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Ask Slashdot: Low-Cost Tools To Track Employees' Web Use?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 08:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's possibly-hostile-answers-expected department:
First time accepted submitter red-nz writes "I come from New Zealand where new anti-piracy laws have come into effect that prosecute the owner of the internet connection for copyright violations. This is now a major issue for businesses, as they of course don't want to be liable for employee infringements. We have some good firewalls that are capable of doing basic filtering by 'category,' e.g. P2P sites, etc., but ideally would love to find a low-cost or even better Open Source alternative to expensive reporting tools (such as WebMarshal or Websense) that is capable of reporting on individual employees' usage with friendly reports (i.e. dont just show the URLs of the 3000 items their browser requested that day). It may be too much to ask but if the software could also show how long they spent on each site, it would be fantastic. Anyone got any winners out there they can share?"

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Wild Parrots Learning To Talk From Escaped Pet Birds
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's planet-of-the-parrots department:
bazzalunatic writes "Be careful what you teach a parrot. Some chatty pet parrots that have escaped back into the wild have taught wild parrots to talk. Seems the phenomenon could be integrated into the flock through generations. From the article: 'The evolution of language could well be passed on through the generations, says Ken. "If the parents are talkers and they produce chicks, their chicks are likely to pick up some of that," he says. This phenomenon is not unique; some lyrebirds in southern Australia still reproduce the sounds of axes and old shutter-box cameras their ancestors once learnt.'" While this doesn't reach the amazing level of Washoe the chimpanzee teaching sign language, it is still interesting and reminiscent of something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

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NRO To Declassify Cold-War Spy-Sat Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's time-to-rewatch-the-falcon-and-the-snowman department:
Muad'Dave writes "The National Reconnaissance Office is set to reveal details of two of the cold war's most capable spy satellite programs on September 17th — the GAMBIT and HEXAGON projects, aka the keyhole KH-7, -8, and -9 satellites. These bus-sized sats provided critical imagery during the height of the cold war, and were likely the inspiration for the movie Ice Station Zebra. The article links midway down the first page provide a fascinating look into the world of real spy-vs-spy, cloak-and-dagger intelligence gathering."

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Italian Hacker Publishes 0day SCADA Hacks
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-to-turn-on-the-hot-water department:
mask.of.sanity writes "An Italian security researcher, Luigi Auriemma, has disclosed a laundry list of unpatched vulnerabilities and detailed proof-of-concept exploits that allow hackers to completely compromise major industrial control systems. The attacks work against six SCADA systems, including one manufactured by U.S. giant Rockwell Automation. The researcher published step-by-step exploits that allowed attackers to execute full remote compromises and denial of service attacks. Auriemma appeared unrepentant for the disclosures in a post on his website."

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Windows 8 Won't Support Plug-Ins; the End of Flash?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's flash-always-seems-to-find-a-way department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Microsoft Windows Engineering Team has announced that the Metro interface web browser in Windows 8 will not support plug-ins — Adobe Flash included. Users will still be able to open a traditional browser interface to make use of legacy sites that rely upon plug-ins. This news follows a recent blog post by the Internet Explorer 10 team pushing the use of HTML5 video as a replacement to Flash video. With Google, Apple, Mozilla, Opera and other major players already backing HTML5 — is Adobe Flash finally dead?"

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Ziff Davis Secretly Paying Sites To Track Users
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's memo-this-user-knows-too-much department:
First time accepted submitter jonez450 writes "Times are tough in the advertising business. But PCWorld publisher Ziff Davis has come up with a new plan to gain a competitive edge: Paying other tech sites $1 CPM to place tracking code on their sites in return for data about their users via JavaScript. The company is also offering free content in return, but the 'private' Ziff Davis Tech Co-Op doesn't want anyone to know what they are up to."

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MIT Researchers Create New Tiny Energy Harvester
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's size-does-matter department:
RogerRoast writes "Researchers at MIT have designed a device the size of a U.S. quarter that harvests energy from low-frequency vibrations, such as those that might be felt along a pipeline or bridge. The tiny energy harvester — known technically as a microelectromechanical system, or MEMS — picks up a wider range of vibrations than current designs, and is able to generate 100 times the power of devices of similar size."

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Facebook To Put Off IPO Until Late 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on September 15 '11 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's status-delayed department:
jfruhlinger writes "Facebook's whispered about IPO is one of the most anticipated in the industry — but it looks like we'll have to anticipate it for a bit longer. The Financial Times, quoting anonymous sources, says that it won't happen until late next year. Those source say that the purpose is to keep Facebook employees focused on product development, but it seems more likely that Facebook's bankers aren't happy with the company's numbers (or the economy's prospects)."

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Researcher Builds Life-Like Cells Made of Metal
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 11:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's devil-in-the-dark department:
Sven-Erik writes "Could living things that evolved from metals be clunking about somewhere in the universe? In a lab in Glasgow, UK, one man is intent on proving that metal-based life is possible. He has managed to build cell-like bubbles from giant metal-containing molecules and has given them some life-like properties. He now hopes to induce them to evolve into fully inorganic self-replicating entities. 'I am 100 per cent positive that we can get evolution to work outside organic biology,' says Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow. His building blocks are large 'polyoxometalates' made of a range of metal atoms — most recently tungsten — linked to oxygen and phosphorus. By simply mixing them in solution, he can get them to self-assemble into cell-like spheres."

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Ask Slashdot: Clusters On the Cheap?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 09:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's discount-computing department:
First time accepted submitter serviscope_minor writes "A friend of mine has recently started a research group. As usual with these things, she is on a shoestring budget and has computational demands. The computational task is very parallel (but implementing it on GPUs is an open research problem and not the topic of research), and very CPU bound. Can slashdotters advise on a practical way of getting really high bang for buck? The budget is about £4000 (excluding VAT/sales tax), though it is likely that the system will be expanded later. The computers will probably end up running a boring Linux distro and Sun GridEngine to manage batch processing (with home directories shared over NFS)."

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Google Enlarges Warchest With 1023 IBM Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 06:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's put-it-on-the-pile department:
First time accepted submitter ElBeano writes "Google has continued to beef up its patent portfolio in the face of the onslaught from Apple and Microsoft. The best defense is a good offense. 'Google is building an arsenal of patents that the company has said is largely designed to counter a "hostile, organized campaign" by companies including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. against the Android operating system for mobile devices. Google had already acquired 1,030 patents from IBM in a transaction recorded in July, and will obtain more than 17,000 with its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.'"

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Anti-Rootkit Security Beyond the OS
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 04:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's building-a-better-wall department:
Orome1 writes "Cybercriminals know how to evade current operating systems-based security, demanding a new paradigm – security beyond the operating system. On that note, McAfee demonstrated the workings of its new McAfee DeepSAFE technology at the Intel Developer Forum on Tuesday. Co-developed with Intel, it allows McAfee to develop hardware-assisted security products to take advantage of a 'deeper' security footprint. It sits beyond the operating system and close to the silicon, and by operating beyond the OS, it provides a direct view of system memory and processor activity."

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Windows 8 Roundup
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 03:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's whole-lot-of-new-going-on department:
There has been no shortage of Windows 8 news today. "MrSeb writes: Earlier this morning, at the Build Windows conference in Anaheim, California, Microsoft made it patently clear that 'To the cloud!' is not merely a throwaway phrase: it is the entire future of the company. Every single one of Microsoft's services, platforms, and form factors will now begin its hasty, leave-no-prisoners-behind transition to the always-on, internet-connected cloud." netbuzz pointed out that even the famous Blue Screen of Death will get a new look. "Lastly mikejuk writes: While everyone else is looking at the surface detail of Windows 8 there are some deep changes going on. Perhaps the biggest is that Metro now provides an alternative environment that doesn't use the age old Win32 API. This means no more overlapping windows — yes Metro really does take the windows out of Windows."

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Synaptics Working On Advanced Touchscreen For Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 02:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-new-kind-of-touch department:
angry tapir writes "Touch specialist Synaptics is working on technologies that will allow touchscreens to mimic the feel of a physical keypad, in order to make smartphones easier to use, according to company technology strategist Andrew Hsu. The goal is to build a touchscreen with the tactile feedback of a keypad. Users should be able run their fingers over virtual keys and get the same sensation as a mechanical keypad gives, allowing them to feel where the buttons are, and then activate them by pushing down a little bit harder, according to Hsu."

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Book Review: Metasploit The Penetration Tester's Guide
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 02:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
eldavojohn writes "The Metasploit Framework has come a long way and currently allows just about anyone to configure and execute exploits effortlessly. Metasploit: The Penetration Tester's Guide takes current documentation further and provides a valuable resource for people who are interested in security but don't have the time or money to take a training class on Metasploit. The highlights of the book rest on the examples provided to the reader as exercises in exploiting several older versions of operating systems like Windows XP and Ubuntu while at the same time avoiding triggering antivirus or detection. The only weak point of this book is that a couple chapters refer the reader to external texts (on stacks and registers) in order to meet requirements for crafting exploits. The book also gives the reader a brief warning on ethics as many of these exploits and techniques would most likely work on many sites and networks. If you're wondering how seemingly inexperienced groups like lulzsec constantly claim victims, this would be an excellent read." Keep reading for the rest of eldavojohn's review. Metasploit The Penetration Tester's Guide
author David Kennedy, Jim O'Gorman, Devon Kearns, and Mati Aharoni
pages 300
publisher No Starch Press, Inc.
rating 10/10
reviewer eldavojohn
ISBN 978-1593272883
summary A thorough guide to penetration testing with the Metasploit Framework.

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Algorithm Predicts New Superhard Materials
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 02:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what's-harder-than-hard department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers in New York have developed an algorithm that can predict new superhard materials — a relatively small class of compounds of which diamond is the most famous. Beyond the pluses this represents for, say, the drilling industry, the physicists claim say their computational approach can be used to think up new materials of all sorts. 'New materials with desired properties will be routinely discovered using supercomputers,' they say, 'instead of the expensive trial-and-error method that is used today.'"

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Star Rips Exoplanet To Shreds With X-Rays
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 01:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-always-hurt-the-ones-you-love department:
astroengine writes "Some relationships are doomed from the beginning, and the same can be said of some planetary systems. In the case of the star CoRoT-2a, some 880 light-years from Earth, it is quite literally ripping its orbiting exoplanet to shreds. Five million tons of material per second is being stripped from the closely orbiting world CoRoT-2b by powerful stellar X-rays. But it's OK, the destructive nature of this planetary system is mutual; CoRoT-2b's orbit is likely maintaining the high spin rate of the star, boosting magnetic activity, thus boosting the X-ray output."

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Apache Fixes Range Header Flaw, Again
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 01:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's got-it-this-time department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Two weeks after releasing a fix for the range-header denial-of-service flaw that was much-discussed on security forums and mailing lists, the Apache Software Foundation has pushed out another version of its popular Web server that includes a further fix for the same flaw. Apache 2.2.21 has a patch for the CVE-2011-3192 vulnerability that the group previously fixed in late August with the release of version 2.2.20. The vulnerability is an old one that recently resurfaced after a researcher published an advisory on a modified version of the bug and also released a tool capable of exploiting the vulnerability."

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The Rise of Robotic Labor
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 01:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's robot-fry-cooks department:
kkleiner wrote in with a link to a singularityhub story about the increase of automated manufacturing world-wide. The article reads: "The accelerating rise in robot labor of the past decade, and its expansion into all areas of production, have led many to worry about the future of human workers. Yet how extensive is the robotic take over of labor? Our friends at Mezzmer Eyeglasses did some impressive research and created an even more impressive infographic explaining the present and future of robots in the workplace."

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Bejeweled Yields Cognitive Benefit In Older Adults
Posted by News Fetcher on September 14 '11 at 12:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's five-supernova-grandma department:
donniebaseball23 writes "PopCap Games and University of Massachusetts Amherst psychology researcher Susan K. Whitbourne, Ph.D. have released the results of a survey targeting the habits of older and younger gamers. Interestingly, PopCap's Bejeweled Blitz was found to be a good cognitive training tool for older adults. Of those who play Bejeweled Blitz on a regular basis, 47 percent of adults over 50 reported feeling 'sharper' while performing other tasks, and nearly 24 percent of adults over 65 felt that their pattern recognition improved. Dr. Whitbourne intends to conduct a series of studies looking into the value of gaming for older audiences."

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