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Android and the Linux Kernel Community
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cathedral-in-the-bazaar deptartment:
An anonymous reader links to Greg Kroah-Hartman's explanation of a rift (hopefully mendable) in the development culture of Google's Linux-based Android OS and the Linux kernel itself. "As the Android kernel code is now gone from the Linux kernel, as of the 2.6.33 kernel release, I'm starting to get a lot of questions about what happened, and what to do next with regards to Android. So here's my opinion on the whole matter ..."

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"Tube Map" Created For the Milky Way
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's non-stop-service-to-the-Perseus-Arm deptartment:
astroengine writes "Assuming you had an interstellar spaceship, how would you navigate around the galaxy? For starters, you'd probably need a map. But there's billions of stars out there — how complex would that map need to be? Actually, Samuel Arbesman, a research fellow from Harvard, has come up with a fun solution. He created the 'Milky Way Transit Authority (MWTA),' a simple transit system in the style of the iconic London Underground 'Tube Map.' (Travel Tip: Don't spend too much time loitering around the station at Carina, there's some demolition work underway.)"

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NASA Picks 5 Firms To Work On LEO Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's quasi-private-at-best deptartment:
Gary W. Longsine writes "Five contracts have been awarded by NASA today, to firms exploring different aspects of the effort to develop a private launch industry for people to low earth orbit. Today's winners include: Sierra Nevada Corp (aka 'SpaceDev') for the Dream Chaser; Boeing in cooperation with Bigelow on a capsule design; United Launch Alliance (Boeing and Lockheed Martin) to explore safety issues related to upgrading Atlas and Delta rockets to human flight safety standards; Blue Origin to build a launch escape system; and Paragon Space Development Corp for 'air vitalization' (aka life support).Will the forecast $6 Billion allocation over five years be enough to inspire private industry to develop not one, but two human rated launch systems (a capsule, and the lifting body Dream Chaser)? NASA clearly wants competition in the private market, so they seek more than one vendor."

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A Hybrid Approach For SSD Speed From Your 2TB HDD
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bottleneck-feedback-loop deptartment:
Claave writes "bit-tech.net reports that SilverStone has announced a device that daisy-chains an SSD with a hard disk, with the aim of providing SSD speeds plus loads of storage space. The SilverStone HDDBoost is a hard disk caddy with an integrated storage controller, and is an easy upgrade for your PC. The device copies the 'front-end' of your hard disk to the SSD, and tells your OS to prefer the SSD when possible. SSD speeds for a 2TB storage device? Yep, sounds good to me!"

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Verizon MiFi Owned By Simple Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's changing-the-default-seems-smart deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes "Security researcher Joshua Wright has developed a simple attack that allows him to recover the passwords for any Verizon MiFi device. The MiFi is essentially a tiny, portable wireless AP, and Wright's attack uses a simple and effective technique to get default passwords by using the device's SSID and some existing password attacks on the encryption protocols the MiFi employs. Result: complete 0wnage of any MiFi."

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Next X-Prize — $10M For a Brain-Computer Interface
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's does-it-come-in-small deptartment:
The first X-Prize was about reaching space. Now, reader destinyland writes "This time it's inner space, as Peter Diamandis holds a workshop at MIT discussing a $10 million X-Prize for building a brain-computer interface. This article includes video of Ray Kurzweil's 36-minute presentation, 'Merging the Human Brain with Its Creations,' and MIT synthetic neuroscientist Ed Boyden also made a presentation, followed by discussion groups about Input/Output, Control, Sensory, and Learning. Besides the ability to communicate by thought, the article argues, a Brain-Computer Interface X Prize 'will reward nothing less than a team that provides vision to the blind, new bodies to disabled people, and perhaps even a geographical 'sixth sense' akin to a GPS iPhone app in the brain.'"

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Sun's Project Darkstar Game Server Platform No More
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dropped-off-the-moving-truck deptartment:
sproketboy writes "Project Darkstar, an open source software platform from Sun labs that simplifies the development of horizontally scalable servers for online games, is being discontinued as of the Oracle acquisition. This project, mentioned a couple of years back on Slashdot, was a unique concept for building a application server specific to on-line gaming. Sadly they were so close at version 0.9.11 (which is still very stable). Hopefully the open source community can get involved and help continue work on this project."

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Heavy Internet Use Linked To Depression
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's uses-mental-bandwidth deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "People who spend a lot of time surfing the internet are more likely to show signs of depression, British scientists said on Wednesday. These 'internet addicts' spent proportionately more time browsing sexually gratifying websites, online gaming sites and online communities, Morrison said. They also had a higher incidence of moderate to severe depression than normal users."

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MPEG LA Extends H.264 Royalty-Free Period
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-how-much-would-you-pay? deptartment:
Sir Homer writes "The MPEG LA has extended their royalty-free license (PDF) for 'Internet Video that is free to end users' until the end of 2016. This means webmasters who are registered MPEG LA licensees will not have to pay a royalty to stream H.264 video for the next six years. However the last patent in the H.264 portfolio expires in 2028, and the MPEG LA has not released what fees, if any, it will charge webmasters after this 'free trial' period is over."

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Eight PHP IDEs Compared
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's colonic-extraction deptartment:
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Rick Grehen provides an in-depth comparative review of eight PHP IDEs: ActiveState's Komodo IDE, CodeLobster PHP Edition, Eclipse PHP Development Tools (PDT), MPSoftware's phpDesigner, NetBeans IDE for PHP, NuSphere's PhpED, WaterProof's PHPEdit, and Zend Studio. 'All of these PHP toolkits offer strong support for the other languages and environments (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL database) that a PHP developer encounters. The key differences we discovered were in the tools they provide (HTML inspector, SQL management system) for various tasks, the quality of their documentation, and general ease-of-use,' Grehen writes.'"

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Univ. Help Desk Staffer Extorts Over Copyright Violations
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's judge-jury-and-accounts-payable deptartment:
McGruber writes "The Atlanta fishwrap is reporting that an University of Georgia 'IT security support' employee was accusing students of copyright violations, then demanding money to clear their names. Sounds like he's been caught stealing the RIAA business model."

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ARM Exec Says 90% of PC Market Could Be Netbooks
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's invested-interest deptartment:
Barence writes "ARM chief executive Warren East has claimed that netbooks could dominate the PC market, in an exclusive interview with PC Pro. 'Although netbooks are small today – maybe 10% of the PC market at most – we believe over the next several years that could completely change around and that could be 90% of the PC market,' he said. East also said ARM isn't pressuring Microsoft to include support for its processors in Windows, claiming progress in the Linux world is 'very, very impressive.' 'There's not really a huge amount of point in us knocking on Microsoft's door,' he said. 'It's really an operational decision for Microsoft to make. I don't think there's any major technical barriers.'"

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Membrane That Turns Any Surface Into a Touchscreen
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wasn't-picking-my-nose deptartment:
alx5000 writes "Engadget has a story about Displax Interactive Systems, a Portuguese company that has created a new polymer film that, when stuck onto a surface, converts it into a multitouch touchscreen with up to 16 contact points. The article states that 'if all goes well, the first Displax-enabled wares will start shipping this July.'"

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Microsoft Looking Into Windows 7 Battery Failures
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's daisy-dais-y deptartment:
Jared writes "Microsoft says it is investigating reports of notebooks with poor battery life with Windows 7, as first reported by users on Microsoft TechNet. These users claim their batteries were working just fine under Windows XP and/or Windows Vista, and others are saying that battery problems occur on their new Windows 7 PCs. Under Win7, certain machines spit out the following warning message: 'Consider replacing your battery. There is a problem with your battery, so your computer might shut down suddenly.' The warning is normally issued after using the computer's BIOS to determine whether a battery needs replacement, but in this case it appears the operating system and not the battery is the problem. These customers say their PC's battery life is noticeably lower, with some going as far as to say that it has become completely unusable after a few weeks. To make matters worse, others are reporting that downgrading to an earlier version of Windows doesn't fix the problem."

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Harder-Than-Diamond Natural Carbon Crystals Found
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 02:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's twinkle-twinkle deptartment:
HikingStick tips a piece from the science desk at MSNBC.com about a new, naturally occurring form of carbon found in a meteorite fragment. "Researchers were polishing a slice of the carbon-rich Havero meteorite that fell to Earth in Finland in 1971. When they then studied the polished surface they discovered carbon-loaded spots that were raised well above the rest of the surface — suggesting that these areas were harder than the diamonds used in the polishing paste... [G]raphite layers were shocked and heated enough to create bonds between the layers — which is exactly how humans manufacture diamonds... [The research] team took the next step and put the diamond-resistant crystals under the scrutiny of some very rigorous mineralogical analyzing instruments to learn how its atoms are lined up. That allowed them to confirm that they had, indeed, found a new 'phase' or polymorph of crystalline carbon as well as a type of diamond that had been predicted to exist decades ago, but had never been found in nature until now."

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Game Industry Vets On DRM
Posted by News Fetcher on February 03 '10 at 12:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's other-perspectives deptartment:
An anonymous reader points out an article at SavyGamer in which several game industry veterans were polled for their opinions on DRM. Cliff Harris of Positech Games said he didn't think his decision to stop using DRM significantly affected piracy of his games, accepting it as an unavoidable fact. "Maybe a few of the more honest people now buy the game rather than pirate it, but this sort of thing is impossible to measure. You can see how many people are cracking and uploading your game, but tracking downloads is harder. It seems any game, even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway. People who crack and upload games don't give a damn what you've done to placate gamers, they crack it anyway." Nihal de Silva of Direct2Drive UK said his company hasn't noticed any sales patterns indicating customers are avoiding games with DRM. Richard Wilson of TIGA feels that customers should be adequately warned before buying a game that uses DRM, but makes no bones about the opinion that the resale of used games is not something publishers should worry about.

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Courts Move To Ban Juror Use of Net, Social Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 11:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's tell-no-one deptartment:
coondoggie passes along a NetworkWorld report on the pronouncement of a judicial conference committee recommending that trial judges specifically instruct jurors not to use any electronic communications devices or sites during trial and deliberations. Here's the committee report (PDF). "If you think you're going to use your spanking new iPhone to entertain yourself next time you're on jury duty, think again. Judges are going to take an even dimmer view of jury member use of Blackberry, iPhone, or other electronic devices as a judicial policy-setting group has told district judges they should restrict jurors from using electronic technologies to research or communicate. ... The instructions state jurors must not use cell phones, e-mail, Blackberry, iPhone, text messaging, or on Twitter, or communicate through any blog or website, through any internet chat room, or by way of any other social networking websites, including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and YouTube."

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OpenOffice Tops 21% Market Share In Germany
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 08:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's camel's-head-and-neck deptartment:
hweimer writes "A novel study analyzes the installed base of various office packages among German users. (Here is the original study report in German and a Google translation.) While Microsoft Office comes out top (72%), open source rival OpenOffice is already installed on 21.5% of all PCs and growing. The authors use a clever method to determine the installed office suites of millions of web users: they look for the availability of characteristic fonts being shipped with the various suites. What surprised me the most is that they found hardly any difference in the numbers for home and business users."

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Why Time Flies By As You Get Older
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 07:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's like-a-banana deptartment:
Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

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Studies Reveal Why Kids Get Bullied and Rejected
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 06:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's see-my-finger-see-my-thumb deptartment:
Thelasko writes "I'm sure many here have been the victim of bullying at some point in their lives. A new study suggests why. '...now researchers have found at least three factors in a child's behavior that can lead to social rejection. The factors involve a child's inability to pick up on and respond to nonverbal cues from their pals.' The article sketches out some ways teachers and councilors are working with bullied kids to help them develop the missing social skills."

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