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Company Promises Positive Yelp Reviews For a Price; Yelp Sues
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's give-me-a-dollar-and-I'll-say-something-nice department:
jfruh writes Many restaurants and other small businesses live and die by Yelp reviews. Revleap operates a paid service that it says can "create a large constant flow of positive reviews that stay on top of your [Yelp] profile, and remove fake reviews." But Yelp is suing Revleap for what it says are practices that are fraudulent and in violation of Yelp's terms of service; among other things, Revleap promises users gift cards in exchange for good reviews.

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Canada's Next-Generation Military Smart Gun Unveiled
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-way-to-shoot department:
Zothecula writes Looking every bit like a weapon from a science fiction movie, the latest integrated assault rifle prototype being developed for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is packed with some very smart weapons technology. Along with the ability to fire new lightweight telescoped ammunition, and a secondary effects module that adds either a three-round 40 mm grenade launcher or a 12-gauge shotgun, there is also a NATO-standard power and data bus to allow the attachment of smart accessories, such as electro-optical sights and position sensors that connect to command and control networks.

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Telescopic Contact Lenses Unveiled
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-see-you-with department:
sarahnaomi writes Unveiled at this week's AAAS meeting/conference in San Jose, the telescopic contact lenses are the creation of optics engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, with a bit of help from designs developed at DARPA. The technology involves a bit more than just the contacts. The system is based on the interaction between a pair of normal-looking eyeglasses and the lenses, which are embedded with what are really just a pair of supertiny aluminum telescopes. The contacts are still only about 1.5 millimeters thick, and feature 1 mm-wide channels or pores that allow the required breathability-maintaining airflow. This last part proved to be one of the biggest challenges, requiring years of experimentation.

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Two New Male Birth Control Chemicals In Advanced Stages
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's man-pills department:
BarbaraHudson writes Researchers at the University of Kansas and Harvard are working to give men more choices for avoiding unwanted pregnancies. From the article: "H2-gamendazole keeps sperm from maturing. The unfinished sperm fragments are then reabsorbed into the testis, never ending up in the semen. 'If there's no sperm, the egg's not going to get fertilized,' says Joseph Tash, a reproductive biologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Almost two years ago, the FDA reviewed the compound, and now the agency wants Tash to investigate if the compound remains in the semen and whether that would harm a woman if it ends up in the vagina. Jay Bradner, working with other anti-cancer researchers at Harvard, discovered that the JQ1 molecule blocked a bromodomain in cancer cells, causing them to forget how to be cancer. One side effect is that JQ1 also obstructed a testicle-specific bromodomain called BRDT, making the sex cells that would otherwise produce sperm non-functional — mice treated with JQ1 can hump with abandon yet generate zero mouselings. Researchers are looking for a version of the molecule that works on the testicle protein only, to avoid any weird side effects."

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Cellphone Start-Ups Handle Calls With Wi-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's mixing-it-up department:
HughPickens.com writes Brian Chen writes in the NYT that two companies, Republic Wireless and FreedomPop, that reduce cellphone costs by relying on strategically placed Wi-Fi routers are at the forefront of a tantalizing communications concept that has proved hard to produce on a big scale, The concept championed by the two little companies in their nationwide services is surprisingly simple. They offer services that rely primarily on Wi-Fi networks, and in areas without Wi-Fi, customers can pull a signal from regular cell towers. "Wi-Fi first is a massive disrupter to the current cost structure of the industry," says Stephen Stokols. "That's going to be a big shock to the carriers." For $5 a month, customers of Republic Wireless can make calls or connect to the Internet solely over Wi-Fi. For $10 a month, they can use both Wi-Fi and a cellular connection from Sprint in Republic's most popular option. Republic Wireless's parent company, Bandwidth.com, a telecommunications provider with about 400 employees, developed a technique to move calls seamlessly between different Wi-Fi networks and cell towers. "You can't pretend these companies are major players by any stretch. But I think their real importance is proof of concept," says Craig Moffett. "They demonstrate just how disruptive a Wi-Fi-first operator can be, and just how much cost they can take out."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Kim Dotcom's Lawyer Plays Down Megaupload Worker's Guilty Plea
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-biug-deal department:
mrspoonsi writes with the latest from Kim Dotcom. "Kim Dotcom's US lawyer has denied that a guilty plea by one of the Megaupload's former employees has major implications for his client's case. Andrus Nomm was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit copyright infringement while working for the now defunct file-sharing site. The US is currently trying to extradite Mr Dotcom, who founded Megaupload, from New Zealand to stand trial. Mr Dotcom denies wrongdoing. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has alleged that Megaupload's staff had "operated websites that wilfully reproduced and distributed infringing copies of copyrighted works" over a period of five years, causing more than $400m (£260m) of harm to copyright owners. Nomm — a 36-year-old Estonian citizen — agreed to this damages estimate as part of his plea, according to a press release from the DoJ. He had been living in the Netherlands before he travelled to Virginia to make the deal with the US authorities. The DoJ added that Nomm had acknowledged that through his work as a computer programmer for Megaupload, he had become aware of copyright-infringing material being stored on its sites, including films and TV shows that had contained FBI anti-piracy warnings. It said he had also admitted to having downloaded copyright-infringing files himself. "This conviction is a significant step forward in the largest criminal copyright case in US history," said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell."

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Inside the Mind of a Schizophrenic Through Virtual Reality
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's in-their-shoes department:
blottsie writes Viscira produces videos and technology simulations for the healthcare industry, and the project I tested called "Mindscape" was created for a pharmaceutical company that wanted to give potential clients insight into what some schizophrenic patients might feel like in a real-life scenario. Unlike audio tests or videos that show you a first-person perspective of schizophrenic experiences, Viscira's demonstration uses the Oculus Rift headset and is entirely immersive. You can look around at each individual's face, and up and down the hallway. Walk through the elevator, and hear voices that appear to be coming from both strangers and your own head.

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Mars One: Final 100 Candidates Selected
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's one-step-closer-to-the-end department:
hypnosec writes "The Mars One project has picked the final 100 candidates for the next round of the selection process. Initially, 202,586 people applied and ultimately around 40 will undertake a one-way trip to Mars. “The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder & CEO of Mars One. “These aspiring martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”

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LG Exec Indicted Over Broken Samsung Washing Machine
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's breaking-the-law-and-machines department:
itwbennett writes Jo Seong-jin, the head of LG's home appliance division, was indicted Sunday by prosecutors in Seoul for allegedly damaging Samsung Electronics' washing machines before the IFA electronics show in Berlin last September. The company says it was his regular practice to test the rival company's machines, something he has done while working for LG for the past 38 years, and has released closed-circuit television footage in his defense showing him testing Samsung products including washing machines, dish washers and refrigerators. Jo and two other employees are charged with vandalism, defamation and obstruction of business.

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Oxford University Researchers List 12 Global Risks To Human Civilization
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's birds-and-snakes-an-airplane-and-lenny-bruce-is-not-afraid department:
An anonymous reader writes The 12 greatest threats to civilization have been established by Oxford University scientists, with nuclear war and extreme climate change topping the list. Published by the Global Challenges Foundation, the report explores the 12 most likely ways civilization could end. "[This research] is about how a better understanding of the magnitude of the challenges can help the world to address the risks it faces, and can help to create a path towards more sustainable development," the study's authors said. "It is a scientific assessment about the possibility of oblivion, certainly, but even more it is a call for action based on the assumption that humanity is able to rise to challenges and turn them into opportunities."

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Online UK Courts Modelled On EBay To Settle Legal Disputes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's login-and-litigate department:
First time accepted submitter infolation writes The UK justice system should receive a radical overhaul for the digital age with the creation of an online court to expand access to justice and resolve claims of up to £25,000, the official body that oversees civil courts has recommended. The report says existing services — such as eBay's disagreement negotiation procedure and Cybersettle's blind-bidding operations — provide prototypes worth studying. Only the judge need be legally qualified. If necessary, telephone hearings could be built into the last stage. Rulings by the online judge would be as enforceable as any courtroom judgment.

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FAA Proposes Rules To Limit Commercial Drone Use
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's skynet-delayed department:
An anonymous reader sends this report from the NY Times:
In an attempt to bring order to increasingly chaotic skies, the Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday proposed long-awaited rules on the commercial use of small drones, requiring operators to be certified, fly only during daylight and keep their aircraft in sight. The rules, though less restrictive than the current ones, appear to prohibit for now the kind of drone delivery services being explored by Amazon, Google and other companies, since the operator or assigned observers must be able to see the drone at all times without binoculars. But company officials believe the line-of-sight requirement could be relaxed in the future to accommodate delivery services.

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NVidia Puts the Kibosh On Overclocking of GTX 900M Series
Posted by News Fetcher on February 16 '15 at 02:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-it-within-the-lines department:
An anonymous reader writes Nvidia surprised members of the overclocking community this week when it pulled OC support from drivers for its 900M series mobile graphics cards. Many users (particularly those who bought laptops with higher-end cards like the 980m) were overclocking – until the latest driver update. Now, Nvidia is telling customers not to expect OC capabilities to return. “Unfortunately GeForce Notebooks were not designed to support overclocking,” wrote Nvidia’s Manuel Guzman. “Overclocking is by no means a trivial feature, and depends on thoughtful design of thermal, electrical, and other considerations. By overclocking a notebook, a user risks serious damage to the system that could result in non-functional systems, reduced notebook life, or many other effects.”

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Valve Censoring Torrent References In Steam Chat
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '15 at 11:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watch-what-you-say department:
dotarray writes It seems Valve is restricting just what you can talk about when using the Steam chat service. Specifically, any reference to a particular torrent site is being stripped from conversation, while mentions of other pages trigger a warning that the site is "potentially malicious." In the wake of website KickassTorrents being taken offline earlier this week, people quickly noticed that references to the torrent site were being stripped from chat - with no warning, notificiation, or acknowledgement that anything is missing. We've seen censorship before, with chat providers blocking certain words, replacing key letters with asterisks or simply substituting inoffensive words for those considered 'problematic.' That's not what Valve is doing here though - the entire message is disappearing, not just the troublesome domain.

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Drones and Satellites Spot Lost Civilizations In Unlikely Places
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '15 at 09:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-see-you-with department:
sciencehabit writes What do the Sahara desert and the Amazon rainforest have in common? Until recently, archaeologists would have told you they were both inhospitable environments devoid of large-scale human settlements. But they were wrong. Here today at the annual meeting of the AAAS, two researchers explained how remote sensing technology, including satellite imaging and drone flights, is revealing the traces of past civilizations that have been hiding in plain sight."

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Nuclear Plant Taken Down In Anticipation of Snowstorm
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '15 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's too-much-to-shovel department:
mdsolar writes Pilgrim Power Plant in Plymouth was taken offline in anticipation of the weekend snowstorm. According to a statement from Entergy, the owner of Pilgrim, the plant was taken off line in preparation of "a potential loss of offsite power or the grid's inability to accept the power Pilgrim generates." This is the second time this season the plant has been shut down due to storm conditions. On January 27 the facility was taken offline after the two main power transmission lines were knocked out by blizzard conditions. Although the transmission lines were restored within a few days, the plant remained offline until February 7 at which time it was reconnected to the grid.

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Cubans Allowed To Export Software and Software Services To the US
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '15 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-out-there department:
lpress writes In an effort to support Cuba's nascent private sector, the Treasury Department announced on Friday that Americans can now import goods and services produced by "independent Cuban entrepreneurs." Will the Cuban government allow that? Cuba is a communist nation, but they have a list of 201 job categories in which self-employment is permitted. Most of those jobs are goofy things like magician and pedal-taxi driver, but one is not – computer programmer. Will the Castro regime let private individuals and organizations export software and software services to the United States and the rest of the world?

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Bill Gates On Educating the World
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '15 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's learning-online department:
theodp writes During February, Bill Gates is playing Perry White at The Verge, expounding on the big bets the Gates Foundation is making to improve the world over the next 15 years. One of those bets is that online classrooms can help the world catch up. Gates' vision of universal online education extends to those who struggle with basic literacy and currently lack online access, far beyond the reach of MOOCs like Coursera, EdX, and Udacity, which have enjoyed their greatest success with higher-level courses aimed at the middle class. "Gates' vision — a wave of smartphones that can act as ubiquitous, cheap computers — is central to solving this problem," explains The Verge's Adi Robertson. "And unfortunately, we're not there yet." But eventually, Gates is betting that a world-class education will only be a few taps away for anyone in the world. And that's when things get really interesting. "Before a child even starts primary school," Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in their Foundation's 2015 letter, "she will be able to use her mom's smartphone to learn her numbers and letters, giving her a big head start. Software will be able to see when she's having trouble with the material and adjust for her pace. She will collaborate with teachers and other students in a much richer way. If she is learning a language, she'll be able to speak out loud and the software will give her feedback on her pronunciation."

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Ask Slashdot: Are General Engineering Skills Undervalued In Web Development?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '15 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's skills-to-pay-the-bills department:
nerdyalien writes After reading a recent post about developer competence, I can't help but to ask the question, "Are general engineering skills undervalued in web development?" I am an EE major. The course I completed, and the professors who taught it; mainly emphasized on developing skills rather memorizing reams of facts and figures. As a result, I have acquired a multitude of skills such as analytical, research, programming, communication, project management, planning, self-learning, etc.

A little over 3 years ago, I made the fateful decision to become a web developer in a small SME in SEA. Admittedly, I have an unstructured knowledge about CS theory. Still, within a short period of time I picked up the essentials of web development craft, and delivered reliable web applications. Most of all, I made good use of my existing technical/soft skills, despite the lack of my CS pedigree.

Recently I went through a couple of job interviews in MNCs, SMEs and start-ups alike. All of them grilled my CS theory or Java knowledge. Almost no interviewer asked me about my other skills (or past experiences) that could be helpful in the developer position. In my experience, web development is a cocktail of competing programming languages, frameworks and standards. Rarely a developer gets exposed to a single technology for a substantial period to learn it inside-out. Even still, in web development world, deep in-depth knowledge in anything will be outdated in few years' time as new technologies roll out. So, what matter's today? Knowledge on a particular technology or re-usable engineering skills ?


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Removing Libsystemd0 From a Live-running Debian System
Posted by News Fetcher on February 15 '15 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's taking-sides department:
lkcl writes The introduction of systemd has unilaterally created a polarization of the GNU/Linux community that is remarkably similar to the monopolistic power position wielded by Microsoft in the late 1990s. Choices were stark: use Windows (with SMB/CIFS Services), or use UNIX (with NFS and NIS). Only the introduction of fully-compatible reverse-engineered NT Domains services corrected the situation. Instructions on how to remove systemd include dire warnings that "all dependent packages will be removed", rendering a normal Debian Desktop system flat-out impossible to achieve. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate that it is actually possible to run a Debian Desktop GUI system (albeit an unusual one: fvwm) with libsystemd0 removed. The reason for doing so: it doesn't matter how good systemd is believed to be or in fact actually is: the reason for removing it is, apart from the alarm at how extensive systemd is becoming (including interfering with firewall rules), it's the way that it's been introduced in a blatantly cavalier fashion as a polarized all-or-nothing option, forcing people to consider abandoning the GNU/Linux of their choice and to seriously consider using FreeBSD or any other distro that properly respects the Software Freedom principle of the right to choose what software to run. We aren't all "good at coding", or paid to work on Software Libre: that means that those people who are need to be much more responsible, and to start — finally — to listen to what people are saying. Developing a thick skin is a good way to abdicate responsibility and, as a result, place people into untenable positions.

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