Jason Levine writes "My son is 8 years old. I'd love to get him interested in science-fiction, but most of the books I can think of seem to be targeted to older kids/adults. Thinking that the length of some novels might be off-putting to him, I read him some of the short stories in Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. He liked these, but I could tell he was having a hard time keeping up. I think the wording of the stories was too advanced and there was too much talking and not enough action. Personally, I love Asimov, but I think much of it just went over his head. Which science fiction and/or fantasy books would you recommend for an 8-year-old? (Either stories he could read himself or that we could read together over the course of a few weeks.)"
BogenDorpher writes with news that Microsoft has officially introduced Windows Phone 8. The new version of their mobile operating system will bring support for processors with up to 64 cores, as well as resolutions higher than 800x480 — up to 1280x768. It will also include better support for NFC and microSD cards. One important thing to note is that Windows Phone 8 won't be coming to current Windows Phone devices.
ananyo writes "Japanese scientists have coaxed stem cells into forming a 5-millimeter-long, three-dimensional tissue that the researchers labelled a liver bud — an early stage of liver development. The bud lacks bile ducts but has blood vessels, and when transplanted into a mouse, was able to metabolize some drugs that human livers metabolize but mouse livers normally cannot. The work is 'the first report demonstrating the creation of a human functional organ with vascular networks from pluripotent stem cells,' the team claims."
An anonymous reader writes "Five years after it was first introduced, Google's Safe Browsing program continues to provide a service to the 600 million Chrome, Firefox, and Safari users, as well as those searching for content through the company's eponymous search engine. According to Google Security Team member Niels Provos, the program detects about 9,500 new malicious websites and pops up several million warnings every day to Internet users. Once a site has been cleaned up, the warning is lifted. They provide malware warnings for about 300 thousand downloads per day through their download protection service for Chrome."
olsmeister writes "On Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced its 'Defend Innovation' project, which includes seven proposals for software patent reform. These proposals include things like shorter coverage for software patents, and a requirement to demonstrate running code for each claim in the patent."
mk1004 writes with news from The Register that U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York has written to Apple and Google regarding their use of 'military-grade spy planes.' The Senator claims concerns ranging from voyeurism to terrorism. Suggested protections: Warn when areas are going to be imaged, give property owners the right to opt out, and blurring of individuals. Schumer seems happy enough, though, with the more detailed versions of such surveillance being in the hands of law enforcement agencies, and phrases his complaint to emphasize what he perceives as risks to infrastructure brought about by detailed maps that anyone can browse: "[I]f highly detailed images become available, criminals could create more complete schematic maps of the power and water grids in the United States. With the vast amount of infrastructure across the country, it would be impossible to secure every location."
itwbennett writes "If you buy into the idea that tablets (and ultrabooks, and smartphones) in the enterprise are nothing more than glorified thin clients, then Microsoft's Surface presentation seemed more flashback than future. And if you're a fan of free software, the announcement might also have struck fear in your heart. While Microsoft has never locked out apps based on license, it's not impossible that they might chose a more locked-down Apple-esque approach for Surface, writes blogger Brian Proffitt. 'And that could put free software for end users very much at risk.'"
Hodejo1 writes "[Tuesday] morning we learned that Google fired the first volley against YouTube conversion sites by blocking YouTube-MP3.org's servers from accessing its service and sending a letter threatening legal action. It looks like the fast growing Clip.dj also got the letter based on the note posted on the site: 'We're sorry to announce this, but Clip.dj has shut its service down for good.'"
judgecorp writes "Frustrated at the off-topic chatter on Twitter, British MP Louise Mensch has launched a supposedly rival service. Despite the name, Menshn, this is apparently not a hoax, but a site aimed at 'on-topic' conversation, initially around the U.S. election. Mensch is a former 'chick lit' author, and a Member of Parliament since 2010. She has taken part in questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch, and urged control of social media." If "control of social media" urged by sitting politicians strikes you as undesirable, or the hyper-focused content seems constraining, take heart: an anonymous reader points out an online community of a different stripe — a social network launched by Wikileaks, intended to be "a secure, surveillance-resistant social network purpose-built for Friends of WikiLeaks." Whether or not your politics line up with those of most Wikileaks supporters, you might wish for some of the features FoWL is designed to provide: "By design your details are encrypted, and hidden from everyone except your immediate contacts. Even we can't access them. Connected by FoWL, friends of WikiLeaks will communicate however they like, including using secure person-to-person methods. As the network grows away from the site infrastructure, it becomes autonomous and decentralized, opaque to observers and impossible to compromise."
jones_supa writes "NVIDIA's PR department has issued a statement following the harsh comments by Linus Torvalds last week where he referred to the graphics company as the single worst company he's ever dealt with, called them out on not supporting Optimus, and other issues. Basically the company replied they're committed to Linux using their proprietary driver that is largely common across platforms, and this allows for same-day Linux support with full OpenGL implementation. They also say that they're active in ARM Linux for Tegra and support a wide range of hardware under Linux. Despite having not made any commitment to better support Optimus under Linux nor providing technical assistance to the Nouveau community, NVIDIA assures us that 'at the end of the day, providing a consistent GPU experience across multiple platforms for all of our customers continues to be one of our key goals.'"
An anonymous reader writes "My grandfather is a retired electrician whom I've been trying to keep mentally busy. Together we've gotten an Arduino kit and have been working on some simple projects. He does the wiring and I've been writing the code. Recently his arthritis has been getting worse and he's been unable to work with the tiny components that the Arduino projects require. Does anyone have a recommendation for something similar we could work on together that would be easier for someone with his compromised manual dexterity?"
An anonymous reader writes "Thought Do Not Track was strictly a geeks' issue? Think again. After Microsoft was slapped down for enabling DNT by default in Internet Explorer 10, the co-chairs of the US's Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus have sent a strongly-worded letter to the W3C urging it to reconsider. As webdev360.com points out, it's an interesting (unprecedented?) example of Congress interacting with the standards body: 'Whether members of the [working group] will take kindly to the Representatives' interference remains to be seen. Ed Markey's legislative director, Joseph Wender, has brought the letter to the attention of the group's mailing list, but, as of the time of writing, he hasn't received any replies.'"
retroworks writes "According to columnist Elinor Mills at CNET, efforts to track consumer browsing behavior are 'rising dramatically.' In an interview with Gordon McLeod, CEO of data mining company Krux.com, advertising targeted at browsing habits has increased fourfold since 2010. IDC, according to McLeod, projects the browser-search-term-targeted advertising industry to grow from 'zero to $5 billion in less than 5 years.' Will health insurance companies see us crawling for information on family illnesses? After reading the article, I went hunting for a download of 2008 program antiphormlite, and found nothing remaining at any download site (including CNET). Is there another 'cookie camouflage' alternative to polluting the cookie stream with false positives? Or are we left to 'do not track' pledges and trusting Tor redirectors?"
MojoKid writes "One of the most highly anticipated Android phones of the year is the Samsung Galaxy S III, and its official launch is today. This smartphone comes with a number of new features we haven't seen on many Android phones, including improved voice control functionality, new sharing features, and Near Field Communication features. Those include Samsung's new TecTiles, which are programmable NFC tags you can use to control the phone's many features and functions. For example, you can program a TecTile to automatically change phone settings for a particular location, send a text message, open apps, etc. Samsung's S Voice functionality works much the same way as Apple's Siri: you can use plain English to tell the phone what you want it to do. You can set alarms, update your social networks, get navigation instructions and ask basic questions. During tests with the Galaxy S III, the performance and accuracy with S Voice was comparable to Siri on an iPhone 4S. Performance-wise, the Galaxy S III handled well in the benchmarks, with Qualcomm's dual-core SnapDragon S4 offering a very fluid experience across Samsung's 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display."
snydeq writes "Microsoft's plan to build its own Windows 8 tablets puts longtime allies in peril — and it may be the right thing to do. 'In announcing the Surface tablets, due to be released this fall, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cited Apple's advantage (without mentioning Apple) of integrated software and hardware. "Things work better when hardware and software are considered together," he said. "We control it all, we design it all, and we manufacture it all ourselves." ... Like Apple, Microsoft will hire a few PC makers to do the actual production work. But the need for 20 brands of me-too laptops, tablets, and convertibles is low. Manufacturing sophisticated electronics is a skill requiring manufacturing innovation. But all those branded-but-otherwise-undifferentiated PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones just aren't needed in the vision Ballmer sketched out yesterday.'"