Patent That Cost Microsoft Millions Gets Invalidated

Slashdot - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 2:00pm
An anonymous reader links to a report on Ars Technica: One of the oldest and most profitable patent trolls, Uniloc, has been shot down. Its US Patent No. 5,490,216, which claims to own the concept of "product activation" in software, had all claims ruled invalid by the Patent Trademark and Appeals Board (PTAB). The process through which PTAB eliminated the patent is called an "inter partes review," or IPR. The IPR process, created by the America Invents Act, is an increasingly popular and effective way for defendants to challenge patents outside federal courts. It was Uniloc's lawsuit against Microsoft that provided the company with its original headlines. Uniloc said that Microsoft's system of checking software licenses -- in other words, type in a key number and have your software validated violated -- the patent. That case led to a $388 million jury verdict against Microsoft.

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Layoffs Reflect New Turbulence At High-Flying 3D Robotics

Slashdot - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 1:01pm
BVBigelow quotes a report from Xconomy: 3D Robotics, the drone maker that began life in Tijuana and San Diego, has been consolidating its operations after stumbling in its bid to go head-to-head against China's DJI, the world's biggest maker of consumer drones. In an interview with Xconomy, CEO Chris Anderson confirmed that 3DR has been reorganizing to focus its drone business on enterprise customers, but downplayed the significance of the high-flying robotic company's layoffs over the past six months.

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The Newfound Popularity of Sci-Fi Books Has a Dark Side

Wired News - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 11:00am
Big publishers are starting to put out genre books. On this week's "Geek's Guide to the Galaxy" the panel discusses whether or not that's good for writers. The post The Newfound Popularity of Sci-Fi Books Has a Dark Side appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

Space Photos of the Week: This Wolf Galaxy Is a Real Lone … Um, Wolf

Wired News - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 11:00am
Space photos of the week, March 20–26, 2016. The post Space Photos of the Week: This Wolf Galaxy Is a Real Lone ... Um, Wolf appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

Netflix Is No Net Neutrality Hypocrite for Slowing Down Video

Wired News - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 11:00am
There may be problems with Netflix's decision to slow down video to subscribers on certain networks. But net neutrality is not one of them. The post Netflix Is No Net Neutrality Hypocrite for Slowing Down Video appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

How ClickHole Crafts the Web’s Most Hilarious Adventure Games

Wired News - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 11:00am
ClickHole, the Buzzfeed-parodying offshoot of The Onion's satirical news enterprise, has, improbably, become a small haven for funny text-based games. The post How ClickHole Crafts the Web's Most Hilarious Adventure Games appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

Feds Set a Risky Precedent by Indicting 7 Iranian Hackers

Wired News - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 11:00am
This week, the Department of Justice created a potentially dangerous precedent when it indicted seven Iranian hackers. The post Feds Set a Risky Precedent by Indicting 7 Iranian Hackers appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

The Mystery of the Minimal Cell, Craig Venter’s New Synthetic Life Form

Wired News - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 11:00am
Scientists have created a synthetic organism that possesses only the genes it needs to survive. But they have no idea what roughly a third of those genes do. The post The Mystery of the Minimal Cell, Craig Venter's New Synthetic Life Form appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

How to Use Mobile Apps to Spot the Space Station and Iridium Flares

Space.com - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 11:00am
Here's how to use mobile apps to spot satellites, and even the International Space Station overhead.
Categories: Science

Space Station Snags Cygnus Supply Ship

Space.com - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 10:00am
Orbital ATK's Cygnus supply spacecraft successfully rendezvoused with the International Space Station today (March 26), bringing vital supplies, spacewalk gear and science experiments for the crew of the orbiting lab.
Categories: Science

Is Old Tech Putting Banks Under Threat Of Extinction?

Slashdot - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 9:14am
Matthew Wall from the BBC has written a fascinating piece detailing our reliance on banks in today's connected and ever-changing world of technology. The premise: "You put your card in the cash machine but nothing comes out. The bank's IT systems have crashed again. But you need money fast, so what do you do? It's an unsettling scenario that is likely to become more common over the next few years as the big banks try to upgrade their IT systems, experts are warning." Bruce66423 writes: In the old days everything was batch programs and reconciled once a day. Now, online access and the expectation that money will be immediately available makes the old systems obsolete, but impossible to replace because there are layers upon layers of complexity...

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Saturn's Moons and Rings May Be Younger Than The Dinosaurs

Slashdot - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 5:32am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: Some of Saturn's icy moons may have been formed after many dinosaurs roamed the Earth. New computer modeling of the Saturnian system suggests the rings and moons may be no more than 100 million years old. A new computer model suggests that the Saturnian moons Tethys, Dione and Rhea haven't seen the kinds of changes in their orbital tilts that are typical for moons that have lived in the system and interacted with other moons over long periods of time. In other words, these appear to be very young moons. "Moons are always changing their orbits. That's inevitable," Matija Cuk, principal investigator at the SETI Institute and one of the authors of the new research, said in a statement. "But that fact allows us to use computer simulations to tease out the history of Saturn's inner moons. Doing so, we find that they were most likely born during the most recent 2 percent of the planet's history."

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Amazon's Raspberry Pi Guide Lets Coders Build An Echo

Slashdot - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 2:46am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: Amazon has published an online guide explaining how to access its virtual assistant Alexa via a Raspberry Pi. The walkthrough includes access to the necessary app data and certificates in order to link the budget computer up to the tech giant's servers. Amazon says that users require at least the second-generation model, released in February 2015, as well as: a plug-in USB microphone, microSD card, ethernet cable, Wi-Fi wireless adapter, mouse, keyboard, and screen. The coding involved is limited to typing in sets of commands, but the guide explains the purpose of each one. Users also need to register for an Amazon Developer Account, which they can get for free.

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Categories: Science

Report: Intel May Dump Nvidia, Turn To AMD For Radeon Graphics Licensing

Slashdot - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 12:56am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: Intel could dump Nvidia for a licensing deal with AMD as the chip giant tries to prop up its patent portfolio. Currently, Intel is under a $1.5 billion licensing agreement with Nvidia, which the two companies signed in 2011. At the time, the two companies had spent years fighting each other in courts over patent licensing, and the agreement put all that litigation to rest. Intel's Nvidia deal is set to expire on March 17, 2017, and a recent report by Bloomberg claimed that Intel is now looking to cut a deal with AMD instead.

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Instagram Rabbit Hole: Falling Men and Beautiful Light

Wired News - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 12:28am
This week photographer Nick Ballon discovers the best Instagram has to offer. The post Instagram Rabbit Hole: Falling Men and Beautiful Light appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

Apple's Night Shift May Have Zero Effect On Sleep

Slashdot - Sat, 26/03/2016 - 12:09am
eggboard writes: While blue light emitted by monitors and mobile displays has been widely cited as a cause in disrupting people's circadian rhythm, the evidence is thin: a narrow range of blue spectra might not be the problem (it may be a more complicated interaction), brightness may be more important, and Night Shift's (and f.lux's) effects are probably too negligible anyway. Apple's Night Shift feature lets you adjust the color temperature of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum. Apple notes, "Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep."

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Snapchat Reportedly Acquires Bitmoji Maker Bitstrips For $100 Million

Slashdot - Fri, 25/03/2016 - 11:24pm
An anonymous reader writes: According to a report from Fortune, Snapchat, the messaging platform which has recently become the number one free app on the App Store, has agreed to acquire Bitstrips, the folks behind the popular emoji-creation service Bitmoji. Fortune's sources has said the deal is "in the ballpark" of $100 million. TechCrunch writes, "The idea behind Bitmoji is simple. Users download the app and create an Avatar that represents them. They can choose from a wide range of options like face shape, hair color and cut, eye shape and color, etc. From there, Bitmoji is added as a third-party keyboard, and the app offers hundreds of options for users to send to their friends, all featuring their avatar." It'll be interesting to see which features of Bitstrips will be implemented into Snapchat, given Bitstrip's experience with keyboard integrations.

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Bill Introduced To Require ID When Purchasing "Burner Phones"

Slashdot - Fri, 25/03/2016 - 10:41pm
insitus quotes a report from Speier.House.Gov: Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) introduced the Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act of 2016, which would require people to present identification when purchasing "burner phones" and other pre-paid mobile devices, as well as requiring merchants to keep records of those purchases. "Burner phones" are pre-paid phones that terrorists, human traffickers, and narcotics dealers often use to avoid scrutiny by law enforcement because they can be purchased without identification and record-keeping requirements. This bill would close that legal gap. "This bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery," said Speier. "The 'burner phone' loophole is an egregious gap in our legal framework that allows actors like the 9/11 hijackers and the Times Square bomber to evade law enforcement while they plot to take innocent lives. The Paris attackers also used 'burner phones.' As we've seen so vividly over the past few days, we cannot afford to take those kinds of risks. It's time to close this 'burner phone' loophole for good."

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Categories: Science

Petya Ransomware Uses DOS-Level Lock Screen, Prevents OS Boot Up

Slashdot - Fri, 25/03/2016 - 9:58pm
An anonymous reader writes: A new type of ransomware was discovered that crashes your PC into a BSOD, restarts your computer, and then prevents your OS from starting by altering the hard drive's master boot record (MBR). This keeps the user locked in a DOS screen that doubles as the ransomware's ransom note. The ransomware's name is Petya, and was currently seen only targeting HR departments in Germany.

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Wrecking Crew Demolishes Wrong Housing Duplex Following Google Maps Error

Slashdot - Fri, 25/03/2016 - 9:15pm
An anonymous reader writes: A demolition company has leveled the wrong housing duplex after one of its employees was misled by a Google Maps error. Instead of bringing down a house destroyed by a tornado in Rowlett, Texas at 7601 Cousteau Drive, the wrecking crew demolished another home at 7601 and 7603 Calypso Drive, a block away. Owners of the second house were waiting for their house to be repaired, since it didn't suffer major damages in the tornado. The demolition company's CEO dismissed the incident as "not a big deal." The wrecking crew used Google Maps to find the house to demolish because they were brought in from a neighboring town, but failed to double-check with a neighbor before starting their work. A Google engineer confirmed that Google Maps was showing the wrong information.

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Categories: Science