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Microsoft Shows Off Future Product Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's still-waiting-on-lcars deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "Microsoft opened a portion of its fifth TechFair to Silicon Valley residents, demonstrating more than 15 technologies which included everything from real-time translation to mobile-to-mobile networking to improved image stitching. The top two which really stood out were the translating telephone, which actually used no 'telephone' at all — it was a test to discover how well Microsoft's speech algorithms could interpret speech, translate it, and then speak the translation using text-to-speech algorithms — and then the Manual Deskterity, a new paradigm for a user interface; a right-handed user's left hand, for example, can be used for coarse manipulations of objects, while the right can be used for fine manipulation, such as with a pen. It sounds a bit simplistic, at least at this stage. Since one of the charters of Microsoft Research is that the work should eventually be moved to product teams, there's a good chance that the prototypes will eventually be made available to the public at large."

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Linux Users Donate Twice As Much As Windows Users, On Average
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's interesting-data-points deptartment:
sammyF70 writes "The Wolfire/Humble Indie Bundle real time statistics have been updated to show the average amount donated per platform. It looks like Linux users donate twice as much, on average, as Windows users. You can see some graphs on the Wolfire blog."

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Law Professors Developing Patent License For FOSS
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's necessary-evil deptartment:
Julie188 writes with this quote from a Networkworld article: "Two law professors from UC Berkeley have come up with a novel idea to protect open source developers from patent bullies. They call it the Defensive Patent License. They hope the DPL can address the objections FOSS developers have with patents the way the GPL addressed them for copyright. The DPL is similar to the concept of a defensive patent pool, but is not the same. The DPL is a bit more radical. It requires a bigger commitment from its members than the typical toe-in-the-water kind of pool, says Jason Schultz, former staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'The perception is that bigger companies only commit their least-effective, least-important patents to a patent pool,' he says. Schultz isn't pointing fingers at any particular pool. However critics of IBM's open source patent pledge often said it didn't cover the patents most relevant to the FOSS community."

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Will Game Cartridges Make a Comeback?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's as-long-as-we-don't-have-to-blow-on-the-contacts deptartment:
sk8pmp writes "With the cost of solid state memory going down, will we see the return of the game cartridge? Or will digital distribution reign supreme and transition our entertainment into the cloud? This editorial explores the beginnings of the cartridge vs. disc battle of the '90s and theorizes a second one in the future. 'Imagine if you could marry the vast spaces of discs with the blazing fast speeds of solid state memory. Can you say "no more load times"? You pop the game into the top of the console, so the game is sticking out the top like in ye olden times, and you could see the sweet artwork on the front of the cartridge. The nostalgia is killing me!'"

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TSA Worker Jailed In Body Scan Rage Incident
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's checking-out-your-package deptartment:
A TSA worker in Miami was arrested for aggravated battery after he attacked a co-worker for making fun of the size of his genitals. Rolando Negrin walked through one of the new body scanners during a recent training session and a supervisor started making fun of his manhood. From the article: "According to the police report, Negrin confronted one of his co-workers in an employee parking lot, where he hit him with a police baton on the arm and back."

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In AU, Court Rules Downloaded Software Is Not "Goods"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's unless-it's-pirated-right deptartment:
bennyboy64 writes "A court decision ruling that the supply of software through a digital download mechanism is not a supply of 'goods' has been upheld in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia, setting a precedent that software downloaded via the Internet is not protected by the Sale of Goods Act, reports ZDNet. It's a court decision that lawyer Patrick Gunning said attorneys had been waiting to have clarified for some time. What this meant was that 'people who purchase software will have more legal rights if they buy over the counter rather than downloading,' Gunning said."

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Choice of Programming Language Doesn't Matter For Security
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's obvious-things-your-boss-doesn't-understand deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The Security Ninja has written a blog post which discusses web programming languages and the fact that they are all insecure. It's based on a report from WhiteHat Security and aims to dispel the myth that some languages will guarantee that an application will be more or less secure than other languages. '... secure code is the product of a secure development process and real business commitment to deliver secure applications which includes developer education. The absence of these processes and business commitments will lead to web applications being developed insecurely regardless of the language being used.'"

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NASA Outlines Plan For Next-Gen Space Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's more-than-meets-the-eye deptartment:
CWmike writes "Imagine a team of robots — some rolling on wheels, some walking on two legs — working alongside astronauts on the surface of Mars, scouting previously unseen locations, measuring the parameters of a new base or constructing a building. Now picture astronauts driving across the Martian surface in a vehicle. When the astronauts get out and begin their work, they can flip a switch to turn the vehicle into an autonomous robot that goes off to undertake projects on the planet. Whatever work the next generation of NASA-developed space robots does, it will be done in conjunction with their human counterparts. Terry Fong, director of NASA's intelligent robotics group, said that's the image that a lot of the US space agency's engineers have in mind as they work on the new robotic rovers. In comparison, the Mars rovers on the Red Planet have been working alone for years. 'We're working on a new use of these robots — robots to support human exploration,' Fong said. 'NASA is now thinking, "How do you go about sending humans to the moon or Mars or elsewhere? How can you use the combination of humans and robots to do exploration better?" I think it's a really, really fundamentally different approach.' Fong said he's hopeful that the next-generation robotic rovers will arrive on the moon or on an asteroid within five to 10 years."

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Most File Sharers Would Pay For Legal Downloads
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 09:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's enthusiastic-fans-by-another-name deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Two separate studies from Australia and Holland give the lie to corporate entertainment industry claims that file sharers are unprincipled thieves out to rob the honest but harshly treated movie and music studios. Over in Oz, news.com.au reports: 'Most people who illegally download movies, music and TV shows would pay for them if there was a cheap and legal service as convenient as file-sharing tools like BitTorrent.' And from the EU, 'Turnover in the recorded music industry is in decline, but only part of this decline can be attributed to file sharing,' says Legal, Economic and Cultural Aspects of File Sharing, an academic study, which also states 'Conversely, only a small fraction of the content exchanged through file sharing networks comes at the expense of industry turnover. This renders the overall welfare effects of file sharing robustly positive.'"

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The Desktop Security Battle May Be Lost
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 08:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's deploy-the-tinfoil-hats deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes in with a Threatpost.com article that begins: "For years, security experts, analysts and even users have been lamenting the state of desktop security. Viruses, spam, Trojans and rootkits have added up to create an ugly picture. But, the good news is that the desktop security battle may be over. The less-than-good news, however, is that we may have lost it. Jeremiah Grossman, CTO of WhiteHat Security, said Thursday that many organizations, particularly in the financial services industry, have gotten to the point of assuming that their customers' desktops are compromised. And moving forward from that assumption, things don't get much prettier." It goes on to speculate about home routers being targeted and infected.

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iPad UK Pricing Confirmed; Apple UK Tax Applied
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 08:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's dig-deep deptartment:
The iPad will be available in the UK and eight other countries from 28 May 2010; both models will be available for pre-order on 10 May. Reader marcopolo007uk adds a note from iPad-Review.co.uk with pricing: "WiFi Models: 16GB / 32GB / 64GB — £429 / £499 / £599. 3G versions: 16GB / 32GB / 64GB — £529 / £599 / £699. These are a little higher than some had guessed... The Apple Tax stings the UK consumer again." At the current exchange rate, these prices are right around 150% of those offered in the US.

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Visually Demonstrating Chrome's Rendering Speed
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 07:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's want-to-see-it-again deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Recent betas of Google's Chrome browser are getting seriously fast. Couple that with better hardware, on average, and it's getting down to speeds that are difficult to demonstrate in a way users can appreciate. Which is why Google felt that some Rube Goldberg-ish demonstrations with slo-mo are in order. Gone are the days of boring millisecond response time metrics."

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Air Force Treating Wounds With Lasers and Nanotech
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 07:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's do-not-cut-the-shark deptartment:
An anonymous reader passes along a piece up on Wired's Danger Room about advanced medical tech that's being used in the military, but is not available generally due to the lack of FDA approval. "Forget stitches and old-school sutures. The Air Force is funding scientists who are using nanotechnology and lasers to seal up wounds at a molecular level. It might sound like Star Trek tech, but it's actually the latest in a series of ambitious Pentagon efforts to create faster, more effective methods of treating war-zone injuries. ... Instead of being sealed up with a needle and thread, a patient's wound would be coated in a dye, then exposed to green light for 2-3 minutes. The dye absorbs the light and catalyzes molecular bonds between the tissue's collagen. The bonds instantly create a seal that's watertight, which prevents inflammation or risk of infection, and speeds up the formation of scar tissue."

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Is HTML5 Ready To Take Over From Flash?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 06:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's jumping-jack-html5 deptartment:
The Flash platform has been taking body blows lately. First Apple, then Scribd, publicly abandon it; now ARM's marketing VP is blaming a delay in ARM smartbooks on the continuing unsuitability of Flash for the subnotebook market. But how ready is HTML5 to take over from Flash? Tim Bray offers a cautionary appraisal of the not-yet-a-standard's state of grace. While Flash may be on the way out (or so legions of its detractors hope), it is still important in many corners of the Web. Here a branding expert demonstrates that the sites of 10 out of 10 leading worldwide brands don't display on the iPad — because they're coded in Flash, of course.

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Voyager 2 Speaking In Tongues
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 05:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's now-voyager deptartment:
dangle sends in an update from the borderland of Sol. "Voyager 2's flight data system, which formats information before beaming it back to Earth, has experienced a hiccup that has altered the pattern in which it sends updates home, preventing mission managers from decoding the science data beamed to Earth from Voyager 2. The spacecraft, which is currently 8.6 billion miles (13.8 billion km) from Earth, is apparently still in overall good health, according to the latest engineering data received on May 1. 'Voyager 2's initial mission was a four-year journey to Saturn, but it is still returning data 33 years later,' said Voyager project scientist Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. 'It has already given us remarkable views of Uranus and Neptune, planets we had never seen close-up before. We will know soon what it will take for it to continue its epic journey of discovery.' The space probe and its twin Voyager 1 are flying through the bubble-like heliosphere, created by the sun, which surrounds our solar system."

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Arizona Back Off Its Speed Camera Program
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 05:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's not-so-fast deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes to inform us that Arizona is putting the brakes to a controversial and contentious speed camera program. The cameras have been used along highways in the Phoenix area and in vans throughout the state. While the cameras are used throughout the country, Arizona's program was the widest use of the technology, and the decision to drop it is a setback for those who argue that the cameras slow speeders, reduce accidents, and free up police for more serious matters. "The camera program was instituted by Brewer's predecessor, Janet Napolitano, now the Homeland Security secretary. Cameras were introduced in September 2008 and were added until all 76 were up and running by January 2009. Lawmakers considered repeal proposals within months, but set the issue aside and appealed for calmer debate when a passing motorist fatally shot a camera-van operator doing paperwork in his marked vehicle in April 2009."

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Wales Supports Purging Porn From Wikipedia
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wrong-venue-let's-say deptartment:
Larry Sanger writes "Jimmy Wales recently took a bold position against pornography on Wikimedia Commons: 'Wikimedia Commons admins who wish to remove from the project all images that are of little or no educational value but which appeal solely to prurient interests have my full support.' Wales also restarted the "Commons:Sexual content" policy page. His basic complaint is that Wikimedia Commons hosts too much unnecessary porn, and he wants to get rid of it. He underscored his seriousness this way, stating that we can expect 'a strong statement' from the WMF soon: 'If the Wikimedia Foundation wants to declare that it is ok for Commons to be a porn host, they can do that, and I'll not be able to continue. That isn't going to happen, though, and in fact you should expect a strong statement from the Board and/or Sue in the next few days.'" (More, below.)

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Civilization V To Use Steamworks
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-it-doesn't-get-you-in-hot-water deptartment:
sopssa writes "2K Games today announced that Civilization V will be using Steamworks for online matchmaking, automated updates, downloadable content and DRM for the game. Steam's Civ V store page is also available now, revealing some new information about the game. There will be an 'In-Game Community Hub' for online matchmaking, communication and for sharing scenarios between players. While including Steamworks might put some people off, it might also indicate better online gameplay than in the previous Civilization games, where it was almost impossible to have a good game without playing with just friends."

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Gamer Wins $1M For Pitching Virtual "Perfect Game"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '10 at 01:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's yes-it-was-against-the-mets deptartment:
A few months ago, 2K Sports announced a unique contest to promote a new game they were working on, Major League Baseball 2K10. They said whichever gamer was the first to pitch a perfect game and provide proof would win $1 million, with the contest running for two months. Reader yukk tips news that the two months have now passed, and 2K Sports has announced a winner. It turns out the prize was won on the very first day, by a player who had put less than an hour and a half of effort into it.

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Scribd Switches To HTML5
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's let-a-thousand-documents-bloom deptartment:
drfreak writes "This story from OSNews describes Scribd, a site for uploading and reading documents, switching from Flash to HTML5. The major reason for the decision was that HTML5 supports all the major points of the site's previous functionality, so they saw no point in using Flash any more. The big improvement in the rollout is that documents are now first-class citizens of HTML and no longer need to sit in a Flash 'window.'"

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