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Ask Slashdot: the Best Linux Setup To Transition Windows Users?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-answer-for-2012 department:
First time accepted submitter Quantus347 writes "I am trying to convince a number of people to give Linux a chance, arguing that it has come a long way on the road of consumer usability. Can you, oh Wise Ones of Slashdot, recommend a Lunix setup that will be as similar as possible to a Windows environment (Windows 7 or XP). These people hate and fear change, and so will latch onto nearly any noticeable differences, so I'm thinking in terms of both front end functionality and the look of the interface. It would also be very important for them to have to go to the command line as little as possible during daily use (meaning as close to never as can be managed)."

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"Bomb Threat" Tweet Conviction Overturned By UK Appeals Court
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hope-he-sends-some-celebratory-tweets department:
New submitter Kupfernigk writes "Paul Chambers was the man who was convicted (in England) of a terrorist offense based on a tweet threatening to 'blow up' Robin Hood Airport because they couldn't get snow cleared. Despite the fact that it was obviously a (feeble) joke, the Crown Prosecution Service actually went ahead with a prosecution and were able to convince a junior judge sitting with magistrates. The senior judges, including the Lord Chief Justice, said 'We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the Crown Court that this 'tweet' constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it. On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed.' In effect, they have said that the original decision was not made objectively, which can be considered a severe slap for the Crown Prosecutor."

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Researcher Finds Security Holes In FAA's New Flight Control System
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's blue-screen-and-sky department:
gManZboy writes "A key component of the FAA's emerging 'Next Gen' air traffic control system is fundamentally insecure and ripe for manipulation and attack, security researcher Andrei Costin said in a presentation Wednesday at Black Hat 2012. Costin outlined a series of issues related to the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system, a replacement to the decades-old ground radar system used to guide airplanes through the sky and on the ground at airports. Among the threats to ADS-B: The system lacks a capability for message authentication. 'Any attacker can pretend to be an aircraft' by injecting a message into the system, Costin said. There's also no mechanism in ADS-B for encrypting messages. One example problem related to the lack of encryption: Costin showed a screen capture showing the location of Air Force One--or that someone had spoofed the system."

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Hackers Release AAPT Data To Protest Aussie Policies
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '12 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's have-some-info department:
An anonymous reader writes "Anonymous is releasing some of the 40GB of data it claims to have stolen from Australian internet service provider AAPT. The hack is reportedly in protest against Australia's proposed data retention regime, which would mandate ISPs to collect and hold transmission data from its users for up to two years."

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Cray XK6 Supercomputer Used To Simulate Ice Cream
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '12 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's right-tool-for-the-job department:
An anonymous reader writes "The processing power available inside modern supercomputers isn't just able to help us better understand the universe we live in, develop better medicines, and model complex systems. Apparently it is also helping to make better ice cream. Research has been carried out at the University of Edinburgh to simulate the soft matter that makes up ice cream. More specifically, scientists are trying to understand the complex interactions occurring between the many different ingredients that make up your favorite flavor of the delicious cold stuff."

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Web Giants Form US Internet Lobby Group
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 11:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-our-powers-combine department:
judgecorp writes "Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon have apparently set up the Internet Association to lobby the US government on issues relating to online business. From the article: 'The Internet Association, which will open its doors in September, will act as a unified voice for major Internet companies, said President Michael Beckerman, a former adviser to the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee.'"

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NASA's First New Spacesuit In 20 Years Is Its Own Airlock
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's astronaut's-new-clothes department:
Zothecula writes "The current U.S. space suit used by NASA is a dinosaur. Designed in 1992, it was only ever intended to be used by crews aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). That may have been good enough in the days of 14 kps modems, but with eyes turning increasingly toward missions to the Moon, Mars and the asteroids, space explorers need something better. That's why NASA is designing its first new suit in twenty years. Developed by NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems (AES), the Z-1 prototype space suit currently undergoing vacuum testing at the Johnson Space Center is a wearable laboratory of new technology. And it's a hatchback."

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Google Outs 3D Maps For iOS Ahead of Apple
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 06:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's me-first department:
hypnosec writes "Apple announced during WWDC 2012 that it is going to ditch Google maps and bring out its own under iOS 6. So, Google started working and in fact raced ahead of Apple in providing 3D maps for iOS. Through a blog post, Google announced that it has now made 3D imagery available on its Google Earth for iOS app. Users of iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or new iPad, while using Google Earth for iOS app, will feel that they are virtually flying over cities.The feature, as of now, works only for 12 regions. Cities for which the 3D imagery is provided are from US with an expectation of a city in Rome. The U.S. cities include: Boulder, Colo., Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Lawrence, Kan., Long Beach, Calif., Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., San Diego, Santa Cruz, Calif., Tampa, Fla., Tucson, Ariz., and San Francisco, plus its East Bay and Peninsula neighbors notes the blog post."

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"Exploding" Termite Species Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's needs-of-the-many department:
ananyo writes "A species of termite found in the rainforests of French Guiana takes altruism seriously: aged workers grow sacks of toxic blue liquid that they explode onto their enemies in an act of suicidal self-sacrifice to help their colonies. The 'explosive backpacks' of Neocapritermes taracua grow throughout the lifetimes of the worker termites, filling with blue crystals secreted by a pair of glands on the insects' abdomens. Older workers carry the largest and most toxic backpacks. Those individuals also, not coincidentally, are the least able to forage and tend for the colony: their mandibles become dull and worn as the termites age, because they cannot be sharpened by moulting (abstract)."

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Microsoft Makes Skype Easier To Monitor
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lets-have-a-look department:
In a follow-up to a story earlier this week, derekmead writes "Skype has gone under a number of updates and upgrades since it was bought by Microsoft last year, mostly in a bid to improve reliability. But according to a report by the Washington Post, Skype has also changed its system to make chat transcripts, as well as users' addresses and credit card numbers, more easily shared with authorities. As we've already seen with Facebook and Twitter, big Internet firms aren't digging their heels in against government requests, which shouldn't come as a shock; angering the authorities is bad business. The lesson then is that, while the Internet will always retain a vestige of its Wild West days, as companies get bigger and bigger, they're either going to play ball with governments or go the way of Kim Dotcom."

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Researcher Wows Black Hat With NFC-based Smartphone Hacking Demo
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's unsafe-at-any-speed department:
alphadogg writes "At the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, Accuvant Labs researcher Charlie Miller showed how he figured out a way to break into both the Google/Samsung Nexus S and Nokia N9 by means of the Near Field Communication (NFC) capability in the smartphones. NFC is still new but it's starting to become adopted for use in smartphone-based purchasing in particular. The experimentation that Miller did, which he demonstrated at the event, showed it's possible to set up NFC-based radio communication to share content with the smartphones to play tricks, such as writing an exploit to crash phones and even in certain circumstances read files on the phone and more."

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OpenBSD's De Raadt Slams Red Hat, Canonical Over 'Secure' Boot
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-you're-not-a-fan-then department:
An anonymous reader writes "OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt has slammed Red Hat and Canonical for the way they have reacted to Microsoft's introduction of 'secure' boot along with Windows 8, describing both companies as wanting to be the new Microsoft."

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Flight 4590 Didn't Kill the Concorde; Costs Did
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-day-again-fast-transport department:
pigrabbitbear writes "If the plane were around today — which some still fantasize about — it'd be like powering a stretch Hummer with dolphin blood. The airlines couldn't sell enough tickets on the small plane to even make up for the amount of fuel it needed to guzzle on its journeys, let alone cover maintenance for the technological marvel. (A Concorde's taxi to the end of a runway used as much fuel as a 737's flight from London to Amsterdam.) Customers were fine with ordinary travel times for a fraction of the airfare and the plane only took transatlantic journeys, because going over land was too disturbing. Too much noise."

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Champions Declared In AI Poker Tournament
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's best-way-to-win-is-to-cheat-on-judging department:
the_newsbeagle writes "The annual computer poker competition has just wrapped up, in which artificial intelligences battled each other over the (virtual) Texas Hold 'Em table. A researcher who worked on one of the top programs, the University of Alberta's "Hyperborean" program, has blogged about this year's competition and entrants for IEEE Spectrum. His first post explains the rules of the game and why it's tougher for a computer to win at poker than at chess; his second post describes Hyperborean's strategies, and the third gives the results and takes stock of Hyperborean's performance."

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HP Offers Free Access To OpenStack
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-amazon-apis-but-open-source department:
krow writes "HP Cloud is offering free access to Open Stack via its public cloud. Adoption of the Open Stack APIs is growing, and we [note: "krow" is also known as Brian Aker, once Slashdot's "database thug," later the creator of the Drizzle database, and now an HP Fellow] are offering up access to push tool integration and adoption around the APIs. Most recently we have been able to add support for on-demand Jenkins orchestration via the JCloud's plugin. API as well as console access is being made to the computer, object storage, and CDN interfaces. There are images being provided for different Linux distributions, and additionally images for Bitnami, ActiveState's Stackato, and Enterprise DB's Postgres images."

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World's Most Powerful x86 Supercomputer Boots Up in Germany
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wherever-it-wants-to department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Europe's most powerful supercomputer — and the fourth most powerful in the world — has been officially inaugurated. The SuperMUC, ranked fourth in the June TOP500 supercomputing listing, contains 147,456 cores using Intel Xeon 2.7-GHz, 8-core E5-2680 chips. IBM, which built the supercomputer, stated in a recent press release that the supercomputer actually includes more than 155,000 processor cores. It is located at the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre) in Garching, Germany, near Munich. According to the TOP500 list, the SuperMUC is the world's most powerful X86-based supercomputer. The Department of Energy's 'Sequoia' supercomputer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., the world's [overall] most powerful, relies on 16-core, 1.6-GHz POWER BQC chips."

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Google Announces Plans, Pricing For Kansas City Fiber Network
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-but-austin-soon-ok? department:
Kiyyik writes "Google just announced the details behind their inaugural fiber optic service in Kansas City. They're doing a set of packages including $120/month for tv plus internet, $75/month for internet alone, and regular 'conventional' internet for a one time $300 fee. Rollouts are starting in the central areas and will work their way out on a demand basis: at least ten percent of a neighborhood must sign up for the service before Google will come in and start hanging fiber."

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Resurrect Your Old Code With a DIY Punch Card Reader
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's convert-your-existing-recipe-cards department:
First time accepted submitter mchnz writes "Need to read in some old punch cards? Have a hankering to return to yesteryear? I've combined an Arduino, the CHDK enhanced firmware for Canon cameras, and the Python Image Library to build a reader for standard IBM 80 column punch cards. You can see it in action in "Punch Card Reader — The Movie" or read more about it." This is an inspiring, intimidating project.

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Ask Slashdot: Preempting Sexual Harassment In the Workplace?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's force-breeds-resistance department:
zwei2stein writes "My team of about 10 men (IT guys) is expecting a new colleague: a female one. It is guaranteed that there will be remarks, double entendres and innuendos with huge potential of getting worse. We already have women in teams who can somehow handle this (and deliver apropriate verbal slaps). How would you deal with this? We talked about some simple, fun ways — anyone who [acts inappropriately] will have to wear an embarassing tie, etc. — instead of swear jar, having a sexual innuendo jar and even fairly harsh punishments (like people losing their bonuses for the month or their extra vaccation days). I'd like to figure out a solution that would be effective, not call much attention to itself, and not be quickly abandoned." What has your workplace done to create a good culture on this front? And what hasn't worked?

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The World's First 3D-Printed Gun
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-ok-you've-got-my-order-now department:
MrSeb writes "An American gunsmith has become the first person to construct and shoot a pistol partly made out of plastic, 3D-printed parts. The creator, who goes by the name HaveBlue and is an AR-15/M16 enthusiast, has reportedly fired 200 rounds with his part-plastic pistol without any sign of wear and tear. HaveBlue's custom creation is a .22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper. In other words, the main body of the gun is plastic, while the chamber — where the bullets are actually struck — is solid metal. ... While this pistol obviously wasn't created from scratch using a 3D printer, the interesting thing is that the lower receiver — in a legal sense at least — is what actually constitutes a firearm. This means that people without gun licenses — or people who have had their licenses revoked — could print their own lower receiver and build a complete, off-the-books gun." Here come the illegal shapes. Note that the legal fiction of receiver-as-firearm is true in the U.S., but may not be in other jurisdictions, and that no gun license is required in most of the U.S. to purchase or possess a semi-automatic weapon.

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