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Google Reported Ready To Leave China April 10
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 09:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's so-he-says deptartment:
A number of readers including tsj5j and bruleriestdenis wrote to alert us to this CNET story: "Google is expected to announce on Monday that it will withdraw from China on April 10, according to a report in a Beijing-based newspaper that cited an unidentified sales associate who works with the company. 'I have received information saying that Google will leave China on April 10, but this information has not at present been confirmed by Google,' the China Business News quoted the agent as saying. The report also said Google would reveal its plans for its China-based staff that day."

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Microsoft Lifts XP Mode Hardware Requirement
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 08:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's marketecture-in-action deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "This week, Microsoft published a patch that allows Windows XP Mode to run on PCs without hardware-assisted virtualization. Which begs the question: Why the bizarro requirement in the first place? Was it an honest attempt to deliver an 'optimal' user experience? Or simply a concession to the company's jilted lover, Intel Corporation — 'a kind of apology for royally screwing up with the whole Windows Vista “too fat to fit” debacle,' as the blog post puts it."

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Invisibility Cloak Created In 3D
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 08:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's can-you-see-me-now deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have created the first device to render an object invisible in three dimensions. The 'cloak,' described in the journal Science (abstract; full text requires login), hid an object from detection using light of wavelengths close to those that are visible to humans. Previous devices have been able to hide objects from light travelling in only one direction; viewed from any other angle, the object would remain visible. This is a very early but significant step towards a true invisibility cloak." The "object" hidden in this work was a bump one micrometer high. The light used was just longer than the wavelengths our eyes detect. To get a visible-light cloak, the features of the cloaking metamaterial would need to be reduced in size from 300 nm to 10 nm.

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US Military Shuts Down CIA's Terrorist Honey Pot
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 07:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cyberwar-shambles deptartment:
Hugh Pickens sends in a Washington Post story about how US military cyber-warriors attacked and shut down a CIA-backed intelligence gathering site. "US military computer specialists, over the objections of the CIA, mounted a cyberattack that dismantled an online 'honey pot' monitored by US and Saudi intelligence agencies to identify extremists before they could strike, after military commanders said that the site was putting Americans at risk. The CIA argued that dismantling the site would lead to a significant loss of intelligence, while the military (in the form of the NSA) countered that taking it down was a legitimate operation in defense of US troops. 'The CIA didn't endorse the idea of crippling Web sites,' said one US counterterrorism official. The agency 'understood that intelligence would be lost, and it was; that relationships with cooperating intelligence services would be damaged, and they were; and that the terrorists would migrate to other sites, and they did.' Four former senior US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the creation and shutting down of the site illustrates the need for clearer policies governing cyberwar."

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UMG To Price New CDs Under $10
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 06:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's too-little-too-late deptartment:
marmoset writes "Perhaps a decade late, Universal Music Group has decided to try out sub-$10 CD pricing in the US. 'Beginning in the second quarter and continuing through most of the year, the company's Velocity program will test lower CD prices. Single CDs will have the suggested list prices of $10, $9, $8, $7 and $6.'" CD retailers are not convinced the price cuts will work out. For one thing it depends on whether other major labels follow suit, but the article notes that "executives at the other majors were nervous about the UMG move" and "privately, some appeared annoyed."

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Opera Sees "Dramatic" Rise From Microsoft's Ballot
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 05:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's fat-lady-warming-up deptartment:
TheReal_sabret00the notes a TechRadar piece reporting that Opera Software has seen a doubling from normal download numbers on average since Microroft's browser-choice screen lit up in Europe. The UK saw an 85% increase and for other countries it was larger still: Poland 328%, Spain 215%, and Italy 202%. Hakon Wium Lie, CTO of Opera Software, said "A multitude of browsers will make the web more standardised and easier to browse".

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Health Care Reform
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 05:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's it-comes-to-this deptartment:
It appears that today might be the end of a very long road to health care reform. There's been a lot of debate on the subject really leading back before the election. The mainstream sounds like an echo chamber, so I'm hoping you guys have better insight. Will this bill do what the administration claims to do, or is it as bad for the future of America as Fox says?

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Millennium Prize Awarded For Perelman's Poincaré Proof
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-prove-perelman-exists deptartment:
epee1221 writes "The Clay Mathematics Institute has announced its acceptance of Dr. Grigori Perelman's proof of the Poincaré conjecture and awarded the first Millennium Prize. Poincaré questioned whether there exists a method for determining whether a three-dimensional manifold is a spherical: is there a 3-manifold not homologous to the 3-sphere in which any loop can be gradually shrunk to a single point? The Poincaré conjecture is that there is no such 3-manifold, i.e. any boundless 3-manifold in which the condition holds is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere. A sketch of the proof using language intended for the lay reader is available at Wikipedia."

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Microsoft Docs Indicate Future Xbox 360 Support For USB Storage
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-thing-you-didn't-shell-for-the-big-hdd deptartment:
Internal Microsoft documents obtained by Joystiq indicate that its Xbox 360 console will gain support for USB storage devices some time this Spring. "According to the document, the USB mass storage device must be at least 1GB and the system will do a compatibility check. 'The system partition occupies 512 MB of space, and by default the consumer partition occupies the remainder of the device capacity, or 16 GB, whichever is smaller.' Upon inserting a blank USB storage device, 'consumers are offered two choices: "Configure now" or "Customize."' The 'Configure now' option will use 'the entire device capacity, up to the maximum of 512 MB plus 16 GB,' meaning, regardless of the overall size of the device you're using, the Xbox will only enable 16 GB of usable, non-system storage. The 'Customize' option will allow you to 'preserve some pre-existing, non-console data on the device' such as music." There have also been rumors of a new, smaller form factor for the 360, and hacker Ben Heck has given his thoughts on some leaked motherboard pictures.

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UK ID Cards Could Be Upgraded To Super ID Cards
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's big-enough-to-give-you-all-you-want deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Gadget lovers are used to punishing upgrade cycles but now it seems that the British ID card could be replaced with a 'super' ID card just a couple of years after the first one was released. The new card could be used to buy goods or services online, or to prove identity over the web. It's a bit of a kick in the teeth for the people who have already paid £30 for a 1st gen card that can't do any of these things."

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Lag Analysis For the PlayStation Move
Posted by News Fetcher on March 19 '10 at 12:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's swing-and-a-miss deptartment:
The $64,000 question about Sony's upcoming motion control system, the PlayStation Move, is how responsive it will be compared to traditional console controllers and its counterparts from Nintendo and Microsoft. Eurogamer slowed down videos of Sony's tech demo software to establish a rough baseline latency that developers will have to work with. Quoting: "While exact latency measurements aren't possible in these conditions, a ballpark idea of the level of response isn't a problem at all. The methodology is remarkably straightforward. Keep your hand as steady as possible, then make fast motions with the controller. Count the frames between your hand moving, and the motion being carried out on-screen. Equally illuminating is to stop your movement suddenly, then count the frames necessary for your on-screen counterpart to catch up. While not 100 per cent accurate, repeat the process enough times and the frame difference becomes fairly evident. Bearing all of that in mind, and recognizing that we don't know how much latency the display itself is adding, I'd say that a ballpark figure of around 133ms of controller lag (give or take a frame) seems reasonable, certainly not the ultra-fast crispness of response we see from games like Burnout Paradise or Modern Warfare, but fine for most of the applications you would want from such a controller."

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Bruce Bueno de Mesquita Uses Games To See the Future
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's shall-we-play-a-game deptartment:
parallel_prankster writes "Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a professor of politics at New York University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California. In his new book, The Predictioneer (The Predictioneer's Game in the US), he describes a computer model based on game theory which he — and others — claim can predict the future with remarkable accuracy. The website also has a game page where he provides an online version of the game and information on how to play." The (semi-paywalled; may need to register) New Scientist has a story on de Mesquita, too; a snippet: "Over the past 30 years, Bueno de Mesquita has made thousands of predictions about hundreds of issues from geopolitics to personal problems. Overall, he claims, his hit rate is about 90 per cent."

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Microsoft Announces Windows 7 SP1
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 06:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's software-evolves deptartment:
CWmike writes "Microsoft has announced service packs for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but declined to set a release date or a schedule for getting a beta in users' hands. A company spokesman said Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) will primarily contain 'minor updates,' including patches and hotfixes that will have been delivered earlier via the Windows Update service, rather than new features. One of the latter: an updated Remote Desktop client designed to work with RemoteFX, the new remote-access platform set to debut in SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2. Windows Server 2008 R2 will also be upgraded to SP1, Microsoft said, presumably at the same time as Windows 7 since the two operating systems share a single code base. Besides RmoteFX — which Microsoft explained Wednesday in an entry on the Windows virtualization team's blog — Server 2008 R2 will also include a feature dubbed 'Dynamic Memory,' which lets IT staff adjust guest virtual machines' memory on the fly. Microsoft did not spell out a timetable for the service packs, saying only that it would provide more information as release milestones approach."

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Piezo Crystals Harness Sound To Generate Hydrogen
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's what's-shakin'? deptartment:
MikeChino writes "Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that a mix of zinc oxide crystals, water, and noise pollution can efficiently produce hydrogen without the need for a dirty catalyst like oil. To generate the clean hydrogen, researchers produced a new type of zinc oxide crystals that absorb vibrations when placed in water. The vibrations cause the crystals to develop areas with strong positive and negative charges — a reaction that rips the surrounding water molecules and releases hydrogen and oxygen. The mechanism, dubbed the piezoelectrochemical effect, converts 18% of energy from vibrations into hydrogen gas (compared to 10% from conventional piezoelectric materials), and since any vibration can produce the effect, the system could one day be used to generate power from anything that produces noise — cars whizzing by on the highway, crashing waves in the ocean, or planes landing at an airport."

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Details Emerge on Futurama's "Rebirth" (and Return)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you'll-need-a-3d-tv-with-smellovision deptartment:
Svippy writes "As revealed last summer, Futurama will be returning this year, and while there were conflicts about the cast of the show in the late summer of 2009, a deal was eventually secured. Last week, Comedy Central confirmed the airing of the first episode, 'Rebirth,' will be 24 June 2010. Several other details related to plot and production have surfaced over the months, and for those interested, a full article is available on the subject."

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1st Trial Under California Spam Law Slams Spammer
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's righteous-win deptartment:
www.sorehands.com writes "In the first case brought by a spam recipient to actually go to trial in California, the Superior Court of California held that people who receive false and deceptive spam emails are entitled to liquidated damages of $1,000 per email under California Business & Professions Code Section 17529.5. In the California Superior Court ruling (PDF), Judge Marie S. Weiner made many references to the fact that Defendants used anonymous domain name registration and used unregistered business names in her ruling. This is different from the Gordon case, where one only had to perform a simple whois lookup to identify the sender; here, Defendants used 'from' lines of 'Paid Survey' and 'Your Promotion' with anonymously registered domain names.Judge Weiner's decision makes it clear that the California law is not preempted by the I CAN-SPAM Act. This has been determined in a few prior cases, including my own. (See http://www.barbieslapp.com/spam for some of those cases.)"

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High-Tech Research Moving From US To China
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's viewing-the-world-as-a-zero-sum-game deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that American companies like Applied Materials are moving their research facilities and engineers to China as the country develops a high-tech economy that increasingly competes directly with the United States. Applied Materials set up its latest solar research labs in China after estimating that China would be producing two-thirds of the world's solar panels by the end of this year and their chief technology officer, Mark R. Pinto, is the first CTO of a major American tech company to move to China. 'We're obviously not giving up on the US,' says Pinto. 'China needs more electricity. It's as simple as that.' Western companies are also attracted to China's huge reservoirs of cheap, highly skilled engineers and the subsidies offered by many Chinese cities and regions, particularly for green energy companies. Applied Materials decided to build their new $250 million research facility in Xi'an after the city government sold them a 75-year land lease at a deep discount and is reimbursing the company for roughly a quarter of the lab complex's operating costs for five years."

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Google Slams Viacom For Secret YouTube Uploads
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-back-channels-collide deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Reuters: "Google, Inc. accused Viacom, Inc. of secretly uploading its videos to YouTube even as the media conglomerate publicly denounced the online video site for copyright infringement, according to court documents made public on Thursday." As "statements from the corporate counsel's office" go, this post on the YouTube blog is pretty hot reading.

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Coming Soon, Smartphone-Based Banking
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's honing-in-on-float deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Banks will be offering a new service at the end of the year that will let customers take a photo of a paper check and have it be deposited in their bank accounts, making the smartphone one step closer to an ATM."

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Startup's Submerged Servers Could Cut Cooling Costs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 18 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's alliteration-alternation deptartment:
1sockchuck writes "Are data center operators ready to abandon hot and cold aisles and submerge their servers? An Austin startup says its liquid cooling enclosure can cool high-density server installations for a fraction of the cost of air cooling in traditional data centers. Submersion cooling using mineral oil isn't new, dating back to the use of Fluorinert in the Cray 2. The new startup, Green Revolution Cooling, says its first installation will be at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (also home to the Ranger supercomputer). The company launched at SC09 along with a competing liquid cooling play, the Iceotope cooling bags."

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