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Is Qualcomm the New AMD?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's champing-at-the-bit department:
colinneagle writes "It's a darned shame, but the writing is on the wall for AMD. The ATI graphics business is the only thing keeping it afloat right now as sales shrivel up and the company faces yet another round of staffing cuts. You can only cut so many times before there's no one left to innovate you out of the mess you're in. Qualcomm, on the other hand, dominates this space, and it has the chips to back it up. The Snapdragon line of ARM-based processors alone is found in a ridiculous number of prominent devices, including Samsung Galaxy S II and S III, Nokia Lumia 900 and 920, Asus Transformer Pad Infinity and the Samsung Galaxy Note. Mind you, Samsung is also in the ARM processor business, yet it is licensing Qualcomm's parts. That's quite a statement."

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Visa and MasterCard Take Fight To Scammers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's follow-the-not-exactly-money department:
An anonymous reader writes "In his latest story, Brian Krebs reports on a collaboration between brand holders and credit card companies to shut down payment processing for rogue online pharmacies, pirate software sellers and fake anti-virus scams. By conducting test purchases, they map out which banks are being used to accept payments for which scams. Writes Krebs, 'Following the money trail showed that a majority of the purchases were processed by just 12 banks in a handful of countries, including Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Latvia, and Mauritius.' These results are then fed to Visa and Mastercard who typically shut down the merchant accounts 'within one month after a complaint was lodged.' If you can't accept payments, you can't make money — and without money you can't pay the spammers who advertise your product. This effort is apparently quite effective and has led to much concern by those running such sites."

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Zimmerman's Silent Circle Now Live
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's different-zimmerman department:
e065c8515d206cb0e190 writes "Several websites have announced the launch of Silent Circle, PGP's founder Phil Zimmerman''s new suite of tools for the paranoid. After a first day glitch with a late approval of their iOS app, the website seems to now accept subscribtions. Have any slashdotters subscribed? What does SilentCircle provide that previous applications didn't have?"

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Judge Rules Defense Can Use Trayvon Martin Tweets
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-you-cannot-or-will-not-afford-an-attorney department:
theodp writes "The NY Times reports a judge in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman has ruled that Trayvon Martin's school and social media records should be provided to the defense. Judge Debra S. Nelson said Martin's Twitter, Facebook and school records were relevant in the self-defense case. In those instances, showing whether a victim 'had an alleged propensity to violence' or aggression is germane, the judge said. The defense also got permission for access to the social media postings of a Miami girl who said she was on the phone with Martin just before the shooting. Time to update the Miranda warning to include: 'Anything you Tweet or post can and will be held against you in a court of law'?'"

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How Google Cools Its 1 Million Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's lots-of-misters department:
1sockchuck writes "As Google showed the world its data centers this week, it disclosed one of its best-kept secrets: how it cools its custom servers in high-density racks. All the magic happens in enclosed hot aisles, including supercomputer-style steel tubing that transports water — sometimes within inches of the servers. How many of those servers are there? Google has deployed at least 1 million servers, according to Wired, which got a look inside the company's North Carolina data center. The disclosures accompany a gallery of striking photos by architecture photographer Connie Zhou, who discusses the experience and her approach to the unique assignment."

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Ask Slashdot: Securing a Windows Laptop, For the Windows Newbie?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-under-my-roof department:
madsdyd writes "I am a long-time user of Linux (since 1997) and have not been using Windows since 1998. All PCs at home (mine, wife's, kids') run Linux. I work professionally as a software developer with Linux, but the Windows installs at my workplace are quite limited, so my current/working knowledge of Windows is almost nil. At home we have all been happy with this arrangement, and the kids have been using their Nintendos, PS2/3's and mobile phones up until now. However, my oldest kid (12) now wants to play World of Warcraft and League of Legends with his friends. I have spent more hours than I like to admit getting this to work with Wine, with limited success — seems to always fail at the last moment. I considered an Apple machine, but they seem to be quite expensive.
So, I am going to bite the bullet, and install Windows 7 on a spare Lenovo T400 laptop, which I estimate will be able to run both Windows 7 and the games in question."
Read on for more about the questions this raises, for someone who wants to ensure that a game-focused machine stays secure.

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Craig Venter Wants To Rebuild Martian Life In Earth Lab
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stacking-up-the-if-thens department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Karen Kaplan reports in the LA Times that Craig Venter is making plans to send a DNA sequencer to Mars. Assuming there is DNA to be found on the Red Planet – a big assumption, to be sure – the sequencer will decode its DNA, beam it back to Earth, put those genetic instructions into a cell and then boot up a Martian life form in a biosecure lab. Venter's 'biological teleporter' (as he dubbed it) would dig under the surface for samples to sequence. If they find anything, 'it would take only 4.3 minutes to get the Martians back to Earth,' says Venter, founder of Celera Genomics and the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). 'Now we can rebuild the Martians in a P4 spacesuit lab.' It may sound far-fetched, but the notion of equipping a future Mars rover to sequence the DNA isn't so crazy, and Venter isn't the only one looking for Martian DNA. MIT research scientist Christopher Carr is part of a group that's 'building a a miniature RNA/DNA sequencer to search for life beyond Earth,' according to the MIT website 'The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes.' SETG will test the hypothesis that life on Mars, if it exists, shares a common ancestor with life on Earth. Carr told Tech Review that one of the biggest challenges is shrinking Ion Torrent's 30-kilogram machine down to a mere 3 kg – light enough to fit on a Mars rover."

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ACM Queue Interviews Robert Watson On Open Source Hardware and Research
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's whole-shebang department:
An anonymous reader writes "ACM Queue interviews Cambridge researcher (and FreeBSD developer) Robert Watson on why processor designs need to change in order to better support security features like Capsicum — and how they change all the time (RISC, GPUs, etc). He also talks about the challenge of building a research team at Cambridge that could actually work with all levels of the stack: CPU design, operating systems, compilers, applications, and formal methods. The DARPA-sponsored SRI and Cambridge CTSRD project is building a new open source processor that can support orders of magnitude greater sandboxing than current designs."

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Trade Show Video Features Iranian Tech, Talk of Stuxnet Retaliation
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-stuxnet-was-fun department:
dcblogs writes "Iran recently held a security trade show and conference, attended by high-ranking police and military officials. A video by an Iranian news outlet shows some of the products, from crossbows to unidentified systems, and includes an interview with Iran's police chief, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi-Moqadam: 'It's true that the U.S. made Stuxnet virus did some damage to our facilities but we were able to get them all up and running in no time. However, those who attack should expect retaliation and we haven't gone there just yet.'"

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Poor SSL Implementations Leave Many Android Apps Vulnerable
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-why-they-buy-guns department:
Trailrunner7 writes "There are thousands of apps in the Google Play mobile market that contain serious mistakes in the way that SSL/TLS is implemented, leaving them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks that could compromise sensitive user data such as banking credentials, credit card numbers and other information. Researchers from a pair of German universities conducted a detailed analysis of thousands of Android apps and found that better than 15 percent of those apps had weak or bad SSL implementations. The researchers conducted a detailed study of 13,500 of the more popular free apps on Google Play, the official Android app store, looking at the SSL/TLS implementations in them and trying to determine how complete and effective those implementations are. What they found is that more than 1,000 of the apps have serious problems with their SSL implementations that make them vulnerable to MITM attacks, a common technique used by attackers to intercept wireless data traffic. In its research, the team was able to intercept sensitive user data from these apps, including credit card numbers, bank account information, PayPal credentials and social network credentials."

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Canadian Space Agency Shows Off Prototype Rovers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 02:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's perfect-for-the-northern-territories department:
An anonymous reader writes "At its headquarters in Longueuil, Que. Friday, the Canadian Space Agency rolled out a fleet of about a half-dozen prototype rovers that are the forerunners of vehicles that may one day explore the moon or Mars. The agency said the terrestrial rovers bring it one step closer to developing the next generation for space exploration."

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First Three-Strikes Copyright Court Case In NZ Falls Over
Posted by News Fetcher on October 20 '12 at 12:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's unbalanced-as-it-was department:
Bismillah writes "The 'Skynet' anti-filesharing aw introduced last year in New Zealand is starting to bite, with people being hauled in front of the Copyright Tribunal by the music industry after receiving three notices. Of the three Copyright Tribunal cases to be heard currently, the first one's just been dropped. Why? Nobody knows. RIANZ isn't saying. Interesting things: the accused was the ISP account holder, a student sharing a place with others who also used the Internet connection. The cost of the five songs downloaded is NZ$11.95 but RIANZ wanted NZ$1,075.50 because it estimated the music was shared/downloaded 90 times in total. A high deterrent penalty of NZ$1,250 was also asked for."

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Stanford Ovshinsky, Hybrid Car Battery Inventor, Has Died
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 11:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sainthood-nomination-time department:
another random user writes "Stanford Ovshinsky, a self-taught American physicist who designed the battery now used in hybrid cars, has died aged 89 from prostate cancer .
The electronics field of ovonics was named after Mr Ovshinsky, who owned over 200 patents and has been described as a '[Thomas] Edison of our age.'
He introduced the idea of 'glass transistors' in 1968, which paved the way for modern flat-screen monitors."


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The Long Reach of US Extradition
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 09:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's blue-passports-money-and-guns department:
CuteSteveJobs writes "The New Matilda reports how the U.S. is now able to extradite people for minor offences, and asks why foreign governments so willingly give up their nationals to the U.S. to 'face justice' over minor crimes committed outside US borders? Lawyer Kellie Tranter writes 'the long arm of the Government is using criminal enforcement powers to enforce commercial interests at the behest of corporations and their lobbyists.' A Former NSW Chief Judge said it was bizarre 'that people are being extradited to the US to face criminal charges when they have never been to the U.S. and the alleged act occurred wholly outside the U.S.' He said although copyright violations are a great problem, a country 'must protect its nationals from being removed from their homeland to a foreign country merely because the commercial interests of that foreign country.' Australia recently 'streamlined' its laws to make extradition to the U.S. even easier."

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China's Yearly Budget For High-Speed Rail: $100 Billion
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 06:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-your-opinion-man department:
An anonymous reader writes "For all of those wondering about China's massive high speed rail network, it costs some serious cash. Running high speed lines across the nation is expensive — to the tune of $100 billion dollars a year. This covers the cost to maintain the network, build it, and pay all of the staff. The problem is, corruption has reared its ugly head. The network itself has had its share of problems, with people dying as a result. There is also the problem that many of Chinese poor make so little money they can't afford to ride it. The sad fact is that so much money is being spent, no one can even keep count."

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21st IOCCC Source Code Released
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-you-can't-read-it department:
First time accepted submitter johntromp writes "Source code for the 21st International Obfuscated C Code Contest was released last weekend, following announcement of the winners on Sep 30, and just over a month after the submission window closed on Sep 14, a new speed record for the judges. Happy source code browsing!"

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Real-Time Cyber-Attack Map
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's get-to-the-next-phone-booth department:
First time accepted submitter anavictoriasaavedra writes "In October, two German computer security researchers created a map that allows you to see a picture of online cyber-attacks as they happen. The map isn't out of a techno-thriller, tracking the location of some hacker in a basement trying to steal government secrets. Instead, it's built around a worldwide project designed to study online intruders. The data comes from honeypots. When the bots go after a honeypot, however, they're really hacking into a virtual machine inside a secure computer. The attack is broadcast on the map—and the researchers behind the project have a picture of how a virus works that they can use to prevent similar attacks or prepare new defenses."

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Kaspersky's Exploit-Proof OS Leaves Security Experts Skeptical
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's trust-maybe-but-certainly-verify department:
CWmike writes "Eugene Kaspersky, the $800-million Russian cybersecurity tycoon, is, by his own account, out to 'save the world' with an exploit-proof operating system. Given the recent declarations from U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and others that the nation is facing a 'digital Pearl Harbor' or 'digital 9/11' from hostile nation states like Iran, this sounds like the impossible dream come true — the cyber version of a Star Wars force field. But on this side of that world in need of saving, the enthusiasm is somewhat tempered. One big worry: source. 'The real question is, do you trust the people who built your system? The answer had better be yes,' said Gary McGraw, CTO of Cigital. Kaspersky's products are among the top ranked worldwide, are used by an estimated 300 million people and are embraced by U.S. companies like Microsoft, Cisco and Juniper Networks. But while he considers himself at some level a citizen of the world, he has close ties to Russian intelligence and Vladimir Putin. Part of his education and training was sponsored by the KGB, he is a past Soviet intelligence officer (some suspect he has not completely retired from that role) and he is said have a 'deep and ongoing relationship with Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB,' the successor to the KGB and the agency that operates the Russian government's electronic surveillance network."

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Ubuntu Isn't Becoming Less Open, Says Shuttleworth
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's frantic-flamingo department:
sfcrazy writes "While the larger Ubuntu community was busy downloading, installing and enjoying the latest edition of Ubuntu yesterday, a post by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth ruffled some feathers. He gave the impression that from now on only select members of the community will be involved in some development and it will be announced publicly only after completion. There was some criticism of this move, and Shuttleworth responded that they are actually opening up projects being developed internally by Canonical employees instead of closing currently open projects. He also made a new blog post clarifying his previous comments: 'What I offered to do, yesterday, spontaneously, is to invite members of the community in to the things we are working on as personal projects, before we are ready to share them. This would mean that there was even less of Ubuntu that was NOT shaped and polished by folk other than Canonical – a move that one would think would be well received. This would make Canonical even more transparent.'"

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How Do You Spot a Genius?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's look-for-the-striped-crest department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Ingrid Wickelgren reports in Scientific American that people have long-equated genius with intelligence, but it is more aptly characterized by creative productivity which depends on a combination of genetics, opportunity and effort. 'Nobody can be called out for outstanding contributions to a field without a lot of hard work, but progress is faster if you are born with the right skills. Personality also plays a role. If you are very open to new experiences and if you have psychopathic traits (yes, as in those shared by serial killers) such as being aggressive and emotionally tough, you are more likely to be considered a genius.' True creativity and genius depends on an unfiltered view of the world, one that is unconstrained by preconceptions and more open to novelty, writes Wickelgren. 'In particular, a less conceptual and more literal way of thinking, one more typical of people with autism, can open the mind up to seeing details that most people miss.' Our schools devote few resources on nurturing nascent genius, concludes Wickelgren, because they are focused on helping those students most likely to be left behind. 'We need to train teachers to spot giftedness, which may take a variety of forms and often needs to be accompanied by creativity, drive and passion. Offering a greater variety of enrichment activities to children will cause many more hidden talents to surface. And accelerated classes and psychological coaching are essential for nurturing talent as early and vigorously as possible.'"

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