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The End of the 3.5 Inch Floppy Continues
Posted by News Fetcher on April 25 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's finally-we-can-standardize-on-bernoulli deptartment:
JoshuaInNippon writes "In a brief press release buried within Sony Japan's website, the company announced that they would be ending sales of the classic 3.5 inch floppy disk in the country in March of 2011. Sony introduced the size to the world in 1981, which saw its heyday in the 1990s. Sony has been one of the last major manufacturers to continue shipments of the disk type they helped develop, but had ended most worldwide sales in March of this year. The company's production of the 3.5 inch floppy ceased in 2009. Sony noted the demand, or a lack thereof, as the reason. The company's withdrawal is one of the final marks in the slow death of the floppy era."

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Several Link-Spam Architectures Revealed
Posted by News Fetcher on April 25 '10 at 01:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's labyrinthine-luring deptartment:
workie writes "Using data derived from website infections, RescueTheWeb.org has found several interesting link-spam architectures. One architecture is where concentric layers of hijacked websites are used to increase the page rank and breadth of reach (within search engine search results) of scam sites. The outer layers link to the inner layers, eventually linking to a site that redirects the user to the scam site. Another architecture involves hijacked sites that redirect the user to fake copies of Google, having the appearance that the visitor is still within Google, but in reality they are on a Google look alike that contains only nefarious links."

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Bridging the Digital Divide In Uganda, By Freight
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's my-most-beloved-recipient deptartment:
jtrust27 writes "Slow or non-existent internet connections have meant that the people of Uganda for the last three decades have not been able to harness the many advantages of the online economy. This social and economic exclusion of the poorest of the poor was further accentuated by the impossibility for a Ugandan to obtain a credit card or make PayPal payments — a simple requirement to be able to pay for goods and services online. Most merchants and payment gateway providers automatically block all credit cards from Africa and it is not possible to get a verified PayPal account in many African nations." Now, a Ugandan company called EasyPayUganda is helping people sidestep these restrictions, by allowing customers to make online payments by proxy in order to pay for services and goods. EasyPayUganda is also providing a logistics solution, forwarding customers shipments to Uganda, as most online merchants will not ship to Africa.

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Was Flight Ban Over Ash an Overreaction?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 07:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-his-unbiased-opinion-of-course deptartment:
HaymarketRiot writes "Richard Branson has claimed that the flight ban, due to the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull, was an overreaction on the part of the authorities. Britain's government has even called for the airlines to be compensated. This does look like a perfect excuse for already greedy airlines to try and get more money ... any experts care to comment on the effect of volcanic ash on planes?"

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IEEE Introduces Mario Level-Generation Competition
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-they-hate-employment deptartment:
bgweber writes "Last year, the IEEE conference on Computational Intelligence and Games hosted a competition to determine who could write the best AI for playing Mario levels (YouTube video). This year, the conference has expanded the competition to include a track on level generation as well, where the goal is to procedurally generate new levels online . Submitting an entry is as easy as implementing a Java interface that performs procedural content generation. The implications of this competition are techniques for greatly increasing the replayability of games, since each gameplay session could present new levels to the player."

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Open Source Router To Replace WRT54GL?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's need-a-beamer deptartment:
jeremyz writes "With the inclusion of 802.11n in more and more Wi-Fi devices, the WRT54GL is losing its usefulness, even though it's still the de-facto standard for open source, Linux-running wireless routers. I've been looking around for a 802.11n router to replace the WRT54GL, but haven't really found anything besides the Netgear's WNR3500L. At first look, the WNR3500L looked great, but after some further investigation, I found that Netgear hasn't released all of the source, as they should have to comply with the GPL. Are there any good 802.11n routers to replace my aging WRT54GL?"

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EComStation 2.0 GA To Be Released May 14
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's be-first-in-line deptartment:
martiniturbide writes "After a long delay, eComStation 2.0 GA will finally become reality. It will be released in time to be presented at the Warpstock Europe 2010 event which is held in Trier, Germany, from May 14 to 16. We consider eComStation 2.0 to be the biggest overhaul of OS/2 so far. Together with a team of both hired and volunteer developers, we have extended the functionality, removed limitations, updated hardware support as far as possible, and resolved close to 1000 issues that had been reported since the release of eComStation 1.2R. The new eComStation 2.0 GA is the result of several years of combined efforts and investments."

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Looking Back at 1984 Report On "Radical Computing"
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's remote-viewing-next-big-thing deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The Department of Defense has just released a long restricted report (pdf) by the JASON group entitled RADICAL COMPUTING. This 1984 study outlines a number of alternate computing methods that could 'result in a radical improvement in computing.' The study attempts to explain the paradox of how the Russian lag in developing VLSI chips curiously did not critically hinder their accomplishments in space missions, ICBMs and chess computation. The authors speculate that the Russians might have achieved breakthroughs in alternative computing methods such as residue arithmetic and symbolic computing. (More cynical types assume the Russians bought or stole US chips from the French or other too-helpful go-betweens.)"

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LOFAR Telescope Array Grabs First Pulsar Images
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's print-them-full-size deptartment:
vikingpower writes "LOFAR, the LOw Frequence ARray radio telescope, under construction in the north of the Netherlands, saw its first pulsars (English translation of Dutch original) — through coupling it with radio telescopes in Germany and France. LOFAR is sensitive to wavelengths as long as seven meters, and will be inaugurated on June 12 of this year."

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What Happens When IPv4 Address Space Is Gone
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stars-wink-out-one-by-one deptartment:
darthcamaro writes "We all know that IPv4 address space is almost all gone — but how will we know when the exact date is? and what will happen that day? In a new report, ARIN's CIO explains exactly what will happen on that last day of IPv4 address availability: '"We will run out of IPv4 address space and the real difficult part is that there is no flag date. It's a real moving date based on demand and the amount of address space we can reclaim from organizations," Jimmerson told InternetNews.com. "If things continue they way they have, ARIN will for the very first time, sometime between the middle and end of next year, receive a request for IPv4 address space that is justified and meets the policy. However, ARIN won't have the address space. So we'll have to say no for the very first time."'"

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Proof of Concept For Ajax Without JavaScript
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-make-a-good-acronym-for-comet deptartment:
JonathansCorner.com writes "Even if Ajax was backronymed to 'Asynchronous JavaScript and XML,' it works with JSON substituted for XML. Here's a proof of concept that JavaScript/VBScript are not strictly necessary either. The technique, besides being used standalone, may be useful to provide a better 'graceful degradation' for Ajax applications used by clients with scripting turned off."

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Twitter and the Rise of Data Platforms
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pre-mined-for-your-convenience deptartment:
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister sees Twitter's latest move — to develop 'analytical products' based on Twitter data and to encourage third-party developers to do the same — as part of a growing trend toward a new kind of software platform. 'In the past, tool vendors have offered developers languages and code libraries that gave them access to computing functions in simple, standardized ways. In this new paradigm, however, a platform consists of more than just frameworks and APIs. It also comes prepackaged with a complete, rich data set, and often that data is the platform's most valuable aspect. These new "data platforms" are creating exciting new opportunities for developers, though they are not without their challenges.' Chief among these issues are privacy and security, as evidenced by a recent letter to Google from government regulators and activist tools such as PleaseRobMe. But for developers, the challenges also include livelihood. 'Even more than mobile platforms such as Apple's iPhone, a data platform like Twitter's is a walled garden. If Twitter cuts off a developer's access to its data sources for any reason, that developer's business is sunk.' Even those who develop 'cloud middleware' around such data platforms stand to gain little from their efforts, as doing so pits them in competition with their data platform vendors, which are in a far better position to reach potential customers."

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Ubuntu Linux Claims 12,000 Cloud Deployments
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's partly-cloudy-with-a-chance-of-tux deptartment:
darthcamaro writes "The cloud is more than just hype for Ubuntu. Canonical COO Matt Asay is now saying that they can count 12,000 deployments of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. He also thinks the cloud is where Ubuntu can make money — because in his view, the company for the last five years wasn't set up to generate revenue. From the article: 'The conversion of non-paying to paying users is often a difficult ratio to report for any open source effort, and Ubuntu is no exception. Asay noted that Canonical plans to get more aggressive at tracking its free-to-paid ratio on Ubuntu Linux and its related services and technologies. "For the first five years of the company's life, it wasn't set up to make money," Asay said. "The company was set up to make a fantastic Linux distribution and other tools around it and get it out there and get people using it. That was the focus." That's now changing at Canonical as the emphasis is now shifting to generating revenues.'"

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Phishing Education Test Blocked For Phishing
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's please-enter-your-opinion-and-credit-card-number-below deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It appears a website called ismycreditcardstolen.com, designed to 'educate users about the dangers of phishing,' has itself been flagged by Firefox as a reported web forgery. The site, which asks visitors to enter their credit card details to 'see if they've been stolen' takes the hapless visitor to a page warning them about the perils of phishing, giving them advice on how to avoid similar scams and also provides a link to the Anti-Phishing Working Group's website. Or at least it did, until various browsers started blocking it. As the Sunbelt blog post notes, the project was likely doomed to failure both because of the domain name itself and also because it uses anonymous Whois data, which isn't exactly going to make security people look at it in a positive light. Does anyone out there think this was a good idea? Or will malicious individuals start playing copycat on a public now trained to think sites like this are just 'harmless education?'"

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HTC Walks From Palm Bid, Will Lenovo Step Up?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's palm-rejected-out-of-hand deptartment:
MojoKid writes "Earlier in the month, it was reported that Palm was being shopped around. At that time, two of the main potential suitors were HTC and Lenovo. HTC obviously felt like the best fit. Lately, HTC has shown that it has a penchant for creating fantastic hardware, but it has to rely on Google and Microsoft for software. It seemed as if buying Palm would give HTC the power they needed to move ahead as a standalone unit, pairing HTC hardware with the WebOS mobile operating system. Apparently, that's not going to happen. Based on a new report out of Asia, HTC has declined to place an official bid on Palm, leaving Lenovo as the only other potential buyer at the moment."

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Facebook Retroactively Makes More User Data Public
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's privacy-is-a-crutch deptartment:
mjn writes "In yet another backtrack from their privacy policy, Facebook has decided to retroactively move more information into the public, indexable part of profiles. The new profile parts made public are: a list of things users have become 'fans' of (now renamed to 'likes'), their education and work histories, and what they list under 'interests.' Apparently there is neither any opt-out nor even notice to users, despite the fact that some of this information was entered by users at a time when Facebook's privacy policy explicitly promised that it wouldn't be part of the public profile."

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Former Nurse Charged With Aiding Suicides Via Web
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's everybody-needs-a-hobby deptartment:
mernil writes "A former US nurse has been charged with two counts of aiding suicides on the Internet, US officials say. William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, is accused of encouraging the suicides of Mark Drybrough from Coventry, UK in 2005 and Canada's Nadia Kajouji in 2008. Mr Melchert-Dinkel, from Minnesota, allegedly posed as a female nurse, instructing people in suicide chatrooms how to take their lives. He reportedly admitted helping five or fewer people kill themselves. Some legal experts say it could be difficult to prosecute Mr Melchert-Dinkel under a rarely used law because he allegedly only encouraged the victims to kill themselves, without physically helping them to take their lives."

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Google Backpedals On Turn-By-Turn GPS For iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's unforseen-circumstances deptartment:
Smurf writes "Last October Google's Vice-President of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced that Google would bring turn-by-turn GPS navigation to the iPhone: 'However, Google is working with Apple on bringing it to the iPhone, and it's not ruling out licensing the software to makers of portable navigation devices used in cars throughout the world, said Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google for mobile and developers.' Nevertheless, after such plans were confirmed during a press conference in London yesterday, today the 'Don't be Evil' company backpedaled on them: '"We did not say we would bring it to iPhone, we said to date we've had it on Android and that in the future it may come to other platforms but did not confirm this will be coming to iPhone at all," a Google spokesperson told PCWorld.'"

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Re-Purposing the Netherlands' Dyke System For Power Generation
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '10 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-go-dutch deptartment:
vikingpower writes "Built in reaction upon a major flood that killed 1800 in the '50s, the Dutch system of dykes, sluices, surge barriers and dams has been dubbed 'one of the seven wonders of the modern world' by the American Society of Engineers. Now, there are proposals to use the system differently, e.g. as tidal power plants, by punching holes in them. Any civil engineer's mouth will probably be watering when thinking of the mega-projects this could give rise to."

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Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '10 at 11:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-needs-feng-shui-adjustment deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It's a tale of two seas. The drying up of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history, but the northern sector of the sea, at least, is showing signs of life. A dam completed in 2005 has increased the North Aral's span by 20 percent, and birds, fish, and people are all returning to the area. Meanwhile, the Dead Sea is still in the midst of precipitous decline, since too much water is being drawn out of the the Jordan River for thirsty populations and crops. To keep the sea from shrinking more, scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,' which would channel huge amounts of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. However, the environmental consequences of such a project may be troubling."

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