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Submission + - In Soviet Russia, Bing Searches You!

theodp writes: A newly surfaced Microsoft patent application, reports GeekWire, describes a 'user-following engine' that analyzes your posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to deduce your mood, interests, and even your smarts. The system would then automatically adjust the search experience and results to better match those characteristics, explains Microsoft, such as changing the background color of the search interface to suit your mood, or bringing back only those search results that won't strain your feeble brain. From the patent application: 'In addition to skewing the search results to the user’s inferred interests, the user-following engine may further tailor the search results to a user’s comprehension level. For example, an intelligent processing module may be directed to discerning the sophistication and education level of the posts of a user. Based on that inference, the customization engine may vary the sophistication level of the customized search result.' So, is this the same technology the Microsoft Store used to determine I'd need a $49-an-hour Microsoft "personal trainer" to grasp Windows Live Photo Gallery, the same software that 4-and-a-half year-old Kylie mastered on her own?
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Is Owning an Apple Product a Nod to Elitism? (xazztic.com)

blueenigma writes: I’ve been a tech enthusiast for many years. At any given time I’m in possession of the latest on-trend gadget, I follow tech news, and I’m self-taught in web design. Despite my inclination to all things tech, the one brand I couldn’t seem warm up to was Apple.

Submission + - Android Tablets Were Born Too Soon

adeelarshad82 writes: When you look at the Apple iPad's sales figures, it's not hard to see why every technology company on the planet is jumping on the tablet bandwagon, alot of which are Android tablets. Unfortunatley though, some of these Android tablets were born way too early. They are haunted with a series of problems including flimsy hardware, low-quality resistive touch screens, serious display resolution issues, and old Android versions with limited or non-existent access to apps. Even the Samsung Galaxy Tab came well before it's time. Even though it's fast, well-designed, and comes with a decent Android implementation, it's functionalities are limited to those of an Android smartphone. So here's to hoping that Honeycomb's functionalities make up for the lost ground.

Submission + - You've got to WRITE stuff, baby...

jhoomjhoom writes: Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.

Studies suggest there's real value in learning and maintaining this ancient skill, even as we increasingly communicate electronically via keyboards big and small. Indeed, technology often gets blamed for handwriting's demise. But in an interesting twist, new software for touch-screen devices, such as the iPad, is starting to reinvigorate the practice.

Submission + - 2011's Most Over Hyped Console Games (rundlc.com)

Buffalo55 writes: Lots of people enjoy debating the most overrated video games of all time. For each person who praises Final Fantasy VII, Halo and Gears of War, there’s another who refuses to agree that those aforementioned hits met the hype, and that’s fine. We love these types of arguments. In this case, though, we decided to look at the most over hyped games of 2011, the potential blockbusters that may fall into the overrated category.

Submission + - Lost online games from the pre-Web era (pcmag.com)

harrymcc writes: Long before the Web came along, people were playing online games--on BBSes, on services such as Prodigy and CompuServe, and elsewhere. Gaming historian Benj Edwards has rounded up a dozen RPGs, MUDs, and other fascinating curiosities from the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s--and the cool part is, they're all playable on the Web today.

Submission + - Is blocking ads piracy? 2

Twillerror writes: As a web developer I'm a little put off by the success of browser plugins like AdBlock that modify the content of pages and remove ads. I like site like Slashdot and I'm perfectly fine looking at an ad or two since the content is free. I think I learned of a few products as well. One rationalization is to remove flash ads that slow your computer, but if the site is free the appropriate option in my opinion is to not visit the offending site.If the site is funded via ads by removing them you might as well be stealing it. What does Slashdot think?

Submission + - IBM: Linux is on Parity with AIX Unix (cioupdate.com)

darthcamaro writes: After a dozen years of pushing AIX as its premier mission critical operating system — a top IBM exec is now saying that there is little difference in features between AIX-Unix and Linux.

"Linux is on parity with AIX," Jean Staten Healy, IBM's director of worldwide Linux strategy told InternetNews.com. "Linux enables choice. I think that's one of the basic tenants of the faith."

The Internet

Submission + - Can You Read Wikileaks In A Fascist Police State? (zerohedge.com) 1

oliphaunt writes: Zero Hedge makes the case that a pair of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions mean that the USA now has the necessary characteristics to be classified as a police state, which means you better stop reading wikileaks if you don't want to be disappeared to Guantanamo (or somewhere worse):

For example, if the Executive- in the form of the Secretary of State -decides that, say, WikiLeaks or Amnesty International is a terrorist organization, well then by golly, it is a terrorist organization. It no longer has any right to free speech — nor can anyone else speak to them or associate with them, for risk of being charged with providing "material support" to this heinous terrorist organization known as Amnesty International. But furthermore, as per Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, anyone associating with WikiLeaks — including, presumably, those who read it, and most certainly those who give it information about government abuses-- would be guilty of aiding and abetting terrorism.


Submission + - Are Googlers Too Smart for Their Own Good? 1

theodp writes: If you're a mere mortal, don't be surprised if your first reaction to Google Storage for Developers is 'WTF?!' Offering the kind of 'user-friendly' API one might expect from a bunch of CS PhDs, Google Storage even manages to overcomplicate the simple act of copying files. Which begs a question: Are Googlers with 'world-class programming skills' capable of producing straightforward, simple-to-use programming interfaces for The Rest of Us?

Submission + - US one step closer to electric grid cyberguards (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: The US Department of Energy this week officially opened up the bidding for a National Electric Sector Cyber Security Organization that that would protect the nation's electrical grid from cyber attacks. According to the DOE: the agency has set an aggressive goal to meet the Nation's need for a reliable, efficient and resilient electric power grid, as well as improved accessibility to a variety of energy sources for generation. In order to achieve this, an independent organization is needed to provide executive leadership to facilitate research, development and deployment priorities, identify and disseminate best cyber security practices; organize the collection, analysis, monitoring, and dissemination of infrastructure vulnerabilities and threats; and enhance cyber security of the electric grid including control and IT systems.

Submission + - Spencer Pratt quits The Hills to fight cybercrime (sophos.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Could reality TV's loss be information security's gain?

Reality TV star Spencer Pratt claims he is quitting TV to focus on fighting internet threats. Pratt, who is married to fellow celebrity airhead Heidi Montag, has told People magazine that he has a duty to fight cybercrime rather than continue to film episodes of vapid reality shows like "The Hills".

Security researchers at Sophos are skeptical as to whether Pratt's announcement is a publicity stunt, or the prelude to another TV show — although Pratt, who is studying encryption at USC, says he was moved by Obama's speech on the need for better cybersecurity last year.

Spencer Pratt is quoted as saying: "Upon learning of President Obama's declaration that the 'cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation,' I have decided to refocus my energy and devote my full resources to helping America face this and other unprecedented challenges."

The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.