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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Nintendo

Wii Street U Uses Google Maps to Create 'An Immersive Experience' (Video) 84

Posted by Roblimo
from the we-would-love-to-love-you-again-because-you're-a-good-old-friend dept.
Nintendo says, "With Wii Street U powered by Google, you can step into Google Street View with an immersive experience that feels like you’re actually there! View a 360-degree Google Maps Street View of locations all over the world using the Wii U GamePad motion controls. Use the GamePad touch screen to type in an address or location and explore, or instantly travel to over 70 fascinating, hand-picked locations around the globe." It all looks lovely, but can't we do most of this with Android phones? And couldn't a smart developer make the Google Street View Android phone experience even more immersive, so we wouldn't all need to buy a Wii U? Nintendo, we love you, but the Wii U still looks pretty dead unless it gets some major rethinking, and this Street View app doesn't seem to be it.
Science

Willow Garage Makes Open Source Robots for Researchers (Video) 22 Screenshot-sm

Posted by Roblimo
from the stomp-on-the-magic-kingdom-stomp-stomp-stomp dept.
We're not talking cheap here; Willow Garage PR2 robots list for $280,000 with the academic discount, $400,000 without. Still, spokesman Ryan points out that it can take a PhD candidate two or more years to build a robot chassis and create new software equivalent to Willow Garage's open source robotware. The thought, too, is that if a university buys the robot a lot of students can share it. Sounds good, doesn't it? But much though we might want a robot, it's probably a good thing Slashdot doesn't have one because we'd probably spend all day fighting over who got to use it next.
Movies

Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the Blood Kiss Crew Answer Your Questions 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
Last week you had the chance to ask Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson and the crew of Blood Kiss about the upcoming Kickstarter movie, vampires, and their past projects. The film has reached the initial funding goal with the new target being $200K, making it an entirely fan funded film. Below you'll find their answers to your questions.
Movies

WeVideo Helps You Edit Your Videos Online (Video) 48

Posted by Roblimo
from the lights!-camera!-action!-edit! dept.
This video is WeVideo CEO Jostein Svendsen talking about his company's service, not a demo of it, although we surely should do a demo/review of WeVideo before long. If you are involved in casual video production, this is something you need to check out. And if you want to try editing a video or two but have no idea if you're going to be good enough that it will be worth spending money on video editing software, plus the time to learn how to use it, WeVideo's free version (which puts a watermark on your finished video) might be a good way to try your hand at this necessary but unheralded part of the videomaking process.
Software

Red Hat's Diane Mueller Talks About OpenShift (Video) 21

Posted by Roblimo
from the it's-always-cool-and-calm-up-in-the-clouds dept.
OpenShift, says Wikipedia, "is a cloud computing platform as a service product from Red Hat. A version for private cloud is named OpenShift Enterprise. The software that runs the service is open-sourced under the name OpenShift Origin, and is available on GitHub." This is a video interview in which Diane Mueller Explains OpenShift in depth. You may want to watch this OpenStack demo video as well.
Movies

Ask Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson About Their Kickstarter Vampire Movie 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-what-you-will dept.
Writer and novelist Neil Gaiman and Amber Benson of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame have teamed up to star in a new vampire movie called, Blood Kiss. Kickstarted by ST:TNG and Emmy-winning writer Michael Reaves, Blood Kiss is a film noir vampire movie set in Golden Age Hollywood. Of his acting debut Gaiman says, "I'm willing to pretend that the prospect of acting doesn't terrify me in order to help Michael Reaves make his film." The trio have agreed to take a break from the blood and answer any questions you have about the new project or their past work. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Games

Steve Jackson Shows Off the Texas Brick Railroad (Video) 41

Posted by Roblimo
from the choo-choo-chug-chug-and-the-quiet-whir-of-a-monorail dept.
Imagine game designer Steve Jackson and a bunch of friends building Lego trains and tracks and scenery, including buildings and other props. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? The group calls itself the Texas Brick Railroad. A lot of members have children, so their meetings tend to be family affairs. Plus, as they're doing here, they often display their train sets at public events where -- yes -- their trains attract children like crazy. This video shows off both current Lego trains and some of the classic, no-longer-sold Lego trains that members have collected over the years, including the highly-prized monorails. There's a transcript, but face it: This is basically visual material, and worth checking out on a computer or handheld that runs Flash if your normal one doesn't. (We've requested an upgrade from Flash-only video, but don't hold your breath. It might be a good while before we get it.)
News

Interviews: McAfee Says House Fire Was No Accident 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the burning-down-the-house dept.
According to reports a bush fire burned down John McAfee's home in Belize on Thursday. The local fire department was unable to to contain the blaze and the the two main buildings were completely destroyed. Property Manager Noel Codd (who was not there at the time) estimated the value of the buildings at $250,000 each. Despite the reported cause of the fire, McAfee says that the destruction of his compound was no accident. We caught up with him to talk about why he thinks the fire was set and what he plans to do now. Read below to see what he had to say.
Beer

Linux is an Obvious Choice for Automating the Beer-Brewing Process (Video) 112

Posted by Roblimo
from the beer-beer-beer-for-my-loyal-men-and-women! dept.
Linus Torvalds, Jon 'maddog' Hall, and many other names closely associated with Linux are also closely associated with beer. (Ed. note: I have personally watched them associate with beer, and may have even joined them.) It comes as no surprise, therefore, when Linux advocate and LinuxAutomation.org founder Kurt Forsberg talks about using Linux to control his beer brewing. Kurt is a strong believer in Linux Automation who talks about home thermostats, sprinklers, and many other application, "anything you can automate..." but, he adds, "we spend all our time brewing beer so we haven't explored many of those yet." He says this with a big smile, of course. And if you want to keep up with Linux Automation on Faceboook, go ahead; like everyone + dog they have a Facebook page.
United States

Did Internet Sales Tax Backers Bribe Congress? (Video) 317

Posted by Roblimo
from the money-and-politics-have-an-irresistable-attraction-for-each-other dept.
This may be a coincidence, but according to MapLight, Senators who voted last week for the bill allowing states to directly collect taxes on sales via the Internet, AKA The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, received 40 times as much campaign donation money (yes, that's four-oh, not just four) from businesses in favor of the bill as those who voted against it received from businesses that were against Internet sales taxes. Was this bribery? Of course not! We're not some piddly fifth-world country. But it's a prime example of how money influences politics here in the good old USA, and it's far from the only one we've seen lately. In this video, MapLight Program Director Jay Costa shares a bunch more with us, along with tips on how to spot this sort of thing and some steps we voters can take to fight against both direct and indirect influence-buying. Note that all this is totally non-partisan; the politicians with the most influence -- whether local, state or federal -- get most of the available special interest money no matter what other agenda(s) they may have. And for those who want to learn more about who is spending their dollars to influence your representatives, Jay also suggests a look at these two money-in-politics resources: FollowTheMoney.org and OpenSecrets.org.
Debian

Debian + Openbox = CrunchBang Linux (Video) 106

Posted by Roblimo
from the a-derivitive-distro-that-sounds-fun-and-useful dept.
"CrunchBang Linux is a Debian based distro with the Openbox window manager on top of it. So it is Debian under the hood with Openbox on the surface," says distro supporter Larry Cafiero. A glance through the #! (CrunchBang) forums showed an exceptionally fast response rate to problems posted there, so even if you haven't heard of #! (it's not in the DistroWatch Top 10), it has a strong and dedicated user community -- which is one of the major keys to success for any open source project. In order to learn more about #! Linux (and to share what he learned), Timothy Lord pointed his camcorder at Larry during LinuxFest Northwest and made this video record of their conversation.
Robotics

Meet the Sehome Seamonsters FRC (First Robotics Competition) Team 2605 (Video) 18

Posted by Roblimo
from the slide-to-the-left-slide-to-the-right-forward-backwards-fight-robot-fight dept.
We've seen FIRST robotics competitions on Slashdot before. But Kraken-themed FIRST robots? And a good look at what goes into making a competitive robot? For that, Timothy went to Sehome High School in Bellingham, Washington, where members of their Seamonsters robotics team (AKA FIRST Robotics Competition team # 2605; it's a team number, not a date) gave him a good look at their robot's guts, along with showing him how it's controlled and how they organize the 25+ people who work to build and run their robot(s). If you're thinking about joining or starting a FIRST team, this video is essential viewing for you. It's also essential if you just like the idea of robots competing with each other at pyramid-climbing and Frisbee-style disc-throwing. Go, bots, go! Update: 05/08 22:16 GMT by T : Correction: I didn't go to the high school — much simpler, I met the robot creators (and their disk-chucking robot) at LinuxFest Northwest, where they had an impressive demo room set up.
Biotech

HiveBio is Working to Become Seattle's First Community Biology Lab (Video) 23 Screenshot-sm

Posted by Roblimo
from the what-happens-if-we-mix-some-of-this-and-some-of-that? dept.
HiveBio in Seattle is not the world's first community-based biology lab, but it may be the first one started by a high school student. Her name is Katriona Guthrie-Honea, and her co-founder is Bergen McMurray. They managed to get a lot of equipment and supplies donated to their new venture, along with a successful Microryza Campaign that raised $6425 even though their target was only $5100. They're renting space from a local hackerlab, and getting an insane amount of publicity for a venture that's just starting out. But why not? If Bergen's and Katriona's example can spur others to learn and create, whether in mechanical engineering, physics, electronics, computer science or biology, it's all good -- not only for the participants, but for anyone who might someday benefit from creations or discoveries made by people who got their first taste of hands-on science or engineering in a hackerspace or community biology lab.
News

Interview: Ask John McAfee What You Will 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the straight-from-the-source dept.
John McAfee was best known as a software designer and founder of the computer anti-virus company McAfee Associates until his saga in Belize began. McAfee's works on producing natural antibiotics commercially in Belize was quickly overshadowed by police raids, murder allegations, and a month of evading Belizean authorities while maintaining his innocence. He was eventually captured and deported back to the United States in December 2012 without being charged with any crime. "Boston George" Jung (a man who has lived quite an unusual life himself) has been tapped to write McAfee's biography titled, No Domain. Now that things have mostly settled down, John has agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
Firefox

Firefox OS Phone on Display at LinuxFest NorthWest (Video) 96 Screenshot-sm

Posted by timothy
from the first-comes-iphone-then-comes-android-then-comes-firefox-in-a-baby-carriage dept.
Jakob Perry organized the first LinuxFest Northwest when he was still a student. He got off to a good start: now LFNW has been running for 14 years, and has retained its flavor as a low-key, friendly conference. Exhibitors from Linux distributions from tiny (CrunchBang) to huge (Red Hat) were on hand for 2013, and enough speakers and topics to fill about 80 different sessions over the two days of the conference. Not all of it's about Linux per se, either: the EFF and FSF were represented, along with a BSD table, and a local astronomy group with a great name. At this year's event I ran into the first Firefox OS phone that I've had a chance to play with in person. Firefox OS integrates Linux by way of the Android kernel, but is otherwise its own beast. Ubuntu and Mozilla contributor Benjamin Kerensa was on hand to talk about what makes it tick, and to give a demo of the all-HTML5 interface.
Software

Hillsborough County (FL) Hackathon is a Sign of Increasing Tech Awareness (Video 30 Screenshot-sm

Posted by Roblimo
from the hackers-meet-in-the-middle-of-xanth dept.
The idea of the Hackathon was to develop either Web or mobile applications that would dovetail with county services and be useful for county workers, county residents or both. The winners got cash prizes, but many people on the nine competing teams weren't aware of them until the closing awards ceremony when the three winners were announced. But then, this is a helpful part of the country where, if an old person falls down on the sidewalk, strangers will rush to her side, whip out cell phones in case a 911 call is needed, and help her to her feet. A hackathon to benefit your neighbors is nothing but an extension of that spirit. One note: Several county employees said this was the first-ever government-organized hackathon around here, but there was a Tampa Mayor's Hackathon last June, and Tampa is the biggest city in Hillsborough County. But this is all good, and Hillsborough hopes to hold a bigger (and hopefully better-publicized) hackathon next year. Meanwhile, there are more home-grown tech events around here every year. April 25 saw the 3rd annual Ignite Tampa event, which brought together people involved in "technology, arts, communications, education, non-profits, the government sector and more" to meet with "the community" -- and local venture capitalists. And the inaugural Sarasota-Bradenton BarCamp is scheduled for May 2 - 5. And so on. Lots of events, many of which combine technology and the arts, which is always a delightful mix -- and one we look forward to seeing even more of in coming years, not only in Florida but everywhere in the world.
Security

Recovering Data From Broken Hard Drives and SSDs (Video) 173

Posted by Roblimo
from the after-the-sledgehammer-falls dept.
Russell Chozick owns a small company in Austin. TX, called Flashback Data that recovers data from messed-up hard drives. And SSDs and Flash memory, too. How badly damaged does a drive have to be to defeat Russell and his crew? Apparently, smashed to bits. Not long aqo we did a video about a company that destroys data on hard drives, and we've had at least one Ask Slashdot where the question was, "What's the Best Way To Destroy Hard Drives?" In today's video, Russell is talking about the opposite of destruction -- except that he destroys data upon request, too. Obviously, checking the wrong box on a customer order form could cause big problems at Flashback Data, couldn't it? Let's hope they never do that -- and let's hope we all back up all of our data so we never need to use a data recovery service. You do back up all your data, don't you?
Education

Building Sumo Robots With the Brain Monkeys Crew (Video) 15 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the building-fun dept.
Ann Arbor based Brain Monkeys is an education company that teaches kids about robots and technology. With the help of her staff, founder Katie Tilton teaches a wide variety of after school classes, workshops, and summer school programs designed to let kids learn through hands-on activities. Recently, I was lucky enough to visit for one of their "Speed Sumo" nights. Kids get a NXT LEGO kit and 90 mins to build a robot that can push another robot out of a small sumo ring. Students get a basic tutorial on what makes a good sumo robot, then are free to come up with designs that they think will work best. Some of the more interesting features I saw included claws, a wedged shaped nose, and a flail-like tail (shout out to The Hammer!). Once the 90 minute build time is up the kids battle it out in the ring with the winner getting a high-five and bragging rights for building the most awesome robot of the night. Katie says: "Every day of the week I teach somewhere. I'm basically a teacher with art on a cart, but I'm robots in a car."

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