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Secret Stingray Warrantless Cellphone Tracking
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-phone-is-broadcasting-an-ip-address department:
Penurious Penguin writes "Last year a Slashdot story mentioned the case of Daniel David Rigmaiden, or 'the Hacker.' With the help of an IMSI-catcher device, law enforcement had been able to locate and arrest the elusive 'Hacker,' leading to U.S. v. Rigmaiden. But far more elusive than the 'Hacker,' is the IMSI-catcher device itself — particularly the legalities governing its use. The secrecy and unconstitutionality of these Man In The Middle devices, i.e. 'stingrays,' has caught some attention. The EFF and ACLU have submitted an amicus brief in the Rigmaiden case; and EPIC, after filing an FOIA request in February and receiving a grossly redacted 67 out of 25,000 (6,000 classified) pages on the "stingray" devices, has now requested a district judge expedite disclosure of all documents. Some Judges also seem wary of the 'stingray,' having expressed concerns that their use violates the Fourth Amendment; and additionally, that information explaining how the technology is used remains too obscure. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of ISMI-catchers is their several-kilometer range. When a "stingray" is used to spoof a cellphone tower, thousands of innocent users may be collaterally involved. And while the government claims to delete all gathered data unrelated to the target, it also means no one else can know what that data really was. The government claims that because only attributes of calls — but not their content — are captured in the attack, search warrants aren't necessary."
(More, below.)

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Supreme Court To Hear First Sale Doctrine Case
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-wait-to-hear-what-thomas-has-to-say department:
Registered Coward v2 writes "The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case to determine how copyright law and the doctrine of first sale applies to copyrighted works bought overseas, then imported to the U.S. and then re-sold. The case involves a foreign student who imported textbooks from Asia and the resold them in the U.S. to help fund his education. He was sued by the publisher, lost, and was ordered to pay $600,000 in damages. Now SCOTUS gets to weigh in on the issue. 'The idea -- upheld by the Supreme Court since 1908 -- is that once a copyright holder legally sells a product initially, the ownership claim is then exhausted, giving the buyer the power to resell, destroy, donate, whatever. It's a limited idea -- involving only a buyer's distribution right, not the power to reproduce that DVD or designer dress for sale. ... The tricky part is whether that first-sale doctrine applies to material both manufactured and first purchased outside the United States. Federal law gives that authority to a purchaser's work "lawfully made under this title." Does "this title" apply to any copyrighted work — whether manufactured all or in part in the United States and around the world?"

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Wired Proclaims the Death of the Game Console
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's post-pc-mumbo-jumbo-is-infectious department:
SternisheFan points out an article at Wired arguing that game consoles and the business model that sustained them are now "obsolete." Quoting:
"Years from now, 225 million devices will almost certainly be seen as the point at which the console business peaked. Gamers are going elsewhere for their fix. The console’s time at the top of the heap is drawing to an end, and these machines won’t survive without radical change. ... Consoles used to do everything best, but those strengths are now being wiped away. Unlike PC games, which may require finicky custom settings, consoles 'just work,' fans have long pointed out. Well, so does the iPad. Consoles are cheaper than PCs? Not when you factor in the growing disparity in game prices. Consoles have all the good content? Well, if you want Nintendo- or Sony-exclusive games, you’ll need to buy their hardware. But for many gamers, Angry Birds is becoming more attractive than Mario.

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Craig Mundie Blames Microsoft's Product Delays On Cybercrime
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's presidential-debate-worthy department:
whoever57 writes "In an interview in Der Spiegel, Craig Mundie blames Microsoft's failure in mobile on cyber criminals. Noting that Microsoft had a music player before the iPod and a touch device before the iPad, he claims a failure to execute within Microsoft resulted in Microsoft losing its 'leadership.' The reason for the failure to execute, in his words: 'During that time, Windows went through a difficult period where we had to shift a huge amount of our focus to security engineering. The criminal activity in cyberspace was growing dramatically ten years ago, and Microsoft was basically the only company that had enough volume for it to be a target. In part because of that, Windows Vista took a long time to be born.'"

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AMD Rumored To Announce Layoffs, New Hardware, ARM Servers On Monday
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '12 at 02:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's slip-some-sugar-in-the-poison department:
MojoKid writes "After its conference call last week, AMD is jonesing for some positive news to toss investors and is planning a major announcement on Monday to that effect. Rumor suggests that a number of statements may be coming down the pipe, including the scope of the company's layoffs, new CPUs based on Piledriver Opterons, and possibly an ARM server announcement. The latter would be courtesy of AMD's investment in SeaMicro. SeaMicro built its business on ultra-low power servers and their first 64-bit ARMv8 silicon is expected in the very near future. However, there's always a significant lag between chip announcements and actual shipping products. Even if AMD announces Monday, it'd be surprising to see a core debut before the middle of next year."

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China Blocks NYT Over Critical Article
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '12 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's modern-and-progressive department:
Taco Cowboy writes "The New York Times has become the latest target of Chinese censorship. Censors of the People's Republic of China, in an almost unheard of, truly remarkable feat of neck-breaking speed, blocked the (paywalled) website of the New York Times, all because of one news article. That particular article was about the enormous wealth of the family members of a very prominent figure in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — Chinese Premier Wen Jia Bao. The wealth in question totals some USD 2.7 billion. "

(Also covered at the BBC.)

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Yahoo Will Ignore IE 10's "Do Not Track"
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 10:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tsa-logic department:
dsinc writes "And so it begins... Yahoo has made it official: it won't honor the Do Not Track request issued by Internet Explorer 10. Their justification? '[T]he DNT signal from IE10 doesn't express user intent" and "DNT can be easily abused.'" Wonder what percentage of users would rather be tracked by default.

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How To Hug a Chicken Via the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's anything-between-consenting-adult-beings department:
the_newsbeagle writes "Adrian Cheok, a professor of electrical engineering in Japan, wants to invent a "multisensory Internet" that will transmit not just information, but also experiences. To usher in this new age, he started by building a haptic system that enabled him to send a hug to a chicken via the Internet. Next came the 'huggy pajama' project, which allowed distant parents to send their kid a goodnight squeeze. Lately he's begun working on sending a taste over the internet with his 'digital lollypop' project."

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Gut Bacteria Cocktail May End Need for Fecal Transplants
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 05:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's or-do-you-prefer-it-old-school department:
sciencehabit writes "A tonic of gut microbes may be the secret recipe for treating a common hospital scourge. Researchers have pinpointed the exact mix of microbes required to cure mice of chronic infection by Clostridium difficile. The hard-to-treat bacterium infects alomst 336,000 in the US each year and causes bloating, pain, & diarrhea. A similar bacterial cocktail may be able to replace the current controversial treatment involving the intake of a healthy person's fecal matter to restore the right balance of microbes in the gut."

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China Telco Replaces Cisco Devices Over Security Concerns
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tit-for-tat-for-tit-etc department:
hackingbear writes "China Unicom, the country's second largest telecom operator, has replaced Cisco Systems routers in one of the country's most important backbone networks, citing security reasons [due to bugs and vulnerability.) The move came after a congressional report branded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. security threats in the United States, citing bugs and vulnerability (rather than actual evidence of spying.) Surprising to us, up to now, Cisco occupies a large market share in China. It accounts for over a 70 percent share of China Telecom's 163 backbone network and over an 80 percent share of China Unicom's 169 backbone network. Let's wait to see who's the winner in this trade war disguised as national security."

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Ubuntu Now Available On the Nexus 7
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's categorical-blurring department:
An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu for the Nexus 7 was released today and Ubuntu Member Benjamin Kerensa has provided photos and video of it in action." I wish the Nexus 7 had what most Android tablets lack: a full-size USB port (or SD card slot) to make such OS experimenting easier.

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Slashdot Asks: Are You Preparing For Hurricane Sandy?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-another-way-to-say-abrasive department:
Forecasters are tossing around words like "unprecedented" and "bizarre" (see this Washington Post blog entry) for the intensity and timing of Hurricane Sandy, which is threatening to hit the east coast of the U.S. early next week. several people I know in the mid-Atlantic region have been ordering generators and stocking up on flashlight batteries and easy-to-prepare foods. Are you in the projected path of the storm? If so, have you taken any steps to prepare for it? (Are you doing off-site backup? Taking yourself off-site?)

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Why Can't Industry Design an Affordable Hearing Aid?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-the-market-will-bear department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Tricia Romano writes in the NY Times that over the last 10 years, purchasing a hearing aid had become even more difficult and confusing than buying a new car — and almost as expensive. 'I visited Hearx, the national chain where I had bought my previous aids. There, a fastidious young man spread out a brochure for my preferred brand, Siemens, and showed me three models. The cheapest, a Siemens Motion 300, started at $1,600. The top-of-the-line model was more than $2,000 — for one ear. I gasped.' A hearing aid is basically just a microphone and amplifier in your ear so it isn't clear why it costs thousands of dollars while other electronic equipment like cellphones, computers and televisions have gotten cheaper. Russ Apfel, an engineer who designed a technology now found in all hearing aids, says there is no good reason for the high prices. 'The hearing aid industry uses every new thing, like digital or a new algorithm, to raise prices,' says Apfel. 'The semiconductor industry traditionally reduces the cost of products by 10 to 15 percent a year,' he said, but 'hearing aids go up 8 percent a year annually' and have for the last 20 years."

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Green Grid Argues That Data Centers Can Lose the Chillers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's have-they-checked-the-lost-and-found department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Green Grid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making IT infrastructures and data centers more energy-efficient, is making the case that data center operators are operating their facilities in too conservative a fashion. Rather than rely on mechanical chillers, it argues in a new white paper (PDF), data centers can reduce power consumption via a higher inlet temperature of 20 degrees C. Green Grid originally recommended that data center operators build to the ASHRAE A2 specifications: 10 to 35 degrees C (dry-bulb temperature) and between 20 to 80 percent humidity. But the paper also presented data that a range of between 20 and 35 degrees C was acceptable. Data centers have traditionally included chillers, mechanical cooling devices designed to lower the inlet temperature. Cooling the air, according to what the paper originally called anecdotal evidence, lowered the number of server failures that a data center experienced each year. But chilling the air also added additional costs, and PUE numbers would go up as a result."

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Canadian Regulator Orders Telecoms To Tell Us What It Costs To Run Their Service
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's jig-is-up department:
bshell writes "Canada's CRTC (like the FCC) has finally asked telecoms to provide information about how much their services actually cost. Quoting a Montreal Gazette story: 'In a report I wrote last year, I estimated the markup for Internet services was 6,452 per cent for Bell's Essential Plus plan, which provides a two-megabits-per-second speed for $28.95 (prices may have changed since last year).' The markup is likely similar in the U.S. It's about time that we consumers found out what it really costs to provide Internet service, and for that matter telephone and wireless services, so we can get a fair shake."

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Microsoft Reverses 'Mature' Game Ban On Windows 8
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's finally-thought-it-through department:
another random user writes with news that Microsoft has sorted out the Windows Store guidelines such that games rated 'Mature' in the U.S. will be allowed. An earlier version of the guidelines took cues from the European PEGI rating system, which lumps pornographic content into the same rating as mainstream games that involve violence. In the U.S., they're split up into Adult (for porn) and Mature (for things like Skyrim, Call of Duty, and Assassin's Creed). Gamers and developers were worried that a large number of very popular games were going to be disallowed on the Windows Store. Microsoft hopes to have the situation fixed by December — not ideal, since Windows 8 is now out, but better than nothing.

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HTC Losing Ground Faster Than RIM or Nokia
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's race-to-the-bottom department:
zacharye writes "How bad is HTC's current tailspin? So bad it makes Nokia look like a growth company. HTC's handset volume declined by -43% in the autumn quarter vs. Nokia's -23% volume decline. This is very interesting because HTC is using Android, the world's most popular smartphone OS, that is powering 40% annualized growth among its vendors. Nokia is limping along with an unholy mix of the obsolete Symbian platform, the moribund S40 feature phone platform and a niche OS called Windows Phone."

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The Periodic Table of Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-made-out-of-unicorns department:
itwbennett writes "From calcium in cameras and germanium in CPUs to selenium in solar cells. Here's a look at how every single element in the periodic table is used in common tech products. For example: Scandium is used in the bulbs in metal halide lamps, which produce a white light source with a high color rendering index that resembles natural sunlight. These lights are often appropriate for the taping of television shows. ... Yttrium helps CRT televisions produce a red color. When used in a compound, it collects energy and passes it to the phosphor. ... Niobium: Lithium niobate is used in mobile phone production, incorporated into surface acoustic wave filters that convert acoustic waves into electrical signals and make smartphone touchscreens work. SAW filters also provide cell signal enhancement, and are used to produce the Apple iPad 2."

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Paul Ceglia Arrested and Charged With Fraud Over Facebook Ownership Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's know-when-to-fold-'em department:
whoever57 writes "The main who claimed ownership of 50% of Facebook has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with his claims. The United States attorney in Manhattan said, 'Ceglia's alleged conduct not only constitutes a massive fraud attempt, but also an attempted corruption of our legal system through the manufacture of false evidence," "Dressing up a fraud as a lawsuit does not immunize you from prosecution.'"

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South Carolina Department of Revenue Hacked, 3.6 Million SSNs Taken
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's boy-are-their-faces-red department:
New submitter Escape From NY writes "3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers were stolen from the SC Department of Revenue. Most of the credit and debit card numbers were encrypted — all but about 16,000. There were several different attacks, all of which originated outside the country. The first they're aware of happened on August 27, and four more happened in September. Officials first learned of the breached on October 10, and the security holes were closed on October 20. This is still a developing story, but anyone who filed a SC state tax return since 1998 my be at risk. Governor Nikki Haley today signed an executive order (PDF) to beef up the state's IT security."

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