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Intel

Intel's Sandy Bridge Processor Has a Kill Switch 399

Posted by timothy
from the no-mr-chip-I-expect-you-to-die dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors have a new feature that the chip giant is calling Anti-Theft 3.0. The processor can be disabled even if the computer has no Internet connection or isn't even turned on, over a 3G network. With Intel anti-theft technology built into Sandy Bridge, David Allen, director of distribution sales at Intel North America, said that users have the option to set up their processor so that if their computer is lost or stolen, it can be shut down remotely."
Businesses

BioWare On Why Making a Blockbuster Game Is a Poor Goal 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do dept.
BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk spoke at the 2010 Develop Conference about the current focus within the video game industry on making huge, blockbuster titles, and why that is the wrong approach. Quoting Gamasutra's coverage: "'While blockbuster game creation is everything that most game developers working today growing up wanted to do, it's precisely the wrong thing to chase in gaming's contemporary landscape.' Risk-taking from publishers and investors has dramatically declined in recent times, the Mass Effect and Dragon Age studio-runner noted: 'As a result, innovation and creativity [are] being squeezed. Where the bottom of the market had dropped out at one point, now it’s the middle of the market has dropped out. Unless you can be in the top ten releases at one given time, it's unlikely that a triple-A game is going to make money.'" Zeschuk also commented that consoles aren't necessarily the future of game platforms, and that BioWare is experimenting with smaller scale MMO development in addition to working on their much larger upcoming Star Wars title.
Government

Revised Mass. Gambling Bill Won't Criminalize Online Poker 104

Posted by timothy
from the us-rule-v.-british-rule dept.
travdaddy writes "As reported on Slashdot only about a week ago, a passage of a gambling bill in Massachusetts would have criminalized online poker. That passage has been stricken due to the help of a grass-roots organization called the Poker Players Alliance. It 'quickly got the message to all of its Massachusetts members — around 25,000 people — and over 1,000,000 nationwide to make their voices heard; apparently lawmakers were listening since the language making online poker illegal — and online gaming in general — was taken out of the legislation.' Another Massachusetts bill may even 'take [poker] completely out of the gambling genre' and make it legislated as a game of skill."
Piracy

Newzbin Usenet Indexer Liable For Copyright Infringement 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The world's most popular Usenet indexing site, Newzbin, has been trounced in London's High Court by the movie studios. Held liable for the infringements of its users, later this week Newzbin will be subjected to an injunction which will force it to filter out illegal copies of movies from its NZB index. From the article: 'Newzbin’s help guides were referred to in the decision. They state that the site can help people find what they're looking for, "whether that be obscure music, tv shows, games or movies. Think of us as a TV guide, but we're a guide that applies to Usenet." ... Newzbin has members called "editors" who help to compile reports on material to be found on Usenet. Newzbin's own documentation was used to show that the site encouraged editors to post links to movies. The verdict notes that to assist editors useful links to IMDb and VCDQuality are provided, the latter being useful to provide information about "screeners."'"
Red Hat Software

Fedora 12 Lets Users Install Signed Packages, Sans Root Privileges 502

Posted by timothy
from the try-it-you-might-like-it dept.
eqisow writes "The new default policy for Fedora 12 allows local, unprivileged users to install signed packages without root access. This change apparently went mostly unnoticed until after the Fedora 12 GA release, at which point it sparked a mailing list thread that is, as of this writing, over 100 posts long."
Businesses

How Do You Evaluate a Data Center? 211

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the check-for-major-fault-lines dept.
mpapet writes to ask about the ins and outs of datacenter evaluation. Beyond the simpler questions of physical access control, connectivity, and power redundancy/capacity and SLA review, what other questions are important to ask when evaluating a data center? What data centers have people been happy with? What horror stories have people lived through with those that didn't make the cut?
Cellphones

Verizon Droid Tethering Comes At a Hefty Price 555

Posted by timothy
from the unlimited-and-5GB-are-not-the-same dept.
Pickens writes "Tom Bradley reports in PC World that the new Motorola Droid smartphone will cost users $199.99 with a 2-year contract, with an additional $30 per month for the mandatory 'unlimited' data plan that has a monthly cap of 5Gb. Verizon will charge $50 for each additional gigabyte over the 5Gb limit on the unlimited data plan. Verizon has confirmed that tethering will cost another $30 per month for an additional unlimited data plan that is also limited to 5Gb. If you want tethering you will pay $60 above and beyond the monthly contract for service for an 'unlimited' 10Gb of data per month, and if you plan on connecting with an Microsoft Exchange email account you have to pay another $15 a month. 'Verizon seems to be doing everything it can to make the Droid as unappealing as possible by nickel and diming customers so that actually using it is not cost-effective,' writes Bradley. 'After all of the hype around Verizon's marketing efforts, and generally favorable reviews of the Motorola Droid, users that rush out to get the new device may be in for a shock.' Droid users will have to wait until sometime in 2010 for tethering. 'That service is on our schedule for next year,' says Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney. The delay is because 'the service has to be tested on the phone so until we know it works, we don't offer the service. It is not uncommon for us to introduce the phone and continue to test the service and offer it later.'"
Databases

Amazon Cloud Adds Hosted MySQL 173

Posted by timothy
from the toss-your-data-here dept.
1sockchuck writes "Amazon Web Services has added a relational database service to host MySQL databases in the cloud, and is also dropping prices on its Amazon EC2 compute service by as much as 15 percent. Amazon says the new service lets users focus on development rather than maintenance, but it will probably be bad news for startups offering database services built atop Amazon's cloud. Cloud Avenue warns that Amazon RDS should serve as 'a warning bell for the companies that build their entire business on Amazon ecosystem. ... They are just one announcement away from complete destruction.' Data Center Knowledge has a roundup of analysis and commentary on Amazon RDS and its impact on the cloud ecosystem."
Government

The Economics of Federal Cloud Computing Analyzed 85

Posted by kdawson
from the clouds'-illusions-i-recall dept.
jg21 writes "With the federal government about to spend $20B on IT infrastructure, this highly analytical article by two Booz Allen Hamilton associates makes it clear that cloud computing has now received full executive backing and offers clear opportunities for agencies to significantly reduce their growing expenditures for data centers and IT hardware. From the article: 'A few agencies are already moving quickly to explore cloud computing solutions and are even redirecting existing funds to begin implementations... Agencies should identify the aspects of their current IT workload that can be transitioned to the cloud in the near term to yield "early wins" to help build momentum and support for the migration to cloud computing.'"
Sci-Fi

50 Years of the Twilight Zone 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the celebrate-if-you-will dept.
pickens writes "Fifty years ago on October 2, American television viewers first heard the words: 'You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone.' Like the time-space warps that anchored so many of the show's plots, Rod Serling's veiled commentary remains as soul-baring today as it did a half-century ago, and the show's popularity endures in multiple facets of American pop culture, appearing nearly uninterrupted through television, syndication and DVD releases and under license to air in 30 countries. 'The whole idea of "The Twilight Zone" jumped off the television screen and became a catchphrase, a buzzword for something much beyond the TV show itself,' says Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University. 'When you say Twilight Zone, it's its own genre.' The original show ran just five seasons, 1959 to 1964, with 156 episodes filmed; Serling wrote 92 of them, and other contributors included Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury. Anniversary observances were held at Ithaca College in New York, where Serling taught from 1967 until his death in 1975, and which keeps Serling's archives; and also at Antioch College in Ohio, where Serling was a student."
Space

Exoplanet Has Showers of Pebbles 341

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gonna-need-a-thicker-umbrella dept.
mmmscience writes "The newly-discovered exoplanet COROT-7b has an unusual form of precipitation: rocks. Because it orbits so close to its sun, the temperature on its sun-facing side is around 4220 degrees Fahrenheit. That's hot enough for rocks to vaporize — not unlike water evaporating on Earth. And, like Earth, when the vapor cools in the upper atmosphere, it forms clouds and begins to rain. But instead of water, COROT-7b gets a shower of pebbles."
GUI

Firefox To Replace Menus With Office Ribbon 1124

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-in-gnome? dept.
Barence writes "Mozilla has announced that its plans to bring Office 2007's Ribbon interface to Firefox, as it looks to tidy up its 'dated' browser. 'Starting with Vista, and continuing with Windows 7, the menu bar is going away,' notes Mozilla in its plans for revamping the Firefox user interface. '[It will] be replaced with things like the Windows Explorer contextual strip, or the Office Ribbon, [which is] now in Paint and WordPad, too.' The change will also bring Windows' Aero Glass effects to the browser." Update: 09/24 05:01 GMT by T : It's not quite so simple, says Alexander Limi, who works on the Firefox user experience. "We are not putting the Ribbon UI on Firefox. The article PCpro quotes talks about Windows applications in general, not Firefox." So while the currently proposed direction for Firefox 3.7 involves some substantial visual updates for Windows users (including a menu bar hidden by default, and integration of Aero-styled visual elements), it's not actually a ribbon interface. Limi notes, too, that Linux and Mac versions are unaffected by the change.
Security

BIOS "Rootkit" Preloaded In 60% of New Laptops 236

Posted by kdawson
from the hijacking-lojack dept.
Keldrin_1 writes "Researchers Alfredo Ortega and Anibal Sacco, from Core Security Technologies, have discovered a vulnerability in the 'Computrace LoJack for Laptops' software. This is a BIOS-level application that calls home for instructions in case the laptop is ever lost or stolen. However, what the application considers 'home' is subject to change. This allows the creation of malware capable of 'infecting the BIOS with persistent code that survive reboots and reflashing attempts.' Computers from Dell, Lenovo, HP, Toshiba, Asus, and others may be affected."
Transportation

Prototype Vehicle For the Blind 238

Posted by timothy
from the this-needs-a-playstation-analog-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A student team from Virginia Tech Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory have created a vehicle which allows the blind to drive. The vehicle uses a laser range finder to determine distances and alerts the driver through voice commands and vibration. Tomorrow [Friday] morning, the vehicle will have its first public test drive at the University of Maryland. At last, Braille on drive-up ATMs may finally be vindicated."

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