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Submission + - Canada Post announces the end of home delivery

Lev13than writes: Canada Post is phasing out urban home delivery, raising the price of a letter to $1 and cutting 8,000 jobs to cope with dwindling volume and a projected loss of $1B/year by 2020. About 1/3 of Canadian homes currently get mail delivered to their door. Deliveries will remain weekdays-only and business will be unaffected (at least for now). Much like the USPS, Canada Post is mandated to be self-funded, but 5% annual volume declines and rising costs are taking their toll.

Submission + - Lament of the Beanie Baby Collector (thestar.com)

Lev13than writes: In a plush lesson on supply & demand, the 1990s phenomenon of $10 Beanie Baby toys that resold for upwards of $10,000 each are now languishing on eBay for as low as $0.40 per toy. The Toronto Star revisited the subject of a 1997 cover story, the then-10-year old "investor" Mike Garard. Now, 15 years later, Garard is grown up, and some of those rare Beanies once worth thousands, well, “You can’t even get 20 bucks,” he says. At the height of the craze, Garard’s father told him to sell the animals, but he couldn’t part with them. He estimated he had four or five of the rare ones worth $7,500 to $10,000. When high school came, he hid them away. “It’s not the most impressive thing if you’ve got a girlfriend coming over and you’ve got a ton of stuffed animals all over the place,” Garard said.
Networking

Submission + - Cisco says, "All your Routers are Belong to Us" (cisco.com) 1

Myrv writes: Reports have starting popping up that Cisco is pushing out and automatically (without permission) installing their new Cloud Connect firmware on consumer routers. The new firmware removes the users ability to login and administer the router locally. You now must configure the router using Cisco's Cloud connect service. If that wasn't bad enough the fine print for this new service allows Cisco to track your complete internet history. Currently it appears the only way to disable the Cloud Connect service is to unplug your from the internet.

Submission + - Canadian Internet Surveillance dies a quiet, lonely death. (theglobeandmail.com)

Dr Caleb writes: "The Internet surveillance legislation sponsored by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has disappeared down a dark legislative hole. For all intents and purposes, the bill is dead. If the Harper government still wants to pass a law that would make it easier for police to track people who use the web to commit crimes, it will have to start from scratch.

A follow up from the Minister of "Against Online Surveillance? You Must Be 'For' Child Porn""

Privacy

Submission + - G20 critic acquitted of trumped up bomb charges (theglobeandmail.com)

Lev13than writes: A Toronto-based G20 activist has been acquitted on all charges after the Crown failed to prove the Toronto man was planning to combine chemicals to make bombs. Byron Sonne, a self-described security geek, said the chemicals were for his rocketry hobby. Mr. Sonne also maintained he was trying to expose gaps in the $1-billion summit’s security, which the judge agreed was plausible. At trial, his lawyer argued that suggestions Mr. Sonne was planning to blow up the summit flew in the face of his openly stated intentions to expose security gaps. Police found no bombs when they arrested Mr. Sonne, but they did seize potato guns from his cottage. Mr. Sonne's arrest was one of a series of police missteps during the G20 summit held in June 2010 in Toronto.
Canada

Submission + - Byron Sonne Cleared of Explosives Charges (thestar.com)

davegravy writes: Byron Sonne, the Toronto-based security consultant / chemistry hobbyist / geek who was arrested leading up to the Toronto G-20 for alleged plans to bomb the event, has been found not guilty of all charges.

Sonne was held in prison for 11 months without receiving bail and the ruling comes 2 years after his arrest. Sonne is considered by many in the Toronto security community as a champion of civil rights and a sharp critic of security theatre.

Submission + - Evidence of lost Leonardo fresco behind Florentine wall (nationalpost.com)

Lev13than writes: Art historians working in Florence's city hall claim to have found evidence of Leonardo da Vinci's lost Battle of Anghiari fresco. Painted in 1505, the fresco was covered over by a larger mural during mid-16th Century palace renovations. Historians have long speculated that the original work was protected behind a false wall. Attempts to reveal the truth have been complicated by the need to protect Vasari's masterpiece Battle of Marciano that now graces the room. By drilling small holes into previously-restored sections of Vasari's fresco, researchers used endoscopic cameras and probes to determine that a second wall does exist. They further claim that the hidden wall is adorned with pigments consistent with Leonardo's style. The research has set off a storm of controversy between those who want to find the lost work and others who believe that it is gone, and that further exploration risks destroying the existing artwork.
Games

Submission + - Can $60 Games Survive? (gamesindustry.biz)

donniebaseball23 writes: Game budgets continue to rise with each successive console generation, and with the Wii U launching later this year, the industry is on the cusp of yet another costly transition. Publishers started regularly charging $60 for games this generation, but that's a model that simply cannot survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim told GamesIndustry International. "I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they're going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging," Kim remarked. "Today it's free-to-play, and I'm convinced that that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry." He cautioned, "If your mind is just set on keeping the current model of buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours, buy another game for $60, play for 40 hours, that model I think is eventually going to change. It's going to have to change."

Submission + - Lazaridis/Balsillie step down as RIM co-CEOs and B (theglobeandmail.com)

Lev13than writes: After a brutal year, in which Research in Motion lost three quarters of its market value, botched the launch of its PlayBook tablet and watched rivals eat into its market share for smartphones, company builders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are relinquishing their positions as executives and co-chairmen of the board of directors. The new chief executive of RIM will be Thorsten Heins – a man they recruited five years ago who came to be a trusted advisor and their hand-picked successor.
Facebook

Submission + - Companies with Anti-Social Media Policies Face Inc (thestar.com)

Lev13than writes: In a rather counter-intuitive conclusion, a University of Toronto study has found that anti-social media policies increase, rather than decrease your risk of being hacked. The study concludes that employee attempts to circumvent blocking are an entry vector for hackers. The study was based on a survey of 649 firms also makes some rather odd claims for "cost per breach". I'm working from the assumption that 100% of corporate emails have been hacked, so not sure how this really makes a difference...
Android

Submission + - RIM's PlayBook to run Android Apps - Report (theglobeandmail.com) 2

Lev13than writes: Research In Motion is working on software to allow the upcoming PlayBook to run Android applications, according to Bloomberg. The report quotes one analysis who estimates the move will boost sales from 30-50%. The report does not mention if the apps will run in virtualization or emulation, although both platforms are Posix-compliant.
An interesting move by RIM, and could be a critical factor in helping the device succeed in an increasingly-cluttered tablet landscape

Submission + - Famous British autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' (cnn.com)

Charliemopps writes: An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

Submission + - Sir Maurice Wilkes, early programming pioneer dies (twitter.com) 1

EricTheRed writes: Sir Maurice Wilkes — one of the early programming pioneers of the 1940's has died.

The National Museum Of Computing based at Bletchley Park announced on their twitter feed earlier:
http://twitter.com/#!/tnmoc/status/9283716039843841

Sad news that today Sir Maurice Wilkes passed away, aged 97. Here he was on a visit last year to #TNMOC http://ow.ly/3gUD2

from the article covering his visit to TNMON last year:

Born in 1913, Sir Maurice has been at the forefront of many post-1945 computing developments and even today, at the age of 96, maintains a keen interest and is an avid user of email and the Internet. Sir Maurice’s contributions to computing history have included the development of EDSAC, the first practical stored program computer begun in 1946, and co-authoring the first book on computer programming in 1951. His proposals for micro-programming have been widely adopted in the industry and in 1965 he published the first paper on cache memories. A co-designer, in the late 1970s, of the Cambridge Ring, a pioneering client-server system, Sir Maurice went on to work in industry on both sides of the Atlantic and in 2002 returned to the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge where he is an emeritus professor.

Books

Submission + - Confessions of a Used-Book Scanner

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "In a good example of how advancing technology, the internet, and informationally efficient markets can work together to create new niche opportunities for entrepreneurs, Michael Savitz writes how, armed with an a laser bar-code scanner fitted to a Dell PDA, he makes a living spending 80 hours per week haunting thrift stores and library book sales to scan hundreds of used books a day and instantly identify those that will get a good price on Amazon Marketplace. "My PDA shows the range of prices that other Amazon sellers are asking for the book in question," writes Savitz. "Those listings offer me guidance on what price to set when I post the book myself and how much I'm likely to earn when the sale goes through." Savitz writes that on average, only one book in 30 will have a resale value that makes it a "BUY" but that he goes through enough books to average about 30 books sold per day and earn about $1,000 a week in profit. "If I can tell from a book's Amazon sales rank that I'll be able to sell it in one day, I might accept a projected profit of as little as a dollar. The more difficult a book will be to sell, the more money the sale needs to promise." Savitz writes that people scanning books sometimes get kicked out of thrift stores and retail shops and that libraries are beginning to advertise that no electronic devices are allowed at their sales. "If it's possible to make a decent living selling books online, then why does it feel so shameful to do this work?" concludes Savitz. "The bibliophile bookseller, and the various other species of pickers and flippers of secondhand merchandise, would never be reproached like this and could never be made to feel bad in this way.""

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