Freetronics is Australia's answer to a lot of electronic tinkerers' needs, selling items like Arduino compatible boards, cables, and specialized tools. Founder Jonathan Oxer is a (serious) electronics hobbyist himself; he talked with Slashdot last year about making ArduSats, which were then launched to the International Space Station. Now, Oxer has written an excellent guide for hobbyists who might get the chance to travel to Shenzhen, where so many of the world's electronic bits and bobs are made. As travel writing goes, it's fascinating for the sheer novelty of the place. If you actually have the chance to go, some of the advice here might save you money and time. For those of you who have been to Shenzhen, what else should visitors know?
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DoctorBit writes "According to today's Newsweek article, Satoshi Nakamoto is ... Satoshi Nakamoto — a 64-year-old Japanese-American former defense contractor living with his mother in a modest Temple City, California suburban home. According to the article, 'He is someone with a penchant for collecting model trains and a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military.' and 'Nakamoto's family describe him as extremely intelligent, moody and obsessively private, a man of few words who screens his phone calls, anonymizes his emails and, for most of his life, has been preoccupied with the two things for which Bitcoin has now become known: money and secrecy.' The article quotes him as responding when asked about bitcoin, 'I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it, ... It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.' I imagine that he will now have to move and hire round-the-clock security for his own protection."
An anonymous reader writes "Dell is charging customers £16.25 ($27.18) to install Firefox on a newly purchased computer. We contacted Mozilla to find out more. The company told us it is investigating the issue and denied it has any such a deal in place. 'There is no agreement between Dell and Mozilla which allows Dell or anyone else to charge for installing Firefox using that brand name,' Mozilla's Vice President and General Counsel Denelle Dixon-Thayer told TNW. 'Our trademark policy makes clear that this is not permitted and we are investigating this specific report.' Dell has responded by saying that this practice is okay because the company is charging for the service and not the product."
itwbennett writes "Oregon is holding back $25.6 million in payments from Oracle (out of some $69.5 million Oracle claims it is owed) over work the vendor did on the state's troubled health care exchange website. The site was supposed to go live on Oct. 1 but its launch has been marred by a slew of bugs and it is not yet fully functional. This week, Cover Oregon said it had reached an agreement with Oracle laying out 'an orderly transition of technology development services, and protects current and future Cover Oregon enrollees,' according to a statement. Oregon officials reached the deal with Oracle after the company reportedly threatened to pull all of its workers off the project and essentially walk away."
theodp writes "Last December, the White House called on kids to film high-tech education. Three months later, the winners of the White House Student Film Festival are in. "They tell the story of exactly why it's so important that we make sure more classrooms have the kind of cutting-edge technology they promote," the White House said. The film festival, NBC reports, showcases the administration's ConnectED campaign to bring next-generation broadband and wireless to 99% of students within 5 years. Since the White House left things at 16 finalists, how about the Slashdot People's Choice Awards — which of the videos selected by the White House do you feel best "highlight the power of technology in schools"? The slickest, no doubt, is Technology in Education: A Future Classroom by young Daniel Nemroff, who gives those Microsoft 'Future Vision' video folks a run for their money."
sciencehabit writes "President Barack Obama has released a $3.901 trillion budget request to Congress, including proposals for a host of federal research agencies. Science Magazine has the breakdown, including a big win for advanced computing, a big cut for fusion, and status quo for astronomy. 'In the proposed budget, advanced computing would see its funding soar 13.2% to $541 million. BES, the biggest DOE program, would get a boost of 5.5% to $1.807 billion. BER would get a 3% bump to $628 million, and nuclear physics would enjoy a 4.3% increase to $594 million. In contrast, the fusion program would take a 17.6% cut to $416 million—$88 million less than it's getting this year. Although far from final, the numbers suggest another big dip for a program that has enjoyed a roller coaster ride in recent years. In its proposed 2013 budget, DOE called for slashing spending on domestic fusion research to help pay for the increasing U.S. contribution to the international fusion experiment, ITER, in Cadarache, France.'" The Association of American Universities has issued a letter disapproving of the amount of research funding. The Planetary Society has broken down the proposed NASA budget.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week Valve made an interesting but seemingly innocuous announcement: they're giving game developers control of their own pricing on Steam. Nicholas Lovell now claims that this has effectively kicked off a race to zero for PC game pricing. He says what's starting to happen now will mirror what's happened to mobile gaming over the past several years. Quoting: 'Free is the dominant price point on mobile platforms. Why? Because the two main players don't care much about making money from the sale of software, or even In-App Purchases. The AppStore is less than 1% of Apple's revenue. Apple has become one of the most valuable companies in the world on the strength of making high-margin, well-designed, highly-desirable hardware. ... Google didn't create Android to sell software. It built Android to create an economic moat. ... In the case of both iOS and Android, keeping prices high for software would have been in direct opposition to the core businesses of Apple (hardware) and Google (search-related advertising). The only reason that ebooks are not yet free is that Amazon's core business is retail, not hardware. ... Which brings me to Steam. The Steambox is a competitor to consoles, created by Valve. It is supposed to provide an out-of-the-box PC gaming experience, although it struggles to compete on either price or on marketing with the consoles. It doesn't seem as if Steam is keen to subsidize the costs of the box, not to the level that Microsoft and Sony are. But what if Steam's [unique selling point] was thousands or tens of thousands of games for free?'"
wjcofkc writes "The decline of RadioShack has been painful to watch, and now CNN Money reports that they will be closing 1,100 of their stores, totaling 20% of their brick and mortar presence. RadioShack has also publicly admitted its current stores are out of date and in need of a massive overhaul. But the number-one culprit has been a continuous slide in sales down a steep slope in the area of mobile device sales. A few years ago, in a bid to expand its customer base, RadioShack made a bid to return to its roots as a hobbyist electronic components retailer. Apparently the extra traffic hasn't been enough to make up for their failings. The article mentions that some of their stiffest competition is coming from online retailers. The big question is, in order to ensure their survival, would RadioShack be better off continuing to phase out their brick and mortar presence while making substantial efforts to expand as an exclusively online retailer?"
mrspoonsi writes "Joining MtGox, Flexcoin today announced they have had their vault wiped out, to the tune of some 896 BTC (about $615,000) by hackers. 'On March 2nd 2014 Flexcoin was attacked and robbed of all coins in the hot wallet. The attacker made off with 896 BTC, dividing them into these two addresses: 1NDkevapt4SWYFEmquCDBSf7DLMTNVggdu [and] 1QFcC5JitGwpFKqRDd9QNH3eGN56dCNgy6. As Flexcoin does not have the resources, assets, or otherwise to come back from this loss, we are closing our doors immediately.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Synthia Tan writes that when you investigate the actual data, controlling for non-gender factors (like number of hours worked) the gender pay gap seems to disappear. 'A longitudinal study of female engineers in the 1980s showed a wage penalty of essentially zero.' In some cases women make more than men: women who work between 30 and 39 hours a week make 111% of what their male counterparts make." The researchers were studying more recent data, too; what are things like on this front where you work?
sciencehabit writes "Don't expect an artificial chicken in every pot anytime soon. Since 2008, the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has offered $1 million to anyone able to create a commercially viable artificial meat from growing chicken cells. But although scientists are making progress toward artificial hamburgers, even a 2-year extension from the original deadline of 2012 wasn't enough to lure applicants for PETA's prize."
curtwoodward writes "Long before Steve Jobs kicked off the modern mobile gaming revolution with the iPhone, a Harvard astrophysicist got kids obsessed with chasing electronic lights and sounds with their fingers. Bob Doyle was the inventor behind Merlin, and built the early versions with his wife and brother-in-law. As the more sophisticated cousin of raw memory game Simon, Merlin offered games like blackjack, tic-tac-toe, and even an early music program. Doyle, now 77, got 5 percent royalties on each sale, money that paid for the rest of his projects over the years." Using those royalties, Bob Doyle spends his time writing things online.
benrothke writes "When it comes to measuring and communicating threats, perhaps the most ineffective example in recent memory was the Homeland Security Advisory System; which was a color-coded terrorism threat advisory scale. The system was rushed into use and its output of colors was not clear or intuitive. What exactly was the difference between levels such as high, guarded and elevated? From a threat perspective, which color was more severe — yellow or orange? Former DHS chairman Janet Napolitano even admitted that the color-coded system presented 'little practical information' to the public. While the DHS has never really provided meaningful threat levels, in Threat Modeling: Designing for Security, author Adam Shostack has done a remarkable job in detailing an approach that is both achievable and functional. More importantly, he details a system where organizations can obtain meaningful and actionable information, rather than vague color charts." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
A while ago you had a chance to ask composer George Sanger about making music and sound effects for games, television, and film. Below you'll find "The Fat Man's" answers to those questions.
An anonymous reader writes "Here's an inside look at the personal successes of the elite hacking group "w00w00". From the article: 'For this group of old friends, assembled for an impromptu reunion, the venue would feel familiar: an online chat room running on a secure private server. Each were former members of the elite hacking group "w00w00" and they had reconvened that afternoon to celebrate and share in the success of one of their own. In some ways it was just like old times. But rather than success being the discovery of a new software exploit or penetration of a computer network, this was something more extraordinary. One of the group's former members had just sold their company for $19 billion dollars."
theodp writes "Slashdot's been following de-extinction efforts for a good 15 years. Now, in The Mammoth Cometh, this week's NY Times Magazine cover story, Nathaniel Rich writes that 'bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it's going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.' Among the 'genetic rescues' being pursued by The Long Now Foundation's Revive & Restore project is The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback. And returning a flock of passenger pigeons to the planet is just the tip of the iceberg. 'We're bringing back the mammoth to restore the steppe in the Arctic,' says Stewart Brand. 'One or two mammoths is not a success. 100,000 mammoths is a success.' De-extinction, while no doubt thrilling ('It would certainly be cool to see a living saber-toothed cat,' Stanford's Hank Greely and Jacob Sherkow argued in Science), is disturbing to many conservation biologists who question the logic of bringing back an animal whose native habitat has disappeared, worry about disease, and are concerned that money may be diverted from other conservation efforts."
schwit1 writes in with this story about Facbook's questionable ads including webcam modeling and diet drugs. "Sophie Bean, 14, of Sequim, Wash., said she was thought she was 'liking' a Facebook ad related to fashion modeling. Instead, it promoted a Facebook page that recruited adult webcam models. 'I just thought it was for modeling, and I'm interested in that, and I thought it would help me out,' Sophie said. Sophie wasn't the only teen connecting with the page, which Facebook statistics show is most popular with users 13 to 17. Clicking on it didn't pull the teens into nude webcam modeling, but did mean they would receive the page's updates and could be mentioned in future versions of the ad."
alphadogg writes "Cisco today kicked off a contest with $300,000 in prize money that challenges security experts around the world to put together ways to secure what's now called the 'Internet of Things,' the wide range of non-traditional computing devices used on the electric grid, in healthcare and many other industries. A Cisco SVP concluded his keynote at this week's RSA Conference by announcing what he called the 'Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge.' Christopher Young said the idea is 'a contest of experts around the world to submit blueprints' for how security issues created by the Internet of Things could be addressed. It's expected that up to six winning entries would be selected and the prize money awarded at the Internet of Things Forum in the fall."
lpress writes "I was at a Time Warner Cable (TWC) store returning a router, when I asked what my new monthly bill would be. The answer — $110 — surprised me, so I asked a few questions and ended up with the same service for $76.37. Check out my conversation with their representative to see what was said, then do the same yourself."
An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever seen a goofy microtransaction for a mobile game you play and wondered, 'Does anyone actually buy that junk?' As it turns out, few players actually do. A new study found that only 1.5% of players actually spend money on in-app purchases. Of those who do, more than 50% of the money is spent by the top 10%. 'Some game companies talk openly about the fact that they have whales, but others shy away from discussing them publicly. It costs money to develop and keep a game running, just like those fancy decorations and free drinks at a casino; whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else.' Eric Johnson at Re/code says he talked to a game company who actually assigned an employee to one particular player who dropped $10,000 every month on in-app purchases." Meanwhile, in-app purchases have come to the attention of the European Commission, and they'll be discussing a set of standards for consumer rights at upcoming meetings. They say, 'Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.'