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Firefox Javascript Engine Becomes Single Threaded
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's software-engineers-hate-sharing department:
An anonymous reader writes with news about work on Mozilla's Javascript engine. Quoting Mozilla engineer Luke Wagner's blog: "With web workers in separate runtimes, there were no significant multi-threaded runtime uses remaining. Furthermore, to achieve single-threaded compartments, the platform features that allowed JS to easily ship a closure off to another thread had been removed since closures fundamentally carry with them a reference to their original enclosing scope. Even non-Mozilla SpiderMonkey embeddings had reportedly experienced problems that pushed them toward a similar shared-nothing design. Thus, there was little reason to maintain the non-trivial complexity caused by multi-threading support. There are a lot of things that 'would be nice' but what pushed us over the edge is that a single-threaded runtime allows us to hoist a lot data currently stored per-compartment into the runtime. This provides immediate memory savings."

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States Using Cloud Based Voting System For Overseas Citizens
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's making-diebold-machines-seem-like-a-good-idea department:
gManZboy writes "If a ballot was lost in the cloud, would anyone know? Several states are using an online balloting website based on Microsoft's Azure cloud-computing platform to allow U.S. voters living overseas to cast their votes via the Web in 2012 primary elections. In addition to a now complete Florida primary, Virginia and California will use the system for their primaries, and Washington state will use it for its caucus. To ensure the ballots are from legitimate voters, people use unique identifying information to access their ballots online, according to Microsoft. Once received, the signature on the ballot is matched with registration records to further verify identity."

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KDE 4.8 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's never-ending-progress department:
jrepin writes "The KDE community has released version 4.8 of their Free and open source software bundle. The new version provides many new features, improved stability, and increased performance. Highlights for Plasma Workspaces include window manager optimizations, the redesign of power management, and integration with Activities. The first Qt Quick-based Plasma widgets have entered the default installation of Plasma Desktop, with more to follow in future releases. KDE applications released today include Dolphin file manager with its new display engine, ..., and KDE Telepathy reaching its first beta milestone. New features for Marble virtual globe keep arriving, among these are: Elevation Profile, satellite tracking, and Krunner integration. The KDE Platform provides the foundation for KDE software. KDE software is more stable than ever before. In addition to stability improvements and bugfixes, Platform 4.8 provides better tools for building fluid and touch-friendly user interfaces, integrates with other systems' password saving mechanisms and lays the base for more powerful interaction with other people using the new KDE Telepathy framework."

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2012 Japan Prize Honors Magnet Creator and Cancer Researchers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's turns-out-magnets-work-using-science department:
alphadogg writes with an excerpt from a Network World article: "The 2012 Japan Prize, one of the world's most prestigious science and technology honors, has been awarded to three American medical experts who are fighting cancer as well as to a Japanese inventor whose magnet technology has implications for energy conservation. In years past, the prize (which comes with a $650K purse) has honored computing accomplishments, including last year, when Unix inventors Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson were honored."

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XBMC Running On Raspberry Pi
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's i'll-take-ten department:
jones_supa writes "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a news release about Raspberry Pi running XBMC smoothly, turning the board into a media center the size of deck of cards. Looking at Pi's low price, small size and hardware 1080p support, this could make an interesting HTPC project. Included is a video demonstration of the setup. For this to be possible, the XBMC team created a customized version that targets the beefier Raspberry Pi model."

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Cinnamon Gnome-Shell Fork Releases Version 1.2
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's making-gnome3-usable department:
New submitter Novin writes with exciting news from the Cinnamon project. Quoting the release announcements: "Cinnamon 1.2 is out! All APIs and the desktop itself are now fully stable! I hope you'll enjoy the many new features, the desktop effect, desktop layouts, the new configuration tool, the applets, changes, bug fixes, and improvements that went into this release. This is a huge step forward for Cinnamon."

The release reintroduces desktop effects, fixes a slew of bugs, and introduces a new applet API (fixing a number of issues intrinsic to shell extensions).

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New EU Legal Privacy Framework: We're Not Kidding
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's yes-you-can-have-a-pony department:
An anonymous reader writes "Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission announced today a new regulation for data privacy in Europe (PDF) in replacement of a 1995 Directive. Recently, privacy laws have been under a lot of criticism for their practical inability to ensure a high level of protection to EU citizens. The new data privacy framework will bring a lot of changes: 24 hours security breach notifications, mandatory security assessments, end of notifications to local data privacy agencies, mandatory data protection officers and huge administrative fines: up to 2% of the annual worldwide turnover (that would have meant $1.2 Billion for Microsoft in 2008). Indeed that's 'the necessary "teeth" so the rules can be enforced.'"

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Corporate Boardrooms Open To Eavesdropping
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's it's-a-feature-i-tell-ya department:
cweditor writes "One afternoon this month, a hacker toured a dozen corporate conference rooms via equipment that most every company has in those rooms: videoconferencing. Rapid7 says they could 'easily read a six-digit password from a sticky note over 20 feet away from the camera' and 'clearly hear conversations down the hallway from the video conferencing system.' With some systems, they could even capture keystrokes being typed in the room. Teleconferencing vendors defended their security, saying the auto-answer feature that left those system vulnerable was an effort to strike the right balance between security and usability."

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Google Consolidates Privacy Policies Across Services
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's targetted-advertising-is-awesome department:
parallel_prankster writes "The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Google will require users to allow the company to follow their activities across e-mail, search, YouTube, and other services; a radical shift in strategy that is expected to invite greater scrutiny of its privacy and competitive practices. The information will enable Google to develop a fuller picture of how people use its growing empire of Web sites. Consumers will have no choice but to accept the changes. The policy will take effect March 1 and will also impact Android mobile phone users. 'If you're signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services,' Alma Whitten, Google's director of privacy, product, and engineering, wrote in a blog post."

The angle of the Washington Post article is a bit negative; Google sees this as consolidating an absurd number of privacy policies for its various services into a single, unified document. Reader McGruber adds: "Donald E. Graham, the Washington Post's chairman and CEO, joined Facebook's Board of Directors in January 2009. Curiously, the Washington Post article neglects to disclose that."

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The Chevy Segway Keeps On Rolling (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's as-if-regular-Segways-weren't-dorky-enough department:
Back in 2009 G.M. and Segway talked about the P.U.M.A., or Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle. Now it's the EN-V, which stands for Electric Network Vehicle. G.M. (along with partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) debuted the thing in Shanghai in 2010, then displayed it at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2011, and now they're showing it off at auto shows, no doubt hoping to get a lot of buzz going for this two-wheeled wonder, which is supposed to be so loaded with navigation and collision avoidance electronics that you can sleep in it on your way to work. (Please wake us up when we get there, okay?)

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The High-Radiation Lives and Risks of Nuclear-Nomad Subcontractors
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stop-that-incessant-ticking department:
Harperdog writes "Gabrielle Hecht has an interesting piece on the subcontracted workers of the nuclear energy industry, in Japan and elsewhere. These workers face far more exposure to radiation than salaried workers; in Japan, 90% of the nuclear workforce is contracted. This is an eye-opening look at a practice that 'carries exceptional risks and implications. And until these are recognized and documented, complex social and physiological realities will continue to be hidden.' A good read, but I would like to know how the Fukushima 50 are doing."

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Australia Likely To Get 18+ Game Rating
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's thank-you-uncle-government department:
hypnosec writes "Australia is set to update the age rating system for video games, adding a new 18+ category which should allow for the more violent games to be sold in the country. The current maximum age rating for a console or PC game is 15+. If a title didn't meet the specifications for this age it was denied a rating and was therefore not allowed to go on sale. This didn't necessarily mean the game never hit the shelves, but it could only do if tweaks were made to remove some of the most violent or questionable content. The first parliamentary session in the new year is set for the 7th February — giving the poor fellas a nice long break — where the bill to introduce the new age rating will be voted on by the lower house. If it passes there, it will go on to the senate, which has the ability to pass it into law."

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Piratbyran Co-Founder Says Stop DDoSing Polish Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on January 25 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's keeping-sysadmins-in-suspense department:
bs0d3 writes "Since the news was released that Poland will sign ACTA later this month, activists have taken to the streets in protest. Also, Anonymous has aimed their DDoS cannons at Polish websites. A government minister admitted the government had failed to fully consult the public on the issue. Piratbyran Co-Founder Marcin de Kaminski has been following the issue on ACTA in Poland, and agrees with activists that Anonymous' DDoS is hurting the situation. Now the Polish government is trying to speed up the signatory process, making a statement of not giving in to 'cyber terrorists.'"

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Google's SPDY Could Be Incorporated Into Next-Gen HTTP
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '12 at 08:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's 10-4-gd-bdy department:
MojoKid writes "Google's efforts to improve Internet efficiency through the development of the SPDY (pronounced 'speedy') protocol got a major boost today when the chairman of the HTTP Working Group (HTTPbis), Mark Nottingham, called for it to be included in the HTTP 2.0 standard. SPDY is a protocol that's already used to a certain degree online; formal incorporation into the next-generation standard would improve its chances of being generally adopted. SPDY's goal is to reduce web page load times through the use of header compression, packet prioritization, and multiplexing (combining multiple requests into a single connection). By default, a web browser opens an individual connection for each and every page request, which can lead to tremendous inefficiencies."

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US Embassy Sanctioned Lawsuit Against Aussie ISP iiNet
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '12 at 06:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's conspiracy-against-the-laity-part-XVXIIIX department:
New submitter Elenor writes with this story (excerpted) from TorrentFreak, another nugget gleaned from the cables made public by WikiLeaks: "The Canberra Wikileaks cables have revealed that the U.S. Embassy sanctioned a conspiracy by Hollywood studios to target Australian communications company iiNet through the local court-system, with the aim of establishing a binding common-law precedent which would make ISPs responsible for the unauthorised file-sharing of their customers. Both the location, Australia, and the target, iiNet, were carefully selected. A precedent set in Australia would be influential in countries with comparable legal systems such as Canada, India, New Zealand and Great Britain. Australian telecommunications giant Telstra was judged too large for the purposes of the attack. Owing to its smaller size and more limited resources, iiNet was gauged the perfect candidate." The cable describes no overt action on the part of the American embassy, but the wording is telling: "Mike Ellis, the Singapore-based President for Asia Pacific of the Motion
Picture Association ... said MPAA did not see any role for Embassy at this
time, but wanted to keep us informed."

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Amateur UAV Pilot Exposes Texas River of Blood
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '12 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's everything's-more-sanguinary-in-texas department:
Presto Vivace writes "Carlton Purvis of Security Management News reports that a tip from an amateur UAV enthusiast 'is what led Texas authorities to open a major criminal investigation into the waste practices of a Dallas meat packing plant.' The photo shows a river of blood."

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Apple Announces Most Profitable Quarter in History
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-zeros department:
zacharye writes with an except from an article over at BGR about Apple's quarterly results: " Disappointing' though it may have been to some, the iPhone 4S propelled what is now confirmed to have been the most profitable quarter any technology company has ever recorded. Apple on Wednesday reported record earnings for the December quarter, revealing a profit of $13.06 billion on revenue that surpassed $46 billion. Among technology companies, Apple's fiscal first quarter represents the most profitable quarter ever recorded. Only one U.S. company has ever posted a more profitable quarter — Exxon managed a profit of $14.8 billion in the third quarter of 2008 — and the driving force behind Apple's record-setting performance was quite clearly the iPhone."

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Julian Assange To Host Talk Show
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's doktor-oz's-ten-secrets-of-world-domination department:
An anonymous reader writes "Julian Assange has announced he will host a talk show: 'Through this series I will explore the possibilities for our future in conversations with those who are shaping it,' Assange said in his announcement late Monday. 'Are we heading towards utopia, or dystopia and how we can set our paths? This is an exciting opportunity to discuss the vision of my guests in a new style of show that examines their philosophies and struggles in a deeper and clearer way than has been done before.'"

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Apple's iBooks EULA Drawing Ire
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's publish-and-perish department:
An anonymous reader writes in with one of many articles about the iBooks EULA, this time questioning whether it is even enforceable. Quoting: "The iBooks Author EULA plainly tries to create an exclusive license for Apple to be the sole distributor of any worked created with it, but under the Copyright Act an exclusive license is a 'transfer of copyright ownership,' and under 17 U.S.C. 204 such a transfer 'is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a note or memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed.' When authors rebel and take their work elsewhere, Apple has, at most, a claim for breach-of-EULA — but their damages are the failure to pay $0 for the program."

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Psychics Say Apollo 16 Astronauts Found Alien Ship
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's scully-says-yeah-right department:
astroengine writes "A group called Transception Incorporated, self-described as an Austin, Texas-based psychic R&D operation, sent a letter (PDF) to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden that nominates the Apollo 16 crew for the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Why? Well, a variety of 'shipwreck elements' on the Moon — described as 'structures, people/aliens, biological technology, and their plight' — were reportedly 'seen' through remote viewing (PDF) by six experts at Transception. These 'elements' can be seen, along with Apollo 16 moonwalkers John Young and Charles Duke, in photographs during that famous mission, obviously making this the first ever alien encounter."

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