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Canada

+ - 208 Canada's Supreme Court Tosses Viagra Patent For Vagueness

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "In a 7-to-0 decision, the Supreme Court Of Canada has ruled that Pfizer Canada Inc.'s patent on well-known erectile dysfunction remedy Viagra is now invalid due to insufficient information in Pfizer's patent application. The upshot is that competitors can now manufacture cheaper, generic versions of Viagra for sale in Canada. A problem with spreading this news item is that many email filters will not allow the topic, so cheers to /."

+ - 169 NY AG Subpoena's Craigslist for Post-Sandy Price Gougers->

Submitted by TheSync
TheSync (5291) writes "In the wake of Hurrican Sandy, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Craigslist, demanding that the site identify more than 100 sellers whose prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies were of an “unconscionably excessive price” during an emergency. AG Eric Schneiderman said: “Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.""
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+ - 255 Ask Slashdot: Which virtual machine software for a beginner 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I am getting ready to start trying out / learning the use of virtual machines. This is for personal use.

It would be good to run both Windows vms and linux vms. Early use would be maintaining multiple Windows installs using only one desktop computer with plenty of cores and memory. I would be starting with a Windows host, but probably later switching to a linux host after i learn more about linux.

Free is good, but reliability and ease of use are better.

What is the current Slashdot choice for a vm beginner:
vmware, zen, virtual box, etc. ???"
Australia

+ - 237 Bank puts 1b transaction records behind analytics site->

Submitted by schliz
schliz (994115) writes "Australia's UBank has put a billion real-world transaction records behind a website that allows users to compare their spending habits with others of the same gender, in the same age/income range, neighborhood and living situation. The 'PeopleLikeU' tool surfaces favorite shops and restaurants surprisingly accurately — because it's based on real customers' transactions, it lists places like good takeout joints that wouldn't normally come to mind when you think of a favorite place to eat. The bank says all data was 'deidentified' and it consulted with privacy authorities."
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Microsoft

+ - 227 Bungled Mobile Bet Will Be Ballmer's Swan Song->

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "'If Windows 8 and the Surface tablet flop, you'll see a shareholder revolt that will send Steve Ballmer packing by this time next year,' writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. 'InfoWorld and I have been dumping on Windows 8 so much I'm not going to repeat the arguments. Maybe we're wrong, and buyers will decide that the new OS and the Microsoft's first serious venture into hardware are what they want. It would be a huge boost for the industry if it happens, but I'm not optimistic. ... There's been a string of bad quarters, and the stock has been frozen for nine years. At some point — I think we're getting really close — investors are going to demand a shakeup. When they do, it's going to be good-bye, Ballmer.'"
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+ - 217 "Why the hell does this mouse need to connect to the Internet?"->

Submitted by
jbrodkin
jbrodkin writes "In this hyper-connected, networked world, many more of our devices are getting linked to the cloud, whether we want them to or not. That's sometimes good, and sometimes bad, so when a basic device like a mouse requires a user to go online and set up an account to activate all of its functionality, people are understandably going to ask why? The latest entry in the saga of "Why the hell does this thing need to connect to the Internet?" comes from Razer, which has caused an uproar by asking users to register gaming mice on the Internet. While it's mainly for syncing settings across devices, gamers are complaining that certain functionality might not be available unless you create an online account for your mouse. Razer has responded to the controversy, but its answers aren't entirely satisfactory."
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Security

+ - 217 Telcos declare SMS unsafe for bank transactions->

Submitted by littlekorea
littlekorea (1656839) writes "Australia's telcos have declared that SMS technology should not be used by banks to verify identities for online banking transactions, in a bid to wash their hands of culpability for phone porting hacks. But three of Australia's largest four banks insist they will continue to use SMS messages to carry authentication codes for transactions."
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Government

+ - 150 Romney Campain Accidentally Launches Transition Web Site->

Submitted by stevegee58
stevegee58 (1179505) writes "The Mitt Romney presidential campain accidentally launched a transition web site the day after the election. Sporting a "President Elect" seal and a catchy new tagline ("Smaller, Simpler, Smarter") , the site was up briefly before the gaffe was discovered and the site taken down.

Fortunately an alert blogger, Taegan Goddard, found the errant site and published some screen shots."

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Data Storage

+ - 160 A year after Thailand flooding, hard drive prices remain high-> 1

Submitted by
crookedvulture
crookedvulture writes "Last October, Thailand was hit by massive flooding that put much of the world's hard drive industry under water. Production slowed to a crawl as drive makers and their suppliers mopped up the damage, and prices predictably skyrocketed. One year later, production has rebounded, with the industry expected to ship more drives in 2012 than it did in 2011. For the most part, though, hard drive prices haven't returned to pre-flood levels. Although 2.5" notebook drives are a little cheaper now than before the flood, the average price of 3.5" desktop drives is up 35% from a year ago. Prices have certainly fallen dramatically from their post-flood peaks, but the rate of decline has slowed substantially in recent months, suggesting that higher prices are the new norm for desktop drives."
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Intel

+ - 184 Cray Unveils XC30 Supercomputer->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "Cray has unveiled a XC30 supercomputer capable of high-performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops. Originally code-named “Cascade,” the system relies on Intel Xeon processors and Aries interconnect chipset technology, paired with Cray’s integrated software environment. Cray touts the XC30’s ability to utilize a wide variety of processor types; future versions of the platform will apparently feature Intel Xeon Phi and Nvidia Tesla GPUs based on the Kepler GPU computing architecture. Cray leveraged its work with DARPA’s High Productivity Computing Systems program in order to design and build the XC30.

Cray’s XC30 isn’t the only supercomputer aiming for that 100-petaflop crown. China’s Guangzhou Supercomputing Center recently announced the development of a Tianhe-2 supercomputer theoretically capable of 100 petaflops, but that system isn’t due to launch until 2015. Cray also faces significant competition in the realm of super-computer makers: it only built 5.4 percent of the systems on the Top500 list, compared to IBM with 42.6 percent and Hewlett-Packard with 27.6 percent. However, Cray also leads Appro (3.6 percent) and SGI and Bull (3.2 percent each)."

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Hardware

+ - 148 Open Compute Wants to Make Biodegradable Servers->

Submitted by 1sockchuck
1sockchuck (826398) writes "The Open Compute Project has challenged students at Purdue University to develop a biodegradable server chassis. Although the steel used in most server chassis can be recycled, the OCP says it wants to "explore designs that retain the needed resiliency but push the boundaries of sustainability,” even allowing a chassis to be composted. The project aligns with Facebook's goal of separating the technology refresh cycle for CPUs and other components from the surrounding chassis and racks. The Purdue students will tackle this issue next semester, but Slashdot readers can brainstorm the issue now. Is a biodegradable server chassis viable? If so, can it be affordable?"
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IT

+ - 187 What to do after you fire an idiot sysadmin or developer-> 1

Submitted by
Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler writes "The job of dealing with an under-performing employee doesn't end when the culprit is shown the door. Everyone focuses on security tasks, after you fire the idiot, such as changing passwords, but that's just one part of the To Do list. More important, in the long run, is the cleanup job that needs to be done after you fire the turkey, looking for the hidden messes and security flaws the ex-employee may have left behind. Otherwise, you’ll still be cleaning up the problems six months later, when you discovered that the backup he automated... well, not that we are speaking from experience or anything, but we wanted to bring him back in just so we could fire his butt all over again. Rick Cook has a checklist of Stuff To Look For in his article, Cleaning Out The Turkey Coop: What To Do After You Get Rid of an Incompetent Employee. See what you might add to the list."
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+ - 138 Why are online contact forms so bad?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "This is a cry for help and an attempt to speak directly to the world's web developers. Why are web contact forms so useless? In the last hour I used one contact form for my bank that prohibited the use of the Euro symbol. I live in Europe. Ok, so banking back ends are subject to all kinds of regulation but another form I just used to contact an insurance company prohibited the pound sterling sign. Currency symbols aren't the only issue, of course. Contact forms often balk at dates and phone numbers not being entered exactly as they want them to be. Fields to type credit card numbers often balk if you type a space between the numbers — although that's how the numbers are printed on the card. Shouldn't we have found a way past these elementary gotchas in our modern day and age? Are there any open source libraries that can parse contact forms so that they're made safe, regardless of what the user types, so that the user isn't picked up for typing a potentially dangerous / or in their messages? Or that include intelligence to understand the various ways humans type dates? In short, does it really have to be like this?"
Politics

+ - 164 All of Nate Silver's Presidential Predictions Proved True-> 2

Submitted by
kkleiner
kkleiner writes "For the last few months, the political pundit class has been at war with NYT/FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver. Joe Scarborough of MSNBC called him a “joke,” while an op-ed in the LA Times accused him of running a “numbers racket.” But last night, Silver triumphed: every one of his state-level presidential predictions proved true. Statistics FTW!"
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