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Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot 1521

After 14 years and over 15,000 stories posted, it's finally time for me to say Good-Bye to Slashdot. I created this place with my best friends in a run down house while still in college. Since then it has grown to be read by more than a million people, and has served Billions and Billions of Pages (yes, in my head I hear the voice). During my tenure I have done my best to keep Slashdot firmly grounded in its origins, but now it's time for someone else to come aboard and find the *future*. Personally I don't have any plans, but if you need to get ahold of me for any reason, you can find me as @cmdrtaco on twitter or Rob Malda on Google+. You could also update my mail address to be malda at cmdrtaco dot net. Hit the link below if you want to read some nostalgic saccharine crap that I need to get out of my system before I sign off for the last time.

NASA Discovers 7th Closest Star 137 says "Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have discovered the coldest class of star-like bodies, with temperatures as cool as the human body. Astronomers hunted these dark orbs, termed Y dwarfs, for more than a decade without success. When viewed with a visible-light telescope, they are nearly impossible to see. WISE's infrared vision allowed the telescope to finally spot the faint glow of six Y dwarfs relatively close to our sun, within a distance of about 40 light-years. 'WISE scanned the entire sky for these and other objects, and was able to spot their feeble light with its highly sensitive infrared vision,' said Jon Morse, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 'They are 5,000 times brighter at the longer infrared wavelengths WISE observed from space than those observable from the ground.'"
Real Time Strategy (Games)

Sports Bars Changing Channels For Video Gamers 351

dtmos wrote in to say that "This summer, StarCraft II has become the newest bar room spectator sport. Fans organize so-called Barcraft events, taking over pubs and bistros from Honolulu to Florida and switching big-screen TV sets to Internet broadcasts of professional game matches. As they root for their on-screen superstars, StarCraft enthusiasts can sow confusion among regular patrons... But for sports-bar owners, StarCraft viewers represent a key new source of revenue from a demographic—self-described geeks—they hadn't attracted before."

Researchers Report Spike In Boot Time Malware 132

wiredmikey writes "In their most recent intelligence report, Symantec researchers pointed out a massive increase in the amount of boot time malware striking users, noting there have already been as many new boot time malware threats detected in the first seven months of 2011 as there were in the previous three years. Also known as MBR (master boot record) threats, the malware infect an area of the hard disk that makes them one of the first things to be read and executed when a computer is turned on. This enables the threats to effectively dodge many security defenses."

Humanoid Robot Wakes In Space, Tweets 91

DeviceGuru writes to note that "Robonaut 2 (aka R2), the first humanoid robot to become a permanent resident of the International Space Station (ISS), was awakened from stasis this week after six months in orbit. R2s first words? 'Those electrons feel GOOD!' The success of R2's activation on the ISS paves the way for putting R2 through its first movements in orbit on Sept. 1, when R2 will be sent commands for moving its arms and hands. Assuming these and other tests proceed without a hitch, R2 will start assisting the ISS crew with simple tasks in 2012. Coffee? Tea? Cigarettes?"

Interview With 'Idiot' Behind Key Software Patent 223

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, an appeals court ruling opened the door to making it easier to kill software patents. It turns out that the guy whose name was on the actual patent didn't even realize it was at the center of the debate, and doesn't like software patents very much. 'So I was thinking — great they invalidated software patents, lets see what crappy patent written by an idiot they picked to do it — then I realized the idiot in question was me.'"

Chinese Propaganda Accidentally Reveals Cyberwar 286

An anonymous reader writes "A Chinese military propaganda video aired in mid-July inadvertently showed a Chinese military university launching cyberattacks against U.S. websites. The Epoch Times reports the video shows 'custom-built Chinese software apparently launching a cyber-attack against the main website of the Falun Gong spiritual practice, by using a compromised IP address belonging to a United States university.' A screen in the video also reveals 'the name of the software and the Chinese university that built it, the Electrical Engineering University of China's People's Liberation Army.'"

5.8 Earthquake Hits East Coast of the US 614

At 1:51 p.m. EDT a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia (map of reported tremors). Reports indicate it was felt along most of the east coast (my monitor and floor definitely wobbled a bit down here in Raleigh NC) with reported evacuations of government buildings at least in DC. QuantumPion noted that the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station is located only a few miles from the epicenter, and the NRC has confirmed the plant automatically shut down with no apparent damage. For folks who like that sort of thing, there is a hashtag on Twitter, and the WSJ has a page with live updates on the situation.

Using Tablets Becoming Popular Bathroom Activity 348

alphadogg says "With the market flush with hot-selling tablet computers, it shouldn't bowl anyone over to learn that many users are taking the plunge and bringing their devices to the bathroom. According to a new survey published by Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples Inc., 35% of tablet users copped to using their iPad or other tablets while in the bathroom, while a whopping 78% of tablet users said they used their tablets while lying in bed. And in a data point sure to further damage techies' reputation for social skills, Staples Advantage also reported that 30% of tablet users said they used their tablets while at restaurants."

Zombie Cookies Just Won't Die 189

GMGruman wrote in to say "Microsoft embarrassed itself last week when it got caught using 'zombie cookies' — a form of tracking cookies that users can't delete, as they come back to life after you've 'killed' them. Microsoft says it'll stop the 'aberrant' practice. But Woody Leonhard says you ain't seen nothing yet. It turns out HTML5 offers a technical mechanism to give zombie cookies a new lease on life — and the Web browsers' private-browsing features can't stop them."

Motorola's Most Important 18 Patents 137

quarterbuck writes "Bloomberg has a story on Google's acquisition of Motorola and quotes IP lawyers who claim that 18 patents dating to 1994 are probably what Google is after. These patents cover technology essential to the mobile-device industry, including location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touchscreen motions, software-application management and third-generation wireless."

Coming Soon, Shorter Video Games 637

Hugh Pickens writes "Blake Snow writes that according to one expert, 90% of players who start a game will never see the end of it and it's not just dull games that go unfinished. Only 10% of avid gamers completed last year's critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, according to Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions. 'What I've been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube,' says Keith Fuller, a longtime production contractor for Activision. The bottom line is people have less time to play games than they did before, they have more options than ever, and they're more inclined to play quick-hit multiplayer modes, even at the expense of 100-hour epics. 'They're lucky to find the time to beat a 10-hour game once or twice a month,' says Fuller of the average-age gamer. 'They don't feel cheated about shorter games and will just play a longer game for as many hours as their schedule allows before moving on to another title.' Even avid gamers are already warming to the idea of shorter games. 'Make a game worth my time and money, and I'll be happy,' says Casey Willis. 'After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring.'"

Can Google Fix the Cable Box? 223

theodp writes "In purchasing Motorola Mobility, Slate's Farhad Manjoo reports that Google will also come into possession of one the nation's biggest suppliers of set-top boxes. So, can Google work some of its do-no-evil magic on the loathsome cable box? Don't bet on it, says Manjoo. For one thing, there's no evidence that Google would be very good at remaking the set-top box (Google TV, anyone?). But even if Google managed to dramatically improve set-top boxes, it's doubtful that cable and satellite companies would buy in. First, they'd lose all those ridiculously lucrative cable-box rental fees. More importantly, they'd have to give up control of the main entertainment device in most homes, and with it the opportunity to slow or stymie competing sources for entertainment. After the merger, notes Manjoo, Google could get several billion dollars by selling off Motorola Mobility's set-top-box division — a much surer payday than taking on Big Cable."

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.