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NASA Sues Apollo Astronaut To Return Moon Camera
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's thanks-for-exploring-space-for-us department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The US government has brought a lawsuit against astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man on the moon, after discovering that Mitchell had approached a NY auction house trying to sell a 16-millimeter data acquisition camera that was supposed to have been left in the lunar module. Mitchell argues that too many years have gone by for the government to pursue the camera as stolen and besides, it was given to the now 80-year-old moonwalker as a gift in line with NASA's then-policies governing spent equipment. However, the government contends it has no record of the camera being given to Mitchell who elected to remove it from the lunar module before parting ways with the spacecraft and returning to Earth, and the judge has ruled that the government is not bound by the statute of limitations denying Mitchell's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The Apollo 14 astronauts were not the only crewmates to salvage parts of their lunar module as mementos: Astronauts aboard Apollo 12 and Apollo 15 ripped off parts of their moonwalking suits' life support backpacks before they were discarded onto the lunar surface. But what makes Mitchell's case different is that other astronauts asked their bosses before each mission for permission and provided a list of items they planned to keep while apparently Mitchell didn't. 'They give me a list of things they're going to bring back,' said Deke Slayton, head of NASA's astronaut corps, who died in 1993. 'I give it to the program office and they bring 'em back.' For his part, Mitchell does not seem ready to give up the camera as the case prepares to go to trial next year. "

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HP Rethinking Wisdom of Spinning Off PC Division
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's you-don't-say department:
bdking writes "After signing off on former CEO Leo Apotheker's proposal to spin off or sell HP's personal computer unit, the company's braintrust is reassessing the wisdom of dumping a division that contributes nearly 30% of revenue and holds together a valuable supply chain."

HP appears concerned not so much for the revenue generating by PC hardware, but instead by access to various distribution and supply channels. It seems that just announcing a spin-off has affected their access to retail distributors.

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BlackBerry Outage Spreads To North America
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's on-the-third-day-god-created-sigsegv department:
iONiUM writes "With increasing pressure on RIM to catch up to the new phones, and the upcoming release of the iPhone 4S, could this three day outage of BlackBerry's service be a nail in the coffin? From the article 'The service disruptions are the worst since an outage swept north America two years ago, and come as Apple prepares to put on sale its already sold-out iPhone 4S on Friday.'"

This is the same outage as was reported Monday. RIM has released a few details on what's happened: a failed software upgrade brought the system down, and, after repairing the first issue, the backlog of traffic overwhelmed their network infrastructure taking things down a second time.

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VeriSign Wants Ability To Suspend Domains Without Court Order
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's only-criminals-want-due-process department:
GeorgeK writes "VeriSign, the monopoly registry operator for .com/.net domain names, has submitted a proposal to ICANN (PDF) describing an 'Anti-Abuse' policy. If allowed to proceed with such a policy, they would become judge, jury and executioner, with the ability to suspend or even cancel alleged 'abusive' domain names without due process for registrants. The proposal even recognizes that legitimate domain names may be taken down improperly, and offers a 'protest' procedure. However, VeriSign does not appear to offer any ability to protest an accusation of abuse before the suspension or cancellation. They intend to 'shoot first and ask questions later.'"

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iPhone 4 Prototype Finder Gets Probation
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's finders-keepers-losers-send-you-to-prison department:
think_nix writes "Brian Hogan, who found an iPhone 4 prototype last year which was sold to Gizmodo for $5,000, has been sentenced to one year of probation, 40 hours of community service, and a $250 fine. The District Attorney's office was asking for jailtime."

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Real Life Super Hero Arrested
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 06:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-super-enough department:
First time accepted submitter Pat Attack writes "In an ironic twist of fate, Phoenix Jones, a self-styled super hero from Seattle, has landed in jail. Jones happened upon a group of people fighting in the street and tried to stop the fight using pepper spray. He was arrested by police on four counts of assault. The New York Daily News quotes Jones: 'I've been shot once and I don't really want it to happen again. I've been stabbed twice, hit with a baseball bat and had my nose broken,' he says. 'But in all those incidents I helped someone who was in danger. If someone is going to take that punishment it should be the guy in body armor,' he said."

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British Coalition Partner Attempts to Block Web Censorship Powers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lib-dem-redacted-redacted-regrets-his-redacted-decision department:
judgecorp writes "The Liberal Democrat party is attempting to repeal the controversial web-blocking powers allowed by Britain's Digital Economy Act. The move goes against the policy of the coalition government, and the tactic chosen is a roundabout one: Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert proposed an amendment to a different bill which would have had the effect of repealing parts of the DEA. the amendment was not discussed, but the proposal is a sign that the Lib Dems mean business on this policy, adopted at their party conference."

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Sony Targeted Yet Again; Thwarts Attackers This Time
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's script-kiddies-gone-wild department:
alphadogg writes with an excerpt from a Network World article: "Sony suspended 93,000 user accounts on several of its gaming and entertainment networks after unauthorized login attempts on those accounts. The attempts occurred on the PlayStation Network, Sony Entertainment Network, and Sony Online Entertainment, and the company says that login information likely acquired from other sources was tested en masse on the networks. Only a 'small number' of the attempts were successful, and no credit card information was leaked. ... Sony Chief Information Security Officer Philip Reitinger said that 'less than one tenth of one percent' of the networks' users may have been affected."

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AMD 'Bulldozer' FX CPU Reviews Arrive
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-and-shiny department:
I.M.O.G. writes "Today AMD lifted the embargo on their most recent desktop AMD FX architecture, code named Bulldozer, whose CPU frequency record Slashdot recently covered. The fruition of 6 years of AMD R&D, this new chip architecture is the most significant news out of AMD since the Phenom II made its debut. The chips are available now in all major retail outlets, and top tier hardware sites have published the first Bulldozer reviews already."
Here are reviews from a few different sites — pick your favorite: Tom's Hardware, PC Perspective, Hot Hardware, [H]ardOCP, or TechSpot. They don't agree on everything, but the consensus seems to be that the new chips aren't blowing anyone's socks off, and that they struggle to compete with Intel's comparable offerings. The architecture shows promise, but performance gains will take time to materialize, making it difficult to leapfrog Intel to any significant degree.

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Ask Slashdot: Project Scope For MLB Robot Umpires?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-tigers department:
nightcats writes "The League Championship Series of baseball are upon us, and numerous sports media pundits, armies of fans at comment boards, and TV people are openly debating the possibility of robot umpires coming to Major League Baseball, to either replace or enhance the human umps' work on the field. Question: what kind of project are we reasonably talking about here? What would the scope and length be from planning/design to user testing/implementation (presumably in a spring training/minor league setting)? What kinds of hardware (video scanners, touch-sensitive bases/foul lines, etc.) and software would be required?"
And, as long as we're on the subject — do you think it would be good for the game?

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Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-wouldn't-like-us-when-we're-angry department:
EccentricAnomaly writes "Lou Friedman (former head of the Planetary Society) has written a provocative article over at Space Policy Review where he accuses the Obama administration of working on plans to gut the robotic Mars program in order to pay for NASA's exciting new rocket. This is after NASA already killed the Europa mission that was to have been the next outer planet mission after Cassini."

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WoW To Add Avenue For Real-Money Gold Buying
Posted by News Fetcher on October 12 '11 at 12:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's opening-a-can-of-worms department:
For some time, players of Blizzard's World of Warcraft have been able to purchase a small number of vanity in-game items for real money, but the items were restricted to the user's own account. Now, Blizzard has announced they will be adding another such item, with a twist — it doesn't become bound to a player's account until they use it, so it can be traded or sold on the game's auction house. In their announcement, they said, "While our goal is to offer players alternative ways to add a Pet Store pet to their collection, we’re ok with it if some players choose to use the Guardian Cub as a safe and secure way to try to acquire a little extra in-game gold without turning to third-party gold-selling services. ... While some players might be able to acquire some extra gold by putting the Guardian Cub in the auction house, that’s preferable to players contributing to the gold-selling 'black market' and account theft."

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Intel Gives Up On TV
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stick-to-your-strengths department:
symbolset writes "Bloomberg is reporting that Intel, on the cusp of having low-power embedded chips that can do true HD in a flatscreen, has given up on getting its chips embedded in TVs. While many might say their efforts to date have been fruitless because of energy issues, Medfield might have had a chance in this field."

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Mass Effect 3 To Include Co-op Multiplayer
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 09:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sheep-for-your-shepherd department:
BioWare has announced that Mass Effect 3, planned for March of next year, will be the first game in the series to include co-operative multiplayer. In a post on their forums, they provided details about the new mode of play:
"Success in multi-player will have a direct impact on the outcome of the single player campaign, giving players an alternative method of achieving ultimate victory ... In multiplayer, players will create custom characters to fight on different and unique fronts in the war. This will include the ability to play as favorites like Turians, Krogans, Asari and more each with their own unique set of abilities."
They also took pains to point out that while the co-op missions could affect the outcome of the main story, multiplayer is entirely optional.

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Acacia Sues Amazon Over Kindle Fire
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 08:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trollin'-trollin'-trollin' department:
walterbyrd writes "A company called Smartphone Technologies filed the suit last Friday in Texas Eastern District Court accusing the Kindle Fire tablet of violating four of its patents. Smartphone Technologies is owned by Acacia Research, a firm that buys and licenses patents and is seen by many as a patent troll. 'One patent cited in the suit, U.S. Patent No. 6,956,562, simply refers to a method for using a touch screen to enter commands on a handheld computer. Another patent in question relates to a method for storing calendars on a PDA and was initially issued to Palm in 2002.'"

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RSA Blames Nation State For Cyber Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 06:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's guess-we-can-rule-out-the-amish department:
An anonymous reader writes "Security firm RSA has revealed that it believes two groups, working on behalf of a single nation state, hacked into its servers and stole information related to the company's SecurID two-factor authentication products. Speaking at the RSA Security Conference in London, RSA executive chairman Art Coviello described the high profile attack thus: 'There were two individual groups from one nation state, one supporting the other. One was very visible and one less so. We've not attributed it to a particular nation state although we're very confident that with the skill, sophistication and resources involved it could only have been a nation state.' Sophos security researcher Graham Cluley questions how RSA has concluded that a country was responsible for the attack — when RSA is unwilling to name who it suspects. Could it be that the firm is simply applying spin, describing the attack as a 'highly sophisticated Advanced Persistent Threat' to protect its image?"

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Opera Proposes Switching Browser Scrolling For 'Pages'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-is-this department:
Barence writes "Opera has proposed a new browsing system that swaps scrolling on websites for flippable pages. The Norwegian browser maker is looking to remove the side scroll bar for documents or articles in favor of 'pages' of a set-size, similar to an ebook. Text can be reflowed into a column layout, and ads will be moved into the right spot in the text, with different ones displayed depending on the orientation of the device. Pages are flipped with gestures on tablets or with mouse clicks on the desktop. It's an 'opportunity to rethink the ads on the web and the user interface,' said Hakon Wium Lie, Opera's CTO."
Their main focus for this is browsing on tablets.

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Air Force Network Admins Found Out About Drone Virus Through News Story
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's right-wing-doesn't-know-what-left-wing-is-doing department:
Nemesisghost writes "Wired's Danger Room reports that the network admins of the 24th Air Force found out about the virus infecting the drone cockpits at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada by reading the earlier news article. Quoting: 'Not only were officials in charge kept out of the loop about an infection in America’s weapon and surveillance system of choice, but the surprise surrounding that infection highlights a flaw in the way the U.S. military secures its information infrastructure: There’s no one in the Defense Department with his hand on the network switch. In fact, there is no one switch to speak of. The four branches of the U.S. armed forces each has a dedicated unit that, in theory, is supposed to handle cyber defense for the entire service. ... In practice, it’s not that simple. Unlike most big private enterprises, the 24th doesn’t have a centralized system for managing and monitoring its networks. There’s no place at the 24th’s San Antonio headquarters where someone could see all the digital traffic hurtling through the service’s pipes.'"

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NYTimes Sues US Gov't To Know How It Interprets the PATRIOT Act
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's however-it-pleases department:
hydrofix writes "Techdirt has been following the story of the DoJ's classified interpretation of the PATRIOT Act. Specifically, it's all about Section 215, the so-called 'business-records provision,' which empowers the FBI to get businesses to turn over any records it deems relevant to a security investigation. Senators Ron Ryden and Mark Udall have been pushing the government to reveal how it uses these provisions to deploy 'dragnets' for massive amounts of information on private citizens 'without any connection to terrorism or espionage,' a secret reinterpretation that is 'inconsistent with the public's understanding of these laws.' After NYTimes reporter Charlie Savage had his Freedom of Information request denied, the NYTimes has now sued the government (PDF) to reveal how it interprets the very law under which it's required to operate."

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AOL Creates Fully Automated Data Center
Posted by News Fetcher on October 11 '11 at 02:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's tomorrow-system-architect-automates-himself department:
miller60 writes with an except from a Data Center Knowledge article: "AOL has begun operations at a new data center that will be completely unmanned, with all monitoring and management being handled remotely. The new 'lights out' facility is part of a broader updating of AOL infrastructure that leverages virtualization and modular design to quickly deploy and manage server capacity. 'These changes have not been easy,' AOL's Mike Manos writes in a blog post about the new facility. 'It's always culturally tough being open to fundamentally changing business as usual.'"

Mike Manos's weblog post provides a look into AOL's internal infrastructure. It's easy to forget that AOL had to tackle scaling to tens of thousands of servers over a decade before the term Cloud was even coined.

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