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


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Submission + - Digital Bookstores ( 1

Anonymous Coward writes: "Barnes and Noble just revealed their new online digital bookstore with over 700,000 titles. Unlike Amazon's Kindle only policy, the digital books offered by Barnes and Noble will be readable on most popular handheld devices, including your iPhones and Blackberries."

Submission + - Researchers create database-Hadoop hybrid (

ericatcw writes: "'NoSQL' alternatives such as Hadoop and MapReduce may be uber-cheap and scalable, but they remain slower and clumsier to use than relational databases, say some. Now, researchers at Yale University have created a database-Hadoop hybrid that they say offers the best of both worlds: fast performance and the ability to scale out near-infinitely. HadoopDB was built using PostGreSQL (though MySQL has also successfully been swapped in), Hadoop and Facebook's Hive implementation, according to Daniel Abadi, Yale computer science professor, whose students built this prototype."
The Internet

Submission + - Top cable companies try reining in heavy web use (

TriOptimum writes: "Top U.S. cable operators Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc will begin testing ways this week to limit individual subscribers who use the largest amount of Internet capacity in an effort to protect their high-speed networks. 'Setting the caps is a very simple matter to change,' the Time Warner Cable spokesman said. 'If usage patterns are such that we need to change those, we certainly can.'

Consumers in Time Warner Cable's test region will be offered several levels of service. A $29.95 per month plan for slower speeds of 768 kilobits per second and a 5 gigabyte limit... At the high end, a $54.90 monthly fee for a 15-megabit-per-second service and a 40 gigabyte monthly limit... A Comcast spokesman said it is also evaluating a monthly 250-gigabyte limit for customers to manage its heaviest users, but it has not made a decision."


Submission + - Are Biofuels bad? (

thepacketmaster writes: Are biofuels really a step in the right direction? The UN is debating that question today. Biofuels produce less pollution, but the creation of biofuels means taking away farm land meant for food production. Considering we still haven't wiped out starvation on the planet, is this a wise choice. In addition, environmentalists say more forests are being converted into farm land creating more environmental issues.

We should be focusing more on electric vehicles and fuel cell. Biofuel still involves blending with regular gasoline. So we're still burning fossil fuels, just at a slower rate. At the same time we're creating a bigger problem of rising food prices and shortages.


Submission + - Transparent transistors fuel solar breakthrough (

CWmike writes: "Hewlett-Packard is announcing today a licensing deal with Xtreme Energetics for the purposes of using HP's transparent transistor technology in its solar panels. Xtreme will layer HP's transparent transistors over its solar panels. The devices, which light passes through, are said to focus the energy from the sun "like a magnifying glass" onto the black solar panels. Colin Williams, CEO of Xtreme, says that the company's solar panels' transparency lets you add artistic patterns behind them to blend in with a building's look. Williams says the panels, which should begin shipping in 2010, will cost "about the same as traditional silicon solar panels but will produce twice the energy or more.""

Submission + - NASA Scientists Make Magnetic Fields Visible (

kike writes: "Magnetic fields are invisible, at least usually. But Scientists from NASA's Space Sciences Laboratory have made them visible as "animated photographs," using sound-controlled CGI and 3D compositing. It makes the fields, as explained by the scientists, dance in an absolutely gorgeous movie called Magnetic Movie. You don't want to miss this one, which is the coolest video that you'll see all week, guaranteed. You can't argue with a combo of beautiful effects and amazing science."
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Is the Mac Cheaper?

weaver4 writes: "I have two computers that I bought 18 months ago. A generic PC that cost me $550 and a Mac Mini that cost me $600. When I put a watt meter on these computers (which I leave on all the time) the PC uses 173 Watts and the Mac Mini uses 18 Watts. Therefore the PC cost me an additional $10.04 a month in Electricity. Since I live in warm climate my Air Conditioning needs to remove this excessive heat, but I will leave that out of my analysis. When I went to CraigsList to sell my computers I found that my PC is now worth $250 and my Mac Mini is worth $425. So the total hardware cost of my 18 month ownership is $520 for the PC and $214 for the Mac Mini."

Submission + - DARPA Semifinalists Selected

An anonymous reader writes: DARPA has selected thirty-six teams as Urban Challenge semifinalists to participate in the National Qualification Event. Both the webcast and press release can be found on the official site: here. Dr. Tony Tether reports that only 1 of the top 5 previous teams was rated in the top 5 of teams this year and 3 of the top 5 were not in the challenge finals last year.

Submission + - What makes some software so uncommonly good? (

Armchair General writes: "The guys at 360is have compiled a list of their most frequently recommended infrastructure software, and have quantified what characteristics make for dependable, secure, low-maintenance, tools. Among popular choices like nmap and ssh, are tools less commonly associated with security infrastructure like rsync.
Not everyone will agree with their choices, but the pattern the article uncovers is revealing, and is something that commercial software vendors should take note of. For those familiar with the apps, skip to the end where they gather the threads together and answer the question: What makes this software so uncommonly good?"


Submission + - How eBay doesnt collapse. Scientific American

David Greenspan writes: Ever wonder why sellers on eBay aren't more dishonest? Scientific American did. In an article titled "Is Greed Good?" they discuses how it is possible for eBay to function since many scientists believe in the concept of "Homo economicus (economic man)" that a man is "a rational, selfish person who single-mindedly strives for maximum profit." According to that concept every seller should simply flee with the buyers' money yet this is clearly not the case, Scientific American discusses why. Scientific American
The Internet

Submission + - Pirate Bay earns 20,000 Euros a day ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: controverisal pro-piracy website the piratebay likes to portray itself as an innocent hobby site that provides a free index without censorship, but recent facts show that the site is earning up to 20,000 Euros per day from its advertising. Taking in money on this scale puts a different slant on the motives behind the Swedish filesharing site, and could open up the runners of the site to prosecution for profiting from copyright infringement.

Submission + - Automotive X-Prize Reveals First 31 Teams

An anonymous reader writes: The Automotive XPRIZE announced yesterday the first 31 teams to have signed on for the competition to build 100 mpge (mile-per-gallon equivalent) automobiles. The list contains obvious contenders like electric bike vendor ZAP, electric truck peddler Phoenix Motorcars, Munich's überefficient Loremmo AG, and Elon Musk-backed Tesla Motors as well as Cornell University and a laundry list of other less well known names. There's even a team commited to an Open Source-like license. Notable is the total absence of any established manufacturer. Contrary to expectations of a Big Auto win, could the AXP be up for grabs?

Submission + - Google shows cell phone prototype to vendors

taoman1 writes: Google Inc. has developed a prototype cell phone that could reach markets within a year, and plans to offer consumers free subscriptions by bundling advertisements with its search engine, e-mail and Web browser software applications, according to a story published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal.

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