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Kinect For Windows Is Dead; Long Live Kinect For Windows Via USB
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '15 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sir-this-teapot-may-not-be-able-to-weather-the-tempest department:
puddingebola writes Microsoft has announced it will no longer manufacture Kinect for Windows. Only the Xbox One version will be available for purchase. Microsoft said it could not meet demand for the device, a strange claim for a company to make. The console version, though, will still work with Windows by way of a USB adapter, and as pointed out by this similar story at Gamespot, for about the same total price.

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Swiss Launch of Apple Watch Hit By Patent Issue
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '15 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's called-dibs-too-late department:
wabrandsma points out this Reuters story, according to which: Apple is not able to launch its new smartwatch in Switzerland until at least the end of this year because of an intellectual property rights issue, Swiss broadcaster RTS reported on its website. The U.S. tech giant cannot use the image of an apple nor the word 'apple' to launch its watch within Switzerland, the home of luxury watches, because of a patent from 1985, RTS reported, citing a document from the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.

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Tiny LIDAR Chip Could Add Cheap 3D Sensing to Cellphones and Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '15 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dig-your-shape-baby department:
There are expensive dedicated devices that do 3D scanning (like the high-end tablet in Google's Project Tango), and versatile but bulky add-ons, like the Sense from 3D Systems, but it's not a capability built into the typical cellphone or tablet. That could change, thanks to a microsensor being prototyped now (at low resolution) at CalTech.
From The Verge's coverage:
The tiny chip, called a nanophotonic coherent imager, uses a form of LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology to capture height, width, and depth information from each pixel. LIDAR, which shines a laser on the target and then analyzes the light waves that are reflected back to the sensor, are best known for their use in precision-guided missile systems and self-driving cars.

While LIDAR itself isn't new, [project lead Ali] Hajimiri explains that "by having an array of tiny LIDARs on our coherent imager, we can simultaneously image different parts of an object or a scene without the need for any mechanical movements within the imager." Each "pixel" on the new sensor can individually analyze the phase, frequency, and intensity of the reflected waves, producing a single piece of 3D data. The data from all of the pixels combined can produce a full 3D scan. In addition, the researchers' implementation allows for an incredibly tiny and low-cost scanner, all while maintaining accuracy. According to the researchers, the chip can produce scans that are within microns of the original.


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Restart of Large Hadron Collider At CERN
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '15 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-rested-from-a-long-winter's-nap department:
Taco Cowboy contributes this news from the BBC: After a two-year hiatus the LHC (Large Hadron Collider ) at CERN has been restarted. For the past two years an upgrade program was carried out for the LHC. Due to the upgrade, the LHC is enjoying a double dose of energy, as compared to its previous self before the upgrade. Particle beams have now travelled in both directions, inside parallel pipes, at a whisker below the speed of light.
Actual collisions will not begin for at least another month. Currently the protons are being injected at a relatively low energy to begin with. But over the coming months, engineers hope to gradually increase the beams' energy to 13 trillion electronvolts: double what it was during the LHC's first operating run. The experiment teams have already detected 'splashes' of particles, which occur when stray protons hit one of the shutters used to keep the beam on-track. If this happens in part of the pipe near one of the experiments, the detectors can pick up some of the debris. ... Debris from the tiny but history-making smash-ups might contain new particles, or tell-tale gaps betraying the presence of dark matter or even hidden dimensions. But first we need collisions — due in May at the earliest — and then a steady torrent of data will make its way to physicists around the world, so that the massive analysis effort can begin."


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Powdered Alcohol Banned In Six States
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '15 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's only-had-one-packet-officer department:
HughPickens.com writes Rachel Abrams reports at the NYT that six states have passed legislation to ban Palcohol, a freeze-dried, powdered alcohol developed by Mark Phillips who he says was inspired by a love of hiking but a distaste for carrying bottles of adult beverages uphill. "When I hike, kayak, backpack or whatever, I like to have a drink when I reach my destination. And carrying liquid alcohol and mixers to make a margarita for instance was totally impractical," says Phillips, who hopes to have Palcohol on store shelves by the summer. One packet of Palcohol equals one shot with each packet weighing 1 ounce and turning into liquid when mixed with 6 ounces of water. Phillips has vigorously defended his product, called Palcohol, saying it is no more dangerous than the liquid version sold in liquor stores and plans to release five flavors: vodka, rum, cosmopolitan, powderita (which is like a margarita) and lemon drop.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Mono 4 Released, First Version To Adopt Microsoft Code
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '15 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's licenses-mean-things department:
jones_supa writes: Version 4.0.0 of Mono, the FOSS implementation of the .NET Framework, has been released. This is the first release of Mono that replaces various components of Mono with code that was released by Microsoft under the MIT license. Microsoft itself is working towards .NET Core: a redistributable and re-imagined version of .NET, which has two code drops: CoreFX and CoreCLR. Mono at this point continues to provide an API that tracks the .NET desktop/server version. This means that most of the Mono code that has been integrated from Microsoft comes from the ReferenceSource code drop. Mono's C# compiler now also defaults to C# 6.0.

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How To Make a Bitcoin Address With a TI-89 Calculator
Posted by News Fetcher on April 05 '15 at 02:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's next-week-how-to-make-a-castle-out-of-toothpicks department:
sarahnaomi writes: The power of Bitcoin is giving your dusty old TI-89 calculator a second chance of being useful. Matt Whitlock, who helped make one of the world's first Bitcoin ATMs, is at it again. In a video posted on to Vimeo, he showed how using the calculator once only used for high school geometry and a 12-sided die makes a secure address for your Bitcoin account. The video self-explanatory. Load up your calculator with the code, roll it 72 times and enter the number rolled into it. After that, the calculator pumps out a private key and address.

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BioWare Announces Open-Source Orbit Project
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 11:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-add-stuff department:
An anonymous reader writes BioWare, part of EA Games, have announced Orbit, their first open-source project. Orbit is a Java based framework for building distributed online services including a virtual actors system (based on Microsoft's Orleans project) and a lightweight inversion of control container. The announcement says, in part, Beginning today, we will be making Orbit open source on GitHub under a BSD license. We have been leveraging open source technology internally for quite some time, and we think the time is now right for us to give back and engage with the community in a more meaningful way.

The last-generation of Orbit powered some of the key technology behind the Dragon Age Keep and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Our plans for the next-generation framework are even more ambitious.


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After Anti-Donation Executive Order, Bitcoin Donations For Snowden Jump
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 09:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's evading-injustice-is-more-like-it department:
ZDNet reports that after a recent executive order from President Obama "said to have made it illegal to donate to Edward Snowden's fund," anonymous donations to the fund have soared -- at least ones as anonymous as Bitcoin makes possible. From the article:

A new executive order signed into law this week by the president has one online community up in arms, after its loose wording effectively ruled out donating to Edward Snowden and others.

In a post on Reddit's Bitcoin subreddit, members pledged to donate to the whistleblower's relief fund, despite the wording of the new executive order suggesting that doing so was illegal.

In the new executive order, signed into law on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama declared cyber-threats aimed at the US a "national emergency." The order threatens sanctions against those (including US residents) who engage in cyberattacks and espionage activities that threaten US interests at home and abroad.

The wording of the order specifically addresses any person whose "property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States."

Redditors were quick to assume (likely correctly) that this includes Edward Snowden, who for more than a year-and-a-half has lived in Russia, evading US justice.


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A Robo-Car Just Drove Across the Country
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 06:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's road-trip-redefined department:
Press2ToContinue writes with this news from Wired: Nine days after leaving San Francisco, a blue car packed with tech from a company you've probably never heard of rolled into New York City after crossing 15 states and 3,400 miles to make history. The car did 99 percent of the driving on its own, yielding to the carbon-based life form behind the wheel only when it was time to leave the highway and hit city streets. This amazing feat, by the automotive supplier Delphi, underscores the great leaps this technology has taken in recent years, and just how close it is to becoming a part of our lives. Yes, many regulatory and legislative questions must be answered, and it remains to be seen whether consumers are ready to cede control of their cars, but the hardware is, without doubt, up to the task."

That last one percent is a bear, though.

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Forking Away: OnePlus Introduces Android-Based OxygenOS
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's camel-caps-galore department:
The Verge reports that phone maker OnePlus has introduced its own OS, an Android fork called OxygenOS.

OxygenOS was developed in-house by OnePlus, though at this point it is merely a modest refresh of Android 5.0 Lollipop. In a blog post, the company explains that it took a "back to basics" approach with the software, adding, "We place things like performance and battery life over gimmicks and bloated features." ... The company says its goal with OxygenOS "is to provide faster, more meaningful updates and a better-integrated range of services for every OnePlus user." What it doesn't say is that the software also gives it a way to reduce its dependence on Cyanogen. The two companies have had strained relations since Cyanogen signed an exclusive deal with Indian phone maker Micromax just before OnePlus' planned launch in the subcontinent. It's expected that OxygenOS will eventually be the default on future devices like the OnePlus Two, but, for now, you'll have to install it yourself over Cyanogen if you want it. You can find instructions on OnePlus' website.

(Also at TechCrunch.)

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Is This the Death of the Easter Egg?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 02:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's roland-hedley-on-the-case-again department:
An anonymous reader writes: The BBC reports that more and more companies are cracking down on the practice of hiding harmless snippets of code in their products. Known as "Easter eggs," they can be anything from the names of the developers, to pictures, to games like pinball, to a flight simulator. Is this simply professionalism, or is it stifling programmers' quirky, playful side? (Have you created any Easter eggs yourself? If so, what did they do?)

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W. Virginia Bans Direct Tesla Sales, With Urging of Car-Dealer Senate President
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's I'll-cui-bono-you department:
Ars Technica reports that another state has buckled to the auto dealership lobby, though with an interesting twist:

West Virginia became at least the fifth state to ban the direct-sales approach practiced by Tesla Motors following Friday's signature by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. ... The bill was championed by West Virginia's Senate president, who is an auto dealer in his home state and Kentucky. ... The legislation says a vehicle maker may not “act in the capacity of a new motor vehicle dealer” or “operate a dealership, including, but not limited to, displaying a motor vehicle intended to facilitate the sale of new motor vehicles other than through franchised dealers, unless the display is part of an automobile trade show that more than two automobile manufacturers participate in.” ... The Palo Alto, California-based electric-vehicle company operates so-called "galleries" in Texas, Arizona, and Maryland because the company's sales practices are barred there, too. Customers can see Tesla cars in these galleries, but they may not order vehicles, discuss prices or take test drives."

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UK's Tories Promise To Enact Age Limits For Viewing Online Porn
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's they'll-know-it-when-they-see-it department:
An anonymous reader writes with this news from the UK: The Conservatives say they will force hardcore pornography websites to put in place age-restriction controls or face being shut down if they win the election. The culture secretary, Sajid Javid, said the party would act to ensure under-18s were locked out of adult content after a recent Childline poll found nearly one in 10 12-13 year olds were worried they were addicted and 18% had seen shocking or upsetting images. Experts welcomed the move – targeted at both UK-based and overseas websites – but warned it would take hard work to implement in practice.

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Second Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016 Arriving This Spring
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's parallel-lives department:
jones_supa writes: The second technical preview of Windows Server 2016 will be launching in May as the first one nears its expiration date. The next Windows Server is being developed and targeted for an early 2016 release, however, the latest and greatest preview builds haven't been released to the public by Microsoft since October 2014. At the same time, Windows 10 builds have been released regularly to everybody who wants to try them out. It was revealed earlier that the Windows Server release won't take place along with that of Windows 10, so it makes sense that Microsoft is pushing more builds of the desktop OS out for testing first. There is no mention of an exact date of the upcoming Windows Server Technical Preview, but an announcement can be expected during the upcoming BUILD 2015 conference which starts on 29th April.

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Ask Slashdot: Options Beyond YouTube For An Indie Web Show?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's pirate-tv-from-your-house department:
New submitter Deltree Zero writes: I have an indie TV-style education/entertainment show which focuses on medicinal cannabis growing and use in Maine, product reviews, guests, etc. I have been creating the show at home using a very passable camera, editing with Lightworks, and have been distributing it via YouTube. I am five monthly episodes in, and besides needing a small upgrade in the microphone department, production has settled in to a workable quality level that I can be proud of. I am not looking to collect money at any time during distribution. The show is getting quite popular and I was wondering if any Slashdot readers had any advice on how to distribute my show other ways than YouTube. I see Roku is an outlet like this but my show must first pass through some sort of content filter and I am still waiting to hear if medicinal cannabis is on the "no-no list." There are other indie TV-style channels I have heard of, Revision 3, for example. What other indie channels exist that might deliver my show at low or no cost? What other methods of digital distribution make sense for an upcoming web show looking to free itself from YouTube as its only distribution point?

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Inexpensive Electric Cars May Arrive Sooner Than You Think
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's I'll-take-it department:
catchblue22 writes According to an article in MIT Technology Review, a new peer reviewed study suggests that battery-powered vehicles are close to being cost-effective for most people: "Electric cars may seem like a niche product that only wealthy people can afford, but a new analysis suggests that they may be close to competing with or even beating gas cars on cost. ... The authors of the new study concluded that the battery packs used by market-leading EV manufacturers like Tesla and Nissan cost as little as $300 per kilowatt-hour of energy in 2014. That's lower than the most optimistic published projections for 2015, and even below the average published projection for 2020. The authors found that batteries appear on track to reach $230 per kilowatt-hour by 2018. The authors found that batteries appear on track to reach $230 per kilowatt-hour by 2018. If that's true, it would push EVs across a meaningful threshold."

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'Revenge Porn' Operator Gets 18 Years In Prison
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's save-us-al-franken department:
Frosty Piss writes Kevin Christopher Bollaert, who operated a 'revenge porn' web site was been found guilty in February of six counts of extortion and 21 counts of identity theft. He faced a maximum of 23 years in prison. On Friday, April 3rd, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The extortion charges stem from a second web site he ran that solicited payments of $250 to $350 from people who wanted to have the photographs deleted. Bollaert made about $30,000 on that site.

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Apple Posts Guided Tours of the Features and Functions of the Apple Watch
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's prefer-the-tesla-model-w department:
MojoKid writes Wondering if Apple Watch is going to be worth the money? Well, that depends on several factors, including price, features, and how eager you are to jump into the smartwatch category at this point. To help tackle the latter two, Apple has posted a handful of videos that demonstrate what an Apple Watch can do. They play out like tutorial videos and are labeled "Guided Tour," followed by what specifically the video is showcasing. Currently, there are four Guided Tour videos available, one of which is a general introduction to Apple Watch labeled "Guided Tour: Welcome." It's the longest video of the bunch at 4 minutes and 45 seconds.

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Are Bug Bounties the Right Solution For Improving Security?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 04 '15 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's 10-bucks-says-they-might-be department:
saccade.com writes Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood is questioning if the current practice of paying researchers bounties for the software vulnerabilities they find is really improving over-all security. He notes how the Heartbleed bug serves as a counter example to "Linus's Law" that "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." "...If you want to find bugs in your code, in your website, in your app, you do it the old fashioned way: by paying for them. You buy the eyeballs.
While I applaud any effort to make things more secure, and I completely agree that security is a battle we should be fighting on multiple fronts, both commercial and non-commercial, I am uneasy about some aspects of paying for bugs becoming the new normal. What are we incentivizing, exactly?


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