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X.Org Foundation Loses 501(c)3 Non-Profit Status
Posted by News Fetcher on August 27 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's swimming-in-the-fine-print department:
An anonymous reader writes "The X.Org Foundation that is the organization behind driving the X.Org Server projects, Mesa, and Wayland open-source programs had its tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS. It turns out the X.Org Foundation lost its 501(c)3 status after quite a lot of work to become a non-profit organization with guidance from the Software Freedom Law Center, but they got in trouble after failing to routinely file their taxes on time. There's also been a host of other X.Org accounting errors in recent years. There was also the recent news of the IRS going after open-source projects, too."

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Report: Snowden Stayed At Russian Consulate While In Hong Kong
Posted by News Fetcher on August 27 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cheapest-tour-ever department:
cold fjord writes "The Washington Post reports, 'Before American fugitive Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow in June — an arrival that Russian officials have said caught them by surprise — he spent several days living at the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong, a Moscow newspaper reported Monday. The article in Kommersant, based on accounts from several unnamed sources, did not state clearly when Snowden decided to seek Russian help in leaving Hong Kong, where he was in hiding in order to evade arrest by U.S. authorities on charges that he leaked top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs. ... he celebrated his 30th birthday at the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong, the paper said — though several days earlier he had had an anticipatory birthday pizza with his lawyers at a private house. ... The article implies that Snowden's decision to seek Russian help came after he was joined in Hong Kong by Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks staffer who became his adviser and later flew to Moscow with him. Harrison, the article suggests, had a role in the making the plans. ' More at the South China Morning Post."

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Break Microsoft Up
Posted by News Fetcher on August 27 '13 at 04:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's or-just-give-up department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tom Worstall writes in Forbes that the that the only way to get around the entrenched culture that has made Microsoft a graveyard for the kind of big ideas that have inspired companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon is to split the company up so as to remove conflicts between new and old products and with Ballmer's departure instead of finding someone new to run the company, bring in experts to handle the legal side and find suitable CEOs for the new companies. 'The underlying problem for Microsoft is that the computing market has rapidly left behind the company's basic strategy of controlling the machines that people use with operating-system software,' says Erik Sherman. 'The combination of mobile devices that broke Microsoft's grip on the client end, and cloud computing that didn't necessarily need the company in data centers, shattered this form of control.' Anyone can see how easily you could split off the gaming folks, business division, retail stores, and hardware division says John Dvorak. Each entity would have agreements in place for long-term supply of software and services. 'This sort of shake up would ferret out all the empire builders and allow for new and more creative structures to emerge. And since everyone will have to be in a semi-startup mode, the dead wood will be eliminated by actual hard work.'"

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Google Claims ChromeCast Local Streaming Only Broken Because of SDK Changes
Posted by News Fetcher on August 27 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's uh-huh department:
sfcrazy writes "As you all know about the story that ChromeCast update disabled the playback of local content, but Google has confirmed that it will allow every kind of content. Google Statement: 'We're excited to bring more content to Chromecast and would like to support all types of apps, including those for local content. It's still early days for the Google Cast SDK, which we just released in developer preview for early development and testing only. We expect that the SDK will continue to change before we launch out of developer preview, and want to provide a great experience for users and developers before making the SDK and additional apps more broadly available.' So no need to fear!"

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100% Failure Rate On University of Liberia's Admission Exam
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 11:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's little-johnny-still-can't-read department:
slew writes "Apparently none of the 24K+ students who sat for the 2013 Liberia University entrance exam got a passing mark, and fewer than a hundred managed to pass the either the english (pass level 70%) or math (pass level 50%) sections required to qualify to be part of the normal class of 2k-3k students admitted every year... Historically, the pass rate has been about 20-30% and in recent years, the test has been in multiple-guess format to facilitate grading. The mathematics exam generally focuses on arithmetic, geometry, algebra, analytical geometry and elementary statistic and probability; while the English exam generally focuses on grammar, sentence completion, reading comprehension and logical reasoning. However, as a testament to the over-hang of a civil war, university over-crowding, corruption, social promotion, the admission criteria was apparently temporarily dropped to 40% math and 50% English to allow the provisional admission of about 1.6K students. And people are calling foul..."

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Lord Blair Calls for Laws To Stop 'Principled' Leaking of State Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 09:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's costs-of-party-membership department:
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from the Guardian: "Tougher laws are needed to prevent members of the public from revealing official secrets, former Metropolitan police commissioner Lord Blair has said. ... The peer insisted there was material the state had to keep secret, and powers had to be in place to protect it. The intervention comes after police seized what they said were thousands of classified documents from David Miranda – the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been reporting leaks from the former US intelligence officer Edward Snowden. ... He warned there was a 'new threat which is not of somebody personally intending to aid terrorism, but of conduct which is likely to or capable of facilitating terrorism.' He cited the examples of information leaks related to Manning and WikiLeaks."

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The World Fair of 2014 According To Asimov (From 1964)
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's where-is-my-bender-bot department:
Esther Schindler writes "If you ever needed evidence that Isaac Asimov was a genius at extrapolating future technology from limited data, you'll enjoy this 1964 article in which he predicts what we'll see at the 2014 world's fair. For instance: "Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The I.B.M. exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers, much miniaturized, that will serve as the "brains" of robots. In fact, the I.B.M. building at the 2014 World's Fair may have, as one of its prime exhibits, a robot housemaid*large, clumsy, slow- moving but capable of general picking-up, arranging, cleaning and manipulation of various appliances. It will undoubtedly amuse the fairgoers to scatter debris over the floor in order to see the robot lumberingly remove it and classify it into 'throw away' and 'set aside.' (Robots for gardening work will also have made their appearance.)" It's really fun (and sometimes sigh-inducing) to see where he was accurate and where he wasn't. And, of course, the whole notion that we'd have a world's fair is among the inaccurate predictions."

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Bionic Skin: the Killer App For Flexible Electronics
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's who-wouldn't-wear-cyber-skin department:
the_newsbeagle writes "Most of the researchers who work on flexible electronics imagine putting their materials to use in flexible displays, like a rollable, foldable iPad that you could cram in your pocket. And I'm not saying that wouldn't be cool. But researcher Takao Someya of the University of Tokyo has a different idea: He wants his ultra-thin, ultra-flexible electronics to be used as bionic skin. Someya and other researchers have created circuits that stick to your skin, and that can stretch and bend as you move your body. These materials are still in the labs, but the scientists imagine many uses for them. For example, if a synthetic skin is studded with pressure and heat sensors, it could be used as a lifelike covering for prosthetic limbs. There are also potential biomedical applications: The e-skin could discreetly monitor an outpatient's vital signs, and send the data to a nearby computer. The article includes a short video showing Someya's material in action."

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Feature Phone Hack Can Block Calls, Texts On Some Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's security-through-obscurity-problems department:
Trailrunner7 writes, quoting Threat Post "By tweaking the firmware on certain kinds of phones, a hacker could make it so other phones in the area are unable to receive incoming calls or SMS messages, according to research presented at the USENIX Security Symposium. The hack involves modifying the baseband processor on some Motorola phones and tricking some older 2G GSM networks into not delivering calls and messages. By 'watching' the messages sent from phone towers and not delivering them to users, the hack could effectively shut down some small localized mobile networks. Essentially the hacked firmware ... can block ... pages by responding to them before the phones that were initially intended to receive them do, something Kevin Redon and company called during their research 'the race for the fastest paging response time.'"

Thanks to the power of Osmocom BB, which has implemented Free Software baseband for several GSM devices. Also see the research paper.

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Wall Street Traders Charged With Copying Code To Start Their Own Company
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's awesome-business-plans department:
coondoggie writes "Talk about starting a business on shaky ground. The Manhattan District Attorney's office says former Wall Street traders stole electronic trading source code and data from their then trading firm in an effort to start up their own financial business."

Sending yourself pilfered code through your company email account is probably not the wisest plan.

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Has the Apache Software Foundation Lost Its Way?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stopping-for-directions department:
snydeq writes "Complaints of stricture over structure, signs of technical prowess on the wane — the best days of the Apache Software Foundation may be behind, writes InfoWorld's Serdar Yegalulp. 'Since its inception, the Apache Software Foundation has had a profound impact in shaping the open source movement and the tech industry at large. ... But tensions within the ASF and grumbling throughout the open source community have called into question whether the Apache Way is well suited to sponsoring the development of open source projects in today's software world. Changing attitudes toward open source licensing, conflicts with the GPL, concerns about technical innovation under the Way, fallout from the foundation's handling of specific projects in recent years — the ASF may soon find itself passed over by the kinds of projects that have helped make it such a central fixture in open source, thanks in some measure to the way the new wave of bootstrapped, decentralized projects on GitHub don't require a foundation-like atmosphere to keep them vibrant or relevant.' Meanwhile, Andrew C. Oliver offers a personal perspective on his work with Apache, why he left, and how the foundation can revamp itself in the coming years: 'I could never regret my time at Apache. I owe it my career to some degree. It isn't how I would choose to develop software again, because my interests and my role in the world have changed. That said, I think the long-term health of the organization requires it get back to its ideals, open up its private lists, and let sunshine disinfect the interests. My poorly articulated reasons for leaving a long time ago stemmed from my inability to effect that change.'"

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Only One US City Makes "Top Ten Internet Cities Worldwide" List
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's clicking-it-twice department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new report today has ranked the Top 10 'Internet Cities' around the globe, based on a set of five criteria: connection speed, availability of citywide WiFi, openness to innovation, support of public data, and security/data privacy. One might expect high-tech cities like San Francisco and Tel Aviv to appear on a list of 'Internet Cities,' but they don't. Indeed, no Middle Eastern cities appear here at all, and — due, largely, to the United States' poor Internet speeds — the only US city to make this ranking is Seattle."

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Galileo: Right On the Solar System, Wrong On Ice
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-can't-be-right-all-the-time department:
carmendrahl writes "Famed astronomer Galileo Galilei is best known for taking on the Catholic Church by championing the idea that the Earth moves around the sun. But he also engaged in a debate with a philosopher about why ice floats on water. While his primary arguments were correct, he went too far, belittling legitimate, contradictory evidence given by his opponent, Ludovico delle Colombe. Galileo's erroneous arguments during the water debate are a useful reminder that the path to scientific enlightenment is not often direct and that even our intellectual heroes can sometimes be wrong."

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How Deadbeat Facebook Friends and Using ALL-CAPS Can Lower Your Credit Score
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-like-this department:
McGruber writes "CNN has the news that some financial lending companies claim that Facebook social connections can be a good indicator of a person's creditworthiness. One company determines if you are friends with someone who was late paying back a loan; if so, that is bad news for you. It is even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with. Another company gathers information from the manner in which a customer fills out the online loan application. The chances of getting a loan improve if you spend time reading information about the loan on their website. Conversely, if you fill out the application typing in all-caps (or with no caps), you are knocked down a couple pegs in that company's eyes. A third lender requires that small business borrowers grant them access to the borrowers' PayPal, eBay and other online payment accounts (what could possibly go wrong with that?), thereby disclosing real-time sales and delivery information."

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The Big Hangup At Burning Man Is Cell Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-a-message department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "L. J. Williamson writes in the LA Times that with no running water, no plumbing, and no electrical outlets Burning Man isn't the kind of place to expect full bars on your smartphone and for many of the participants that's a big part of its charm. 'If you want to partake in the true Burning Man experience, you should leave your phone at home,' says Mark Hansen. In past years, the closest cellular towers, designed to serve the nearby towns of Empire (population 206) and Gerlach (population 217), would quickly get overwhelmed each August when Black Rock City (population 50,000 or so) rose from the featureless playa. Although Burning Man attracts a sizable Silicon Valley contingent including tech giants like Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin — the feeling of being 'unplugged' has become an integral part of the Burning Man experience. But another part of the event is an intrepid, DIY ethos, and in that spirit, David Burgess, co-creator of OpenBTS, an open-source cellular network software, brought a homemade in 2008, an 'almost comical' setup that created a working cellular network that routed a few hundred calls over a 48-hour period. In each subsequent year, Burgess has improved the system's reach and expects to have about three-quarters of this year's event covered. Burning Man proved an ideal test bed for development of Burgess' system, which he has since made available for use in other areas without cellular networks. 'People who have a lot of experience in international aid say Burning Man is a very good simulation of a well-organized refugee camp,' says Burgess. 'Because there's no infrastructure, it forces us to contend with a lot of problems that our rural customers have to contend with in very remote places.'"

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Book Review: Hacking Exposed Mobile Security Secrets & Solutions
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 11:16 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke writes "Little did anyone know that when the first Hacking Exposed book came out over 15 years ago, that it would launch a set of sequels on topics from Windows, Linux, web development, to virtualization and cloud computing, and much more. In 2013, the newest edition is Hacking Exposed Mobile Security Secrets & Solutions. In this edition, authors Neil Bergman, Mike Stanfield, Jason Rouse & Joel Scambray provide an extremely detailed overview of the security and privacy issues around mobile devices. The authors have heaps of experience in the topics and bring that to every chapter." Read below for the rest of Ben's review. Hacking Exposed Mobile Security Secrets & Solutions
author Neil Bergman, Mike Stanfield, Jason Rouse & Joel Scambray
pages 320
publisher McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
rating 9/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-0071817011
summary Excellent resource to understand current mobile security threats

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The Big Hangup At Burning Man Are Cell Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-a-message department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "L. J. Williamson writes in the LA Times that with no running water, no plumbing, and no electrical outlets Burning Man isn't the kind of place to expect full bars on your smartphone and for many of the participants that's a big part of its charm. 'If you want to partake in the true Burning Man experience, you should leave your phone at home,' says Mark Hansen. In past years, the closest cellular towers, designed to serve the nearby towns of Empire (population 206) and Gerlach (population 217), would quickly get overwhelmed each August when Black Rock City (population 50,000 or so) rose from the featureless playa. Although Burning Man attracts a sizable Silicon Valley contingent including tech giants like Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin — the feeling of being 'unplugged' has become an integral part of the Burning Man experience. But another part of the event is an intrepid, DIY ethos, and in that spirit, David Burgess, co-creator of OpenBTS, an open-source cellular network software, brought a homemade in 2008, an 'almost comical' setup that created a working cellular network that routed a few hundred calls over a 48-hour period. In each subsequent year, Burgess has improved the system's reach and expects to have about three-quarters of this year's event covered. Burning Man proved an ideal test bed for development of Burgess' system, which he has since made available for use in other areas without cellular networks. 'People who have a lot of experience in international aid say Burning Man is a very good simulation of a well-organized refugee camp,' says Burgess. 'Because there's no infrastructure, it forces us to contend with a lot of problems that our rural customers have to contend with in very remote places.'"

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Synchronized Virtual Reality Heartbeat Triggers Out-of-Body Experiences
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-into-the-light department:
Zothecula writes "New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it's easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person's self-consciousness by externalizing the body's internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia and could also help dieters too."

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Goldman Suspends 4 Senior Tech Specialists After Trading Glitch
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's feature-not-a-bug department:
First time accepted submitter sbjornda writes "A glitch in an internal system led to erroneous trades on some funds whose listings begin with the letters H through L. Goldman Sachs has put four Senior Technology Specialists on administrative leave as a result. From the article: 'The system, called a "trading axis", monitors the Wall Street bank's inventory to determine whether it should be a more aggressive buyer or seller in the market. But a technical error misinterpreted non-binding indications of interest, or IOIs, as firm bids and offers, leading to some trades that were vastly out of line with where market prices were, Reuters reported previously, citing a source familiar with the matter'"

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Elon Musk's New Hologram Project Invites 'Iron Man' Comparisons
Posted by News Fetcher on August 26 '13 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's mandarin-approved department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the 'Iron Man' trilogy, billionaire inventor Tony Stark uses a gesture-controlled hologram to draft new designs of the titular armor, sending virtual parts flying around his lab with the flick of a wrist. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk—who is often compared to Stark by the tech press—is apparently creating the real-life equivalent of that fictional hologram system. 'We figured out how to design rocket parts just w hand movements through the air (seriously),' he Tweeted August 23. 'Now need a high frame rate holograph generator.' In a follow-up Tweet, he added: 'Will post video next week of designing a rocket part with hand gestures & then immediately printing it in titanium.' But Musk has no plans to actually make an Iron Man-inspired suit of armor. 'I am not going to make an IM suit,' he wrote on Twitter, 'however design by hand-manipulated hologram is actually useful.'"

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