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Billion-Pixel View of Mars Snapped By Curiosity
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's see-any-good-landing-spots? department:
astroengine writes "If you were in any doubt as to Curiosity's photography prowess, this panorama of Gale Crater should allay your concerns. In this billion-pixel photo from Mars, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory snapped nearly 900 separate images that were then stitched together to create a wonderful high-definition view from the robot's mast-mounted cameras. 'It gives a sense of place and really shows off the cameras' capabilities,' said Bob Deen of the Multi-Mission Image Processing Laboratory at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., who assembled the scene. 'You can see the context and also zoom in to see very fine details.'"

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Deb Nicholson Talks About the Open Invention Network (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's fighting-patent-trolls-and-other-dark-forces-for-the-good-of-all-humanity department:
The OIN (Open Invention Network) site's front page starts out by saying, "Open source software development has been one of the greatest sources of innovation. It has reduced costs, improved functionality and spurred new industries." After another few sentences it says, "Open Invention Network® is an intellectual property company that was formed to promote the Linux system by using patents to create a collaborative ecosystem." Go a little deeper, on the About page, and you learn that: "Patents owned by Open Invention Network® are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. This enables companies to make significant corporate and capital expenditure investments in Linux — helping to fuel economic growth." Today's interviewee, Deb Nicholson, is the OIN's Community Outreach Director. We did a video interview with OIN CEO Keith Bergelt back in February. This one adds to what he had to say. And once again, we remind you: "...if you or your company is being victimized by any entity seeking to assert its patent portfolio against Linux, please contact [OIN] so that we can aid you in your battle with these dark forces." Make your first contact through Linux Defenders 911 -- and may the OIN be with you!

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Five predictions for (Bit)coin
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's invest-in-apc department:
Contributor Tom Geller writes: "I recently wrote an article about Bitcoin and the law for Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery. In researching it I ran into plenty of wishful thinkers, ridiculous greedheads, and out-and-out nutbags promising a rosy future. I also found the expected blowback from vehement naysayers who think the best way to combat crazy is with more crazy. But despite that, I walked away believing that Bitcoin — or a decentralized cryptocurrency like it (let's call it "Coin") — is here to stay. As an interested outsider to the Coin economy, and a long-time technology commentator, here's what I think its future holds." Read on for Tom's predictions.

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Researchers Crack iOS Mobile Hotspot Passwords In Less Than a Minute
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's algorithm-to-guess-your-cat's-name department:
msm1267 writes "Business travelers who tether their iPhones as mobile hotspots beware. Researchers at the University of Erlanger-Nuremberg in Germany have discovered a weakness in the way iOS generates default passwords for such connections that can leave a user's device vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, information leakage or abuse of the user's Internet connection. Andreas Kurtz, Felix Freiling and Daniel Metz published a paper (PDF) that describes the inner workings of how an attacker can exploit the PSK (pre-shared key) authentication iOS uses to establish a secure WPA2 connection when using the Apple smartphone as a hotspot. The researchers said that attackers would find the least resistance attacking the PSK setup rather than trying their hand at beating the operating system's complex programming layers."

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U.S. House Wants 'Sustained Human Presence On the Moon and the Surface of Mars'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's somebody-had-them-read-kim-stanley-robinson department:
MarkWhittington writes "Politico reports in a June 18, 2013 story that House Republicans have added a Mars base to its demands for a lunar base in the draft 2013 NASA Authorization bill. Both the Bush-era Constellation program and President Obama space plan envisioned eventual human expeditions to Mars. But if Politico is correct, the new bill will be the first time an official piece of legislation will call for permanent habitation of the Red Planet. The actual legislative language states, 'The [NASA] Administrator shall establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon and the surface of Mars.'"

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FBI Admits To Domestic Surveillance Drone Use
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's seeds-of-the-panopticon department:
An anonymous reader writes "At a hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI director Robert Mueller confirmed the agency is using unmanned drones for surveillance within the U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley asked, 'Does the FBI own or currently use drones and for what purpose?' Mueller replied, 'Yes, for surveillance.' Grassley then asked, 'Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on U.S. soil?' Mueller said, 'Yes, in a very, very minimal way, and seldom.' With regard to restricting the use of drones to protect citizens' privacy, Mueller said, 'It is still in nascent stages but it is worthy of debate and legislation down the road.' According to article, 'Dianne Feinstein, who is also chair of the Senate intelligence committee, said the issue of drones worried her far more than telephone and internet surveillance, which she believes are subject to sufficient legal oversight.'"

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Millions At Risk From Critical Vulnerabilities From WordPress Plugins
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-use-ur-web department:
First time accepted submitter dougkfresh writes "Checkmarx's research lab identified that more than 20% of the 50 most popular WordPress plugins are vulnerable to common Web attacks, such as SQL Injection. Furthermore, a concentrated research into e-commerce plugins revealed that 7 out of the 10 most popular e-commerce plugins contain vulnerabilities. This is the first time that such a comprehensive survey was prepared to test the state of security of the leading plugins."

It does seem that Wordpress continues to be a particularly perilous piece of software to run. When popularity and unsafe languages collide.

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Ubuntu Phone Carrier Advisory Group Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's open-phone-war-was-the-only-good-war department:
An anonymous reader writes "With the focus from Ubuntu on phones, seven carriers have signed onto their Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group including Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Telecom Italia, Korea Telecom, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, and SK Telecom. The group is designed for the carriers to let 'mobile operators shape Ubuntu's mobile strategy. Members receive advance confidential briefings and provide us with industry insight to ensure that Ubuntu meets their needs.'"

Looks like Ubuntu Phone is getting serious. Mark Shuttleworth writes about their first meeting: "We mapped out our approach to the key question I’ve been asked by every carrier we’ve met so far: how can we accommodate differentiation, without fragmenting the platform for developers? We described the range of diversity we think we can support initially, received some initial feedback from carriers participating immediately, and I’m looking forward to the distilled feedback we’ll get on the topic in the next call. CAG members get a period of exclusivity in their markets."

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Cumulus Releases GNU/Linux For Datacenter Routers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's scale-up department:
alphadogg writes "Start-up Cumulus Networks this week has emerged with a Linux network operating system designed for programmable data centers like the ones Google and Facebook are building. The company's Cumulus Linux OS operating system includes IPv4 and IPv6 routing, plus data center and network orchestration hooks. Much like OpenFlow for independent, software-defined control of network forwarding, Cumulus Linux is intended to run on commodity network hardware and bring Open Source extensibility to high capacity data centers. The head of the company used to work for Cisco and Google."

The distribution is based on Debian and ported to several router platforms. They claim to release most of their code Open Source, but there are at least a few proprietary bits for interfacing to the routing hardware itself.

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Relicensing of MySQL Man Pages Just a Bug
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 08:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's oracle-still-evil department:
An anonymous reader writes "As reported earlier on Slashdot it appeared the license covering the MySQL man pages was changed from the GPL to something less good. However, as speculated, this appears to be a bug."

The build system was grabbing the wrong files, oops. The fix should be coming shortly: "Once the fixes have been made to the build system, we will rebuild the latest 5.1, 5.5, 5.6 releases plus the latest 5.7 milestone and make those available publicly asap."

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BT Chief To Become British Government Minister
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's revolving-door department:
judgecorp writes "BT chief Ian Livingston is leaving the British telecom provider to become a government minister. The executive has been appointed a seat in the House of Lords, which enables him to become Minister for Trade and Investment without having to be elected as a Member of the lower house of Parliament. Livingston has seen BT go from a £134 million loss in 2008 when he was appointed, to a profit of £2.5 billion in 2012. It still has a monopoly over certain sectors of the British telecom market, and has won all the contracts so far for rolling out broadband to rural areas."

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One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's crawling-up-the-walls department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes with an article marking the one year anniversary of Julian Assange seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. From the article: "Uninterested in facing U.S. justice, Assange said he's prepared to spend five years living there. If he goes out for a walk, he'll be extradited to Sweden to answer rape accusations —after which he has no promise from Sweden to deny further extradition efforts to America, where a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks awaits. This also means that London's Metropolitan Police have been devoting their resources to keeping tabs on Assange for a year. Yesterday, a spokesperson explained the updated costs of guarding the embassy over the phone: 'From July 2012 through May 2013, the full cost has been £3.8 million ($5,963,340),' he said. '£700,000 ($1,099,560) of which are additional, or overtime costs.'
Julian has a treadmill, a SAD lamp, and a connection to the Internet, through which he's been publishing small leaks and conducting interviews. The indoor lifestyle has taken its toll on Julian, and it led to his contracting a chronic lung condition last fall."


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Subversion 1.8 Released But Will You Still Use Git?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's darcs-for-life department:
darthcamaro writes "Remember back in the day when we all used CVS? Then we moved to SVN (subversion) but in the last three yrs or so everyone and their brother seems to have moved to Git, right? Well truth is Subversion is still going strong and just released version 1.8. While Git is still faster for some things, Greg Stein, the former chair of the Apache Software Foundation, figures SVN is better than Git at lots of things. From the article: '"With Subversion, you can have a 1T repository and check out just a small portion of it, The developers don't need full copies," Stein explained. "Git shops typically have many, smaller repositories, while svn shops typically have a single repository, which eases administration, backup, etc."'"

Major new features of 1.8 include switching to a new metadata storage engine by default instead of using Berkeley DB, first-class renames (instead of the CVS-era holdover of deleting and recreating with a new name) which will make merges involving renamed files saner, and a slightly simplified branch merging interface.

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Google Patents Image-Capturing Walking Sticks
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 06:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-see-you-with department:
theodp writes "GeekWire reports that Google has patented an image-capturing walking stick, which can boldly go where no Google Street View Car can. The walking stick has embedded cameras and location sensors, and a switch at the bottom that causes the device to snap pictures whenever the stick hits the ground. The patent also covers using canes and crutches in a similar fashion."

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PDP-11 Still Working In Nuclear Plants - For 37 More Years
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's great-architectures-live-forever department:
Taco Cowboy writes "Most of the younger /. readers never heard of the PDP-11, while we geezers have to retrieve bits and pieces of our affairs with PDP-11 from the vast warehouse inside our memory lanes."

From the article: "HP might have nuked OpenVMS, but its parent, PDP-11, is still spry and
powering GE nuclear power-plant robots and will do for another 37 years. That's right: PDP-11 assembler programmers are hard to find, but the nuclear industry is planning on keeping them until 2050 — long enough for a couple of generations of programmers to come and go." Not sure about the OpenVMS vs PDP comparison, but it's still amusing that a PDP might outlast all of the VAX machines.

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NSA's Role In Terror Cases Concealed From Defense Lawyers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
Rick Zeman writes "'Confidentiality is critical to national security.' So wrote the Justice Department in concealing the NSA's role in two wiretap cases. However, now that the NSA is under the gun, it's apparently not so critical, according to New York attorney Joshua Dratel: 'National security is about keeping illegal conduct concealed from the American public until you're forced to justify it because someone ratted you out.' The first he heard of the NSA's role in his client's case was 'when [FBI deputy director Sean] Joyce disclosed it on CSPAN to argue for the effectiveness of the NSA's spying.' Dratel challenged the legality of the spying in 2011, and asked a federal judge to order the government to produce the wiretap application the FBI gave the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify the surveillance. 'Disclosure of the FISA applications to defense counsel – who possess the requisite security clearance – is also necessary to an accurate determination of the legality of the FISA surveillance, as otherwise the defense will be completely in the dark with respect to the basis for the FISA surveillance,' wrote Dratel. According to Wired, 'The government fought the request in a 60-page reply brief (PDF), much of it redacted as classified in the public docket. The Justice Department argued that the defendants had no right to see any of the filings from the secret court, and instead the judge could review the filings alone in chambers."

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Lobster, a New Game Programming Language, Now Available As Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 03:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hello-world department:
Aardappel writes "Lobster is a new programming language targeting game programming specifically, building on top of OpenGL, SDL 2 and FreeType. The language looks superficially similar to Python, but is its own blend of fun features. It's open source (ZLIB license) and available on GitHub."

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Google's Crazy Lack of Focus: Is It Really Serious About Enterprise?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 19 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's looking-for-ways-to-put-ads-in-your-brain department:
curtwoodward writes "Driverless cars. Balloon-based wireless networks. Face-mounted computers. Gigabit broadband networks. In recent months, Google has been unveiling a series of transformative side projects that paint a picture of the search pioneer expanding far beyond an online advertising company. At the same time, Google has been trying to convince enterprise software buyers that it's finally, really, truly serious about competing with Microsoft for their business. Which version of Google's future should you believe?"

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Cat-like Robot Runs Like the Wind
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '13 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's played-by-peter-weller's-cat department:
DeviceGuru writes "Researchers at the Biorob lab at Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), have announced a cat-like robot that is claimed to be the fastest quadruped robot under 30 kilograms. The Cheetah-cub Robot, which runs real-time Xenomai Linux on an x86-based RoBoard robot control board, mimics the biomechanics of a cat to increase the speed and stability of it quadroped legs, helping it achieve speeds of 1.42m/s. The goal of the still-early-stage project is to encourage research in biomechanics, with an aim toward building faster robots for search and rescue, or ground exploration. More info is available on EPFL's Cheetah page."

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Revisiting Amdahl's Law
Posted by News Fetcher on June 18 '13 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's looking-for-new-loopholes department:
An anonymous reader writes "A German computer scientist is taking a fresh look at the 46-year old Amdahl's law, which took a first look at limitations in parallel computing with respect to serial computing. The fresh look considers software development models as a way to overcome parallel computing limitations. 'DEEP keeps the code parts of a simulation that can only be parallelized up to a concurrency of p = L on a Cluster Computer equipped with fast general purpose processors. The highly parallelizable parts of the simulation are run on a massively parallel Booster-system with a concurrency of p = H, H >> L. The booster is equipped with many-core Xeon Phi processors and connected by a 3D-torus network of sub-microsecond latency based on EXTOLL technology. The DEEP system software allows to dynamically distribute the tasks to the most appropriate parts of the hardware in order to achieve highest computational efficiency.' Amdahl's law has been revisited many times, most notably by John Gustafson."

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