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

Microsoft

Devs Flay Microsoft For Withholding Windows 8.1 RTM 413

Posted by Soulskill
from the build-your-apps-against-the-code-you-imagine-we'll-ship dept.
CWmike writes "Windows app developers are taking Microsoft to task for the company's decision to withhold Windows 8.1 until mid-October. Traditionally, Microsoft offers an RTM to developers several weeks before the code reaches the general public. On Tuesday, however, Microsoft confirmed that although Windows 8.1 has reached RTM, subscribers to MSDN will not get the final code until the public does on Oct. 17, saying it was not finished. Antoine Leblond, a Microsoft spokesman, said in a blog post, 'In the past, the release to manufacturing milestone traditionally meant that the software was ready for broader customer use. However, it's clear that times have changed.' Developers raged against the decision in comments on another Microsoft blog post, one that told programmers to write and test their apps against Windows 8.1 Preview, the public sneak peak that debuted two months ago. One commenter, 'brianjsw,' said, 'In the real world, developers must have access to the RTM bits before [general availability]. The fact that Microsoft no longer seems to understand this truly frightens me.'"
Biotech

XPrize Pulls Plug On $10 Million Genomics Competition 36

Posted by Soulskill
from the over-and-out dept.
sciencehabit writes "The XPrize Foundation has scrapped its high-profile $10 million genomics challenge set for next month after attracting only two competitors to the sequencing contest. The Archon Genomics XPRIZE began with much fanfare 7 years ago with the aim of boosting medical genomics by offering a $10 million award to the first team to sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days for no more than $10,000 each. After complaints about the tight deadline and unclear judging criteria, the foundation revised the rules in October 2011: The objective was to sequence the genomes of 100 centenarians with high accuracy and 98% completeness within 30 days for $1000 or less. Interest was tepid, however, and only two of the eight contenders in the original contest registered by the 31 May deadline — the company Ion Torrent, and George Church's lab at Harvard University."
Cloud

Linux Vendors Push For Open-Source In Hybrid Datacenter Clouds 30

Posted by Soulskill
from the works-better-than-pushing-fresh-mangoes dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Linux vendors Red Hat and SUSE are pushing to make sure Linux-based virtual machines are an important part of datacenter-based hybrid clouds. The two are taking significantly different tacks toward the same destination, however. SUSE is using the visibility and cloud hype of VMware by extending its partnership with the virtualization provider to promote its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware as an alternative operating system for virtual machines running on VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service. Red Hat is happy to include VMware in its plans, but isn't limiting itself either to VMware-based clouds or, in fact, the idea that a Linux vendor has to tag along with a cloud- or virtualization developer to find its place in mixed infrastructures. 'We do not buy into the premise that a private or a hybrid platform based on one vendor's technologies and products is the answer,' wrote Bryan Che, general manager of Red Hat's Cloud Business Unit. More than 25 percent of customers want clouds or datacenter infrastructures using virtualization products from more than one vendor, according to a buyers' guide published in August by market researcher IDC."
Medicine

Measles Outbreak Tied To Texas Megachurch 622

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-being-bad-at-science dept.
New submitter the eric conspiracy sends this quote from NBC: "An outbreak of measles tied to a Texas megachurch where ministers have questioned vaccination has sickened at least 21 people, including a 4-month-old infant — and it's expected to spread further, state and federal health officials said. 'There's likely a lot more susceptible people,' said Dr. Jane Seward, the deputy director for the viral diseases division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ... All of the cases are linked to the Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, where a visitor who'd traveled to Indonesia became infected with measles – and then returned to the U.S., spreading it to the largely unvaccinated church community, said Russell Jones, the Texas state epidemiologist. ... Terri Pearsons, a senior pastor of Eagle Mountain International said she has had concerns about possible ties between early childhood vaccines and autism. In the wake of the measles outbreak, however, Pearsons has urged followers to get vaccinated and the church has held several vaccination clinics. ... 'In this community, these cases so far are all in people who refused vaccination for themselves and their children,' [Steward] added. The disease that once killed 500 people a year in the U.S. and hospitalized 48,000 had been considered virtually eradicated after a vaccine introduced in 1963. Cases now show up typically when an unvaccinated person contracts the disease abroad and spreads it upon return to the U.S."
Mars

The Game Made From NASA Satellite Data 32

Posted by Soulskill
from the game-worlds-as-actual-worlds dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Kickstarter's helped start all sorts of indie games, but few as unusual as Lacuna Passage, an adventure game set on Mars with a vast open world that's been painstakingly recreated from NASA satellite data. You're able to explore twenty five square miles of the Red Planet in all its barren glory as you attempt to solve the mystery of the first, vanished, manned mission to mars. A new piece today on the making of the game — which is being made by an elementary school teacher and a team of a dozen volunteers — looks at how it came about, and why their quest for authenticity led to even urine analysis being included in the gameplay."
Transportation

Nissan Plans To Sell Self-Driving Cars By 2020 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-self-flying-cars dept.
Lucas123 writes "Nissan today said it will begin demonstrating autonomous vehicle technology on its all-electric Leaf this year, and plans to begin selling multiple models of self-driving cars by 2020. Nissan said it's already building an autonomous drive proving ground in Japan. Its goal is availability across the model range within two vehicle generations. The car company, which is among several others and Google in developing autonomous driving tech, is currently working with top universities, including MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Oxford and The University of Tokyo, to develop its self-drive technology."
Space

Why We Need to Keep Our Night Skies Dark (Video) 130

Posted by timothy
from the be-kind-to-astronomers-and-cut-electric-bills-at-the-same-time dept.
Kelly Beatty has a unique perspective on the world of astronomy: Beatty's been on the staff of Sky & Telescope magazine for nearly 40 years as a writer and editor, including a stint heading "Night Sky" magazine. He's also written what's been called "the definitive guide for the armchair astronomer," and teaches astronomy to people of all ages. (He even has an asteroid named after him.) Besides being fascinated with the objects we can see in Earth's skies, Beatty takes the skies themselves seriously: his Twitter handle is NightSkyGuy for a reason. We talked a few weeks ago, in dark-skied rural Maine, about his involvement with the International Dark-Sky Association, and why you should care about ubiquitous light pollution, even if you don't have a deep interest in star-gazing. (And it's not just to be courteous to your neighbors.)
Software

PTSD-Monitoring App Captured the Psychological Effects of the Boston Bombing 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the protecting-the-mind dept.
the_newsbeagle writes "This DARPA-funded smartphone app is designed to monitor veterans for signs of depression and PTSD. It screens for signals of psychological distress in a number of ways; for example, the app looks for signs of social isolation (reduced number of phone calls and texts), physical isolation (the phone isn't leaving the house), and sleep disruption (the phone is used in the middle of the night). Interestingly, the company that invented the app was testing it in Boston at the time of the Boston marathon bombing, and reports that the app picked up signals of distress in the days after the attack."
Science

UW Researchers Demonstrate First Direct Communication Between Human Brains 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-just-going-to-remote-in-and-fix-this-problem-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Opening a fascinating set of ethical and legal issues, researchers at UW Seattle have demonstrated the first device to allow direct communication between two humans' brains. Effectively, they allowed a subject to play a video game with another subject's fingers. For now, the communication is uni-directional, though they intend to extend it to bi-directional. EEG sensors are attached to a subject's motor cortex to detect 'motor imagery' — imagined hand movement, in this case. That activity is translated and sent over a computer network where it triggers a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) located over Subject 2's motor cortex. Effectively, Subject 1 imagines moving their hand, and Subject 2's hand moved."
Transportation

Tesla Model S REST API Authentication Flaws 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the honk-if-i-control-your-car-remotely dept.
An anonymous reader writes "New Tesla owner and Executive DIrector of Cloud Computing at Dell, George Reese, brings the Tesla Model S REST API authentication into question. 'The authentication protocol in the Tesla REST API is flawed. Worse, it's flawed in a way that makes no sense. Tesla ignored most conventions around API authentication and wrote their own. As much as I talk about the downsides to OAuth (a standard for authenticating consumers of REST APIs—Twitter uses it), this scenario is one that screams for its use.' While not likely to compromise the safety of the vehicle, he does go on to say, 'I can target a site that provides value-added services to Tesla owners and force them to use a lot more electricity than is necessary and shorten their battery lives dramatically. I can also honk their horns, flash their lights, and open and close the sunroof. While none of this is catastrophic, it can certainly be surprising and distracting while someone is driving.'"
Science

Just Thinking About Science Triggers Moral Behavior 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-tempted-to-rob-a-bank,-ponder-orbital-mechanics dept.
ananyo writes "The association between science and morality is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more moral behavior, according to a study by researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara. The researchers hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit — its emphasis on truth-seeking, impartiality and rationality privileges collective well-being above all else. The researchers conducted four separate studies to test this. In the first, participants read a vignette of a date-rape and were asked to rate the 'wrongness' of the offense before answering a questionnaire measuring their belief in science. Those reporting greater belief in science condemned the act more harshly. In the other three, participants primed with science-related words were more altruistic."
Hardware Hacking

New Keyboard Accessory Shocks Users When They Try To Go On Facebook 125

Posted by timothy
from the new-sense-of-shock-site dept.
cartechboy writes "Two Ph.D. students from MIT have created a keyboard accessory, the Pavlov Poke, that shocks you every time you go onto Facebook. The project comes as a result of the students finding the waste over 50 hours a week combined on the social network (instead of working on their dissertations) So the pair created an Arduino-based keyboard hand-rest that shocks computer users who spend too much time checking the social network. The hack is 'intended to generate discussion' — not actually turn into a business." Inventor Robert Morris describes it as "something of a joke," but I'm sure there's a market out there.
Open Source

Q&A With Outercurve Foundation President Jim Jagielski Tomorrow 12-2pm ET 5

Posted by samzenpus
from the got-a-question? dept.
Jim Jagielski is likely best known as one of the developers and co-founders of the Apache Software Foundation, where he has previously served as both Chairman and President. He also is a director of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and now serves as President of the Outercurve Foundation. Formerly known as the CodePlex Foundation, the Outercurve Foundation is "a not-for-profit foundation created as a forum in which open source communities and the software development community can come together with the shared goal of increasing participation in open source community projects." Jim has agreed to answer your questions in real-time about his new position and the Outercurve Foundation itself on Wednesday, August 28th from 12-2pm ET (16:00-18:00 GMT). Check back tomorrow and hear what he has to say.
The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: How To Get Open Source Projects To Take Our Money? 301

Posted by timothy
from the philip-j-fry-has-a-catchphrase-for-you dept.
New submitter wkaan writes "Last financial year, we had an underspend at work, and it was suggested and agreed that we should give some cash away — $20k to be exact — to open source projects. Four projects were selected. A management catch was that it could not appear to be a donation and it had to be for something we had notionally received in the current financial year. At that time it was early June, our financial year finishes at the end of June. The four projects were emailed using the most relevant looking contact address on their website. Often this was 'Finance' or 'Donations' contact. What do you know, none of the projects that were contacted could work out a way to accept our money. We were unable to give a cent of the twenty grand away, not even a cent. All somebody needed to do was invoice us for something (perhaps 'support' or whatever) and they'd have received $5000. Of the projects contacted, two never replied to our mail — perhaps they thought it a scam? The other two contacted couldn't work out what to invoice and just went away. Is open source too rich to need the money? Have you got a funny donation story? Better still, do you have a way this can be streamlined when we have our next underspend? The goal was not to have a funny (sad) story, but to support the projects that support our business." For those of you with open source projects for which would you would like to take donations but sometimes cannot, what complications get in the way?
Open Source

Afraid Someone Will Steal Your Game Design Idea? 140

Posted by timothy
from the board-game-designer-sounds-like-a-fun-job dept.
Lemeowski writes "Game studios go to great lengths to protect their IP. But board game designer Daniel Solis doesn't subscribe to that philosophy. He has spent the past ten years blogging his game design process, posting all of his concepts and prototypes on his blog. Daniel shares four things he's learned after designing games in public, saying paranoia about your ideas being stolen "is just an excuse not to do the work." His article provides a solid gut check for game designers and other creatives who may let pride give them weird expectations."

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