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


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Submission + - Leonard Nimoy retires from Star Trek ( 3

DesScorp writes: "Leonard Nimoy is hanging up his Vulcan ears for good and retiring from the role of Spock in the Star Trek franchise, reports the Daily Mail. Nimoy apparently wants to pass the torch: "Nimoy, one of the most recognisable and best loved characters from the sci-fi series that began in 1966, announced that he wanted to ‘get off the stage’ and give young actor Zachary Quinto a clear run at the role he took over for last year’s Star Trek movie". Nimoy, at age 79, appears to be retiring from acting, period. Nimoy has, in recent years, undertaken another career in photography, as well as other pursuits, but seems to be preparing to retire from the public eye altogether."

AbleGamers Reviews Games From a Disability Standpoint 125

eldavojohn writes "Early last month a visually impaired gamer sued Sony under the Americans with Disabilities Act (and if you think that people with disabilities don't play games, think again). The AbleGamers Foundation has decided to step forward and provide a rating system for games that blends together a number of factors to determine a score with regard to accessibility. Visual, hearing, motion, closed captioning, speed settings, difficulty settings and even colorblindness options are all taken into account when compiling these scores and reviewing these games."

Beatles Rock Band Game Coming In September 55

An anonymous reader writes with news that The Beatles: Rock Band has gotten a release date: Sept. 9th. Today's announcement also included details about the contents of the game. Quoting Kotaku: "The Beatles: Rock Band will allow fans to pick up the guitar, bass, mic or drums and 'experience The Beatles extraordinary catalog of music through gameplay that takes players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band's legendary career,' according to the release. The game will also have a limited number of new hardware offerings modeled after instruments used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr throughout their career."

Submission + - An open letter to Steve Ballmer (

Ian Lamont writes: "Mark Anderson has written an interesting open letter to Steve Ballmer, which outlines some of the challenges both he and Microsoft will face in the coming years. While describing some of Ballmer's successes in recent years, and praising the "spot on" bid for Yahoo, Anderson says that one of the biggest challenges will be filling the void left by Bill Gates, whom he calls the "best technology market strategist alive." Moreover, Microsoft must recover from the Vista debacle: "The launch version of Vista, I think, represents the low point in company history on this score, and surely it eroded the trust aspect in the company's brand. Your job now is to make sure there are no more Vistas. That means better communication between programming teams inside the company, and with the thousands of device and software partners on your platform. You're going to have to take more responsibility in areas like this that, until now, have been essentially outside your practice.""

Submission + - Yahoo Music Shuttured, Users Going to RealNetworks (

Tech.Luver writes: "Yahoo will cease operating its online music subscription service and switch its customers to RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service as part of a new deal between the companies that calls for Yahoo to promote Rhapsody on its site, the AP reports. Terms of the deal, to be formally announced later today, were not disclosed. The move is part of Yahoo's overhaul of its online music offerings. Yahoo's subscription rates range from $5.99 a month, if users pay for a full year in advance, or $8.99 a month. Rhapsody memberships start at $12.99 a month. ( )"

Submission + - Photo scaling affects content more than you think 4

An anonymous reader writes: Even the most sophisticated scaling algorithms share a common basic flaw that can have dramatic effects on picture details. This flaw can be used to create a completely vanishing image. When the picture is scaled to half its size using even expensive software, it becomes a gray rectangle! To learn more about that flaw, see the other examples and compare the differences between a correct resize tool and what you get in your favorite drawing program.

Submission + - Photoshop silently destroys your pictures

An anonymous reader writes: Like most current graphical software, Photoshop makes computation faults when scaling or filtering images. Depending on the kind of image details, the losses range from negligible to severe. Even scientific institutions like the NASA publish images that were damaged by these faulty software. In common image file formats, the luminosity of the pixels is encoded using an exponential scale, to save space. When computations are performed on the pixels, the exponential scale must first be converted back to a linear scale, which reflects the real luminosity of the pixels. This conversion is never made...
United States

Submission + - US appeals right not to surrender encryption keys (

Loibisch writes: "Recently in a case of child pornography possession the courts ruled that you did not have to give up your encryption password if you think you would be self-incriminating yourself that way.
The National Post now reports that the US government has appealed the courts decision, essentially trying to undermine the 5th amendment.


Feed Techdirt: No One Will Trust Elections So Long As Questionable Voting Machines Are Used (

Following last week's New Hampshire primary, I've been besieged by people pushing stories suggesting massive problems with Diebold/Premiere's optical scan machines. It's well-documented that the machines have poor security and can be hacked, but it's a big leap to go from "can" to "were." And while some point to discrepancies in the vote tallies in places that used the Diebold counters and places that hand counted, a more thorough look at the numbers doesn't suggest anything nefarious. However, the really key point is that, thanks to years of doubletalk from e-voting vendors, as well as story after story after story about e-voting insecurities -- which none of the major vendors took seriously -- we've now reached a point where many people's natural conclusion is that these insecure machines were at fault. This is an issue that could have easily been solved years ago if the folks at Diebold/Premiere, ESS, and Sequoia hadn't acted like e-voting security was a private matter, rather than a matter of national interest. If they had recognized that their own business prospects would be much stronger if the populace actually trusted their machines, perhaps they would have actually responded to security concerns, rather than laughing them off or denying them entirely. So while there may not have actually been any security problems with the voting machines last week, it's Diebold's fault that so many people think it's plausible.

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Submission + - MS says no dual booting OLPC 1

SubComdTaco writes: According to an article over at Microsoft is not working on a dual booting OLPC, just an OLPC running XP. From the article: "When asked by BetaNews to elaborate on reports of a dual-boot laptop which appeared in several other publications this week, a Microsoft spokesperson acknowledged that the company has looked into that possibility, but added that Microsoft has decided not to go ahead with a dual-boot version of the OX laptop," "Microsoft also sent BetaNews the following written statement late yesterday: While we have investigated the possibility in the past, Microsoft is not developing dual-boot Windows XP support for the One Laptop Per Child's XO laptop. As we announced in December, Microsoft plans to publish formal design guidelines early this year that will assist flash-based device manufacturers in designing machines that enable a high-quality Windows experience. Our current goal remains to provide a high-quality Windows experience on the XO device. In addition, there will be limited field trials in January 2008 of Windows XP for One Laptop Per Child's XO Laptop."

Submission + - Did Diebold flip the votes in New Hampshire? (

lakshmanok writes: "Bill Noxoid breaks down New Hampshire democratic primary votes based on whether they were counted by hand or using Diebold voting machines:

What this clearly shows however, is where the 14% points some polls indicated Obama was leading by went. As you can see, the ballots that were counted by hand give Obama a 7.5% win while the Accuvote "count" gives Clinton a 5.5% win. The combined "shift" is 13%. Here is where the percentage points disappear that were expected right up to the casting of ballots. Not tears, not lazy young people, right here in this "shift".
There's no way to legitimately explain why this discrepancy would exist. These are people in the same state, voting for the same set of candidates, from the same party, and on the same day. Nothing happed to one group that didn't happen to the other. One group doesn't have information that the other group doesn't have. One group couldn't have been "moved" by the "tears" while the other was not. One group could not have had sudden "black-voting phobia" while the other did not, so these "news" people need to start looking for a plausible explanation. The only difference between these two groups is that one had their votes counted by hand, and the other by Accuvote. One group voted definitively for Obama, and the other definitively for Clinton...
If we were to apply the hand count as the standard, then the 5.5% win given to Clinton by Accuvote would actually be a 7.5% Obama win. Thus Obama would have won by 15% and the pre-primary polls, the genuine voter turnout, and the pundits themselves would have all been right for a change. The real question then is which is harder for the American people to believe? The fact that every poll, every pundit, every voter interviewed, and every sensibility turned out to be so drastically wrong or that Accuvote "flipped" the vote as it has done so many times before?


Submission + - Drew Curtis of Fark attempts to trademark 'NSFW' (

Kickstart70 writes: "Drew Curtis of Fark is attempting to trademark the term 'NSFW'. It seems a little crass to me, but no word on whether he's attempting to do it as a protest against ridiculous trademark law, or if he's just joining the greedy trademark crowd (but, FWIW(TM), discussions in the subscriber-only TotalFark have been deleted)."

Submission + - First details of manned Mars mission from NASA (

OriginalArlen writes: The BBC has a first look at NASA's initial concepts for a manned Mars mission, currently pencilled in for 2031. The main vehicle would be assembled on orbit over three or four launches of the planned Ares V heavy lift rocket. New abilities to repair, replace, and even produce replacement parts will be needed to provide enough self-sufficiency a 30 months mission, including 16 months on the surface. The presentation was apparently delivered at a meeting of the Lunar Exploration Management Group, although there's nothing on their site yet.

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