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+ - 214 Ask Slashdot: I just need... marketing?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Over the years, Slashdot has had many stories of non-technical entrepreneuring people in need of programmers. Now I found myself in an almost opposite situation: I am a programmer with a fledgling mass-market product that needs marketing.

I know slashdot's general sentiment towards marketing. Without being judgmental one way or the other, I must say that for a product to reach the widest possible audience in a given time period, marketing is a necessity. Short of doing everything myself, I see a couple of options: 1. Hire marketing people, or an outside marketing firm; 2. Take in willing partners who are good at marketing (currently there are no shortage of people who want in).

With these options, my major concerns are how to quantify performance, as well as how to avoid getting trapped in a partnership with non-performing partners — I already have a tangible product with a huge amount of time, money, and effort invested. Budget is also limited. Budget is always limited unless you are a fortune 500 business, but for now that's more of a secondary concern. So here is my question to Slashdot: how do you address these concerns, and in a more general sense, how would you handle the situation: technical people with a product in need of marketing?"
AI

+ - 122 How does modularity evolve?-> 1

Submitted by
JimmyQS
JimmyQS writes "As programmers know, modularity is critical to making reusable, adaptable software. However, modularity is not instinctive for beginners and must be learned via painful training. Biology faces a similar problem: modularity is useful to make species more adaptable, but how did it evolve in the first place? Surprisingly, computational simulations of 25,000 generations of evolution reveal that modularity does not evolve because it makes organisms more adaptable. Instead, modularity evolves as a by-product for selection to reduce the "wiring costs" of a network. The discovery greatly advances research into evolving artificially intelligent robots, a field where the inability to evolve modular designs has long been thought to be a key roadblock to evolving truly complex, intelligent neural networks.

The paper was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. You can also watch modularity evolve in this video."

Link to Original Source
Science

+ - 284 Russian meteor largest in a century->

Submitted by
gbrumfiel
gbrumfiel writes "A meteor that exploded over Russia's Chelyabinsk region this morning was the largest recorded object to strike the earth in more than a century, Nature reports. Infrasound data collected by a network designed to watch for nuclear weapons testing suggests that today's blast released hundreds of kilotonnes of energy. That would make it far more powerful than the nuclear weapon tested by North Korea just days ago, and the largest rock to strike the earth since a meteor broke up over Siberia's Tunguska river in 1908. Despite its incredible power, the rock evaded detection by astronomers. Estimates show it was likely only 15 meters across—too small to be seen by networks searching for near earth asteroids."
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Encryption

+ - 148 Cryptographers Aim to Find New Password Hashing Algorithm->

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "Passwords are the keys to our online identities, and as a result, they're also near the top of the target list for attackers. There have been countless breaches in the last few years in which unencrypted passwords have been stolen from a database and leaked online, and security experts often shake their heads at the lack of use of encryption or even hashing for passwords. Now, a group of cryptographers is sponsoring a competition to come up with a new password hash algorithm to help improve the state of the art.

Hashing algorithms are used to secure passwords by taking the plaintext password, passing it through the cryptographic hash algorithm, and then storing the resulting digest, rather than the plaintext password itself. That way, if attackers are able to compromise the database of passwords, what they get are the hashes and not the actual passwords.

However, the algorithms used to hash passwords in most cases are functions such as SHA-1 and MD5, which have known weaknesses that open them up to brute-force attacks. So if an attacker is able to access a database of hashed passwords, he may be able to crack them, given enough time and compute power. When these algorithms were designed years ago, the hardware needed to crack a hash produced by one of them was not commonly available. But now, powerful GPUs and FPGAs are widely available and can be used by an attacker to crack hashes relatively quickly.

"Password hashing is important because it's where we have a problem. NIST has given us some great standard hashing algorithms. The problem is that these hashes aren't necessarily designed for the specific problem of password hashing — where you need something that's fast enough to hash on a server at login time, but slow enough that a GPU can't crack ten million of them," Green said."

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Medicine

+ - 249 Alcoholism Vaccine Makes Alcohol Intolerable to Drinkers

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Ariel Schwartz reports that researchers are working on an alcoholism vaccine that makes alcohol intolerable to anyone who drinks it. The vaccine builds on what happens naturally in certain people--about 20% of the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean population--with an alcohol intolerance mutation. Normally, the liver breaks down alcohol into an enzyme that’s transformed into the compound acetaldehyde (responsible for that nasty hangover feeling), which in turn is degraded into another enzyme. The acetaldehyde doesn’t usually have time to build up before it’s broken down. But people with the alcohol intolerance mutation lack the ability to produce that second enzyme; acetaldehyde accumulates, and they feel terrible. Dr. Juan Asenjo and his colleagues have come up with a way to stop the synthesis of that second enzyme via a vaccine, mimicking the mutation that sometimes happens naturally. "People have this mutation all over the world. It’s like how some people can’t drink milk," says Asenjo. Addressing the physiological part of alcohol addiction is just one piece of the battle. Addictive tendencies could very well manifest in other ways; instead of alcohol, perhaps former addicts will move on to cigarettes. Asenjo admits as much: "Addiction is a psychological disease, a social disease. Obviously this is only the biological part of it.""
Google

+ - 144 Microsoft Could Earn Billions from Office for iOS: Analyst->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft is leaving billions of dollars on the table by not porting Office to the iPad, according to a new analyst report. That analyst, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Holt, believes that Office for iOS would sell to approximately 30 percent of all iPad users; priced at $60 per copy, that comes to a grand total of $2.5 billion per year—minus Apple’s cut of the revenues, of course. But does Microsoft actually want Office for iOS out there? It’s not necessarily in the company’s best interest to rush such a platform to market, even if billions of dollars potentially hang in the balance—it’s too busy pushing Office as a cloud-based, OS-agnostic platform. And Microsoft has another reason, aside from pushing the cloud version of Office, to de-emphasize the prospect of its productivity software on iOS: In a bid to draw more customers to its new hardware, Microsoft preloaded its Surface RT tablets with Office; offering the software on a rival touch-screen would take a major selling point off the table."
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United Kingdom

+ - 101 Transport for London ticketing chief dubious about mobile NFC-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The head of business development at Transport for London (TfL), whose Oyster card system is one of the most successful contactless ticketing programmes in the world, claims he is “not convinced” about mobile payments using NFC because there are too many stakeholders – with banks, retailers, mobile network operators, device manufacturers and advertisers all fighting for a share of the revenues. “It's taken ages. How much money is there to make with all these parties trying to get a piece of it?” said Hudson, speaking at a Westminster eForum on the future of digital payments. “We've just sat back and said we're not interested. When you've worked it out come back to us and we'll engage.”"
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BSD

+ - 190 Meanwhile: BSD at the Start of 2013->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NetBSD developer Julian Djamil Fagir provides a nice briefing on what the big three BSD projects have been working on, and explains/reminds us of their cultural differences. Stick a fork in them? Yes, Djamil Fagir mentions a couple of those, too. The recent releases from FreeBSD and NetBSD were covered by Slashdot."
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Medicine

+ - 123 Proteins behind mad-cow disease help brain to develop->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "Prions are best known as the infectious agents that cause ‘mad cow’ disease and the human versions of it, such as variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease. But as slashdot noted in 2010, the proteins also have at least one known useful function, in the cells that insulate nerves, and are suspected to have more. Now researchers have provided the first direct evidence that the proteins play an important role in neurons themselves.
The team reports that prions are involved in developmental plasticity, the process by which the structure and function of neurons in the growing brain is shaped by experience, and also crucial for learning and memory."

Link to Original Source

+ - 146 CNN/Money Reporter Drives Tesla - Confirms Company's Claims->

Submitted by
karlnyberg
karlnyberg writes "Putting to rest the conflict between Tesla's Elon Musk and New York Times Reporter John Broder, CNN/Money's Peter Valdes-Dapena drives DC to Boston (primarily to test the SuperCharger network):

As he says in the money quote and byline of the article:

In the end, I made it — and it wasn't that hard.

As for the Supercharger network? Turns out that works, too."

Link to Original Source
Education

+ - 167 17-year-old Rutvik Oza Solves an Unsolved Problem in Mathematics->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "An Indian teen has recently proposed a solution to an unsolved problem in mathematics. The 17-year-old young achiever, Rutvik Oza, a student of The H. B. Kapadia New High School, from Ahmedabad, Gujarat has now put a full stop to another open problem in the field of maths by providing a closed formula for the problem called Reve's Puzzle (also commonly known as the 4-peg Tower of Hanoi Problem).

When asked about how was he feeling, "Thrilled! I really didn't realize at first that the problem that I had solved was an open problem in mathematics. It was only later that I reckoned after doing some resourcing on the web, that it was an open problem," said Oza. Brought up in a middle class family, the teen dedicates his achievement to his father, Mahesh Oza, "It's all due to my father. He sowed the seeds of mathematics in me from my childhood. I dedicate this to him." he says. "It almost took me a week's time to get to the formula. It involved data analysis and pattern recognition," said Rutvik Oza.

When asked about his favorite maths giant, he said, "Newton, Ramanujan, Gauss and a long list of others to follow. There are many. It gives me goosebumps when I think about those greats.

"Mathematics interests me a lot. May it be any area of it — arithmetic, algebra or geometry. I love them all. It strengthens the faculties of originality, creativity and novelty in one's brain. Memorizing it won't help. That's the way it's taught in our schools here. I criticize that method of teaching fervently. Hardly any real mathematics is taught at the schools. I do not consider the schools responsible for it but yes, the entire system is definitely at fault," he added. When asked for a message that he wished to give his fellow teenagers, he said, "Do what you love! Follow your dreams. Expect for no support from anybody and overcome all obstacles that hinder you. No other mantra.""

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Science

+ - 114 Huge Meteor Blazes Across Sky Over Russia; Sonic Boom Shatters Windows-> 1

Submitted by dovf
dovf (811000) writes "The Bad Astronomer analyzes incoming reports about the aparent meteoric explosion over Russia: "Apparently, at about 09:30 local time, a very big meteor burned up over Chelyabinsk, a city in Russia just east of the Ural mountains, and about 1500 kilometers east of Moscow. The fireball was incredibly bright, rivaling the Sun! There was a pretty big sonic boom from the fireball, which set off car alarms and shattered windows. I’m seeing some reports of many people injured (by shattered glass blown out by the shock wave). I’m also seeing reports that some pieces have fallen to the ground, but again as I write this those are unconfirmed." This is the best summary I've found so far, and links to lots of videos and images. He also clarifies something I've been wondering about: "This is almost certainly unrelated to the asteroid 2012 DA14 that will pass on Friday. See below for details.""
Link to Original Source

+ - 205 Webmail and online banks targeted by phishing proxies->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Netcraft confirms a recent increase in the number of malicious proxy auto-config (PAC) scripts being used to sneakily route webmail and online banking traffic through rogue proxy servers. The scripts are designed to only proxy traffic destined for certain websites, while all other traffic is allowed to go direct. If the proxy can force the user to keep using HTTP instead of HTTPS, the fraudsters running these attacks can steal usernames, passwords, session cookies and other sensitive information from online banking sessions."
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Python

+ - 117 Python trademark at risk in Europe

Submitted by mvar
mvar (1386987) writes "It seems that a company in the UK is trying to trademark the "Python" term for all-things-computing and the PSF (Python Software Foundation) is asking for help. According to the PSF, they contacted the company in order to settle the matter but "They blew us off and responded by filing the community trademark application claiming the exclusive right to use "Python" for software, servers, and web services — everywhere in Europe. ". They now seek help from the community in several ways: By sending a letter to the EU council if you happen to work on a company that uses the Python programming language, by providing EU-published material regarding the Python language (articles etc) and/or financially supporting the PSF in the upcoming legal battle."
Idle

+ - 214 Meteorite crashes in Russia

Submitted by mvar
mvar (1386987) writes "Details are sparse now, but apparently several meteorites crashed into Russia earlier today, setting off giant explosions and forcing nearby schools and office buildings to be evacuated. The meteorites, or whatever they were, reportedly landed in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, where witness said the explosions shattered the window of nearby buildings. The regional Emergency Ministry said the flashes and explosions were caused by a meteorite shower, but locals think it might be the result of a jet crash or a missile. There's even a cool video from a passing driver's dashcam."

+ - 195 WebKit as broken as older IE versions?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It's not everyday that we get to hear about the potential downsides of using WebKit, but that's just what has happened as Dave Methvin, president of the jQuery foundation and a member of the core programming team that builds the widely used Web programming tool, lamented in a blog post yesterday. While most are happy to cheer for IE's demise, perhaps having 3 main browser engines is still a good thing. For those that work in the space, does the story ring true? Are we perhaps swearing at the wrong browser when implementing "workarounds" for Firefox or IE?"
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