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

Crime

Former Anonymous Spokesperson Indicted 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the be-careful-what-links-you-copy dept.
SternisheFan sends this quote from Ars: "On Friday, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted Barrett Brown, a former self-proclaimed Anonymous spokesperson, for trafficking 'stolen authentication features,' as well as 'access device fraud' and 'aggravated identity theft.' Brown has been detained since he was arrested in September for allegedly threatening a federal agent. 10 counts of the 12-count indictment concern the aggravated identity theft charge (the indictment references 10 people from whom Brown is alleged to have stolen information), but the most interesting charge is probably the first; a single count saying Brown, 'did knowingly traffic in more than five authentication features knowing that such features were stolen and produced without lawful authority.' But rather than a physical back-alley hand-off, this alleged trafficking happened online when Barrett transferred a hyperlink, 'from the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel called "#Anonops" to an IRC channel under Brown's control, called "#ProjectPM."' That hyperlink happened to include over 5,000 credit card numbers, associating Ids, and Card Verification Values (CVVs) from the Stratfor Global Intelligence database."
Robotics

A US Apple Factory May Be Robot City 602

Posted by Soulskill
from the rise-of-the-iMachines dept.
dcblogs writes "Apple's planned investment of $100 million next year in a U.S. manufacturing facility is relatively small, but still important. A 2009 Apple video of its unibody manufacturing process has glimpses of highly automated robotic systems shaping the metal. In it, Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of design, described it. 'Machining enables a level of precision that is just completely unheard of in this industry,' he said. Apple has had three years to improve its manufacturing technology, and will likely rely heavily on automation to hold down labor costs, say analysts and manufacturers. Larry Sweet, the CTO of Symbotic, which makes autonomous mobile robots for use in warehouse distribution, described a possible scenario for Apple's U.S. factory. First, a robot loads the aluminum block into the robo-machine that has a range of tools for cutting and drilling shapes to produce the complex chassis as a single precision part. A robot then unloads the chassis and sends it down a production line where a series of small, high-precision, high-speed robots insert parts, secured either with snap fit, adhesive bonds, solder, and a few fasteners, such as screws. At the end, layers, such as the display and glass, are added on top and sealed in another automated operation. Finally, the product is packaged and packed into cases for shipping, again with robots. "One of the potentially significant things about the Apple announcement is it could send a message to American companies — you can do this — you can make this work here," said Robert Atkinson, president of The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation."
Space

Astronomers Detect and 'Weigh' Very Young Solar System 21

Posted by Soulskill
from the 8.3x10^29-pounds,-4-ounces dept.
ogre7299 writes "Astronomers have found direct evidence of a forming proto-solar system and 'weighed' the forming star for the first time The results were reported in Nature (abstract) and the pre-print is available at the arXiv. 'The star, called L1527 IRS, is only one-fifth the mass of the sun, and is expected to keep growing as the swirling disk of matter surrounding it falls into its surface. Astronomers estimated the star formed around the same time that Neanderthals evolved on Earth: just 300,000 years ago. ... Generally, a star forms from a cloud of gas that collapses into itself. Material streams inward from the cloud and forms a protostar in the center of a disk of gas and dust. Over millions of years, material falls on the protostar and releases quite a bit of energy. In L1527, 90 percent of its energy comes from material landing on the surface of the protostar. The remaining 10 percent comes from the star itself.' Measurements for the research came from the Submillimeter Array and the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy."
PC Games (Games)

Valve's 'Steam Box' Console Is Real, Says Gabe Newell 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-out-right-after-half-life-3 dept.
symbolset writes "The Verge is reporting that the Steam Console we discussed in November is a real thing. Gabe Newell said it will be a locked down platform for the living room. The source is a Kotaku interview with Newell at the Video Game Awards. Newell said, 'Well certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general-purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them.'"
Earth

Strong Climate Change Opinions Are Self-Reinforcing 655

Posted by Soulskill
from the opinions-are-like-delusions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A study recently published in Nature (abstract) looked at how personal beliefs altered a person's perception of climate change. Surveying a sample of people in 2008 and then the same people again in 2011, the study looked for 'motivated reasoning,' where 'high belief certainty influenced perceptions of personal experience,' and 'experiential learning,' where 'perceived personal experience of global warming led to increased belief certainty.' According to the article, 'When you categorize individuals by engagement — essentially how confident and knowledgeable they feel about the facts of the issue — differences are revealed. For the highly-engaged groups (on both sides), opinions about whether climate is warming appeared to drive reports of personal experience. That is, motivated reasoning was prevalent. On the other hand, experience really did change opinions for the less-engaged group, and motivated reasoning took a back seat.None of that is truly surprising, but it leads to a couple interesting points. First, the concrete here-and-now communication strategy is probably a good one for those whose opinions aren't firmly set — fully 75 percent of Americans, according to the polling. But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.'"
OS X

Darling: Run Apple OS X Binaries On Linux 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the sure-thing-sweetheart dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After having Wine to run Windows binaries on Linux, there is now the Darling Project that allows users to run unmodified Apple OS X binaries on Linux. The project builds upon GNUstep and has built the various frameworks/libraries to be binary compatible with OSX/Darwin. The project is still being worked on as part of an academic thesis but is already running basic OS X programs."
Hardware Hacking

USB NeXT Keyboard With an Arduino Micro 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the clickity-clack-hack dept.
coop0030 writes "Ladyada and pt had an old NeXT keyboard with a strong desire to get it running on a modern computer. These keyboards are durable, super clicky, and very satisfying to use! However, they are very old designs, specifically made for NeXT hardware: pre PS/2 and definitely pre-USB. That means you can't just plug the keyboard into a PS/2 port (even though it looks similar). There is no existing adapters for sale, and no code out there for getting these working, so we spent a few days and with a little research we got it working perfectly using an Arduino Micro as the go between."
Open Source

For League of Legends Creator Riot Games, Big Data Is Serious Business 33

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-just-need-a-good-jungler dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Riot Games created the very successful League of Legends gaming franchise, which hosts millions of monthly users. Barry Livingston, director of engineering for the company's Big Data group, talks about how Riot Games scaled up to deal with that enormous data load. Consider all the millions of people playing the game in real time. Picture joining three massive tables — player data, game data, and session data — and you begin to see the full scope of Riot Games' issue. Gamer activity generates more than 500 GB of structured data and over four TB of operational logs every day. Riot Games has also posted 60 open-source Chef and Opscode recipes, among other code samples."
Communications

Ask Slashdot: Current State of Linux Email Clients? 464

Posted by Soulskill
from the unfavorable-selection-pressure dept.
mcloaked writes "We get all kinds of news about new developments, but one subject has been lacking for some time and that is email clients for Linux (or Windows for that matter). A number of reviews (mostly not all that recent) have pointed to the main clients as Thunderbird, Evolution, Claws-mail, and Kmail as possibilities. Up to about a year ago, Thunderbird seemed to be 'the' email client with the best mix of positives. However there are no recent reviews that I have seen. In the meantime Thunderbird has moved to monthly releases, which are more maintenance releases containing security fixes but little functional change — and little new development. Thunderbird also won't be significantly altered in the future, if one interprets the available news information. Evolution is reported to be rather prone to bugs, and Kmail even more so. Claws-mail has limitations, as does Kmail. So where is the future of Linux email clients going, absent any real innovation? We need a well maintained and capable mail client, preferably with good calendar integration (webcal/Google calendar), properly supported HTML composing, good maildir format storage for local mail, and good security support (including the capacity to deal with both GPG and S/MIME encryption and signing). It needs a modern UI and good import/export facilities, as well as good integration with its address book, including import/export of addresses. Are we likely to see this kind of package as we move into the future, or will mail clients slowly disappear? At the moment it looks like email client support is dead — Are too many users moving into web mail and the cloud instead of having a properly functional mail client on their desktops?"
Role Playing (Games)

Sequel To Planescape: Torment Planned 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-can-change-the-nature-of-a-sequel dept.
Aglassis writes "Eurogamer has reported that famed D&D and computer game designer Colin McComb is working on a spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment. The game will be set outside of the Planescape campaign setting due to an inability to come to an agreement with Wizards of the Coast. The lead designer on the original game, Chris Avellone, has apparently given his blessing." McComb posted recently about the nature of Planescape and what would define a new game. He wrote, "Any setting that rewards the player for internal exploration (certainly deeper than, 'Can I hit it? How much loot does it have?') could host a similar story. As long as there’s a fantastical element to the world–whether straight fantasy or science-fantasy–these questions become possible and desirable. The farther away we stray from comfortable routine, the more likely we are to challenge ourselves, trying to define our place in the world. A boring setting frequently leads to boring questions; we know the drill and don’t have to examine it closely. But a fantastic setting forces us to re-examine the world, to take it in a fresh light, and to see that our fundamental truths may be flawed. That is at the heart of a Torment story."
Businesses

Nationwide Google Fiber Deployment Would Cost $140 Billion 327

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-a-dozen-aircraft-carriers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For a lot of U.S. internet users, Google Fiber sounds too good to be true — 1Gbps speeds for prices similar to much slower plans from current providers. Google is testing the service now in Kansas City, but what would it take for them to roll it out to the rest of the country? Well, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs, the price tag would be over $140 billion. Not even Google has that kind of cash laying around. From the report: '... if Google devoted 25% of its $4.5bn annual capex to this project, it could equip 830K homes per year, or 0.7% of US households. As such, even a 50mn household build out, which would represent less than half of all U.S. homes, could cost as much as $70bn. We note that Jason Armstrong estimates Verizon has spent roughly $15bn to date building out its FiOS fiber network covering an area of approximately 17mn homes.' Meanwhile, ISPs like Time Warner aren't sure the demand exists for 1Gbps internet, so it's unlikely they'll leap to invest in their own build-out."
Businesses

How Corruption Is Strangling US Innovation 391

Posted by Soulskill
from the there-oughta-be-a-law dept.
hype7 writes "The Harvard Business Review is running a very interesting piece on how money in politics is having a deleterious effect on U.S. innovation. From the article: 'Somehow, it seems that every time that [Mickey Mouse] is about to enter the public domain, Congress has passed a bill to extend the length of copyright. Congress has paid no heed to research or calls for reform; the only thing that matters to determining the appropriate length of copyright is how old Mickey is. Rather than create an incentive to innovate and develop new characters, the present system has created the perverse situation where it makes more sense for Big Content to make campaign contributions to extend protection for their old work.if you were in any doubt how deep inside the political system the system of contributions have allowed incumbents to insert their hands, take a look at what happened when the Republican Study Committee released a paper pointing out some of the problems with current copyright regime. The debate was stifled within 24 hours. And just for good measure, Rep Marsha Blackburn, whose district abuts Nashville and who received more money from the music industry than any other Republican congressional candidate, apparently had the author of the study, Derek Khanna, fired. Sure, debate around policy is important, but it's clearly not as important as raising campaign funds.'"
Earth

Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Expected 339

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-invented-carbon-bombs-anyway dept.
sciencehabit writes "Scientists are expressing fresh concerns about the carbon locked in the Arctic's vast expanse of frozen soil. New field studies quantify the amount of soil carbon at 1.9 trillion metric tons, suggesting that previous estimates underestimated the climate risk if this carbon is liberated. Meanwhile, a new analysis of laboratory experiments that simulate carbon release by thawed soil is bolstering worries that continued carbon emissions could unleash a massive Arctic carbon wallop."
Programming

The Scourge of Error Handling 536

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-user-did-what? dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Dr. Dobb's has an editorial on the problem of using return values and exceptions to handle errors. Quoting: 'But return values, even in the refined form found in Go, have a drawback that we've become so used to we tend to see past it: Code is cluttered with error-checking routines. Exceptions here provide greater readability: Within a single try block, I can see the various steps clearly, and skip over the various exception remedies in the catch statements. The error-handling clutter is in part moved to the end of the code thread. But even in exception-based languages there is still a lot of code that tests returned values to determine whether to carry on or go down some error-handling path. In this regard, I have long felt that language designers have been remarkably unimaginative. How can it be that after 60+ years of language development, errors are handled by only two comparatively verbose and crude options, return values or exceptions? I've long felt we needed a third option.'"
Patents

Apple and Google Joining Forces On Kodak Patents Bid 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-enemy-my-ally dept.
TrueSatan writes "Bloomberg reports that Apple and Google have partnered to make a bid of more than $500 million for the Kodak patent portfolio. The bid relates to Kodak's 1,100 imaging patents. 'Kodak obtained commitments for $830 million exit financing last month, contingent on its sale of the digital imaging patents for at least $500 million.' This is likely to be an opening bid, with the final figure being far larger. By comparison, a group including Apple, Microsoft, and RIM bought Nortel's 6000+ patents for $4.5 billion last year. 'Google lost the auction for those patents after making an initial offer of $900 million.'"

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