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News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 13 min 22 sec ago

Ubisoft Talks Splitscreen and the Division

Sat, 13/02/2016 - 12:39am
SlappingOysters writes: Ubisoft's next entry in the Tom Clancy series is pushing at the boundaries of three genres, mixing the RPG, the squad-based shooter and the MMO into The Division. The game features drop-in, drop-out co-op in a near-future, post-pandemic New York that seamlessly allows players to transition from PvE to PvP environments without any menus or lobbies. However, despite its co-op gameplay, The Division does not support splitscreen. Finder.com.au recently ran an extensive hands-on with the game, as well as an interview with Ubisoft Massive's creative director Magnus Jansén regarding the decision to forgo splitscreen co-op.

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Google Is Shutting Down Picasa In Favor of Photos

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 11:55pm
Google has been steadily migrating its resources towards the Photos ecosystem since the company first announced it at last years I/O developers conference. Today, Google announced that it will shut down Picasa. Starting May 1st, Google will start phasing out Picasa from its product lineup, moving over to Google Photos.

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Smartphones May Soon Provide Earthquake Warnings

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 11:14pm
sciencehabit writes: When it comes to an earthquake, just a few seconds' warning could make the difference between life and death. But many earthquake-prone countries lack the seismic networks that would give their citizens the lead time to find cover or shut down critical utilities. Now, a group of enterprising engineers is looking at a substitute network: smartphones. Using smartphones' built-in accelerometers, researchers have invented an app, released today, that they say can detect strong earthquakes seconds before the damaging seismic waves arrive. MyShake, as the app is called, could become the basis for an earthquake warning system for the world's most vulnerable regions.

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Researchers Improve Efficiency of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles By Almost 12%

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 10:46pm
hypnosec writes: A new study has put forward claims that by working on and improving the energy management system (EMS) that decides when the switch from 'all-electric' mode to 'hybrid' mode in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, efficiency of these vehicles can be improved by as much as 12 per cent. Researchers have shown in their lab tests that blended discharge strategies wherein power from the battery is used throughout the trip, have proven to be more efficient at minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.

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US Copyright Law Forces Wikimedia To Remove the Diary of Anne Frank

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 10:23pm
Today, the Wikimedia Foundation announced its removal of The Diary of Anne Frank from Wikisource, a digital library of free texts. According to the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, works are protected for 95 years from the date of publication, meaning Wikimedia is not allowed to host a copy of the book before 2042. Rogers, the Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, says this is just one of the many examples of the overreach of the United States' current copyright law. He goes on to say, "Our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms."

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US Copyright Law Forces Wikimedia To Remove the Diary of Anne Frank

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 10:23pm
Today, the Wikimedia Foundation announced it's removal of The Diary of Anne Frank from Wikisource, a digital library of free texts. According to the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), works are protected for 95 years from the date of publication, meaning Wikimedia is not allowed to host a copy of the book before 2042. Rogers, the Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, says this is just one of the many examples of the overreach of the United States' current copyright law. He goes on to say, "Our removal serves as an excellent example of why the law should be changed to prevent repeated extensions of copyright terms."

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French Court Rules That Facebook Can Now Be Sued in France

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 9:41pm
An anonymous reader writes: A Paris court of appeal has ruled in favor of a French complainant whose account was suspended, because he linked to an image of the 1866 Gustav Courbet nude 'L'Origine du monde', currently residing at the Musee d'Orsay. The appeals court not only agreed that the user's suspension by Facebook constitutes censorship, but the ruling itself negates Facebook's insistence that all legal challenges take place in its native California.

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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Have a Pager? Do You Find It Useful?

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 8:59pm
New submitter Chance Callahan writes: I am starting a business, helping a friend with his own startup, and volunteering regularly with a major political campaign (#feelthebern). One thing I have noticed is that my phone likes to die at the most inconvenient times and leaves me out of touch with people. With the business I'm starting requiring clients to be able to get ahold me quickly, I have been seriously considering getting a two-way pager. It's much easier swap out a AA battery once a month then to worry "will client X be able to get ahold me in the event of an emergency?" So, Slashdot, the million dollar question is, in the age of cell phones, do you have a pager? Do you still find it useful? Do any other "dead-tech" tools still play a big role for your communications? For example, fax machines are still big in Japan, and a lot of people keep landlines, too.

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Fresh Wayland Experiences With Weston, GNOME, KDE and Enlightenment

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 8:18pm
jones_supa writes: Software developer Pavlo Rudyi has written a blog post about his experiences with the various desktop environments currently supporting Wayland. The results are not a big surprise, but nevertheless it is great to see the continued interest in Wayland and the ongoing work by many different parties in ensuring that Wayland will eventually be able to dominate the Linux desktop. To summarize, Pavlo found Weston to be "good," GNOME is "perfect," KDE is "bad," and Enlightenment is "good." He also created a video from his testing. Have you done any testing? What's your experience?

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iPhones Bricked By Setting Date To Jan 1, 1970

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 7:46pm
lightbox32 writes: Beware of a hoax circling the interwebs, which can be seen by setting your iPhone's date to January 1, 1970. Many people are reporting that doing so will brick the device. It's unclear what exactly causes the issue, but could be related to how iOS stores date and time formats. Jan. 1, 1970 is a value of zero or less than zero, which would make any process that uses a time stamp to fail. Apple is aware of the issue and is looking into it.

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UK GHCQ Is Allowed To Hack

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 7:09pm
An anonymous reader writes: A security tribunal has just decreed that hacking by the UK security agency GCHQ is legal. [The case was launched after revelations by Edward Snowden about the extent of US and UK spying. Campaigners Privacy International claimed GCHQ's hacking operations were too intrusive]. The legal challenge that they were violating European law was rejected.

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Scientists Say Goodbye to Philae Comet Lander

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 6:31pm
Today, scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) announced that they are saying goodbye to Philae, the comet lander that is currently perched on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it races toward the sun. According to Stephan Ulamec, Philae's project manager, "Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Center is almost zero." Philae first made history when it successfully landed on a comet in fall of 2014, but problems soon began when commands were not able to reach the robot.

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OCZ Toshiba Breaks 30 Cents Per GB Barrier With New Trion 150 SSD

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 5:47pm
MojoKid writes: OCZ's Trion 150 SSD is an update to the company's Trion 100, which was the first drive from OCZ to feature TLC NAND and all in-house, Toshiba-built technology. As its branding suggests, the new Trion 150 kicks things up a notch over the Trion 100, thanks to some cutting-edge Toshiba 15nm NAND flash memory and a tweaked firmware, that combined, offer increased performance and lower cost over its predecessor. In testing, the Trion 150 hits peak reads and writes well north of 500MB/sec like most SATA-based SSDs but the kicker is, at its higher densities, the drive weighs in at about 28 cents per GiB. This equates to street prices of $70 for a 240GB drive, $140 for 480GB and $270 for a 960GB version. It's good to see mainstream solid state storage costs continuing to come down.

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Did a Timer Error Change the Outcome of a Division I College Basketball Game?

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 5:06pm
New submitter javakah writes: Controversy has erupted from the February 10th basketball game between Boise State and Colorado State, and speculation is that a timer may have made an incorrect assumption about the number of frames per second the game was recorded in, and ultimately lead to an erroneous result. With the game tied in overtime, Boise State had the ball out-of-bounds with 0.8 seconds left on the game clock. The ball was thrown in-bounds, the shot went in, and the game clock showed that the Boise State player got the shot off with 0.4 seconds left. However there was a problem: the game clock did not start until a fraction of a second after the in-bounds player touched the ball. Referees decided to use video replay to examine whether the player had gotten the shot off within 0.8 seconds or not. To do this, they used a timer embedded in the video replay system. This embedded timer indicated that 1.3 seconds had passed between the time that the in-bounds player touched the ball and when he got the shot off. (Read more, below.)

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Google Brain Researchers Make Significant Progress On Language Modeling

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 4:43pm
New submitter integralclosure writes: Using neural networks, Google Brain researchers have significantly improved a computer's ability to model English (achieving extremely low perplexity score on a large dataset). Using the model they were able to generate random sentences, such as the following: 'Yuri Zhirkov was in attendance at the Stamford Bridge at the start of the second half but neither Drogba nor Malouda was able to push on through the Barcelona defence.' The sentences are generally coherent and mostly grammatically correct. Advances seem to be a replay of neural networks' dominance in the Imagenet competition.

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Hackers of Ukrainian Utilities Probably Hit Mining and Railroad Targets, Too

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 4:26pm
itwbennett writes: Trend Micro said Thursday that its latest technical research shows that the same malware — dubbed BlackEnergy and KillDisk — were likely used in attacks on a mining company and a railway operator that preceded the devastating power-company hacks and that those earlier attacks may have been test runs. 'The malware used in the attacks, known as Black Energy, has been linked by the security firm iSight Partners to a group nicknamed the Sandworm Team, which is suspected to be from Russia,' writes Jeremy Kirk.

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Austrian Minister Calls For a Constitutional Right To Pay In Cash

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 3:45pm
New submitter sittingnut writes: Bloomberg reports that Austrian Deputy Economy Minister Harald Mahrer has called for a constitutional right to use cash to protect their privacy. According to the report, Mahrer said, "We don't want someone to be able to track digitally what we buy, eat and drink, what books we read and what movies we watch. We will fight everywhere against rules," including caps on cash purchases. EU finance ministers at a meeting in Brussels last Friday urged the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, to "explore the need for appropriate restrictions on cash payments exceeding certain thresholds," " to crack down on "illicit cash movements."

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Pirate Bay Browser Streaming Technology Is a Security and Privacy Nightmare

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 3:05pm
An anonymous reader writes: Last week the Pirate Bay added support for streaming video torrents inside the browser in real-time. Kickass Torrents followed the next week. The technology they used is called Torrents Time. A security researcher has discovered that this technology which is a mix of client and server side code is actually a security and user privacy disaster. Attackers can carry out XSS attacks on TPB and KAT, the app runs on Mac as root, attackers can hijack downloads and force malicious code on the user's PC, and advertisers can collect info on any user that has Torrents Time installed.

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UCL Scientists Push 1.125Tbps Through a Single Coherent Optical Receiver

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 2:25pm
Mark.JUK writes: A team of researchers working in the Optical Networks Group at the University College London in England claim to have achieved the "greatest information rate ever recorded using a single [coherent optical] receiver", which was able to handle a record data speed of 1.125 Terabits per second (Tbps). The result, which required a 15 sub-carrier 8GBd DP-256QAM super-channel (15 channels of data) and total bandwidth of 121.5GHz, represents an increase of 12.5% relative to the previous record (1Tbps). Now they just need to test it using some long fibre optic cable because optical signals tend to become distorted when they travel over thousands of kilometers.

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Indonesia Moves To Ban Same-Sex Emojis On Messaging Apps

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 1:47pm
An anonymous reader writes: The Indonesian government has this week demanded that instant messaging apps available in the country remove all same-sex emoticons from their platforms, or face heavy sanctions. While homosexuality is not illegal in the country, it remains a controversial issue in the Muslim-dominated country. Now in the latest effort to crackdown on gay rights, Indonesian authorities want to ban emojis, stickers and emoticons which depict same-sex couples, the rainbow flag, and any symbol that symbolises the lesbian, bay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Apps that have been targeted by the demands include the popular Asian messaging app LINE, Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter. The Indonesian Communication and Information Ministry added that a particular concern was that children would find the bright coloured stickers appealing.

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