First time accepted submitter Duncan J Murray writes "I will be attending a 3-day science conference soon, consisting mainly of lectures, and was wondering what people thought would be the ultimate hardware/software combo note-taking device, taking into account keyboard quality, endurance, portability, discretion & future ease-of-reference. Is a notepad and pen still king? What about an Ipad? N900? Psion 5mx? A small Thinkpad X-series? And if so which OS? Would you have a GUI? Which text-editor?"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
theodp writes "Wired's Cade Metz has the scoop on the move away from U.S. network equipment stalwarts, calling it of the best-kept secrets in Silicon Valley. 'Cloud computing is an arms race,' writes Metz. 'The biggest web companies on earth are competing to see who can deliver their services to the most people in the shortest amount of time at the lowest cost. And the cheapest arms come straight from Asia.' Or, as Joyent's Howard Wu puts it, 'It's kind of like buying couches. If you buy one, you go to a retail store. If you buy 10,000 couches, you go straight to the factory.'"
An anonymous reader writes "You can add this one to the short but growing list of employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. After refusing to give her Facebook password to her supervisors, Kimberly Hester was fired by Lewis Cass Intermediate School District from her job as an aide to Frank Squires Elementary in Cassopolis, Michigan. She is now fighting a legal battle with the school district."
First time accepted submitter cardpuncher writes "Having opposed the previous government's attempts to introduce mass surveillance of Internet communications, the Conservatives are planning to introduce the very same policy they previously described as a 'culture of surveillance which goes far beyond counter terrorism and serious crime.' The plan is essentially to allow stored communication data to be trawled without the inconvenience of needing a warrant or even any reasonable suspicion."
Hugh Pickens writes "Michael Scherer writes that the Obama fundraising machine has deployed a new cellular campaign weapon designed 'to trigger the campaign finance equivalent of an impulse buy' during key political moments in the campaign. The tool links two familiar technologies, SMS and one-click purchasing, by sending out an SMS message to cell phones and smart phones of tens of thousands of previous campaign donors giving them a one-click option to give more money. 'Campaign officials hope to be able to return to donors in key moments of emotional excitement,' writes Scherer. One person familiar with the ask says that the response rate has been more than 20 times greater than any text message solicitation Obama has sent out before and and the reason is simple: Even with an iPhone, it remains an arduous hassle to enter all the information that is typically required to buy anything online with a credit card. The trick is that anyone who gives even a few dollars to the Obama campaign is asked if they want to keep their credit cards on file to participate in what the campaign calls 'Quick Donate.' Now donors just need to write '25,' or '10,' and that amount of dollars is immediately drawn from their credit cards. One of the Obama campaign's best fundraising days in 2008, for instance, came right after Sarah Palin's convention speech. Now partisans can 'vent their outrage or enthusiasm by simply typing one number into their phone.'"
00_NOP writes "Everybody (or almost everybody) in England agrees that computing teaching to kids in high school is broken. In response the government promised a radical overhaul and a new curriculum. But then last week it was discovered the government had scrapped the bit of the education department that would develop any such curriculum. Not to be deterred, John Naughton, the Cambridge University academic who wrote the Short History of the Future, has now published his own 'radical' manifesto on how computing should be taught."
First time accepted submitter illtud writes "From April, UK passengers flying to Mexico, Eastern Canada or Cuba will have to submit their details at least 72 hours before boarding to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for pre-flight vetting (as all passengers to the U.S. itself have had to do for a while). If they find against you, you're not getting on the plane, even though you're not going to the U.S. The Independent (UK quality newspaper) has the story."
The Chicago Tribute reports on a ruling announced Friday that the Huffington Post violated no law in profiting enormously from the unpaid contributions of bloggers who wrote much of the content that has spurred the site's success. Says the article: "John E. Koeltel, a district court judge in New York, dismissed a class action sought brought against the Huffington Post by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million from AOL and Arianna Huffington's media empire. The bloggers argued that though they initially agreed to do the work for free, the Huffington Post was 'unjustly enriched as a result of this practice,' violating New York state law. Koeltel disagreed. 'There is no question that the plaintiffs submitted their materials to The Huffington Post with no expectation of monetary compensation and that they got what they paid for -- exposure in The Huffington Post,' Koeltel wrote."
judgecorp writes "The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple's approach."
dartttt writes "Adobe has released Flash Player version 11.2 with many new features. This is the final Flash Player release for Linux platform and now onward there will be only security and bug fix updates. Last month Adobe announced that it is withdrawing Flash Player support for Linux platform. All the future newer Flash releases will be bundled with Google Chrome using its Pepper API and for everything else, 11.2 will be the last release."
First time accepted submitter bheading writes "Following years under controversial leadership which, among other things, led to a fork (which was in turn adopted by some of the major distributions) the glibc development process has been reinvented to follow a slightly more informal, community-based model. Here's hoping glibc benefits from a welcome dose of pragmatism."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Talk about visualizations. Ever wondered what the wind would look like if you could see it in action from above? A new project posted online by a pair of Google computer scientists, called simply Wind Map, has to be seen to be believed. "It can be quite hypnotizing to watch the gusty trails blast across the American continent, skitter over the Sierras, get roughed up by the Rockies, and whoosh over the great plains on its way to Canada," writes Chris Taylor. Wind Map is the brainchild of Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, the co-leaders of Google's 'Big Picture' visualization research group in Cambridge, Mass. Wind patterns are constantly changing, of course, which is why the Wind Map designers have also given us a moving-image gallery of previous blustery days."
First time accepted submitter rover42 writes "Major Chinese sites Sina and Webo 'have been legally punished for permitting the spread of unfounded rumors. Specifically, the report cites unfounded rumors that were spreading like wildfire on Sina Weibo of an attempted coup d'etat happening in Beijing.' The source is the state-run Xinhua." Sadly for the people of China (even if they like it this way), this seems to be in line with the Chinese government's general attitude toward the Internet.
fishmike writes with this excerpt from a Reuters report: "American high school students are terrible writers, and one education reform group thinks it has an answer: robots. Or, more accurately, robo-readers — computers programmed to scan student essays and spit out a grade. The theory is that teachers would assign more writing if they didn't have to read it. And the more writing students do, the better at it they'll become — even if the primary audience for their prose is a string of algorithms. ... Take, for instance, the Intelligent Essay Assessor, a web-based tool marketed by Pearson Education, Inc. Within seconds, it can analyze an essay for spelling, grammar, organization and other traits and prompt students to make revisions. The program scans for key words and analyzes semantic patterns, and Pearson boasts it 'can "understand" the meaning of text much the same as a human reader.' Jehn, the Harvard writing instructor, isn't so sure. He argues that the best way to teach good writing is to help students wrestle with ideas; misspellings and syntax errors in early drafts should be ignored in favor of talking through the thesis."
kodiaktau writes "An interesting article from the BBC News Magazine explores the reasons why most fantasy worlds use British as their primary accent. Citing specific examples from recent and upcoming shows and movies like Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit and Game of Thrones, the article concludes British accents are 'sufficiently exotic,' 'comprehensible' and have a 'splash of otherness.' It would be odd to think of a fantasy world having a New Jersey accent, or even a Mid-West accent, which tends to be the default for TV and movies in the U.S., but how do UK viewers feel about having British as a default? More specifically, what about the range of UK accents, like Scottish, Welsh, Cockney? The International Dialects of English Archive shows at least nine regional sounds, with dozens of sub-regional pronunciations in England alone. In the U.S., there have always been many regional accents that might be used in interesting ways. Filmmakers should consider looking at speech accents from other areas of the world to create more interesting dialects."