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Server Room Smells Can Be an Early Warning
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '10 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ever-smelled-a-starter-motor-burn-out? deptartment:
Barence writes "As embarrassing as it may seem, an eggy smell in a server room needn't mean broaching the delicate subject of hygiene with a colleague. It can actually be a signal that something is about to go wrong with your server setup, as this consultant discovered after days of assuming questionable personal habits were to blame. The culprit? An expiring UPS device, sending out its own unique warning signal."

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Anti-Gamer South Australian Attorney General Quits
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '10 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's usually-the-car-holds-more-clowns deptartment:
dogbolter writes "South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, infamous for the banning of R18+ rated games and the censoring of political comment in Australia, has quit. The recent South Australian election provided a massive swing against Atkinson's governing labor party. As a direct result of the South Australian election result, he is standing down. Hopefully someone with half a clue will assume the vacant post and overturn the decision to ban adult oriented computer games."

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Nintendo Developing DS Apps For School Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-quite-swords-into-ploughshares deptartment:
MojoKid writes "Shigeru Miyamoto, who has had a hand in some of Nintendo's most popular titles, recently offered that he is working hard to turn Nintendo's DS line of handheld gaming machines into tools for schools. The DS already has a nice line of educational software titles that help users learn, and he thinks that this could really be a huge benefit to schools looking for alternative ways to educate students of a new generation. The company has already managed to get them into Japanese elementary schools."

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Novell Rejects "Inadequate" $2B Takeover Bid
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's come-back-with-a-real-offer deptartment:
alphadogg writes "Novell's CEO wrote to customers Saturday telling them that the software company has rejected a $2 billion bid by hedge fund Elliott Associates to take it private. He called the offer 'inadequate' and said Novell will review alternatives. Novell has struggled financially even as it has reinvented itself from its NetWare network operating roots into an open source (SUSE and Ximian) and management and security software company. Revenue fell 10% during its most recent fiscal year (wrapped up in October) and its net losses widened. CEO Hovsepian's total compensation fell 17% to $5.7 million."

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Autoscanning The Names People Choose For Their Wireless APs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-name-them-all-hidden deptartment:
MichaelSmith writes "I code on the tram, going to and from work and I noticed that there are a lot of wifi access points along the way. So one week I made it my job to write an automatic scanner which runs from a cron job every minute during commuting times. My backup script pushes the new AP names to my web server and you can read it on line. It is a mixture of the straightforward, naive and funny, with a few pop culture references along the way. The first column in the file is the number of access points with that name. The second column is the AP name, in brackets to pick up white space." Why can't "Dress Me Slowly" and "Domestic Bliss" just share an AP?

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Every British Citizen To Have a Personal Webpage
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-have-6-asbos-waiting-and-no-guns deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is about to announce that within a year everyone in Great Britain will be given a personalized webpage for accessing Government services as part of a plan to save billions of pounds by putting all public services online. The move could see the closure of job centers and physical offices dealing with tax, vehicle licensing, passports and housing benefit within 10 years as services are offered through a single digital gateway. [This] 'saves time for people and it saves money for the Government — the processing of a piece of paper and mailing it back costs many times more than it costs to process something electronically,' says Tim Berners-Lee, an advisor to the Prime Minister. However, the proposals are coming under firpanopticone from union leaders who complain that thousands of public sector workers would be made jobless and pointed to the Government's poor record of handling personal data. 'Cutting public services is not only bad for the public who use services but also the economy as we are pushing people who provide valuable services on the dole,' says one union leader."

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Mozilla Labs To Bring Address Book To Firefox
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's are-belong-to-us deptartment:
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Mozilla has announced the availability of an experimental new add-on for Firefox that is designed to import information about the user's contacts from a variety of Web services and other sources. The add-on makes contact details easily accessible to the user and can also selectively supply it to remote Web applications. ... After the add-on has imported and indexed the user's contact data, it becomes available to the user through an integrated contact management tool that functions like an address book. One of Mozilla's first experiments is an autocompletion feature that allows users to select a contact when they are typing an e-mail address into a Web form. ... To make the browser's contact database accessible to Web applications, the add-on uses the W3C Contacts API specification."

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5 Reasons Tablets Suck, and You Won't Buy One
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-some-values-of-you deptartment:
Crazzaper writes "When the iPad launched, a lot of people who didn't care about tablets came out to bash Apple's new device. These same people said 'I would have bought it if it had a full OS,' but in reality full OS tablets existed before the iPad rumors even started. This article gives an interesting perspective on why this happened, and argues that there's five big reasons why more powerful tablets exists but no one cares."

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Memorizing Language / Spelling Techniques?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's save-up-for-neural-implants deptartment:
NotesSensei writes "My kids are learning Chinese in school. While the grammar is drop-dead simple, writing is a challenge since there is no relation between sound and shape of the characters. I would like to know if there good techniques (using technology or not) to help memorize large amount of information, especially Chinese characters. Most of the stuff I googled only helps on learning speaking."

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Sci-Fi Writer Peter Watts Convicted of Assault
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tensions-rose deptartment:
SJrX writes "CBC news is reporting that Peter Watts has indeed been convicted of Assaulting border guards, (discussed here). He will be sentenced April 26th."

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Baffled By the Obsession With Pretend-Business Games
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's consensual-insanity deptartment:
theodp writes "Newsweek's Daniel Lyons confesses to being mystified by all the people tending to their virtual farms and virtual pets on Facebook. Even stranger, he says, is their willingness to spend real money to buy virtual products, like pretend guns and fertilizer, to gain advantage in these Web-based games. Pretend products are a serious business, estimated to grow to $1.6B next year, and have captured the attention of economists and academics who view the virtual economy as a lab for modeling behavior in the real world. Still, Lyons can't help but question whether the kind of people who spend hours online taking care of imaginary pets are representative of the rest of the population. 'The data might be "perfect" and "complete,"' says Lyons, 'but the world from which it's gathered is anything but that.'"

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Canada's Top Court Quashes Child Porn Warrant
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's canuck-cache-case-quash deptartment:
m.ducharme writes "The CBC is reporting that the Supreme Court of Canada has handed down a decision quashing a search warrant used to obtain the computer of a man accused of possession of child porn. 'Urbain P. Morelli maintained his charter rights were violated when police searched his computer for child pornography after a technician who had visited his home to work on the machine expressed concerns to police.' What the Slashdot community may find notable about this decision is the distinction drawn between 'accessing' and 'possessing' digital images, most particularly the recognition that a user does not 'possess' cached data. From the decision: '[35] When accessing Web pages, most Internet browsers will store on the computer's own hard drive a temporary copy of all or most of the files that comprise the Web page. This is typically known as a "caching function" and the location of the temporary, automatic copies is known as the "cache." While the configuration of the caching function varies and can be modified by the user, cached files typically include images and are generally discarded automatically after a certain number of days, or after the cache grows to a certain size. [36] On my view of possession, the automatic caching of a file to the hard drive does not, without more, constitute possession. While the cached file might be in a "place" over which the computer user has control, in order to establish possession, it is necessary to satisfy mens rea or fault requirements as well. Thus, it must be shown that the file was knowingly stored and retained through the cache.'"

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Amazon Battles Apple By Arm-Twisting Publishers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's slapfight-of-the-titans deptartment:
bizwriter writes "Apple has upset the e-book pricing cart by agreeing to a so-called agency model, where the publisher sets the price and the seller takes a cut. This goes contrary to the degree of control Amazon likes, so although it apparently gave in to Macmillan back in February, it turns out that Amazon continues twisting arms. The problem publishers face is that Apple has a most-favored-nation clause, so it gets the best deal that the publishers offer. If the publishers give in to Amazon, then they also have to provide the same terms to Apple."

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Mozilla Plans Fix For Critical Firefox Vulnerability In Next Release
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sooner-than-later deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes "A month after an advisory was published detailing a new vulnerability in Firefox, Mozilla said it has received exploit code for the flaw and is planning to patch the weakness on March 30 in the next release of Firefox. Mozilla officials said Thursday that the vulnerability, which was disclosed February 18 by Secunia, is a critical flaw that could result in remote code execution on a vulnerable machine. The vulnerability is in version 3.6 of Firefox."

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IRS Security Faults Leave Taxpayer Data At Risk
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-tax-dollars-at-work deptartment:
coondoggie writes "In this tax season, when billions of dollars and tons of personal information is relayed to and from the government, it's more than disconcerting to hear that the Internal Revenue Service is still struggling to keep private information secure. A report out Friday from watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office says about 69% of the tax agency's previously noted security flaws remain unfixed and continue to jeopardize the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the IRS's systems (PDF). The problems put the IRS at increased risk of unauthorized disclosure, modification, or destruction of financial and taxpayer information, the GAO concluded."

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Madoff's Programmers Indicted
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-an-off-by-one-billion-bug-i-swear deptartment:
jason8 writes with news that two programmers who worked at Bernie Madoff's investment firm have now been indicted on charges of 'conspiracy, falsifying records of a broker-dealer and falsifying records of an investment adviser,' for their role in hiding the firm's activities (PDF) from the SEC and external accountants. Quoting Reuters: "O'Hara and Perez, employed at the firm from 1990 and 1991, respectively, were primarily responsible for developing and maintaining computer programs in the investment advisory unit at the center of the fraud. Many of the programs were run on an IBM server known as 'House 17,' according to court documents. Prosecutors said the men took hush money to help keep the fraud going and designed codes to make up fake trade blotters and phantom records. US prosecutors said the two men worked under the supervision of Madoff and his top aide, Frank DiPascali, to deceive the US Securities and Exchange Commission and a European accounting firm. DiPascali is cooperating with prosecutors, who said his information led to the arrests of the programmers and the now defunct firm's outside accountant."

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Naming and Shaming 'Bad' ISPs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gettin'-called-out deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Brian Krebs takes a provocative look at ISP reputations, collecting data from 10 different sources that track 'badness' from a multitude of angles, from phishing to malware to botnet command and control centers. Some of the lists show very interesting and useful results; the ISPs that are most common among the various reputation services are some of the largest ISPs and hosting providers, including ThePlanet and Softlayer. The story has generated quite a bit of discussion in the security community as to whether these various efforts are measuring the wrong things, or if it is indeed valid and useful to keep public attention focused on the bigger providers, since these are generally US-based and have the largest abuse problems in terms of overall numbers."

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Business-Suitable Document Authentication System?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sign-each-pigeon-as-it-flies-by deptartment:
ram.loss writes "The company I work for has decided to go paperless for all memos and internal correspondence. In addition to the central administration, the company has three more or less autonomous, physically separated divisions; that means we do not have a common IT infrastructure across all of them. Since I am the only resemblance we have to an IT department at my division, I have been commissioned with evaluating the available technology to manage and authenticate all correspondence, although it is not my area of expertise (I have a CompSci degree, but for many years have specialized in transportation modeling software). My initial thought was to use a document management system like Plone (this is the system I'm familiar with); from what I have read, that would take care of the management part, but what about authentication? We need each document to be signed, and a fully auditable system that keeps track of who signed what document, who received it and when. It also must take into account the handling of external correspondence in the future, where a recipient outside the company must have the means to return an authenticated document as a response. I'm aware that I'm leaving out a lot of details, like how the documents will be signed, the legal implications, etc., but for the time being I'm only interested in the experiences of the Slashdot crowd with such systems, and hopefully finding out enough information to hand over the matter to (or hiring) somebody more qualified, once I know what to look for. Has anybody out there used a similar system? Am I in way over my head?"

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Internet Explorer 9 Will Not Support Windows XP
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's are-you-keeping-up-with-me deptartment:
MojoKid writes "As it turns out, news this week is that the same features that made IE9's hardware-acceleration possible probably aren't compatible with Windows XP. Microsoft initially dodged giving a straight answer to the question of XP support but has since admitted that the new browser won't be XP-compatible when it launches. This has created a small tempest of protest from those users still using XP, but this is less of an arbitrary decision than some appear to think. It's literally impossible to port Windows Vista/Win 7-style hardware acceleration backwards to XP. Microsoft would have to either develop a workaround from scratch or create a CPU-driven 'software mode.'"

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Google Launches 3D Driver Project For Chrome
Posted by News Fetcher on March 20 '10 at 01:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's disintermediation-nation deptartment:
CWmike writes "Google has launched a new project for Chrome that will let the browser run a wider range of 3D graphics content without downloading additional drivers. The open-source project, called ANGLE (Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine), seeks to let Chromium run WebGL content on Windows computers, wrote product manager Henry Bridge on the Chromium blog. WebGL is still-developing a cross-platform Web standard for accessing low-level 3D graphics hardware based on the OpenGL ES 2.0 API (application programming interface) that can be implemented directly in a browser without a plugin. 'ANGLE will allow Windows users to run WebGL content without having to find and install new drivers for their system,' Bridge wrote. Because ANGLE aims to use most of the OpenGL ES 2.0 API, it may help developers working on mobile and embedded devices, Bridge wrote. 'ANGLE should make it simpler to prototype these applications on Windows and also gives developers new options for deploying production versions of their code to the desktop.'"

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