littlekorea writes "A new study has urged CIOs to consider open source over proprietary software or public cloud services when replacing legacy gear. But the study's author, Professor Jim Norton, warns that open source won't be a cure-all for some companies. From the article: ' Open source software, Norton said, provides enterprise IT with easier access to innovation via a "great global self-re-enforcing community of shared resources, ideas and development." That same community provides a faster response to changes in customer preferences communicated on social networks or via business analytics, and faster resolution of common system problems.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Endeavour will be the second of NASA's space shuttles to leave the Kennedy Space Center. The ship will piggyback on top of a specially modified 747 and head to a Los Angeles museum this week. From the article: "Endeavour's lifespan was relatively short by shuttle standards - 25 missions over 20 years, totaling 299 days in space. But those flights ran the gamut of orbital odysseys, including the sheer moxie of its May 1992 debut when three astronauts made an impromptu and unprecedented spacewalk to rescue a stranded Intelsat communications satellite."
EGSonikku writes "The iPhone 5 has been benchmarked using the GeekBench tool. According to the results, Apple's claim of 2x higher performance over the iPhone 4S seems accurate. The results show the iPhone 5's A6 CPU is dual core and clocked at 1.2GHz, and is paired with 1GB of RAM. Despite the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a quad core CPU at 1.4GHz, and twice as much RAM, it seems the iPhone 5 is faster than the S3, or any other Android handset." Meanwhile, Samsung has launched a marketing campaign that compares some of the hardware specs and features between the new iPhone 5 and the GS3.
DevotedSkeptic writes in with a story about the lack of usable microwave technology to come from 50 years of military research. "For some Pentagon officials, the demonstration in October 2007 must have seemed like a dream come true — an opportunity to blast reporters with a beam of energy that causes searing pain. The event in Quantico, Virginia, was to be a rare public showing for the US Air Force's Active Denial System: a prototype non-lethal crowd-control weapon that emits a beam of microwaves at 95 gigahertz. Radiation at that frequency penetrates less than half a millimetre into the skin, so the beam was supposed to deliver an intense burning sensation to anyone in its path, forcing them to move away, but without, in theory, causing permanent damage. However, the day of the test was cold and rainy. The water droplets in the air did what moisture always does: they absorbed the microwaves. And when some of the reporters volunteered to expose themselves to the attenuated beam, they found that on such a raw day, the warmth was very pleasant. The story is much the same in other areas of HPM weapons development, which began as an East–West technology race nearly 50 years ago. In the United States, where spending on electromagnetic weapons is down from cold-war levels, but remains at some US$47 million per year, progress is elusive. 'There's lots of smoke and mirrors,' says Peter Zimmerman, an emeritus nuclear physicist at King's College London and former chief scientist of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington DC. Although future research may yield scientific progress, he adds, 'I cannot see they will build a useful, deployable weapon.'"
submeta writes "Researchers in Munich have successfully performed a quantum key exchange between a moving aircraft and a ground station. Quantum key distribution, which exploits the phenomenon of entanglement, offers theoretically perfect encryption (although it can be vulnerable in practice). This advance is an important step on the way to key exchange with a satellite, which could enable practical usage of the technology."
The Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD), a forum of the top 34 developed economies, has released an annual education report, and guess what? The U.S. has once again ranked poorly in relation to many other developed countries. An article at TechCrunch argues that we needn't worry because it doesn't matter: "However, the report implies that education translates into gainful market skills, an assumption not found in the research. For instance, while Chinese students, on average, have twice the number of instructional hours as Americans, both countries have identical scores on tests of scientific reasoning. 'The results suggest that years of rigorous training of physics knowledge in middle and high schools have made significant impact on Chinese students’ ability in solving physics problems, while such training doesn’t seem to have direct effects on their general ability in scientific reasoning, which was measured to be at the same level as that of the students in USA,' wrote a team of researchers studying whether Chinese superiority in rote scientific knowledge translated into the kinds of creative thinking necessary for innovation."
another random user writes "A Q&A on Ars Technica asks about an old adage that many programmers stick to: 'It takes a certain type of mind to learn programming, and not everyone can do it.' Users at Stack Exchange are wading in with their answers, but what do Slashdot users think?"
littlesparkvt writes "A budget forecast that was released on Friday shows that the defense department isn't the only department getting hammered: NASA is as well, if the automatic budget cuts happen. According to Nature magazine, NASA will lose '$417 million from its science budget, $346 for space operations, $309 for exploration, $246 for cross agency support, among other cuts.'"
hypnosec writes "BitInstant's CEO Charlie Shrem and Erik Voorhees were invited to speak about virtual currency at the NACHA (the North American Payments Association) Annual Global Payments Forum held in Rio de Janeiro. At the conference the duo stated that the world operates 'on an inferior monetary system'. One of the more interesting parts of the whole forum was how Bitcoin as a currency and transaction system "works within current legal frameworks." A presentation by Senior Legal Counsel to the Federal Reserve titled: 'The Implications of Dodd-Frank Section 1073' sheds light on requirements that need to be fulfilled by "Remittance Payment Company" (RPC) guidelines. This law requires such companies to disclose a lot of information about money transactions. This is where Bitcoin as a currency and system collide head-on with the law."
An anonymous reader writes "AllThingsD columnist Arik Hesseldahl noticed another milestone marking the passing of the personal computer era: for the first time since the early '80s, the share of worldwide sales of DRAM chips consumed by PCs (desktop and laptop computers, but not tablets) has dropped below fifty percent. Perhaps a more important milestone was reached last year, when more smartphones were shipped (not sold) worldwide than the combined total of PCs and tablets (also noticed by Microsoft watcher Joe Wilcox). While this is certainly of tremendous marketing and business importance to the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Adobe, and PC OEMs, others may reflect on the impending closing of the history books on the era that started in Silicon Valley a little over 35 years ago."
Bruce Perens writes "Clover Trail, Intel's newly announced 'Linux proof' processor, is already a dead end for technical and business reasons. Clover Trail is said to include power-management that will make the Atom run longer under Windows. It had better, since Atom currently provides about 1/4 of the power efficiency of the ARM processors that run iOS and Android devices. The details of Clover Trail's power management won't be disclosed to Linux developers. Power management isn't magic, though — there is no great secret about shutting down hardware that isn't being used. Other CPU manufacturers, and Intel itself, will provide similar power management to Linux on later chips. Why has Atom lagged so far behind ARM? Simply because ARM requires fewer transistors to do the same job. Atom and most of Intel's line are based on the ia32 architecture. ia32 dates back to the 1970s and is the last bastion of CISC, Complex Instruction Set Computing. ARM and all later architectures are based on RISC, Reduced Instruction Set Computing, which provides very simple instructions that run fast. RISC chips allow the language compilers to perform complex tasks by combining instructions, rather than by selecting a single complex instruction that's 'perfect' for the task. As it happens, compilers are more likely to get optimal performance with a number of RISC instructions than with a few big instructions that are over-generalized or don't do exactly what the compiler requires. RISC instructions are much more likely to run in a single processor cycle than complex ones. So, ARM ends up being several times more efficient than Intel."
An anonymous reader writes "I work in a call center, full time, for a large mail order pharmacy. Recently, as part of their campaign to better track time spent both at and away from our desks, they have started tracking bathroom breaks. They use a Cisco phone system, and there is now a clock out option that says 'Bathroom.' My question is whether or not this is in any way acceptable in a large corporate environment (Around 800 people work at this same pharmacy) and is it even legal? How invasive would this really be considered, and beyond privacy concerns, how are they going to deal with the humiliation that their employees feel as a result of this? Has this happened to any of you?"
theodp writes "The striking Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is holding a massive 'Wisconsin-style rally' Saturday as ongoing negotiations try to bring an end to the strike that has put education on hold for 350,000 of the city's schoolchildren. 'The 30,000 teachers, school social workers, clerks, vision and hearing testers, school nurses, teaching assistants, counselors, and other school professionals of the Chicago Teachers Union are standing strong to defend public education from test pushers, privatizers, and a national onslaught of big money interest groups trying to push education back to the days before teachers had unions,' explains the CTU web site. 'Around the country and even the world, our fight is recognized as the front line of resistance to the corporate education agenda.' Some are calling the strike — which has by most accounts centered on salary schedules (CPS salary dataset), teacher performance evaluations, grievance procedures, and which teachers get dibs on new jobs — a push-back to education reform that has possible Presidential election implications. The big winners in the school strike, Bloomberg reports, are the city's largely non-union 100+ charter schools, which remained open throughout the strike. Charter school enrollment swelled to 52,000 students this fall as parents worried by strike rumors sought refuge in schools like those run by the Noble Charter Network, which enjoys the deep-pocket support of many wealthy 'investors.'"
ideonexus writes "While the decision has been a footnote in most news stories, the Washington Post is raising the question of what it means that Google can shut down access to the anti-Islam film in countries where that film has sparked riots, something the American government cannot do thanks to our First Amendment. A popular meme in the Information Age is that the Internet spreads democracy by enabling citizens to organize and speak out, but we forget that much of that speech is now hosted by third parties who are under no obligation to protect it."
another random user writes with news of a patent application from Microsoft that details a method for silencing your phone by giving it a whack. "There are a variety of circumstances under which it may be desirable to quickly control a device without having to interact with a traditional user interface. For example, often mobile device users forget to set their mobile devices in a silent or vibrate mode and the device rings or makes sounds at an inopportune moment." And yes, 'whack' is the technical term used in the patent (20120231838): "receiving information indicative of acceleration of the mobile communications device; determining correlation between the information indicative of acceleration of the mobile communications device and exemplar whack event data; and based at least on the correlation, controlling an audio signal of the mobile communications device." This method is not recommended for controlling the audio output of animals or children.