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Microsoft Explains Mystery Firefox Extension
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '10 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's barn-doors-and-horses deptartment:
Ricky writes with a followup to news we discussed a couple days ago that a Microsoft toolbar update was installing an IE add-on and a Firefox extension without the user's consent. Quoting Ars: "Microsoft has fixed the distribution scope of a toolbar update that, without the user's knowledge, installed an add-on in Internet Explorer and an extension in Firefox called Search Helper Extension. Microsoft told us that the new update is actually the same as the old one; the only difference is the distribution settings. In other words, the update will no longer be distributed to toolbars that it shouldn't be added to. End users won't see the tweak, Microsoft told Ars, and also offered an explanation on what the mystery add-on actually does. 'The Search Enhancement Pack is a shared component used by the Windows Live Toolbar, MSN Toolbar, and Bing Bar. This component enables toolbar search functionality, like the toolbar search suggestions drop down. It is not the toolbar. It is a component used by the toolbars.'"

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Apple Eases Restrictions On iPhone Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '10 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-but-you're-on-thin-ice deptartment:
WrongSizeGlass writes "MacRumors has a story on a report by Apple Outsider's Matt Drance that Apple is easing their restrictions on interpreted code used in iPhone development, a change which allows game developers in particular to continue to use interpreted languages such as Lua in their App Store applications. The change comes alongside Apple's further modifications of its iOS developer terms that again allow for limited analytics data collection to aid advertisers and developers, but appear to shut out non-independent companies such as Google's AdMob from receiving the data. It's not enough of an 'about face' to let Adobe or Google back in the picture but they've backpedaled enough to let the little guys squeeze through."

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Bionic-Eyed Man Wants To Stream Eye Video Online
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '10 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's except-for-the-blackout-moments deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "According to this IEEE article, Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence, who calls himself Eyeborg because he replaced his false right eye with a bionic one, is showing off his latest prototype. The new bionic eye contains a battery-powered, wireless video camera that can transmit a low-res feed to a nearby receiver. Now Spence plans to share his 'vision' online, literally. According to the IEEE article, 'soon people will be able to log on to his video feed and view the world through his right eye.'"

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Why Video Calling Is a Wasted Feature In the UK
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 11:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's stiff-upper-lips-hard-to-animate deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Technology affects the way we live but sociocultural influences also dictate what technology we absorb into our day-to-day lives. Take video calling on the iPhone 4 for example; it was pitched as an impressive feature, but will people adopt it? According to one British writer, the UK is unlikely to start making lots of video calls because it's awkward and, well, not very British. 'It's not the way we look when we say them, but the way we say them in order to inject the most bile into a negative statement. Or, on our more enthusiastic days, finding the most wryly witty way to say something while indicating that you couldn't really care less about it. This is the reason we've taken so well to Twitter and are better at watching than creating YouTube videos, to put it in sweepingly generic Internet terms.'"

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Pentagon Seeking Out Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 09:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-a-few-words deptartment:
clustro writes "The Pentagon is desperately seeking the 'cooperation' of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, in order to stop him from releasing over 250,000 pages of confidential foreign policy documents. The documents were allegedly provided to Assange by Bradley Manning, the same solider who leaked a video showing a US Army helicopter killing unarmed civilians and international press correspondents."

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Renewable Energy To Power Aussie SKA
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 06:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's until-heat-death-of-the-universe deptartment:
schliz writes "New solar and geothermal energy facilities are being built in Australia to provide sustainable energy for the region's Square Kilometer Array (SKA) bid. The Australian Government yesterday announced A$47.3m in funding for a full-scale, hybrid solar and diesel plant for the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, and geothermal energy facilities for the Pawsey High-Performance Computing Centre, where data from SKA radio telescopes would be processed. ASKAP is part of the Australasian bid to host the $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which involves 20 countries and will investigate galaxy evolution, dark matter, and the existence of life. IBM expects the whole of the SKA to produce an exabyte of data per day."

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ITER Fusion Reactor Enters Existential Crisis
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sartre-says-it's-meaningless deptartment:
deglr6328 writes "The long beleaguered experimental magnetic confinement fusion reactor ITER, is currently in what some are calling the worst crisis of its 25 year history. Still existing only on the paper of thousands of proposed design documents, latest cost estimates for the superconducting behemoth are soaring to nearly 20 billion USD; roughly twice the estimates of as recent as a few years ago. Anti-nuclear environmentalist organizations have seized upon the moment as an opportunity to use the current global economic crisis as a means to push for permanently killing the project. If ITER is not built, the prospect of magnetic confinement fusion as a technique to reach thermonuclear breakeven and ignition in the laboratory would be in serious question. Meanwhile, the largest laser-driven inertial confinement fusion project, the National Ignition Facility, has demonstrated the ability to use self generated plasma optical gratings to control capsule implosion symmetry with high finesse, and is on schedule to achieve ignition and potentially high gain before the end of the year."

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New York Times Bans Use of Word "Tweet"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's seems-fair-enough deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "New York Times standards editor Phil Corbett has had enough of his journalists' sloppy writing. Their offense? Using the 'inherently silly' word 'tweet' 18 times in the last month. In an internal memo obtained by theawl.com, he orders his writers to use alternatives, such as '"use Twitter" ... or "a Twitter update."' He admits that ' ... new technology terms sprout and spread faster than ever. And we don't want to seem paleolithic. But we favor established usage and ordinary words ...' After all, he points out, ' ... another service may elbow Twitter aside next year, and "tweet" may fade into oblivion.' Of course, it is also possible that social media sites will elbow paleolithic media into oblivion, and Mr. Corbett will no longer have to worry about word use." While this sounds like it could as well be an Onion story, the memo is being widely reported.

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Open Data and a Critical Citizenry
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's next-step-in-literacy deptartment:
Last week we discussed news that the UK government had released a treasure trove of public spending data. Charles Arthur, the Guardian's technology editor, wrote at the time how crucial it was for citizens to find ways to examine and interpret the data; otherwise it would be useless. Now, an anonymous reader sends in a response from open data activist David Eaves, who takes it a step further. He writes, "We need a data-literate citizenry, not just a small elite of hackers and policy wonks. And the best way to cultivate that broad-based literacy is not to release in small or measured quantities, but to flood us with data. To provide thousands of niches that will interest people in learning, playing and working with open data. ... It is worth remembering: We didn’t build libraries for an already literate citizenry. We built libraries to help citizens become literate. Today we build open data portals not because we have a data or public policy literate citizenry, we build them so that citizens may become literate in data, visualization, coding and public policy."

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Sega To Bring Dreamcast Titles to PSN, Xbox Live
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's anyone-call-a-taxi deptartment:
Sega announced yesterday that it plans to bring back a number of popular Dreamcast games, updating them and releasing them for download on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi will come first, with further announcements expected after E3. "Both of the games will be based on the Dreamcast originals, but will be updated with high-definition graphics, surround sound, online leaderboards, and Achievement and Trophy support." Kotaku has a list of other titles they hope to see — what game(s) would you like Sega to bring back?

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The Beginnings of Encrypted Computing In the Cloud
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stormy-weather deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "A method of computing from a 2009 paper allows the computing of data without ever decrypting it. With cloud computing on the rise, this may be the holy grail of keeping private data private in the cloud. It's called Fully Homomorphic Encryption, and if you've got the computer science/mathematics chops you can read the thesis (PDF). After reworking it and simplifying it, researchers have moved it away from being true, fully homomorphic encryption, but it is now a little closer to being ready for cloud usage. The problem is that the more operations performed on your encrypted data, the more likely it has become 'dirty' or corrupted. To combat this, Gentry developed a way to periodically clean the data by making it self-correcting. The article notes that although this isn't prepared for use in reliable systems, it is a quick jump to implementation just one year after the paper was published — earlier encryption papers would take as much as half a decade until they were implemented at all."

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MA High School Forces All Students To Buy MacBooks
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-it's-not-ipads deptartment:
An anonymous reader sends in this excerpt from the Salem News: "A new program at Beverly High will equip every student with a new laptop computer to prepare kids for a high-tech future. But there's a catch. The money for the $900 Apple MacBooks will come out of parents' pockets. 'You're kidding me,' parent Jenn Parisella said when she found out she'd have to buy her sophomore daughter, Sky, a new computer. 'She has a laptop. Why would I buy her another laptop?' Sky has a Dell. Come September 2011, every student will need an Apple. They'll bring it to class and use it for homework. Superintendent James Hayes sees the technology as an essential move to prepare kids for the future. The School Committee approved the move last year, and Hayes said he's getting the news out now so families can prepare. 'We have one platform,' Hayes said. 'And that's going to be the Mac.'"

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Giant Planet Nine Times the Mass of Jupiter Found
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fat-planets deptartment:
cremeglace writes "In the late 1990s, astronomers noticed a distinct warp in the disk of dust and gas orbiting a young star some 60 light-years from Earth. Now, using new analytical tools, researchers have discovered a giant planet lurking within the dusty haze. About nine times as massive as Jupiter and composed mainly of gas, the planet is only a few million years old, proving that such enormous planetary bodies can form rapidly." What's amazing about this is that the images taken of the star clearly show the planet first on one side of the star, and then the other, several years later.

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Volume Shadow Copy For Linux?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's restorative-tux deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "I was asked to manage a number of Linux servers at work. I would like to use volume snapshots to improve my backup scripts and keep recent copies of data around for quick restore. I normally manage Windows servers and on those I would just use Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy for this. I tried Linux LVM snapshots, but most of the servers I manage run regular partitions with ext3 file systems, so LVM snapshots will not work. I found some versioning file systems out there like ext3cow and Tux3. Those look interesting, but I need something I can use on my existing ext3 file systems. I also found the R1Soft Hot Copy command-line utility, but it does not yet support my older 2.4 Linux servers. What are you using to make snapshots on Linux?"

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Finland To Legalize Use of Unsecured Wi-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-turns-out-not-to-be-a-swedish-trap deptartment:
Apotekaren writes "The Finnish Ministry of Justice has started preparing changes to a current law that criminalizes using unsecured wireless hot spots (Google translation; Finnish original). Their reasoning includes the impossibility of tracking unlawful use, the ease of securing networks and the lack of real damage done by this activity. It is also hard for a user to know if an unsecured network is intended for public use or not. The increased ubiquity of legal, open networks in parks, airports and other public places has also influenced this move by the Ministry of Justice."

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DoE Posts Raw Data From Oil Spill, Coast Guard Asks For Tech Help
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's glad-to-know-you-guys-are-on-top-of-things deptartment:
coondoggie writes "The US Department of Energy this week opened an online portal where the public can get all the technical details it can stomach about the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The DoE site offers online access to schematics, pressure tests, diagnostic results and other data about the malfunctioning blowout preventer and other problems in the ongoing mess. This comes alongside news that the US Coast Guard has issued a call for better specialized technology to help it respond to the ever-widening spill. The Coast Guard is looking for all manner of technology, such as advanced wireless sensors to help it track the movement and amount of oil in the Gulf, or devices that could help to contain and control the underwater leak." Reader freddled points out a story at the Guardian that illustrates how the location of an oil leak is frequently the primary factor in its perceived importance

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Publishing Company Puts Warning Label on Constitution
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's inappropriate-founding-fathers deptartment:
Wilder Publication is under fire for putting warning labels on copies of historical US documents, including the Constitution. The label warns "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today." From the article: "The disclaimer goes on to tell parents that they 'might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.'"

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Mass SQL Injection Attack Hits Sites Running IIS
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's oft-repeated-headlines deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes "There's a large-scale attack underway that is targeting Web servers running Microsoft's IIS software, injecting the sites with a specific malicious script. The attack has compromised tens of thousands of sites already, experts say, and there's no clear indication of who's behind the campaign right now. The attack, which researchers first noticed earlier this week, already has affected a few high-profile sites, including those belonging to The Wall Street Journal and The Jerusalem Post. Some analyses of the IIS attack suggest that it is directed at a third-party ad management script found on these sites."

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Motorola Planning 2GHz Android Phone For Later This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's soon-we-can-expand-crysis-jokes-to-phones deptartment:
rocket97 writes "On Wednesday, at the Executives Club of Chicago, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha reportedly decided to chat about the relatively near future of the mobile landscape as he sees it — which, in part, includes the ultimate demise of mobile computers in favor of highly-capable smartphones. This being his vision, Jha discussed Motorola's plans for a smartphone with a 2GHz processor — by the end of this year. While Jha did not want to divulge any further information, Conceivably Tech cites another anonymous Motorola executive who was a little more chatty, talking up a device intended to 'incorporate everything that is technologically possible in a smartphone today.'"

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O2 Scraps Unlimited Data Usage For Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '10 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's falling-in-line deptartment:
Jagjr writes with news that O2, a major UK wireless provider, appears to be following in AT&T's footsteps by scrapping its unlimited data plan for smartphone customers. New customers, or ones who upgrade, will be capped at either 500MB or 1GB per month. Reader Barence adds this excerpt from PC Pro: In a blog post defending the new policy, O2's CEO claimed 0.1% of the network's users were consuming almost a third of the traffic, while the average O2 user consumes only 200MB of data. By PC Pro's calculations, that means those 26,000 heavy users are consuming an average of 65GB per month over a 3G connection. O2 had 26 million customer accounts at the start of 2010, so it has 26,000 heavy data users. 26 million x 200MB = 5,200,000,000 MB total data usage across the network per month. 5,200,000,000MB ÷ 3 = 1,733,333,333MB per month used by the 26,000 heavy data users. That means the average heavy data user consumes a staggering 66,666MB (so around 65GB) per month."

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