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Microsoft Quietly Starts Accepting Bitcoin As Payment Method

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 15:28
An anonymous reader writes A new page in the help guide in the payment information of Microsoft's website reveals that the Redmond giant is now accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for products and services on Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. Currently the payments must go through to credit a Microsoft Wallet account, and the service is initially only available to U.S. users. But the wording of the new page combines with an expansive year for Microsoft and a number of positive statements about Bitcoin from Bill Gates to indicate that this first step is more than just an experiment. Microsoft is now the largest commercial entity accepting the Bitcoin currency, which it processes via the BitPay system, thus protecting the company from fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin. Also at CNN Money.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Google News To Shut Down In Spain On December 16th

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 14:47
An anonymous reader writes The news aggregation services offered by Google is set to be no longer available for Spain, starting December 16th, 2014. The decision of Google comes as response to new Spanish legislation that gives publishers the right to claim compensation for republishing any part of their content. This follows news of services of startup Uber being forbidden in countries like Spain as well as Germany and some city councils worldwide like Delhi, or other services like AirBnb being put under pressure to cope with local laws in other jurisdictions.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 14:06
HughPickens.com writes Maria Konnikova writes in The New Yorker that mondegreens are funny but they also give us insight into the underlying nature of linguistic processing, how our minds make meaning out of sound, and how in fractions of seconds, we translate a boundless blur of sound into sense. One of the reasons we often mishear song lyrics is that there's a lot of noise to get through, and we usually can't see the musicians' faces. Other times, the misperceptions come from the nature of the speech itself, for example when someone speaks in an unfamiliar accent or when the usual structure of stresses and inflections changes, as it does in a poem or a song. Another common cause of mondegreens is the oronym: word strings in which the sounds can be logically divided multiple ways. One version that Steven Pinker describes goes like this: Eugene O'Neill won a Pullet Surprise. The string of phonetic sounds can be plausibly broken up in multiple ways—and if you're not familiar with the requisite proper noun, you may find yourself making an error. Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. "There's a bathroom on the right" standing in for "there's a bad moon on the rise" is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives. Finally along with knowledge, we're governed by familiarity: we are more likely to select a word or phrase that we're familiar with, a phenomenon known as Zipf's law. One of the reasons that "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" substituted for Jimi Hendrix's "Excuse me while I kiss the sky" remains one of the most widely reported mondegreens of all time can be explained in part by frequency. It's much more common to hear of people kissing guys than skies.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

FreeNAS 9.3 Released

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:04
An anonymous reader writes This FreeNAS update is a significant evolutionary step from previous FreeNAS releases featuring: a simplified and reorganized Web User Interface, support for Microsoft ODX and Windows 2012 clustering, better VMWare integration, including VAAI support, a new and more secure update system with roll-back functionality, and hundreds of other technology enhancements. You can get it here and the list of changes are here. Existing 9.2.x users and 9.3 beta testers are encouraged to upgrade.

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Categories: Tech/Science News

CodeSOD: Polynomial Optimization

The Daily WTF - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:00

Rayer S’s co-worker exploded into his cube, beaming. “I’ve just optimized our processing loop. I’ve gone from O(n2) to O(n)!”

“That’s amazing !” The processing loop in question was easily the most expensive part of the application, and Rayer had been spending too much time finding ways to squeeze a little performance out of it. “How did you do it?”

The original code looked something like this:

for(int i = 0; i < m; ++i) { for(int j = 0; j < n; ++i) { process(target[i][j]); //this is really expensive } }

It was a fairly standard nested loop operation.

Radar pulled the new version from source control to see his co-worker’s genius.

for(int i = 0; i < m * n; ++i) { process(*((target*)(&target) + i)); }

Radar complimented his co-worker on his understanding of C++ pointers, but had some negative things to say about his understanding of basic arithmetic.

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Categories: Fun/Other

California Sues Uber Over Practices

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:35
mpicpp writes with news that California is the latest government to file a lawsuit against Uber. "California prosecutors on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Uber over the ridesharing company's background checks and other allegations, adding to the popular startup's worldwide legal woes. San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascon, meanwhile, said Uber competitor Lyft agreed to pay $500,000 and change some of its business practices to settle its own lawsuit. Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey partnered with Gascon in a probe of the nascent ridesharing industry. A third company — Sidecar — is still under investigation and could face a lawsuit of its own if it can't reach an agreement with prosecutors. Uber faces similar legal issues elsewhere as it tries to expand in cities, states and countries around the world. The companies have popular smartphone apps that allow passengers to order rides in privately driven cars instead of taxis."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 09:05
An anonymous reader writes with findings from the Rosetta mission which suggests water on Earth probably came from asteroids, and not comets."Scientists have dealt a blow to the theory that most water on Earth came from comets. Results from Europe's Rosetta mission, which made history by landing on Comet 67P in November, shows the water on the icy mass is unlike that on our planet. The results are published in the journal Science. The authors conclude it is more likely that the water came from asteroids, but other scientists say more data is needed before comets can be ruled out."

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Categories: Tech/Science News

Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:34
An anonymous reader writes Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFMPEG, QEMU, JSLinux...) proposes a new image format that could replace JPEG : BPG. For the same quality, files are about half the size of their JPEG equivalents. He released libbpg (with source) as well as a JS decompressor, and set up a demo including the famous Lena image.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Categories: Tech/Science News

Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Slashdot - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 07:34
An anonymous reader writes Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFMPEG, QEMU, JSLinux...) proposes a new image format that could replace JPEG : BPG. For the same quality, files are about half the size of their JPEG equivalents. He released libbpg (with source) as well as a JS decompressor, and set up a demo including the famous Lena image.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Tech/Science News

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