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How Many SUSE Subscriptions Can You Get For $240M?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-got-the-stuff-you-got-the-money? deptartment:
itwbennett writes "According to an SD Times article, Microsoft is almost through passing out the infamous subscription certificates for SUSE Enterprise Linux that it purchased for $240 million as part of its investment in Novell. According to the article, Microsoft says that 'a total of 475 customers have used an unspecified number of coupons.' Blogger Brian Proffitt calculates that 'if indeed just 475 customers have received these coupons, then Microsoft has essentially subsidized SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) deployments to an average tune of US$505,263.16 per customer.'"

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Woz Cites "Scary" Prius Acceleration Software Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bad-news-for-half-of-california deptartment:
theodp writes "Speaking at Discovery Forum 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak went off topic and spoke about a 'very scary' problem with his 2010 Toyota Prius. 'I don't get upset and teed off at things in life, except computers that don't work right,' said Woz, who went on to explain he'd been trying to get through to Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for three months, but could not get anyone to explore an alleged software-related acceleration problem. 'I have a new model that didn't get recalled,' Steve said. 'This new model has an accelerator that goes wild but only under certain conditions of cruise control. And I can repeat it over and over and over again — safely.' Toyota said it investigates all complaints. 'We're in the business of investigating complaints, assessing problems and finding remedies,' said Toyota's John Hanson. 'After man-years of exhaustive testing we have not found any evidence of an electronic [software] problem that would have led to unwanted acceleration.'"We recently discussed other problems Toyota has had with electronic acceleration systems.

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Amazon Surrenders To Macmillan On eBook Pricing
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's methinks-the-kindle-doth-protest-too-much deptartment:
CuteSteveJobs writes with a followup to news we discussed on Saturday of a disagreement between Amazon and Macmillan Publishers over ebook pricing: "Amazon has thrown in the towel and announced it will now sell books at Macmillan's increased prices; up to $14.99 from $9.99. Said Amazon in a statement: 'We will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.' Macmillan has sensed Apple's iBooks opens the way for higher prices. Perhaps the question should be: do we even need publishers like Macmillian? Publishers have long managed to keep their old business model chugging along nicely despite the Internet; Academics are still forced to give up copyright (PDF) of their work in exchange for publication. Textbook publishers have a history of unethical practices like frequent edition changes, unjustifiable price increases and bribing teachers. For that matter, why do the RIAA's members still control the music business? Why do these dinosaur publishing businesses still manage to thrive despite the Internet?"

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South Australia Outlaws Anonymous Political Speech
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's best-of-luck-enforcing-that deptartment:
Sabriel writes "If you're online in South Australia and want to comment about the upcoming state election, be prepared to hand over your real name and postcode first — because this month it becomes illegal to do so anonymously (even under a pseudonym). Media organizations must keep your details on file for six months and face 'fines of $5000 if they do not hand over this information to the Electoral Commissioner.' This abomination was passed with the support of both major parties (Labour and Liberal), and to quote its sponsor, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson, 'There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.' Apparently incapable of targeting a few impostors without resorting to 'nuke it from orbit' legislative tactics, Atkinson has forgotten that protecting anonymity is important to the democratic process; hopefully both major parties will get a reminder come the polls on March 20."

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US Missile Defense Test Fails
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's bullet-with-a-bullet deptartment:
KingRobot sends news that a recent test of a US missile defense system has failed. The test of the Groundbased Midcourse Defense interceptor apparently had a problem with the sea-based X-band radar. Both the target missile, launched from the Pacific, and the interceptor, launched from California, performed as expected. "Yesterday's test was intended to quell doubters of the entire missile-defense approach, with the target missile deploying countermeasures. Critics of the GMD programme say that tests thus far, which have not included such spoilers, have been too kind to the intercept tech. The [military] isn't disclosing whether the intercepting kill vehicle had simply failed to reach the 'threat cluster' of warhead(s) and decoys, or whether it had reached the cluster but hit a countermeasure rather than the actual target."

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"No Scan, No Fly" At Heathrow and Manchester
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '10 at 02:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's stand-and-deliver deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It is now compulsory for people selected for a full body scan to take part, or they will not be allowed to fly from Heathrow or Manchester airports. There is no optional pat down. Also, a rule which meant that people under 18 were not allowed to participate in the body scanner trial has been overturned by the government. There is no mention of blurring out the genitals, however reports a few years back said X-ray backscatter devices aren't effective unless the genitals of people going through them are visible."

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De-Anonymizing Social Network Users
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 11:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's know-what-groups-you-joined-last-summer deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The H has an article about some researchers who found a new way to de-anonymize people. Compared to the EFF's Panopticlick, the goal of this experiment is not to identify a user's browser uniquely, but to identify individual users. The test essentially exploits the fact that many social network users are identifiable by their membership of various groups. According to the researchers, it's very unlikelly that two people on any social network will belong to exactly the same groups. A 'group fingerprint' can thus allow websites to identify previously anonymous visitors. They describe the setup and all details and the results look very interesting. They also have a live demo for the social network Xing that was able to de-anonymize me."

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Electric Bicycles Surging In Popularity
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 09:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's look-ma-no-feet deptartment:
gollum123 writes "An accidental transportation upheaval began in China, where an estimated 120 million electric bicycles now hum along the roads, up from a few thousand in the 1990s. They are replacing traditional bikes and motorcycles at a rapid clip and, in many cases, allowing people to put off the switch to cars. The booming Chinese electric-bike industry is spurring worldwide interest and impressive sales in India, Europe, and the US. China is exporting many bikes, and Western manufacturers are also copying the Chinese trend to produce models of their own. From virtually nothing a decade ago, electric bikes have become an $11 billion global industry. In the Netherlands, a third of the money spent on bicycles last year went to electric-powered models.Industry experts predict similar growth elsewhere in Europe, especially in Germany, France, and Italy, as rising interest in cycling coincides with an aging population. India had virtually no sales until two years ago, but its nascent market is fast expanding and could eclipse Europe's in the next year. In China, electric bicycles have evolved into bigger machines that resemble Vespa scooters. These larger models are causing headaches for global transportation planners. They cannot decide whether to embrace them as a green form of transportation, or ban them as a safety hazard. Some cities are studying the halfway measure of banning them from bicycle lanes while permitting them on streets."

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Botnet Targets Web Sites With Junk SSL Connections
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 07:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's look-over-there deptartment:
angry tapir writes "More than 300 Web sites are being pestered by infected computers that are part of the Pushdo botnet. The FBI, Twitter, and PayPal are among the sites being hit, although it doesn't appear the attacks are designed to knock the sites offline. Pusho appears to have been recently updated to cause computers infected with it to make SSL connections to various Web sites — the bots start to create an SSL connection, disconnect, and then repeat." SecureWorks's Joe Stewart theorizes that this behavior is designed to obscure Pushdo's command and control in a flurry of bogus SSL traffic.

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IE 8 Is Top Browser, Google Chrome Is Rising Fast
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 05:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's trend-is-your-friend deptartment:
An anonymous reader points out that the latest Net Applications numbers show that MSIE 8 has become the world's most-used browser, taking over from IE6, which has been hit by the decline in the use of Windows XP. PCMag.com emphasizes another angle on the numbers, which is that Chrome is the fastest-growing browser. Firefox's market share has stalled just below 25%. Chrome is now in third place, ahead of Safari. The Guardian's article reminds: "There's no guarantee that NetApps' numbers are accurate, and they are very unlikely to be correct to two decimal places. However, they do appear to be a good indicator of market trends."

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Military's Robotic Pack Mule Gets $32M Boost
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 04:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's now-to-develop-a-muffler deptartment:
coondoggie sends word that Boston Dynamics, maker of the BigDog robot we have been following for a while, has just been awarded a $32M DARPA contract to produce robotic "pack dogs" for the military. "What kind of robot will automatically follow a leader, carry 400 lbs. (182 kg) of military gear, walk 20 miles in all manner of weather, and go 24 hours without refueling? Well, we might soon find out as DARPA has awarded a $32 million contract to build its Legged Squad Support System (LS3) which uses sensors and a GPS to walk along with soldiers across all manner of terrain in any weather without pulling any muscles."

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AMD Publishes Open-Source "ATI Evergreen" Driver
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 03:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's still-watching-and-waiting deptartment:
Several readers have written to tell us that AMD has published their code to support the Radeon HD 5000 "Evergreen" graphics cards on Linux in an open-source driver. Unfortunately the driver isn't quite as complete as some might hope. The current offering doesn't promise 2D (EXA) acceleration or 3D support. "The DDX driver supports mode-setting on the Evergreen/R800 series GPUs with VGA and DVI connectors while the DisplayPort connectivity is still not working right, according to AMD's Alex Deucher who had written most of this code. These new AMD graphics cards have been around since September while there was no open-source support at that time. In December just before Christmas there was Evergreen Shader documentation that was made publicly available and around that time it was confirmed via our forums that initial VGA mode-setting was working with Evergreen internally on unreleased code. Since then the digital connector support has been added in and this code has finally cleared AMD's legal review. The revised target was to publish this code by FOSDEM, which is this weekend so AMD did hit the target this time."

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Using Windows 7 RC? Pay Up Or Auto Shutdown Warned
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 03:00 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-tests deptartment:
CWmike writes with a warning that free preview copies of Windows 7 in the wild will start nagging users to pay up in a couple of week until ultimately shutting down the PC altogether in a month. "Microsoft unveiled the schedule for Windows 7 Release Candidate's retirement in May 2009, when it issued the early look to the public. At the time, it said Windows 7 RC would expire June 1, 2010. Before that date, however, users are to receive warnings of the impending end. Starting on Feb. 15, Windows 7 RC will display notices every few hours that the machine will periodically shut down beginning on March 1. As of March 1, PCs running Windows 7 RC will automatically shut down every two hours. Those shutdowns will come without warning."

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"Calvin and Hobbes" Creator Bill Watterson Looks Back With No Regrets
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 02:15 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's memories-of-better-comics deptartment:
With fifteen years separating us from the last appearance of "Calvin and Hobbes" on the comic pages, reclusive artist Bill Watterson gave a rare interview reminiscing about his legacy. "The only part I understand is what went into the creation of the strip. What readers take away from it is up to them. Once the strip is published, readers bring their own experiences to it, and the work takes on a life of its own. Everyone responds differently to different parts. I just tried to write honestly, and I tried to make this little world fun to look at, so people would take the time to read it. That was the full extent of my concern. You mix a bunch of ingredients, and once in a great while, chemistry happens. I can't explain why the strip caught on the way it did, and I don't think I could ever duplicate it. A lot of things have to go right all at once."

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New Hearing Aid Uses Your Tooth To Transmit Sound
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 01:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's new-blue-tooth deptartment:
kkleiner writes to share a new device from Sonitus Medical that transmits sound to the inner ear via the teeth and jawbone. Dubbed "SoundBite," the device captures sound using a microphone in the ear and transmits to an in-the-mouth device that in turn sends the sounds through the jaw. "There are other hearing aid devices that utilize bone conduction. Most, however, use a titanium pin drilled into the jaw bone (or skull) to transmit sound to the cochlea. SoundBite seems to be the first non-surgical, non-invasive, easily removable device. While they are likely years from retail production, Sonitus Medical plans on having SoundBite ITMs fitted to each individual's upper back teeth and fabricated fairly quickly (1 to 2 weeks). A complete system is planned to include two ITMs, 1 BTE, and a charger. In the wider world of cochlear implants, SoundBite may only be fit for relatively specialized use. Still, the ability to easily upgrade or replace individual components makes the device competitive. A similar device could be adapted to provide audio for a personalized augmented reality system. Perhaps the Bluetooth headset of the future will involve actual teeth."

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Super Strong Metal Foam Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 12:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's body-armor-in-a-can deptartment:
MikeChino writes to tell us that a North Carolina State University researcher has discovered what appears to be the strongest metal foam yet, capable of compressing up to 80% of it's original size under load and still retain the original shape. The hope is that this amazing material could be used in cars, body armor, or even buildings to absorb the shock from earthquakes. "Metal foam is exactly what you might think – a cellular structure made from metal with tiny pockets of space inside. What makes Rabiei’s metal foam better than others is that she’s been able to make the tiny pockets of space more uniform. And that apparently is what gives it the strength as well as elasticity it needs in order to compress as much as it does without deformation. Many tests are being performed in the laboratory to determine its strength, but so far Rabiei says that the spongy material has 'a much higher strength-to-density ratio than any metal foam that has ever been reported.' Calculations also predict that in car accidents, when two pieces of her composite metal foam are inserted “behind the bumper of a car traveling at 28 mph, the impact would feel the same to passengers as an impact traveling at only 5 mph."

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Why Has No One Made a Great Gaming Phone?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 12:30 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's holding-an-xbox-to-your-ear deptartment:
andylim writes "According to Engadget, John Koller, Sony's head of PlayStation marketing, recently said that 'Apple's entrance into the portable gaming space has been a net positive for Sony. When people want a deeper, richer console, they start playing on a PSP.' What's odd though is that everyone knows that the mobile phone gaming market is a huge and yet neither Sony nor Nintendo has made a gaming phone yet. Recombu.com thinks that Nokia could enter the space with PSP-like devices and it has come up with a concept phone called the Ovi Orion, which would bridge the gap between phone and console, 'If the iPhone is Wii, then Ovi Orion would be Xbox and offer Xbox Live style features. A serious gaming phone for serious gamers.'"

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Will Your Super Bowl Party Anger the Copyright Gods?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 11:45 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's too-many-weekend-lawyers deptartment:
garg0yle writes "According to some folks, watching the Super Bowl on a television bigger than 55 inches is illegal. Is this true? Yes and no — long story short, if you're in a private residence you're probably okay, but if you're running a sports bar you may technically have to negotiate a license with the NFL. Just don't charge for food, or call it a 'Super Bowl' party, since the term itself is copyright."

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Sams Teach Yourself HTML and CSS In 24 Hours
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
r3lody writes "Sams Teach Yourself HTML and CSS in 24 Hours 8th edition, by Julie C. Meloni and Michael Morrison, provides the beginning and intermediate web designer with the tools needed to create standards-based web sites. The major focus of the book is XHTML 1.1 and CSS 2, but HTML 5 and some XHTML 1.0 are discussed. Overall, the presentation and content are very good. One small minus was that the publisher's site did not include downloadable examples from the book. I also found no errata until the latter parts of the book. Published in December of 2009, the 8th edition provides reasonably current information." Read on for Ray's review.

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Nokia N900 Linux Smartphone Running OS X
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '10 at 10:00 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's mr-johnson's-dog deptartment:
Rovaani writes "There is a video floating around of a Nokia N900 smartphone running the full desktop Mac OS X 10.3. From the author, Tomi Nikkanen: 'I believe this makes the N900 the first smartphone ever to run a full version of Mac OS X (at any speed, slow or otherwise). As you can see from the heavily edited video, it took almost 2 hours to reach the "About my Mac..." window. Keep your eye on the time display as that will give you an impression of just how uselessly slow it is.'"

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