Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
hackingbear writes "China's largest e-commerce firm, Alibaba Group, expects to sell merchandise this year worth more than that sold by Amazon Inc and eBay combined. The company is aiming for 3 trillion yuan ($473 billion) in annual transaction value from its Taobao e-commerce units in the next 5 to 7 years, rising from the 1 trillion yuan of sales expected for 2012. 'From their annual reports we did a rough calculation and we were similar last year but we are growing faster than them this year, so this year we are probably larger than them,' Zeng Ming, Chief Strategy Officer of Alibaba, said of Amazon and eBay."
Zothecula writes "Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, have broken a world record in the creation of two synthetic materials, named NU-109 and NU-110, which have the greatest amount of surface areas of any material to date (abstract). To put this into perspective: if one were able to take a crystal of NU-110 the size of a grain of salt, and somehow unfold it, the surface area would cover a desktop. Additionally, the internal surface area of just one gram of the new material would cover one-and-a-half football fields."
snydeq writes "Self-taught technologists are almost always better hires than those with a bachelor's degree in computer science and a huge student loan, writes Andrew Oliver. 'A recruiter recently asked me why employers are so picky. I explained that of the people who earned a computer science degree, most don't know any theory and can't code. Instead, they succeed at putting things on their resume that match keywords. Plus, companies don't consider it their responsibility to provide training or mentoring. In fairness, that's because the scarcity of talent has created a mercenary culture: "Now that my employer paid me to learn a new skill, let me check to see if there's an ad for it on Dice or Craigslist with a higher rate of pay." When searching for talent, I've stopped relying on computer science degrees as an indicator of anything except a general interest in the field. Most schools suck at teaching theory and aren't great at Java instruction, either. Granted, they're not much better with any other language, but most of them teach Java.'"
TsukiKage writes "A 50-card M:tG combo for four players is demonstrated that is used to construct a simple Turing machine, performing arbitrary computations just by following the rules of Magic and card text thereafter."
descubes writes "Tao Presentations is a 3D presentation tool based on a 3D dynamic document description language. This makes it very easy for developers to create their own 3D shows, illustrate talks in an innovative way, even build small interactive 3D applications. An example included in the latest release grabs RSS feeds from a variety of sources (including Slashdot) and turns them into a 3D scene, all in real-time and in about 120 lines of code. It fetches the pictures directly from the web site and maps them on 3D shapes. And this is only a starting point. Tao Presentations can display 3D objects, drive the majority of 3D displays (including glasses-free 3D displays from Alioscopy, Philips or Tridelity), use GLSL shaders for advanced effects, and much more. Tao Presentations is free (as in beer), and the document description language is based on the free (as in speech) XL programming language."
adeelarshad82 writes "At IDF, Intel announced the company's fourth-generation Core processor code-named Haswell. The chip is based off of the same 22nm process used in the current third-generation Core products. What makes this chip remarkably different from the third-generation chips is its ability to product twice the graphic capabilities at a much lower power consumption, which Intel has achieved by making use of a number of tactics." HotHardware has video of Haswell running a 3D benchmark.
DevotedSkeptic sends this excerpt from SmithsonianMag: "The humble tardigrade, also known as a 'waterbear' or 'moss piglet,' is an aquatic eight-legged animal that typically grows no longer than one millimeter in length. Most tardigrades (there are more than 1,000 identified species) have a fairly humdrum existence, living out their days on a moist piece of moss or in the sediment at the bottom of a lake and feeding on bacteria or plant life. In 2007, a group of European researchers pushed the resilience of this extraordinary animal even further, exposing a sample of dehydrated tardigrades to the vacuum and solar radiation of outer space for 10 full days. When the specimens were returned to earth and rehydrated, 68 percent of those that were shielded from the radiation survived, and even a handful of those with no radiation protection came back to life and produced viable offspring. How do the little tardigrades survive such a harsh environment? Although amateur tardigrade enthusiast Mike Shaw recently made waves by postulating that the animals may be equipped to survive in outer space because they originally came from other planets, scientists are certain that the creatures developed their uncommon toughness here on earth."
New submitter jmv writes "It's official. The Opus audio codec is now standardized by the IETF as RFC 6716. Opus is the first state-of-the-art, fully Free and Open audio codec ratified by a major standards organization. Better, Opus covers basically the entire audio-coding application space and manages to be as good or better than existing proprietary codecs over this whole space. Opus is the result of a collaboration between Xiph.Org, Mozilla, Microsoft (yes!), Broadcom, Octasic, and Google. See the Mozilla announcement and the Xiph.Org press release for more details."
Barence writes "A school swapped all its staff laptops for iPads — and now wants to switch them back. 'Most staff are IT illiterate and jumped at the chance of exchanging their laptop for an iPad,' a teacher from the school told PC Pro. Now, however: 'the staff room is full of regret.' Difficulties editing old Word and PowerPoint documents, transferring work to and from the device without USB sticks, and problems with projecting the iPad's display to the classroom — bizarrely, using an Apple TV — have led to staff once again reaching for their Windows laptops."
New submitter stacey7165 writes "VMware shared the application architecture story of how they worked with the Ocean Observatory Initiative to build a 'Hubble Telescope' of the ocean. It's comprised of a massive network of global, regional, and coastal sensors that send information to a common framework called the Common Operating Infrastructure (COI). The COI resides in a hybrid cloud powered by VMware and Amazon. To cope with a total of 49 classes and over 700 instruments deployed off of 6 coastlines, and a variety of consumption use cases, the Ocean Observatory Initiative built out the system using a variety of sub-systems loosely coupled through a messaging system powered by RabbitMQ called an 'Exchange.' Organized into a system where message clients pubsub from 'Exchange Points' and 'Exchange Spaces', the system is easier to maintain, extend, and scale. According to the OOI's documentation on release 1, the Integrated Observatory Network uses AMQP 0.9.1 and RabbitMQ-Server v. 2.3.1 on CentOS 5.5."
olau writes "Michael Meeks, who's worked on GNOME and LibreOffice integration for many years, now for SuSE, has some really interesting thoughts on the recent Linux desktop debate and suggestions for possible strategies. He points out that regarding independent software vendors (ISVs), the real issue isn't actually the quality of the tools but the size and attractiveness of the market, and perhaps that a solution could be lower barriers for paying or donating. Regarding OEMs selling hardware with software preinstalled, he points out that while a free OS + software sounds good for consumers, it's actually a problem for OEMs on razor-thin margins, since they lose the cut they get from the preinstallations. A possible countermove could be nailing robustness and hardware diagnostics for good, lowering OEM support costs."
Lucas123 writes "Furniture and auto makers are already ramping up production of wireless charging for mobile devices that will also allow I/O for music and data synchronization. Thanks to the widely accepted Qi standard, there shouldn't be a problem with interoperability, but how advantageous is wireless charging? Would it really offer more charging opportunities for mobile users in coffee shops who are today hamstrung by how many outlets are available? And then there's the added cost and reduced efficiency. As wireless systems are more complicated, a wireless battery charger will be more expensive and there are resistive losses on the coil, stray coupling, etc."
An anonymous reader writes "Kotaku reports that two employees of Bohemia Interactive have been arrested while on a photo-tour of the Greek island of Limnos, on charges of spying. The developers were taking reference photos for the upcoming military simulation game Arma III, which is to feature Limnos as it's primary setting, when they were arrested (Google translation of Greek original)."
miller60 writes "GoDaddy says yesterday's downtime was caused by internal network problems that corrupted data in router tables. 'The service outage was not caused by external influences,' said Scott Wagner, Go Daddy's Interim CEO. 'It was not a 'hack' and it was not a denial of service attack (DDoS). ... At no time was any customer data at risk or were any of our systems compromised.' The outage lasted for at least six hours, and affected web sites and email for customers of the huge domain registrar."
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has upheld the initial jury verdict in the case against Jammie Thomas, Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas-Rasset. This case was the first jury trial for a file-sharing suit brought by the major record labels, and focused on copyright infringement for 24 songs. The Court of Appeals has ruled that the award of $220,000, or $9250 per song, was not an unconstitutional violation of Due Process. The Court, in its 18-page decision (PDF), declined to reach the 'making available' issue, for procedural reasons."