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How A Professional Poker Player Conned a Casino Out of $9.6 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 04:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's marking-the-cards department:
Phil Ivey is a professional poker player who's won ten World Series of Poker bracelets -- but he's also got a new game. An anonymous reader write:
In 2012, Ivey requested that the Borgata casino let him play baccarat with an assistant named Cheng Yin Sun while using a specific brand of playing cards -- purple Gemaco Borgata playing cards -- and an automatic shuffler. He then proceeded to win $9.6 million over four visits. The pair would rotate certain cards 180 degrees, which allowed them to recognize those cards the next time they passed through the deck. (They were exploiting a minute lack of a symmetry in the pattern on the backs of the cards...)

But last month a U.S. district judge ruled that Ivey and his partner had a "mutual obligation" to the casino, in which their "primary obligation" was to not use cards whose values would be known to them -- and ordered them to return the $9.6 million [PDF]. "What this ruling says is a player is prohibited from combining his skill and intellect and visual acuity to beat the casino at its own game," Ivey's attorney told the AP, adding that the judge's ruling will be appealed.

The judge also ruled Ivey had to return the money he later won playing craps with his winnings from the baccarat game -- though the judge denied the casino's request for restitution over the additional $250,000 worth of goods and services they'd "comped" Ivey during his stay.

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Apple/Samsung Patent Case Returns To Court To Revisit Infringement Damages
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 03:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sue-you-later department:
An anonymous reader quotes MacRumors:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday reopened a longstanding patent lawsuit related to Samsung copying the design of the iPhone nearly six years ago...according to court documents filed electronically this week... Apple's damages were calculated based on Samsung's entire profit from the sale of its infringing Galaxy smartphones, but the Supreme Court ruled it did not have enough info to say whether the amount should be based on the total device, or rather individual components such as the front bezel or the screen. It will now be up to the appeals court to decide.

Apple last month said the lawsuit, ongoing since 2011, has always been about Samsung's "blatant copying" of its ideas, adding that it remains optimistic that the U.S. Court of Appeals will "again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right."

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Google-Funded Project Envisions Nation's Librarians Teaching Kids to Code
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 12:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's overdue department:
"We're excited to double down on the findings of Ready to Code 1," says one Google program manager, "by equipping librarians with the knowledge and skills to cultivate computational thinking and coding skills in our youth."

theodp writes:
Citing the need to fill "500,000 current job openings in the field of computer science," the American Library Association argues in a new whitepaper that "all 115,000 of the nation's school and public libraries are crucial community partners to guarantee youth have skills essential to future employment and civic participation"... The ALA's Google-funded "Libraries Ready to Code" project has entered Phase II, which aims to "equip Master's in Library Science students to deliver coding programs through public and school libraries and foster computational thinking skills among the nation's youth."

"Libraries play a vital role in our communities, and Google is proud to build on our partnership with ALA," added Hai Hong, who leads US outreach on Google's K-12 Education team... "Given the ubiquity of technology and the half-a-million unfilled tech jobs in the country, we need to ensure that all youth understand the world around them and have the opportunity to develop the essential skills that employers -- and our nation's economy -- require."

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Driverless Electric Shuttle Deployed In Downtown Las Vegas
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 12:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's AI-roller department:
schwit1 quotes the Associated Press: There's a new thrill on the streets of downtown Las Vegas, where high- and low-rollers alike are climbing aboard what officials call the first driverless electric shuttle operating on a public U.S. street. The oval-shaped shuttle began running Tuesday as part of a 10-day pilot program, carrying up to 12 passengers for free along a short stretch of the Fremont Street East entertainment district. The vehicle has a human attendant and computer monitor, but no steering wheel and no brake pedals. Passengers push a button at a marked stop to board it. The shuttle uses GPS, electronic curb sensors and other technology, and doesn't require lane lines to make its way. The shuttle -- which they've named Arma -- is traveling at 15 miles per hour, and the ride is smooth, according to the mayor of Las Vegas. ("It's clean and quiet and seats comfortably.") They've blocked all the side streets, so the shuttle doesn't have to deal with traffic signals yet, though eventually they'll install special transmitters at every intersection to communicate whether the lights are red or green, and the city plans to deploy more of the vehicles by the end of the year.

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Meet Lux, A New Lisp-like Language
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 10:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's parenthetically-speaking department:
Drawing on Haskell, Clojure, and ML, the new Lux language first targeted the Java Virtual Machine, but will be a universal, cross-platform language. An anonymous reader quotes JavaWorld:
Currently in an 0.5 beta release, Lux claims that while it implements features common to Lisp-like languages, such as macros, they're more flexible and powerful in Lux... [W]hereas Clojure is dynamically typed, as many Lisp-like languages have been, Lux is statically typed to reduce bugs and enhance performance. Lux also lets programmers create new types programmatically, which provides some of the flexibility found in dynamically typed languages. The functional language Haskell has type classes, but Lux is intended to be less constraining. Getting around any constraints can be done natively to the language, not via hacks in the type system.

There's a a 16-chapter book about the language on GitHub.

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Hackers Corrupt Data For Cloud-Based Medical Marijuana System
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 09:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sensitive-data-breach department:
Long-time Slashdot reader t0qer writes:

I'm the IT director at a medical marijuana dispensary. Last week the point of sales system we were using was hacked... What scares me about this breach is, I have about 30,000 patients in my database alone. If this company has 1,000 more customers like me, even half of that is still 15 million people on a list of people that "Smoke pot"...
" No patient, consumer, or client data was ever extracted or viewed," the company's data directory has said. "The forensic analysis proves that. The data was encrypted -- so it couldn't have been viewed -- and it was never extracted, so nobody has it and could attempt decryption." They're saying it was a "targeted" attack meant to corrupt the data rather than retrieve it, and they're "reconstructing historical data" from backups, though their web site adds that their backup sites were also targeted.
"In response to this attack, all client sites have been migrated to a new, more secure environment," the company's CEO announced on YouTube Saturday, adding that "Keeping our client's data secure has always been our top priority." Last week one industry publication had reported that the outage "has sent 1,000 marijuana retailers in 23 states scrambling to handle everything from sales and inventory management to regulatory compliance issues."

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Thousands Of Cubans Now Have Internet Access
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 07:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bienvenido-amigos department:
There's been a dramatic change in one of the world's least-connected countries. An anonymous reader quotes the AP:
Since the summer of 2015, the Cuban government has opened 240 public Wi-Fi spots in parks and on street corners across the country... The government estimates that 100,000 Cubans connect to the internet daily. A new feature of urban life in Cuba is the sight of people sitting at all hours on street corners or park benches, their faces illuminated by the screen of smartphones connected by applications such as Facebook Messenger to relatives in Miami, Ecuador or other outposts of the Cuban diaspora...

Cuban ingenuity has spread internet far beyond those public places: thousands of people grab the public signals through commercially available repeaters, imported illegally into Cuba and often sold for about $100 -- double the original price. Mounted on rooftops, the repeaters grab the public signals and create a form of home internet increasingly available in private rentals for tourists and cafes and restaurants for Cubans and visitors alike.
The article also points out that last month, for the first time ever, 2,000 Cubans began receiving home internet access.

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Will The Death of the PC Bring 'An End To Openness'?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 15 '17 at 03:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's walled-gardens-of-the-future department:
Slashdot reader snydeq shared "11 Predictions For the Future of Programming" by InfoWorld's contributing editor -- and one prediction was particularly dire:

The passing of the PC isn't only the slow death of a particular form factor. It;s the dying of a particularly open and welcoming marketplace... Consoles are tightly locked down. No one gets into that marketplace without an investment of capital. The app stores are a bit more open, but they're still walled gardens that limit what we can do. Sure, they are still open to programmers who jump through the right hoops but anyone who makes a false move can be tossed...

For now, most of the people reading this probably have a decent desktop that can compile and run code, but that's slowly changing. Fewer people have the opportunity to write code and share it. For all of the talk about the need to teach the next generation to program, there are fewer practical vectors for open code to be distributed.

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Ask Slashdot: What's The Best Place To Suggest New Open Source Software?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 11:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's suggestions-from-the-sidelines department:
dryriver writes:
Somebody I know has been searching up and down the internet for an open source software that can apply GPU pixel shaders (HLSL/GLSL/Cg/SweetFX) to a video and save the result out to a video file. He came up with nothing, so I said "Why not petition the open source community to create such a tool?" His reply was "Where exactly does one go to ask for a new open source software?"

So that is my question: Where on the internet can one best go to request that a new open source software tool that does not exist yet be developed? Or do open source tools only come into existence when someone -- a coder -- starts to build a software, opens the source, and invites other coders to join the fray?
This is a good place to discuss the general logistics of new open source projects -- so leave your best answers in the comments. What's the best place to suggest new open source software?

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Debian 8.7 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 07:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's packages-for-Jessie department:
Debian 8.7 has been released. An anonymous reader quotes Debian.org:

This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available.

Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 8 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old "jessie" CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated. Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update.

86 packages have been updated -- including some fixes for systemd. ("Rework logic to determine when we decide to add automatic deps for mounts; various ordering fixes for ifupdown; systemctl: Fix argument handling when invoked as shutdown...")

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SpaceX Returns To Flight, And Nails Another Drone Landing
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 04:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's final-frontier department:
Applehu Akbar writes: SpaceX successfully launched a 10-satellite Iridium NEXT package, and then landed on a drone ship — this time from Vandenburg AFB in California. The launch had been delayed several days by this week's record rainfall and flooding.

CNN has video of the launch, and points out its obvious significance. "Because rockets are worth tens of millions of dollars, and they have historically been discarded after launch, mastering the landing is key to making space travel more affordable... Saturday's launch marks the seventh time SpaceX has successfully landed a rocket."

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California's Bullet Train Hurtles Towards a Multibillion-Dollar Overrun
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 03:32 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's train-troubles department:
schwit1 quotes the Los Angeles Times: California's bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that's just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A confidential Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis, obtained by the Times, projects that building bridges, viaducts, trenches and track from Merced to Shafter, just north of Bakersfield, could cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion, compared with the original budget of $6.4 billion.
The federal document outlines far-reaching management problems: significant delays in environmental planning, lags in processing invoices for federal grants and continuing failures to acquire needed property. The California High-Speed Rail Authority originally anticipated completing the Central Valley track by this year, but the federal risk analysis estimates that that won't happen until 2024, placing the project seven years behind schedule.
The whole project is expected to cost more than $68 billion.

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'Superbug' Resistant To 26 Antibiotics Kills A Patient In Nevada
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 02:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's immortal-infections department:
An anonymous reader quotes UPI:
A Nevada woman in her 70s who'd recently returned from India died in September from a "superbug" infection that resisted all antibiotics, according to a report released Friday... The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "basically reported that there was nothing in our medicine cabinet to treat this lady," report co-author Dr. Randall Todd told the Reno Gazette-Journal. He's director of epidemiology and public health preparedness for the Washoe County Health District, in Reno... CDC testing subsequently revealed the germ was New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase -- a highly resistant form of CRE typically found outside the United States.

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Amateur Scientists Find New Clue In D.B. Cooper Case, Crowdsource Their Investigation
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 02:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hunting-for-hijackers department:
Six months after the FBI closed the only unsolved air piracy in American aviation history -- after a 45-year investigation -- there's a new clue. An anonymous reader quotes Seattle news station KING:

A band of amateur scientists selected by the Seattle FBI to look for clues in the world's most infamous skyjacking may have found new evidence in the 45-year-old case. They're asking for the public's help because of new, potential leads that could link DB Cooper to the Puget Sound aerospace industry in the early 1970s. The scientific team has been analyzing particles removed from the clip-on tie left behind by Cooper after he hijacked a Northwest Orient passenger jet in November 1971. A powerful electron microscope located more than 100,000 particles on old the JCPenny tie. The team has identified particles like Cerium, Strontium Sulfide, and pure titanium.

Tom Kaye, lead researcher for the group calling itself Citizen Sleuths, says the group is intrigued by the finding, because the elements identified were rarely used in 1971, during the time of Cooper's daring leap with a parachute from a passenger jet. One place they were being used was for Boeing's high-tech Super Sonic Transport plane...
Interestingly, it was even a Boeing aircraft that Cooper hijacked, and witnesses say he wasn't nervous on the flight, and seemed familiar with the terrain below.

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D-Wave Open Sources Its Quantum Computing Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 12:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's code-for-qubits department:
Long-time Slashdot reader haruchai writes: Canadian company D-Wave has released their qbsolv tool on GitHub to help bolster interest and familiarity with quantum computing. "qbsolv is a metaheuristic or partitioning solver that solves a potentially large QUBO problem by splitting it into pieces that are solved either on a D-Wave system or via a classical tabu solver," they write on GitHub. This joins the QMASM macro assembler for D-Wave systems, a tool written in Python by Scott Pakin of Los Alamos National Labs. D-Wave president Bo Ewald says "D-Wave is driving the hardware forward but we need more smart people thinking about applications, and another set thinking about software tools."

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Student Hacker Faces 10 Years in Prison For Spyware That Hit 16,000 Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 11:22 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's write-a-keylogger-go-to-jail department:
An anonymous reader quotes Motherboard:
A 21-year-old from Virginia plead guilty on Friday to writing and selling custom spyware designed to monitor a victim's keystrokes. Zachary Shames, from Great Falls, Virginia, wrote a keylogger, malware designed to record every keystroke on a computer, and sold it to more than 3,000 people who infected more than 16,000 victims with it, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Shames, who appears to be a student at James Madison University, developed the first version of the spyware while he was still a high school student in 2013, "and continued to modify and market the illegal product from his college dorm room," according to the feds... While the feds only vaguely referred to it as "some malicious keylogger software," it appears the spyware was actually called "Limitless Keylogger Pro," according to evidence found by a security researcher who asked to remain anonymous... According to what appears to be Shames Linkedin page, he was an intern for the defense contractor Northrop Grumman from May 2015 until August 2016.
The Department of Justice announced that he'll be sentenced on June 16, and faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

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Tor Onion Browser's Creator Explains Free Version For iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 10:02 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's how-to-save-99-cents department:
The free iOS version of the Tor browser "sparked a tidal wave of interest" after its release in December, according to Silicon.co. Mickeycaskill writes: The cost has been scrapped due to developer Mike Tigas' worries that the price was limiting access to anonymous browsing for those who need it most. "Given recent events, many believe it's more important than ever to exercise and support freedom of speech, privacy rights, and digital security," Tigas wrote in a blog post. "I think now is as good a time as ever to make Onion Browser more accessible to everyone."

"I'm still a little terrified that I've made this change," Tigas adds. For four years the Tor Onion browser was available on the Apple App Store for $0.99, the lowest non-free price allowed by Apple, providing a "reliable" income to Tigas which helped him move to New York for a new job while allowing him "the economic freedom to continue working on side projects that have a positive impact in the world." Tigas also writes that "there's now a Patreon page and other ways to support the project."

Last month the Tor Project also released the first alpha version of the sandboxed Tor Browser.

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Hamas 'Honey Trap' Dupes Israeli Soldiers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 10:02 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's soldier-social-media department:
wiredmikey quotes Security Week: The smartphones of dozens of Israeli soldiers were hacked by Hamas militants pretending to be attractive young women online, an Israeli military official said Wednesday. Using fake profiles on Facebook with alluring photos, Hamas members contacted the soldiers via groups on the social network, luring them into long chats, the official told journalists on condition of anonymity. Dozens of the predominantly lower-ranked soldiers were convinced enough by the honey trap to download fake applications which enabled Hamas to take control of their phones, according to the official.

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Node.js's npm Is Now The Largest Package Registry in the World
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 08:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's delivering-packages department:
Linux.com highlights some interesting statistics about npm, the package manager for Node.js. "At over 350,000 packages, the npm registry contains more than double the next most populated package registry (which is the Apache Maven repository). In fact, it is currently the largest package registry in the world."In the preceding four weeks, users installed 18 billion packages.This translates into 6 billion downloads, "because approximately 66 percent of the installs are now being served from the cache." ping.npmjs.com "shows that the registry's services offer a 99.999 uptime."Every week roughly 160 people publish their first package in the registry
But what about the incident last year where a developer suddenly pulled all their modules and broke thousands of dependent projects? npm's Ashley Williams "admitted that the left-pad debacle happened because of naive policies at npm. Since, the npm team have devised new policies, the main one being that you are only allowed to unpublish a package within 24 hours of publishing it." And their new dissociate and deprecate policy allows developers to mark packages as "unmaintained" without erasing them from the registry.

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Petition With Over 1 Million Signatures Urges President Obama To Pardon Snowden
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '17 at 05:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's deal-or-no-deal department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: More than 1 million people signed onto a petition asking President Barack Obama to pardon Edward Snowden, proponents of the pardon said Friday. The campaign began in September, when Snowden, his attorney Ben Wizner from the ACLU, and other privacy activists announced they would formally petition Obama for a pardon. Snowden leaked classified NSA documents detailing surveillance programs run by the U.S. and its allies to journalists in 2013, kicking off a heated debate on whether Americans should be willing to sacrifice internet privacy to help the government protect the country from terrorist attacks. Obama and White House representatives have said repeatedly that Snowden must face the charges against him and that he'll be afforded a fair trial. In the U.S., a pardon is "an expression of the president's forgiveness and ordinarily is granted in recognition of the applicant's acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or completion of sentence," according to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. It does not signify innocence. Also on Friday, David Kaye urged Obama to consider a pardon for Snowden. Kaye, the special rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the freedom of expression, said U.S. law doesn't allow Snowden to argue that his disclosures were made for the benefit of the public. The jury would merely be asked to decide whether Snowden stole government secrets and distributed them -- something Snowden himself concedes he did. In response to the petition, Edward Snowden tweeted: "Whether or not this President ends the war on whistleblowers, you've sent a message to history: I feared no one would care. I was wrong."

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