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+ - Microsoft now Makes Money from Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion 1

Submitted by SmartAboutThings
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Microsoft has recently published its Q1 fiscal 2015 earnings report, disclosing that it has made $4.5 billion in net income on $23.20 billion in revenue. According to the report, revenue has increased by $4.67 billion, compared to $18.53 billion from the same period last year. However, net income has decreased 14 percent compared to last year’s $5.24 billion mainly because of the $1.14 billion cost associated with the integration and restructuring expenses related to the Nokia acquisition.

But what's finally good news for the company is that the Surface gross margin was positive this quarter, which means the company finally starts making money on Surface sales. Microsoft didn’t yet reveal Surface sales, but we know that Surface revenue was $908 million this quarter, up a massive 127 percent from the $400 million this time last year. However, if we assume that the average spent amount on the purchase of this year’s Surface Pro 3 was around $1000, then we have less than 1 million units sold, which isn’t that impressive, but it’s a good start."

+ - Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "he contentious debate about net neutrality in the U.S. has sparked controversy over a lack of funding transparency for advocacy groups and think tanks, which critics say subverts the political process. News stories from a handful of publications in recent months have accused some think tanks and advocacy groups of "astroturfing" — quietly shilling for large broadband carriers. In a handful of cases, those criticisms appear to have some merit, although the term is so overused by people looking to discredit political opponents that it has nearly lost its original meaning. An IDG News Service investigation found that major groups opposing U.S. Federal Communications Commission reclassification and regulation of broadband as a public utility tend to be less transparent about their funding than the other side. Still, some big-name advocates of strong net neutrality rules also have limited transparency mechanisms in place."
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+ - PCGamingWiki looks into Linux gaming with Port Reports->

Submitted by AberBeta
AberBeta (851747) writes "PCGamingWiki contributor soeb has been looking into the recent larger budget game releases to appear on Linux, including XCOM: Enemy Unknown & Borderlands: The Pre–Sequel produced by Mac porting houses Feral and Aspyr, and finds that while feature parity is high, performance could be a smidge better. However people accept the performance differences, the games are arriving, now the userbase needs to expand to make a virtuous cycle."
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+ - Automation arrives at restaurants, but not because of minimum wage hikes->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "McDonald's this week told financial analysts of its plans to install self-ordering kiosks and mobile ordering at its restaurants. This news prompted the Wall Street Journal to editorialize, in " Minimum Wage Backfire ," that while it may be true for McDonald's to say that its tech plans will improve customer experience, the move is also "a convenient way...to justify a reduction in the chain's global workforce." Minimum wage increase advocates, the Journal argued, are speeding along an automation backlash. But banks have long relied on ATMs, and grocery stores, including Walmart, have deployed self-service checkouts. In contrast, McDonald's hasn't changed its basic system of taking orders since its founding in the 1950s, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a research group focused on the restaurant industry. While mobile, kiosks and table ordering systems may help reduce labor costs, the automated self-serve technology is seen as an essential. It will take the stress out of ordering (lines) at fast food restaurants, and the wait for checks at more casual restaurants. It also helps with upselling and membership to loyalty programs. People who can order a drink refill off a tablet, instead of waving down waitstaff, may be more inclined to do so. Moreover, analysts say younger customers want self-service options."
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+ - How to Beat Online Price Discrimination->

Submitted by Intrepid imaginaut
Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) writes "A new study found that major e-commerce retailers show some users different prices or a different set of results. Do you think you can find the lowest prices by shopping online? Think again.

A new study by researchers at Northeastern University confirmed the extent to which major e-commerce websites show some users different prices and a different set of results, even for identical searches."

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+ - Damage Already Done, FTDI Responds->

Submitted by weilawei
weilawei (897823) writes "Today, FTDI, a Scottish manufacturer of USB-to-serial ICs, posted a response to the ongoing debacle over its allegedly intentional bricking of competitors' chips. In their statement, FTDI CEO Fred Dart said, "The recently release driver release has now been removed from Windows Update so that on-the-fly updating cannot occur. The driver is in the process of being updated and will be released next week. This will still uphold our stance against devices that are not genuine, but do so in a non-invasive way that means that there is no risk of end user’s hardware being directly affected." This may have resulted from a discussion with Microsoft engineers about the implications of distributing potentially malicious driver software.

If you design hardware, what's your stance on this? Will you continue to integrate FTDI chips into your products? What alternatives are available to replace their functionality?"

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Medicine

Stem Cells Grown From Patient's Arm Used To Replace Retina 50

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-and-what-arm-eye dept.
BarbaraHudson writes: The Globe and Mail is reporting the success of a procedure to implant a replacement retina grown from cells from the patient's skin. Quoting: "Transplant doctors are stepping gingerly into a new world, one month after a Japanese woman received the first-ever tissue transplant using stem cells that came from her own skin, not an embryo. On Sept. 12, doctors in a Kobe hospital replaced the retina of a 70-year-old woman suffering from macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. The otherwise routine surgery was radical because scientists had grown the replacement retina in a petri dish, using skin scraped from the patient's arm.

The Japanese woman is fine and her retinal implant remains in place. Researchers around the world are now hoping to test other stem-cell-derived tissues in therapy. Dr. Jeanne Loring from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., expects to get approval within a few years to see whether neurons derived from stem cells can be used to treat Parkinson's disease."

+ - Decades-old scientific paper may hold clues to dark matter->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Here’s one reason libraries hang on to old science journals: A paper from an experiment conducted 32 years ago may shed light on the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff whose gravity appears to keep the galaxies from flying apart. The old data put a crimp in the newfangled concept of a "dark photon" and suggest that a simple bargain-basement experiment could put the idea to the test."
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+ - wish for an indefinitely supported linux distribution->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I posted a wish for a current linux distribution, or set of distributions, perhaps debian 7/ubuntu 14.04,
to be supported for ever. This should be a distribution with the most widely used components,
such as system V init and X Window. Inter alia, it would make stable documentation possible. What do slashdotters think? Is now the right time for this to happen?"

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+ - Two Exocomet Families Found Around Baby Star System->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "Scientists have found two families of comets in the developing Beta Pictoris star system, located about 64 million light-years from Earth, including one group that appears to be remnants of a smashed-up protoplanet. The discovery bolsters our theoretical understanding of the violent processes that led to the formation of Earth and the other terrestrial planets in the solar system. “If you look back at the solar system when it was only 22 million years old, you might have seen phenomena that’s a like more like what’s happening in Beta Pic,” astrophysicist Aki Roberge, with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., told Discovery News."
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+ - Astronomers Find Brightest Pulsar Ever Observed->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Astronomers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the NuSTAR satellite have discovered a pulsar so bright that it challenges how scientists think pulsars work. While observing galaxy M82 in hopes of catching supernova, the researchers found an unexpected source of X-rays very close to the galaxy's core. It was near another source, thought to be a black hole. But the new one was pulsing, which black holes don't do. The trouble is that according to known pulsar models, it's about 100 times brighter than the calculated limits to its luminosity (abstract). researchers used a different method to figure out its mass, and the gap shrank, but it's still too bright to fit their theories."
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+ - Raspberry Pi Founder Demos Touchscreen Display For DIY Kits->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Over 4 million Raspberry Pis have been sold so far, and now founder Eben Upton has shown off a touchscreen display panel that's designed to work with it. It's a 7" panel, roughly tablet sized, but slightly thicker. "With the incoming touchscreen panel The Pi Foundation is clearly hoping to keep stoking the creative fires that have helped drive sales of the Pi by slotting another piece of DIY hardware into the mix." Upton also discussed the Model A+ Raspberry Pi board — an updated version they'll be announcing soon."
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+ - What It Took for SpaceX to Become a Serious Space Company->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Atlantic has a nice profile of SpaceX's rise to prominence — how a private startup managed to successfully compete with industry giants like Boeing in just a decade of existence. "Regardless of its inspirations, the company was forced to adopt a prosaic initial goal: Make a rocket at least 10 times cheaper than is possible today. Until it can do that, neither flowers nor people can go to Mars with any economy. With rocket technology, Musk has said, "you’re really left with one key parameter against which technology improvements must be judged, and that’s cost." SpaceX currently charges $61.2 million per launch. Its cost-per-kilogram of cargo to low-earth orbit, $4,653, is far less than the $14,000 to $39,000 offered by its chief American competitor, the United Launch Alliance. Other providers often charge $250 to $400 million per launch; NASA pays Russia $70 million per astronaut to hitch a ride on its three-person Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX’s costs are still nowhere near low enough to change the economics of space as Musk and his investors envision, but they have a plan to do so (of which more later).""
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+ - The 'Traditional' Database Administrator Is Doomed->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Traditionally, database administrators (also known as DBAs) have been at the center of the data-management universe: There was always a need to have someone optimize the performance of applications by making sure data was well structured. But with the rise of Hadoop and other Big Data platforms, there’s no longer a premium on structure. In fact, many programmers are choosing to write their applications to Hadoop or other classes of so-called NoSQL databases to specifically eliminate the need to rely on having a DBA. That's not to say the "classic" DBA is going away, as there will always be transaction-processing applications invoking structured data; but even there, the rise of NoSQL alternatives such as Apache Cassandra is changing the way processing is done. Database administrators are going to need to evolve to meet this brave new world — but what else is new?"
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+ - FDA investigates 24 potentially lethal IoT medical devices->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent recommendations to strengthen security on net-connected medical devices, the Department of Homeland Security is launching an investigation into 24 cases of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in hospital equipment and personal medical devices.

Independent security researcher Billy Rios submiited proof-of-concept evidence to the FDA indicating that it would be possible for a hacker to force infusion pumps to fatally overdose a patient. Though the complete range of devices under investigation has not been disclosed, it is reported that one of them is an 'implantable heart device'.

William Maisel, chief scientist at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health said: “The conventional wisdom in the past was that products only had to be protected from unintentional threats. Now they also have to be protected from intentional threats too.”"

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The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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