Nerval's Lobster writes "Nintendo's revenue and profits are tumbling faster than Mario into a bottomless pit. Company executives recently suggested the next-generation Wii U console would sell 2.8 million units between April 2013 and March 2014 — significantly below the 9 million units predicted in previous estimates. Contrast that with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, which sold 4.2 million and 3 million units, respectively, in their first six weeks of release. In lowering its hardware and software estimates, Nintendo also expects to take a loss by the end of its fiscal year in March. Nintendo's attempt to carve a niche for itself as an ecosystem for casual gamers has also run into a massive obstacle in the form of smartphones and tablets, which quickly developed into popular gaming platforms. Nintendo is reportedly considering a 'new business model,' according to Bloomberg, with its CEO telling a gathering of reporters in Osaka: 'Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It's not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.' While Nintendo could probably made some good money off legacy gamers by bringing its (much loved) portfolio of older titles to iOS, Android, and other platforms, that move to mobile might further weaken its hardware sales. So what do you think? If you were in charge of Nintendo, how would you turn it around?"
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mask.of.sanity writes "Life could become more difficult for fraudsters on Skype thanks to new research by Microsoft boffins that promises to cut down on fake accounts across the platform. The research (PDF) combined information from diverse sources including a user's profile, activities, and social connections into a supervised machine learning environment that could automate the presently manual tasks of fraud detection. The results show the framework boosted fraud detection rates for particular account types by 68 per cent with a 5 per cent false positive rate."
sandbagger writes "Health Canada scientists are so concerned about losing access to their research library that they're finding workarounds, with one squirreling away journals and books in his basement for colleagues to consult, says a report obtained by CBC News. The report said the number of in-house librarians went from 40 in 2007 to just six in April 2013. 'I look at it as an insidious plan to discourage people from using libraries' said Dr. Rudi Mueller, who left the department in 2012. 'If you want to justify closing a library, you make access difficult and then you say it is hardly used.' This is hardly new for Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Over the Christmas holidays, several scientific libraries were closed and their contents taken to the dump."
sfcrazy writes "The controversy over Canonical's Contributor License Agreement (CLA) has once again surfaced. While Matthew Garrett raises valid points about the flaws in Canonical's CLAs, Linus Torvalds says 'To be fair, people just like hating on Canonical. The FSF and Apache Foundation CLA's are pretty much equally broken. And they may not be broken because of any relicencing, but because the copyright assignment paperwork ends up basically killing the community. Basically, with a CLA, you don't get the kind of "long tail" that the kernel has of random drive-by patches. And since that's how lots of people try the waters, any CLA at all – changing the license or not – is fundamentally broken.'"
EmagGeek writes "I live in a semi-rural micropolitan area that generally has good access choices for high speed Internet. However, there are holes in the coverage in our area, and I live in one of them. There is infrastructure nearby, but because our subdivision covenants require all utilities to be underground, telecoms won't even consider upgrading to modern technology. The result is that we're all stuck with legacy DSL (which AT&T has happily re-branded as U-Verse even though it isn't) as our only choice for wireline access. There is a competing cable company in the area, also with infrastructure nearby, but similarly they are reluctant to even discuss burying new cable in our 22-home subdivision. Has anyone been in this same predicament and been able to convince a nearby ISP to run new lines? If so, how did you do it? Our neighborhood association could really use some pointers on this because we hit a new brick wall with every new approach we try — stopping just short of burying our own cable and hoping they'll at least be willing to run a line to the pole at the end of the street and drop it into our box."
Hallie Siegel writes "Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy (currently the Ministry of Knowledge Economy) first presented the idea for Masan Robot Land and its sister project – the robot theme park in Incheon (west of Seoul) – back in 2007, as part of a larger plan to stimulate Korea's robotic industry by generating public interest in consumer robots. From the article: 'It is expected that Phase One of the construction, which will include development of public facilities such as robot research development center, convention center, robot exhibition hall, and private facilities such as themed parks and youth hostels, will be completed in September, 2016. Phase Two, which includes development of hotels and condominiums, is expected to be complete by the end of 2018. The Masan park was originally scheduled to open in January of 2014.'"
First time accepted submitter GPS Pilot writes "Previous reports said the rock that suddenly appeared out of nowhere was merely 'the size of a jelly doughnut.' Now, a color image shows additional reasons for this metaphor: 'It's white around the outside, in the middle there's kind of a low spot that's dark red,' said lead scientist Steve Squyres. In the image, the object does stick out like a sore thumb amidst the surrounding orange rocks and soil. Its composition is 'like nothing we've ever seen before. It's very high in sulfur, it's very high in magnesium, it's got twice as much manganese as we've ever seen in anything on Mars.'"
sciencehabit writes "If you happened to catch any of the news coverage of Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea last week, you might have spotted in the big man's entourage a white guy with an Amish-style beard, as in clean-shaven cheeks and no mustache. That's Joseph Terwilliger, 48, a statistical geneticist who splits his time at Columbia University and the University of Helsinki. He's now visited North Korea three times with the basketball star. He sat down with Science Magazine for a Q and A about how he got involved with Rodman and whether the trips are helping--or hurting--U.S. relations with the country."
Zothecula writes "Scientists at Brigham Young University (BYU) have developed an algorithm that can accurately identify objects in images or videos and can learn to recognize new objects on its own. Although other object recognition systems exist, the Evolution-Constructed Features algorithm is notable in that it decides for itself what features of an object are significant for identifying the object and is able to learn new objects without human intervention."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "CNN reports that more than 200 bottlenose dolphins remain penned in a cove by Japanese fishermen, many of them stressed and bloodied from their attempts to escape before fishermen start to slaughter them for meat. Until now, the fishermen have focused on selecting dolphins to be sold into captivity at marine parks and aquariums in Japan and overseas as twenty-five dolphins, including a rare albino calf, were taken on Saturday 'to a lifetime of imprisonment,' and another 12 on Sunday. 'Many of the 200+ Bottlenose dolphins who are in still the cove are visibly bloody & injured from their attempts to escape the killers,' one update says. Although the hunting of dolphins is widely condemned in the west, Japanese defend the practice as a local custom — and say it is no different to the slaughter of other animals for meat. The Wakayama Prefecture, where Taiji is located condemns the criticism as biased and unfair to the fishermen. 'Taiji dolphin fishermen are just conducting a legal fishing activity in their traditional way in full accordance with regulations and rules under the supervision of both the national and the prefectural governments. Therefore, we believe there are no reasons to criticize the Taiji dolphin fishery.' Meanwhile the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society describes how about 40 to 60 local fishermen work with nets to divide up the pod, whose initial numbers were estimated by the group at more than 250. 'They tighten up the nets to bring each sub-group together then the skiffs push them toward the tarps. Under the tarps in the shallows is where the trainers work with the killers to select the "prettiest" dolphins which will sell and make the best pay day for the hunters,' the group says. The fishermen will 'kill the "undesirable" dolphins (those with nicks and scars) under the tarps to hide from our cameras when that time comes.'"
judgecorp writes "The group of security experts who urged people to boycot the RSA conference (over allegations that the security firm RSA has taken a $10 million bribe from the NSA to weaken the security of its products) have put together a rival conference called TrustyCon just down the road from San Francisco's Moscone Center, where the EMC-owned firm will have its conference at the end of February."
An anonymous reader writes "FreeBSD 10.0 has been released. A few highlights include: pkg is now the default package management utility. Major enhancements in virtualization, including the addition of bhyve, virtio, and native paravirtualized drivers providing support for FreeBSD as a guest operating system on Microsoft Hyper-V. Support for the high-performance LZ4 compression algorithm has been added to ZFS and TRIM support for SSD has been added to ZFS. clang is the default compiler. This release has official Raspberry Pi support. For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the online release notes and a quick FreeBSD installation video is here. FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE may be downloaded via ftp or via a torrent client that supports web seeding."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell writes: 'When I set out to review how different compilers generate possibly different assembly code (specifically for vectorized and multicore code), I noticed a possible anomaly when comparing two recent versions of the g++ compiler, 4.7 and 4.8. When I mentioned my concerns, at least one user commented that he also had a codebase that ran fine after compiling with 4.6 and 4.7, but not with 4.8.' So he decided to explore the difference and see if there was a problem between 4.7 and 4.8.1, and found a number of issues, most related to optimization. Does this mean 4.8 is flawed, or that you shouldn't use it? 'Not at all,' he concluded. 'You can certainly use 4.8,' provided you keep in mind the occasional bug in the system."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Dotcom today released his debut album Good Times, which consists of 17 pretty terrible EDM tracks produced by the Mega mogul himself. According to a press release, 'The music celebrates Kim's ever-present philosophy of inspiring people to feel good, have fun and live life to the fullest. Kim was inspired by the Trance and Dance tracks he listened to during his high-speed driving times on the German Autobahn.' It's anything but subtle, as you might guess from an album advertised on the back of a 100-strong fleet of buses. In an interview with Wired at the end of the year Dotcom admitted he sounded 'like crap, obviously,' but added, 'Fortunately there's a thing called Auto-Tune so they make it sound OK.'"
cold fjord writes "The Hill reports, 'Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) predicted Sunday that lawmakers who favored shutting down the bulk collection of telephone metadata would not be successful in their efforts as Congress weighs potential reforms to the nation's controversial intelligence programs. "I don't believe so," Feinstein said during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press (video). "The president has very clearly said that he wants to keep the capability So I think we would agree with him. I know a dominant majority of the — everybody, virtually, except two or three, on the Senate Intelligence Committee would agree with that." ... "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan. New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said. "We need to be prepared. I think we need to do it in a way that respects people's privacy rights."'"
theodp writes "At first glance, the headline in The Salt Lake Tribune — Very Few Utah Girls, Minorities Take Computer Science AP Tests — appears to be pretty alarming. As does the headline No Girls, Blacks, or Hispanics Take AP Computer Science Exam in Some States over at Education Week. Not One Girl Took The AP Computer Science Test In Some States warns a Business Insider headline. And so on and so on and so on. So how could one quibble with tech-giant backed Code.org's decision to pay teachers a $250 "Female Student Bonus", or Google's declaration that 'the ultimate goal of CS First is to provide proven teaching materials, screencasts, and curricula for after-school programs that will ignite the interest and confidence of underrepresented minorities and girls in CS,' right? But the thing is, CollegeBoard AP CS exam records indicate that no Wyoming students at all took an AP CS exam (xls) in 2013, and only a total of 103 Utah students (xls) had reported scores. Let's not forget about the girls and underrepresented minorities, but since AP CS Exam Stats are being spun as a measure of CS education participation (pdf) and equity, let's not forget that pretty much everyone has been underrepresented if we look at the big AP CS picture. If only 29,555 AP CS scores were reported (xls) in 2013 for a HS population of about 16 million students, shouldn't the goal at this stage of the game really be CS education for all?"
Alain Williams writes "The BBC reports that a new academic study has raised doubts about the performance of a commercial quantum computer in certain circumstances. In some tests devised by a team of researchers, the commercial quantum computer has performed no faster than a standard desktop machine. 'The study has been submitted to a journal, but has not yet completed the peer review process to verify the findings. And D-Wave told BBC News the tests set by the scientists were not the kinds of problems where quantum computers offered any advantage over classical types.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Chris Mooney writes at Mother Jones that a new study, from the Yale and George Mason University research teams on climate change communication, shows a 7-percentage-point increase in the proportion of Americans who say they do not believe that global warming is happening. And that's just since the spring of 2013. The number of deniers is now 23 percent; back at the start of last year, it was 16 percent (PDF). The obvious question is, what happened over the last year to produce more climate denial? The answer may lie in the so-called global warming "pause"—the misleading idea that global warming has slowed down or stopped over the the past 15 years or so. This claim was used by climate skeptics, to great effect, in their quest to undermine the release of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report in September 2013—precisely during the time period that is in question in the latest study. "The notion of a global warming "pause" is, at best, the result of statistical cherry-picking," writes Mooney. " It relies on starting with a very hot year (1998) and then examining a relatively short time period (say, 15 years), to suggest that global warming has slowed down or stopped during this particular stretch of time." Put these numbers back into a broader context and the overall warming trend remains clear. "If you shift just 2 years earlier, so use 1996-2010 instead of 1998-2012, the trend is 0.14 C per decade, so slightly greater than the long-term trend," explains Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at NASA who was heavily involved in producing the IPCC report. This is why climate scientists generally don't seize on 15 year periods and make a big thing about them. "Journalists take heed: Your coverage has consequences. All those media outlets who trumpeted the global warming "pause" may now be partly responsible for a documented decrease in Americans' scientific understanding.""
diegocg writes "Linux kernel 3.13 has been released. This release includes nftables (the successor of iptables); a revamp of the block layer designed for high-performance SSDs; a framework to cap power consumption in Intel RAPL devices; improved squashfs performance; AMD Radeon power management enabled by default and automatic AMD Radeon GPU switching; improved NUMA and hugepage performance; TCP Fast Open enabled by default; support for NFC payments; support for the High-Availability Seamless Redundancy protocol; new drivers; and many other small improvements. Here's the full list of changes."
MojoKid writes "Of all the rumors that swirled around Kaveri before the APU debuted last week, one of the more interesting bits was that AMD might debut GDDR5 as a desktop option. GDDR5 isn't bonded in sticks for easy motherboard socketing, and motherboard OEMs were unlikely to be interested in paying to solder 4-8GB of RAM directly. Such a move would shift the RMA responsibilities for RAM failures back to the board manufacturer. It seemed unlikely that Sunnyvale would consider such an option but a deep dive into Kaveri's technical documentation shows that AMD did indeed consider a quad-channel GDDR5 interface. Future versions of the Kaveri APU could potentially also implement 2x 64-bit DDR3 channels alongside 2x 32-bit GDDR5 channels, with the latter serving as a framebuffer for graphics operations. The other document making the rounds is AMD's software optimization guide for Family 15h processors. This guide specifically shows an eight-core Kaveri-based variant attached to a multi-socket system. In fact, the guide goes so far as to say that these chips in particular contain five links for connection to I/O and other processors, whereas the older Family 15h chips (Bulldozer and Piledriver) only offer four Hypertransport links."
New submitter MrBingoBoingo writes "Recently it was announced here on Slashdot that OpenBSD was facing an impending shortfall that jeopardized its continued existence. A sponsorship to save OpenBSD has been announced, and it wasn't one of the usual culprits that saved OpenBSD, but a Romanian Bitcoin billionaire."