Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

Space

+ - 153 Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations 1

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Charles Q. Choi writes that hairspray could one day serve as the sign that aliens have reshaped distant worlds because one group of gases that might be key to terraforming planets are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), long-lived non-toxic greenhouse gases that were often used in hairspray and air conditioners, among many other products. "Our hypothesis is that evidence of intelligent life might be evident in a planetary atmosphere," says astrobiologist Mark Claire at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. CFCs are entirely artificial, with no known natural process capable of creating them in atmospheres. Detecting signs of these gases on far-off worlds with telescopes might serve as potent evidence that intelligent alien civilizations were the cause, either intentionally as part of terraforming or accidentally via industrial pollution. "An industrialized civilization will be one that will use its planetary resources for fabrication, the soon-to-be-detectable-from-Earth atmospheric byproducts of which could be a tell-tale sign of their activity," says astrobiologist Sanjoy Som. CFCs can be easily recognized in planetary atmospheres because their atmospheric “fingerprint” (i.e. chemical spectra) is very different from natural elements, and are a tell-tale sign that life on the surface has advanced industrial capabilities. Using state-of-the-art computer models of atmospheric chemistry and climate, researchers plan to discover what visible signs CFCs and other artificial byproducts of alien terraforming or industry might have on exoplanet atmospheres. "We are about a decade away of being able to measure detailed compositions of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets," says Som."
Firefox

+ - 179 Firefox 18 Beta Out: Faster JavaScript Via IonMonkey, Built-in PDF Vewer

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Monday announced the release of Firefox 18 beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download it now from Mozilla.org/Firefox/Beta. The biggest addition in this update is significant JavaScript improvements, courtesy of Mozilla’s new JavaScript JIT compiler called IonMonkey. The company promises the performance bump should be noticeable whenever Firefox is displaying Web apps, games, and other JavaScript-heavy pages."
Slashdot.org

+ - 173 Unveiling Slashdot Mobile for Tablets

Submitted by
gkuchhal
gkuchhal writes "Slashdot Mobile has finally made it out of the gates for tablets as well as phones. The Mobile site for phones launched some weeks back, but now you can take advantage of the changes we've made to read Slashdot easier to read through touch-screen devices on tablets as well as phones. That includes features we've folded in to the mobile version from the desktop-browser view of the site, so you can scan user profiles, sip from the Firehose, and keep up with notifications. See this blog post for more details, and keep the feedback coming. If you see a problem, tell us about it!"
Government

+ - 183 Sandia Lab celebrates original "Mr. Clean" the clean room inventor-> 1

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "Sandia National Laboratories physicist Willis Whitfield, 92, passed away earlier this month and left a technological legacy that continues to reverberate today: The legendary clean room.

The original laminar-flow 10 x 6 clean room developed 50 years ago by Whitfield was more than 1,000 times cleaner than any cleanrooms used at the time and ultimately revolutionized microelectronics, healthcare and manufacturing development. According to Sandia, with slight modifications, it is still the clean room standard today."

Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - 196 Windows 8 PCs Still Throttled By Crapware->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "Windows 8's Metro UI presents a clean and spiffy new interface for Microsoft's latest OS. But one of the operating system's oldest and most hated problems — crapware — still lurks below the surface. For instance, the Acer Aspire 7600U is an all-in-one that, at $1,900, is hardly a bargain-basement PC. And yet as shipped it includes over 50 pieces of OEM and third-party software pre-installed, much of which simply offer trials for paid services."
Link to Original Source
Oracle

+ - 386 Oracle Proposes Nashorn, A New JavaScript Engine for OpenJDK->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Oracle has proposed a new project for OpenJDK – Nashorn, which aims to implement a high-performance yet lightweight JavaScript runtime that would run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Nashorn will be headed by Jim Laskey, multi-language Lead at Oracle and the project will be sponsored by HotSpot group. The project proposes implementation of JavaScript such that it can run standalone JavaScript applications via the JSR 223 APIs. Nashorn’s design will enable it to take advantage of technologies like MethodHandles and InvokeDynamic APIs."
Link to Original Source

+ - 173 Troubling trend for open source company... 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I'm one of the original founders of a open source company which offers a popular open source product (millions of downloads) targeted primarily to small businesses. We have been doing this for 10 years now and we fund the development of the open source product with the usual paid support services, custom development and addons, but over the last few years we've noticed a troubling trend...

Companies that have downloaded our product from one of the many free download sites have a question they want answered, they call our support line and once we politely explain the situation and that telephone support has a reasonable fee associated with it, more and more of them are becoming seriously irate, to the point of yelling, accusing of us fraud and/or scamming them. For some reason they think a free product should have free telephone support as well, and if we don't offer free telephone support then its not really a free product.

It would appear that these same people are then resorting to social media in an attempt to "spread the word" with the same false accusations which is starting to take its toll on our reviews, ratings and in turn our bottom line.

Does the Slashdot community have any suggestions on how we can reverse this trend? How do other open source companies handle similar situations?"
Games

+ - 167 What's it like to pilot a drone? A lot like Call of Duty->

Submitted by Velcroman1
Velcroman1 (1667895) writes "Teenagers raised on "Call of Duty" and "Halo" might relish flying a massive Predator drone — a surprisingly similar activity. Pilots of unmanned military aircraft use a joystick to swoop down into the battlefield, spot enemy troop movements, and snap photos of terror suspects, explained John Hamby, a former military commander who led surveillance missions during the Iraq War. “You’re always maneuvering the airplane to get a closer look,” Hamby said. “You’re constantly searching for the bad guys and targets of interest. When you do find something that is actionable, you’re a hero.” Yet a new study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found real-life drone operators can become easily bored. Only one participant paid attention during an entire test session, while even top performers spent a third of the time checking a cellphone or catching up on the latest novel. The solution: making the actual drone mission even more like a video game."
Link to Original Source
Technology

+ - 173 Is Intel Planning to Kill Enthusiast PCs?->

Submitted by OceanMan7
OceanMan7 (1664723) writes "According to a story by Charlie Demerjian, a long-time hardware journalist, in SemiAccurate.com, Intel's next generation of x86 CPUs, Broadwell, will not come in a package having pins. Hence manufacturers will have to solder it onto motherboards. That will likely seriously wound the enthusiast PC market.

One might think that tIntel are just cutting their own throats given the competition, but AMD is financially on the ropes. A quote from analyst Alan Brochstein in a recent article at seekingalpha.com states: "Advance Micro (AMD), on the other hand, looks terminal to me despite new management."

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1026631-the-20-most-oversold-stocks-in-the-s-p-500?source=yahoo

Anti-Trust Prosecution take so long that it's not a viable alternative for stopping this. If Intel doesn't change their plans, the future pasture for enthusiasts looks like it will go to ARM chips or something from offshore manufacturers."

Link to Original Source
Businesses

+ - 151 O'Reilly Discounts Every eBook by 50%->

Submitted by destinyland
destinyland (578448) writes "O'Reilly and Associates just announced that they're offering a 50% discount on every ebook they publish for Cyber Monday. Use the code CYBERDAY when checking out to claim the discount (which expires at midnight). Amazon has also discounted their Kindle Fire tablets to just $129. Due to a prodcution snafu, they've already sold out of the new Kindle Paperwhite, and won't be able to ship any more until December 21"
Link to Original Source
Mars

+ - 215 SpaceX Founder Sets Sights On Martian Colony->

Submitted by amkkhan
amkkhan (2542482) writes "Elon Musk, founder of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, is has his eye on forming a Mars colony, and you can be part one of the first Martian explorers for only $500,000. The Mars colony would be part of a Mars settlement program, and Must envisions ferrying up to 80,000 people to the red planet as part of the first Mars colony.

The Mars settlement program would start with 10 people, who would journey on to Mars on a reusable rocket created by SpaceX powered by liquid oxygen and methane, according to Yahoo! News.

"At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big," Musk said, according to Space.com."

Link to Original Source
Security

+ - 147 Dual Interface Mobile Devices To Address BYOD Issue->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Next year, smart phones will begin shipping with the ability to have dual identities: one for private use and the other for corporate. Hypervisor developers, such as VMware and Red Bend, are working with system manufacturers to embed their virtualization software in the phones, while IC makers, such as Intel, are developing more powerful and secure mobile device processors. The combination will enable mobile platforms that afford end users their own user interface, secure from IT's prying eyes, while in turn allowing a company to secure its data using mobile device management software. One of the biggest benefits dual-identity phones will offer is enabling admins to wipe corporate data from phones without erasing end users profiles and personal information."
Link to Original Source
Bug

+ - 190 Researcher Finds Nearly Two Dozen SCADA Bugs in a Few Hours' Time->

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "It is open season on SCADA software right now. Last week, researchers at ReVuln, an Italian security firm, released a video showing off a number of zero-day vulnerabilities in SCADA applications from manufacturers such as Siemens, GE and Schneider Electric. And now a researcher at Exodus Intelligence says he has discovered more than 20 flaws in SCADA packages from some of the same vendors and other manufacturers, all after just a few hours' work.

Aaron Portnoy, the vice president of research at Exodus, said that finding the flaws wasn't even remotely difficult.

"The most interesting thing about these bugs was how trivial they were to find. The first exploitable 0day took a mere 7 minutes to discover from the time the software was installed. For someone who has spent a lot of time auditing software used in the enterprise and consumer space, SCADA was absurdly simple in comparison. The most difficult part of finding SCADA vulnerabilities seems to be locating the software itself," Portnoy said in a blog post.

Portnoy said that he plans to suggest to ICS-CERT that the group consider developing a repository of SCADA software to make it easier for security researchers to do their work."

Link to Original Source
Programming

+ - 143 A Gentle Rant About Software Development and Installers-> 1

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "This is the story of the comparison that just wasn’t meant to be. It’s a story of everything that can go wrong in the customer end of the software world, and some thoughts on what needs to be done, especially in an area known as Installers. I’m a software engineer with 25 years of experience, and for years I’ve wanted to point out some of the shortcomings of my own industry to help make it better for everyone involved—not only for the end-users, but also for the IT people who have to support the products; the salespeople who have to sell and later, possibly, apologize for the software; for the executives whose hands are tied because they don’t have the technical knowledge to roll up their sleeves and help fix problems in the code; and for the programmers themselves who might get stuck with what some consider the absolute worst position for a programmer: maintenance of crappy code written by programmers who have long since left the organization."
Link to Original Source
Australia

+ - 167 Dealing with the "Australia Tax" on Video Games->

Submitted by
trawg
trawg writes "In the throes of another holiday shopping season, with the year's top video game launches still setting records above all other entertainment mediums, gamers down under are still paying more than anyone else in the world, with many publishers adding an "Australia tax" to their latest tiles. We take a look at the factors and forces responsible for the disparity in retail prices for games in Australia relative to other developed nations, and as a solution suggest that consumers should support developers and publishers that don't discriminate, and import, and circumvent the products of those that do."
Link to Original Source

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

Working...