Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×
Businesses

Under US Pressure, PayPal Stops Working With Mega 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-wouldn't-download-a-car dept.
New submitter seoras sends news that PayPal is now refusing to handle payments for Mega, Kim Dotcom's cloud storage service. A report (PDF) issued in September of last year claimed Mega and other "cyberlocker" sites made a great deal of illicit money off piracy. Mega disputes this, of course, and says the report caused U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy to pressure credit card companies to stop working with Mega. Those companies then pressured PayPal to stop as well. The hosting company claims, "MEGA provided extensive statistics and other evidence showing that MEGA’s business is legitimate and legally compliant. After discussions that appeared to satisfy PayPal’s queries, MEGA authorised PayPal to share that material with Visa and MasterCard. Eventually PayPal made a non-negotiable decision to immediately terminate services to MEGA."
Google

Google Taking Over New TLDs 185

Posted by Soulskill
from the publicly-traded-beasts-must-feed dept.
bobo the hobo writes: In the corner of the internet where people care about DNS, there is a bit of an uproar at Google's application for over a hundred new top-level domains, including .dev, .lol, .app, .blog, .cloud and .search. Their application includes statements such as: "By contrast, our application for the .blog TLD describes a new way of automatically linking new second level domains to blogs on our Blogger platform – this approach eliminates the need for any technical configuration on the part of the user and thus makes the domain name more user friendly." They also mention limiting usage of .dev to Google only: "Second-level domain names within the proposed gTLD are intended for registration and use by Google only, and domain names under the new gTLD will not be available to the general public for purchase, sale, or registration. As such, [Google's shell company] intends to apply for an exemption to the ICANN Registry Operator Code of Conduct as Google is intended to be the sole registrar and registrant."
Earth

What If We Lost the Sky? 421

Posted by timothy
from the we'd-still-have-the-space-needle dept.
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Anna North writes in the NYT that a report released last week by the National Research Council calls for research into reversing climate change through a process called albedo modification: reflecting sunlight away from earth by, for instance, spraying aerosols into the atmosphere. But such a process could, some say, change the appearance of the sky — and that in turn could affect everything from our physical health to the way we see ourselves. "You'd get whiter skies. People wouldn't have blue skies anymore." says Alan Robock. "Astronomers wouldn't be happy, because you'd have a cloud up there permanently. It'd be hard to see the Milky Way anymore."

According to Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California, losing the night sky would have big consequences. "When you go outside, and you walk in a beautiful setting, and you just feel not only uplifted but you just feel stronger. There's clearly a neurophysiological basis for that," says Keltner, adding that looking up at a starry sky provides "almost a prototypical awe experience," an opportunity to feel "that you are small and modest and part of something vast." If we lose the night sky "we lose something precious and sacred." "We're finding in our lab that the experience of awe gets you to feel connected to something larger than yourself, see the humanity in other people," says Paul K. Piff. "In many ways it's kind of an antidote to narcissism." And the sky is one of the few sources of that experience that's available to almost everybody: "Not everyone has access to the ocean or giant trees, or the Grand Canyon, but we certainly all live beneath the night sky."

Alan Robock says one possible upside of adding aerosols could be beautiful red and yellow sunsets as "the yellow and red colors reflect off the bottom of this cloud." Robock recommends more research into albedo modification: "If people ever are tempted to do this, I want them to have a lot of information about what the potential benefits and risks would be so they can make an informed decision. Dr. Abdalati says deploying something like albedo modification is a last-ditch effort. "We've gotten ourselves into a climate mess. The fact that we're even talking about these kinds of things is indicative of that."
Microsoft

How Machine Learning Ate Microsoft 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the doing-it-smarter dept.
snydeq writes Yesterday's announcement of Azure Machine Learning offers the latest sign of Microsoft's deep machine learning expertise — now available to developers everywhere, InfoWorld reports. "Machine learning has infiltrated Microsoft products from Bing to Office to Windows 8 to Xbox games. Its flashiest vehicle may be the futuristic Skype Translator, which handles two-way voice conversations in different languages. Now, with machine learning available on the Azure cloud, developers can build learning capabilities into their own applications: recommendations, sentiment analysis, fraud detection, fault prediction, and more. The idea of the new Azure offering is to democratize machine learning, so you no longer need to hire someone with a doctorate to use a machine learning algorithm."
Businesses

Does Open Data Have a Dark Side? 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-good-and-the-bad dept.
itwbennett writes A Forbes article last month explored some of the potentially darker sides of open data — from creating a new kind of digital divide to making an argument in favor of privatizing certain government services. But how real are these downsides of open data? The World Wide Web Foundation's Open Data Program Manager Jose Alonso is unconcerned, telling ITworld's Phil Johnson via email that the WWWF "believes there is no substantial evidence yet that the availability of Open Data leads to the marketization of public services or public spending cuts." But Ben Wellington, a professor in the City & Regional Planning program at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and author of the popular blog I Quant NY, takes a more cautious stance, acknowledging that there are some real concerns that may call for regulation. But, at least for now, "there's a lot more innovation and positive things coming out than these corner cases," says Wellington.
Cloud

Microsoft's First Azure Hosted Service Is Powered By Linux 66

Posted by timothy
from the linux-is-pretty-good-as-a-server dept.
jones_supa (887896) writes "Canonical, through John Zannos, VP Cloud Alliances, has proudly announced that the first ever Microsoft Azure hosted service will be powered by Ubuntu Linux. This piece of news comes from the Strata + Hadoop World Conference, which takes place this week in California. The fact of the matter is that the news came from Microsoft who announced the preview of Azure HDInsight (an Apache Hadoop-based hosted service) on Ubuntu clusters yesterday at the said event. This is definitely great news for Canonical, as their operating system is getting recognized for being extremely reliable when handling Big Data. Ubuntu is now the leading cloud and scale-out Linux-based operating system."
Space

Another Star Passed Through Our Oort Cloud 70,000 Years Ago 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the thanks-for-not-hitting-us dept.
New submitter mrthoughtful writes: According to researchers at the University of Rochester, a recently discovered dim star (Scholz's star) passed through our Oort cloud 70,000 years ago. At its closest, it was about 52,000 AU distant from Sol, or about 0.8 light-years. This is still quite a distance — Voyager 1 is about 125 AU away right now — but it's far closer than Proxima Centauri's current 266,000 AU. Still, maybe the best way to engage in interstellar travel is just to wait until the time is right.
Facebook

Facebook Launches ThreatExchange To Let Companies Share Threat Info 30

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
An anonymous reader writes Facebook today launched ThreatExchange, described as "an API-based clearinghouse for security threat information." It's really a social platform, which Facebook naturally excels at building, which allows companies to share with each other details about malware and phishing attacks. Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, and Yahoo participated in ThreatExchange and gave feedback as Facebook was developing it. New contributors Bitly and Dropbox have also recently joined, bringing the initial participant list to seven major tech companies.
Businesses

Microsoft To Offer Azure Credits To Compete With IBM, AWS 29

Posted by timothy
from the first-one's-free dept.
Amanda Parker writes Google, AWS and IBM already offer incentives for start-ups to join them. Microsoft is trying to lure start-ups and SME's to its Azure profile by offering them $500,000 in Azure credits. The deal, announced by Y Combinator, is only available to Y Combinator-backed companies and will be offered to the 2015 Winter and future batches. In addition to this, Microsoft is also giving Y Combinator start-ups a three years Office 365 subscription, access to Microsoft developer staff and one year of free CloudFlare and DataStax enterprise services. The move signifies Microsoft's desire to compete with Amazon Web Services and Google, both of whom already offer credits and freebies.
Open Source

Rich Olson Embodies the Spirit of the Maker Movement (Video) 50

Posted by Roblimo
from the we-really-need-4d-printing dept.
What kind of person builds a cloud chamber at home in his spare time -- and wants to make it easy for other people to make them, too? How about someone who uses a 3-D printer to make shifters for his bicycle? And then there's the spherical speaker enclosures and the alarm clock that shreds money if you don't wake up. The clock isn't original. Seattle resident Rich Olson (whose URL is nothinglabs.com) says someone else originally made it and he liked the idea. No 3-D printing or laser cutting required; just buy and hook up some inexpensive, easy-to-find components and off you go. Despite its lack of originality (which Rich freely admits), this little project got Rich mentioned everywhere from financial publications to the New York Daily News to Huffington Post's UK edition, which is somewhat amusing when you realize that Rich is not famous (outside of a small circle of maker-type people) and doesn't have anyone doing PR for him.

By day, Rich is a humble mobile app developer. But when he's done working he becomes Mr. 3-D and laser cut cool designer guy who does fun things in his workshop with CAD software, a 3-D printer, a laser cutter, and (of course) traditional cutting, drilling, and shaping tools. Since he's an open source devotee, Rich posts almost all of his designs online so you can make them yourself. Or modify them. Or use them to spur an entirely new idea that you can then make, and hopefully pass on to others. While it's interesting to see that Martha Stewart is now selling 3-D printer designs, Rich and his hobby are what the maker movement is really about. If you're so inclined, you can follow Rich on YouTube, where he posts a video now and then that shows what he's made recently or follow his low-volume blog to see what he's up to.
Government

Free-As-In-Beer Electricity In Greece? 690

Posted by timothy
from the everything-free-that-money-can-buy dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will lay out his radical left-wing government's policies in a speech later on Sunday, firmly rejecting any more austerity forced on his debt-strapped country by its euro zone partners. In his first major speech to parliament as premier, Tsipras is expected to say that Greece wants no more bailout money, plans to renegotiate its debt deal and wants a "bridge agreement" to tide the country over until a new pact is sealed. A second part of the speech will touch on his government's social and fiscal policy over the longer term and is likely to repeat pledges for such things as a rise in the minimum wage and free electricity for poorer Greeks. Which gets me to thinking: with free electricity, wouldn't that be a great business opportunity, to build a cloud of servers in poorer Greeks' basements? Maybe that is the real plan behind the free electricity idea.
AI

Facebook Will Soon Be Able To ID You In Any Photo 153

Posted by timothy
from the we-shall-call-it-facebook dept.
sciencehabit writes Appear in a photo taken at a protest march, a gay bar, or an abortion clinic, and your friends might recognize you. But a machine probably won't — at least for now. Unless a computer has been tasked to look for you, has trained on dozens of photos of your face, and has high-quality images to examine, your anonymity is safe. Nor is it yet possible for a computer to scour the Internet and find you in random, uncaptioned photos. But within the walled garden of Facebook, which contains by far the largest collection of personal photographs in the world, the technology for doing all that is beginning to blossom.
Ubuntu

Why It's Important That the New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-hope dept.
tedlistens writes: To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry — you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform — Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone — the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ — won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices.
Cloud

Ask Slashdot: With Whom Do You Entrust Your Long Term Data? 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-cloud-we-trust dept.
jppiiroinen writes: F-Secure, a company based in Finland, has sold its cloud storage business to a U.S. company (Synchronoss Technologies, Inc) speculated to have ties to the NSA. In previous, public announcements, they used arguments equivalent to, "trust us, your data will be safe." Now, it's likely F-Secure simply realized that competing against the big players, such as Google and Dropbox, didn't make much sense.

But it makes me wonder: Whom do you trust with your data? And who really owns it? What about in 3-6 years from now? How should I make sure that I retain access to today's data 20 years from now? Is storing things locally even a reasonable option for most people? I have a lot of floppies and old IDE disks from the 90s around here, but no means to access them, and some of the CDs and DVDs has gone bad as well.
Transportation

Automakers Move Toward OTA Software Upgrades 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the granted-features-like-a-wizard dept.
Lucas123 writes: While some carmakers today offer over-the-air software upgrades to navigation maps and infotainment head units, Tesla became the first last week to perform a powertrain upgrade overnight. But as the industry begins adopting internal vehicle bus standards with greater bandwidth and more robust security, experts believe vehicle owners will no longer be required to visit dealerships or perform downloads to USB sticks. IHS predicts that in the next three to five years, most, if not all automakers, will offer fully fledged OTA software-enabled platforms that encompass upgrades to every vehicle system — from infotainment, safety, comfort, and powertrain. First, however, carmakers must deploy more open OS platforms, remove hardened firewalls between vehicle ECUs, and deploy networking topologies such as Ethernet, with proven security.
Cloud

Greg KH Favors Rolling Release Distros 175

Posted by timothy
from the as-long-as-the-hill-is-gentle dept.
jones_supa writes In an interesting Google+ post, the lieutenant Linux developer Greg Kroah-Hartman mentions him fully moving to rolling-release Linux distributions: 'Finally retired my last 'traditional' Linux distro box yesterday, it's all 'rolling-release' Linux systems for me. Feels good. And to preempt the ask, it's Arch Linux almost everywhere (laptop, workstation, cloud servers), CoreOS (cloud server), and Gentoo for the remaining few (laptop, server under my desk).' What's your experience? Would in the current situation a rolling-release operating system indeed be the optimal choice?
Input Devices

Listnr Wants to be 'Your Listening Assistant' (Video) 45

Posted by Roblimo
from the can-you-hear-me-now? dept.
This Listnr is "a new listening device connected to the cloud" being developed by a team in Japan that's currently running a Kickstarter project looking for $50,000 by March 7. The other Listnr "is a free music service helping people discover the best music from independent artists on Soundcloud and Bandcamp." More accurately, that's what it was, since their last Facebook post was in 2011 and their domain name is now for sale. Today's Listnr -- the listening device one -- claims it is able to tell whether a baby it hears is laughing, crying, gurgling or trying to talk. It is supposed to respond to finger snaps, hand claps, and other audio commands. It has an open API so that you can extend its use however you like. The company, too, is working on new applications for their product. Will there be enough of them, and will they interest enough people, to make this a success? Co-Founder Rie Ehara says, "We wanted to build something using sound to enrich and delight our lives." As of today (Feb. 2), Listnr is slightly less than halfway to its Kickstarter goal, so it's still a coin-toss whether or not Listnr will succeed.
Technology

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Modern IP Webcam That Lets the User Control the Output? 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words dept.
First time accepted submitter Tronster writes Owners of a local shop have a menu that changes daily and wanted an IP webcam to update an image on their web-site. After a frustrating 2 hours of a "Hikvision" refusing to behave, I threw in the towel and looked for a better camera to recommend. The biggest issue today is that the new webcams that come out don't support FTP, they all support sending images/video direct to a "private cloud" (e.g., Simplicam, Dropcam, etc...). Google has been no help; all the sites are either outdated in terms of ranking or the most recent ones recommend a Foscam. They previously tried one of these and it's image quality was too poor. While security systems and home automation has been discussed recently, I haven't found any recent discussions on webcams that give a user control of where the content is sent. Does anyone in the Slashdot community have recommendations, reputable sites that are up-to-date in rankings, and/or hacks to have control over some of these newer cameras?
Businesses

Amazon Takes On Microsoft, Google With WorkMail For Businesses 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-mail dept.
alphadogg writes Amazon Web Services today launched a new product to its expansive service catalog in the cloud: WorkMail is a hosted email platform for enterprises that could wind up as a replacement for Microsoft and Google messaging systems. The service is expected to cost $4 per user per month for a 50GB email inbox. It's integrated with many of AWS's other cloud services too, including its Zocalo file synchronization and sharing platform. The combination will allow IT shops to set up a hosted email platform and link it to a file sharing system.
Space

We May Have Jupiter To Thank For the Nitrogen In Earth's Atmosphere 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the jupiter-never-forgets-our-birthday dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Nitrogen makes up about 78% of the Earth's atmosphere. It's also the 4th most abundant element in the human body. But where did all the nitrogen on Earth come from? Scientists aren't sure, but they have a new theory. Back when the solar system was just a protoplanetary disk, the ice orbiting the early Sun included ammonia, which has a nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms. But there needed to be a way for the nitrogen to get to the developing Earth. That's where Jupiter comes in. During its theorized Grand Tack, where it plunged into the inner solar system and then retreated outward again, it created shock waves in the dust and ice cloud surrounding the sun. These shock waves caused gentle heating of the ammonia ice, which allowed it to melt and react with chromium-bearing metal to form a mineral called carlsbergite. New research (abstract) suggests this mineral was then present when the Earth's accretion happened, supplying much of the nitrogen we would eventually need for life.