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Submission + - Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 Billion (nytimes.com) 1

davidannis writes:

Comcast is expected to announce on Thursday an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable for more than $45 billion in stock, a deal that would combine the biggest and second-biggest cable television operators in the country. For Comcast, which completed its acquisition of NBC Universal, the television and movie powerhouse, from General Electric less than a year ago, the latest deal would be its second big act to radically reshape the media landscape in the United States. And the merger is almost certain to bring to an end a protracted takeover battle that Charter Communications has been waging for Time Warner Cable.

For consumers, this means an even larger company with a reputation for poor customer service aggressively lobbying against things like net neutrality.

Submission + - "Shark Tank" Competition Used to Select Education Tech

theodp writes: With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the tech billionaire-backed NewSchools Venture Fund, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation used a competition based on the reality show Shark Tank to determine which educational technology entrepreneurs would win the right to have teachers test their technology on students for the rest of the year. 'Ten companies, selected from 80 original applicants,' reports Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy, 'had three minutes to convince a panel of educators and then a panel of business brains that their ideas would be a difference maker in middle school math classes.' The winners? Blendspace, which helps teachers create digital lessons using Web-based content; Front Row Education, which generates individual quizzes for students and tracks their progress as they work through problems; LearnBop, which offers an automated tutoring system with content written by math teachers; and Zaption, which lets teachers use existing online videos as lessons by adding quizzes, discussion sections, images and text.

Submission + - China's Jade Rabbit Fights to Come Back From the Dead

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: CNN reports that reports of Jade Rabbit's demise may have been premature as signs are emerging that China's first lunar rover may be up and running again. Following technical malfunctions Xinhua says that the lunar rover had lost communication with mission control but on Thursday the state news agency said that the rover was "fully awake" and had returned to its normal signal-receiving status. "Jade Rabbit has fully resurrected and is able to receive signals, but still suffers a mechanical control abnormality," says China's lunar program spokesman Pei Zhaoyu. "The rover entered hibernation while in an abnormal state. We were worried it wouldn't be able to make it through the extreme cold of the lunar night. But it came back alive. The rover stands a chance of being saved as it is still alive." The lunar rover's end seemed near when it signed off at the end of January with a poignant message: "Goodnight humanity." Yutu, as the device is known in Mandarin, had been out of action for two weeks following a technical malfunction, and media around the world filed its obituary late on Wednesday after a short statement on Chinese state media alerted the world to its apparent terminal failings. Should Jade Rabbit make a full recovery, it would cap another success for space exploration, which has seen NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, currently exploring the red planet, far outlast its expected lifespan.

Submission + - Australian police deploy 3D crime scene scanner (computerworld.com.au) 1

angry tapir writes: Police in the Australian state of Queensland will employ a handheld laser scanner that can be used to map crime scenes, including in areas where there is no GPS reception. The police will use the Australian developed Zebedee laser scanner: A LiDAR scanner that is mounted on a spring. As a user walks around, the spring moves and the scanner captures the surrounding area. Software processing then uses the data to construct a 3D model. Previously the technology has been used to capture areas of cultural significance, such as the interior of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As an added bonus, the Zebedee looks ridiculous when in use.

Submission + - Jed McCaleb's Exit from Ripple Labs: The Plot Thickens (bitcointalk.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Jed McCaleb, the creator of E-Donkey and the founder of one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, Mt.Gox, dropped out of Ripple Labs (a company that he is also a co-founder) to 'spend his time looking into new things: man-made surf parks and artificial intelligence'. As was written in an article from Wired: http://www.wired.com/wiredente...

But a video recently uploaded in YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ2DCKLHaQs&t=461) says otherwise. In the video, he mentioned that he left the company due to 'disagreements with someone brought on to be CEO'.

So which is it really? Maybe we will hear Jed McCaleb's side of the story in full in the near future. But for now Jed is probably busy on a new 'secret bitcoin project' (http://alphatesters.secretbitcoinproject.com/).

Submission + - MPAA Head Chris Dodd: I'm Willing To Discuss Copyright Reform As Long As Nothing (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA, has decided that, 16 years after the Napsterpocalypse (which singlehandedly killed the recording and motion picture industries, both of which are now nothing but vague memories for pre-Gen Xers), it's time to meet the tech industry in the middle and start working together.

But, as is Dodd's way, "in the middle" means drawing a line inches away from the MPAA's position and "working together" means making heavy concessions to the incumbent industries.

Submission + - Microsoft Rumored to Integrate Android Apps

phmadore writes: Windows Phone has been struggling for market share, largely due to a serious lack of developers willing to invest their time in what one might consider a niche market. Statistically speaking, Android has more than 1.1M apps to Windows Phone's pitiful 200,000+. Well, according to unnamed sources informing the Verge , Microsoft may soon integrate/allow Android applications into both Windows and Windows Phone. The irony is so thick here you can cut it with a million dollar bill.

Submission + - Non-Coders as the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

theodp writes: You wouldn't select Linus Torvalds to be the public face for the 'Year of Basketball.' So, why tap someone who doesn't code to be the face of 'The Year of Code'? Slate's Lily Hay Newman reports on the UK's Year of Code initiative to promote interest in programming and train teachers, which launched last week with a Director who freely admits that she doesn't know how to code. "I'm going to put my cards on the table," Lottie Dexter told Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman on national TV. I've committed this year to learning to code...so over this year I'm going to see exactly what I can achieve. So who knows, I might be the next Zuckerberg." "You can always dream," quipped the curmudgeonly Paxman, who was also unimpressed with Dexter's argument that the national initiative could teach people to make virtual birthday cards, an example straight out of Mark Zuckerberg's Hour of Code playbook (coming soon to the UK). Back in the States, YouTube chief and Hour of Code headliner Susan Wojcicki — one of many non-coder Code.org spokespersons — can be seen on YouTube fumbling for words to answer a little girl's straightforward question, "What is one way you apply Computer Science to your job at Google?". While it's understandable that companies and tech leaders probably couldn't make CS education "an issue like climate change" (for better or worse) without embracing politicians and celebrities, it'd be nice if they'd at least showcase a few more real-life coders in their campaigns.

Submission + - Installing OpenSource VLC Media Player Voids Your Dell Laptop Warranty

An anonymous reader writes: VLC is incapable of increasing the actual power past 100%, all that is being done is the waveform is being modified to be louder within the allowed constraints. But, that didn't stop Dell from denying warranty service for speaker damage if the popular VLC Media Player is installed on a Dell laptop. Also we got a report that service was denied because a KMPlayer was installed on a laptop. The warranty remains valid on the other parts of the laptop. VLC player developer denied the issue with VLC and further claimed the the player cannot be used to damage speakers. How can I convince Dell to replace my laptop speaker which is still in warranty? Or class action is only my option?

Submission + - How Dogecoin Occupied Wall Street (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: At about 9:30pm on Friday in Lower Manhattan, a group of more than a hundred people marched out of the new Bitcoin Center at 40 Broad Street, and into the streets. "To the moon! To the moon! To the moon!" Donning Shiba Inu-branded flair, t-shirts, paper masks—and joined by three live Shiba Inus—the all-ages group, fully sugared up, paraded through the streets of New York’s Financial District to its famous bull sculpture at Bowling Green, where they planned to take it over, doge style.

"Dogecoin is a celebration of doge and dogecoin and the joy of life," said Ben Doernberg, the organizer of the evening's proceedings, who bravely unzipped his doge hoodie to reveal a large doge on his T-shirt. "What better way to turn something so serious into the cutest most fun thing in the world? Which is a doge."

Suddenly, a city bus screeched to a halt near the crowd. The driver shoved open his window and shouted out, "Is this Occupy Wall Street?" A dump truck behind him waited.

Submission + - How Snowden gained high-level access .. (yahoo.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In an interview on Tuesday with the Wall Street Journal, former NSA chief and Booz Allen Vice Chairman Mike McConnell explained how Edward Snowden gained access to all of the files that he’s been leaking. If McConnell is to be believed, Snowden was hired in the first place after using a trick he probably learned in high school: He “stole” an NSA admittance test with the answers, and used it to ace the test.

Submission + - Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

An anonymous reader writes: Zachary Keck wonders why the U.S. government is doubling down on missile defense systems even as hypersonic missiles threaten to render them obsolete.

Keck notes that hypersonic missiles pose two distinct challenges to current missile defense systems. First, they travel far faster than the missiles the defense systems are designed to intercept. Second, they travel at lower altitudes and possess greater maneuverability than the missiles the current systems have been built to destroy.

Nonetheless, the U.S. was planning on spending $2 billion a year on missile defense through 2017, and now the Pentagon is asking for an additional $4.5 billion over the next five years.

Submission + - An open letter to the management of Slashdot. 14

onyxruby writes: I have been watch for some time now as Slashdot has started beta testing a new version of the website. As you are well aware the new site would constitute a complete change to the look, interface and functionality of Slashdot.org.

Change happens, and for those of us who work with technology for a living it is the only constant. Change is a process and in and of itself is not a bad thing when it offers improvement. Unfortunately the change that has been offered negatively impacts the look, interface and most importantly the functionality of Slashdot.
Many people have had trouble reverting back to the classic interface. The new interface simply does not offer the functionality of the old. Things like statistics, comments and layout are very difficult to find. You have a community that lives and breathes data and want to know their data. How is my comment ranked, how many people responded – it’s really all about the dialogue. Can I get the information that I want in a readily digestible format?

As you’re well aware the new site does not offer the very thing that people come here for. This in and of itself is not why your community has organized a boycott of Beta. The boycott was originated because the new version will be implemented whether the community wants it or not.

I want to explain why this change has gone down people’s throats about as well as Windows 8’s Metro interface. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with the interface and everything to do with the perception that the editors and management of Slashdot appear to have.

The message that has been consistently handed down is that we are “your audience”. We are not your “your audience” we are your product. People do not come to Slashdot for the news stories, there are untold other sites that provide those as well as professional and original writing about them. People come here for the community of insiders from across the industry.

Please respect the community and stop what you’re doing. You have commented that you don’t want to maintain two code bases. Your community works in the industry and understands this, which leads many to suggest you abandon the new code base entirely so that you are only maintaining once code base. Tell us what your trying to accomplish and I would imagine that a wide range of experts would be more than willing to help you meet your goals.

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