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

Education

A Trail of Clicks, Culminating In Conflict 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the won't-somebody-think-of-the-children dept.
NotSanguine writes "Technology companies are up in arms about the FTC's pending rules change which would require explicit parental permission to allow websites to gather a wide range of data on children 13 and under. From the NYT Article: '"If adopted, the effect of these new rules would be to slow the deployment of applications that provide tremendous benefits to children, and to slow the economic growth and job creation generated by the app economy," Catherine A. Novelli, vice president of worldwide government affairs at Apple, wrote in comments to the agency (PDF).' But would that be a bad thing? As reported in the Times last week, Matt Richtel writes, 'There is a widespread belief among teachers that students' constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers being released on Thursday.' So, will the new FTC rules end up helping children (by enhancing their privacy and, if industry pundits are right, reducing the amount of content available online for children — thus enhancing their attention spans), or will the negative effects on corporations have as deleterious an effect on the economy as to measurably reduce the quality of education?"
Cloud

Cloud Computing Needs To Embrace the Linux Model, Says Rackspace CTO 42

Posted by Soulskill
from the hug-a-penguin dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Companies are rushing to lock customer data into their specific walled gardens, Rackspace CTO John Engates argued in an interview after a Cloud Expo keynote in Silicon Valley. That makes it more important than ever to ensure that the cloud undergirding all the various functions of daily life remains open. 'These companies have grown up in the era of enterprise software and they're addicted to enterprise software margins, magnitudes more profitable than what we make as a hosting company,' he said. 'Now you have software companies embracing cloud computing and taking the same enterprise-software playbook they've had for years and trying to run it in the cloud.' Ultimately, he added, cloud computing needs to adopt the Linux model. 'Linux opened it up and gave you vendor choice, with numerous vendors bringing their own strengths to the table.'"
Government

U.S. Election Day In Progress: What's Been Your Experience? 821

Posted by timothy
from the meet-the-new-boss dept.
Today is Election Day in the U.S., and polls are open even in Hawaii now. The current Slashdot poll gives a snapshot of how many readers have voted or plan to vote; more rigorous and wide-based polls are easy to find. If you're taking part in today's election, what have you found? Did you or will you vote electronically, or on paper? How long did you wait to vote? Did you vote weeks ago by mail? How much time did you put into making your choices? It would be helpful if in comments you start the subject of your post with your 2-letter state abbreviation, like this: "TX - About to go get in line to push some buttons."
Cloud

Gate One 1.1 Released: Run Vim In Your Browser 150

Posted by timothy
from the until-it's-included-in-the-browser dept.
Riskable writes "Version 1.1 of Gate One (HTML5 terminal emulator/SSH client) was just released (download). New features include security enhancements, major performance improvements, mobile browser support, improved terminal emulation, automatic syntax highlighting of syslog messages, PDFs can now be captured/displayed just like images, Python 3 support, Internet Explorer (10) support, and quite a lot more (full release notes). There's also a new demo where you can try out vim in your browser, play terminal games (nethack, vitetris, adventure, zangband, battlestar, greed, robotfindskitten, and hangman), surf the web in lynx, and a useful suite of IPv6-enabled network tools (ping, traceroute, nmap, dig, and a domain name checker)." Gate One is dual licensed (AGPLv3/Commercial Licensing); for individuals, it's pay-as-you-please.
Businesses

Should a Teenage Entrepreneur Sell Out To Facebook? 358

Posted by timothy
from the why-confine-the-question-by-age? dept.
colinneagle writes "Andrew Mayhall is 19 years old and is running a server company, called Evtron, whose product has reportedly set the world record for data density (4.6 petabytes per server rack) and has begun attracting attention from investors. One of those interested parties is reportedly Facebook, with whom the young CEO claims to have had casual discussions about a potential acquisition/hire agreement (Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on the talks). He says the opportunity to speak with Facebook was simply one he couldn't pass up, and seems more impassioned by entrepreneurship. He speaks often of building his company into an EMC or NetApp, and could very well compete with them soon. But if an offer from Facebook ever comes, should he accept, or try to build something on his own?"
Networking

Welsh Scientists Radically Increase Fiber Broadband Speeds With COTS Parts 72

Posted by timothy
from the believe-it-when-it-appears-in-your-home dept.
Mark.JUK writes "Scientists working under an EU funded (3 Million Euros) project out of Bangor University in Wales (United Kingdom) have developed a commercially-exploitable way of boosting broadband speeds over end-user fibre optic lines by using Optical Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OOFDM) technology, which splits a laser down to multiple different optical frequencies (each of which can be used to carry data), and low-cost off-the-shelf components. The scientists claim that their solution has the ability to 'increase broadband transmission by up to two thousand times the current speed and capacity' (most UK Fibre-to-the-Home or similar services currently offer less than 100 Megabits per second) and it can do this alongside a 'significant reduction in electrical power consumption.'"
Handhelds

iPad Mini Costs $24 More To Make Than Kindle Fire HD 260

Posted by timothy
from the price-theory-at-work dept.
sweetpea86 writes "... but retails for $130 more. Teardowns of the Apple iPad Mini and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD have revealed that the two devices cost almost the same amount to manufacture, despite the retail prices being significantly different. Andrew Rassweiler, senior principal analyst of teardown services for IHS iSuppli, explains that Apple is sticking to the premium brand strategy it has always used for its media tablet and smartphone products, whereas Amazon is banking on content."
Government

Ask Slashdot: How To Become Informed In Judicial Elections? 153

Posted by timothy
from the today's-the-day dept.
First time accepted submitter yincrash writes "Today I've been looking up information on local elections and have found it virtually impossible to determine information on judicial elections, both with regards to information on the candidate, and what makes a good judge. Is there a good way to find information on these candidates? chooseyourjudges.org seems to agree that this is basically an impossible task. What do slashdotters do in an information vacuum? Just abstain from voting? Write-in something in protest?"
Businesses

GM Brings IT Dev Back In House; Self-Driving Caddy In the Works 171

Posted by timothy
from the oh-christine dept.
dstates writes "Want a good job in IT? Detroit of all places may be the place to be. GM is bringing IT development back in house to speed innovation. Among other initiatives, a self driving Cadillac is planned by mid decade. Ford is also actively developing driver assist technology and is betting big on voice recognition. Ann Arbor has thousands of smart cars wirelessly connected on the road. Think about all those aging baby boomers with houses in the burbs and no desire to move as their vision and reflexes decline. The smart car is a huge market. Seriously, Detroit and SE Michigan have good jobs, great universities, cheap housing and easy access to great sports and outdoors activities."
Robotics

Self-Assembling Robots Using Flying Drones 33

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the air-support dept.
mikejuk writes with an excerpt from I Programmer on a neat swarm of robots that use flying drones to build a map of their environment: "How can a swarm of robots get a global picture of its environment? Easy it simply sends up a drone. We are used to thinking of drones as being used for surveillance by humans operating on the ground, but what is good for humans is good for robots too. The drone can view the overall terrain and run simulations of what configurations of robots could best traverse the slopes. Once it has worked out how to assemble the robots into a single machine the drone has to communicate the plan to the swarm using a protocol based on the colored lights they all have. The ground robots adopt a random color and the drone selects the one it wants to communicate with by displaying the same color. They then repeat the process until only one robot has been selected i.e the drone follows the color changes of the selected robot. Of course if you don't like the idea of human drones flying over your head you may not be happy about robots getting in on the act as well..." Original paper
Earth

Singapore Builds First Vertical Vegetable Farm 141

Posted by samzenpus
from the growing-on-up dept.
kkleiner writes "Short on arable land? One solution would be to plan up. Singapore, a small country that imports most of its food, has now begun selling vegetables from its first vertical farm. And even while they're more expensive the vegetables are already selling faster than they can be grown. If the farms prove sustainable – both technologically and economically – they could provide a much desired supplement to Singapore's locally grown food and serve as a model for farming in other land-challenged areas."
Education

Phil Shapiro: Slashdot Reader, FOSS Activist, and Library Computer Guy (Video) 30

Posted by Roblimo
from the not-all-important-people-are-famous dept.
Phil Shapiro isn't famous, but he's a pretty good writer whose work appears regularly at opensource.com. He makes his living as the tech support person (he calls it "public nerd") at the Takoma Park Maryland Library. He has also -- see the link to his bio page above -- lived in New Delhi, India; Copenhagen, Denmark; Paris, France; and Scarsdale, New York. He got started with Linux as a "social justice" thing; because Linux and FOSS helped make it possible for people of modest means (we used to just call them "poor") to learn about computers and get on the Internet. He's still a big "computer for the masses" advocate and computer rehab volunteer. What's especially interesting about this interview (which is slightly out of sound/visual synch; you may prefer reading the transcript) is the amount of credit Phil gives Slashdot for spurring him on and getting him excited about FOSS. He also sees Slashdot as instrumental in helping start the Maker subculture. Do you agree? If so, should influencing the future of technology be Slashdot's main mission? Also: If so, how do you suggest we do it? And more specifically, do you know any other non-famous Slashdot readers (or people in general) we should talk to because they are doing interesting things?
Businesses

Is It Time To Commit To Ongoing Payphone Availability? 267

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-you-gonna-call? dept.
jenningsthecat writes "Public payphones seem headed the way of the dinosaur, as noted here on Slashdot 10 years ago, and again by the CBC earlier this year. Reasons typically cited for their demise are falling usage, (thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone), and rising maintenance costs. But during the recent disaster in NYC caused by Hurricane Sandy public payphones proved their worth, allowing people to stay in contact in spite of the widespread loss of both cellular service and the electricity required to charge mobile devices. In light of this news, at least one Canadian news outlet is questioning the wisdom of scrapping payphones. Should we in North America make sure that public pay phones will always be widely available? (After all, it's not as though they don't have additional value-added uses). And, should their continued existence be dependent on corporations whose primary duty is to their shareholders, rather than to the average citizen?"

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