Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Media

Murdoch Demands Kindle Users' Info 433

In yet another move to display how antiquated and completely ignorant of digital culture he is, Rupert Murdoch has started demanding that Amazon hand over user info for all Kindle users. This demand comes right after Murdoch just finished negotiating a larger share of revenue from Amazon sales. At least Amazon hasn't decided to comply with this request yet. "'As I've said before, the traditional business model has to change rapidly to ensure that our journalistic businesses can return to their old margins of profitability,' Murdoch said. 'Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting.'"
Medicine

Psychopaths Have Brain Structure Abnormality 438

mmmscience writes "A group of scientists has identified a structure in the brain of psychopaths that is abnormal when compared with controls. The change is found in the uncinate fasciculus, a bridge of white matter that connects the amygdala (emotion/aggression brain region) and the orbitofrontal cortex (decision making region). Interestingly, the greater the abnormality in the region, the more severe the levels of sociopathy in a subject. The results were published as 'Altered connections on the road to psychopathy' in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. A researcher on the team suggests the finding could have considerable implications in the world of criminal justice, where such scans could one day be presented as evidence in a trial." The study's results have not yet been replicated by other researchers.
The Media

The Newspaper Isn't Dead Yet 108

theodp writes "Slate's Farhad Manjoo had high hopes for using the Kindle DX — Amazon's new large-screen e-reader — to read newspapers. A good first effort, says Manjoo, who concludes that for now newsprint still beats the $489 Kindle. While he has issues with latency, what he really misses relates to graphic design. The Kindle presents news as a list, leaving a reader to guess which pieces are most important to read. Newspapers, by contrast, opine on the importance of the day's news using easy-to-understand design conventions — important stories appear on front pages, with the most important ones going higher on the page and getting more space and bigger headlines. Also, because of its overnight delivery model, Manjoo gripes that the Kindle suffers from a lack of timeliness, making it not even as good as a smartphone."
PC Games (Games)

America's Army 3 Has Rough Launch, Development Team Canned 150

incognito84 writes "The development team responsible for the creation of the freeware game America's Army 3 has been canned, days after the launch of the highly flawed game, which was distributed mostly via Steam. 'The anonymous America's Army 3 developers in touch with Kotaku unsurprisingly didn't sound too pleased with the current situation, venting that "a lot of good people [worked] insanely long hours on this game that was butchered by outside sources.' The game's launch was plagued by massive server authentication issues which inhibited most players from playing it even two days afterward. One of the developers made a post on the official forums saying they were 'effectively stabbed in the back,' and that much of the funding was filtered to the bureaucracy. A patch has been released to address some of the game's issues."

Comment Re:Are they worth it? (Score 2, Insightful) 345

The first case is canonical and often pointed to, but I find it problematic in many cases. Mentoring is always a good goal but I think that for real development work, if there is a large disparity between the skillsets it can lead to the more experienced engineer becoming frustrated and essentially feeling less productive (as the mentoree is not contributing much in the way of actual implementation). Similarly, it can be like drinking from a fire hose or the less experienced person. So while it is an effective technique in some cases, it is (in my experience) quite domain and problem specific, and if the gap in skills is too large, it simply does not work well. The second example you give is where it really can stand out though, in the spirit of the first example as well; bringing a second experienced dev up to speed in the first dev's domain.
Sun Microsystems

Sun To Build World's Biggest App Store Around Java 325

CWmike writes "Sun Micro plans to launch an App Store that could make Apple's look smaller than a 7-Eleven by comparison, CEO Jonathan Schwartz wrote on his blog this week. Schwartz indicated the Java App Store, code-named Project Vector, will focus on PC users and estimated the size of the community at 1 billion. Sun plans to allow Java application developers to submit programs to a simple Web site so the company can evaluate them for safety and content before presenting them to the Java audience. Sun will charge for distribution. The company will reveal more details at its JavaOne conference, which opens June 2 in San Francisco, Schwartz said."
Networking

Breaking Down the Demigod Launch 70

In addition to the piracy troubles that plagued Demigod's launch (and partly exacerbated by them), Stardock and Gas Powered Games ran into severe networking issues that hampered their ability to accommodate players with a legitimately purchased copy of the game. Brad Wardell has now posted a frank, detailed explanation of what happened and how they dealt with it. Quoting: "Demigod's connectivity problems have basically boiled down to 1 bad design decision and 1 architectural limitation. The bad design decision was made in December of 2008 when it was decided to have the network library hand off sockets to Demigod proper. In most games, the connection between players is handled purely by one source. ... So in Demigod, on launch day, Alice would host a game. Tom would be connected to Alice by the network library and then that socket would be handed to Demigod. Then, Alice and Tom would open a new socket to listen for more players to join in. As a result, a user might end up using a half dozen ports and sockets which some routers didn't like and it just made things incredibly complex to connect people and put a lot of strain on the servers to manage all those connections.
Sun Microsystems

Oracle Top Execs Answer Sun Employee Questions 207

The Register writes "Sun invited Oracle president Charles Phillips and chief corporate architect Edward Screven to an employee-only town hall this Wednesday, where they took questions on what's coming. They said they'd be 'crazy' to close Java, that Oracle 'needs' MySQL, and all Sun's processors look appealing. They hedged on OpenOffice — Phillips said he couldn't comment on any product line — and on Sun's work in high-performance computing. Screven made it pretty clear the Sun vision of cloud computing does not fit with Oracle's; Oracle sees itself as a provider of infrastructure like virtualization to make clouds, not a provider of hosted services. As for who's staying and who's getting cut at Sun: Phillips said Oracle needs Sun, but warned 'tough decisions' will be coming. Don't forget, this is the company that couriered pink slips to the PeopleSoft staff it cut following that acquisition."
Sun Microsystems

Oracle Buys Sun 906

bruunb writes "Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL) and Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun common stock for $9.50 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun's cash and debt. 'We expect this acquisition to be accretive to Oracle's earnings by at least 15 cents on a non-GAAP basis in the first full year after closing. We estimate that the acquired business will contribute over $1.5 billion to Oracle's non-GAAP operating profit in the first year, increasing to over $2 billion in the second year. This would make the Sun acquisition more profitable in per share contribution in the first year than we had planned for the acquisitions of BEA, PeopleSoft and Siebel combined,' said Oracle President Safra Catz."
Books

eReader.com Limits E-book Sales To US Citizens 182

An anonymous reader writes "eReader.com seems to have begun applying distribution restrictions to its library. I first noticed that there was a FAQ page about distribution restrictions this morning. When I tried to order a few books this afternoon I simply couldn't — a large banner on the order confirmation told me the books had distribution restrictions. I checked a number of titles but it seems a large number of books are no longer available to non-US citizens like me. It is interesting to note that this policy change got implemented shortly after Barnes&Noble purchased Fictionwise. I have no idea if the new owners are behind this new policy but it seems crazy to restrict sales of ebooks. I've bought dozens of ebooks from eReader the past 4 years. I still have 15 dollar store credit but cannot buy any of the books I am interested in." (Right now, the link that should display these new geographic restrictions returns an error message that says the page is being updated.) Sounds like Barnes & Noble is taking its cues from Apple.
Earth

Curved Laser Beams Could Help Tame Lightning 184

Urchin writes "Laser beams just gained a new property — they can curve through space. That's what happens when ultrashort laser pulses pass through a phase pattern mask and a lens, which together shift the most intense region of the beam from the center to the right-hand side. The asymmetry in the pulse causes it to drift progressively further to the right along an arc as it travels. The laser beam is so intense that it ionizes the air it passes through to create a curved plasma channel. Those kinds of channels can be up to 100 meters long — direct them at thunderclouds and they could first trigger lightning to spark and then act as a convenient but short-lived lightning rod to guide it safely to the ground, according to some researchers."
Microsoft

Closing Time At Microsoft's Campus Pub 393

theodp writes "Just three days before the Spitfire pub was to open on Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division campus, TechFlash reports that Microsoft got cold feet and pulled the plug on the project, leaving the bar's owner and his 22 employees in the lurch. 'I am completely stunned and disappointed by the decision,' said now lease-less owner Jonathan Sposato, who's stuck with space built out as a pub, complete with a giant bar, a fireplace, and eight beer taps. (He says it wouldn't be economically viable to refit it as a restaurant.) Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos confirmed the company's sudden change of heart: 'The goal was always to create a cool gathering place for employees, but to do so in a manner that's consistent with a business environment. We decided we should do something more appropriate, and that meant not having a pub.' The new pub had been in development for more than a year."
The Media

Paid Shilling Comes to Twitter 134

An anonymous reader alerts us that an outfit called Magpie is paying Twitter users to tout advertisers' products. Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb has identified a number of household-name companies — among them Apple, Skype, Kodak, Cisco, Adobe, Roxio, PC Tools, and Box.net — whose products are hyped by identically worded, paid Magpie tweets. But comments to Kirkpatrick's post, including one from a Box.net spokesman, make it sound likely that these shills were paid for not by the companies themselves, but by affiliate marketers. That may not matter. In the same way that Belkin recently got burned paying consumers to write complimentary online reviews about the company's products, the makers of products and services touted through Magpie may find themselves tainted in the backlash from this new form of astroturfing. Kirkpatrick concludes his post: "So there's the Twitter-sphere for you! Bring on 'real time search,' bring on a globally connected community, bring on vapid, vile, stupid shilling. It all seems pretty sad to me."
The Military

Better Living Through Nukes? 432

perkonis writes "So, you've got 23,000 nukes laying about and no one to use them on. What to do with them? Well, you blow up stuff for fun and profit. Some of the ideas range from good on paper (such as mining oil shale) to just downright bad (such as making a new Panama Canal). Making a big ditch by blowing up nukes — what could possibly go wrong?"

Slashdot Top Deals

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux

Working...