An anonymous reader writes "Facebook today announced the App Center. Whether you're a Facebook user or a third-party developer, think of it like the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, but for Facebook. That's right: while in-app purchases have existed for a while, Facebook will now give developers the option to offer paid apps (users will pay a flat fee to use an app on facebook.com)."
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An anonymous reader writes "On the heels of a similar bill introduced last month. A group of Democrats today introduced legislation in both the House and Senate to prevent employers from forcing employers and job applicants into sharing information from their personal social networking accounts. In other words, Maryland may soon not be the only state that has banned employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. The Password Protection Act of 2012 (PPA) would also prevent employers from accessing information on any computer that isn't owned or controlled by an employee, including private e-mail accounts, photo sharing sites, and smartphones."
TheGift73 writes with a Techdirt story about a House Oversight Committee report that is very critical of the TSA's handling of money. "The House Oversight Committee has come out with a report slamming the TSA for tremendous amounts of waste, specifically in the 'deployment and storage' of its scanning equipment. Basically, it sounds like the TSA likes to go on giant spending sprees, buying up security equipment and then never, ever using it." Earlier this month Rand Paul laid out his plan for dealing with the TSA.
jsuda writes "You would think that geeks would be as interested in fitness as dogs are of TV. After all, geeks already put in hours of finger dancing on keyboards, assembling hefty code fragments, and juggling PHP programming functions. Although intended, in part, as a guide to real physical fitness the book, Fitness for Geeks, entices geeks with what they are really interested in–the science of fitness, nutrition, and exercise. In 11 chapters over 311 pages (including notes and an index) author, Bruce W Perry, describes in great detail the science of fitness and all of its components–food selections, timings, and fastings; exercising of all types; sleep, rest, and meditation; the benefits of hormesis (shocking the body with stresses); and the benefits of natural sunlight." Read on for the rest of jsuda's review.
coondoggie writes "An innovative project, called Autonomous Dynamic Analysis of Metaphor and Analogy, or ADAMA, aims to build a software system that can automatically analyze metaphorical speech in five different languages by analyzing huge quantities of online data got off the ground this week when the U.S. Army Research Laboratory awarded a $1.4 million contract to the team conducting the research. The research is backed by the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), which develops high-risk, reward research projects for the government, and is intended to build a repository of speech metaphors from American/English Iranian Farsi, Mexican Spanish and Russian speakers. ADAMA could have immediate applications in forensics, intelligence analysis, business intelligence, sociological research and communication studies, researchers stated."
eldavojohn writes "American news outlets like The New York Times seem to thrive on chemophobia — consumer fear of the ambiguous concept of 'chemicals.' As a result, Pulitzer-prize winning science writer Deborah Blum has decided to call out New York Times journalist Nicholas Kirstof for his secondary crusade (she notes he is an admirable journalist in other realms) against chemicals. She's quick to point out the absurdity of fearing chemicals like Hydrogen which could be a puzzler considering its integral role played in life-giving water as well as life-destroying hydrogen cyanide. Another example is O2 versus O3. Blum calls upon journalists to be more specific, to avoid the use of vague terms like 'toxin' let alone 'chemical' and instead inform the public with lengthy chemical names like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) instead of omitting the actual culprit altogether. Kristof has, of course, resorted to calling makers of these specific compounds 'Big Chem' and Blum chastises his poorly researched reporting along with chemophobic lingo. Chemists of Slashdot, have you found reporting on 'chemicals' to be as poor as Blum alleges or is this no more erroneous than any scare tactic used to move newspapers and garner eyeballs?"
AstroPhilosopher writes "Researchers at the Federation of American Scientists have discovered documentation (PDF) that allows the military to keep footage from drones for up to 90 days to determine whether further investigation is warranted. Besides using footage from natural disasters and monitoring of domestic military bases, all that's truly required is for an operator to 'accidentally' have the camera running while flying."
jones_supa writes "Barton George, director of marketing for Dell's Web vertical reveals information about 'Project Sputnik', a laptop tailored for developer needs in web companies. 'We want to find ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible. And what better way to do that than beginning with a laptop that is both highly mobile and extremely stylish, running the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu Linux,' George ponders. He also gives a quick list of packages that the default installation could include. The machine will base on the XPS13, assessing a couple of its main hardware deficiencies along the way." According to the article, this is a "6 month project to investigate an Ubuntu laptop. If successful, we have big plans for the effort." It's unclear how closely they are working with upstream, but there's mention of Canonical as a commercial partner so this may mean Dell is working to ensure some of their hardware Just Works (tm) with Ubuntu. The software side is so far just a customized install with developer tools preinstalled. Ars remains skeptical about Dell's strategy for GNU/Linux support, which may be warranted given their track record.
TheGift73 writes "By far the most controversial bill discussed in the Queen's speech today has to be the 'Draft Communications Bill' which '...will allow the police and intelligence agencies to collect data on communications, like texts and emails, flexible to changes in technology, such as the Internet. This will apply UK wide.' The Queen's Speech has set out the government's legislative plans for the next year." El Reg has the skinny on the CCDP related parts. From their article: "It's unclear if those 'strict safeguards' mean that a warrant, for example, would be needed before spooks could access such data. The rough proposal appeared to only fuzzily indicate that such protection for British citizens would be provided, however."
Fluffeh writes "Although the DHS has spent around $90 million upgrading magnetometers to the new body scanners, federal investigators 'identified vulnerabilities in the screening process' at domestic airports using the new machines, according to a classified internal Department of Homeland Security report. Exactly how bad the body scanners are is not being divulged publicly, but the Inspector General's report (PDF) made eight separate recommendations on how to improve screening. To quiet privacy concerns, the authorities are also spending $7 million to 'remove the human factor from the image review process' and replace the passenger's image with an avatar."
TheGift73 writes with this quote from an AP report: "Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill Tuesday to preserve low interest rates for millions of college students' loans, as the two parties engaged in election-year choreography aimed at showing each is the better protector of families in today's rugged economy. The 52-45 vote to begin debating the legislation fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to proceed and stalled work on an effort both parties expect will ultimately produce a compromise, probably soon. For now, each side is happy to use the stalemate to snipe at the other with campaign-ready talking points while they are gridlocked over how to cover the $6 billion cost."
angry tapir writes "One Laptop Per Child Australia had a win in the recent Australian budget, receiving federal government funding for the first time. OLPC Australia will benefit from $11.7 million of funding, which will be used to purchase 50,000 laptops to distribute to students. The organization recently launched a new initiative that builds an educational ecosystem around the laptops, to help integrate them into the learning process."
Qedward writes "Chief operating officer Kevin Turner says Microsoft will be 'carbon neutral across all our direct operations including data centers, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings' from July 1, the start of the 2012 fiscal year. Turner added: 'We are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies, large and small, to look at what they can do to address this important issue."
An anonymous reader sends word that Apache OpenOffice 3.4 has been released (download). This is the first release since OpenOffice became a project at the Apache Software Foundation. The release notes list all of the improvements, the highlights of which The H has summarized: "According to its developers, Apache OpenOffice (AOO) 3.4.0, the first update since OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 from January 2011, now starts up faster than its predecessor and introduces a number of new features such as support for documents secured using AES256 encryption. The Linear Programming solver in the Calc spreadsheet program has been replaced with the CoinMP C-API library from the Computational Infrastructure for Operations Research (COIN-OR) project. As in LibreOffice 3.4.0, the DataPilot functionality has been renamed to Pivot Table, and now supports an unlimited number of fields. A new 'Quote all text cells' CSV (Comma Separated Values) export option has been also added to Calc. Other changes include improved ODF 1.2 encryption and Unix Printing support and various enhancements to the Impress presentation and Draw sketching programs."
Fluffeh writes "Around nine months ago, BART Police asked to have wireless communications disabled (PDF) between Trans Bay Tube Portal and the Balboa Park Station. That was because they knew a public protest was to take place there — and the service to the underground communication system was disabled. This affected not only cellphone signals, but also the radio systems of Police, Fire and Ambulance crews (PDF) within the underground. This led to an even larger protest at a BART station and many folks filed complaints along with the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation. The FCC responded by launching a probe into the incident. The results were a mixed bag of 'To protect citizens!' and 'Only in extreme cases,' not to mention the classic 'Terrorists use wireless communications!' But even if the probe doesn't lead to a full proceeding and formal order, the findings may well be used as a guide for many years to come."