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Apple

Steve Jobs Takes Leave of Absence From Apple 429

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Network World: "A number of sites are reporting that Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence till June at least. Speculation over Jobs' possibly failing health has run rampant in the past few weeks. Prior to the recent MacWorld show, Jobs said he had a hormone deficiency that had caused him to dramatically lose weight. In a memo today Jobs told workers his health issues are more complex than he thought." Reader Bastian227 adds a link to this letter from Steve Jobs on Apple's website, which also says that Tim Cook will be responsible for daily operations, though Jobs will remain involved with major strategic decisions.
Television

Conflict of Interest May Taint DTV Delay Proposal 339

Anonymous writes "Ars Technica has discovered that one of the Obama transition team members advising on the digital TV transition has a conflict of interest that would benefit WiMAX carrier Clearwire over Verizon. 'Barack Obama's call to delay the DTV transition would affect not only millions of analog TV viewers, but also powerful companies with a vested interest in the changeover date — including at least one with an executive on Obama's transition team.'"
Security

Interview With an Adware Author 453

rye writes in to recommend a Sherri Davidoff interview with Matt Knox, a talented Ruby instructor and coder, who talks about his early days designing and writing adware for Direct Revenue. (Direct Revenue was sued by Eliot Spitzer in 2006 for surreptitiously installing adware on millions of computers.) "So we've progressed now from having just a Registry key entry, to having an executable, to having a randomly-named executable, to having an executable which is shuffled around a little bit on each machine, to one that's encrypted — really more just obfuscated — to an executable that doesn't even run as an executable. It runs merely as a series of threads. ... There was one further step that we were going to take but didn't end up doing, and that is we were going to get rid of threads entirely, and just use interrupt handlers. It turns out that in Windows, you can get access to the interrupt handler pretty easily. ... It amounted to a distributed code war on a 4-10 million-node network."
The Media

Saving Journalism With Flash and Java 206

An anonymous reader writes "New York magazine has a story about some of the flashy new ideas that are coming out of the labs of the New York Times. The piece prompted Peter Wayner to dig up some of the old Java applets he wrote to explore whether more promiscuity really stops AIDS and whether baseball can do anything to speed up the games. He notes that these took a great deal of work to produce and it's not possible to do them on a daily basis. Furthermore, they're cranky and fragile, perhaps thanks to Java. Are cool, interactive features the future of journalism on the web? Or will simple ASCII text continue to be the most efficient way for us to mingle our thoughts, especially when ASCII text won't generate a classloading error?"
Education

MIT Moves Away From Massive Lecture Halls 317

eldavojohn writes "The New York Times is reporting on MIT's migration away from large lectures as many colleges and universities have. Attendance at these lectures often falls to 50 percent by the end of the semester. TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) gives the students a more hands on approach and may signal the death of the massive lecture hall synonymous with achieving a bachelors of science."
Medicine

Implant Raises Cellular Army To Attack Cancer 193

holy_calamity writes "New Scientist reports on a sneaky new approach to getting the immune system to fight cancer. An implant releases a 'molecular perfume' irresistible to messenger immune cells, which enter the implant where they are given a sample of the cancer's 'scent' and a disperse signal that sends them scurrying to the nearest lymph node. There they convince other immune cells to start attacking anything that matches the sample they picked up."
Image

More Brains Needed Screenshot-sm 232

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that more people need to donate their brains to medical research if cures for diseases like dementia are to be found and are urging healthy people as well as those with brain disorders to become donors. 'For autism, we only have maybe 15 or 20 brains that have been donated that we can do our research on. That is drastically awful,' said Dr Payam Rezaie of the Neuropathology Research Laboratory at the Open University. 'We would need at least 100 cases to get meaningful data. A lot of research is being hindered by this restriction.' Part of the problem, according to Professor Margaret Esiri at the University of Oxford, may be that people are reluctant to donate their brains because they see the organ as the basis of their identity. 'It used to be other parts of the body that we thought were important,' says Esin. 'But now people realize that their brain is the crucial thing that gives them their mind and their self.' Dr Kieran Breen, of the Parkinson's Disease Society, said over 90% of the brains in their bank at Imperial College London were from patients, with the remaining 10% of 'healthy' brains donated by friends or relatives of patients. 'Some people are under the impression that if they sign up for a donor card that will include donating their brain for research. But it won't,' says Breen. 'Donor cards are about donating organs for transplant, not for medical science.'"
Privacy

Security Checkpoints Predict What You Will Do 369

An anonymous reader writes "New security check points in 2020 will look just like something out of the futuristic movie, The Minority Report. The idea of the new checkpoints will allow high traffic to pass through just as you were walking at a normal pace. No more waving a wand to get through checkpoints — the new checkpoint can detect if you have plans to set off a bomb before you even enter the building."
Encryption

Using Lasers To Generate Random Numbers Faster 149

Pranav writes "Using semiconductor lasers, scientists from Takushoku University, Saitama University, and NTT Corporation achieved random number rates of up to 1.7 gigabits per second, which is about 10 times higher than the second-best rate, produced using a physical phenomenon. Future work may center on devising laser schemes that can achieving rates as high as 10 Gbps."
Power

Batteries To Store Wind Energy 275

Roland Piquepaille writes "Scientific American reports that Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based utility company, has started to test a new technology to store wind energy in batteries. The company is currently trying it in a 1,100 megawatt facility of wind turbines in Southern Minnesota. The company started this effort because 'the wind doesn't always blow and, even worse, it often blows strongest when people aren't using much electricity, like late at night.' It has received a $1 million grant from Minnesota's Renewable Development Fund and the energy plant should be operational (PDF) in the first quarter of 2009. If this project is successful, the utility expects to deploy many more energy plants before 2020 to avoid more polluting energy sources."
The Courts

RIAA's Request For Appeal Denied In Thomas Case 197

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's request for permission to appeal from the decision setting aside its $222,000 jury verdict has been denied by District Court Judge Michael J. Davis. In a brief, 6-page decision (PDF) the Judge dismissed the RIAA's arguments that there is a 'substantial ground for a difference of opinion' on the question of law presented, whether the Judge had erred in accepting the RIAA's proposed jury instruction that merely 'making files available' could constitute an infringement of the plaintiffs' distribution rights. He likewise dismissed their argument that granting permission for the appeal would 'materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation,' since (a) depending on the outcome of the trial, plaintiffs might not wish to appeal from the judgment, and (b) no matter how the appeals court rules on the 'making available' issue, the case will still have to continue in the lower court, since even if the RIAA wins on the 'making available' issue, the Court will still have to address the constitutionality of the large jury verdict, which may result in a new trial."
The Courts

RIAA Case May Be Televised On Internet 221

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the Boston case in which the defendant is represented by Prof. Charles Nesson and his CyberLaw class at Harvard Law School, the defendant has requested that audio-visual coverage of the court proceedings be made available to the public via the internet. Taking the RIAA at its word — that the reason for its litigation program is to 'educate the public' — the defendant's motion (PDF) queries why the RIAA would oppose public access: 'Net access to this litigation will allow an interested and growingly sophisticated public to understand the RIAA's education campaign. Surely education is the purpose of the Digital Deterrence Act of 1999, the constitutionality of which we are challenging. How can RIAA object? Yet they do, fear of sunlight shone upon them.'"

Cryptol, Language of Cryptography, Now Available To the Public 140

solweil writes to mention that Cryptol, a 'domain specific language for the design, implementation and verification of cryptographic algorithms,' is now available to the public. Cryptol was originally designed for the NSA. It allows for a quick evaluation and continued revisions, and is available for Linux, OS X, and Windows.
Portables (Apple)

Smooth Open Street Maps For the iPhone 46

detrow writes "A number of projects are working on bringing a smooth Open Street Maps Viewer to the iPhone, where smooth means as smooth as the Google Maps application. Route-Me is one of them (New BSD License, complete Objective-C native code). The GPS Mission blog reports that their application (GPS Mission) uses Route-Me and made it to the App Store as the first application using that OSM component. The map looks real nice and behaves just like Google Maps with all the well known zooming and panning available. What other iPhone applications exist that feel as smooth as Google Maps but use the Open Street Map?"

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