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Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 06:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's setting-a-date department:
retroworks writes WSJ blog reports on Austin, the third city to get fiber-optic high speed internet networks laid down by Google (Kansas City and Provo, UT were the first and second). The service averages 1 gigabit per second, about 100X the average US household speed, and costs $70-120 per month (depending on television). Google promotes the roll-outs by holding "rallies" in small neighborhoods. The sign-up process starts in December, focusing on south and southeastern parts of Austin, a Google spokeswoman said Wednesday. It was announced that fiber was coming to Austin back in April.

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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's to-the-stars department:
MarkWhittington writes Tom Kalil, the Deputy Director for Policy for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Senior Advisor for Science, Technology and Innovation for the National Economic Council, has an intriguing Tuesday post on the OSTP blog. Kalil is soliciting ideas for "bootstrapping a solar system civilization." Anyone interested in offering ideas along those lines to the Obama administration can contact a special email address that has been set up for that purpose. The ideas that Kalil muses about in his post are not new for people who have studied the question of how to settle space at length. The ideas consist of sending autonomous robots to various locations in space to create infrastructure using local resources with advanced manufacturing technology, such as 3D printing. The new aspect is that someone in the White House is publicly discussing these concepts.

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Court Rules Parents May Be Liable For What Their Kids Post On Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sticks-and-stones-may-break-my-bones-and-fake-profiles-will-always-hurt-me department:
schwit1 writes Parents can be held liable for what their kids post on Facebook, a Georgia appellate court ruled in a decision that lawyers said marked a legal precedent on the issue of parental responsibility over their children's online activity. The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the parents of a seventh-grade student may be negligent for failing to get their son to delete a fake Facebook profile that allegedly defamed a female classmate.

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Internet Companies Want Wireless Net Neutrality Too
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's count-us-in department:
jfruh writes As it looks more likely that the U.S. will impose net neutrality rules on landline ISPs, big Web companies are aiming to get wireless data providers under the same regulatory umbrella. The Internet Association, a trade group that includes Google, Facebook, Amazon.com, and eBay, wants the FCC to "harmonize" the treatment of mobile and wired broadband providers in its net neutrality rules. Wireless providers are fighting back, claiming their networks are fundamentally different.

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Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-can't-handle-the-truth department:
electronic convict writes In a Q&A at LinuxCon Europe, Linux creator Linus Torvalds — no stranger to strong language and blunt opinions — acknowledged a "metric sh*#load" of interpersonal mistakes that unnecessarily antagonized others within the Linux community. In response to Intel's Dirk Hohndel, who asked him which decision he regretted most over the past 23 years, Torvalds replied: "From a technical standpoint, no single decision has ever been that important... The problems tend to be around alienating users or developers and I'm pretty good at that. I use strong language. But again there's not a single instance I'd like to fix. There's a metric sh*#load of those." It's probably not a coincidence that Torvalds said this just a few weeks after critics like Lennart Poettering started drawing attention to the abusive nature of some commentary within the open-source community. Poettering explicitly called out Torvalds for some of his most intemperate remarks and described open source as "quite a sick place to be in." Still, Torvalds doesn't sound like he's about to start making an apology tour. "One of the reasons we have this culture of strong language, that admittedly many people find off-putting, is that when it comes to technical people with strong opinions and with a strong drive to do something technically superior, you end up having these opinions show up as sometimes pretty strong language," he said. "On the Internet, nobody can hear you being subtle."

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Warner Brothers Announces 10 New DC Comics Movies
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's crisis-on-infinite-theaters department:
wired_parrot writes After being criticized for being slow to respond to Marvel's string of blockbuster superhero movies, Warner Brothers finally announced their plan for DC comic universe movie franchise. Yesterday at their annual shareholder meeting, WB announced 10 DC comics movies. The studio has unveiled an ambitious schedule that features two Justice League films, plus standalone titles for Wonder Woman, Flash, Shazam (Captain Marvel), Green Lantern, Cyborg and even Aquaman. Also announced were plans for 3 Lego movies and a three-part Harry Potter spinoff.

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FBI Director Continues His Campaign Against Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-lock-it-down department:
apexcp writes Following the announcements that Apple and Google would make full disk encryption the default option on their smartphones, FBI director James Comey has made encryption a key issue of his tenure. His blitz continues today with a speech that says encryption will hurt public safety.

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Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon May Hide Subsurface Ocean
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's that's-no-ocean department:
astroengine writes With its heavily cratered, geologically dead surface, Saturn's moon Mimas was considered to be scientifically boring. But appearances can be deceiving. Using data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft, new research shows something strange inside Mimas that is causing the moon to sway as it orbits around the ringed gas giant. Computer models point to two possibilities. First is that Mimas, which is about 250 miles in diameter, has an oblong or football-shaped core, a clue that the moon may have formed inside Saturn's ice rings. The second option is that Mimas has a global ocean located 16 miles to 19 miles beneath its icy crust.

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Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-in-my-neighborhood department:
cartechboy writes It's a story we've come to see quite often: a state trying to ban Tesla's direct sales model. It seems something sneaky just happened in Michigan where Tesla sales are about to be banned. Bill HB 5606 originally intended to offer added protection to franchised dealers and consumers from price gouging by carmakers, and was passed by the Michigan House in September without any anti-Tesla language. However, once it hit the Senate wording was changed that might imply the legality of a manufacturer-owned dealership was removed. The modified bill was passed unanimously by the Senate on October 2, and then sent back to the House that day where it passed with only a single dissenting vote. The bill was modified without any opportunity for public comment. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has less than a week to sign the bill into law. Of course, Tesla's already fighting this legislation.

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For Game Developers, It's About the Labor of Love
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-play department:
Nerval's Lobster writes With "GamerGate" and all the debates over who counts as a "gamer," it's easy to forget that games are created by people with a genuine love of the craft. Journalist Jon Brodkin sat down with Armin Ibrisagic, game designer & PR manager for Coffee Stain Studios, the Swedish studio that made Goat Simulator, to talk about why they built that game and how it turned into such a success. Brodkin also talked to Leszek Lisowski, founder of Wastelands Interactive, about the same topic. While these developers might debate with themselves (and others) over whether to develop games for hardcore gamers, or jump on the mobile "casual gaming" bandwagon, they'll ultimately in it because they love games — a small but crucial detail that seems too easy to forget these days.

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Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's brand-new department:
Many outlets are reporting on Apple's iPad event today. Highlights include:

Apple pay will launch Monday.

WatchKit -- a way for developers to make apps for the Apple Watch will launch next month.

iOS 8.1

Messages, iTunes, and iWork updated and many more new features in OS X Yosemite.

You can send and receive calls on your Mac if you have an iPhone with iOS 8 that's signed into the same FaceTime account.

iPad Air 2: New camera, 10 hour battery life, 12x faster than the original iPad.

iPad mini 3.

iMac with Retina display.

And a Mac mini update: Faster processors, Intel Iris graphics, and two Thunderbolt 2 ports.

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FBI Warns Industry of Chinese Cyber Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
daten writes The FBI on Wednesday issued a private warning to industry that a group of highly skilled Chinese government hackers was in the midst of a long-running campaign to steal valuable data from U.S. companies and government agencies. "These state-sponsored hackers are exceedingly stealthy and agile by comparison with the People's Liberation Army Unit 61398 ... whose activity was publicly disclosed and attributed by security researchers in February 2013," said the FBI in its alert, which referred to a Chinese military hacker unit exposed in a widely publicized report by the security firm Mandiant.

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Scientists Find Rats Aren't Smarter Than Mice, and That's Important
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-that-nicodemus department:
HughPickens.com writes: There has long been a clear hierarchy of intelligence in the psychology lab, with monkeys are at the top, then rats, and finally mice at the bottom, "cute and fluffy but not all that bright." For at least a hundred years, researchers have used rats in their psychology experiments, assuming that they were the smarter of the two lab rodents. Now, Rose Eveleth reports at The Atlantic that new research shows this might not be true, suggesting mice can perform decision-making tasks in the lab just as well as rats can. "Anything we could train a rat to do we could train a mouse to do as well," says Tony Zador. This finding is important because using mice in experiments instead of rats could open up all kinds of new research options. For one thing, scientists have been able to manipulate a mouse's genome in really useful ways, silencing certain genes to figure out what role they play. There are mouse models for everything from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's. Being able to put those mice through the paces of a psychology experiment could help researchers connect diseases with the behaviors they impact.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Android On Intel x86 Tablet Performance Explored: Things Are Improving
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's won't-run-crysis department:
MojoKid writes: For the past few years, Intel has promised that its various low-power Atom-based processors would usher in a wave of low-cost Android and Windows mobile products that could compete with ARM-based solutions. And for years, we've seen no more than a trickle of hardware, often with limited availability. Now, that's finally beginning to change. Intel's Bay Trail and Merrifield SoCs are starting to show up more in full-featured, sub-$200 devices from major brands. One of the most interesting questions for would-be x86 buyers in the Android tablet space is whether to go with a Merrifield or Bay Trail Atom-based device. Merrifield is a dual-core chip without Hyper-Threading. Bay Trail is a quad-core variant and a graphics engine derived from Intel's Ivy Bridge Core series CPUs. That GPU is the other significant difference between the two SoCs. With Bay Trail, Intel is still employing their own graphics solution, while Merrifield pairs a dual-core CPU with a PowerVR G6400 graphics core. So, what's the experience of using a tablet running Android on x86 like these days? Pretty much like using an ARM-based Android tablet currently, and surprisingly good for any tablet in the $199 or less bracket. In fact, some of the low cost Intel/Android solutions out there currently from the likes of Acer, Dell, Asus, and Lenovo, all compete performance-wise pretty well versus the current generation of mainstream ARM-based Android tablets.

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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's haves-and-have-nots department:
New submitter rvw sends word that Bill Gates has posted a review Capital in the Twenty-First Century, an acclaimed book by economist Thomas Piketty about how income equality is a necessary result of unchecked capitalism. Gates, one of the most successful capitalists of our time, agrees with Piketty's most important conclusions. That said, he also finds parts of the book to be flawed and incomplete, but says Piketty has started vital debate on these issues. Gates writes,
Yes, some level of inequality is built in to capitalism. As Piketty argues, it is inherent to the system. The question is, what level of inequality is acceptable? And when does inequality start doing more harm than good? That’s something we should have a public discussion about, and it’s great that Piketty helped advance that discussion in such a serious way. ... I agree that taxation should shift away from taxing labor. It doesn’t make any sense that labor in the United States is taxed so heavily relative to capital. It will make even less sense in the coming years, as robots and other forms of automation come to perform more and more of the skills that human laborers do today. But rather than move to a progressive tax on capital, as Piketty would like, I think we’d be best off with a progressive tax on consumption.

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Adobe: Click-to-Play Would Have Avoided Flood of Java Zero-days
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's of-pots-and-kettles department:
mask.of.sanity writes: Oracle could have saved mountains of cash and bad press if Click-to-Play was enabled before Java was hosed by an armada of zero day vulnerabilities, Adobe security boss Brad Arkin says. The simple fix introduced into browsers over the last year stopped the then zero day blitzkrieg in its tracks by forcing users to click a button to enable Java.

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Scanning Embryos For Super-Intelligent Kids Is On the Horizon
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's might-be-easier-on-us-to-make-them-super-dumb department:
An anonymous reader writes: Stephen Hsu, a professor in theoretical physics at Michigan State University, has an article discussing the genetic underpinnings of intelligence, and how our understanding of it will eventually lead to smarter children. Researchers have detected genes that influence cognitive ability, but the effect of any one gene is very small — less than 1 IQ point at best. Genetically modifying such genes is unlikely to happen any time soon, but our ability to analyze an embryo's genome is becoming quick and cheap. As we isolate more and more genes that affect intelligence, this means prospective parents will soon be able to analyze a batch of zygotes and figure out which ones are likely to be the smartest. Hsu says a batch of 10 zygotes will probably have an IQ range of 15 points or more. As our understanding of intelligence genetics grows, that range will only expand. He adds, "The corresponding ethical issues are complex and deserve serious attention in what may be a relatively short interval before these capabilities become a reality."

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Samsung Achieves Outdoor 5G Mobile Broadband Speed of 7.5Gbps
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-needs-landlines department:
Mark.JUK writes: Samsung has become the first to successfully demonstrate a future 5G mobile network running at speeds of 7.5Gbps in a stationary outdoor environment. They also managed 1.2Gbps while using the same technology and driving around a 4.3km-long race track at speeds of up to 110kph.

Crucially, the test was run using the 28GHz radio spectrum band, which ordinarily wouldn't be much good for mobile networks where wide coverage and wall penetration is an important requirement. But Samsung claims it can mitigate at least some of that by harnessing the latest Hybrid Adaptive Array Technology (HAAT), which uses millimeter wave frequency bands to enable the use of higher frequencies over greater distances. Several companies are competing to develop the first 5G technologies, although consumers aren't expected to see related services until 2020 at the earliest.


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Microsoft's JavaScript Engine Gets Two-Tiered Compilation
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's under-the-hood department:
jones_supa writes: The Internet Explorer team at Microsoft recently detailed changes to the JavaScript engine coming in Windows 10. A significant change is the addition of a new tier in the Just-in-Time (JIT) compiler. In Windows 10, the Chakra JS engine now includes a second JIT compiler that bridges the gap between slow, interpreted code and fast, optimized code. It uses this middle-tier compiler, called Simple JIT, as a "good enough" layer that can move execution away from the interpreter quicker than the Full JIT can. Microsoft claims that the changes will allow certain workloads to "run up to 30% faster". The move to a two-tiered JIT compiler structure mirrors what other browsers have done. SpiderMonkey, the JavaScript engine in Firefox, has an interpreter and two compilers: Baseline and IonMonkey. In Google Chrome, the V8 JavaScript engine is also a two-tiered system. It does not use an interpreter, but compiles on a discrete background thread.

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After Negative User Response, ChromeOS To Re-Introduce Support For Ext{2,3,4}
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '14 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's squeeky-wheels department:
NotInHere writes: Only three days after the public learned that the ChromeOS project was going to disable ext2fs support for external drives (causing Linux users to voice many protests on websites like Slashdot and the issue tracker), the ChromeOS team now plans to support it again. To quote Ben Goodger's comment: "Thanks for all of your feedback on this bug. We've heard you loud and clear. We plan to re-enable ext2/3/4 support in Files.app immediately. It will come back, just like it was before, and we're working to get it into the next stable channel release."

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