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How Google Trends & News Pollute the Web
Posted by News Fetcher on July 28 '10 at 04:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cesspools-begin-at-home deptartment:
Danny Sullivan's hard-hitting piece at Search Engine Land calls on Google to quit being evil in one particular way: collaborating with sleazy websites that jump on Google Trends to grab advertising revenue, as Google itself rakes it in. "Google's CEO Eric Schmidt has quite famously been on record many times talking about how the Web is full of garbage. It's a cesspool out there, he's said. Today, a short fast look at how his own company pollutes the Web. ... That [example of an off-topic, trend-following] page isn't adding any value to the web. If it didn't exist, we wouldn't be the less savvy... But thanks to Google Trends, we've got a big red flag up in front of publishers that wish to pollute Google's results with this type of garbage. ... On the one hand, I love Google Trends. It's fun seeing what the top terms are that are sparking interest... On the other hand, it's clear how much [garbage] Google has caused to be generated, simply by publishing the trends. But that garbage wouldn't happen, if it didn't know it was going to be rewarded. It is, both with traffic from Google and from revenue from Google for those carrying its ads."

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Long In Development, Toyota 'SCiB' Battery Debuts
Posted by News Fetcher on July 28 '10 at 01:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's could-be-the-one deptartment:
relliker notes Toshiba's announcement of the SCiB, a battery we have been following for years. (As usual, use NoScript to avoid the incredibly annoying timed begging popup on Gizmag/'s site.) Here is Toshiba's SCiB site. The battery's specs claim 6,000+ charge/deep-discharge cycles with minor capacity loss, safe rapid charging to 90% in 5 minutes, and enhanced safety regarding overheating or shorting out. It could make its way into electric vehicles before long.

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Data Sorting World Record — 1 Terabyte, 1 Minute
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 08:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's out-of-sorts deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Computer scientists from the University of California, San Diego have broken the 'terabyte barrier' — and a world record — when they sorted more than a trillion bytes of data in 60 seconds. During this 2010 'Sort Benchmark' competition, a sort of 'World Cup of data sorting,' the UCSD team also tied a world record for fastest data sorting rate, sifting through one trillion data records in 172 minutes — and did so using just a quarter of the computing resources of the other record holder."

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Rambus Could Reap Millions In Patent Settlements
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 07:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's what-innovation-looks-like-now deptartment:
RedEaredSlider writes "Rambus, a designer of semiconductor chips, won a long-running patent battle with NVIDIA, but that dispute is not the only one the company is involved in — and the upcoming decisions could mean millions in additional revenue. Besides the NVIDIA decision, Rambus is involved in a suit with Hynix Semiconductor that will be heard in October. In that case, Hynix had originally sued Rambus in 2000, but Rambus counter-sued. Hynix lost, and appealed. The parties will appear before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October. A judgment in Rambus's favor would be worth at least $397 million, according to the company's general counsel, Tom Lavelle."

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Lawsuit Hits Companies Using 'Zombie' Flash Cookies
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 06:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's brains-for-a-filling deptartment:
A privacy activist has filed a lawsuit targeting eight corporate users of Quantcast's "zombie" Flash cookies, in addition to Quantcast itself. The suit alleges that MTV, ESPN, MySpace, Hulu, ABC, Scribd, and others used Quancast's Flash-based cookies to recreate browser tracking cookies that users had taken the trouble to delete. "At issue is technology from Quantcast, also targeted in the lawsuit. Quantcast created Flash cookies that track users across the web, and used them to re-create traditional browser cookies that users deleted from their computers. These 'zombie' cookies came to light last year, after researchers at UC Berkeley documented deleted browser cookies returning to life. Quantcast quickly fixed the issue, calling it an unintended consequence of trying to measure web traffic accurately. ... The lawsuit (PDF)... asks the court to find that the practice violated eavesdropping and hacking laws, and that the practice of secretly tracking users also violated state and federal fair trade laws. The lawsuit alleges a 'pattern of covert online surveillance' and seeks status as a class action lawsuit."

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Possible Room Temperature Superconductor Achieved
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 05:01 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's beware-of-puppeteer-breeding-experiments deptartment:
TechkNighT_1337 sends news that surfaced on the Next Big Future blog, concerning research out of the University of Bengal, in India. The report is of a possible superconducting effect at ambient room temperatures. Here is the paper on the ArXiv. (Note that this research has not been peer-reviewed or published yet.) "We report the observation of an exceptionally large room-temperature electrical conductivity in silver and aluminum layers deposited on a lead zirconate titanate (PZT) substrate. The surface resistance of the silver-coated samples also shows a sharp change near 313 K. The results are strongly suggestive of a superconductive interfacial layer, and have been interpreted in the framework of Bose-Einstein condensation of bipolarons as the suggested mechanism for high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates. ... The fact that the results described above have been obtained from very simply-fabricated systems, without the use of any sophisticated set-up and any special attention being given to crystal purity, atomic perfection, lattice matching, etc. suggests that the physical process is a universal one, involving only an interface between a metal and an insulator with a large low-frequency dielectric constant. We note in passing that PZT and the cuprates have similar (perovskite or perovskite-based) crystal structures. This resemblance may provide an added insight into the basic mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity."

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Rogue Anti-Virus Victims Rarely Fight Back
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 03:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's price-you-pay-for-being-had deptartment:
krebsonsecurity writes "One big reason why rogue anti-virus continues to make major bucks for scam artists: relatively few victims ever ask their credit card company or bank to reverse the charges for the phony security software — even when the victims don't even receive the worthless software they were promised. I recently found several caches of data for affiliates of a rogue anti-virus distribution program, and the data showed that in one set of attacks only 367 out of more than 2,000 scammed disputed the charge. A second rogue anti-virus campaign scammed more than 1,600 people, and yet fewer than 10 percent fought the charges."

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Intel's 50Gbps Light Peak Successor
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 02:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's blink-fast deptartment:
Barence writes "Intel has unveiled yet another high-speed optical interface – before its long-awaited Light Peak connector has even reached the market. The Light Peak optical interconnect can transfer data at 10Gbps in both directions, and is touted as an all-in-one replacement for USB, DisplayPort, and HDMI. The new interface uses an indium phosphide hybrid laser inside the controller chip — a process that Intel calls silicon photonics — rather than using a separate optical module, as with Light Peak. And by encoding data at 12.5Gbits/sec across four laser beams of differing wavelengths, the connector yields a total bandwidth of 50Gbps, five times that offered by Light Peak. 'This is not a technology that's ten years away, but maybe three to five years,' Intel fellow Mario Paniccia announced. 'Light Peak, as we've stated, will launch next year.'" HotHardware quotes Intel in more detail on the difference between the two programs: "This research is separate from Intel's Light Peak technology... Light Peak is an effort to bring a multi-protocol 10Gbps optical connection to Intel client platforms for nearer-term applications. Silicon Photonics research aims to use silicon integration to bring dramatic cost reductions, reach tera-scale data rates, and bring optical communications to an even broader set of high-volume applications."

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The Titanic In 3-D
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cast-off-the-bow-bert deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes "A scientific expedition to the Titanic will create a detailed three-dimensional map of the world's most famous shipwreck. A 'dream team' of archaeologists, oceanographers, and other scientists will spend 20 days assessing the legendary ship's deteriorating condition, and collecting data and images. They're calling it the most advanced scientific mission to Titanic since its discovery 25 years ago. A leader of the expedition says this is the first time the wreck will be treated as an archaeological site, with two goals: 'One is to preserve the legacy of the ship by enhancing the story of the Titanic itself. The second part is to really understand what the state of the ship is.'"

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Java IO Faster Than NIO
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 12:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's question-conventional-wisdom deptartment:
rsk writes "Paul Tyma, the man behind Mailinator, has put together an excellent performance analysis comparing old-school synchronous programming (java.io.*) to Java's asynchronous programming (java.nio.*) — showing a consistent 25% performance deficiency with the asynchronous code. As it turns out, old-style blocking I/O with modern threading libraries like Linux NPTL and multi-core machines gives you idle-thread and non-contending thread management for an extremely low cost; less than it takes to switch-and-restore connection state constantly with a selector approach."

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If Oracle Bought Every Open Source Company
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 11:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's gedanken-experiment deptartment:
An anonymous reader points out Glyn Moody's thought experiment: what if Oracle bought up the entire open source ecosystem? Who would win, who would lose? And how might an open ecosystem grow in the wake of such an event? "Recently, there was an interesting rumour circulating that Oracle had a war chest of some $70 billion, and was going on an acquisition spree. Despite the huge figure, it had a certain plausibility, because Oracle is a highly successful company with deep pockets and an aggressive management. The rumour was soon denied, but suppose Oracle decided to spend, if not $70 billion, say $10 billion in an efficient way: how might it do that? One rather dramatic use of that money would be to buy up the leading open source companies — all of them."

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LA's Move To Google Apps Slows As "Apps For Gov't." Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 11:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cloud-of-pain deptartment:
Several readers noted Google's announcement yesterday of Google Apps for Government: "The new version is a variant of Google Apps Premier edition, and includes the same core apps: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Groups, Video, and Postini. Pricing is the same as for Google Apps Premier: $50 per user per year. The certification says that Google Apps qualifies for is called a FISMA-Moderate rating, which means that it's authorized for use with data that's sensitive but unclassified. In addition, Google says that it's storing government Gmail and Google Calendar on servers that are isolated from those used for non-government customers, and which are located in the continental US." This service might be just what the city of Los Angeles needs (though the price may not be right). LA started migrating months ago to Google Apps, and the process is experiencing some delays, as pointed out by reader theodp. "In December, Google tooted its own horn as it celebrated edging out rival Microsoft to win a high-profile, ironically Microsoft-funded contract to supply email and collaboration software to the City of Los Angeles. Now comes word that the search giant has missed a June deadline for full implementation due to lingering security concerns. Google downplayed reports of the delay, saying it was 'very pleased with the progress to date' which has allowed 10,000+ of the City's 34,000 employees to use Google Apps."

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Free Software, a Matter of Life and Death
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 10:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's serious-as-it-gets deptartment:
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Software on medical implants is not open to scrutiny by regulatory bodies. Glyn Moody writes: 'Software with the ability to harm as well as help us in the physical world needs to be open to scrutiny to minimise safety issues. Medical devices may be the most extreme manifestation of this, but with the move of embedded software into planes, cars and other large and not-so-large devices with potentially lethal side-effects, the need to inspect software there too becomes increasingly urgent.' A new report 'Killed by Code: Software Transparency in Implantable Medical Devices' from the Software Freedom Law Center points out that, as patients grow more reliant on computerized devices, the dependability of software is a life-or-death issue. 'The need to address software vulnerability is especially pressing for Implantable Medical Devices, which are commonly used by millions of patients to treat chronic heart conditions, epilepsy, diabetes, obesity, and even depression.' Will making the source code free to scrutiny address the issue of faulty devices?"

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Google Nabs Patent To Monitor Your Cursor Movement
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 09:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-see-what-you-did-there deptartment:
bool2 writes "Google has been awarded a patent for displaying search results based on how you move your mouse cursor on the screen... Google's plans are to monitor the movements of the cursor, such as when a user hovers over a certain ad or link to read a tooltip, and then provide relevant search results, and ads, based on that behaviour. It means that it does not require users to actually click a link to know that they were interested in it, opening a world of opportunity for even more focused ads."

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Plastic Bottle Catamaran Crosses The Pacific Ocean
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-your-usual-trash-barge deptartment:
The Plastiki, a catamaran made with plastic bottles, has completed a 8,000 mile trip between San Francisco and Sydney. Captain David de Rothschild said, "The Plastiki is literally a metaphorical message in a bottle about beating waste and reducing our human fingerprints on our natural environment." The boat will go on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum for the next month.

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Heat Ray Gun Fails Final Test; Nixed From War
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 08:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's it-burns-mommy deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "The heat ray gun to be deployed in Afghanistan has failed its final test and will not be deployed. US military commanders who have had it in the field now have declined to use it. After being tested more than 11,000 times on around 700 volunteers, it failed to achieve satisfaction from the military and will not be deployed."

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Interview With the Man Behind WikiLeaks
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's balls-of-steel deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, explains why he feels it is right to encourage the leaking of secret information. He maintains that the more money an organisation spends on trying to conceal information, the more good it is likely to do if leaked. For Assange, leaked intelligence reveals the true state of governments, their human rights abuses, and their activities, it's what the 'history of journalism is'. On the media's role in making information available to the public, Assange maintains that 'the rest of the world's media is doing such a bad job that a little group of activists is able to release more of that type of information [classified documents] than the rest of the world press combined.'"

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Apple Launches New Magical Trackpad, 12 Core Macs
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's oh-oh-oh-its-magic deptartment:
theappwhisperer writes "The Magic Trackpad is basically a larger version of the MacBook Pro touchpad, with 80% more surface area for all your swiping and pinching. The entire surface acts as a button, so it's also a possible mouse replacement. And all of the expected gestures are here: two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, fingertip rotation, and three- and four-finger swipes. You can enable and disable gestures at your discretion from System Preferences." They also launched 12 core mac pros coming in august.

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When Is It Right To Go Public With Security Flaws?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's yesterday deptartment:
nk497 writes "When it comes to security flaws, who should be warned first: users or software vendors? The debate has flared up again, after Google researcher Tavis Ormandy published a flaw in Windows Support. As previously noted on Slashdot, Google has since promised to back researchers that give vendors at least 60-days to sort out a solution to reported flaws, while Microsoft has responded by renaming responsible disclosure as "coordinated vulnerability disclosure." Microsoft is set to announce something related to community-based defence at Black Hat, but it's not likely to be a bug bounty, as the firm has again said it won't pay for vulnerabilities. So what other methods for managing disclosures could the security industry develop, that balance vendors need for time to develop a solution and researchers' needs to work together and publish?"

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Chatroulette To Log IP Addresses, Take Screenshots
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 06:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's price-of-fame deptartment:
littlekorea writes "Chatroulette, the strangely addictive online game in which users are connected via webcam and microphone to random strangers at the click of a button, has had enough of users exposing themselves to the unsuspecting public, among other disgraces. The founder of Chatroulette has announced the company has hired developers to collect IP addresses and take screenshots of those users breaking the rules."

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