dp619 writes "In an interview, Microsoft Regional Director Patrick Hynds says that avoidance of open source components by a large part of the .NET developer population is abating. '...While some may still steer clear of the GPL, there are dozens of FOSS licenses that are compatible with Windows developers and their customers,' he said. Hynds cites NuGet, an open source package management system was originally built by Microsoft and now an Outercurve Foundation project, as an example of FOSS libraries that .NET developer are adopting for their applications. Microsoft itself has embraced open source — to a point. It has partnered with Hortonworks for a Windows port of Hadoop, allowed Linux to run on Windows Azure, and is itself a Hadoop user."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
MTorrice writes "Some biologists would like to train patients' own immune systems to treat diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. They envision isolating a person's immune cells and then programming the cells to destroy tumors or to stop other parts of the immune system from attacking healthy tissue. Now a team of German researchers reports a method that traps immune cells in microscopic water droplets and exposes the cells to chemical signals that could teach them the difference between friend and foe (abstract). The droplets mimic the cellular environments in which immune cells typically trade information about what to attack."
tetrahedrassface writes "Observations of spectral emissions from the surface of Europa using state of the art ground based telescopes here on Earth have lent data that indicate the surface of the Jovian moon is linked with the vast ocean below. The observations carried out by Caltech's Mike Brown and JPL's Kevin Hand show that water is making it from the ocean below all the way up to the surface of the moon. In their study (PDF) they noticed a dip in the emission bands around lower latitudes of the moon, and quickly honed in on what they were seeing. The mineral of interest is epsomite, a magnesium sulfate compound that can only come from the ocean below. From the article: 'Magnesium should not be on the surface of Europa unless it's coming from the ocean,' Brown says. 'So that means ocean water gets onto the surface, and stuff on the surface presumably gets into the ocean water.' Not only does this mean the ocean and surface are dynamically interacting, but it also means that there may be more energy in the ocean than previously thought. Another finding is that the ocean below the icy surface of Europa is basically very similar to an ocean on Earth, giving the neglected and premier solar body for life past Earth another compelling reason for being explored."
TrueSatan writes "Miguel de Icaza, via his blog, has explained his gradual move to the Apple Mac platform. 'While I missed the comprehensive Linux toolchain and userland, I did not miss having to chase the proper package for my current version of Linux, or beg someone to package something. Binaries just worked.' Here is one of his main reasons: 'To me, the fragmentation of Linux as a platform, the multiple incompatible distros, and the incompatibilities across versions of the same distro were my Three Mile Island/Chernobyl.' Reaction to his announcement includes a blog post from Jonathan Riddell of Blue Systems/Kubuntu. Given de Icaza's past association with Microsoft (CodePlex Foundation) and the Free Software Foundation's founder Richard Stallman's description of de Icaza as a 'traitor to the free software community,' this might be seen as more of a blow to Microsoft than to GNU/Linux."
An anonymous reader writes "A controversy has been brewing in the comic community for the past month. Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game and its many sequels, was tapped to write a story for the new Adventures of Superman comic. The controversy arose because Card has become an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, going so far as to say giving it legal recognition could mark 'the end of democracy in America,' and suggesting 'traditional' married people will eventually have to overthrow the government. Many fans of the series objected, and some retailers decided they wouldn't stock the issue Card's story appears in. Now, the illustrator for Card's story, Chris Sprouse, has walked away from the project, saying he wasn't comfortable with the media surrounding the story. Because of that, Card's story is being replaced in the Adventures of Superman anthology. 'The news has inspired speculation about whether or not this could mean that DC will quietly kill off the controversial Card story entirely, with some suggesting that the story remaining un-illustrated gives the publisher an "out" to avoid any potential breach-of-contract legal response.' Personally, I'm not sure what to think about this. I enjoyed Ender's Game as a kid, and it tarnishes the experience a little to know that its authors can say such hateful things. On the other hand, Card seems to have kept his personal views out of his fiction, and it's unlikely DC would let him put those views into a Superman comic even if he wanted to. It's a free country; people are free to believe stupid things. On the third hand, he is actively advocating his views outside his fiction, and what better way is there for readers to fight back than organizing a boycott and voting with their wallets? What do you think, Slashdot?"
bednarz writes "Is telecommuting the new scapegoat for poor performance? Best Buy, in the midst of a corporate restructuring, has canceled its flexible work program and expects corporate employees to put in traditional 40-hour work weeks at the retailer's headquarters (they used to be able to work whenever and wherever they wanted). The announcement comes on the heels of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to end telecommuting, which ignited a firestorm of criticism. It also follows news of Best Buy's plans to lay off 400 corporate workers as part of a plan to cut $725 million in costs and restructure its business. This could signal the beginning of a trend, or be an indication that telecommuters need to actively justify their preference for working outside the office."
An anonymous reader writes "In an interview with Reuters, 'father of the internet' Vint Cerf spoke about Google's past push for requiring real names from their users — a stance they later backed down from after public outcry. Google+ and many other services work just fine with pseudonyms, Cert says, and it's better to let users pick the option that works best for them. 'Using real names is useful. But I don't think it should be forced on people, and I don't think we do.' That said, he also firmly believes some services do need true identities from both sides: 'Anonymity and pseudonymity are perfectly reasonable under some situations. But there are cases where in the transactions both parties really need to know who are we talking to. So what I'm looking for is not that we shut down anonymity, but rather that we offer an option when needed that can strongly authenticate who the parties are.' Still, the matter of pseudonyms on Google+ seems to be settled internally, at least for the moment. Cerf said, 'There was a debate on this subject and it was resolved. ... Our conclusion was that choice is important.'"
theodp writes "The anarchist dictum when it comes to grand juries, explains Salon's Natasha Lennard, is a simple one: 'No one talks, everyone walks.' It's a lesson journalist Quinn Norton tragically learned only after federal prosecutors got her to inadvertently help incriminate Aaron Swartz, her dearest friend and then-lover. Convinced she knew nothing that could be used against Swartz, Norton at first cooperated with the prosecutors. But prosecutors are pro fishermen — they cast wide nets. And in a moment Norton describes as 'profoundly foolish,' she told the grand jury that Swartz had co-authored a blog post advocating for open data (the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto), which prosecutors latched onto and spun into evidence that the technologist had 'malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.' Norton sadly writes, 'It is important the people know that the prosecutors manipulated me and used my love against Aaron without me understanding what they were doing. This is their normal. They would do this to anyone. We should understand that any alleged crime can become life-ruining if it catches their eyes.' Consider yourself forewarned."
CodingHero writes "My mother uses a recent enough PC running Windows XP and has a broadband connection, but her primary method of interacting with the online world remains the AOL software. She also likes to download and use various seasonal wallpapers, screensavers, etc. Usually all this works fine and I don't get family tech support calls, but occasionally something big goes wrong. Since she lives 400 miles away, that means I get to provide phone tech support. While I can usually get something fixed through simple instructions, sometimes it's just too complicated to properly diagnose and explain over the phone (e.g., a trojan infection that anti-virus won't get rid of on its own). I'd like to set up the system so that her account is not an Administrator and that I can easily (and securely) remotely connect to fix problems, install stuff she really wants to use (after proper vetting of course), and so on. Moving to Linux or a Mac is not an option. Upgrading the system to Windows 7 and breaking the AOL habit, while seemingly the best course of action, is going to mean a lot of my time up front to explain how to do things all over again, time that I don't have a lot of right now. Has anyone else had a similar experience? If so, what did you find was the best way to re-educate a parent and/or set up a method to securely and remotely manage a system, or at least lock it down to better protect it?"
Today's video is an interview with the Corporate Alliance Director and the Chief Technology Officer of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), a non-profit organization that claims it is "...the largest and most comprehensive global information privacy community and resource, helping practitioners develop and advance their careers and organizations manage and protect their data." In other words, it's not the same as the much-beloved Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), but is -- as its name implies -- a group of people engaged in privacy protection as part of their work or whose work is about privacy full-time, which seems to be the case for more and more IT and Web people lately, what with HIPAA and other privacy-oriented regulations. This is a growing field, well worth learning more about.
New submitter gameweld writes "Software companies, such as Microsoft, create documentation for millions of topics concerning its APIs, services, and software platforms. Creating this documentation comes at a considerable cost and effort. And after all this effort, much documentation is rarely consulted (citation) and lacking enough examples (citation). A new study suggests that developers are increasingly consulting Stack Overflow and crowd-sourced sites over official documentation, using it as much as 50% of time. How should official documentation be better redesigned? What are the implications of software created from unruly mashups?"
jfruh writes "As tablets and cell phones become more and more important to the computing landscape, Intel is increasingly having a hard time keeping its chips on the forefront of the industry, with x86 architecture failing to find much success in mobile. The question that arises: Why is Intel so wedded to x86 chips? Well, over the past thirty years, Intel has tried and failed to move away from the x86 architecture on multiple occasions, with each attempt undone by technical, organizational, and short-term market factors."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Of late, there's been a number of crossovers between technology and entertainment, including the rash of creative directors at brands like Polaroid (Lady Gaga), Intel (Will.i.am) and BlackBerry (Alicia Keys). It's a much rarer thing, though, for rock stars to invest in infrastructure, rather than serve as the 'face' of a brand. But that's exactly what three members of the rock band Live, which sold 20 million albums in its '90s heyday, are doing as their second act: investing in a company that plans on building a 100-Gbit fiber link across Pennsylvania to four data centers. That company, United Fiber and Data (originally known as United Federal Data), will build out a network between New York City and Ashburn, Virginia — providing a low-latency data pipeline that connects offices in Virginia to data centers owned by Wall Street. Supposedly in the name of security, the network will avoid the traditional I-95 corridor, a more direct route used by many other networks."
jrepin writes "Today KDE released updates for its Workspaces, Applications and Development Platform. These updates are the first in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.10 series. Over 100 recorded bugfixes include improvements to the Personal Information Management suite Kontact, the Window Manager KWin, and others. KDE's Development Platform has received a number of updates that affect multiple applications."
newscloud writes "Seattle will soon shut down its popular phonebook opt-out website as a result of a costly settlement with Yellow Pages publishers. Going forward, the only way to stop unwanted phonebook deliveries will be to visit the industry's opt out site and provide them with your personal information. They will share it with their clients, most of whom are direct marketing agencies, who in turn commit not to use it improperly. The Federal Court of Appeals ruled in October that The Yellow Pages represent protected free speech of corporations (including Canada's Yellow Media Inc.); defending and settling the lawsuit cost Seattle taxpayers $781,503. The city said the program's popularity led to a reduction of 2 million pounds of paper waste annually."
itwbennett writes "In what one expert is calling a clear message to China's tech industry that the authorities want to support a homegrown mobile operating system, China's tech regulator warns in a white paper that the country is becoming too dependent on Google's Android OS. 'Our country's mobile operating system research and development is heavily reliant on Android,' reads the white paper from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. 'Although the Android system currently remains open source, the core technologies and technology roadmap is strictly controlled by Google.'"
DavidGilbert99 writes "According to research by the Hyatt Hotel group, one third of customers are already checking in at self-service kiosks in their hotel lobbies, eschewing the traditional route of the receptionist. This is indicative of a wider trend according to voice recognition experts Nuance who believe we simply never want to talk to a real human again, preferring the clipped, efficient tones of its Nina virtual assistant. Expanding this from mobile to now include the web means we could soon be living in a world where speaking to a real live human is the exception rather than the rule." When things go smoothly, I prefer the automated versions of many things (airport check-in, ordering products to arrive by mail, depositing a check); it's when things go wrong that voice menus and web sites just seem to make simple problems into complicated ones.
tal197 writes "Zero Install, the decentralized cross-platform software installation system, announced 0install 2.0 today after 2 years in development. 0install allows authors to publish directly from their own web-sites, while supporting familiar features such as shared libraries, automatic updates, dependency handling and digital signatures. With more than one thousand packages now available, is this finally a viable platform?"
TrueSatan writes "In a highly detailed decision, the UK Court of Appeal has rejected Tesla's appeal against an eartlier ruling by a lower court that, too, rejected Tesla's case. Reading through the decision it is clear that the judge saw Tesla's case as lacking sufficient detail and specific instances of proof to support each claim. The judge stated that that Tesla's chances of a successful appeal, should the case have gone to trial, were insufficiently high to justify holding a trial. He stated that Tesla's case had no real chance of success and in many notes picked appart Tesla's legal team's arguments. That said, he did not say that Top Gear were right or justified in portraying Tesla's vehicle in the way they did — merely that there wasn't a legal case for an appeal. One of the key flaws in Tesla's case, according to the judicial decision, was Tesla's inability to show that actual pecuniary harm, with detailed financial figures, had occurred."
rueger writes "Right now there's an election happening in British Columbia. A desperate government is flooding Facebook with "Sponsored Post" spam (example) extolling the wonderful things that they plan to do if re-elected. There's one problem though. Every one of these posts is followed by hundreds of extremely negative comments added by people who either dislike the party in question, or Facebook spam in general. Desperate moderators are trying to control the 'discussion,' but seem to have no hope of doing so. What was thought to be a cool marketing tool has turned into a public relations disaster. Is this the worst use of social media in an election?"
theodp writes "Microsoft says that the death of its 'Scroogled' ad campaign against Google has been greatly exaggerated. 'Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people,' said a Microsoft spokesperson. 'Nearly 115,000 people signed a petition asking Google to stop going through their Gmail.' So, is Microsoft's scare campaign justified? Well, in a recently-published patent application for a Method and System for Dynamic Textual Ad Distribution Via Email, Google explains how its invention can be used to milk more money from advertisers by identifying lactating Moms, which might make some uneasy. Google also illustrates how advertisers can bid on access to those suffering from breast cancer, bi-polar disorder, depression, and panic anxiety. Hey, what could possibly go wrong?"
CowboyRobot writes "American companies are demanding more H-1B visas to ensure access to the best and brightest workforce, and outside the U.S. are similar claims of an IT worker shortage. Last month, European Commission VP Neelie Kroes bemoaned the growing digital skills gap that threatens European competitiveness. But a new study finds that imported IT talent is often less talented than U.S. workers. Critics of the H-1B program see it as a way for companies to keep IT wages low, to discriminate against experienced U.S. workers, and to avoid labor law obligations. In his examination of the presumed correlation between talent and salary, researcher Norman Matloff observes that Microsoft has been exaggerating how much it pays foreign workers. Citing past claims by the company that it pays foreign workers '$100,000 a year to start,' Matloff says the data shows that only 18% of workers with software engineering titles sponsored for green cards by Microsoft between 2006 and 2011 had salaries at or above $100,000."
An anonymous reader writes "Canon announced today that it successfully developed a super high-sensitivity full-frame CMOS sensor developed exclusively for video recording. The new Full HD sensor can capture light no other comparable sensor can see and it uses pixels 7.5 larger than the best commercial professional cameras in existence today." There doesn't seem to be a gallery of images, but the video demo (direct link to an mpeg4) makes it seem pretty sensitive.
judgecorp writes "Microsoft has published an explanation of the failure of Windows Azure earlier this month. Users of the Azure storage saw that an SSL certificate had expired. Microsoft's explanation says that the certificate had in fact been renewed, but an update with the new certificate details was not prioritized, and hadn't actually been implemented till after the old certificate expired. There are more interesting details, but Microsoft says better alerts and more automation will stop this particular fault happening again."