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Submission + - Asus, Gigabyte to replace all Sandy Bridge boards (techreport.com)

J. Dzhugashvili writes: In the wake of Intel's announcement that all existing Sandy Bridge chipsets have a bug that causes degraded Serial ATA performance, top-tier motherboard makers Asus and Gigabyte have made public statements regarding their return policy for affected boards. Asus is promising 'hassle-free return and/or replacement', while Gigabyte says owners of affected boards are entitled to a full refund or replacement—and it recommends that users seek refunds. Both companies are advising users to contact the original place of purchase to proceed. On a related note, Gigabyte has announced that new Sandy Bridge motherboards with bug-free chipsets will be available in volume in April.

Submission + - Visa: New analytics will spot $1.5b more in fraud (threatpost.com)

chicksdaddy writes: Threatpost is reporting on an announcement by credit card giant Visa Inc. about an update to its anti-fraud technology will make it easier to spot sophisticated credit card fraud that spans national borders. Visa said the upgrade of Visa Advanced Authentication, the company's real time risk scoring technology, will improve overall fraud detection by about 29% and improve detection of certain kinds of sophisticated credit card fraud by 122%. Visa processed around 45 billion transactions in 2010. The updates to Advanced Authentication will allow the company to detect an extra $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions in the next year by flagging things like rapid-fire fraudulent transactions designed to blind current anti fraud detection systems, and trans-national fraud that originates outside the card holder's country of origin.

Submission + - Social Networks Race to IPO to beat Facebook (technorati.com)

frontwave writes: According to Reuter's "Some of these companies want to go public because they want to beat Facebook and others out," said one of their sources. "If Facebook went public before LinkedIn, do you think anyone would pay that much attention to LinkedIn?" You might want to surpass the beast."

Heroic Engineer Crashes Own Vehicle To Save a Life 486

scottbomb sends in this feel-good story of an engineer-hero, calling it "one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time." "A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — 'there was no time to take a vote' — Innes kicked into engineer mode. 'Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,' Innes explained."

Submission + - U.S. scientists learn how to levitate tiny objects (yahoo.com)

AVIDJockey writes: Scientists have found a way to levitate the very smallest objects using the strange forces of quantum mechanics, and said on Wednesday they might use it to help make tiny nanotechnology machines.

They said they had detected and measured a force that comes into play at the molecular level using certain combinations of molecules that repel one another. The repulsion can be used to hold molecules aloft, in essence levitating them, creating virtually friction-free parts for tiny devices.


Submission + - Streching Before Exercising Weakens Muscles

Khemisty writes: "If you're like most of us, you were taught the importance of warm-up exercises back in grade school, and you've likely continued with pretty much the same routine ever since. Science, however, has moved on. Researchers now believe that some of the more entrenched elements of many athletes' warm-up regimens are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching — primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg's muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as well, probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements."

Submission + - Nationwide domain name/yard sign conspiracy (rjmetrics.com) 1

robertjmoore writes: "Everywhere I go lately, I see these lawn signs that say "Single?" and then give a URL with my town's name in it. Being a huge business intelligence geek with too much time on my hands, I decided to track down who was behind them and wound up uncovering ten thousand domain names, a massively coordinated and well-funded guerilla marketing machine, and the $45 Million revenue business hiding behind it all. Hot off the presses, these are my findings."

Submission + - How much should you spend on a graphics card? 4

theraindog writes: "High-end graphics cards get all the glory, but most folks have a difficult time justifying $300 or more for a single PC component. But what if you could get reasonable performance in all the latest games from a budget card costing as little as $70? With game developers targeting the relatively modest hardware available in current consoles and trickle-down bringing cutting-edge features down to budget price points, today's low-end graphics cards are more capable than ever. To find out which one offers the best value proposition, The Tech Report has rounded up eight graphics cards between $70 and $170, comparing their game performance, Blu-ray playback acceleration, noise levels, and power consumption, with interesting results."

Submission + - Successful Moonlighting for Geeks

Lawksamussy writes: Having just bought a really old house that's on the verge of falling down, I'm now trying to find a way to pay to fix it up. I have a great job in software development that pays the bills, but I'm looking to earn some extra cash in my spare time.

Whatever I end up doing has to be reasonably lucrative (or at least have the potential to be so), not require any specific time commitment and could be done equally well from home or from a hotel room. I'm also keen that it should be sufficiently different to my day job to keep my interest up, so the most obvious things like bidding for programming projects on Rentacoder.com, or fixing up neighbors' PCs don't really appeal. Above all, it should appeal to my inner geek, otherwise my low boredom threshold will doom it to failure before I even start!

So, I wonder if any of my fellow Slashdotters run little part-time ventures that they find more of an inspiration than a chore ... and if they are willing to share what they do and perhaps even how much money they make?
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Spore DRM protest appears to have been successful (ign.com) 1

Crazy Taco writes: The heavy Amazon.com protest of Spore's DRM appears to have caught the attention of executives at EA. After receiving a 1 star rating for Spore on Amazon, ign.com reports that the DRM for the soon to be released Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 will be scaled back. Unlike previous Command and Conquer games, the CD will not be required to be placed in the drive to play, the online authentication will be one time (rather than periodic phone calls home), and up to five installations will be allowed, as opposed to three for Spore.

While I still think 5 installations is too small (I've probably re-installed Command and Conquer Generals 20 times over the years due to PC reformats, getting a new PC, etc), EA says they will have staff standing by to grant more installations as necessary on a case by case basis. So while this isn't optimal, at least we are getting a compromise, and hopefully if the piracy rate for the game is low, perhaps EA will get comfortable enough to ship with even less DRM in the future.


Submission + - Podcaster rejected by an anti-competitive Apple? (blogspot.com) 1

DaveyJJ writes: "Jogn Gruber, of http://www.daringfireball.com/ has brought to the world's attention yet another rejection of an application by Apple, but with perhaps a chilling twist for potential developers of productivity or utility apps. He points out that the iPhone 'Podcaster' app has been rejected because it duplicates iTunes functionality. He goes on to write ...

"Flabbergasting. This is the worst reason for an app to be rejected yet. As the author points out, by this logic, Apple could have rejected PCalc (for duplicating the built-in Calculator app), or any of the various note-taking apps. Check out the demo — Podcaster is clearly a serious app that provides functionality far beyond the iPhone's built-in podcast support. This stinks to high hell. Jon Rentzsch nails it in this tweet: the NDA is a mere annoyance, but a "you can't compete against Apple" policy is so wrong it breaks the platform. It is indefensible."

While it's possible that some case might be made for Apple yanking the "I Am Rich" app on the grounds of "consumer protection," and the "Pull My Finger" app on the questionable grounds of "good taste" ... I think this rejection sends a chilling signal to people developing productivity or business apps that perform and look great, but Apple simply doesn't like. That line in the sand needs much better public definition, Apple."


Submission + - The death of the progress bar? (slashdot.org)

Too-late-too-fight-boredom writes: As I sit watching a 3G iPhone absorb the latest 237.8MB upgrade (that's before unpacking, btw) I realise that here too is really no way of telling just how far it has progressed, and it struck me that I haven't seen a *real* progress bar for quite some time other than, ironically, on the iPhone itself.

Let me define "real": a progress bar that gives me an idea of how far a computer program has progressed during a time consuming (> 30 seconds) task. What I do NOT consider a progress bar:

- one that starts again after it has completed its journey from left to right (a "feature" of most newer installers, probably aimed at users busy)
- an animation that tells me nothing at all — demonstrated by what PC based iTunes shows when it pushes the aforementioned update up the iPhone's rear end.
- one that tells me it needs another 31456 hours and some minutes and then finishes 10 mins later (Vista).

Now, I understand that it's sometimes hard to predict just how long things are going to take, but then maybe an overview bar and one per task would be more informative. It's not like that is a new idea, if I recall correctly that was something used by the Norton Commander. If not, well, look at the Linux Midnight Commander — same idea. Useful.

I've seen enough "keep 'em busy" animation to last me a lifetime, starting with the animated Windows hourglass which mainly appears to suggest that the system you paid for is presently off doing something else like smoking a joint or copying some potentially confidential information, so I really don't need any more of that, thanks.

Just bring back the progress bar, please. I would consider that, umm, well, progress..

The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: Congress questions high cost of texting

Anti-Globalism writes: "Sen Herb Kohl, chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee in the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to the four major wireless carriers--AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile--asking them to explain the dramatic price increases for text messaging services. "Some industry experts contend that these increased rates do not appear to be justified by any increases in the costs associated with text messaging services, but may instead be a reflection of a decrease in competition, and an increase in market power, among your four companies," Kohl said in the letter."
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