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Businesses

How Paid Apps On Firefox OS Will Work 74

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has put up a blog post about how building a paid app will work for Firefox OS. The Firefox Marketplace will host web apps, and Mozilla is quick to point out that the apps won't lock you into Firefox OS. They will use the receipt protocol, which other devices can support. If they end up doing so, users could buy the app just once and run it anywhere. 'There is, of course, a chicken vs. egg problem here so Mozilla hopes to be the egg that helps prove out the decentralized receipt concept and iterate on the protocol. Mozilla invites other vendors to help us work on getting receipts right so that paid apps are as portable and "webby" as possible.' Mozilla has a JavaScript API for exposing device receipts, and a client-side library can then contact a verification service URL from the receipt." Somewhat related: a recent panel at Mobile World Congress consisted of representatives for Firefox OS, Ubuntu for Phones, and Sailfish OS. They spoke about the need for alternatives to Android and iOS, and how manufacturers and carriers actually seem eager to use these new operating systems to differentiate their products

Comment Re:Teamwork (Score 1) 455

Not being an "expert" in the field (if one actually exists), all I can offer is an anecdote. I think people need both types of work at different times. As a technical lead for my team - I need to be available to point people in the right direction, help them with issues, and decide on some of the correct technical choices. However, when I am in the office I ALWAYS have someone from either my team or one of our other infrastructure teams in my office. My solution is to work from home one day a week. Even though I am available via phone, instant message, email, and even video call I don't get bothered much at all when home and can crank out code or documentation or even build system images without interruption. On the other days, I don't plan on getting too much of my own work done - but then my position includes facilitating the other folks on the team to get their assignments done. This has worked really well for me for over 5 years.
Censorship

CT State Senator Wants To Ban Kids From Using Arcade Guns 335

New submitter Nyder writes "In a move that is sure to bring tears to the eyes of kids everywhere, Connecticut State Senator Toni Harp proposed a bill in January that would ban anyone younger than 18 from playing 'violent point-and-shoot' video games in arcades or other public establishments. 'The bill also called for research into the effects of violent video games on young minds, through a committee called the Violent Video Game Task Force within the Department of Children and Families. The task force would advise the Governor and General assembly on state programs that "may reduce the effects of violent video games on youth behavior," suggesting before the research was done that violent video games have an effect on children's actions.' Hopefully this won't pass; I guess the video game lobby hasn't paid this Senator enough 'funds' for her campaign."

Comment Re:Who cares ? (Score 4, Insightful) 148

Doomed to failure? No, not completely. But when you are this late to market and your competitors have entrenched and solid ecosystems, your stuff better kick some serious ass and be available on some seriously nice hardware and have a thriving app ecosystem ready to go. Otherwise? Yes, pretty much doomed. You end up struggling mightily like Microsoft is with Windows 8 Phone. It is actually a decent OS and the hardware is pretty much on par with other phones. But it doesn't come out and just blow the others in the market away and the app ecosystem is not really "there" yet (which is why I have an Android phone). So they languish unsold. A tablet competitor like Ubuntu would be the same way. Make it really rock out of the box and get some devs on it right now or it won't go very far very fast.
Patents

Do Patent Laws Really Protect Small Inventors? 267

whoever57 writes "Patent trolls like to claim that patent laws provide a way that small inventors can create products and benefit financially from their invention. One such inventor faces selling his house, despite inventing a product that has sold tens of millions worldwide. From the article: 'Inventor Trevor Baylis says he faces having to sell his house after failing to make money from his wind up radio and is now calling for the government to step into to protect inventors. “I’ve got someone coming around in the next couple of weeks to do a valuation on my house,” says Trevor Baylis, as he walks into the sitting room of his home on Eel Pie Island, in Twickenham, south-west London. “I’m going to have to sell it or remortgage it – I’m totally broke. I’m living in poverty here.”'"
Ubuntu

Ubuntu For Phones To Arrive Next Week On Nexus 4 107

nk497 writes "Canonical has revealed that a developer preview of Ubuntu for phones will arrive next week, on the 21st of February. The touch preview will initially only be available for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones, but Canonical plans to support more devices. The release is designed to let developers create apps — and to give 'enthusiasts' a sneak peek — ahead of the smartphone side of Ubuntu arriving in version 13.10 in October. Canonical suggested that the OS will initially only support low-end smartphones, but the group plans to also support higher-end models, too, and the OS will work across mobile devices, PCs and TVs."

Comment Re:And those expensive E-books... (Score 4, Insightful) 129

Not only are they expensive, they are also not sold. They are licensed. This removes the ability to use the provisions of the first sale doctrine. So you can buy a license to a book - but you can't transfer it. With a physical book I can sell it to a used book store, hand it to my wife or kids and let them read it, send it off to a friend in another state, donate it, etc. With an e-book I can't (legally) do any of that. I can't even let my wife read it on her e-reader (separate account). Since we are very limited in what we can do (again legally) with them, they don't have the same value to me as a consumer. Yet they charge the same (or higher) price. I had put my thoughts on this into a blog entry some months back. They still pertain now. http://gildude.blogspot.com/2012/03/have-you-bought-into-e-book-model.html

One of the things I'd like to see if the ability to transfer from one cloud service to another. Amazon has theirs, Google has theirs, other folks likewise have theirs. But I have no (legal) way to transfer an e-book out of say Amazon's service and into say Google's service if, for instance, I decide I want to use a different e-reader and move "my" licensed content. Can't do it. The only value I get out of e-books that is missing from physical books is the amount of books that can be stored on a small device and the ability to add more to that device from say a hotel room on a trip. However e-books have all the previously mentioned downsides - many of which people are very slowly becoming aware of.
Linux

Moving the Linux Kernel Console To User-Space 311

jones_supa sends this quote from Phoronix: "David Herrmann has provided an update on his ambitious initiative to kill off the Linux kernel console. Herrmann has long been working on making the Linux kernel CONFIG_VT option unnecessary for providing a Linux console by punting it off to user-space. The Linux kernel VT console hasn't been changed much in the past two decades and Herrmann is hoping to see it replaced with a user-space solution he's been developing that would allow for multi-seat support, a hardware-accelerated console, full internalization, and other features."

Comment Re:Sounds like a great success. (Score 3, Interesting) 199

Well since the files are encrypted, these 150 files are simply ones where the user shared the link and the key in the URL. This can also be done via mega-search.me. In fact, according to Ars Technica http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/01/wait-for-it-select-files-from-mega-now-indexed-on-third-party-site/, several people have shared copyrighted material using Mega as storage and mega-search.me as the locator. These files can easily be checked by the copyright holder.
Android

Ask Slashdot: Best Free and Open Source Apps For Android? 134

First time accepted submitter aNonnyMouseCowered writes "One of my favorite freeware Android applications has been pulled from the Google Play app store. While I found a replacement for the app, I've decided to install only apps that won't become obsolete merely because of the developer's whim or lack of interest. With the exception of games, which I don't deem essential for work, I don't want to install potential abandonware even if they cost the pauperly sum of $0.00. My decision has thus far meant installing a relatively crude text editor like BusyBox's version of vi, rather than any one of those full-blown mobile office suites. I've found a short list of open source Android apps at Wikipedia, including the usual suspects, Firefox and the VLC media player. There are also links to two other sites at the end of the article. But even the more comprehensive listings have large gaps in them even when compared 'merely' to the programs available in a typical GNU/Linux repository. So can anyone recommend useful or even just fun Free, Libre and Open Source Software for an Android smartphone or tablet? Free virtual beer to those that can find links for FLOSS programs for editing audiovisual media (Blender for Android?) and documents more sophisticated than HTML."
Hardware

Slashdot Asks: What would you like to see at CES? 102

This year's Consumer Electronics Show has nearly arrived. Later today, I'll be hurtling (or perhaps just slogging) across the West Texas desert, bound for Vegas. CES is far too big an event to see very much of, no matter what: the endless aisles (highways!) of cheap laptop bags and e-cigarettes alone take up an incredible amount of floor space, but the good stuff takes up at least as much. The categories represented aren't necessarily new, but the trends vary each time: remote-controlled helicopters, from Parrot and others, have been been getting more capable for a few years running, along with 3D televisions, action cameras, ever-bigger displays, toys for kids, toys for adults, and the newest/slimmest/priciest/cheapest laptops and handhelds. Last year I had a chance to get close-up video views at Ubuntu TV and the successfully crowdfunded TouchFire keyboard, as well as interviews with John Ryan of Pixel Qi and Raspberry Pi instigator Eben Upton. I'll be on the lookout for some of my usual obsessions (open source in consumer products, bright LED-based projectors, interesting input devices), but what would you like to see up-close from this year's crop of exhibitors (sorry, it's a long list), and why?
Cellphones

Who Would Actually Build an Ubuntu Smartphone? 230

Nerval's Lobster writes "When Canonical whipped back the curtain from its upcoming Ubuntu for smartphones, it set off a flurry of blogosphere speculation about the open-source operating system's chances on the open market. But which company would actually build such a device? Apple and Research In Motion and Nokia are all out of the running, for very obvious reasons. Motorola, as a subsidiary of Google, is also unlikely to leap on the Ubuntu bandwagon. While Hewlett-Packard has flirted with smartphones in the past, most notably after its Palm acquisition, the company doesn't seem too focused on that segment at the moment. That leaves manufacturers such as HTC, which currently offer devices running either Google Android or Windows Phone. But given Android's popularity, it might prove difficult for Canonical to convince these manufacturers to do more than release a token Ubuntu device—especially if Google and Microsoft apply counter-pressure."
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Phone OS Unveiled 248

Today Canonical announced Ubuntu for phones. The new operating system is designed to provide easier access to apps and content than is provided by current mobile OSes. They do this by relying on swipe gestures from the edges of the phone's screen. "Every edge of the phone is used, letting you move faster between apps, settings and content. A short swipe from the left edge of the screen is all it takes to reveal your favourite apps. Page either left or right from the home screen to see the content you use most. A full left-to-right swipe reveals a screen showing all your open apps, while a swipe from the right brings you instantly to the last app you were using. ... A swipe from the right edge takes you back to the last app you were using; another swipe takes you back to the app you used before that. It’s natural to keep many apps open at once, which is why Ubuntu was designed for multi-tasking. ... Swiping up from the bottom edge of the phone reveals app controls." The Ubuntu phone OS is built to work well on low-powered devices. Canonical will be at CES next week working on raising interest from manufacturers. As far as software goes, they have this to say: "Web apps are first class citizens on Ubuntu, with APIs that provide deep integration into the interface. HTML5 apps written for other platforms can be adapted to Ubuntu with ease, and we’re targeting standard cross-platform web app development frameworks like PhoneGap to make Ubuntu ‘just work’ for apps that use them." (In the attached video, the phone OS discussion starts at about 6:37.)

Comment Re:walled gardens don't work (Score 1) 217

I agree with you on that. I have one of these "Smart TVs" (in my case an LG). I've had it for 5 months now. It has gotten 4 "software updates" that nobody from LG will document or give a change log for so we have no idea what is being added, removed, or fixed. After 4 months, it began randomly rebooting. Sometimes it would work through most of a soccer or football game - other times it would reboot almost every 15 minutes. Had to have the main board replaced (under warranty thankfully). It does have some apps. It has Netflix. Now, I have the TV and the TiVo on wired networking. When I watch Netflix using the TV app, it is so laggy that it is unwatchable. It goes to pixelated crap all the time. Using the TiVo to watch Netflix works fine. So we don't use any of the "Smart" apps on the TV. We just run the silly updates when prompted. Other than that, we just use the HDMI inputs and once in awhile a VGA in. Quite frankly I'd rather it be a dumb display and just leave the "Smarts" to the devices connected to it.
Security

NYPD To Identify 'Deranged' Gunmen Through Internet Chatter 292

Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Wilson writes in the NY Times that top intelligence officials in the New York Police Department are looking for ways to target 'apolitical or deranged killers before they become active shooters' using techniques similar to those being used to spot terrorists' chatter online. The techniques would include 'cyber-searches of language that mass-casualty shooters have used in e-mails and Internet postings,' says Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. 'The goal would be to identify the shooter in cyberspace, engage him there and intervene, possibly using an undercover to get close, and take him into custody or otherwise disrupt his plans.' There are also plans to send officers to Newtown and to scenes of other mass shootings to collect information says the department's chief spokesman Paul. J. Browne adding that potential tactics include creating an algorithm that would search online 'for terms used by active shooters in the past that may be an indicator of future intentions.' The NYPD's counter-terrorism division released a report last year, 'Active Shooter (PDF),' after studying 202 mass shooting incidents. 'So, we think this is another logical step,' says Kelly."

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