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UK Gov To Investigate 'Aggressive' In-app Purchases
Posted by News Fetcher on April 13 '13 at 01:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's buy-this-now department:
hypnosec writes "The UK Government will be examining whether free to download apps are putting unfair pressure on kids to pay up for additional content within the game through in-app purchases. Office of Fair Trading (OFT), UK, will be carrying out the investigation of games that include 'commercially aggressive' in-app purchases after a number of cases have been reported whereby parents have incurred huge bills after their kids have spent huge amounts on in-app purchases."

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TJX Hacker Gives Keynote At 'Offensive' Security Conference
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 10:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-put-me-right-off-my-fresh-fried-lobster department:
An anonymous reader writes "Two hundred hackers from around the world gathered at a Miami Beach hotel Thursday and Friday for the Infiltrate Security conference, which focuses on systems hacking from the 'offensive' perspective (with slides) . In a keynote address, Stephen Watt, who served two years in prison for writing the software used by his friend Alberto Gonzalez to steal millions of credit card numbers from TJX, Hannaford and other retailers, acknowledges he was a 'black hat' but denies that he was directly involved in TJX or any other specific job. Watt says his TCP sniffer logged critical data from a specified range of ports, which was then encrypted and uploaded to a remote server. Brad 'RenderMan' Haines gave a presentation on vulnerabilities of the Air Traffic Control system, including the FAA's 'NextGen' system which apparently carries forward the same weakness of unencrypted, unauthenticated location data passed between airplanes and control towers. Regarding the recent potential exploits publicized by Spanish researcher Hugo Teso, Haines says he pointed out similar to the FAA and its Canadian counterpart a year ago, but received only perfunctory response."

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Google Fiber: Why Traditional ISPs Are Officially On Notice
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's bulldoze-away department:
MojoKid writes "A few years ago, when Google was determining which city to launch its pilot Google Fiber program, cities all over the country went all-out trying to persuade the search giant to bring all that fantastical bandwidth to their neck of the woods. And with good reason: Google Fiber offers gigabit Internet speeds and even TV service, all at prices that meet or beat the competition. In fact, the lowest tier of Google Fiber service (5Mbps down, 1Mbps up) is free, once users pay a $300 construction fee. If ISPs were concerned before, they should really start sweating it now. Although Google Fiber looked like it would whip traditional ISPs in every regard, with Time Warner Cable cutting prices and boosting speeds for users in Kansas City in a desperate attempt to keep them, surely other ISPs were hoping the pilot program would flame out. Now that Austin is happening, it's clear that it's only a matter of time before Google rolls out its service in many more cities. Further, this jump from legacy Internet speeds to gigabit-class service is not just about people wanting to download movies faster; it's a sea change in what the Internet is really capable of."

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KLyDE: Lightweight KDE Desktop In the Making
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 04:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's vs-klydesdale department:
jrepin writes "During Hack Week 9 at SUSE, longtime KDE hacker Will Stephenson started working on a project codenamed KLyDE. This project's aim is to bring KDE Plasma to the lightweight desktop market. It applies KDE's strengths of modularity and configurability to the challenge of making a lightweight desktop." Better said, Stephenson was able to devote lots of time to it; he's been working on the project for a few years now.

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Earliest Version of D&D On Display At Rochester Museum
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-didn't-have-dice-we-were-too-poor department:
An anonymous reader writes "This weekend the National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, will display the earliest known version of the game Dungeons & Dragons as a part of their new exhibit Game Time!. The document is on loan from the personal collection of games historian Jon Peterson (author of Playing at the World), who says the document 'captures the system at around the midpoint of development, with the core concepts of dungeon exploration and fantastic combat in place, but it lacks some features of the mature game and exhibits a few intriguing variations.' Some excerpts are up on Peterson's blog."

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Why PC Sales Are Declining
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's people-pretty-satisfied-mostly-for-the-price department:
First time accepted submitter Benedick writes "I have a four year old desktop and a three year old notebook. Why haven't I upgraded to a new machine? Because they still work great. PC sales aren't declining because of Windows 8. They are declining because our PCs are so good, they last a lot longer. Will Oremus of Slate explains it better than I can."

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Man Who Tangled With The Oatmeal Ordered To Pay $46k
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-have-we-learned department:
Last summer we followed the odd case of lawyer Charles Carreon, as he went after Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal webcomic, with legal threats. Carreon had been hired by FunnyJunk, a website Inman accused of stealing his comics. Carreon demanded $20,000 in compensation for Inman's "false accusations." Inman declined, and then used the publicity to solicit over $200,000 in donations, which he gave to charity after sending Carreon photographs. Carreon dropped the suit against Inman, but the saga continued. A satirical website was set up about Carreon, which caused him to invoke the legal system again. The article documents the absurdities, which included further legal action and a song. Now, however, Carreon is reaping what he has sown; a judge has ordered him to pay over $46,000 for his role in the legal circus.

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Russia Adding $50 Billion To Space Effort
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
An anonymous reader sends news that Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled today a new $50 billion effort to maintain and extend the country's space capabilities. Part of this initiative is a new spaceport located in Russia, which will lead to the first manned launches from Russian soil in 2018. Manned launches currently originate from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"The Russian space programme has been hurt in recent years by a string of launch failures of unmanned probes and satellites, but Putin vowed Moscow would continue to ramp up spending. He said that from 2013-2020, Russia would be spending 1.6 trillion rubles ($51.8 billion, 38 million euros) on its space sector, a growth far greater than any other space power. 'Developing our potential in space will be one of the priorities of state policy,' Putin said at a meeting in the regional capital Blagoveshchensk. ... speaking to Canadian spaceman Chris Hadfield, currently commander of the ISS, Putin hailed cooperation in space which meant world powers could forget about the problems of international relations and think 'about the future of mankind.'"

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Why Local Is So Damn Hard For Startups: Foursquare Borrows $41M To Try Again
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's addressing-trivial-details-like-having-a-business-model department:
curtwoodward writes "It's one of the biggest, scariest graveyards for Internet entrepreneurs: Small, local business. Sure, a few companies have gone public trying to harvest this huge market — Groupon and Yelp, for instance — but even those big names aren't anyone's idea of a knockout corporate success story. Consider Foursquare, the 'check-in here' smartphone app that leads the latest wave of dreamers trying to strike paydirt among the mom-and-pop set. The company has now raised more than $100 million in private investment, including a fresh $41 million loan. It's just started trying to make money. And the CEO acknowledges that it'll take a massive new product overhaul to get there. Google's tried this market too, with nothing to really show for it. Same with Facebook. If these deep-pocketed techies can't crack the local business advertising nut, is there any hope for Foursquare — not to mention the countless smaller startups?"

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Crick's Nobel Medal Fetches $2.3 Million At Auction
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's with-a-side-of-crazy department:
ananyo writes "Francis Crick's Nobel medal fetched US$2.27 million at an auction in New York yesterday. The proud new owner is Jack Wang, chief executive of 'Biomobie' a company that intends to sell walnut-sized, flying-saucer-shaped electromagnetic devices that it claims have medically regenerative powers. The closely-watched sale featured a range of Crick memorabilia that the family had kept in storage for many years. Up for auction along with the medal — awarded for Crick's role in the 1953 discovery of the structure of DNA — were his lab coat, sailing logbooks and garden journals. Expectations were high because the day before, auctioneer Christie's had brokered the sale of a letter from Crick (PDF) to his 12-year-old son for $6 million, more than triple the pre-sale estimate. The letter went to an anonymous bidder. The new owner of the Crick medal is a Chinese-born American who says his motivation for purchasing the medal was to stimulate research into the 'mystery of Bioboosti,' which, he says, produces electromagnetic stimulation that can 'control and enable the regeneration of damaged organs.' Those benefits are, needless to say, so far unproven. Crick's family has said it will donate at least 20% of the proceeds from the sale of the medal and other items to the Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre scheduled to open in London in 2015."

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Ask Slashdot: What Should Happen To Your Data After You Die?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-is-your-solemn-duty-to-clear-your-departed-best-friend's-browsing-history department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Death is Nature's way of telling you it's time to get off the Internet. But when you finally shuffle off this mortal coil, you leave something behind: all your email and other digital assets. That's a huge problem not only for the deceased — once you're on the wrong side of the Great Beyond, there's no way to delete those incriminating messages — but also any relatives who might want to access your (former) life. And it's a problem Google's seeking to solve with the new Inactive Account Manager. (In an April 11 blog posting, Google product manager Andreas Tuerk suggested that Inactive Account Manager wasn't a 'great name' for the product, but maybe the company shouldn't be so hard on itself: it's a way better name than, say, Google Death Dashboard.) Inactive Account Manager will delete your Google-related data (Gmail, etc.) after a set amount of time, or else send that data to 'trusted contacts' you set up before your untimely demise. Which raises an interesting, semi-Google-related question: What do you want to have happen to your data after you die? Give it to loved ones, or have an automated system nuke it all? Should more companies that host email and data offer plans like Inactive Account Manager?"

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Wordpress Sites Under Wide-Scale Brute Force Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pressing-all-the-words department:
New submitter NitzJaaron writes "Some of us have been experiencing attacks on Wordpress sites for the last few days, but it's now beginning to be widely reported that there's a fairly large brute force attack happening on Wordpress users on multiple hosts, including HostGator and LiquidWeb. 'This attack is well organized and again very, very distributed; we have seen over 90,000 IP addresses involved in this attack.' CloudFlare has announced that they're giving all users (free and paid) protection from said attacks with their services. 'The attacker is brute force attacking the WordPress administrative portals, using the username "admin" and trying thousands of passwords.'"
Further reports available from Immotion hosting and Melbourne server hosting.

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AMD Says There Will Be No DirectX 12 — Ever
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pulling-a-reverse-firefox department:
mikejuk writes "This is a strange story. AMD Vice President of Global Channel Sales Roy Taylor has said there will be no DirectX12 at any time in the future. In an interview with German magazine Heise.de, Taylor discussed the new trend for graphics card manufacturers to release top quality game bundles registered to the serial number of the card. One of the reasons for this, he said, is that the DirectX update cycle is no longer driving the market. 'There will be no DirectX 12. That's it.' (Google translation of German original.) Last January there was another hint that things weren't fine with DirectX when Microsoft sent an email to its MVPs saying, 'DirectX is no longer evolving as a technology.' That statement was quickly corrected, but without mentioning any prospect of DirectX 12. So, is this just another error or rumor? Can we dismiss something AMD is basing its future strategy on?"

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IAU: No, You Can't Name That Exoplanet
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-died-and-made-you-president-of-planet-names department:
astroengine writes "The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the official body that governs the designations of all celestial bodies — in their capacity of purveyors of all things 'official' has deemed attempts at crowdsourcing names for exoplanets illegitimate. 'In the light of recent events, where the possibility of buying the rights to name exoplanets has been advertised, the International Astronomical Union wishes to inform the public that such schemes have no bearing on the official naming process,' writes Thierry Montmerle, General Secretary of the IAU in Paris, France. Although the 'schemes' are not specifically named, the most popular U.S.-based "exoplanet naming" group Uwingu appears to be the target of today's IAU statement. Set up by Alan Stern, planetary scientist and principal investigator for NASA's Pluto New Horizons mission, Uwingu encourages the public to nominate and vote (for a fee) on names for the slew of exoplanets steadily being discovered."

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Rhombus Tech 2nd Revision A10 EOMA68 Card Working Samples
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hardware-in-compliance department:
lkcl writes "Rhombus Tech and QiMod have working samples of the first EOMA-68 CPU Card, featuring 1GByte of RAM, an A10 processor and stand-alone (USB-OTG-powered with HDMI output) operation. Upgrades will include the new Dual-Core ARM Cortex A7, the pin-compatible A20. This is the first CPU Card in the EOMA-68 range: there are others in the pipeline (A31, iMX6, jz4760 and a recent discovery of the Realtek RTD1186 is also being investigated). The first product in the EOMA-68 family, also nearing a critical phase in its development, will be the KDE Flying Squirrel, a 7-in, user-upgradeable tablet featuring the KDE Plasma Active operating system. Laptops, desktops, game consoles, user-upgradeable LCD monitors and other products are to follow. And every CPU that goes into the products will be pre-vetted for full GPL compliance, with software releases even before the product goes out the door. That's what we've promised to do: to provide Free Software developers with the opportunity to be involved with mass-volume product development every step of the way. We're also on the look-out for an FSF-Endorseable processor which also meets mass-volume criteria, which is proving... challenging."

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Google, Apple Lead Massive List of Companies Supporting CISPA
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wonder-if-they-know-that department:
redletterdave writes "TechNet, the trade association representing and led by dozens of prominent technology companies including Google, Apple and Facebook, has formally come out in support of CISPA, sending a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives. The letter said: 'We commend the committee for providing liability protections to companies participating in voluntary information-sharing and applaud the committee's efforts to work with a wide range of stakeholders to address issues such as strengthening privacy protections. As the legislative process unfolds, we look forward to continuing the dialogue with you and your colleagues on further privacy protections, including discussions on the role of a civilian interface for information sharing.'"
The White House won't support the bill in its current form, but they plan to work with legislators on a compromise. The current text of the bill is available online.

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DARPA Develops Non-GPS Navigation Chip
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's because-life-just-isn't-worth-living-otherwise department:
Zothecula writes "The Global Positioning System (GPS) has proved a boon for those with a bad sense of direction, but the satellite-based system isn't without its shortcomings. Something as simple as going indoors or entering a tunnel can render the system useless. That might be inconvenient for civilians, but it's potentially disastrous to military users, for whom the system was originally built. DARPA is addressing such concerns with the development of a self-sufficient navigation system that can aid navigation when GPS is temporarily unavailable."

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Nintendo To Cancel Weather, News, and Other Built-In Wii Apps In June
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's end-of-life department:
damn_registrars writes "Nintendo has announced that at the end of June it will be canceling the services of several of the channels that are built in to the original Wii, including the Weather, News, Everybody Votes, and Mii Contest. This will also affect the WiiConnect24 services, though should not affect the Wii shopping channel. They added: 'Exchange of Wii messages on the Wii Message Board, exchange of Mii characters on the Mii Channel and message/data exchange within some games will be disabled.'"

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Mystery Meteorite May Not Be From Mercury After All
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hailing-from-parts-unknown department:
gbrumfiel writes "A strange green meteorite found in Morocco caused a stir in the press earlier this month, when scientists reported that it might be the first chunk of Mercury ever found here on earth. But scientists who've been puzzling over the stone since then say the accumulating evidence may point in a different direction. The 4.56-billion-year-old rock might have come from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. If true, then it would provide clues about the origin of the solar system as a whole instead of the origin of the innermost planet."

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Microsoft Telling Users To Uninstall Bad Patch
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-thanks-for-testing-it department:
msm1267 writes "Microsoft announced last night that it has stopped pushing a security update originally released on Patch Tuesday because the fix is causing some PCs to blue-screen. Microsoft recommends users uninstall the patch, which is also causing compatibility issues with some endpoint security software. MS13-036 was part of this week's Patch Tuesday update. It addressed three vulnerabilities in the Windows Kernel-Mode Driver, which if exploited could allow an attacker to elevate their privileges on a compromised machine. Users began reporting issues earlier this week with some systems failing to recover from restarts, or applications failing to load, after the patch was installed."

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