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Intel Linux Driver Now Nearly As Fast As Windows OpenGL Driver
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's picture-parity department:
An anonymous reader writes "Intel's open-source Linux graphics driver is now running neck-and-neck with the Windows 8.1 driver for OpenGL performance between the competing platforms when using the latest drivers for each platform. The NVIDIA driver has long been able to run at similar speeds between Windows and Linux given the common code-base, but the Intel Linux driver is completely separate from their Windows driver due to being open-source and complying with the Linux DRM and Mesa infrastructure. The Intel Linux driver is still trailing the Windows OpenGL driver in supporting OpenGL4."

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Bitcoin Miners Bundled With PUPs In Legitimate Applications Backed By EULA
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's informed-consent-it-ain't department:
hypnosec writes "Bitcoin miners are being integrated with third party potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) that come bundled with legitimate applications. These miners surreptitiously carry out Bitcoin mining operations on the user's system consuming valuable CPU time without explicitly asking for user's consent. Malwarebytes, the company which found evidence of these miners, first came across such an instance of a Bitcoin miner when one of the users of its software requested for assistance on November 22 through a forum post. The user revealed that 'jh1d.exe' was taking up over 50 percent of the CPU resource and even after manual deletion the executable was re-appearing. Malwarebytes dug deeper into this and found traces of a miner 'jhProtominer,' a popular mining software that runs via the command line". However, it seems that the company behind the application has a specific clause 3 in EULA that talks about mathematical calculations similar to Bitcoin mining operation. This means that the company behind the software can and will install Bitcoin miners and use system resources to perform operations as required to mine Bitcoins and keep the rewards for themselves."

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Reverse Engineering the Technical and Artistic Genius of Painter Jan Vermeer
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-just-reconstruct-his-time-machine department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Kurt Anderson has an interesting read at Vanity Fair about Dutch painter Jan Vermeer, best known for "Girl with a Pearl Earring," and the search for how he was able to achieve his photo-realistic effects in the 1600s. Considered almost as mysterious and unfathomable as Shakespeare in literature, Vermeer at age 21, with no recorded training as an apprentice, began painting masterful, singular, uncannily realistic pictures of light-filled rooms and ethereal young women. "Despite occasional speculation over the years that an optical device somehow enabled Vermeer to paint his pictures, the art-history establishment has remained adamant in its romantic conviction: maybe he was inspired somehow by lens-projected images, but his only exceptional tool for making art was his astounding eye, his otherworldly genius," says Anderson. To try to learn how Vermeer was able to achieve such highly realistic painting, American inventor and millionaire Tim Jenison spent five years learning how to make lenses himself using 17th-century techniques, mixed and painted only with pigments available in the late 1600s and even constructed a life-size reproduction of Vermeer's room with wooden beams, checkerboard floor, and plastered walls. The result has been a documentary movie, "Tim's Vermeer," by magicians Penn & Teller that may have resolved the riddle and explains why it has remained a secret for so long. "The photorealistic painters of our time, none of them share their techniques," says Teller. "The Spiderman people aren't talking to the Avatar people. When [David] Copperfield and I have lunch, we aren't giving away absolutely everything.""

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AI Reality Check In Online Dating
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's alright-cherub department:
mikejuk writes "Researchers have developed an online dating system that not only matches you with partners you'll find attractive, but who are also likely to find you attractive too. The researchers at the University of Iowa have addressed an underlying problem of online dating sites. There's no doubt that such sites are ever increasing in popularity, and have good algorithms taking into account the reported likes, interests and hobbies of the person looking for a partner to come up with a potential match. What's less well catered for is the trickier aspect of the reciprocal interest – you may think person x looks nice, but will they find you equally attractive? The problem here is that if you are Average Joe and try asking out Supermodels Ann, Barbara and Cheryl, you're unlikely to get a reply. Well, not a printable one, anyway. So coming up with yet another supermodel for you to sob over isn't a lot of help.Instead, the researchers add a note of reality by analyzing the replies you get, and use this to work out how attractive you are. This is a scary thought for many of us, and one we may well not want an honest answer to. The results are used to recommend people who might actually reply if you get in contact with them. Fortunately for the attractively challenged, the research is still just that – research. However, given the fact the online dating market is worth around $3 billion a year, chances are someone is going to make use of this. We have been warned."

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Ask Slashdot: DIY Computational Neuroscience?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's next-week-we-cure-all-known-diseases department:
An anonymous reader writes "Over the last couple years, I have taught myself the basic concepts behind Computational Neuroscience, mainly from the book by Abbott and Dayan. I am not currently affiliated with any academic Neuroscience program. I would like to take a DIY approach and work on some real world problems of Computational Neuroscience. My questions: (1) What are some interesting computational neuroscience simulation problems that an individual with a workstation class PC can work on? (2) Is it easy for a non-academic to get the required data? (3) I am familiar with (but not used extensively) simulators like Neuron, Genesis etc. Other than these and Matlab, what other software should I get? (4) Where online or offline, can I network with other DIY Computational Neuroscience enthusiasts? My own interest is in simulation of Epileptogenic neural networks, music cognition networks, and perhaps a bit more ambitiously, to create a simulation on which the various Models of Consciousness can be comparatively tested."

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China's First Lunar Lander To Launch Today; Manned Mission Planned By 2030
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's new-cheese-mines department:
c0lo writes "A Chinese Long March rocket is scheduled to blast off to the Moon on Sunday evening at about 6pm UTC carrying a small robotic rover that will touch down on to the lunar surface in about two weeks' time – the first soft landing on the Earth's only natural satellite since 1976. China has been methodically and patiently building up the key elements needed for an advanced space programme — from launchers to manned missions in Earth orbit to unmanned planetary craft — and it is investing heavily. After only 10 years since it independently sent its first astronaut into space, China is forging ahead with a bold three-step programme beginning with the robotic exploration of possible landing sites for the first Chinese astronauts to set foot on lunar soil between 2025 and 2030. Prof Ouyang Ziyuan of the department of lunar and deep space exploration and an adviser to the mission commented to the BBC on the scale of Chinese thinking about the Moon. He said the forthcoming venture would land in an ancient crater 400km wide called Sinus Iridum, thought to be relatively flat and clear of rocks, and explore its geology. China.org.cn promised live coverage of the event."

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The Dismantling of POTS: Bold Move Or Grave Error?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hard-to-cook-without-pots department:
New submitter TheRealHocusLocus writes "The FCC is drafting rules to formalize the process of transition of 'last-mile' subscriber circuits to digital IP-based data streams. The move is lauded by AT&T Chairman Tom Wheeler who claims that significant resources are spent to maintain 'legacy' POTS service, though some 100 million still use it. POTS, or 'Plain Old Telephone Service,' is the analog standard that allows the use of simple unpowered phone devices on the wire, with the phone company supplying ring and talk voltage. I cannot fault progress, in fact I'm part of the problem: I gave up my dial tone a couple years ago because I needed cell and could not afford to keep both. But what concerns me is, are we poised to dismantle systems that are capable of standing alone to keep communities and regions 'in-touch' with each other, in favor of systems that rely on centralized (and distant) points of failure? Despite its analog limitations POTS switches have enforced the use of hard-coded local exchanges and equipment that will faithfully complete local calls even if its network connections are down. But do these IP phones deliver the same promise? For that matter, is any single local cell tower isolated from its parent network of use to anyone at all? I have had a difficult time finding answers to this question, and would love savvy Slashdot folks to weigh in: In a disaster that isolates the community from outside or partitions the country's connectivity — aside from local Plain Old Telephone Service, how many IP and cell phones would continue to function?"

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Snowden Document Says Dutch Secret Service Hacks Internet Forums
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-your-own-collective-good department:
vikingpower writes "In the ever-longer wake of the NSA scandal, much-respected Dutch newspaper NRC today reveals, in English, as mandated by the gravity of the occasion, that the Dutch secret service, the AIVD, hacks internet forums. And yes, that is gross misconduct against Dutch law. The service, whose headquarters are in Zoetermeer, did not yet comment upon the divulgence of the document from Edward Snowden's collection. Incensed Dutch parliamentarians are calling for an enquiry."

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Google Is Building a Way To Launch Chrome Apps Without Installation
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's playing-the-long-game department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google really wants Chrome apps to take off. Not only has the company added rich notifications, in-app payments, and an app launcher into its browser, but now it's developing ephemeral apps that launch by just clicking a link. There are two separate components here. Ephemeral apps (you can enable this under the chrome://flags/#enable-ephemeral-apps flag) let you try a Chrome app before installing it. Linkable ephemeral apps (under the chrome://flags/#enable-linkable-ephemeral-apps flag) meanwhile allow you to launch said apps from hyperlinks."

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The Ultimate Anti-Action Online Game: Waiting In Line 3D
Posted by News Fetcher on November 30 '13 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's desert-bus-for-bipeds department:
Freshly Exhumed writes "Looking a lot like the venerable Wolfenstein 3D or similar Id action games of the DOS days, the new online game Waiting in Line 3D was released Monday by developer Rajeev Basu, and was played 50,000 times in its first 24 hours of activity... er... inactivity. Is the complete lack of any action a brilliant satire of computer gaming? Is it software-based performance art? Is it silly? Judge for yourself, if you can meet the challenge!" Now's a good time to confess if you spent a major portion of your post-Thanksgiving dinner recovery time camped out in line for some of tthose Black Friday come-ons.

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New Fujitsu Laptop Reads Your Palm, For Security
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's keep-your-blood-pressure-up department:
judgecorp writes "Fujitsu has launched a laptop which authenticates users using the veins of their palm. The contactless technology is hard to deceive and — since it detects haemoglobin in the veins, is not so likely to be breakable using the gruesome method of cutting off a hand."

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Encrypted Social Network Vies For Disgruntled Facebook Users
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's network-effects-are-hard-to-handwave department:
angry tapir writes "With the look of Google Plus and Facebook-like elements, a new social network named "Syme" feels as cozy as a well-worn shoe. But beneath the familiar veneer, it's quite different. Syme encrypts all content, such as status updates, photos and files, so that only people invited to a group can view it. Syme, which hosts the content on its Canada-based servers, says it can't read it. "The overarching goal of Syme is to make encryption accessible and easy to use for people who aren't geeks or aren't hackers or who aren't cryptography experts," co-founder Jonathan Hershon said in an interview about the service." See also Diaspora.

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Sebastian Thrun Pivots Udacity Toward Vocational Education
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's marketplace-of-ideas department:
lpress writes "Udacity CEO and MOOC super star Sebastian Thrun has decided to scale back his original ambition of providing a free college education for everyone and focus on (lifelong) vocational education. A pilot test of Udacity material in for-credit courses at San Jose State University was discouraging, so Udacity is developing an AT&T-sponsored masters degree at Georgia Tech and training material for developers. If employers like this emphasis, it might be a bigger threat to the academic status quo than offering traditional college courses."

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A Mercenary Approach To Botnets
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's highest-bidder-gets-your-grandma's-bank-account department:
CowboyRobot writes "The incentives are high for many businesses and government agencies to not be too heavy handed in combating the global botnet pandemic. There's money to be had and, with each passing day, more interesting ways are being uncovered in how to package the data, and how to employ it. It used to be that the worlds of bug hunters and malware analysts were separate and far between. In the last couple of years the ability to analyze malware samples and identify exploitable vulnerabilities in them has become very important. Given that some botnets have a bigger pool of victims than many commercial software vendors have licensed customers, the value of an exploit that grants reliable remote control of a popular malware agent is rising in value. In many ways, botnets have become a golden goose to those charged with gathering intelligence on the populations of foreign entities. The bulk of the victim's data is useful for mapping populations, communication profiles, and as egress points for counter intelligence exercises. Then, given how many botnet victims there are, the probability that a few 'interesting' computers will have succumbed along the way is similarly high — providing direct insight in to a pool of high value targets."

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Woman Fined For Bad Review Striking Back In Court
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's jury-to-be-fined-for-unfavorable-verdict department:
An anonymous reader writes "Here's an update to the earlier Slashdot story about KlearGear.com 'fining' a couple for a bad review left four years earlier on RipoffReport: Not only did KlearGear report this as a bad debt to credit reporting agencies, but KlearGear is hiding behind a DomainsByProxy domain name to making finding their real identities harder. Now Public Citizen is representing the couple and is going after KlearGear for $75,000. The TV station that broke this story, KUTV, now reports that RipoffReport will likely be on the couple's side. The BBB and TRUSTe say their logos were used by KlearGear.com without permission, and credit reporting agency Experian is also investigating."

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New Windows XP Zero-Day Under Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's escalation-of-stale-operating-system-attack department:
wiredmikey writes "A new Windows kernel zero-day vulnerability is being exploited in targeted attacks against Windows XP users. Microsoft confirmed the issue and published a security advisory to acknowledge the flaw after anti-malware vendor FireEye warned that the Windows bug is being used in conjunction with an Adobe Reader exploit to infect Windows machines with malware. Microsoft described the issue as an elevation of privilege vulnerability that allows an attacker to run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full administrative rights."

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Open Source In the Datacenter: It Was Never About Innovation
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-all-about-the-benjamins department:
An anonymous reader writes "The secret to open source innovation, and the reason for its triumphal success, has nothing to do with the desire to innovate. It's because of the four freedoms and the level playing field (and agility) that was the end result. It's like Douglas Adams' definition of flying: you don't try to fly, you throw yourself at the ground and miss. This article explains why it was never about innovation — it was always about freedom. Quoting: 'When the forces of economics put constant downward price pressure on software, developers look for other ways to derive income. Given the choice between simply submitting to economic forces and releasing no-cost software in proprietary form, developers found open source models to be a much better deal. Some of us didn't necessarily like the mechanics of those models, which included dual licensing and using copyleft as a means of collecting ransom, but it was a model in which developers could thrive.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Scientific Computing Workflow For the Cloud?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's science-as-a-service department:
diab0lic writes "I have recently come into the situation where I need to run cloud computing on demand for my research. Amazon's EC2 Spot Instances are an ideal platform for this as I can requisition an appropriate instance for the given experiment {high cpu, high memory, GPU instance} depending on its needs. However I currently spin up the instance manually, set it up, run the experiment, and then terminate manually. This gets tedious monitoring experiments for completion, and I incur unnecessary costs if a job finishes while I'm sleeping, for example. The whole thing really should be automated.

I'm looking for a workflow somewhat similar to this:

<ol>

Manually create Amazon machine image (AMI) for experiment.

Issue command to start AMI on specified spot instance type.

Automatically connect EBS to instance for result storage.

Automatically run specified experiment, bonus if this can be parameterized.

Have AMI automatically terminate itself upon experiment completion.</ol>

Something like docker that spun up on-demand spot instances of a specified type for each run and terminated said instance at run completion would be absolutely perfect. I also know HTCondor can back onto EC2 spot instances but I haven't really been able to find any concise information on how to set up a personal cloud — I also think this is slight overkill.

Do any other Slashdot users have similar problems? How did you solve it? What is your workflow? Thanks!"

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Computer Model Reveals Escape Plan From Poverty's Vicious Circle
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stop-buying-lottery-tickets department:
KentuckyFC writes "Infectious disease condemns poor countries to an endless cycle of ill health and poverty. Now a powerful new model of the link between disease and economic growth has revealed why some escape plans work while others just make matters worse. The problem is that when workers suffer from poor health, economic output goes down. And if economic output goes down, there is less to spend on healthcare. And if spending on healthcare drops, workers become less healthy. And so on. So an obvious solution is for a country to spend more on healthcare. But the new model says governments must take care since the cost to a poor country can send the economy spiraling into long term decline. By contrast, an injection of capital from outside the country allows spending on healthcare to increase without any drop in economic output. 'We find that a large influx of capital is successful in escaping the poverty trap, but increasing health spending alone is not,' say the authors. And the amount required is relatively little. The model suggests that long-term investment needs only to be more than 15 per cent of the cost of healthcare. But anything less than this cannot prevent the vicious circle of decline."

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French Court Orders Search Engines, ISPs To Block Pirate Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '13 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can't-get-there-from-here department:
rtoz sends word that a French court has ordered Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to remove 16 unauthorized video streaming sites from their search results. Many ISPs were also ordered to block access to the sites. According to TorrentFreak,
"The court ruled that the film industry had clearly demonstrated that the sites in question are 'dedicated or virtually dedicated to the distribution of audiovisual works without the consent of their creators,' thus violating their copyrights. As a result the search services of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and local company Orange are now under orders to 'take all necessary measures to prevent the occurrence on their services of any results referring to any of the pages' on these sites. Several ISPs – Orange, Free, Bouygues Télécom, SFR, Numéricable and Darty Télécom were also ordered to 'implement all appropriate means including blocking' to prevent access to the infringing sites."

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