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Submission + - Analyst believes Microsoft will sell off Xbox division, maybe even to Sony ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Forbes analyst Adam Hartung has predicted that Microsoft will sell off its entertainment division, which includes Xbox, in the coming years. He even goes so far as to list Sony or Barnes & Noble as potential buyers.

Lets forget how crazy this sounds for a moment and focus on the reasons why Hartung believes such a sale will happen. It basically comes down to Windows 8, and how poorly it is selling. Combine that with falling sales of PCs, the Surface RT tablet not doing so great, the era of more than one PC in the home disappearing, and Microsoft has a big problem.

The problem not only stems from the PC market not growing, but because Microsoft relies so heavily on Windows and Office for revenue. With that in mind, Hartung believes Steve Ballmer will do anything and everything to save Windows, including ditching entertainment and therefore Xbox.


Submission + - France proposes a taxt on personal information collection (

Dupple writes: France, seeking fresh ways to raise funds and frustrated that American technology companies that dominate its digital economy are largely beyond the reach of French fiscal authorities, has proposed a new levy: an Internet tax on the collection of personal data.

The idea surfaced Friday in a report commissioned by President François Hollande, which described various measures his government was taking to address what the French see as tax avoidance by Internet companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook.

These companies gather vast reams of information about their users, harnessing it to tailor their services to individuals’ interests or to direct customized advertising to them. So extensive is the collection of personal details, and so promising the business opportunities linked to it, that the report described data as the “raw material” of the digital economy.

Submission + - Atari Files Bankruptcy (

halls-of-valhalla writes: "Atari was one of the very first video game companies, starting way back in 1972. However, this long-running name that brought us titles like Pong and Asteroids is having major financial issues. Atari's United States branches have filed bankruptcy on Sunday, Janary 20 2013. This bankruptcy is an attempt to separate themselves from their French parent which has quite a bit of debt. The plan is to split from the French parent and find a buyer to form a private company."

Submission + - One-of-a-kind chemistry autograph collection goes digital (

carmendrahl writes: "A science historian has collaborated with a publisher to digitize a one-of-a kind collection of chemists' signatures. In the shadow of World War II, a Japanese chemist named Tetsuo Nozoe traveled outside his land for the first time, and collected autographs from the people he met on the way. This turned into a forty year hobby, and a 1200-page collection. The digital collection sucks chemists in for hours- it's full of cartoons, jokes, haikus, and scribbles the signers admit to having scrawled "in a drunken state". Nobel Prizewinners and ordinary chemists signed side-by-side. The Nozoe notebook collection will be open access for at least three years, with a big goal being to identify all the "mystery" signatures in the collection with help from readers."

Submission + - How much mobile data do you need? (

Barence writes: "When choosing a new phone tariff, how do you know how much data is enough? It's a dilemma most of us face every two years, so PC Pro took a two-pronged approach to answering the question. First, they tested some of the most commonly cited data hog apps to see just how quickly they can swallow your allowance; second, they asked 100 readers to track their 3G and Wi-Fi usage to find out how much data people actually use. The results should help you make your next choice.."

Submission + - Molecular robot mimics life's protein-builder (

ananyo writes: "The ribosome, the molecular machine that translates our genetic code to build the body’s proteins, is a mechanical marvel. Now, chemists have invented a nanomachine that can achieve a similar feat.
The artificial system is not about to displace nature’s ribosome, a complex of proteins and RNA. It is much simpler, and only about about one-tenth of the size — and, it is achingly slow, destroys the code it reads and can produce only very short chunks of protein, known as peptides. It does, however, show that some of the tactics of biology’s molecular machines can be adopted to make useful chemicals.
The device relies on a rotaxane — a large molecular ring threaded onto another molecule that acts as an axle. The axle is lined with three amino acids, and a chain of three more amino acids hangs from the outer edge of the ring. Heating the device prompts the ring to move along the axle, adding amino acids one-by-one to the chain attached to the ring."


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What are the worst practices that impede developers' productivity? 1

nossim writes: When it comes to developer's productivity numerous controversial studies stress the differences between individuals ( )

As a freelance web developer I worked for a lot of companies and I noticed how some companies foster good practices which improve the individual productivity and how some others are a nightmare for the developers' productivity.

I was wondering what are the worst practices or problems that impede developers' productivity at an individual or organizational level ?
Star Wars Prequels

Submission + - Star Wars live-action show could still happen (

An anonymous reader writes: “According to ABC entertainment president Paul Lee:

"We'd love to do something with Lucasfilm, we're not sure what yet. We haven't even sat down with them. We're going to look at [the Star Wars live-action TV series], we're going to look at all of them, and see what's right. We weren't even able to discuss this with them until [the deal] closed and it just closed. It's definitely going to be part of the conversation."

Not only that, but it's also been announced that some of the 50 completed episode scripts that producer Rick McCallum has previously mentioned have been written by none other than Ron Moore, of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica fame.”


Submission + - Creating an Open Source Project (

CowboyRobot writes: "At Dr. Dobb's, Eric Bruno writes, "Creating an open source project can generate opportunities for everyone involved; more so than if the software sits dormant on a hard drive somewhere. But where do you start?" He had initially designed his project, JetStreamQ, as a commercial product but chose to go open source for the usual reasons (community, exposure, reduced risk, etc.) and has advice for anyone trying to do the same: "First, you need to consider the license you wish to use. Other considerations include the source code repository, support for comments and discussion threads, memberships with privileges, site restrictions, and the use of other software within your project. Finally, make sure you add the appropriate comment header block to each file you post as part of your open source project. It should reference you via a copyright notice, the license terms, and "freedom from liability" clause.""
The Military

Submission + - Quantum-enhanced radar can't be fooled by electronic detection countermeasures (

cylonlover writes: The military use of radar has always had a ying-yang dynamic – as new forms of radar are developed, so too are new ways to jam them. A team of physicists at the University of Rochester has discovered how to defeat the latest active radar jamming methods by taking advantage of the quantum properties of photons. While this new anti-jamming technology cannot remove the false information, it provides an immediate alert that false information is being received.

Submission + - nanostructured semiconductor alloy crystals heat to be manipulated like light (

An anonymous reader writes: A new technique allows allows thermocrystals to be created that can manipulate heat (a vibration of the atomic lattice of a material). Predicted manipulations include the ability to selectively transmit / reflect or concentrate heat much like light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors. Applications range from better thermoelectric devices to switchable heat insulating/transmitting materials etc. Perhaps this will result in better cooling/heating mechanisms or more efficient engines.

Submission + - Is China's Game Business Model Superior? (

donniebaseball23 writes: While the U.S. and Europe continue to talk about a digital gaming future, the fact is that the majority of revenues still come from retail. In China, however, where piracy has run rampant, the industry already is almost 100% online and developers have embraced the digital delivery and free-to-play model. Notable designer American McGee (known for Alice and Grimm) believes the Chinese model represents the future for Western game makers. "Why waste resources on a physical location and unreliable employees when the entire experience can be made sharper, cleaner and more entertaining in the virtual representation? China provides a working model of the store-less retail model — millions of people purchase real-world items online ( each day — making Western electronic stores like Best Buy nothing more than places to fondle physical goods you're going to buy online anyway (Best Buy went out of business in China in less than 2 years, by the way)," he remarked.

Submission + - Diamond planets and climate change (

An anonymous reader writes: Recently my colleagues and I announced the discovery ( of a remarkable planet orbiting a special kind of star known as a pulsar.
Based on the planet’s density, and the likely history of its system, we concluded that it was certain to be crystalline. In other words, we had discovered a planet made of diamond.
Following the publication ( of our finding in the journal Science, our research received amazing attention from the world’s media.
The attention we received was 100% positive, but how different that could have been.
How so? Well, we could have been climate scientists


Submission + - Why Germany Should Not Give Up Nuclear Energy (

Rashen writes: In May, 2011, following the Fukushima incident Germany announced that by 2020 it is looking to shut down all its nuclear power plants. 8 of its nuclear power plant are already offline and six others would go offline by 2021 at the latest and the three newest by 2022. The news may have gained acceptance from many any nuclear groups, but how effective is this move towards meeting with energy needs of the country. A White Paper published on Nuclear Friends Foundation collates some relevant data about why nuclear energy is a needed in Germany and how the country might actually be hurting the environment and curbing sources to meet energy requirements.

Germany obtains 25% of its electricity from nuclear energy from 17 reactors, while coal provides for about half of the country's electricity in comparison to 12% supplied by gas and 7% by wind. It clearly shows how nuclear energy is the biggest energy provider to Germany and with initial of further enhancing its reach; it would have catered to the larger audience and brought down the dependency on coal. With Germany's high dependency on coal for its energy requirements it is Europe's largest and the world's 6th greatest single emitter of CO2 gas, which is alarming and would lead to numerous environment hazards soon.

Germany's policies were adopted to encourage renewable sources of energy with a view of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions. It is planned that by 2020 the renewable energy resource should contribute 20% of electricity supplies, compared with 14% at present (only half of this being hydro, half wind). Furthermore, in 2010 Germany was importing 42000 GWhr (Gigawatt Hour) electricity from France and Czech; which has escalated to 85000 GWhr after closing down of German nuclear power plants.

With so many alarming issues to be addressed by Germany, it makes no sense to give up nuclear energy by shutting down the nuclear power plants. The Fukushima incidence definitely haunts many but instead of focus and strengthens safety on these plants ensuring any no radiation leakage takes place and even the people working inside the nuclear power plants are safe. When the nuclear power plants are faced with any technical difficulties, it is responsibility of the respective governments to ensure that safety standards are enhanced and meet the international standards, so that no lives are at risk.

Germany's decision of shutting down the nuclear plants many have received accolades from environmentalists but one needs to get the facts right and see how beneficial this move would be for Germans in the long run.

Nuclear Friends Foundation recently published the white paper on Germany's current energy situation manifests details about current nuclear energy situation in Germany its electricity imports, power needs, etc. You can follow Nuclear Friends Foundation (NFF)at Facebook @nuclearfriends


Submission + - EU: Android 2.3 (Not 3.0) Violates Apple Patents (

jfruhlinger writes: "A Dutch court came to some interesting conclusions in the Apple-Samsung patent case raging there. The court rejected claims that Samsung stole intellectual copyrights, or that it slavishly copied Apple's iPad and iPhone. It did decide that Android 2.3 violated an Apple photo management patent — but said that Samsung could get around this simply by upgrading its phones to Android 3.0."

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