By timothy from Slashdot's allegedly-apparently-oh-just-give-it-up department
Seattle software developer Saul Pwanson has a hobby of developing crossword puzzles, but another related hobby, too: analyzing the way that existing puzzles have been constructed. He created a database that aggregates puzzles that have appeared in various publications, including, crucially, the New York Times and USA Today, and sorts them based on similarities. Puzzles that have a greater percentage of the same black squares, or the same letters in identical positions, are ranked as more similar. Crosswords often re-use answers; puzzle-solvers are used to encountering some of the usual glue words that connect parts of the grid. As 538 reports, though, Pwanson noticed something odd in the data: Many of the puzzles that appeared in USA Today and affiliated publications, listed under various creators' names but all published under Timothy Parker as editor, were highly similar to each other, differing in as little as four answer words. These Pwanson classifies as "shoddy" -- they seem to be about as different as test responses based on a passed-around answer sheet. These seem to shortchange readers expecting original works, but may represent no real copyright problem, since Universal Uclick holds the copyright to them all. Perhaps puzzle enthusiasts aren't surprised that a publishing syndicate economizes on crosswords with slight variations, or that horoscopes are sometimes recycled.
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By timothy from Slashdot's use-more-rice department
MojoKid writes: The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge don't officially launch for a few more days, but some carriers appear to have shipped pre-orders early and some phones are already in consumers' hands. One early Galaxy S7 Edge owner appears to have tested his phones' water-resistance already and uncovered another new feature in the process. The user submerged his Galaxy S7 Edge in water and snapped a photo, then about four hours later plugged the phone into its fast charger and a warning popped-up on screen that stated, "Moisture detected in charging port", and the phone wouldn't charge. The user dried the phone and let it sit for a while, and it eventually started to charge again, but it wouldn't quick charge any longer. Frustrated, the user RMA'd the phone and plans to send it back to T-Mobile. The Galaxy S7 is IP68 rated, which means it is sealed against dust and can handle continuous submersion in up to 1 meter of water. However, the water detection feature that's apparently built into the Galaxy S7 is a good idea. Though the devices are IP68 rated, a few drops of water in the charging port could easily cause a short when the phone is plugged in.Read Replies (0)
BorgBackup 1.0.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 06 '16 at 09:52 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's two-is-one-and-one-is-none department
An anonymous reader writes: After almost a year of development, bug fixing and cleanup, BorgBackup 1.0.0 has been released. BorgBackup is a fork of the Attic-Backup project — a deduplicating, compressing, encrypting and authenticating backup program for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and other unixoid operating systems (Windows may also work using CygWin, but that is rather experimental/unsupported).
It works on 32bit as well as on 64bit platforms, x86/x64 and ARM CPUs (maybe as well on others, but these are the tested ones).
For Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X, there are single-file binaries which can be just copied onto a system and contain everything needed (Python, libraries, BorgBackup itself). Of course, it can be also installed from source.
BorgBackup is FOSS (BSD License) and implemented in Python 3 (91%), speed critical parts are in C or Cython (9%).Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-a-first-for-everything department
New submitter daubney writes: Oregon lawmakers have approved legislation to eliminate coal from the state's electrical supply by 2035, the first U.S. state to do so. The bill, called the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition plan, commits the state to doubling its use of renewable energy, including solar and wind, to 50 percent by 2040. The bill, passed this week by both legislative branches, now heads to Gov. Kate Brown. Brown said in a statement that the legislation "equips Oregon with a bold and progressive path towards the energy resource mix of the future." Today, roughly one-third of Oregon's power is produced from coal, according to the Oregon Department of Energy. The measure makes Oregon the first state to eliminate coal by legislative action, The Associated Press reports. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oregon is matched only by Hawaii, with a 100 requirement by 2045, Vermont, with a 75 percent target by 2032, and California and New York, with 50 percent goals by 2030.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's gift-for-one's-enemies department
Just a day after it made headlines for announcing that it would remove encryption from its line of FireOS devices, reports Ars Technica, the company has reverted the change, and says that encryption will again be a user-selectable option, with an update to come sometime this Spring. Judging from comments here on Slashdot, that ought to please a lot of people. However, encryption isn't the Fire's only problem; Ricki Jennings at ComputerWorld has collected some of the user reaction to the change, and says that anemic hardware means that even with this small course correction, the Fire tablets themselves "still suck." I'm not so sure; I bought one of the low-end Fire tablets and returned it, disappointed not in the hardware (seemed not bad at all for $50, with a decent screen, snappy video, and sound that was better than reviews had led me to expect) but rather by the intentional limitations of the OS itself.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's who-will-watch-the-foremen? department
An anonymous reader writes with this story from the New York Times, excerpting "After three years of planning, an immigrant rights group in Jackson Heights is set to start a smartphone app for day laborers, a new digital tool with many uses: Workers will be able to rate employers (think Yelp or Uber), log their hours and wages, take pictures of job sites and help identify, down to the color and make of a car, employers with a history of withholding wages. They will also be able to send instant alerts to other workers. The advocacy group will safeguard the information and work with lawyers to negotiate payment."
Adds the submitter: "Although I completely support the app, personally, I see this encountering some significant legal challenges. Hope they've lawyered up." Though the use case is different, this is similar in spirit to "cop watch" apps, like Cell411 and the ACLU's Mobile Justice. (And of course there's Periscope.)Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's this-stuff-cuts-more-than-one-way department
An anonymous reader writes: Ted Cruz pitches himself as an overcomer, an underdog, an outsider who beats the odds. While the Republic candidate has won four states in this nomination race so far, a neurologist says he still faces a big obstacle with voters: his own face. In an interview with Quartz, George Washington University's Richard E. Cytowic said the unusual movements of Cruz's face may make him seem less sincere to the human brain than other candidates. "The normal way a face moves is what's called the Duchenne smile, named after the 19th century French neurologist. So the mouth goes up, the eyes narrow and the eyes crinkle at the outside, forming crows feet," said Cytowic, a professor of neurology.
"Cruz doesn't give a Duchenne smile. His mouth goes in a tight line across or else it curves down in an anti-Duchenne smile. So he doesn't come across as sincere at all."
Visceral reactions probably drive a lot more of politics than anyone likes to admit; seeming trustworthy isn't the same as being trustworthy, but it sure helps win people over.Read Replies (0)