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

Microsoft

Microsoft Urges Businesses To Get Off XP 727

Posted by timothy
from the not-support-vs-not-run-on dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's approximately 11 years since Windows XP was unveiled, and this week Microsoft was still at it trying to convince users that it's time to upgrade. A post on the Windows For Your Business Blog calls on businesses to start XP migrations now. Microsoft cites the main reason as being that support for XP ends in April 2014, and 'most new hardware options will likely not support the Windows XP operating system.' If you run Windows Vista, Microsoft argues that it's time to 'start planning' the move to Windows 8. As this article points out, it's not uncommon to hear about people still running XP at work."
Handhelds

iPad Mini Could Retail For $250, Delete iPad 2 211

Posted by timothy
from the layers-of-hypotheticals dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "If the Apple rumor mill proves correct, the unveiling of the iPad Mini this week could mean sayonara for the iPad 2. At least, that's the prediction of Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra, who wrote in a recent note to investors that he believes Apple will remove the iPad 2 from its lineup to make room for a smaller tablet. Apple insider excerpted parts of Cihra's note Oct. 19. Of course, that's just one analyst speculating about the future plans of a company known for playing things close to the proverbial vest: Apple's Oct. 23 event in California could feature all sorts of surprises. So what do we know about the iPad Mini? First, that it might not be called the iPad Mini — that's a moniker dreamed up by the press. Second, a cheaper and smaller iPad could impact the market for e-readers and 'price-sensitive users,' according to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, which in turn could mean a challenging future for Amazon, Google, and other IT vendors marketing cheaper tablets. Third, the media—driven by unnamed sources and blurry spy photos—seems to have collectively settled on a 7.85-inch screen without a high-resolution Retina Display."
Displays

Motorola HC1: Head-Worn Computing For Workplaces With Deep Pockets 42

Posted by timothy
from the remarkably-cheap-from-historical-perspective dept.
alphadogg writes "Motorola Solutions has unveiled a head-mounted, voice-controlled computer that's targeted at the military and other industries where workers need hands-free access to information. Called the HC1, the device runs on an ARM processor and has an optional camera to send back real-time video over a wireless network. Unlike Google Goggles, though, the HC1 is aimed at the enterprise market with a price tag of $4,000-$5,000 per unit. Areas the company has been experimenting with include 'high-end repair markets,' such as aircraft engines, said Paul Steinberg, CTO of Motorola Solutions (which is the part of Motorola Google did not acquire). 'Emergency medical personnel at trauma centers might be looking at this too.' The HC1 will augment what users see by providing additional data, he said. Multiple units could be networked together and share information. Video here. "
NASA

NASA Working On Refueling Satellites 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the fill-'er-up dept.
cylonlover writes "Geostationary satellites cost a fortune and, despite their sophistication, they break down or eventually run out of propellant to keep them oriented. This is unfortunate when the nearest garage is back on Earth, so NASA wants to remedy this with an orbital version of roadside service. The space agency is developing a service robot that can visit ailing satellites and refuel or even repair them on the spot. The refueling program is already at an advanced enough stage that a technology demonstrator called the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) was delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in July of last year. The RRM was installed on a temporary platform outside the station. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center wants a robot capable of carrying out what it calls the five 'Rs' – refueling, repositioning, remote survey, component replacement or repairing – on any satellite that might require its services."
Businesses

Amazon Overcharging Publishers For Tax 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the business-will-be-business dept.
00_NOP writes "Amazon is taking fire in the UK for insisting that publishers pay them for 20% VAT (sales tax) when in fact the online retailer is only paying 3% VAT. 'The firm is able to wield such power over publishers because it has a near monopoly of the UK digital book publishing market. According to reliable estimates, it sells nine out of 10 ebooks in the UK, while using its Luxembourg tax status to wring more profitable terms from publishers. ... In private, British authors and publishers express fears that Amazon's dominance will send the industry into further decline.' Given that the Kindle is rubbish at displaying maths and science and that Amazon is as dangerous a monopoly as Microsoft ever was, is it not time that regulators and consumers stood up to them?" Amazon is also facing criticism right now for allegedly shutting down a woman's account and remotely wiping her Kindle, then refusing to provide information about why it did so.
Science

5000 fps Camera Reveals the Physics of Baseball 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-go-tigers dept.
concealment sends this quote from an article at The Physics of Baseball "This clip from Game 4 shows Marco Scutaro hitting the ball right near the tip of the barrel. The amplitude of the resulting vibration is so large that the bat breaks and the ball weakly dribbles off the bat. Note that the bat splinters toward the pitcher. The reason is that when the ball hits the barrel tip, the barrel of the bat bends backward toward the catcher and the center of the bat bulges forward toward the pitcher. That is the natural shape of the fundamental vibrational mode of the bat. Since the fracture occurs near the center which is bulging outward, that is how the bat splinters, as the wood fibers on the pitcher side of the bat are stretched to the breaking point. If the ball had impacted the bat near the center, the center would have bulged toward the catcher, as in the Yadier Molina clip. Had the vibrational amplitude been strong enough in the Molina case, the bat would have splintered toward the catcher."
Cellphones

Japan Getting Real-Time Phone Call Translator App 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the philology-becomes-an-engineering-specialization dept.
another random user writes with news that NTT Docomo, Japan's largest wireless carrier, will be rolling out a real-time translation app for phone calls on November 1. At launch, the app will translate Japanese into English, Mandarin, and Korean, and later that month it will add French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai. No word on Klingon. From the article: "The products have the potential to let companies avoid having to use specially trained multilingual staff, helping them cut costs. They could also aid tourism. However, the software involved cannot offer perfect translations, limiting its use in some situations. ... It provides users with voice translations of the other speaker's conversation after a slight pause, as well as providing a text readout. ... NTT Docomo will soon face competition from France's Alcatel-Lucent which is developing a rival product, WeTalk. It can handle Japanese and about a dozen other languages including English, French and Arabic. The service is designed to work over any landline telephone, meaning the company has had to find a way to do speech recognition using audio data sampled at a rate of 8kHz or 16kHz. Other products — which rely on data connections — have used higher 44kHz samples which are easier to process."
Blackberry

Black Sheep Blackberry Blackballed By Business 349

Posted by timothy
from the die-hards-know-disco-is-not-dead dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Nicole Perlroth writes that the BlackBerry, once proudly carried by the high-powered and the elite, has become a magnet for mockery and derision from those with iPhones and the latest Android phones. as Research in Motion clings to less than 5 percent of the smartphone market — down from a dominating 50 percent just three years ago. One of the first steps Marissa Mayer took as Yahoo's newly appointed chief executive to remake the company's stodgy image was to trade in employees' BlackBerrys for iPhones and Androids and although BlackBerrys may still linger in Washington, Wall Street and the legal profession, in Silicon Valley they are as rare as a necktie. BlackBerry outcasts say that, increasingly, they suffer from shame and public humiliation as they watch their counterparts mingle on social networking apps that are not available to them, take higher-resolution photos, and effortlessly navigate streets — and the Internet — with better GPS and faster browsing."
Security

DARPA Funds a $300 Software-Defined Radio For Hackers 94

Posted by timothy
from the turn-on-tune-in dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes with this story from Forbes: "Over the weekend at the ToorCon hacker conference in San Diego, Michael Ossmann of Great Scott Gadgets revealed a beta version of the HackRF Jawbreaker, the latest model of the wireless Swiss-army knife tools known as 'software-defined radios.' Like any software-defined radio, the HackRF can shift between different frequencies as easily as a computer switches between applications–It can both read and transmit signals from 100 megahertz to 6 gigahertz, intercepting or reproducing frequencies used by everything from FM radios to police communications to garage door openers to WiFi and GSM to next-generation air traffic control system messages. At Ossmann's target price of $300, the versatile, open-source devices would cost less than half as much as currently existing software-defined radios with the same capabilities. And to fund the beta testing phase of HackRF, the Department of Defense research arm known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) pitched in $200,000 last February as part of its Cyber Fast Track program."
Australia

Aussie Researchers Crack Transport Crypto, Get Free Rides 88

Posted by timothy
from the dirty-socialists dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "Shoddy customised cryptography by a state rail outfit has been busted by a group of Australian researchers who were able to replicate cards to get free rides. The flaws in the decades-old custom cryptographic scheme were busted using a few hundred dollars' worth of equipment. The unnamed transport outfit will hold its breath until a scheduled upgrade to see the holes fixed."
Transportation

Ask Slashdot: How To Both Mirror and Protect Crowdsourced Data? 76

Posted by timothy
from the pick-any-one dept.
New submitter cellurl writes "I run wikispeedia, a database of speed limit signs. People approach us to mirror our data, but I am quite certain it will become a one-way street. So my question is: How can I give consumers peace of mind in using our data and not give up the ship? We want to be the clearing house for this information, at the same time following our charter of providing safety. Some thoughts that come to mind are creating a 'Service Level Agreement' which they will no doubt reject, or MySQL-clustering, or rsync. Any thoughts, (technically, logistically, legally) appreciated."
Earth

Scientists Link Deep Wells To Deadly Spanish Quake 118

Posted by timothy
from the better-tell-those-guys-in-russia dept.
Meshach writes "Research has suggested that human activity triggered an earthquake in Spain that killed nine and injured over three hundred. Drilling deeper and deeper wells to water crops over the past 50 years were identified as the culprit by scientist who examined satellite images of the area. It was noted that even without the strain caused by water extraction, a quake would likely have occurred at some point in the area but the extra stress of pumping vast amounts of water from a nearby aquifer may have been enough to trigger a quake at that particular time and place."
Chrome

At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks 283

Posted by timothy
from the very-cute dept.
Google's new ARM-powered Chromebook isn't a lot of things: it isn't a full-fledged laptop, it's not a tablet (doesn't even have a touch screen); and by design it's not very good as a stand-alone device. Eric Lai at ZDNet, though, thinks Chromebooks are (with the price drop that accompanies the newest version) a good fit for business customers, at least "for white-collar employees and other workers who rarely stray away from their corporate campus and its Wi-Fi network." Lai lists some interesting large-scale rollouts with Chromebooks, including 19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district. Schools probably especially like the control that ChromeOS means for the laptops they administer. For those who'd like to have a more conventional but still lightweight ARM laptop, I wonder how quickly the ARM variant of Ubuntu will land on the new version. (Looks like I'm not the only one to leap to that thought.)
Government

Pols Blur Line Between Data Mining, Cyberstalking 115

Posted by timothy
from the selfless-public-servants-all dept.
theodp writes "Mother Jones reports on Obama's Digital Gurus, the top-secret team of analytics engineers and scientists led by hipster CTO Harper Reed who work on text analytics, social network/media analysis, web personalization, computational advertising, and online experiments & testing from the campaign's Chicago HQ and satellite offices. For OFA (Obama for America), writes Tim Murphy, there is no such thing as Too Much Information. 'In terms of just the sheer amount of data that political candidates have on you,' says UNC Prof Daniel Kreiss, 'I think everyone finds it creepy.' Still playing catch-up to OFA in its data efforts is Team Romney, which reportedly hired former employees from places like Google Analytics, Apple, Ominture, and Overstock.com in an attempt to reverse engineer the Obama campaign's strategy."
Medicine

States Face Huge Task In Tracking Meningitis-Tainted Drugs 99

Posted by timothy
from the call-all-your-former-spinal-tap-partners dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Confronted with a growing meningitis scare, states are coming under enormous pressure to meet federal requests that they contact more than 1,000 hospitals and clinics that received any injectable drugs from the company at the center of the deadly outbreak."

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