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World's Largest Biometric Database
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's somebody-call-guinness department:
An anonymous reader writes "In the last two years, over 200 million Indian nationals have had their fingerprints and photographs taken and irises scanned, and given a unique 12-digit number that should identify them everywhere and to everyone. This is only the beginning, and the goal is to do the same with the entire population (1.2 billion), so that poorer Indians can finally prove their existence and identity when needed for getting documents, getting help from the government, and opening bank and other accounts. This immense task needs a database that can contain over 12 billion fingerprints, 1.2 billion photographs, and 2.4 billion iris scans, can be queried from diverse devices connected to the Internet, and can return accurate results in an extremely short time."

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More Court Trouble For Oracle: Now HP Is Suing Them
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's larry-ellison-hops-off-the-itanic department:
New submitter another random user writes "Oracle violated its contract with Hewlett-Packard (HP) after it decided that future versions of its database software would not support a line of HP servers, HP's lawyer has said in court."

The issue at hand: Oracle agreed to support Itanium, and has since pulled support. "... Hewlett-Packard estimates it should be awarded more than $4 billion in damages, based on an extrapolation to 2020 that accounts for projected losses, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the court document containing the damages request is confidential." Oracle is using the Itanic defense: "In cross-examination today, Oracle attorney Dan Wall asked Livermore [HP board member] if she had heard Itanium called 'Itanic,' a reference to the 'Titanic' oceanliner sinking. 'I've heard lots of terms,' Livermore said. 'I understand the reference they are making and I don’t like it. It is not done by anyone I like or respect.'"

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Coffee Consumption Strongly Linked To Preventing Alzheimer's
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's eight-cups-a-day-keeps-the-mind-sharp department:
An anonymous reader writes "Those cups of coffee that you drink every day to keep alert appear to have an extra perk — especially if you're an older adult. A recent study monitoring the memory and thinking processes of people older than 65 found that all those with higher blood caffeine levels avoided the onset of Alzheimer's disease in the two-to-four years of study follow-up. Moreover, coffee appeared to be the major or only source of caffeine for these individuals."

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Richard Feynman's FBI Files Released
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's soviet-sympathizers-beware department:
v3rgEz writes "The FBI files of noted physicist, esteemed author and all-around geek Richard Feynman have been released. Feynman and the FBI had an extended encounter after the Bureau discovered he had been invited to speak at the USSR, which set off a flurry of investigations into his loyalty — even as he pestered the State Department for guidance on whether he should or shouldn't go, guidance they only gave belatedly. Of particular interest to the FBI was his avid devotion to the art of lock picking, his high school membership in a socialism club (for social reasons, he swore), and the fact that he was a godless scientist who loved his bongo drums. Original documents are available. One other element? A seven-page letter detailing a conspiracy theory that Feynman was a sleeper agent for enemies unknown, but probably communist ones."

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World IPv6 Launch Day Underway
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's it's-finally-1999 department:
A number of readers have written in with stories related to today's permanent rollout of IPv6 by several major organizations. From the looks of it, for the 1% or so of end users with IPv6 support, everything is going smoothly. For those not so lucky to have IPv6 already, an anonymous reader writes with (mostly) good news: 60% of ISPs intend to enable IPv6 by the end of 2012. For business users, darthcamaro provides some words of caution: "...the Chief Security Officer of VeriSign doesn't think IPv6 should be turned on by a whole lot of people. The problem is network security devices in many cases don't scan IPv6. So if you turn IPv6 on, you're screwed.
'If you don't have that visibility into IPv6, you should probably consider explicitly disabling IPv6 on your systems until you can take a very concerted approach to enabling IPv6 in a secure manner,' McPherson said."

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Ray Bradbury Has Died
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's he-just-moved-to-mars department:
dsinc was the first to note, but an anonymous reader writes "Author of dystopian novel about the logical conclusion of many trends in modern society, Fahrenheit 451, and many other works that have inspired fans of speculative fiction for decades has died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles, California, Tuesday night, June 5th, 2012. No details on how he died were released, however, I suspect it may have had something to do with the Earth orbiting the sun over 90 times since he was born. I guess we'll have to wait to be sure."

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Canada No Pirate Nation: Global Leader In Music Download Sales
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's secret-is-also-being-leader-in-eh department:
An anonymous reader writes "The IFPI, the global recording industry association, recently released
its Recording
Industry in Numbers 2012
,
which provides detailed sales data from countries around the world.
While CRIA talks
about
'rebuilding the marketplace,' the industry's own data indicates that
Canada already stands among the global leaders in digital music sales.
Michael Geist digs into the
data and finds that Canadians purchased more single track
downloads than Germany or Japan
, and more than double the sales in
France, despite the fact that each of those countries has far larger
populations. In fact, Canadian sales were larger than all the sales
from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, the
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden combined. Not only is the Canadian
digital market far larger than virtually every European
market, it continues to grow faster than the U.S. digital music
market as well. In fact, the Canadian digital music market has grown
faster than the U.S. market for the past six consecutive years."


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Stuxnet/Flame/Duqu Uses GPL Code
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's state-sponsored-piracy department:
David Gerard writes "It seems the authors of Stuxnet/Duqu/Flame used the LZO library, which is straight-up GPL. And so, someone has asked the U.S. government to release the code under the GPL. (Other code uses various permissive licenses. As works of the U.S. federal government, the rest is of course public domain.) Perhaps the author could enlist the SFLC to send a copyright notice to the U.S. government..."

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LinkedIn Password Hashes Leaked Online
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's at-least-they-weren't-plain-text department:
jones_supa writes "A user in a Russian forum is claiming to have hacked LinkedIn to the tune of almost 6.5 million account details. The user uploaded 6,458,020 SHA-1 hashed passwords, but no usernames. Several people have said on Twitter that they found their real LinkedIn passwords as hashes on the list. The Verge spoke with Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure, who thinks this is a real collection. He told us he is 'guessing it's some sort of exploit on their web interface, but there's no way to know.' We will have to wait for LinkedIn to report back to be sure what exactly has happened."

An anonymous reader tipped us to related news: The LinkedIn iOS application harvests information from your calendar and transmits it to their servers unencrypted.

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Committee Offers Scenarios for Japan's Energy Future
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's doomed-no-matter-what-you-do department:
ananyo writes with a story about more concrete plans for a reduced or nuclear-free energy future for Japan. From the article: "It's official: nuclear power will have a much smaller role in Japan's energy future than was once thought. Since the meltdowns and gas explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011, all of Japan's remaining reactors have been shut down for inspections and maintenance.The government offered a glimpse of their future, and that of the country's nuclear power in general, when it published an outline of four ways to satisfy Japan's future energy demands. One scenario recommends using a market mechanism to determine the nuclear contribution. Under the other three, nuclear power would supply at most one-quarter of Japan's energy by 2030 — and in one case, none at all. The scenarios come from a 25-person advisory committee to the industry ministry. The sharp reductions in the nuclear power part of the country's energy mix mean that Japan will struggle to reach the 31% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that it had planned by 2030 (PDF)."

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Red Hat Clarifies Doubts Over UEFI Secure Boot Solution
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's there-goes-freedom-one department:
sfcrazy writes "Red Hat's Tim Burke has clarified Fedora/Red Hat's solution to Microsoft's secure boot implementation. He attacks conspiracy theorist as — Some conspiracy theorists bristle at the thought of Red Hat and other Linux distributions using a Microsoft initiated key registration scheme. Suffice it to say that Red Hat would not have endorsed this model if we were not comfortable that it is a good-faith initiative."

Color me unimpressed, and certainly concerned: "A healthy dynamic of the Linux open source development model is the ability to roll-your-own. For example, users take Fedora and rebuild custom variants to meet personal interest or experiment in new innovations. Such creative individuals can also participate by simply enrolling in the $99 one time fee to license UEFI. For users performing local customization, they will have the ability to self-register their own trusted keys on their own systems at no cost." From what I can tell, the worst fears of the trusted computing initiative are coming true despite any justifications from Red Hat here. Note that the ability to install your owns keys is certainly not a guaranteed right.

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US Courts Approve 30,000 Secret Surveillance Orders Each Year
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's busy-as-a-klingon-at-a-tribble-farm department:
An anonymous reader writes "U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith estimates in a new paper (PDF) that 30,000 secret surveillance orders are approved each year in U.S. courts. 'Though such orders have judicial oversight, few emerge from any sort of adversarial proceeding and many are never unsealed at all.' Smith writes, 'To put this figure in context, magistrate judges in one year generated a volume of secret electronic surveillance cases more than thirty times the annual number of FISA cases; in fact, this volume of ECPA cases is greater than the combined yearly total of all antitrust, employment discrimination, environmental, copyright, patent, trademark, and securities cases filed in federal court.' He also adds a warning: 'Lack of transparency in judicial proceedings has long been recognized as a threat to the rule of law and roundly condemned in ringing phrases by many Supreme Court opinions.'"

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Google's Quickoffice Purchase Takes Aim At Windows 8
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 02:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's going-for-center-mass department:
alphadogg writes "Google announced Tuesday it has acquired Quickoffice, whose software could bolster Google Apps on tablets and smartphones. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Google's second buyout in two days (yesterday it announced the acquisition of social/advertising company Meebo) gives the company more ammunition in its fight for the mobile office versus Microsoft, which is steaming ahead with Windows 8 and its Office apps. Quickoffice offers apps for Android and Apple iOS tablets and smartphones, but it's unclear what will become of the iOS ones under Google's domain."

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Buttons That Morph Out of Your Touchscreen
Posted by News Fetcher on June 06 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-thought-we-only-needed-one-button department:
kkleiner writes "Wouldn't it be awesome if our tablets and smartphones could have buttons that morphed out of the touchscreen, and then went away again when we didn't need them? It sounds like magic, but now it is reality. Created by Tactus Technology, a Fremont, California-based start-up, Tactus is a deformable layer that sits on top of a touchscreen sensor and display. 'The layer is about 0.75mm to 1mm thick, and at its top sits a deformable, clear layer 200 nm thick. Beneath the clear layer a fluid travels through micro-channels and is pushed up through tiny holes, deforming the clear layer to create buttons or shapes. The buttons or patterns remain for however long they are needed, just for a few seconds or for hours when you’re using your iPad to write that novel. And because the fluid is trapped inside the buttons, they can remain for however long without additional power consumption. They come or go pretty quickly, taking only a second to form or disappear.'"

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Samba 4 Enters Beta
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '12 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's progress-is-made department:
rayk_sland writes "Progress is being made on the long awaited Samba 4 release. On Tuesday the Samba 4 team announced their first beta. Those of us who refuse to have a closed-source server at the core of our networks will be encouraged to see this milestone. Here are a few of the new features: 'Samba 4.0 beta supports the server-side of the Active Directory logon environment used by Windows 2000 and later, so we can do full domain join and domain logon operations with these clients. ... Samba 4.0 beta ships with two distinct file servers. We now use the file server from the Samba 3.x series 'smbd' for all file serving by default. For pure file server work, the binaries users would expect from that series (nmbd, winbindd, smbpasswd) continue to be available. Samba 4.0 also ships with the 'NTVFS' file server. This file server is what was used in all previous alpha releases of Samba 4.0, and is tuned to match the requirements of an AD domain controller. We continue to support this, not only to provide continuity to installations that have deployed it as part of an AD DC, but also as a running example of the NT-FSA architecture we expect to move smbd to in the longer term. ... Finally, a new scripting interface has been added to Samba 4, allowing Python programs to interface to Samba's internals, and many tools and internal workings of the DC code is now implemented in python.'"

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A 'Small Claims Court' For the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '12 at 10:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-you-can-get-judge-judy department:
angry tapir writes "It's not unusual for a freelance Web designer or developer to be burnt when a client refuses to pay up, citing one excuse or another. And what can you do about it? If a contract only amounts to a few thousand dollars, litigation to recover your fee can be far too expensive, and an increasingly vituperative exchange of emails is often not enough for client and contractor to come to agreement over who owes whom what. Into this gap steps judge.me: A start-up founded by Peter-Jan Celis that aims to provide internet-based, legally binding arbitration services — a 'small claims court' for the internet — with a particular eye on settling the conflicts that arise over freelance development and Web design."

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NASA, Congress Reach Accord On Commercial Crew Program
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '12 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's one-of-you-loses department:
MarkWhittington writes "NASA and Congress have reached a deal on how to proceed with the commercial crew program that provides government subsidies to pay for the development of private spacecraft. NASA will select two competitors from the current four — SpaceX, Boeing, Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada. A third competitor will be picked for partial funding as a fallback in case both of the main competing companies run into difficulties developing a spacecraft on time and on budget."

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Star Wars: 1313, a 'Darker, Grittier' Star Wars Game
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '12 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-jar-jar-here department:
MojoKid writes "When it comes to Star Wars, the gaming industry has a long history of cranking out titles of uncertain quality. For every brilliant title like Knights of the Old Republic, we've seen several clunkers and a few outright failures like Republic Heroes. LucasArts demonstrated a new Star Wars game at E3 this week, Star Wars: 1313 and despite the brand's uneven history, folks are cautiously optimistic. The 1313 moniker refers to a specific level of Coruscant which is a haven for criminals, bounty hunters, and crime lords. You take on the role of a bounty hunter looking for information on an unspecified criminal conspiracy who descends to 1313 in search of data. This will likely be the first Star Wars game to be rated 'M' for mature, and it focuses on the seedy underbelly of the universe."

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Netflix Launches Its Own Content Delivery Network
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's putting-on-a-different-hat department:
1sockchuck writes "Netflix has launched its own content delivery network to manage data delivery for its streaming video service. ISPs can choose to host caching appliances in their data centers, or peer with Netflix at Internet Exchanges. 'Netflix will provide either form of access at no cost to the ISP,' it said. As part of Open Connect, Netflix is sharing its hardware appliance design and the open source software components of the server. Does this mean Armageddon for the CDNs currently serving Akamai? Not really, according to analysts, citing the leverage Netflix had in dealing with providers."

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China Secretly Clones Austrian Village
Posted by News Fetcher on June 05 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-try-it-with-the-swiss department:
Hugh Pickens writes "A scenic mountain village in Austria called Hallstatt has been copied, down to the statues, by a Chinese developer. Residents of the original Hallstatt attended Saturday's opening in China for the high-end residential project, but were still miffed about how the company did it. 'They should have asked the owners of the hotel and the other buildings if we agree with the idea to rebuild Hallstatt in China, and they did not,' says hotel owner Monika Wenger. People in Hallstatt first learned a year ago of the plan when a Chinese guest at Wenger's hotel who was involved with the project inadvertently spilled the beans. Minmetals staff had been taking photos and gathering data while mingling with tourists, raising suspicions among villagers. The original village is a centuries-old village of 900 and a UNESCO heritage site that survives on tourism. The copycat is a $940 million housing estate that thrives on China's new rich. In a country famous for pirated products, the replica Hallstatt sets a new standard. 'The moment I stepped into here, I felt I was in Europe,' says 22-year-old Zhu Bin, a Huizhou resident. 'The security guards wear nice costumes. All the houses are built in European style.' This isn't the first time a Chinese firm has used a European place as inspiration. The Chinese city of Anting, some 30 kilometers from Shanghai, created a district designed to accommodate 20,000 residents called 'German Town Anting' and in 2005 Chengdu British Town was modeled on the English town of Dorchester."

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