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Facebook

Submission + - Facebook paid no taxes despite record profits (msn.com) 2

Frosty Piss writes: Despite earning more than $1 billion in profits last year, social media juggernaut Facebook paid zilch when it came to federal and state taxes in 2012. In fact, the website will actually be getting a refund totaling $429 million thanks to a tax reduction for executive stock options. In the coming years, Facebook will continue to get monster tax breaks, totaling about $3 billion. 'The employees cash in stock options, and at that point there is tax deduction for the company,' Robert McIntyre, of watchdog group Citizens for Tax Justice, said. 'Because even though it doesn't cost Facebook a nickel, the government treats it as wages and they get a deduction for it. And usually it doesn't wipe out companies whole tax bill, although many companies get big breaks from it.'
Privacy

Submission + - Tin Foil Chic (wired.com)

Presto Vivace writes: "What does the fashionable privacy advocate wear in a total surveillance society? Artist Adam Harvey discusses his line of counter-surveillance fashion with Wired. From the pictures it mostly looks like hoodies. But choice of fabric plays a big role in counter-surveillance fashion.

Harvey: Stealth Wear started as an experiment using the fabrics I was researching for the OFF Pocket. I did research on thermal surveillance and was very interested in where it was going and at some point realized that metalised fabrics work as a shield against thermal imagining cameras. I was able to get access to a thermal camera and started testing swatches of fabric. When I realized that it worked well enough, I got in touch with my friend Johanna Bloomfield and she came up with the hoodie design. Everything was pretty much still an experiment at this point. Then we showed the hoodie to Andrew Green from PRIMITIVE. He loved it and decided to include it and make it a major part of this upcoming show. Originally this show was to be based on work from CV Dazzle and a few other counter surveillance art projects. This whole idea of stealth wear line was very emergent.

"

Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft Changes Email Policy Making Spammers' Life Easier (microsoft.com)

physics101 writes: It appears that Microsoft have made changes in the way that the email headers are formed for the mail sent from hotmail accounts. The X-Originating-Email tag now points to the IP belonging to Microsoft instead of the sender's IP. There are numerous threads (e.g. this one) at answers.microsoft.com. MS representatives are claiming that "the issue has already been forwarded to our Escalation team for further investigation". Despite of the bunch of dissatisfied users, this answer is being offered time and the time again for over two months. It suspiciously looks like a policy change for which they don't want to give any explanation.
Businesses

Submission + - Dell and HP Struggle to Reinvent As PC Industry Migrates To Asia (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "If you've paid any attention to the PC industry in the past few years, you're aware that things aren't as rosy as they used to be. After decades of annual growth, major manufacturers like HP and Dell have both either floated the idea of exiting the consumer space (HP) or gone private (Dell). Contrast that with steady growth at companies like Asus and Lenovo, and some analysts think the entire PC industry could move to Asia in the next few years. The ironic part of the observation is that in many ways, this has already happened. Asia-Pacific manufacturers are more focused on the consumer electronics market and better able to cope with low margins thanks to rapid adoption and huge potential customer bases. Apple has proven that high margin hardware can be extremely profitable, but none of the PC OEMs have been willing to risk the R&D costs or carry new products for a significant period of time while they adapt designs and improve market share. The problem with the "cut costs, period" approach is that in the long run, the major US PC manufacturers could be forced out of the business altogether."
KDE

Submission + - If You Are Buying Into Ubuntu Phone Claims, You're Being Duped: Aaron Seigo (muktware.com)

sfcrazy writes: KDE's Plasma Active team leader Aaron Seigo (who is bringing out a KDE-powered tablet soon — instead of using Google hardware, and probably Google code, to break Google's hegemony) has raised some concerns around Ubuntu Phone. He says "We can start with the obvious clue: Unity currently does not use QML at all; Ubuntu Phone is pure QML. So, no, it is not the same code, it is not the sort of seamless cross-device technology bridge that they are purporting."

He then concludes, "If you're a Free software developer, user and/or supporter and buying into these claims, I don't know how else to put it other than this: you're being duped. Consider what supporting those who employ such tactics means for Free software."

Our own Bruce Perens said that on Slashdot — "Working for free to make Mark Shuttleworth richer just isn’t very smart."

Space

Submission + - California Professors Unveil Proposal to Attack Asteroids With Lasers

An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday's twin events with invading rocks from outer space — the close encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14, and the killer meteorite over Russia that was more than close — have brought the topic of defending mankind against killer asteroids back into the news. The Economist summarizes some of the ideas that have been bandied about, in a story that suggests Paul Simon's seventies hit "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover": Just push it aside, Clyde. Show it the nuke, Luke. Gravity tug, Doug. The new proposal is an earth orbiting, solar-powered array of laser guns called DE-STAR (Directed Energy Solar Targeting of AsteRoids) from two California-based professors, physicist Philip Lubin (UCSB) and industrial statistician Gary Hughes (Cal Polytechnic State). Lubin and Hughes say their system could be developed and deployed in a range of sizes depending on the size of the target: DE-STAR 2, about the size of the International Space Station (100 meters) could nudge comets and asteroids from their orbits, while DE-STAR 4 (100 times larger than ISS) could evaporate an asteroid 500 meters in diameter (10 times larger than 2012 DA14) in a year. Of course, this assumes that the critters could be spotted early enough for the lasers to do their work.
Windows

Submission + - Windows 7 RTM Support Ending Soon (arstechnica.com)

jones_supa writes: Windows 7 users will have install Service Pack 1 if they want to continue to receive security fixes and other support beyond April 9th. With the release of a Service Pack, Microsoft's policy is to support the old version for two years. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was released on 22nd February, 2011, so the phasing out of support is happening more or less on schedule. In spite of a growing number of post-Service Pack 1 fixes and updates, Microsoft has shown no signs of shipping a second Service Pack. Should Service Pack 1 be the sole major update for Windows 7, it will continue to receive mainstream support — which encompasses both security updates, non-security bugfixes, and free phone support — until 13th January 2015. Extended support — security fixes and paid incidents only — will continue until 14th January 2020.
Sony

Submission + - Sony Exercising Its Acquisition of GaiKai, Plans To Stream Games To PS4 (theverge.com)

dmfinn writes: With less than 5 days until the reported PS4 launch event, new details are emerging regarding some of the console's next-gen capabilities. Since last june, Sony has been quietly sitting on its $380 million dollar acqusition of Gaikai, a cloud based gaming company. The Wall Street Journal, among other sources, is now reporting that the PS4 will have GaiKai's cloud-based gaming technology directly integrated, thought it is unclear exactly what types of games will be available for streaming. Back in June, a rumor circulated that Sony was planning to use the technology to support backwards compatibility with PS2 and PS1 games, though no further details have arisen regarding whether or not the new console will be able to play previous generation games. It appears that Sony will most likely be using the service to stream PS3 and indie games to the console, as the current technology only supports 720p, not high enough quality for blockbuster games.

Constantly streaming interactive graphics, even if only at 720p, will still require a fast internet connection. Services like OnLive have struggled in the past due to the large amount of bandwidth they require, and many consumers complained of laggy connections and horrendous graphics. There is no word yet regarding the features of the games being streamed, including whether or not they will support online or local multiplayer.

Graphics

Submission + - Unigine's Newest Benchmark Features Huge, Open-Space Expanses

jones_supa writes: Unigine announced a new GPU benchmark known as Valley Benchmark. From the same developers who created Heaven Benchmark, the Valley Benchmark is a non-synthetic benchmark that is powered by the Unigine Engine, a real-time 3D engine that supports the latest rendering features. The Valley Benchmark includes massive area of 64 square kilometers of very detailed terrain that includes forest, mountains, green expanses, rocky slopes and flowers. The area can be freely explored by means of walking or flying. All major operating systems are supported.
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Police unsure which twin to charge in sexual assaults

An anonymous reader writes: In a real life Prisoner's Dilemma taking place in the French city of Marseille, twin brothers have been arrested for a string of sexual assaults. While say they are sure that one of them committed the crimes (corroborated by a standard DNA test), police were told that it would cost upwards of €1m euros (£850,000, $1.3m USD) to distinguish between them using DNA evidence.
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook Says Employee Laptops Compromised in 'Sophisticated' Attack (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: Laptops belonging to several Facebook employees were compromised recently and infected with malware that the company said was installed through the use of a Java zero-day exploit that bypassed the software's sandbox. Facebook claims that no user data was affected by the attack and says that it has been working with law enforcement to investigate the attack, which also affected other unnamed companies.

Facebook officials did not identify the specific kind of malware that the attackers installed on the compromised laptops, but said that the employee's machines were infected when they visited a mobile developer Web site that was hosting the Java exploit. When the employees visited the site, the exploit attacked a zero-day vulnerability in Java that was able to bypass the software's sandbox and enable the attackers to install malware. The company said it reported the vulnerability to Oracle, which then patched the Java bug on Feb. 1.

Government

Submission + - Yet another costly government software upgrade failure (latimes.com)

g01d4 writes: "California's computer problems, which have already cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, have mounted as state officials cut short work on a $208-million DMV technology overhaul that is only half done. Last week, the controller's office fired the contractor responsible for a $371-million upgrade to the state's payroll system, citing a trial run filled with mishaps. More than $254 million has already been spent." It's hard not to feel like the Tokyo man in the street watching the latest round of Godzilla the state vs. Rodan the big contractor.
Ubuntu

Submission + - Ubuntu for phones to arrive next week on Nexus 4 (pcpro.co.uk)

nk497 writes: "Canonical has revealed that a developer preview of Ubuntu for phones will arrive next week, on the 21st of February. The touch preview will initially only be available for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones, but Canonical plans to support more devices. The release is designed to let developers create apps — and to give "enthusiasts" a sneak peek — ahead of the smartphone side of Ubuntu arriving in version 13.10 in October. Canonical suggested that the OS will initially only support low-end smartphones, the group plans to also support higher-end models, too, and the OS will work across mobile devices, PCs and TVs."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: I just need... marketing?

An anonymous reader writes: Over the years, Slashdot has had many stories of non-technical entrepreneuring people in need of programmers. Now I found myself in an almost opposite situation: I am a programmer with a fledgling mass-market product that needs marketing.

I know slashdot's general sentiment towards marketing. Without being judgmental one way or the other, I must say that for a product to reach the widest possible audience in a given time period, marketing is a necessity. Short of doing everything myself, I see a couple of options: 1. Hire marketing people, or an outside marketing firm; 2. Take in willing partners who are good at marketing (currently there are no shortage of people who want in).

With these options, my major concerns are how to quantify performance, as well as how to avoid getting trapped in a partnership with non-performing partners — I already have a tangible product with a huge amount of time, money, and effort invested. Budget is also limited. Budget is always limited unless you are a fortune 500 business, but for now that's more of a secondary concern. So here is my question to Slashdot: how do you address these concerns, and in a more general sense, how would you handle the situation: technical people with a product in need of marketing?
AI

Submission + - How does modularity evolve? (technologyreview.com) 1

JimmyQS writes: "As programmers know, modularity is critical to making reusable, adaptable software. However, modularity is not instinctive for beginners and must be learned via painful training. Biology faces a similar problem: modularity is useful to make species more adaptable, but how did it evolve in the first place? Surprisingly, computational simulations of 25,000 generations of evolution reveal that modularity does not evolve because it makes organisms more adaptable. Instead, modularity evolves as a by-product for selection to reduce the "wiring costs" of a network. The discovery greatly advances research into evolving artificially intelligent robots, a field where the inability to evolve modular designs has long been thought to be a key roadblock to evolving truly complex, intelligent neural networks.

The paper was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. You can also watch modularity evolve in this video."

Facebook

Submission + - Facebook can keep real name policy, German court rules (pcworld.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook can stick with its real name policy in Germany, and doesn't have to allow nicknames on its platform for now. The regulator that ordered Facebook to change it policy based its orders on inapplicable German law, a German court ruled.
Science

Submission + - Russian meteor largest in a century (nature.com)

gbrumfiel writes: "A meteor that exploded over Russia's Chelyabinsk region this morning was the largest recorded object to strike the earth in more than a century, Nature reports. Infrasound data collected by a network designed to watch for nuclear weapons testing suggests that today's blast released hundreds of kilotonnes of energy. That would make it far more powerful than the nuclear weapon tested by North Korea just days ago, and the largest rock to strike the earth since a meteor broke up over Siberia's Tunguska river in 1908. Despite its incredible power, the rock evaded detection by astronomers. Estimates show it was likely only 15 meters across—too small to be seen by networks searching for near earth asteroids."

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