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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - AMD Enters Virtual Reality Fray With LiquidVR SDK At GDC-> 1

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "AMD is jumping into the virtual reality arena and announced today that its new LiquidVR SDK will help developers customize VR content for AMD hardware. The upcoming LiquidVR SDK makes a number of technologies available which help address obstacles in content, comfort and compatibility that together take the industry a major step closer to true, life-like presence across all VR games, applications, and experiences," AMD representatives said in a statement. Oculus is one of the VR companies that will be working with AMD's LiquidVR SDK and it seems to like what it's seen so far. "Achieving presence in a virtual world continues to be one of the most important elements to delivering amazing VR," said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus. "We're excited to have AMD working with us on their part of the latency equation, introducing support for new features like asynchronous timewarp and late latching, and compatibility improvements that ensure that Oculus' users have a great experience on AMD hardware."
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+ - Ask Slashdot: What smarthpone for the surveillence-aware late adopter? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Hello all,

I am a computer programmer and systems administrator, I am very tech literate — that being said I am also a skeptic when it comes to the necessity of a smartphone and the actual usefulness it will impart on MY life. Conversely, I am all too aware of the negative impact the smartphone will have on my life, mainly it compromises my privacy [more than a dumb phone does]. As a result, I've stuck to my dumb phone. But increasingly lately I feel that I can enhance my privacy by upgrading to a smartphone and using encrypted voice and text apps [and making config changes on the device as necessary].

Another crucial reason for my delayed adoption: I hate touch screens; I don't believe touch screens are "revolutionary"; I don't want to "learn" how to use touch screens. (I'm a backend developer. The fancier and shinier the UI, the less impressed I am.)

The ONLY interest I have in smartphones at this time is the encrypted voice and text apps. I do not need games, or facebook/twitter or email or even an internet browser — I don't like to do those things except on a traditional computer and I don't plan to change my day-to-day lifestyle any time soon except for adopting encrypted voice calls and text messages on a routine basis.

I know back in the early days of smartphones some handsets had physical keyboards. Are these types of devices still actively manufactured or do I need to buy a very old model? I would rather buy a recent model if possible.

Does anyone know of a Android phone with a physical keyboard compatible with recent popular crypto apps? Am I asking for too much?"

+ - Rosetta snaps a picture of its own shadow on the comet below->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "The ESA released an image Tuesday of the comet-orbiting Rosetta leaving a fleeting mark on the comet: its shadow. The space agency describes it as being "encircled in a wreath of light." It was a rare confluence of circumstances that enabled the image to exist as the sun, spacecraft and comet all came into alignment.

The shadow is diffuse, rather than sharp. The ESA explains this by noting, "If you were standing on the surface with Rosetta high above you, there would be no place in the shadow where the entire Sun would be blocked from view, which explains why there is no fully dark core to the shadow."

The image was taken during a close flyby of the comet on February 14, but the ESA just now brought it to the public's attention. Rosetta — which was launched back in 2004 and sent on a mission to approach and study Comet 67P — was at a distance of about 3.7 miles from the comet's surface at the time.

What's so intriguing about the shadow image is that it's something familiar happening in an alien place, 317 million miles away. We're all used to seeing our shadows here on Earth. Rosetta casting a shadow on a comet puts its epic space adventure into a more human perspective."

Link to Original Source

+ - Former MLB Pitcher Doxes Internet Trolls, Delivers Real-World Consequences

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When Twitter trolls began posting obscene, sexually explicit comments about his teenage daughter, former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling responded by recording their comments and gathering personal information readily available to the public. He then doxxed two of them on his blog, resulting in one being suspended from his community college and the other being fired from his part-time job as a ticket seller for the New York Yankees. There were seven others in Curt's crosshairs, all college athletes, but although he hasn't publicly doxxed those individuals he hints, 'I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who’d been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the "I’m so sorry apology used by those only sorry because they got caught.'"

+ - Snowden Reportedly in Talks to Return to YS to Face Trial 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The Globe and Mail reports that Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena says the fugitive former US spy agency contractor who leaked details of the government’s mass surveillance programs was working with American and German lawyers to return home. “I won’t keep it secret that he wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I’m dealing with it on the Russian side.” Kucherena added that Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial. The lawyer said Snowden had so far only received a guarantee from the US Attorney General that he will not face the death penalty. Kucherena says that Snowden is able to travel outside Russia since he has a three-year Russian residency permit, but "I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he will be taken to the US embassy.""

+ - Has the Supreme Court made patent reform legislation unnecessary?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "As Congress gears up again to seriously consider patent litigation abuse—starting with the introduction of H.R. 9 (the "Innovation Act") last month—opponents of reform are arguing that recent Supreme Court cases have addressed concerns. Give the decisions time to work their way through the system, they assert.

A recent hearing on the subject before a US House Judiciary Committee (HJC) Subcommittee shined some light on the matter. And, as HJC Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a long-time leader in Internet and intellectual property issues, put it succinctly in his opening remarks:

"We've heard this before, and though I believe that the Court has taken several positive steps in the right direction, their decisions can't take the place of a clear, updated and modernized statute. In fact, many of the provisions in the Innovation Act do not necessarily lend themselves to being solved by case law, but by actual law—Congressional legislation.""

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+ - Physicists gear up to catch a gravitational wave-> 1

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A patch of woodland just north of Livingston, Louisiana, population 1893, isn’t the first place you’d go looking for a breakthrough in physics. Yet it is here that physicists may fulfill perhaps the most spectacular prediction of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, or general relativity. Structures here house the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an ultrasensitive instrument that may soon detect ripples in space and time set off when neutron stars or black holes merge. Einstein himself predicted the existence of such gravitational waves nearly a century ago. But only now is the quest to detect them coming to a culmination. Physicists are finishing a $205 million rebuild of the detectors, known as Advanced LIGO, which should make them 10 times more sensitive and, they say, virtually ensure a detection."
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+ - First Satellites With All-Electric Propulsion Call Home->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "The launch of two new communications satellites may not seem like news these days, but it is when they're the first satellites with all-electric propulsion. Boeing announced that the two 702SP small platform satellites, called ABS-3A and EUTELSAT 115 West B, that launched on Sunday evening are sending back signals to mission control as they power towards geosynchronous orbit under ion drive."
Link to Original Source

+ - Google Quietly Backs Away From Encrypting New Lollilop Devices by Default

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Although Google announced in September 2014 that Android 5.0 Lollipop would require full-disk encryption by default in new cell phones, Ars Technica has found otherwise in recently-released 2nd-gen Moto E and Galaxy S6. It turns out, according to the latest version of the Android Compatibility Definition document (PDF), full-disk encryption is currently only "very strongly recommended" in anticipation of mandatory encryption requirements in the future. The moral of the story is don't be lazy; check that your full-disk encryption is actually enabled."

+ - How Kickstarter project can massively exceed its funding goals and still fail->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In November, 2013, a Kickstarter project for a software-defined camera trigger scored £290,386 (~$450,000) in funding after asking for a mere £50,000. After almost a year of delays, they've now announced the project is dead. Their CEO has published a lengthy article about how such a successful funding round can still turn into a failed product. In short: budgeting. To get their software into a workable state, they ended up spending 940% of the amount they'd originally allocated to software development. Their protoyping went over budget, too, and they had to spend a fair bit in legal fees to fend off a major lens manufacturer complaining about their product's name. Still, they had more funding than they expected, and would have been able to deal with these costs. Unfortunately, the bill of materials for their final product clocked in way higher than they expected. They would have had to sell the device at about $350 each, when they were originally targeting a $99 price point. (And that figure assumes good sales — with a smaller production run, price per unit goes even higher. The company is now going to refund the remaining money left over from its Kickstarter campaign — about 20% of the total. They're also open sourcing the software and sharing the PCB designs and schematics."
Link to Original Source

+ - Games Workshop at 40: How They Brought D&D to Britain->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Following on the fortieth anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons last year, another formative influence on modern gaming is celebrating its fortieth birthday: Games Workshop. Playing at the World covers the story of how the founders, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (not the other Steve Jackson), started out as subscribers to the 1960s British gaming zine Albion playing Diplomacy by mail and (in Ian's case) publishing silly cartoons. When Albion folded at the beginning of 1975, Livingstone and Jackson formed Games Workshop with its own zine Owl & Weasel as a way to bring "progressive games" (as in "progressive rock") to the UK. Shortly thereafter, when they discovered Dungeons & Dragons, fantasy and role-playing games became their focus. After Owl & Weasel grew up into White Dwarf in 1977, its famous "Fiend Factory" column ended up populating the D&D Fiend Folio . And in the 1980s, of course, they brought us Warhammer and their retail stories brought stylish miniatures to many a needful gamer. Happy birthday to Games Workshop!"
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+ - Astronomers Find a Dusty Galaxy That Shouldn't Exist->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Peering back in time to find the very earliest objects in the universe, an international team of astronomers has discovered a galaxy that shouldn't be there at all.

The problem, the scientists report Monday in Nature , is that while the tiny galaxy dates from just 700 million years or so after the big bang, it's far more dusty than something this young and small has any right to be.

The dusty galaxy is just one of the recent surprises astronomers have found. "Last week," says Marrone, "we learned of an incredibly massive black hole in the early universe. Now we have this average galaxy with significant amounts of dust. We've had this cartoon picture of the early universe, but it's clear that we really don't know what's going on.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Police Could Charge a Data Center in the Largest Child Porn Bust Ever->

Submitted by sarahnaomi
sarahnaomi (3948215) writes "It could be the largest child porn investigation ever conducted.

Canadian police say they’ve uncovered a massive online file sharing network for exploitative material that could involve up to 7,500 users in nearly 100 countries worldwide.

But unlike past investigations into the distribution of child porn, which typically involve targeting suspects individually, police have instead seized over 1.2 petabytes of data—more than four times the amount of data in the US Library of Congress—from a data center responsible for storing the material, and may even attempt to lay criminal charges against its operators, too.

“What we are alleging is occurring is that there are individuals and organizations that are profiting from the storage and the exchange of child sexual exploitation material,” Scott Tod, Deputy Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), told Motherboard at a conference late last month, after speaking to a crowd of defence specialists. “They store it and they provide a secure website that you can log into, much like people do with illegal online gaming sites.”"

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+ - New Seagate Shingled hard drive teardown

Submitted by Peter Desnoyers
Peter Desnoyers (11115) writes "Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives are starting to hit the market, promising larger drives without heroic (and expensive) measures such as helium fill, but at a cost — data can no longer be over-written in place, requiring SSD-like algorithms to handle random writes.

At the USENIX File and Storage Technologies conference in February, researchers from Northeastern University (disclaimer — I'm one of them)
dissected shingled drive performance both figuratively and literally, using both micro-benchmarks and a window cut in the drive to uncover the secrets of Seagate's first line of publicly-available
SMR drives.

TLDR: It's a pretty good desktop drive — with write cache enabled (the default for non-server setups) and an intermittent workload it performs quite well, handling bursts of random writes (up to a few tens of GB total) far faster than a conventional drive — but only if it has long powered-on idle periods for garbage collection. Reads and large writes run at about the same speed as on a conventional drive, and at $280 it costs less than a pair of decent 4TB drives. For heavily-loaded server applications, though, you might want to wait for the next generation.

Videos (in 16x slow motion) showing the drive in action — sequential read after deliberately fragmenting the drive, and a few thousand random writes."

+ - Ultra-low power radio transceiver enables truly wireless earbuds->

Submitted by irl_4795
irl_4795 (4020741) writes "At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, taking place March 2nd-5th, NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ: NXPI) will demonstrate Near Field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) technology in a truly wireless earbud including wireless audio streaming from ear to ear, using its new NxH2280 NFMI based radio transceiver."
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