An anonymous reader writes "The open source Nouveau driver, a reverse-engineered incarnation of NVIDIA's official proprietary driver for Linux, has reached its biggest milestone. The Nouveau driver is now being considered stable within the Linux kernel and leaving the staging area, with the pledge of a stable ABI. Phoronix has summarized the state of the Nouveau driver, which works fine if you don't care about performance or are fine with running hardware that's a few generations old."
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CowboyRobot writes "For decades, rapid increases in storage, processor speed, and bandwidth have kept up with the enormous increases in computer usage. That could change however, as consumption finally outpaces the supply of these resources. It is instructive to review the 19th-century Economics theory known as Jevons Paradox. Common sense suggests that as efficiencies rise in the use of a resource, the consumption goes down. Jevons Paradox posits that efficiencies actually drive up usage, and we're already seeing examples of this: our computers are faster than ever and we have more bandwidth than ever, yet our machines are often slow and have trouble connecting. The more we have, the even more we use."
New submitter thunderdanp writes with news that a company called Worlds Inc. has filed a patent suit against Activision Blizzard, targeting World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty series. The patents in question describe a "System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space." Worlds Inc. is quite glad that "their" technology has "helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry" — but now they want a cut.
McGruber writes "The New York Times has the sad story of Jack B. Palmer, an employee of Infosys, the giant Indian outsourcing firm. 17 months ago, Mr. Palmer made a quiet internal complaint that Infosys was committing visa fraud by bringing 'in Indian workers on short-term visitor visas, known as B-1, instead of longer-term temporary visas, known as H-1B, which are more costly and time-consuming to obtain.' Since making his complaint, Mr. Palmer 'has been harassed by superiors and co-workers, sidelined with no work assignment, shut out of the company's computers, denied bonuses and hounded by death threats.'"
omega6 sends this excerpt from The Star: "The Supreme Court of Canada struck down Friday warrantless wiretap powers that police have in cases of emergency. ... Ruling in a 2006 British Columbia kidnapping case, the country’s top court said a 1993 provision of the Criminal Code is unconstitutional because there is no accountability or oversight for the warrantless searches, either to the person wiretapped or in reports to Parliament. The unanimous ruling was written by rookie judges Michael Moldaver and Andromache Karakatsanis. The case revolves around police intercepting the calls of the family of Peter Li, the kidnap victim."
Trailrunner7 writes "Mozilla is developing a feature in Firefox that would require some user interaction in order for Flash ads, Java scripts and other content that uses plugins to play. In addition to easing system slowdowns, the opt-in for Web plugins is expected to reduce threats posed by exploiting security vulnerabilities in plugins, including zero-day attacks. 'Whether you hate them or love them, content accessed through plugins is still a sizable chunk of the web. So much so, that over 99% of internet users have Flash installed on their browser,' writes Mozilla's Jared Wein, the lead software engineer on the project, in a blog post."
AstroPhilosopher writes "In a move similar to Hollywood's attempt to have the Supreme Court ban VCRs back in the 80's, ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and Univision are set to appear in court next month to urge a New York federal judge to block Aereo. 'Aereo lets those in New York who want to watch on their iPad what they can pull down for free from the public airwaves to their TV with an antenna.' The networks, however, say Aereo will cause irreparable harm to their business. Aereo's conduct apparently causes them to 'lose control over the dissemination of their copyrighted programming, disrupts their relationships with licensed distributors and viewers and usurps their right to decide how and on what terms to make available and license content over new internet distribution media.'"
Blind author Trish Vickers wrote 26 pages of her novel's first chapter when her son noticed she was writing without ink. Her manuscript was saved however after they took it to the Dorset Police department. A forensic team there worked on it in their spare time, and after 5 months they were able to recover the lost pages. Vickers said: “I think they used a combination of various lights at different angles to see if they could get the impression made by my pen. I am so happy, pleased and grateful. It was really nice of them and I want to thank them for helping me out.”
Fluffeh writes "The United States' global trade representative has strongly criticized a perceived preference on the part of large Australian organizations for hosting their data on-shore in Australia, claiming it created a significant trade barrier for U.S. technology firms. A number of U.S. companies had expressed concerns that various departments in the Australian Government, namely the Department of Defence had been sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country, implying that 'hosting data overseas, including in the United States, by definition entails greater risk and unduly exposes consumers to their data being scrutinized by foreign governments.' Recently, Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner Anthony Bendall highlighted some of the privacy concerns with cloud computing, particularly in its use by the local government. He said the main problems were the lack of control over stored data and privacy, in overseas cloud service providers."
An anonymous reader writes "The University of Pittsburgh has been plagued with 78 bomb threats (and counting) since February 14. It started low-tech, with handwritten notes, but has progressed to anonymous emails. Nearly every campus building has been a target. The program suspected is anonymous mailer Mixmaster. The university has been evacuating each building when threats come in (day or night), and police departments from around Allegheny County have offered assistance with clearing each building floor by floor with bomb sniffing dogs. There is a popular tracking blog set up by a student as well as a growing Reddit community. Is there any foreseeable defense (forensic or socially engineered) to a situation like this?"
New submitter waferthinmint asks "What is the best book for my son to use to teach himself to program? He wants to study on his own but everything seems to assume an instructor or a working theoretical knowledge. He's a bright kid but the right guide can make all the difference. Also, what language should he start with? When I was in HS, it was Basic or Pascal. Now, I guess, C? He has access to an Ubuntu box and an older MacBook Pro. Help me Slashdot; you're our only hope."
jrepin writes "The Calligra team has announced the first release of the Calligra suite of office and creativity applications. This marks the end of a long development period lasting almost one and a half year. It is the first release in a long series which is planned to make improved applications every 4 months. Calligra is a continuation of the old KOffice project and it may be interesting for KOffice users to know what they will get. Some highlights are: a completely rewritten text layout engine that can handle most of the advanced layout features of OpenDocument Format (ODF), simplified user interface, support for larger parts of the ODF specification (for example line endings like arrows), and improved import filters for Microsoft document formats. There are also two new applications: Flow for diagrams and flowcharts, and Braindump for the note taking. Calligra Active is a new interface for touch based devices and especially for the KDE Plasma Active environment. Several companies have already used Calligra as a base for their own office solution. One of them is Nokia with their N9 high end smartphone where Calligra is embedded into the so called Harmattan Office."
grumpyman writes "A coalition of 49 ex-NASA employees, including seven Apollo astronauts, have accused the U.S. space agency of sullying its reputation by taking the 'extreme position' of concluding that carbon dioxide is a major cause of climate change. Is the claim in this letter opinion or fact?"
redletterdave writes "In March, a 51-year-old Reddit user named 'Black Visions' wrote his last post on Reddit. He had been writing frequently about depression and suicide, but in his last post where he also threatened his own suicide, others decided to egg him on even further. That turned out to the be the last straw: Seattle news soon reported Jerry had jumped eight stories from a hotel room in the Double Tree in Tukwila, Washington. Reddit announced on Wednesday that the user's sister Sandy has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against nine Reddit users who egged him on, and Reddit has also been subpoenaed in identifying the information of another three individuals."
Hugh Pickens writes "About 65 million years ago, Earth was struck by an asteroid some 10 km in diameter with a mass of well over a trillion tonnes that created megatsunamis, global wildfires ignited by giant clouds of superheated ash, and the mass extinction of land-based life on Earth. Now astrobiologists have begun to study a less well known consequence: the ejection of billions of tons of life-bearing rocks and water into space that has made its way not just to other planets but other solar systems as well. Calculations by Tetsuya Hara and his colleagues at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan show that a surprisingly large amount of life-bearing material ended up not on the Moon and Mars, as might be expected, but the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturnian moon Enceladus also received tons of life-bearing rock from earth. Even more amazingly, calculations suggest that most Earth ejecta ended up in interstellar space and some has probably already arrived at Earth-like exoplanets orbiting other stars. Hara estimates that about a thousand Earth-rocks from this event would have made the trip to Gliese 581, a red dwarf some 20 light years away that is thought to have a super-Earth orbiting at the edge of the habitable zone, taking about a million years to reach its destination. Of course, nobody knows if microbes can survive that kind of journey or even the shorter trips to Europa and Enceladus. But Hara says that if microbes can survive that kind of journey, they ought to flourish on a super-Earth in the habitable zone (PDF). 'If we consider the possibility that the fragmented ejecta (smaller than 1cm) are accreted to comets and other icy bodies, then buried fertile material could make the interstellar journey throughout the Galaxy,' writes Hara. 'Under these circumstances fragments could continue the interstellar journey and Earth origin meteorites could be transferred to Gl 581 system. If we take it as viable, we should consider the panspermia theories more seriously.'"