Submission + - EA Origin Hits 21 Million Users (

drinkydoh writes: EA has reported that Origin has officially hit 21 million users. 9 million of this includes mobile members. This means a dramatic increase from numbers given in May, when the company reported Origin having 11 million members. EA stated recently it had 12 million downloads and supports 50 publishing partners catalogs and 57 independent developers.

Submission + - Speed of Sound Is Too Slow for the Olympics 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "For decades sports-event organizers have placed speakers behind athletes (swimmers, runners, speed skaters, etc.) to convey the sound of an actual pistol but they found that even though the noise came through the speakers all at once, athletes continued to wait for the "real" sound, ignoring the sounds that came through the speakers ever-so-slightly slowing down the farthest athlete from the gun. Now Rebecca Rosen writes that when the Olympic runners take to their positions on the track later this week, they'll crouch on the ground, ears pricked, and wait for the starting beep played by a "pistol" that's not a pistol at all, but something more akin to an electronic instrument with only one key. The pistol itself is silent. A conversation with sprinter Michael Johnson at the Sydney Olympics caused Peter Hürzeler of OMEGA Timing to realize that even with speakers, the speed of sound was still slowing down the farthest athletes. Johnson's reaction time, Hurzeler said, "was 440 thousandths of a second. Normally athletes leave between 130 and 140 thousandths of a second. ... I asked him, why did you have such a bad starting time?" Turned out, Johnson was in the ninth position, and the sound of the gun was reaching him too slowly. In addition after a four year developmental process, a new false start detection system is being introduced this year that will abandon movement in exchange for “measurement” of pound-force against the back block to determine sprinters reaction times. “We are measuring the time between the starting gun and when the athlete is moving because to leave the starting block they had to push against and this power is very high" says Hurzeler. “We did a test last year with Asafa Powell and he was pushing 240 kilograms (529 lbs.) [so] as soon as he gives the time to push against the starting block, it means he will like to leave and we are measuring this in thousandths of seconds and if somebody is leaving before one hundredth thousandth of second, it’s automatically a recall, it’s a false start.” In track every event is timed to 1/10,000th of a second, and Omega takes 2,000 pictures per second from right before the start of a race to its finish, as backup. New touch pads, starting blocks, and timers have also been introduced for swimming."

Submission + - Valve Removes Right for Class Action Claims from EULA ( 2

trawg writes: "Valve have joined the list of companies that have altered their terms and conditions to prevent users from filing a class action suit. Their official statement says that such claims "impose unnecessary expense and delay" and are "designed to benefit the class action lawyers". A new arbitration process is also included, in which Valve will reimburse costs (under certain circumstances) when dispute resolution can't be solved through their normal support process."

Submission + - Samsung's legal fillings show pre-IPhone designs

parallel_prankster writes: In it's legal fillings for the case against Apple Corp. Samsung has shown that it was considering putting to market in the summer of 2006, six months before the unveiling of the iPhone, a number of phone designs that have been claimed by Apple as stolen from the Iphone. It extends to more than just the hardware — Samsung was also working on interfaces that looks remarkably like iOS (actually, that look remarkably like PalmOS) — in the summer and fall of 2006. Again, before the iPhone was released. Samsung is being accused of stealing, even thought the company was clearly working on what it supposedly stole before the iPhone was even released. Samsung's phones bear more resemblance to its own pre-iPhone designs than to the iPhone, yet Apple and its supporters still insist Samsung is a thief. Another article on this is available here .

Submission + - FCC rules that Verizon cannot charge for tethering (

schleprock63 writes: "The FCC ruled today that Verizon cannot charge extra for users for 4G WiFi tethering. The FCC used the original agreement in the auction of the C block spectrum which said "licensees offering service on C Block spectrum 'shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network, subject to narrow exceptions". So Verizon cannot charge for tethering on 4G service, this begs the question of whether they can continue to charge for tethering on 3G or 1x?"

Submission + - Space scientists looking to crowd-fund planetary exploration

The Bad Astronomer writes: "The White House budget for NASA in 2013 is bleak, with big cuts in many areas. None is worse hit than planetary exploration, which got slammed with a 20% reduction. Several top-notch space scientists have taken matters into their own hands, looking to create a privately-funded alternative for space exploration. Called Uwingu — Swahili for "sky" — they're hoping to get seed money to create a program which can generate millions in donations to explore our solar system. Astronomer Pamela Gay has more info at her blog, Star Stryder."

Submission + - Human workers, managed by algorithm (

prayag writes: "With the advent of crowdsourcing platforms it has become easier for users to scale up their employees by hiring thousands of people at once. This helps some business to do their business better and on the other hand can be misused by spammers to create "human-bots""

Submission + - Artificial photosynthesis as efficient as real plants (

An anonymous reader writes: Panasonic has been working to recreate the process pfhotosynthesis in the lab, and has now managed to develop an artificial photosynthesis process as efficient as the one used by real plants.

Panasonic’s system takes in carbon dioxide, but instead of producing oxygen it generates formic acid, which is useful for creating dyes and fragrances, producing cleaning products, and is used to preserve livestock feed (it also occurs naturally in bee venom and ant stings). This formic acid production is made possible through a combination of a nitride semiconductor and metal catalyst where the reaction occurs. The efficiency rating is 0.2%, the same as real plants, and much higher than the 0.04% previous solutions were able to achieve.

Submission + - When Porn Copyright Trolls Attack And Judges Fight Back (

MojoKid writes: "Everyone has heard of patent trolls or copyright trolls but the rapid evolution of the new porn troll has scientists puzzled. This new species of lawyer has emerged in the past two years as an intriguing example of how natural selection can quickly influence the trajectory of a species. Like its brethren, the porn troll issues a flood of letters to alleged infringers. Porn trolls gather several hundred anonymous users who are identified only by IP address, files suit against all of them simultaneously, subpoenas the ISP, and sends a letter to the alleged defendants. There's substantial evidence that the plaintiffs filing these suits had little interest in bringing them to trial and were instead attempting to make a quick buck through scary language and pressure tactics. The good news is that judges across the country are increasingly slamming the lid on this abuse of the system. Judge Gary Brown criticized the attempt to link IP addresses to particular people, noting that "it is no more likely that the subscriber to an IP address carried out a particular computer function, than to say that an individual who pays the telephone bill made a specific telephone call."

Submission + - Security expert: Huawei routers riddles with vulnerabilities (

sabri writes: Cnet reports in this article that German security expert Felix Lindner has unearthed several vulnerabilities in Huawei's carrier grade routers. These vulnerabilities could potentially enable attackers, or the Chinese government, to snoop on users' traffic and/or perform a man-in-the-middle attack. While these routers are mostly in use in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, they are increasingly being used in other parts of the world as well, because of their dirt-cheap pricing.

Disclaimer: I work for one of their competitors.


Submission + - Should developers support Windows Phone 8? ( 1

Un pobre guey writes: Why should you develop apps for Windows 8? Well, the hype and flogging are apparently in full swing. From TFA: "To be clear, Windows Phone 8 is not a slam dunk. Some, such as IDC, believe Windows Phone will eclipse iOS by 2016. Others though believe the trajectories of Android and iOS can't be slowed in the next few years. Nonetheless, I think a bet on Windows Phone 8 is justifiable, even wise, since anyone who purchases a new Windows Phone 8 device likely will want to load it with the latest and greatest apps."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is There a Professional Geek Dress Code?

KateKintail writes: I'm being promoted to be a director of a computer/web services department at work with staff members (not yet hired) working under me. My workplace doesn’t have a dress code 95% of the year. Is this the end of my days of jeans and enjoyably geeky t-shirts? Is there a way to dress professionally in the workplace as a boss (the kind that doesn’t need to be defeated at the end of a level) while still showing my Browncoat or Whovian love as I crawl under cobwebby desks to check that equipment is properly plugged in?

Submission + - Internet billionaire creates HUGE physics prize (

gbrumfiel writes: Billionaire Internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner has spontaneously awarded $3 million prizes to nine prominent theoretical physicists. The new, Fundamental Physics Prize dwarfs awards like the Nobel, which this year is estimated to be worth some $1.2 million (and that's before it's split by up to three winners). It's so much money that some theorists fear it could distort the field. Milner says that his only purpose of the new prize was to promote the field, which he studied in the 1980s: "The intention was to say that science is as important as a shares rating on Wall Street," he told Nature .

Submission + - 'Huge Spike' in US Viewers Using Proxy Servers to Watch BBC Olympic coverage ( 2

DavidGilbert99 writes: "NBC is the sole broadcaster of the London 2012n Olympics in the US, having paid $1.1bn for the privilege.

However the Twitter hastag #NBCfails quickly started trending last Friday, when it was revealed that NBC would only be showing delayed coverage of most events on TV, including Danny Boyle's opening ceremony.

While NBC is providing live streaming through its website, you need to have a valid cable subscription in order to view the events.

This has seen many tech savvy US viewers turning to proxy servers to view the BBC's Olympic coverage, which doesn't need any sign-in to view — once your IP address looks like it is coming from the UK.

One provider of VPN services, has seen a ten-fold increase in new customers signing up for their services since last Friday."

Submission + - Is Phoenix The Next Silicon Valley? (

SpicyBrownMustard writes: There's no secret to a rising level of "Silicon Valley fatigue" lately, and the new reality show certainly isn't helping. And with hacker hostels packing in twenty somethings fueling the "it's okay to fail" incubator culture that now is actually hurting startups, it's no wonder weariness with the culture is setting in. asks the question, Is Phoenix The Next Silicon Valley (also picked up by Chicago Tribune), covering a startup with a couple names you might know who picked Phoenix due to its much lower cost of living and quality of life. Quoting the startup's CTO, "Wirtz explains that having so much more financial freedom lowers the stress associated with working for a startup, as he can enjoy work/live balance." Their location certainly didn't hurt fund raising as they managed $2 million in seed capital. Are we indeed done with Silicon Valley for tech startups?

Submission + - Fedora 18 to feature the Gnome2 fork Mate (

dsinc writes: It's not just Mint: Fedora will also feature Mate in their upcoming release (Fedora 18). According to Fedora's Dan Marshal, "many users have expressed interest in this feature since Fedora 15 in which Fedora was switched from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3."

Submission + - Island Nation of Tokelau to Become World's First Solar-Powered Country (

Zothecula writes: Adopting renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power is a great way to reduce emissions and produce energy locally. In places like remote Pacific islands, however, those benefits are potentially a key to independence. For that reason Tokelau, a 10 sq. km. (3.86 sq. mi) island nation that lies around 500 km (311 mi) north of Samoa and which is a territory of New Zealand, is about to ditch diesel as a source of electricity and switch to solar power.

Submission + - Pills with digestible microchips approved by US drug agency (

ananyo writes: Digestible microchips embedded in drugs may soon tell doctors whether a patient is taking their medications as prescribed. The 'digital pills' are the first ingestible devices approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The pills contain a sand-particle sized sensor, consisting of a minute silicon chip containing trace amounts of magnesium and copper. When swallowed, it generates a slight voltage in response to digestive juices, which conveys a signal to the surface of a person’s skin where a patch then relays the information to a mobile phone belonging to a healthcare-provider. Currently, the FDA, and the analogous regulatory agency in Europe have only approved the device based on studies showing its safety and efficacy when implanted in placebo pills. But Proteus Digital Health, the manufacturer, hopes to have the device approved within other drugs in the near future.

Your Rights Online

Submission + - ACLU Questions Privacy of Virginia Police License Plate Scanners (

coastal984 writes: The ACLU is questioning the usage and retention of data by the Virginia State Police and various local police agencies in the Commonwealth as part of a 35-state inquiry into license plate scanners.
"ACLU chapters in 35 states announced Monday that they are querying law enforcement agencies through Freedom of Information Act requests about how they are using the scanning technology and about the extent to which the information may be used to compile "movement histories" of people. "Automatic license plate readers make it possible for the police to track our location whenever we drive our cars and to store that information forever," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project.

Submission + - Teenager arrested in England for criticising Olympic athlete on Twitter ( 14

An anonymous reader writes: A teenager from Dorset, England was arrested for sending a Twitter message to Olympic athlete Tom Daley saying: "You let your dad down i hope you know that." Police arrested the 17 year old boy as part of an investigation into "malicious tweets" after Daley and his team mate missed out on a medal. Daley's father died from cancer last year.

While it is rarely used and the police have not indicated whether they are pressing charges, the Communications Act 2003 s.127 covers the sending of improper messages. Section 127(1)(a) relates to a message that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character. Shaun duffy was convicted and sentenced earlier this year under Scots law.

I look forward to tens of thousands of arrests across England over the next few days as all public remarks which may cause offence, regardless of their target, are investigated by the law.

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