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Microsoft

+ - 135 Microsoft reportedly plotting set-top box alongside next-gen Xbox-> 1

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Slashgear: Posted by Eric Abent on November 21, 2012. It’s pretty obvious that Microsoft and Sony have started work on their next generation gaming consoles, but Microsoft might have more than just the next Xbox up its sleeve. According to a new report from The Verge, Microsoft is planning to launch a set-top box of its own at some point next year. By making such a device and launching some kind of Xbox TV service alongside its next-gen console, it could potentially allow Microsoft to get its products in more living rooms than ever before, so it’s pretty easy to see the appeal of such a strategy.
    This set-top box would obviously be a media streaming device meant to challenge the likes of Apple TV and Roku, but Microsoft is also developing this box with gaming in mind. You won’t be able to play full blown console games on it of course, but The Verge’s sources say that Microsoft is looking to have casual games on its box. Perhaps we’ll see the company launch something like Xbox Live made specifically for this device?
  The box will also be running Windows 8, and will make use of a chipset that allows it to boot up and a resume from sleep quickly. Given the fact that Microsoft has been trying to turn the Xbox 360 into a media hub rather than a simple games console, the jump to a set-top box isn’t that hard to make. Things get even more interesting, though, when we hear the claim that Microsoft may also be planning to introduce a phone that’s capable of full Xbox Live functionality."

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+ - 133 Ask Slashdot: Geekiest way to cook a turkey?->

Submitted by almostadnsguy
almostadnsguy (2009458) writes "There seem to be a lot of ways to cook a turkey the geekiest ones are probably out of the realm of possibility for normal geeks. However, Within the limits of normal society (or outside if you wish) what is the geekiest way to do it. The link included is to the web site of my favorite geek celebre-chef (Alton Brown)."
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Science

+ - 224 Mysterious substance found in human brain

Submitted by
Velcroman1
Velcroman1 writes "A mysterious molecule that turns people into modern-day Rip Van Winkles has been discovered in the brain, and it may be responsible for a rare disorder that has some sufferers sleeping more than 70 hours a week. The strange molecule, called a "somnogen," is believed to be at the root of the sleeping disorder, which in some cases also makes it difficult for people to wake up from their marathon sleep sessions. The somongen is made up of amino acids, just like a protein, and may keep sufferers bedridden for years, said David Rye, professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine and director of research for Emory Healthcare’s Sleep Center Clinic. “They feel as if they’re walking around in a fog – physically, but not mentally awake,” Rye said."
Medicine

+ - 97 The Science of Thanks Giving

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "This is Americans’ big week to give thanks. Now Russell McLendon writes that giving thanks can do wonders for the human brain according to researchers at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center where scientists have developed an easy way for people to do just that and, at the same time, contribute to a national research project and maybe also improve their lives. The project is part of a $5.6 million, three-year national effort called “Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude,” funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The center has gone live with Thnx4.org, an interactive, shareable gratitude journal and has invited people in the campus community to take part in the Cal Gratitude Challenge by keeping a two-week online “gratitude journal” and, if they choose, sharing their posts with others. Early research into the power of gratitude journals ended up proving that students who wrote down everything they were grateful for strengthened their overall resilience and became less vulnerable to everyday stresses and complaints like rashes and headaches, says Emiliana Simon-Thomas. “Thnx4.org wanted to make this spiral notebook very accessible, and to make the research a little more specific than it has been historically,” says Simon-Thomas. Online, anyone can take part — and potentially reap the benefits. The Cal Gratitude Challenge opened November 1 and will remain open throughout November but the project has a three-year grant and participants will be able to maintain their journals for the duration and first results from the data are expected in January. "We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received," writes Robert Emmons as part of the project. "This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.""
Google

+ - 199 Google attacks UN net conference->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Google has warned that a forthcoming UN-organised conference threatens the "free and open internet". Government representatives are set to agree a new information and communications treaty in December.

It has been claimed some countries will try to wrest oversight of the net's technical specifications and domain name system from US bodies to an international organisation.

However, the UN has said there would be consensus before any change was agreed."

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Earth

+ - 164 Thousands of Natural Gas Leaks Found in Boston

Submitted by poofmeisterp
poofmeisterp (650750) writes "Due to old cast iron underground pipelines, natural gas leaks run amok in Boson, MA.

"While our study was not intended to assess explosion risks, we came across six locations in Boston where gas concentrations exceeded the threshold above which explosions can occur," Nathan Phillips, associate professor at BU, said in a statement.

With "a device to measure methane" in a vehicle equipped with GPS, Duke and Boston University researchers created a nice little map showing the methane levels in parts per million at different points in the city.

"Repairing these leaks will improve air quality, increase consumer health and safety, and save money," study researcher Robert B. Jackson, of Duke, said in a statement. "We just have to put the right financial incentives into place."

It looks like money is an issue (imagine that)..."

+ - 216 Should hosting companies have change freezes?

Submitted by AngryDad
AngryDad (947591) writes "Today I received a baffling email from my hosting provider that said "We have a company-wide patching freeze and we will not be releasing patches to our customers who utilize the patching portal for the months of November and December". This means that myself and all other customers of theirs who run Windows servers will have to live with several critical holes for at least two months. Is this common practice with mid-tier hosting providers? If so, may I ask Eastern-EU folks to please refrain from hacking my servers during the holiday season?"
Government

+ - 140 Hardware vendors sue Dutch government over copyright levies->

Submitted by
concealment
concealment writes "Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell and Imation are suing the Dutch government over new levies on hard disks, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players that are meant to compensate the music and movie industries for losses caused by home copying.

"The companies now hold the State liable for all damages caused by the levies," the hardware vendors said in a joint news release on Wednesday. Trade association FIAR Consumer Electronics, which has as members companies such as Samsung, Sharp, Sony and LG, is also a party to the litigation. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the District Court of The Hague."

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Facebook

+ - 240 Outrage in India over arrests for Facebook posts->

Submitted by
concealment
concealment writes "As India's financial capital shut down for the weekend funeral of a powerful politician linked to waves of mob violence, a woman posted on Facebook that the closures in Mumbai were "due to fear, not due to respect." A friend of hers hit the "like" button.

For that, both women were arrested.

Analysts and the media are slamming the Maharashtra state government for what they said was a flagrant misuse of the law and an attempt to curb freedom of expression. The arrests were seen as a move by police to prevent any outbreak of violence by supporters of Bal Thackeray, a powerful Hindu fundamentalist politician who died Saturday."

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Facebook

+ - 185 Judge Demands Email And Facebook Passwords From Women In Sexual Harassment Case

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Back in September, a US judge ruled that a school district violated the First Amendment (freedom of speech) and Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure) rights of a 12-year-old student by forcing her to hand over her Facebook password to school officials who in turn used it to search for messages they deemed inappropriate. This month, another US judge has ordered that women suing their employer for sexual harassment must hand over cell phones, passwords to their email accounts, blogs, as well as to Facebook and other social networks."
Government

+ - 163 Brazil And Peru Dispute .Amazon Domain ->

Submitted by
judgecorp
judgecorp writes "Amazon.com could lose the ",amazon" domain, as Brazil and Peru have disputed the retailer's application to ICANN, backed by other South American governments, who want to protect use of that domain for “purposes of public interest related to the protection,promotion and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome”."
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Crime

+ - 174 The latest craze? High-voltage fences promise to zap would-be copper thieves -> 1

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "It may be a gimmick or maybe the ultimate answer, but a California city this week Ok'd a draft ordinance that would let businesses install 7,000 volt electric fences to protect sites from rampant copper thieves. As reported by the Sacramento CBS station, the reaction form one business owner to the ordinance says it all: "It'll be a little fun to watch one of these guys get electrocuted holding my fence trying to rob me.""
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Music

+ - 101 Hardware vendors sue Dutch government over copyright levies->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell and Imation are suing the Dutch government over new levies on hard disks, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players that are meant to compensate the music and movie industries for losses caused by home copying.

The entertainment industry estimates lost income of €40 million, which is much too high, according to the hardware companies. "That amount is excessive and completely unfounded," they said. The €40 million also incorporates damages for illegally downloaded music and movies which, according to the companies, legally cannot be recovered by a levy on devices. Furthermore the Dutch government established a levy on all devices including devices for professional use that are not used for private copying, they said.

The companies are also suing the Dutch Home Copying Foundation (Stichting de Thuiskopie), which is responsible for the collection of the levies, demanding that the foundation pay collected levies back to the hardware makers."

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EU

+ - 194 Climate change evident across Europe, says report->

Submitted by Dupple
Dupple (1016592) writes "Following on from a world bank report of 4 degree C warmer world, comes this story from the BBC

The effects of climate change are already evident in Europe and the situation is set to get worse, the European Environment Agency has warned.

"Every indicator we have in terms of giving us an early warning of climate change and increasing vulnerability is giving us a very strong signal," observed EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade."

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NASA

+ - 138 NASA Working on Getting Rid of the "New Satellite" Smell->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is working to eliminate new car smell. No, they aren't a bunch of killjoys. That distinctive odor is caused by outgassing of chemicals used in car manufacturing. Some scientists believe these gases to be harmful, but whether they are or not, satellites suffer from the same problem. The gases released by satellites themselves can damage them, so NASA is working on new ways to control or eliminate these emissions."
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Iphone

+ - 173 AT&T enables FaceTime over cellular for all, including unlimited data users->

Submitted by zacharye
zacharye (2330148) writes "When AT&T announced earlier this year that it would support FaceTime video calling on Apple’s iPhone over cellular data connections only for those customers who switched to new shared data plans, people were not happy. The backlash came fast and furious, and some advocacy groups questioned whether or not the new policy was legal. AT&T eventually buckled under the pressure and said users with any tiered data plan and an LTE-enabled device would be able to use FaceTime over cellular. The move was seen as a big step in the right direction, but AT&T confirmed that the many iPhone users with grandfathered unlimited data plans still would not be able to make FaceTime calls over cellular connections. As it turns out, however, AT&T may have quietly reversed that decision as well..."
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Technology

+ - 209 Bionic Mannequins Spy on Shoppers to Boost Luxury Sales->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Benetton Group SpA is among fashion brands deploying mannequins equipped with technology used to identify criminals at airports to watch over shoppers in their stores. Retailers are introducing the EyeSee, sold by Italian mannequin maker Almax SpA, to glean data on customers much as online merchants are able to do. The 4,000-euro ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending.
    The EyeSee looks ordinary enough on the outside, with its slender polystyrene frame, blank face and improbable pose. Inside, it’s no dummy. A camera embedded in one eye feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It logs the age, gender, and race of passers-by. Demand for the device shows how retailers are turning to technology to help personalize their offers as growth slows in the $245 billion luxury goods industry. Bain & Co. predicts the luxury market will expand 5 percent in 2012, less than half last year’s rate.
    “It’s a changing landscape but we’re always going to be sensitive about respecting the customer’s boundaries,” said spokesman Colin Johnson. Others say profiling customers raises legal and ethical issues. U.S. and European Union regulations permit the use of cameras for security purposes, though retailers need to put up signs in their stores warning customers they may be filmed. Watching people solely for commercial gain may break the rules and could be viewed as gathering personal data without consent, says Christopher Mesnooh, a partner at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse in Paris. “If you go on Facebook, before you start the registration process, you can see exactly what information they are going to collect and what they’re going to do with it,” said Mesnooh. “If you’re walking into a store, where’s the choice?” So far Almax hasn’t faced obstacles to selling the dummy, CEO Catanese said. Since the EyeSee doesn’t store any images, retailers can use it as long as they have a closed-circuit television license, he said."

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Hardware Hacking

+ - 159 Entries open for first ever 24-hour Raspberry Pi hackathon->

Submitted by concertina226
concertina226 (2447056) writes "Called the Raspberry Pi “hack day”, the competition will pit 100 entrants against one another in a number of categories using only the board, Internet access, soldering irons and as much coding as they think appropriate.

Participants will have 24-hours to complete projects, at the end of which judges will category winners will be awarded from a variety of prizes including camcorders, Android tablets and the geek must-have, the Hubsan H107 Quadcopter."

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Piracy

+ - 224 Microsoft accidentally gifts pirates with a free Windows 8 Pro license key-> 1

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager’s career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key. As you have probably surmised, this isn’t intentional — Microsoft hasn’t suddenly decided to give pirates an early Christmas present (though the $40 upgrade deal from Windows 8 Release Preview is something of a pirate amnesty). In fact, it’s probably just a case of poor testing and a rushed release by Microsoft. The bug involves the Key Management Service, which is part of Microsoft's Volume Licensing system. Pirates have already hacked the KMS to activate Windows 8 for 180 days — but this is just a partial activation. Now it turns out that the free Media Center Pack license keys that Microsoft is giving out until January 31 2013 can be used on a KMS-activated copy of Windows 8 to turn it into a fully licensed copy of Windows 8 Pro. The massive irony, of course, is that Microsoft originally intended to strip Media Center from Windows 8 Pro — and then, in the face of consumer backlash, decided to offer it as a free upgrade until January 31 2013. Presumably, instead of taking the time to deliver the upgrade properly, Microsoft pushed it out the door as quickly as possible — and this is the result."
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Patents

+ - 130 Form1 3D printer and Kickstarter get sued for patent infringment->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "3D Systems, one of the big fish in 3D printer manufacturing files a suit against Formlabs's hugely polular Form1 printer put forth on Kickstarter. The crowdfunding effort has ammassed close to 3M US Dollars, of an initial 100K requested. 3D Systems accuses Formlabs and Kickstarter of knowingly infringing one of it's still valid blanket patents on stereolythography and cross-sectional printing of 3D objects. The company is probably going to go for the kill, as one can deduct from the demands on their complaint: http://news.priorsmart.com/3d-systems-v-formlabs-l77v/#Complaint"
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