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Technology

Submission + - The Raspberry Pi Turns One (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: The Raspberry Pi turned one yesterday and marking the occasion the credit card-sized computer's main distributor Farnell element14 announced the month of March as the Raspberry Pi month. The company also baked a cake on the occasion. Raspberry PI was first launched on 29 February 2012 in the UK and it was received with a huge amount of enthusiasm by students and researchers alike. The Pi has had quite an eventful year with researchers building a Raspberry Pi cluster; release of an official turbo mode patch; 512 MB RAM upgrade; launch of Pi Store; sales of over a million units; and release of Minecraft Pocket Edition.
Blackberry

Submission + - Nokia seeks Blackberry sales bans after patent dispute (bbc.co.uk) 1

another random user writes: Nokia has asked courts in the US, UK and Canada to block sales of rival Blackberry smartphones.

It follows a patent dispute between the Finnish company and Blackberry's parent, Research In Motion (RIM).

Nokia says an earlier ruling means RIM is not allowed to produce devices that offer a common type of wi-fi connectivity until it agrees to pay licence fees.

All current Blackberries would be affected. RIM had no comment. It is the latest legal distraction for the Canadian company as it prepares to launch an operating system that could determine its survival.

Books

Submission + - Here's Why Digital Rights Management Is Stupid And Anti-Consumer (consumerist.com)

concealment writes: "Yesterday, I tried to download an ebook I paid for, and previously put on my Nook, a few months ago. When I tried, I got an error message stating I could not download the book because the credit card on file had expired. But, I already paid for it. Who cares if the credit card is expired? It has long since been paid for, so the status of the card on file has nothing to do with my ability to download said book. I didn’t see anything in the terms of service about this either, but it’s possible I missed it.

        This is just one more reason to either not buy ebooks, or strip the drm off of the ones you purchase so you can [use] the book you BUY on all your devices without having to purchase multiple copies for no reason and have access to something you already bought when you want it."

Space

Submission + - Europe sets modest goals for space (nature.com)

ananyo writes: "Europe’s space chiefs are hailing the two-day meeting at which research ministers hammered out Europe’s priorities in space as a success, despite them getting less money than they had hoped. At the 20–21 November meeting in Naples, Italy, the ministers agreed to give the European Space Agency (ESA) €10.1 billion (US$13 billion) over the next several years, somewhat less than the total €12 billion cost of the project proposals considered at the meeting.
With flat funding of about €500 million per year for 2013–17, the scientific programme takes a cut in real terms, although it is not yet clear which missions will be affected as a result.
But ministers did agree on a way forward for the Ariane program. Germany argued that ESA should continue to develop an upgraded version of the rocket known as Ariane 5 Midlife Evolution (5ME), which can carry payloads 20% heavier than its namesake and could put satellites in higher orbits. But France believed it was better to start building a new Ariane 6 rocket that would be cheaper to launch and therefore more competitive. In the end it was agreed that both projects should be developed over the next couple of years — with funding of about €600 million — and then both will be reviewed in 2014, with the goal that Ariane 5ME will launch in 2017 or 2018.
For robotic exploration, meanwhile, there is mixed news. On 19 November, ESA’s ruling council approved the involvement of Russia in the agency’s twin ExoMars missions to measure trace gases in Mars' atmosphere and search for signs of life on the planet's surface, scheduled for launch in 2016 and 2018. The Russian space agency Roscosmos will provide two Proton rockets for the lift-off and so plug some of the funding gap left when NASA pulled out of the mission last year. But just ahead of the Naples meeting, Germany announced that it would abandon plans for a lunar lander because it could not gather enough support from other member states to pay for the €500-million mission."

Android

Submission + - iOS Consumers Tend to Put Their Money Where Their Mouths Are (lockergnome.com)

VoyagerRadio writes: "I've encountered Android users complaining when apps are introduced exclusively for iPhones and iPads. Yet once developers do turn their attention to their platform of choice, Android users seem reluctant to put their money where their mouths are and purchase the app(s).

There seems to be a general reluctance within the Android community to financially support the efforts of app developers, while iOS users tend to recognize the value of paying apps and services for their devices.

Is this simply because Apple consumers tend to have more disposable income than Android consumers?"

Science

Submission + - Scientists Reveal Single Gene Is the Difference Between Humans and Apes (medicaldaily.com)

An anonymous reader writes: What makes us human? Some say that it is the development of language, though others argue that animals have language as well. Some say that it is our ability to use tools, though many animals are able to use rocks and other objects as primitive tools. Some say that it is our ability to see death coming.
Now, researchers believe that they have found the definitive difference between humans and other primates, and they think that the difference all comes down to a single gene.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland attribute the split of humanity from apes to the gene miR-941. They say that the gene played an integral role in human development and contributed to humans' ability to use tools and learn languages.

Science

Submission + - Mysterious substance found in human brain

Velcroman1 writes: "A mysterious molecule that turns people into modern-day Rip Van Winkles has been discovered in the brain, and it may be responsible for a rare disorder that has some sufferers sleeping more than 70 hours a week. The strange molecule, called a "somnogen," is believed to be at the root of the sleeping disorder, which in some cases also makes it difficult for people to wake up from their marathon sleep sessions. The somongen is made up of amino acids, just like a protein, and may keep sufferers bedridden for years, said David Rye, professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine and director of research for Emory Healthcare’s Sleep Center Clinic. “They feel as if they’re walking around in a fog – physically, but not mentally awake,” Rye said."
Piracy

Submission + - Microsoft accidentally gifts pirates with a free Windows 8 Pro license key (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager’s career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key. As you have probably surmised, this isn’t intentional — Microsoft hasn’t suddenly decided to give pirates an early Christmas present (though the $40 upgrade deal from Windows 8 Release Preview is something of a pirate amnesty). In fact, it’s probably just a case of poor testing and a rushed release by Microsoft. The bug involves the Key Management Service, which is part of Microsoft's Volume Licensing system. Pirates have already hacked the KMS to activate Windows 8 for 180 days — but this is just a partial activation. Now it turns out that the free Media Center Pack license keys that Microsoft is giving out until January 31 2013 can be used on a KMS-activated copy of Windows 8 to turn it into a fully licensed copy of Windows 8 Pro. The massive irony, of course, is that Microsoft originally intended to strip Media Center from Windows 8 Pro — and then, in the face of consumer backlash, decided to offer it as a free upgrade until January 31 2013. Presumably, instead of taking the time to deliver the upgrade properly, Microsoft pushed it out the door as quickly as possible — and this is the result."
Music

Submission + - One Musician's Demand From Pandora: More Data (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: "Most Slashdotters have been following the debate among the various players in the music industry about how much money artists (and their labels) get from traditional music outlets like radio and newer services like Pandora or Spotify. But Zoë Keating, a professional cellist who has a professional interest in the outcome of this argument, thinks there's one thing missing from all the proposals: more data on who her audience is. Even digital services can't tell her how many people heard her songs or where they're most popular. "How can I grow my business on this information?" she asks. "How do I reach them? Do they know I’m performing nearby next month? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?""
Technology

Submission + - What will it take for gesture-based navigation to go mainstream? (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: This article highlights a startup entering the gesture-based computing market with a technology that enables touch-less interaction with a television that resembles touchscreen navigation on a tablet. The idea is that internet TV will bring more apps and content to the TV screen, and a more intuitive method of navigation will be needed.

While reporting and researching the topic, the question I kept asking was what it will take to get everyday consumers to use hand gestures to control their PCs and TVs and whatever other devices they'll use. All the experts seem to agree it's inevitable, but some kind of breakthrough will need to happen to persuade people to ditch the mouse, TV remote and keyboard. Will it be quality of gesture recognition? Simplification of the product? Enhancements to user interface that accommodate gestures? Price?

Submission + - iConji's Pictorial Language Enables Cross-Culturnal Communication (lockergnome.com)

VoyagerRadio writes: "Kai Staats, known for his work with Yellow Dog Linux, the PowerPC-based distro of Linux, has been developing a new system of communication called iConji. The pictorial language is intended for people to be able to communicate across cultural divides in a potentially more efficient way than the text messaging systems we've become accustomed to using. Though iConji is currently a digital form of communication, one can imagine it also extending beyond the web. iConji is also an open system, inviting anyone to compose their own symbols to share and use with others."
Science

Submission + - Vegetative state man "talks" by brain scan (bbc.co.uk)

c0lo writes: Severely brain-injured Scott Routley hasn’t spoken in 12 years. None of his physical assessments since then have shown any sign of awareness, or ability to communicate, thus being diagnosed as vegetative (vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception of themselves or the outside world).

Scott Routley was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative.
"Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is."

As a consequence, medical textbooks would need to be updated to include Prof Owen's techniques, because only observational assessments (as opposed to using mind-readers) of Mr Routley have continued to suggest he is vegetative.

The professor in an earlier interview functional MRI machines are expensive (up to $2 million), but it’s quite possible that a portable high-end EEG machine, costing about $75,000, can be used at a patient’s bedside.

Phillip K Dick's world is one step closer.

Social Networks

Submission + - How Real Are Internet Relationships? (lockergnome.com)

VoyagerRadio writes: "I have a more heightened awareness of a deliberate maintenance of relationships when I am online, and I often wonder how these "Internet relationships" are differentiated from face-to-face relationships. Certainly there are differences between the two, but are they significant enough differences to determine one of these two types of relationships as superior to the other? As for pre-existing, “in person” relationships: Does the quality of an engagement between people improve once certain aspects of communication are facilitated by the Internet? Or does the relationship degrade once it is online? Does it essentially remain the same?"

Submission + - When You Share Your World, the World Shares You (lockergnome.com)

VoyagerRadio writes: "Christopher Hills is a young man living with a physical disability that makes it impossible for him to walk, to use his hands, or to speak in a manner that is comprehensible to most. Fortunately, the use of assistive software and hardware has until now enabled Hills to use his Macintosh. (See video.) Unfortunately, the software he's been using is a Rosetta application developed by a company that will no longer be upgrading their Mac software. What software or hardware solutions exist for recent Apple products that Mr. Hills can use to continue communicating with the rest of the world through his computer?"
Linux

Submission + - Why Linux Can't "Sell" on the Desktop (lockergnome.com) 1

VoyagerRadio writes: "Recently I found myself struggling with a question I should easily have been able to answer: Why would anyone want to use Linux as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system? It’s a fair question, and asked often of Linux, but I'm finding it to be a question I can no longer answer with the conviction necessary to “sell” the platform. In fact, I kind of feel like a car salesman who realizes he no longer believes in the product he’s been pitching. It's not that I don't find Linux worthy; I simply don't understand how it's every going to succeed on the desktop with voluntary marketing efforts. What do Linux users need to do to replicate the marketing efforts of Apple and Microsoft and other corporate operating system vendors? To me, it seems you don’t sell Linux at all because there isn’t supposed to be one dominant distribution that stands out from the rest. Without a specific product to put on the shelf to sell, what in the world do you focus your efforts on selling? An idea?"

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