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  • Simple Emergency Generators and Radio Receivers (Video)

    Eton Corp. makes well-reviewed emergency radios and hand-cranked generators for emergency use. Timothy Lord talked with them at CES and made this video of how the devices work. Alternate video link @ tv.Slashdot.org.

    93 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Spectacular New Martian Impact Crater Spotted From Orbit

    New submitter kc123 writes: "The team that runs the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has released a photo showning a new impact crater on Mars, formed sometime early this decade. The crater at the center is about 30 meters in diameter, and the material ejected during its formation extends out as far as 15 kilometers. The impact was originally spotted by the MRO's Context Camera, a wide-field imaging system that provides the context—an image of the surrounding terrain—for the high-resolution images taken by HiRISE. The time window on the impact, between July 2010 and May 2012, simply represents the time between two different Context Camera photos of the same location. Once the crater was spotted, it took until November of 2013 for another pass of the region, at which point HiRISE was able to image it." Reader astroengine adds some more Mars news: "On Thursday at 3:41 p.m. EST (20:41 UTC), Mars rover Curiosity beamed back a photo from its rear hazard avoidance camera (Hazcam). In the shot we see wheel tracks in the downward slope of the dune bridging "Dingo Gap" with the peak of Curiosity's eventual goal, Mount Sharp, on the horizon. This can mean only one thing; the one-ton robot has successfully conquered its first Mars dune! Curiosity has also taken a picture of Earth."

    99 comments | about 2 months ago

  • These Are the Companies the FAA Has Sent notices To For Using Drones

    Daniel_Stuckey writes "Just as soon as the Minnesota-based Lakemaid Beer company excited everyone by delivering beer to ice fisherman with drones, the Federal Aviation Administration ruined their fun by demanding that they cease operations. But Lakemaid isn't the only company that's been harassed by the agency. Since 2012, the agency has sent official notices to 13 companies for the commercial use of drones."

    136 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Military Electronics That Shatter Into Dust On Command

    First time accepted submitter MAE Keller writes "Two U.S. companies are joining a military research program to develop sensitive electronic components able to self-destruct on command to keep them out of the hands of potential adversaries who would attempt to counterfeit them for their own use. From the article: 'Last Friday DARPA awarded a $2.1 million contract to PARC, and a $3.5 million contract to IBM for the VAPR program, which seeks to develop transient electronics that can physically disappear in a controlled, triggerable manner.'"

    221 comments | about 2 months ago

  • The Standards Wars and the Sausage Factory

    Esther Schindler writes "We all know how important tech standards are. But the making of them is sometimes a particularly ugly process. Years, millions of dollars, and endless arguments are spent arguing about standards. The reason for our fights aren't any different from those that drove Edison and Westinghouse: It's all about who benefits – and profits – from a standard. As just one example, Steven Vaughan-Nichols details the steps it took to approve a networking standard that everyone, everyone knew was needed: 'Take, for example, the long hard road for the now-universal IEEE 802.11n Wi-Fi standard. There was nothing new about the multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) and channel-bonding techniques when companies start moving from 802.11g to 802.11n in 2003. Yet it wasn't until 2009 that the standard became official.'"

    234 comments | about 2 months ago

  • New Type of Star Can Emerge From Inside Black Holes, Say Cosmologists

    KentuckyFC writes "Black holes form when a large star runs out of fuel and collapses under its own weight. Since there is no known force that can stop this collapse, astrophysicists have always assumed that it forms a singularity, a region of space that is infinitely dense. Now cosmologists think quantum gravity might prevent this complete collapse after all. They say that the same force that stops an electron spiraling into a nucleus might also cause the collapsing star to 'bounce' at scales of around 10^-14cm. They're calling this new state a 'Planck star' and say its lifetime would match that of the black hole itself as it evaporates. That raises the possibility that the shrinking event horizon would eventually meet the expanding Planck star, which emerges with a sudden blast of gamma rays. That radiation would allow any information trapped in the black hole to escape, solving the infamous information paradox. If they're right, these gamma rays may already have been detected by space-based telescopes meaning that the evidence is already there for any enterprising astronomer to tease apart."

    193 comments | about 2 months ago

  • QuakeNet: Government-Sponsored Attacks On IRC Networks

    Barryke writes "Like FreeNode, it seems more and more legitimate businesses or non-profit organizations are being targeted by government subsidiaries in attempts to disrupt and spy on their users. IRC network QuakeNet has posted a press release condemning these efforts. Quoting: 'These attacks are performed without informing the networks and are targeted at users associated with politically motivated movements such as "Anonymous." While QuakeNet does not condone or endorse and actively forbids any illegal activity on its servers we encourage discussion on all topics including political and social commentary. It is apparent now that engaging in such topics with an opinion contrary to that of the intelligence agencies is sufficient to make people a target for monitoring, coercion and denial of access to communications platforms. The released documents depict GCHQ operatives engaging in social engineering of IRC users to entrap themselves by encouraging the target to leak details about their location as well as wholesale attacks on the IRC servers hosting the network. These attacks bring down the IRC network entirely affecting every user on the network as well as the company hosting the server.' One of those tactics applied by governments is the DDOS, which (perhaps not so) coincidentally, is what their suspects are accused of. Is this irony or hypocritical?"

    197 comments | about 2 months ago

  • The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden

    1sockchuck writes "Bitcoin hardware vendor KnC Miner has begun construction on a a 10 megawatt data center in Sweden that it will fill with high-powered computers mining for cryptocurrency. KnC has emerged as a leading vendor in the volatile market for ASIC mining rigs, focusing on underpromising and overdelivering. One goal of its move into cloud mining is to cushion any fallout from delivery delays on new hardware, which have been a sore point for miners in the fast-moving Bitcoin market. "Over the next few months we are bringing online enough hashing power to make sure that any delay in the Neptune timeline will be compensated with a completely free hosted hashing packages to all fully paid customers," KnC says in its newsletter."

    250 comments | about 2 months ago

  • How Edward Snowden's Actions Have Impacted Defense Contractors

    An anonymous reader writes "A new study sheds light on the attitudes of a very exclusive group of IT and security managers — those employed by U.S. defense contractors — at a time when national cybersecurity is under scrutiny. Most indicated that the Edward Snowden incident has changed their companies' cybersecurity practices: their employees now receive more cybersecurity awareness training, some have re-evaluated employee data access privileges, others have implemented stricter hiring practices. While defense contractors seem to have better security practices in place and are more transparent than many companies in the private sector, they are finding the current cyber threat onslaught just as difficult to deal with."

    180 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Fracking Is Draining Water From Areas In US Suffering Major Shortages

    Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "RT reports that some of the most drought-ravaged areas of the US are also heavily targeted for oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing — a practice that exacerbates water shortages with half of the oil and gas wells fracked across America since 2011 located in places suffering through drought. Taken together, all the wells surveyed from January 2011 to May 2013 consumed 97 billion gallons of water, pumped under high pressure to crack rocks containing oil or natural gas. Up to 10 million gallons can go into a single well. 'Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country's most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions,' says Mindy Lubber. 'Barring stiffer water-use regulations and improved on-the-ground practices, the industry's water needs in many regions are on a collision course with other water users, especially agriculture and municipal water use.' Nearly half (47%) of oil and gas wells recently hydraulically fractured in the U.S. and Canada are in regions with high or extremely high water stress. Amanda Brock, head of a water-treatment firm in Houston, says oil companies in California are already exploring ways to frack using the briny, undrinkable water found in the state's oil fields. While fracking consumes far less water than agriculture or residential uses, the impact can be huge on particular communities and is 'exacerbating already existing water problems,' says Monika Freyman. Hydraulic fracking is the 'latest party to come to the table,' says Freyman. The demands for the water are 'taking regions by surprise,' she says. More work needs to be done to better manage water use, given competing demand."

    268 comments | about 2 months ago

  • New Zealand Spy Agency Deleted Evidence About Its Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom

    An anonymous reader writes "The latest news in this: GCSB appears to have deleted key evidence in the case in a ham-fisted attempt to cover up its illegal activities. Even more ridiculous, GCSB is trying to cover this up by claiming that the material had 'aged off' — implying that it was deleted automatically. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key claims that they had to delete the information under the law. Of course, there are a few problems with that. The first is that under New Zealand law, like most countries these days, parties have an obligation to preserve documents likely to be necessary in a legal case. But, even more damning is that there's video of John Key in the New Zealand Parliament trying to defend against an earlier claim that GCSB had deleted some evidence by insisting that GCSB does not delete anything ever:"

    222 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Dried Meat "Resurrects" Lost Species of Whale

    sciencehabit writes "A gift of dried whale meat—and some clever genetic sleuthing across almost 16,000 kilometers of equatorial waters—has helped scientists identify a long-forgotten animal as a new species of beaked whale. The 'resurrection' raises new questions about beaked whales, the most elusive and mysterious of cetaceans. Overall, the saga shows 'that there are probably even more species of beaked whales that we don't know about,' says Phil Clapham, a marine mammalogist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. 'We don't see them because they're very deep-diving and live far from land.' They also live in a poorly surveyed part of the ocean, Baker says, where very few people dwell on remote atolls."

    87 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Second World War Code-cracking Computing Hero Colossus Turns 70

    DW100 writes "The Colossus computer that helped the Allies crack messages sent by the Nazis during the Second World War has celebrated its 70th birthday. The machine was a pioneering feat of engineering, able to read 5,000 characters a second to help the team at Bletchley Park crack the German's Lorenz code in rapid time. This helped the Allies gather vital information on the Nazi's plans, and is credited with helping end the war effort early, saving millions of lives."

    110 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Build an Open-Source Electric Car In About One Hour

    First time accepted submitter joe5 writes "Like what Elon Musk has done and want to go all Etsy and build your own electric car? That's apparently now possible now thanks to the OSVehicle Tabby — dubbed the first "Open source vehicle" (memo: it may be cool, but it ain't the first). The OSV guys are taking pre-orders for the Tabby starter kit, with both the two-seater or four-seater configurations going for €500. Then you click to add options. (Note: seats is an "option" so that's the level of luxury you are dealing with here.) When the transaction's complete, OSV sends the parts to your home and you can download the plans and start building. Since the Tabby is open source, OSVehicle will also look to a community of owners and tinkerers for suggestions and recommendations."

    188 comments | about 2 months ago

  • NASA Pondering Two Public Contests To Build Small Space Exploration Satellites

    coondoggie writes "NASA today said it was looking into developing two new Centennial Challenge competitions that would let the public design, build and deliver small satellites known as Cubesats capable of operations and experiments near the moon and beyond. The first challenge will focus on finding innovative ways to allow deep space communications with small spacecraft, while the second focuses on primary propulsion for small spacecraft."

    127 comments | about 2 months ago

  • HTML5 App For Panasonic TVs Rejected - JQuery Is a "Hack"

    An anonymous reader writes "I have been working on an HTML5 app for Panasonic VIERA TVs, specifically a client for the Plex Media Server. After paying $129 for the developer program, version 1.0 was submitted for inclusion in their VIERA Connect marketplace several weeks ago. After a few requested tweaks, they inquired about how the client communicated with the Plex Server. As many/most web developers do, I used jQuery and its $.ajax call (which is just a wrapper for XMLHttpRequest()). They insisted this was not standard Javascript, and after several communications with them, they replied back with "A workaround like this is considered a hack.". I'm stunned that anyone familiar with HTML would consider jQuery a hack. I've been patient in attempting to explain how jQuery works, but I am getting nowhere. Any thoughts on how I can better explain jQuery to an app reviewer? Yes, I know I can write my app without any Javascript library, but I am really hoping avoid that."

    573 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Wozniak Gets Personal On Innovation

    snydeq writes "Companies are doggedly pursuing the next big thing in technology, but nothing seems to be pointing to the right way these days, claims the legendary Steve Wozniak. The reason? 'You tend to deal with the past,' replicating what you know in a new form. Consider the notion of computing eyeware like Google Glass: 'People have been marrying eyewear with TV inputs for 20 years,' Wozniak says. True innovation, Wozniak claims, becomes more human, more personal. People use technology more the less it feels like technology. 'The software gets more accepted when it works in human ways — meaning in noncomputer ways.' Here, Wozniak says, is the key to technology's role in the education system." And no amount of technology can save the American education system: "We put the technology into a system that damages creative thinking — the kids give up, and at a very early age."

    161 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Block Adverts Outside of the Browser

    vm writes with word of a new project from the creators of AdBlock for Chrome, the popular that blocks advertisements from showing up on web pages. The new tool in development, AdBlock Freedom, expands the ad-free experience to television, , and billboards. 'Here's how it works: when powered off, AdBlock Freedom functions as sunglasses. Slide a discreet switch on the frame, and AdBlock Freedom begins scanning your for objects that it recognizes as ads. Any detected ad gets a "smudge" overlay to blend it into its surroundings.' You can sign up now ."

    51 comments | about 3 years ago

  • OnLive Begins Beta Testing

    Steve Perlman, CEO of OnLive, has announced that beta testing is now underway for the cloud gaming service that aims to take the processing burden for cutting-edge games off a player's computer and use remote servers instead. Reaction to this service and competitor GaiKai has been interest tempered with skepticism, but users can now sign up to test it themselves and see if the reality matches the hype. There will be hardware and connectivity restrictions to start: "When you sign up for OnLive Beta, you tell us some general information about your ISP, your computer configuration and your location. We use this information to organize Beta testers into test groups so that our engineering team can focus at different times on testing different situations. If you are a potential fit for a particular test group, we'll send you an invitation email, asking you to run a detailed Performance Test on your network connection and your computer configuration."

    80 comments | more than 4 years ago

  • Public Hardware Beta Tests

    orangerobot writes "Commercial software companies have performed public beta tests of their products for quite some time but more recently Philips Electronics has started holding public betas of new consumer hardware gadgets. A few months ago it was the Streamium MC-i250, and now it's their iPod clone the HDD-100. Public hardware betas seem like a great way to do a bit of marketing and user testing at the same time maybe more companies will pick up the same idea." This seems like a great idea for a company wanting to collect usability data on their interfaces, so that the release version can be tweaked.

    131 comments | about 11 years ago

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