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Submission + - Peepshow over for body scanners (stuff.co.nz)

Master Moose writes: The "peepshow" scanners that have caused an uproar at airports are finally getting the heave-ho.

It took more than two years of passenger complaints, but the US Transportation Security Administration says it is pulling the plug on the Rapiscan backscatter scanner. The move was made because the manufacturer did not meet a deadline to come up with new software that would create less revealing images. In all, 174 machines at 30 airports will be shut down and moved out.

Rapiscan could not create new software for its backscatter machines and threw in the towel this month. The TSA cancelled its contract with the company.


Submission + - Valve starts promoting Steam for Linux to Windows users (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: team is now being used by thousands of gamers running a Linux OS, and Valve has got to the point where they are happy to start urging Windows users to make the switch.

Proof of that comes from a “Join the Beta” promotion on the homepage of Steam suggesting you try Steam for Linux. There’s even a download link to get Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which removes yet another barrier to entry.

With Gabe Newell’s clear hatred of Windows 8, this shouldn’t be a surprising move. We aren’t going to see another version of Windows appear for a few years, so in Valve’s eyes pushing Linux to gamers makes a lot of sense.


Submission + - JavaScript Comes to Minecraft (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: JavaScript is the language of the client and it is becoming the language of the server. Now it seems set to be the language of Minecraft. ScriptCraft is a Minecraft mod that can be added to the game to allow the player to use JavaScript commands. Walter Higgins ported the Rhino JVM implementation of JavaScript in a few spare weeks over Xmas. Some additional JavaScript classes allow the construction of blocks making it possible to automate construction. It also provides a "turtle like" drone class that makes it easier to move in 3D. It makes use of a fluent API to create a domain specific language for movement. As its creator says:
"Ultimately I think the ScriptCraft mod could be used to take building in Minecraft to a whole new level. With a full-blown language at the Player's disposal, it should be possible to create not just castles and forts but entire road networks and cities."
Most importantly of all, it not only pushes the boundary of Minecraft it also provides a way to get kids who are already hooked on Minecraft to start learning JavaScript.


Submission + - AMD tweaking Radeon drivers to reduce frame latency spikes (techreport.com)

crookedvulture writes: "Slashdot has previously covered The Tech Report's exposure of frame latency issues with recent AMD graphics processors. Both desktop and notebook Radeons exhibit frame latency spikes that interrupt the smoothness of in-game animation but don't show up in the FPS averages typically used to benchmark performance. AMD has been looking into the problem and may have discovered the culprit. The Graphics Core Next architecture underpinning recent Radeons is quite different from previous designs, and AMD has been rewriting the memory management portion of its driver to properly take advantage. This new code improves frame latencies, according to AMD's David Baumann, and the firm has accelerated the process of rolling it into the official Catalyst drivers available to end users. Radeon owners can take some comfort in the fact that a driver update may soon alleviate the frame latency problems associated with AMD's latest GPUs. However, they might also be disappointed that it's taken AMD this long to optimize its drivers for the now year-old GCN architecture."

Submission + - That link you just posted could cost you 300 Euros (the-digital-reader.com)

Nate the greatest writes: Do you like to tweet or share links to interesting news articles? According to a coalition of Irish newspapers, that makes you a pirate. The National Newspapers of Ireland has adopted a new policy. Any website which links to one of the 15 NNI member newspapers will have to pay a minimum of 300 euros, with the license fee going up if you post more links.

Note that this is not a fee to post an excerpt or some punitive measure for the copying of an entire article. No, the NNI wants to charge for links like. It's almost as if this organization has no idea how the web works. Or maybe they have found an elaborate way to commit suicide.


Submission + - Africa's Coming Cyber-Crime Epidemic (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: "Those Nigerian spam scams of the last decade may have just been the first step in a looming African cyber-crime wave. Africa has the world's fastest-growing middle class, whose members are increasingly tech-savvy and Internet connected — and the combination of ambitious, educated people, a ceiling on advancement due to corruption and lack of infrastructure, and lax law enforcement is a perfect petri dish for increased cybercrime."

Submission + - The 2013 Slashdot Free Education Challenge (edx.org) 2

DiamondGeezer writes: Most slashdotters would agree that with the ever rising cost of higher education and the ever-present need to keep ourselves ahead of the game, the game-changer might well be the free massively online education courses now being rolled out.

With that in mind, I'd like to suggest a 2013 challenge for as many Slashdotters as possible to enrol in at least one free online course and report on the results back to the providers.

Some courses have had mixed reviews (for example this one got a pasting) but the only way these massively online courses will improve and go mainstream (and maybe get real-world accreditation to boot) is to take courses and provide large amounts of feedback — oh, and learn of course.

I've chosen edx.org as a starting point and I've already signed up to Introductory Statistics at Berkeley.

We could call it "The Slashdot MMO learning challenge". Cost: nothing but time which you would normally be frittering away playing WoW or Eve or something. There are no dragons to slay or grand space battles to conquer for virtual resources, but there is a future universe of education to be found.

Who's with me?

Submission + - Command & Conquer recreated in HTML5, with multiplayer!! (adityaravishankar.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Back in the deep dark days of 1995, computer gaming was very different from what we know today. It was slower, blockier, and everything was a pain to install. Still, many gamers of the era have fond memories of the original Command and Conquer, later renamed Tiberian Dawn. This real-time strategy game pitted the Brotherhood of Nod against the GDI in all-out war. Now you can play this classic PC title entirely in your browser . What an age we live in.

An enterprising coder, Aditya Ravi Shankar, actually recreated the strategy game using nothing but HTML5, where it runs on 69k of Javascript. Why did he set out on such an adventure? For starters, Shankar’s attempt was a self-mandated undertaking in order to improve his coding skills, where he gave himself a one month window to rebuild the game in the browser, and had to comb through the original game’s files in order to obtain all the right sprites, sounds and specs.

According to Shankar, “In hindsight, I might have wanted to take smaller steps and make a tower defense game instead of jumping directly into an RTS. Trying to do the whole thing in under a month all by myself wasn’t the smartest idea.”

This implementation of Command and Conquer has been developed entirely in HTML5, so any modern web browser should be compatible. In its current incarnation you can’t play the entire game. You can run through the first few levels of both campaigns, but there is online multiplayer support through node.js.

All the assets and audio are lifted directly from the original game, circa 1995. The developer stresses that the port was not created for financial gains, but only as a proof of concept. The game itself is available as a free download from EA , and has been for a few years. Considering this, you might be able to get away with calling the HTML5 port fair use.

The game itself plays well in most places. Unit movement seems a little clumsy, but this might be a fair representation of the original game. The multiplayer skirmishes are good for a few rounds of fun, but many of the structures and units from the full game are missing at this point. Assuming the developer does not get a cease and desist, more content could be added later.


Submission + - Slashdot Struggles to Remain Relevant (nytimes.com) 2

gollum123 writes: Earlier today we published an analysis of the top traffic drivers in social media, based on data from Web analytics company Woopra. The biggest traffic driver was StumbleUpon (51%), followed by Digg (30%), Hacker News (12%) and Reddit (5%). Surprisingly, tech news community Slashdot was not in the list of top referrers. In fact, according to Woopra CEO John Pozadzides, Slashdot "drives close to 0% of traffic to the sites Woopra measures." (emphasis ours). Why is Slashdot almost irrelevant to the social media community? It used to be the biggest driver of traffic to tech web sites, but now it hardly delivers any traffic at all to them. We explore some of the reasons, including input from our own community.
The Courts

Submission + - Obama DOJ Goes AGAINST Film Companies (blogspot.com)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "If one were forced to attempt to distill a single prevailing emotion or attitude about government on Slashdot, I think it is fairly arguable that the winner would be cynicism or skepticism. Well here's a story that could make us skeptical and/or cynical about our skepticism and/or cynicism. Chalk one up for those who like to point out that occasionally the system does work. You may recall that the U.S. Supreme Court has been mulling over whether to grant the film industry's petition for certiorari seeking to overturn the important Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. This was the case which held that Cablevision's allowing its customers to make copies of shows, and store them on Cablevision's servers for later viewing, did not constitute a direct copyright infringement by Cablevision, there being no 'copy' made since the files were in RAM and buffered for only a 'transitory' duration. The Supremes asked the Obama DOJ to submit an amicus curiae brief, giving its opinion on whether or not the film companies' petition for review should be granted. The government did indeed just file such a brief, but the content of the brief (PDF) is probably not what the film companies were expecting. They probably thought they had this one in the bag, since some of the very lawyers who have been representing them have been appointed to the highest echelons of the Obama DOJ. Instead, however, the brief eloquently argued AGAINST the film companies' position, one by one dismembering with surgical accuracy each and every argument the film companies had advanced."
The Courts

Submission + - Jury awards $220,000 to RIAA in P2P case (arstechnica.com) 1

Conrad writes: The Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas verdict is in, with a jury finding her liable of willful copyright infringement for all 24 songs. At $9,250 per song, the grand total is $222,000. The RIAA is pleased with the verdict: 'The plaintiffs' legal team spent a few minutes talking to the jury after the verdict was announced, finally emerging from the courthouse to take questions from the media. The first question asked of Gabriel was whether the RIAA would enforce and try to collect the judgment. Gabriel replied that he hadn't had the chance to talk to the client about that yet. He said that the jury did not explain how they arrived at the $9,250 figure, but that they expressed to the legal team that the case was "clear and well-presented." Gabriel also noted the magnitude of the case in response to a question. "We appreciate the opportunity to put out in daylight the facts and evidence collected in this case," he replied. "This does send a message, we hope, that both downloading and distributing music is no joke." When asked if there was an end game in sight for the series of lawsuits, Gabriel said that it was up to the RIAA to decide.'

Submission + - Scientists create di-positronium molecules (bbc.co.uk)

doxology writes: "The BBC reports that scientists have been able to create di-positronium molecules. A di-positronium molecule consists of two positronium atoms, exotic atoms which are made from an electron and a positron (the anti-particle of the electron). A potential use of these molecules is to make extremely powerful gamma-ray lasers, possibly on sharks."

Submission + - Software Assistance for the Blind

Yort writes: This last weekend, I met a woman who was blind. She had just moved to the area, and wanted to get a job, but her computer (Win95/98) and assistance software (JAWS 3.x) were too old to be used nowadays with the sort of out-of-home work she would be looking for. The new version of JAWS is over $1000, and would require a new computer. Are there any alternatives, open source or otherwise, that would allow her to get up and running for several hundred dollars instead of several thousand?

Submission + - Tor promises internet annomity, compromises data!

tcoder70 writes: A security researcher intercepted thousands of private e-mail messages sent by foreign embassies and human rights groups around the world by turning portions of the Tor internet anonymity service into his own private listening post. Kinda makes you wonder what else you can tap! http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2007/09/embassy_hacks

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