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Lead Developer of Yum Killed In Hit-and-run
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
An anonymous reader writes "Seth Vidal, a lead developer of Yum, was killed in a hit-and-run accident while riding his bicycle in Durham, NC last night."
The Fedora Project posted a statement. Quoting: "Seth was a lead developer of yum and the update repository system, and a contributor to the CentOS project as well as the original Fedora Extras system. He worked tirelessly on the infrastructure for the Fedora Project to make all systems work well and consistently for our contributors around the world. He was a gifted speaker, a brilliant thinker, a clever wit, a humble and genuinely funny person, and a good friend. The Fedora community owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Seth's dedication to Fedora and other free software projects, his commitment to community values, and his passion for excellence in his work. To say he will be missed is an understatement."

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New Atomic Clock Could Redefine the Second
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's about-time department:
bmahersciwriter writes "The new type of clock, called an optical lattice clock could replace the cesium fountain clocks used as the standard for time keeping. Indeed, it could redefine the second. The cesium fountain is predicted to keep time within one second over 100 million years. While other atomic clocks are better than that, researchers suspect the optical lattice is better still and could one day replace the standard."

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Apple and Amazon End Lawsuit Over the Term 'App Store'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's our-world-just-got-a-bit-less-silly department:
An anonymous reader writes "After months of back and forth legal filings, Amazon and Apple have finally ended their ongoing dispute centering on Amazon's use of the term 'App Store.' As part of the agreement, Apple agreed to drop the suit and Amazon promised not to counter-sue Apple in the future. Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said that 'we no longer see a need to pursue our case. With more than 900,000 apps and 50 billion downloads, customers know where they can purchase their favorite apps.' Apple initially sued Amazon back in March of 2011 alleging that the online retailer's use of the phrase 'App Store' in its mobile software developer program constituted trademark infringement. Apple expressed that allowing Amazon to continue to use the phrase 'App Store' would ultimately confuse consumers who associate the phrase with Apple's app store for iOS apps."

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Confessions of a Cyber Warrior
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's he-hacked-the-last-donut department:
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Roger Grimes interviews a longtime friend and cyber warrior under contract with the U.S. government, offering a fascinating glimpse of the front lines in the ever-escalating and completely clandestine cyber war. From the interview: 'They didn't seem to care that I had hacked our own government years ago or that I smoked pot. I wasn't sure I was going to take the job, but then they showed me the work environment and introduced me to a few future co-workers. I was impressed. ... We have tens of thousands of ready-to-use bugs in single applications, single operating systems. ... It's all zero-days. Literally, if you can name the software or the controller, we have ways to exploit it. There is no software that isn't easily crackable. In the last few years, every publicly known and patched bug makes almost no impact on us. They aren't scratching the surface.'"

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NASA's Polar Robotic Ranger Passes Test In One of Earth's Harshest Places
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's call-me-when-it-survives-detroit-after-dark department:
Zothecula writes "NASA scientists have unleashed a new robot on the arctic terrain of Greenland to demonstrate that its ability to operate with complete autonomy in one of Earth's harshest environments. Named GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, the polar robotic ranger carries ground-penetrating radar for analysis of snow and ice, and an autonomous system that is operated over an Iridium satellite connection. All of that is placed between two solar panels and two snowmobile tracks."

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Obamacare Software Glitch Will Limit Penalties Charged To Smokers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's software-engineers-1,-democracy-0 department:
turbosaab writes "The Obama administration has quietly notified insurers that a computer system glitch will limit penalties that companies may charge smokers under the new healthcare law. The underlying reason for the limitation is another provision in the health care law that says insurers can't charge older customers more than three times what they charge the youngest adults in the pool. The government's computer system has been unable to accommodate the two. So younger smokers and older smokers must be charged the same penalty, or the system will kick it out. A fix will take at least a year to put in place."

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China Environment Ministry Calls Itself One of Four Worst Departments In World
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's america-disappointed-in-its-inability-to-sweep-the-series department:
hackingbear writes
"According to the Telegraph, 'Zhou Shengxian was quoted by state media as saying: "I've heard that there are four major embarrassing departments in the world and that China's ministry of environmental protection is one of them." Mr Zhou, an economist and veteran Communist Party member, blamed his ministry's malfunctions on "overlapping" remits, which confused the agency's role in handling issues such as carbon emissions and water monitoring. The minister made no mention of the other three most embarrassing departments but Chinese micro-bloggers were quick to weigh in with their suggestions.' Those suggestions including the navy of China's landlocked neighbour, Mongolia, Taiwan's foreign ministry, and China's petitioning department where officials are tasked with hearing and acting on the grievances of ordinary Chinese but can't handle/solve anything. Perhaps Zhou's department should be applauded for its honesty. What are your list of the other three most embarrassing departments in our world?"

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HTTP 2.0 Will Be a Binary Protocol
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cram-your-stuff-in-this-box department:
earlzdotnet writes "A working copy of the HTTP 2.0 spec has been released. Unlike previous versions of the HTTP protocol, this version will be a binary format, for better or worse. However, this protocol is also completely optional: 'This document is an alternative to, but does not obsolete the HTTP/1.1 message format or protocol. HTTP's existing semantics remain unchanged.'"

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Exposed SSH Key Means US Emergency Alert System Can Be Hacked
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what's-with-all-the-tsunami-alerts-lately? department:
wiredmikey writes "Recently discovered security flaws in the Emergency Alerting System (EAS) which is widely used by TV and radio stations across the United States, has made the systems vulnerable to remote attack. The vulnerability stems from an SSH key that is hard-coded into DASDEC-I and DASDEC-II devices made by Monroe Electronics. Unless the default settings were altered during deployment, impacted systems are using a known key that could enable an attacker with full access if the systems are publicly faced or if they've already compromised the network. By exploiting the vulnerability, an attacker could disrupt a station's ability to transmit and/or could send out false emergency information. 'Earlier this year we were shown an example of an intrusion on the EAS when the Montana Television Network's regular programming was interrupted by news of a zombie apocalypse. Although there was no zombie apocalypse, it did highlight just how vulnerable the system is,' said Mike Davis, a principal research scientist at IOActive. The DHS issued an alert on the vulnerability, and IOActive, the firm that discovered the flaw, has published additional technical details (PDF) on the security issue."

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Malcolm Gladwell On Culture and Airplane Crashes
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-is-a-lighthouse-suit-yourself department:
theodp writes "While the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 pilots' lack of communication puzzles crash investigators, readers of author Malcolm Gladwell are likely having a deja vu moment. Back in 2008, Gladwell dedicated a whole chapter of his then-new book Outliers to Culture, Cockpit Communication and Plane Crashes (old YouTube interview). 'Korean Air had more plane crashes than almost any other airline in the world for a period at the end of the 1990s,' Gladwell explained in an interview. 'When we think of airline crashes, we think, Oh, they must have had old planes. They must have had badly trained pilots. No. What they were struggling with was a cultural legacy, that Korean culture is hierarchical. You are obliged to be deferential toward your elders and superiors in a way that would be unimaginable in the U.S.'"

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Deus Ex Creator On How a Video-Game Academy Could Fix the Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's horns-trying-to-hook-'em department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the fall of 2014, 20 promising video game developers will begin a yearlong (and free) program at the University of Texas at Austin, where they will study under some of the gaming industry's most successful executives. 'The idea is to get the best of the best of the best, run them through a Navy Seals boot camp of sorts and not force them to worry about "how do I pay the rent and buy groceries,"' said program leader Warren Spector, who is responsible for creating well-known games such as Deus Ex. 'Fingers crossed, when we start delivering graduates who can contribute in major ways to the development of future games, that philanthropy will continue.' In a wide-ranging interview, Spector also talked about how his future students will be graduating into an industry in which 'every business model is broken, which is either terrifying or an opportunity depending on how you look at it.' Focus groups, analysis of historical trends, and aggregated game review scores may be comforting to number crunchers, but the majority of game projects still end up as commercial failures. Spector ultimately believes the people who actually make the games are going to make better decisions than the number crunchers. 'We've got to be looking forward and any time you start bringing data into it, you're not," Spector said. "I pitched a Lego construction game in 1989, and guess what: Minecraft is basically a Lego construction game. But at the time I was told "no, that won't work." I pitched a western game and the response was "westerns don't sell." And then Red Dead Redemption came out. Stuff doesn't sell until someone makes one that sells, and no amount of data can reveal what new thing is going to sell. The metrics and data guys, and the publishing guys will never come up with the next big thing.'""

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Linux-Based Smartpen Heads For Kickstarter
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's veil-spass-beim-kuli department:
DeviceGuru writes with a snippet from LinuxGizmos: "A Linux-based digital pen from German startup Lernstift will go live on Kickstarter on July 10 for about 115 Euros, or $148. The Lernstift pen incorporates an ARM Cortex processor, a WiFi module, and a motion sensor, and is designed to correct penmanship, spelling, and grammar errors as you write. A set of 3D motion sensors, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer help the smartpen's embedded Linux computer calculate the pen's 3D movements and generate 2D vectors. Kickstarter supporters pledging 99 Pounds (about 115 Euros, or $148 U.S.) will receive the first shipment of pens later this year, and standard pricing is expected to start at 130-150 Euros when production devices ship in early 2014."

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Mozilla Launches Firefox OS Devices In Stores, Opens Up App Payments
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-now-let's-talk-migration-path department:
An anonymous reader writes "After almost two years of development, Mozilla today officially launched Firefox OS devices in stores. At the same time, the company has opened up payments for developers interested in charging for their apps or charging for content inside their apps. Last week, the first commercial Firefox OS devices arrived in Spain ready to be sold by Telefónica, starting on July 9 with the ZTE Open for €69 ($88.80) including VAT. Mozilla says Poland, Colombia, and Venezuela also have upcoming launches soon, and more countries will be joining the list as well, but today today marks the day official Firefox OS devices are available in store."

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European Watchdogs Challenge Google Over Its Privacy Policy
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's only-the-government-gets-to-spy-so-much department:
Trajan Przybylski writes "Information rights authorities in the UK, Germany, and Italy threatened to take legal action against Google if the company does not change its unified privacy policy. In its latest statement the ICO, Britain's information watchdog, said that Google's privacy policy implemented in March 2012 may not comply with the UK Data Protection Act. Many privacy activists and commentators have been critical of the data unification practice with some claiming that the data sharing across web services carries serious risk of compromising people's identities as many users are not even aware that their data is freely passed between Google-owned services."

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Got Malware? Get a Hammer!
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sorry-but-it's-the-only-way department:
FuzzNugget writes "After the Economic Development Administration (EDA) was alerted by the DHS to a possible malware infection, they took extraordinary measures. Fearing a targeted attack by a nation-state, they shut down their entire IT operations, isolating their network from the outside world, disabling their email services and leaving their regional offices high and dry, unable to access the centrally-stored databases. A security contractor ultimately declared the systems largely clean, finding only six computers infected with untargeted, garden-variety malware and easily repaired by reimaging. But that wasn't enough for the EDA: taking gross incompetence to a whole new level, they proceeded to physically destroy $170,500 worth of equipment, including uninfected systems, printers, cameras, keyboards and mice.

After the destruction was halted — only because they ran out of money to continue smashing up perfectly good hardware — they had racked up a total of $2.3 million in service costs, temporary infrastructure acquisitions and equipment destruction."


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UCSD Lecturer Releases Geotagging Application For "Dangerous Guns and Owners"
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's guns-are-meant-to-be-dangerous department:
NF6X writes "UCSD Lecturer Brett Stallbaum has released an Android app called Gun Geo Marker to allow people to 'Geolocate Dangerous Guns and Owners.' The app description states:
'The Gun Geo Marker operates very simply, letting parents and community members mark, or geolocate, sites associated with potentially unsafe guns and gun owners. These locations are typically the homes or businesses of suspected unsafe gun owners, but might also be public lands or other locations where guns are not handled safely, or situations where proper rights to own or use any particular type of firearm may not exist.' I question how the motivation behind developing this app differs from, say, developing an app to allow others to publicly geotag homes of people believed to belong to a particular religion or political party."


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Computer Failure Disrupts British Air Traffic Control Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's fly-safely-up-there department:
judgecorp writes "Air travel in the UK is facing disruption today, after a computer failure at the national air traffic control body, NATS. There aren't many details at this stage, but flights in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick are subject to delay, and there are fewer flights over the South of England."

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Federal Judge Rejects State Secrets Claims: EFF Case To Proceed
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's nowhere-to-hide department:
The EFF has been attempting to sue the government over illegal surveillance since the Bush administration, and, despite repeated attempts to have the case dismissed because of State Secrets, a federal judge has now ruled that the case must go forward in public court, throwing out the government's State Secrets argument. From the order: Having thoroughly considered the parties' papers, Defendants' public and classified
declarations, the relevant legal authority and the parties' arguments, the Court GRANTS the
Jewel Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary adjudication by rejecting the state secrets defense
as having been displaced by the statutory procedure prescribed in 50 U.S.C. 1806(f) of FISA. In both related cases, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motions to dismiss Plaintiffs' statutory
claims on the basis of sovereign immunity. The Court further finds that the parties have not
addressed the viability of the only potentially remaining claims, the Jewel Plaintiffs'
constitutional claims under the Fourth and First Amendments and the claim for violation of
separation of powers and the Shubert Plaintiffs' fourth cause of action for violation of the
Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, the Court RESERVES ruling on Defendants' motion for

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Sent To Jail Because of a Software Bug
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's off-to-the-protein-bank-with-you department:
First time accepted submitter toshikodo writes "The BBC is reporting a claim that some sub-post office workers in the UK have been sent to jail because of a bug in the accounting software that they use. The Post Office admits Horizon computer defect. I've worked on safety critical system in the past, and I am well aware of the potential for software to ruin lives (thankfully AFAIK nobody has been harmed by my software), but how many of us consider the potential for bugs in ordinary software to adversely affect those that use it?"

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Former Valve Hardware Designer Recounts Management Difficulties
Posted by News Fetcher on July 09 '13 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lord-of-the-flies department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "Jeri Ellsworth has opened up about her time at games developer Valve and has hit out strongly at the so-called flatpack management structure. She says that despite Valve's claims of a democratic structure, there is a layer of powerful management in place and when she was fired she felt like she had been stabbed in the back. 'If I sound bitter, it's because I am. I am really, really bitter. They promised me the world and then stabbed me in the back.'"

Develop Online has a good transcript. In the end, Gabe Newell at least let her team keep the rights to their augmented reality hardware. She also notes that she still loves Valve, but the management and bonus structure resulted in communication breakdowns at Valve's size. It does seem that a flat structure can work: Andy Wingo has been weblogging about working at Igalia and seems pretty positive about the experience.

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