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O2 Scraps Unlimited Data Usage For Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's falling-in-line deptartment:
Jagjr writes with news that O2, a major UK wireless provider, appears to be following in AT&T's footsteps by scrapping its unlimited data plan for smartphone customers. New customers, or ones who upgrade, will be capped at either 500MB or 1GB per month. Reader Barence adds this excerpt from PC Pro: In a blog post defending the new policy, O2's CEO claimed 0.1% of the network's users were consuming almost a third of the traffic, while the average O2 user consumes only 200MB of data. By PC Pro's calculations, that means those 26,000 heavy users are consuming an average of 65GB per month over a 3G connection. O2 had 26 million customer accounts at the start of 2010, so it has 26,000 heavy data users. 26 million x 200MB = 5,200,000,000 MB total data usage across the network per month. 5,200,000,000MB ÷ 3 = 1,733,333,333MB per month used by the 26,000 heavy data users. That means the average heavy data user consumes a staggering 66,666MB (so around 65GB) per month."

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Solar-Powered Shrub Car
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's none-more-green deptartment:
sparksfly writes "The Terrestrial Shrub Rover is a solar-powered vehicle that looks, as you may have guessed, exactly like a large shrub. According to designer Justin Shull, 'In the spirit of NASA and its forthcoming 2020 lunar expeditions in preparation for colonizing the moon, the Terrestrial Shrub Rover presents the opportunity to explore terrestrial and social environments back on Earth from within a manned, foliage bedecked, solar electric powered rover.'

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How To Destroy a Black Hole
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's put-it-in-a-michael-bay-movie deptartment:
KentuckyFC writes "The critical concept that makes a black hole black is the event horizon: a theoretical boundary in space through which light and other objects can pass in one direction but not the other. Since light cannot escape the event horizon, it must be black. The event horizon is a nuisance to astrophysicists because it hides the interesting new physics that must go on inside a black hole. What they would like is a way to get rid of the event horizon so that they can see what goes on behind it. It turns out that just such a thing may be possible, say physicists. According to the mathematics of general relativity, the event horizon should disappear if a black hole were fed enough charge and angular momentum relative to its mass. However the calculations are so fiendish (PDF) that nobody knows whether the black hole would shed this extra angular momentum and charge before it could settle into a stable 'naked' state. However, the possibility that the event horizon could be destroyed raises the question of what astrophysicists would see behind this veil. According to some, black holes are regions of spacetime with infinite curvature called singularities. Many believe that 'naked' singularities cannot exist in nature. And yet there are enough question marks to suggest that this mystery is far from settled."

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Google Releases Wi-Fi Sniffing Audit
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-harm-no-foul-right-guys deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "In the wake of the controversy surrounding its Street View data collection processes, Google has published an independent audit of its practices, prompting a London-based privacy group to accuse Google of a 'criminal act.' The report provided some more in-depth, technical details (PDF) about what Google has already admitted to doing: storing wireless data packet information that was collected over unencrypted networks. According to the report, Street View cars collect data sent over wireless networks, and associate this information with data from a GPS unit in the vehicles. The technology used, known as gslite, then parses and stores certain identifying information about these wireless networks to a hard drive. That information includes the MAC address and the SSID amongst other things like e-mails addresses and browser history." Google also sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders acknowledging their mistake and claiming they have not "conducted an analysis of the payload data in a way that allows us to know exactly what was collected."

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The Matrix For Businesses
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's synergize-the-white-rabbit deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The idea of using virtual reality and gaming technologies to create training exercises and business simulations has been around for years. But recent advances in computer graphics, interfaces, and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have made it commercially viable to pursue simulations in the business world. Novel, a venture-backed startup company, is about to launch a new MMO role-playing game, called Empire & State, with an unusual goal: to use the technology and the lessons it learns from the game to create simulations for big companies that want to improve their human resources and hiring efficiencies. Imagine assessing employees' leadership and teamwork skills by jacking them into a virtual, multiplayer business scenario. That's the goal, but Novel will face challenges of all sorts — business, social, and technical — in its efforts to sell MMO technologies to the corporate world."

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Adobe (Temporarily?) Kills 64-Bit Flash For Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-rude deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It seems that with the release of the 10.1 security patches, Adobe has, at least temporarily, killed 64-bit Flash for Linux. The statement says: 'The Flash Player 10.1 64-bit Linux beta is closed. We remain committed to delivering 64-bit support in a future release of Flash Player. No further information is available at this time. Please feel free to continue your discussions on the Flash Player 10.1 desktop forums.' The 64-bit forum has been set to read-only."

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Apple iAd Drawing Antitrust Scrutiny
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-pass-go deptartment:
snydeq writes "US regulators are planning to investigate whether Apple is shutting out third parties such as Google and Microsoft in advertising on the iPhone and iPad under revised terms to its iAd mobile ad platform. Apple's revised developer terms prohibit ad analytics collection unless it is provided to an independent ad service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads. If enforced, the proposed terms would prohibit developers from using Google's AdMob service on the iPhone, according to AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. Developers using AdMob to deliver ads on cross-platform mobile apps would have to go through an alternative service for the version of the app running on an Apple platform, according to the terms. It's an impractical solution that some are calling restrictive."

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Why No Billion-Dollar Open Source Companies?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's free-as-in-give-us-money deptartment:
Glyn Moody writes "If open source is such a success, why aren't there any billion-dollar turnover open source companies? A recent briefing by Red Hat's CEO, Jim Whitehurst, to a group of journalists may provide an answer. Asked why Red Hat wasn't yet a $5 billion company, as he suggested it would be one day, he said getting Red Hat to $5 billion meant 'replacing $50 billion of revenue' currently enjoyed by traditional computer companies. If, as is likely, that's generally true for open source companies, it means they will need to displace around $10 billion of proprietary business in order to achieve a billion-dollar turnover. Few are likely to do that. Perhaps it's time for managers of open source startups to stop chasing the billion-dollar dream. If they don't, they will set unrealistic ambitions for themselves, disappoint their investors, and allow opponents of free software to paint one of its defining successes — saving money — as a failure."

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NASA Attempts To Cut Back Constellation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-stop-sending-checks deptartment:
FleaPlus writes "In a surprise move in the battle between NASA and certain members of Congress over NASA's future direction, NASA has told its contractors to cut back nearly $1 billion on this year's Ares/Constellation program, stating that the cutback is necessary to remain in compliance with federal spending laws requiring contractors to withhold contract termination costs. While complying with budgeting laws (and in line with NASA's desire to cancel Constellation), this move is also potentially in violation of a 2010 appropriations amendment by Sen. Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Bennett (R-UT) which prohibits NASA from terminating any Constellation contracts. If NASA's move goes through, the biggest liability is $500M for ATK, the contractor who is/was responsible for the first stage of the Ares I medium-lift rocket."

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Google Researcher Issues How-To On Attacking XP
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-get-to-the-next-phone-booth deptartment:
theodp writes "A Google engineer Thursday published attack code that exploits a zero-day vulnerability in Windows XP, giving hackers a new way to hijack and infect systems with malware. But other security experts objected to the way the Google engineer disclosed the bug — just five days after it was reported to Microsoft — and said the move is more evidence of the ongoing, and increasingly public, war between the two giants."

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Australian Gov't Seeks To Record Citizens' Web Histories
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 01:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-you-can-trust-us deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "If you thought the Australian Government's internet filter project was bad, think again. They have a new project — they are examining a policy that would require all internet service providers to log users' web browsing history and email data such as who all emails were sent to and from. And that's just the start. Telephone calls, mobile phone calls, even internet telephony. It's all in there. Looks like 1984 was a pretty prophetic book." Several readers also point to ZDNet's coverage.

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Second Straight Rocket Failure For South Korea
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 10:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's rockets-to-space-a-complex-thing deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "South Korea suffered its second straight setback today as its Naro-1 rocket carrying a scientific satellite exploded. The rocket produced a bright flash during stage-one ignition as the ground crews lost contact with it. South Korea paired with Russia to produce the Naro-1 and was looking to both relieve its dependence on other nations to put its satellites in orbit and compete with the space programs of China, India, and Japan. Following a failure on August 25, 2009, this marks the second failed attempt for Naro Space Center to launch a Naro-1 rocket. It appears the old adage revolving around the complexities of 'rocket science' remains valid."

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FBI Investigating iPad E-Mail Leaks
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's seeking-cause-of-action deptartment:
CWmike writes "The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation into the leak of an estimated 114,000 Apple iPad user e-mail addresses. Hackers belonging to a group called Goatse obtained the e-mail addresses after uncovering a web application on AT&T's website that returned an iPad user's e-mail address when it was sent specially written queries. After writing an automated script to repeatedly query the site, they downloaded the addresses, and then handed them over to Gawker.com. Now the FBI is trying to figure out whether this was a crime. US law prohibits the unauthorized accessing of computers, but it is unclear whether the script that the Goatse group used violated the law, said Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'The question is, when you do an automated test like this, [are you] getting any type of unauthorized access or not,' she said. If it turns out the data in question was not misused, it is unlikely that federal prosecutors will press charges, she added."

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Tegra-Based Android Devices To Get Space MMO "Vendetta Online"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 05:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-now-about-splashtop deptartment:
Incarnate-VO writes "Guild Software, makers of the multi-platform space MMO Vendetta Online are apparently rolling a native Android port, intended for use on upcoming smartbooks and tablets powered by Nvidia's second-generation Tegra. More information on the port at the Android FAQ page on the Vendetta Online website."

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German Researchers Show Off a Gesture-Based Interface
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's amazon-patent-trolls-crouch-and-drool deptartment:
smitty777 writes "The folks at the Potsdam University have developed a user interface based completely on hand gestures. A small(ish) device worn around the neck is used to track the hand position, allowing the user to draw, type, or gesture in the air. You think it looks ridiculous when you can't tell that folks are talking on a cell phone? Imagine a bus full of people gesturing in thin air. Also, don't forget to turn this thing off, or it will look like your cat was walking on your keyboard."

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Adobe Goes To Flash 10.1, Forgoes Security Fix For 10
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's expert-level-linkage deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The recent critical zero-day security flaw in Flash 10 may have fast-tracked the release of Flash 10.1 today. Adobe 10.1 boasts the much anticipated H.264 hardware acceleration. Except for Linux and Mac OS (PDF): 'Flash Player 10.1, H.264 hardware acceleration is not supported under Linux and Mac OS. Linux currently lacks a developed standard API that supports H.264 hardware video decoding, and Mac OS X does not expose access to the required APIs.' Your humble anonymous reporter, who is using Fedora Linux with a ATI IGP 340M, is very pleased that the developers of the OSS drivers have provided hardware acceleration for my GPU ('glxinfo : direct rendering: Yes,' 'OpenGL renderer string: Mesa DRI R100 (RS200 4337) 20090101 NO-TCL DRI2'), but even if Adobe did provide hardware acceleration for H.264 on Linux, they wouldn't provide it for me because they disable it for GPUs with SGI in the Client vendor string. Adobe 10.1, with all its goodness, now gives me around 95% CPU usage as opposed to about 75% with the previous release. Good times. I anticipate my Windows friends will have a much better experience."

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Japan Successfully Deploys First Solar Sail in Space
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's beginner's-luck deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "This morning the Japanese space agency, JAXA, successfully unfurled a solar sail in space for the first time. Solar sails offer the best hope for deep space exploration because they eliminate the need to carry fuel. The Japanese spacecraft IKAROS created centripetal force by spinning, allowing it to launch the 0.0003-inch-thick sail. While deployment is a challenge in a zero-gravity environment, spacecraft — unlike airplanes — don't have to contend with drag, so with each photon that hits the sail helps the spacecraft gather speed."

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Recent Sales Hint That Tape For Storage Is Far From Dead
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's didn't-you-know-that-tar-is-sticky? deptartment:
hightechchick writes "Staples' business-to-business sales of backup tape for storage are experiencing a bit of a revival. What's next, a return to dumb terminals and mainframes (a la cloud computing?)"

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Judge Rejects SCO's Motion For a New Trial
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's civil-procedure's-too-good-for-'em deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A judge has rejected SCO's motion for a new trial in the company's dispute over UNIX intellectual property ownership. The ruling validates a verdict that was issued in April by a jury which determined that Novell, and not SCO, is the rightful owner of the UNIX SVRX copyrights. This means that SCO cannot continue to pursue its litigation against IBM and other Linux users. 'There was substantial evidence that Novell made an intentional decision to retain ownership of the copyrights,' the judge wrote in his decision. 'The Court finds that the verdict is not clearly, decidedly, or overwhelmingly against the weight of the evidence. Therefore, SCO is not entitled to a new trial.'"

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Google Introduces, Then Scraps, Bing-Style Background Images
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '10 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's go-beyond-your-imitations deptartment:
NIN1385 writes "Google has scrapped the now infamous background image option on its homepage. After 14 hours of a scheduled 24-hour experiment to see how people liked (or disliked) the new homepage layout, the company must have found out it was very disliked. I guess the fact that 'remove Google background' was the seventh most searched for phrase today might have had something to do with it."

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