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The NSA and Snowden: Securing the All-Seeing Eye

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the what-you-intend-to-practice dept.

Government 97

First time accepted submitter ChelleChelle2 (2908449) writes "Edward Snowden's release of classified material exposing the existence of numerous global surveillance programs (obtained while working as an NSA contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton) has been referred to as 'the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.' Regardless of whether one choses to champion or condemn Snowden's actions, it is apparent that the NSA needs to dramatically rework its security measures. In this article Bob Toxen, renown author of several books and articles on Linux Security, discusses the security practices that could have stopped Snowden. Equally interesting, he weighs in on the constitutionality and morality of the NSA's spying on all Americans."

Milwaukee City Council Proposal Would Pave Way For Uber, Lyft

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the anti-coordinative-forces dept.

Government 76

New submitter rjune (123157) writes with some rare positive news from the online ride-sharing world, specifically from Milwaukee. "Ald. Robert Bauman is drafting a proposed ordinance that, if approved by the Common Council, would change the way public passenger vehicles are regulated and licensed. The proposal, expected to be outlined on Friday before the Common Council's Public Transportation Review Board, not only lifts the cap on taxicab vehicle perimits but accommodates new smartphone app services such as Uber and Lyft. Both Uber and Lyft are already in the marketplace." I wish that the cities I spend the most time in would do the same, but they've been busily protecting the local cartels, instead.

Duo Sneak an Oculus Rift Onto Roller Coaster For a Wild Ride

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the keep-hands-and-arms-inside-the-cart-at-all-times dept.

Graphics 81

New submitter bobbrocolli (3647945) writes "Equipped with a hidden laptop and Oculus Rift, O'Driscoll may be the first person to have ever gone on a 'Real VR' roller coaster with perfect motion feedback. The duo's system displayed a virtual version of the exact same roller coaster that O'Driscoll and Forder were on. With some practice they managed to sync the virtual reality roller coaster to the real rollercoaster."

Luke Prosthetic Arm Approved By FDA

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the we-have-the-technology dept.

Biotech 59

necro81 writes: "The FDA today approved the Luke prosthetic arm for sale. The Luke Arm, created by Dean Kamen's DEKA R&D Corp., was a project initiated by DARPA to develop a prosthetic arm for wounded warriors more advanced than those previously available. The Arm can be configured for below-the-elbow, above-the-elbow, and shoulder-level amputees. The full arm has 10 powered degrees of freedom and has the look and weight of the arm it replaces. Through trials by DEKA and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Arm has been used by dozens of amputees for a total of many thousands of hours. Commercialization is still pending."

How Free-To-Play Is Constricting Mobile Games

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the optimizing-for-the-wrong-thing dept.

Cellphones 115

An anonymous reader writes "Mobile gaming is crystallizing around one concept: games must be free-to-play. As an industry, it seems to work — there's no shortage of players willing to drop money on microtransactions and in-app purchases. But for making compelling or unusual games, this is a problem. 'Pitch a title that isn't games-as-a-service to publishers or investors and they'll practically install new doors to slam in your face. ... Free-to-play advocates naturally think their model is dominant because "that's what mobile gamers want," explaining that in-app purchases are just the players way of saying they care. If they've entertained the more dull notion that free-to-play is popular because... well, it's free? They seem not to let on. ... Recent data shows 20 percent of mobile games get opened once and never again. 66 percent have never played beyond the first 24 hours and indeed most purchases happen in the first week of play. Amazingly only around two to three percent of gamers pay anything at all for games, and even more hair-raising is the fact that 50 percent of all revenue comes from just 0.2 percent of players. This is a statistically insignificant amount of happy gamers and nothing that gives you a basis to make claims about "what people want."'"

Court Orders Marvell To Pay Carnegie Mellon $1.5B For Patent Infringement

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the enforced-endowments dept.

The Courts 85

Lucas123 writes "A U.S. District Court has ruled that Marvell Technology must pay Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) $1.54B for infringing on two hard drive chip patents. Marvell was also ordered to pay interest at 0.14% annually, and 50 cents for each chip sold that uses the intellectual property. While Marvell did not comment on the case, CMU said it 'understands' that Marvell will again appeal the ruling and the school 'will look forward to the federal circuit court' upholding the lower court's ruling. The latest decision by a U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania ends for now a five-year legal battle between the two. In 2012, a jury found Marvell had violated CMU's patents, and the chip maker then appealed that ruling."

Firefox OS 1.3 Arrives: Dual SIM Support, Continuous Autofocus, Graphics Boost

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the onward-and-upward dept.

Mozilla 68

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today released Firefox OS version 1.3 to its partners for implementing in their smartphones. There are many new features for both users and developers, and the first phone to feature them is the ZTE Open C, which is available for sale as of today on eBay. First and foremost, Firefox OS users can expect dual-SIM dual-standby (DSDS) support, which gives you two lines on compatible phones, a popular feature in emerging markets. DSDS lets dual-SIM devices individually manage two different SIMs for calling, texting, or data through the 'SIM Manager' interface."

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the name-your-servers-after-game-of-thrones-characters dept.

IT 192

An anonymous reader writes "Every month we submit status reports to upper management. On the infrastructure side, these reports tend to be 'Hey, we met our service level agreements ... again.' IT infrastructure is now a lot like the electric company. Nobody thanks the electric company when the lights come on, but they have plenty of colorful adjectives to describe them when the power is off.

What is the best way to construct a compelling story for upper management so they'll appreciate the hard work that an IT department does? They don't seem particularly impressed with functioning systems, because they expect functioning systems. The extensive effort to design and implement reliable systems has also made IT boring and dull. What types of summaries can you provide upper management to help them appreciate IT infrastructure and the money they spend on the services it provides?"

Physicists Turn 8MP Smartphone Camera Into a Quantum Random Number Generator

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the more-than-one-way-to-skin-schrodinger's-cat dept.

Encryption 104

KentuckyFC writes: "Random numbers are the lifeblood of many cryptographic systems and demand for them will only increase in the coming years as techniques such as quantum cryptography become mainstream. But generating genuinely random numbers is a tricky business, not least because it cannot be done with a deterministic process such as a computer program. Now physicists have worked out how to use a smartphone camera to generate random numbers using quantum uncertainties. The approach is based on the fact that the emission of a photon is a quantum process that is always random. So in a given unit of time, a light emitter will produce a number of photons that varies by a random amount. Counting the number of photons gives a straightforward way of generating random numbers. The team points out that the pixels in smartphone cameras are now so sensitive that they can pick up this kind of quantum variation. And since a camera has many pixels working in parallel, a single image can generate large quantities of random digits. The team demonstrates the technique in a proof-of principle experiment using the 8-megapixel camera on a Nokia N9 smartphone while taking images of a green LED. The result is a quantum random number generator capable of producing digits at the rate of 1 megabit per second. That's more than enough for most applications and raises the prospect of credit card transactions and encrypted voice calls from an ordinary smartphone that are secured by the laws of quantum physics."

SpaceX Injunction Dissolved

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the failure-to-launch dept.

The Courts 98

An anonymous reader writes "Two weeks ago, SpaceX filed suit against the U.S. Air Force in an attempt to enforce competition for rocket purchases. They argued it was a bad idea to blindly shovel money into Russia's coffers for rides to space, and said there was no way for other rocket manufacturers to get a foot in the door. Last week, it looked like they were getting traction — an injunction was granted, temporarily halting the Air Force's process of buying rockets. Unfortunately for SpaceX, that injunction has now been dissolved. At the heart of the suit was Executive Order 13,661, which blocks the transfer of wealth to people in the Russian Federation who are related to the situation in the Ukraine. SpaceX said that since Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was the head of their space agency, payments to the agency were effectively payments to him. The U.S. departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury all sent letters to the court saying this was not the case, and the court agreed. Here's the final ruling."

A 32-bit Development System For $2

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the computers-you-can-buy-with-a-$2-bill dept.

Hardware Hacking 138

An anonymous reader writes "If you are too cheap to buy a $20 Arduino or too elitist to not have at least a 32-bit processor, Dr. Dobb's shows you how to take a $2 chip, put it on a breadboard with a TTL serial (or USB) cable, and be up and running with a 32-bit C/C++ system. Even if you have to buy the breadboard and the cable, it is comparable in price to an Arduino and much more capable. The Mbed libraries (optional) make it as easy to use a 'duino, too."

Court: Oracle Entitled To Copyright Protection Over Some Parts of Java

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the cue-the-wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth dept.

Oracle 303

An anonymous reader writes "Remember the court battle between Google and Oracle? It's the one where Oracle claimed Android violated Oracle's patents and copyright related to Java. Oracle thought they deserved $6 billion in compensation, but ended up getting nothing. Well, it's still going, and the tide is turning somewhat in Oracle's favor. An appeals court decided that Oracle can claim copyright over some parts of Java. It's a complicated ruling (PDF) — parts of it went Google's way and parts of it went Oracle's way — but here's the most important line: '[T]he declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the 37 Java API packages at issue are entitled to copyright protection.' A jury's earlier finding of infringement has been reinstated, and now it's up to Google to justify its actions under fair use."

Shunting the FCC To the Slow Lane

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the your-tax-dollars-at-buffering dept.

The Internet 194

An anonymous reader writes "Following the FCC's proposal a couple weeks ago to allow an internet fast lane, a group of activists has come up with a fun counterproposal: force the FCC itself into the slow lane and see how they like it. They write, 'Since the FCC seems to have no problem with this idea, I've (through correspondence) gotten access to the FCC's internal IP block, and throttled all connections from the FCC to 28.8kbps modem speeds on the Neocities.org front site, and I'm not removing it until the FCC pays us for the bandwidth they've been wasting instead of doing their jobs protecting us from the "keep America's internet slow and expensive forever" lobby.' The group has published the code snippet that throttles FCC IP addresses, and they encourage other web admins to implement it."

Netcraft: Microsoft Closing In On Apache Web Server Lead

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the tortoise-and-the-other-tortoise dept.

The Internet 102

angry tapir sends this IDG report: "After almost two decades of trailing the market leader, Microsoft's Web server software is coming close to rivaling the dominance of the Apache Web server, according to the latest Netcraft survey of Internet infrastructure. May saw an additional 9 million sites using Microsoft Web server software, increasing the company's share of the Web by 0.37 percent. In the same period, Apache's market share fell by 0.18 percent, despite gaining an additional 4.3 million sites. Microsoft is now just 4.1 percentage points behind Apache, which, as the most popular Web server software on the Internet, now powers about 37.6 percent of all sites."

UK ISPs To Send Non-Threatening Letters To Pirates

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the a-kinder-gentler-copyright-industry dept.

Piracy 93

New submitter echo-e writes: "A deal has been made between groups representing content creators and ISPs in the UK concerning how the ISPs should respond to suspected illegal file sharers. In short, the ISPs will send letters or emails with an 'educational' rather than threatening tone, alerting users to legal alternatives. The rights holders will be notified of the number of such alerts that have been sent out, but only the ISPs will know the identity of the offenders. Only four of the UKs ISPs have agreed to the 'Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme' so far, but the remaining ISPs are expected to join the programme at a later stage. The debate between rights holders and ISPs has raged on for years. This agreement falls short of the of the proposals put forward by the rights holders groups, but the ISPs have argued that it is not their responsibility to police users and that a legal process already exists for going after individuals."

One Month Later: 300,000 Servers Remain Vulnerable To Heartbleed

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the server-security-hipsters-don't-follow-the-crowd dept.

Encryption 60

DavidGilbert99 writes: "The Heartbleed Bug cause widespread panic from internet users around the world worried their sensitive information was being targeted. While system administrators were warned to patch their systems, a security researcher notes that 300,000 servers remain vulnerable to the heartbleed flaw a full month later. He said, 'Last month, I found 1-million systems supporting the "heartbeat" feature (with one third patched). This time, I found 1.5-million systems supporting the "heartbeat" feature, with all but the 300k patched. This implies to me that the first response to the bug was to disable heartbeats, then later when people correctly patched the software, heartbeats were re-enabled. Note that only OpenSSL supports heartbeats, meaning that the vast majority of SSL-supporting servers are based on software other than OpenSSL.' A developer at Vivaldi Technologies AS also pointed out that a significant number of server administrators botched their response, going from safe to vulnerable."

The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the full-conversion-mod dept.

Operating Systems 264

An anonymous reader writes "It's one of the biggest migrations in the history of Linux, and it made Steve Ballmer very angry: Munich, in southwest Germany, has completed its transition of 15,000 PCs from Windows to Linux. It has saved money, fueled the local economy, and improved security. Linux Voice talked to the man behind the migration: 'One of the biggest aims of LiMux was to make the city more independent. Germany’s major center-left political party is the SPD, and its local Munich politicians backed the idea of the city council switching to Linux. They wanted to promote small and medium-sized companies in the area, giving them funding to improve the city’s IT infrastructure, instead of sending the money overseas to a large American corporation. The SPD argued that moving to Linux would foster the local IT market, as the city would pay localcompanies to do the work.' (Linux Voice is making the PDF article free [CC-BY-SA] so that everyone can send it to their local councilors and encourage them to investigate Linux)."

Apple Reportedly Buying Beats Electronics For $3.2 Billion

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the making-it-rain dept.

Businesses 198

An anonymous reader writes "Multiple publications report that Apple is undertaking its biggest acquisition ever, buying Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. The deal would give Apple control over the popular 'Beats by Dre' headphones as well as a new music streaming service. Analysts suggest the headphones will open up a new series of product lines for Apple, while the streaming service will jumpstart its efforts to compete with Pandora and Spotify, as iTunes' growth slows. 'If Apple wanted to, it could certainly have built a streaming subscription service itself; the company had been floating the notion of one with label executives in recent months. But it's possible that Apple's most recent attempts to extend its music business beyond the iTunes store helped convince Cook that he was better off getting outside help.' The deal hasn't been completed yet, but a candid video of Dr. Dre was posted to Facebook in which he appeared to confirm it."

The Mere Promise of Google Fiber Sends Rivals Scrambling

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the king-of-the-hill dept.

Google 258

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Marguerite Reardon writes at Cnet that within a week of Google's declaration last spring that it planned to build a fiber network in the city of Austin, AT&T announced its own Austin fiber network and in less than a year's time, AT&T and local cable operator Grande Communications have beaten Google to market with their own ultra-high speed services using newly built fiber networks. AT&T maintains it has been planning this fiber upgrade for a long time, and that Google's announcement didn't affect the timing of its network but Rondella Hawkins, the telecommunications and regulatory affairs officer for the city of Austin, said she had never heard about AT&T's plans before Google's news came out. Hawkins was part of the original committee that put together Austin's application to become the first Google Fiber city. 'Our application for Google would have been a good tip-off to the incumbents that we were eager as a community to get fiber built,' says Hawkins. 'But we never heard from them. Until Google announced that it was going to deploy a fiber network in Austin, I was unaware of AT&T's plans to roll out gigabit fiber to the home.' Grande Communications' CEO Matt Murphy admits that without Google in the market, his company wouldn't have moved so aggressively on offering gigabit speeds. It also wouldn't be offering its service at the modest price of $65 a month, considering that the average broadband download speed sold in the US is between 20Mbps and 25Mbps for about $45 to $50 a month.

It's not surprising, then, that in every city in AT&T's 22-state footprint where Google is considering deploying fiber, AT&T also plans to bring GigaPower. That's a total of 14 markets, including Austin, the Triangle region of North Carolina, and Atlanta, home to AT&T's mobility division. While AT&T refuses to acknowledge that its gigabit fiber plans are answering the competitive challenge posed by Google Fiber, others say that Kansas City may have been a wake-up call. 'I think all the providers have learned some valuable lessons from Google's Kansas City deployment,' says Julie Huls, president and CEO of the Austin Technology Council. 'What Google did instead was say, "We're going to build you a Lamborghini, but price it at the same price as a Camry,"' says Blair Levin. 'And that's what's so disruptive about it.'"

As Species Decline, So Do the Scientists Who Name Them

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the end-of-the-line dept.

Earth 76

tcd004 (134130) writes "Few sciences are more romantic than taxonomy. Imagine Darwin, perched over a nest of newly-discovered birds in the Galapagos, sketching away with a charcoal in his immortal journals. Yet Taxonomy is a dying science. DNA barcoding, which can identify species from tiny fragments of organic material, and other genetic sciences are pulling students away from the classical studies of anatomy and species classifications. As the biodiversity crisis wipes undiscovered species off the planet, so to go the scientists who count them."

BMW Unveils the Solar Charging Carport of the Future

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the park-and-power dept.

Transportation 165

cartechboy (2660665) writes "The carport hasn't changed much over the years. Made out of wood, aluminum or steel, they are simple structures meant to cover your vehicle from the elements. BMW has just revealed a concept carport that takes these structures into the future. Made out of bamboo and carbon fiber, this concept carport features solar panels that harvest the sun's energy and use it to charge your BMW i-vehicle. "With the solar carport concept we opted for a holistic approach: not only is the vehicle itself sustainable, but so is its energy supply," explained Tom Allemann of BMW Designworks USA. "This is therefore an entirely new generation of carports that allows energy to be produced in a simple and transparent way. It renders the overarching theme of lightweight design both visible and palpable." The entire thing is quite beautiful, and could be the way to make not only charging your electric car sustainable, but also building your carport."

London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the get-in-the-car dept.

United Kingdom 417

Bruce66423 (1678196) writes in with news about a planned protest by London black-cab drivers against Uber. "London black-cab drivers are planning to cause gridlock in the city to protest against car service Uber. The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association complains that Uber's drivers are using a smartphone app to calculate fares despite it being illegal for private vehicles to be fitted with taximeters. Transport for London has declined to intervene, because it disagrees that there has been a breach of the law. LTDA now plans to force the issue by holding the action in early June. 'Transport for London not enforcing the Private Hire Vehicles Act is dangerous for Londoners,' Steve McNamara, LTDA's general secretary, told the BBC. 'I anticipate that the demonstration against TfL's handling of Uber will attract many many thousands of cabs and cause severe chaos, congestion and confusion across the metropolis.'"

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