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A How-To Website For Australian Voters
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 08:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's voting-by-esp-was-ruled-out deptartment:
Twisted64 writes "If you're interested in voting below the line in the upcoming federal election in Australia, but don't want to waste time in the booth individually ranking up to 76 candidates (for the unfortunates in New South Wales), then Cameron McCormack's website may have what you need. The website allows voters to set their preferences beforehand, dragging and dropping Stephen Conroy at the bottom of the barrel and thrusting the Sex Party into pole position (as an utterly random example). Once preferences are set, the site can generate a PDF to be printed and taken to the booth." (More, below.)

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Linux Kernel 2.6.35 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's everything-new-is-new-again deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Linus has announced the release of 3.6.35 for people to download and test after he found not a lot of changes between this week and last. The big features to look out for include: "Transparent spreading of incoming network traffic load across CPUs, Btrfs improvements, KDB kernel debugger frontend, Memory compaction and Support for multiple multicast route tables" as well as various performance and graphics improvements. Linus also praised the community saying that 'regression changes only' after rc1 improved this time around and gave numbers to back it up saying "in the 2.6.34 release, there were 3800 commits after -rc1, but in the current 35 release cycle we had less than 2000." Good to see the process is becoming more refined and controlled after the first release candidate — hopefully there's no impending burnout."

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Chernobyl Area Survey Finds Lasting Problems For Wildlife
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's click-click-clickclickclickclick deptartment:
ninguna writes "The largest wildlife census of its kind conducted in Chernobyl has revealed that mammals are declining in the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant. While some stories seem to indicate Nature recovering, the actual picture isn't quite so great."

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How Can an Old-school Coder Regain His Chops?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-eat-the-brain-of-someone-younger deptartment:
DonLab writes "I was a proficient software engineer in the 1980s, writing hundreds of thousands of lines of ALGOL, FORTRAN, COBOL, and Pascal programs, as well as working in 370 and 8080 assembly language & pre-relational DBMS systems. My hands-on programming career ended when I became a freelance analyst and designer, ultimately retiring young in the early '90s. Now I'd like to reenter the field, but I'm finding that I know nothing about today's post-C languages, programming tools, and computing environments. I wouldn't know where to start learning C++, PHP, Java, HTML5, or PERL, much less how to choose one over the other for a particular application. Can I be the only pre-GUI software designer or hobbyist searching for a way to update his skills for Windows, iOS, or Android?"

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Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's he-said-it-blame-him deptartment:
Atypical Geek writes "Charles Lane, writing for Slate, argues that subsidies for electric cars are an example of 'limousine liberalism' — a lavish gift for well-off Americans to buy expensive cars for the sake of appearing green. From the article: 'How rarefied is the electric-car demographic? When Deloitte Consulting interviewed industry experts and 2,000 potential buyers, it found that from now until 2020, only "young, very high income individuals" — from households making more than $200,000 a year — would even be interested in plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars.' Lane also takes issue with the billions of dollars in subsidies offered to automakers for the manufacture of batteries, arguing that research (warning, PDF) concludes that the money will not help in jump-starting the economies of scale that will drive down prices. At least, not as much or as quickly as the President has argued."

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RIM's Encryption 'Too Secure' For Indian Government's Taste
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's nsa-smiles-and-nods-politely deptartment:
climenole writes "Research in Motion, the creator of the widely used enterprise-come-consumer BlackBerry device, has an uncertain position in India. The Indian government's internal security and intelligence services cannot break the encryption of the device, which makes countering terror threats and national security matters difficult — especially for a region which faces constant threats and attacks from domestic Maoist insurgents and extremist Islamic groups." Does it make you wonder how much safer everyone would be if parkas, mailing envelopes, cash, and superglue were all evaluated on the same basis?

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Verizon Changing Users Router Passwords
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's has-this-happened-to-you? deptartment:
Kohenkatz writes "I have Verizon FIOS at home and my Verizon-supplied Actiontec router had the password 'password1' that the tech assigned to it when he set it up three years ago. I received an email from Verizon that said 'we have identified that your router still had a password of either password1 or admin1 and we have changed it to your serial number.' I checked and it actually had been changed. I believe this to be in response to the Black Hat presentation about the hackability of home routers. I am upset about this because Verizon should not have any way to get into my router and change the settings, especially because I own the router, not them! I looked in the router's settings and I see port 4567 goes to the router and is labeled 'Verizon FIOS Service.' Is this port for anything useful other than Verizon changing settings on my router? What security measures does Verizon have to protect that port from unauthorized access?"

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First Membrane Controlled By Light Developed
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's my-eyelid-aside deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt: "A new membrane developed at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics blocks gas from flowing through it when one color of light is shined on its surface, and permits gas to flow through when another color of light is used. It is the first time that scientists have developed a membrane that can be controlled in this way by light."

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Tor Developer Detained At US Border, Pressed On Wikileaks
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's number-you've-reached-has-been-changed deptartment:
suraj.sun writes with this news from CNET: "A security researcher involved with the Wikileaks Web site — Jacob Appelbaum, a Seattle-based programmer for the online privacy protection project called Tor — was detained by US agents at the border for three hours and questioned about the controversial whistleblower project as he entered the country on Thursday to attend a hacker conference. He was also approached by two FBI agents at the Defcon conference after his presentation on Saturday afternoon about the Tor Project. Appelbaum, a US citizen, arrived at the Newark, New Jersey, airport from Holland flight Thursday morning, was taken into a room, frisked and his bag was searched. Officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Army then told him he was not under arrest but was being detained. They asked questions about Wikileaks, asked for his opinions about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and asked where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is, but he declined to comment without a lawyer present, according to the sources. He was not permitted to make a phone call, they said." Appelbaum told me that he just spoke at length with The New York Times, and quipped that his Defcon talk about Tor was "just fine, until the FBI showed up"; this post will likely updated with more details.

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Hubble Accuracy Surpassed By Earthbound Telescope
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-we-can-get-to-this-one deptartment:
randuev writes "A high-speed adaptive optics system helped the Large Binocular Telescope (on Earth) to beat the accuracy of the Hubble Space Telescope's observations. 'A special sensor detects atmospheric distortions in real time and controls the mirror to adjust its position to compensate, effectively canceling out the blurring. The mirror can make adjustments every one-thousandth of a second, with accuracy to better than ten nanometers.' Now, that's what I call real-time. This nifty trick multiplied the Strehl ratio (optical quality) of the LBT by about 80 times. The new system was tested in May and June, so hopefully we'll soon see more space around us in higher resolution on Google Sky."

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Should Professors Be Required To Teach With Tech?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's or-required-to-teach-with-guns deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Are professors who don't update their teaching methods like doctors who fail to keep up with the latest ways to treat disease? Or are professors better off teaching old-school? From the article: 'It is tough to measure how many professors teach with technology or try other techniques the report recommends, such as group activities and hands-on exercises. (Technology isn't the only way to improve teaching, of course, and some argue that it can hinder it.) Though most colleges can point to several cutting-edge teaching experiments on their campuses, a recent national assessment called the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement suggests that old-school instruction remains the norm. Only 13 percent of the professors surveyed said they used blogs in teaching; 12 percent had tried videoconferencing; and 13 percent gave interactive quizzes using 'clickers,' or TV-remotelike devices that let students respond and get feedback instantaneously. The one technology that most teachers use regularly — course-management systems — focuses mostly on housekeeping tasks like handing out assignments or keeping track of student grades.'"

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Hacker Builds $1,500 Cell Phone Tapping Device
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's snoop-on-the-cheap deptartment:
We previously discussed security researcher Chris Paget's plans to demonstrate practical cell phone interception at DefCon. Paget completed his talk yesterday, and reader suraj.sun points out coverage from Wired. Quoting: "A security researcher created a $1,500 cell phone base station kit (including a laptop and two RF antennas) that tricks cell phones into routing their outbound calls through his device, allowing someone to intercept even encrypted calls in the clear. Most of the price is for the laptop he used to operate the system. The device tricks the phones into disabling encryption and records call details and content before they are routed on their proper way through voice-over-IP. The low-cost, home-brewed device ... mimics more expensive devices already used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies — called IMSI catchers — that can capture phone ID data and content. The devices essentially spoof a legitimate GSM tower and entice cell phones to send them data by emitting a signal that's stronger than legitimate towers in the area. Encrypted calls are not protected from interception because the rogue tower can simply turn it off. Although the GSM specifications say that a phone should pop up a warning when it connects to a station that does not have encryption, SIM cards disable that setting so that alerts are not displayed. Even though the GSM spec requires it, this is a deliberate choice on the cell phone makers, Paget said."

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Cooling Pump Malfunction On ISS
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-la-forge-door-rolls-required deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "On Saturday at 8pm GMT, the crew of the International Space Station awoke to alarm bells as one of two ammonia pumps shut down due to a spike in power. Their backup cooling (Loop B) is functioning as designed and NASA released an official statement: 'The crew is in no danger, but will need to work additional troubleshooting on Sunday to keep the station in a stable configuration, including the installation of a jumper cable to maintain proper cooling to the Zarya module in the Russian segment.'"

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BlackBerry Services To Be Halted In UAE
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's blocking-the-tip-of-an-iceberg deptartment:
WrongSizeGlass writes "Bloomberg is reporting RIM's BlackBerry Messenger, e-mail and Web browsing services will be suspended in the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East's business hub, starting October 11th due to security concerns. RIM faces similar restrictions in India. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said in a statement on state-run Emirates News Agency, 'In their current form, certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE.' A senior Indian government official said, 'Though RIM has been fully cooperating ever since the matter was taken up with it in 2008, reports of the company's move to set up a server in China forced us to look at it in a different way.'"

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Are the New Kindles Tablets-In-Training?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-can-hope deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "TechNewsWorld reports that Amazon's new, slimmed-down Kindle devices are notable for several things, including upgrades to their experimental WebKit browser that makes it faster and easier to navigate, and the new 'article mode' feature extracts the main text-based content from Web pages for easier reading (as Safari does), suggesting the possibility that the Kindle may grow up to be a real tablet computer someday. Eventually, the tablet and e-reader categories 'are going to slam together,' says Rob Enderle, adding that they are 'held apart, largely because we don't yet have an affordable display that will do both tasks well.' One current problem 'is that TFT displays like the iPad uses suck for reading because they aren't outdoor viewable and are very power hungry. Display technologies like the Qualcomm Mirasol stuff will change this over the next 18 months, and by the end of next year — likely before — we'll begin to see converged devices.' Mirasol uses tiny mirrors, known as microelectronic machines, to create its display, which has the low power characteristics of E-Ink displays and the video-playing and color abilities of LCDs."

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First GNOME Census Results
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '10 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-it's-in-the-constitution deptartment:
supersloshy writes "The GNOME Census, a project to see who contributes to GNOME and how, has released its first set of results. The results group people by their reasons to contribute code, what they contributed code to, and what percentage of the total contributions they have. For example, 23.45% of code contributions were volunteer, 16.3% of code contributions came from Red Hat, 1% of contributions came from Canonical (which has caused a lot of controversy), and 0.24% came from Mozilla Corporation. The census results are also represented in diagrams (release activity, why contributions were made, and what was contributed to and by who). The report is also available here and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license."

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Alternatives To Paypal's Virtual Credit Card Service?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '10 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's other-than-giant-stone-discs deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Paypal has quietly killed the Paypal plugin and the related virtual-card service. The service generated on-the-fly, one-time-use credit card numbers. When I called in and inquired about the service, I was told that the service has been discontinued, but may be relaunching something similar depending on interest. They are treating inquiries as a sort of petition, taking down names and contact info. The forums seem to be a lost cause, as no Paypal reps have replied to the numerous posts regarding virtual cards being discontinued. Does anyone know of a good alternative source of one-time-use credit card numbers?"

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Reading Terrorists' Minds About Imminent Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '10 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that-sounds-rather-pat deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Imagine technology that allows you to get inside the mind of a terrorist to know how, when, and where the next attack will occur. In the Northwestern study, when researchers knew in advance specifics of the planned attacks by the make-believe 'terrorists,' they were able to correlate P300 brain waves to guilty knowledge with 100 percent accuracy in the lab, said J. Peter Rosenfeld, professor of psychology in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences."

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China Pushes Real Name System For Online Games
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's blizzard-was-avant-garde deptartment:
oxide7 writes "Starting from August 1, internet users will have to register using their real names for playing online games, China Daily reported on Saturday. The regulation, issued by the Ministry of Culture on June 22, is said to be part of a nationwide campaign to improve management of the virtual gaming industry and protect the minor from unwholesome content. It applies to all multiplayer role-playing and social networking games."

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'I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!' v2.0
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-skype-isn't-enough deptartment:
theodp writes "Remember those old Lifecall commercials? Well, you've come a long way, Grandma! The NY Times reports on a raft of new technology that's making it possible for adult children to remotely monitor to a stunningly precise degree the daily movements and habits of their aging parents. The purpose is to provide enough supervision to allow elderly people to stay in their homes rather than move to an assisted-living facility or nursing home. Systems like GrandCare, BeClose, QuietCare, and MedMinder allow families to keep tabs on Mom and Dad's whereabouts, and make sure they take their meds. Perhaps Zynga can make a game out of all this — GeriatricVille?"

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