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Google

Signed-In Maps Mean More Location Data For Google 39

Posted by timothy
from the this-time-tomorrow dept.
mikejuk writes The announcement on the Google Geo Developers blog has the catchy title No map is an island. It points out that while there are now around 2 million active sites that have Google Maps embedded, they store data independently, The new feature, called attributed save, aims to overcome this problem by creating an integrated experience between the apps you use that have map content and Google Maps, and all it requires is that users sign in. So if you use a map in a specific app you will be able to see locations you entered in other apps.This all sounds great and it makes sense to allow users to take all of the locations that have previously been stored in app silos and put them all together into one big map data pool. The only down side is that the pool is owned by Google and some users might not like the idea of letting Google have access to so much personal geo information. It seems you can have convenience or you can have privacy. It might just be that many users prefer their maps to be islands.
Google

Google Sued Over Children's In-App Android Purchases 321

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children? dept.
jfruh writes "Android apps sold through the Google Play app store require the user to enter their username and password before making an in-app purchase — but once they've done that, they can continue to do so for half an hour without re-authenticating. Now a lawsuit is claiming this loophole allows children to run up in-app purchases on their parents' credit cards, 'causing Google to pocket millions of dollars.'"
Privacy

NSA and GHCQ Employing Shills To Poison Web Forum Discourse 347

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the flu-nsa-llnl-juarez-waco-plf-hacker-cointelpro dept.
Advocatus Diaboli writes with this excerpt from an article by Glenn Greenwald on the pervasiveness of shills poisoning web forums: "One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It's time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.. ... Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the Internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: 'false flag operations' (posting material to the Internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting 'negative information' on various forums." I guess Cryptome was right. Check out the the training materials provided to future forum spies.
GUI

Windows 8 Metro: The Good Kind of Market Segmentation? 389

Posted by timothy
from the keyboards-with-giant-letters dept.
nk497 writes "A UX designer working at Microsoft has taken to Reddit to explain why Windows 8's Metro screen isn't designed for power users — but is still good news for them. Jacob Miller, posting as 'pwnies,' said Metro is the 'antithesis of a [power user's desktop],' and designed for 'your computer illiterate little sister,' not for content creators or power users. By splitting Windows into Metro and the desktop, Microsoft has created space for casual users as well as power users." Update: 02/18 18:14 GMT by S : Further explanations from Miller are available now.
Google

Google Removes "Search Nearby" Function From Updated Google Maps 255

Posted by timothy
from the where-are-you-again? dept.
First time accepted submitter BillCable writes "One of the most useful and intuitive features of Google's Map tool was the "Search nearby" link. After searching for a location, users could click on a marker on the map to pop open a window with the address and other details. This window also contained a link to 'Search nearby' — extremely useful if you want to find a list of restaurants near a hotel, the closest pharmacy, or any other business you might want to patronize. Google recently updated their map tool, and 'Search nearby' is no longer present. The 300 posts to the Google Product Forums complaining about this omission indicates this is a feature Maps users sorely miss. Google's work-around (detailed by Google staff in said thread) are a poor substitute and unreliable. There is no indication Google will add the feature to their new tool. For now users are able to revert to the original Google Maps with the 'Search nearby' feature intact. But there's concern that when Google discontinues support that the feature will be lost. So why would Google remove one of its best features?"
Books

Sherlock Holmes Finally In the Public Domain In the US 207

Posted by timothy
from the and-mycroft-is-even-older dept.
ferrisoxide.com writes "As reported on the Australian ABC news website, film-makers in the US are finally free to work on Sherlock Holmes stories without paying a licencing free to the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle after a ruling by Judge Ruben Castillo. A quirk of U.S. copyright law kept 10 stories out of the public domain, on the basis that these stories were continuously developed. In his ruling Judge Castillo opined that only the "story elements" in the short stories published after 1923 were protected and that everything else in the Holmes canon was "free for public use" — including the characters of Holmes and Watson. Holmes scholar Leslie Klinger, who challenged the estate, celebrated the ruling. 'Sherlock Holmes belongs to the world,' Mr Klinger said in a statement posted on his Free Sherlock website. IANAL, but the ruling of Judge Castillo that "adopting Conan Doyle's position would be to extend impermissibly the copyright of certain character elements of Holmes and Watson beyond their statutory period," is surely going to have implications across U.S. copyright law. Mark Twain must be twisting and writhing in his grave."
Science

Why Engineers Must Consider the Ethical Implications of Their Work 406

Posted by timothy
from the bad-things-good-uses-vice-versa dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An article by Abbas El-Zein at The Guardian explores the ethical responsibilities for engineers who create and maintain 'technologies of violence.' He says, 'Engineers who see themselves as builders of the shelter and infrastructure for human needs also use their expertise in order to destroy and kill more efficiently. When doctors or nurses use their knowledge of anatomy in order to torture or conduct medical experiments on helpless subjects, we are rightly outraged. Why doesn't society seem to apply the same standards to engineers? There is more than one answer to the question of course, but two points are especially pertinent: the common good we engineers see ourselves serving and our relationship to authority. ... Our ethics have become mostly technical: how to design properly, how to not cut corners, how to serve our clients well. We work hard to prevent failure of the systems we build, but only in relation to what these systems are meant to do, rather than the way they might actually be utilised, or whether they should have been built at all. We are not amoral, far from it; it's just that we have steered ourselves into a place where our morality has a smaller scope.'"
Biotech

Study Linking GM Maize To Rat Tumors Is Retracted 341

Posted by Soulskill
from the arguing-over-food dept.
ananyo writes "Bowing to scientists' near-universal scorn, the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has fulfilled its threat to retract a controversial paper which claimed that a genetically modified (GM) maize causes serious disease in rats after the authors refused to withdraw it. The paper, from a research group led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, and published in 2012, showed 'no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data,' said a statement from Elsevier, which publishes the journal. But the small number and type of animals used in the study means that 'no definitive conclusions can be reached.' The known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat 'cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups,' it added. Today's move came as no surprise. Earlier this month, the journal's editor-in-chief, Wallace Hayes, threatened retraction if Séralini refused to withdraw the paper, which is exactly what he announced at a press conference in Brussels this morning. Séralini and his team remained unrepentant, and allege that the retraction derives from the journal's editorial appointment of biologist Richard Goodman, who previously worked for biotechnology giant Monsanto for seven years."
Businesses

Microsoft Makes Another "Nearly Sold Out" Claim For the Surface Line 262

Posted by timothy
from the superficial-seems-about-right dept.
Microsoft made some confident sounding claims about sales of its first-generation Surface tablets before it became clear that the tablets weren't actually selling very well. So make what you will of the company's claim that the second version is "close to selling out." As the linked article points out, the company has "fallen short of offering any real explanation as to just how “close” to selling out the Surface 2 and Pro 2 really are – nor have they indicated how many were on hand to order in the first place."
Piracy

Despite Global Release, Breaking Bad Heavily Pirated 443

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the broadcast-is-dead dept.
tlhIngan writes "One reason that many people pirate TV shows is 'it's not available in my country until months after it airs.' Which is why the second episode of Breaking Bad's final season was aired globally within a few hours of each other yesterday evening. Despite this, many users still decided to download it than watch it when it aired locally. Australia users we the top, perhaps because it was on FoxTel. This was followed by U.S. and Canada (who obviously got to see it when it aired), and the UK where Netflix had it within hours of the U.S. premier. Fifth on the list was the Netherlands, where it had aired hours before the U.S. premier on a public channel. It's obvious that despite the global release, the show was headed to top its previous highs in number of downloads. Could this spell the doom to future global releases, since the evidence is people just pirate them anyways?"
Windows

Microsoft's Surface RT Was Doomed From Day One 442

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-those-dancing-folks-in-the-commercials-seemed-to-enjoy-it dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Last fall, Microsoft launched its Surface RT tablet with high hopes. The sleek touch-screen ran Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 designed for hardware powered by the ARM architecture, which dominates the mobile-device market; it also included a flexible keyboard that doubled as a screen cover. Microsoft executives told any journalist who would listen that Surface RT would position their company as a major player in the tablet arena, ready to battle toe-to-toe with Apple and various Android device manufacturers. Fast-forward to this week, and Microsoft announcing its financial results for the quarter ended June 30. Amidst metrics such as operating income and diluted earnings per share, one number stood out: a $900 million charge (the equivalent of $0.07 per share) related to what Microsoft called 'Surface RT inventory adjustments.' Microsoft had already slashed Surface RT prices by $150, so that nearly-billion-dollar charge wasn't a total surprise — but it did underscore that Surface RT is a bomb. From the outset, Surface RT had an issue with the potential to mightily trip up Microsoft: While Windows RT looks exactly like Windows 8, it can't run legacy Windows programs built for x86 processors, limiting users to what they can download from the built-in Windows Store app hub. While the Windows Store launched with 10,000 apps, that seemed paltry in comparison to the well-developed Android and iOS ecosystems. There's likely nothing that Microsoft could have done about this—every platform has to start somewhere, after all—but the relative lack of apps put Surface RT between the proverbial rock and the hard place: it couldn't rely on Windows' extensive legacy, and it didn't have enough content to make it a true contender from the outset against the iPad and Android tablets. Then there was the matter of price. Microsoft could have taken the Amazon route and sold Surface RT at a relative pittance in order to drive adoption—something that made the Kindle Fire a sizable hit. However, that sort of pricing scheme isn't in Microsoft's corporate DNA: it only cut Surface RT's price several months after release, as a defensive maneuver, when it's likely to do much less good."

Comment: Throw Angular in the Mix? (Score 1) 304

by Nishi-no-wan (#44237073) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Node.js vs. JEE/C/C++/.NET In the Enterprise?

I've been primarily working with XML databases (eXist) on the back end the past several years. But the need for doing more client-side work (via JavaScript) has been increasing. Having dealt with Microsoft's weekly build breaks in IE 4 (I seriously had a list of build numbers from each week that different customers installed IE and a different aspect of my web application broke), and their inability to follow the ECMAScript standard, I've gone very grudgingly back into the whole build apps with JavaScript movement.

What I would like to be able to do is write XQuery on both the server and in the browser. The Sausalito made that promise, but it just never felt quite right to me.

Node and CouchDB together appear to do the same with JavaScript, and with impressive results from what I've seen. I've spent a long time evaluating it and a few other frameworks for a future project, but the surprise find for me has been AngularJS.

Having been raised with MVC back in the 1990s in C++ and Java, there has just been something about AngularJS that has totally clicked with me. I can take a bit of the load of rendering pages away from the XML database backend and use static HTML pages in the dynamic fashion that was promised since Netscape Navigator 2.0.

It's been nice doing everything in a single language - XQuery - for the past several years. The Model is XML, the View is XHTML and JSON output, and the Controller is XQuery. All of it running on the server side.

The division of labor in AngularJS feels right to me. It's organized well. (Part of that organization appears to be a reliance on Node for project management. So understanding Node is useful, even if you're not going to be running from a Node HTTP server.)

Programming

Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Programmers 641

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-just-a-matter-of-code dept.
itwbennett writes "Software developers are, by and large, a cool and analytical bunch, but there are a handful of things that strike terror in their hearts. Phil Johnson scoured developer forums looking for an answer to the question: What's your biggest fear as a programmer? The answers clustered into 5 broad groups ranging from being forced to learn or use a specific technology to working for and with incompetents. What's your biggest fear?"
Cloud

Review: Oracle Database 12c 147

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Riyaj Shamsudeen offers an in-depth look at Oracle Database 12c, which he calls a 'true cloud database,' bringing a new level of efficiency and ease to database consolidation. 'In development for roughly four years, Oracle Database 12c introduces so many important new capabilities in so many areas — database consolidation, query optimization, performance tuning, high availability, partitioning, backup and recovery — that even a lengthy review has to cut corners. Nevertheless, in addition to covering the big ticket items, I'll give a number of the lesser enhancements their due,' writes Riyaj Shamsudeen. 'Having worked with the beta for many months, I can tell you that the quality of software is also impressive, starting with a smooth RAC cluster installation. As with any new software release, I did encounter a few minor bugs. Hopefully these have been resolved in the production release that arrived yesterday.'"

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