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UK ISP Asks Religious Groups To Set Parental Controls
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's think-of-the-children department:
Barence writes "A British ISP is inviting religious groups to help set parental controls for its customers. Claranet says it is recruiting volunteer 'Guardians' from a number of different organizations — including religious organizations, schools and child safety experts. A press spokesman for the ISP said that an 'Islamic advisor' was among the first batch of Guardians, but refused to identify them. The Claranet Guardians will be asked to choose whether they think 140 different categories of internet content are appropriate. Within those categories, the Guardians can choose to add or remove individual websites from the blacklists, which are created by a third-party company that Claranet also refused to name."

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CowboyNeal On Dota 2, Modern Games, and Software Development
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's listen-up department:
CowboyNeal writes "Unless you don't care about PC gaming at all, by now you're aware of Valve's entry into the MOBA/ARTS genre, Dota 2. Despite still being in a closed beta, it's currently the number one game on Valve's Steam gaming service, and judging from Valve's earlier declaration regarding Steam on Linux, it's only a matter of time, even if that time be a year or more, before we see Dota 2 come to Linux as well as Mac. Valve has big plans for Dota 2, no less big than what happened with Team Fortress 2, even if it took them a few years to get to where Team Fortress 2 is today. What makes the current state of Dota 2 noteworthy, however, is that it has managed to displace Team Fortress 2 as Steam's most popular game, while still being tested in a closed beta." Read on for the rest of CowboyNeal's thoughts on games, and what it's like being a Slashdot poll option.

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Gloves Translate Sign Language Into Auditory Speech
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's babel-gloves department:
Zothecula writes about some pretty cool sensor gloves. From the article: "Since beginning in 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup has tasked students the world over with developing technology aimed at solving real-world problems. In this, its 10th year, students were asked to build their project around a specific Millennium Development Goal ... The winners have just been announced ... [and winning] first place (and US$25,000) in the Software Design category was the Ukraine's quadSquad with their EnableTalk gloves that translate sign language into speech in real time."

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Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's romney-declares-drill-baby-drill department:
New submitter sosume writes "An article in Nature shows that the temperature in the Roman times were actually higher than current temperatures. A team lead by dr Esper of the University of Mainz has researched tree rings and concluded that over the past 2,000 years, the forcing is up to four times as large as the 1.6Wm2 net anthropogenic forcing since 1750 using evidence based on maximum latewood density data from northern Scandinavia, indicating that this cooling trend was stronger (0.31C per 1,000years, ±0.03C) than previously reported, and demonstrate that this signature is missing in published tree-ring proxy records."

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Contest To Crack William Gibson Poem Agrippa
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's brought-to-you-by-lisp department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new cracking contest to cryptanalyse a William Gibson poem. The electronic poem ('Agrippa') was written back in 1992 and self-encrypts after being displayed once. The person who successfully cracks the encryption will win a copy of every published Gibson book."

The poem/program binary was recovered in 2008, but it looks like no one has managed (bothered?) to crack the code.

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Ouya Android Console Blows Past Kickstarter Goal
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's smells-like-2001 department:
mikejuk writes with a winner for quickest follow-up in a while as the Ouya console managed to raise over $2 million in a mere eight hours. From the article: "On the surface it all sounds like a really good idea. The OUYA games console is planned to be an open competitor to the likes of Xbox and PS3. It seems so good that it has been crowd funded to the tune of $1 million — but why exactly is it needed? There must be a good reason — after all the wisdom of crowds is never wrong. The simple answer seems to be freedom. The company claims that you can do what you want to the machine. A CyanogenMod port would allow you to do what you like to the OS and it wouldn't void your warranty. You can hack the hardware or software. However, it is important to note that this isn't open hardware. ... In the same way the software seems to be open and yet controlled. ... The Kickstarter page says 'When we say, "open" we mean it. We've made many decisions based on this philosophy:..' But it isn't Open Source. And yet it is so much better than the alternative. Perhaps this is a sign of just how desperate we all are to get away from the control of the big console manufacturers, that we will fund anything that sounds even slightly reasonable. The walled gardens of Apple, Sony and Microsoft no longer seem the warm and welcoming places they once did (if they ever did)"

Issues not raised on yesterday's post; the console will require a significant number of binary blobs just to function, and it's really unclear whether or not it will actually be DRM free. Anyone remember Indrema?

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FTC Reportedly Fining Google $22.5 Million Over Safari Privacy Abuse
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's 'tis-but-a-flesh-wound department:
New submitter Slashbots writes "Google will settle with the FTC for nearly $22.5 million over its bypassing of Apple's Safari browser privacy settings. Google, the largest settlement with FTC over privacy related charges ever. By abusing privacy hole in Safari, Google circumvented user settings to show them advertising and track the users, 'Safari, unlike other browsers, blocks cookies from ad networks like Google's. But because of a loophole, Google had been able to avoid the block, as researchers discovered in February. It installed cookies and tracked Safari users across the Web to show them personalized ads.'"

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Formspring Hacked - 420,000 Password Hashes Leaked
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sky-is-falling department:
wiredmikey writes with news of yet another business suffering a data breach. From the article: "Formspring, the Social Q&A portal ..., admitted to being breached on Tuesday. The compromise led to the loss of 420,000 passwords, forcing the site to reset all member passwords. Mirroring the recent LinkedIn breach, Formspring said that it was alerted to a forum post that contained 420,000 password hashes. Engineers shutdown the service and confirmed the passwords were indeed theirs. In less than a day, an investigation revealed that the attacker(s) had 'broken into one of our development servers and was able to use that access to extract account information from a production database' .... There have been no reported incidents of individual account compromise, but there were reports of Phishing by some users on Twitter attempting to capitalize on the incident."

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Firefox 15 Coming With Souped-Up, Faster Debugger
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's catching-up-with-the-lisp-machine department:
StormDriver writes "Firefox 15 has hit the Mozilla pre-beta Aurora channel, and it features a redesigned, built-in debugger."

The original weblog post has more. Thanks to improved debugger internals in SpiderMonkey, supposedly code should run just as fast with debugging enabled as without (ever try loading Slashdot with firebug accidentally enabled?). There are also new tools for testing mobile layouts from the comfort of your workstation, and the debugger can attach to remote processes (Something Emacs users have enjoyed for years now, albeit in a hackish manner and without support for mobile Firefox).

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RIM CEO On What Went Wrong
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's second-system-syndrome-is-a-killer department:
AZA43 writes "After releasing some very ugly financial numbers in late June, BlackBerry-maker RIM went on a media blitz to downplay the significance of its latest earnings and counter increasingly negative media attention. ... But a new Q&A with BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins offers a unique take on what exactly went wrong at RIM — Heins blames the company's downfall [partly] on LTE in the U.S. — and he actually seems genuine in his answers."

A peek into the mind of RIM's upper management.

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Is It Time To End Our Love Affair With the QWERTY Keyboard?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-need-a-little-spacebar department:
Master Moose writes "Brisbane-based entrepreneur John Lambie currently has in beta an alternative to what he calls the 'dysfunctional' QWERTY keyboard. Given the way the world is abandoning their keyboards for smartphones he sees now as the perfect time to introduce a new layout. He calls his new keyboard Dextr and believes it is the natural progression from using a number pad to enter text — This is especially so in developing countries where users have not grown up with QWERTYs on thier phones. While he is not the first to ever propose an alternate or alphabetical keyboard — Are we locked into QWERTY for familiarity's sake, or as we shift to smaller, more mobile and new devices, is Mr. Lambie's project coming at the right time?"

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An Android Tablet Victory May Be Problematic For Free Software
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-the-same-and-yet-all-different department:
An anonymous reader writes "Glyn Moody writes at The H that Google's Nexus 7 tablet seems to be in a good position to shake up the market and pave the way for serious Android competition to the iPad. That said, he's worried about the potential downsides to a market full of mostly 'open' devices: 'Such customised systems are likely to be as locked down as they can be – the last thing either manufacturers or companies want is for users to start fiddling with the settings or installing their own software. As a result, the apps that run on such systems are likely to be closed source, since that's the way vertical markets tend to work. Such systems will also expose a persistent problem with the open source development methodology. While big and general projects find it relatively easy to attract interested developers, smaller, more targeted solutions tend not to thrive as free software.'"

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San Francisco To Stop Buying Apple Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-not-easy-being-green department:
New submitter djnanite writes "Following on from the story that Apple has exited the 'Green Hardware' certification program, the BBC reports that City officials in San Francisco plan to block local government agencies from buying new Apple's Macintosh computers. Will they be the first of many, or will cheaper products override people's conscience? 'Other CIOs in government and educational institutions, where Apple has a strong presence, could find themselves asked to drop MacBooks and iMacs. The federal government, for example, requires 95% of its laptops and desktops be EPEAT-certified.' Apple defended the move by saying their products are environmentally superior in areas not measured by EPEAT."

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Intel Invests In ASML To Boost Extreme UV Lithography, 450mm Wafers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's future-tech-is-bloody-expensive department:
MrSeb writes "When Intel goes looking for new chip manufacturing technology to invest in, the company doesn't play for pennies. Chipzilla has announced a major investment and partial purchase of lithography equipment developer ASML. Intel has agreed to invest €829 million (~$1B USD) in ASML's R&D programs for EUV and 450mm wafer deployment, to purchase €1.7B worth of ASML shares ($2.1B USD, or roughly 10% of the total shares available) and to invest general R&D funds totaling €3.3B (~$4.1B USD). The goal is to bring 450mm wafer technology and extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) within reach despite the challenges facing both deployments. Moving to 450mm wafers is a transition Intel and TSMC have backed for years, while smaller foundries (including GlobalFoundries, UMC, and Chartered, when it existed as a separate entity) have dug in their heels against the shift — mostly because the shift costs an insane amount of money. It's effectively impossible to retrofit 300mm equipment for 450mm wafers, which makes shifting from one to the other extremely expensive. EUVL is a technology that's been percolating in the background for years, but the deployment time frame has slipped steadily outwards as problems stubbornly refused to roll over and solve themselves. Basically, this investment is a signal from Intel that it intends to push its technological advantage over TSMC, GloFo, UMC, and Samsung, even further."

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Florida Accused of Concealing Worst Tuberculosis Outbreak In 20 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tb-or-not-tb department:
NotSanguine writes "The state of Florida has been struggling for months with what the Centers for Disease Control describe as the worst tuberculosis outbreak in the United States in twenty years. Although a CDC report went out to state health officials in April encouraging them to take concerted action, the warning went largely unnoticed and nothing has been done. The public did not even learn of the outbreak until June, after a man with an active case of TB was spotted in a Jacksonville soup kitchen. The Palm Beach Post has managed to obtain records on the outbreak and the CDC report, though only after weeks of repeated requests. These documents should have been freely available under Florida's Sunshine Law."

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A Fresh Look At Multi-Screen PC Gaming
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's so-many-pixels-so-little-time department:
crookedvulture writes "It has been quite a while since Slashdot last covered multi-monitor gaming. A lot has changed in the interim. Monitors prices continue to fall, and improved AMD Eyefinity and Nvidia Surround implementations make creating multi-display arrays incredibly easy. Graphics cards have gotten faster, allowing high-end models to handle the latest games at the ultra-high resolutions that multi-screen setups enable. Developers are doing a better job of supporting those resolutions, too, although HUD placement and single-screen cinematics are still problematic in some titles. Even in the games that do have niggling flaws, the wider perspective of a triple-screen config can offer a more engaging and immersive experience. As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catch on, multi-screen setups look like the best upgrade for PC gamers."

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Kim Dotcom Offers the DoJ a Deal
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bearding-the-lion-in-his-den department:
Master Moose sends this quote from Stuff.co.nz:
"Kim Dotcom claims the United States criminal case against him is collapsing but he is offering to go there without extradition provided federal authorities unfreeze his millions of dollars. In a now hallmark style, he made the offer on Twitter. 'Hey DOJ, we will go to the US,' he tweeted, 'No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers & living expenses.' In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Dotcom says the department knows it does not have a case. 'If they are forced to provide discovery, then there will be no extradition. That's why they don't want to provide discovery. If they had a case, they would not need to hide what they have.'"

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Is Our Infrastructure Ready For Rising Temperatures?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-the-more-reason-to-aircondition-the-outdoors department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber writes that last weekend, a US Airways flight taxiing for takeoff from Washington's Reagan National Airport got stuck on the tarmac for three hours because the tarmac had softened from the heat, and the plane had created — and then sunk into — a groove from which it couldn't, at first, be removed. So what makes an asphalt tarmac, the foundation of our mighty air network, turn to sponge? The answer is that our most common airport surface might not be fully suited to its new, excessively heated environment. One of asphalt's main selling points is precisely the fact that, because of its pitchy components, it's not quite solid: It's 'viscoelastic,' which makes it an ideal surface for the airport environment. As a solid, asphalt is sturdy; as a substance that can be made from — and transitioned back to — liquid, it's relatively easy to work with. And, crucially, it makes for runway repair work that is relatively efficient. But those selling points can also be asphalt's Achilles heel. Viscoelasticity means that the asphalt is always capable of liquefying. The problem, for National Airport's tarmac and the passengers who were stuck on it, was that this weekend's 100+-degree temperatures were a little less room temperature-like than they'd normally be, making the asphalt a little less solid that it would normally be. 'As ironic and as funny as the imgur seen round the world is, it may also be a hint at what's in store for us in a future of weirding weather. An aircraft sinking augurs the new challenges we'll face as temperatures keep rising.'"

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Chinese Censors Are Being Watched
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes? department:
Rambo Tribble writes "The Economist is reporting on two research teams, one at Harvard and another at the University of Hong Kong, who have developed software to detect what posts to Chinese social media get censored. 'The team has built up a database comprising more than 11m posts that were made on 1,382 Chinese internet forums. Perhaps their most surprising result is that posts critical of the government are not rigorously censored. On the other hand, posts that have the purpose of getting people to assemble, potentially in protest, are swept from the internet within a matter of hours.' Chinese censors may soon have to deal with an unprecedented transparency of their actions."

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Microsoft Revokes Trust In 28 of Its Own Certificates
Posted by News Fetcher on July 10 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-just-been-revoked department:
Trailrunner7 writes "In the wake of the Flame malware attack, which involved the use of a fraudulent Microsoft digital certificate, the software giant has reviewed its certificates, found nearly 30 that aren't as secure as the company would like, and revoked them. Microsoft also released its new updater for certificates as a critical update for Windows Vista and later versions as part of today's July Patch Tuesday. Microsoft has not said exactly what the now-untrusted certificates were used for, but company officials said there were a total of 28 certificates affected by the move. However, the company said it was confident none of them had been compromised or used maliciously. The move to revoke trust in these certificates is a direct result of the investigation into the Flame malware and how the attackers were able to forge a Microsoft certificate and then use it to impersonate a Windows Update server."

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