Nerval's Lobster writes "Ever wanted to mine your own Facebook data? Wolfram Alpha is offering you the chance. Wolfram Alpha bills itself as a 'computational knowledge engine.' In contrast to other search engines such as Google and Bing, which return pages of blue hyperlinks in response to queries, Wolfram Alpha offers up objective data: type in the name of a person, for example, and you might receive their dates of birth and death, a timeline, and a graph of Wikipedia page hits. Now Wolfram Alpha's offering a new feature that can spit back years of your personal Facebook data sliced, diced, visualized and analyzed."
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Velcroman1 writes "When Apple founder Steve Jobs died after a long fight with cancer last year, software engineer Tony Tseung sent an email to a Buddhist group in Thailand to find out what happened to his old boss now that he's no longer of this world. This month, Tseung received his answer. Jobs has been reincarnated as a celestial warrior-philosopher, the Dhammakaya group said in a special television broadcast, and he's living in a mystical glass palace hovering above his old office at Apple's Cupertino, Calif. headquarters."
An anonymous reader writes "I live in the Middle East. Summer temperatures occasionally reach 60C/140F, well over the operating specs for most consumer tech. Quite a number of work and residential compounds are secured, prohibiting everything from computers to cameras to phones to USB sticks to car remote controls. When I know that I'm visiting one of those compounds, I end up leaving all the tech I can at home or in the office, and only bringing a cell phone, and leaving it in my car. However, "only a cell phone" has quickly morphed into "only two cell phones, a car MP3 player and remote, and .... ooh, shiny... a new tablet... and an electric razor just in case I have to touch up before a party in a compound." I'm wondering what kind of technologies we have for keeping all this tech cool for four hours in the car. Overnight events might last longer, but won't be as hot."
olau writes "Hot on the heels on the opinion piece on how Mac OS X killed Linux on the desktop is a more levelheaded analysis by another GNOME old-timer Christian Schaller who doesn't think Mac OS X killed anything. In fact, in spite of the hype surrounding Mac OS X, it seems to barely have made a dent in the overall market, he argues. Instead he points to a much longer list of thorny issues that Linux historically has faced as a contender to Microsoft's double-monopoly on the OS and the Office suite."
PCM2 writes "The Register reports that Security Explorations' Adam Gowdiak says there is still an exploitable vulnerability in the Java SE 7 Update 7 that Oracle shipped as an emergency patch yesterday. 'As in the case of the earlier vulnerabilities, Gowdiak says, this flaw allows an attacker to bypass the Java security sandbox completely, making it possible to install malware or execute malicious code on affected systems.'"
GMGruman writes "James Curnow writes 'Google's vision of computing involves tossing your PC or Mac and moving to a cloud-centric, all-Google ecosystem. Call it the Googleplex: a mix of the Chrome OS-based Chromebox PC or Chromebook laptop, one or more Android tablets — perhaps a 10-inch model for work and a 7-inch Nexus 7 for entertainment on the go — and a Nexus Q home entertainment system that you control via an Android device.' So he takes the 'Googleplex' for a test drive to see how well it delivers on the Android/Chrome OS vision." But what about throwing xbmc or MythTV onto an old (or cheap new) box with a couple of huge drives (HDTV's being glorified monitors and all)?
ananyo writes "Tens of thousands of years ago modern humans crossed paths with the group of hominins known as the Neandertals. Researchers now think they also met another, less-known group called the Denisovans. The only trace that we have found, however, is a single finger bone and two teeth, but those fragments have been enough to cradle wisps of Denisovan DNA across thousands of years inside a Siberian cave. Now a team of scientists has been able to reconstruct their entire genome from these meager fragments. The analysis supports the idea that Neandertals and Denisovans were more closely related to one another than either was to modern humans and also suggests new ways that early humans may have spread across the globe." wombatmobile linked to an article that focuses on the new techniques used to sequence the DNA of the bone fragments in question.
samazon writes "Earlier today, City of Heroes community manager Andy Belford announced that NCSoft is shutting down Paragon Studios. Over 7,500 individuals were viewing the official CoH forums as of 3:00 PM EST, and this thread from Belford, AKA Zwilinger, notes that 'In a realignment of company focus and publishing support, NCsoft has made the decision to close Paragon Studios. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease and we will begin preparations to sunset the world's first, and best, Super Hero MMORPG before the end of the year.' A petition has already been created to save City of Heroes."
puddingebola writes "HP done gone and released the open source version of webOS. From the article: 'Gone are the days of HP's TouchPad and Palm ambitions, but HP is moving ahead with its plans to make webOS, its beleaguered mobile operating system, live on as open-source supported platform. Today it's launching the beta release... The release will have 54 components available as open source, the blog says, some 450,000 lines of code under the Apache 2.0 license.'" There are two flavors: an OpenEmbedded based version for targeting mobile device (kudos there!), and a desktop build which runs Luna as an application on the desktop (how long until someone writes a rootless version?). More info at the Open webOS project overview page, with source code over at GitHub
MrSeb writes with news on work toward flexible batteries good enough for Real World use (you have to power those flexible electrionics somehow). From the article: "LG Chem ... has devised a cable-type lithium-ion battery that's just a few millimeters in diameter, and is flexible enough to be tied in knots, worn as a bracelet, or woven into textiles. The underlying chemistry of the cable-type battery is the same as the lithium-ion battery in your smartphone or laptop — there's an anode, a lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) cathode, an electrolyte — but instead of being laminated together in layers, they're twisted into a hollow, flexible, spring-like helix. flexible batteries have been created before — but they've all just standard, flat, laminated batteries made from sub-optimum materials, such as polymers. As such, as they have very low energy density, and they're only bendy in the same way that a thin sheet of plastic is bendy. LG Chem's cable-type batteries have the same voltage and energy density as your smartphone battery — but they're thin and highly flexible to boot. LG Chem has already powered an iPod Shuffle for 10 hours using a knotted 25cm length of cable-type battery." Original paper (Extreme Tech claims it is paywalled, but it looks like it's not). The hollow core seems to be the key: "Moreover, a nonhollow anode proved to have serious problems with penetration of the electrolyte into the essential cell components such as the separator and active materials ... However, we were able to overcome these drawbacks by devising a unique architecture comprising a skeleton frame surrounding an empty space, that is, a hollow-spiral anode with a multi-helix structure This design enables easy wetting of the battery components with the electrolyte and the hollow space allows the device to compensate for any external mechanical distortion while maintaining its structural integrity. In addition, this helical architecture possibly enables the battery to be more flexible, owing to its similarity to a spring-like structure."
MassDosage writes "After nearly 15 years or of writing code professionally it was refreshing to take a figurative step back and read a book aimed at people getting started with computer programming. As the title suggests, Think Like A Programmer tries to get to the core of the special way that good programmers think and how, when faced with large and complex problems, they successfully churn out software to solve these challenges in elegant and creative ways. The author has taught computer science for about as long as I've been programming and this shows in his writing. He has clearly seen a lot of different people progress from newbie programmers to craftsmen (and craftswomen) and has managed to distill a lot of what makes this possible in what is a clear, well-written and insightful book." Read below for the rest of Mass Dosage's review.
kungfugleek writes "Throughout the launch of subscription-free MMO Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has stated that the player-experience is their top priority and, if necessary, they would suspend digital sales to protect their servers from crushing loads. While the launch has been considerably more stable than most big-budget MMO's in recent months, some players, especially those in Europe, have experienced trouble logging in and getting booted from servers. So yesterday, ArenaNet held true to their word, and temporarily suspended digital sales from their website. Personally, I think this is an incredible show of customer-centered focus. To turn down purchases, especially first-party purchases, where the seller gets a higher percentage of the sale, during a major title's first week of sales, would be inconceivable by other companies. Is this a bad move for ArenaNet? Will there be enough of a long-term payout to make up for the lost sales? And does this put pressure on other major studios to follow suit in the face of overwhelming customer response?" New submitter charlieman writes with related news: "Yesterday ArenaNet banned players for exploiting an error in their new game Guild Wars 2. The so called exploit was in fact an error on ArenaNet's side, leaving weapons at a low price from some vendors. Players saw this and started making profits buying and selling the items. Should players be penalized for errors committed by the game developers? Taking in account that the game is fairly new, the economy hasn't stabilized yet and most don't know the value of things. Today they've given these players a 'second chance', but shouldn't they be apologizing instead?"
An anonymous reader writes with this bit from the Globe and Mail: "Quebec police are on the hunt for a sticky-fingered thief after millions of dollars of maple syrup vanished from a Quebec warehouse. The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check last week at the St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse, where the syrup is being held temporarily. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which is responsible for the global strategic maple syrup reserve, initially kept the news quiet, hoping it would help police solve the crime quickly."
New submitter submeta writes "Katsunobu Imai at Hiroshima University has figured out a way to construct a universal Turing machine using cellular automata in a Penrose tile universe. 'Tiles in the first state act as wires that transmit signals between the logic gates, with the signal itself consisting of either a 'front' or 'back' state. Four other states manage the redirecting of the signal within the logic gates, while the final state is simply an unused background to keep the various states separate.' He was not aware of the recent development of the Penrose glider, so he developed this alternative approach."
eldavojohn writes "Seven billion light years away (seven billion years ago), a gamma-ray burst occurred. The observation of four Fermi-detected gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) has led physicists to speculate that space-time is indeed smooth (abstract and a pre-publication PDF both available). A trio of photons were observed to arrive very close together, and the observers believe that these are from the same burst, which means there was nothing diffracting their paths from the gamma-ray burst to Earth. This observation doesn't prove that space-time is infinitesimally smooth like Einstein predicted, but does indicate it's smooth for a range of parameters. Before we can totally discount the theory that space-time is comprised of Planck-scale pixels, we must now establish that the proposed pixels don't disrupt the photons in ways independent of their wavelengths. For example, this observation did not disprove the possibility that the pixels exert a subtler 'quadratic' influence over the photons, nor could it determine the presence of birefringence — an effect that depends on the polarization of the light particles."