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Security Warning Over Web-Based Android Market
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Security researcher Vanja Svajcer is warning that cybercriminals may be particularly interested in stealing your Google credentials, after discovering a way of installing applications onto Android smartphones with no interaction required by the phone's owner. The new web-based Android Market retrieves the details of Android devices registered to the Google address, and automatically installs software onto the associated smartphones with no user interaction required on the phone itself. Svajcer summarizes: 'Google should make changes to the remote installation mechanism as soon as possible. As a minimum, a dialog should be displayed on the receiving device so that the user must personally accept the application that is being installed.'"

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Japan's Elderly Nix Robot Helpers
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
SteeldrivingJon writes with this quote from a story at the BBC:"In Japan, robots are friendly helpers, not Terminators. So when they join the workforce, as they do often in factories, they are sometimes welcomed on their first day with Shinto religious ceremonies. But whether the sick and elderly will be as welcoming to robot-like tech in their homes is a question that now vexes a Japanese care industry that is struggling with a massive manpower shortage. Automated help in the home and hospitals, believe some, could be the answer. A rapidly aging first world is also paying close attention to Japan's dalliance with automated care. ... The country's biggest robot maker, Tmsuk, created a life-like one-meter tall robot six years ago, but has struggled to find interested clients. Costing a cool $100,000 a piece, a rental program was scrapped recently because of 'failing to meet demands of consumers' and putting off patients at hospitals. 'We want humans caring for us, not machines,' was one response."

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Next-Generation Banking Malware Emerges After Zeus
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Batblue writes "The rumored combination of two pieces of advanced online banking malware appears to be fully underway after several months of speculation. What appears to be a beta version of a piece of malware that has bits of both Zeus and SpyEye is now in circulation, albeit among just a few people, said Aviv Raff, CTO and cofounder of Seculert. Seculert has published screen shots of the new malware, which has two versions of a control panel used for managing infected computers. One of those control panels resembles one in Zeus, and the other resembles that in SpyEye. Both of the control panels are connected to the same back-end command-and-control server, he said."

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'Invisibility Cloak' Created Using Crystals
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Zothecula writes "The quest to build a working 'invisibility cloak' generally focuses on the use of metamaterials – artificially engineered materials with a negative refractive index that have already been used to render microscopic objects invisible in specific wavelengths of light. Now, using naturally occurring crystals rather than metamaterials, two research teams working independently have demonstrated technology that can cloak larger objects in the broad range of wavelengths visible to the human eye. PDFs of the two similarly named research papers are available through arXiv.org."

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Senator Wyden Asks DHS To Explain Domain Seizures
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "With Homeland Security continuing to seize domain names without warning and without giving site operators a chance to respond to charges, it appears that at least some people in the US government are quite concerned about this turn of events. Techdirt has a copy of the full letter Senator Wyden has sent to both Attorney General Eric Holder and ICE director John Morton, asking a series of pointed questions concerning the domain seizures and how they impact due process, free speech and sovereign rule in foreign countries."

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Prison Cell Phone Smuggling Out of Control
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "KCRA reports that the number of contraband cell phones discovered in California state prisons has exploded as prison guards, staff and vendors are cashing in on smuggled phones that can fetch between $200 and $800. Although the large majority of inmates are using the phones to stay in contact with loved ones, there have been documented cases of escape attempts, drug deals and conference calls coordinated via smuggled cell phones. 'The potential is there for the worst kind of activity,' says Folsom Prison Warden Rick Hill. Even Charles Manson has been caught with a cellphone smuggled to him. 'We know the problem is out of control,' says State Senator Alex Padilla, who has proposed making such smuggling illegal in hopes of stopping the continued rise of contraband cell phones in prison."

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JASON Proposes a 'Library of Congress' For Pathogens
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a blog at the Federation of American Scientists' website:"In order to help determine the origins of microbial threats in terrorist incidents or epidemics, it would be useful to have a deep archive of various strains of lethal bacteria, the JASON defense advisory panel told the National Counterproliferation Center in a newly released 2009 report (PDF). ... 'This library would consist of strains collected worldwide by methods that preserve sample properties, and capture all relevant data (e.g. geolocation, local environmental conditions). It should include laboratory isolates, natural isolates, and DNA sequence data.'"

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Senate Panel Backs Patent Overhaul Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
mvar writes "A bill to reduce the likelihood of massive damage awards in patent disputes took a step forward with approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee voted 15-0 to back the legislation that would give judges a major role in determining how important a particular patent is to a product, so that infringing minor patents would not lead to huge damages. The bill (PDF) also gives patents to the first inventor to file, rather than the first to invent, making the patent application process easier for companies who apply for patents in multiple countries. This year, Microsoft, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Biotechnology Industry Organization support the patent legislation, while Dell, Cisco and others oppose it."Microsoft's blog post in support of patent reform calls for a quick review period for newly-granted patents and the acceptance of prior art submissions from third parties.

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Big Brother Friends Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on February 04 '11 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
storagedude writes "Clara Shih, who created the first business app on Facebook in 2007, is back with a new venture: Hearsay Social, which makes Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn more palatable to corporations by adding features like SEC and FINRA monitoring and compliance and analytics. Conversations are monitored around the clock, regardless of where employees access pages from — work, home or mobile — and workflow tools let companies approve or suggest content before it appears. Those features appear to be making financial companies a little more comfortable Facebooking, as State Farm and Farmers Insurance are two early customers. Shih is backed in the new venture by veterans of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube."

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Mozilla Flips Kill-Switch On Skype Toolbar
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Whenever Skype is installed or updated, it automatically installs the Skype Toolbar add-on for Firefox. Unfortunately, the add-on causes serious performance problems, slowing down some operations by a factor of 300 and is one of the top causes for Firefox crashes. As a result, Mozilla has decided to 'soft-block' the add-on, effectively killing it on all Firefox installs unless the user intentionally re-enables it. Given the extreme popularity of Skype, this has ramifications for millions of users."

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Google Fires Back About Search Engine Spam
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
coondoggie writes "The folks at Google are taking issue over spam and the quality of Google searches, which some claim has gone down in recent months. Today on Google's official blog, Principal Engineer Matt Cutts said, 'January brought a spate of stories about Google’s search quality. Reading through some of these recent articles, you might ask whether our search quality has gotten worse. The short answer is that according to the evaluation metrics that we’ve refined over more than a decade, Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness. Today, English-language spam in Google’s results is less than half what it was five years ago, and spam in most other languages is even lower than in English.' Cutts also explained that the company has made a few significant changes to their method of indexing."

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Foundation Drupal 7
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
Michael J. Ross writes "Of all the better-known content management systems, Drupal is oftentimes criticized for having the steepest learning curve. Yet that would only be a valid charge as a result of Drupal's great power and flexibility — particularly in the hands of a knowledgeable Drupal developer. But how can the interested programmer begin gaining those skills, as quickly as possible? One approach is to read and work through the examples of an introductory book, such as Foundation Drupal 7, written by Robert J. Townsend (except for a chapter contributed by Stephanie Pakrul)." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.

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Woman's Voice Restored After Larynx Transplant
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
mvar writes "A woman in the US is able to speak for the first time in 11 years after a pioneering voicebox transplant. Brenda Jensen said the operation, which took place in California, was a miracle which had restored her life. Thirteen days after the surgery she said her first words: 'Good morning, I want to go home.' It is the first time a larynx and windpipe have been transplanted at the same time (image) and only the second time a larynx has ever been transplanted. In October, surgeons at the University of California Davis Medical Center removed the larynx, thyroid gland and 6cm of the trachea from a donor body. In an 18-hour operation, this was transplanted into Ms. Jensen's throat and the team connected it to her blood supply and nerves. Thirteen days later, she was able to speak her first croaky words and is now able to talk easily for long periods of time."

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RIAA Threatens ICANN Over Music-Themed gTLD Standards
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
think_nix writes "A letter to ICANN (PDF) from Victoria Sheckler, Deputy General Counsel for the RIAA, demands modifications to the future implementation of the .music gTLD, threatening to 'escalate the issue' if certain concerns about 'wide scale copyright and trademark infringement' are not addressed by ICANN in compliance with the RIAA. 'Under the current proposed standard, we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works,' Sheckler said."

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Experiment Shows Not Washing Jeans for 15 Months is Disgusting But Safe
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
dbune writes "Young people who argue with their parents over wearing the same pair of smelly jeans can now cite the work of a 20-year old University of Alberta student who wore the same Jeans for 15 months straight. From the article: 'Josh Le wore the same pair of jeans to break in the raw denim, so it would wrap the contours of his body, leaving distinct wear lines. He had his textile professor test the jeans for bacteria before washing them for the first time. The results showed high counts of five different kinds of bacteria, but nothing in the range of being considered a health hazard."

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Sony Planning Serial Keys For PS3 Games?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Stoobalou writes "Rumor has it that Sony is looking to the PC games market to help solve its growing piracy problem on the PlayStation 3 — with the introduction of serial keys to its games. According to 'a very reliable source' quoted by PS3-Sense, Sony is attempting to address the recent revelation that it failed to properly secure the private signing key for its flagship console — leading to clever tinkerers producing third-party firmware that allows unofficial software and illegitimately downloaded games to run on unmodified hardware — by looking to the PC retail market for solutions. Unlike the PS3, the PC doesn't have a hardware DRM system built in to it — despite attempts by groups like the Trusted Computing Group, formerly the Trusted Computer Platform Alliance, to introduce such a thing — relying instead on software-based DRM and a surprisingly old-fashioned guarantee of a game's uniqueness: a serial key."

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Does Google Pin Copyright Violations On the ASF?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Florian Mueller claims to have produced new evidence that he believes supports Oracle's case against Google on the copyright side of the lawsuit. Oracle originally presented one example to the court, and that file was found to have been part of older Android distributions, with an Apache license header. Mueller has just published six more files of that kind and believes the Apache Software Foundation will disown those just like the first one because those were never part of the Apache Harmony code base. Furthermore, various source files from the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit were found in the Android codebase, containing a total of 38 copyright notices that mark them as proprietary and confidential, but Google apparently published their source code regardless."

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J.J. Abrams Promises 'Fringe' Will Die Fighting
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 08:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Fringe creator J.J. Abrams has said of the show's much-maligned move to Friday nights, 'Fringe deserves to live beyond season 3. If we're going to fail, let's go down doing the most bad ***, weirdest, interesting, sophisticated version of a series that we could possibly do.' Previous announcements about the move were more defensive, claiming that Fringe's shift to Fridays was an attempt to draw younger viewers back to the 'dead zone' of Friday nights. But season three has been confused enough in tone and approach that it's no surprise to hear yet another contradictory statement about its future..." Good episodes of Fringe have been great TV. I've really enjoyed the first half of the season and am looking forward to seeing what they do with it. A lot of mediocre SciFi has been shut down recently (Caprica? SGU?) and a lot of bad SciFi continues (V?) but Fringe flirts with greatness with regularity. I hope it makes it... even though on Friday it's not likely.

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The Case of Apple's Mystery Screw
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Pickens writes "Network World reports that in the past if you wanted to remove the outer case on your iPhone 4 to replace the battery or a broken screen, you could use a Phillips screwdriver to remove two tiny screws at the base of the phone and then simply slide off the back cover. But now Apple is replacing the outer screw with a mysterious tamper-resistant 'pentalobular' screw across its most popular product lines, making it harder for do-it-yourselfers to make repairs. What about existing products in the field? Pentalobular screws might find their way into them, too. 'Apple's latest policy will make your blood boil,' says Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit. 'If you take your iPhone 4 into Apple for any kind of service, they will sabotage it by replacing your Phillips screws with the new, tamper-resistant screws. We've spoken with the Apple Store geniuses tasked with carrying out this policy, and they are ashamed of the practice.' Of course, only Apple-authorized service technicians have Pentalobular screwdrivers and they're not allowed to resell them. 'Apple sees a huge profit potential,' says Wiens. 'A hundred dollars per year in incremental revenue on their installed base is a tremendous opportunity.'"

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Duke Nukem Forever Release Date Revealed
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '11 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
stupid_is writes with news that Duke Nukem Forever has now gotten a firm US release date: May 3rd. It will release worldwide three days later. The game was resurrected last fall by Gearbox Software and 2K Games after 3D Realms' 12-year attempt at development came to an end in 2009 when the company closed its doors.

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