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+ - 164 Ask Slashdot: When Does Time Tracking Go Too Far?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Hello, fellow Slashdotters. I ask this question anonymously to avoid complete and utter embarrassment that I have not already suffered as a result.

I work in a call center, full time, for a large mail order pharmacy. Recently, as part of their campaign to better track time spent both at and away from our desks, they have started tracking bathroom breaks. They use a Cisco phone system, and there is now a clock out option that says "Bathroom"

My question, Slashdot, is whether or not this is in any way acceptable in a large corporate environment (Around 800 people work at this same pharmacy) and is it even legal? How invasive would this really be considered, and beyond privacy concerns, how are they going to deal with the humiliation that their employees feel as a result of this?

Has this happened to anyway, or is it happening to any of you?"

+ - 213 New Official Worlds Hottest Temperature-> 5

Submitted by tomhath
tomhath (637240) writes "After an in-depth investigation by a team of meteorologists working for the World Meteorological Organization, the official hottest temperature ever recorded (134 F or 56.7 C) has been declared to have occurred in Death Valley...in 1913. The previous record (136.4 F or 58 C) that was recorded in Libya in 1922 was found to be erroneous."
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The Internet

+ - 145 Europe Rationing Last IPv4 Address Block->

Submitted by
Techmeology
Techmeology writes "As IPv4 exhaustion draws ever nearer, European ISPs are now unable to acquire more than a handful (1024) of new IPv4 addresses. The measures are being brought in to ration the last /8 available to RIPE NCC, with 400,000 address previously being allocated every day. In addition to the limit, organizations applying for IPv4 addresses will be required to demonstrate that they are deploying IPv6."
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Network

+ - 158 Check your phone bill: You're probably being overcharged for data->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "A recent study conducted by UCLA professor Chunyi Peng shows that carriers generally count data usage correctly, but those customers who commonly use their device in areas with weak signal strength or to stream audio or video are often overcharged. Peng and three other researchers used data gleaned from an app installed on Android smartphones on two different carriers. The issue appears to be in how the system is set up to count data usage. Under the current scenario, data is charged as it is sent from the carrier’s network to the end user. What does not exist is a system to confirm whether the packets are received, and thus preventing charges for unreceived data. Peng demonstrated this in two extreme circumstances. In one case, 450 megabytes of data was charged to an account where not a single bit of it had been received. On the flipside, Peng’s group was able to construct an app which disguised data transfers as DNS requests, which are not counted by the carriers as data usage. Here they were able to transfer 200 megabytes of data without being charged. Overall, the average overcharge is about 5-7% for most users. While that does not seem like much, with unlimited plans gone and data caps in style that could pose potential problems for some heavy data users. Could you be going over your data allotment based on data you never received? It’s quite possible."
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Cellphones

+ - 213 Apple Wins Again — ITC Rules They Didn't Violate Samsung Patents->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A preliminary ruling from the International Trade Commission today found that Apple did not violate four of Samsung's patents in the design of the iPhone. "The patents in the complaint are related to 3G wireless technology, the format of data packets for high-speed transmission, and integrating functions like web surfing with mobile phone functions." The complaint was filed by Samsung in 2011, and a final confirmation is due next January. Apple has similar claims against Samsung awaiting ITC judgment; the preliminary ruling is expected in mid-October."
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Science

+ - 128 Rewiring the Autistic Brain->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Signs of autism—such as impaired social skills and repetitive, ritualistic movements—usually begin to appear when a child is about 18 months old. Autism is thought to result from miswired connections in the developing brain, and many experts believe that therapies must begin during a "critical window," before the faulty circuits become fixed in place. But a new study shows that at least one malfunctioning circuit can be repaired after that window closes, holding out hope that in some forms of autism, abnormal circuits in the brain can be corrected even after their development is complete."
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Linux

+ - 217 Are commercial games finally going to make it to Linux?-> 1

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Those of us who actively promote Linux as a viable desktop alternative to Windows are often greeted with the following refrain: "Nobody will use Linux because there are no good games." The prevailing wisdom being that the abundance of high-quality, commercial video gaming is a key factor in the market-share dominance that Microsoft Windows enjoys.

And, in all reality, this is somewhat true. So, then, the obvious course of action is to convince the video game publishers and developers of the world that Linux is a viable (if, perhaps, a bit niche) market. And by "viable" I mean one thing and one thing only – "profitable."

Luckily, there have been three high-profile recent examples of Linux users going absolutely nuts over video games, forking over their hard-earned cash in the process: the Humble Indie Bundle (drawing in huge numbers of sales — for a DRM-free product, no less — with sales numbers by Linux users consistently beating out sales to MacOS X users); Canonical's Ubuntu Software Center (where video games make up the top 10 paid software packages); Valve's announcement that it is bringing the Steam store, and community portal, to Linux desktop (specifically Ubuntu).

Will the indie game developers (along with Valve) reap the bulk of the rewards that releasing games on Linux is offering...or will some of the big publishers realize what they're missing out on and join in the fun?"

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Facebook

+ - 156 Odd Things You Find In Your Facebook Data Dump->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "Taking advantage of recent EU privacy rulings that apply to Facebook because the company's international HQ is in low-tax Ireland, Loek Essers managed to download all the data Facebook holds on him, and found some weird stuff. For instance, listed under his interests are two cities — one in Poland, one in Australia — that he's never heard of."
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Science

+ - 114 Monkeys Made Smarter With Prosthetic Device->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have successfully restored and, in some cases, enhanced decision-making ability in brain-damaged monkeys on cocaine by connecting a prosthetic device to their brains. This breakthrough may one day help restore cognitive ability in people who have cognitive deficiencies due to brain disease or injury."
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Wireless Networking

+ - 190 Intel Demos 7Gpbs Wireless Docking->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Intel for the first time demonstrated the Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) docking specification using an Ultrabook, which was able to achieve 7Gbps performance, ten times the fastest Wi-Fi networks based on the IEEE 802.11n standard. The WiGig medium access control (MAC) and physical (PHY) control specification operates in the unlicensed 60GHz frequency band, which has more spectrum available than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands used by existing Wi-Fi products. According to Ali Sadri, chairman of the WiGig Alliance, the specification also supports wireless implementations of HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces, as well as the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) scheme used to protect digital content transmitted over those interfaces. It scales to allow transmission of both compressed and uncompressed video."
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+ - 239 Two teams win the BotPrize->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "For the past five years, the 2K BotPrize has challenged artificial intelligence researchers and programmers to create a computer game playing bot that plays like a person. It’s one thing to make bots that play computer games very well — computers are faster and more accurate than a person can ever be, but it’s a different thing to make bots that are fun to play against.

In a breakthrough result, after years of striving and improvement from 14 different international teams from nine countries, two teams have crossed the humanness barrier! The teams share $7000 in prize money and a trip to games company 2K’s Canberra studio.
The winners are the UT^2 team from the University of Texas at Austin, and Mihai Polceanu, a doctoral student from Romania, currently studying Artificial Intelligence at ENIB CERV — Centre de Réalité Virtuelle, Brest, France. The UT^2 team is Professor Risto Miikulainen, and doctoral students Jacob Schrum and Igor Karpov. The bots created by the two teams both achieved a humanness rating of 52%, easily exceeding the average humanness rating of the human players, at 40%.
It is especially fitting that the prize has been won in the 2012 Alan Turing Centenary Year. The famous Turing test — where a computer has to have a conversation with a human, and pretends to be another human — was the inspiration for the BotPrize competition. Where to now for human-like bots? Next year we hope to propose a new and exciting challenge for game playing bot creators to push their technologies to the next level of human-like performance."

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Privacy

+ - 195 Twitter hands over messages at heart of Occupy case->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester.

Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws.

The Manhattan district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Malcolm Harris.

It believes the messages undermine Mr Harris' claim that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."

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Iphone

+ - 219 iPhone 5 Scorns Standards Promise To European Commission->

Submitted by
WebMink
WebMink writes "Back in 2009, Apple signed an agreement aimed at reducing electronic waste resulting from mobile phone accessories. But this week's launch of the iPhone 5 shows them reneging on that commitment. Instead of including a micro-USB connector on the iPhone, as they agreed to do along with the rest of the phone industry, they created yet another proprietary connector. At a stroke, they have junked earlier iPhone accessories, forced a new industry in Apple-only accessories to arise and broken their promise to the EC. It's a huge missed opportunity both for their customers and for the environment."
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Games

+ - 228 First part of Black Mesa released->

Submitted by ProbablyJoe
ProbablyJoe (1914672) writes "The long awaited Source engine remake of the Valve's original Half Life has finally been released. The initial release only includes the story up until Xen, but the developers say they'll be adding the rest of the story, along with an online multiplayer Deathmatch mode, soon. The game is available to download for free, and only requires players to install the Source SDK (included with all Source games, or a free download.

The highly anticipated release has also caused a huge amount of traffic for any servers hosting the files, with GameFront, GameUpdates, and Black Mesa's own CDN brought down within minutes of the release. The project has also been approved by Steam's Greenlight program, and will hopefully be available through Steam soon, though no timeframe has been given."

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AMD

+ - 128 Intel's Haswell is an unprecedented threat to Nvidia, AMD->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "Fully unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum over the last few days, Intel’s next-generation architecture, codenamed Haswell, isn’t just another “tock” in Intel’s tick/tock cadence; it’s a serious threat to both AMD and Nvidia. For the first time, Intel is poised to challenge both companies in the mainstream graphics market while simultaneously eroding Nvidia’s edge in the GPGPU business. For a start, the Haswell CPU core will be 10-15% faster than Ivy Bridge, but thanks to the addition of AVX2, Haswell's floating point performance will be monstrous: a quad-core part should be capable of 256 (double-precision) gigaflops, which should be enough to outpace Nvidia's GTX 680. On the GPU side of things, Haswell will massively increase the number of processing cores, offering "up to 2x" the performance of Ivy Bridge's HD 4000. Even a conservative take on that promise spells trouble for AMD and Nvidia. According to benchmarks, Trinity’s GPU is an average of 18% faster than Llano’s across a range of 15 popular titles. Compared to Sandy Bridge, Trinity was almost 80% faster. Against Ivy Bridge, it’s just 20% faster. Given what we know of Haswell’s GPU shader counts and performance targets, it shouldn’t be hard for Intel to deliver a 30-50% performance boost in real-world games. If it does, Trinity goes from the fastest integrated GPU on the market to an also-ran, and AMD loses the superior graphics hole card it’s been playing since it launched the AMD 780G chipset four years ago. It isn't looking good for either AMD or Nvidia."
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Open Source

+ - 242 Red Hat Fights Patent Troll With GPL->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "Red Hat is in the middle of a patent lawsuit with Twin Peaks Software, which claims that a Red Hat subsidiary is abusing a Twin Peaks filesystem lawsuit. Now, Red Hat is launching an intriguing countermeasure: the company claims that Twin Peaks' own closed source software violates the GPL because it makes use of an open source disk utility that Red Hat holds the copyright no. Is this a smart move on Red Hat's part?"
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+ - 229 How one man made an 1,800 player action game in his spare time->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Just Cause 2 Multiplayer has been getting a lot of press lately, but this making of feature points out how it raises a serious industry about the games industry: if 1,800 player massively multiplayer action games are possible on one server, why did it take one modder from Queensland to prove it?"
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