Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Which is better... Xbox or PlayStation 4? 4

An anonymous reader writes: I'm looking at getting a new gaming console for the kids Christmas this year. I'm stuck between getting an Xbox or a PlayStation 4. I'm really wary on the PlayStation because of the 5 PS2s with broken optical drives sitting in my garage, none lasted more than 2 years. On the other hand I'm also wary of buying a Microsoft product, I'm a Linux user for life after getting tired of their crappy operating system. I've also considered getting a gaming PC, whether Linux or Windows, but it's more expensive and game reviews show most are not as good as a dedicated game console. The kids want Fallout 4, I want Star Wars Battlefront and any version of Gran Turismo. We currently have a Nintendo WII and a crappy gaming PC with some Steam games. So, which gaming console should I get that will last a long time?

Submission + - Zuckerberg to Take 2 Months Paternity Leave to Give His Kid a Better Outcome

theodp writes: TechCrunch reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will take two months off from Facebook for paternity leave. Why? "Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families," Zuckerberg explained in a FB post on Friday. "At Facebook we offer our U.S. employees up to 4 months of paid maternity or paternity leave which they can take throughout the year." No word on why Baby Zuck will only get 50% of that time — maybe that's what the gains chart suggested as a good tradeoff — or if expectant parents who apply to send their children to Zuckerberg's new Primary School, which aims to "help children from underserved communities reach their full potential," will be expected to make a similar commitment.

Submission + - Australia repeals carbon tax (wsj.com)

schwit1 writes: After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politically divisive carbon emissions price that contributed to the fall from power of three Australian leaders since it was first suggested in 2007.

Australia, the world's 12th largest economy, is one of the world's largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters due to its reliance on coal-burning power stations to power homes and industry. In 2011, daily emissions per head amounted to 49.3 kilograms (108 pounds), almost four times higher than the global average of 12.8 kilograms, and slightly ahead of the U.S. figure of 48.2 kilograms.

Submission + - Steve "CyanogenMod" Kondik contemplates "The Death of Root" on Android

c0d3g33k writes: Prompted by the addition of new security features in Android 4.3 that limit the effectiveness of elevated privileges, Kondik wonders which uses really require full root. Most common activities that prompt owners to root their devices (backup/restore tools, firewall/DNS resolver management, kernel tuning), could be accomplished without exposing root, argues Kondik, by providing additional APIs and extensions to the user. This would improve security by limiting the exposure of the system to exploits.
Reasonable enough, on the face of it. The title of the post, however, suggests that Kondik believes that eventually all useful activities can be designed into the system so the "dangerous and insecure" abilities provided by root/administrator privileges aren't needed. This kind of top-down thinking seems a bit troubling because it leads to greater control of the system by the developer at the expense of the owner of the device. It's been said that the best tools are those that lend themselves to uses not anticipated by the creator. Reducing or eliminating the ability of the owner to use a device in ways that are unanticipated ultimately reduces its potential power and usefulness. Perhaps that's what is wanted to prevent an owner from using the device in ways that are inconvenient or contrary to an established business model.

Submission + - Microsoft's Math-Challenged STEM Education Contest

theodp writes: As noted earlier, Microsoft is tackling the CS education crisis with a popularity contest that will award $100K in donations to five technology education nonprofits that help make kids technically literate. Hopefully, the nonprofits will teach kids that the contest's voting Leader Board is a particularly good example of what-not-to-do technically. In addition to cherry-picking the less-pathetic vote totals to make its Leader Board, Microsoft also uses some dubious rounding code that transforms the original voting data into misleading percentages. Indeed, developer tools reveal that the top five leaders in the Microsoft STEM education contest miraculously account for 130% of the vote. Let's hope the quality control is better for those Microsoft Surface voting machines!

Submission + - UPDATED EDIT: A Circular New York City Subway Map to Straighten Things Out (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: The U.K.'s Max Roberts, a mapmaker and critic, has created a map that sees this problem and then solves it by adopting a similar distortion strategy to the MTA map, but to a far greater degree. The map heads in the direction of a diagram and away from a map representing features. It may be the most lucid reinterpretation of the New York City subway map I've seen yet.

Comment Lesson learned by the Dallas Morning News (Score 1) 217

The NY Times print folks need to learn from the same lessons the leadership of the Dallas Morning News learned a year or two back - namely that news consumers do not consider the print and electronic versions of the paper equal or interchangeable substitutes. That is, there is far less crossover in each of the customer bases than the newspaper execs or the conventional wisdom might suggest. Unfortunately, if the print folks win out, they will learn this lesson the hard way.

Submission + - A sneak preview of new OpenOffice 3.2 (linuxcrunch.com)

omlx writes: The last developer milestone ( DEV300m60) of OpenOffice.org has been released. The next version of OpenOffice.org 3.2 has more than 42 features and 167 enhancements . The final version is expected to be available at the end of November 2009.
Many companies have contributed to this version like RedHat , RedFlag and IBM, making OpenOffice more stable and useful. I couldn't stop myself from seeing new features and enjoying them. So I downloaded DEV300m60 version. After playing with it for many days I could say that OpenOffice developers have done very good work in it. Well done !
  A sneak preview of new OpenOffice 3.2 : more secure , faster , easier and more international.

Comment Seems natural... (Score 1) 140

Not surprising really. The old media print newspapers have the staff and research people to go out and do real reporting/news gathering in the real world. Online sources pick up this basis of real news reporting and become a distribution and commentary outlet for the work done by the traditional reporters.


Submission + - Google returns bad results in top 10 (blogspot.com)

Aravind Ranganathan writes: "Google consistently returns bad results in the top 10 if the search keywords happen to be in the text of a blog post even though the blog (or that post) is on a totally irrelevant topic. I found this first hand when someone Googled "flight from cincinnati to mumbai" and was directed to one of my blog posts on the problems I once had during my travel from Mumbai to Cincinnati. Google returned my post as the 2nd in its search results!! The question is, is this a flaw in the page ranking algorithm? Or is Google just giving more importance to Blogger pages than necessary?"

Submission + - Predicting drug side effects

Roland Piquepaille writes: "It would certainly be nice for the pharmaceutical industry to identify potential side effects of a drug before it starts to be tested on humans. Now, a research team at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) might have found a solution. They have developed a new computational technique to predict drug side effects. Besides identifying adverse effects of a new drug before human clinical trials, this method can also be used to explain the known side effects of drugs already on the market. But read more for additional references and pictures showing how drugs can bind to several proteins."

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania