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Microsoft "Courier" Pictures
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 03:00 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's bandwagon-or-shark-jumping deptartment:
tekgoblin writes to let us know that Gizmodo has some early shots of the new prototype "Courier" booklet (foldable tablet) on the way from Microsoft. "Courier is a real device, and we've heard that it's in the "late prototype" stage of development. It's not a tablet, it's a booklet. The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers. They're connected by a hinge that holds a single iPhone-esque home button. Statuses, like wireless signal and battery life, are displayed along the rim of one of the screens. On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre."

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Valve Announces Portal 2
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's this-was-a-triumph deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Enough rumors, Portal 2 is due out for 2010. Valve also let users know through an announcement on Steam. Game Informer seems to be the de facto provider of Portal 2 information so far. Prepare yourselves for more aperture science! Notice anything funny about the underlined letters in Steam's announcement?"

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Dr. NakaMats Is the World's Most Prolific Inventor
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 01:30 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's patent-troll-slayer deptartment:
MMBK writes to share an interesting look at Dr. "NakaMats" Nakamatsu, mastermind behind a world-record 3,000 patents. The 81-year-old scientist has inventions like the "PyonPyon" spring shoes, the karaoke machine, and others. He also at least partly to blame for things like the digital watch, the floppy disk, and cd's. "Dr. Nakamatsu harbors other ambitions too: in 2007, he took his penchant for political campaigning to a new level, becoming a candidate in the gubernatorial election in Tokyo, and the election for the Upper House. Although he failed to get a seat, Dr. NakaMats has other tricks up his sleeve. In 2005 he was awarded the Ig Nobel prize for Nutrition, for photographing and retrospectively analyzing every meal he has consumed during a period of 34 years (and counting). By the time he dies at the age of 144 (a goal he maintains with an elaborate daily ritual that rejuvenates his body and triggers his creative process), he intends to patent 6,000 inventions."

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New Heat-Reduced Magnetic Solder Could Revolutionize Chip Design
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 12:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's vaporware-until-i-see-chips deptartment:
A new heat-reduced soldering technique using magnets may lead to some revolutionary changes in the way chips are manufactured. Details are scant since the inventor seems to be playing it close to the vest for now in hopes of attracting chipmaker interest. "The result is a tin-silver alloy that contains a dispersion of iron particles tens of micrometers in diameter. When a magnetic field is applied to the solders, two things happen. First, the iron particles heat up, locally melting the solder. This localized heating, which works on the same principle as inductive stoves, remains completely contained, keeping the surrounding area cool. And second, the iron particles line up with the direction of the magnetic field, squeezing and pushing the liquid in that direction. This alignment is retained when the solder solidifies, and the well-ordered particles provide mechanical reinforcement that's greater than that afforded by a regular dispersion of particles."

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Asus Takes Another Stab at Revolutionizing Netbook Market
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 12:00 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's betting-on-the-design-team deptartment:
Perhaps most well known for their netbook innovations with the Eee PC, Asus is at it again with their latest rollout at CeBIT Germany. The "Waveface Light," a new concept laptop can be used as a conventional laptop or converted to a tablet by removing the pc and opening it to a completely flat position. Sounds like either a stroke of genius or a "small widget broke and now it's worthless" design issue.

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Microsoft Spends $9 Billion On Research, Focuses On Cloud
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 11:45 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's time-to-double-down deptartment:
superapecommando writes to share that Microsoft appears to be going all-out on research in the coming year, with a great focus on the cloud. Supposedly planning to spend $9.5 billion in R&D, that's $3 billion more than the next closest tech company. "'Especially in light of the tough difficult macroeconomic times that we're coming out of, we chose to really lean in and double down on our innovation,' [Microsoft COO Kevin] Turner said. Turner contended that Microsoft has more cloud services than any other company, ranging from its consumer email service to hosted enterprise products such as its Dynamics CRM (customer relationship management) system to its Azure cloud operating system. 'We're going to change and reinvent our company around leading in the cloud.'"

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Microsoft Sends Flowers To Internet Explorer 6 Funeral
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 11:30 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's sorry-about-your-loss deptartment:
Several readers have written with a fun follow up to yesterday's IE6 funeral. Apparently Microsoft, in a rare moment of self-jest, took the time to send flowers, condolences, and a promise to meet at MIX. The card reads: "Thanks for the good times IE6, see you all @ MIX when we show a little piece of IE Heaven. The Internet Explorer Team @ Microsoft."

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Web Browser Grand Prix
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 10:30 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's new-throwdown deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "After seeing Opera's claim to 'Fastest Browser on Earth' after their most recent release, Tom's Hardware put Apple Safari 4.04, Google Chrome 4.0, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3.6, and Opera 10.50 through a gauntlet of speed tests and time trials to find out which Web browser is truly the fastest. How does your favorite land in the rankings?"

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Vivek Kundra On US Government Inefficiency
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 09:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's manila-folders deptartment:
parkland writes "Federal CIO Vivek Kundra described some dismaying government inefficiencies in a speech on Thursday at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle. It takes 160 days to process benefits for veterans, he said, 'because the Veteran's Administration is processing paperwork by passing manila folders from one desk to another.' Another example bound to make you grind your teeth is why it takes the Patent and Trademark Office 3 years to process a patent. 'One reason,' says Kundra, 'is because the USPTO receives these applications online, prints them out, and then someone manually rekeys the information into an antiquated system.'"

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First Creation of Anti-Strange Hypernuclei
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 09:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's quark-gluon-plasma deptartment:
runagate writes "Brookhaven National Laboratory has created a heretofore unknown form of matter. The matter we normally encounter, and are composed of, has nuclei of protons and neutrons that contain no strange quarks. It was known that anti-strange matter could exist, and using the Solenoidal Tracker at Brookhaven's RHIC, scientists detected a couple of dozen instances of antihypernuclei. The 'Z' axis of the Periodic Table has already been extended in the positive direction by the discovery of hypernuclei, but this new discovery extends it in the negative direction for this new type of 'strange' antimatter — which may exist in the core of collapsed stars and may provide insight into why our universe appears to be made almost solely of matter and not antimatter." The Register's coverage reproduces a helpful diagram.

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Mariposa Botnet Authors Unlikely To See Jail Time
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 08:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank deptartment:
krebsonsecurity writes "Three Spanish men were arrested last month for allegedly building an international network of more than 12 million hacked PCs that were used for everything from identity theft to spamming. But according to Spanish authorities and security experts who helped unravel the crime ring, the accused may very well never see the inside of a jail cell even if they are ultimately found guilty, due to insufficient cyber-crime legislation in Spain. 'It is almost impossible to be sent to prison for these kinds of crimes in Spain, where prison is mainly for serious crime cases,' said Captain Cesar Lorenzana, deputy head technology crime division of the Spanish Civil Guard. ... Spain is one of nearly three dozen countries that is a signatory to the Council of Europe's cybercrime treaty, but Spanish legislators have not yet ratified the treaty by passing anti-cybercrime laws that would bring its judicial system in line with the treaty's goals."

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New Crossover Release With Improved Compatability
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 08:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's lin-win deptartment:
solanum writes "On March 2nd Crossover 9.0 was released. CrossOver 9 features a new user interface that focuses on making installation of Windows software quicker and easier than previous versions. Another new feature is CrossOver's ability to download installation 'recipes' directly from CodeWeavers online Compatibility Database. 'If another CrossOver user has figured out how to use CrossOver to install a Windows application, they can upload that installation recipe to our database,' said Jeremy White, CodeWeavers chief executive officer. 'As we go forward, and build this online storehouse, CrossOver will begin to automatically install that same application for other users. This enables us to move closer to a world where CrossOver will begin to run the majority of Windows apps, and not just an officially supported subset. In other words, our diabolical plot for world domination is going exactly as planned,' he added. Early reviews and comments are positive, and my own experience is that many more Windows applications work in this new version than previously."

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There Is No Cyberwar
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 07:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's because-i-say-so deptartment:
crowfeather notes an interview with cybersecurity czar Howard Schmidt that Wired's Thread Level conducted this week. "Howard Schmidt, the new cybersecurity czar for the Obama administration, has a short answer for the drumbeat of rhetoric claiming the United States is caught up in a cyberwar that it is losing. 'There is no cyberwar,' Schmidt told Wired.com in a sit-down interview Wednesday at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco. 'I think that is a terrible metaphor and I think that is a terrible concept,' Schmidt said. 'There are no winners in that environment.' Instead, Schmidt said the government needs to focus its cybersecurity efforts to fight online crime and espionage. His stance contradicts Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence who made headlines last week when he testified to Congress that the country was already in the midst of a cyberwar — and was losing it. ... There's been much ink spilled in recent years over the turf battles in D.C. over whether the NSA (representing the military) or DHS (on the civilian side) takes the lead role in cybersecurity. But... "I haven't seen that tension," Schmidt said. As for which will take the cybersecurity lead, Schmidt simply says it's a shared effort."

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Web Copyright Crackdown On the Way
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 07:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's eighty-percent-rule deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Journalist Alan D. Mutter reports on his blog 'Reflections of a Newsosaur' that a coalition of traditional and digital publishers is launching the first-ever concerted crackdown on copyright pirates on the Web. Initially targeting violators who use large numbers of intact articles, the first offending sites to be targeted will be those using 80% or more of copyrighted stories more than 10 times per month. In the first stage of a multi-step process, online publishers identified by Silicon Valley startup Attributor will be sent a letter informing them of the violations and urging them to enter into license agreements with the publishers whose content appears on their sites. In the second stage Attributor will ask hosting services to take down pirate sites. 'We are not going after past damages' from sites running unauthorized content says Jim Pitkow, the chief executive of Attributor. The emphasis, Pitkow says is 'to engage with publishers to bring them into compliance' by getting them to agree to pay license fees to copyright holders in the future. Offshore sites will not be immune from the crackdown: almost all of them depend on banner ads served by US-based services, and the DMCA requires the ad service to act against any violator. Attributor says it can interdict the revenue lifeline at any offending site in the world." One possible weakness in Attributor's business plan, unless they intend to violate the robots.txt convention: they find violators by crawling the Web.

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The Arctic Is Leaking Methane
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 06:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's thar-she-blows deptartment:
registerShift and other readers sent in news that the Arctic Ocean seabed is leaking methane. "...climate experts familiar with the new research reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science that even though it does not suggest imminent climate catastrophe, it is important because of methane's role as a greenhouse gas. Although carbon dioxide is far more abundant and persistent in the atmosphere, ton for ton atmospheric methane traps at least 25 times as much heat. ... [One scientist] estimated that annual methane emissions from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf total about seven teragrams. (A teragram is 1.1 million tons.) By some estimates, global methane emissions total about 500 teragrams a year. ...about 40 percent is natural, including the decomposition of organic materials in wetlands and frozen wetlands like permafrost."

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Real Settles Lawsuits, Will Stop Selling RealDVD
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's check-with-your-corporate-masters deptartment:
angry tapir writes "RealNetworks has agreed to pay $4.5 million and permanently stop selling its RealDVD software as part of a legal settlement with six Hollywood movie studios. The lawsuits date back to 2008 and Slashdot has previously discussed them. RealDVD is an application that lets people make copies of their DVDs."

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New Call of Duty Titles Announced, Fired Devs Sue For Name
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's modern-legal-warfare deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Activision has announced new Call of Duty titles while fired Infinity Ward Developer leads Jason West and Vince Zampella sue them for the rights to the name. According to Activision, 'The company intends to expand the Call of Duty brand with the same focus seen in its Blizzard Entertainment business unit. This will include a focus on high-margin digital online content and further[ing] the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models.' Ars opines that Activision is set to over-saturate the market with tons of CoD titles similar to how it expertly brought down Guitar Hero."

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New Material Sets Stage For All-Optical Computing
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 03:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-ping-times deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the International Business Times: "Researchers have made a new material that can be used to guide waves of light, a breakthrough that could lead to ultra-fast computing. Georgia Tech scientists are using specially designed organic dyes that can process and redirect light without the need to be converted to electricity first. ... 'For this class of molecules, we can with a high-degree of reliability predict where the molecules will have both large optical nonlinearities and low two-photon absorption,' said [Georgia Tech School of Chemistry professor Seth] Marder."According to the article, using an optical-router could lead to transmission speeds as high as 2000 gigabits per second, five times faster than current technology.

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NVIDIA Driver Update Causing Video Cards To Overheat In Games
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-thought-this-only-happened-to-ati deptartment:
After a group of StarCraft II beta testers reported technical difficulties following the installation of NVIDIA driver update 196.75, Blizzard tech support found that the update introduced fan control problems that were causing video cards to overheat in 3D applications. "This means every single 3D application (i.e. games) running these drivers is going to be exposed to overheating and in some extreme cases it will cause video card, motherboard and/or processor damage. If said motherboard, processor or graphic card is not under warranty, some gamers are in serious trouble playing intensive games such as Prototype, World of Warcraft, Farcry 3, Crysis and many other games with realistic graphics." NVIDIA said they were investigating the problem, took down links to the new drivers, and advised users to revert to 196.21 until the problem can be fixed.

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China's Human Flesh Search Engine
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's google-is-mine deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times has an interesting article about Human-flesh search engines — renrou sousuo yinqing — that have become a phenomenon in China: they are a form of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people who have attracted their wrath. The goal is to get the targets of a search fired from their jobs, shamed in front of their neighbors, or run out of town. It's crowd-sourced detective work, pursued online — with offline results. 'In the United States, traditional media are still playing the key role in setting the agenda for the public,' says Jin Liwen. 'But in China, you will see that a lot of hot topics, hot news or events actually originate from online discussions.' In one well known case, when a video appeared in China of a woman stomping a cat to death with the sharp point of her high heel, the human flesh search engine tracked the kitten killer's home to the town of Luobei in Heilongjiang Province, in the far northeast, and her name — Wang Jiao — was made public, as were her phone number and her employer. 'Wang Jiao was affected a lot,' says one Luobei resident. 'She left town and went somewhere else.' The kitten-killer case didn't just provide revenge; it helped turn the human-flesh search engine into a national phenomenon. Searches have also been directed against cheating spouses, corrupt government officials, amateur pornography makers, Chinese citizens who are perceived as unpatriotic, journalists who urge a moderate stance on Tibet and rich people who try to game the Chinese system."

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