An anonymous reader writes with this nice news (for Canadians) snipped from CBC: "Facebook has chosen Canadian users to be guinea pigs for a new mobile feature to make free phone calls. Facebook's new Messenger app for Apple mobile devices enables voice-over-Internet protocol phone calls, which use data instead of eating into the minutes in a mobile plan."
Attend or create a Slashdot 20th anniversary party! DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test. ×
Leif_Bloomquist writes "Videos of the presentations from the recent World of Commodore, held December 1st 2012 in Toronto, have been published on YouTube. The presentations range from new product announcements to remakes of classic Commodore games for iPhone, from animation and music performances to coding tutorials and discussions for retro platforms. The revived World of Commodore is held annually on the first weekend of December by the Toronto PET Users Group."
McGruber writes "The big buzz for travelers today is the story of how a scary toothbrush prompted the closure of Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 'Airport officials told Channel 2 Action News that an electric toothbrush began vibrating inside a bag checked onto an AirTran flight, causing workers to alert airport officials to the strange noise.' The terminal and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) subway were both temporary closed 'out of an abundance of caution.' ATL has been the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998, and by number of landings and take-offs since 2005."
Serenissima writes "I've spent many hours building my Media Library in XBMC and scraping all the DVD Covers and Fanart. And I love it, I can pull up movies on any computer or device in the house. I played a movie for my son the other day so I could get some cleaning done without him being underfoot. I noticed shortly after that the sound coming from the other room was from a different movie than I played for him. I snuck up and watched for a few minutes and saw him use a trackpad to navigate to the stop and play buttons of different movies in his folder. I know it's only a matter of time before he realizes he can see all of the movies. I don't want him to have nightmares because he saw the T-1000 stab someone in the face. The quickest solution I can think is a screen saver with a password. It's mildly inconvenient to me, but would stop him from accessing anything. However, I remember how much more I knew about computers than my parents when I was a kid, and I have a feeling he's going to surprise me one day. There's a lot of ways out there to stop it, the way we do it now is to not let him watch anything unless we're there (but there are only so many times I can watch the same kid's movie). How do YOU guys find yourself dealing with the convenience of running your own server while keeping your media safe from prying eyes?"
New submitter GavrocheLeGnou writes "The french ISP 'Free.fr' is now blocking ads from Adsense and other providers by default for all its subscribers. The option can be turned off globally, but there's no whitelist (Google translation of French original). From the article: 'Because the service doesn’t offer a whitelist (contrary to Adblock, a service I’ve used for years), this means that it is an all or nothing choice, activated by default to block everything. And since it is not only internet, but TV and phone lines running through the FreeBox, it’s possible that, if left unchecked, Free could beginning blocking TV ads, or phone calls from known spam hotlines. While this seems like a potentially beneficial service, there’s no doubt that it’s biting at the heels of several sectors who rely on advertisement to make money, let alone the advertisers themselves who pay to reach an audience, and are blocked at the door.'"
Zothecula writes "To paraphrase an old saying, if the astronaut can't go to the asteroid, then the asteroid must come to the astronaut. In a study released by the Keck Institute for Space Studies, researchers outlined a mission (PDF) to tow an asteroid into lunar orbit by 2025 using ion propulsion and a really big bag. The idea is to bring an asteroid close to Earth for easy study and visits by astronauts without the hazards and expense of a deep space mission. Now, Keck researchers say NASA officials are evaluating the plan to see whether it's something they want to do. The total cost is estimated to be roughly $2.6 billion."
Dupple writes with news that Microsoft has signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and the Defense Information Systems Agency to modernize the software those organizations use. According to Microsoft, the deal will cover 75% of all Department of Defense personnel, and bring to them the latest versions of SharePoint, Office, and Windows. The deal awards Microsoft $617 million, which is after discounts to the software totaling in the tens of millions. Interestingly, DISA's senior procurement executive said, "[The agreement] recognizes the shift to mobility. Microsoft is committed to making sure that the technology within the agreement has a mobile-first focus, and we expect to begin to take advantage of Microsoft’s mobile offerings as part of our enterprise mobility ecosystem."
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have long suspected that big brains come with an evolutionary price — but now they've published the first experimental evidence to support that suspicion, based on their efforts to breed big-brained fish. A Swedish team found it relatively easy to select and interbreed common guppies to produce bigger (or smaller) brains — as much as 9.3 percent bigger, to be precise (abstract). But the bigger-brained fish also tended to have smaller guts and produce fewer babies."
ilikenwf writes "Whether you agree with his rationale for doing so or not, Adrian Lamo has come forward to discuss his reasoning for exposing Bradley Manning. Manning, now in federal custody, leaked thousands of U.S. intelligence files and documents. Lamo's side of the story shows that he was concerned for Manning's mental health and stability, and for the lives Manning was risking by releasing classified material — Afghan informants, for instance. Either way, this goes to show that if you're going to release stolen/hacked documents, it's best you do it anonymously and don't brag about it."
Freddybear writes "Former anti-GMO activist Mark Lynas, who opposed genetically modified food in the 1990s, said recently, at the Oxford Farming Conference: 'I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment. As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you'll be wondering — what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.' To vilify GMOs is to be as anti-science as climate-change deniers, he says. To feed a growing world population (with an exploding middle class demanding more and better-quality food), we must take advantage of all the technology available to us, including GMOs. To insist on 'natural' agriculture and livestock is to doom people to starvation, and there’s no logical reason to prefer the old ways, either. Moreover, the reason why big companies dominate the industry is that anti-GMO activists and policymakers have made it too difficult for small startups to enter the field."
skade88 writes "IPv4 is much like a limited natural resource; it can't last forever. The well of new IPv4 addresses is already running dry in many parts of the world. The solution to this problem, which was presented decades ago, is to switch to IPv6. With peak IPv4 far behind us, why do we still see limited IPv6 adoption? Ars takes a good look at where we are and where we are going with the future of IP addresses, the internet and you. Quoting: 'As with all technology, IPv6 gets better and cheaper over time. And just like with houses, people prefer waiting rather than buying when prices are dropping. To make matters worse, if you're the only one adopting IPv6, this buys you very little. You can only use the new protocol once the people you communicate with have upgraded as well. Worse still, you can't get rid of IPv4 until everyone you communicate with has adopted IPv6. And the pain of the shrinking IPv4 supplies versus the pain of having to upgrade equipment and software varies for different groups of Internet users. So some people want to move to IPv6 and leave IPv4 behind sooner rather than later, but others plan on sticking with IPv4 until the bitter end. As a result, we have a nasty Nash equilibrium: nobody can improve their own situation by unilaterally adopting IPv6.'"
This year's Consumer Electronics Show has nearly arrived. Later today, I'll be hurtling (or perhaps just slogging) across the West Texas desert, bound for Vegas. CES is far too big an event to see very much of, no matter what: the endless aisles (highways!) of cheap laptop bags and e-cigarettes alone take up an incredible amount of floor space, but the good stuff takes up at least as much. The categories represented aren't necessarily new, but the trends vary each time: remote-controlled helicopters, from Parrot and others, have been been getting more capable for a few years running, along with 3D televisions, action cameras, ever-bigger displays, toys for kids, toys for adults, and the newest/slimmest/priciest/cheapest laptops and handhelds. Last year I had a chance to get close-up video views at Ubuntu TV and the successfully crowdfunded TouchFire keyboard, as well as interviews with John Ryan of Pixel Qi and Raspberry Pi instigator Eben Upton. I'll be on the lookout for some of my usual obsessions (open source in consumer products, bright LED-based projectors, interesting input devices), but what would you like to see up-close from this year's crop of exhibitors (sorry, it's a long list), and why?
An anonymous reader writes "An irritated father of a 23-year-old gamer hired 'In-game assassins' to attempt to make his son quit playing video games and have him get a job. 'Feng's idea was that his son would get bored of playing games if he was killed every time he logged on, and that he would start putting more effort into getting a job.' While the son recently had a job at a software development company he quit because he decided he didn't like the work."
An anonymous reader sends this quote from an IDG News report: "The Dutch government's cyber security center has published guidelines (in Dutch) that it hopes will encourage ethical hackers to disclose security vulnerabilities in a responsible way. The person who discovers the vulnerability should report it directly and as soon as possible to the owner of the system in a confidential manner, so the leak cannot be abused by others. Furthermore, the ethical hacker will not use social engineering techniques, nor install a backdoor or copy, modify or delete data from the system, the NCSC specified. Alternatively a hacker could make a directory listing in the system, the guidelines said. Hackers should also refrain from altering the system and not repeatedly access the system. Using brute-force techniques to access a system is also discouraged, the NCSC said. The ethical hacker further has to agree that vulnerabilities will only be disclosed after they are fixed and only with consent of the involved organization. The parties can also decide to inform the broader IT community if the vulnerability is new or it is suspected that more systems have the same vulnerability, the NCSC said."
RocketAcademy writes "A group of New Mexico legislators is warning that the $200-million Spaceport America 'could become a ghost town, with tumbleweeds crossing the runways' if trial lawyers succeed in blocking critical liability legislation. The warning came in a letter to the Albuquerque Journal [subscription or free trial may be required]. Virgin Galactic has signed a lease to become the spaceport's anchor tenant, but may pull out if New Mexico is unable to provide liability protection for manufacturers and part suppliers, similar to legislation already passed by Texas, Colorado, Florida, and Virginia. The proposed legislation is also similar to liability protection which New Mexico offers to the ski industry. An eclectic group of business and civic interests has formed the Save Our Spaceport Coalition to support passage of the liability reform legislation, which is being fought by the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association."