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Amid Fiscal Uncertainty Venture Capital Is Way Down In Silicon Valley
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's holding-the-wealth department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "With the 'fiscal cliff' just weeks away, Chris O'Brien writes that venture capital fundraising in silicon valley is down, the amount invested is down, the number of folks investing in venture capital is down, and the number of VC firms and partners are down. 'The people I talked to in the industry sounded grim even as they tried to make the case for optimism,' writes O'Brien. 'Still, it remains difficult to identify a clear path for turning things around for the battered venture capitalists who make Silicon Valley hum.' So what's wrong with the VC industry? The problems are many and complex but they can be boiled down to one thing: Not enough exits. For the size of venture capital being raised and invested, there simply aren't enough initial public offerings of stock or mergers and acquisitions to generate the returns that funds need. Venture insiders blame the global economic uncertainty. They believe that is part of the reason that giant corporations, which have amassed huge piles of cash, are just sitting on it, rather then using it to acquire startups. 'The numbers are way down,' said Ray Rothrock, a partner at Venrock. 'All these companies with these fantastic balance sheets, and nobody is really buying anything. With all the uncertainty they're facing with the economy and taxes, buying little companies is way down on their list.'"

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The Release Candidate For Linux Mint 14 "Nadia" Is Out
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-kid-on-the-block department:
First time accepted submitter Type44Q writes "Well, the latest edition of Mint is finally here (the release candidate, anyway); according to The Linux Mint Blog, 'For the first time since Linux Mint 11, the development team was able to capitalize on upstream technology which works and fits its goals. After 6 months of incremental development, Linux Mint 14 features an impressive list of improvements, increased stability and a refined desktop experience. We're very proud of MATE, Cinnamon, MDM and all the components used in this release, and we're very excited to show you how they all fit together in Linux Mint 14.'"

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Support Forums Reveal SCADA Infections
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's patient-zero department:
chicksdaddy writes "We hear a lot about vulnerabilities in industrial control system (ICS) software. But what about real evidence of compromised SCADA and industrial control systems? According to security researcher Michael Toecker, a consultant at the firm Digital Bond, the evidence for infected systems with links to industrial automation and control systems is right under our eyes: buried in public support forums. Toecker audited support sites like bleepingcomputer.com, picking through data dumps from free malware scanning tools like HijackThis and DDS. He found scans of infected systems that were running specialized ICS software like Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL) AcSELerator Software and GE Power's EnerVista Software (used to configure GE electric power protection products). The infected end user systems could be the pathway to compromising critical infrastructure, including electrical infrastructure. 'With access to a protection relay through a laptop, a malicious program could alter settings in the configuration file, inject bad data designed to halt the relay, or even send commands directly to the relay when a connection was made,' Toecker wrote."

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Color-Screen TI-84 Plus Calculator Leaked
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's adding-old-school department:
KermMartian writes "It has been nearly two decades since Texas Instruments released the TI-82 graphing calculator, and as the TI-83, TI-83+, and TI-84+ were created in the intervening years, these 6MHz machines have only become more absurdly retro, complete with 96x64-pixel monochome LCDs and a $120 price tag. However, a student member of a popular graphing calculator hacking site has leaked pictures and details about a new color-screen TI-84+ calculator, verified to be coming soon from Texas Instruments. With the lukewarm reception to TI's Nspire line, it seems to be an attempt to compete with Casio's popular color-screen Prizm calculator. Imagine the graphs (and games!) on this new 320x240 canvas."

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Director General of BBC Resigns Over "Poor Journalism"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-fact-checkers department:
dryriver writes "George Entwistle, the new Director General of the BBC who had been on the job for a mere 54 days, has voluntarily resigned over a BBC program that featured 'poor journalism'. The program in question was 'Newsnight', which typically features hard-hitting investigative journalism similar to American programs like '60 Minutes'. On Friday night, Newsnight accused a prominent Conservative MP and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Lord Alistair McAlpine, of having sexually abused a number of young boys at Bryn Estyn Children's Home in the 70s and 80s. Only after Newsnight aired with the allegations in the UK did the BBC realize that 'the wrong photographs were shown' to the alleged sexual abuse victims, who are now adults, and that Lord Alistair McAlpine had nothing whatsoever to do with the abuses committed. Newsnight's 'poor journalism' caused George Entwistle, the Director General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, to resign voluntarily over the scandal caused by the erroneous allegations. This example of an important media chief 'resigning voluntarily due to bad journalism' is interesting, because many TV, Web and Print journalists make 'serious mistakes' in their coverage at some point or the other, and quite often no heads roll whatsoever as a result."

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Apple and HTC Settle Patent Dispute
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's come-together department:
An anonymous reader writes "HTC and Apple have reached a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a ten-year license agreement. The license extends to current and future patents held by both parties. The terms of the settlement are confidential. From the article: '"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," Peter Chou, HTC's chief executive, said in a statement.

Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, also expressed relief in a statement. "We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation," he said.'"


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NASA DTN Protocol: How Interplanetary Internet Works
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's in-space-nobody-can-hear-you-click department:
First time accepted submitter GinaSmith888 writes "This is a deep dive in the BP protocol Vint Cerf developed that is the heart of NASA's Delay-Tolerant Networking, better known as DTN. From the article: 'The big difference between BP and IP is that, while IP assumes a more or less smooth pathway for packets going from start to end point, BP allows for disconnections, glitches and other problems you see commonly in deep space, Younes said. Basically, a BP network — the one that will the Interplanetary Internet possible — moves data packets in bursts from node to node, so that it can check when the next node is available or up.'"

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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Add Forums To a Website?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-my-people-post department:
First time accepted submitter DustyMurray writes "I am considering adding forums to my website, and am just getting confused by all the options. My first reaction is always DIY. You get better website integration, and it looks and feels 100% how you want it to look and feel. However looking at things like phpBB and Vanilla forums, I will be hard pressed to build a better user experience in a reasonable amount of time. Also these out-of-the-box solutions seem to be shouting 'Easy to integrate with your website.' So, considering this, how easy are these ready build forums really to integrate? I want to be able to insert stuff on certain pages, so it's not either the forums, or my site... It must be a mix. I do not want a second login system on my site. And last but not least, I definitely don't want to have this typical generic look that most forums sport. Can all that be delivered with the out-of-the-box forums that exist today? Which one is the most flexible regarding these wishes."

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Geomapping Racism With Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's following-the-trail department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Megan Garber writes that in the age of the quantified self, biases are just one more thing that can be measured, analyzed, and publicized. The day after Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States, a group of geography academics took advantage of the fact that many tweets are geocoded to search Twitter for racism-revealing terms that appeared in the context of tweets that mentioned 'Obama,' 're-elected,' or 'won,' sorting the tweets according to the state they were sent from and comparing the racist tweets to the total number of geocoded tweets coming from that state during the same time period. Their findings? Alabama and Mississippi have the highest measures followed closely by Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee forming a fairly distinctive cluster in the southeast. Beyond that cluster North Dakota and Utah both had relatively high scores (3.5 each), as did Missouri, Oregon, and Minnesota. 'These findings support the idea that there are some fairly strong clustering of hate tweets centered in southeastern U.S. which has a much higher rate than the national average,' writes Matthew Zook. 'But lest anyone elsewhere become too complacent, the unfortunate fact is that most states are not immune from this kind of activity. Racist behavior, particularly directed at African Americans in the U.S., is all too easy to find both offline and in information space.'"

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Project To Build Dual-Booting Linux, Android Tablet For $100
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's because-hey-why-not department:
SternisheFan sends this quote from Ars:
"It likely won’t be as sleek or fast as a Nexus 7 or Nexus 10, but a new tablet running both Android and Linux is in the works for open source enthusiasts and lovers of low-budget devices. PengPod tablets, made by a company called Peacock Imports, will dual-boot Android 4.0 and a version of Linux with the KDE Plasma Active interface for touch screens. But in order to reserve a tablet for yourself, you'll have to contribute to the company's crowdfunding project on Indiegogo and hope enough money is raised to begin production. 'Our goal is to build a powerful, True Linux Tablet, one free of Google and Android's restrictions, at a reasonable price,' the PengPod IndieGogo page says. 'If you're a Linux fanatic you probably ended up getting an Android phone. Hey, it's Linux right? It'll be open, run all the programs I'm familiar with and let me hack around and have some fun right? Too often, this is not so. That is why we set out to find a way to run real Linux and all the software you really want.'"

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Microsoft Surface Touch Cover 'Splits Within Days'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 11 '12 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's make-like-a-banana department:
An anonymous reader points out a report at the Guardian of a potential problem for early adopters of the Microsoft Surface tablet. The Touch Cover is one of the available protective covers for the device; it acts as a keyboard, and has both a gyroscope and an accelerometer on board. Unfortunately, some users have found that the edges of the Touch Cover have split open after only a few days of use. "The defect is identical in each case: the cover ... begins to split at its seam where the device attaches magnetically to the main computer. [One developer] was told to return his Touch Cover to Microsoft for a replacement, and Microsoft has been swapping faulty covers for users where it has retail stores. It's unclear whether the problems that people have encountered are due to a faulty batch or are a subtle problem that will become more apparent as more people use it for longer — but the fact that users in the US and the UK have reported the problem suggests that it is not isolated to a single manufacturing batch."

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Sony DVR Useless After Rovi Stops TV Guide OnScreen
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lifetime-service-assuming-a-very-short-life department:
New submitter speedlaw writes "Rovi has just announced that they are stopping the TV Guide OnScreen service as of April 13th, 2013. This was announced via the service itself. This is an on-air listing service that provides listings over the air, as part of an OTA TV signal. Many devices, notably the Sony HDD 250 and 500 Digital Video Recorders, will no longer function without the clock-set data this stream provides. When other companies decide to stop supporting something, they don't make older systems useless. Worse, Sony never came out with another DVR in the U.S. market. Why do we have to rent them? How do we get Sony or Rovi to provide at least a software patch to set the clock so the DVR can at least retain 1980s VCR functionality? Sony admits there is no fix. A thread on AVS forums has a bunch of information on TV Guide OnScreen. The TV stations who broadcast the data have been ordered by Rovi to disconnect the data inserters and ship them back. I have a TiVo, and yes, I know all about HTPC, but this data stream was 'lifetime listings' like TiVo has 'lifetime listings' — now that Rovi is looking to cut service, my two DVR units are about to become useless."

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Nike+ FuelBand: Possibly a Big Security Hole For Your Life
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's youtube-generation-wouldn't-even-flinch department:
MojoKid writes "Nike+ FuelBand is a $149 wristband with LED display that tracks your daily activity, tells you how many calories you've burned, lets you know how much fuel you have left in the tank, and basically keeps track of 'every move you make.' If you think that sounds like a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, it pretty much is. A source directly connected to Nike reported an amusing, albeit startling anecdote about a guy who got caught cheating on his girlfriend because of the Nike+ FuelBand. 'They shared their activity between each other and she noticed he was active at 1-2AM, when he was supposed to be home.' That's just one scenario. What if the wristband gets lost or stolen? How much data is actually stored on these sorts of devices? And remember, you're syncing it to the cloud with an iOS or Android app."

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'Treasure Trove' In Oceans May Bring Revolutions In Medicine and Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 05:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's or-may-bring-sea-monsters department:
dryriver sends this excerpt from the Guardian:
"Scientists have pinpointed a new treasure trove in our oceans: micro-organisms that contain millions of previously unknown genes and thousands of new families of proteins. These tiny marine wonders offer a chance to exploit a vast pool of material that could be used to create innovative medicines, industrial solvents, chemical treatments and other processes, scientists say. Researchers have already created new enzymes for treating sewage and chemicals for making soaps from material they have found in ocean organisms. 'The potential for marine biotechnology is almost infinite,' says Curtis Suttle, professor of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences at the University of British Columbia. 'It has become clear that most of the biological and genetic diversity on Earth is – by far – tied up in marine ecosystems, and in particular in their microbial components. By weight, more than 95% of all living organisms found in the oceans are microbial. This is an incredible resource.'"

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Critical Vulnerabilities In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, CryEngine 3
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-even-trust-games-anymore department:
hypnosec writes with news that two security consultants have found vulnerabilities in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and the CryEngine 3 graphics engine that could harm game makers and players alike. Presenting at the Power of Community (POC2012) security conference, the researchers demonstrated how a denial-of-service attack could affect Modern Warfare 3, and how a server-level attack on CryEngine 3 allowed them to "create a remote shell on a game-player's computer."
"'Once you get access to the server, which is basically the interface with the company, you can get access to all of the information on the players through the server,' Ferrante said. In general, game companies don't seem to be very focused on security but rather on performance of the game itself, Ferrante said. Adding security checks can slow down games, and if the companies don't deem the problem a very critical issue, it will usually be ignored. 'These are games that have a very large market,' Auriemma said."

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Ask Slashdot: Developer Or Software Engineer? Can It Influence Your Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-harder-to-chant-software-engineer department:
ctrahey writes "Many of us disregard the impact of our titles on various aspects of our lives, both professional and otherwise. Perhaps it's appropriate to ask two questions about the difference between a couple titles familiar to the Slashdot community: Developer vs Software Engineer. What are the factors to consider in the appropriate use of the titles? And (more interesting to me), what influence might the use of these titles have on the written code? Have you observed a difference in attitudes, priorities, or outlooks in talent as a corollary to their titles?"

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Cockatoo Manufactures, Uses Tools
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's already-smarter-than-my-neighbor department:
grrlscientist writes with news of a cockatoo named Figaro, who was observed to construct and use his own tools to retrieve objects that were outside of his cage. Quoting:
"One day, a student caregiver noticed Figaro pushing a stone pebble through the aviary wire mesh, where it fell on a wood structural beam. Unable to retrieve the stone with his foot, Figaro then fetched a piece of bamboo and again attempted to retrieve the stone using the bamboo stick. ... During the next three days, the researchers ran trials of the original scenario, which was repeated ten times but substituting a cashew nut for the pebble. All trials were captured on video and the process of tool manufacture and use was documented photographically. ... 'Figaro made a new tool for every nut we placed there and each time the bird was successful in obtaining it,' reports cognitive biologist Alice Auersperg of the University of Vienna, who led the study (PDF). During these trials, Figaro used 10 tools, nine of which he manufactured and one of which was ready-made."

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Blizzard Sued Over Battle.net Authentication
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's did-you-try-googling-your-problem-first department:
An anonymous reader writes "A man has initiated a class-action suit against Blizzard over a product used to shore up Battle.net security. Benjamin Bell alleges that Blizzard's sale of Authenticators — devices that enable basic two-tier authentication — represents deceptive and unfair additional costs to their basic games. (Blizzard sells the key fob versions for $6.50, and provides a free mobile app as an alternative. Neither are mandatory.) The complaint accuses Blizzard of making $26 million in Authenticator sales. In response, Blizzard made a statement refuting some of the complaint's claims and voicing their intention to 'vigorously defend' themselves."

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Stuxnet Infected (But Didn't Affect) Chevron Network In 2010
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's collateral-damage department:
Penurious Penguin writes "The Wall Street Journal, in correspondence with Chevron representatives, reveals that back in 2010, Stuxnet reached Chevron, where it managed to infect — but not significantly affect — the oil giant's network. According to a Chevron representative speaking to CNET, the issue was 'immediately addressed ... without incident.' The Stuxnet worm is believed to be the work of the U.S. and Israel, and this report is confirmation that it struck well wide of its intended targets. Chevron's general manager of the earth sciences department, Mark Koelmel, said to CIO Journal, 'I don't think the U.S. government even realized how far it had spread ... I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished.'"

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Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-have-a-weather-control-device-for-sale department:
SternisheFan writes with this excerpt from NBC News:
"The killer storm that hit the East Coast last month and left the nation's largest city with a crippled transit system, widespread power outages and severe flooding has resurfaced the debate about how best to protect a city like New York against rising storm surges. In a 2011 report called 'Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,' NYC's Department of City Planning listed restoring degraded natural waterfront areas, protecting wetlands and building seawalls as some of the strategies to increase the city's resilience to climate change and sea level rise. 'Hurricane Sandy is a wake-up call to all of us in this city and on Long Island,' Malcolm Bowman, professor of physical oceanography at State University of New York at Stony Brook, told NBC News' Richard Engel. 'That means designing and building storm-surge barriers like many cities in Europe already have.' Some of the projects showcased at Rising Currents include: Ways to make the surfaces of the city more absorptive (through porous sidewalks) and more able to deal with water, whether coming from the sea or sky; Parks and freshwater and saltwater wetlands in Lower Manhattan; Artificial islands or reefs (including ones made of recycled glass) to make the shoreline more absorptive and break the waves."

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