yl-roller writes "IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever. 'As if that news wasn't' troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October.' According to a ZDNet article, IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size."
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CyberSlugGump writes "Computer scientists at UC San Diego have developed a 3D first-person video game designed to teach young students Java programming. In CodeSpells, a wizard must help a land of gnomes by writing spells in Java. Simple quests teach main Java components such as conditional and loop statements. Research presented March 8 at the 2013 SIGCSE Technical Symposium indicate that a test group of 40 girls aged 10-12 mastered many programming concepts in just one hour of playing."
The Pirate Bay switched to two Greenland-based domains Tuesday morning but it looks like the party is already over. The company responsible for .GL TLD registrations said they would not allow the domains to be put to illegal use. “Tele-Post has today decided to block access to two domains operated by file-sharing network The Pirate Bay,” the company said. According to TorrentFreak: "Queries to the .GL domain registry now confirm that both the domains in question have been officially suspended."
First time accepted submitter jds91md writes "Scientists at Stanford have developed a technique to see the structural detail of actual brains with resolution down to the cellular and axonal/dendritic level. The process called CLARITY allows a 'transparent' view of the brain without having to slice or section it in any way. From the article: 'Even more important, experts say, is that unlike earlier methods for making the tissue of brains and other organs transparent, the new process, called Clarity by its inventors, preserves the biochemistry of the brain so well that researchers can test it over and over again with chemicals that highlight specific structures within a brain and provide clues to its past activity. The researchers say this process may help uncover the physical underpinnings of devastating mental disorders like schizophrenia, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and others.'"
flok writes "It's nice when your open source pet project is popular, but sometimes the constant stream of feature requests can be intimidating. The CatInCan website aims to help prioritize a project owner's efforts while letting them make some money on the side. Think of it as a Kickstarter-variant where people can raise funds to get functionality in software realized, or maybe to get that long-ignored bug fixed."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Within hours of Google announcing that Austin, Texas would be the next lucky recipient of its Google Fiber initiative, AT&T released a statement indicating that it was willing to build a high-speed broadband network in the city, too. 'AT&T announced that in conjunction with its previously announced Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second,' read the statement. But there's a not-so-slight catch: AT&T wants whatever conditions Google received from the city of Austin. Google itself has provided precious little guidance about its future plans. 'We are still in the very early stages of it,' Google CEO Larry Page told media and analysts during the company's Jan. 22 earnings call, according to a transcript. 'Obviously, we are going to a small number of people and so, but we are excited about the possibilities.' But if Google Fiber keeps expanding, it could compel AT&T and other infrastructure providers to boost their broadband service and offer it on more reasonable terms — nothing like some competition to make things a little better for the collective customer base. In that sense, even if Google Fiber doesn't expand into a national program (and imagine the costs of that), its existence will still do some larger good."
coondoggie writes "In the 1966 science fiction classic Fantastic Voyage, a tiny submarine with a crew of five is miniaturized and injected into a comatose man to surgically laser a blood clot in his brain and save his life. At this week's American Chemical Society Nanoengineering expert Joseph Wang detailed his latest work in developing micromotors and microrockets that are so small that thousands would fit inside this 'o'. Such machines could someday perform microsurgery, clean clogged arteries or transport drugs to the right place in the body. But there are also possible uses in cleaning up oil spills, monitoring industrial processes and in national security."
hydrofix writes "The Bitcoin-to-USD exchange rate had been climbing steadily since January 2013, from around 30 USD to over 250 USD only 24 hours ago. Now, the value bubble seems to have burst, at least partially. The primary trading site MtGox reported a drop in value all the way down to 140 USD today, a loss of almost half in real value. With many sites unreachable or slow, there are also news of a possible DDoS attack on MtGox: 'Attackers wait until the price of Bitcoins reaches a certain value, sell, destabilize the exchange, wait for everybody to panic-sell their Bitcoins, wait for the price to drop to a certain amount, then stop the attack and start buying as much as they can. Repeat this two or three times like we saw over the past few days and they profit.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Until today, hacking and hijacking planes by pressing a few buttons on an Android mobile app has been the stuff of over-the-top blockbuster movies. However, the talk that security researcher and commercial airplane pilot Hugo Teso delivered today at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam has brought it into the realm of reality and has given us one more thing to worry about and fear (presentation slides PDF). One of the two technologies he abused is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which sends information about each aircraft (identification, current position, altitude, and so on) through an on-board transmitter to air traffic controllers, and allows aircrafts equipped with the technology to receive flight, traffic and weather information about other aircrafts currently in the air in their vicinity. The other one is the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which is used to exchange messages between aircrafts and air traffic controllers via radio or satellite, as well as to automatically deliver information about each flight phase to the latter. Both of these technologies are massively insecure and are susceptible to a number of passive and active attacks. Teso misused the ADS-B to select targets, and the ACARS to gather information about the onboard computer as well as to exploit its vulnerabilities by delivering spoofed malicious messages that affect the'behavior' of the plane."
Shipwack sends this quote from the Guardian: "The Iranian authorities have long accused Google Earth of being a tool for western spy agencies, but now they have taken their attacks on the 3D mapping service one step further — by planning the launch of an 'Islamic' competitor. ... The minister, however, gave little information on what he meant by an Islamic 3D map. 'We are developing this service with the Islamic views we have in Iran and we will put a kind of information on our website that would take people of the world towards reality Our values in Iran are the values of God and this would be the difference between Basir and the Google Earth, which belongs to the ominous triangle of the U.S., England and the Zionists [a reference to Israel].' Experts, however, have serious doubts about the project. An IT consultant who has worked on Iran's national internet project in the past said the announcement was merely an excuse to obtain funds and secure working contracts for the future. 'They have claimed to run their service in four months and said their data centre capacity will reach Google's size in three years,' he said. 'Three-year project, no business model and only relying on government funding, a piece of cake indeed. To have a data centre with such capacity and security level they need power stations, cooler systems, bandwidth, etc, which will require billions of dollars of investment that doesn't fit with Iran's sanctions-hit economy.'"
kodiaktau writes "The ACLU has issued a FOIA request to determine whether the IRS gets warrants before reading taxpayers' email. The request is based on the antiquated Electronic Communication Protection Act — federal agencies can and do request and read email that is over 180 days old. The IRS response can be found at the ACLU's website. The IRS asserts that it can and will continue to make warrantless requests to ISPs to track down tax evasion. Quoting: 'The documents the ACLU obtained make clear that, before Warshak, it was the policy of the IRS to read people’s email without getting a warrant. Not only that, but the IRS believed that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to email at all. A 2009 "Search Warrant Handbook" from the IRS Criminal Tax Division’s Office of Chief Counsel baldly asserts that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." Again in 2010, a presentation by the IRS Office of Chief Counsel asserts that the "4th Amendment Does Not Protect Emails Stored on Server" and there is "No Privacy Expectation" in those emails.'"
astroengine writes "Saturn's rings rain charged water particles down onto the gas giant's atmosphere, causing measurable changes in the planet's ionosphere. This intriguing conclusion comes from astronomers using the W. M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii that observed dark bands forming in Saturn's ionosphere. 'Saturn is the first planet to show significant interaction between its atmosphere and ring system,' said James O'Donoghue, postgraduate researcher at the University of Leicester and lead author of a paper to appear this week in the journal Nature. 'The main effect of ring rain is that it acts to 'quench' the ionosphere of Saturn, severely reducing the electron densities in regions in which it falls.'"
StrongAuth helps protect data with strong encryption, so that even if a company's network infrastructure is breached, its critical data -- including customers' credit card numbers, for example -- is still safe. Their software is open source, and their objective is to "become like the Toyota Camry of encryption key management," says StrongAuth CTO Arshad Noor. "Everybody should be able to afford it." These are big words from a company that only has 12 employees, all in Silicon Valley, but it's a company that not only has a strong reputation among its small and medium-sized business clients, but is starting to get acceptance from Fortune 500 behemoths, too. In this video interview (and in the transcript), Arshad not only talks about data security, but about how his company makes money while developing and relying purely on open source software. And did somebody ask about Linux? Yes, their software is all based on Linux. CentOS, to be exact.
Mystakaphoros writes "An article in The Atlantic examines the effects sites like TaskRabbit, Fiverr, and Rev.com are having on employment and freelancing. (I would add Amazon's Mechanical Turk to the list as well.) As the article mentions, 'Work is being stripped down to the bone. It's as if we're eliminating the 'extraneous' parts of a worker's day — like lunch or bathroom breaks — and paying only for the minutes someone is actually in front of the computer or engaged in a task.' How many Slashdotters have used these sites, either to hire or work? What's been your experience?"
theodp writes "After languishing on the market, the price of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt's Lone Ranger expedition yacht was cut from $20,000,000 to a mere $14,000,000 (sales brochure). Still no takers for the vessel, so the former pride of the Schmidt Ocean Institute — which can travel an amazing 31,000 miles at 12 knots thanks to a fuel capacity of 1.3 million liters — will be auctioned "as is" on April 20th at the Antibes Yacht Show, with bid estimates ranging from EUR 3 million to EUR 10 million (auction brochure). 'Lone Ranger and her truly astonishing story will appeal to a new generation of luxury yacht owner,' the sales brochure notes. 'The yacht epitomizes low key luxury, but most importantly offers the ideal platform for anyone wanting to explore the farthest flung corners of the world with their family.' And you can buy it just in time for Earth Day gift giving!"