Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

Early Surface Sales Pitiful 251

Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft has earned $853 million from sales of its Surface tablets, according to the company's annual Form 10-K filed with the SEC. That's a bit of a disaster, to put it bluntly. Earlier estimates put Surface sales at roughly 1.5 million units; the $853 million figure reinforces that projection. By comparison, Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in its last quarter alone. Adding insult to injury, Microsoft spent quite a bit producing and marketing Surface. The Windows division's 'cost of revenue increased $1.8 billion, reflecting a $1.6 billion increase in product costs associated with Surface and Windows 8, including a charge for Surface RT inventory adjustments of approximately $900 million,' read the Form 10-K. 'Sales and marketing expenses increased $1.0 billion or 34 percent, reflecting an $898 million increase in advertising costs associated primarily with Windows 8 and Surface.' Overall, Microsoft's Windows division earned $19.2 billion in its fiscal 2013."

Comment Re:And yet (Score 2) 768

There's a difference between something you have on you (e.g. a key to a lock, DNA, fingerprints), and something you know (e.g. combination to lock, password). It's easy for police to show whether you have something. It's not (currently) possible for police to determine whether you know something. I think that an encrypted drive should be treated like a locked safe. Given the proper warrant, AFAIK the police have the right to try to break into that on their own if you don't want to open it for them - but not to compel you to give them the combination to it. The same way, they should be able to try to break into encrypted files on their own, but not to compel you to give them the password. The only big difference between safes and encryption is that breaking encryption is far more difficult, so the courts will be more inclined to ask you for the password than just break in on their own.

Comment Car analogy (Score 1) 558

This is the equivalent of a car with a steering wheel that has fingerprint sensors on it, at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions. If it is unable to read valid fingerprints, the engine stops and the steering wheel locks in place.

It's safer because it doesn't let someone steal your car (be it your child, or a thief), and it forces you to drive with both hands on the wheel at all times.

Programming

How Experienced And Novice Programmers See Code 238

Esther Schindler writes "We always talk about how programmers improve their skill by reading others' code. But the newbies aren't going to be as good at even doing that, when they start. There's some cool research underway, using eye tracking to compare how an experienced programmer looks at code compared to a novice. Seems to be early days, but worth a nod and a smile." Reader Necroman points out that if the above link is unreachable, try this one. The videos are also available on YouTube: Expert, Novice.
Security

The Man Who Hacked the Bank of France 184

First time accepted submitter David Off writes "In 2008 a Skype user looking for cheap rate gateway numbers found himself connected to the Bank of France where he was asked for a password. He typed 1 2 3 4 5 6 and found himself connected to their computer system. The intrusion was rapidly detected but led to the system being frozen for 48 hours as a security measure. Two years of extensive international police inquiries eventually traced the 37-year-old unemployed Breton despite the fact he'd used his real address when he registered with Skype. The man was found not guilty in court today (Original, in French) of maliciously breaking into the bank."
Space

Search For Earth-Like Worlds Focuses On Sun's Siblings 64

astroengine writes "The search for 'Earth-like' worlds just became even more Earth-like. Researchers from the University of Turku, Finland, have begun the search for the Sun's siblings in the hope that they may play host to exoplanets. Since these stars 'grew up' in close proximity to our Sun inside a stellar nursery some 4.5 billion years ago, they may have shared more than just star-building materials. Through the biology-spreading hypothesis 'panspermia,' they may have also shared the basic building blocks for life. Two sibling candidates have now been found and the researchers hope to survey the two stars — which contain similar metals and are of a similar age to our Sun — for bona fide Earth-like worlds. Could these worlds have life? If they do, extraterrestrial life may have more in common with us than we ever imagined."

Comment Cost of electronic communication then and now (Score 2) 387

Today, you probably pay a flat fee for your Internet service and, for the most part, you don't pay anything for the various Web sites you visit or services you use. In the pre-CIX Internet days, it was an entirely different story.

Unless you were lucky enough to live close to an online service point of presence you had to use a dial-up modem to call up an X.25 packet switched wide area network (WAN). This connection service alone could cost anywhere from an affordable $1 an hour to a wallet busting $30 an hour, which you could then use to connect with an online service. The online service would also typically charge you a monthly fee plus an additional fee of $1 to $6 an hour. And you thought your ISP was expensive!

That's between $2 and $36 per hour. At the speeds mentioned, you could transfer 135,000 bytes per hour. That's $0.00237 to
$0.0427 per 160 bytes, which is much less than the $0.20 that we are charged today for text messaging without a plan. Incredible.

Comment Re:The number is a Palindromic Prime in base 2. (Score 1) 486

It's very possible that this is just a coincidence and that this has nothing to do with the meaning of the bits. Sure, it seems like there's no way it could be by accident that a number around 6.8 billion is prime, but there is:
The chances of a random number x being prime are about ln x. ln 6830770643 ~= 22.6, but it's possible that the first number had to be 1, which would mean (since it's palindromic) the last number has to be 1 (making the number odd), excluding 2 as a possible factor. This puts the chance at more like 11.3. It's quite possible that we're reading too much into this. This might've just been randomly picked by an artist, (and then made symmetrical by making it a palindrome) instead of designed by a geek (and intentionally including a hidden meaning or just making it a prime or something).
In searching for additional evidence that primes were an intentionally selected theme, I looked at:
11001011100100101
10100100111010011
0100100111010011
1100101110010010
(each half of the palindrome, with and without the 1 in the center)
One of these is prime: 0100100111010011_2=18899_10, 18899 is prime. I'm not sure what it means, but I doubt those substrings were chosen for their primality.

The Media

Wikipedia Reveals Secret of 'The Mousetrap' 244

Hugh Pickens writes "CIOL reports that Wikipedia has revealed the secret of Agatha Christie's famous murder mystery 'The Mousetrap' by identifying the killer in the world's longest running play, now at over 24,000 performances ever since its maiden performance in 1952, despite protests from the author's family and petitions from fans who think the revelation is a spoiler. Angry at the revelation, Matthew Prichard, Christie's grandson, who describes the decision of Wikipedia as 'unfortunate,' says he will raise the matter with the play's producer, Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen. 'My grandmother always got upset if the plots of her books or plays were revealed in reviews — and I don't think this is any different. It's a pity if a publication, if I can call it that, potentially spoils enjoyment for people who go to see the play.' Unrepentant, Wikipedia justifies the decision to reveal the ending of the play. 'Our purpose is to collect and report notable knowledge. It's exceedingly easy to avoid knowing the identity of the murderer: just don't read it.'"

Comment Re:Confusing symbols (Score 1) 1268

I'm from the UK, is 4+3+2=( )+2 a commonly used / commonly understood way of presenting the problem in the US?

No, that's not standard usage in the US or anywhere else that I'm aware of.
It's always possible the report was not properly representing what he was trying to convey, but the report definitely shows usage that isn't clear for anyone, unless it was explained on the test. No wonder people are confused.

Canada

Online Forum Speeding Boast Leads To Conviction 457

Meshach writes "In Canada, a nineteen-year-old man has lost his driving license for six months and is facing one year of probation after the police arrested him for dangerous driving as a result of a post on an online message board. The tip apparently came from an uninvolved American who called the Canadian authorities after he saw the post bragging about how fast the man went."

Slashdot Top Deals

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

Working...