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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Microsoft

+ - 175 Windows 8 adoption as slow as Vista->

Submitted by Billly Gates
Billly Gates (198444) writes "Computerworld recently published an article after Microsoft claimed $40 million copies were sold making it the most popular version of Windows ever made! Many of us had our doubts with stories of Microsoft and retailers blaming OEMs for low projections. Netmarketshare says otherwise as actual usage shows it only slighter higher than Vista with Windows 7 HUGELY more popular. Is Microsoft counting every new PC sale a Windows 8 one including corps who are imaging each device with Windows 7?"
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Apple

+ - 270 Some Apple iMac's "Assembled in America"-> 1

Submitted by whisper_jeff
whisper_jeff (680366) writes "A number of newly-purchased standard units are showing an "Assembled in America" notation. While the markings don't necessarily mean that Apple is in the midst of transferring its entire assembly operation from China to the U.S., it does indicate that at least a few of the new iMacs were substantially assembled domestically."
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Hardware

+ - 200 "self-healing" NAND flash memory that can survive over 100 million cycles->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Taiwan-based Macronix has found a solution for a weakness in flash memory fadeout. A limitation of flash memory is simply that eventually it cannot be used; the more cells in the memory chips are erased, the less useful to store data. The write-erase cycles degrade insulation; eventually the cell fails. "Flash wears out after being programmed and erased about 10,000 times," said the IEEE Spectrum. Engineers at Macronix have a solution that moves flash memory over to a new life. They propose a "self-healing" NAND flash memory solution that can survive over 100 million cycles."
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Education

+ - 211 Khan Academy: The Future of Taxpayer Reeducation? 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has launched a website and gone social on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to educate taxpayers on why they must make good on pension promises to state workers. And, in addition to Squeezy the Pension Python, Gov. Quinn is enlisting the help of Khan Academy, the tax-exempt, future-of-education organization funded by tax-free millions from Google, Bill Gates, and others, to help convince taxpayers that a state-pension-promise is a promise. In the Khan Academy video commissioned by the Governor, Illinois Pension Obligations, Sal Khan concedes that the annual annuity payouts for IL state employee retirees do look 'pretty reasonable' — e.g., $43,591 for the average teacher, $117,558 for a judge — but goes on to argue that 'in all fairness, this was promised to these people,' who he speculates 'probably took lower compensation while they were working,' 'probably stayed in the jobs longer,' and 'probably sacrificed other things' to get these 'great benefits.' 'We’re delighted to have his [Khan's] help in enlightening Illinois citizens about how the pension problem came to be,' said the Governor. Of course, not everything can be explained in one video — perhaps other contributing factors like 'pension spiking', lobbyists' maneuvers, sweetheart deals, creative job reclassification, golden parachutes, bruising investment losses, and other wacky pension games will be taught in Illinois Pension Obligations II!"

+ - 233 The Promo Bay Blocked by UK ISPs->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Pirate Bay’s artist promotion platform – the Promo Bay website, despite being perfectly legal, is being blocked by several UK Internet service providers including BT, Virgin Media it has been revealed. The Promo Bay was launched this week as a promotion platform for content creators like filmmakers, musicians enabling them to showcase their talent and work to thousands of people across the web. Even though the idea is novel, The Promo Bay has somehow found itself on a block list alongside the Pirate Bay because of which the site is facing the blockade."
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+ - 166 McAfee's blog claims that he's been captured->

Submitted by
netbuzz
netbuzz writes "A blog being maintained for the past three weeks by antivirus pioneer John McAfee and others is claiming to have received “an unconfirmed report” that McAfee has been captured near the border of Belize and Mexico. However, authorities in Belize say that report is not true and that the whereabouts of McAfee, wanted for questioning as a “person of interest” after the Nov. 11 murder of his neighbor, remain unknown."
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Privacy

+ - 195 Julian Assange: "Online Totalitarianism is Near, Entire Nations are Intercepted"-> 2

Submitted by dryriver
dryriver (1010635) writes "Russia Today's correspondents have visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up for nearly 6 months now. In the 12 minute long interview with RT, Assange has many interesting things to say about privacy, and government data interception in particular. A small excerpt: >> Russia Today — 'So you’ve written this book ‘Cypherpunks. Freedom and the Future of the Internet’ based on one of the programs that you’ve made for RT. In it, you say that the internet can enslave us. I don’t really get that, because the internet it’s a thing, it’s a soulless thing. Who are the actual enslavers behind it?' >> Julian Assange — 'The people who control the interception of the internet and, to some degree also, physically control the big data warehouses and the international fiber-optic lines. We all think of the internet as some kind of Platonic Realm where we can throw out ideas and communications and web pages and books and they exist somewhere out there. Actually, they exist on web servers in New York or Nairobi or Beijing, and information comes to us through satellite connections or through fiber-optic cables. So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations, and that’s the new game in town, as far as state spying is concerned – intercepting entire nations, not individuals. The US National Security Agency has been doing this for some 20-30 years. But it has now spread to mid-size nations, even Gaddafi’s Libya was employing the EAGLE system, which is produced by French company AMESYS, pushed there in 2009, advertised in its international documentation as a nationwide interception system. So what’s happened over the last 10 years is the ever-decreasing cost of intercepting each individual now to the degree where it is cheaper to intercept every individual rather that it is to pick particular people to spy upon.'"
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Android

+ - 217 PengPod raises more than $50,000, plans to ship Linux powered tablets soon->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Quoted liliputing

"PengPodPengPod plans to start shipping 7 and 10 inch tablets with support for Linux as well as Google Android in January. The company, founded by Neal Peacock, has been raising money to help support software development for the tablets — and Peacock just wrote in to let us know the project has surpassed its initial $49,000 fundraising goal. In other words, the campaign will be fully funded and backers that pledged $120 or more should get their tablets starting in January if all goes according to plan.""

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+ - 145 Alcoholic fly larvae need fix for learning->

Submitted by mphall21
mphall21 (1332405) writes "A report says alcoholic fly larvae learn better when mildly intoxicated, showing that alcohol abuse can have lasting effects on the brain.

'Our evidence supports the long-ago proposed idea that functional ethanol tolerance is produced by adaptations that counter the effects of ethanol, and that these adaptations help the nervous system function more normally when ethanol is present," says Brooks Robinson of The University of Texas at Austin. "However, when ethanol is withheld, the adaptations persist to give the nervous system abnormal properties that manifest themselves as symptoms of withdrawal.'"

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Medicine

+ - 185 No more "Asperger's Syndrome"->

Submitted by cstacy
cstacy (534252) writes "The American Psychiatric Association is dropping Asperger's Syndrome from the upcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5).
It's symptoms will be included under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which includes everything from severe autism such as children who do not talk or interact, to milder forms of autism. Asperger's disorder is impairment in social interaction and repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, activities and interests, without significant delay in language or cognitive development. Often the person has high intelligence and vast knowledge on narrow subjects but lacks social skills. DSM-5 comes out in May and will be the first major rewrite in 19 years."

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Education

+ - 202 Just Say No to College

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Alex Williams writes in the NY Times that the idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Inspired by role models like the billionaire drop-outs who founded Microsoft, Facebook, Dell, Twitter, Tumblr, and Apple, and empowered by online college courses, a groundswell of university-age heretics consider themselves a DIY vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick. “Here in Silicon Valley, it’s almost a badge of honor,” says Mick Hagen, 28, who dropped out of Princeton in 2006 and moved to San Francisco, where he started Undrip, a mobile app. “College puts a lot of constraints, a lot of limitations around what you can and can’t do. Some people, they want to stretch their arms, get out and create more, do more.” Perhaps most famously, Peter A. Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, in 2010 started his Thiel Fellowship program, which pays students under 20 years old $100,000 apiece to bag college and pursue their own ventures. “People are being conned into thinking that this credential is the one thing you need to do better in life. They typically are worse off, because they have amassed all this debt.” UnCollege advocates a DIY approach to higher education and spreads the message through informational “hackademic camps.” “Hacking,” in the group’s parlance, can involve any manner of self-directed learning: travel, volunteer work, organizing collaborative learning groups with friends. Students who want to avoid $200,000 in student-loan debt might consider enrolling in a technology boot camp, where you can learn to write code in 8 to 10 weeks for about $10,000. “I think kids with a five-year head start on equally ambitious peers will be ahead in both education and income,” says James Altucher, a prominent investor, entrepreneur and pundit who self-published a book called “40 Alternatives to College”. “They could go to a library, read a book a day, take courses online. There are thousands of ways.”"
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - 175 Boring Conference Still Vows: We Will Not Rock You

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Boring 2012 Conference, the celebration of unexciting things served with dry British humor, now belongs to the wastepaper basket of history. Correspondents at the third annual London conference report that speakers covered a range of such dull topics as supermarket self-service checkouts; a photographic survey of results produced by breakfast toasters; a web site tracking the physical heights of celebrities; and the use of Google Maps to the chart the location of IBM cash registers around London."
China

+ - 142 China's Building an Eco-Sustainable City->

Submitted by
retroworks
retroworks writes "Although I've been reading these stories for years, with some skepticism, I recently spoke with one of the USA's foremost CRT glass recycling experts. He had just returned from this Chinese "green city" and told me that it was going to be a game changer. The recycling yards have high tech metal testing labs. It's for real, he said. So should we clap loudly, or think of something snarky?"
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Technology

+ - 174 MIT develops miniature shape-shifting robots->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Toy robots that can fold into different configurations are fairly common, but these simplistic devices are a far cry from the dream of real-life Transformers. Now a group at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms has created a robot that could point the way toward the real thing. Developed by lab director Neil Gershenfeld, visiting scientist Ara Knaian, and graduate student Kenneth Cheung, the Milli-Motein is a reconfigurable robot that can be programmed to fold itself into a number of different shapes. And, after the robot has shifted into a new shape, it can hold that shape even when its power is cut off by using a what is known as an electro-permanent motor. Gershenfeld said, "[The Milli-Motein is] effectively a one-dimensional robot that can be made in a continuous strip, without conventionally moving parts, and then folded into arbitrary shapes." However, the project's research paper, recently presented at the 2012 Intelligent Robots and Systems conference, warns that real world deployment of such robots will require cheaper, more durable materials, as well as better software and algorithms.
  See the video at the link below."

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