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+ - Mozilla Drops $25 Smartphone Plans, Will Focus On High Quality Devices->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: When Mozilla developed Firefox OS, its goal was not to provide the best smartphone experience, but to provide a "good enough" smartphone experience for a very low price. Unfortunately, these cheap handsets failed to make a dent in the overall smartphone market, and the organization is now shifting its strategy to start producing a better experience for better devices. CEO Chris Beard said, "If you are going to try to play in that world, you need to offer something that is so valuable that people are willing to give up access to the broader ecosystem. In the mass market, that's basically impossible." Of course, moving to the midrange smartphone market, or even the high end, there's still plenty of competition, so the new strategy may not work any better. However, they've hinted at plans to start supporting Android apps, which could help them play catch-up. Beard seems fixated on this new goal: "We won't allow ourselves to be distracted, and we won't expand to new segments until significant traction is demonstrated." He adds, "We will build products that feel like Mozilla."
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+ - No, Your SSD Won't Quickly Lose Data While Powered Down->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A few weeks ago, we discussed reports that SSDs would lose data in a surprisingly short amount of time if left powered off. The reports were based on a presentation from Alvin Cox, a Seagate engineer, about enterprise storage practices. PCWorld spoke to him and another engineer for Seagate, and they say the whole thing was blown out of proportion. Alan Cox said, "I wouldn’t worry about (losing data). This all pertains to end of life. As a consumer, an SSD product or even a flash product is never going to get to the point where it’s temperature-dependent on retaining the data." The intent of the original presentation was to set expectations for a worst case scenario — a data center writing huge amounts of data to old SSDs and then storing them long-term at unusual temperatures. It's not a very realistic situation for businesses with responsible IT departments, and almost impossible for personal drives.
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+ - Privacy Behaviors After Snowden->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: An article in Communications of the ACM takes a look at how Edward Snowden's revelations about government surveillance have changed privacy behaviors across the world. The results are fairly disappointing. While the news that intelligence agencies were trawling data from everyday citizens sparked an interest in privacy, it was small, and faded quickly. Even through media coverage has continued for a long time after the initial reports, public interest has dropped back to earlier levels. The initial interest spike was notably less than for other major news events. Privacy-enhancing behaviors experiences a small surge, but that too failed to impart any long-term momentum. The author notes that the spike in interest "following the removal of privacy-enhancing functions in Facebook, Android, and Gmail" was stronger than the reaction to the government's privacy-eroding actions.
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+ - EU Drops Plans For Safer Pesticides After Pressure From US->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The European Union recently published plans to ban 31 pesticides containing chemicals linked to testicular cancer and male infertility. Those potential regulations have now been dropped after a U.S. business delegation said they would adversely affect trade negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. "Just weeks before the regulations were dropped there had been a barrage of lobbying from big European firms such as Dupont, Bayer and BASF over EDCs. The chemical industry association Cefic warned that the endocrines issue 'could become an issue that impairs the forthcoming EU-US trade negotiations.'"
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+ - Microsoft Tries Another Icon Theme For Windows 10

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa writes: Back in February, users decried the new icon look in Windows 10. To respond to the feedback, Microsoft has implemented a new icon pack in a leaked build 10125, which is soon expected to arrive at the Technical Preview testers as well. Screenshots allow us already to see what the final version of the OS could look like when it goes live this summer. The new icons go all-in on a flat approach, so they follow the same design cues as the rest of the operating system, but the "pixel art" style has been abandoned. Once again, Softpedia asked for user experiences, and this time the comments have been mostly positive.

+ - Google Developing 'Brillo' OS for Internet of Things->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A new report from The Information (paywalled) says Google is working on an operating system called "Brillo" that would be a platform for Internet-of-things devices. It's supposedly a lightweight version of Android, capable of running on devices with extremely limited hardware — as little as 32 MB of RAM, for example. The company is expected to launch the code for Brillo at its I/O event next week. This is particularly relevant now that Google has acquired Nest, Dropcam, and Revolv — a trio of "smart home" companies whose devices could potentially by unified by Brillo.
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+ - Oculus Founder Hit With Lawsuit->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Palmer Luckey, founder of VR headset-maker Oculus, has been sued by a company accusing him of taking their confidential information and passing it off as his own. Total Recall Technologies, based in Hawaii, claims it hired Luckey in 2011 to build a head-mounted display. Part of that employment involved Luckey signing a confidentiality agreement. In August, 2012, Luckey launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift headset, and Facebook bought his company last year for $2 billion. TRT is seeking compensatory and punitive damages (PDF).
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+ - Ireland Votes Yes To Same-Sex Marriage

Submitted by BarbaraHudson
BarbaraHudson writes: From the "have-it-your-way dept"

Reuters is reporting that Ireland citizens voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriages. While it's also legal in 19 other countries, Ireland was the first to decide this by putting the question to the citizens.



"This has really touched a nerve in Ireland," Equality Minister Aodhan O'Riordain said at the main count center in Dublin. "It's a very strong message to every LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) young person in Ireland and every LGBT young person in the world."

Observers say that the loss of moral authority of the Catholic church after a series of sex scandals was a strong contributing factor, with priests limiting their appeals to the people sitting in their pews. In contrast, the Yes side dominated social media.

+ - TPP Fast Track Passes (Key Vote) in the Senate, Moves on to the House 2

Submitted by onproton
onproton writes: The Senate voted yesterday to reauthorize the controversial Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expidites, or ‘Fast Tracks,’ the passage of trade agreements through Congress. If also approved by the House, it will grant the authority to decide and negotiate the terms of agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the executive branch, significantly limiting congressional involvement and leaving little room for debate. Proponents of the bill, namely the USTR, claim that Fast Tracking the TPP is critical to successfully negotiating its terms internationally, and will "ensure that Congress, stakeholders and the public are closely involved before, during and after the conclusion of trade agreement negotiations.” Though in reality, it does not introduce significant changes in the transparency or reporting requirements that are currently in place, which have allowed the negotiations of this deal to be held in secret since 2009. With concerns being raised about the deal's impacts on everything from intellectual property rights to government sovereignty, it is surprising to many that Congress would abdicate their role in determining the specifics of agreements that may have far reaching implications for their constituents.

+ - 'Prisonized' neighborhoods make ex-cons more likely to return to the slammer->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: The gates at American prisons can seem like revolving doors. People come in, do their time, and—within 3 years—half are back behind bars, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics. Now, a scientist says he has nailed down one potential risk factor. An intriguing natural experiment that followed ex-cons displaced by Hurricane Katrina suggests that when former prisoners wind up moving to the same neighborhood, they are more likely to return to a life of crime.
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+ - Video Games: Gateway to a Programming Career?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Want more people to program? Encourage them to play more video games, at least according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In an online Q&A, Zuckerberg suggested that a lifetime spent playing video games could prep kids and young adults for careers as programmers. “I actually think giving people the opportunity to play around with different stuff is one of the best things you can do,” he told the audience. “I definitely would not have gotten into programming if I hadn’t played games as a kid.” A handful of games, most notably Minecraft (above), already have a reputation for encouraging kids to not only think analytically, but also modify the gaming environment—the first steps toward actually wrestling with code.
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+ - Chrome for Android Is Now Almost Entirely Open Source

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa writes: After lots of work by Chrome for Android team and a huge change, Chrome for Android is now almost entirely open source, a Google engineer announced in Reddit. Over 100,000 lines of code, including the Chrome’s entire user interface layer, has been made public, allowing anyone with the inclination to do so to look at, modify, and build the browser from source. Licensing restrictions prevent certain media codecs, plugins and Google service features form being included, hence the "almost". This is on par with the open source Chromium browser that is available on the desktop.

+ - The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police ->

Submitted by Cuillere
Cuillere writes: In the fall of 2014, a hacker demanded the Seattle Police Department release all of their body and dash cam video footage, prompting chaos among the institution. Although a legal request per Washington state's disclosure laws, Seattle's PD wasn't prepared to handle the repercussions of divulging such sensitive material— so they hired the hacker instead.
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