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Flying Car Crashes In British Columbia
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's flying-education department:
First time accepted submitter vawarayer writes "An experimental car has crashed near a school in British Columbia, Canada. Only five cars like this have been produced. From the article: 'A release from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) confirmed the flying car was "an American corporately registered I-Tech Maverick SP Powered Parachute" that had crashed.

The vehicle, known as "Maverick," uses a 100-metre runway to take off and flies under a parasail. But it also needs a 100-metre runway to make a safe landing.'"


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How an Aussie University Creates the World's Best Hackers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's advanced-hacking-101 department:
bennyboy64 writes "An Australian university appears to be excelling at cultivating some of Australia's best computer hackers. Following the University of NSW's students recently placing first, second and third in a hacking war game (the first place winners also won first place last year), The Sydney Morning Herald reports on what exactly about the NSW institution is breeding some of Australia's best hackers. It finds that a lecturer and mentor to the students with controversial views on responsible disclosure appears to the be the reason for their success."

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Injured Man Is First Person Saved By a Police Drone In Canada
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-get-help-dronie department:
AchilleTalon writes "As the US continues to grapple with the idea of letting drones fly through the country's airspace, our neighbors to the north have reported a new milestone for unmanned aerial technology: the first life saved using a drone. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the province of Saskatchewan announced yesterday that they successfully used the small Draganflyer X4-ES helicopter drone to locate and treat an injured man whose car had flipped over in a remote, wooded area in near-freezing temperatures. Zenon Dragan, president and founder of the Draganfly company that makes the drone, said in a statement: 'to our knowledge, this is the first time that a life may have been saved with the use of a sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System) helicopter.'"

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Has Google Shut Down SMS Search?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's so-long-farewell department:
hypnosec writes "Users in the US are reporting that Google has allegedly shut down its SMS Search service without any official announcement or notification. According to initial reports users are getting a 'SMS search has been shutdown' message. Navigating to the official Google Mobile website and clicking on SMS Search yields nothing but 404 – Page not found error."

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Hand-held "Sound Camera" Shows You the Source of Noises
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sounds-like-trouble department:
Zothecula writes "If you work with machinery, engines or appliances of any type, then you've likely experienced the frustration of hearing a troublesome noise coming from somewhere, but not being able to pinpoint where. If only you could just grab a camera, and take a picture that showed you the noise's location. Well, soon you should be able to do so, as that's just what the SeeSV-S205 sound camera does."

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Congress Wants Federal Government To Sell 1755-1780 MHz Spectrum Band
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's for-sale-by-owner department:
GovTechGuy writes "With next year's reverse auction of TV spectrum not expected to sate the wireless industry's growing demand for mobile broadband, lawmakers are turning up the heat on the Obama administration to auction the 1755-1780 MHz band, which is considered especially desirable for mobile phone use. However, the Pentagon and other federal agencies are already using those airwaves for everything from flying drones and surveillance to satellites and air combat training. They say it would take ten years and $18 billion just to vacate the band so it can be sold."

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Google Play Games Leaks Ahead of I/O
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 04:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's jumping-in-with-both-feet department:
Android Police reports on an information leak out of Google in the lead-up to their I/O conference, which starts on May 15th. A new version of Google Play Services contains information about "Google Play Games," the company's long anticipated unified gaming service. The leak shows support for saved game syncing, matchmaking, notifications, game invites, achievements, leaderboards, and integration with other Google services.
"Who can send you notifications is, of course, managed by Google+. Pressing that button will bring up the usual circle dialog. All Play Games identity work will be done by Google+. Try and look surprised. ... Play Games can somehow "auto pick" players, which means you can manually pick them too. Presumably this would go down in a match-making lobby of some kind. There are limited slots to a game, we just don't know how many. ... Leaderboards by time - choose this week, all time, or today. You can also show "player-centered" scores so you can find where you are on the boards. Leaderboards plug into G+ and can be non-public. You can also filter the leaderboard by people in your circles. It will also show you what percentile you're in.

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Vulnerability Found In Skyrim, Fallout, Other Bethesda Games
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's beware-meddling-daedra department:
An anonymous reader writes "The author of this article goes over a format string vulnerability he found in The Elder Scrolls series starting with Morrowind and going all the way up to Skyrim. It's not something that will likely be exploited, but it's interesting that the vulnerability has lasted through a decade of games. 'Functions like printf() and its variants allow us to view and manipulate the program’s running stack frame by specifying certain format string characters. By passing %08x.%08x.%08x.%08x.%08x, we get 5 parameters from the stack and display them in an 8-digit padded hex format. The format string specifier ‘%s’ displays memory from an address that is supplied on the stack. Then there’s the %n format string specifier – the one that crashes applications because it writes addresses to the stack. Powerful stuff.'"

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Mozilla Handing Out Free Firefox OS Developer Phones To Bolster App Marketplace
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's planting-the-seeds-of-openness department:
MojoKid writes "Is the world really ready to shift from native apps to HTML5 Web apps? Probably not, at least not in North America yet, but developing nations may see it differently. That's the hope with Firefox OS, a web-based operating system that's (in theory) a lot more open. Of course, one needs only look at Microsoft's battle to get Windows Phone into a place of competition to realize that gaining market share is no easy task, which is why Mozilla will soon be handing out Firefox OS developer phones in order to bolster that. The company's goal is to get app builders to build for Firefox OS, so Mozilla is sending out free Preview handsets for folks to tinker with."

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Apple Deluged By Police Demands To Decrypt iPhones
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's atf-struggles-with-slide-to-unlock department:
New submitter ukemike points out an article at CNET reporting on a how there's a "waiting list" for Apple to decypt iPhones seized by various law enforcement agencies. This suggests two important issues: first, that Apple is apparently both capable of and willing to help with these requests, and second, that there are too many of them for the company to process as they come in. From the article:
"Court documents show that federal agents were so stymied by the encrypted iPhone 4S of a Kentucky man accused of distributing crack cocaine that they turned to Apple for decryption help last year.
An agent at the ATF, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 'contacted Apple to obtain assistance in unlocking the device,' U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell wrote in a recent opinion. But, she wrote, the ATF was 'placed on a waiting list by the company.' A search warrant affidavit prepared by ATF agent Rob Maynard says that, for nearly three months last summer, he "attempted to locate a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency with the forensic capabilities to unlock' an iPhone 4S. But after each police agency responded by saying they 'did not have the forensic capability,' Maynard resorted to asking Cupertino. Because the waiting list had grown so long, there would be at least a 7-week delay, Maynard says he was told by Joann Chang, a legal specialist in Apple's litigation group. It's unclear how long the process took, but it appears to have been at least four months."


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No New S-300 Air-Defense System To Syria Says Russia — But Maybe Old Ones
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'll-take-a-few-new-ones department:
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, Russia's Foreign Minister declared that Moscow would not sell any new surface-to-air missiles to Syria, although there is a catch. He said old contracts are being honored. Could old contracts just be code for an already signed, but undisclosed deal for the S-300? Lavarov certainly left the door open: '...when questioned in particular about the S-300, his reply was not clear if the "earlier contracts" were for the S-300 or something else.' With Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu going to the Black Sea town of Sochi early next week for talks with President Vladimir Putin, it seems they may have something to talk about."

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California Lawmaker Wants 3-D Printers To Be Regulated
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-demand-background-checks-for-sketchpads-and-protractors department:
New submitter phrackthat writes with news that California State Senator Leland Yee (D-S.F.) says he wants regulations to track who owns and uses 3-D printers. Yee's comments come in response to the recent news of Defense Distributed's successful test-firing of a 3-D printed gun.
"He's concerned that just about anyone with access to those cutting-edge printers can arm themselves. 'Terrorists can make these guns and do some horrible things to an individual and then walk away scott-free, and that is something that is really dangerous,' said Yee. He said while this new technology is impressive, it must be regulated when it comes to making guns. He says background checks, requiring serial numbers and even registering them could be part of new legislation that he says will protect the public. Yee added, 'This particular gun has no trace whatsoever.'"

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Data Leak Spurs Huge Offshore Tax Evasion Investigation
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thousands-of-corporate-escape-pods-launched-in-response department:
New submitter lxrocks writes "Tax authorities in the U.S., Britain, and Australia have announced they are working with a gigantic cache of leaked data that may be the beginnings of one of the largest tax investigations in history. The secret records are believed to include those obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that lay bare the individuals behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, Singapore and other offshore hideaways. The IRS said, 'There is nothing illegal about holding assets through offshore entities; however, such offshore arrangements are often used to avoid or evade tax liabilities on income represented by the principal or on the income generated by the underlying assets. In addition, advisors may be subject to civil penalties or criminal prosecution for promoting such arrangements as a means to avoid or evade tax liability or circumvent information reporting requirements.'"

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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Programmers Who Have Not Stayed Current?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's twinkie-on-a-stick department:
skaffen42 writes "The recent Ask Slashdot about becoming a programmer later in life got me thinking about a related question. How do you deal with programmers who have not stayed current with new technologies? In the hiring process, this is easy; you simply don't hire them. However, at most companies where I've worked, there are usually a few programmers who have been employed long enough that the skill-set they were originally hired for has become irrelevant. At the same time, they have not bothered to stay current with newer technologies. They usually have enough business knowledge that they provide some value to the company, but from a technical perspective they are a slowly-increasing liability. As an example: I work with a developer who is 10 years my senior, but still doesn't understand how to write concurrent code and cannot be trusted to use a revision control system without causing a mess that somebody else will have to clean up. On top of that, he is really resistant to the idea of code reviews; I suspect he dislikes people he considers junior to him making suggestions about how to improve his code. So, how do my fellow Slashdotters handle situations like this? How do you help somebody like this to improve their skill-sets? And, most importantly, how do you do so without stepping on anybody's feelings?"

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Astronauts Fix Phantom Space Station Ammonia Leak
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's didn't-need-to-eject-the-warp-core department:
astroengine writes "During an unscheduled spacewalk on the space station's exterior on Saturday morning, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn and Chris Cassidy carried out the mother of all plumbing jobs: They detached a suspect ammonia pump, replaced it with a spare and watched for any further ammonia leakage. The emergency spacewalk was carried out in response to a troubling ammonia coolant leak that was discovered on Thursday. The coolant is used to maintain the temperature of the vast solar arrays the space station uses to generate electricity for its systems. 'It will take some diagnostics, still, over the course of the next several days by the thermal systems specialists to fully determine that we have solved the problem of the ammonia leak," said NASA commentator Rob Navias during the live NASA TV spacewalk broadcast. 'But so far, so "good."'"

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Elon Musk Quits Mark Zuckerberg's Lobbying Club
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'm-makin'-my-own-club-for-cool-kids department:
theodp writes "Valleywag's Adrian Chen wasn't the only one troubled by the tactics of Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us political lobbying group. Composed of a Who's Who of tech millionaires and billionaires, the group boasted its control of massive distribution channels, broad popularity with Americans, and money would make it a political force to be reckoned with. But the group came under fire for embracing decidedly old-school political tactics, forming both left-leaning and right-leaning subsidiaries, thus broadening its appeal to those who might help advance its agenda. Reports that FWD.us had funded ads praising Arctic oil drilling drew fire from critics, including Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who FWD.us listed as a 'Major Supporter.' Not anymore. Valleywag reports that Musk has quit Zuckerberg's lobbying cabal, apparently feeling that the group's ends did not justify their hit-both-sides-of-the-aisle-to-get-what-you-want means. 'I have spent a lot of time fighting far larger lobbying organizations in DC and believe that the right way to win on a cause is to argue the merits of that cause,' Musk said. 'This statement may surprise some people, but my experience is that most (not all) politicians and their staffs want to do the right thing and eventually do.' By the way, didn't members of the Zuck PACk create, fund, and appear on Code.org, which lamented the sad state of U.S. CS education and featured a slick documentary showing technically clueless little kids, just weeks before launching their pro-techie immigration push? Hey, all's fair in love and lobbying!"

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17-Year-Old Girl Wins Boston TV API Programming Contest
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's strong-work department:
An anonymous reader writes "Jenny Lamere, a graduating high school senior from Nashua NH, was the youngest of 80 participants (and one of only four women) in the Hill Holiday TVnext hackathon held in Boston this past April, a programming contest sponsored by TV API providers. Her submission of 'Twivo,' an app that allows TV viewers to block spoiler tweets while watching a show and recover them later, won the contest's 'Sync to Broadcast' category (one of five), and was also named the event's 'Best in Show' (overall winner). At least one tech company has expressed interest in her app (a short demo and interview with the judges starts at 3:30 in the embedded YouTube clip). Lamere plans to enter the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall, and will pursue a career in software development."

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Microsoft Developer Explains Why Windows Kernel Development Falls Behind
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gotta-be-the-shoes department:
New submitter mha writes "In a response that truly seems to be from a core Microsoft developer, we are told about why Windows kernel development continues to fall further and further behind that of the Linux kernel. He says, 'The cause of the problem is social. There's almost none of the improvement for its own sake, for the sake of glory, that you see in the Linux world. ... There's no formal or informal program of systemic performance improvement. We started caring about security because pre-SP3 Windows XP was an existential threat to the business. Our low performance is not an existential threat to the business. See, component owners are generally openly hostile to outside patches: if you're a dev, accepting an outside patch makes your lead angry (due to the need to maintain this patch and to justify in in shiproom the unplanned design change), makes test angry (because test is on the hook for making sure the change doesn't break anything, and you just made work for them), and PM is angry (due to the schedule implications of code churn). There's just no incentive to accept changes from outside your own team. You can always find a reason to say "no," and you have very little incentive to say "yes."'"

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Smartphones Driving Violent Crime Across US
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there's-an-app-for-that department:
alphadogg writes "Incidents of cellphone theft have been rising for several years and are fast becoming an epidemic. IDG News Service collected data on serious crimes in San Francisco from November to April and recorded 579 thefts of cellphones or tablets, accounting for 41 percent of all serious crime. In just over half the incidents, victims were punched, kicked or otherwise physically intimidated for their phones, and in a quarter of robberies, users were threatened with guns or knives. This isn't just happening in tech-loving San Francisco, either. The picture is similar across the United States. A big reason for such thefts, until recently, is that there had been little to stop someone using a stolen cellphone. Reacting to pressure from law enforcement and regulators, the U.S.'s largest cellphone carriers agreed early last year to establish a database of stolen cellphones."

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DRM In HTML5 — Better Than the Alternative?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's dissenting-opinion department:
Underholdning writes "DRM is coming to HTML5. The W3C published a working draft yesterday of the framework that will support the use of DRM-protected media. Ars Technica's Peter Bright reports on it with an article claiming that DRM in HTML5 is a victory for the open web, not a defeat. Bright argues that if HTML5 does not support DRM, then content providers will move their content away from open standards and implement it with native apps — abandoning the web in the process. Quoting: 'Keeping it out of W3C might have been a moral victory, but its practical implications would sit between slim and none. It doesn't matter if browsers implement "W3C EME" or "non-W3C EME" if the technology and its capabilities are identical. ... Deprived of the ability to use browser plugins, protected content distributors are not, in general, switching to unprotected media. Instead, they're switching away from the Web entirely. Want to send DRM-protected video to an iPhone? "There's an app for that." Native applications on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 can all implement DRM, with some platforms, such as Android and Windows 8, even offering various APIs and features to assist this.'"

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