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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: UI Principles

citpyrc writes: Looking at what most users' interpretation of a computer is — their mental model — it becomes apparent that, to most users, the fundamental unit is 'the box'. You open boxes, close boxes, type a value in a box. How do you think users use their computers, and what is their mental model of the underlying interface? (not just UI) Also, how can modern system UIs be improved?

Submission + - Faith-Based Intellectual Property

An anonymous reader writes: A new article by Mark Lemley (a law professor at Stanford) makes the case that today's intellectual property law is based on quasi-religious beliefs rather than factual data. From the abstract: "The traditional justification for intellectual property (IP) rights has been utilitarian. We grant exclusive rights because we think the world will be a better place as a result. But what evidence we have doesn’t justify IP rights. Rather than following the evidence and questioning strong IP rights, more and more scholars have begun to retreat from evidence toward what I call faith-based IP, justifying IP as a moral end in itself rather than on the basis of how it affects the world. I argue that these moral claims are ultimately unpersuasive and a step backward in a rational society." It's a very interesting read free from legal jargon, but citing a lot of studies about what is actually known of the effects of intellectual property laws on creative production.

Comment GM skateboard (Score 3, Interesting) 229

Whatever happened to that rockin' skateboard concept which had a swappable body. The Volt has been a bit of a disappointment in terms of design aesthetics and forward thinking, compared to GM's early electric/hydrogen concept. Do you think the skateboard idea will ever see the light of day, perhaps as a Ni-Cd battery car?

Submission + - Octogenarian locksmith wins 2014 Technobrain Space Elevator competition

ygslash writes: Ishai Zimmerman, a locksmith in his 80's, won first prize in the 2014 Technobrain Space Elevator competition at the Technion in Haifa. The final round of the competition was attended by Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov, who first published the idea of a space elevator in 1960 based on a concept of 19th century rocket science founder Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. In this year's competition, participants were required to build a climber that could ascend a 25 meter vertical rope at high speed and then lift a capsule attached to the bottom of the rope, without using any combustion energy. Zimmerman's winning entry was based on an electric screw motor used in the manufacture of plastic pipes.

Submission + - Memo to Parents and Society: Teen Social Media "Addiction" is Your Fault (

FuzzNugget writes: Wired presents a this damning perspective on so-called social media addiction...

If kids can’t socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd ... has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives. What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.

It’s true. As a teenager in the early ’80s I could roam pretty widely with my friends, as long as we were back by dark. Over the next three decades, the media began delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories, and parents shortened the leash on their kids. Politicians warned of incipient waves of youth wilding and superpredators (neither of which emerged). Municipalities crafted anti-loitering laws and curfews to keep young people from congregating alone. New neighborhoods had fewer public spaces. Crime rates plummeted, but moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids’ after-school lives.

Submission + - Developing games on and for Linux/SteamOS ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: With the release of SteamOS developing video game engines for Linux is a subject with increasing interest. Developing games on and for Linux/SteamOS is a lightweight reading and an initiation guide on the tools, pros and cons of Linux as a platform for developing game engines. This article evolves around OpenGL and drivers, CPU and GPU profiling, compilers, build systems, IDEs, debuggers, platform abstraction layers and other.

Submission + - Windows chief struggles to explain the consumer value proposition of Windows ( 2

mattydread23 writes: Microsoft's new Windows chief Terry Myerson gave a presentation to financial analysts today, and one asked him a very good question: When I see all these mobile Windows devices — phones, tablets, convertibles — in Best Buy, why should I want one? What's the consumer value proposition of Windows devices? His struggle to answer the question shows that there may not BE a good answer. Back when Windows was all we had, we used it for everything. Now, a lot of functions — communication, gaming, web browsing — can be served by other platforms better, cheaper, or both. This is a tough question, but one Microsoft has to solve if the Windows brand is to remain relevant.

Submission + - File-Sharing Site Was Actually an Anti-Piracy Honeypot (

An anonymous reader writes: The administrator of file-sharing site UploaderTalk shocked and enraged his userbase a few days ago when he revealed that the site was nothing more than a honeypot set up by a company called Nuke Piracy. The main purpose of the site had been to gather data on its users. The administrator said, 'I collected info on file hosts, web hosts, websites. I suckered shitloads of you. I built a history, got the trust of some very important people in the warez scene collecting information and data all the time.' Nobody knows what Nuke Piracy is going to do with the data, but it seems reasonable to expect lawsuits and the further investigation of any services the users discussed. His very public betrayal is likely meant to sow discord and distrust among the groups responsible for distributing pirated files.

Submission + - Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics (

Lee_Dailey writes: Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.

Submission + - Windows Store In-App Ad Revenue Plummets (

jfruh writes: One of the hooks Microsoft has used to get developers to build apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 has been pubCenter, an ad network that's easy to add to apps and provides revenue back to publishers. But many developers found that on April 1 that revenue abruptly dropped by an order of magnitude, with most potential ad impressions going unsold; one developer reported only 160,000 ads served to 60 million requests, a fill rate of less than 0.3%. Since many of the ads before April 1 had been for Bing, this may be a sign that Microsoft is no longer willing to subsidize its developers — and that advertisers aren't that interested in buying ads in Windows 8 apps.

Submission + - Programmer Interrupted (

gameweld writes: Some key findings from a study of 10,000 programming sessions recorded from 86 programmers using Eclipse and Visual Studio:
A programmer takes between 10-15 minutes to start editing code after resuming work from an interruption.
When interrupted during an edit of a method, only 10% of times did a programmer resume work in less than a minute.
A programmer is likely to get just one uninterrupted 2-hour session in a day.

Submission + - ISPs Must Suspend Data Caps Until They Can Count ( 1

stox writes: ""Public Knowledge is calling on all ISPs who use data caps to suspend them until an outside auditor can certify that their data usage meters are accurate. ISPs have no business imposing data caps on consumers without the ability to accurately determine how much data consumers are actually using.""

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]