Cellphones

Submission + - Lamenting the Demise of Hangups (theatlantic.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Ian Bogost writes about a cultural tradition we've mostly lost as smartphones become ubiquitous: hanging up. While we still use the terminology (in the same way we say 'rewind' when skipping back on our DVR), the physical act of hanging up a telephone when we're done using it no longer occurs. And we don't get that satisfying crash and clatter when hanging up on somebody to make a point. 'In the context of such gravity, the hangup had a clear and forceful meaning. It offered a way of ending a conversation prematurely, sternly, aggressively. Without saying anything, the hangup said something: we're done, go away. ... Today a true hangup — one you really meant to perform out of anger or frustration or exhaustion — is only temporary and one-sided even when it is successfully executed. Even during a heated exchange, your interlocutor will first assume something went wrong in the network, and you could easily pretend such a thing was true later if you wanted. Calls aren't ever really under our control anymore, they "drop" intransitively.' It's an interesting point about the minor cultural changes that go along with evolving technology.
The Internet

Submission + - Seniors Search for Virtual Immortality

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Most ancestors from the distant past are, at best, names in the family Bible leaving behind a few grainy photos, a death certificate or a record from Ellis Island. But J. Peder Zane writes that retirees today have the ability to leave a cradle-to-grave record of their lives so that 50, 100, even 500 years hence people will be able to see how their forebears looked and moved, hear them speak, and learn about their aspirations and achievements. A growing number of gerontologists also recommend that persons in that ultimate stage should engage in the healthy and productive exercise of composing a Life Review. In response, a growing number of businesses and organizations have arisen to help people preserve and shape their legacy — a shift is helping to redefine the concept of history, as people suddenly have the tools and the desire to record the lives of almost everybody. The ancient problem that bedeviled historians — a lack of information about people's everyday lives — has been overcome. Stefani Twyford, who creates video biographies through her company, Legacy Multimedia says many of her clients are baby boomers who wanted to record their own parents’ lives. “There is a real sense that we can finally get these stories down and they want to act before it’s too late." One of John Butterfield’s daughters hired Twyford to make a DVD about his life for his 80th birthday. “They videotaped me and they talked to relatives and friends,” recalled Mr. Butterfield, who is now 87. “Now, everyone they taped except my brother is dead. It told me to hurry up.” New devices and technologies are certain to further this immortality revolution as futurists are already imagining the day when people can have a virtual conversation with holograms of their ancestors that draw on digital legacies to reflect how the dead would have responded. “People have always wanted to connect with other people and see that they have touched others, and made a difference,” Twyford says. “What’s changed is that we now have the tools to record and share their legacy, forever.”"
Power

Submission + - Graphene-based supercapacitors produced at UCLA (ucla.edu) 1

muon-catalyzed writes: Researchers at UCLA have successfully produced high-performance graphene-based supercapacitors using a computerized LightScribe DVD drive. These devices exhibit ultrahigh energy density values in different electrolytes approaching those of batteries, yet they can be charged in seconds. The devices can be charged and discharged for more than 10,000 cycles without losing much in performance compared with a normal life-time of less than 1000 cycles typical for batteries. Imagine having an energy storage device that stores as much energy as a conventional battery (YouTube video), yet, can be charged 100 to 1000 times faster.
Blackberry

Submission + - Blackberry sells 1 million units to a single buyer (androidanalyse.com) 3

Gumbercules!! writes: At the end of each quarter, investors eagerly await the sales figures for the last three months and probably no company (with the possible exception of Nokia) will be so closely watched this quarter as Blackberry. This quarter has seen the release of what many consider to be their last throw of the dice – the Blackberry 10 range introductory range of handsets and poor sales figures could portent a very difficult time ahead.

So with that in mind, it’s “odd”, in the least, that suddenly someone would suddenly step forward and buy a full and exact million handsets – and Blackberry won’t tell us who. Blackberry is touting this as a huge vote of confidence in their brand – however if someone is so amazingly confident in Blackberry, why do they need to remain secret?

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: how to create a real time failsafe?

rvds86 writes: "I'm just looking at the possibilities to create a failsafe system.
As you continue to grow and your database and traffic with it, how do you keep your webservice online and fast?

Do you optimize one big server and expand the bandwidth/storage, or do you set up multiple small VPS/dedicated servers?
If multiple servers is the best way, how do you keep all the data synchronized realtime?

Because if one server goes down, the other one needs to take over and will need the same data (and how to switch automaticly?)
I'd love to see some answers."

Submission + - Veoh once again beats UMG (after going out of business) (blogspot.com)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Veoh has once again beaten the record companies; in fact it has beaten them in every round, only to have been forced out of business by the attorneys fees it expended to do so. I guess that's the record companies' strategy to do an 'end around' the clear wording of the DMCA "safe harbor": outspend them until they fold. Back in 2009 the lower court dismissed UMG's case on the ground that Veoh was covered by the DMCA "safe harbor" and had complied with takedown notices. The record companies of course appealed. And they of course lost. Then, after the Viacom v. YouTube decision by the 2nd Circuit, which ruled that there were factual issues as to some of the videos, they moved for rehearing in UMG v. Veoh. Now, in a 61-page decision (PDF), the 9th Circuit has once again ruled that the statute means it says, and rejected each and every argument the record companies made. Sadly, though, it did not award attorneys fees."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How to best block web content 1

willoughby writes: Many routers today have the capability to block web content. And you all know about browser addons like noscript & adblock. But where is the "proper" place for such content blocking? Is it best to have the router only route packets & do the content blocking on each machine? If using the content blocking feature in the router, will performance degrade if the list of blocked content grows large? Where is the best place to filter/block web content?
Democrats

Submission + - Obama Wants To Fund Clean Energy Research With Oil & Gas Funds (technologyreview.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Obama Administration has put forth a proposal to collect $2 billion over the next 10 years from revenues generated by oil and gas development to fund scientific research into clean energy technologies. The administration hopes the research would help 'protect American families from spikes in gas prices and allow us to run our cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels.' In a speech at Argonne National Laboratory, Obama said the private sector couldn't afford such research, which puts the onus on government to keep it going. Of course, it'll still be difficult to get everyone on board: 'The notion of funding alternative energy research with fossil fuel revenues has been endorsed in different forms by Republican politicians, including Alaskan senator Lisa Murkowsi. But the president still faces an uphill battle passing any major energy law, given how politicized programs to promote clean energy have become in the wake of high-profile failures of government-backed companies.'
Beer

Submission + - Reddit Emboldens Young Woman to Fight Trademark Troll, We Win (boingboing.net)

Faulkner39 writes: "Ali Spagnola, a Pittsburgh based musical artist, is an advocate of social media, free paintings, and alcohol accompanied partying. To unite the beer loving citizens of the internet, she composed 60 original songs and created a "Power Hour Drinking Game Album" based on the popular college pregame ritual. When a trademark troll was awarded rights to the term "Power Hour", he issued a Cease-and-Desist order on Ali to stop selling her game, had her albums taken down from Amazon and Rhapsody, and began bullying her on the internet and social media. Reddit was not amused, and quickly escalated her story to the front page. The online support encouraged Ali to stand up and fight for our right to binge responsibly. After a 3 year legal struggle costing Ali $30,000 of her own personal money in legal fees, Ali won, giving the internet the right to Power Hour freely. To celebrate the victory, Ali is now running a campaign to fund a Power Hour Freedom Victory Tour"
Displays

Submission + - USC Launches 3D Printed VR Headset Library (roadtovr.com)

Hesh writes: "The University of Southern California has launched a website (http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/diy/) that contains the blueprints for many of their custom VR headsets as well as new mods to the much anticipated yet unreleased Oculus Rift (http://oculusvr.com). Some are helping push DIY VR forward through custom sensor mounts to support, for example, stereo cameras (http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/diy/oculus-sensor-mount/) and others add more functionality like new eye cups (http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/diy/eye-cups-for-oculus-rift/) to help increase the already large FOV of the headset. This is truly an exciting time for VR and by GDC developers will already have Rifts in hand and tinkerers can 3D print their own designs now as well!"
Space

Submission + - FCC Guidance on Radio for Commercial Space Operations Falls Short

RocketAcademy writes: "The Federal Communications Commission has issued a Public Notice to help commercial space companies obtain use of communications frequencies for launch, operations, and reentry.

Commercial space companies can obtain the use of government frequencies on a temporary, non-interference basis through the FCC's Experimental Authorization process. Experimental Authorizations are valid for a six-month period from the date of grant and are renewable, but applicants must obtain a new authorization for each launch and must apply 90 days in advance.

Unfortunately, this requirement does not meet the needs of suborbital launch providers who expect to fly several times per day and schedule launches as needed, on very short notice."
Security

Submission + - Ask Slashdot:How to protect a text document 6

Jason1729 writes: I have been ordered by judge to release a large amount of material in "electronic format". Typically it's only available as paper copies which are sold on copy protected paper. Illegal copying of this material has become rampant and a group of lawyers obtained the court order by claiming it would be easier for them to access the material on a computer screen rather than hard copy. It is fairly clear they intend to print and share the single copy rather than paying for certified copies.

I'm looking for a technological solution that will allow me to distribute the documents (with word processing formatting in tact), in "electronic format", complying with the letter of the court order, but also make it impossible or as difficult as possible to print the documents or share the electronic version.

I'd rather not get into a discussion on the morality of copyright as the cost to produce the material was far greater than the single copy price and had I known I'd be facing this court order, I'd have refused to create it to begin with. Total demand is around 5 copies and getting 20% of that means losing a lot of money.
AI

Submission + - Google Buying Up AI Researchers (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: After acquiring Ray Kurzweill and presumably buying into the singularity, the Google singularity that is, the company that does no evil has now got the leading neural network researcher and his best crew. University of Toronto Professor of Computer Science Geoffrey Hinton and his DNNresearch team work in the area of “deep learning” networks. Google has taken the unusual step of putting Hinton on its payroll while allowing him to divide his time between his university research in Toronto and his work at Google headquarters in Mountain View. Google has also agreed to help fund DNNresearch to the tune of $600,000 to support further work in neural networks. According to Google Fellow Jeff Dean, Hinton’s work has applications for voice- and image-based searches. As more and more users send search queries by snapping a picture from or speaking to their smartphones, Google has spent more research dollars trying to figure out ways to automatically derive contextual clues from images and sound.
The combination of Hinton's expertise and Google's data and processing power should lead to some interesting results — Google results..

United States

Submission + - US to deploy ballistic missile interceptors in response to NK threats

dcmcilrath writes: Thom Shanker, David E. Sanger, and Martin Fackler of the New York Times write:

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will spend $1 billion to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to counter the growing reach of North Korea’s weapons, a decision accelerated by Pyongyang’s recent belligerence and indications that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is resisting China’s efforts to restrain him."

Full Article

Government

Submission + - Massive security breech at US Federal Government contractors site (gsa.gov)

dstates writes: SAM (Systems for Awards Management) is a financial management system that the US government requires all contractors and grantees to use. This system has recently been rolled out to replace the older CCR system. Last night, thousands of SAM users received the following message:

"Dear SAM user

The General Services Administration (GSA) recently has identified a security vulnerability in the System for Award Management (SAM), which is part of the cross-government Integrated Award Environment (IAE) managed by GSA. Registered SAM users with entity administrator rights and delegated entity registration rights had the ability to view any entity’s registration information, including both public and non-public data at all sensitivity levels."

From March 8 to 10, any registered user who searched the system could view confidential information including account and social security numbers for any other user of the system. Oops! The Government Services administration says that they have fixed the problem, but this is a serious black eye for the Fed.

Privacy

Submission + - Should We Be Afraid of Google Glass? (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An article at TechCrunch bemoans the naysayers of ubiquitous video camera headsets, which seems like a near-term certainty whether it comes in the form of Google Glass or a similar product. The author points out, rightly, that surveillance cameras are already everywhere, and increasingly sophisticated government drones and satellites mean you're probably on camera more than you think already. 'But there’s something about being caught on video, not by some impersonal machine but by another human being, that sticks in people’s craws and makes them go irrationally berserk.' However, he also seems happy to trade privacy security, which may not be palatable to others. He references a time he was mugged in Mexico and a desire to keep an eye on abuses of authority from police and others. 'If pervasive, ubiquitous networked cameras ultimately make public privacy impossible, which seems likely, then at least we can balance the scales by ensuring that we have two-way transparency between the powerful and the powerless.'
Government

Submission + - UK Government mandates 'preference' for open source (computerweekly.com)

An anonymous reader writes: ComputerWeekly reports that the U.K. government 'has, for the first time, mandated a preference for using open source software for future developments.' This comes from the newly released version of the Government Service Design Manual, which has a section about when government agencies should use open source. It says: 'Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages.' The document also warns against vendor lock-in. This policy shift comes under the direction of government CTO Liam Maxwell, who said, 'In digital public services, open source software is clearly the way forward.' He added, 'We're not dogmatic about this – we'll always use the best tool for the job – but open source has major advantages for the public sector.'
Network

Submission + - Silicon photonics driving ASIC development: Cisco (techworld.com)

sweetpea86 writes: Silicon photonics is driving the development of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), enabling much greater I/O bandwidth density and reducing power consumption, according to Cisco. Speaking at the Cisco Tech Editor's Conference in San Jose, Rob Lloyd, President of Sales and Development, said that one of the things that makes Cisco believe that it can lead in the development in the Internet of Everything is that it makes ASICs – the processors that sit underneath the products it delivers.

Submission + - Panicked porn troll Prenda Law now dismissing pending lawsuits (arstechnica.com)

JayRott writes: "The embattled copyright trolling firm Prenda Law is seeking to contain the fallout from a looming identity theft scandal by voluntarily dismissing lawsuits filed by the shell company AF Holdings. A Minnesota man named Alan Cooper has charged that Prenda fraudulantly used his name as the CEO of AF Holdings, allegations that have attracted the attention of a California judge.

Ken at the legal blog Popehat broke the news that Prenda attorney Paul Duffy has sought dismissal of at least four pending infringement cases involving the Prenda-linked shell company AF Holdings. All four dismissals occurred in the Northern District of Illinois."

I don't see how Prenda thinks this is going to make one lick of difference to an already angry Judge.

China

Submission + - China's Attempt at Creating a Master Race? (vice.com)

Titan1080 writes: It’s not exactly news that China is setting itself up as a new global superpower, is it? While Western civilization chokes on its own gluttony like a latter-day Marlon Brando, China continues to buy up American debt and lock away the world’s natural resources. But now, not content to simply laugh and make jerk-off signs as they pass us on the geopolitical highway, they’ve also developed a state-endorsed genetic-engineering project.

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