An anonymous reader writes "Years of desire by AMD Linux users to have open source video playback support by their graphics driver is now over. AMD has released open-source UVD support for their Linux driver so users can have hardware-accelerated video playback of H.264, VC-1, and MPEG video formats. UVD support on years old graphics cards was delayed because AMD feared open-source support could kill their Digital Rights Management abilities for other platforms."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
redletterdave writes "The new BBM in BlackBerry 10 has the option to automatically share what music you're listening to as one's status update. As it turns out, this BBM feature in BlackBerry 10 can actually share anything you're listening to with your BBM network, including videos. Therefore, any videos viewed in the BlackBerry Z10 browser or media player will be displayed for all of one's BlackBerry contacts to see, even if you don't want your network to know you're watching certain videos."
Esther Schindler writes "Last fall, the state of Washington passed a marijuana legalization referendum, and needed to acquire an outside consultant to run the program. 'As it normally does, the state put out a request for proposal for a consultant to run the new legal marijuana program,' writes Ron Miller. 'As word leaked out that there was an RFP open for what essentially was a "pot czar," the floodgates opened. It would be the most popular RFP in the state's history. The Liquor Control Board needed a way to process these requests quickly and cheaply.' In a typical RFP scenario, they would get maybe half a dozen responses. This one got close to 100. Miller writes about the cloud workflow required to solve the task: 'He chose these particular tools because they all had open APIs, which allowed him to mash them together easily into the solution. They were easy to use, so reviewers could learn the system with little or no training, and they were mobile, so users could access the system from any device. In particular he wanted reviewers to be able to use the system on a tablet.' I suppose this could have been written about more mundane RFPs, but I bet you'll find this more interesting than most."
Niris writes "I am currently a senior in computer science, and am expecting to graduate in December. I have an internship lined up in Android development with medium sized company that builds apps for much larger corporations, and I have recently begun a foray into iOS development. So far my experience with Android ranges from a small mobile game (basically Asteroids), a Japanese language study aid, and a fairly large mobile app for a local non-profit that uses RSS feeds, Google Cloud Messaging and various APIs. I have also recently started working with some machine learning algorithms and sensors/the ADK to start putting together a prototype for a mobile business application for mobile inspectors. My question: is my background diverse enough that I don't have to worry about finding a job if all the predictions that the 'app bubble' will pop soon come true? Is there another, similar area of programming that I should look into in order to have some contingencies in place if things go south? My general interests and experience have so far been in mobile app development with Java and C++ (using the NDK), and some web development on both the client and server side. Thank you!"
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 20 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The improvements include per-window private browsing, a new download manager in the Firefox toolbar, and the ability to close hanging plugins without the browser hanging. The new desktop version was available as of yesterday on the organization's FTP servers, but that was just the initial release of the installers. Firefox 20 has now officially been made available over on Firefox.com and all users of old Firefox versions should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on the official Google Play Store. The changelogs are here: desktop and Android."
dcblogs writes "PC manufacturers may try to corral Chromebook, much like Netbooks, by setting frustratingly low hardware expectations. The systems being released from HP, Acer, Lenovo and Samsung are being built around retro Celeron processors and mostly 2 GB of RAM. By doing so, they are targeting schools and semi-impulse buyers and may be discouraging corporate buyers from considering the system. Google's Pixel is the counter-force, but at a price of $1,299 for the Wi-Fi system, reviewers, while gushing about hardware, believe it's too much, too soon. The Chromebook is a threat to everything, especially PC makers, as its apps improve. Compare Tweetdeck's HTML5 version with its native app. Can you tell the difference? It might be a year or two before Adobe delivers Web-only versions of its products, but if it doesn't it will be surrendering larger portions of its mindshare to users of Pixlr, Pixel Mixer, PicMonkey and many other interesting and increasingly capable tools."
mikejuk writes "The biggest problem with IE10 as far as modern web apps go is its lack of WebGL support. Now we have strong evidence that IE11 will support WebGL. A leaked build of Windows 'Blue,' aka Windows 8.1, also contained an early version of IE11. Web developer François Remy decided to see what it was hiding and found that there were WebGL APIs, but they were non-functional. Rafael Rivera, who writes the Within Windows blog, dug a little deeper and discovered the registry keys that have to be changed to enable WebGL support. Apparently the API works so well that you can take existing WebGL programs (with OpenGL shaders) and just run them. As the implementation also supports DirectX HLSL shaders, it seems reasonable to guess that the implementation maps OpenGL to DirectX, thus avoiding Microsoft having to endorse OpenGL use."
KindMind writes "To probably no one's surprise, wiping a smartphone by standard methods doesn't get all the data erased. From an article at Wired: 'Problem is, even if you do everything right, there can still be lots of personal data left behind. Simply restoring a phone to its factory settings won't completely clear it of data. Even if you use the built-in tools to wipe it, when you go to sell your phone on Craigslist you may be selling all sorts of things along with it that are far more valuable — your name, birth date, Social Security number and home address, for example. ... [On a wiped iPhone 3G, mobile forensics specialist Lee Reiber] found a large amount of deleted personal data that he recovered because it had not been overwritten. He was able to find hundreds of phone numbers from a contacts database. Worse, he found a list of nearly every Wi-Fi and cellular access point the phone had ever come across — 68,390 Wi-Fi points and 61,202 cell sites. (This was the same location data tracking that landed Apple in a privacy flap a few years ago, and caused it to change its collection methods.) Even if the phone had never connected to any of the Wi-Fi access points, iOS was still logging them, and Reiber was able to grab them and piece together a trail of where the phone had been turned on.'"
Lucas123 writes "The three largest memory makers announced the final specifications for three-dimensional DRAM, which is aimed at increasing performance for networking and high performance computing markets. Micron, Samsung and Hynix are leading the technology development efforts backed by the Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium (HMC). The Hybrid Memory Cube will stack multiple volatile memory dies on top of a DRAM controller. The result is a DRAM chip that has an aggregate bandwidth of 160GB/s, 15 times more throughput as standard DRAMs, while also reducing power by 70%. 'Basically, the beauty of it is that it gets rid of all the issues that were keeping DDR3 and DDR4 from going as fast as they could,' said Jim Handy, director of research firm Objective Analysis. The first versions of the Hybrid Memory Cube, due out in the second half of 2013, will deliver 2GB and 4GB of memory."
Last week James Randi answered your questions. But that was text, and he's a performer ("The Amazing Randi"), so you need to hear the man talk to get his full flavor. He's a good talker, too. So Rob Rozeboom (samzenpus) got on Skype with The Amazing Randi to talk about his exploits, including his debunking of a whole bunch of (alleged) frauds, ranging from Uri Geller to Sylvia Browne. The resulting interview was so long and so strong that we cut it in half. Today you see Part One. Tomorrow you'll see Part Two. (The video's here now; sorry about the delay.)
astroengine writes "It may not be a lander or an orbiter, but its something. Europa, one of Jupiter's largest moons, has been the focus of much scrutiny over its potential life-bearing qualities. It has an icy crust over a liquid water ocean and now salts have been detected on its surface, suggesting a cycling of nutrients from the surface to the interior. This only amplifies the hypothesis that Europa not only could support basic life, it could support complex life. But how can we find out? The proposed Europa Clipper received interest at NASA HQ last year as it would optimize the science while keeping the mission budget under $2 billion. It would be a spacecraft that will be in orbit around Jupiter, but make multiple flybys of Europa to assess the moon for its habitable qualities. Now, in a bill signed by President Obama and approved by lawmakers, $75 million has been allocated (for the remainder of this fiscal year) for a 'Jupiter Europa mission.' Could it represent the seed money for the Europa Clipper? We'll have to wait and see."
MTorrice writes "NASA researchers have compared nuclear power to fossil fuel energy sources in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution-related deaths. Using nuclear power in place of coal and gas power has prevented some 1.8 million deaths globally over the past four decades and could save millions of more lives in coming decades, concludes their study. The pair also found that nuclear energy prevents emissions of huge quantities of greenhouse gases. These estimates help make the case that policymakers should continue to rely on and expand nuclear power in place of fossil fuels to mitigate climate change, the authors say."
coondoggie writes "The Federal Trade Commission today said it picked two winners out of nearly 800 entries for its $50,000 Robocall Challenge which dared technologists to come up with an innovative way of blocking the mostly illegal but abundant calls. According to the FTC, Serdar Danis and Aaron Foss will each receive $25,000 for their proposals, which both use software to intercept and filter out illegal prerecorded calls using technology to 'blacklist' robocaller phone numbers and 'whitelist' numbers associated with acceptable incoming calls." Can't wait until Symantec, Kaspersky, etc. sell competing anti-spammer packages for phones.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech journalist Milo Yiannopoulos asks the question lurking in everyone's mind about Google Glass. 'It's an audacious product for a company no one trusts to behave responsibly with our data: a pair of glasses that can monitor and record the world around you,' he writes. 'But if Glass becomes as ubiquitous as the iPhone, are we truly to believe that Google will not attempt to abuse that remarkable power?' With each new eyebrow-raising court judgment and federal fine levied against Google, he adds, 'it becomes ever more clear that this is a company hell-bent on innovating first and asking questions later, if ever. And its vision, shared with other California technology companies, is of corporate America redefining societal privacy norms in the service of advertising companies and their clients.' He feels that Google will eventually end up in some sort of court battle over Google Glass and privacy. Do you agree? Does Google Glass deserve extra scrutiny before it hits the market?"
An anonymous reader writes "Crunchbutton, founded by Yale grads, is trying to replicate the success of its one-button food delivery service in and around Brown University. The controversy began when the startup delivered a popular Brown sandwich called the 'Spicy With' to students. Brown's lawyers sent Crunchbutton a cease and desist letter, demanding that the company remove any associations with the university or its name. The startup says it has complied with the demands, yet Brown has not backed off, and it expects to be served with a lawsuit. This tale illustrates the perils of encouraging entrepreneurship while protecting the interests of a big educational institution."
An anonymous reader writes "In preparation for the "Steam Box" game console that will make necessary their own Linux-based software platform, Valve developers have started publishing Debian packages for their platform which looks like their first-generation operating system will be derived from Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS. So far the packages being published include a new "Plymouth" boot splash screen as the operating system loads, a Steam desktop wallpaper, auto-updating system scripts, and experimental NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers."
harrymcc writes "Over at TIME.com, we've published David Greelish's interview with Alan Kay, the famously quotable visionary whose Dynabook proposal has provided much of the inspiration for advances in mobile computing for over 40 years now. Kay talks about his work, laments that the computer has failed to live up to its potential as an educational tool, and says that the iPad betrays the vision that he and others created at Xerox PARC and elsewhere in the 1970s."
KindMind writes "Alfred Anaya was a custom stereo installer who branched out to making secret compartments for valuables, who the DEA sent to prison as a co-conspirator when a drug dealer used his creation to smuggle drugs. But Wired points out the bigger question: 'The challenge for anyone who creates technology is to guess when they should turn their back on paying customers. Take a manufacturer of robot kits for hobbyists. If someone uses those robots to patrol a smuggling route or help protect a meth lab, how will prosecutors determine whether the company acted criminally?'"
alphadogg writes "The IEEE this week launched a study group to explore development of a 400Gbps Ethernet standard to support booming demand for network bandwidth. Networks will need to support 58% compound annual growth rates in bandwidth on average, the IEEE claims, driven by simultaneous increases in users, access methodologies, access rates and services such as video on demand and social media. Networks would need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second in 2015 and 10 terabit per second by 2020 if current trends continue, the organization says."
Redigi runs a service that lets you resell your digitally purchased music. Naturally, they were sued by major labels soon after going live, with heavyweights like Google weighing in with support and an initial victory against pre-trial injunctions. But the first actual court ruling is against them. Pikoro writes "A judge has sided with Capitol Records in the lawsuit between the record company and ReDigi — ruling that MP3s can only be resold if granted permission by copyright owners. From the article: 'The Order is surprising in light of last month's United States Supreme Court decision in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, which reaffirmed the importance and applicability of the First Sale Doctrine in the United States of America.'" Redigi vows to appeal, and claims that the current version of their service is not affected by the lawsuit.
Xcott Craver writes "After several years of inactivity, the Underhanded C contest has returned. The object is to write a short, readable, innocent-looking computer program that nevertheless performs some evil function for reasons that are not obvious under code review. The prize is a $200 gift certificate to ThinkGeek." The deadline is July 4th, so get to hacking.
Gunkerty Jeb writes "Alma Whitten, the director of privacy at Google, is stepping down from that role and leaves behind her a complicated legacy in regards to user privacy. ... Whitten has been at Google for about 10 years, and while she has been the main public face of the company's product privacy efforts in the last couple of years, she has been involved in engineering privacy initiatives for even longer. Before becoming the privacy lead for products and engineering in 2010 in the aftermath of the Google Street View WiFi controversy, Whitten had been in charge of privacy for the company's engineering teams. During that time, she was involved in the company's public effort to fight the idea that IP addresses can be considered personally identifiable information."
beltsbear writes "Following a reasonable view of drug patents, the Indian courts have decided that making small changes to an existing patented drug are not worthy of a new patent. This ruling makes way for low cost Indian cancer drugs that will save lives. From the Article: 'Novartis lost a six-year legal battle after the court ruled that small changes and improvements to the drug Glivec did not amount to innovation deserving of a patent. The ruling opens the way for generic companies in India to manufacture and sell cheap copies of the drug in the developing world and has implications for HIV and other modern drugs too.'"