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Code Cleanup Culls LibreOffice Cruft
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-just-call-them-introns department:
mikejuk writes with an interesting look at what coders can get around to after a few years of creating a free office suite: dealing with many thousands of lines of deprecated code: "Thanks to the efforts of its volunteer taskforce, over half the unused code in LibreOffice has been removed over the past six months. It's good to see this clean-up operation but it does raise questions about the amount of dead code lurking out there in the wild. The scale of the dead code in LibreOffice is shocking, and it probably isn't because the code base is especially bad. Can you imagine this in any other engineering discipline? Oh yes, we built the bridge but there are a few hundred unnecessary iron girders that we forgot to remove... Oh yes, we implemented the new chip but that area over there is just a few thousand transistors we no longer use... and so on." Well, that last one doesn't sound too surprising at all. Exciting to think that LibreOffice (which has worked well for me over the past several years, including under the OpenOffice.org name) has quite so much room for improvement.

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NSA Releases Security-Enhanced Android
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 06:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-don't-worry department:
An anonymous reader writes with the recent news that, in line with its goal to provide secure phones to government employees in various domains, "The NSA has released a set of security enhancements to Android. These appear to be based on SELinux, which was also originally created by the NSA."

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IPv6-Only Is Becoming Viable
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-but-what's-your-64-bit-phone-number? department:
An anonymous reader writes "With the success of world
IPv6 day
in 2011, there is a lot of speculation

about IPv6 in 2012
. But simply turning on IPv6 does not
make the problems of IPv4
exhaustion
go away. It is only when services are usable
with IPv6-only that the internet can clip the ties to the IPv4 boat
anchor. That said, FreeBSD, Windows,
and Android

are working on IPv6-only capabilities. There are multiple
accounts of IPv6-only
network

deployments
. From those, we we now know that
IPv6-only is viable in mobile, where over 80% (of

a sampling of the top 200 apps
) work well with
IPv6-only. Mobile especially needs IPv6, since their are only
4 billion IPv4 address and approaching 50
billion mobile devices
in the next 8 years. Ironically,
the Android test data shows that the apps most likely to fail are

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Homeless Student Is Intel Talent Search Semifinalist
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's dedication-to-science department:
An anonymous reader writes "Samantha Garvey, a senior at Brentwood High School, has managed to become one of the remaining 300 semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search this year. Her research focused on mussels and on her discovery that they change the thickness of their shells if a predator such as crabs are introduced. Why is Garvey's achievement so impressive? Because she and her entire family are homeless, and rely on a local homeless shelter. Such a situation would stop many students from being able to focus on studying, let alone a research project, but Garvey has instead used her situation as motivation."

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DNS Provision Pulled From SOPA
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-double-down,-protesters department:
New submitter crvtec sends this excerpt from CNet:
"Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of the biggest backers of the Stop Online Piracy Act, today said he plans to remove the Domain Name System blocking provision. 'After consultation with industry groups across the country,' Smith said in a statement released by his office, 'I feel we should remove (DNS) blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the [U.S. House Judiciary] Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision.'"

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Sykipot Trojan Variant Stealing DoD Smartcard Credentials
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tax-money-well-spent department:
Trailrunner7 writes "A new research report says variants of the Sykipot Trojan have been found that can steal Dept. of Defense smartcard credentials. The research, published in a blog post Thursday, is the latest by Alien Vault to look at Sykipot, a Trojan horse program known to be used in targeted attacks against the defense industry. The new variants, which Alien Vault believes have been circulating since March, 2011, have been used in 'dozens of attacks' and contain features that would allow remote attackers to steal smart card credentials and access sensitive information."

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Astronomers Release Enormous Database of Variable-Luminosity Celestial Objects
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
wisebabo writes "According to a Caltech news release, 'Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology and the University of Arizona have released the largest data set ever collected that documents the brightening and dimming of stars and other celestial objects—two hundred million in total. The night sky is filled with objects like asteroids that dash across the sky and others—like exploding stars and variable stars-that flash, dim, and brighten. ... Using the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey, a project led by Caltech, the astronomers systematically scanned the heavens for these dynamic objects, producing an unprecedented data set that will allow scientists worldwide to pursue new research.' So, anybody going to write a program looking for artificial sequences? (primes, Fibonacci, integers.) Wouldn't a good way to attract interstellar attention 'cheaply' would be to put up some (very) big solar sails in orbit around a star to modulate (and maybe collect!) its output? With 'micro-transits' being a preferred way to find exoplanets, somebody looking could stumble across this."

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2011's Fastest Growing Language: Objective-C
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's language-war-ammo department:
mikejuk writes "Every January, it is traditional to compare the state of programming language usage as indicated by the TIOBE index. So what's up and what's down this year? The top language is still Java, but it's slowly falling in the percentages. Objective-C experienced the most growth, followed by C# and C. JavaScript climbed back into the top 10, displacing Ruby. Python and PHP experienced the biggest drops. If you like outside runners, then cheer for Lua and R, which have just entered the top 20. However, I have to wonder why Logo is in the top 20 as well. I know programming education is becoming important, but Logo?"

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Microsoft 'Trustworthy Computing' Turns 10
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's eat-your-cake-at-your-desk department:
gManZboy writes "Bill Gates fired off his famous Trustworthy Computing memo to Microsoft employees on Jan. 15, 2002, amid a series of high-profile attacks on Windows computers and browsers in the form of worms and viruses like Code Red and 'Anna Kournikova.' The onslaught forced Gates to declare a security emergency within Microsoft, and halt production while the company's 8,500 software engineers sifted through millions of lines of source code to identify and fix vulnerabilities. The hiatus cost Microsoft $100 million. Today, the stakes are much higher. 'TWC Next' will include a focus on cloud services such as Azure, the company says."

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Oracle v. Google Trial On Indefinite Hold
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hurry-up-and-wait department:
symbolset writes "The trial in which Oracle is suing Google over Android has been put on indefinite hold by the trial judge, until Oracle comes up with a credible methodology for figuring alleged damages. The trial was planned to start on or after March 19."

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Ask Slashdot: Advancing a Programming Career?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 11:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-day-new-challenge department:
AuMatar writes "I've been a professional programmer for 10 years. The startup I work for was recently bought, and while I was offered a full-time job, I opted to accept only a six-month contract. At my most recent job, I was lead developer for a platform that shipped tens of millions of units, leading a team that spanned up to three geographical areas I've done everything from maintenance to brand new apps. About the only thing I haven't done is been lead architect on a large system. What else is there to look for in the next job so it won't just feel like the same challenges all over again? I'm not interested in starting my own company, so I'm looking for suggestions assuming I'll be working for someone else."

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Totally Drug-Resistant TB Emerges In India
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-all-darwin's-fault department:
ananyo writes "Physicians in India have identified a form of incurable tuberculosis there, raising further concerns over increasing drug resistance to the disease (abstract). Although reports call this latest form a 'new entity,' researchers suggest that it is instead another development in a long-standing problem. The discovery makes India the third country in which a completely drug-resistant form of the disease has emerged, following cases documented in Italy in 2007 and Iran in 2009."

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Carmakers Prepare For Augmented Reality Driving
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-have-enough-trouble-driving-with-the-regular-reality department:
An anonymous reader writes "Car manufacturers at CES are showing off their future integration of mobile computing technologies and automobiles. Quoting CNN: 'As digital tech — and our expectations for it — becomes more mobile, carmakers are taking notice. Many automotive designers here seem to have taken inspiration from smartphones, with their promise of being always connected and their vast menu of apps for every purpose. ... Simply point your hand at them, and the icons open to show real-time information: when that bridge over there was built, what band is playing at that nightclub on the left, whether that new café up the street has any tables available. Wave your hand again, and you've made a restaurant reservation. ... All these advancements may make driving more interesting. Or they may spoil one of modern society's last refuges from the hyper-connected digital world. Either way, they are coming soon.'"

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Passwords Not Going Away Any Time Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 09:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's 12345-letmein department:
New submitter isoloisti writes "Hot on the heels of IBM's 'no more passwords' prediction, Wired has an article about provocative research saying that passwords are here to stay. Researchers from Microsoft and Carleton U. take a harsh view of research on authentication (PDF), saying, 'no progress has been made in the last twenty years.' They dismiss biometrics, PKI, OpenID, and single-signon: 'Not only have proposed alternatives failed, but we have learnt little from the failures.' Because the computer industry so thoroughly wrote off passwords about a decade ago, not enough serious research has gone into improving passwords and understanding how they get compromised in the real world. 'It is time to admit that passwords will be with us for some time, and moreover, that in many instances they are the best-fit among currently known solutions.'"

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TSA Makes $400K Annually In Loose Change
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nickel-and-dime department:
Hugh Pickens writes "NBC reports that airport travelers left behind $409,085.56 in loose change at security checkpoints in 2010, providing an additional source of funding for the Transportation Security Administration. 'TSA puts (the leftover money) in a jar at the security checkpoint, at the end of each shift they take it, count it, put it in an envelope and send it to the finance office,' says TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez. 'It is amazing. All that change, it all adds up.' Melendez adds that the money goes into the general operating budget for TSA that is typically used for technology, light bulbs or just overall general expenses. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation that would direct the TSA to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to the United Service Organizations (USO), a private nonprofit that operates centers for the military at 41 U.S. airports. The recovered change is not to be confused with the theft that occurs when TSA agents augment their salary by helping themselves to the contents of passengers' luggage as it passes through security checkpoints. For example in 2009, a half dozen TSA agents at Miami International Airport were charged with grand theft after boosting an iPod, bottles of perfume, cameras, a GPS system, a Coach purse, and a Hewlett Packard Mini Notebook from passengers' luggage as travelers at just this one airport reported as many as 1,500 items stolen, the majority of which were never recovered."

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US Government Seeks Extradition of UK Student For File-Sharing
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 08:01 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-can't-stand-the-heat-don't-link-to-the-kitchen department:
Gimble writes "The BBC reports that UK student Richard O'Dwyer has lost a legal battle to block his extradition to the U.S., where he faces copyright infringement charges for running a file sharing site (ruling). O'Dwyer operated the site 'TV-Shack' from 2007 until 2010, which didn't offer any files itself, but posted links to streams and files hosted elsewhere. O'Dwyer was first arrested in June last year by British police acting on information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The domestic investigation was subsequently dropped, but Mr. O'Dwyer was re-arrested in May on an extradition warrant to face charges in America."

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Windows Admins Need To Prepare For GUI-Less Server
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's back-to-basics department:
msmoriarty writes "We knew Windows Server 8 was going to be a departure for Microsoft, including an 'optional' GUI, but in a blog post made earlier this week, the Windows Server team said that working without the GUI will be the 'recommended' method, and is telling developers not to assume a GUI will be present. According to Windows consultant and author Don Jones, this is a big hint to Windows admins that they better get used to not having a GUI in future releases. From the article: 'I'm well aware that many Windows admins out there aren't looking forward to a GUI-less server operating system from Microsoft. ... I'm sure Microsoft has, too.They're proceeding anyway. We have two choices: adapt or die.'"

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Google Caught Misbehaving By Kenyan Startup
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hand-in-cookie-jar department:
An anonymous reader sends in an interesting story from Mocality, a company that painstakingly built a business directory in Kenya. When they discovered that somebody was systematically harvesting the contact information they'd collected (and after a few very odd phone calls from confused Kenyan business owners), they set up a sting to see what was really going on. They swapped out the phone numbers listed for a few businesses with phone numbers in their own call centers, and then waited to see who called. Mocality was shocked to discover it was Google Kenya, who falsely claimed a business collaboration with Mocality, and then lied about Mocality's business practices.

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Geek Tool: Slashdot Video of Award Winning 3D Printer From CES
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 06:00 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's 3D-isn't-as-good-as-4D department:
The Makerbot Replicator is a personal 3D printer, which can create three-dimensional objects through connecting and layering successive cross sections of material. The new version is bigger, better, and easier to set up than earlier MakerBots. In this video Tim made at CES, MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis shows us how wonderful a device it is, and tells us why every child (and most adults) should have a MakerBot.

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How To Get Developers To Document Code
Posted by News Fetcher on January 13 '12 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's use-your-words department:
snydeq writes "Poorly documented code? Chances are the problem lies not in your programmers, but in your process, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister. 'Unfortunately, too few developers seem to do a good job of documenting their code. Encouraging them to start can be a difficult challenge — but not an impossible one,' McAllister writes, adding that to establish a culture of documentation managers should favor the carrot before the stick. 'Like most people, programmers respond better to incentives than to mandates. Simple praise can go a long way, but managers may find other ways to reward developers. Are your developers occasionally on-call for weekend support duties or late-night update deployments? Consider giving them a break if they volunteer to pick up some extra documentation burden. Of course, financial incentives work, too.'"

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