New submitter mybluevan writes "The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science is putting together an open hardware spectrometer kit on Kickstarter. The kits are built using an HD webcam, discarded DVD, and a couple other odd bits. They've also put together a kit for your smart phone and open-source software for desktop, Android, and iOS. Need to analyze the contents of your coffee, the output of your new grow lights, or a distant star on a budget? Just build your own spectrometer, or pick up the limited edition steampunk version." Besides making cool hardware, they'd like to "build a Wikipedia-style library of open source spectra, and to refine and improve sample collection and analysis techniques. We imagine a kind of 'SHAZAM for materials' which can help to investigate chemical spills, diagnose crop diseases, identify contaminants in household products, and even analyze olive oil, coffee, and homebrew beer."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
tetrahedrassface writes "Rasbmc developer Sam Nazarko is reporting that Xbian had violated the GPL and stolen his installer code without providing attribution and not releasing their source. His breakdown of events is interesting, and currently the Xbian project has been taken offline with several tweets saying Xbian development is terminated."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft doesn't like long passwords. In fact, the software giant not only won't let you use a really long one in Hotmail, but the company recently started prompting users to only enter the first 16 characters of their password. Let me rephrase that: if you have a password that has more than 16 characters, it will no longer work. Microsoft is making your life easier! You no longer have to input your whole password! Just put in the first 16 characters!" At least they warn you; I've run into some sites over the years that silently drop characters after an arbitrary limit.
Qedward writes "Freedom to go under a pseudonym is, miraculously, one freedom to survive the security lock-down of the previous decade. Now Facebook wants to change this. James Firth shows Facebook is clamping down on pseudonyms, with an interesting screenshot of being asked whether a friend is using their real name."
Today the space shuttle Endeavor completed its final ferry flight, landing in Los Angeles, California after leaving Edwards Air Force Base earlier today. The shuttle will now undergo preparations for its journey through the streets of L.A. (at a cost of 400+ trees) to its final resting place at the California Science Center. It'll go on public display October 30. Endeavor spent over 296 days in space throughout 25 missions, comprising 4,671 orbits that added up to over 197 million kilometers of travel. Slashdot's own Kaushik Acharya was at the Griffith Observatory in L.A. for the flyover, and he provided some great pictures of Endeavor's passing.
scibri writes "Think the imprisonment of Pussy Riot is a miscarriage of justice? Check out the story of their cellmate: Chemist Olga Nikolaevna Zelenina heads a laboratory at the Penza Agricultural Institute. She is an expert in the biology of hemp and poppy, and is a sought-after expert in legal cases involving narcotics produced from these plants. Last year, she was asked by defense lawyers to give her opinion in a case involving imported poppy seeds. The prosecutors didn't like her evidence though, and now she's in prison accused of complicity in organized drug trafficking."
New submitter DangerOnTheRanger writes "Torque3D, the game engine behind games such as Blockland and Tribes 2, has gone open-source. The engine itself — in addition to four game templates — are all included in a Git repository hosted on GitHub. Documentation is available in a separate repository. Quite the exciting time in the world of game development!"
New submitter kiriath writes "Walmart has followed Target in ceasing to sell the Amazon Kindle product line. This is not terribly surprising, since Amazon and Walmart are major competitors. From the article: 'The world's largest retailer, which has been trying to catch up to Amazon in online sales, said the decision was consistent with its overall merchandising strategy. ... Now, with two large chains no longer selling Kindle, speculation has grown that the dominant online retailer could open its stores where shoppers could try out and buy Kindles. Amazon "is a little bit of a Trojan horse" when the Kindle is sold in other stores, said Sucharita Mulpuru, retail analyst at Forrester Research. "They should have made this decision to not carry the Kindle a long time ago."'"
New submitter who_stole_my_kidneys writes "Evidence suggests the Iranian government is behind cyberattacks this week that have targeted the websites of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. The attacks are described by one source, a former U.S. official, as being 'significant and ongoing,' and looking to cause 'functional and significant damage.' Another source suggested the attacks were in response to U.S. sanctions on Iranian banks."
An anonymous reader writes "Early humans were able to move from Africa after a single genetic mutation allowed them to become vegetarians, scientists claim. The switch, which allowed humans to process vegetables, meant that humans were able to move away from water sources and spread across the continent. A team of geneticists compared DNA sequences from a variety of people around the world to see how different populations relate to one another and when they have gone their separate ways. The scientists found that a key genetic variant gave humans the ability to convert fats from plants into essential nutrients for the brain."
MassDosage writes "I've always found Chemistry interesting, particularly in high school when I had the good fortune of having a Chemistry teacher who was not only really good looking, but a great teacher too. I studied it for a year at University and then moved on and haven't really given the periodic table and its elements much thought since. This changed when the Wonderful Life with the Elements was delivered to me two weeks ago. It's one of those books that aims to make science fun and, unlike many other attempts which turn out to be pretty lame, this actually succeeds in presenting the periodic table in a fresh, original and interesting manner." Read on for the rest of Mass Dosage's review.
SquarePixel writes "Facebook has disabled face recognition features on its site for all new European users. The move follows privacy recommendations made by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. Tag Suggest information has been turned off for new users, and Facebook plans to delete the information for existing EU users by October 15th. 'The DPC says today’s report (PDF) is the result of evaluations it made through the first half of 2012 and on-site at Facebook’s HQ in Dublin over the course of two days in May and four in July. The DPC says FB has made just about all of the improvements it requested in five key areas: better transparency for the user in how their data is handled; user control over settings; more clarity on the retention periods for the deletion of personal data, and users getting more control over deleting things; an improvement in how users can access their personal data; and the ability of Facebook to be able to better track how they are complying with data protection requirements.'"
OakDragon writes "Kickstarter has introduced some more stringent guidelines and requirements specifically for the Hardware and Product Design categories. These new requirements are laid out in a blog post called 'Kickstarter Is Not a Store.' Simulations will now be prohibited. Video cannot show a proposed product, action, etc. — only a real product and what it does at the time. Product renderings and other simulated illustrations also will not be sufficient — the project creator will have to have photographs of a real prototype."
An anonymous reader writes "It was revealed today during the annual X.Org Developers' Conference in Germany that NVIDIA will be publicly releasing Tegra graphics programming documentation. Initially this will cover their Tegra 2D engine but it's thought they might also be providing 3D engine documentation too. A slide shown at the conference says NVIDIA is committed to open-source. NVIDIA also allegedly has supplied documentation under NDA to one Nouveau developer and taken other covertly supportive steps. These actions come after NVIDIA has been notoriously unfriendly to open-source and months after Linus Torvalds pubilcly slammed the NVIDIA Linux support."
SquarePixel writes "Bloomberg has an interesting story about Microsoft's efforts to simultaneously woo younger workers and to get more apps into its Windows Store. Quoting: 'Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, designed Windows 8 for touch-screen technology included in the company's first tablet, Surface, and other devices coming this year. To gain share in tablets, a market expected by DisplaySearch to reach $66.4 billion in 2012, Microsoft needs enough apps to challenge the more than 200,000 available for iPad. Using student recruits is one way Microsoft can woo app developers who are used to building programs for mobile phones and tablets, where the company has little and no share, respectively. Luring programmers before graduation is particularly critical for recruitment in the U.S., which lags behind countries such as India and China in its ability to crank out qualified engineers.'"