MojoKid writes "When Microsoft reversed its Xbox One DRM policies a few weeks back, there was momentary hope that the company has listened to its customers and understood the features they were asking for. Granted, this was brief. However, with Mattrick gone, there was some hope that maybe the company would reintroduce plans like Family Sharing and put the console back on track. Apparently not. Microsoft's big new feature with Kinect? Advertising. Microsoft plans to use Kinect to make advertisements even more engaging than their current counterparts. In the future, Kinect may offer you a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' style narrative in which you speak commands or give orders to an ad as it's playing to change the final outcome. The other way Microsoft wants to use Kinect is to monitor what's going on in the living room to serve you group-appropriate content, rather than resorting to the plain old method of bombarding you with non-interactive advertising for things you don't care about. Microsoft will likely learn that telling gamers that the Xbox One is an ad-centric experience and attempting to spin it like a positive doesn't actually work."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "As the PCMan at the LXDE blog lets us know, the work on a port of LXDE to the Qt platform is showing promise. As the developers stand to face the deprecation of Gtk+ 2, migrating away from the popular toolkit will soon be necessary. The developers note that migration to Qt 'will cause mild elevation of memory usage compared to the old Gtk+ 2 version,' but clarify that a similar increase in resource usage is expected of a migration to Gtk+ 3. Yet, the port to Qt is ongoing, and clearly taking shape, as the screenshot shows. An official release might be a while, though. As an update to the post notes, the plan is to use the recently released Qt 5.1 in the future, which we might not see in distros for some time." They are also cooperating with the Razor Qt desktop. From the weblog post: "...We subscribed razor-qt google groups and discussed about possible cooperation earlier. Currently, the ported LXDE components are designed with Razor-Qt in mind. For example, PCManFM-Qt and LxImage-Qt will reads razor-qt config file when running in razor-qt session. We’ll try to keep the interchangeability between the two DEs. Further integration is also possible. Actually, I personally am running a mixed desktop with LXDE-Qt + Razor-Qt components on my laptop. Components from the both DE blends well."
An anonymous reader writes "South African Quentin Harley has picked up the $20,000 Gada Uplift prize for making the open source RepRap 3D printer design easier to build, cheaper to construct, and — most importantly — capable of printing more of its own parts. Lots of background on Harley and his RepRap Morgan are available on his website." A further goal of the RepRap Morgan project is to replace the Prusa Mendel as the default RepRap model. And they are on track to hit less than $100 in parts, excluding the printing bed. You can grab the hardware design and the controller firmware over at Github.
MTorrice writes "When hospital patients develop nasty, antibiotic-resistant infections, the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is often the culprit. In a new approach to killing the pathogen, researchers genetically modified harmless Escherichia coli bacteria to detect and destroy P. aeruginosa. The E. coli spot a specific chemical released by the pathogen and then secrete a toxin to kill it (abstract)."
seagirlreed writes "Rocket traffic may be adding water to the Earth's mesosphere, leading to more very high clouds in this layer of thin air on the edge of space. From the article: 'A team of researchers looking for an expected decrease in the number of clouds in this layer, as solar activity and heating have ramped up, were instead surprised to find an increase in the number and brightness of clouds in this near-outer-space region over the last two years. ... The source of the water to make the clouds is a puzzle, Siskind explained, because there is not much sign of it coming up into the mesosphere. On the other hand, rockets and, until recently, shuttles roaming in space could rain water exhaust down into the mesosphere.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Now here's the greatest thing ever: French tech firm Spotter has apparently devised an analytics platform capable of identifying sarcastic comments, according to the BBC. Spotter's platform scans social media and other sources to create reputation reports for clients such as the EU Commission and Air France. As with most analytics packages that determine popular sentiment, the software parses semantics, heuristics and linguistics. However, automated data-analytics systems often have a difficult time with some of the more nuanced elements of human speech, such as sarcasm and irony — an issue that Spotter has apparently overcome to some degree, although company executives admit that their solution isn't perfect. (Duh.) Spotter isn't alone: IBM, Salesforce, and other IT vendors are hard at work on analytics software that can more perfectly determine when you're mouthing off, you little punks. In theory, sarcasm detection can help with customer service, and judging how well products are doing on the open market... and we all know it's going to work perfectly, right? Nothing could possibly go wrong with automated platforms built to assess the nuances of human speech."
An anonymous reader writes "While the Wii U struggles, Nintendo's been raiding the archives and resurrecting some of its lesser known stars from yesteryear, including Chibi Robo, Steel Diver, and yes, Mario's oft-ignored brother himself — the company is going so far as to call 2013 the "year of Luigi". But as an article published today points out, there are still many more forgotten heroes in Nintendo's IP back catalogue. Series like Excitebike, Waveracer and 1080 used to be trusted to launch a new console, while NES classics like Ice Climber have all but been forgotten, alongside some of GameFreal's lesser known creations. Will they be enough to save Nintendo this generation?"
Wrath0fb0b writes "Days after President François Hollande sternly told the United States to stop spying on its allies, the newspaper Le Monde disclosed on Thursday that France has its own large program of data collection, which sweeps up nearly all the data transmissions, including telephone calls, e-mails and social media activity, that come in and out of France. The report notes that 'our email messages, SMS messages, itemized phone bills and connections to FaceBook and Twitter are then stored for years.' For those Slashdot readers that grok Français, you can read the original at Le Monde or the translated version from LM."
An anonymous reader writes "Caused by what researchers say is local industry and agriculture pollution, the green algae (scientific name Enteromorpha prolifera), has resulted in the foul-smelling mass taking over parts of China's Yellow Sea. The event, which has occurred in the same region over the past six years, always during the summer, has grown exponentially since its last notable interference in 2008. This year's growth is reportedly double in size, measuring in at more than 11,158 square miles. According to a report from the Guardian, officials have removed 7,335 tons of the algae recently in an attempt to control the growth after beach-goers in the nearby city of Qingdao have remain unaffected by the disturbance. While strange in appearance, the algae is reportedly nontoxic to humans but can, however, leave behind the toxic gas hydrogen sulphide. According to a report from the Daily Mail, crews are working to remove the algae as the toxicity is caused if it is left to decompose."
An anonymous reader writes "The Guardian is running a story about a recent recruitment session held by the NSA and attended by students from the University of Wisconsin which had an unexpected outcome for the recruiters. 'Attending the session was Madiha R Tahir, a journalist studying a language course at the university. She asked the squirming recruiters a few uncomfortable questions about the activities of NSA: which countries the agency considers to be 'adversaries', and if being a good liar is a qualification for getting a job at the NSA.' Following her, others students started to put NSA employees under fire too. A recording of the session is available on Tahir's blog."
KindMind writes "Sky Deutschland is considering a proposal to use bone conduction to broadcast ads to train riders. The idea is that the riders rest their heads against a part of the train, like the train window, and then bone conduction would broadcast ads directly into their ears."
An anonymous reader writes "A new study of books and music for sale on Amazon shows how copyright makes works disappear. The research is described in the abstract: 'A random sample of new books for sale on Amazon.com shows three times more books initially published in the 1850's are for sale than new books from the 1950's. Why? A sample of 2300 new books for sale on Amazon.com is analyzed along with a random sample of 2000 songs available on new DVDs. Copyright status correlates highly with absence from the Amazon shelf. Second, the availability on YouTube of songs that reached number one on the U.S., French, and Brazilian pop charts from 1930-60 is analyzed in terms of the identity of the uploader, type of upload, number of views, date of upload, and monetization status. An analysis of the data demonstrates that the DMCA safe harbor system as applied to YouTube helps maintain some level of access to old songs by allowing those possessing copies (primarily infringers) to communicate relatively costlessly with copyright owners to satisfy the market of potential listeners.'"
WebMink writes "A discussion in the Debian community reveals that last month Oracle quietly disclosed a change for the embedded BerkeleyDB database from the quirky Sleepycat License to the Affero General Public License (AGPL) in future versions. AGPL is only compatible with GPLv3 and treats web deployment as a trigger to license compliance, so developers using BerkeleyDB will need to check their code is still legally licensed. Even if they had made the switch in the interests of advancing software freedom it would be questionable to force so many developers into a new license compatibility crisis. But it seems likely their only motivation is to scare more people into buying proprietary licenses. Oracle are well within their rights, but developers are likely to treat this as a betrayal. As a poster in the Debian thread says, "Oracle move just sent the Berkeley DB to oblivion" because there are some great alternatives, like OpenLDAP's LMDB."
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Ad Age: "[Rachel Law's] creation, called 'Vortex,' is a browser extension that's part game, part ad-targeting disrupter that helps people turn their user profiles and the browsing information into alternate fake identities that have nothing to do with reality. People who use the browser tool, which works with Firefox and Chrome, effectively confuse the technologies that categorize web audiences into likely running shoe buyers, in-market auto buyers, or moms interested in cooking and football. ... It's a bit like the ad blocker extensions of yore, except it scrambles information to trick ad targeters, all in service of an addictive game deemed 'Site Miner,' which allows players to fish for cookies visualized as sea creatures. Players can gobble up cookies Pac-Man style, creating a pool of profile information that has nothing to do with their actual web behavior. ... Vortex features a profile switcher that people can use and share to take on a new identity while browsing the web. 'It's a way of masking your identity across networks,' she said."
coondoggie writes "As if landing on an asteroid wouldn't be dangerous enough, a new microgravity experiment on the forces generated by an asteroid and its make-up suggests landing on one may cause a big avalanche. The rubble and dust covering asteroids and comets can feel changes in what is known as 'force-chains' between particles over much larger distances than on Earth, making these surfaces less stable than previously imagined, said Dr. Ben Rozitis of the Open University, who presented his experiment's findings (abstract) on July 4 at the National Astronomy Meeting."
RockDoctor writes "After spending several years on supporting the uptake of 3-D TV, the BBC has accepted that people don't want it, and are turning off their 3-D channels following an uptake of under 5% of households with 3-D equipment. I can just feel the joy at not having wasted my money on this technology."
fantomas writes "The BBC reports on the Japanese phenomenon of Hikikomori: young people, mainly men, who are holed up in rooms in their parents' houses, refusing to go out and engage with society. 'A conservative estimate of the number of people now affected is 200,000, but a 2010 survey for the Japanese Cabinet Office came back with a much higher figure - 700,000. Since sufferers are by definition hidden away, Saito himself places the figure higher still, at around one million. The average age of hikikomori also seems to have risen over the last two decades. Before it was 21 — now it is 32.' Why is this happening? And is it a global phenomenon or something purely due to Japanese culture? (We're all familiar with the standing slashdot joke of the geek in their mom's basement, for example.)"
trawg writes "A new Australian study on the effect of violent video games on Australia has just been published, failing to find any evidence that playing video games affects prosocial behavior. The study compared groups who played different types of games, including notably violent titles like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, as well as non-violent titles like Portal, comparing their behavioral response through a simple pen-drop experiment. In a follow-up interview, the researcher said his perspective on how violence might affect people has changed since he started the research: 'I've played video games for most of my life and got into this research because I couldn't believe that violent video games could make me do something I didn't want to do, that is, be aggressive. My attitude has changed somewhat. These days I find it totally plausible that violent video games could influence people's behavior, but the real question is whether their influence is harmful, and I'm not yet convinced of that.'"
Charliemopps writes "On June 23rd, 2013, asteroid (5099) was officially named Iainbanks by the IAU, and will be referred to as such for as long as Earth Culture may endure. The official citation reads, 'Iain M. Banks (1954-2013) was a Scottish writer best known for the Culture series of science fiction novels; he also wrote fiction as Iain Banks. An evangelical atheist and lover of whiskey, he scorned social media and enjoyed writing music. He was an extra in Monty Python & The Holy Grail.'"
beaverdownunder writes "Melbourne restauranteur Paul Mathis has developed a one-character replacement for the word 'The' – effectively an upper-case 'T' and a lower-case 'h' bunched together so they share the upright stem – and an app that puts it in everyone's hand by allowing users to download an entirely new keyboard complete not just with his 'Th' symbol, but also a row of keys containing the 10 or 15 (depending on the version) most frequently typed words in English. Mathis has already copped criticism from people who claim he is attempting to trademark a symbol that is part of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet (pronounced 'tshe,' the letter represents the 'ch' sound found in the word 'chew')."
New submitter egladil writes "As seen previously here on Slashdot, the European Parliament was to vote on 'whether existing data sharing agreements between the two continents should be suspended, following allegations that U.S. intelligence spied on E.U. citizens.' With the votes now having been cast, the result is 483 in favor of the resolution and 98 against, while 65 abstained. The resolution in question in part called for the U.S. 'to suspend and review any laws and surveillance programs that "violate the fundamental right of E.U. citizens to privacy and data protection," as well as Europe's "sovereignty and jurisdiction."' It also decided that the E.U. should investigate the surveillance of E.U. citizens, and finally gave backing to the European Commision in case they should decide to suspend the data sharing deals currently in place with the U.S., such as the Passenger Name Record and Terrorist Finance Tracking Program agreements. The question now is whether the E.U. commision will go through with suspending these deals or not."
willith writes "I got to sit down with ISS TOPO Flight Controller Josh Parris at the Houston Mission Control Center and talk about how NASA steers all 400 tons of the International Space Station around potential collisions, or 'conjunctions,' in NASA-parlance. The TOPO controller, with assistance from USSTRATCOM's big radars, keeps track of every object that will pass within a 'pizza-box'-shaped 50km x 50km x 4km perimeter around the ISS. Actually moving the station is done with a combination of large control moment gyros and thrusters on both the Zvezda module and visiting vehicles. It's a surprisingly complex operation!"
theodp writes "For all of their handwaving at Code.org about U.S. kids not being taught Computer Science, tech execs from Microsoft, Google, and Facebook seem more focused lately on Plan B of their 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy. So, who's going to teach your children CompSci? Enter friend-of-the-Gates-Foundation Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch's Amplify Education is launching an AP Computer Science MOOC this fall (Java will be covered), taught by an experienced AP CS high school teacher (video). An added option, called MOOC Local, will provide additional resources to schools with students in the CS MOOC. MOOC Local will eventually cost $200 per student, but is free for the first year."
hypnosec writes "Harlan – a declarative programming language that simplifies development of applications running on GPU has been released by a researcher at Indiana University. Erik Holk released his work publicly after working on it for two years. Harlan's syntax is based on Scheme – a dialect of LISP programming language. The language aims to help developers make productive and efficient use of GPUs by enabling them to carry out their actual work while it takes care of the routine GPU programming tasks. The language has been designed to support GPU programming and it works much closer to the hardware." Also worth a mention is Haskell's GPipe interface to programmable GPUs.
Zothecula writes "Most people would probably agree that air travel still has plenty of room for improvement, particularly when it comes to actually checking in and getting on the plane. For its part, British Airways is now taking steps to speed up the whole process on its end and is even testing a digital alternative to the traditional paper luggage tag. The airline recently produced an electronic luggage tag that travelers can update themselves with a smartphone and re-use over and over."