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Sci-fi Author Charles Stross Cancels Trilogy: the NSA Is Already Doing It
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-we-convince-the-NSA-to-spy-on-a-ringworld department:
doom writes "Charles Stross has announced that there won't be a third book in the Halting State trilogy because
reality (in a manner of speaking) has caught up to him too fast The last straw was apparently the news that the NSA planted spies in networked games like WoW. Stross comments: 'At this point, I'm clutching my head. Halting State wasn't intended to be predictive when I started writing it in
2006. Trouble is, about the only parts that haven't happened yet are Scottish Independence and the use of actual quantum computers for cracking public key encryption (and there's a big fat question mark over the latter-- what else are the NSA up to?).'"


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FreeBSD Developers Will Not Trust Chip-Based Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 01:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fool-me-once,-shame-on-you department:
New submitter srobert writes "An article at Ars Technica explains how, following stories of NSA leaks, FreeBSD developers will not rely solely on Intel's or Via's chip-based random number generators for /dev/random values. The values will first be seeded through another randomization algorithm known as 'Yarrow.' The changes are effective with the upcoming FreeBSD 10.0 (for which the first of three planned release candidates became available last week)."

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Simulations Back Up Theory That Universe Is a Hologram
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-the-star-trek-kind department:
ananyo writes "A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection. In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity. Maldacena's idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a 'duality', that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa. But although the validity of Maldacena's ideas has pretty much been taken for granted ever since, a rigorous proof has been elusive. In two papers posted on the arXiv repository, Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan and his colleagues now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena's conjecture is true."

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Wearable Tech is Advancing, but Isn't for Everyone Quite Yet (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 12:00 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's too-sexy-for-my-technology department:
Dan Rosenbaum is the editor and publisher of Wearable Tech Insider, which means he covers wearable technology every day. He's obviously a good person to chat with if we want to learn what's going on in the wearable tech world. So we did just that. The overall sense we got is that wearable tech is less of a gimmick than it was a few years ago, but isn't necessarily something all of us need quite yet. One note here: Dan is not a Google Glass fan. Watch the video (or read the transcript) to find out why.

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Google Opens Asian Data Centers But Shuns China and India
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 12:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's google-announces-shuttering-of-u.s.-datacenters department:
judgecorp writes "Google has opened data centers in Singapore and Taiwan to serve the boom in Asian Internet users. But it canceled a $300 million data center project in Hong Kong to focus on the Taiwan site and the smaller one in Singapore. Officially the problem was lack of space in Hong Kong, but China's repressive attitude to the Internet (and the history of the Chinese hack on Gmail in 2010) must have contributed to the move."

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Canonical Moving Away From GNOME Control Center
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 11:16 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-want-something-done-right department:
jones_supa writes "This announcement comes from the ubuntu-desktop mailing list. Due to GNOME Control Center already being a heavily patched version in Ubuntu, Canonical is planning to found their own fork called Unity Control Center. This would be a fork with a limited lifespan and later on they would move to something called Ubuntu System Settings, an in-house project. For now, a PPA has been set up to test the new fork."

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Program to Use Russian Nukes for US Electricity Comes to an End
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's how-about-u.s.-nukes-now department:
gbrumfiel writes "For the past two decades, about 10 percent of all the electricity consumed in the United States has come from Russian nuclear warheads. Under a program called Megatons to Megawatts, Russian highly-enriched uranium was pulled from old bombs and made into fuel for nuclear reactors. NPR News reports that the program concludes today when the last shipment arrives at a U.S. storage facility. In all nearly 500 tons of uranium was recycled, enough for roughly 20,000 warheads."

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OpenSSH Has a New Cipher — Chacha20-poly1305 — from D.J. Bernstein
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cha-cha-cha department:
First time accepted submitter ConstantineM writes "Inspired by a recent Google initiative to adopt ChaCha20 and Poly1305 for TLS, OpenSSH developer Damien Miller has added a similar protocol to ssh, chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com, which is based on D. J. Bernstein algorithms that are specifically optimised to provide the highest security at the lowest computational cost, and not require any special hardware at doing so. Some further details are in his blog, and at undeadly. The source code of the protocol is remarkably simple — less than 100 lines of code!"

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Google Fiber In Austin Hits a Snag: Incumbent AT&T
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's no-fiber-for-timothy department:
AcidPenguin9873 writes "Earlier this year, Google announced that it would build its next fiber network in Austin, TX. Construction is slated to start in 2014, but there's a hitch: AT&T owns 20% of the utility poles in Austin. The City of Austin is considering a rules change that would allow Google to pay AT&T to use its utility poles, but AT&T isn't happy about it. The debate appears to hinge on a technicality that specifies what types of companies can attach to the utility poles that AT&T owns. From the news story: 'Google 'would be happy to pay for access (to utility poles) at reasonable rates, just as we did in our initial buildout in Kansas City,' she said, referring to Google Fiber's pilot project in Kansas City...Tracy King, AT&T's vice president for public affairs, said in a written statement that Google "appears to be demanding concessions never provided any other entity before. ... Google has the right to attach to our poles, under federal law, as long as it qualifies as a telecom or cable provider, as they themselves acknowledge. We will work with Google when they become qualified, as we do with all such qualified providers," she said.'"

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California Man Arrested for Running 'Revenge Porn' Website
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's someone's-going-to-jail department:
cold fjord writes "Yahoo reports, 'A California man was arrested on Tuesday on accusations he ran a 'revenge porn' website, one that featured nude pictures of women often posted by jilted or angry ex-lovers ... The San Diego arrest, the latest action by the state to crack down on such websites, comes after California Governor Jerry Brown signed a first-in-the-nation law in October specifically targeting revenge porn. The law defines revenge porn as the posting of private, explicit photos of other people on the Internet to humiliate them. But authorities did not charge 27-year-old Kevin Bollaert under that law, because it is geared to those who post the incriminating pictures and not those who run websites that feature them .... Bollaert's site, which is no longer operational, had featured over 10,000 sexually explicit photos, and he charged women up to $350 each to remove their photos, officials said. ... Bollaert was charged under a California identity theft law that prohibits using identifying information of a person without their permission, and under anti-extortion legislation, according to court documents. Unlike many other revenge porn websites, Bollaert's site had required users post the photo subject's full name, location, age and a link to the person's Facebook profile, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement.'"

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Nokia Still Experimenting With Android Smartphone
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's microsoft-gives-up-on-windows department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "According to unnamed sources, Nokia is working on an Android-based smartphone. The test versions of device, which is codenamed 'Normandy,' run a heavily modified version of Android. In late November, @evleaks posted an alleged image of the phone, which (if accurate) includes many of the Nokia design hallmarks, such as a brightly colored shell and prominent rear camera. Exactly how the software differs from the 'standard' version of Android is an open question, although other companies that have forked the operating system (most notably Amazon, with its Kindle tablets) haven't been shy about modifying the user interface in radical ways. According to AllThingsD, Nokia's 'low-end mobile phone unit' is overseeing the project. 'Normandy aims to repurpose the open-source version of Android into a better entry-level smartphone than Nokia has had with its current Asha line,' the publication explained, 'which is based on the aging Series 40 operating system.' But here's the rub: Nokia's phone unit is well on its way to becoming a Microsoft subsidiary. Microsoft competes against Google in many arenas, including mobile and search. The idea of a Microsoft ancillary producing an Android-based phone to compete in lower-end markets — where cheap Android phones dominate — is liable to provoke a burst of surprised laughter from anyone in tech: surely such a project would never hit store-shelves, given Microsoft's very public backing of Windows Phone as its sole mobile OS. And yet, there's also reason to think Microsoft might actually take a chance on an alternative OS. Over the past few years, the company's legal team has cornered the majority of Android manufacturers worldwide into a stark deal: agree to pay a set fee for every Android device produced, or face a costly patent-infringement lawsuit. As a result of that arm-twisting, Microsoft already makes quite a bit of money off Android (more, perhaps, than it earns selling Windows Phone), which could acclimate it to the idea of taking the leap and actually selling Android devices."

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Pirate Bay Founder Warg Being Held in Solitary Confinement
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's hacking-is-not-a-crime department:
From Torrent Freak comes news that one of the Pirate Bay founders is now being held in solitary confinement after Sweden turned him over to Denmark. From the article: "In a recent letter sent to Amnesty and shared with TorrentFreak, Gottfrid’s mother Kristina explains her son’s plight. She says that Gottfrid is being kept in solitary and treated as if he were a 'dangerous, violent and aggressive criminal' even though his only crime — if any — is hacking. Gottfrid’s lawyer Luise Høi says the terms of his confinement are unacceptable and are being executed without the correct legal process. 'It is the case that Danish authorities are holding my client in solitary confinement without a warrant,' Høi explains, noting that if the authorities wish to exclude Gottfrid from access to anyone except his lawyer and prison staff, they need to apply for a special order."

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Sailfish OS Comes to the Nokia N9
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's what-might-have-been department:
Via El Reg: "The only Meego phone Nokia ever released, the now two-year-old N9, has been given a new lease of life today. Owners can now install the new Meego descendent Sailfish alongside the original OS."

There's a guide to installing. It looks pretty experimental, but you don't have to overwrite Meego to install it.

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Doom Is Twenty Years Old
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's burning-flesh-of-hate department:
alancronin writes with a quick bite from the Dallas News about everyone's favorite FPS: "Few video games have had the impact that Doom has on the medium as a whole. While it wasn't the first first-person shooter out there, it was certainly one of the earliest hits of the genre, due in no small part to its revolutionary multiplayer. Today, that game is 20 years old. Made in Mesquite by a bunch of young developers including legends John Carmack and John Romero, Doom went on to 'transform pop culture,' as noted by the sub-title of the book Masters of Doom."

Yesterday, but who's counting. Fire up your favorite favorite source port and slay some hellspawn to celebrate (or processes). I'm partial to Doomsday (helps that it's in Debian).

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Disqus Bug Deanonymizes Commenters
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's anonymous-cowards-unmasked department:
alphatel writes "The Swedish company Resarchgruppen has discovered a flaw in the Disqus commenting system, enabling them to identify Disqus users by their e-mail addresses. The crack was done in cooperation with the Bonnier Group tabloid Expressen, in order to reveal politicians commenting on Swedish hate speech-sites."

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Google Opens Asian Data Centers But Shuns China and India
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 06:01 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's google-announces-shuttering-of-u.s.-datacenters department:
judgecorp writes "Google has opened data centers in Singapore and Taiwan to serve the boom in Asian Internet users. But it canceled a $300 million data center project in Hong Kong, to focus on the Taiwan site and the smaller one in Singapore. Officially the problem was lack of space in Hong Kong, but China's repressive attitude to the Internet (and the history of the Chinese hack on Gmail in 2010) must have contributed to the move."

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Smart Cars: Too Distracting?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's yes-it-keeps-beeping-at-me-when-i-try-to-catch-a-quick-nap department:
Taco Cowboy writes "The vehicles we drive are getting smarter and smarter, as more and more gadgets are being crammed into them. But as those devices creep into the driving experience, they offer the driver an increasing number of displays to monitor. Thus, drivers are more distracted than ever. At the recent 'Connected Car Expo,' which was held in Los Angeles, panelists discussed how these smart car features can impair driving ability. For example, researchers led by Bruce Mehler at MIT revealed that drivers using voice command interfaces to control in-car navigation systems or USB-connected music devices can end up spending longer with their eyes off the road than those using conventional systems. You'd think being able to operate it by voice alone would be beneficial compared to older radio systems. (Tuning an older radio was used as a baseline task in these tests.) But according to Mehler, problems arise when the system needs clarification of what the driver wants, which often happens while they're trying to feed an address into a navigation system."

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NSA Uses Google Cookies To Pinpoint Targets For Hacking
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '13 at 02:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-day-another-way-to-spy-on-us department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "For years, privacy advocates have raised concerns about the use of commercial tracking tools to identify and target consumers with advertisements. The online ad industry has said its practices are innocuous and benefit consumers by serving them ads that are more likely to be of interest to them. Now the Washington Post reports that the NSA secretly piggybacks on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using 'cookies' and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance. The agency uses a part of a Google-specific tracking mechanism known as the 'PREF' cookie to single out an individual's communications among the sea of Internet data in order to send out software that can hack that person's computer. 'On a macro level, "we need to track everyone everywhere for advertising" translates into "the government being able to track everyone everywhere,"' says Chris Hoofnagle. 'It's hard to avoid.' Documents reviewed by the Post indicate cookie information is among the data NSA can obtain with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act order. Google declined to comment for the article, but chief executive Larry Page joined the leaders of other technology companies earlier this week in calling for an end to bulk collection of user data and for new limits on court-approved surveillance requests."

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Africa, Clooney, and an Unlikely Space Race
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's everyone-wants-to-get-there department:
MightyMait writes "There's a plan underway to build a space agency run by African nations, and there is a (non-fictional) George Clooney connection. This BBC article details the history of space exploration in Africa as well as current efforts. Quoting: 'To Western eyes, it may seem rather inappropriate to launch space programs in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 70% of the population still lives on less $2 a day. Yet Joseph Akinyede, director of the African Regional Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Nigeria, an education center affiliated with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, says that the application of space science technology and research to "basic necessities" of life – health, education, energy, food security, environmental management – is critical for the development of the continent.'"

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AirPlay Alternative Mirrors and Streams To TVs and PCs
Posted by News Fetcher on December 10 '13 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-my-content-to-my-flickering-box department:
DeviceGuru writes "AirTame has developed an AirPlay-like protocol and HDMI dongle for 1080p video streaming and screen mirroring from PCs to PCs and TVs, and has substantially exceeded its $160,000 Indiegogo funding goal. AirTame streams from Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs to other PCs via apps at both ends, and to TVs via the HDMI dongle, and also offers a multicast mode for broadcasting to multiple PCs and TVs for use in classrooms or conferences. But at least initially, there won't be support for Android or iOS devices in the mix, due OS restrictions. The company says it plans to release AirTame's software, API, and protocol source code under a dual-license enabling free use with GPL-like restrictions, and paid use for commercial applications requiring proprietary modifications."

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