CNET reports that Facebook has experimented lately with a small group of users by offering people the chance to promote their own account status messages the old-fashioned way: by paying for them. The author of the linked article asks whether it's inevitable that "Facebook will have to start dinging users in earnest," post-IPO. Facebook still says "It's free and always will be," but that doesn't rule out paying for additional features — that's certainly a model that many game makers had adopted.
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Barence writes "PC Pro has picked out its 30 best features of Windows 8. Its countdown includes features such as the revamped Task Manager, the option to run ISOs and VHDs natively, and Windows To Go, which allows you to take a portable installation of Windows 8 with you." They've also listed ten features they'd like to see added to Windows 8, "including the return of the Start button on the desktop, virtual desktops and one-click sharing of optical drives."
mikejuk writes "The Goldbach conjecture is not the sort of thing that relates to practical applications, but they used to say the same thing about electricity. The Goldbach conjecture is reasonably well known: every integer can be expressed as the sum of two primes. Very easy to state, but it seems very difficult to prove. Terence Tao, a Fields medalist, has published a paper that proves that every odd number greater than 1 is the sum of at most five primes. This may not sound like much of an advance, but notice that there is no stipulation for the integer to be greater than some bound. This is a complete proof of a slightly lesser conjecture, and might point the way to getting the number of primes needed down from at most five to at most 2. Notice that no computers were involved in the proof — this is classical mathematical proof involving logical deductions rather than exhaustive search."
theodp writes "His old day job at Gawker entailed calling BS on tech's high-and-mighty, but Ryan Tate still found things to like about Silicon Valley. In The 20% Doctrine, Tate explores how tinkering, goofing off, and breaking the rules at work can drive success in business. If you're lucky, your boss may someday find Tate's book in his or her conference schwag bag and be inspired enough by the tales of skunkworks projects at both tech (Google, Flickr, pre-Scott Thompson Yahoo) and non-tech (Bronx Academy of Letters, Huffington Post, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group) organizations to officially condone some form of 20% time at your place of work. In the meantime, how do you manage to find time to goof off to get ahead?"
Google85 writes with this news from All Things D: "Yahoo's embattled CEO Scott Thompson is set to step down from his job at the Silicon Valley Internet giant, in what will be a dramatic end to a controversy over a fake computer science degree that he had on his bio, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The company will apparently say he is leaving for 'personal reasons.' Thompson's likely replacement on an interim basis will be Yahoo's global media head, Ross Levinsohn, who most recently also ran its Americas unit, including its advertising sales."
TheGift73 writes "The Russian based 'Pirate Pay' startup is promising the entertainment industry a pirate-free future. With help from Microsoft, the developers have built a system that claims to track and shut down the distribution of copyrighted works on BitTorrent. Their first project, carried out in collaboration with Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, successfully stopped tens of thousands of downloads. Hollywood, software giants and the major music labels see BitTorrent as one of the largest threats to their business. Billions in revenue are lost each year, they claim. But not for long if the Russian based startup 'Pirate Pay' has its way. The company has developed a technology which allows them to attack existing BitTorrent swarms, making it impossible for people to share files."
An anonymous reader writes "I used to travel with a book and some clothes in a backpack, and now my entire life fits into my briefcase. I have a laptop, a tablet, and a cell phone with access to all of my documents through Dropbox, and all the books I own are on my kindle. Aside from having about four grand in electronics, the bag has everything of value that I own. If that bag is stolen while I'm traveling, it will be more trouble than if my apartment burns down (while I'm not in it). What can I do to secure my life-in-a-briefcase?"
An anonymous reader writes "Shared in last quarter's FreeBSD status report are developer plans to have LLVM/Clang become the default compiler and to deprecate GCC. Clang can now build most packages and suit well for their BSD needs. They also plan to have a full BSD-licensed C++11 stack in FreeBSD 10." Says the article, too: "Some vendors have also been playing around with the idea of using Clang to build the Linux kernel (it's possible to do with certain kernel configurations, patches, and other headaches)."
beaverdownunder writes "Police in the Australian state of Victoria have confirmed that they are investigating employing unmanned drones in the war against crime, following the lead of law enforcement agencies in the United States, set to begin using drones as of tomorrow. This revelation has alarmed Australian civil libertarians, who fear that in a country with no constitutionally-protected civil rights, people could be surveilled for political reasons."
joabj writes "Following up on experiments of running Internet Protocol(IP)-based networks with carrier pigeons or bongos, UofC grad student R. Stuart Geiger has demonstrated that it is possible to transmit simple ping requests across two computers using people playing xylophones. Throughput is roughly 1 baud, when the participants don't make any mistakes, or get bored and wander off. The OSI encapsulated model of networking makes this project doable, allowing humans to be inserted at Layer 1, the physical layer. Vint Cerf wasn't kidding when he used to say, 'IP on Everything.'"
bmsleight writes "Does it count as a hack if you change your own system? Vanity Fair report that during the bidding process for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London Streets Traffic Control Center followed each vehicle using CCTV, 'and when they came up to traffic lights,' [bid committee CEO Keith] Mills said, 'we turned them green.'"
An anonymous reader writes "We've heard many times and from multiple sources that text messaging is declining. There are multiple reasons for this (BlackBerry Messenger, Apple's iMessage, and even WhatsApp), but the biggest one is Facebook (Messenger). Facebook is slowly but surely killing the text message. As a result, the social networking giant is eating into the traffic carriers receive from text messaging, and thus a huge chunk of their revenues."
Hugh Pickens writes "Although a fully operation city with no people sounds like the setup for a dystopian sci-fi novel, the Boston Globe reports that the Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation will develop a $1 billion scientific ghost town near Hobbs, New Mexico to help researchers test everything from intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, says the town will be modeled after the real city of Rock Hill, South Carolina, complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings, old and new. Unlike traditional cities, City Labs will start with its underground 'backbone' infrastructure that will allow the lab to monitor activity throughout the 17-mile site. Since nobody lives in the Center's buildings, computerized systems will mimic human behavior such as turning thermostats up and down, switching lights off and on, or flushing toilets. The Center's test facilities and supporting infrastructure may require as much as 20 square miles of open, unimproved land where the controlled environment will permit evaluation of the positive and negative impacts of smart grid applications and integration of renewable energies for residential, commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. 'It's an amusement park for the scientists,' adds Brumley."
Okian Warrior writes "A Milford, CT man was pulled over when a state police car radioactivity scanner flagged his car as being radioactive. The man had been given a cardiac exam using radioactive dye, and had a note from his physician attesting to this, but it raises questions about the legality of the stop. Given that it is not illegal to own or purchase or transport radioactive materials (within limits for hobbyist use), should the police be allowed to stop and search vehicles which show a slight level of radioactivity?"
theodp writes "The Floppy Disk Icon, observes Scott Hanselman, means 'save' for a whole generation of people who have never seen one. That, and other old people icons that don't make sense anymore — Radio Buttons, Clipboards, Bookmarks, Address Books and Calendars, Voicemail, Manila Folder, Handset Phone, Magnifying Glass and Binoculars, Envelopes, Wrenches and Gears, Microphones, Photography, Televisions, Carbon Copies and Blueprints — are the subject of Hanselman's post on icons that are near or past retirement age, whose continued use is likely to make them iconic glyphs whose origins are shrouded in mystery to many."