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US Director of National Intelligence Admits He Was Wrong About Data Collection
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's promoted-to-director-of-the-obvious department:
Gunkerty Jeb writes "In a highly unusual move, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said Tuesday that he misspoke when he told a Congressional committee in March that the National Security Agency does not collect data on millions of Americans. Clapper said at the time that the agency does not do so 'wittingly,' but in a letter to the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper admitted this statement was 'erroneous.' Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official, has been quite vocal in his defense of the NSA's now-public surveillance programs such as PRISM and the metadata collection program. In statements published shortly after the leak of classified documents by Edward Snowden about those collection efforts Clapper said that they both have been repeatedly authorized by Congress and the executive and judicial branches over the years."

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Calif. Attorney General: We Need To Crack Down On Companies That Don't Encrypt
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's making-it-more-painful-to-be-bad-at-security department:
tsamsoniw writes "California Attorney Kamala Harris says her office will start cracking down on companies in the Golden State that don't encrypt customer data and fall victim to data breaches; she's also calling on the state to pass a law requiring companies to use encryption. That's just one of the recommendations in the state's newly released data breach report, which says 131 companies in California suffered data breaches in 2012, affecting 2.5 million residents."

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Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Programmers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 03 '13 at 12:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-just-a-matter-of-code department:
itwbennett writes "Software developers are, by and large, a cool and analytical bunch, but there are a handful of things that strike terror in their hearts. Phil Johnson scoured developer forums looking for an answer to the question: What's your biggest fear as a programmer? The answers clustered into 5 broad groups ranging from being forced to learn or use a specific technology to working for and with incompetents. What's your biggest fear?"

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Farm Workers Carry Drug-Resistant Staph Despite Partial FDA Antibiotics Ban
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-awfully-mean-of-them department:
An anonymous reader writes "New research out of the University of North Carolina now shows factory farm workers actually carry drug-resistant staph. Europe has long ago banned the use of antibiotics in livestock, but the FDA remains behind the curve with a partial ban. Thanks to large industrial farming operations, we all remain continuously at risk as our last line of antibiotics is wasted on animals."

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Breaking Up With MakerBot
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 08:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's caught-cheating-with-stratasys department:
An anonymous reader writes "Sanders Kleinfeld explains how his experiences with a Makerbot device led him to the decision that 3-D printing hasn't quite arrived as a legitimate, consumer-friendly technology. Quoting: 'Waiting five hours for your Yoda feels like an eternity; you can play approximately sixty rounds of Candy Crush Saga in that same timeframe (although arguably, staring blankly at the MakerBot is equally intellectually stimulating). To make matters worse, I’d estimate MakerBot’s failure rate fell in the range of 25%–33%, which meant that there was around a one-in-three chance that two hours in, your Yoda print would fail, or that it would finish but once it was complete, you’d discover it was warped or otherwise defective. ... The first-generation MakerBot Replicator felt too much like a prototype, as opposed to a proven, refined piece of hardware. I look forward to the day when 3D printers are as cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to use as their 2D inkjet printer counterparts.'"

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AOC's 21:9 Format, 29" IPS Display Put To the Test At 2560x1080
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-does-quake-3-look-on-it department:
MojoKid writes "Ask any person who owns a dual-monitor setup and they'll likely tell you they couldn't fathom going back to a single display. But what if you could enjoy all the benefits of a dual-monitor configuration from a single monitor? Would you be game to reclaiming some desk space by trading in two panels for a single display? AOC aims to answer that question with its new 29-inch Q2963PM LCD monitor. Armed with an UltraWide IPS panel, this LED-backlit monitor boasts a 2560x1080 resolution with 21:9 aspect ratio, providing users with an extra wide panoramic view. With features like picture-in-picture (PIP) and picture-by-picture (PBP) built-in, workcaholics can multitask the night away from multiple video sources with plenty of horizontal real estate to play with. The funky aspect ratio limits the appeal of the Q2963PM for gamers currently; though if developers were to jump on board, a 21:9 monitor could offer a wider field-of-view of the action."

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The Simian Army and the Antifragile Organization
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 06:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-it-ain't-broke-get-a-bigger-hammer department:
CowboyRobot writes "ACM has an article about how Netflix conducts its resilience testing. Instead of the GameDays used by sites such as Amazon and Google, Netflix uses what they call The Simian Army, based on the philosophy that 'Resilience can be improved by increasing the frequency and variety of failure and evolving the system to deal better with each new-found failure, thereby increasing anti-fragility.' While GameDay exercises are like a fire-drill, with scheduled exercises where failure is manually introduced or simulated, the Simian Army relies on failure in the live environment induced by autonomous agents known as 'monkeys.' Chaos Monkey randomly terminates virtual instances in a production environment that are serving live customer traffic. Chaos Gorilla causes an entire Amazon Availability Zone to fail. And Chaos Kong will take down an entire region of zones. 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and Netflix hopes that by constantly protecting itself from internal onslaught, they will become increasingly 'anti-fragile — growing stronger from each successive stressor, disturbance, and failure.'"

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Google Science Fair Finalist Invents Peltier-Powered Flashlight
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's now-make-a-peltier-powered-bicycle-and-you've-got-an-investor department:
GTRacer writes "Ann Makosinski, a Canadian student competing in Google's Science Fair, submitted a flashlight which uses temperature differentials to power its LEDs. Her long-time interest is alternative energy because, '[she's] really interested in harvesting surplus energy, energy that surrounds but we never really use.' Using Peltier tiles and custom circuitry, her design currently runs for 20 minutes or so and costs $26. A win at the September finals in Mountain View and/or outside investment could fund further development."

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Apple Powering Nevada Datacenter With Solar Farm
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's located-for-easy-access-to-vegas department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's Nevada data center has been in the works for quite some time: a 2,200-acre plot outside of Reno will host a 90,000-square-foot datacenter that, in turn, will support the tech giant's cloud services. Apple will reportedly spend $1 billion over the next decade on the facilities, in return for significant tax abatements at the city, county and state levels. It will also fund and build a 137-acre solar farm, managed in conjunction with NV Energy, to power the datacenter (it will generate approximately 43.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity). The Reno datacenter will be the third Apple cloud facility in the U.S. that is powered largely or entirely by solar power. Sixty percent of the power for Apple's North Carolina datacenter comes from an existing solar-power farm near the facility; an Apple datacenter in Oregon uses solar power for part of its power load, but also uses power from wind and hydroelectric sources."

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MagicPlay: the Open Source AirPlay
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's does-not-involve-shivan-dragons department:
New submitter JonLech writes "Ever since Apple launched AirTunes in 2004 (later renamed AirPlay) they have remained unchallenged in the Wi-Fi music streaming market. With various manufacturers releasing AirPlay-only Wi-Fi speakers, Android and other non-Apple device users have been left out in the cold. Today that changes with the release of MagicPlay, an open standard for music streaming (think 'HTTP for music') with a BSD-licensed open source reference implementation that any app developer or hardware manufacturer can integrate into their products. For the Linux fans out there, I've written up some instructions on how to turn your Raspberry Pi into a MagicPlay device."

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Wikimedia Rolls Out Its WYSIWYG Visual Editor For Logged-in Wikipedia Users
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-you-sing-is-what-you-get department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Wikimedia Foundation has finally enabled its long-awaited VisualEditor for all logged-in users on the English-language version of Wikipedia. The classic Wikitext source editor will remain available to edit both pages and page sections, and the organization stressed there are currently no plans to remove it. This is because VisualEditor doesn't yet support the broad range of functionality that Wikitext allows, and Wikimedia further notes it is aware some editors may prefer it. Nevertheless, the organization is hoping to the majority of editors will transition to VisualEditor, which is why it is slowly becoming the default."
In other Wikipedia news, reader GerardM writes
"Today the 'Universal Language Selector' premiered on the English Wikipedia. There is a ton of functionality in there and it has a lot of potential. The one thing that may prove to be a game changer for people with dyslexia is the inclusion of the OpenDyslexic font. Once people with dyslexia start to adopt this font, chances are that they can actually read/use Wikipedia. A lot of people are dyslexic; to quote the en.wp article on the subject: 'It is believed the prevalence of dyslexia is around 5-10 percent of a given population although there have been no studies to indicate an accurate percentage.'"

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Technology, Not Law, Limits Mass Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's are-you-endorsing-robot-hitmen department:
holy_calamity writes "U.S. citizens have historically been protected from government surveillance by technical limits, not legal ones, writes independent security researcher Ashkan Soltani at MIT Tech Review. He claims that recent leaks show that technical limits are loosening, fast, with data storage and analysis cheap and large Internet services taking care of data collection for free. 'Spying no longer requires following people or planting bugs, but rather filling out forms to demand access to an existing trove of information,' writes Soltani."

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Fedora 19 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's done-and-done department:
hypnosec writes "The Fedora Project has officially announced the release of Fedora 19 'Schrödinger's Cat' today. New features for the open source distribution include the developer's assistant, which accelerates development efforts by providing templates, samples and toolchains for a different languages; OpenShift Origin, which allows easy building of Platform-as-a-Service infrastructure; node.js; Ruby 2.0.0; MariaDB; Checkpoint & Restore, which allows users to checkpoint and restore processes; and OpenLMI, which makes remote management of machines simpler. The distribution also packs GNOME 3.8, KDE Plasma Workspace 4.10 and MATE Desktop 1.6."

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What Does Six Months of Meta-Data Look Like?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-know-what-you-did-last-summer department:
SpicyBrownMustard sends in a fascinating data visualization at Zeit Online showing what information about a person's life can be gleaned from cellphone metadata. Quoting:
"Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet. By pushing the play button, you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz's life. The speed controller allows you to adjust how fast you travel, the pause button will let you stop at interesting points. In addition, a calendar at the bottom shows when he was in a particular location and can be used to jump to a specific time period. Each column corresponds to one day."

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Sarah Thee Campagna Makes Robot Sculptures (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's some-people-do-car-rescue-and-some-do-robot-rescue department:
Sarah's CyberCraft "about" page says, "Here at CyberCraft Robots, our Orbiting Laboratory allows us to search local star systems for Artifacts from the Future." CyberCraft's Earthside component is in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Sarah assembles robots from found parts that others might think are just ordinary industrial detritus, but that she has learned to recognize as parts from disassembled or abandoned robots. She has an alternate version of CyberCraft's history for people "with less imagination," about how she jumped from being a math whiz to studying for an EE to working as a programmer to art... and into making art robots. Or robot art, depending on how you look at it. The robots, ray guns, and spaceships Sarah makes will not fight battles or clean your house. They just sit there and look good. And they get shown in fine art galleries, so we know they're art, not just ordinary robots. This isn't to say Sarah is the only human making robot sculptures. A Google search for "robot sculpture" turns up plenty of others. We met Sarah purely by chance. We easily could have met one of the many other robot sculptors instead, but she's the one we happened to come across first. Perhaps the Quantum Computer that runs the Orbiting Robot Laboratory directed us to her. That's as good an explanation as any, isn't it?

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Ubisoft Hacked, Account Data Compromised
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-one-bites-the-dust department:
Freshly Exhumed writes "There's a new security breach announcement over at the website of game publisher and developer Ubisoft today. Quoting:: 'We recently found that one of our Web sites was exploited to gain unauthorized access to some of our online systems. We instantly took steps to close off this access, to begin a thorough investigation with relevant authorities, internal and external security experts, and to start restoring the integrity of any compromised systems. During this process, we learned that data were illegally accessed from our account database, including user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. No personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your debit/credit card information was safe from this intrusion. As a result, we are recommending you to change your password by clicking this link.'"

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New Moons of Pluto Named Kerberos and Styx; Popular Choice 'Vulcan' Snubbed
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-have-defied-the-will-of-the-internet department:
MarkWhittington writes "The International Astronomical Union announced on July 2, 2013 its picks to name the two recently discovered moons of Pluto, hitherto known as P4 and P5. They will now be known as Kerberos and Styx respectively. In Greek and Roman mythology Kerberos is the name of the mythological three headed hound that guards the entrance to the underworld. Styx is the name of the river that separated the underworld from the real world. The names, picked in a popular contest, were actually the second and third choices. The first choice was Vulcan, which was officially touted because it was the name of a Roman god who was a relative of Pluto's and was associated with fire and smoke. The real reason that Vulcan shot up to the top of the list was that was a choice by Star Trek fans in a campaign instigated by actor William Shatner, who played Captain James Kirk in the original series."
Shatner is sad and may lead a revolt. Phil Plait wins the award for best headline for this news.

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Motorola Is Listening
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's knows-when-you've-been-bad-or-good-but-doesn't-bring-you-presents department:
New submitter pbritt writes "Ben Lincoln was hooking up to Microsoft ActiveSync at work when he 'made an interesting discovery about the Android phone (a Motorola Droid X2) which [he] was using at the time: it was silently sending a considerable amount of sensitive information to Motorola, and to compound the problem, a great deal of it was over an unencrypted HTTP channel.' He found that photos, passwords, and even data about his home screen config were being sent regularly to Motorola's servers. He has screenshots showing much of the data transmission."

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Microsoft To Add Ads To Smart Search
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's eyeballs-for-sale department:
Vanderhoth writes "Today, Microsoft said its advertisers will be able to target users not just on Web search results pages but directly inside Windows Smart Search. David Pann, general manager of Microsoft's Search Advertising Group, said in an interview that advertisers don't have to do additional setup to participate. The Smart Search ads will feature a preview of the websites the ad will send people to, as well as click-to-call info and site links, which are additional links under the main result that direct users deeper into a website to the most likely page they might want."

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Neuroscientist: First-Ever Human Head Transplant Is Now Possible
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '13 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-I-insist-after-you department:
dryriver writes "Technical barriers to grafting one person's head onto another person's body can now be overcome, says Dr. Sergio Canavero, a member of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group. In a recent paper, Canavero outlines a procedure modeled on successful head transplants which have been carried out in animals since 1970. The one problem with these transplants was that scientists were unable to connect the animals' spinal cords to their donor bodies, leaving them paralyzed below the point of transplant. But, says Canavero, recent advances in re-connecting spinal cords that are surgically severed mean that it should be technically feasible to do it in humans. (This is not the same as restoring nervous system function to quadriplegics or other victims of traumatic spinal cord injury.)"

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