trawg writes "Valve has joined the list of companies that have altered their terms and conditions to prevent users from filing a class action suit. Their official statement says that such claims 'impose unnecessary expense and delay' and are 'designed to benefit the class action lawyers.' In its stead, they've added a new arbitration process, in which Valve will reimburse costs (under certain circumstances) when dispute resolution can't be solved through their normal support process."
Trepidity writes "United States Navy Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert stirred a controversy by questioning much of the thinking underlying current U.S. defense technology. He argues that stealth technology is unlikely to retain its usefulness much into the future, and so focus should switch towards standoff weapons. In addition, he criticizes the focus on expensive all-in-one platforms such as the F-35 fighter, arguing for a payload-centric, flexible approach he compares to trucks rather than luxury cars."
jfruh writes "10 jurors have been sworn in for the Apple v. Samsung case, which is at the heart of the ongoing patent disputes over the companies' smartphones. While most Slashdot readers are familiar with many of the facts of the case and the law, the jury is at least in theory supposed to be something of a blank slate. Thus, it's interesting to see the detailed instructions Judge Lucy Koh gave to the jury, covering everything from the differences between utility and design patents to how to measure the credibility of witnesses."
New submitter prayag writes "With the advent of crowdsourcing platforms it has become easier for people to 'automate' simple, yet repetitive tasks that computers aren't good at by hiring thousands of people at once. This can help some business cheaply accomplish certain tasks, but it can also be misused by spammers. A company called MobileWorks is even outsourcing this concept, reaching out to workers in developing nations whose income needs aren't as high. 'Kulkarni, who founded the company in 2010 with fellow graduate students from the University of California, Berkeley, says the value of tasks is set so that workers can reasonably earn $2 to $4 an hour; payments are on a sliding scale, with lower rates for poorer countries. "Even though they are acting as agents of a computer program, we are creating an opportunity for them," he says. MobileWorks charges its clients rates starting at $5 per hour for workers' time.'"
MBCook writes "After a mixed reaction from the press, Google will be delaying the launch of the Nexus Q. People who pre-ordered will receive the current version of the device for free. 'When we announced Nexus Q at Google I/O, we gave away devices to attendees for an early preview. The industrial design and hardware were met with great enthusiasm. We also heard initial feedback from users that they want Nexus Q to do even more than it does today. In response, we have decided to postpone the consumer launch of Nexus Q while we work on making it even better.'"
schleprock63 writes "The FCC ruled today that Verizon cannot charge extra for users for 4G Wi-Fi tethering. The FCC used the original agreement in the auction of the C block spectrum which said 'licensees offering service on C Block spectrum "shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee's C Block network, subject to narrow exceptions."' So Verizon cannot charge for tethering on 4G service, this raises the question of whether they can continue to charge for tethering on 3G or 1x?"
EA and BioWare announced today that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be getting a free-to-play option later this year. Players using the F2P option will be able to reach the level cap and play through the full class stories, but their access will be limited for other parts of the game; they will only be able to play a certain number of Warzones (their PvP battlegrounds), Flashpoints (their instanced dungeons), and space missions each week. Access to travel functionality and the game's auction house will be limited as well. F2P players won't be able to participate in Operations, the end-game raids. Subscribers will retain access to all of these features. There will also be cosmetic items sold through the 'Cartel Market' using a virtual currency.
The Bad Astronomer writes "The White House budget for NASA in 2013 is bleak, with big cuts in many areas. None is worse hit than planetary exploration, which got slammed with a 20% reduction. Several top-notch space scientists have taken matters into their own hands, looking to create a privately-funded alternative for space exploration. Called Uwingu — Swahili for 'sky' — they're hoping to get seed money to create a program which can generate millions in donations to explore our solar system. Astronomer Pamela Gay has more info at her blog, Star Stryder."
SpicyBrownMustard writes "There's no secret to a rising level of 'Silicon Valley fatigue' lately, and the new reality show certainly isn't helping. And with hacker hostels packing in twenty somethings fueling the 'it's okay to fail' incubator culture that now is actually hurting startups, it's no wonder weariness with the culture is setting in. Forbes.com asks the question: Is Phoenix The Next Silicon Valley? The article covers a startup with a couple names you might know, who picked Phoenix due to its much lower cost of living and different quality of life. The startup's CTO, 'explains that having so much more financial freedom lowers the stress associated with working for a startup, as he can enjoy work/live balance.' Their location certainly didn't hurt fundraising, as they managed $2 million in seed capital. Are we indeed moving on from Silicon Valley for tech startups?"
gbrumfiel writes "Billionaire Internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner has spontaneously awarded $3 million prizes to nine prominent theoretical physicists. The new Fundamental Physics Prize dwarfs awards like the Nobel, which this year is estimated to be worth some $1.2 million (and that's before it's split by up to three winners). It's so much money that some theorists fear it could distort the field. Milner says that his only purpose for the new prize was to promote the field, which he studied in the 1980s: 'The intention was to say that science is as important as a shares rating on Wall Street,' he told Nature."
postermmxvicom writes "I have a friend who is a mechanic, but enjoys tinkering with software and hardware as a hobby. I want to get him a gift that will either broaden his horizons or deepen his understanding in these fields. He is proficient at soldering components and removing them from circuit boards. His programming experience is with a wide variety of scripting languages. He recently used teensy and arduino boards and an accelerometer to add some bells and whistles to a toy car he made. He also used his knowledge to help a friend find and correct weaknesses in his shareware (that would have let 'customers' share more freely than intended). He is fascinated that people can create chips to modify existing hardware. Do you know of any good books or kits (or even tools of the trade) that would appeal to a hobbyist and allow him to grow? Is there anything that might also play off of his handyman/mechanic abilities?"
dsinc writes "It's not just Mint: Fedora will also feature MATE in their upcoming release (Fedora 18). According to Fedora's Dan Mashal, 'many users have expressed interest in this feature since Fedora 15 in which Fedora was switched from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3.'" This follows shortly after news that MATE 1.4 has been released. New features includes file sharing over bluetooth, updated backends for mate-keyring and libmatekeyring, new themes for the notification daemon, and improvements to the Caja file manager. MATE is being included in Sabayon as well.
redletterdave writes "In 2008, then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama decided to announce his running mate, then-Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, over a text message, which was sent out to Obama's legions of followers. Four years later, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the likely presidential nominee from the Republican Party, has decided to make his VP announcement over a smartphone app. On Tuesday, Mitt Romney's campaign team launched a smartphone app called 'Mitt's VP,' which promises app users will be the first to know the official news of Romney's running mate for the November election. Once Romney makes his decision, he will announce the news over the app, which will alert smartphone owners with a text notification."
New submitter faraway writes "Microsoft has just unveiled Outlook.com, the planned successor to Hotmail.com. It includes a lot of what you'd expect from email today, including storage (images, data), a calendar, integration with other Microsoft tools, and of course a clean UI. According to ZDNet, 'Outlook.com is integrated with Windows and Office, and can pull in Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and LinkedIn contacts. The new mail client has the Metro look and feel. And it is providing users with more granular control over which ads they see and where they see them.'"
retroworks writes "J.D. Tuccille of the conservative think tank Reason Foundation discusses last week's news about the first working 3D-printed gun. According to the original article, the partly plastic '.22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper' fired 200 rounds without any sign of wear and tear. Tuccille takes the discovery in the direction of politically topical gun control. '...the development makes it clear that a wide range of bans, restrictions and prohibitions are becoming increasingly unenforcable.' But in my mind, this example of additive-manufacturing technology raises even more questions about patent law enforcement. Will 3D printing be to the Anti-gray-market-alliance what online porn became to neighborhood blue laws?"