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Apple Gives In, Drops iPad '4G' Tag To Avoid Lawsuits
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's raging-over-letter-and-numbers department:
Back in March, Apple was sued in Australia and criticized in Europe over its marketing of the iPad as supporting 4G speeds when it only did so in the U.S. and Canada. Now, reader TheGift73 writes with news that Apple has given in and changed the 'Wi-Fi + 4G' label to 'Wi-Fi + Cellular.' From the article:
"In the U.K., a number of complaints by customers pushed the ASA into acting against Apple for its misleading advertisements. The regulator had received 'dozens of complaints' from customers, and had pushed for Apple to remove any mentions of '4G' from its websites. It should come as little surprise considering Britain has yet to see its mobile networks divide up its 4G spectrum without bickering furiously about it. Some networks had even opted to avoid litigation directed at them by including stickers to inform potential buyers that the new iPad will not work on existing 4G networks, or even 4G networks that don't even exist yet. This should come as bittersweet news for consumers. Apple has already sold millions of iPads across the U.K., Europe and Australia, while the vast majority are unaware that they will not be able to connect to high-speed mobile broadband networks."

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The FIBIAC — a 3D-Printed Electromechanical Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-teach-them-how-to-breed department:
Brietech writes "'Behold the FIBIAC! It's loud! It computes! It uses actual punch cards!' The FIBIAC is a simple, stepper-motor based, (mostly) 3D-printed electromechanical computer. The program is stored on a loop of paper punch-cards, and the machine uses three, 3-digit electromechanical counters for storage (which could be expanded to support more complicated programs) Watch a video of it computing the Fibonacci sequence, or jump on Thingiverse and build your own."

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Google Talks About Its Ubuntu Experience
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lynxes-grow-up-to-be-pangolins department:
dartttt writes "There was a very interesting session at the Ubuntu Developer Summit by Google developer Thomas Bushnell. He talked about how Ubuntu, its derivatives and Goobuntu (Google's customized Ubuntu based distro) are used by Google developers. He starts by saying 'Precise Rocks,' and that many Google employees use Ubuntu — including managers, software engineers, translators, people who wrote the original Unix, and people who have no clue about Unix. Many developers working on Chrome and Android use Ubuntu. Ubuntu systems at Google are upgraded every LTS release. The entire process of upgrading can take as much as four months, and it is also quite expensive, as one reboot or a small change can cost them as much as a million dollars across the company."
Bushnell also mentions that Google Drive will soon be available for Linux. Other news out of UDS: there was discussion of a GNOME flavor of 12.10, Electronic Arts reaffirmed that they "won't delay their Windows work for Linux," and Unity 2D is likely to disappear in 12.10.

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Ask Slashdot: Best Degree For a Late Career Boost?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's definitely-philosophy-for-the-big-bucks department:
Qbertino writes "I'm in my early 40s, and after a little more than 10 years of web, scripting and software development as a freelancer and some gigs as a regular, full-time employee, I'm seriously considering giving my IT career a boost by getting a degree. I'm your regular 1980s computer kid and made a career switch to IT during the dot-bomb days. I have quite a bit of programming and project experience, but no degree. I find myself hitting somewhat of a glass ceiling (with maybe a little age discrimination thrown in there). Since I'm in Germany, degrees count for a lot (70% of IT staff have a degree) so getting one seems fitting and a nice addition to my portfolio. However, I'm pondering wether I should go for Computer Science or Business Informatics. I'd like to move into Project Management or Technical Account Management, which causes my dilemma: CS gives me the pro credibility and proves my knowledge with low-level and technical stuff, and I'd be honing my C/C++ and *nix skills. Business Informatics would teach me some bean-counting skills; I'd be doing modelling, ERP with Java or .NET all day. It would give me some BA cred, but I'd lose karma with the T-shirt wearing crew and the decision-makers in that camp. I'm leaning toward Business Informatics because I suspect that's where the money is, but I'm not quite sure wether a classic CS degree wouldn't still be better — even if I'm wearing a suit. Any suggestions?"

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Bitcoinica Breach Nets Hackers $87,000 In Bitcoins
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stealing-your-imaginary-money department:
dynamo52 sends this quote from Ars about a breach involving a Bitcoin exchange:
"More than $87,000 worth of the virtual currency known as Bitcoin was stolen after online bandits penetrated servers belonging to Bitcoinica, prompting its operators to temporarily shutter the trading platform to contain the damage. Friday's theft came after hackers accessed Bitcoinica's production servers and depleted its online wallet of 18,547 BTC, as individual Bitcoin units are called, company officials said in a blog post published on Friday. It said the heist affected only a small fraction of Bitcoinica's overall bitcoin deposits and that all withdrawal requests will be honored once the platform reopens."
Reader linhares points out a forum post discussing how the attacker(s) hinted at a 'mass leak' in the near future. This attack comes shortly after a leak of a different sort — an FBI document (PDF) about Bitcoin found it way onto the internet. It seems they're worried about the virtual currency's potential use in criminal activities.

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Microsoft Redesigns chkdsk For Windows 8, Improves NTFS Health Model
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's strict-diet-and-lots-of-exercise department:
MojoKid writes "Microsoft can't do anything to magically make hard drives stop failing when parts go bad, but Redmond is rolling out a new NTFS health model for Windows 8 with a redesigned chkdsk tool for disk corruption detection and fixing. In past versions of the chkdsk and NTFS health model, the file system volume was either deemed healthy or not healthy. In Windows 8, Microsoft is changing things up. Rather than hours of downtime, Windows 8 splits the process into phases that include 'Detect Corruption,' 'Online Self-Healing,' 'Online Verification,' 'Online Identification & Logging,' and 'Precise & Rapid Correction.'"

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Privacy Advocates Protest FBI Warning of 'Going Dark' In Online Era
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-let-the-backdoor-hit-you-on-the-way-out department:
CWmike writes "CNET's Declan McCullagh reported last week on the FBI's argument that the massive shift of communications from the telephone system to the Internet 'has made it far more difficult for the agency to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities.' The law has already been expanded once, in 2004, to include broadband networks, but still excludes Web companies. The FBI says its surveillance efforts are in danger of 'going dark' if it is not allowed to monitor the way people communicate now. Not surprisingly, a range of opponents, from privacy advocates to legal experts, disagree — strongly. On key tech hitch with the plan, per ACLU attorney Mark Rumold and others: There is a difference between wiretapping phones and demanding a backdoor to Internet services. 'A backdoor doesn't just make it accessible to the FBI — it makes it vulnerable to others,' Rumold says."

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Adobe Changes Its Tune On Forcing Paid Upgrade To Fix Security Flaws
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's give-the-people-what-they-scream-about department:
wiredmikey writes with a followup to Thursday's news that Adobe was recommending paid software upgrades in lieu of fixing security holes in some of its applications. After receiving criticism for the security bulletin, Adobe changed its mind and announced that it's developing patches to fix the vulnerabilities.
"Developing a patch, especially for three different applications, can be costly and time consuming. Developing these patches consumes development resources, then must run through a QA process, and the patch needs to be communicated and distributed to users. And for a company like Adobe with a massive customer base using its Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash Professional, the bandwidth cost alone can be substantial. For a popular product that was just over two years old, providing a fix to address a serious security flaw its what customers deserve. And while Adobe may have originally tried to sneak by without addressing the issue and pushing users to upgrade to its new product, the company made the right move in the end."

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Britain Bringing Out 'Sonic Gun' For Olympics Security
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's weapons-of-mass-annoyance department:
skipkent writes with news that Britain is planning to use high-tech, non-lethal sonic weapons to provide security at the Olympics this summer. The Ministry of Defense says they intend to use the devices primarily as giant loudspeakers. But if they find themselves in need of a way to disperse crowds, the weapons can project sound up to 150 decibels, causing physical pain within a few hundred meters. "It has been successfully used aboard ships to repel Somali pirates." The maximum range for alarms and warnings is 3km. "Police and military planners say they are preparing for a range of security threats at the Olympics including protesters trying to disrupt events and attacks using hijacked airliners."

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Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise In 20 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's to-boldly-go department:
Nancy_A writes "An engineer has proposed — and outlined in meticulous detail — building a full-sized, ion-powered version of the starship Enterprise. The ship would be based on current technology, and would take about 20 years to construct, at a cost of roughly $1 trillion. 'We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise – so let's do it,' writes the curator of the Build The Enterprise website, who goes by the name of BTE-Dan."

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Judge Who Ordered Pirate Bay Censorship Found To Be Corrupt
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's conflict-of-interest department:
TheGift73 writes "TorrentFreak reports that 'This week yet another court order was handed down in Europe with the aim of censoring The Pirate Bay. The ruling forbids the Dutch Pirate Party from not only running a direct proxy, but also telling people how to circumvent an earlier court ordered blockade. However, according to Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, the judge in the case has a history of corruption relating to another file-sharing case he presided over in the Netherlands. The Court of The Hague in the Netherlands has been particularly busy this work with Pirate Bay-related cases.' Falkvinge wrote, '... not only was the plaintiff and judge personally and closely acquainted, the plaintiff in a controversial copyright monopoly case was running a commercial anti-piracy outfit together with the judge in the case. Money was involved. Commercial interest was involved. The judge was, as it appears from this brochure for the quite expensive course, getting money. Shortly after the case. In a directly related matter together with the plaintiff. That makes the judge not only corrupt, but textbook corrupt.'"

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Could a Computer Write This Story?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's kicking-newspaper-writers-when-they're-down department:
An anonymous reader tips an article at CNN about the development of technology that automates the process of writing news articles. It started with simple sports reporting, but now at least one company is setting its sights on more complicated articles. Quoting:
"Narrative Science then began branching out into finance and other topics that are driven heavily by data. Soon, Hammond says, large companies came looking for help sorting huge amounts of data themselves. 'I think the place where this technology is absolutely essential is the area that's loosely referred to as big data,' Hammond said. 'So almost every company in the world has decided at one point that in order to do a really good job, they need to meter and monitor everything.' ... Meanwhile, Hammond says Narrative Science is looking to eventually expand into long form news stories. That's an idea that's unsettling to some journalism experts."

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NASA's Hansen Calls Out Obama On Climate Change
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's there-are-no-deniers department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Dr James Hansen, director of the NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who first made warnings about climate change in the 1980s, writes in the NY Times that he was troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves 'regardless of what we do.' According to Hansen 'Canada's tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now.' Hansen says that instead of placing a rising fee on carbon emissions to make fossil fuels pay their true costs, leveling the energy playing field, the world's governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year."

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American Cellular Companies Clamor For Fresh Spectrum
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '12 at 01:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's remember-to-blame-the-free-market department:
alphadogg writes "No one will ever say that America's wireless carriers are too proud to beg. This year's Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association Wireless trade show in New Orleans seemed less like an industry gathering at times and more like an infomercial dedicated to forcing the government's hand to free up more spectrum. Start with CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent, who dedicated the vast majority of his introductory keynote address to discussing the challenges carriers will face if they don't get fresh spectrum to use within the next few years. Execs from T-Mobile, Verizon and others also beat the drum. Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead, for example, said: 'Innovation is at risk today due to the spectrum shortage that we face. If additional spectrum is not available in the near-term, mobile data will exceed capacity by 2015.'"

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Online Music Storage Firm MP3tunes Files For Bankruptcy
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '12 at 10:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-his-first-rodeo department:
fishmike writes "Online music storage firm MP3tunes, Inc filed for bankruptcy in a U.S. court, following its prolonged run-in with music publishing giant EMI Group over copyright issues, court filings showed. MP3tunes is a so-called cloud music service that lets users store music in online 'lockers.' Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Google Inc have similar cloud services."

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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Multi-User Password Management?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '12 at 08:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's login-admin-password-blank department:
An anonymous reader writes "I work in a network environment that requiring multiple people have access to numerous Wireless Access Keys, iTunes/iCloud accounts/passwords, hardware appliance logins, etc. Attempting to replace the ever popular 'protected' excel spreadsheet that exists in almost every network with all usernames and passwords just waiting to be discovered. Are there any open source, multi-user, secure and preferably Linux based password management tools that the slashdot community would recommend?"

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Facebook Co-Founder Saverin Gives Up U.S. Citizenship Before IPO
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '12 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's my-country-right-or-holy-moley-look-at-this-bill department:
parallel_prankster writes "Bloomberg reports that Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook, has renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill. From the article: 'Facebook plans to raise as much as $11.8 billion through the IPO, the biggest in history for an Internet company. Saverin's stake is about 4 percent, according to the website Who Owns Facebook. At the high end of the IPO valuation, that would be worth about $3.84 billion. Saverin, 30, joins a growing number of people giving up U.S. citizenship, a move that can trim their tax liabilities in that country. Saverin won't escape all U.S. taxes. Americans who give up their citizenship owe what is effectively an exit tax on the capital gains from their stock holdings, even if they don't sell the shares, said Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, director of the international tax program at the University of Michigan's law school. For tax purposes, the IRS treats the stock as if it has been sold.'"

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Nicholas Carr Foresees Brains Optimized For Browsing
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's think-different department:
An anonymous reader writes "In the next decade, our brains are going to become optimized for information browsing, says best-selling author Nicholas Carr. According to Carr, while the genetic nature of our brains isn't being changed by the Internet at all, our brains are adapting 'at a cellular level' and are weakening modes of thinking we no longer exercise. Therefore, in 10 years, if human beings are using the Internet even more than they do today, says Carr, "our brains will be even more optimized for information browsing, skimming and scanning, and multitasking — fast, scattered modes of thought — and even less capable of the kinds of more attentive, contemplative thinking that the net discourages."" While Carr isn't making a case for Lamarckian evolution, the argument here seems weak to me; the same kind of brain change could be attributed to books, or television, or the automobile, couldn't it?

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US Grabs More Domain Names, $1.4M From Online Counterfeit Operations
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '12 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's business-as-increasingly-usual department:
coondoggie writes "According to court documents, investigation by federal law enforcement agents revealed that subjects whose domain names had been seized in a November 2010 operation continued to sell counterfeit goods using new domain names. In particular, the individuals, based in China, sold counterfeit professional and collegiate sports apparel, primarily counterfeit sports jerseys." So now the government has again taken over a swathe of domain names used in crime.

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Open Source Driver For Microsoft Surface 2.0
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's anything-you-can-do department:
dartttt writes "Florian Echtler has developed an open-source driver for the Microsoft Surface 2.0 touch screen. According to him, the open source implementation works surprisingly well on Ubuntu 11.10. The process requires you to boot Linux on your Surface 2.0 in the first place. However, it can be done by just booting Ubuntu from a USB hard disk without modify anything on the original Win7 installation."

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