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Cellphones

+ - 223 White House Petition To Make Unlocking Phones Legal Passes 100,000 Signatures

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A White House petition to make unlocking cell phones legal again has passed the 100,000 signature mark. Passing the milestone means the US government has to issue an official response. On January 26th, unlocking a cell phone that is under contract became illegal in the U.S. Just before that went into effect, a petition was started at whitehouse.gov to have the Librarian of Congress revisit that decision. "It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full. The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.""

+ - 152 Password Protected Phone = Privacy in Canada->

Submitted by
codegen
codegen writes "The Ontario Court of Appeal has just ruled that the police can search your cellphone if you are arrested without a warrant if it is not password protected. But the ruling also stated that if it is password protected, then the police need a warrant. Previous to this case there was no decision on if the police could search your phone without a warrant in Canada."
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+ - 123 What to send a colleague (IT engineer / geek) as a get well soon gift?

Submitted by Ben Fitzgerald
Ben Fitzgerald (664712) writes "One of my colleagues is off ill at the moment and we were thinking of sending some fruit or flowers as a get well gift, but we thought that sounded a little lame. What would Slashdotters recommend as better ideas on a similar budget to send a techie to show we care and brighten their day while they are convalescing?"
Graphics

+ - 189 Blender 2.66 released->

Submitted by hochl
hochl (759409) writes "The Blender Foundation has announced a new release of the popular, free 3D design program Blender. From the release page: The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.66. This release contains long awaited features like rigid body physics simulation, dynamic topology sculpting and matcap display. Other new features include Cycles hair rendering, support for high pixel density displays, much better handling of premultiplied and straight alpha transparency, a vertex bevel tool, a mesh cache modifier and a new SPH particle fluid dynamics solver."
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Power

+ - 171 New process that takes the energy from coal without burning it->

Submitted by
rtoz
rtoz writes "Ohio State students had come up with a scaled-down version of a power plant combustion system with a unique experimental design--one that chemically converts coal to heat while capturing 99 percent of the carbon dioxide produced in the reaction.

Typical coal-fired power plants burn coal to heat water to make steam, which turns the turbines that produce electricity. In chemical looping, the coal isn't burned with fire, but instead chemically combusted in a sealed chamber so that it doesn't pollute the air.

This new technology, called coal-direct chemical looping, was pioneered by Liang-Shih Fan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of Ohio State's Clean Coal Research Laboratory"

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NASA

+ - 215 NASA's basement nuclear reactor->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "If Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, is correct, the future of energy may lie in a nuclear reactor small enough and safe enough to be installed where the home water heater once sat. Using weak nuclear forces that turn nickel and hydrogen into a new source of atomic energy, the process offers a light, portable means of producing tremendous amounts of energy for the amount of fuel used. It could conceivably power homes, revolutionize transportation and even clean the environment."
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The Media

+ - 100 Murder, Journalism, and the Twitterverse

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "David Bullard writes that one of the most interesting things about the case of Oscar Pistorius, the disabled Olympian who killed his model girlfriend on the morning of Valentine's day, is the amount of social media activity it has spawned and how Twitter is offering a frighteningly accurate real time measure of public opinion on the case. "Early on Thursday morning there was enormous sympathy for Pistorius as the story of the "accidental" shooting was reported," writes Bullard. "That evaporated within a few hours as the police announced that they believed they were looking at a murder case." By Monday, even if there had been insufficient evidence to pin a murder charge on Pistorius, the Twitterverse had worked itself into a frenzy of hatred with the mob baying for blood. "Bizarrely, the investigation into the tragic death of Reeva Steenkamp became a sort of grotesque social media reality show with everyone invited to play. The Twitterverse was never short of opinion, most of it uninformed and much of it swayed by the latest revelation, whether confirmed or not." The story also points to a new relationship between online and print journalism that may offer a glimpse of the future. Journalists at the bail hearing are able to release short bulletins via Twitter while more established news sources like newspapers follow up with more detailed analysis. "It seems an ideal symbiotic relationship and undoubtedly sets the agenda for news reporting in the future; gobbets of need to know stuff in real time all within 140 characters followed by the expanded story on a website and in a newspaper.""

+ - 134 Got a Cell Phone Booster? Well FCC says you have to turn it off->

Submitted by Dngrsone
Dngrsone (2820801) writes "Some two million people have bought cell-phone wireless signal boosters and have been using them to get better communication between their phones and distant cell towers. But now, the FCC says they all have to turn their boosters off and ask permission from their providers and register their devices with those providers before they can turn them back on. FCC FAQ: http://wireless.fcc.gov/signal-boosters/faq.html"
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+ - 182 CT Senator wants to keep children from playing with arcade guns.->

Submitted by Nyder
Nyder (754090) writes "In a move that is sure to bring tears to the eyes of kids everywhere, Connecticut State Senator Toni Harp proposed a bill in January that would ban anyone younger than 18 from playing "violent point-and-shoot" video games in arcades or other public establishments.

The bill also called for research into the effects of violent video games on young minds, through a committee called the Violent Video Game Task Force within the Department of Children and Families. The task force would advise the Governor and General assembly on state programs that "may reduce the effects of violent video games on youth behavior," suggesting before the research was done that violent video games have an effect on children's actions.

Hopefully this won't pass, I guess the video game lobby hasn't paid this Senator enough "funds" for his campaign."

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Debian

+ - 148 Debian 7.0 "Wheezy" Release Candidate 1->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The first release candidate of Debian 7.0 Wheezy was released this week. Debian 7.0 is set to introduce a number of new features including optional systemd support, a real-time Linux kernel option, UEFI installation support, and the Debian Installer now supports WPA/WPA2 wireless networks. More Debian 7.0 features are listed on the Debian Wiki and the 7.0 RC1 installer can be downloaded at Debian.org."
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+ - 158 US CEO says French workers have 'three-hour' working day->

Submitted by M3.14
M3.14 (1616191) writes "In a letter addressed to French Industrial Renewal Minister, US tyre manufacturing company CEO is writing (original FR article with English letter) that it would be stupid to buy any factory in France since workers don't really work full time. He'd rather buy cheap factories in India and China instead and import tyres back to France. This really places a question where is the equilibrium between unions and companies. In this case it definitely went all the way down on union side."
Link to Original Source

+ - 229 Japan Probe Finds Miswiring of Boeing 787 Battery->

Submitted by NeverVotedBush
NeverVotedBush (1041088) writes "TOKYO — A probe into the overheating of a lithium ion battery in an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 that made an emergency landing found it was improperly wired, Japan’s Transport Ministry said Wednesday.

The Transport Safety Board said in a report that the battery for the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit was incorrectly connected to the main battery that overheated, although a protective valve would have prevented power from the auxiliary unit from causing damage.

Flickering of the plane’s tail and wing lights after it landed and the fact the main battery was switched off led the investigators to conclude there was an abnormal current traveling from the auxiliary power unit due to miswiring."

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+ - 193 White House Petition Lobbies to Make Cell Phone Unlocking Legal->

Submitted by Tanlis
Tanlis (304135) writes "The Librarian of Congress decided in October 2012 that unlocking of cell phones would be removed from the exceptions to the DMCA. As of January 26, consumers are no longer able to unlock their phones for use on a different network without carrier permission, even after their contract has expired. Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full. The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked. We ask that the White House ask the Librarian of Congress to rescind this decision, and failing that, champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal."
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Linux

+ - 128 Linux-savvy IT pros are in high demand, low supply->

Submitted by
tsamsoniw
tsamsoniw writes "IT professionals with Linux chops — particularly systems administrator — are in high demand and short supply, according to a new survey from Dice. Over 90 percent of hiring managers surveyed said they plan to hire at least one Linux professional in the next six months — though nine out of 10 respondents also said that it's "somewhat difficult" or "very difficult" to find experienced Linux pros. That demand — driven by trends such as open-cloud development, Big Data, and increasing migration to Linux — has helped push the average salary for Linux pros up 9 percent to this past year, to $90,853."
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Businesses

+ - 161 Tech Leaders Create Most Lucrative Science Prize In History->

Submitted by
redletterdave
redletterdave writes "Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner have teamed up to create The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, which now offers the most lucrative annual prize in the history of science: A $33 million pot to be split among 11 people, with individual rewards worth $3 million apiece. Comparatively, the monetary value of the Nobel prize is just $1.1 million. 'Our society needs more heroes who are scientists, researchers and engineers,' Zuckerberg said. 'We need to celebrate and reward the people who cure diseases, expand our understanding of humanity and work to improve people's lives.'"
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+ - 133 How Patent Trolls Kill Innovation->

Submitted by
cathyreisenwitz
cathyreisenwitz writes "A Yale study found that the U.S. patent office is approving new software patents at an approximate rate of 40,000 a year. That's more than 100 new software patents every day. Tracking every software patent to make sure one is not in violation would be an utter impossibility without a full-time team of lawyers on staff.

Uniloc, which purchased the patent in question at a bankruptcy proceeding, declined an interview request for this piece. But on their website, they brag about a victory over software giant Microsoft resulting in $388 million in damages (though this amount was later lowered in an appeals court). Despite the enormous risk, and the enormous cost just to defend against a patent suit, Meyer is resolved to do so.

"I will not simply give somebody money that endorses the idea that they should sue people for doing something amazing," says Meyer. "It must be stopped at some point.""

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Security

+ - 149 Notification of server breach mistaken for phishing email->

Submitted by
netbuzz
netbuzz writes "Educause members and 7,000 university websites are being forced to change account passwords after a security breach involving the organization’s .edu domain server. However, some initially hesitated to comply because the Educause notification email bore tell-tale markings of a phishing attempt. “Given what is known about phishing and user behavior, this was bad form,” says Gene Spafford, a Purdue University computer science professor and security expert. “For an education-oriented organization to do this is particularly troubling.”"
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Microsoft

+ - 131 Microsoft Kinect 2.0 Specifications Leak, Includes Support For USB 3.0

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Whether or not you’re an owner of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, chances are you find the Kinect accessory intriguing, since you don’t even need the company’s console to use it. That’s why there’s so much excitement surrounding the console’s successor, codenamed Durango: it will feature Kinect 2.0, the specifications for which allegedly leaked today. The new device will reportedly be able to track players with a height of one meter, feature a mode for both seated and standing players, detect hand states (such as open or closed), as well as extra and rotated joints. As for improved features, it will be able to supposedly track six rather than two active players, occluded joints, and sideways poses. This will all be possible thanks to an increased field of vision, 1920×1080 color stream, 512×424 depth stream, an added infrared stream, USB 3.0, and 60ms latency."
Education

+ - 169 The Two Big Problems with Online College Courses 2

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The NY Times reports that while online college classes are already common, on the whole, the record is not encouraging because there are two big problems with online teaching. First, student attrition rates — around 90 percent for some huge online courses — appear to be a problem even in small-scale online courses when compared with traditional face-to-face classes. Second, courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed. Research has shown that community college students who enroll in online courses are significantly more likely to fail or withdraw than those in traditional classes, which means that they spend hard-earned tuition dollars and get nothing in return. Worse still, low-performing students who may be just barely hanging on in traditional classes tend to fall even further behind in online courses. "Colleges need to improve online courses before they deploy them widely," says the Times. "Moreover, schools with high numbers of students needing remedial education should consider requiring at least some students to demonstrate success in traditional classes before allowing them to take online courses." Interestingly, the center found that students in hybrid classes — those that blended online instruction with a face-to-face component — performed as well academically as those in traditional classes. But hybrid courses are rare, and teaching professors how to manage them is costly and time-consuming. "The online revolution offers intriguing opportunities for broadening access to education. But, so far, the evidence shows that poorly designed courses can seriously shortchange the most vulnerable students.""
Wireless Networking

+ - 131 FCC moves to boost wireless speeds, avoid congestion -- battle looms->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "The Federal Communications Commission said it wants to make up to 195 megahertz of additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band available to unlicensed wireless devices with the idea that such a move would enable Wi-Fi equipment that can offer faster speeds of one gigabit per second or more, increase overall capacity, and reduce congestion."
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