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Canonical Drops CouchDB From Ubuntu One
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's saw-off-the-legs department:
rsk writes "Since the Ubuntu One desktop synchronization service was launched by Canonical it has always been powered by CouchDB, a popular document-oriented NoSQL data store with a powerful master-master replication architecture that runs in many different environments (servers, mobile devices, etc.). John Lenton, senior engineering manager at Canonical, announced that Canonical would be moving away from CouchDB due to a few unresolvable issues Canonical ran into in production with CouchDB and the scale/requirements of the Ubuntu One service. Instead, says Lenton, Canonical will be moving to a custom data storage abstraction layer (U1DB) that is platform agnostic as well as datastore agnostic; utilizing the native datastore on the host device (e.g. SQLite, MySQL, API layers, 'everything'). U1DB will be complete at some point after the 12.04 release."

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Ask Slashdot: Which Ph.D For Work In Applied Statistics / C.S.?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's there's-a-spray-to-reduce-the-inflammation department:
New submitter soramimo writes "I'm currently a Ph.D student in Machine Learning and Biology at a pretty good European university. As my lab is moving to the U.S., I have the chance to get my Ph.D from an Ivy League university instead of the one in Europe (without much additional work, as I'm close to finishing). However, I would be getting a Ph.D in Biological Sciences rather than Computer Science. As I'm planning to work as an applied statistician / computer-scientist / analyst in the U.S. after graduating, I'm wondering which path to take. Is a Ph.D in Biological Sciences frowned upon by technology companies, or is it out-weighed by the Ivy League tag? How big of a role does the type of Ph.D play in the hiring process in the U.S., compared to what you actually did (thesis focus, publication record, software)?"

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Baker Has to Make 102,000 Cupcakes For Grouponers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's be-careful-what-you-wish-for department:
Rachel Brown, owner of the small Need a Cake bakery, became a victim of the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it." More than 8,500 people took Rachel up on her Groupon offer of a 75% discount on a dozen cupcakes, forcing her to make over 100,000 cupcakes to fill all the orders. In the end Brown lost almost $20k. "We take pride in making cakes of exceptional quality but I had to bring in agency staff on top of my usual staff, who had nowhere near the same skills. I was very worried about standards dropping and hated the thought of letting anybody down. My poor staff were having to slog away at all hours — one of them even came in at 3 a.m. because she couldn't sleep for worry," she told The Telegraph. "We are still working to make up the lost money and will not be doing this again."

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Users' Data Target Of 'Targeted Attack' on AT&T
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-the-files-are-inside-the-death-star department:
New submitter fran6gagne writes "AT&T [Monday] notified customers of an effort by hackers to collect online account information. It is not believed that the perpetrators of this attack obtained access to sensitive information." eWeek's account has a bit more detail.

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4 Wave Gliders Begin Their Autonomous Pacific Crossing Attempt
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's well-they're-not-totally-autonomous department:
In 2009, an autonomous ocean glider bobbed and dipped its way across the Atlantic; now, reader cylonlover writes with word that "Four small autonomous aquatic robots have embarked on a 60,000-kilometer (37,000-mile) journey across the Pacific ocean. The Wave Gliders, built by California-based Liquid Robotics, left San Francisco last Thursday." Two of the robot craft are to head to Australia, the other two to Japan. According to the IEEE description, "Waves will power their propulsion systems and the sun will power the sensors that will be measuring things like water salinity, temperature, clarity, and oxygen content; collecting weather data, and gathering information on wave features and currents."

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Ham Radio Licenses Top 700,000, An All-Time High
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-everyone-call-bdale-garbee department:
Velcroman1 writes "The newest trend in American communication isn't another smartphone from Apple or Google but one of the elder statesmen of communication: Ham radio licenses are at an all time high, with over 700,000 licenses in the United States, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Ham radio first took the nation by storm nearly a hundred years ago. Last month the FCC logged 700,314 licenses, with nearly 40,000 new ones in the last five years. Compare that with 2005, when only 662,600 people hammed it up and you'll see why the American Radio Relay League — the authority on all things ham — is calling it a 'golden age' for ham. 'Over the last five years we've had 20-25,000 new hams,' said Allen Pitts, a spokesman for the group."

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Ask Slashdot: Tablet With Root Access By Default?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-you-want-everything department:
hweimer writes "I am looking for a small (7") tablet that comes with root access out of the box. I know, I could get one of the usual suspects and root it myself, but I don't want to waste my time in the process and end up voiding my warranty. Basically, I'd like to use it for web browsing, reading PDFs and accessing my e-mails via SSH (extra bonus for X11 forwarding). Any good suggestions, or should I wait for Tizen devices to hit the market?"

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Facebook Said To Be Developing Phone With HTC
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-the-weasels-said-the-words-first department:
ProbablyJoe writes "AllThingsD is running a series of stories this week about a possible new Facebook phone, codenamed 'Buffy.' The phone is said to be in development by HTC, who collaborated with Facebook earlier this year for the Salsa and ChaCha/Status phones, which both had physical Facebook buttons, and a degree of integration with the social network. While these rumors have been going around for quite a while, the article contains some new information, and neither Facebook or HTC are denying the rumors. The phone will be based on Android, but like Amazon's Kindle Fire, will be heavily modified to integrate with Facebook, potentially using Facebook's HTML5 platform.
While we're unlikely to see any official announcements or releases any time soon, Facebook are eager to compete with Google and Apple, and are likely to want a phone of their own on shelves as soon as possible."


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Viacom's SOPA/PIPA Pitch Video, Annotated
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's rehashing-II-the-return department:
Lauren Weinstein writes "Viacom has just released a video calling for support of global Internet censorship via SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). A truth annotated version of this approximately seven-minute video is now available."
Reader quantumplacet writes with word that the Business Software Alliance (probably for reasons other than this video) has withdrawn its support for SOPA, claiming that "Valid and important questions have been raised about the bill." Writes quantumplacet: "While the BSA has a long history of focusing on the worst offenders and mostly ignoring casual piracy, this still represents a dramatic turnaround as the organization has been a SOPA supporter since the act's inception. BSA President Robert Hollyman posted on the company blog that 'Due process, free speech, and privacy are rights that cannot be compromised. ....Some observers have raised reasonable questions about whether certain SOPA provisions might have unintended consequences in these areas.'"

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The Many Names of Linux Kernels
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's because-programmers-like-words department:
dartttt writes "Not many people know that Kernel releases have their codenames. Most of the Linux 2.6 and 3.x kernels include a name in the Makefile of their source trees, which can be found in the git repository. They are not publicized as such but some of them are really hilarious."

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Debt Reduction Super Committee Fails To Agree
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's spend-all-you-want-they'll-print-more department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "VOA reports that the latest effort to cut the U.S. government's debt apparently has ended in failure as leaders of the special 12-member debt reduction committee plan to announce that they failed in their mandate from lawmakers to trim the federal debt by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Democrats and Republicans blame each other for the collapse of the effort. 'Our Democratic friends were never able to do the entitlement reforms,' said Republican Senator Jon Kyl. 'They weren't going to do anything without raising taxes.' Democratic Senator Patty Murray, one of the committee's co-chairs, says that the Republicans' position on taxes was the sticking point. 'The wealthiest Americans, who earn over a million a year have to share too. And that line in the sand, we haven't seen Republicans willing to cross yet,' Now in the absence of an agreement, $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts to domestic and defense programs are set to take effect starting in January 2013 and the lack of a deal will deprive President Barack Obama of a vehicle for extending a payroll tax cut and insurance benefits for unemployed Americans, which expire at the end of the year." (Though the official deadline for the committee's hoped-for plan is tomorrow — the 23d — they were to have provided it for review 48 hours prior.)

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Bulldozer Server Benchmarks Not Promising
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cool-kids-jump-ship-to-fleet department:
New submitter RobinEggs writes "Some reviews of Bulldozer's server performance have arrived. Ars Technica has the breakdown, and the results are pretty ugly. Apparently Bulldozer fares just as poorly with servers as with desktops. From the article: 'One reason for the underwhelming performance on the desktop is that the Bulldozer architecture emphasizes multithreaded performance over single-threaded performance. For desktop applications, where single-threaded performance is still king, this is a problem. Server workloads, in contrast, typically have to handle multiple users, network connections, and virtual machines concurrently. This makes them a much better fit for processors that support lots of concurrent threads. ... It looks as though the decisions that hurt Bulldozer on the desktop continue to hurt it in the server room. Although the server benchmarks don't show the same regressions as were found on the desktop, they do little to justify the design of the new architecture.' It's probably much too early to start editorializing about the end of AMD, or even to say with certainty that Bulldozer has failed, but my untrained eye can't yet see any possible silver lining in these new processors."

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OpenPGP Implemented In JavaScript
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 02:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's what-won't-someone-do-next department:
angry tapir writes with this excerpt from Tech World: "Researchers from German security firm Recurity Labs have released a JavaScript implementation of the OpenPGP specification that allows users to encrypt and decrypt webmail messages. Called GPG4Browsers, the tool functions as an extension for Google Chrome and now is capable of working with GMail."

A quick gander at the source leaves me with the impression that it should be more or less portable to other browsers. It's also built using a lot of off-the-shelf Javascript libraries (who knew Javascript had a bignum library and a number of cipher implementations).

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ITC Rules Apple Does Not Infringe S3 Graphics Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '11 at 12:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's fighting-fire-with-fire-burns department:
First time accepted submitter boley1 writes "According to Cnet — S3 Graphics's case collapsed in their ITC suit, with the ITC ruling that Apple does not infringe on any of S3's patents. A big blow to HTC according to the report."

So much for HTC buying a warchest; according to the ruling it looks like AMD/ATI actually owned the patents in question.

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Australian Copyright Troll Rumored To Have Shut Down
Posted by News Fetcher on November 21 '11 at 09:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's copyright-trolls-not-welcome-down-under department:
An anonymous reader writes "Remember how a shadowy group arose a few months back with the promise of suing thousands of Australians for allegedly pirating movies? ... Well, it looks like the effort has bit the dust as quickly as it was kicked off, with the organization's vice president of sales and marketing leaving and its website shut down. Sounds like that bright future of mega-lawsuits for Internet piracy wasn't so bright after all."

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Is HP Paying Intel To Keep Itanium Alive?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 21 '11 at 07:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's larry-ellison-has-no-reflection department:
itwbennett writes "In a court filing, Oracle accused HP of secretly contracting with Intel to keep making Itanium processors so that it can continue to make money from its locked-in Itanium customers and take business away from Oracle's Sun servers. Oracle says that Intel would have long ago killed off Itanium if not for these payments from HP. For its part, HP called the filing a 'desperate delay tactic' in the lawsuit HP filed against Oracle over its decision to stop developing for Itanium."

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Are There Any Smartphones That Respect Privacy?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 21 '11 at 05:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's introducing-google-cave-view department:
An anonymous reader writes "After many years I am finally considering entering the smartphone era. Within the mainstream, there seem to be four OS choices: Windows, Android, Blackberry, or iOS: Android comes out as clear winner to me. However, all of the choices in one way or another require sharing a lot of personal information in the Cloud run by their respective corporations. Let alone Blackberry's centralized mail servers; there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google. While Android is less intrusive than iOS, the lack of privacy remains quite annoying no matter how comfortable it is to have your own calendar and contacts centralized. In 2011 is there any option, other than living in a cave, to keep one's own life private while enjoying the wonders of modern smartphone apps?"

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Penguin Yanking Kindle Books From Libraries
Posted by News Fetcher on November 21 '11 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's every-time-you-share-jesus-kills-a-kitten department:
New submitter moniker writes "Penguin Group is removing Kindle ebooks from libraries using Overdrive citing 'security concerns' as a weak excuse, while most likely taking a shot at Amazon. One more example of DRM being about protecting business models, not content."

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Separating Fact From Hype On Mobile Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on November 21 '11 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's viruses-in-your-pocket department:
wiredmikey writes with this quote from an article about determining whether the recent doom-and-gloom reports about malware on mobile devices are justified:
"As twilight approaches for 2011, security vendors have set their gaze on the rise of Android malware during the year and what is ahead. Last week, Juniper Networks entered the fray, declaring the number of malware samples it observed targeting devices running Google Android had shot up nearly 500 percent since July. Today, McAfee released its threats report for the third quarter of the year, which found that the amount of malware targeting Android devices jumped 37 percent since the second quarter. While there is no doubt the amount of malicious programs with Windows in their bull's eye dwarfs the amount of threats to mobile devices, the focus on Android malware have left some wondering how to separate fact from hype."

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Fox-IT Completes the Picture On the Factored RSA-512 Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on November 21 '11 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sneaky-rogues-with-broken-keys department:
An anonymous reader sends in this excerpt from the Fox-IT blog:
"During recent weeks we have observed several interesting publications which have a direct relation to an investigation we worked on recently. On one hand there was a Certificate Authority being revoked by Mozilla, Microsoft and Google (Chrome), on the other hand there was the disclosure of a malware attack by Mikko Hypponen (FSecure) using a government issued certificate signed by the same Certificate Authority. That case, however, is not self-contained, and a whole range of malicious software had been signed with valid certificates. The malicious software involved was used in targeted attacks focused on governments, political organizations and the defense industry. The big question is, of course, what happened, and how did the attackers obtain access to these certificates? We will explain here in detail how the attackers have used known techniques to bypass the Microsoft Windows code signing security model."

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