root servers won't make it back inside the corporate LAN on some older systems. ... The problem may take several days to surface and be inconsistent from one user's PC to the next. A user at one machine that hasn't switched on his PC for two or three days will have no access to the internet. A user that left his machine on the night before will have some pages — and responses from DNS servers — cached on their machine, and will still have connectivity." The article links a test site you can use ahead of time to check for any problems.

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Microsoft Tips the Scale In Favor of HTML 5
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 05:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's no-pan-for-the-flash deptartment:
aabelro writes "Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for Internet Explorer at Microsoft, has announced that IE9 will use only the H.264 standard to play HTML 5 video. Microsoft seems to have become very committed to HTML 5, while Flash loses even more ground. The announcement came the same day Steve Jobs detailed why Apple does not accept Flash on iPhone and iPad."

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Life's Building Blocks Found On Asteroid 24 Themis
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's pinning-down-origins deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that scientists analyzing infrared light reflected by 24 Themis, one of the largest asteroids in the solar system, have discovered evidence of water ice as well as organic compounds — findings that bolster a leading theory for the origins of life on Earth that the essential building blocks of life came from asteroids. 'Up until now there was no sign that asteroids had any abundant organics or ice on them,' says Joshua P. Emery, a planetary astronomer at the University of Tennessee. Typically, ice on the surface of an object such as 24 Themis would quickly vaporize and vanish, says planetary scientist Richard Binzel. 'Seeing freshly exposed ice on the surface, now that's a surprise. It has to be replenished from below, somehow.' The possibility that water could have come from asteroids adds weight to the theory that water and organic molecules may not have originated on Earth because the Earth did not become conducive to water or organic molecules until relatively recently."

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ARM-Based Servers Coming In 2011
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's leg-and-torso-on-the-way deptartment:
markass530 writes with this from the EE Times: "Arm Holdings chief executive officer Warren East told EE Times Wednesday that servers based on ARM multicore processors should arrive within the next twelve months. The news confirms previous speculation stemming from Google's acquisition of Agnilux and a recent job advertisement posted by Microsoft. East said that the current architecture, designed for client-side computing, can also be used in server applications."

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Bungie Signs 10-Year Deal With Activision
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's make-sure-you-write-your-name-on-your-lunch deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Infinity Ward may be suing Activision under allegations of low payment and no royalties, but it seems some developers are still happy to work with the publisher — it has just signed a 10-year deal with Bungie, the studio behind the popular Halo series of FPS games. Activision will publish all of Bungie's games in the next decade — although Bungie will own the IP. The terms of the deal are similar to those brokered by former Infinity Ward chiefs Jason West and Vince Zampella when they signed with EA after being fired in March."

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UK Docs Perform First Remote-Control Heart Surgery
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's a-a-b-up-down-a-b-no-wait deptartment:
ByronScott writes "Doctors at a British hospital have just carried out the world's first surgery using a remote-controlled robot. The procedure fixed a patient's irregular heart rhythm, and although the doctor was in the same hospital as the patient — just through the wall in another room — developers of the RC surgery technology believe this is the first step toward long-distance operations. Imagine a doctor in London performing surgery on your heart in New York!"

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StarCraft II Mac Client Beta Available
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-waiting-on-a-linux-client-right deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Blizzard has released the Mac client of the StarCraft II multiplayer beta. If you already have an invite for the PC beta, the Mac client is available under your Battle.net account." A recent patch also added a map editor to the StarCraft II beta, which has already led to some interesting projects.

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Australian Government Delays Internet Filter Legislation
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's by-that-time-the-frog-will-be-asleep deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It seems the Australian federal government is being forced to delay the introduction of its proposed and much-hated, much-maligned Internet filter. It will not be introduced in the next two sittings of parliament, which realistically delays it until after the next election. News on withdrawing the filter, which was a promise from the previous election, has disappointed lobbying groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby."

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Microsoft's Touted iPad Rival Courier Becomes Less Than Vapor
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's courier-dropped-it deptartment:
Kostya writes "The much discussed Courier two-panel tablet device from Microsoft is now even less than vaporware — now it's just plain dead. 'Microsoft execs informed the internal team that had been working on the tablet device that the project would no longer be supported.' While the Courier had never been officially announced as a supported product by Microsoft, it had generated a lot of discussion as what the iPad should have been."

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FDA Approves Vaccine For Prostate Cancer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's where-you-can-stick-it deptartment:
reverseengineer writes "The US Food and Drug Administration has given its first first approval for a therapeutic cancer vaccine. In a clinical trial 'involving 512 men, those who got Provenge (sipuleucel-T) had a median survival of 25.8 months after treatment while those who got a placebo lived a median of 21.7 months. After three years, 32 percent of those who got Provenge were alive, compared with 23 percent of those who got the placebo. ... "The big story here is that this is the first proof of principle and proof that immunotherapy works in general in cancer, which I think is a huge observation," said Dr. Philip Kantoff, chief of solid tumor oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the lead investigator in Dendreon's largest clinical trial for the drug. "I think this is a very big thing and will lead to a lot more enthusiasm for the approach."'

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Skyfire For Android Enables (Some) Flash Video
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-your-grandma's-headline deptartment:
harrymcc writes "Skyfire, a browser formerly available only for Windows Mobile and Symbian, is releasing a beta for Android. The most notable feature: It can identify Flash video on Web pages and convert it to HTML5 and H.264 on the fly, so it'll play on Android phones. It doesn't support all video, and may be rendered somewhat superfluous when Adobe ships Flash Player 10.1 for Android — but it's an impressive trick."

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All of Gopherspace Available For Download
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's gopherspace-is-negative-space deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Cory Doctorow tells us that '[i]n 2007, John Goerzen scraped every gopher site he could find (gopher was a menu-driven text-only precursor to the Web; I got my first online gig programming gopher sites). He saved 780,000 documents, totalling 40GB. Today, most of this is offline, so he's making the entire archive available as a .torrent file; the compressed data is only 15GB. Wanna host the entire history of a medium? Here's your chance!' Get yourself a piece of pre-Internet history (torrent)."

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HotelChatter's Annual Hotel Wi-Fi Report 2010
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's $5-access-works-fine-at-motel-6 deptartment:
Ant writes with this excerpt from an annual review of wireless access for hotel guests: "This year marks HotelChatter's sixth annual hotel Wi-Fi report. Over the years we've documented the progression of hotel Wi-Fi, from blatant disregard, to price-gouging for Wi-Fi access, and reliable Wi-Fi for loyalty program members, through guests taking matters into their own hands with wireless laptop/notebook cards and 3G access. A year ago, we thought guest demand for free, reliable, hotel Wi-Fi might just go away, thanks to 3G. Well guess what? The demand for hotel Wi-Fi has not gone away, quite the opposite, a growing number of hotel guests not only demand the hotel they book have proper wireless access but most will consider not staying at a hotel that can't meet their basic access needs. That's right, Wi-Fi is a make or break amenity for many hotel guests that can sway booking decisions — and that isn't going away ..."

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Samsung To Ship Chip Package With Phase-Change Memory
Posted by News Fetcher on April 29 '10 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's going-through-a-phase deptartment:
angry tapir writes "Samsung Electronics will ship a multichip package later this quarter for smartphones that will include phase-change memory (PCM), an emerging technology that could ultimately replace memory types like NOR flash. Samsung's announcement is significant because it marks the first PCM product to be available as part of a multichip package. PCM uses a glass-like material that can change from multiple states to crystalline forms as its atoms are rearranged."

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