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FSF Launches Fundraiser For Replicant
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's gnus-fire-off-the-shoulder-of-orion department:
gnujoshua writes "The FSF has launched a fundraiser for Replicant, the fully free Android distro. As of version 4.0 0004, Replicant runs on 10 different devices, but, the hopes are that with additional funds, the developers will be able to purchase more devices and grow the project so it will run on more devices. Yesterday, the FSF asked Mark Shuttleworth if the Ubuntu EDGE would commit to using only free software and be able to support Replicant. But, in an AMA on Reddit, Shuttleworth confirmed that Replicant would not be supported because the EDGE hardware will require proprietary drivers/binary-blobs."

Replicant now supports ten devices, compared to only the HTC Dream not all that long ago.

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Nokia: Microsoft Must Evolve To Make Windows Phone a Success
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's about-firing-the-maemo-staff department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "Microsoft's priorities are Windows, Office, Xbox, and Surface. Windows Phone is no where near the top and that is the main reason why it has failed to make the impact many hoped for in the three years it has been around. While Microsoft can take the hit and play the long-game, the same cannot be said for Nokia, the other main player in the eco-system. While it has done all it can to evolve the platform, it needs Microsoft to step up and begin innovating. Bryan Biniak, Nokia VP, agrees: 'We are trying to evolve the cultural thinking [at Microsoft] to say 'time is of the essence.' Waiting until the end of your fiscal year when you need to close your targets, doesn't do us any good when I have phones to sell today.'"

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DoJ Alleges Cisco Reseller Made $37 Million Selling Counterfeit Equipment
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cisco-routers-and-name-brand-sunglass-shop department:
netbuzz writes "The latest scam involving stolen and/or fake Cisco equipment may also be one of the largest, as the Department of Justice says a 43-year-old San Jose-based reseller accumulated $37 million in ill-gotten gains over a period of years that he then poured into real estate and luxury cars. The feds say the guy also used part of the loot to set up college funds for his four children. At least four other such scams have been perpetrated against Cisco in recent years."

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Famed ATM Hacker Barnaby Jack Dies Days Before Black Hat Conference
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's too-young department:
wiredmikey writes "A shocking and sad day today in the security industry. Well known hacker Barnaby Jack has passed away, sending a shock through the security community. Jack, a famed white hat hacker, was scheduled to present at the Black Hat conference on Tuesday, and present research on vulnerabilities in implantable medical devices. Shocked reactions hit the Twittersphere on Friday, as many in the industry conveyed their condolences, shock, and even disbelief, hoping new of the death was some sort of hoax. 'I just wake up and heard this, really sad, I can't believe this, no words,' Cesar Cerrudo, CTO, IOActive Labs, said in an email to SecurityWeek. Barnaby Jack is probably best known for his ATM hacking demonstrations, which he liked to refer as 'Jackpotting,' and performed at a few conferences, including a demonstration at Black Hat 2010 that got media attention around the world. The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office told to Reuters that Jack had died in San Francisco on Thursday, but did not provide additional details."

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Feds Allegedly Demanding User Passwords From Services
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's trust-no-one department:
An anonymous reader writes "Following the /. story on the Feds demanding SSL keys, now comes news that the feds are demanding user passwords, and in some cases, the encryption algorithm and salt used. From the article: 'A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'" ... Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. ... Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.' I'm next expecting to see the regulation or law demanding that all users use plain text for all web transactions, to catch terrorists and for the children"

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Look Out, Nuance: Apple's Office Near MIT Is Stocking Up With Speech-Tech Talent
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's siri-replace-team department:
An anonymous reader writes "Apple's had a small, very secretive office in Cambridge, MA for a few months now. And we finally know what they're doing: Building a team that works on speech technology for Siri. Sure, it's interesting for Apple to have a remote engineering team. And hiring from MIT is a no-brainer. But here's why this is a bigger deal: Apple has always relied on Nuance, a Boston-area company, for the speech-recognition technology behind Siri. By branching out with its own speech team — stocked with former Nuance scientists, no less — Apple could very well be signaling a move away from relying on Nuance for this core technology. And the speech wars are just heating up: Microsoft and Amazon both have speech engineering offices in the Boston area too."

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How Are You Celebrating National Sysadmin Day?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bofh-demands-tribute department:
jfruh writes "July 26 is Sysadmin Day, the system administrator's version of Secretary's Day. Are you giving your hardworking sysadmin the recognition they deserve? Blogger (and, yes, sysadmin) Sandra Henry-Stocker argues that a holiday like this is needed because due to the nature of their job, in everyday life sysadmins 'get noticed least when they do the best work' So if your systems run so smoothly that you sometimes forget you even have a sysadmin on staff, be sure to recognize them for their excellent work today."

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Meet Focal, the New Camera App For CyanogenMod
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cool-new-stuff department:
A few days ago, the CyanogenMod teamed teased a new project named Nemesis, a series of planned improvements to the user interface. An anonymous reader writes with news of the first part: a new camera application designed to replace the neglected stock Android camera app. From the article: "As cameras and camera software becomes an increasingly important part of our mobile experience, a great photography experience on your smartphone can make all the difference. The CyanogenMod project has decided to take smartphone photography a lot more seriously with the release of Focal, and all new camera app for CM users everywhere."

Android Police also has an early look with screenshots. The menu system in particular looks a lot nicer to use than the current cumbersome interface to white balance/exposure/scene settings. Focal should be merged into nightly releases soon.

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Mozilla Labs Experiment Distills Your History Into Interests
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's enjoys-long-trolls-on-the-beach department:
Barence writes "Mozilla is proposing that the Firefox browser collects data on users' interests to pass on to websites. The proposal is designed to allow websites to personalize content to visitors' tastes, without sites having to suck up a user's browsing history, as they do currently. 'Let's say Firefox recognizes within the browser client, without any browsing history leaving my computer, that I'm interested in gadgets, comedy films, hockey and cooking,' says Justin Scott, a product manager from Mozilla Labs. 'Those websites could then prioritize articles on the latest gadgets and make hockey scores more visible. And, as a user, I would have complete control over which of my interests are shared, and with which websites.'"

This is the result of an extended experiment. The idea is that your history is used to generate a set of interests which you can then share voluntarily with websites, hopefully discouraging the blanket tracking advertising systems love to do now.

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Chinese Firm Huawei In Control of UK Net Filters
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's east-asia-has-always-been-our-ally department:
AmiMoJo writes "The BBC reports that Huawei, one of the world's largest manufacturers of telecoms equipment, is controlling popular ISP TalkTalk's web censorship system. The system, known as Homesafe, was praised by Prime Minister David Cameron. Customers who do not want filtering still have their traffic routed through the system, but matches to Huawei's database are dismissed rather than acted upon. In other words there is no opt-out. Mr Cameron has demanded similar measures be adopted by all internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK, to 'protect our children and their innocence.'"

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Blizzard Breaks For Independence As Kotick Plans $8.2 Billion Dollar Buyout
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's world-of-business department:
MojoKid writes "The CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, announced this morning that he would lead an investor buyout of the company worth approximately $8.2 billion dollars. The move would free Blactivision (how has this moniker never caught on?) to become an independent publisher and free it from the clutches of Vivendi, the evil French entertainment conglomerate. Vivendi has reportedly been attempting to sell Activision Blizzard for years, due to an apparent hatred of actually turning a profit, given than the game developer owns some of the most popular franchises on Earth. Kotick has previously been known for his comments regarding exploiting game franchises and for gems like this: 'We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.'"

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NOAA Goes Live With New Forecasting Supercomputers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's better-reports department:
dcblogs writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thursday switched on two new supercomputers that are expected to improve weather forecasting. The supercomputers are each 213 teraflop systems, running a Linux operating system on Intel processors. The U.S. is paying about $20 million a year to operate the leased systems. The NWS has a new hurricane model, Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF), which is 15% more accurate in day five of a forecast both for forecast track and intensity. That model is now operational and running on the new systems. In nine month, NWS expects to improve the resolution of the system from 27 kilometers to 13 kilometers. The European system, credited with doing a better job at predicting Sandy's path, is at 16 kilometers resolution. In June, the European forecasting agency said it had a deal to buy Cray systems capable of petascale performance."

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Researchers Implant False Memories In Mice
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's remember-this department:
sciencehabit writes "Call it 'Total Recall' for mice. A group of neuroscientists say that they've identified a potential mechanism of false memory creation and have planted such a memory in the brain of a mouse. With this knowledge, neuroscientists can start to figure out how many neurons it takes to give us the perception of what's around us and what goes on in our neural wiring when we remember—or misremember—the past."

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Hallibuton Pleads Guilty To Destroying Simulation Data From 2010 Gulf Oil Spill
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '13 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's who's-to-blame department:
An anonymous reader writes "Oilfield services giant Halliburton will plead guilty to destroying computer test results that had been sought as evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Company officials threw out test results that showed 'little difference' between the number of devices Halliburton said was needed to center the cement casing in the well at the heart of the disaster and the number well owner BP installed, according to court papers. The issue has been key point of contention between the two companies in hearings and litigation ever since the April 2010 blowout. BP and Halliburton are still battling over responsibility for the disaster in a New Orleans federal courtroom. BP had no comment on the plea agreement Thursday evening."

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Five Charged In Largest Hacking Scheme Ever Prosecuted In US
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's doing-the-time department:
wiredmikey writes "US authorities have charged four Russians and a Ukrainian five on charges of running a global hacking operation that targeted major payment processors, retailers and financial institutions. The charges stem from hacking attacks dating back to 2005 against several global brands, including the NASDAQ exchange, 7-Eleven, JC Penney, Hannaford, Heartland, JetBlue, Dow Jones, Euronet, Visa Jordan, Global Payment, Diners Singapore and Ingenicard. The men allegedly used SQL injection attacks as the initial entry point into the computer systems of global corporations. Once networks were breached, the defendants allegedly placed malware on the systems. According to the indictment (PDF), the malware used created a "back door," leaving the system vulnerable and helping the defendants maintain access to the network. The men face five years in prison for conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers; 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud; five years in prison for unauthorized access to computers; and 30 years in prison for wire fraud."

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Forget Apple: Samsung Could Be Google's Next Big Rival
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's on-deck department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The idea of Samsung as a Google rival isn't unprecedented. For the past several quarters, Samsung has progressively molded Android to its own vision: layered with TouchWiz and sprinkled with all sorts of Samsung-centric apps, the software interface on Samsung devices is deviating rapidly away from the 'stock' Android that runs on other manufacturers' devices. During this year's unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S4 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, Samsung executives onstage barely mentioned the word 'Android,' and played up features designed specifically for the device. Establishing its own brand identity by moving away from 'stock' Android has done Samsung a lot of good: its smartphones and tablets not only stand out from the flood of Android devices on the market, but it's given the company an opportunity to position itself as the one true rival to iOS. While other Android manufacturers struggle, Samsung has profited. If Samsung continues to gain strength, it could become a huge issue for Google, which has its own eye on the hardware segment. Although Google purchased Motorola in 2011 for $12.5 billion, it hasn't yet remolded the brand in its own image, claiming that the subsidiary's existing pipeline of products first needs to be flushed into the ecosystem. But that reluctance could be coming to an end: reports suggest that Google will pump $500 million into marketing the Moto X, an upcoming 'hero' smartphone meant to reestablish Motorola's dominance of the Android space. If the Moto X succeeds, and Google decides to push aggressively into the branded hardware space, it could drive Samsung even further away from core Android. Never mind issuing TouchWiz updates until the original Android interface is virtually unrecognizable—with its industry heft, Samsung could potentially boot Google Play from the home-screen and substitute it with an apps-and-content hub of its own design. That would take a lot of work, of course: first, Samsung would need to build a substantial developer ecosystem, and then it would need to score great deals with movie studios and other content providers. But as Amazon and Apple have shown, such things aren't impossible. The only questions are whether (a) Samsung has the will to devote the necessary time and resources to such a project, and (b) if it's willing to transform its symbiotic relationship with Google into an antagonistic one."

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The Path Toward Improved Biosurveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 06:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's finding-patient-zero department:
Lasrick writes "Interesting opinion piece that explains successes and holes in the U.S. system of detecting and responding to pandemics: 'In April 2009, following an experimental protocol, staff members at a Navy lab in San Diego tested specimens from two patients using a new diagnostic device. Both tested positive for influenza, but, oddly, neither specimen matched the influenza A subtypes that are known to infect humans. This finding raised suspicions, and so the samples were sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further tests would reveal that these two patients were the first reported cases of a novel H1N1 influenza virus that would cause a global pandemic in 2009. In many respects, the Navy lab's discovery of H1N1 is a success story for US efforts to boost its biosurveillance capabilities.'"

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Wikipedia Rolls Out Mobile Editing For All Users
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's working-on-the-fly department:
An anonymous reader writes "Wikipedia today announced it has launched support for editing content on your mobile device. The first version of mobile editing, which requires a Wikimedia account, is available right now. 'For our first release, our primary goal was to create a fast, intuitive editing experience for new users and experienced editors alike, while still sticking with markup editing for now,' Wikimedia's Juliusz Gonera explained. 'We started simple so we could observe our users' needs and expectations.'"

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Love and Hate For Java 8
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pros-and-cons department:
snydeq writes "Java 8 brings exciting developments, but as with any new technology, you can count on the good, the bad, and the headaches, writes Andrew C. Oliver. 'Java 8 is trying to "innovate," according to the Microsoft meaning of the word. This means stealing a lot of things that have typically been handled by other frameworks and languages, then incorporating them into the language or runtime (aka standardization). Ahead of the next release, the Java community is talking about Project Lambda, streams, functional interfaces, and all sorts of other goodies. So let's dive into what's great — and what we can hate.'"

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Why Netflix Is One of the Most Important Cloud Computing Companies
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I'm-kind-of-a-big-deal department:
Brandon Butler writes "Netflix, yes the video rental company Netflix, is changing the cloud game. During the past two years the company has pulled back the curtains through its Netflix OSS program to provide a behind-the-scenes look into how it runs one of the largest deployments of Amazon Web Services cloud-based resources. In doing so, the company is creating tools that can be used by both entire business-size scale cloud deployments and even smaller test environments. The Simian Army, for example randomly kills off VMs or entire availability zones in Amazon's cloud to test fault tolerance, Asgard is a cloud resource dashboard and Lipstick on (Apache) Pig, is a data visualization tool for the Hadoop program; there are dozens of others that help deploy, manage and monitor the tens of thousands of VM instances the company company can be running at any single time. Netflix is also creating a cadre of developers who are experts in managing cloud deployments, and already its former employees are popping up at other companies to bring their expertise on how to run a large-scale cloud resources. Meanwhile, Netflix does this all in AWS's cloud, which raises some questions of how good of a job it's actually doing when it can be massively impacted by cloud outages, such as the one on Christmas Eve last year that brought down Netflix's services but, interestingly, not Amazon's own video streaming system, which is a competitor to the company."

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