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City's IT Infrastructure Brought To Its Knees By Data Center Outage
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's watch-out-for-that-first-explosion,-it's-a-doozy department:
An anonymous reader writes "On July 11th in Calgary, Canada, a fire and explosion was reported at the Shaw Communications headquarters. This took down a large swath of IT infrastructure, including Shaw's telephone and Internet customers, local radio stations, emergency 911 services, provincial services such Alberta Health Services computers, and Alberta Registries. One news site reports that 'The building was designed with network backups, but the explosion damaged those systems as well.' No doubt this has been a hard lesson on how NOT to host critical public services."

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US ISPs Continue To Support DNSChanger Redirection Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-had-one-job department:
darthcamaro writes "On Monday of this week, the primary servers that kept those infected with the DNSChanger malware were taken offline. It's a story that sparked lots of media hype with people claiming that hundreds of thousands of people could loose their Internet access. As it turns out, major U.S. ISPs including Verizon, Cox, AT&T and CenturyLink all kept their own DNSChanger servers online, protecting any users from losing their access."

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The Ugly, Profitable Details About Xbox Live Advertising
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nowhere-is-safe department:
An anonymous reader writes "In an editorial at Penny Arcade, Ben Kuchera writes about how Microsoft's subscription-based Xbox Live platform has become an advertising cash cow — to the detriment of users who already pay for the service. Quoting: 'People who don't play video games would be forgiven if they turned on an Xbox 360 and didn't realize it was a device used to primarily play games. The first screen you see on the Xbox 360 Dashboard is often a mixture of ads for all sorts of goods and services, and many times games are in the minority of ad slots. The latest redesign increased the ad space that can be sold to advertisers, and that in turn increased this problem. Let's be clear, it is a problem. Game discovery is terrible in the current design of Xbox Live, and the usability of a system that used to be about games is suffering in order for Microsoft to make money on ads. Sadly, this issue isn't going away: Ad sales simply bring in too much money to ignore, and revenue is growing. ... I contacted Microsoft and asked how much advertising revenue impacted the profitability of the Xbox 360. "We don't share this information publicly but we can tell you that, since 2010, the advertising business has grown 142%," I was told.'"

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Bas Lansdorp Answers Your Questions About Going to Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cheap-ticket department:
You asked questions of Bas Lansdorp, who's behind a project to send a quartet of astronauts to Mars — on a one-way trip. Lansdorp provides below his answers to inquiries about food, fuel, suicide, privacy, and more. So whether you're curious enough to put in for a Mars-bound ship or skeptical that this enterprise will get off the ground, read on.

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jQuery 2.0 Will Drop Support For IE 6, 7, 8
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
benfrog writes "The developers of jQuery recently announced in a blog entry that jQuery 2.0 will drop support for legacy versions of Internet Explorer. The release will come in parallel with version 1.9, however, which will include support for older versions of IE. The versions will offer full API compatibility, but 2.0 will 'benefit from a faster implementation that doesn't have to rely on legacy compatibility hacks.'"

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Apple Goes Back To EPEAT
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-not-easy-being-green department:
An anonymous reader writes with a followup to news from last weekend that Apple had turned its back on the EPEAT hardware certification standard. After hearing criticism from customers, the media, and governmental organizations that Apple wasn't being environmentally friendly, the company's Hardware Engineering VP, Bob Mansfield, wrote today that its earlier decision was a mistake, and all of Apple's eligible products are back on EPEAT. (EPEAT welcomed Apple back with open arms.) Mansfield repeated an earlier statement from Apple that EPEAT does not measure all the ways in which the company's products are environmentally friendly. Mansfield said, "For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we’ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting. Perhaps most importantly, we make the most energy-efficient computers in the world and our entire product line exceeds the stringent ENERGY STAR 5.2 government standard. No one else in our industry can make that claim."

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Will Speed Limits Inhibit Autonomous Car Adoption?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's asimov's-laws-of-robotics-make-for-boring-drives department:
Maximum Prophet writes "Here's a thought: at the start, only rich people will be able to pay for a completely autonomous car. Auto-autos will only go the speed limit. Rich people don't like to go slow. Ergo, there won't be any market for automatic cars. Wait, I hear you say. The rich guy will just modify his car to go faster. But, if you go over the limit it's a fine, but to mess with the safety systems of even your own vehicle is probably a felony. Much more likely: the rich will get new laws passed to make it legal for automatic cars to go much, much faster than human-driven vehicles."

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ISP 'Six Strikes' Plan Delayed
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-you-even-know-how-baseball-works department:
MrSeb sends this excerpt from DailyDot:
"Shortly, a new system in the U.S. will allow your ISP to give you gradually sterner warnings and possible punishment if you download copyrighted material. The Copyright Alerts System (CAS) — more commonly known as the 'six strikes' policy, after the number of warnings users receive — is coming. Soon. Any minute now. Really. But it's not here yet, even though several news outlets — including CNN — said the system would go online yesterday, Thursday. Speaking to the Daily Dot, a press contact for the six strikes system says: 'We do not intend to launch until we are confident that the program is consumer friendly. We expect our implementation to begin later this year, with each of the ISPs launching at potentially overlapping but different times.' ... The six strikes system is officially helmed by an industry coalition called the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), which was created by the MPAA and RIAA. It counts the U.S.'s five top ISPs under its umbrella: AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon."

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Virgin Galactic Announces New Satellite Launch Vehicle
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's commercial-space-industry-turning-into-actual-industry department:
An anonymous reader writes "Virgin Galactic has announced a new craft called LauncherOne, which it will use to put satellites into orbit. 'It appears to leverage some of the hardware already developed for SpaceShipTwo, Virgin's suborbital tourist vehicle. Like SpaceShipTwo, the new rocket rides up underneath Virgin's big carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, to about 50,000 feet. After release, the rocket drops for approximately four seconds before the first stage ignites. After the first stage burns out, a second stage takes the satellite to orbit.' Launching from a moving airplane eliminates many cost and scheduling concerns inherent to ground-based launches, and it's much easier to reach a broad range of trajectories for putting objects into orbit. According to the press release, LauncherOne will get objects up to 225kg into orbit for less than $10 million."

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Russian Hacker Sidesteps Apple iOS In-App Purchases
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's price-is-right department:
An anonymous reader tips news that a Russian developer has posted a video showing how in-app purchases for some iOS software can be acquired without payment. The hack does't require the device to be jailbroken, and can be accomplished even by users who aren't technically proficient. The method involves three steps: "The installation of CA certificate, the installation of in-appstore.com certificate, and the changing of DNS record in Wi-Fi settings. After the quick process, users are presented with the message pictured above when installing in-app purchases, opposed to Apple’s usual purchase confirmation dialog." 9to5mac notes that this doesn't affect all apps, since some of them make use of Apple's method for validating receipts.

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Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's future-is-now department:
Joseph Palaia is an entrepreneur, engineer and technologist who is working on creating the first permanent settlement on Mars. In 2009, he served as executive officer and chief engineer for a one-month simulated Mars mission at the Mars Society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island in the Canadian arctic. He has played an integral role in two commercial design studies of the first permanent Mars settlement. He is co-author of technical papers on the topics of Mars nuclear power plant design, Mars settlement architecture, space economics and the economics of energy on Mars. In addition to his work on inhabiting Mars, Joseph is also the Chief Operating Officer & Director of Earthrise Space, Inc. ESI is a research laboratory whose goal is to design, build, and operate spacecraft with the help of students. They are currently working on both a lunar lander and lunar rover for the Google Lunar X Prize. Joseph has agreed to take off his spacesuit and answer any of your questions about building moon machines with students, long-term survival in space, and all things Kuato related. Ask as many questions as you like, but please confine your questions to one per post.

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Canadian Banks Rushing To Offer Virtual Wallets
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-ways-to-sell-customers department:
silentbrad writes with this quote from the Globe and Mail:"Canada's big banks are preparing to launch 'virtual wallets' as early as this fall that will allow consumers to digitally consolidate their credit and debit cards from any financial institution, and use them to make purchases online and through their cellphones at cash registers. It is being called the biggest change to the way consumers pay for goods in Canada in decades, and for the banks moving quickly into this space, the strategy is about keeping ownership of the vast and potentially lucrative stores of data that are involved in transactions. ... The majority of the banking sector is expected to follow suit in the next year or so, with each financial institution relying on the concept of 'aliases,' where a password lets consumers access their payment cards, but protects personal information from being passed to the merchant. ... Retailers can use the information contained in transactions, stripped of details that violate privacy laws, to tailor offerings or promotions to consumers. And the banks figure they can build a new business from that new world. Location data on phones can help neighborhood stores connect with customers in the area, while transaction data online can give insight into consumer habits and tastes."

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Scientists Resurrect 500-Million-Year-Old Gene Inside Modern Organism
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-bred-velocibacteria? department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken a gene from 500-million-year-old bacteria and inserted it into modern E. coli bacteria. They then allowed the bacteria to evolve over the course of a thousand generations to see whether it would resemble its original 'evolutionary trajectory.' From the article:
"After achieving the difficult task of placing the ancient gene in the correct chromosomal order and position in place of the modern gene within E. coli, Kaçar produced eight identical bacterial strains and allowed 'ancient life' to re-evolve. This chimeric bacteria composed of both modern and ancient genes survived, but grew about two times slower than its counterpart composed of only modern genes. 'The altered organism wasn’t as healthy or fit as its modern-day version, at least initially,' said Gaucher, 'and this created a perfect scenario that would allow the altered organism to adapt and become more fit as it accumulated mutations with each passing day.' The growth rate eventually increased and, after the first 500 generations, the scientists sequenced the genomes of all eight lineages to determine how the bacteria adapted. Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart."

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Varnish Author Suggests SPDY Should Be Viewed As a Prototype
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's final-version-needs-lasers-don't-ask-why department:
An anonymous reader writes "The author of Varnish, Poul-Henning Kamp, has written an interesting critique of SPDY and the other draft protocols trying to become HTTP 2.0. He suggests none of the candidates make the cut. Quoting: 'Overall, I find the design approach taken in SPDY deeply flawed. For instance identifying the standardized HTTP headers, by a 4-byte length and textual name, and then applying a deflate compressor to save bandwidth is totally at odds with the job of HTTP routers which need to quickly extract the Host: header in order to route the traffic, preferably without committing extensive resources to each request. ... It is still unclear for me if or how SPDY can be used on TCP port 80 or if it will need a WKS allocation of its own, which would open a ton of issues with firewalling, filtering and proxying during deployment. (This is one of the things which makes it hard to avoid the feeling that SPDY really wants to do away with all the "middle-men") With my security-analyst hat on, I see a lot of DoS potential in the SPDY protocol, many ways in which the client can make the server expend resources, and foresee a lot of complexity in implementing the server side to mitigate and deflect malicious traffic.'"

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Facebook Scans Chats and Posts For Criminal Activity
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gonna-find-out-who's-naughty-and-nice department:
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook has added sleuthing to its array of data-mining capabilities, scanning your posts and chats for criminal activity. If the social-networking giant detects suspicious behavior, it flags the content and determines if further steps, such as informing the police, are required. Reuters provides an example of how the software was used in March: 'A man in his early 30s was chatting about sex with a 13-year-old South Florida girl and planned to meet her after middle-school classes the next day. Facebook's extensive but little-discussed technology for scanning postings and chats for criminal activity automatically flagged the conversation for employees, who read it and quickly called police. Officers took control of the teenager's computer and arrested the man the next day.'"

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Feds: We Need Priority Access To Cloud Resources
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-to-the-back-of-the-line department:
New submitter BButlerNWW writes "Federal agencies must be assured priority and uninterrupted access to public cloud resources before fully embracing the technology for national security and emergency response IT functions, a recent report finds. It recommends creating a program to develop a system to ensure federal organizations receive 'first-in-line' access to cloud-based resources during emergency situations."

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Mysterious Sprite Photographed By ISS Astronaut
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pretty-pictures department:
astroengine writes "A very rare and beautiful view of a red sprite has been photographed by Expedition 31 astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) hovering just above a bright flash of lightning in a thunderstorm over Myanmar. First documented in a photo in 1989, red sprites are very brief flashes of optical activity that are associated with powerful lightning discharges in storms — although the exact mechanisms that create them aren't yet known. But the orbiting outpost seems like the perfect vantage point to learn more about them!"

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Google Maps Adds UK Cycling Directions
Posted by News Fetcher on July 13 '12 at 01:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pedal-power department:
judgecorp writes "Google Maps has added cycling directions for the UK. The directions aim for safety rather than speed — for instance advising me to take a gentle route through the Park instead of speeding through the Hyde Park Corner underpass."

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UK Government To Offer Free TV Filters For 4G Interference
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '12 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-can-see-clearly-now department:
judgecorp writes "4G services could interfere with terrestrial TV in the UK, so the government plans to offer one free filter for every household affected by the issue. The analysis suggests that 2.3 million households could be affected, but many of those have cable or satellite TV, so the plan might only need a million filters (each household only gets one, even if they have many TVs)."

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Rethinking How Congress Pushes Copyright Laws
Posted by News Fetcher on July 12 '12 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-spoonful-of-sugar department:
pigrabbitbear writes "Lamar Smith just can't get a break. The Texas congressman and widely despised author of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) ruffled the Internet's feathers once again this week with the quiet unveiling of a new piece of legislation that's drawing criticism for being plucked out of SOPA's language and rushed through Congress. The Intellectual Property Attaché Act (IPAA) would streamline the process by which the U.S. protects its intellectual property by enforcing U.S. copyright law abroad through specially assigned diplomats or attachés. These officers would report to a new agency-level position, the Assistant Secretary for Intellectual Property and push agendas that, according to the bill's language, are 'consistent with the economic interests of the United States, both domestically and abroad.'"

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