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UK Finally Gets 4G Networking
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-upping-dan-savage department:
judgecorp writes "The UK has finally got its first 4G network, provided by EE, a new brand from Everything Everywhere, the company formed by the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK. The network will cover 20 million people (about a third of the UK population) in 16 cities by the end of 2012, but right now only engineers are on the network. It will support phones including the expected iPhone 5, and the Nokia Lumia 920."

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More Warnings About High-Frequency Trading
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's financial-chicken department:
bfwebster writes "From The Big Picture (a great finance/econ blog) comes a link to this New York Times article on some of the risks and problems of high-frequency trading on financial markets and a couple of 'gadflies' who are pushing hard to get some changes and reforms in how Wall Street handles HFT. Key question: when is fast trading too fast?"

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Amazon Now Discounting HarperCollins EBooks
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's publishing-industry-found-crying-in-corner department:
Nate the greatest writes "Late last week 3 publishers and the Dept of Justice finalized an agreement to settle the claims that the publishers conspired to raise ebook prices. One of the terms of the agreement was that publishers were going to have to allow ebook retailers like Amazon to set the price of ebooks. Today it looks like the new prices have gone into effect. Amazon, B&N, and a small indie ebookstore called BooksonBoard are all offering HarperCollins ebooks at a discount. B&N and Amazon seem to be using the same price book, while BoB is having a 24% off sale."

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MediaFire Restores Virus Researcher's Account But Not Individual Files
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bad-robot department:
chicksdaddy writes "The cloud-based hosting firm MediaFire has reversed a decision to suspend the account of virus researcher Mila Parkour after Naked Security raised questions about copyright violation complaints made against her by the mysterious firm LeakID. In an email to Parkour on Friday, MediaFire's director of customer support, Daniel Goebel, said that the company was restoring Parkour's access to her MediaFire account and apologized for the interruption in service. MediaFire also said it was asking LeakID, the Paris-based firm that accused Parkour of sharing copyrighted material, to 'confirm the status of the counterclaim [Parkour] submitted.' However, the firm is still blocking access to files that LeakID alleged were violating the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a strict copyright enforcement law in the U.S."

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Nature Lover Vladimir Putin Flies With the Cranes
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sarah-palin-vs-putin-rearing-his-ugly-wings department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Russian President Vladimir Putin is a nature lover. In 2007, the bare-chested president rode a horse through Siberia. In 2008, he fired a tranquilizer gun at a rare Siberian tiger. In 2010, he used a crossbow to shoot darts at an enormous whale in a fog-shrouded bay to collect tissue samples. Now Der Spiegel reports that on his way east to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Putin stopped at the Arctic Circle to fulfill a mission for which the Kremlin says he prepared assiduously for a year and a half: helping to save an endangered species of crane. In a meadow some 2,000 kilometers northeast of Moscow, Putin donned a white jumpsuit and black aviator goggles before swinging himself into the seat of an ultralight aircraft and as loudspeakers played the recorded call of a mother crane, Putin lifted off and a group of orphaned white Siberian cranes followed, allowing the aircraft to lead them south toward their winter habitat. On the first attempt, only one of the young cranes followed him up, which Putin said was because a high tail wind had caused the hang glider to accelerate too fast. On the second attempt, five birds followed Putin, but only two stuck with him for the full 15-minute flight. Putin's flight, given many minutes of airtime on Russian television, provoked an array of contemptuous jokes on the Internet, one of the most popular being: 'So Putin is off to wintering with cranes. Does this mean he's not going to be back before spring?' The Russian president, however, hit back at critics telling reporters at the conclusion of APEC summit that, 'It's true that not all flew right away, but the ones that didn't fly were the weak cranes' apparently alluding to the errant ways of those involved in protests that have hit Russia over the last year."

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Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Collecting and Storing User Information?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's design-by-committee department:
New submitter isaaccs writes "I'm a mobile developer at a startup. My experience is in building user-facing applications, but in this case, a component of an app I'm building involves observing and collecting certain pieces of user information and then storing them in a web service. This is for purposes of analysis and ultimately functionality, not persistence. This would include some obvious items like names and e-mail addresses, and some less obvious items involving user behavior. We aim to be completely transparent and honest about what it is we're collecting by way of our privacy disclosure. I'm an experienced developer, and I'm aware of a handful of considerations (e.g., the need to hash personal identifiers stored remotely), but I've seen quite a few startups caught with their pants down on security/privacy of what they've collected — and I'd like to avoid it to the degree reasonably possible given we can't afford to hire an expert on the topic. I'm seeking input from the community on best-practices for data collection and the remote storage of personal (not social security numbers, but names and birthdays) information. How would you like information collected about you to be stored? If you could write your own privacy policy, what would it contain? To be clear, I'm not requesting stack or infrastructural recommendations."

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Researchers Create Short-term Memories In Rat Brains
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's I-guess-I-really-am-a-terrorist department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers say they've found a way to store artificial short-term memories in isolated brain tissue. 'This is the first time anyone has found a way to store information over seconds about both temporal sequences andstimulus patterns directly in brain tissue,' says the study's lead. 'This paves the way for future research to identify the specific brain circuits that allow us to form short-term memories.' The peer-reviewed study can be found here (paywalled)."

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Amazon Blocks Arch Linux Handbook Author From Releasing Kindle Version
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sharing-isn't-an-amazon-value department:
An anonymous reader writes "We've all heard the horror stories of Amazon swindling the user out of their content on the Kindle, but this time they've managed to do it preemptively: by blocking the GFDL licensed Arch Linux Handbook from the Kindle Store."

Reasons include: "We’ve reviewed the information you provided and have decided to block these books from being sold in the Kindle Store. The books closely match content that is freely available on the web and we are not confident that you hold exclusive publishing rights. This type of content can create a poor customer experience, and is not accepted. As a result, we have blocked the books listed below from being sold in the Kindle Store." The workaround: he uploaded a mobi copy to the Arch website.

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Complex Systems Theorists Predict We're About One Year From Global Food Riots
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's wait-for-the-sisko-riots-of-2024 department:
pigrabbitbear writes with conjecture on what triggers global unrest. Quoting the article: "In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest."

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PostgreSQL 9.2 Out with Greatly Improved Scalability
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's rev-your-engines department:
The PostgreSQL project announced the release of PostgreSQL 9.2 today. The headliner: "With the addition of linear scalability to 64 cores, index-only scans and reductions in CPU power consumption, PostgreSQL 9.2 has significantly improved scalability and developer flexibility for the most demanding workloads. ... Up to 350,000 read queries per second (more than 4X faster) ... Index-only scans for data warehousing queries (2–20X faster) ... Up to 14,000 data writes per second (5X faster)" Additionally, there's now a JSON type (including the ability to retrieve row results in JSON directly from the database) ala the XML type (although lacking a broad set of utility functions). Minor, but probably a welcome relief to those who need them, 9.1 adds range restricted types. For the gory details, see the what's new page, or the full release notes.

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Possible Proof of ABC Conjecture
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lord-of-the-proof department:
submeta writes "Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University has released a paper which claims to prove the decades-old ABC conjecture, which involves the relationship between prime numbers, addition, and multiplication. His solution involves thinking of numbers not as members of sets (the standard interpretation), but instead as objects which exist in 'new, conceptual universes.' As one would expect, the proof is extremely dense and difficult to understand, even for experts in the field, so it may take a while to verify. However, Mochizuki has a strong reputation, so this is likely to get attention. Proof of the conjecture could potentially lead to a revolution in number theory, including a greatly simplified proof of Fermat's Last Theorem."

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The Fight To Reform Forensic Science
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's these-are-not-the-swabs-you-are-looking-for department:
carmendrahl writes "Despite a 2009 report from the National Academy of Sciences that found the science in crime labs wanting, very little reform of forensic science has taken place. At a session about the Innocence Project, a group that exonerates prisoners with DNA evidence, speakers called on chemists to join the fight for reform. But forensic chemists don't all agree on what needs reforming."

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Creating a Better Chatbot Through Crowdsourcing
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's people's-bot department:
An anonymous reader writes "MIT Technology Review reports on a chatbot built at the University of Rochester that is capable of high quality, human-level conversation — thanks to software called Chorus that turns to Amazon's crowdsourcing service Mechanical Turk to generate and evaluate replies to a human's statements and questions. No one person is ever acting as the bot, instead multiple workers suggest responses that are then voted on to select the best. The crowd workers contributing change frequently, but Chorus also has them keep a running list of important contextual information to give the bot a kind of memory of a conversation's history. The researchers say Chorus-style chat bots could out-perform fully automated assistants such as Siri, while being considerably cheaper than a true concierge service."

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Fujitsu Building Robot To Pass Math Exams
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's head-of-the-robot-class department:
itwbennett writes "Pity those poor Japanese students who attend cram schools, either full time or in addition to their regular schooling, to have a shot at passing the grueling math entrance exams for Tokyo University. If Fujitsu has its way, those students will be upstaged by a robot. The company has set a goal for the year 2021 of building an artificial intelligence robot that can pass the exams."

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Aramco Says Networks Back Online, No Results From Investigation Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we're-back department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Saudi Aramco says that the virus attack that compromised tens of thousands of the company's workstations last month never endangered the company's oil production capabilities and that all of the affected systems have been brought back online and restored. The attack on Aramco has been linked by researchers to the Shamoon malware, but company officials did not comment on the nature or provenance of the malware. The attack hit Aramco, one of the larger oil producers in the world, on August 15 and the company soon took its main Web sites offline as it investigated the extent and nature of the compromise. A group of attackers calling itself the Cutting Sword of Justice took credit for the attack through a post on Pastebin, saying that the operation had destroyed data on 30,000 machines, including both workstations and servers. The company originally did not comment on the extent of the damage to its network, simply saying that it had suffered an attack and was in the process of cleaning it up. On Monday, company officials said that security staffers had restored all of the infected machines and that its operations were back to normal."

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Look-Alike Web Sites Hoodwink Republican Donors
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's more-than-meets-the-eye department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Shane Goldmacher writes that a network of look-alike campaign websites have netted hundreds of thousands of dollars this year in what some are calling a sophisticated political phishing scheme. The doppelgänger websites have the trappings of official campaign pages: smiling candidate photos and videos, issue pages, and a large red "donate" button at the top and exist for nearly three-dozen prominent GOP figures, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and donation magnets such as Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Allen West of Florida. The only difference is that proceeds from the shadow sites go not to the candidates pictured, but to an obscure conservative group called CAPE PAC run by activist Jeff Loyd, a former chairman of the Gila County GOP in Arizona. 'The only thing they are doing is lining their pockets and funding their own operation,' says Republican political strategist Chris LaCivita. CAPE PAC has a strong Web presence, with over 100,000 followers on Twitter and 50,000 on Facebook and its business model is to buy Google ads — about $290,000 worth, as of the end of June — to promote its network of candidate sites whenever people search for prominent GOP officials. A search for 'Mitt Romney,' for instance, often leads to two sponsored results: Romney's official site and CAPE PAC's mittromneyin2012.com. Once on a CAPE PAC site, users would have to notice fine print at either the top or bottom of the page revealing that they were not on the official page of their favored politician. A dozen donors, including some experienced Washington hands such as Neusner, had no idea they had contributed to the group before National Journal Daily contacted them. 'It confused me, and I do this for a living,' says Washington lobbyist Patrick Raffaniello. 'That's pretty sophisticated phishing.'"

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GoDaddy Goes Down, Anonymous Claims Responsibility
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
An anonymous reader writes "A member of the Anonymous hacktivist group appears to have taken down GoDaddy with a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). The widespread issue seems to be affecting countless websites and services around the world, although not for everyone. Godaddy.com is down, but so are some of the site's DNS servers, which means GoDaddy hosted e-mail accounts are down as well, and lots more. It's currently unclear if the servers are being unresponsive or if they are completely offline. Either way, the result is that if your DNS is hosted on GoDaddy, your site may also look as if it is down, because it cannot resolve."

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Recurly's Backup Mess Takes Days to Clean Up
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's best-practices department:
A cascading hardware outage struck subscription payment provider Recurly last week, and that started a long example in how not to manage critical infrastructure. From the article: "Last Monday, the payment provider suffered an intermittent hardware failure, which prevented the company from processing either payments or refunds. The company says it serves over 1,000 customers, including Adobe, BrightCove, and Fox News Radio, processing recurring payments for subscriptions.

By Friday, the company still hadn’t completely straightened out the mess, providing updates to customers using payment gateways such as Authorize.net and LinkPoint/First Data."

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Toys R Us Unveils Android Tablet For Kids
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's think-of-the-children department:
puddingebola writes "Can Toys R Us provide the iPad killer? The 'Tabeo' s a 7 inch Android tablet running ICS with a micro-SD card slot. From the article, 'Powered by a 1GHz processor, the multitouch device comes with 4GB of built-in storage but can handle up to 32GB with a micro SDHC card. The device comes with 50 preloaded games, books, and educational apps and offers access to 6,000 more apps through the Tabeo Store.'"

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App Developer Says Stolen UDIDs Came From Them, Not FBI
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '12 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's who's-to-blame department:
pdabbadabba writes "A Florida iPhone and iPad app developer, Blue Toad, has come forward claiming that it is the source of the Apple UDIDs previously released by Anonymous. Their dataset, they say, is a 98% match for the one Anonymous hackers claim to have stolen from an FBI laptop. If so, this development would cast serious doubt on Anonymous' claims and, possibly, calm fears that this data is evidence of an ongoing FBI surveillance operation (a claim the FBI has also denied)."

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