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Submission + - 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition Kicks Off

theodp writes: In South Park's Pinewood Derby episode, a father steals a superconducting magnet from the Large Hadron Collider to help his son win the annual state Pinewood Derby (the car reaches warp speed, shooting off the track and into space). It's a tale that no doubt rings true with every Cub Scout who went down to defeat at the hands of other kids whose engineer Dads had access to tools like the wind tunnel at NASA. Well, on Saturday, the 2013 FIRST Robotics Competition kicked off, and — much like the Pinewood Derby — mentoring by adult engineers there doesn't hurt one's chances of winning. So, any advice for 'ordinary' high schools going up against the likes of FIRST Robotics Teams sponsored and mentored by NASA? FIRST Robotics Team 254's Lab at NASA Ames Research Center, for instance, includes 'an 80% size practice field as well as a small machine shop, workspace, computer lab and meeting space.' Not surprisingly, Team 254 won the 2011 FIRST Championship.

Comment Re:Fair for the goose... (Score 1) 476

Need any more proof? Best part is I took the screenshot on the Ubuntu machine, moved it onto the phone via drag and drop, then uploaded it to imgur using an app.

That still doesn't tell me if you're using MTP or USB mass storage, which was my question. But you still manage to get modded informative when you fail to address what I asked.

But it doesn't seem to be your only reading comprehension problem.

1- The things you call errors are maybe errors for WP8 - but I've stated I was talking about WP7, and even asked for clarification if things had changed with WP8. Besides, despite WP8 now being apparently usable with Linux, what else has changed? Can you modify that idiotic search button so that it will show google instead of bing? Can you select folders to auto-sync in dropbox, box, or minus? Because you can't do any of these in WP7.8

2- I didn't call you a shill. I just noticed on your postings that you are a Microsoft fan and are usually quote/defend Microsoft, so I made that jab. I didn't want to imply you were a Burston-Marsteller or Waggener Edstrom employee, so if that is what it sounded like, I apologise


Comment Re:Fair for the goose... (Score 1) 476

Wrong, Windows Phone 8 mounts specific folders on the phone. I can trasnfer documents, music, videos, pictures, and ringtones via explorer without a special client.

I was wondering when we would get Microsoft's take on the matter... Unfortunately I can't verify if this was really implemented as I only have WP7.8, can you please post something that is not speculation and instead is a clear confirmation that WP8 has USB mass storage support?

Comment Re:Fair for the goose... (Score 3, Interesting) 476

Yes, they *should*... but regarding this specific instance/thing... why should MS have to change 10s/100s of things not related to Google to use one of Google's things. A thing that is really easy for Google to do, and will make them profit?

Why shouldn't they? Why are they asking for a standard access to a third party API when they don't follow standards, and even distort them for their own profit? Besides, what profit would Google have in changing their APIs to cater to an almost non-existing smartphone OS? Why not first focus on Bada or Symbian or RIM, which still have bigger market share than Windows Phone?

PS: I got an Android phone in the meantime. The WP phone was a gift, and it works well as my second phone - receiving calls and SMSs, basically working as a dumb phone.

Comment Re:Fair for the goose... (Score 4, Informative) 476

- Skydrive, the more or less standard way to get stuff in and out of Windows Phones, doesn't implement WebDAV in a open manner, making it difficult to use with Linux or BSD;

I'll give you that. Meanwhile, enjoy your Google Drive over WebDAV... oh, you don't have that either.

No, but I can easily access the files I have on my Android phone, using either USB mass storage or standard MTP. No need to use a cloud service. And, an added advantage over WP7.x (never used 8) is that other cloud services work, with automatic synchronization of folders. On WP7.x you need to copy files by hand, at least with Dropbox and Box.

Windows Phone 8 does support standard MTP? USB mass storage is an anachronysm.

I haven't tried yet WP8, but 7.x doesn't support standard MTP, only a hacked non-compatible Microsoft variant.

BTW, USB mass storage isn't an anachronism, it is just the easiest way to transfer things; in Linux it just works, in windows it just works. MTP has too many quirks and one of my peeves with the recent android releases is that it is used by default, forcing one to resort to workarounds to get the device working in mass storage mode.

Comment Fair for the goose... (Score 5, Interesting) 476

Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft shouldn't be complaining so much when they block or use non-standard protocols on their devices, in particular WP ones:

- Skydrive, the more or less standard way to get stuff in and out of Windows Phones, doesn't implement WebDAV in a open manner, making it difficult to use with Linux or BSD;

- The hardware search button in Windows Phone is tied to bing, and users can't change it;

- Windows Phone doesn't support standard protocols (standard MTP, USB file access) to access its filesystem, so it doesn't play well with Linux or BSD;

- Windows RT and Windows Phone specify a locked bootloader, so that users can't install anything else on their devices;

I could go on and on here, but these 4 examples should be enough... They really should fix their act before complaining that others aren't playing fair.


Submission + - Snapchat: The Rise of the Sexting App (

DavidGilbert99 writes: "Snapchat's growth int he past six months has been phenomenal — even leading to a reactionary move by Facebook with its own Poke app.

However, can the photo-sharing app continue to succeed with the simple premise that photos shared with friends will be deleted within seconds of them receiving them?

Serious privacy and security issues and a reputation for sharing intimate and sometimes disturbing images could mean the app is set for a very short shelf life."


Submission + - What's in Steve Ballmer's inbox? (

Barence writes: "When Microsoft last year launched, the company carelessly left the address vacant. It was snapped up by the editor of PC Pro, giving an insight into the type of emails the public sends to the Microsoft CEO.

Among the messages sent to the account are complaints about the Windows 8 interface, a plea from someone who was "literally driven crazy" by Windows Server product keys, and someone who wants Windows Phone's calendar to remind him when he's being paid. There's also a more sinister complaint from someone who claims they were the victim of racial discrimination when applying for a job at a Microsoft Store."


Submission + - Apple loses claim for false advertising regarding Amazon "App Store" (

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's efforts to protect its intellectual property sometimes result in lawsuits that leave even the most ardent of Apple fans scratching their heads. One such suit was Apple's March 2011 lawsuit against Amazon over the retailer's use of the phrase "app store" as used in its Amazon Appstore for Android.

Now seeing as Apple was concurrently trying to secure a trademark for "app store", it didn't come as much of a surprise when Apple tried to block Amazon from using the phrase themselves. In the process, Apple alleged that Amazon was guilty of trademark infringement and false advertising.

Submission + - Iranian ex-muslim tells story (

An anonymous reader writes: For too long I have been publicly quite. For the longest time for a good reason: public apostasy in a theocratic state is not good for physical health. Recent events in my home country and worldwide, however, make it a responsibility for any rational secularist to speak out. In the country where I'm from, I am less of a person that my east asian wife [1]. In the country that accepts me as a person, I could be apprehended without cause by DHS as a potential terrorist and with no phone rights. And to top it off, we live in an era in which the president of the first and only constitutionally secular country cannot get away with not spurting religious nonsense even in the event of public devastation [2].

I am 29 and I am a PhD student in the US. I am originally from Iran, born and raised in a mildly conservative, but educated family. I denounced God, Islam and Mohammad when I was 16. You may say it was a logical progression of some doubts I had been developing since I was 13. And it all really started because I could not understand the arguments for the existence of God. In addition, all the magical mythical supporting stories for the truth of the so called prophet and the Quran seemed self-contradictory, and every single person I met with strong religious belief turned out to be a total liar, hypocrite and a fake. So at some point I decided that the non-existing hell with Mohammad and his family and his God and his book. The only problem was I couldn't say that outside of my home because I would be executed. But they can't touch me now can they?

In this blog, I will debunk all the reasons we were given as students to believe in Islam and God and so on. And believe me you don't even need even a high school diploma to see through the nonsense of religion, specially Islam, specially the way it is practiced in middle east, and in particular in Iran. I welcome all positive and negative comments, but I ask you to ridicule ideas not individuals. For obvious reasons, I will be blogging anonymously and I will also anonymize my stories if need be. I hope I can contribute to the global destruction of religion specially Islam. It is time we passed dogma and nonsensical beliefs and call religion for what it is.

My regards,
Concerned Voice


Submission + - Producers Of Minecraft Documentary Offer The Film for Free On The Pirate Bay

An anonymous reader writes: 2 Player Productions, the producers of Minecraft: The Story of Mojang, on Saturday uploaded the documentary to The Pirate Bay. The news comes as a surprise move after an announcement earlier this week that the film is premiering today for free on Xbox Live to Gold subscribers. You can download it here.

Submission + - Reexamination Request Filed Against Another Apple Patent (

An anonymous reader writes: After the rubber-banding, 'Steve Jobs' heuristics and pinch-to-zoom patents, another Apple patent in use against Samsung comes under pressure. An anonymous filer (or 'anonymous coward' in traditional Slashdot terminology), most likely Samsung, has filed a reexamination request against Apple's RE41,922 patent on a "method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display". It's not among the patents a California jury evaluated this summer, but one of four patents an ITC judge preliminarily found Samsung to infringe. The reexamination request features five new pieces of prior art (three U.S. patents from the early 1990s and two Japanese patents), all of which dealt with translucent images. The patent office will decide next year whether to grant or deny the request for reexamination. Expect more such petitions targeting Apple patents.

Submission + - Apple Kills a Kickstarter Project ( 1

Nerdfest writes: Venturebeat is reporting that:

Edison Junior, the technology and design lab behind the POP portable power station, is returning the full $139,170 in funding it received from Kickstarter backers to develop the device. Unfortunately, Apple has refused to give the project permission to license the Lightning charger in a device that includes multiple charging options.

“We are pissed,” Edison Junior CEO Jamie Siminoff told me on the phone today. “I think they are being a bunch of assholes, and I think they’re hurting their customers.”

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