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Submission + - New Facebook Phone App Lets You Stalk Your Friends

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Iain Thomson reports that Facebook is adding a new application called "Nearby Friends" that alerts smartphone users when their friends are nearby. "If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up," says Facebook in a statement. "For example, when you're headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward." The feature, which is opt-in, allows users to select which friends get a warning that you are in the area, and prepare a subset of people who might like to know when you're near, if they have the Nearby Friends activated as well. According to Josh Constine what makes "Nearby Friends" different than competitors and could give it an advantage is that it’s centered around broadcasting proximity, not location. " If someone’s close, you’ll know, and can ping them about their precise location and meeting up. Broadcasting location is creepy so we’re less likely to share it, and can cause awkward drop-ins where someone tries to come see you when you didn’t want them to."

Submission + - An open letter to the management of Slashdot. 14

onyxruby writes: I have been watch for some time now as Slashdot has started beta testing a new version of the website. As you are well aware the new site would constitute a complete change to the look, interface and functionality of

Change happens, and for those of us who work with technology for a living it is the only constant. Change is a process and in and of itself is not a bad thing when it offers improvement. Unfortunately the change that has been offered negatively impacts the look, interface and most importantly the functionality of Slashdot.
Many people have had trouble reverting back to the classic interface. The new interface simply does not offer the functionality of the old. Things like statistics, comments and layout are very difficult to find. You have a community that lives and breathes data and want to know their data. How is my comment ranked, how many people responded – it’s really all about the dialogue. Can I get the information that I want in a readily digestible format?

As you’re well aware the new site does not offer the very thing that people come here for. This in and of itself is not why your community has organized a boycott of Beta. The boycott was originated because the new version will be implemented whether the community wants it or not.

I want to explain why this change has gone down people’s throats about as well as Windows 8’s Metro interface. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with the interface and everything to do with the perception that the editors and management of Slashdot appear to have.

The message that has been consistently handed down is that we are “your audience”. We are not your “your audience” we are your product. People do not come to Slashdot for the news stories, there are untold other sites that provide those as well as professional and original writing about them. People come here for the community of insiders from across the industry.

Please respect the community and stop what you’re doing. You have commented that you don’t want to maintain two code bases. Your community works in the industry and understands this, which leads many to suggest you abandon the new code base entirely so that you are only maintaining once code base. Tell us what your trying to accomplish and I would imagine that a wide range of experts would be more than willing to help you meet your goals.

Submission + - A Modest Proposal, re: Beta vs. Classic 19

unitron writes: Dice wants to make money off of what they paid for--the Slashdot name--, or rather they want to make more money off of it than they are making now, and they think the best way to do that is to turn it into SlashingtonPost.

They should take this site and give it a new name. Or get Malda to let them use "Chips & Dips".

Leave everything else intact, archives, user ID database, everything except the name.

Then use the Beta code and start a new site and give it the name, and they can have what they want without the embarrassment of having the current userbase escape from the basement or the attic and offend the sensibilities of the yuppies or hipsters or metrosexuals or whoever it is that they really want for an "audience".

Submission + - New Slashdot Beta Sucks 3

tekpagan writes: New design Beta sucks.
Boycott the site Feb 10-17th
If the beat is still here on 18th Feb do not return.
Do not fix that which is not broken.

Submission + - Slashdot Beta Woes 16

s.petry writes: What is a Slashdot and why the Beta might destroy it?

Slashdot has been around, well, a very long time. Longer than any of it's competators, but not as long as IIRC. Slashdot was a very much one of the first true social media web sites.

On Slashdot, you could create a handle or ID. Something personal, but not too personal, unless you wanted it to be. But it was not required either. We know each other by our handles, we have watched each other grow as people. We may have even taken pot shots at each other in threads. Unless of course you are anonymous, but often we can guess who that really is.

One of Slashdot's first motto's was "News for Nerds" that Matters. I have no idea when that was removed. I have not always scoured the boards here daily, life can get too busy for that. That excuses my ignorance in a way. I guess someone thought it politically incorrect, but most of us "Nerds" enjoyed it. We are proud of who we are, and what we know. Often we use that pride and knowledge to make someone else look bad. That is how we get our digs in, and we enjoy that part of us too. We don't punch people, we belittle them. It's who we are!

What made Slashdot unique were a few things. What you will note here is "who" has been responsible for the success of Slashdot. Hint, it has never been a just the company taking care of the servers and software.

— First, the user base submitted stories that "they" thought mattered. It was not a corporate feed. Sure, stories were submitted about companies. The latest break through from AMD and Intel, various stories regarding the graphic card wars, my compiler is better than your compiler, and yes your scripting language stinks! Microsoft IIS has brought us all a few laughs and lots of flame wars to boot. Still, we not only read about the products but get to my second point.

— User comments. This is the primary why we have been coming here for as long as we have, many of us for decades. We provide alternative opinions or back what was given in the article. This aspect not only makes the "News" interesting, but often leads to other news and information sharing. It's not always positive, but this is the nature of allowing commentary. It also brings out the third point.

— Moderation. Moderation has been done by the community for a very long time. It took lots of trial and error to get a working system. As with any public system it's imperfect, but it's been successful. People can choose to view poorly modded comments, but don't have to. As with posting anonymous versus with our own handle it's an option that allows us to personalize the way we see and read what's on the site. And as a reward for submitting something worth reading, you might get a mod point of your own to use as a reward for someone else.

Why we dislike Beta and what is being pushed, and why this will result in the end of an era if it becomes forced on the community.

1. Bulky graphics. We get that Dice and Slashdot need revenue. I have Karma good enough to disable advertisements, but have never kept this setting on. I realize that Slashdot/Dice make money with this. That said, the ads sit away from my news and out of the way. I can get there if I want it (but nobody has ever gotten a penny from me clicking an ad... nobody!), but it's not forced into my face or news feed.

2. Low text area. I like having enough on my screen to keep me busy without constant scrolling. Slashdot currently has the correct ratio of text to screen. This ratio has never been complained about, yet Beta reduces the usable text area by at least 1/2 and no option for changing the behavior. I hate reading Slashdot on mobile devices because I can't stand scrolling constantly.

3. JavaScript. We all know the risks of JS, and many of us disable it. We also have an option of reading in Lync or non-standard browsers that many of us toy with for both personal and professional reasons. This flexibility is gone in Beta, and we are forced to allow JS to run. If you don't know the risks of allowing JS to run, you probably don't read much on Slashdot. Those that allow JS do so accepting the risk (which is admittedly low on a well known site).

4. Ordering/Sorting/Referencing. Each entry currently gets tagged with a unique thread ID. This allows linking to the exact post in a thread, not just the top of the thread. In Beta this is gone. It could be that the site decided to simply hide the post ID or it was removed. Either way, going to specific posts is something that is used very commonly by the community.

5. Eye candy. Most of us are not here for "eye candy" and many have allergic reactions to eye candy. Slashdot has a good mix currently. It's not as simple as the site starting with a r-e-d-i-t, which is good. That site has a reputation that keeps many of us away, and their format matches my attitude of them (s-i-m-p-l-e-t-o-n). At the same time, it's not like watching some other "news" sites with so much scrolling crap I can't read an article without getting a headache. The wasted space in beta for big bulky borders, sure smells like eye candy. Nothing buzzes or scrolls yet, but we can sense what's coming in a patch later.

The thing is, the community cares about Slashdot. We come here because we care. We submit stories because of that, we vote because of that, we moderate because of that, and we comment because of that. At the same time we realize that without the community Slashdot loses most of its value. We respect that we don't host the servers, backup the databases, or patch the servers. Slashdot/Dice provide the services needed for Slashdot.

It's a give give relationship, and we each get something in return. Slashdot gets tons of Search hits and lots of web traffic. We get a place to learn, teach, and occasionally vent.

Look, if you want to change default color scheme or make pre-made palettes for us to choose from, we would probably be okay with that. If you want to take away our ability to block ads by Karma, or move the ads to the left side of my browser window, I would be okay with those things too.

If you want to make drastic changes to how the site works, this is a different story all together. The reason so many are against Beta is that it breaks some of the fundamental parts of what makes Slashdot work.

User input until recently has not been acknowledged. The acknowledgment we have received is not from the people that are making the decision to push Beta live. We told people Beta was broken, what it lacked, and we were rather surprised to get a warning that Beta would be live despite what we told people. People are already making plans to leave, which means that Slashdot could fade away very soon.

Whether this was the goal for Dice or not remains to be seen. If it is, it's been nice knowing you but I won't be back. A partnership only works when there is mutual respect between the parties. A word of caution, us Nerds have good memories and lots of knowledge. The loss of Slashdot impacts all of Dice holdings, not just Slashdot. I boycott everything a company holds, not just the product group that did me wrong.

If that was not the goal of Dice, you should quickly begin communicating with the user base. What are the plans are to fix what Beta has broken? Why is Beta being pushed live with things broken? A "Sorry we have not been communicating!", and perhaps even a "Thank you" to the user base for helping make Slashdot a success for so many years.

Submission + - Command & Conquer recreated in HTML5, with multiplayer!! (

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 + - Twitter based Ted Beats Seismometers, Detects Philippines Earthquake Earlier ( 2

hypnosec writes: Twitter based system has managed to detect the earthquake off the Philippines before any other advanced spotting systems being used by Seismologists. US Geological Survey uses the micro-blogging site to quickly gather information about earthquakes around the globe through the use of a system – Twitter Earthquake Detection (Ted) which put behind USGS’ own sensors on Friday when it came to detecting 7.6 magnitude earthquake off the Philippine coast. The Ted system gathers earth-quake related messages (Tweets) in real-time from Twitter. The system takes into consideration various parameters like place, time, keywords, photographs of affected places where tremors have been detected. Online information posted by people, Tweets in this case, can be picked up faster by researchers as compared to scientific alerts that may take up to 20 minutes.

Submission + - nokia: 52% less smartphone sales in Q1 (

Spliffster writes: Nokia published its Q1 2012 financial report Thursday, revealing a 1.34 billion euro loss (about $1.7 billion) and a 52 percent decline in smartphone sales compared to last year. Consider this confirmation that Nokia’s investment in its Lumia line and the Windows Phone platform hasn’t paid off quite yet.

Submission + - SPAM: Israel vows treat hackers like other 'terrorists'

ibbcnews writes: "Israel vows treat hackers like other 'terrorists'
[spam URL stripped]
Israel said on Saturday that it will respond to cyber-attacks in the same way it responds to violent "terrorist" acts, by striking back with force against hackers who threaten the Jewish state.

The message from Deputy Foreign Minister Dany Ayalon came after a self-defined "Saudi hacker" from a cabal known as "group-xp" published details of more than 6,000 Israeli"

Link to Original Source

Submission + - FCC Grants Special Temporary Authority for Amateur ( 1

rt793 writes: The FCC has granted amateur radio operator, Phil Williams (KA1GMN), a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) to conduct experiments on the 160 through 2 meter amateur radio bands. The FCC has assigned Phil Williams the call sign WF9XJD, for use during this 6 month experiment. US Amateur Radio operators are not permitted to operate spread spectrum emissions below 222 MHz.

Submission + - Google TV reborn: ARM support, new OEMs, and more

An anonymous reader writes: For some time the future of Google TV was looking pretty grim. Logitech's Revue failed miserably, and Sony seemed like the only supporter of Google TV when the 3.1 update came out in October. With competitors like Roku making waves everywhere, the ever louder drum of rumors surrounding an Apple TV, and every TV manufacturer out there trying to figure out how Smart TVs will keep them relevant, Google needed to make a big play to keep their service in the game. More hardware, less expensive, and faster distribution are necessary in order for the platform to survive.

Submission + - DARPA Chooses Leader for 100-Year Starship Project

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "With Nasa scaling back its manned space programs, the idea of a manned trip to the stars may sound audacious, but the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) study is an effort seeded by DARPA to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel practicable and feasible. The goal is not to have the government fund the actual building of spacecraft destined for the stars, but rather to create a foundation that can last 100 years in order to help foster the research needed for interstellar travel. Now DARPA has provided $500,000 in seed money to help jumpstart the effort and chosen Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space, to lead 100YSS. Jemison, who is also a physician and engineer, left NASA in 1993 after a six-year stint in which she served as science mission specialist aboard space shuttle Endeavour, becoming the first black woman to fly in space. Since leaving the space agency, she has been involved in education and outreach efforts and technology development. Rounding out her resume, Jemison also served as a medical aofficer for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia, is a professionally trained dancer, speaks Russian, Swahili and Japanese, and was the first real astronaut to make a cameo in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Jemison won the contract with her proposal titled "An Inclusive Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth & Beyond.""

Submission + - Google discontinues Labs (

Expertus writes: goolge reports: "Last week we explained that we’re prioritizing our product efforts. As part of that process, we’ve decided to wind down Google Labs. While we’ve learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs, we believe that greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead.

In many cases, this will mean ending Labs experiments—in others we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas." Enjoy them while they last

Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Linux based RC Control System (

Spliffster writes: DIY drones today are usually controlled with a classic RC transmitter in manual mode or from a ground station software on a laptop (using 900/2400MHz or GSM links). The ground station let's you view your drone on a map, set way points, view attitude and view a video stream from an on-board camera.

The "Open Source RC Control System" will combine an RC "transmitter" with a touch screen (AMOLED 4.3") for ground station functions. This RC control system will have very interesting features like On-board 3D Simulator, telemetry communication link, bluetooth, wifi, gps, 16-40 Channels and a custom "receiver" for full bi-directional communication.

This open source hardware project is currently in planning stage, a fund raising has been started to raise $15.000 (remember, this is a hardware project). You can donate for the OSRC project at:


Submission + - Anon+ dev explains subversive new social network (

An anonymous reader writes: How exactly would an anonymous social network work? The chief architect behind Anon+ has finally spoken up to clear the air about its connections with Anonymous, explain how it will protect the privacy of its users, and lay out its lofty goals, which include subverting government control and opening wider access to education.

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982