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Submission + - Is it immoral to build robot soldiers? How Asimov's three laws ran out of steam. (

An anonymous reader writes: It looks like AI-powered weapons systems could soon be outlawed before they're even built. While discussing whether robots should be allowed to kill might like an obscure debate robots (and artificial intelligence) are playing ever-larger roles in society and we are figuring out piecemeal what is acceptable and what isn't. If killer robots are immoral, then what about the other uses we've got planned for androids? Asimov's three laws don't seem to cut it as this story explains: "As we consider the ethical implications of having robots in our society, it becomes obvious that robots themselves are not where responsibility lies."

Submission + - Raspberry Pi Project Ideas: How I Built Call Mom Button (

An anonymous reader writes: So I decided to teach my students how to access a web API and settled on the Call Mom button—a Raspberry Pi board with a set of four buttons connected via Plivo, which gives you not only the titular Call Mom button, but also a Call Dad button—just to be fair with Dads—a “Text Mom I love her” button, and a spare button which students could use however they want.

Submission + - Tracking stolen MacBook PRO

milasd writes: My father's house has been burglarized few days ago. Among other things, robbers stole a 17 inches Macbook PRO: unfortunately my father did not setup neither native FS encryption nor any other form of security measure to prevent accessing the device or tracking it.

So basically we're left with a worst-case scenario having only "vendor ids" like serial number | Airport ID | Ethernet ID | Bluetooth ID. The only hope left is that we had a FileZilla client pre-configured to access a FTP (i.e. vsftpd) server deployed on a Linux server of mine, so I'm currently monitoring vsfptd.log hoping these guys are stupid enough to log-in by mistake though obviously it will be unlikely (they probably already re-initialized the device). Initially I though of performing extended TCP/IP scanning looking for MAC address but again, there's no way I'm gonna find it due to routers & network infrastructure. Being a GNU/Linux user since 15 years and having no experience whatsoever on Mac OS X platform I'm wondering whether there's anything additional that can be done or whether there's any native software or feature natively deployed in Mac OS X to track stolen laptops (or any service which might be provided by Apple Inc. to track stolen laptops). Having not much time to do extended searches on the net, I'm hoping to find good hints (if any) here on Slashdot. Thanks in advance for your help.

Submission + - Amazon's Secret Plan For Same Day Delivery (

lipanitech writes: The vision goes well beyond just groceries. Groceries are a Trojan Horse. The dirty secret of Amazon is that it really doesn't distinguish between a head of lettuce and a big screen TV. If Amazon can pull off same-day grocery delivery in NYC, it ostensibly means consumers can order anything online and receive it the same day. By logical extension, that means Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is on the cusp of rendering every retailer on earth obsolete.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How big of a threat are RFID tags in passports?

Svenia writes: We've all heard the horror story of a seldom traveler having their identity stolen and coming back from a vacation to piles of new credit cards they never asked for or desired. We also all have those friends who say buying a RFID protecting passport sleeve is only for tinfoil hat wearers. Which side are the Slashdot subscribers on? Is it a fear tactic and nothing to really worry about, or is it a common enough occurrence to justify the worry for someone who travels abroad once every few years?

Submission + - Microsoft's share suffered biggest crash since 2000 ! (

Taco Cowboy writes: Microsoft shares hit by biggest sell-off since 2000, $30 billion market cap wiped out

Shares of Microsoft dropped 11.4 percent today, representing the biggest single-day drop in over 13 years. The last time it occurred was on April 24, 2000, when shares plunged 15.6 percent as the world's largest software company locked itself in an antitrust dispute with the U.S. government. Since then, Microsoft has never experienced such a shelling, until today that is. This came after the software company posted dismal quarterly results due to weak demand for its latest Windows system and poor sales of its Surface tablet.

A lot of links available, below is only a very limited list

Submission + - AT&T Gets Patent to Monitor and Track File-Sharing Traffic (

An anonymous reader writes: Internet provider AT&T has patented a new technology that allows the company to accurately track content being shared via BitTorrent and other P2P networks. The company explains that the technology can be utilized to detect pirated downloads and combat congestion on its network. Whether the company is already using the system to track infringing content, or has plans to do so, is unknown.

Submission + - Robotics Veteran Develops an Open Hardware Robotics Platform (

An anonymous reader writes: Paul Sandin, a 20 year veteran of the robotics industry, recently launched a Kickstarter page to develop an open-source open-hardware robotics platform, named Butler, for the researcher and hobbiest market. Butler will leverage existing hobbiest electronics platforms such as Arduino and BeagleBone (and, more importantly, their respective communities) to simplify and accelerate the development process. As someone who has developed several robotics platforms in the past, I can say this has real potential.

From the Kickstarter page:

Today, anyone who wants to develop a mobile robot must either design and build their own mobile base, or pay many thousands of dollars for a research robot before they can start working on their robot concept. There are no inexpensive mobile robot bases big enough to hold widgets sized to do real work.

Butler answers that need. Robot designers will no longer have to keep reinventing the wheel(s).

I have been designing and building robots for 20 years at companies such as RedZone Robotics, iRobot, and Harvest Automation. The idea for Butler came about when I noticed that smartphones with their built-in sensors, and ever more powerful micros like Arduino, Raspberry PI, and the Beaglebone Black, were being used for robot brains for much less cost than it takes to design, build, and test a custom electronics board and integrate sensors. This advantage opens the doors for a much larger community of robot developers because it reduces design effort, risk, and cost. What is missing though, is a low cost robot base big enough to hold large contraptions, robot arms, lift-tables, large monitors, follow-me grocery cart, whatever you want to be mobile.

Submission + - 'Pathetic Attitude' to Risk and Reward Keeps UK Startups Behind Silicon Valley ( 1

DavidGilbert99 writes: Not a man to pull his punches, equity expert Edmund Truell believes it is the UK startup scene's obsessions with vicarages and fast cars which is keeping it as the poor relation of Silicon Valley. The IBTimes UK reports Truell isn't afraid to lay it on the line:
"I'm looking for ambition to be a world leader. The greatest problem in the UK that I can see is, why do we not have very many companies that really make it, to be worth $20bn (£13bn), as in the US?

"Why? [A startup founder would say] 'oh, I'm going to have £3m if I sell now, I'm really excited by that, I can buy a vicarage and a fast car.' Oh for God's sake, you could hold on and sell it for £300m. [but they say] 'oh no, I might lose my three million'."

Submission + - Criminals Trick Android Users with In-App Ads For Fake Antivirus

An anonymous reader writes: A new malware scheme has been discovered that pushes fake antivirus software to Android users via in-app advertising. Once installed, the trojan informs the victims they need to pay up to remove threats on their device. The malware in question, detected as "Android.Fakealert.4.origin" by Russian security firm Doctor Web, has been around since at least October 2012 according to the company. While Android malware that masks itself as an antivirus for Google's platform is nothing new, and neither are ads in Android apps pushing malware, but putting the two together can certainly be effective. This is naturally a practice that Windows users are all too familiar with.

Submission + - Dell Linux Ultrabook (

An anonymous reader writes: Want a laptop running Linux? You could do worse than Dell's XPS 13 .. Why is Dell making a Linux Ultrabook? Well, it's part of Dell's project, codenamed Sputnik after the Russian satellite, to sell a laptop with Linux and various tools to programmers ..

First impressions are good. The machine looks great with its aluminium finish and slim, lightweight design, though the screen is high-gloss which is a disadvantage in my book. Ubuntu boots from cold in under 15 seconds. There are neat touches, such as the hardware battery status button on the right, which indicates the remaining charge by illuminating up to five LEDs.


Submission + - World's Largest High-Rise Data Center Opens in New York (

CowboyRobot writes: "Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the opening a 1 million square foot high-rise data center the an old Verizon switching building at 375 Pearl Street. Sabey Data Center Properties, the owner of the property, has named the data center Intergate.Manhattan and says the building's location, power supply and connectivity to underground fiber make it an ideal location for a data center in New York City. Intergate.Manhattan has only one tenant so far, the New York Genome Center, a compute and storage platform for 12 leading medical institutions to tackle the big data challenges that will bring the benefits of genomics to patient care."
The Military

Submission + - Weapons Experts Raise Doubts About Israel's Antimissile System (

Lasrick writes: The NYTimes has the inevitable article about the data that now shows the Iron Dome missile defense system really didn't work as claimed during Israel's skirmish in Gaza back in November. MIT's Ted Postol, one of the world's top experts in the area, thinks it can't be more than 10-20 percent! An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists back in December predicted as much, with more of a scientific explanation of why it couldn't really work as claimed:

Submission + - Apple Releases Security Update 2013-001 and ML 10.8.3 (

williamyf writes: Apple has released Mountain Lion 10.8.3, as well as a bunch of security Updates for Lion and Even Snow Leopard.

Some of the most Important Changes include handling of TIFF Images, issues with QuickTime and Software Update (a man in the middle attack), affecting all supported versions of the OS.

More Info at apple.


Submission + - New site ranks linux distro popularity (

An anonymous reader writes: A new site aims to more scientifically study and rank the relative popularity among Linux & BSD distros. Using multiple data sources, distros are ranked according to popularity factors like number of news articles published about that distro, visitor surveys and search engine results. Check it out!

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