mikejuk writes "Long before the current crop of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) there was a course that taught you all you needed to know about computers by starting from the NAND gate and working its way up through the logic circuits needed for a computer, on to an assembler, a compiler, an operating system, and finally Tetris. Recently one of the creators of the course, Shimon Schocken, gave a TED talk explaining how it all happened and why it is still relevant today. Once you have seen what is on offer at http://www.nand2tetris.org/ you will probably decide that it is not only still relevant but the only way to really understand what computers are all about."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Nerval's Lobster writes "A team of researchers from Microsoft and Cornell University has concluded that, in some cases, a totally wireless data center makes logistical sense. In a new paper, a team of researchers from Cornell and Microsoft concluded that a data-center operator could replace hundreds of feet of cable with 60-GHz wireless connections—assuming that the servers themselves are redesigned in cylindrical racks, shaped like prisms, with blade servers addressing both intra- and inter-rack connections. The so-called 'Cayley' data centers, so named because of the network connectivity subgraphs are modeled using Cayley graphs, could be cheaper than traditional wired data centers if the cost of a 60-GHz transceiver drops under $90 apiece, and would likely consume about one-tenth to one-twelfth the power of a wired data center."
sfcrazy writes "Good (and bad) news for Raspberry Pi lovers, the Model B has been upgraded to 512MB RAM from 256MB. Bad news is for those who already got their Model B shipments because all those who have outstanding orders with either distributors will get the *upgraded* version of the device, means with 512MB RAM instead of 256MB. The upgraded devices should be arriving to customers from today onwards. Raspberry Pi team will be pushing a firmware upgrade soon so these news devices can detect and use the additional RAM."
another random user writes "Apple is planning to shift production of its ARM-based microprocessors from Samsung to the Taiwanese chip-baking giant TSMC as early as next year, according to a report by the China Economic News Service (CENS). The report cites CitiGroup Global Markets analyst J.T. Hsu as saying that TSMC will be Apple's sole supplier of 20nm quad-core processors, with volume production to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013. He also noted that Apple began its 20nm chip-verfication process at TSMC in August of this year. Hsu told CENS that the future quad-core chips were intended for Apple's 'iPad, iTV and even Macbook,' turning up the heat on two rumors that have been simmering for months: that Apple is planning a move into the television market, and that an ARM-based MacBook is in the works."
New submitter Ibhuk writes "I leave my email stored online, as do many modern email users, particularly for services like Gmail with its ever-expanding storage limit. I don't bother downloading every email I receive. According to the South Carolina Supreme Court, this doesn't qualify as electronic storage. This means most email users are not protected by the Stored Communications Act. All your emails are fair game, so be careful what you write. From the article: 'This new decision creates a split with existing case law (Theofel v. Farey-Jones) as decided in a 2004 case decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That decision found that an e-mail message that was received, read, and left on a server (rather than being deleted) did constitute storage "for purposes of backup protection," and therefore was also defined as being kept in "electronic storage." Legal scholars point to this judicial split as yet another reason why the Supreme Court (and/or Congress) should take up the issue of the Stored Communications Act.'"
another random user sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Downloading a car – or a pair of sneakers – will be entirely possible, although Ford and Nike won't be particularly happy if people use their designs to do so. A new patent, issued this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and titled 'Manufacturing control system', describes a system whereby 3D printer-like machines (the patent actually covers additive, subtractive, extrusion, melting, solidification, and other types of manufacturing) will have to obtain authorization before they are allowed to print items requested by the user. In a nutshell, a digital fingerprint of 'restricted items' will be held externally and printers will be required to compare the plans of the item they're being asked to print against those in a database. If there's a match, printing will be disallowed or restricted."
angry tapir writes "Lenovo has taken the crown from Hewlett-Packard to become the world's top seller of PCs, research firm Gartner said in a study released this week. Lenovo took the top spot during a quarter in which PC shipments dropped overall due to a weak economy and pressure from mobile devices. Of the top four PC vendors, only Lenovo was able to grow its shipments. Its PC sales increased by almost 10 percent to 13.77 million units, giving it 15.7 percent of the market, Gartner said." Not so fast, says analysis firm IDC. They say that HP is still in the lead but Lenovo is very close.
An anonymous reader writes "The details of a Canadian spying case are coming to light, including the method of copying the sensitive data from the 'secured' computer linking five countries and the Russian handlers: Copy Data into Notepad; Save File to Floppy Drive; USB Key; ???; Profit! For $3000/mo in prepaid credit cards and wire transfers."
An anonymous reader writes with this bit from geek.com: "One of the big complaints surrounding the Nexus 7 launch was the lack of customer support when dealing with the device. Google was not initially prepared to handle the volume of users that required support, which led to an increase in wait time for callers who needed solutions. However, we've recently received word from a source that now Google is using a third party company to staff a call center for the release of the next Nexus devices." Maybe Google needs to out itself as a "devices and services company," too.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil predicts the cloud will eventually do more than store our emails or feed us streaming movies on demand: it's going to help expand our brain capacity beyond its current limits. In a question-and-answer session following a speech to the DEMO technology conference in Santa Clara, California last week, Kurzweil described the human brain as impressive but limited in its capacity to hold information. 'By the time we're even 20, we've filled it up,' he said, adding that the only way to add information after that point is to 'repurpose our neocortex to learn something new.' (Computerworld has posted up the full video of the talk.) The solution to overcoming the brain's limitations, he added, involves 'basically expanding our brains into the cloud.'"
another random user writes "A US team aims to build a robot that can work out how to use nearby objects to solve problems or escape threats. The machine has been dubbed a 'MacGyver Bot,' after the TV character who cobbled together devices to escape life-threatening situations. The challenge is to develop software that 'understands' what objects are in order to deduce how they can be used. The US Navy is funding the project and says the machines might ultimately be deployed alongside humans. It is providing $900,000 to robotics researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to carry out the work."
Earlier this year, the Free Software Foundation announced a hardware endorsement campaign for hardware that respects the rights of its owner (no DRM, runs Free Software, support for open formats, no or freely licensed patents, etc.). Now, they've announced that the Lulzbot AO-100 3D Printer is the first device to pass certification and be endorsed by the FSF. Source code to both the hardware and software is available, naturally.
concealment sends this excerpt from CNBC: "A single mysterious computer program that placed orders — and then subsequently canceled them — made up 4 percent of all quote traffic in the U.S. stock market last week, according to the top tracker of high-frequency trading activity. The motive of the algorithm is still unclear. The program placed orders in 25-millisecond bursts involving about 500 stocks, according to Nanex, a market data firm. The algorithm never executed a single trade, and it abruptly ended at about 10:30 a.m. ET Friday."
bartoku writes "Slashdot, what would you put in your dream electronics hardware lab? I am putting one together, and I'm looking for suggestions on everything from equipment to furniture. My aim is for a professional-grade setup, not just a hobby lab. The goal is to be able to test and debug modern electronic device prototypes. I would love to see money-is-no-objective suggestions alongside more economically practical solutions. Links or contacts for good distributors to acquire the equipment and furniture are also welcome. I'm also interested in commentary on renting versus buying new or used higher-end equipment to be economical and keep up with equipment that will become obsolete quickly."
redletterdave writes "At the company's media event last month, Apple introduced its fifth-generation iPod Touch and seventh-generation iPod Nano, but only mentioned an October timeframe for when it would start filling pre-orders. Without an official word, it looks like the official launch day for the new iPods is today. Apple Stores around the country are currently stocked with the new iPods and customers who pre-ordered are finally receiving email notifications that their orders have shipped, or are 'preparing to ship.' Still, it is interesting to note that Apple didn't make a special announcement or even post a press release to announce the launch of its newest media players, especially as the competition heats up before the holiday season."