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Privacy Groups Attack UK ISPs 'Collusion' With Government Snooping
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 08:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's must-have-something-to-hide department:
judgecorp writes "Privacy groups have accused British ISPs of a 'conspiracy of silence' over the impact of the UK government;s proposed Communications Data Bill or 'Snooper's Charter.' The letter accuses the SPs of allowing themselves to be 'co-opted as an arm of the state' — and of not telling their customers what they are up to. Under the bill, ISPs can be ordered to store their users' communications data (the who when and where but not the content of emails etc) for police to search through."

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Former Diplomat Slams Facebook For Inaction On Fake Pages
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's get-off-my-lawn department:
An anonymous reader writes "Former diplomat to Belgium and the European Union Brendan Nelson describes his astonishment at his inability to get any response from Facebook when trying to get a diplomatically damaging fake page taken down. The social network ignored official protestations from the department of foreign affairs and security agencies."

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Motorola Loses ITC Case Against Against Apple for Proximity Sensor Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bogus-patents-for-all department:
New submitter Rideak writes with this excerpt from CNet about an ITC ruling against Motorola in their case against Apple for violating a few of their proximity sensor patents: "The U.S. International Trade Commission today ended Motorola's case against Apple, which accused the iPhone and Mac maker of patent infringement. In a ruling (PDF), the ITC said that Apple was not violating Motorola's U.S. patent covering proximity sensors, which the commission called 'obvious.' It was the last of six patents Motorola aimed at Apple as part of an October 2010 complaint."

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Harvard/MIT Student Creates GPU Database, Hacker-Style
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's search-faster department:
First time accepted submitter IamIanB writes "Harvard Middle Eastern Studies student Todd Mostak's first tangle with big data didn't go well; trying to process and map 40 million geolocated tweets from the Arab Spring uprising took days. So while taking a database course across town at MIT, he developed a massively parallel database that uses GeForce Titan GPUs to do the data processing. The system sees 70x performance increases over CPU-based systems, and can out crunch a 1000 node MapReduce cluster, in some cases. All for around $5,000 worth of hardware. Mostak plans to release the system under an open source license; you can play with a data set of 125 million tweets hosted at Harvard's WorldMap and see the millisecond response time."

I seem to recall a dedicated database query processor that worked by having a few hundred really small processors that was integrated with INGRES in the 80s.

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64-bit x86 Computing Reaches 10th Anniversary
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's long-live-athlonmp department:
illiteratehack writes "10 years ago AMD released its first Opteron processor, the first 64-bit x86 processor. The firm's 64-bit 'extensions' allowed the chip to run existing 32-bit x86 code in a bid to avoid the problems faced by Intel's Itanium processor. However AMD suffered from a lack of native 64-bit software support, with Microsoft's Windows XP 64-bit edition severely hampering its adoption in the workstation market."

But it worked out in the end.

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Smartphone For the Blind Invented In India
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-your-fingers-do-the-talking department:
hypnosec writes "The world's first smartphone for the blind that features a display capable of converting text and pictures into Braille and raised patterns has been invented in India. Based on Shape Memory Technology – a concept whereby metals expand and contract to retain their original shape – the phone's screen has a grid of pins. These pins move up and down based on the text or display to be represented."

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Some Windows XP Users Can't Afford To Upgrade
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's high-cost-of-upgrading department:
colinneagle writes "During a recent trip to an eye doctor, I noticed that she was still using Windows XP. After I suggested that she might need to upgrade soon, she said she couldn't because she couldn't afford the $10,000 fee involved with the specialty medical software that has been upgraded for Windows 7. Software written for medical professionals is not like mass market software. They have a limited market and can't make back their money in volume because there isn't the volume for an eye doctor's database product like there is for Office or Quicken. With many expecting Microsoft's upcoming end-of-support for XP to cause a security nightmare of unsupported Windows devices in the wild, it seems a good time to ask how many users may fall into the category of wanting an upgrade, but being priced out by expensive but necessary third-party software. More importantly, can anything be done about it?"

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IBM Models Human Blood System To Build Solar Power Prototype
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's solar-in-your-veins department:
coondoggie writes "IBM today said its researchers are developing a solar power system that concentrates solar radiation 2,000 times by using a human-blood supply modeled way of cooling and converting 80% of Sun's heat into useful energy. IBM says the system can also desalinate water and cool air in sunny, remote locations where such systems are often in short supply."

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Samsung Researching How To Let You Control Your Phone With Your Brain
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-ma-no-hands department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Samsung is testing a way to control your mobile device with your brainwaves. If that project succeeds, it would truly be a case of science fiction brought to real life. According to MIT Technology Review, Samsung's Emerging Technology Lab is collaborating with Roozbeh Jafari, assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Dallas, on the early-stage research. That research involves placing a cap 'studded with EEG-monitoring electrodes' atop the head of a convenient subject, who then concentrates on an onscreen icon blinking at a particular rate. Concentrate hard enough, and the subject can launch and interact with applications. However, Samsung also indicated that mind-controlled mobile devices are quite a ways off, if they ever appear in a market-ready form at all. 'Several years ago, a small keypad was the only input modality to control the phone, but nowadays the user can use voice, touch, gesture, and eye movement to control and interact with mobile devices,' Insoo Kim, Samsung's lead researcher, told the Review. 'Adding more input modalities will provide us with more convenient and richer ways of interacting with mobile devices.' In any case, it's a crazy concept, the sort of thing Philip K. Dick might have written up as a short story; but it's one evidently grounded in reality."

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Building a Small IT Consulting Business Based on Linux (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's they-love-you-as-long-as-everything-works department:
When you call your business Penguin Computer & Telephone Solutions, it's obvious that Linux is your favorite operating system. Company owner Frank Sflanga, Jr. happily works on Windows, Mac and whatever else you want or have around, but he is a Linux person at heart; in fact, he's a founder and leading member of The Southwest Florida GNU/Linux Users Group. But the point of this interview, which some will want to label an ad (although it's not), is to show how Frank started his one-main consulting business and made it successful so that other Slashdot readers can follow in his footsteps and become self-employed -- if they are so inclined. You might want to note that most of Frank's clients were not familiar with Linux when he first started working with them, and most are not particularly interested in software licensing matters as long as Frank keeps their stuff working. You might also want to note that Ft. Myers, FL, where Frank is located, is not exactly famous as a hotbed of leading-edge technology, which means that even if you live someplace similar, where business owners ask "What's a Linux?" you might be able to make a decent living running a Linux-based IT consulting business.

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USB SuperSpeed Power Spec To Leap From 10W To 100W
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's power-up department:
Lucas123 writes "While news stories have focused on the upcoming jump from 5Gbps to 10Gbps for USB SuperSpeed, less talked about has been the fact that it will also increase charging capabilities from 10W to 100W, meaning you'll be able to charge your laptop, monitor, even a television using a USB cord. Along with USB, the Thunderbolt peripheral interconnect will also be doubling it throughput thanks to a new controller chip, in its case from 10Gbps to 20Gbps. As with USB SuperSpeed, Thunderbolt's bandwidth increase is considered an evolutionary step, but the power transfer increase is being considered revolutionary, according to Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). 'This is going to change the way computers, peripheral devices and even HDTVs will not only consume but deliver power,' Ravencraft said. 'You can have an HDTV with a USB hub built into it where not only can you exchange data and audio/video, but you can charge all your devices from it.'"

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Futurama Cancelled (Again)
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bye-bye-bender department:
eldavojohn writes "Bad news everybody. According to Entertainment Weekly, Futurama has been cancelled (again). The renewal of Futurama back onto television was met with great fanfare but sadly it appears that Futurama's luck has run out for a second time. The second half of season 7 will air from June 19th to September 4th and that will be it."

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Australian Mobile Phone Provider Sent 1000s of Fake Debt Collection Letters
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department:
Bismillah writes "Excite Mobile in South Australia also set up a fake debt collection agency, and a fictional complaints body for late-paying customers. The company sent fake debt collection letters to 1074 customers, even going so far as threatening to confiscate the toys of their customers' kids if they didn't pay up. From the article: 'South Australian mobile phone provider Excite Mobile has been found guilty of false, misleading and unconscionable conduct by the Federal Court after the ACCC took action against the company for faking a debt collection agency, creating a fictional complaints body, and misrepresenting scope of mobile coverage.'"

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State Secrets, No-Fly List Showdown Looms
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's need-to-know-basis department:
schwit1 writes "The Obama Administration and a federal judge in San Francisco appear to be headed for a showdown over the controversial state secrets privilege in a case about the U.S. government's 'no-fly' list for air travel. U.S. District Judge William Alsup is also bucking the federal government's longstanding assertion that only the executive branch can authorize access to classified information. From the article: 'The disputes arose in a lawsuit Malaysian citizen and former Stanford student Rahinah Ibrahim filed seven years ago after she was denied travel and briefly detained at the San Francisco airport in 2005, apparently due to being on the no-fly list. In an order issued earlier this month and made public Friday, Alsup instructed lawyers for the government to "show cause" why at least nine documents it labeled as classified should not be turned over to Ibrahim's lawyers. Alsup said he'd examined the documents and concluded that portions of some of them and the entirety of others could be shown to Ibrahim's attorneys without implicating national security.'"

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Is Anonymous Going Mainstream Following Website Funding?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's official-anonymity department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "For a completely online movement, the lack of an official Anonymous website is certainly strange. The reason, according to Anonymous itself is down to the lack of a hierarchical structure. However, one Anonymous-linked group could be about to change all that, having succeeded in securing $55,000 in funding for a website. Is this the beginning of Anonymous going mainstream? From the article: 'The @YourAnonNews (YAN) Twitter account has over one million followers and has leveraged its popularity to successfully raise over $55,000 (£34,000) through a crowd-funding campaign on the Indiegogo website.

The funding drive was established to allow those behind the YAN account to set up a website of its own which will allow it "to collect breaking reports and blog postings from the best independent reporters online."'"


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Machine Learning Susses Out Social-Network Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's fight-fire-with-fire department:
CowboyRobot writes "Machine learning techniques can be used to detect fraud and spies on social networks based on certain features, such as the number of followers and the number of devices used to access the network. Certain characteristics of social-network accounts have a high correlation with fraud and can be used to differentiate between real and fake accounts, a researcher presenting at the SOURCE Boston Conference said this week. Using machine learning techniques, Vicente Diaz, a senior security analyst with security software firm Kaspersky Lab, found that seven characteristics of Twitter profiles could identify fraudulent accounts 91% of the time. The number of devices from which a user accesses the service, the ratio of followers to people following an account, the average number of tweets to each person, and the number of tweets to an unknown receiver are all features that correlate strongly to fraudulent accounts, he says."

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Germany Fines Google Over Street View - But Says €145k Is Too Small
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's price-of-doing-business department:
judgecorp writes "Germany's privacy regulator has fined Google €145,000 over its Street View cars' harvesting of private data — but the official has complained that the size of the fine is too small, because of limits to the fines regulators can impose. German data protection commissioner Johannes Caspar said the fine was too low, for "one of the largest known data breachers ever", saying, "as long as privacy violations can be punished only at discount prices, enforcement of data protection law in the digital world with its high abuse potential is hardly possible." In 2010 it emerged that Google's Street View cars captured personal data from Wi-Fi networks as well as taking pictures — since then regulators have imposed a series of fines — the largest being $7million reportedly paid to settle a US government probe."

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Hybrid RotorWing Design Transitions From Fixed To Rotary Wing Mid-Flight
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pivoting-propellers department:
cylonlover writes "Attempts to combine the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter with the high-speed flight and long range capabilities of a fixed-wing aircraft have been tackled in a number of different ways – from tiltrotor designs, such as the V-280 Valor and Project Zero, to fixed rotor aircraft that transition from vertical to horizontal flight, such as the SkyTote and Flexrotor. Australian company StopRotor Technology has taken a different approach with its Hybrid RotorWing design concept which features a main rotor that switches from fixed rotor to fixed wing in mid air."

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Physicist Proposes New Way To Think About Intelligence
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-at-the-big-brain-on-brad department:
An anonymous reader writes "A single equation grounded in basic physics principles could describe intelligence and stimulate new insights in fields as diverse as finance and robotics, according to new research, reports Inside Science. Recent work in cosmology has suggested that universes that produce more entropy (or disorder) over their lifetimes tend to have more favorable properties for the existence of intelligent beings such as ourselves. A new study (pdf) in the journal Physical Review Letters led by Harvard and MIT physicist Alex Wissner-Gross suggests that this tentative connection between entropy production and intelligence may in fact go far deeper. In the new study, Dr. Wissner-Gross shows that remarkably sophisticated human-like "cognitive" behaviors such as upright walking, tool use, and even social cooperation (video) spontaneously result from a newly identified thermodynamic process that maximizes entropy production over periods of time much shorter than universe lifetimes, suggesting a potential cosmology-inspired path towards general artificial intelligence."

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Boston Police Chief: Facial Recognition Tech Didn't Help Find Bombing Suspects
Posted by News Fetcher on April 22 '13 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's standing-out-in-a-crowd department:
SternisheFan writes "ArsTechnica reports: 'While the whole country is relieved that this past week's Boston Marathon bombing ordeal and subsequent lockdown of the city is finally over, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis told the Washington Post that the department's facial recognition system "did not identify" the two bombing suspects. "The technology came up empty even though both Tsarnaevs' images exist in official databases: Dzhokhar had a Massachusetts driver's license; the brothers had legally immigrated; and Tamerlan had been the subject of some FBI investigation," the Post reported on Saturday. Facial recognition systems can have limited utility when a grainy, low-resolution image captured at a distance from a cellphone camera or surveillance video is compared with a known, high-quality image. Meanwhile, the FBI is expected to release a large-scale facial recognition apparatus "next year for members of the Western Identification Network, a consortium of police agencies in California and eight other Western states," according to the San Jose Mercury News. Still, video surveillance did prove extremely useful in pinpointing the suspects"

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