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UK Gov't Official Advises Using Fake Details On Social Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-hail-sacred-tax-collection department:
another random user writes "A senior government official has sparked anger by advising internet users to give fake details to websites to protect their security. Andy Smith, an internet security chief at the Cabinet Office, said people should only give accurate details to trusted sites such as government ones. He said names and addresses posted on social networking sites 'can be used against you' by criminals.
... 'When you put information on the internet do not use your real name, your real date of birth,' he told a Parliament and the Internet Conference in Portcullis House, Westminster. 'When you are putting information on social networking sites don't put real combinations of information, because it can be used against you.' But he stressed that internet users should always give accurate information when they were filling in government forms on the internet, such a tax returns."


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Open Compute Hardware Adapted For Colo Centers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's I'll-take-a-sample department:
1sockchuck writes "Facebook has now adapted its Open Compute servers to work in leased data center space a step that could make the highly-efficient 'open hardware' designs accessible to a broader range of users. The Open Compute Project was launched last year to bring standards and repeatable designs to IT infrastructure, and has been gaining traction as more hardware vendors join the effort. Facebook's move to open its designs has been a welcome departure from the historic secrecy surrounding data center design and operations. But energy-saving customizations that work in Facebook's data centers present challenges in multi-tenant facilities. To make it work, Facebook hacked a rack and gave up some energy savings by using standard 208V power."

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Ballmer Tells the BBC There's More MS Hardware On the Way
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's threat-or-promise department:
Microsoft has made hardware for quite a while, but not much of it as visible as the Surface; now, it looks like there's more where that came from. Dupple writes: "Steve Ballmer told the BBC: 'Is it fair to say we're going to do more hardware? Obviously we are... Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard, yeah we'll dive in.' The chief executive's comments came ahead of a Windows 8 launch event in New York, following which Microsoft's Surface tablet will go on sale. News other devices are likely to follow may worry some of the firm's partners. Mr Ballmer caused a stir when he revealed in June that his company was making its own family of tablet computers — one offering extended battery-life powered by an Arm-based chip, the other using Intel's technology to offer a deeper Windows experience."

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Texas Attorney General Warns International Election Observers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stay-out-of-it department:
First time accepted submitter mescobal writes "Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott warned international election observers not to come closer than 100 feet from a polling place; otherwise, they could be subject to criminal prosecution. The warning was addressed to a group of international observers who intend to monitor polls. The OSCE an UN affiliated organization of observers was concerned about voter ID issues among other things. From the article: '“The Texas Election Code governs anyone who participates in Texas elections — including representatives of the OSCE,” Abbott wrote. “The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”'"

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Australians Urged To Spoof IP Addresses For Better Prices
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-savings? department:
angry tapir writes "Choice, a prominent Australian consumer advocacy group, has urged Australians to obfuscate their IP address to avoid geo-blocking and use US forwarding addresses to beat high IT prices. Australia is currently in the middle of parliamentary inquiry into the country's disproportionately high prices for technology. Choice also suggested setting up US iTunes accounts and using surrogate US addresses for forwarding packages from American stores. Choice has noted previously that Australians pay 52 per cent more for digital music downloads on iTunes compared to US users."

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Does OpenStack Need a Linus Torvalds?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what's-in-a-name? department:
BButlerNWW writes in with a story that speculates about the need for a marquee name to head OpenStack. "OpenStack has been dubbed by some enthusiasts as the Linux of the cloud — an open source operating system for public or private clouds. But there's one stark difference between the two projects: OpenStack doesn't have a Linus Torvalds, the eccentric, outspoken, never-afraid-to-say-what-he-thinks leader of the Linux world. Torvalds personifies Linux in many ways. OpenStack doesn't have that one central figure right now. The question is: Does OpenStack need it? Some would argue yes. Torvalds, because of the weight he holds in the project, calls the shots about how Linux is run, what goes in, what stays out of the code, and he's not afraid to express his opinions. He provides not only internal guidance for the project, but also an exterior cheerleading role. Others would say OpenStack does not need a Torvalds of its own. The project is meant to be an open source meritocracy, where members are judged based on their code contributions to the project. OpenStack has been fighting an image that the project is just full of corporate interests, which is part of the reason Rackspace ceded official control of the project to the OpenStack Foundation recently."

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Experts Warn About Security Flaws In Airline Boarding Passes
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's to-screen-or-not-to-screen department:
concealment writes in with a story about a newly found security issue with the bar codes on boarding passes. "Flight enthusiasts, however, recently discovered that the bar codes printed on all boarding passes — which travelers can obtain up to 24 hours before arriving at the airport — contain information on which security screening a passenger is set to receive.

Details about the vulnerability spread after John Butler, an aviation blogger, drew attention to it in a post late last week. Butler said he had discovered that information stored within the bar codes of boarding passes is unencrypted, and so can be read in advance by technically minded travelers.

Simply by using a smartphone or similar device to check the bar code, travelers could determine whether they would pass through full security screening, or the expedited process."


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Using Winemaking Waste For Making Fuel
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's drink-and-drive department:
Tator Tot writes "Grape pomace, the mashed up skins and stems left over from making wine and grape juice, could serve as a good starting point for ethanol production, according to a new study (from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry). Due to growing interest in biofuels, researchers have started looking for cheap and environmentally sustainable ways to produce such fuels, especially ethanol. Biological engineer Jean VanderGheynst at the University of California, Davis, turned to grape pomace, because winemakers in California alone produce over 100,000 tons of the fruit scraps each year, with much of it going to waste."

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Analytics Company Settles Charges For User Tracking
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-track-me-bro department:
An anonymous reader writes "A web analytics company has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated federal law by using its web-tracking software that collected personal data without disclosing the extent of the information that it was collecting. The company, Compete Inc., also allegedly failed to honor promises it made to protect the personal data it collected. KISSmetrics, the developer and seller of the homonymous tool, has agreed to pay up to make the suit go away, but the the two plaintiffs will get only $5,000 each, while the rest of the money — more than half a million dollars — will go to their lawyers for legal fees."

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Ask Slashdot: Is Going To a Technical College Worth It?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cash-in-cash-out department:
First time accepted submitter blandcramration writes "I have recently decided to further my education with a technical school associates degree. I am a first quarter student in my third week as an IT student. I have taught myself Python and have been working with computers for over 10 years. We've been learning C++ and though my instructor appears to know how to program, he doesn't really understand the procedure behind the veil, so to speak. In a traditional learning environment, I would rather learn everything about the computer process rather than fiddle around with something until I figure out how it works. I can do that on my own. I think the real issue is I'm not feeling challenged enough and I'm paying through the nose to go to school here. Am I even going to be able to land a decent job, or should I just take a few classes here and move on to a traditional college and get a computer science degree? I'm much more interested in an approach to computer science like From NAND to Tetris but I feel as if I should get a degree in something. What are your thoughts?"

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Facebook Patents Pokes-Per-Minute Limits
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stop-touching-me department:
theodp writes "The USPTO lowered the bar again on Tuesday, granting U.S. Patent No. 8,296,373 to four Facebook inventors for Automatically Managing Objectionable Behavior in a Web-based Social Network, essentially warning users or suspending their accounts when their poking, friend requesting, and wall posting is deemed annoying. From the patent: 'Actions by a user exceeding the threshold may trigger the violation module 240 to take an action. For example, the point 360, which may represent fifty occurrences of an action in a five hour period, does not violate any of the policies as illustrated. However, the point 350, which represents fifty occurrences in a two hour period, violates the poke threshold 330 and the wall post threshold 340. Thus, if point 350 represents a user's actions of either poking or wall posting, then the policy is violated.'"

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Now That It's Here, Is There a Place For Windows RT?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stand-over-in-the-corner department:
concealment sends this quote from Ars:
"The argument back then was this: Windows on ARM would mean discarding the thing that makes Windows entrenched and important: Windows applications. Tablets need all-new applications, and if you're going to run all-new applications then you don't really need Windows. ... In the time it has taken Microsoft to bring Windows on ARM to market, ARM's once overwhelming battery life advantage has been erased. The ARM CPUs may still have a slight power use edge, but the difference will typically be dwarfed by the power consumption of the screen. The Intel processors, in turn, bring CPU performance that is probably best in class (or close to it), and most importantly of all the ability to run the full version of Windows 8 and existing Windows applications. The hardware could look identical to the user, but if it has Intel inside, the user experience will be quite different. ... With these constraints and limitations, it's hard to see who exactly Windows RT is for. I acknowledge that there are certainly some users who will be content to use the browser, mail app, and perhaps type the occasional letter in Word or balance their checkbook in Excel: people for whom the Windows Store's current gaps do not matter. But I think a much wider selection of users will be ill-served by Windows RT."

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Huawei Offers 'Complete and Unrestricted' Source Code Access
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's as-open-as-a-pr-campaign department:
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that 'Huawei has offered to give Australia unrestricted access to its software source code and equipment, as it looks to ease fears that it is a security threat. Questions have been raised about the Chinese telecom firm's ties to the military, something it has denied. Australia has previously blocked Huawei's plans to bid for work on its national broadband network. Huawei said it needed to dispel myths and misinformation.' But is this sufficient? Will they be able to obscure any backdoors written into their equipment?"

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Ask Slashdot: Mathematical Fiction?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-an-arbitrarily-lit-and-stormy-night department:
An anonymous reader writes "Neal Stephenson's 1999 Cryptonomicon was a great yarn. It was also a thoroughly enjoyable (and too short) romp through some mathematics. Where can I find more of that? I should say that I don't want SF — at least none of the classic SF I read voraciously in the 70s; it's just not the same thing, and far too often just a puppet-theatre for an author's philosophical rant. Has any author managed to hit the same vein as Stephenson did? (Good non-fiction math-reads are also gratefully accepted. What have you got?)"

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DoJ Investigating Samsung For Patent Abuse
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's might-as-well-investigate-somebody department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Good news for Apple, bad news for Samsung. Yesterday, Apple filed legal papers with the International Trade Commission citing a Department of Justice investigation into whether Samsung is misusing its 'Standards essential' patents in ways which violate antitrust law. Apple claims Samsung has violated commitments to license its essential patents to competitors on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Or, more specifically, Samsung is 'using certain patents as a basis for improper legal actions that seek to block the sale of competitors' products.' The article says Google (because of its recent acquisition, Motorola Mobility) is under the same scrutiny."

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Google Street View Heads Into the Grand Canyon
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there-seems-to-be-a-giant-cliff-here department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is taking Street View down — into the Grand Canyon, that is. 'On its first official outing, the Street View team is using the Trekker — a wearable backpack with a camera system on top — to traverse the Grand Canyon and capture 360-degree images of one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the planet,' read an Oct. 24 posting on Google's Official Blog. The Trekker automatically records high-quality images as the operator walks. Google's initial foray into the canyon will take place around the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, which includes some famous paths such as the Bright Angel Trail. Google promised to make the images live (at some point) on Google Maps. 'The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system,' the blog added."

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Michael E. Mann Sues For Defamation Over Comparison To Jerry Sandusky
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-we-just-talk-like-adults department:
eldavojohn writes "The global warming debate has left much to be desired in the realm of logic and rationale. One particular researcher, Michael E. Mann, has been repeatedly attacked for his now infamous (and peer reviewed/independently verified) hockey stick graph. It has come to the point where he is now suing for defamation over being compared to convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky. Articles hosted by defendants and written by defendant Rand Simberg and defendant Mark Steyn utilize questionable logic for implicating Michael E. Mann alongside Jerry Sandusky with the original piece, concluding, 'Michael Mann, like Joe Paterno, was a rock star in the context of Penn State University, bringing in millions in research funding. The same university president who resigned in the wake of the Sandusky scandal was also the president when Mann was being (whitewashed) investigated. We saw what the university administration was willing to do to cover up heinous crimes, and even let them continue, rather than expose them. Should we suppose, in light of what we now know, they would do any less to hide academic and scientific misconduct, with so much at stake?' Additionally, sentences were stylized to blend the two people together: 'He has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.' One of the defendants admits to removing 'a sentence or two' of questionable wording. Still, as a public figure, Michael E. Mann has an uphill battle to prove defamation in court."

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EXT4 Data Corruption Bug Hits Linux Kernel
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's plenty-of-time-to-fix department:
An anonymous reader writes "An EXT4 file-system data corruption issue has reached the stable Linux kernel. The latest Linux 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 stable kernels have an EXT4 file-system bug described as an apparent serious progressive ext4 data corruption bug. Kernel developers have found and bisected the kernel issue but are still working on a proper fix for the stable Linux kernel. The EXT4 file-system can experience data loss if the file-system is remounted (or the system rebooted) too often."

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Would You Put a Tracking Device On Your Child?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's does-that-mean-i-don't-have-to-watch-them-anymore department:
Hugh Pickens writes "In 2007 businessman Russell Thornton lost his 3-year-old son at an amusement park. After a frantic 45-minute search, Thornton found the boy hiding in a play structure, but he was traumatized by the incident. It spurred him to build a device that would help other parents avoid that fate. Even though most statistics show that rates of violent crime against children have declined significantly over the last few decades, and that abductions are extremely rare, KJ Dell'Antonia writes that with the array of new gadgetry like Amber Alert and the Securus eZoom our children need never experience the fears that come with momentary separations, or the satisfaction of weathering them. 'You could argue that those of us who survived our childhoods of being occasionally lost, then found, are in the position of those who think car seats are overkill because they suffered no injury while bouncing around in the back of their uncle's pickup,' writes Dell'Antonia. 'Wouldn't a more powerful sense of security come from knowing your children were capable, and trusting in their ability to reach out for help at the moment when they realize they're not?'"

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A Look At Competitors to the Surface and iPad
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-necessarily-also-rans department:
"Asus and other Microsoft OEM partners have also launched their own versions of Windows RT tablets that will compete with Microsoft's Surface. It's interesting to see the different design approaches being taken, some of which are similar to Android devices currently on the market. The Asus Vivo Tab RT, for example, is based on a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 SoC with 2GB of DDR3 memory, 32GB or 64GB of on board Flash storage, and looks a lot like their Transformer Prime 10-inch slate. The internal electronics are similar to Surface, with NVIDIA's Tegra 3 claiming the lion's share of Windows RT designs at launch. Microsoft's new touch-centric OS handles smoothly on the tablet and performance looks to be impressive, especially with respect to multitasking and application switching."
There's also the newly-launched Samsung Galaxy Note II (Android-based, and a so called "phablet," rather than a tablet), the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga (an upcoming Windows RT tablet with a keyboard permanently attached), and the Archos 101 XS.

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