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Wear Leveling, RAID Can Wipe Out SSD Advantage
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '10 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-so-solid deptartment:
storagedude writes "This article discusses using solid state disks in enterprise storage networks. A couple of problems noted by the author: wear leveling can eat up most of a drive's bandwidth and make write performance no faster than a hard drive, and using SSDs with RAID controllers brings up its own set of problems. 'Even the highest-performance RAID controllers today cannot support the IOPS of just three of the fastest SSDs. I am not talking about a disk tray; I am talking about the whole RAID controller. If you want full performance of expensive SSDs, you need to take your $50,000 or $100,000 RAID controller and not overpopulate it with too many drives. In fact, most vendors today have between 16 and 60 drives in a disk tray and you cannot even populate a whole tray. Add to this that some RAID vendor's disk trays are only designed for the performance of disk drives and you might find that you need a disk tray per SSD drive at a huge cost.'"

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The Evolution of Reading In the Digital Age
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '10 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-wait-until-we-need-to-patch-our-books deptartment:
Doofus writes "'Print is dying. Digital is surging. Everyone is confused.' is the subtitle of Craig Mod's thoughtful discussion aboutthe evolution of reading material from printed dead-tree to flowing digital content. I stumbled upon his blog post from a related NYTimes article, Former Book Designer Says Good Riddance to Print. He breaks reading material down into two basic categories: 'Formless,' in which the content and meaning of the writing has no dependency on presentation, and 'Definite,' in which layout and presentation play a role in conveying meaning. Mod makes the point that as digital presentation improves, devices such as the iPad will bring authors newer and improved platforms upon which to display Definite content. Despite this, he says, some works will be better consumed in physical print because 'They're books that embrace their physicality or have stood the test of time. They're the kinds of books the iPad can't displace because they're complete objects.'"

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Shuttle Extension & Heavy Launcher Bill Proposed
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '10 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hail-mary deptartment:
FleaPlus writes "In light of Congressional resistance to the new plans for NASA (criticized as 'radical') proposed by NASA head Charles Bolden, Sen. Hutchinson (R-TX and ranking member of the Senate committee dealing with NASA) has proposed a compromise bill. Hutchinson's bill calls for postponing the Space Shuttle's retirement until 2015, and instead of wholly canceling Constellation/Ares, it would adapt the more effective portions to a 'government-operated space transportation system,' largely inspired by the DIRECT proposal. NASA would also pursue commercial crew and cargo launches to orbit, although the bill leaves out Charles Bolden's proposal for R&D of 'game-changing' technologies for sustainable and cost-effective space exploration."

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Why Paying For Code Doesn't Mean You Own It
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '10 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sadly-you-broke-it-you-bought-it-doesn't-work-either deptartment:
Barence writes "Why do people think they own code just because they've paid for it? PC Pro's Kevin Partner says many of his clients believe that by paying for the work to be done, they take ownership of it. But, put simply, code is owned by its developer even once the client has paid, unless that developer is legally employed by the client or a contract exists that transfers full ownership (and even then it's far from clear-cut). He discusses the thorny issue of making clients understand that distinction and gives advice on how developers can assert their rights."

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Sony Patents Game Demos With Feature Erosion
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '10 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's annoyance-codified deptartment:
MojoKid writes "When a game developer releases a demo, it's typically intended to entice players into first trying and then purchasing the full version. This is the stuff of Game Design 101 for most of us, but a crack team of cutting-edge gaming researchers at Sony have applied for a patent based on a novel concept: game demos that become progressively less fun the more you play. Sony refers to this as 'feature erosion.' The idea behind this dubious concept is that gamers will become hooked on a game while it's still in demo, then squawk unhappily as features and abilities they've unlocked begin to disappear. In order to prevent this, the player ponies up for the full version. A demo or program that provides limited functionality or play time is one thing; a game that's purposefully designed to take your progress away, in an admitted attempt to get you to buy once you've been hooked, is something altogether different."

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TiVo Time Warp Judgment Affirmed
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '10 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-patents-beat-sense deptartment:
zapakh writes "A federal appeals court this week upheld a lower court decision that accused DISH Network and EchoStar of continuing to infringe on TiVo patents.' This is a follow-on to a Slashdot story from October. Despite a 'Herculean effort' by EchoStar in redesigning its DVR software, the ruling agrees with the district court that that was not a major redesign of the software. The patent in question is titled 'Multimedia time warping system.' TiVo is pleased with the ruling."

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Could the Tumbleweed Rover Dominate Mars?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '10 at 01:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-the-old-tumbleweeds-look-suspicious-too deptartment:
astroengine writes "Mars has been visited by orbiters, landers and rovers, but could the future of Martian exploration be inspired by a wind-blown sphere? NASA and other research institutions have been developing the Mars Tumbleweed rover for the last decade, but with the help of the Planetary Science Institute, the Tumbleweed is now vying for some serious funding to further develop the technologies required. Although the Tumbleweed would be wholly dependent on the prevailing winds on the Martian surface, the lightweight and relatively cheap design could lead the way for a 'swarm' of independent Tumbleweeds to explore vast regions of the planet (video link). In 2003 and 2004, NASA even tested an inflatable Tumbleweed prototype on Greenland and Antarctica — it traversed hundreds of miles with ease, continually relaying location and environmental data."

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YouTube Makes Captioning Available To All
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's nation-of-lip-readers-knit-their-eyebrows deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "Google's YouTube announced that it has moved its automatic speech-recognition and closed-captioning technology out of beta and have now made it available to the YouTube community at large. Most, if not all, YouTube videos now include a 'CC' button that, if pressed, will automatically generate the closed-captioning technology. The technology processes the audio feed, using the speech-recognition technology used in the core voice search feature that has also built into the Android voice search feature, the GOOG-411 phone search, and other products."

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California Lake's Arsenic Hints At a Shadow Biosphere
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's some-more-tea-dear? deptartment:
MichaelSmith writes "Scientists think that there might be arsenic-based life in Mono Lake, California. If it shown to exist such life could have evolved independently from our own, or it could have forked from ours at a very early stage."

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Best WAP For Dense Crowds?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's well-phrased-and-specific deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A local community organization has asked me to help them set up WiFi access for an upcoming event, with some unusual (to me) requirements. All users (up to 500 people) will occupy a relatively small area and more-or-less have line-of-sight to the WAP, so issues like signal strength and wall penetration don't matter. Security also does not matter, as we plan to open this to anyone wanting to connect. Cost always matters, but we realize a $50 Linksys or three won't cut it here.In the past, I have used Cisco AP1200s for a few dozen users to great satisfaction, but they only handle 50 connections at a time, and practically count as antiques at this point anyway. My research on the matter tells me that 802.11n performs far better in this regard, but I want to support 802.11g as well. I have no objection to using two APs to split those apart (with n limited to 5.8GHz, as per the suggestion of several comments in a recent Ask Slashdot), but physical constraints make it preferable to minimize the total number of APs needed — Ten WRT54s might cost about the same as one Aironet, but I only have three good places to mount these.I welcome any suggestions and real-world experiences with similar situations, including the ever-popular Ask Slashdot refrain of 'What kind of idiot would do it like that, when you can just do this?' Ideally, I would like to know model numbers and how well they held up under real-world loads comparable to my situation."

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California To Create Public Animal Abuser Registry
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-fences-make-good-neighbors deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "California legislators are moving forward with plans to create a public, online, animal abuser registry identical in function to the public sex offender registry. Is this the slippery slope to further government mandated lists and registries?"

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Microsoft Sends Flowers To Internet Explorer 6 Funeral
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 04:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's sorry-about-your-loss deptartment:
Several readers have written with a fun followup 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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Law Prevents British Websites From Being Archived
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's there-would-be-these-things-called-hard-drives deptartment:
Lanxon writes "The law that allows the US Internet Archive to collect and preserve websites does not apply to British archivists. In fact, experts from the Archive and many other archivist institutions, argue that the only way the millions of Britain's websites could be legally archived is if British law itself was amended, reports Wired in an investigation published today. Currently, archivists have to seek permission from webmasters of every single site before they are able to take snapshots and retain data."

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Bluetooth 4.0 Devices To Make the Scene Later This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on March 05 '10 at 03:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's still-look-like-a-blue-tool deptartment:
Engadget is reporting that new Bluetooth 4.0 devices could be hitting the scene later this year, and it looks like Bluetooth low energy has been added to the spec. "But don't expect any dramatic changes in battery life for most of your gadgets: while the low energy spec introduces connectivity to a host of lower-power devices that have in the past relied on proprietary technology (such as watches, pedometers, and cats), your traditional Bluetooth devices, such as phones and laptops, will consume roughly the same amount of power. Indeed, the low energy spec is merely throwing smaller devices (with smaller amounts of data to transfer) in to the mix: if you want Trans-Siberian Orchestra to sound as glorious as ever on your wireless headphones, you'll need to push as much data (and hence draw as much power) with version 4 as you would with version 3."

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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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