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Is OLED TV Technology In Jeopardy?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '10 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-i-think-trebeck-still-uses-lcds deptartment:
MojoKid writes "Sony recently announced it would halt sales of its 11" OLED TV in Japan, where the panel first debuted. For now, the XEL-1 will remain on sale in the US and other markets, but Sony's decision to kill the unit in its home market and reduce the rate at which it's investing in future OLED TV development has been perceived in some corners as a judgment on the long-term feasibility of OLED technology. In the wake of Sony's announcement, far too many pundits have rushed to declare OLED panels dead, dying, moribund, or otherwise abandoned. However, it seems more likely at this juncture that we'll see development focus shift from large panel sizes to smaller ones, particularly since the smartphone/handheld OLED market is growing briskly and larger screens are inherently more prone to defects. Sadly, this means that your chance of traipsing home with a truly cutting-edge display before 2014 or so could be pretty minimal."

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After Learning Java Syntax, What Next?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '10 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's nice-hot-bath deptartment:
Niris writes "I'm currently taking a course called Advanced Java Programming, which is using the text book Absolute Java, 4th edition, by Walter Savitch. As I work at night as a security guard in the middle of nowhere, I've had enough time to read through the entire course part of the book, finish all eleven chapter quizzes, and do all of the assignments within a month, so all that's left is a group assignment that won't be ready until late April. I'm trying to figure out what else to read that's Java related aside from the usual 'This is how to create a tree. This is recursion. This is how to implement an interface and make an anonymous object,' and wanted to see what Slashdotters have to suggest. So far I'm looking at reading Beginning Algorithms, by Simon Harris and James Ross."

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The Surreal World of Chatroulette
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '10 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's lick-you-elbow deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The New York Times reports that Chatroulette, the social Web site created by a 17-year-old Russian named Andrey Ternovskiy, drops you into an unnerving world where you are connected through webcams to a random, fathomless succession of strangers from across the globe. The site activates your webcam automatically; when you click 'start' you're suddenly staring at another human on your screen and they're staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click 'next,' instantly calling up someone else. Entering Chatroulette is akin to speed-dating tens of thousands of perfect strangers — some clothed, some not. You see them, they see you. You talk to them, they talk to you. 'It's very strange, and not just because you are parachuting into someone else's life (and they yours), a kind of invited crasher,' writes Nick Bilton. 'It is also the eerie thrill of true randomness — who, or what, will show up next?' The Web has long allowed anonymous conversations among strangers. Text-based chat rooms are rife with deceit — people pretending they are someone else. Video makes this harder — even if you're wearing a mask. 'From my experience on the site, echoed by those I've spoken to, it seems as if 90 percent of users are genuinely looking for novel and unexpected conversation,' add Bilton. 'The rest — well, let's just say they have debauchery in mind.'"

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Atlas V's Sonic Boom Made Visible By Sundog
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '10 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's right-time-and-place deptartment:
Ross-Shire Geek writes "Atlas V lifted off on Feb 11 from Kennedy. As it goes supersonic through a sundog (aka parhelion) you can see (video link) wonderful visible ripples of the shock wave in the sky."

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Stone Tools Found on Crete Push Back Humans' Maritime History
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's perhaps-a-swallow-brought-them-there deptartment:
The New York Times reports that stone tools discovered on the Greek island of Crete, and reported last month at an academic conference, are strong evidence for rethinking the maritime capabilities of early humans. The researchers who found the tools (hand-axes, cleavers, and scrapers) estimate them to be at least 130,000 years old; if they're right, humans have been traveling long distances at sea (Crete is 200 miles from the northern African coastline) for at least several tens of thousands of years longer than earlier believed.

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Photoshop 1.0 Recreated On iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-time-loops-collide deptartment:
Dotnaught writes "Photoshop co-creator Russell Brown asked Ansca Mobile to re-create Photoshop 1.0, originally introduced in 1990, for the iPhone. The resulting app, created in three days using the Corona SDK, was distributed to 50 attendees of an event celebrating Photoshop's 20th anniversary. Programmer Evan Kirchhoff in a blog post explains that Ansca took the project on to prove its claims about how Corona makes iPhone development faster."

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"Immortal Molecule" Evolves — How Close To Synthetic Life?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 05:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's non-instant-soup deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with word of ongoing work at Scripps Research Institute: "Can life arise from nothing but a chaotic assortment of basic molecules? The answer is a lot closer following a series of ingenious experiments that have shown evolution at work in non-living molecules."

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Fingerprint Requirement For a Work Study Job?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's dept-of-double-speak-is-closed-please-come-in deptartment:
BonesSB writes "I'm a student at a university in Massachusetts, where I have a federal work-study position. Yesterday, I got an email from the office that is responsible for student run organizations (one of which I work for) saying that I need to go to their office and have my finger prints taken for the purposes of clocking in and out of work. This raises huge privacy concerns for me, as should it everybody else. I am in the process of contacting the local newspaper, getting the word out to students everywhere, and talking directly to the office regarding this. I got an email back with two very contradictory sentences: 'There will be no image of your fingerprints anywhere. No one will have access to your fingerprints. The machine is storing your prints as a means of identifying who you are when you touch it.' Does anybody else attend a school that requires something similar? This is an obvious slippery slope, and something I am not taking lightly. What else should I do?"

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Math Anxiety Affects Skills As Basic As Counting
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's resemble-that-remark deptartment:
thirty-seven writes "According to four Canadian psychologists, a study they have conducted shows that math anxiety, 'the feeling of fear and dread of performing mathematical calculations,' can negatively affect mathematical tasks much simpler and more basic than previously thought. In the study, participants were asked to count black squares on a white screen. The number of squares shown ranged from one to nine and participants were given as much time as they wanted before answering. When the number of squares was in the subitizing range (one to four), both math-anxious and non-math-anxious participants performed equally well, but when the number of squares was in the counting range (five to nine), the math-anxious group took longer and were less accurate. The University of Waterloo's news release about the study includes this interesting note: 'Previous studies have shown that a weakness in basic math abilities has a greater negative effect on employment opportunities than reading difficulties [do].'"

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USPTO's 1-Click Indecisiveness Enters 5th Year
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-puff-candles-on-the-cake deptartment:
theodp writes "When it comes to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' 1-Click patent, the USPTO is an agency that just can't say no. Or yes. It's now been 4+ years since actor Peter Calveley submitted prior art that triggered a USPTO reexamination of the 1-Click patent. Still no 'final answer' from the USPTO, although an Examiner recently issued yet another Final Rejection of 1-Click related claims (pdf), admonishing Amazon for making him 'sift through hundreds of submitted references to identify what applicant allegedly has already submitted,' which he complained is 'adding an undue burden' to his workload. Looks like Bezos' 2000 pledge of 'less work for the overworked Patent and Trademark Office' isn't working out so well in practice. Not too surprising — after all, Amazon did inform Congress that it 'has modified its specific [patent] reform proposals from the year 2000.'"

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Ars Analysis Calls Windows 7 Memory Usage Claims "Scaremongering"
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's nothing-but-dihydrogen-monoxide-to-drink deptartment:
Via newsycombinator comes a reaction at Ars Technica to the recently reported claims of excessive memory use on machines running Windows 7. From the article: "I installed the XPnet performance monitoring tool and waited for it to upload my data to see what it might be complaining about. The cause of the problem was immediately apparent. It's no secret that Windows 7, just like Windows Vista before it, includes aggressive disk caching. The SuperFetch technology causes Windows to preload certain data if the OS detects that it is used regularly, even if there is no specific need for it at any given moment. Though SuperFetch is a little less aggressive in Windows 7, it will still use a substantial amount of memory—but with an important proviso. The OS will only use memory for cache when there is no other demand for that memory."

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Students Build 2752 MPG Hypermiling Vehicle
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 11:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's seattle-to-vegas-and-back deptartment:
MikeChino sends along this awe-inspiring excerpt: "Think claims of electric vehicles that get over 200 MPG are impressive? Try this on for size: a group of mechanical engineering students at Cal Poly have developed a vehicle that can get up to 2752.3 MPG — and it doesn't even use batteries. The Cal Poly Supermileage Team's wondercar, dubbed the Black Widow, has been under construction since 2005. The 96 pound car has three wheels, a drag coefficient of 0.12, a top speed of 30 MPH, and a modified 3 horsepower Honda 50cc four-stroke engine. It originally clocked in at 861 MPH and has been continuously tweaked to achieve the mileage we see today." It's not quite as street-worthy, though, as Volkswagen's 235 MPG One-Liter concept.

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Which Linux For Non-Techie Windows Users?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's first-one's-free deptartment:
obarthelemy writes "Having at last gotten Linux to run satisfactorily on my own PCs, I'd now like to start transitioning friends and family from XP to Linux instead of Windows 7. The catch is that these guys don't understand or care much about computers, so the transition has to be as seamless and painless as possible. Actually, they won't care for new things; even the upcoming upgrade to Windows 7 would be a pain and a bother, which is a great opportunity for Linux. I'm not too concerned about software (most of them only need browser, IM, VLC, mail and a Powerpoint viewer for all those fascinating attachments). What I'm concerned about is OS look-and-feel and interface — system bar on the bottom with clock, trash, info on the right, menu on the left, menu items similar to those of Windows. Is it better to shoot for a very targeted distro? Which would you recommend? Are there themes/skins for mainstream distributions instead? I've been looking around the web, and it's hard to gauge which distros are well-done and reasonably active."

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Nintendo On the Hunt For More Scalps
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-not-literally deptartment:
rjch writes "After its recent win against mod chip piracy in the Australian Federal courts, Nintendo is now on the prowl for other companies to sue. 'Nintendo will pursue those who attempt to jeopardise the gaming industry by using all means available to it under the law. In particular, Nintendo is currently contemplating bringing further actions against other sellers of game copying devices in Australia.' The game company said since 2008 it had pursued over 800 actions in 16 countries to stop game piracy, confiscating 'well over' half a million game copiers for the Nintendo DS. The company said piracy affected sales, the price of video games, and employment in the video game industry."Reader daria42 sends in a related piece asking whether Nintendo is being to harsh over this and the recent $1.5 million judgment against a man who leaked New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

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FBI Probing PA School Webcam Spy Case
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's looking-to-defend-their-turf deptartment:
On Thursday we discussed news that a Pennsylvania high school was spying on students through the webcams in laptops that were issued to the students. The FBI is now taking an interest in the case, investigating whether federal wiretap and computer-intrusion laws were violated in the process. "The FBI opened its investigation after news of the suit broke on Thursday, the law-enforcement official said. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman may also investigate, she said Friday." Ferman said her office is "looking to see whether there are potential violations of Pennsylvania criminal laws."

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Two Chinese Schools Reportedly Tied To Online Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hacking-the-googles-was-just-the-midterm-exam deptartment:
squidw* writes "Online attacks on Google and other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved in the investigation. From the NY Times: '... the attacks, aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes and capturing e-mail of Chinese human rights activists, may have begun as early as April, months earlier than previously believed. ... The Chinese schools involved are Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Lanxiang Vocational School, according to several people with knowledge of the investigation who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the inquiry. Jiaotong has one of China’s top computer science programs. Just a few weeks ago its students won an international computer programming competition organized by IBM — the “Battle of the Brains” — beating out Stanford and other top-flight universities. Lanxiang, in east China’s Shandong Province, is a huge vocational school that was established with military support and trains some computer scientists for the military.'"

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Jimmy Wales' Theory of Failure
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's citation-needed deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Tampa Tribune reports that Jimmy Wales recently spoke at the TEDx conference in Tampa about the three big failures he had before he started Wikipedia, and what he learned from them. In 1996 Wales started an Internet service to connect downtown lunchers with area restaurants. 'The result was failure,' says Wales. 'In 1996, restaurant owners looked at me like I was from Mars.' Next Wales started a search engine company called 3Apes. In three months, it was taken over by Chinese hackers and the project failed. Third was an online encyclopedia called Nupedia, a free encyclopedia created by paid experts. Wales spent $250,000 for writers to make 12 articles, and it failed. Finally, Wales had a 'really dumb idea,' a free encyclopedia written by anyone who wanted to contribute. That became Wikipedia, which is now one of the top 10 most-popular Web sites in the world. This leads to Wales' theories of failure: fail faster — if a project is doomed, shut it down quickly; don't tie your ego to any one project — if it stumbles, you'll be unable to move forward; real entrepreneurs fail; fail a lot but enjoy yourself along the way; if you handle these things well, 'you will succeed.'"

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Tech Companies Say Don't Blame Canada For Copyright Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's except-for-those-rowdy-ottowans deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The Computer & Communications Industry Association, which includes a who's-who of the tech world, including Microsoft, Google, T-Mobile, Fujitsu, AMD, eBay, Intuit, Oracle, and Yahoo, has issued a strong defense of current Canadian copyright law, arguing that the US is wrong to place Canada on the annual Special 301 list. The submission argues that the US should not criticize Canada for not implementing anti-circumvention rules (PDF) and warns against using the Special 301 process to 'remake the world in the image of the DMCA.'"

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Perth Game Company CEO Takes IP By Night
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-a-dwelling-place-so-not-burglary deptartment:
snicho99 writes "A US owned gaming company has fled Australia, leaving unpaid employees and a massive tax bill. Apparently many staff have been working unpaid for months to allow their game to ship and hopefully the company to recover. Interzone's Perth (Western Australia) office was created with the assistance of a state government grant. Last week Interzone's (American) CEOentered the building at night and removed all the servers and IP so that Interzone could continue production at a new company they have opened in Ireland. The staff cought him on camera. More background here."

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DARPA Puts $32M Toward Quadruped Robot Prototype
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '10 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's either-that-gives-you-heebie-jeebies-or-it-doesn't deptartment:
The Installer writes with this selection from GizMag: "Walking quadrupeds are being cast to play a major role in the rapidly unfolding age of robotics. The platform promises versatility far beyond that of wheeled-vehicles and will undoubtedly find applications in a wide variety of fields. Not surprisingly, the development of quadrupeds is being driven by the military and DARPA has recently boosted its efforts by awarding Boston Dynamics $32 million for the prototype phase of its Legged Squad Support System (LS3) program. ... LC3 is conceived as an autonomous support pack-robot for ground troops that can carry 400 pounds or more of payload, sustain itself for 24 hours and cover 20 miles in almost any kind of terrain."

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