Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Submission + - New EU Rules To Curb Transfer Of European Data To The U.S. (theguardian.com)

dryriver writes: The Guardian reports: New European rules aimed at curbing questionable transfers of data from EU countries to the US are being finalised in Brussels in the first concrete reaction to the Edward Snowden disclosures on US and British mass surveillance of digital communications. Regulations on European data protection standards are expected to pass the European parliament committee stage on Monday after the various political groupings agreed on a new compromise draft following two years of gridlock on the issue. The draft would make it harder for the big US internet servers and social media providers to transfer European data to third countries, subject them to EU law rather than secret American court orders, and authorise swingeing fines possibly running into the billions for the first time for not complying with the new rules. 'As parliamentarians, as politicians, as governments we have lost control over our intelligence services. We have to get it back again,' said Jan Philipp Albrecht, the German Greens MEP who is steering the data protection regulation through the parliament. Data privacy in the EU is currently under the authority of national governments with standards varying enormously across the 28 countries, complicating efforts to arrive at satisfactory data transfer agreements with the US. The current rules are easily sidestepped by the big Silicon Valley companies, Brussels argues. The new rules, if agreed, would ban the transfer of data unless based on EU law or under a new transatlantic pact with the Americans complying with EU law. 'Without any concrete agreement there would be no data processing by telecommunications and internet companies allowed,' says a summary of the proposed new regime. Such bans were foreseen in initial wording two years ago but were dropped under the pressure of intense lobbying from Washington. The proposed ban has been revived directly as a result of the uproar over operations by the US's National Security Agency (NSA).

Comment may not depart from meaning, but (Score 1) 1

I think the meaning is the same. The American ideal is that it's a welcome place of opportunity for the "wretched refuse" from other countries. Even Lazarus had to recognize that this was just an ideal, as she herself faced antisemitism. The Jews, Poles, Asians and Italians from a Century ago are the Muslims, Indians, and Mexicans of today. Still, I think it would have been much more effective had they used the original words. It would tie today more closely with the past.

Submission + - How MOOCs Could Watch Students' Faces for Signs Of Confusion Or Frustration (technologyreview.com)

moon_unit2 writes: Tech Review has a story on research showing that facial recognition software can accurately spot signs that programming students are struggling. NC State researchers tracked students learning java and used an open source facial-expression recognition engine to identify emotions such as frustration or confusion. The technique could be especially useful for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)--where many thousands of students are working remotely--but it could also help teachers identify students who need help in an ordinary classroom, experts say. That is, as long as those students don't object to being watched constantly by a camera.

Submission + - Firefox 23 Makes JavaScript Obligatory (i-programmer.info) 3

mikejuk writes: It seems that Firefox 23, currently in beta, has removed the option to disable JavaScript. Is this good for programmers and web apps?
Why has Mozilla decided that this is the right thing to do?
The simple answer is that there is a growing movement to reduce user options that can break applications. The idea is that if you provide lots of user options then users will click them in ways that aren't particularly logical. The result is that users break the browser and then complain that it is broken. For example, there are websites that not only don't work without JavaScript, but they fail in complex ways — ways that worry the end user. Hence, once you remove the disable JavaScript option Firefox suddenly works on a lot of websites.
Today there are a lot of programmers of the opinion that if the user has JavaScript off then its their own fault and consuming the page without JavaScript is as silly as trying to consume it without HTML.
Is there an option to turn off HTML?
I think not.

Submission + - Firefox OS Smartphones Launching, But Will Anyone Buy One? (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: Mozilla and its hardware partners have begun launching the first Firefox OS smartphones, starting with Spain’s Telefonica releasing the ZTE Open later this week. A lightweight mobile OS based on HTML5, Firefox OS (once known as “Boot to Gecko”) offers a user interface instantly familiar to anyone who’s used Google Android or Apple iOS: in addition to home-screens of individual apps arranged on a grid, features include messaging, email, built-in social-networking, maps, and the Firefox Web browser. There’s also Firefox Marketplace, an online storefront of HTML5 apps; early apps include Twitter, Facebook, AccuWeather, and a handful of games. But can Firefox OS make any headway in a mobile-device crowded with options? At this February’s Mobile World Congress, Mozilla claimed that some 17 operators around the world have committed to the Firefox OS initiative, including China Unicom, Sprint, MegaFon, and the Telecom Italia Group. But many of those operators released rather ambiguous statements about whether they would launch an actual Firefox OS smartphone. Tony Cripps, principal device analyst at Ovum, wrote in a research note earlier this year that “the real acid test for Firefox OS and its long-term prospects is the quality of the software itself and the user and developer experiences that it fosters.” In other words, Mozilla and its partners need to produce some quality devices, paired with a variety of spectacular apps. Some early reviews of the ZTE Open weren’t good, to put it mildly, with The Verge citing “unremarkable hardware” and a “laggy” OS. But that doesn't mean future phones can't go toe-to-toe against anything else on the market, provided Mozilla and its partners provide solid support and marketing.

Submission + - Digital Medical records malfunctions aren't required to be reported to FDA (bloomberg.com)

LPCalendarGirl writes: Digital medical records are being pushed into service in the US currently with incentives and penalties imposed beginning in 2015.

Patients have died due to problems with these systems. You may find the following excerpt as shocking as I did.

"Unlike U.S. medical-device makers, which must report all malfunctions, serious injuries and deaths involving their products to the FDA, software companies that make electronic medical records are under no such requirement."

Submission + - FWD.us Remixes the Statue of Liberty Greeting 1

theodp writes: In the days leading up to the Senate's passage of the landmark immigration bill, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new ad from FWD.us, his pro-immigration reform PAC. The ad, 'Emma', contains an altered version of Emma Lazarus' famous 1883 poem 'The New Colossus' ("Give me your tired, your poor..."), which is engraved on a bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. 'In doing so,' notes the Latin Times, 'it [the ad] departs radically from the meaning of Lazarus' original — which exalted the Statue of Liberty as a "mother of exiles" and redeemer of the world's rootless poor — to accommodate the PAC's call for more high-skilled workers from abroad be allowed to work and live legally in the United States.' Instead of the original's call for 'the wretched refuse of your teeming shore' and 'the homeless, tempest-tossed', the FWD.us remix asks for 'the influencers and the dreamers...talent that is searching for purpose...those dedicated to the doing'. Here's a YouTube Doubler of readings of both versions — pick your fave, kids!

Submission + - DARPA-Funded Software Could Usher in the Era of Open-Source Robotics (popsci.com)

malachiorion writes: The best thing to come out of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, so far, isn't the lineup of nifty rescue bots being developed by teams around the world, or even Boston Dynamics' incredible Atlas humanoid. It's the pumped-up version of Gazebo, the free, open-source robotics simulation software whose expansion and further development is being funded by DARPA. Here's a quick look at how the software was used in the recent virtual leg of the competition, as well as how it could change the way robotics R&D is conducted (and create more roboticists, with its low-cost, cloud-based architecture).

Submission + - What Would You Choose to Update Your Technical Skills Inventory this Summer

Proudrooster writes: As technologists, developers, and programmers it is essential to keep moving forward as technology advances so that we do not find ourselves pigeonholed, irrelevant, or worse unemployed. If you had to choose a new technology skill to add to your personal inventory this summer what would it be and why? Also, where would you look for the best online training (iTunesU, Lynda.com)? The technologies that immediate jump out as useful are HTML5, XCODE, and AJAX. Thank you for sharing.

Submission + - VMware is virtualizing Hadoop (networkworld.com)

Brandon Butler writes: This week VMware announced the public beta of VMware vSphere Big Data Extensions, which will let the company’s popular infrastructure management software vSphere control Hadoop clusters that customers set up. The extensions still require an underlying Hadoop platform, which vendors like HortonWorks, MapR, Cloudera or VMware’s partner, Pivotal each distribute based on the open source Apache code. VMware has enabled the features though its work on Project Serengeti, which has been aimed at optimizing Hadoop clusters to run on virtualized infrastructure. Some say it's a potentially significant move for the big data project, and especially companies deploying it. Running Hadoop nodes on virtual machines instead of bare metal brings many of the same advantages as virtualizing compute servers: More efficient use of hardware resources and additional flexibility in managing the system.

Submission + - UK government backs three-person IVF (bbc.co.uk)

Dupple writes: The UK looks set to become the first country to allow the creation of babies using DNA from three people, after the government backed the IVF technique.

It will produce draft regulations later this year and the procedure could be offered within two years.

Experts say three-person IVF could eliminate debilitating and potentially fatal mitochondrial diseases that are passed on from mother to child.

Opponents say it is unethical and could set the UK on a "slippery slope".

They also argue that affected couples could adopt or use egg donors instead.

Mitochondria are the tiny, biological "power stations" that give the body energy. They are passed from a mother, through the egg, to her child.

Defective mitochondria affect one in every 6,500 babies. This can leave them starved of energy, resulting in muscle weakness, blindness, heart failure and death in the most extreme cases.

Submission + - New Zealand ISP offers 'global mode' so users can circumvent geo-restrictions (brw.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: Many content sites restrict access from different markets or have variable pricing for downloads in different markets. New Zealand-based ISP Slingshot is now offering a 'global mode' that lets customers hide their location. This means they can access overseas online services that would normally be restricted to specific markets.

Submission + - The DNA Data Deluge (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Fast, cheap genetic sequencing machines have the potential to revolutionize science and medicine--but only if geneticists can figure out how to deal with the floods of data their machines are producing. That's where computer scientists can save the day. In this article from IEEE Spectrum, two computational biologists explain how they're borrowing big data solutions from companies like Google and Amazon to meet the challenge.

An explanation of the scope of the problem, from the article: "The roughly 2000 sequencing instruments in labs and hospitals around the world can collectively generate about 15 petabytes of compressed genetic data each year. To put this into perspective, if you were to write this data onto standard DVDs, the resulting stack would be more than 2 miles tall. And with sequencing capacity increasing at a rate of around three- to fivefold per year, next year the stack would be around 6 to 10 miles tall. At this rate, within the next five years the stack of DVDs could reach higher than the orbit of the International Space Station."

Submission + - Netflix Ditches Silverlight With Support For HTML5 Video In IE11

An anonymous reader writes: Netflix today announced that it has finally taken the first step towards ditching Silverlight for HTML5, largely thanks to Microsoft, no less. The company has been working closely with the Internet Explorer team to implement its proposed "Premium Video Extensions" in IE11 on Windows 8.1, meaning if you install the operating system preview released today, you can watch Netflix content using HTML5 right now.

Back in April, Netflix revealed its plans to use HTML5 video in any browser that implements its proposed “Premium Video Extensions.” These extensions allow playback of premium video (read: with DRM protection) directly in the browser without the need to install plugins such as Silverlight or Flash.

Slashdot Top Deals

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.