An anonymous reader writes "I'm starting my Ph.D in psychology this year and plan to finance this period with IT freelance work, mostly building websites with Drupal and setting up Linux networks, servers, etc.. Now I have a little problem: Since I never studied ICT nor followed a course that resulted in a certificate, I can only prove my knowledge by actually doing stuff or showing what I've done so far. Unfortunately that isn't always sufficient to convince potential customers. So I was wondering what other slashdotters do. Are there any free or cheap alternatives to get certificates or other more convincing ways to prove your IT knowledge?"
theodp writes "When it comes to Google's futuristic Glass goggles, people seem to fall into two camps. On the one hand, you have people like NY Times Arts critic Mike Hale, who goes gaga over how fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg put Google glasses on models who walked in her recent Fashion Week show, enabling them to capture video from their point of view as they walked the runway. 'For a preview of how we all may be making movies in a few years,' Hale breathlessly writes, 'take a look at DVF Through Glass .' On the other hand, you have folks like NY Times commenter JokerDanny, who says he's seen this Google Glass movie before. 'David Letterman used to call this Monkey-Cam,' quips JD, referring to the mid-1980's Late Night bits in which Letterman mounted a camera on Zippy the Chimp, enabling the monkey to capture video from his point of view as he roamed the studio. Thanks to the magic of YouTube Doubler, here's a head-to-head comparison of POV video shot by Zippy in 1986 — the year Larry Page and Sergey Brin celebrated their 13th birthdays — to that taken by a DVF model in 2012."
judgecorp writes "As Apple launches a new slightly-improved iPhone 5, Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich says if you want a really disruptive phone you should look to Firefox OS. It's a low-cost low-end device — and that's the point. It uses standards so should be resistant to patent infringement suits, it will fit on featurephone-grade hardware, and it will run HTML5 apps without the restriction of native apps in an app store. In other words, it's aiming for the next 2 billion smartphone users, people who can't afford the iPhone/Android model." Reader rawkes has some (very warm) thoughts about Firefox OS, too, which helpfully includes both screenshots and a video demo.
DevotedSkeptic writes with this excerpt pulled from the San Francisco Chronicle:"A seemingly ordinary day at the Transbay Transit Center construction site became a mammoth day of discovery Monday when a mild-mannered crane operator reached deep into the earth and pulled out a tooth. This was no ordinary tooth. The 10-inch-long brown, black and beige chomper, broken in two and missing a chunk, once belonged to a woolly mammoth, an elephantine creature that roamed the grassy valley that's now San Francisco Bay 10 to 15 thousand years ago in the Pleistocene epoch."
necro81 writes "IEEE Spectrum magazine has a feature article describing DARPA-funded work towards developing a solar cell that's 50% efficient, for a finished module that's 40% efficient — suitable for charging a soldier's gadgets in the field. Conventional silicon and thin-film PV tech can hit cell efficiencies of upwards of 20%, with finished modules hovering in the teens. Triple-junction cells can top 40%, but are expensive to produce and not practical in most applications. Current work by the Very High Efficiency Solar Cell program uses optics (dichroic films) to concentrate incoming sunlight by 20-200x, and split it into constituent spectra, which fall on many small solar cells of different chemistries, each tuned to maximize the conversion of different wavelengths."
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have successfully restored and, in some cases, enhanced decision-making ability in brain-damaged monkeys on cocaine by connecting a prosthetic device to their brains. 'In the study, the scientists trained five monkeys to match multiple images on a computer screen until they were correct 70 to 75 percent of the time. First, an image appeared on the screen, which the animals were trained to select using a hand-controlled cursor. The screen then went blank for up to two minutes, followed by the reappearance of two to eight images, including the initial one, on the same screen. When the monkeys correctly chose the image they were shown first, the electronic prosthetic device recorded the pattern of neural pulses associated with their decision by employing a multi-input multi-output nonlinear (MIMO) mathematical model, developed by researchers at the University of Southern California. In the next phase of the study, a drug known to disrupt cognitive activity, cocaine, was administered to the animals to simulate brain injury. When the animals repeated the image-selection task, their decision-making ability decreased 13 percent from normal. However, during these "drug sessions," the MIMO prosthesis detected when the animals were likely to choose the wrong image and played back the previously recorded "correct" neural patterns for the task. According to the study findings, the MIMO device was exceedingly effective in restoring the cocaine-impaired decision-making ability to an improved level of 10 percent above normal, even when the drug was still present and active.'"
WebMink writes "Back in 2009, Apple signed an agreement aimed at reducing electronic waste resulting from mobile phone accessories. But this week's launch of the iPhone 5 shows them reneging on that commitment. Instead of including a micro-USB connector on the iPhone, as they agreed to do along with the rest of the phone industry, they created yet another proprietary connector. At a stroke, they have junked earlier iPhone accessories, forced a new industry in Apple-only accessories to arise and broken their promise to the EC. It's a huge missed opportunity both for their customers and for the environment."
sciencehabit writes "Signs of autism — such as impaired social skills and repetitive, ritualistic movements — usually begin to appear when a child is about 18 months old. Autism is thought to result from miswired connections in the developing brain, and many experts believe that therapies must begin during a 'critical window,' before the faulty circuits become fixed in place. But a new study (abstract) shows that at least one malfunctioning circuit can be repaired after that window closes, holding out hope that in some forms of autism, abnormal circuits in the brain can be corrected even after their development is complete."
SternisheFan sends this excerpt from Wired: "For the second time this year, self-proclaimed Anonymous spokesman Barrett Brown was raided by the FBI. The latest dramatic incident occurred late Wednesday evening while Brown and another woman identified by some as his girlfriend were participating in an online chat on TinyChat with other individuals. Two minutes into the recorded chat session, loud voices could be heard in the background of Brown's residence in Texas while the woman in the room with him was in front of the computer screen. She quickly closed the computer screen, but the audio continued to capture events in the room as the FBI appeared to strong-arm Brown to put handcuffs on him. Brown could be heard yelling in the background. A spokeswoman in the Dallas County sheriff's office confirmed to Wired that Brown was raided last night and was booked into the county jail around 11 p.m." (Warning: the video embedded with the article contains mature language.)
symbolset writes "X-plane is a cross-platform flight simulator app, notably the only serious one that supports Mac OSX and Linux. It was the first to include NASA data in their terrain modelling. It's now under threat by an NPE (Non-Practicing Entity) called Uniloc. Uniloc is suing for things X-Plane has done for decades. X-plane cannot afford to defend this suit, so if somebody doesn't step up and defend them then we lose X-plane forever. Quoting: 'I have spoken to a lawyer about this, and I am told that it will cost me about $1,500,000 (one and a half million dollars) to defend this suit. He also told me that it should take about two to three years to defend. This is more money than I have made selling Android Apps in the first place.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that Google officials have rejected the notion of removing a video that depicts the prophet as a fraud and philanderer and has been blamed for sparking violence at U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi. Google says the video does not violate YouTube's policies, but they did restrict viewers in Egypt and Libya from loading it due to the special circumstances in the country. Google's response to the crisis highlighted the struggle faced by the company, and others like it, to balance free speech with legal and ethical concerns in an age when social media can impact world events. 'This video – which is widely available on the Web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,' Google said in a statement. 'However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.' Underscoring Google's quandary, some digital free expression groups have criticized YouTube for censoring the video. Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says given Google' s strong track record of protecting free speech, she was surprised the company gave in to pressure to selectively block the video. 'It is extremely unusual for YouTube to block a video in any country without it being a violation of their terms of service or in response to a valid legal complaint,' says Galperin. 'I'm not sure they did the right thing.'"
MrSeb writes "Lawmakers in Washington have turned their sights on mobile device tracking, proposing legislation aimed at making it much harder for companies to track you without consent. The Mobile Device Privacy Act (PDF) makes it illegal for companies to monitor device users without their expressed consent. The bill was introduced Thursday by Massachusetts Democrat Representative Edward Markey, co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus. Much of the impetus for the bill came from last year's Carrier IQ debacle, where it emerged that the company's software was found to exist on both iOS and Android devices on AT&T and Sprint's networks. While the company denied any wrongdoing, the software captured keystrokes and sent the details of your device usage back to the carriers. If passed, the legislation would require the disclosure of including tracking software at the time of the purchase of the phone, or during ownership if a software update or app would add such software to the device, and the consumer gains the right to refuse to be tracked. This disclosure must include what types of information is collected, who it is transmitted to, and how it will be used."
_0x783czar writes "Filmmaker Brad Canning has released a hi-def video of Curiosity's landing. This video was captured in low res, and then extrapolated and re-rendered by Canning to produce some of the most stunning imagery ever captured on an alien world. It took Canning over a month to complete the process. He used motion tracking to add sound effects which in turn give you the sensation of the ride of your life."
jfruh writes "Red Hat is in the middle of a patent lawsuit with Twin Peaks Software, which claims that a Red Hat subsidiary is abusing a Twin Peaks filesystem lawsuit. Now, Red Hat is launching an intriguing countermeasure: the company claims that Twin Peaks' own closed source software violates the GPL because it makes use of an open source disk utility that Red Hat holds the copyright on. Is this a smart move on Red Hat's part?"
another random user sends this excerpt from a BBC report: "Legal pressure has forced Twitter to hand over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester. Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws. The Manhattan district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Malcolm Harris. It believes the messages undermine Mr. Harris' claim that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr. Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."