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FAA Scans the Internet For Drone Users; Sends Cease and Desist Letters 222

An anonymous reader writes with this news from Government Attic: "The FAA has released a set of cease and desist letters sent in 2012 and 2013 to people operating drone vehicles for a variety of purposes including: tornado research, inspecting gas well stacks, aerial photography, journalism education, and other purposes. Drone cease and desist letters sent during 2014 are available from the FAA upon request." The text of the letters (bureaucratically polite, but bureaucratically firm) often starts with notes indicating to the UAV operators to whom they were sent that the FAA became interested in them because it "became aware of" their web sites, or even because someone tipped them off about an article in a community newsletter. The letters go on to outline the conditions under which the FAA allows the operation of unmanned aircraft, and specifically notes: Those who use UAS only for recreational enjoyment, operate in accordance with Advisory circular 91-57. This generally applies to operations in remotely populated areas away from airports, persons and buildings, below 400 feet Above Ground Level, and within visual line of sight. On February 6, 2007 the FAA published UAS guidance in the Federal Register, 14 CPR Part 91 / Docket No. FAA-2006-25714 I Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System. Toward the end of the docket it says, ''The FAA recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding that they are legally operating under the authority of AC 91-57. AC 91-57 only applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes Its use by persons or companies for business purposes." Update: 09/07 02:16 GMT by T : Pray forgive the OCR that turned "persons" into "pecions" and "circular" into "arcular"; updated to fix those. Update: 09/08 11:07 GMT by T : Correction: Carl Malamud is not affiliated with Government Attic as this story originally described: sorry for the error.

Ask Slashdot: Can You Trust Online Tax Software? 237

An anonymous reader writes "TurboTax from Intuit and H&R Block's own tax package have been perennial mainstays for U.S. citizens trying to use software to figure out just how much they owe the country, without reading the tens of thousands of pages of IRS forms guidance. With tax season just around the corner, the new online platforms from both providers raise an interesting question: can you trust your return information any more or less to an online platform than you do to the equivalent software on your computer?"

Dell Defect Turning 2.2GHz CPU Into 100MHz CPU? 314

jtavares2 writes "In what is being dubbed Throttlegate, scores of users on many message boards have been complaining about nexplicably aggressive throttling policies on their Dell Latitude E6500 and E6400 laptops which cause their CPUs to be throttled to less than 5% of their theoretical maximums even while at room temperatures. In many cases, the issue can be triggered just by playing a video or performing some other trivial, but CPU intensive, task. After being banned [PDF] from the Dell Forums for revealing 'non-public information,' one user went so far as to write and publish a 59-page report [PDF] explaining and diagnosing the throttling problem in incredible detail. Dell seems to be silent on the issue, but many users are hoping for a formal recall."

ARM and Dual-Atom Processors in New Portables 147

chrb writes to tell us that Dell's new Latitude Z has finally been delivered as promised, complete with ARM processor. Codenamed BlackTop, the device runs a modified version of Suse Linux, and is capable of near-instant bootup. Dell's research has apparently found that some early users spend 70% of their time in the Linux environment." Relatedly snydeq writes "Colombian computer maker Haleron has designed a netbook that combines Atom processors in an effort to provide the performance of a standard laptop at a price more affordable to Latin Americans. The Swordfish Net N102 includes two Atom N270 processors running at 1.6GHz. Haleron worked for six months to modify Intel's 945 chipset to run the two processors. The processors divide the workload, much like a dual-core processor does, the company said. The netbook, which begs the question, when does a netbook stop being a netbook, comes with Windows XP Home Edition. 'We found that it works best on the Windows XP operating system. Both Windows Vista and the new Windows 7 performed below Windows XP in the load sharing department,' the company said."

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek