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Ask Slashdot: Trustworthy Proxy Services?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's carrier-pigeons-are-reliable department:
gusoline writes "Since I'm now living in Brazil (originally from the U.S.), I'm looking for a reliable, trustworthy proxy service I can use to both access services I've used for a long time (Pandora, Netflix, etc.) and services I want to try out (Spotify). Since I'm not looking for illegal downloads or to hide what I'm doing, I'm less concerned about anonymity than I am about region restrictions, reliability, latency, and security of passwords and traffic through their network. I'm OK paying for services that deliver what I want (including the Proxy service itself). Any suggestions from the Slashdot crowd?"

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A Game of Thrones RTS Game Released, RPG On the Way
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rated-R-for-you-know-what department:
Game development studio Cyanide launched their real-time strategy interpretation of George R. R. Martin's acclaimed fantasy series A Game of Thrones yesterday. You can see a trailer and a few screenshots if you're so inclined. Cyanide also confirmed one of their other offices is working on a completely different RPG based on the series as well. It's still a ways out, but they say it will be "Mass Effect-style," and will pick up at the start of the first book. "True to the style of Martin's books, it will tell the story of two different characters, switching back and forth between them as their tales move alongside the events of the first book (and occasionally intersect with one another). None of the characters from the book will be playable, though the game's protagonists will cross paths with plenty of familiar faces over the course of the game."

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The (Mostly) Sad Fates of 32 First-Generation iPad Rivals
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's competing-with-vaporware-is-easy department:
harrymcc writes "Back in August of 2010, I rounded up 32 tablets — existing, announced, and rumored — that weren't the iPad. So much has happened to tablets since then that I decided to revisit my list and look at what happened to all 32 contenders. The results aren't pretty, but they do provide plenty of evidence that competing with Apple was far harder than most companies expected."

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Dutch Usenet Provider Ordered To Remove Infringing Content
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trouble-in-the-usenets department:
dutchwhizzman writes "Amsterdam-based Usenet wholesale provider News Service Europe has been mandated by a court to remove all copyright-infringing content on their servers, or face severe financial penalties. Dutch copyright organization BREIN has won a court case making the Usenet provider responsible for the content posted on platforms other than their own. Could this be the end of Usenet as we know it, or will an appeal be won by NSE? Why didn't the judge make the provider that allowed the posts responsible? Why didn't the judge honor the 'cancel message' procedure that technically exists in the NNTP protocol?"

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Security Flaw Bypasses AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II Screen Lock
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-kid-knows-the-password-anyway department:
zacharye writes "BGR has uncovered a security flaw on AT&T's version of the Samsung Galaxy S II that renders Android's unlock pattern feature completely useless. Using a simple workaround, the security hole allows anyone to bypass the unlock pattern, which normally denies users access to an Android device unless a preset pattern is drawn on a grid of nine dots spread across the device's lock screen."

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Oracle: Proud, Self-Reliant, Increasingly Isolated
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sitting-in-the-corner-for-a-timeout department:
jfruhlinger writes "One of Oracle's stated purposes when it bought Sun more than two years ago was to create full-stack appliances: SPARC servers running Solaris or Oracle Linux and Oracle's suite of app servers and of course its omnipresent database. Its new T4 processor is a reaffirmation of that strategy. But has the company painted itself into a corner? While it's cautiously embraced the cloud, its cloud services don't work with Windows or other companies' offerings, which kills much of their potential value; meanwhile, they've managed to alienate open source developers and big swaths of the Java community. It seems that Oracle's inability to play well with others is locking them out of the multipolar future."

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Canadian Ice Shelves Halve In Six Years
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-cool department:
eldavojohn writes "The CBC reports on new research that shows thousand-year-old ice shelves (much different than sea ice) are breaking up and have been reduced by half in a region of Canada over the last six years. 'This summer alone saw the Serson ice shelf almost completely disappear and the Ward Hunt shelf split in half. The ice loss equals about three billion tonnes, or about 500 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza.' More detailed pictures can be seen at The Conversation, with a quote from Professor Steven Sherwood, Co-Director of the University of NSW's Climate Change Research Centre: 'The real significance of this, in my view, is that this ice has reportedly been there for thousands of years. The same is true of glaciers that have recently disappeared in the Andes. These observations should dispel in one fell swoop any notion that recent global warming could be natural.'"

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Analyzing Data Retention By Wireless Carriers
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's privacy-on-a-timetable department:
adeelarshad82 writes "How long does your cell phone carrier retain information about your calls, text messages, and data use? According to data gathered by the Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few days or up to seven years, depending on your provider. The data was made public after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request related to an investigation into cell phone location tracking by police."

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Amazon In Talks With HP To Buy Palm
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's might-come-in-handy-some-day department:
Nemilar writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat:
"Who will save what's left of Palm from HP's bumbling? It could be Amazon, as the online retailing giant is in serious negotiations to snap up Palm from HP. No other company seems as fitting a home for Palm and its webOS software. It's worth noting that former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, who now holds a vague 'product innovation' role at HP's Personal Services Group, joined Amazon's board late last year."

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Microsoft Security Products Flag Google Chrome As a Virus
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-it-quacks-like-a-horse department:
New submitter maeltor writes "Reports poured in this morning that Microsoft's security products, namely Microsoft Security Essentials and Forefront Client Security, were flagging Google Chrome as a virus (PWS:Win32/Zbot) and removing the browser if users chose to clean and reboot their machines. Users reported that the only way to mitigate the problem was to set MSE and Forefront to 'always allow' Zbot, which is generally considered to be a bad idea."
A Google employee in the above support thread notes that Microsoft has now pushed another update to resolve the issue. "On September 30th, 2011, an incorrect detection for PWS:Win32/Zbot was identified. On September 30th, 2011, Microsoft released an update that addresses the issue. Signature versions 1.113.672.0 and higher include this update."

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MIT's 'Artificial Leaf' Makes Fuel From Sunlight
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-you-think-energy-just-falls-off-trees department:
New submitter nfn writes "MIT has published a new paper (abstract), along with a video of a working prototype, of what they're describing as an 'Artificial Leaf' that separates water into oxygen and hydrogen using cheap, non-exotic materials. 'The artificial leaf — a silicon solar cell with different catalytic materials bonded onto its two sides — needs no external wires or control circuits to operate. Simply placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, it quickly begins to generate streams of bubbles: oxygen bubbles from one side and hydrogen bubbles from the other. If placed in a container that has a barrier to separate the two sides, the two streams of bubbles can be collected and stored, and used later to deliver power: for example, by feeding them into a fuel cell that combines them once again into water while delivering an electric current.' No word on the arrival of 'Artificial Salads,' or when any of their other alchemy projects will bear artificial fruit."

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An Operating System For Cities
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-wait-for-those-citywide-blue-screens department:
CProgrammer98 writes "BBC News reports that cities may soon get their own operating system. From the article: 'The Urban OS works just like a PC operating system but keeps buildings, traffic and services running smoothly. The software takes in data from sensors dotted around the city to keep an eye on what is happening. In the event of a fire, the Urban OS might manage traffic lights so fire trucks can reach the blaze swiftly. The sensors monitor everything from large scale events such as traffic flows across the entire city down to more local phenomena such as temperature sensors inside individual rooms. The OS completely bypasses humans to manage communication between sensors and devices such as traffic lights, air conditioning or water pumps that influence the quality of city life."

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Ask They Might Be Giants About Almost 30 Years of Music
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-one-in-the-world-ever-gets-what-they-want-and-that-is-beautifu department:
Back in 1982, John Flansburgh, John Linnell, and a drum machine formed They Might Be Giants. Over the last 29 years TMBG have released 15 studio albums, won 2 Grammy Awards, and have become one of the most nerd-loved bands ever. In addition to projects like Dial-A-Song, TMBG were one of the first bands to create their own online music store, and have been making podcasts on a semi-monthly basis since 2005. The band has agreed to answer all your questions about the naming conventions of Turkish cities, building spiritual bird houses, and the music business. As usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep it to one question per post.

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Firefox 8.0 Beta Available
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-day-another-version department:
An anonymous reader tips news that Mozilla has released the beta version of Firefox 8, only a few days after going live with the final version of Firefox 7. According to the announcement, the big changes this time around include the ability to use Twitter as a default search engine, more versatility in restoring tabs on startup, and improved user control over add-ons. "Users will receive a one-time notification to review and confirm third party add-ons they want to keep, disable or delete. When Firefox starts and finds that a third-party program has installed an add-on, Firefox will disable the add-on until the user has explicitly opted in, giving users better control over their Web experience."

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Cloud-Powered Facial Recognition Is Terrifying
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-are-who-google-says-you-are department:
oker sends this quote from The Atlantic:
"With Carnegie Mellon's cloud-centric new mobile app, the process of matching a casual snapshot with a person's online identity takes less than a minute. Tools like PittPatt and other cloud-based facial recognition services rely on finding publicly available pictures of you online, whether it's a profile image for social networks like Facebook and Google Plus or from something more official from a company website or a college athletic portrait. In their most recent round of facial recognition studies, researchers at Carnegie Mellon were able to not only match unidentified profile photos from a dating website (where the vast majority of users operate pseudonymously) with positively identified Facebook photos, but also match pedestrians on a North American college campus with their online identities. ... '[C]onceptually, the goal of Experiment 3 was to show that it is possible to start from an anonymous face in the street, and end up with very sensitive information about that person, in a process of data "accretion." In the context of our experiment, it is this blending of online and offline data — made possible by the convergence of face recognition, social networks, data mining, and cloud computing — that we refer to as augmented reality.'

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Free Press Sues FCC Over Discrepancy In Net Neutrality Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's give-me-interwebs-or-give-me-death department:
hypnosec writes "The Free Press has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission, challenging the net neutrality rules laid out by the regulator. The lawsuit (PDF), which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, claims the rules are different for fixed line and mobile wireless broadband. According to the rules, mobile wireless carriers are not allowed to block voice and other applications that compete with their own services, but other than that, they are free do to what they want."

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Boston Dynamics Unveils AlphaDog Quadruped Robot
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-will-chase-you-in-your-nightmares department:
An anonymous reader writes "Boston Dynamics, the company that created the BigDog quadruped robot, has unveiled a new, bigger system called AlphaDog. AlphaDog, a DARPA-sponsored project, can carry a payload of 400 pounds for up to 20 miles without having to refuel, and it's also much quieter than BigDog. The robot is designed to assist humans in carrying heavy equipment over rough terrain, and Boston Dynamics' schedule has the first walk-out of AlphaDog taking place sometime in 2012, when U.S. Marines will begin to put the robot to the test for real."

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SpaceX Reveals Plans For Full Launch System Re-usability
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's waste-not-want-not department:
FleaPlus writes "During a talk at the National Press Club, SpaceX's Elon Musk revealed the company's plans for making their Falcon 9 rocket fully reusable. A rendering depicts the first stage, upper stage, and Dragon capsule all separately returning to the Earth's surface and making a controlled, rocket-powered landing. During the next few years SpaceX will be testing VTVL (Vertical Takeoff, Vertical Landing) maneuvers and re-usability with their Falcon 9-based 'Grasshopper' testbed, with up to 70 test launches per year. Musk stated that if reuse is successful, it would result in a 100x reduction in their already-low launch costs, a key step toward Musk's long-term aim of lowering the price of a ticket to Mars to $500K."

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How Adobe Flash Lost Its Way
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wrong-turn department:
snydeq writes "Despite early successes on the Web, the latter years of Flash have been a tale of missed opportunities, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister. 'The bigger picture — which I've touched on before — is that major platform vendors are increasingly encouraging developers to create rich applications not to be delivered via the browser, but as native, platform-based apps. That's long been the case on iOS and other smartphone platforms, and now it's starting to be the norm on Windows. Each step of the way, Adobe is getting left behind,' McAllister writes. 'Perhaps Adobe's biggest problem, however, is that it's something of a relic as developer-oriented vendors go. How many people have access to the Flash runtime is almost a moot point, because Adobe doesn't make any money from the runtime directly; it gives it away for free. Adobe makes its money from selling developer tools. Given the rich supply of free, open source developer tools available today, vendors like that are few and far between. Remember Borland? Or Watcom?'"

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How Google Drove Samsung Away
Posted by News Fetcher on September 30 '11 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's and-stay-out department:
itwbennett writes "The patent licensing agreement between Microsoft and Samsung this week set off a firestorm of childish tit-for-tat between Microsoft and Google. But more telling is what Samsung had to say about its relationship with Google: 'Samsung knows it can't rely on Google. We've decided to address Android IP issues on our own,' a Samsung official told The Korea Times. The only good news to come from all of this, says blogger Brian Proffitt, is that we may be headed for a courtroom showdown over just what patents Microsoft believes are in violation, which really is what should have happened to begin with."

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