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Google Chrome Is Getting Automatic Blocking of Malicious Downloads
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's whose-opinion-of-the-malware-though department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced Chrome is getting an automatic download blocking feature for malware. Google has already added the new functionality to the latest build of Chrome Canary. All versions of Chrome will soon automatically block downloads and let you know in a message at the bottom of your screen. You will be able to "Dismiss" the message, although it's not clear if you will be able to stop or revert the block."

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Book Review: Stay Awhile and Listen
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stay-awhile-and-read department:
Many of today's adult video gamers grew up with a gaming industry that was still trying to figure itself out. In the early-to-mid 1990s, most of the gaming genres we're familiar with today were still indistinct, half-formed concepts waiting for that one game necessary to define them. Thus, many players sat up and took notice when a relatively unknown company named Blizzard managed to exemplify not one, but two separate types of game in quick succession. Warcraft: Orcs and Humans put real-time strategy on the map, and Diablo set the standard for action RPGs. The two games immediately elevated Blizzard to the top of the industry, and many gamers wondered how one studio could put out two games like these so quickly. As it turns out, it wasn't one studio; it was a blending of two very different but extremely creative groups who had a passion for making video games. In Stay Awhile and Listen, author David Craddock lays out the history of the two groups, from how they first got into the gaming business to their eventual success launching now-legendary games. Read on for our review of the book. Stay Awhile and Listen
author David Craddock
pages 399
publisher DM Press
rating 9/10
reviewer Jeff Boehm
ISBN 978-0-9884099-0-3
summary A look into the humble beginnings of Blizzard

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Artificial Blood Made In Romania
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's high-demand-in-local-market department:
First time accepted submitter calinduca writes "Artificial blood that could one day be used in humans without side effects has been created by scientists in Romania. The blood contains water and salts along with a protein known as hemerythrin which is extracted from sea worms. Researchers from Babe-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, hope it could help end blood supply shortages and prevent infections through donations." Wikipedia's entry on hemerythrin explains its unusual oxygen binding mechanism.

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FAA To Allow Use of Most Electronic Devices Throughout Flights
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bright-spot-for-the-day department:
alstor writes "As previously expected, the FAA has announced that most portable electronic devices may be used throughout the duration of a flight. Mobile phones may still only be used in airplane mode without cellular service."

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Pen Testers Break Into Gov't Agency With Fake Social Media ID
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's open-government department:
itwbennett writes "Security experts used fake Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to penetrate the defenses of an (unnamed) U.S. government agency with a high level of cybersecurity awareness. The attack was part of a sanctioned penetration test performed in 2012 and its results were presented Wednesday at the RSA Europe security conference in Amsterdam. The testers built a credible online identity for a fictional woman named Emily Williams and used that identity to pose as a new hire at the targeted organization. The attackers managed to launch sophisticated attacks against the agency's employees, including an IT security manager who didn't even have a social media presence. Within the first 15 hours, Emily Williams had 60 Facebook connections and 55 LinkedIn connections with employees from the targeted organization and its contractors. After 24 hours she had 3 job offers from other companies."

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Sony Issues Detailed PS4 FAQ Ahead of Launch
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's setting-expectations department:
Sockatume writes "Sony has released a detailed FAQ for the PS4 system, which launches in coming weeks. Of particular note: although Bluetooth headsets will not be compatible, generic 3.5mm and USB audio devices will work; the console will require activation via the internet or a special disk before it will play Blu-ray or DVDs; media servers, MP3s, and audio CDs are not supported. The console's "suspend/resume" and remote assistance features are listed as unavailable for the North American launch, implying that they will be patched in before the console launches in Europe later in November."

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Does Software Need a Siskel and Ebert?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's actually-it-needs-those-critics-from-the-muppet-show department:
theodp writes "Over at Scripting News, Dave Winer laments the lack of serious software reviews in the NY Times. That wasn't always the case, recalls Dave. 'When they started doing software reviews in the early '80s it was with the usual Times flair,' says Winer. 'But somewhere along the line they stopped taking tech seriously. It's as if they would only review Saturday morning television shows. How could television like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad take root in the culture if there was no criticism that discussed it? Yet that's where we are today with software.' So, does software need a Siskel and Ebert (or A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis for you highfalutin NYT readers!)?"

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Edward Snowden's New Job: Tech Support
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's honest-work department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Government whistleblower Edward Snowden, exiled in Russia after releasing top-secret documents about the National Security Agency's surveillance activities to the press, has a new job: tech support. Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told the Associated Press that his client starts work Nov. 1 for a "major" Russian Website, which he declined to name. In June, Snowden—a former CIA employee who worked as a contractor for the NSA—began feeding an enormous pile of classified charts and documents about federal surveillance programs to The Guardian and other newspapers. Many of those documents suggested that the NSA, ordinarily tasked with intercepting communications from terrorists and foreign governments, collects massive amounts of information on ordinary Americans, which in turn ignited a firestorm of controversy. The Snowden revelations have continued into this week, with The Washington Post reporting that the NSA has aggressively targeted Google and Yahoo servers. Snowden's documents suggest that the agency has figured out how to tap the links connecting the two tech giants' datacenters to the broader Web. Google told the Post that it was "troubled" by the report. A Yahoo spokesperson insisted that the company had "strict controls in place to protect the security of our datacenters" and that "we have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency.""

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Silent Circle, Lavabit Unite For 'Dark Mail' Encrypted Email Project
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it's-so-spooky department:
angry tapir writes "Two privacy-focused email providers have launched the Dark Mail Alliance, a project to engineer an email system with robust defenses against spying. Silent Circle and Lavabit abruptly halted their encrypted email services in August, saying they could no longer guarantee email would remain private after court actions against Lavabit, reportedly an email provider for NSA leaker Edward Snowden."

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State Technology Taxes Face Stiff Resistance
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 04:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sending-an-angry-email department:
SonicSpike writes "As the nation moves from a tangible goods-based economy to a service-based economy, a few states are trying to keep revenues robust by taxing technological services such as software upgrades and cloud computing. But a backlash from the high-tech industry has quashed most efforts. As a result, the U.S. has a patchwork quilt of state taxes on technological services. Some states that have tried to impose such taxes have failed spectacularly, and most have not tried at all. According to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank that studies taxes, only 10 states (Connecticut, New Mexico, Hawaii, South Dakota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia tax all writing or updating of software. Only New Mexico, Hawaii and South Dakota levy their general sales taxes on all software services. States with sales taxes do, however, levy those taxes on software that is sold on CDs or other hard storage materials. About half the states also tax 'canned' (non-altered) software that can be downloaded, according to the Tax Foundation. Elia Peterson, an analyst with the foundation, said in a recent paper that states are reluctant to tax computer services in large part because it 'is an especially mobile industry and could easily move to a lower tax state.'"

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Hacker Spoofs Track Plays To Top Music Charts
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '13 at 02:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-is-that-noise department:
mask.of.sanity writes "Stand aside P!nk, Niki Minaj; you've just been beaten by a music generator. One Aussie security expert curious about the fraud mechanisms at play on streaming services like Spotify uploaded garbage music tracks and directed three Amazon virtual machines to click the play button 24/7 for a month, earning him top spot in online music charts and $1000 in royalties."

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Why NASA Launched Millions of Tiny Copper Wires In Orbit
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's up-up-and-away department:
coondoggie writes "Imagine 500 million short copper wires — no longer than the tip of your index finger — floating in space creating what amounts to an antenna belt that could be used to send messages and conduct other space communications research. That would describe the 1960s era Project Space Needles or Project West Ford as it was sometimes called that NASA and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last undertook in 1963 which saw the blasting of millions of those copper hairs into space. NASA's Orbital Debris Program Office this month did a 'Where are they now' look at those copper wires and said that after 50 years, some of them indeed still make up a small amount of orbital debris."

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MIT Wristband Is a Personal Climatizer
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cooling-down department:
rcastro0 writes "What looks like a CPU's heat sink worn around the wrist apparently may be able to make you feel cool even while it is hot — or warm while it is cold. As Wired reports, this termoelectric device explores human physiology and how we perceive temperature to fool our body and make us comfortable. The device is called Wristify, and Mashable has a video."

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Spy Expert Says Australia Operating As "Listening Post" For US Agencies
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 06:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's can-you-hear-me-now department:
First time accepted submitter ozduo writes in with news about Australia's alleged involvement with the ongoing NSA spying program. "Intelligence expert Professor Des Ball says the Australian Signals Directorate — formerly known as the Defense Signals Directorate — is sharing information with the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA is the agency at the heart of whistleblower Edward Snowden's leaks, and has recently been accused of tapping into millions of phone calls of ordinary citizens in France, Germany and Spain. Mr Ball says Australia has been monitoring the Asia Pacific region for the US using local listening posts. 'You can't get into the information circuits and play information warfare successfully unless you're into the communications of the higher commands in [the] various countries in our neighborhood,' he told Lateline. Mr Ball says Australia has four key facilities that are part of the XKeyscore program, the NSA's controversial computer system that searches and analyses vast amounts of internet data. They include the jointly-run Pine Gap base near Alice Springs, a satellite station outside Geraldton in Western Australia, a facility at Shoal Bay, near Darwin, and a new center in Canberra."

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Microsoft Research Uses Kinect To Translate Between Spoken and Sign Languages
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 04:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what'd-you-say department:
An anonymous reader writes in with neat project the Microsoft is working on to translate sign language with a Kinect. "Microsoft Research is now using the Kinect to bridge the gap between folks who don't speak the same language, whether they can hear or not. The Kinect Sign Language Translator is a research prototype that can translate sign language into spoken language and vice versa. The best part? It does it all in real time."

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Phone Calls More Dangerous Than Malware To Companies
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watch-what-you-say department:
dinscott writes "During Social Engineer Capture the Flag contest, one of the most prominent and popular annual events at DEF CON 21, a pool of 10 men and 10 women, from diverse backgrounds and experience levels, tested their social engineering abilities against 10 of the biggest global corporations, including Apple, Boeing, Exxon, General Dynamics and General Electric. The complete results of the competition are in, and they don't bode well for businesses."

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Kepler-78b: The Earth-Like Planet That Shouldn't Exist
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 03:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hot-hot-hot department:
astroengine writes "Kepler-78b may be an exoplanet notable for being approximately Earth-sized and likely possessing a rocky surface plus iron core, but that's where any similarity to our planet ends. It has an extremely tight orbit around sun-like star Kepler-78, completing one 'year' in only 8.5 hours. It orbits so close in fact that the alien world's surface temperature soars to 2,000 degrees hotter than Earth's. Referring to Kepler-78b as a 'rocky' world is therefore a misnomer — it's a hellish lava world. But this is just a side-show to the real conundrum behind Kepler-78b: It shouldn't exist at all. 'This planet is a complete mystery,' said astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in a press release. 'We don't know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. What we do know is that it's not going to last forever.'"

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Slashdot Asks: What Are You Doing For Hallowe'en?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's best-holiday-generally-speaking department:
Hallowe'en is my favorite holiday: I like seeing costumes (and walking around in my own), and seeing what people do to decorate their houses, yards, etc. For the second year in a row though, I've failed to come up with a really good scheme for making my own place appropriate spooky. So, in hopes of loosing some inspiration for myself and others, I ask today what you're doing to spookify your surroundings (or your person) tomorrow, especially if it means using technology in interesting ways. Sensor-activated scary sounds or lights? An Arduino or Raspberry Pi-controlled costume? Elaborate trap-door? Infrasonic hackle-raising subwoofer install? Maybe one year Alek Komarnitsky will switch to Hallowe'en instead of Christmas, and offer a webcam-equipped remote-controllable haunt.

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Lenovo Want Ashton Kutcher As More Than Just a Pretty Face
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's or-maybe-he's-just-a-smart-dude department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "It's not clear whether managers at Lenovo were too starstruck to say 'no,' or whether the once-respected PC maker is having so much trouble hiring technical help it genuinely intends to allow lowbrow-sitcom staple Ashton Kutcher serve as both celebrity spokesman and full-on product engineer. Lenovo announced that it had hired Kutcher as a product engineer who will 'work with the copany's engineering teams around the world to develop and market the Yoga line of tablets by providing input and decision-making into design, specifications, software and usage scenarios.' Kutcher – former Calvin Klein underwear model, star of such quality entertainment as That '70s Show, Punk'd, current star of Two-and-a-Half Men and, most recently, portrayer of Steve Jobs in the biopic Jobs – has a successful track record of investing in tech companies, Lenovo's announcement said as partial explanation for the arrangement. Kutcher also studied biomechanical engineering as an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, which USA Today and other news outlets used to help bolster the idea that the star of Dude, Where's My Car? could function effectively as part of an engineering product-development team. Kutcher did list his planned major at the university as biomechanical engineering when he enrolled in 1996, but he dropped out during the 1997-98 school year. He did found A-Grade Investments, which has been involved in or funded tech companies including Sporify, Path, Airbnb and Uber, according to Lenovo."

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Google Nexus 5 Posts Best Gaming Benchmark Among Android Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on October 30 '13 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-loser-some-might-say department:
MojoKid writes "Rumors around the what and when of Google's upcoming Nexus 5 smartphone have been plentiful, and ahead of the supposed release date on Halloween, a benchmark score for the handset has slipped out from Rightware, and it's downright impressive. According to Rightware's Power Board, the Nexus 5 delivered the second-highest Benchmark X gaming score among smartphones, behind only the iPhone 5S, making it the most powerful Android-based handset in the land. The LG-made phone shares a GPU (the Adreno 330) with the third-place Sharp Aquos SHL23 but bested the latter handset with a score of 14.27 to 13.10. A leaked user manual revealed that the Nexus 5 will boast a full HD 4.95-inch display, Snapdragon 800 processor (2.3GHz), 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage, and 8MP rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing cameras."

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