c0lo writes "Engineers from Google's Books team have released the design plans for a comparatively reasonably priced (about $1500) book scanner on Google Code. Built using a scanner, a vacuum cleaner and various other components, the Linear Book Scanner was developed by engineers during the '20 percent time' that Google allocates for personal projects. The license is highly permissive, thus it's possible the design and building costs can be improved. Any takers?" Adds reader leighklotz: "The Google Tech Talk Video starts with Jeff Breidenbach of the Google Books team, and moves on to Dany Qumsiyeh showing how simple his design is to build. Could it be that the Google Books team has had enough of destroying the library in order to save it? Or maybe the just want to up-stage the Internet Archive's Scanning Robot. Disclaimer: I worked with Jeff when we were at Xerox (where he did this awesome hack), but this is more awesome because it saves books."
theodp writes "Ever get carded by your FedEx guy? You will. Several writers at GeekWire had just unboxed, uncorked and polished off their first bottle of Amazon wine, only to have their buzz killed by the need to cover Steven Sinofsky's unexpected exit from Microsoft. With the caveat that per-order shipping charges will discourage those watching their pennies from ordering single bottles of inexpensive wine, GeekWire gave the overall Amazon wine buying experience a thumbs-up." Since Amazon-owned Woot's been selling wine for a while, it may be a stretch to call it new for Amazon, but their main site is known to many more people.
An anonymous reader writes "Climate treaty negotiators would do well to have a little chat with some game theorists, according to this article. The fundamental approach they've been taking for the last several years is flawed, these researchers say, and they can prove it. From the article: 'The scientists gave members of a 10-member group their country’s “treasure”: a 20-euro national savings account, plus a fund for spending on emissions reductions that consisted of 10 black chips worth 10 cents apiece and 10 red chips worth one euro apiece. Each person could then contribute any number of these chips to a common pool. The contributed chips represented greenhouse gas reduction strategies that were relatively inexpensive (black) or expensive (red). Players could communicate freely about their plans for how many chips they intended to contribute.'"
jfruh writes "Nationwide pizza chain Papa John's is finding itself on the receiving end of a $250 million text spam lawsuit. From the article: 'Seattle law firm Heyrich Kalish McGuigan, representing three Papa John's customers, alleged that the pizza delivery service has sent 500,000 unwanted text messages to customers. If the court finds that Papa John's violated the U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the pizza maker could have to pay damages of $500 per text message, or US$250 million, one of the largest damage awards under the 1991 law, the law firm said. "Many customers complained to Papa John's that they wanted the text messages to stop, and yet thousands of spam text messages were sent week after week," Donald Heyrich, attorney for the plaintiffs said in a statement. "This should be a wake-up call to advertisers. Consumers do not want spam on their cell phones."'
terrancem writes "A newly discovered light-producing cockroach, Lucihormetica luckae, may have already been driven to extinction by a volcanic eruption in Ecuador. The species, only formally described by scientists this year, hasn't been spotted since the Tungurahua Volcano erupted in July 2010. The new species was notable because it represented the only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence in a land animal. Like a venomless king snake beating its tail to copy the unmistakable warning of a rattlesnake, Lucihormetica luckae's bioluminescent patterns are nearly identical to the poisonous click beetle, with which it shares (or shared) its habitat."
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists announced Wednesday that they have mapped the entire genome of the domestic pig, revealing that besides providing tasty bacon and sausages, the animal may also be useful in fighting human diseases. The study published in the journal Nature found that pigs and humans share 112 DNA mutations that have previously been linked to diseases like obesity, diabetes, dyslexia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, according to US and European researchers. Researchers said that because pigs share many of the same complex genetic diseases as humans, the animals would serve as excellent models for studying the underlying biology of human disease."
angry tapir writes "The U.S. Air Force has decided to scrap a major ERP (enterprise resource planning) software project after spending $1 billion, concluding that finishing it would cost far too much more money for too little gain. Dubbed the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS), the project has racked up $1.03 billion in costs since 2005, 'and has not yielded any significant military capability,' an Air Force spokesman said in a statement. 'We estimate it would require an additional $1.1B for about a quarter of the original scope to continue and fielding would not be until 2020. The Air Force has concluded the ECSS program is no longer a viable option for meeting the FY17 Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (FIAR) statutory requirement. Therefore, we are canceling the program and moving forward with other options in order to meet both requirements.'"
MrSeb writes "Engineers at NC State University (NCSU) have discovered a way of boosting the throughput of busy WiFi networks by up to 700%. Perhaps most importantly, the breakthrough is purely software-based, meaning it could be rolled out to existing WiFi networks relatively easily — instantly improving the throughput and latency of the network. As wireless networking becomes ever more prevalent, you may have noticed that your home network is much faster than the WiFi network at the airport or a busy conference center. The primary reason for this is that a WiFi access point, along with every device connected to it, operates on the same wireless channel. This single-channel problem is also compounded by the fact that it isn't just one-way; the access point also needs to send data back to every connected device. To solve this problem, NC State University has devised a scheme called WiFox. In essence, WiFox is some software that runs on a WiFi access point (i.e. it's part of the firmware) and keeps track of the congestion level. If WiFox detects a backlog of data due to congestion, it kicks in and enables high-priority mode. In this mode, the access point gains complete control of the wireless network channel, allowing it to clear its backlog of data. Then, with the backlog clear, the network returns to normal. We don't have the exact details of the WiFox scheme/protocol (it's being presented at the ACM CoNEXT conference in December), but apparently it increased the throughput of a 45-device WiFi network by 700%, and reduced latency by 30-40%."
Billly Gates writes "IE 10 just hit the final preview yesterday for Windows 7. Windows XP and Windows Vista support has been dropped. Most slashdotters have a complex relationship with Internet Explorer. Many of us hate it but have to use it in the office. Microsoft had tried last year to make IE good again with the release of IE 9 which had some fanfare on slashdot, such as hardware acceleration and better standards compliance. MS even launched a full campaign to get us to switch. IE 10 is supposed to continue the new process and promises to be much faster and support more HTML 5, CSS 3, W3C HTML 5.1 and CSS 3.1 with a score of 320 on HTML5test. As a comparison, last years IE 9 only scored 138. "
Zothecula writes "Further evidence of the coming fragmentation of personal transportation came today when Honda released details of the next iteration of its electric 'Micro Commuter' prototype which we first saw at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. The new version is close to production-ready, and concentrates the battery and functionality of the micro EV below the floor, enabling the vehicle's body to be easily changed to accommodate different functionality."
CowboyRobot writes "Adobe today confirmed that one of its databases has been breached by a hacker and that it had temporarily taken offline the affected Connectusers.com website. The hacker, who also goes by Adam Hima, told Dark Reading that the server he attacked was the Connectusers.com Web server, and that he exploited a SQL injection flaw to execute the attack. 'It was an SQL Injection vulnerability, somehow I was able to dump the database in less requests than normal people do,' he says. Users passwords for the Adobe Connectusers site were stored and hashed with MD5, he says, which made them 'easy to crack' with freely available tools. And Adobe wasn't using WAFs on the servers, he notes. Tal Beery, a security researcher at Imperva, analyzed the data dump in the Connectusers Pastebin post and found that the list appears to be valid and that the hacked database was relatively old."
sfcrazy writes "A very serious argument erupted on the Linux kernel mailing list when Andy Grover, a Red Hat SCSI target engineer, requested that Nicholas A. Bellinger, the Linux SCSI target maintainer, provide proof of non-infringement of the GPL. Nick is developer at Rising Tide Systems, a Red Hat competitor, and a maker of advanced SCSI storage systems. Nick's company recently produced a groundbreaking technology involving advanced SCSI commands which will give Rising Tide Systems a lead in producing SCSI storage systems. Now, RTS is blocking Red Hat from getting access to that code as it's proprietary. What's uncertain is whether RTS' code is covered by GPL or not — if it is then Red Hat has all the rights to get access to it and it's a serious GPL violation."
An anonymous reader writes "Pundits continue to weigh in on Steve Sinofsky's sudden exit from Microsoft (as executive head of Windows Division, he oversaw the development and release of Windows 7 and 8). SemiAccurate's Charlie Demerjian sees Microsoft headed for a steep decline, with their habit of creating walled gardens deliberately incompatible with competitors' platforms finally catching up to them. Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones. On the Sinofsky front, Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley is willing to take the Redmond insiders' word that the departure was more about Sinofsky's communication style and deficiencies as a team player than on unfavorable market prospects for Windows 8 and Surface. Meanwhile, anonymous blogger Mini-Microsoft had suspiciously little to say."
c0lo writes "'Severely brain-injured Scott Routley hasn't spoken in 12 years. None of his physical assessments since then have shown any sign of awareness, or ability to communicate, thus being diagnosed as vegetative (vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception of themselves or the outside world).' Scott Routley was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative. 'Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is.' As a consequence, medical textbooks would need to be updated to include Prof Owen's techniques, because only observational assessments (as opposed to using mind-readers) of Mr. Routley have continued to suggest he is vegetative. Functional MRI machines are expensive (up to $2 million), but it's quite possible that a portable high-end EEG machine, costing about $75,000, can be used at a patient's bedside. Phillip K. Dick's world is one step closer."