An anonymous reader writes "Linus Torvalds announced the Linux 3.12 kernel release with a large number of improvements through many subsystems including new EXT4 file-system features, AMD Berlin APU support, a major CPUfreq governor improvement yielding impressive performance boosts for certain hardware/workloads, new drivers, and continued bug-fixing. Linus also took the opportunity to share possible plans for Linux 4.0. He's thinking of tagging Linux 4.0 following the Linux 3.19 release in about one year and is also considering the idea of Linux 4.0 being a release cycle with nothing but bug-fixes. Does Linux really need an entire two-month release cycle with nothing but bug-fixing? It's still to be decided by the kernel developers."
MojoKid writes "Microsoft has several valid reasons why you should upgrade to Windows 8.1, which is free if you already own Windows 8. However, there's a known issue that might give some gamers pause before clicking through in the Windows Store. There have been complaints of mouse problems after applying the Windows 8.1 update, most of which have been related to lag in video games, though Microsoft confirmed there are other potential quirks. Acknowledging the problem, Microsoft says it's also actively investigating the issues and working on a patch."
An anonymous reader writes "Intel shipped open-source Broadwell graphics driver support for Linux this weekend. While building upon the existing Intel Linux GPU driver, the kernel driver changes are significant in size for Broadwell. Code comments from Intel indicate that these processors shipping in 2014 will have "some of the biggest changes we've seen on the execution and memory management side of the GPU" and "dwarf any other silicon iteration during my tenure, and certainly can compete with the likes of the gen3->gen4 changes." Come next year, Intel may now be able to better take on AMD and NVIDIA discrete graphics solutions."
First time accepted submitter renzema writes "I'm looking for a way to do near-site backups — backups that are not on my physical property, but with a hard drive still accessible should I need to do a restore (let's face it — this is where cloud backup services are really weak — 1 TB at 3-4mb downloads just doesn't cut it). I've tried crashplan, but that requires that someone has a computer on all the time and they don't ship hard drives to Sweden. What I want is to be able to back up my Windows and Mac to both a local disk and to a disk that I own that is not on site. I don't want a computer running 24x7 to support this — just a router or NAS. I would even be happy with a local disk that is somehow mirrored to a remote location. I haven't found anything out there that makes this simple. Any ideas?" What, besides "walk over a disk once in a while," would you advise?
codeusirae writes "RAF pilots were left 'blinded' by a barrage of images while flying at speeds of over 1,000 mph when a number of technical glitches hit their high-tech helmets. The visors were supposed to provide the fighter pilots with complete vision and awareness, but problems with the display produced a blurring known as 'green-glow,' meaning they were unable to see clearly.The green glow occurred when a mass of information was displayed on the helmet-mounted display systems, including radar pictures and images from cameras mounted around the aircraft."
George Maschke writes "In May of this year, I was the target of an attempted entrapment, evidently in connection with material support for terrorism. Marisa Taylor of McClatchy reported briefly on this in August. I've now published a full public accounting, including the raw source of the e-mails received and the IP addresses involved. Comments from Slashdot readers more technically savvy than I are welcome."
MightyMartian writes "British securities services fear foreign intelligence agencies have developed the ability to turn mobile devices such as phones and tablets into bugs without the owner's knowledge, allowing them to eavesdrop on confidential meetings. According to the article, UK security services fear China, Russia and Pakistan have figured out a way to turn mobiles into microphones, and have them transmit even when they're off. Ministers in sensitive government departments have been issued with soundproof lead-lined boxes, which they must place their mobiles in when having sensitive conversations."
An anonymous reader writes "Despite what we hear about how much the U.S. government is struggling with a website, it is reassuring that most of government entities can update their websites within a day after they are asked to. This conclusion is the result of research done by the Networking Systems Laboratory at the Computer Science Department of the University of Houston. The research team tracked government websites and their update times, and found that 96% of the websites were updated within 24 hours after President Obama signed HR 2775 into law, ending the Government shutdown. Worth noting that two websites took 8 days to update. It is interesting that the team was able to use the shutdown as an opportunity to study the efficiency of the IT departments of various parts of Government."
New submitter chrisjz writes "What happens when you combine a virtual reality headset and a brainwave reading device? Here's a simulation showing off what's possible with current technology, using the Emotiv EPOC to read a person's brainwaves for movement in a virtual environment. Along with the Oculus Rift, a VR headset, and the Razer Hydra for hand tracking, this demonstrates another alternative to using omni-directional treadmills or full body tracking for movement and interaction in virtual reality. Consumer level brain computer interfaces are still primitive these days, but it doesn't seem too far off that we'll have virtual reality similar to what William Gibson envisioned in his novels or movies such as The Matrix has shown us."
First time accepted submitter Paddy_O'Furniture writes "Four prominent scientists have penned a letter urging those concerned about climate change to support nuclear energy, saying that renewables such as wind and solar will not be sufficient to meet the world's energy needs. Among the authors is James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist, whose 1988 testimony before the United States Congress helped launch discussions of global warming into the mainstream."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Science writer and 42-year old pre-med student Barbara Moran writes in the NY Times that organic chemistry has been haunting pre-meds since 1910, when the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a landmark report calling for tougher admission standards to medical school and for medical training based on science. "The organic chemistry on the MCAT is chemistry that students need to know to succeed in medical school," says Karen Mitchell, senior director of the MCAT Program. Basically, orgo examines how molecules containing carbon interact, but it doesn't require equations or math, as in physics. Instead, you learn how electrons flow around and between molecules, and you draw little curved arrows showing where they go. This "arrow pushing" is the heart and soul of orgo. "Learning how to interpret the hieroglyphics is pretty easy. The hard part is learning where to draw the little arrows," writes Moran. "After you draw oxygen donating electrons to a positive carbon a zillion times, it becomes second nature." But the rules have many exceptions, which students find maddening. The same molecule will behave differently in acid or base, in dark or sunlight, in heat or cold, or "if you sprinkle magic orgo dust on it and turn around three times." You can't memorize all the possible answers — you have to rely on intuition, generalizing from specific examples. This skill, far more than the details of every reaction, may actually be useful for medicine. "It seems a lot like diagnosis," says Logan McCarty. "That cognitive skill — inductive generalization from specific cases to something you've never seen before — that's something you learn in orgo." This takes a huge amount of time, for me 20 to 30 hours a week writes Moran. This is one thing that orgo is testing: whether you have the time and desire to do the work. "Sometimes, if a student has really good math skills, they can slide through physics, but you can't do that in orgo," says McCarty ."
An anonymous reader writes "River City Ransom: Underground is the latest high profile game campaign on Kickstarter but as an interview with the title's creators this week highlights, it's not exactly a new game. Rather, it's an official sequel to a Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom classic, belt-scroller River City Ransom. Remarkably, getting the license and the help of original River City creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto proved easy for the team, indie developers who were submitting game designs to Atari in crayon, aged six. 'I asked for the license and I asked Kishimoto-san if he had an interest in helping us make a better Kunio-kun game,' producer Daniel Crenna says. 'It's not particularly dramatic to say that, but I asked.' As the author points out, it's interesting to imagine what other games could be resurrected with a little bit of polite curiosity.""
Hodejo1 writes "On July 1 Amazon started to charge sales tax to NJ residents, which is 7% in the state. But something was not right when I attempted to buy a book for my daughter. Just as I was about to finalize the order I noticed the charges were way off. The book cost $8.09. The tax I was to be levied was $0.85. That's a 10.5% tax rate! Why am I being charged 10.5%? It turns out that Amazon is also charging me tax on the $3.99 cost of shipping and handling. That's a problem, because New Jersey does not tax shipping and handling as I confirmed on the state's web site. I then checked a purchase I made from Amazon on October 7th of this year. Guess what? I was taxed on the $13.50 shipping and handling charge for that order. Now it is very possible — probable most likely — that this is nothing more than a coding error on Amazon's site. But it's a whopper! Just consider the hundreds-of-millions of dollars in sales Amazon makes in New Jersey each year. These extra dimes add up very quickly. Has Amazon been overcharging NJ residents' sales tax since July? If so, why haven't they picked it up by now?"
theodp writes "A pending Google patent for Identifying Prospective Employee Candidates via Employee Connections lays out plans for data mining employees' social graphs to find top job candidates. According to the patent application, the system would consider factors including the performance of the employees at the company whose circles you are in — under the assumption that the friends of top performers are more likely to be top performers themselves. It's the invention of three Googlers, including an HR VP who was quoted recently in an article that questioned the wisdom of certain Google hiring practices said to encourage 'echo chamber' hiring."
jones_supa writes to point out a video tour in which long-time company archivist Amy Stevenson takes us behind the scenes of the Microsoft Archives, a collection of artifacts that preserve the company's history and culture. "There, you'll find decades worth of Microsoft software, advertisements, documentation, memorabilia and...skulls? You'll just have to watch to understand. Some of the scariest items include a life-like Bill Gates doll (wearing a jogging suit), sent by a Russian doll artist, and a human-sized Clippy costume."