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Fedora Project Drops SQLNinja 'Hacker' Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 11:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's dual-use deptartment:
simonb writes, "In what can only be described as a fit of insanity, the Fedora Board have declared a 'hacker tool' not fit for entry into their software repositories. Today your SQL injection tools, tomorrow your nmap?" The Register links the Fedora board's meeting minutes. From the story: "The move came on Monday in a unanimous vote by the Fedora Project's board of directors rejecting a request that SQLNinja be added to the archive of open-source applications. It came even as a long list of other hacker tools are included in the bundle and was harshly criticized by some security watchers. 'It seems incredibly short sighted to reject software based on perceived legal usage,' said Jacob Appelbaum, a full-time programmer for the Tor Project. 'They have decided to become judges of likely usage based on their own experience. That is a path of madness.' ... [T]he board unanimously decided to add a new statement to Fedora's legal guidelines concerning the inclusion of hacking tools. ... Smith said the language is intended to clarify its stance on a class of software that can be used both to secure and penetrate protected networks."

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Fedora Project Drops SQLNinja 'Hacker' Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 11:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's dual-use deptartment:
simonb writes, "In what can only be described as a fit of insanity, the Fedora Board have declared a 'hacker tool' not fit for entry into their software repositories. Today your SQL injection tools, tomorrow your nmap?" The Register links the Fedora board's meeting minutes. From the story: "The move came on Monday in a unanimous vote by the Fedora Project's board of directors rejecting a request that SQLNinja be added to the archive of open-source applications. It came even as a long list of other hacker tools are included in the bundle and was harshly criticized by some security watchers. 'It seems incredibly short sighted to reject software based on perceived legal usage,' said Jacob Appelbaum, a full-time programmer for the Tor Project. 'They have decided to become judges of likely usage based on their own experience. That is a path of madness.' ... [T]he board unanimously decided to add a new statement to Fedora's legal guidelines concerning the inclusion of hacking tools. ... Smith said the language is intended to clarify its stance on a class of software that can be used both to secure and penetrate protected networks."

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Saudi Arabia Bans Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 10:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's graven-images deptartment:
gandhi_2 sends in a brief Associated Press piece on Saudi Arabia's blocking of Facebook. "An official with Saudi Arabia's communications authority says it has blocked Facebook because the popular social networking website doesn't conform with the kingdom's conservative values. ... He says Facebook's content had 'crossed a line' with the kingdom's conservative morals, but that blocking the site is a temporary measure." Some reports indicate that at least some individual Facebook pages can be reached from inside the kingdom. There hasn't been an official announcement; the source noted above requested anonymity. Earlier this year when Pakistan and Bangladesh banned Facebook, it was over particular content — cartoons of Mohammed — and the Saudi ban may prove similar once more details emerge.

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Replacing Sports Bloggers With an Algorithm
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 09:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's something-about-overlords deptartment:
tesmar tips a report up at TechCrunch that begins "Here come the robo sports journalists. While people in the media biz worry about content mills like Demand Media and Associated Content spitting out endless SEO-targeted articles written by low-paid Internet writers, at least those articles are still written by humans. We may no longer need the humans, at least for data-driven stories. A startup in North Carolina, StatSheet, today is launching a remarkable network of 345 sports sites, one dedicated to each Division 1 college basketball tam in the US. For instance, there is a site for the Michigan State Spartans, North Carolina Tar Heels, and Ohio Buckeyes. Every story on each site was written by a robot, or to put it more precisely, by StatSheet's content algorithms. 'The posts are completely auto-generated,' says founder Robbie Allen. 'The only human involvement is with creating the algorithms that generate the posts.'"

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Kernel Tracing With LTTng On Ubuntu Maverick
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 07:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's truth-of-kernel deptartment:
francis-giraldeau writes "Linux Tracing Toolkit (LTTng) provides high-performance kernel tracing for Linux. This is the killer app for system level debugging and performance tuning. It's now easier than ever to install, with packages released for Ubuntu Maverick. The short introduction to kernel tracing shows how to interpret a simple kernel trace and relate it to strace. I would like to ask Slashdot readers what they would expect as features for a kernel tracing analysis tool, because I'm starting my PhD on this topic and looking for ideas. Also, I wonder why LTTng is not mainline yet. Will Linus Torvalds see the light in 2011?"

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The Great Cyberheist
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 07:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's meelions-and-meelions deptartment:
theodp writes "In this week's cover story, the NY Times Magazine delves into the mind of Albert Gonzalez, the hacker who is currently doing time (the longest sentence ever handed down for computer crime in the US) for masterminding attacks on the nation's leading retailers, reportedly costing TJ Maxx, Heartland, and other victimized companies more than $400 million. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. 'The majority of the stuff I hacked was never brought into public light,' said one of Gonzalez's partners-in-crime. Another claims there 'were major chains and big hacks that would dwarf TJX. I'm just waiting for them to indict us for the rest of them.' Online fraud is still rampant in the U.S., but statistics show a major drop in 2009 from previous years when Gonzalez was active. While reportedly not a gifted programmer, even the Feds that Gonzalez two-timed admired his ingenuity, likening him to top CEOs. When asked how Gonzalez rated among criminal hackers, a prosecutor replied: 'As a leader? Unparalleled. Unparalleled in his ability to coordinate contacts and continents and expertise. Unparalleled in that he didn't just get a hack done — he got a hack done, he got the exfiltration of the data done, he got the laundering of the funds done. He was a five-tool player.' Accounting for time served and good behavior, Gonzalez is expected to get out of prison in 2025." Last June Rolling Stone ran a long profile of Albert Gonzalez written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely; they have dusted it off now that producer Eric Eisner has embarked on the development of a feature film based on Erdely's piece.

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80% of Daily YouTube Videos Now In WebM
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's webm-good deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "OSNews has an update on the WebM project from a presentation given by Google's John Luther and Matt Frost at the Streaming Media West conference. OSNews writes, 'Earlier this year, Google finally did what many of us hoped it would do: release the VP8 codec as open source. It became part of the WebM project, which combines VP8 video with Vorbis audio in a Matroshka container. The product manager for the WebM project, John Luther, gave an update on the status of the project (PDF) — and it's doing great.'"

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UK Twitter Users Declare 'I'm Spartacus'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-campaign-can't-bomb deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Tweeters have joined forces to support Paul Chambers, the man convicted and fined for a Twitter message threatening to blow up an airport. A so-called 'I'm Spartacus' campaign encouraging users to 're-tweet' his words has also become a huge hit. The hashtag #IAmSpartacus is currently the number one trending topic on Twitter in the UK, with #twitterjoketrial in second place. Chambers is believed to be the first person convicted in the UK for posting an offensive tweet. After the hearing, actor and Twitter fan Stephen Fry tweeted that he would pay Chambers' fine. Comedian Dara O'Briain tweeted that the verdict was 'ludicrous' while Peep Show actor David Mitchell said it was 'punishment for flippancy.'" I suspect not as many people will re-tweet on behalf of Garreth Compton.

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Fight Begins To Secure Turing Papers For Bletchley Park Museum
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '10 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-just-apple-Is-any-more deptartment:
Blacklaw writes "Auction house Christie's is planning to sell offprints of Alan Turing's early work for an estimated £500,000 — and the fight has begun to raise the money so UK codebreaking museum and charity Bletchley Park can house the documents in the building where Turing performed his war-winning work and birthed the concept of a modern 'universal computer.' If the money isn't raised, the papers could disappear into a private archive, never to be seen again."

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Facebook Postings Lead To Arrest for Heresy In the West Bank
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-better-or-worse-just-different deptartment:
forand writes "Using screen shots of a customer's Facebook profile, owners of a West Bank internet cafe helped Palestinian intelligence forces capture a man accused of heresy." According to sources quoted in the story, residents of both Gaza and the West Bank face ongoing scrutiny of their online activities; in Gaza, "Internet cafe owners are forced to monitor customers' online activity and alert intelligence officials if they see anything critical of the militant group or that violates Hamas' stern interpretation of Islam."

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Paper Airplane Touches Edge of Space, Glides Back
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's face-of-god-next-step deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Brits Steve Daniels, John Oates and Lester Haines just became the envy of geeks the world over. The trio 'built a one-wing glider from paper, lofted it to the edge of space at 90,000 feet with a helium balloon, and posted sound and video recordings from the plane as it glided safely back to the ground,' writes blogger Kevin Fogarty. The Register newspaper sponsored the stunt and reported each step of the process. And British defense-contractor Qinetiq supplied the cameras and testing chambers, says Fogarty."

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CDE — Making Linux Portability Easy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's namespace-collision deptartment:
ihaque writes "A Stanford researcher, Philip Guo, has developed a tool called CDE to automatically package up a Linux program and all its dependencies (including system-level libraries, fonts, etc!) so that it can be run out of the box on another Linux machine without a lot of complicated work setting up libraries and program versions or dealing with dependency version hell. He's got binaries, source code, and a screencast up. Looks to be really useful for large cluster/cloud deployments as well as program sharing. Says Guo, 'CDE is a tool that automatically packages up the Code, Data, and Environment involved in running any Linux command so that it can execute identically on another computer without any installation or configuration. The only requirement is that the other computer have the same hardware architecture (e.g., x86) and major kernel version (e.g., 2.6.X) as yours. CDE allows you to easily run programs without the dependency hell that inevitably occurs when attempting to install software or libraries. You can use CDE to allow your colleagues to reproduce and build upon your computational experiments, to quickly deploy prototype software to a compute cluster, and to submit executable bug reports.'"

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Obama May Toughen Internet Privacy Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-2010-and-we're-still-debating-it deptartment:
CWmike writes "The Obama administration is considering plans to step up policing of Internet privacy issues and to establish a new position to direct the effort, reports the WSJ, which cites unnamed sources. Any push for stronger federal oversight over online privacy is likely to be welcomed by privacy advocates increasingly concerned about the data-collection and data-sharing practices of big Internet and marketing companies. High profile cases such as the uproar over Facebook's personal data collection habits and the public reaction to Google's continuing problems over its Street View Wi-Fi snooping have created a broader awareness of online privacy issues. The big question, though, is just how successful any fresh attempt at enforcing new privacy strictures on the Internet will be with Republicans soon to be in charge of the House."

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After Online Defamation Suit, Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-a-shame deptartment:
Christoph writes "I'm the Slashdot user who was sued for defamation (and six other claims) by a corporation over negative statements on my website. I prevailed (pro-se) in 2008. The court found the other side forged evidence and lied. In 2009, I sued the other party's lawyers for malicious prosecution/abuse of process (the corporation itself is dissolved/broke). One defendant had stated in writing their client was lying, but the trial court dismissed my claim for lack of evidence. I appealed, and this Tuesday the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal, completely ignoring the defendant's written admission (and other evidence). They further found it was not an abuse of process to sue to 'stop the publication of negative information and opinion.'"

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Gran Turismo 5 To Be Released November 24th
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-real-this-time deptartment:
UgLyPuNk writes "After many, many delays, Gran Turismo 5 has finally gotten a solid release date: November 24th. ('Tis the season for vaporware titles to emerge into the real world, it seems.)" Eurogamer posted a preview of the game back in August, saying, "It's been a whirlwind of features and car chatter, beneath which the game still looks fantastic. It may have been in development for the whole of this console generation, but the technical arms race has slowed down and GT5 still looks as good as any other racing game we've seen, and it is, to say the least, comprehensive." Joystiq has a video of the course maker and a collection of screenshots.

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'Hulu For Magazines' Relies On Users' Data
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's much-easier-to-ignore-one-object-than-a-rack-full-of-them deptartment:
Toe, The writes "In an interesting twist on the free/closed mobile platform debate, Apple's closed platform appears to be at least nominally on the free side when it comes to magazine distribution. Magazines have always relied on the demographics of their subscribers to sell ad space to companies who would want to reach that demographic. This apparently has been a sticking point between publishers and Apple, because the latter is unwilling to allow its tools to expose the vast wealth of data that can be tapped from a modern mobile device connected to a purchasing account. For that reason, the so-called 'Hulu for Magazines,' Next Issue Media, will only be available on Android. Still unanswered: do people even want digital magazines?"

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RockMelt — Right Browser, Wrong Platform?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's helping-you-repoke-your-tweetblogs deptartment:
waderoush writes "A detailed Xconomy software review concludes that the new RockMelt browser is a labor-saver for heavy users of the desktop social Web, but it doesn't fully deliver on the startup's promise to build a browser 'designed around you and how you use the Web.' That's because the social Web is less and less about the PC desktop, and more about mobile platforms and appliances like smartphones, tablets, and Internet-connected TVs. What's missing today is software that can help bridge the gap: 'I'm not really looking for more reasons to spend time using my desktop browser,' the review states. 'Rather, I'm busy offloading as many old PC-centric tasks as I can to my other devices. It's nice to have better integration between Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, search, and standard Web content on the desktop. But what's really needed right now is better integration between the desktop social Web and the mobile social Web.'"

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Tetris May Reduce PTSD, But Pub Quiz Makes It Worse
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's yeah-that-makes-sense deptartment:
Last year we discussed news that researchers from Oxford University discovered playing Tetris after watching a disturbing film reduced the amount of intrusive flashbacks experienced by test subjects. The researchers then wondered if that was true for other games, so they began a new study, the results of which were just published in the journal PLoS ONE. Reader SpuriousLogic points out that while they repeated their earlier finding about Tetris, they also found that subjects who played trivia game Pub Quiz instead reported more flashbacks. "Research tells us that there is a period of up to six hours after the trauma in which it is possible to interfere with the way that these traumatic memories are formed in the mind. During this time-frame, certain tasks can compete with the same brain channels that are needed to form the memory. This is because there are limits to our abilities in each channel: for example, it is difficult to hold a conversation while doing math problems. The Oxford team reasoned that recognizing the shapes and moving the colored building blocks around in Tetris competes with the images of trauma in the perceptual information channel. Consequently, the images of trauma (the flashbacks) are reduced. The team believe that this is not a simple case of distracting the mind with a computer game, as answering general knowledge questions in the Pub Quiz game increased flashbacks. The researchers believe that this verbal based game competes with remembering the contextual meaning of the trauma, so the visual memories in the perceptual channel are reinforced and the flashbacks are increased."

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Pluto Might Be Bigger Than Eris
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-does-disney-have-a-trademark deptartment:
astroengine writes "Look out, the battle of the dwarf planets is about to re-ignite! During last weekend's rare occultation of a star by Eris, astronomers managed to gain one of the most accurate measurements of Eris' physical size. When three Chilean telescopes watched the star blink out of sight, astronomers were shocked to find that Eris is actually a lot smaller than originally thought. So small that it might be smaller than Pluto. On speaking with Discovery News, Eris' discoverer Mike Brown said, 'While everyone is more interested in the "mine is bigger than yours" aspect, the real science is the shockingly large density of Eris.' The mass of Eris is well known, so this means the object is more dense than Pluto. Does this mean the two mini-worlds have different compositions? Did they evolve differently? In light of this finding, is the underlying argument for Pluto being demoted from the planetary club on wobbly ground?"

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Obama May Toughen Internet Privacy Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '10 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-2010-and-we're-still-debating-it deptartment:
CWmike writes "The Obama administration is considering plans to step up policing of Internet privacy issues and to establish a new position to direct the effort, reports the WSJ, which cites unnamed sources. Any push for stronger federal oversight over online privacy is likely to be welcomed by privacy advocates increasingly concerned about the data-collection and data-sharing practices of big Internet and marketing companies. High profile cases such as the uproar over Facebook's personal data collection habits and the public reaction to Google's continuing problems over its Street View Wi-Fi snooping have created a broader awareness of online privacy issues. The big question, though, is just how successful any fresh attempt at enforcing new privacy strictures on the Internet will be with Republicans soon to be in charge of the House."

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