The Internet Archive Starts Seeding Over a Million Torrents 180

An anonymous reader writes with news that The Internet Archive has started seeding about 1,400,000 torrents. In addition to over a million books, the Archive is seeding thousands and thousands of films, music tracks, and live concerts. John Gilmore of the EFF said, "The Archive is helping people to understand that BitTorrent isn't just for ephemeral or dodgy items that disappear from view in a short time. BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive." Brewster Kahle, founder of the Archive, told TorrentFreak, "I hope this is greeted by the BitTorrent community, as we are loving what they have built and are very glad we can populate the BitTorrent universe with library and archive materials. There is a great opportunity for symbiosis between the Libraries and Archives world and the BitTorrent communities."

Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read? 1365

50000BTU_barbecue writes "Usually sci-fi provides adventure with happy endings for everyone. But what story have you read that resonates years later because of some insight about human nature or society that's basically cynical or pessimistic? For me it's Fred Pohl's Jem, with its sharply divided resource-constrained future world driven by politics, and its conclusion that humans are just too destructive to handle contacting alien life, especially if humans have the technological upper hand. I'm wondering what other stories have stuck in people's minds. It can be a short story, a novel or an entire series of books."

Kindle E-Book Sales Surpass Print Sales In UK 207

twoheadedboy writes "Book lovers are increasingly turning to e-books, and in the UK Amazon has announced it now sells more e-books than physical copies on Kindle books surpassed sales of hardbacks in the UK back in May 2011 at a rate of two to one and now they have leapfrogged the combined totals of both hardbacks and paperbacks."

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Jump Back Into Programming? 247

First time accepted submitter FractalFear writes "15 years ago I was programming in BASIC, and doing some C++, after a serious car accident barely making it out alive, my memory went to crud. I have no recollection of how to do anything in either of those languages any more. I've suffered some damage, and my memory isn't all that great. However if I do repetitive work it sticks to me. I've been in IT for 17 years as desktop support, and I fear I won't ever get much further in life due to my handicap. I am hard working and dedicated, I have been reading slashdot regularly for many years now, and I have faith in the Slashdot community advice. I recently bought Head First C#: 2nd Edition(A friend of mine that programs for a living suggested C# as an easier alternative to C++) the first 4 chapters were great, but after that everything just didn't make any sense. My question(s) to you guys is: What was the best way for you to get back into programming? School? Self taught? And what would be the best language for someone like me to get into? My goal is to make games as a hobby for now, but would like to enter into the market of XBOX Arcade, Steam, mobile etc, particularly 2D TBSRPG games like Shining Force. If you prefer self taught what are some really good books you suggest?"

Ask Slashdot: Good Books and Tools For a Software/Hardware Hobbyist? 85

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?"
Book Reviews

Book Review: Core Python Applications Programming, 3rd Ed. 65

thatpythonguy writes "Core Python Application Programming is the latest addition to a growing corpus of literature serving a growing number of Python programmers and engineers. This Prentice Hall book of 800+ pages covers some traditional areas and touches upon some new ones. I typically do not spend much time speaking about the author of the books that I review; however, this occasion warrants an exception. And it is not because Wesley Chun used Python over a decade ago to build the address book and spell-checker for Yahoo! Mail nor is it because he holds a minor degree in music from UC Berkeley in classical piano. Rather, it is because he is both an engineer and an instructor. In other words, he was not pulled from his geek duties and asked to become a pseudo-writer; he already does that for his consulting practice, authoring (or co-authoring) several books and articles on Python (including "Python Web Development with Django") as well as starring in his own training video (entitled "Python Fundamentals"). The result of that experience is a writing style that is technically sound, yet accessible." Keep reading for the rest of Ahmed's review.

The World's First 3D-Printed Gun 846

MrSeb writes "An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator, who goes by the name HaveBlue and is an AR-15/M16 enthusiast, has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear. HaveBlue's custom creation is a .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal. ... While this pistol obviously wasn't created from scratch using a 3D printer, the interesting thing is that the lower receiver — in a legal sense at least — is what actually constitutes a firearm. This means that people without gun licenses — or people who have had their licenses revoked — could print their own lower receiver and build a complete, off-the-books gun." Here come the illegal shapes. Note that the legal fiction of receiver-as-firearm is true in the U.S., but may not be in other jurisdictions, and that no gun license is required in most of the U.S. to purchase or possess a semi-automatic weapon.

Prime Ministerial Plagiarism Farce Continues In Romania 60

ananyo writes "Two investigations into the case of alleged plagiarism by Romania's prime minister, Victor Ponta, have reached opposite conclusions, ramping up the tension in a fierce struggle over political power in Bucharest. As Slashdot has noted before, Ponta stands accused of having copied large sections of his 2003 PhD thesis on the International Criminal Court. ... On 29 June, the Romanian National Council for the Attestation of University Titles (CNATDCU), which is in charge of investigating plagiarism charges in PhD theses according to Romanian law, had concluded that Ponta had copied and pasted 85 pages of his thesis from three books without properly marking the copied sections as quotes. But the committee was dissolved during the course of its meeting by acting education minister Liviu Pop. Meanwhile, concerns are rising in the European Union over what political observers say is a lack of respect in Romania for the fundamental principles of democracy."

Japan: Police Arrest Journalists For Selling DVD-Backup Tools 252

Modellismo writes "Last week four journalists from Sansai Books were arrested for selling, through the company website, a copy of a magazine published last year (with a free cover mounted disc) focused on how to backup/rip DVDs. They violated Japan's Unfair Competition Prevention Law that recently has been revised to make illegal the sale of any DRM circumvention device or software. It's interesting to note that Japanese cyber police could arrest the Amazon Japan CEO, too, as the online giant is selling a lot of magazines, books and software packages for DVD copy and ripping: exactly what put Sansai Books' staff in trouble."

Book Review: UP and To the RIGHT Screenshot-sm 77

benrothke writes "Anyone who has worked in information technology knows of Gartner. They are one of the leading information technology research and advisory firms. Most of their clients are CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, high-tech and telecom enterprises. Gartner is huge with over 5,000 associates, over 1, 200 research analysts and consultants and clients in 85 countries. Their revenue in 2011 was nearly $1.5 billion. While Gartner is the world's largest, there are over 650 independent analyst firms worldwide. Barbara French's Directory of Analysts provides a comprehensive list. With all that, very few people understand how Gartner works and what makes them tick. In UP and to the RIGHT: Strategy and Tactics of Analyst Influence: A complete guide to analyst influence, ex-Gartner analyst Richard Stiennon takes the mystery out of Gartner. In particular, a good part of the book deals with Gartner's vaunted Magic Quadrant." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.

One Tablet Per Child Program Begins In Thailand 90

societyofrobots writes "Thailand has now put the first 50,000 of a planned 800,000 tablets into the hands of elementary students. Each tablet costs only $80/unit, runs Android ICS, and was manufactured in China. Opponents claim it to be a very expensive populist policy to 'buy votes', while proponents argue it could bypass the root causes of poor education in the country: outdated books and unskilled teachers."

The Hivemind Singularity 277

An anonymous reader writes "Alan Jacobs at The Atlantic writes about a book called New Model Army (NMA), which takes the idea of Anonymous — a loose, self-organizing collective with a purpose — and adds twenty-five years of technological advancement. The book's author, Adam Roberts, 'asks us to imagine a near future when electronic communications technologies enable groups of people to communicate with one another instantaneously, and on secure private networks invulnerable, or nearly so, to outside snooping.' With the arrival of advanced communications tech, such groups wouldn't be limited to enacting their will from behind a computer screen, or in a pre-planned flash mob; they could form actual armies. 'Again, each NMA organizes itself and makes decisions collectively: no commander establishes strategy and gives orders, but instead all members of the NMA communicate with what amounts to an advanced audio form of the IRC protocol, debate their next step, and vote. Results of a vote are shared to all immediately and automatically, at which point the soldiers start doing what they voted to do. ... They are proud of their shared identity, and tend to smirk when officers of more traditional armies want to know who their "ringleaders" are. They have no ringleaders; they don't even have specialists: everyone tends the wounded, not just some designated medical corps, and when they need to negotiate, the negotiating team is chosen by army vote. Each soldier does what needs to be done, with need determined by the NMA which each has freely joined.' Let's hope resistance isn't futile."

Book Review: Drupal 7 Multi Sites Configuration Screenshot-sm 35

Michael Ross writes "All the leading content management systems (CMSs), including Drupal, use a combination of source code, in files, and user/configuration data, in a database. There may be some mixing of the two types of components — such as configuration settings stored in small files, or JavaScript code stored in the database — but most CMS-based websites generally employ this separation. One significant benefit is that updates to the non-custom code (the CMS's "core") can be easily made without overwriting user data or custom configuration settings. However, each website has its own copy of the core code, even if the websites reside on the same server — which wastes disk space and wastes developer time when all of those instances of core need to be updated. Thus there is growing interest in running multiple websites on a single core instance, despite the dearth of documentation for how to do so. For those in the Drupal world, one resource is a new book by Matt Butcher, Drupal 7 Multi Sites Configuration." Read below for the rest of Michael's review.

Even Silicon Valley's Prison Inmates Have Their Own Startup Incubator 88

pigrabbitbear writes "There's a specific and stereotypical set of activities that spring to mind when you imagine what prison inmates do with their spare time. If there's a yard, they probably hang out, lift weights, get in fights, organize gangs. If there's not a yard, they might read books, write letters, get in fights, organize gangs. They don't write business plans and get giddy over startup ideas. But that's exactly what's happening at San Quentin State Prison, about an hour north of Silicon Valley. For the first time this year, the Last Mile program at the maximum security facility helped five inmates learn the ins and outs of social media and entrepreneurship in an effort to connect those who've been inside for several years with the technological reality of life on the outside. The tricky part about the future forward program is that many of its participants have never used a computer, and, since prison regulations forbid any contact with the outside world, won't be able to use one until they've served their sentences."
The Courts

How the Inventors of Dragon Speech Recognition Technology Lost Everything 606

First time accepted submitter cjsm writes "James and Janet Baker were the inventors of Dragon Systems' speech recognition software, and after years of work, they created a multimillion dollar company. At the height of the tech boom, with investment offers rolling in, they turned to Goldman Sachs for financial advice. For a five million dollar fee, Goldman hooked them up with Lernout & Hauspie, the Belgium speech recognition company. After consultations with Goldman Sachs, the Bakers traded their company for $580 million in Lernout & Hauspie stock. But it turned out Lernout & Hauspie was involved in cooking their books and went bankrupt. Dragon was sold in a bankruptcy auction to Scansoft, and the Bakers lost everything. Goldman and Sachs itself had decided against investing in Lernout & Hauspie two years previous to this because they were lying about their Asian sales. The Bakers are suing for one billion dollars."

Highlights From Comic-Con 2012 74

Comic-Con 2012 got underway yesterday, and some interesting bits of news have been filtering out. Digital comic sales boomed over the past year — something to be expected given the trend with ebooks and newspapers. But oddly, print comic sales are up as well, to the tune of 18%. At a Firefly panel, Joss Whedon spoke briefly about how the series would have ended if he could have done it on his own terms. "I don’t think I would have killed anybody," he said. TV shows are a strong theme this year, which much discussion around The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. All in all, about 80 television programs are represented at Comic-Con. The show is also highlighting the recent trend away from strict superhero stories. "Image Comics is indeed banking on 'superhero-ed out' readers, not only with Kirkman's The Walking Dead, (Kirkman has been called the 'unofficial mayor of Comic-Con') but with books like the spy-fi The Activity. The title's second issue, out next week, was co-plotted with actual Navy SEALs."
Book Reviews

Book Review: Head First Python 72

Michael J. Ross writes "Veteran computer programmers — adept with languages such as PHP, Perl, and JavaScript — typically have no trouble learning an additional language, often just by reading online tutorials and stepping through sample code. But for those new to programming, that approach can prove difficult and frustrating. Yet nowadays there appears to be growing interest among such people for learning how to write programs in Python, especially as it is seeing increasing use by Google and other organizations, and is often chosen as the primary teaching language in schools. For such budding programmers, one possible starting point is the book Head First Python." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.

Ask Slashdot: VPN Service For a Deployed US Navy Ship? 349

shinjikun34 writes "I am currently stationed on a U.S. Navy ship deployed in a country with restrictive internet policies. We are currently in the process of setting up an entertainment internet connection for the crew to use in their downtime. I suggested (and was thereby tasked with finding) a VPN service that would support 100 to 500 devices, have an end point inside the continental United States, be reasonably priced, and secure/trustworthy. Something that is safe to use for banking and other financial affairs. Ideally, it would be fast enough to support several VoIP calls (Skype, Google Voice, etc) along side online gaming, with possible movie/music streaming. It will need an end point in the U.S. to allow for use of Google Books, Netflix, Hulu, and other services that restrict access based on region. I, in all honesty, have no idea where to begin searching, and I ask the good folks of Slashdot to aid me in my quest. One of the main requirements I was given is that the company has to be trustworthy. And it has to be a company — computer in someone's closet hosting a VPN isn't acceptable to the Navy. What services would Slashdot recommend? (I understand that our connection without a VN probably won't be able to handle the described load, but I would prefer a VN service that offers capacity above our need. That way when T/S'ing the connection, the VPN can be at least partially ruled out.)"

When Your e-Books Read You 105

theodp writes "'Perhaps nothing will have as large an impact on advanced analytics in the coming year as the ongoing explosion of new and powerful data sources,' writes Bill Franks in Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave. And one of the hottest new sources of Big Data, reports the WSJ's Alexandra Alter in Your E-Book Is Reading You, is the estimated 40 million e-readers and 65 million tablets in use in the U.S. that are ripe for the picking by data scientists working for Amazon, Apple, Google, and Barnes & Noble. Some privacy watchdogs argue that e-book users should be protected from having their digital reading habits recorded. 'There's a societal ideal that what you read is nobody else's business,' says the EFF's Cindy Cohn."

Adobe Stops Flash Player Support For Android 332

New submitter Craefter writes "Adobe has finally seen the same light Steve Jobs did in 2010 and is now committed to putting mobile Flash player in the history books as soon as possible. Adobe will not develop and test Flash player for Android 4.1 and will now focus on a PC browsing and apps. In a blog post, they wrote, 'Devices that don’t have the Flash Player provided by the manufacturer typically are uncertified, meaning the manufacturer has not completed the certification testing requirements. In many cases users of uncertified devices have been able to download the Flash Player from the Google Play Store, and in most cases it worked. However, with Android 4.1 this is no longer going to be the case, as we have not continued developing and testing Flash Player for this new version of Android and its available browser options. There will be no certified implementations of Flash Player for Android 4.1. Beginning August 15th we will use the configuration settings in the Google Play Store to limit continued access to Flash Player updates to only those devices that have Flash Player already installed. Devices that do not have Flash Player already installed are increasingly likely to be incompatible with Flash Player and will no longer be able to install it from the Google Play Store after August 15th.'"

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