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


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Submission + - Of course, someone claims to own a patent covering many current HTTPS use cases

yoink! writes: According to an article in The Register, corporations big and small are coming under legal fire from CryptoPeak; the holder of the patent has claimed that the Elliptic Curve Cryptography methods/implementations used as part of the HTTPS protocol violates their intellectual property. Naturally, reasonable people disagree.

Submission + - Experimental Study of 29 Polyhedral Dice Using Rolling Machine, OpenCV Analysis (markfickett.com)

enFi writes: All dice are slightly unfair; automating 3k rolls x 29 dice allows detailed exploration. For example: GameScience claims their d20s are fairest, and actually has the fairest die in the study. Chessex d20s are consistently mid-range and all favor the same numbers; Wiz Dice d20s are highly variable (some rival GameScience). Shape differences measurable with calipers account for some of the larger observed differences, but not everything. Read the details for graphs, a video of the Arduino-powered rolling machine, and an explanation of using OpenCV to sort die rolls.

(Disclaimer: I'm the author.)

Submission + - With a heavy heart, I Disable Advertising 3

GerryGilmore writes: As someone with a 6-digit ID, and has been following /. for much longer, I've always wanted to support the site — ideally without coughing up real US$$. Hence, once the ads started, I was fine with it. And, once they started targeting based on recent purchases (yep, I just bought some Gibson Vintage guitar strings and — surprise — here's an ad for GV strings!), I was even OK with that. Recently (how recently I truly can't say, but call it within the last year) however, the number and intrusiveness of the ads has become untenable, so I just Disabled Advertising.

If you want to win my advertising heart back, a couple of suggestions:
No flash!! Too many reasons to list...
No sound!!! How does anyone allow this? Does no one realize how more-than-irritating it is for crap ad music/voiceover to start blasting out??
No javascript!! Look, I know, but — a fella can dream, right? Just like JS developers can dream that their scripts don't hang and lock up the browser. Just like FF developers can dream that FF doesn't consume every byte available. Just like....

Submission + - Microphone 32 X more sensitive has been invented (arxiv.org)

Taco Cowboy writes: A microphone which is 32 X more sensitive than regular microphone has recently been invented

Most microphones have the same componentry as a loudspeaker – in fact, they’re loudspeakers working in reverse, turning sound into electrical currents. When you speak, the sound waves travel towards the microphone, which impact a membrane that then vibrates. These vibrations are transferred to a metallic coil that then moves back and forth across a permanent magnet. A temporary electromagnet is created by the interaction of the magnetic field with the coil, and an electrical current is generated, which travels to an amplifier or a sound recording device. Nickel is normally used in the construction of the membrane

Replacing the Nickel with a graphine based membrane 30n carbon-atom thick, showed a remarkable 32-fold increase in sensitivity across a significant part of the audio spectrum: up to 11 kilohertz, across a dizzying array of amplitudes

The researchers also simulated a 300-layer thick graphene membrane, which has the potential to be even more sensitive; it could hypothetically detect frequencies of up to one megahertz, which is in the ultrasonic part of the spectrum. This has yet to be tested experimentally, though

This research shows that it is demonstrably possible for graphene to be used in a new generation of highly sensitive microphones, which will pick up far more sound detail than regular microphones do at present. Excitingly, highly sensitive ultrasonic microphones may also be on the cards

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Buy or Build a high end gaming PC? 2

An anonymous reader writes: Looking at some Black Friday ads, I'm seeing some good deals on Alienware and other gaming rigs that would be cheaper than building them from scratch. If you built or were to build a high end gaming rig, what would you suggest? Or would you just get a prebuilt system and customize it to your needs? I'm not looking for cheap, I want best quality and performance, but not overkill that would rival supercomputers and at the same time break my bank account. It would be a Windows system to keep my family happy, but possibly dual boot with Linux to keep me happy. It will be located in the livingroom hooked up to a regular monitor and the big screen TV, replacing a budget PC that's in there now.

Comment Re:unpossible software hack? (Score 1) 246

I, too, don't believe much is impossible so far as software is probably the most abstract and malleable construct that Man has devised and created. I say that with a huge caveat though; when someone asks if I can add a feature or write a piece of code my response has always been "with sufficient motivation and time anything is doable". That being said, while I usually _start_ with "yes", many things come down to "I can do this, but it's not worth doing" or "I can do this, but something else is shipping late". That's the nature of the game.

As an example, I tried to explain to someone earlier today why trying to do high end DSP apps for Android phones would take massive resources due to the engineering envelopes that are inherent to the system (high level, JITted language with GC, multiple hardware profiles with a short life span, and the need for low level access on a platform where you're on top of many layers of abstraction makes for a lot of interesting challenges that would devour resources). I'm not saying it can't be done, but I surely wouldn't invest in it.

Submission + - Did scientists pick up their first intelligent radio waves from aliens? (express.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Astronomers have picked up five mysterious unidentified radio signals that could originate from outside the Milky Way.

The "fast radio bursts" included one "double signal" never heard before and have left astronomers buzzing with excitement over the possibility of it being a message with alien origins.

Only 11 of the unidentified transient radio pulses have been recorded before around the world.

And it is the curious new double blast — which was accompanied by four "singles" — which has baffled astronomers analyzing data from the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

Submission + - How bad of a world are we really living in right now?

Y.A.A.P. writes: Slate has a surprisingly relevant article of the state of the world today. A reasonable number of graphs and statistical comparisons show that our world is more peaceful than it has been for a long time. The article tells us that, despite what most news outlets (and political candidates) tell us, The World Is Not Falling Apart. Well, not from violence, at least.

Submission + - Is there a bookmark manager that actually manages bookmarks? 1

hackwrench writes: Most reviews of so-called bookmark managers focus on the fact that they can share bookmarks across browsers and devices and whether or not they can make your bookmarks public or not. Sometimes they mention that you can annotate bookmarks.

Little is said about real management features like making certain bookmarks exclusive to one or a set of browsers or devices, checking for dead links and maybe even looking them up on archive.org.

I'm sure this isn't an exhaustive list of features that would be good to have. What bookmarks managers do you use and why, and what features would you like to see in a bookmark manager?

Submission + - George Lucas: 'I'm Done With Star Wars'

HughPickens.com writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that George Lucas has compared his retirement from Star Wars to a break-up – a mutual one, maybe, but one that nonetheless comes with hard feelings and although Lucas came up with story treatments for a new trilogy, those materials, to put it bluntly, were discarded. “They decided they didn’t want to use those stories, they decided they were gonna go do their own thing,” says Lucas. “They weren’t that keen to have me involved anyway. But at the same time, I said if I get in there I’m just going to cause trouble. Because they’re not going to do what I want them to do. And I don’t have the control to do that anymore. All I would do is muck everything up. So I said, ‘Okay, I will go my way, and I’ll let them go their way.’” Lucas says he was going to tell a story about the grandchildren of figures from the original trilogy. “The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’” says Lucas. “So, I said, all I want to do is tell a story of what happened – it started here and went there. It’s all about generations, and issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It’s a family soap opera.”

Although the team behind The Force Awakens acknowledges they’re taking the story in a different direction from what Lucas intended, they maintain affection for his original creations and the man himself. “Before I showed up, it was already something that Disney had decided they wanted to go a different way with,” says J. J. Abrams. “But the spirit of what he wrote, both in those pages and prior, is everything that this movie is built upon.” Some fans question why there was no “Based on” credit for Lucas in the poster for The Force Awakens. “I don’t know why it isn’t on the poster, but it’s a valid point. I’m sure that that will be a credit in the film,” says Abrams. “We are standing on the shoulders of Episodes I through VI.”

Submission + - Database backup solution for a company that has a lot of customers?

Nillerz writes: I work for a company in a field that is still dominated by electricians, but is moving toward an IT future.

This means that they're starting to deal with problems that their industry hasn't had before, namely how are we going to securely store hundreds of customer database backups that are coming from off-site servers?

The ideal solution would be something that automatically backs up the database locally on their machines, encrypts it, gets a secure session over at our servers, uploads it, and exits. I don't know how likely it is that a solution already exists that does exactly this.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling