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Software

Valve's Big Picture Could Be a Linux Game Console 272

Posted by timothy
from the speculative-fiction dept.
Penurious Penguin writes that "a hopeful article at The Verge persuasively suggests that through Valve, Linux could soon become a formidable contender in the gaming arena, capable of holding its own against such giants as Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii. With 50 million users, a growing Linux team, a caboodle of interesting experiments ('Steam Box' hardware baselines, etc.) and a strong conviction that more-open platforms are the way, Valve may actually see it through."
AI

Teaching Robots New Tricks Without Programming 42

Posted by timothy
from the use-the-force-feedback-luke dept.
cylonlover writes "Maya Cakmak, a researcher from Georgia Tech, spent the summer at Willow Garage creating a user-friendly system that teaches the PR2 robot simple tasks. The kicker is that it doesn't require any traditional programming skills whatsoever – it works by physically guiding the robot's arms while giving it verbal commands. After inviting regular people to give it a try, she found that with few instructions they were able to teach the PR2 how to retrieve medicine from a cabinet and fold a t-shirt."
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Data Storage Highway Robbery? 168

Posted by timothy
from the airwave-robbery-is-very-common dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I just learned that Salesforce charges $3000 per year for 1GB of extra data storage. That puts it in line with hardware storage costs from about 1993. We've all heard of telcos and ISPs charging ridiculous rates per MB when limits are reached — what's the most ridiculous rate that you've heard?"
Government

Man Arrested At Oakland Airport For Ornate Watch 519

Posted by timothy
from the time-enough-for-love dept.
First time accepted submitter mbeckman writes "A man was arrested at Oakland airport for having bomb-making materials. The materials? An ornate watch and extra insoles in his boots. Despite the bomb squad determining that there was no bomb, The Alameda county sheriffs department claimed that he was carrying 'potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were Unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles.' The man told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art."
Education

Computer Science vs. Software Engineering 322

Posted by timothy
from the distinction-vs-difference dept.
theodp writes "Microsoft's promotion of Julie Larson-Green to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering in the wake of Steven Sinofsky's resignation is reopening the question of what is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering. According to their bios on Microsoft's website, Sinofsky has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University, while Larson-Green has a master's degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A comparison of the curricula at Sinofsky's and Larson-Green's alma maters shows there's a huge difference between UMass's MSCS program and Seattle U's MSE program. So, is one program inherently more compatible with Microsoft's new teamwork mantra?"
Software

How Can Wikipedia's Visual Editor Top Other Word Processors? 196

Posted by timothy
from the want-edit-mode-by-default dept.
First time accepted submitter azadnama writes "Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, is aware of the fact the MediaWiki formatting syntax is a major obstacle for people's participation in writing on the site. To address this problem, the Foundation is developing VisualEditor—a web-based WYSIWYG interface for editing articles. It's supposed to be similar to a word processor, like LibreOffice, Microsoft Word, Pages, Google Docs, and others. And this is the time to ask: What did your word processor get wrong and how can Wikipedia's VisualEditor get it right?"
Science

Newly Released Einstein Brain Photos Hint At the Anatomy of Genius 130

Posted by timothy
from the more-loops-more-whorls dept.
scibri writes "Photographs of Einstein's brain taken shortly after his death, but never before analysed in detail, have now revealed that it had several unusual features, providing tantalizing clues about the neural basis of his extraordinary mental abilities. The most striking observation was 'the complexity and pattern of convolutions on certain parts of Einstein's cerebral cortex,' especially in the prefrontal cortex, and also parietal lobes and visual cortex. The prefrontal cortex is important for the kind of abstract thinking that Einstein would have needed for his famous thought experiments on the nature of space and time, such as imagining riding alongside a beam of light. The unusually complex pattern of convolutions there probably gave the region a larger-than-normal surface area, which may have contributed to his remarkable abilities."
Businesses

Star Citizen Takes the Crowdfunding Crown, Raising More Than $4M 123

Posted by timothy
from the just-like-to-thank-all-the-little-donors dept.
Zocalo writes "Star Citizen, Chris Roberts' attempt to reboot the Space Sim genre, hit a major funding milestone earlier today, exceeding the previous record of $4,163,208 secured by the game Project Eternity and more than doubling the initial funding target set by the producer of the Wing Commander series. With Stretch Goals now being passed every few hours bringing new features to the planned game, and David Braben announcing a new installment of the classic Elite using a similar funding model at Kickstarter could this be a wake-up call for the big game publishers to take another look at the genre? There are still two days left for Star Citizen funding as well, so if you feel like taking part, you can chip in either at the main RSI site or on Kickstarter."
Censorship

David Cameron 'Orders New Curbs On Internet Porn' 345

Posted by timothy
from the adam-sutler-knows-what's-best dept.
First time accepted submitter fustakrakich writes with news reported in The Telegraph of new anti-pornography regulations ordered by UK Prime Minister David Cameron: "The new measures will mean that in future anyone buying a new computer or signing up with a new internet service provider (ISP) will be asked, when they log on for the first time, whether they have children. If the answer is "yes", the parent will be taken through the process of installing anti-pornography filters, as well as a series of questions on how stringent they wish the restrictions to be, according to a newspaper."
Security

Anonymous Attacks Israeli Websites In Response To IDF Operation In Gaza 560

Posted by timothy
from the bad-juju dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Thursday, Anonymous reported that it took down close to 40 Israeli government and security establishment websites, although the single website that they presented as having been attacked belonged to a security and cleaning services company. The report came after Likud MK Danny Danon announced earlier in the week that his website had been taken down by a group calling itself TeaM KuWaiT HaCkErS. Danon's website had been hosting an online petition calling for the Israeli government to cut off the supply of electricity going from Israel to Gaza. " A report at Russia Today puts the number at "hundreds" of sites, instead.
Security

FreeBSD Project Discloses Security Breach Via Stolen SSH Key 86

Posted by timothy
from the happy-transparency dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following recent compromises of the Linux kernel.org and Sourceforge, the FreeBSD Project is now reporting that several machines have been broken into. After a brief outage, ftp.FreeBSD.org and other services appear to be back. The project announcement states that some deprecated services (e.g., cvsup) may be removed rather than restored. Users are advised to check for packages downloaded between certain dates and replace them, although not because known trojans have been found, but rather because the project has not yet been able to confirm that they could not exist. Apparently initial access was via a stolen SSH key, but fortunately the project's clusters were partitioned so that the effects were limited. The announcement contains more detailed information — and we are left wondering, would proprietary companies that get broken into so forthcoming? Should they be?"
Hardware Hacking

Old Electric-Car Batteries Put Into Service For Home Energy Storage 198

Posted by timothy
from the flywheels-are-too-annoying dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Josie Garthwaite writes that old electric car batteries degraded below acceptable performance levels for autos still have enough life to serve the grid for at least ten years with a prototype announced by GM and ABB lashing five Chevy Volt battery packs together in an array with a capacity of 10 kilowatt-hours — enough to provide electricity for three to five average houses for two hours. 'In a car, you want immediate power, and you want a lot of it,' says Alexandra Goodson. 'We're discharging for two hours instead of immediately accelerating. It's not nearly as demanding on the system.'" (Read on, below.)
Transportation

German Police Stop Man With Mobile Office In Car 146

Posted by timothy
from the so-what's-the-trouble-officer? dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Forget texting while driving. German police say they nabbed a driver who had wired his Ford station wagon with an entire mobile office. Saarland state police said Friday the 35-year-old man was pulled over for doing 130 kph (80 mph) in a 100 kph zone while passing a truck Monday. Built on a wooden frame on his passenger seat they found a laptop on a docking station tilted for easy driver access, a printer, router, wireless internet stick, WLAN antenna, and an inverter to power it all." I've driven some long trips with a similar passenger-seat setup (minus the printer), but of course for use only while stopped. Since the police in this case had no evidence that the rig was being used while driving, the driver was ticketed only for speeding and for having unsecured items. Really, it seems like something that Skymall should offer in neater form; now I regret not picking up a surplus police cruiser computer when they were in stock at the local Goodwill.
China

Housewives On Trial In China For Smuggling In iPhones 150

Posted by timothy
from the random-headline-generator dept.
Quillem writes "Last year, Hong Kong residents were finding it hard to get their hands on the latest Apple iGadget even though supply was plentiful. An investigation revealed that most of the iPhones and iPads that made it into HK were being smuggled sans import duties into mainland China—where the devices were yet to be released—by housewives who were paid around USD 6 per smuggled gadget. Earlier this week, 25 of the suspected smugglers went on trial in Shenzhen city."

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