tad001 writes "The Daily Mail has pictures of Apple's new mini connector. The photograph, shared by French tech website nowhereelse.fr, shows two components, one of which is said to be similar to another apparently leaked picture of a part of the new iPhone. As well as the new dock connector, the part also seems to take in the headphone jack and the home button connector for the hotly awaited devices."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech writer and programmer Jeff Cogswell does a head-to-head comparison of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services from a pure programming perspective, examining the respective sides' vendor lock-in and vendor-specific APIs (among other issues). 'If you're not using any vendor-specific APIs, then it's safe to say the experience you get on either Amazon or Microsoft will be roughly the same,' he writes. 'But that means you're also not developing an app that necessarily takes advantage of all possible cloud capabilities—not just add-ons, but scalability. Your app might need to expand and grow as your user base grows.' He suggests it's ultimately a tie between the two companies. 'From a strict programming perspective, both companies have their own RESTful API, and their own libraries for using the API.'" The problem with both of these services, though, that RMS could have told you about: "The moment you start using either, you're locked in for the most part."
neo12 writes in with the news that India plans on being the 6th country to launch a mission to mars. "Making the first formal announcement on the country's Mars mission, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said India will send a mission to the Red Planet that will mark a huge step in the area of science and technology. 'Recently, the Cabinet has approved the Mars Orbiter Mission. Under this Mission, our spaceship will go near Mars and collect important scientific information,' he said addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 66th Independence Day."
An anonymous reader writes "Today, tens of thousands of license plate readers (LPRs) are being used by law enforcement agencies all over the country—practically every week, local media around the country report on some LPR expansion. But the system's unchecked and largely unmonitored use raises significant privacy concerns. License plates, dates, times, and locations of all cars seen are kept in law enforcement databases for months or even years at a time. In the worst case, the New York State Police keeps all of its LPR data indefinitely. No universal standard governs how long data can or should be retained."
Windows 8 is drawing near, and with it comes tighter integration with Microsoft's cloud storage service SkyDrive. Because of its increased visibility, Microsoft is revamping SkyDrive to a more modern design, and is updating the SkyDrive apps for desktop PCs and Android devices. "SkyDrive’s revamped home page embraces the same tile-based design aesthetic as Microsoft’s other new and upcoming products, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Microsoft previously referred to that aesthetic as 'Metro,' but plans on giving it a new name at an unannounced future point. ... SkyDrive users can flick for a more detailed view of files, including dates modified, sharing status, and size. In terms of features, there’s the ability to search within SkyDrive for pretty much any term, including content within Word and other Office documents. Microsoft has also shifted common commands (creating and sharing folders, for example) to the toolbar that runs along the top of the SkyDrive interface.
Qedward writes "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has objected to a variety of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) ranging from .porn and .sexy to .wine and .bar and .bible, according to records of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The organisation said in June it had received 1930 applications for gTLD 'strings,' of which 911 came from North America and 675 from Europe. Saudi Arabia's Communication and Information Technology Commission, the IT and communications regulator, has objected to the .gay string and asked ICANN to refuse the application for the new gTLD. 'Many societies and cultures consider homosexuality to be contrary to their culture, morality or religion,' CITC said. 'The creation of a gTLD string which promotes homosexuality will be offensive to these societies and cultures,' it added."
TheBoat writes with a bit from BGR on the Apple vs Samsung case: "We're starting to see a theme develop here. Now that it's Samsung's turn to present its case in the San Jose, California patent trial that regularly has the tech media abuzz, the company is taking an interesting approach. Rather than start out by arguing that its various Android smartphones and tablets do not copy Apple's designs or infringe on its patents, Samsung is arguing that Apple's IP is invalid to begin with. On Monday, Samsung argued that Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent was stolen from Mitsubishi's old Diamond Touch and on Tuesday evening, Samsung made a similar argument regarding the design of Apple's iPad. Samsung on Tuesday presented the jury with videotaped testimony from Roger Fidler, head of the digital publishing program at the University of Missouri. In his testimony, Fidler stated that he began work on a tablet design in 1981. 'Apple personnel were exposed to my tablet ideas and prototypes,' he testified, adding that Apple staff saw his designs in the mid-1990s."
jfruh writes "Did you know that Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has a loyalty points account with the Starwood hotel chain? Did you know that both Tim Cook and Steve Ballmer have Dropbox accounts? All this information — and much more — can be found out because so many prominent executives use their corporate email address for their account logins, and most sites make it possible to see if an email address is associated with an account even if you don't have the account password. Just knowing that such an account exists can lead to technical and social engineering attempts to crack it, as happened in the case of Wired's Mat Honan."
Nerval's Lobster writes with the widely-reported news that Google plans to acquire from publisher John Wiley & Sons the Frommer's travel guides, along with Wiley's other travel-related publishing assets. "This marks Google's second purchase of a popular guide in less than a year. In September 2011, the search engine giant acquired Zagat, with the intention of mining the company's enormous trove of data on restaurants and local points of interest. Zagat scores and summaries now appear in the Google+ Local tab (present on the left rail of the Google+ profile page). Google's acquisition streak reveals a particular conundrum facing tech companies that offer travel and location services: you can assign thousands of the world's best software engineers the task of creating a simple, intuitive interface for ferreting out the best airline fares or restaurants—but sooner or later, you'll need to fill that system with reliable content."
SchrodingerZ writes "Designers of Disney Research in Pittsburgh Pa, have turned the average household plant into a musical device and remote control. Called the Botanicus Interacticus project, this new program can turn any household plant into touch-sensitive computer system. 'The system is built upon capacitive touch sensing — the principle used on touchscreens in smartphones and tablets — but instead of sensing electrical signals at a single frequency, it monitors capacitive signals across a broad range of frequencies. It's called Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing.' This works by putting a pulsating electrode into the soil around a plant, which excites the plant, making any touch to the parts of the plant a replayable signal. This could mean soon swatting at your household plant could change the television channel or turn up the volume (PDF)."
Hugh Pickens writes "Forbes Magazine reports that employee benefits of Google are among the best in the land—free haircuts, gourmet food, on-site doctors and high-tech "cleansing" toilets are among the most talked-about but the latest perk for Googlers extends into the afterlife. 'This might sound ridiculous,' says Google's Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock, 'But we've announced death benefits at Google.' Should a U.S. Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there's 'no tenure requirement' for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify."
wiredmikey writes "A new malware intelligence system developed at Georgia Tech Research Institute is helping organizations share threat intelligence and work together to understand malware and cyber attacks. Dubbed "Titan", the system lets members submit threat data and collaborate on malware analysis and classification. Unlike some other systems, members contribute data anonymously so no one would know which specific organizations had been affected by a specific attack. Titan users also get reports on malware samples they have submitted, such as the potential harm, the likely source, the best remedy, and the risks posed by the sample. The analysis is based on what GTRI researchers learn by reverse-engineering the malware. The project currently analyzes and classifies an average of 100,000 pieces of malicious code each day and growing. While other information sharing initiatives have been launched, many are by vendors, which sometimes sparks concern that the vendor may have some bias, and may be pushing a certain product. Not the case with Titan."
hypnosec writes "Want to trace the source of a virus that has infected your computer? Researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne in Switzerland have the answer. The scientists have devised software capable of tracing computer viruses back to their source. Beyond computer viruses, the software can also trace terror suspects, rumor-mongering and even infectious diseases back to their source. Pedro Pinto, one of the researchers, explained that the algorithm works by going through information in a reverse direction back to the original source. He said, 'Using our method, we can find the source of all kinds of things circulating in a network just by "listening" to a limited number of members of that network.' The team tested their software on a known data maze to check if their research actually pinpoints the individuals behind the 9/11 attacks and they were able to pin-point three suspects, out of which one was the mastermind behind the attacks."
SternisheFan snips this news from Tech Radar: "The Surface tablets that Microsoft will start selling on 26 October at Microsoft Stores (and in temporary 'holiday stores' in twelve US cities including New York) are only the first of a planned family of Windows devices and Surface 2.0 is already under development. Although Microsoft corporate communications chief Frank Shaw said recently that calling Surface 'our new family of PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows' was no more than 'literary licence' and that there was nothing more than the two tablets already announced, the Surface team is 'currently building the next generation' of 'devices that fully express the Windows vision' — according to more than a dozen job adverts posted on the Microsoft Careers site between June and August."
An anonymous reader writes "Last week at SIGGRAPH, Pixar Animation Studios announced OpenSubdiv, an open source implementation of the Renderman subdivision surface technology, thus releasing the patents to the long standing Pixar 'secret sauce.' In addition to the offline subdivision scheme, it also includes a GPU implementation. This video demonstrates a realtime deforming subdivision surface running at 50 FPS in Maya (though it is freely available to use anywhere). The source code is available on Pixar's GitHub account." Says the project's site: "OpenSubdiv is covered by the Microsoft Public License, and is free to use for commercial or non-commercial use. This is the same code that Pixar uses internally for animated film production."