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Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's process-as-process department:
sfcrazy writes "Bdale Garbee,chairman of the Debian Technical Committee, called for a ballot from the TC to chose the default init system. The votes are in systemd is the clear winner here. Bdale himself voted for systemd."

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Britain's Eastern Coast Yields Oldest Human Footprints Outside Africa
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's before-the-invention-of-wellingtons department:
schwit1 writes "They were a British family on a day out — almost a million years ago. Archaeologists announced Friday that they have discovered human footprints in England that are between 800,000 and 1 million years old — the most ancient found outside Africa, and the earliest evidence of human life in northern Europe. A team from the British Museum, London's Natural History Museum and Queen Mary college at the University of London uncovered imprints from up to five individuals in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh on the country's eastern coast."

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L.A. Building's Lights Interfere With Cellular Network, FCC Says
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's can't-you-hear-me-now? department:
alphadogg writes "When a certain Los Angeles office building lights up, it's a dark day for nearby cellphone users, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Fluorescent lights at Ernst & Young Plaza, a 41-story tower near the heart of downtown, emit frequencies that interfere with the Verizon Wireless 700MHz network, the agency said in a citation issued against the building owner. The FCC's message comes through loud and clear in the filing: the building owner could be fined up to $16,000 a day if it keeps using the interfering lights, up to a total of $112,500. The alleged violation could also lead to 'criminal sanctions, including imprisonment,' the citation says."

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On the Practicalities of Counterfeit-Proof Physical Bitcoins
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stacking-complications department:
fsterman writes "What do you get when you cross physical one-way-functions, a distributed and secure datastore, with physical Bitcoins? A viable alternative currency for micro-nations and dictatorships with hyper-inflation." Whatever your thoughts on bitcoin, it's interesting to think about the infrastructure and production cost of the tokens we use as money more generally.

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Snowden Used Software Scraper, Say NSA Officials
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-would-christopher-boyce-do? department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the New York Times: "Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country's most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to 'scrape' the National Security Agency's networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials. Using 'web crawler' software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden 'scraped data out of our systems' while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. 'We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,' the official said. The process, he added, was 'quite automated.'"

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AOL Reverses Course On 401K Match; CEO Apologizes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-I-meant-to-say-was department:
An anonymous reader writes "When we last checked in with Tim Armstrong, the AOL CEO was demonstrating 'Leadership with a Capital L' to employees of the company's Patch local news subsidiary by summarily firing an employee in the middle of a conference call for taking photos. Armstrong continued to serve up tasty material for tech bloggers this past week, blaming $7.1 million in extra expenses from Obamacare, and for $2 million in expenses for 'two AOLers that had distressed babies', for a decision to hold all matching funds for employee 401K programs until the end of each calendar year. After a small firestorm in the press, and a petition from AOL employees unhappy with both the policy change and the way it was presented, Armstrong reversed course, reinstating the per-period match and apologizing for mentioning the individual employee cases (TechCrunch is an AOL subsidiary). Incidentally, Armstrong was originally following in the footsteps of IBM, which made similar changes to its 401K program that went into effect last year."

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Is Whitelisting the Answer To the Rise In Data Breaches?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '14 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's none-shall-pass department:
MojoKid writes "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that cyber criminals are quickly getting more sophisticated than current security, intrusion detection and prevention technology can defend against. And you have to wonder if the computer security industry as a whole is willing to take the disruptive measures required to address the issue head-on. One way to tackle the surging data breach epidemic is with a technology called "whitelisting." It's not going to sound too sexy to the average end user and frankly, even CIOs may find it unfashionable but in short, whitelisting is a method of locking-down a machine such that only trusted executables, DLLs and other necessary system and application components are allowed to run – everything else is denied. A few start-up security companies are beginning to appear in this space. The idea is to start with a known, clean system installation and then lock it down in that state so absolutely nothing can be changed. If you follow system security, regardless of your opinion on the concept of whitelisting, it's pretty clear the traditional conventions of AV, anti-malware, intrusion detection and prevention are no longer working."

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Leonard Nimoy: Smoking Is Illogical
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's even-with-little-dollar-signs-on-the-tube department:
An anonymous reader writes "My boyhood hero, actor Leonard Nimoy,
has developed lung disease. To those still smoking and in the grips of marketing induced denial, he says 'quit now.' Small acts of goodness make the universe a better place."


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EA's Dungeon Keeper Ratings Below a 5 Go To Email Black Hole
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 07:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's every-blizzard-is-crisp-and-refreshing department:
fplatten writes "I would definitely call this unethical manipulation of the ratings system: the Worst Company in America, EA is routing all ratings made in game of 1 to 4 stars as an email that is sent to EA, but all 5 star ratings are routed to the Google Play store where it's rating is currently 4.3 out of 5."

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Paul Vixie On the Unevenly Distributed Intelligence of Internet Infrastructure
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's often-dumb-is-at-the-top-instead department:
CowboyRobot writes "Writing for ACM's Queue magazine, Paul Vixie argues, "The edge of the Internet is an unruly place." By design, the Internet core is stupid, and the edge is smart. This design decision has enabled the Internet's wildcat growth, since without complexity the core can grow at the speed of demand. On the downside, the decision to put all smartness at the edge means we're at the mercy of scale when it comes to the quality of the Internet's aggregate traffic load. Not all device and software builders have the skills and budgets that something the size of the Internet deserves. Furthermore, the resiliency of the Internet means that a device or program that gets something importantly wrong about Internet communication stands a pretty good chance of working "well enough" in spite of this. Witness the endless stream of patches and vulnerability announcements from the vendors of literally every smartphone, laptop, or desktop operating system and application. Bad guys have the time, skills, and motivation to study edge devices for weaknesses, and they are finding as many weaknesses as they need to inject malicious code into our precious devices where they can then copy our data, modify our installed software, spy on us, and steal our identities."

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LLVM & GCC Compiler Developers To Begin Collaborating
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's integration-nation department:
An anonymous reader writes "While RMS is opposed to LLVM over its BSD-like license rather than the GPL, LLVM/Clang and GCC developers have agreed to try to start cooperating in an "open compiler initiative" to jointly tackle common issues that plague both compilers and issues that can be better served by working together rather than creating fragmentation between the two popular open-source compilers."

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Florida Arrests High-Dollar Bitcoin Exchangers For Money Laundering
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-we're-not-peeking-you're-not-allowed department:
tsu doh nimh writes "State authorities in Florida on Thursday announced criminal charges targeting three men who allegedly ran illegal businesses moving large amounts of cash in and out of the Bitcoin virtual currency. Experts say this is likely the first case in which Bitcoin vendors have been prosecuted under state anti-money laundering laws, and that prosecutions like these could shut down one of the last remaining avenues for purchasing Bitcoins anonymously."

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Cops With Google Glass: Horrible Idea, Or Good One?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's depends-when-it's-conveniently-turned-off department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, news reports leaked that the NYPD is evaluating whether to give its officers Google Glass for investigations and patrols. Google, which is sensitive to accusations that it works hand-in-hand with governments or law-enforcement agencies to monitor civilians, suggested that the NYPD must have purchased the units on its own initiative, rather than partner with the company. Some pundits and many civil libertarians hate the idea of law enforcement wearing Google Glass or other electronics that can send a constant stream of video and audio to a government (or even third-party) server. But at the same time, wearing Google Glass could also compel cops (and other law-enforcement personnel) to be on their best behavior at all times, particularly when it comes to use of force; the prospect of instantly available video detailing every aspect of an officer's shift could prove a powerful incentive to behave in a courteous and professional manner. But that's a very broad assumption; the reality—if cops really do start wearing Google Glass and other video-equipped electronics in large numbers—will likely end up determined by lots and lots of lawsuits and court-actions, many of them stemming from real-world incidents. Do you think cops should have Google Glass and other wearable electronics? And if so, what sort of regulations could be put in place to ensure that such technology isn't abused by the powers that be?"

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25% of Charter Schools Owe Their Soul To the Walmart Store
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-you're-saying-this-bothers-you? department:
theodp writes "Among the billionaires who helped Bill Gates pave the way for charter schools in WA was Walmart heiress Alice Walton. The Walton Family Foundation spent a whopping $158+ million in 2012 on what it calls 'systemic K-12 education reform,' which included $60,920,186 to 'shape public policy' and $652,209 on 'research and evaluation.' Confirming the LA Times' speculation about its influence, the Walton Foundation issued a press release Wednesday boasting it's the largest private funder of charter school 'startups,' adding that it has supported the opening of 1 in 4 charter schools in the U.S. since 1997 through its 1,500 'investments.' But as some charter school kids have learned the hard way, what the rich man giveth, he can also taketh away. For the time being, though, it looks like America's going to continue to depend on the tax-free kindness of wealthy strangers to educate its kids. For example, while it was nice to see the value of Shop Class recognized, the White House on Monday called on businesses, foundations and philanthropists to fund proposed 'Maker Spaces' in schools and libraries. Hey, when the U.S. Secretary of Education turns to corporate sponsors and auctions to fund his Mother's afterschool program for kids of low-income families in the President's hometown, don't look for things to change anytime soon."

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Ask Slashdot: Distributed Online Storage For Families?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's she-can-live-in-my-spare-room department:
StonyCreekBare writes "What options are available for distributed storage for families? My two brothers, my daughter and her husband, and his mother all have homes in various parts of the country. We use various cloud storage providers to keep our shared data. This has numerous limitations and we are starting to think maybe we can do it better ourselves. We all have decent Internet connections, are all somewhat tech savvy, and think that by leveraging the Internet we can maybe provide for our needs better and at lower cost by buying some hardware and doing it ourselves. How would you go about implementing such a family-oriented, distributed cloud platform? What hardware? What applications, beyond simply the preservation and sharing of family data, (grandkids' photos, home videos, and more) would be good to leverage such a platform? Security Cameras? HTPC? VoIP? Home Automation? Primary requirements are Cheap, Secure, Reliable."

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How To Take Control of a Car's Electronics, Cheap
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's at-that-point-you've-already-controlled-the-door department:
mspohr writes with this excerpt from The Register: "Spanish hackers have been showing off their latest car-hacking creation; a circuit board using untraceable, off-the-shelf parts worth $20 that can give wireless access to the car's controls while it's on the road. The device, which will be shown off at next month's Black Hat Asia hacking conference, uses the Controller Area Network (CAN) ports car manufacturers build into their engines for computer-system checks. Once assembled, the smartphone-sized device can be plugged in under some vehicles, or inside the bonnet of other models, and give the hackers remote access to control systems. 'A car is a mini network,' security researcher Alberto Garcia Illera told Forbes. 'And right now there's no security implemented.'"

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Snowden Docs Show UK's Digital Spies Using Viruses, Honey Traps
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's at-least-it's-an-ethos department:
An anonymous reader writes "At the start of this week, documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden detailed DDOS attacks on chatrooms by a British online intelligence unit dubbed the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG). Now he has released a new trove showing that JTRIG is about much more than purely online annoyances. According to the documents, released to NBC News, JTRIG's role is to "deny, disrupt, degrade and deceive" by any means possible. These techniques include destroying an individual's computer with a custom virus dubbed "Ambassador's Reception", setting up social media honey traps to harvest embarrassing information, actively attacking companies online and off, and planting data on people's systems."

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Dirty Tricks? Look-Alike Websites Lure Congressional Donors
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-way-to-the-egress department:
First time accepted submitter AdamnSelene writes "Forbes reports on a National Republican Congressional Committee sanctioned campaign worthy of the NSA: fake candidate websites that use identical or similar pictures and color schemes to solicit donations to defeat the Democratic candidate. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the NRCC initially refused to refund the contribution from a Tampa Bay doctor who caught onto the scam, and he had to contact his credit card company to challenge the charges. The National Journal reports that the NRCC-sponsored effort may run afoul of Federal Election Commission regulations, though it expects that the bipartisan FEC will be toothless when it comes to enforcement. However, I have to wonder whether this is finally a good enough reason to use the DMCA and file take-down notices against the faux websites. Perhaps the candidates could solve this themselves, and get a judgement for copyright infringement so absurdly large that it puts the NRCC out of business?" Some sites along these lines might be dirtier than the ones here illustrated, which seem to fit pretty well into the broad world of snarky and cutting political ads; Dr. Ray Bellamy, the Tampa Bay donor mentioned above, intended to give money to candidate Alex Sink, but evidently didn't notice this line in bold print, just above the "Donate" button: "Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her." Note that, as the Tampa Bay Times' article mentions, this kind of site isn't limited to Republicans, either.

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Finnish Police Board Wants Justification For Wikipedia's Fundraising Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's citizens-united department:
linjaaho writes "Yesterday, the admin list of Finnish language Wikipedia received a request for comment from the National Police Board of Finland. The Police Board claims that the fundraising message appearing on the top of the Wikipedia pages is illegal fundraising and is punishable by criminal law. The Police Board asks how much money have they raised and ask for justification for the campaign. This is not the first time the Police Board has attacked fundraising; in 2012, a crowdfunded textbook Kickstarter project was delayed by a similar request for comment."

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Dead Reckoning For Your Car Eliminates GPS Dead Zones
Posted by News Fetcher on February 08 '14 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's walk-30-paces-then-turn-left department:
cartechboy writes "We've all been there. You're relying on your vehicle's built-in navigation system to get to that meeting downtown, but then suddenly the car loses the satellite signal due to the concrete skyscraper canyon you're in--and you're about to be late. Swiss semiconductor manufacturer U-Blox thinks it has the solution with 3D Automotive Dead Reckoning, or 3D ADR for short. It's a new navigation chip that uses the vehicle's built-in sensors to track speed, horizontal movement, and elevation. The 3D ADR system measures movement in three dimensions, letting the navigation system can keep track of the vehicle's location even when it loses its connection to GPS satellites. Imagine never having to see your navigation screen saying connection lost again. In an age where our phones have accelerometers and compasses, it's amazing your car is still trying to catch up, right?"

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