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BBC Develops "Mind-Control TV" Headset For iPlayer App
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '15 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's use-your-head department:
An anonymous reader writes: The BBC has teamed up with tech company This Place to develop a prototype television headset that can be operated with the power of brainwaves. The Mind Control TV prototype works with an experimental version of the BBC's iPlayer on-demand platform. "It's an internal prototype designed to give our programme makers, technologists and other users an idea of how this technology might be used in future. It was much easier for some than it was for others, but they all managed to get it to work." said Cyrus Saihan, head of business development for the BBC's Digital division.

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Jimmy Wales: London Is Better For Tech Than "Dreadful" Silicon Valley
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's home-is-where-the-tech-is department:
Mickeycaskill writes: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has praised London as a tech hub, saying its cultural assets make it an ideal place to do business and superior to Silicon Valley as a place to live. “I meet people around London and they ask ‘when do you go back to San Francisco?’ assuming I’m here for a few days, but I live in London,” he said at the launch of Tech.London. “There’s always this bit of British self-deprecation about ‘oh well, things are so great in Silicon Valley’. But I can tell you, things aren’t that great in Silicon Valley. London has all these incredible advantages of a tech scene, but it’s also a place people want to live. Nobody wants to live in Silicon Valley – it’s dreadful out there. London is this incredible cultural city, it’s at the crossroads of the world. In the US you have San Francisco for tech, Los Angeles for movies and Washington for politics. In London you have all these things. It’s a great place to do business.”

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Researchers Claim a Few Cat Videos Per Day Helps Keep the Doctor Away
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-still-can-haz-cheeseburger department:
bigwophh writes: A study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior suggests that watching videos of cats may be good for your health. The study pinged nearly 7,000 people and asked them how viewing cat videos affected their moods. Of those surveyed, over a third (36 percent) described themselves as a "cat person" and nearly two-thirds (60 percent) said they have an affinity for both dogs and cats. Survey subjects noted less tendencies towards feeling anxious, sad, or annoyed after watching cat videos, including times when they viewed the videos while at work or trying to study. They also reported feeling more energetic and more positive afterwards. There may have been some guilt from putting off work or studying to watch Internet videos, but the amusement they got from seeing the antics of cats more than made up for it.

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US Airlines Say Smaller Carry-Ons Are Not In the Cards
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
New submitter callgen writes: Airlines for America, a trade group for U.S. carriers, has rejected proposed international standards for carry-on bags. Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced an initiative to "optimize" airlines' accommodation of carry-on bags by suggesting a new standard luggage size. It suggested a standard of 55cm x 35cm x 19cm, 58% of the size that Southwest allows. Most standard carry-ons are larger than IATA's recommendations, meaning travelers would have to purchase new luggage if the smaller size was adopted.

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Google Pulling Back the Veil On Its Custom-Built Data Centers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's show-and-tell department:
jfruh writes: In the mid-'00s, as Google scaled up its data centers to meet increasing demand, "we could not buy, for any price, a data-center network that would meet the requirements of our distributed systems," says Amin Vahdat, the company's networking technical lead. So they had to build their own software-defined networks inside what were essentially vast warehouse-sized computers. And now the company is starting to tell the world how they did it.

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E3 2015: A Lot of Nostalgia For Old Games
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 03:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what's-old-is-new department:
_xeno_ writes: E3 2015 saw a lot of game companies banking on nostalgia, but much less hype for new games. While the biggest thing coming out of Microsoft's press conference was undoubtedly the Hololens, the biggest buzz from E3 was probably Sony's announcement of Square Enix's announcement of a remake of a two decade old game (Final Fantasy VII), seconded by the announcement of a sequel to a fifteen year old game (Shenmue). Nintendo announced mostly new sequels as well. Ultimately, though, it isn't surprising that the biggest buzz is around old games. Old games are a known quantity, while truly new games are — well, new. Who knows if they're going to be the next classic or not?

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Near Misses Lead To More Consumer Drone Legislation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's learning-to-fly department:
stowie writes: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced the Consumer Drone Safety Act that looks to shore up safety features on consumer drones and the federal laws that govern them. This bill has nothing to do with the FAA's proposed rules on small commercial drones, this is all about hobbyist drones. It's looking to regulate the maximum height for flight, the weather and time-of-day conditions for flight, and any areas where flights may be prohibited. If passed, the act would require manufacturers to update existing consumer drones to meet these requirements, potentially through an automatic software update. The bill would require safety features for new consumer drones such as Geo-fencing to govern the altitude and location of flights, collision-avoidance software, and more.

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FCC Votes To Subsidize Broadband Connections For Low-Income Households
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-up-to-speed department:
Mark Wilson writes: Today the FCC voted in favor of updating its Lifeline program to include broadband. This would mean that households surviving on low incomes would be able to receive help paying for a broadband connection. It might not be as important as electricity or water, but having a broadband connection is seen as being all but essential these days. From helping with education and job hunting, to allowing for home working, the ability to get online is seen as so vital by some that there have been calls for it to be classed as a utility. The Lifeline program has been running since the 80s, and originally provided financial help to those struggling to pay for a phone line. It was expanded in 2008 to include wireless providers, and it is hoped that this third expansion will help more people to get online.

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Big-Data Animal Tracking As an Eye On Life and Planet
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's our-eyes-on-the-ground department:
New submitter Thoe writes: As published in Science Magazine and covered by The Washington Post, the continued evolution of animal tracking through various technologies combined with Big Data analytical techniques is driving a push into the "Golden Age" of remote tracking of animals and the environment.

From the abstract: "The unique perspective offered by big-data animal tracking enables a new view of animals as naturally evolved sensors of environment, which we think has the potential to help us monitor the planet in completely new ways. A massive multi-individual monitoring program would allow a quorum sensing of our planet, using a variety of species to tap into the diversity of senses that have evolved across animal groups, providing new insight on our world through the sixth sense of the global animal collective." (Full disclosure, yes, my brother is one of the publishers.)


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Ask Slashdot: What's the Harm In a Default Setting For Div By Zero?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's as-long-as-it's-a-big-zero department:
New submitter CodeInspired writes: After 20 years of programming, I've decided I'm tired of checking for div by zero. Would there be any serious harm in allowing a system wide setting that said div by zero simply equals zero? Maybe it exists already, not sure. But I run into it all the time in every language I've worked with. Does anyone want their div by zero errors to result in anything other than zero?

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WebAssembly: An Attempt To Give the Web Its Own Bytecode
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's where-is-your-bottleneck department:
New submitter Josiah Daniels writes with this kernel from a much more detailed article at Ars Technical about what already looks like a very important initiative: WebAssembly is a new project being worked on by people from Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, and Apple, to produce a bytecode for the Web. WebAssembly, or wasm for short, is intended to be a portable bytecode that will be efficient for browsers to download and load, providing a more efficient target for compilers than plain JavaScript or even asm.js

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Is Microsoft's .NET Ecosystem On the Decline?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's are-you-caught-in-it? department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: In a posting that recently attracted some buzz online, .NET developer Justin Angel (a former program manager for Silverlight) argued that the .NET ecosystem is headed for collapse—and that could take interest in C# along with it. "Sure, you'll always be able to find a job working in C# (like you would with COBOL), but you'll miss out on customer reach and risk falling behind the technology curve," he wrote. But is C# really on the decline? According to Dice's data, the popularity of C# has risen over the past several years; it ranks No. 26 on Dice's ranking of most-searched terms. But Angel claims he pulled data from Indeed.com that shows job trends for C# on the decline. Data from the TIOBE developer interest index mirrors that trend, he said, with "C# developer interest down approximately 60% down back to 2006-2008 levels." Is the .NET ecosystem really headed for long-term implosion, thanks in large part to developers devoting their energies to other platforms such as iOS and Android?

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Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Search Engines Left That Don't Try To Think For Me?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-what-the-quotes-are-for department:
An anonymous reader writes: As a programmer especially, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with Google searches. They try very hard to present me with what they think I'm searching for instead of what I'm actually searching for. This issue mostly shows up when searching error messages, obscure type and function names and stuff like that. What I think though, is that I only notice the issue when searching for stuff I know a lot about, namely programming, but my queries get distorted when I'm searching for just about anything, I just don't know enough about the subject to notice. Are there any alternative search engines left that don't think they know better than me what I'm looking for and just search for my phrase, like in the 2000s?

Searching for exact strings is an option with Google, but what search engines are the most hands-off to start with?


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Adblock Plus Can Now Be Rolled Out To Every Single Employee In a Company
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 09:36 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sooner-the-better department:
New submitter Mickeycaskill writes: Adblock Plus adds large scale deployment (LSD) to version 1.9 of its software, allowing IT managers to block adverts on thousands of computers in one go, months after a German court ruled the practice was legal. The move is likely to concern online publishers who rely on advertising to generate revenue.

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Video Games Can Improve Terror Attack Preparedness, Even If You Don't Play Them
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 09:18 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's isn't-this-just-part-of-jade-helm? department:
vrml writes: A study just published by the Computers in Human Behavior journal explores the potential of video games as terror attack preparedness materials for the general public. In the video game that participants tried (screenshots can be seen in the paper), players started a normal day going to a train station and performing actions such as purchasing a ticket and finding a train. Then, they suddenly found themselves in a bombing scenario that they had to survive. In addition to showing that playing the game greatly increased players' knowledge about preparedness, the study also considered a second group of participants who did not play the game but watched instead a video of the game play. Results indicate that passively watching someone else play the game is as effective as actively playing the game in terms of learning preparedness knowledge. However, they also point out a significant difference concerning psychological effects on threat appraisal: general perception of personal vulnerability to terror attacks and their severity increased more in those who actively played the game rather than those who passively watched game play.

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LibreOffice Now Available On Apple's Mac App Store
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 08:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's toe-in-the-water department:
sfcrazy writes: It's an event of historical magnitude: One of the most popular Open Source projects, LibreOffice, is now available directly from Apple's Mac App Store. You can get LibreOffice on OSX with automatic updates, long-term maintenance, and optional professional support, for the first time. There are two editions of LibreOffice available on the Mac App Store: LibreOffice from Collabora and LibreOffice Vanilla. While the Vanilla edition can be downloaded free of cost, LO from Collabora has a price tag of $10.

"Free through the App store" is an implicit endorsement that plain old "free" can't beat, even taking open-source licensing out of the picture.

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An Extra-Large Nanocage Molecule For Quantum Computing
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 08:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gimme-a-jumbo-mini-macro-nano-extra-large-and-supersize-it department:
JMarshall writes: Researchers have built a molecular nanocage 8 nm across that represents a step toward quantum computing.
It is difficult to make uniform nanoparticles more than 4 nm across, but new work solves this problem. Researchers made eight-membered metal rings from chromium and nickel that can act like a qubits in quantum computing. More connected rings means greater quantum computing capacity, so the team worked to combine many rings into one molecule. They managed to pull 24 rings together into an 8-nm sphere, secured by palladium ions at the core. The molecule had a surprisingly good phase memory, an indication of the molecule's quantum computing potential. The researchers say building a molecule with 70-100 rings would allow them to do "some serious stuff" in quantum computing.


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The Rebirth of Arcade Racers -- On Kickstarter
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 07:32 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's insert-coin-to-pledge department:
An anonymous reader writes: While big budget racers like The Crew and Forza chase realism, in recent years we've also seen a return to the racers of old with checkpoints, a ticking countdown, little in the way of AI and banging chiptune soundtracks. As a new article points out though, they're not in the arcades any more though — they're on Kickstarter. The author tracks down the creators of three indie games that look to Daytona rather than Gran Turismo for inspiration, and find out why we're seeing a resurgence in power sliding.

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Shuttleworth Loses $20m Battle With S. African Reserve Bank Over Expatriated Funds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's house-like-to-win department:
An anonymous reader writes: Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has lost his long running battle with the South African Reserve Bank over a R250m exit charge ($20.5m) levied on his personal fortune when he tried to ex-patriate to his new home on the Isle of Man in 2009. The exit charge was part of a capital control system since abandoned by the South African government, which Shuttleworth had successfully argued at the Supreme Court of Appeal last year amounted to an unconstitutional tax. The Supreme Court ordered the Reserve Bank to pay Shuttleworth back.

While Shuttleworth had promised to leave the R250m in South Africa as a fund for helping others to press constitutional issues to the highest court in the land, the Reserve Bank appealed to the Constitutional Court for a final appeal — which it won this morning. The upshot being that the bank gets to hold onto the money after all. One judge did offer a dissenting opinion, however, in which he said he would have dismissed the final appeal with costs.
The article notes that "The irony is that the exit charge at the heart of the matter is no longer levied on transfers going out of the country."

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ECMAScript 6 Is Officially a JavaScript Standard
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '15 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's very-long-initiation-process department:
rjmarvin writes: The ECMAScript 6 specification is now a standard. ES6 is the first major revision to the programming language since 1999 and its hallmark features include a revamped syntax featuring classes and modules. The Ecma General Assembly officially approved the specification at its June meeting in France, ECMAScript project editor Allen Wirfs-Brock announced.

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