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Submission + - Honda Pulls a Steve Jobs: Ships Car With No Transmission (greencarreports.com)

cartechboy writes: Steve Jobs simply removed features he thought users didn't need in the name of efficiency. But those removed features better be non-essential right? Can a car work with no transmission? Turns out, the answer is yes—if it's a new kind of hybrid. Honda's 2014 Accord Hybrid has no conventional automatic transmission, no automated dual-clutch system, and no belt-and-pulley continuously variable transmission either. There's also no torque converter or even a drive clutch to slip the engine from a standing start. Okay, so how does the thing drive? Four gearsets sit between the electric and gas power sources and the front wheels, but all those drive ratios are fixed. Add in some sophisticated controls and a small clutch pack to engage the engine and the powertrain provides three propulsion modes: electric, gas, and and blended — all without shifting any gears. The main reason for all the effort? Efficiency. Honda claims its direct-driver has 46 to 80 percent less friction than a conventional automatic, depending on the drive mode. As for the name – "Two-motor Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive/Plug-in" – well, that's one thing we don't think Steve Jobs would have approved of.

Submission + - 5 ridiculous tech fees you're still paying

Esther Schindler writes: None of us like to spend money (except on shiny new toys). But even we curmudgeons can understand that companies need to charge for things that cost them money; and profit-making is at the heart of our economy.

Still, several charges appear on our bills that can drive even the most complacent techie into a screaming fit. How did this advertised price turn into that much on the final bill? Why are they charging for it in the first place? Herewith, five fees that make no sense at all — and yet we still fork over money for them.

For example: "While Internet access is free in coffee shops, some public transit, and even campsites, as of 2009 15% of hotels charged guests for the privilege of checking their e-mail and catching up on watching cat videos. Oddly, budget and midscale hotel chains are more likely to offer free Wi-Fi, while luxurious hotels — already costing the traveler more — regularly ding us."

Submission + - President Obama refuses to veto import ban on Samsung products (bloomberg.com)

Chris453 writes: In August 2013, President Obama issued a veto to an import ban of the iPhone 4S after Samsung won several court battles against Apple claiming that the iPhone 4S violated several of Samsung's patents. Despite the hypocracy in a very similar case, the Obama administration today announced that it would not veto the International Trade Commission import ban against Samsung products (filed by Apple) in a move that could spark a trade dispute between the US and South Korea.
OS X

Beware the Garden of Steven 580

theodp writes "With its forthcoming Lion Mac OS and new Apple-curated Mac Apps Store, Apple will be locking down top tier applications on the Mac similar to the way apps are locked down on the iPad and iPhone. Only by submitting their apps to Apple's store and giving up 30% of their receipts will developers get to take advantage of two new OS features. The first is Apple's new 'Launchpad,' a tool for easily opening application; the second is the ability to update apps to new versions with one click. It will be a lot easier to use apps bought from the Mac App Store than ones downloaded in the wild. It didn't have to be that way, says Valleywag's Ryan Tate: 'Apple could have enabled its Launchpad and auto-update features for all applications, sold through the Apple Store or not. For example, an open system for updating applications has been in use for years on Ubuntu... Ubuntu's 'Apt' (Advanced Packaging Tool) lets users install, update, and remove software of their choosing with a single command. There's a central list of apps curated by Ubuntu's maintainers, but users are free to add and install from other lists... But Apple seems to have made a very clear choice not to take the open route.' Longtime Apple developer Dave Winer was also concerned, tweeting during Apple's presentation 'Is this the end of the Mac as an open platform?' The news also prompted developer Anil Dash to call for an open alternative to the Mac App Store."
Security

Hacker Business Models 96

wiredmikey writes "The industrialized hackers are intent on one goal — making money. They also know the basic rules of the business of increasing revenues while cutting costs. As hackers started making money, the field became full of 'professionals' that inspired organized cyber crime. Similar to industrial corporations, hackers have developed their own business models in order to operate as a profitable organization. What do these business models look like? Data has become the hacker's currency. More data, more money. So the attack logic is simple: the more attacks, the more likely victim — so you automate ..."
Classic Games (Games)

Retro Gaming Technologies Released Before Their Time 120

Barence writes "Motion-sensing golf game controllers that appeared 20 years before the Nintendo Wii and the 1980s handheld console that operated on solar power are just two of the gems unearthed in this article about retro gaming secrets. Davey Winder has delved into his extensive personal collection of retro hardware to unveil the first handheld console to play '3D games' from 1983, 'the most realistic "gun" game controller ever produced' from way back in 1972, and the device that offered multiplayer computerized Scrabble almost 30 years before the iPad."
Government

Spamhaus Fine Reduced From $11.7M To $27K 378

eldavojohn writes "In 2006, anti-spam crusader Spamhaus was sued for 'defamation, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and interference with existing contracts' after blocking 'promotional e-mails' from e360. What with the case being in Illinois and Spamhaus being a British outfit, Spamhaus didn't bloody care. So, e360 was awarded $11.7 million in damages, which was later thrown out in an appeals court with a request for the lower court to come up with actual damage estimates instead of the ridiculous $11.7 million. (e360 had originally stated $135M, then $122M, and then $30M as sums of damages.) As a result, the actual damages were estimated to be just $27,002. While this is a massive reduction in the fine and a little bit more realistic, I think it is important to note that Spamhaus is a service that people proactively utilize. They don't force you to use their anti-spam identification system — it's totally opt-in. And now they're being fined what a foreign judge found to be 'one month of additional work on behalf of the customers' to a company they allegedly incorrectly identified as spam. Sad and scary precedent."
Earth

Giant Guatemalan 'Sinkhole' Is Worse Than We Thought 357

reillymj writes "Despite hundreds of media reports to the contrary, Sam Bonis, a geologist whose life work has been studying Guatemalan geology, has plainly said that the dramatic 'sinkhole' in Guatemala City that opened over the weekend isn't a sinkhole at all. Instead, he called it a 'piping feature' and warned that because the country's capital city sits on a pile of loose volcanic ash, the over one million people living on top of the pile are in danger. 'I'd hate to have to be in the government right now,' Bonis, who worked for the Guatemalan government's Instituto Geografico Nacional for 16 years, said. 'There is an excellent potential for this to happen again. It could happen almost anywhere in the city.'"
The Courts

Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years 602

selven was one of several readers to send in the news that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. "Bernard Madoff's victims gasped and cheered when he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, but they walked away knowing little more about how he carried out the biggest robbery in Wall Street history. In one of the most dramatic courtroom conclusions to a corporate fraud case, the 71-year-old swindler was unemotional as he was berated by distraught investors during the 90-minute proceeding. Many former clients had hoped he would shed more light on his crime and explain why he victimized so many for so long. But he did not. Madoff called his crime 'an error of judgment' and his 'failure,' reiterating previous statements that he alone was responsible for the $65 billion investment fraud. His victims said they did not hear much new from Madoff in his five-minute statement. They also said they did not believe anything he said. As he handed down the maximum penalty allowed, US District Judge Denny Chin... [said], 'I simply do not get the sense that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or told all that he knows.'"
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Does The 'Hacker Ethic' Harm Today's Developers? (infoworld.com)

snydeq writes: "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions whether the 'hacker ethic' synonymous with computer programing in American society is enough for developers to succeed in today's economy. To be sure, self-taught 'cowboy coders' — the hallmark of today's programming generation in America — are technically proficient, McAllister writes, 'but their code is less likely to be maintainable in the long term, and they're less likely to conform to organizational development processes and coding standards.' And though HTC's Vineet Nayar's proclamation that American programmers are 'unemployable' is overblown, there may be wisdom in offering a new kind of computer engineering degree targeted toward the student who is more interested in succeeding in industry than exploring computing theory. 'American software development managers often complain that Indian programmers are too literal-minded,' McAllister writes, but perhaps Americans have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. In other words, are we 'too in love with the hacker ideal of the 1980s to produce programmers who are truly prepared for today's real-life business environment?'"
Microsoft

Submission + - Windows 7 Upgrade: Why Pay Twice For the Same OS? (pcworld.com)

Ransak writes: "It would appear that despite the recession Microsoft is looking to get paid twice for Windows 7 from some business customers. FTA — "In another blow to customers, Microsoft says free Windows 7 upgrades--for companies that purchase new hardware between now and the Oct. 22 release date of the new OS--will be limited to 25 machines." As pointed out in the article, Gartner has weighed in on this."
Portables

Submission + - Nokia's netbooks - keep your hair on (tamoggemon.com)

Anonymous Coward writes: "Nokia's recently-announced partnership with Intel has caused concern for quite a few key players in the industry: is Nokia planning to give up on S60, Maemo or anything else? Is this a game-changing move? Or is it just a matter of maximising marketshare and revenue? Read on for the full scoop! 13102008285 Nokias netbooks keep your hair on In order to understand what is going on here, we IMHO need to take a step back and look at how the majority of netbooks is being sold nowadays. The little critter pictured above (yours truly's MSI Wind U100) was purchased directly from the manufacturer: which is a way very few people go. It is furthermore used as a subnotebook (and is also referred to as such)...and generally does a formidable job."
Security

Submission + - Sony Begins Shipping PCs With Green Dam In China (informationweek.com)

Dotnaught writes: "Sony is now shipping computers in China with Green Dam installed, in advance of the Chinese government's July 1 deadline. But the company is disclaiming responsibility for any damage caused by the Web filtering software. Documents posted by Hong Kong-based media studies professor Rebecca MacKinnon also suggest that the Chinese government is considering similar filtering requirements for mobile phones."
KDE

Submission + - Aaron Seigo Puts Out Call to Save Freedesktop.org (blogspot.com)

MaryBethP writes: "Aaron Seigo writes on his blog http://aseigo.blogspot.com/ a call-to-arms for freedesktop.org. "What is freedesktop.org supposed to be? Well, it's supposed to be a place for people working on F/OSS desktop projects to come together and collaborate on shared designs and shared software. It's been successful in bringing together drag and drop, window manager hints, application menus, icon themes, bookmarks, D-Bus and much more. This is valuable work and freedesktop.org is, or at least should, be vital to the F/OSS desktop platform.

It has seen better days, however. Currently it suffers from two major illnesses: administritus and anarchiosis."

Full blog here:

http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2009/06/saving-freedesktoporg-together.html"

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