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Submission + - First New US Nuclear Reactor In 20 Years Goes Live (

An anonymous reader writes: The Tennessee Valley Authority is celebrating an event 43 years in the making: the completion of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. In 1973, the TVA, one of the nation's largest public power providers, began building two reactors that combined promised to generate enough power to light up 1.3 million homes. The first reactor, delayed by design flaws, eventually went live in 1996. Now, after billions of dollars in budget overruns, the second reactor has finally started sending power to homes and businesses. Standing in front of both reactors Wednesday, TVA President Bill Johnson said Watts Bar 2, the first US reactor to enter commercial operation in 20 years, would offer clean, cheap and reliable energy to residents of several southern states for at least another generation. Before Watts Bar 2, the last time an American reactor had fired up was in 1996. It was Watts Bar 1--and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it cost $6.8 billion, far greater than the original price tag at $370 million. In the 2000s, some American power companies, faced with growing environmental regulations, eyed nuclear power again as a top alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil. A handful of companies, taking advantage of federal loan guarantees from the Bush administration, revived nuclear reactor proposals in a period now known as the so-called "nuclear renaissance." Eventually, nuclear regulators started to green light new reactors, including ones in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2007, the TVA resumed construction on Watts Bar 2, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The TVA originally said it would take five years to complete. The TVA, which today serves seven different southern states, relies on nuclear power to light up approximately 4.5 million homes. Watts Bar 2, the company's seventh operating reactor, reaffirms its commitment to nukes for at least four more decades, Johnson said Wednesday. In the end, TVA required more than five years to build the project. The final cost, far exceeding its initial budget, stood at $4.7 billion.

Submission + - KickassTorrents Lawyer: 'Torrent Sites Do Not Violate Criminal Copyright Laws' (

An anonymous reader writes: Lawyers representing Artem Vaulin have filed their formal legal response to prosecutors’ allegations of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, among other charges. Vaulin is the alleged head of KickassTorrents (KAT). KAT was the world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site before it was shuttered by authorities earlier this year. Vaulin was arrested in Poland, where he now awaits extradition to the United States. “Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a July 2016 statement. The defense’s new 22-page court filing largely relies on the argument that there is no such thing as secondary criminal copyright infringement. While secondary copyright infringement as a matter of civil liability was upheld by the Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster in 2005, Vaulin and his associates have been charged criminally. “The fundamental flaw in the government’s untenable theory of prosecution is that there is no copyright protection for such torrent file instructions and addresses,” [the brief's author, Ira Rothken,] argued in his Monday motion to dismiss the charges against Vaulin. “Therefore, given the lack of direct willful copyright infringement, torrent sites do not violate criminal copyright laws.” “The extradition procedures have formally been started by the US in Poland,” Rothken told Ars. “We are in a submissions or briefing period, and our Polish team is opposing extradition.” Rothken also said that he has yet to be allowed to meet or speak directly with his client. For now, Rothken has been required to communicate via his Polish counterpart, Alek Kowzan. “Maybe they are afraid that Artem's extradition defense will be enhanced if American lawyers can assist in defending against the US extradition,” Rothken added. No hearings before US District Judge John Z. Lee have been set.

Submission + - ICANN recommends TLDs like .txt -- and .exe (

fyngyrz writes: ICANN says, in part:

Given preliminary feedback that there is not a technical need to prevent file extensions as TLDs, as well as the lack of an authoritative source of common file extensions to draw from, staff determined that it is not workable to prevent common file extensions from being used as TLDs.

To summarize, it is the recommendation of the ICANN technical staff to allow applications for TLD strings that may also be commonly used for file extensions.

But will ICANN approve such applications? If so, we can all look forward to opportunities to click on...


Submission + - How Hackers Broke Into John Podesta and Colin Powell's Gmail Accounts (

An anonymous reader writes: On March 19 of this year, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta received an alarming email that appeared to come from Google. The email, however, didn’t come from the internet giant. It was actually an attempt to hack into his personal account. In fact, the message came from a group of hackers that security researchers, as well as the U.S. government, believe are spies working for the Russian government. At the time, however, Podesta didn’t know any of this, and he clicked on the malicious link contained in the email, giving hackers access to his account. The data linking a group of Russian hackers—known as Fancy Bear, APT28, or Sofacy—to the hack on Podesta is also yet another piece in a growing heap of evidence pointing toward the Kremlin. And it also shows a clear thread between apparently separate and independent leaks that have appeared on a website called DC Leaks, such as that of Colin Powell’s emails; and the Podesta leak, which was publicized on WikiLeaks. All these hacks were done using the same tool: malicious short URLs hidden in fake Gmail messages. And those URLs, according to a security firm that’s tracked them for a year, were created with Bitly account linked to a domain under the control of Fancy Bear. The phishing email that Podesta received on March 19 contained a URL, created with the popular Bitly shortening service, pointing to a longer URL that, to an untrained eye, looked like a Google link. Inside that long URL, there’s a 30-character string that looks like gibberish but is actually the encoded Gmail address of John Podesta. According to Bitly’s own statistics, that link, which has never been published, was clicked two times in March. That’s the link that opened Podesta’s account to the hackers, a source close to the investigation into the hack confirmed to Motherboard. That link is only one of almost 9,000 links Fancy Bear used to target almost 4,000 individuals from October 2015 to May 2016. Each one of these URLs contained the email and name of the actual target. The hackers created them with with two Bitly accounts in their control, but forgot to set those accounts to private, according to SecureWorks, a security firm that’s been tracking Fancy Bear for the last year.

Submission + - Wired says Google's Pixel is the best phone on the market

swillden writes: The reviews on Google's Pixel phones are coming in, and they're overwhelmingly positive. Most call them the best Android phones available, and at least one says they're the best phones available, period.

Wired's reviewer says he used to recommend the iPhone to people, but now he says "You should get a Pixel." The Verge, says "these are easily the best Android phones you can buy." The Wall Street Journal calls the Pixel "the Android iPhone you've been waiting for." ComputerWorld says "It's Android at its best."

AndroidPolice is more restrained, calling it "A very good phone by Google." The NY Times broke from the rest, saying "the Pixel is, relatively speaking, mediocre", but I'm a little skeptical of a reviewer who can't figure out how to use a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner without using both hands. It makes me wonder if he's actually held one.

Submission + - Comodo OCR fail: researchers hack TLS certificate

alanw writes: The original e-mail should have been archived on Google Groups, but
all that is there is this reply:

There's a news report in German here:

Two researchers: Florian Heinz and Martin Kluge discovered that the
WHOIS server for some top level domains will only provide the contact
e-mail address as an image.

Comodo was using OCR to extract the e-mail address so it could send a
verification e-mail to the domain. Their OCR was faulty, and the
researchers tricked it into sending the e-mail to a different domain.

Comodo has made very negative comments about these domain registrars.

Submission + - Google interview process big turn off for experienced engineers (

mysterious_mark writes: There's an article in the Business Insider discussing how the interview process at Google is really just geared for recent CS grads, and makes no sense for experienced engineers. Apparently the only criteria to work at Google is one's ability to do white board code problems, actual engineering experience counts for nothing. This may explain why the average engineer at Google is under 30, the problem is partly due to age discrimination, and also because older and more experienced engineers simply don't want to deal with the interview process.

Submission + - The Tech Media Mogul Who Changed My Life (

mirandakatz writes: PC World and Macworld creator David Bunnell passed away this week, leaving behind a rich legacy of helping define tech media as we know it today. At Backchannel, Karen Wickre remembers the impact he had on her career:

David could be enigmatic, was sometimes uncommunicative, and he did change his mind now and again. At the same time, he embodied much of what is familiar in the tech landscape today: It can be fine to pursue ideas based on curiosity; failures come and go; and serving readers first is a laudable goal. Rather than run his magazines according to the old rules of publishing, David allowed his titles to reflect the optimistic new industry he covered, which celebrated innovation over tradition./blockquote

Submission + - UK Government Proposes Minimum 10Mbps Broadband For Poor (

An anonymous reader writes: The UK's Local Government Association (LGA) is proposing a social tariff to ensure that minimum broadband access of at least 10 Mbps is available to all UK citizens at an affordable price. Last November, Parliament announced that it would begin work on a Universal Service Obligation (USO), which would grant all citizens the right to request broadband service with a minimum 10Mbps. At the time, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain.” Research by Ofcom in 2014 showed “marked relationships between socio-economic deprivation and [poor] broadband availability in cities”. Similar results have been found in rural areas, which means that the demand for increasing broadband service to a minimum level may be high among people with lower incomes.

Submission + - Microsoft Unleashes Second Raspberry Pi IoT Starter Kit

Mickeycaskill writes: Microsoft is releasing a second version of its Raspberry Pi Internet of Things (IoT) starter pack, which combines microcomputer hardware with a lightweight version of Windows 10.

The new version come with the Raspberry Pi 3, a beefed up version of its predecessor with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, making it more flexible without the need for hardware add-ons.

Microsoft also announced a new IoT starter kit created by Seeed Studio. The Seeed Grove Starter Kit for IoT based on Raspberry Pi, is how its rather clunky name would suggest; an IoT package that can be used with the Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry Pi 2, and comes with the Grove connector, a module that offers common connectors for sensors in order to make it easier to connect them to a device platform without the need to worry about soldering electrical wires.

The package comes with Windows 10 Core, but also works with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Submission + - Yahoo Wants to Know If FBI Ordered Yahoo to Scan Emails

Trailrunner7 writes: In an odd twist to an already odd story, Yahoo officials have asked the Director of National Intelligence to confirm whether the federal government ordered the company to scan users’ emails for specific terms last year and if so, to declassify the order.

The letter is the result of news reports earlier this month that detailed an order that the FBI allegedly served on Yahoo in 2015 in an apparent effort to find messages with a specific set of terms. The stories allege that Yahoo complied with the order and installed custom software to accomplish the task. Yahoo officials said at the time the Reuters story came out that there is no such scanning system on its network, but did not say that the scanning software never existed on the network at all.

“Yahoo was mentioned specifically in these reports and we find ourselves unable to respond in detail. You office, however, is well positioned to clarify this matter of public interest. Accordingly, we urge your office to consider the following actions to provide clarity on the matter: (i) confirm whether an order, as described in these media reports, was issued; (ii) declassify in whole or in part such order, if it exists; and (iii) make a sufficiently detailed public and contextual comment to clarify the alleged facts and circumstances,” the letter says.

Submission + - ESA's Mars lander most likely lost (

ventsyv writes: Another ESA Mars lander appears to have failed to land on Mars. ESA says that the thrusters "switched off sooner than expected." Signal was lost 50 seconds before the scheduled landing thus indicating that the lander has most likely crashed.

Submission + - Nintendo NX Will Be Officially Revealed Tomorrow (

An anonymous reader writes: Nintendo confirmed this evening that it will broadcast new details about the company's next big console on Thursday, October 20 at 7am PT | 10am ET. We don't yet know how long it'll be. We don't know if we'll see games or hardware. But it's going to be exciting. Notably, Nintendo calls the announcement a "trailer" and not a full direct presentation. But regardless, we'll update this page tomorrow with a link to whatever Nintendo unveils. While we've known about the NX for quite a while, Nintendo has been stoic on any specific details. Back in 2015, the device was rumored to be a console/handheld hybrid, and current speculation says the device will use cartridges. But no matter what it looks like, Nintendo has confirmed two things: it's slated to launch in March of 2017, and it will be able to play the upcoming Zelda game Breath of the Wild.

Submission + - Samsung Forced YouTube To Pull GTA 5 Mod Video Because It Showed Note 7 As Bomb (

An anonymous reader writes: The Galaxy Note 7 wasn’t just recalled, it was cancelled. For good. And that makes Samsung very cranky indeed. So when YouTube user HitmanNiko created a video showing a Grand Theft Auto 5 mod in which Galaxy Note 7 handsets can be used as grenades, it’s perhaps somewhat understandable that someone inside Samsung took offense to the idea. What’s incomprehensible though is the fact that Samsung has apparently set about trying to erase that video, and presumably others like it, from the Internet. The first step? Forcing YouTube to remove HitmanNiko’s video. Trying to view the video now does nothing but display a message which says that the video is “no longer available due to a copyright claim by Samsung Electronics America” which leaves quite the bad taste in our mouths. The biggest issue here is that this is arguably the worst misuse of the DMCA we have ever come across, simply because nothing was copied, unless Samsung is trying to claim that by making the in-game grenades look like Galaxy Note 7 smartphones then the video creator was in fact in breach of copyright.

Submission + - Fedora 25 Beta Linux distro now available for Raspberry Pi (

BrianFagioli writes: The Raspberry Pi computers are extremely popular. It isn't hard to see why people like them — they are small, inexpensive, and very useful for various projects. While they are arguably under-powered for use as, say, a full-time workstation, the diminutive machines aren't really meant for that.

If you do want to use it as a workstation, however, I have good news. Fedora 25 Beta Workstation is now available for both the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3. In addition to the Workstation image, Fedora 25 Beta Server is available too. Owners of ARMv6-powered Pi models, such as the Pi Zero, are out of luck, as the operating system will not be made available for them.

Submission + - All Tesla Vehicles Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware (

An anonymous reader writes: All current Tesla models that will be produced in its Fremont, California factory will come with self-driving hardware built-in capable of Level 5 autonomy, including the upcoming Tesla Model 3, the company announced tonight. According to the announcement, Tesla will manufacture all of its cars with the hardware necessary for Level 5 self-driving systems going forward, including the Model S, Model X and new Model 3. At the introduction of the Model 3, it wasn’t clear whether or not every Model 3 package would come standard with the hardware and software to handle Autopilot and any other self-driving features. That’s been cleared up now, but there’s a kicker. Just like on current Model S and Model X models, you can purchase the cars with the self-driving hardware included. But, in order to activate the software and actually use the Autopilot or upcoming advanced self-driving safety features, you will have to option it when you order the car, or pay more for it later. Elon Musk stated that the new hardware in all of Tesla’s cars going forward are Tesla’s own vision software, with a Tesla-developed neural net. The new hardware and software capabilities still need to undergo all of the testing required by Tesla’s own standards, as well as government approval before unleashing Level 5 autonomous cars onto the streets.

Submission + - Exploding Samsung phones may be more widespread than previously thought (

squiggleslash writes: Samsung is already feeling the heat from its exploding Note 7 phones, but according to The Guardian a lawsuit has been filed alleging Samsung's phones have for years shown similar defects. From the S6 to the Acclaim R880, the lawsuit covers 30 incidents where phones other than the Note 7 ignited into flames or became burning hot. The lawsuit may light a fire underneath Samsung's engineering group and force them to confront the issue.

Submission + - Researchers Bypass ASLR Protection on Intel Haswell CPUs (

An anonymous reader writes: A team of scientists from two US universities has devised a method of bypassing ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) protection by taking advantage of the BTB (Branch Target Buffer), a component included in many modern CPU architectures.

The researchers discovered that by blasting the BTB with random data, they could run a successful collision attack that reveals the memory locations where apps execute code in the computer's memory, the very thing that ASLR protection was meant to hide.

While during their tests they used a Linux PC with a Intel Haswell CPU, researchers said the attack can be ported to other CPU architectures and operating systems where ASLR is deployed, such as Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows.

From start to finish, the collision attack only takes 60 milliseconds, meaning it can be embedded with malware or any other digital forensics tool and run without needing hours of intense CPU processing.

Submission + - Soros-linked corporation supplies voting machines to 16 States (

mi writes: Remember, how suspicious (and wrong!) it was for Diebold, whose management openly supported Bush, to be supplying voting machines? We even discussed it here over the years...

Well, a Soros-linked company from the UK is supplying 16 States with voting hardware this year. Will there be a comparable amount of suspicion?

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