Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Cellphones

In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License 207

New submitter dubner writes Simply hand the law enforcement officer your mobile phone. That's what you can do in Iowa rather than "digging through clutter in your glove compartment for an insurance card." And soon your driver's license will be available on your phone too, according to a story in the (Des Moines Register). Iowans will soon be able to use a mobile app on their smartphones as their official driver's license issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation. Some marvelous quotes in TFA: "The new app should be highly secure ... People will use a pin number for verification." And "Branstad (Iowa governor)... noted that even Iowa children are now working on digital development projects." A raft of excuses ("battery's dead") and security problems come to mind; how would you implement such a system?
Announcements

Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta) 1191

Slashdot's biggest redesign effort ever is now in beta and you're invited to help guide it. This redesign has been shaped by feedback from community members over the past few months (a big thanks to those of you who participated in our alpha testing phase!), and we'd like your thoughts on it, too. This new design is meant to be richer but also simpler to use, while maintaining the spirit of what Slashdot is all about: News for Nerds. Stuff that matters. Read on for the details of what's included, or read this blog post. Update: 10/02 19:16 GMT by T : Since this post went live, we've been reading through the comments below as well as your (hundreds!) of emails. These are all valuable, as we continue to implement our current features into the Beta. Keep 'em coming; we love the feedback. Please keep in mind that this is called Beta for a reason; we've still folding in lots of improvements. One important thing to bear in mind is that the images are optional: check out the Classic mode by clicking on the view selection widget (just above the stories) on the Beta page.
Microsoft

Maybe Steve Ballmer Doesn't Deserve the Hate 240

Nerval's Lobster writes "Who could forget Steve Ballmer's defining moment, that infamous 'Developers! Developers! Developers!' rant that became a YouTube hit? Or the reports of frighteningly accurate chair-throwing? Who could miss the tech media and investors blaming him for everything from Microsoft's largely stagnant stock price over the past decade to its inability to get in front of trends such as mobile devices? But tech columnist (and Kernel editor-in-chief) Milo Yiannopoulos talked to a bunch of Ballmer's friends and colleagues, picked through Microsoft's history, and came away with the argument that the man deserves a second look as an effective leader. 'He stands accused of running one of the greatest companies in American history into the ground, even as its stock price remains remarkably resilient and the company continues to turn a healthy profit,' he writes. 'The mature verdict on Steve Ballmer is that he has made only one major strategic error: not combining his own brilliance for sales and detail with a visionary product leader who has the authority to create bold new revenue streams for the company.' Do you agree? Or does Ballmer deserve his reputation as a bad CEO?"
Software

Retail Copies of Office 2013 Are Tied To a Single Computer Forever 464

An anonymous reader writes "With the launch of Office 2013 Microsoft has seen fit to upgrade the terms of the license agreement, and it's not in favor of the end user. It seems installing a copy of the latest version of Microsoft's Office suite of apps ties it to a single machine. For life. On previous versions of Office it was a different story. The suite was associated with a 'Licensed Device' and could only be used on a single device. But there was nothing to stop you uninstalling Office and installing it on another machine perfectly legally. With that option removed, Office 2013 effectively becomes a much more expensive proposition for many."
Microsoft

Microsoft Lays Out Money-Making Options For Windows Store Developers 85

tsamsoniw writes "With the release of Windows 8 just around the corner, Microsoft is eager to see its Windows Store well stocked with third-party, Metro-friendly apps. Hoping to get developers on board, the company has announced pricing structure, along with guidance and tools to help developers create trial versions of apps and set up lucrative in-app purchases."
Microsoft

Microsoft Reveals More Windows 8 Details 538

Barence writes "Microsoft has released the first full details of Windows 8, with an all-or-nothing approach to touchscreen technology. All versions of Windows 8 — whether used on a touchscreen device or not — will use the operating system's new Metro interface, which was first developed for Windows Phone 7 devices. The advent of Windows 8 sees Microsoft introduce a new style of application, dubbed Metro Style apps, and its own app store. The company also claims to have boosted Windows 8 performance with fast boot/shutdown times, a new Task Manager and the option to refresh a PC with a clean install of the OS with apps and settings left intact."
Microsoft

Will Microsoft Release Its Own Windows 8 Tablet? 207

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft isn't exactly known for its hardware prowess. Sure, it's churned out plenty of nice mice, keyboards, and game controllers over the years, but success with actual devices has been mixed. The Xbox 360 has exceeded all expectations, while the Zune and Kin hardware have been monumental failures. According to industry sources in Taiwan, however, Microsoft is working on a Windows 8 tablet that will be powered by Texas Instrument's next-generation 1.8GHz dual core processor."
Government

Draft Proposal Would Create Agency To Tax Cars By the Mile 932

theodp writes "The Hill reports that the Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive. The plan is a part of the administration's 'Transportation Opportunities Act,' and calls for spending $200 million to implement a new Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office tasked with creating a 'study framework that defines the functionality of a mileage-based user fee system and other systems.' The office would be required to consider four factors — the capability of states to enforce payment, the reliability of technology, administrative costs, and 'user acceptance' — in field trials slated to begin within four years at unspecified sites. Forbes suggests the so-called vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax should be called the Rube Goldberg Gas Tax, because while its objective is the same as the gas tax, the way it collects revenue is extremely complex, costly and cumbersome." The disclaimers are thick on the ground, though; note, this is an "early draft," not pending legislation.
DRM

HarperCollins Wants Library EBooks to Self-Destruct After 26 Loans 181

An anonymous reader writes: "HarperCollins has decided to change their agreement with e-book distributor OverDrive [and other distributors, too]. They forced OverDrive, which is a main e-book distributor for libraries, to agree to terms so that HarperCollins e-books will only be licensed for checkout 26 times. Librarians have blown up over this, calling for a boycott of HarperCollins, breaking the DRM on e-books -- basically doing anything to let HarperCollins and other publishers know they consider this abuse." Cory Doctorow, who wrote TFA, says: "For the record, all of my HarperCollins ebooks are also available as DRM-free Creative Commons downloads. And as bad as HarperCollins' terms are, they're still better than Macmillan's, my US/Canadian publisher, who don't allow any library circulation of their ebook titles."
Graphics

Facebook Images To Get Expiration Date 306

Pickens writes "BBC reports that researchers have created software that gives images an expiration date by tagging them with an encrypted key so that once this date has passed the key stops the images being viewed and copied. Professor Michael Backes, who led development of the X-Pire system, says development work began about 18 months ago as potentially risky patterns of activity on social networks, such as Facebook, showed a pressing need for such a system. 'More and more people are publishing private data to the internet and it's clear that some things can go wrong if it stays there too long,' says Backes. The X-Pire software creates encrypted copies of images and asks those uploading them to give each one an expiration date. Viewing these images requires the free X-Pire browser add-on. When the viewer encounters an encrypted image it sends off a request for a key to unlock it. This key will only be sent, and the image become viewable, if the expiration date has not been passed."
Businesses

Amazon, Not Developers, Will Set New App Store's Prices 294

Trebortech writes "Looks like Amazon is changing the rules of the game for developers with their new Android App store. I'm curious how Amazon will determine the value of your app and if having control of your prices really matters." The core of the linked article: "Here's how it works: When developers submit apps to Amazon's app store, they will be able to set a suggested retail price ('MSRP'). It can be free, it can be $50, whatever. Then Amazon -- not the developer -- will set the retail price. It can be full price, it can be a sale price, or it can be free. Developers will get to take home the standard 70% of the app's retail price (what the app sells for) or 20% of the MSRP (what the developer thinks it should sell for), whichever is greater."
Microsoft

New Microsoft Silverlight Features Have Windows Bias 251

An anonymous reader writes with this quote from a story at El Reg about an early look at the Silverlight 4 beta: "There are ... major changes to Silverlight's out-of-browser functionality, a loose equivalent to Adobe Systems' AIR runtime for Flash. Even when fully sandboxed, which means having the same permissions that would apply to a browser-hosted Silverlight applet, out-of-browser applications get an HTML control, custom window settings, and the ability to fire pop-up notifications. ... Unfortunately, some of these features are not what they first appear. The HTML control in Silverlight 4 is not a new embedded browser from Microsoft, but uses components from Internet Explorer on Windows, or Safari on the Mac, which means that the same content might render differently. The HTML control only works out-of-browser, and simply displays a blank space if browser-hosted. Clipboard support is text-only in the Silverlight 4 beta, though this could change for the full release. More seriously, COM automation is a Windows-only feature, introducing differentiation between the Mac and Windows implementations."
Biotech

Scientists Build a Smarter Rat 302

destinyland writes "Scientists have engineered a more intelligent rat, with three times the memory length of today's smartest rats. Reseachers bred transgenic over-expression of the NR2B gene, which increased communication between the rat's memory synapses. Activating a crucial brain receptor for just a fraction of a second longer produces a dramatic effect on memory, as proven by the rat's longer memories of the path through a maze."

Slashdot Top Deals

To get back on your feet, miss two car payments.

Working...