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Apple Launches New Magical Trackpad, 12 Core Macs
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's oh-oh-oh-its-magic deptartment:
theappwhisperer writes "The Magic Trackpad is basically a larger version of the MacBook Pro touchpad, with 80% more surface area for all your swiping and pinching. The entire surface acts as a button, so it's also a possible mouse replacement. And all of the expected gestures are here: two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, fingertip rotation, and three- and four-finger swipes. You can enable and disable gestures at your discretion from System Preferences." They also launched 12 core mac pros coming in august.

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When Is It Right To Go Public With Security Flaws?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's yesterday deptartment:
nk497 writes "When it comes to security flaws, who should be warned first: users or software vendors? The debate has flared up again, after Google researcher Tavis Ormandy published a flaw in Windows Support. As previously noted on Slashdot, Google has since promised to back researchers that give vendors at least 60-days to sort out a solution to reported flaws, while Microsoft has responded by renaming responsible disclosure as "coordinated vulnerability disclosure." Microsoft is set to announce something related to community-based defence at Black Hat, but it's not likely to be a bug bounty, as the firm has again said it won't pay for vulnerabilities. So what other methods for managing disclosures could the security industry develop, that balance vendors need for time to develop a solution and researchers' needs to work together and publish?"

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Chatroulette To Log IP Addresses, Take Screenshots
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 06:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's price-of-fame deptartment:
littlekorea writes "Chatroulette, the strangely addictive online game in which users are connected via webcam and microphone to random strangers at the click of a button, has had enough of users exposing themselves to the unsuspecting public, among other disgraces. The founder of Chatroulette has announced the company has hired developers to collect IP addresses and take screenshots of those users breaking the rules."

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Australian Cave Offers Klingon Audio Tour
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's enjoy-the-tour-you-filthy-targ deptartment:
schliz writes "An Australian cave system visited by 200,000 tourists a year is expanding its range of audio guides to support Klingon. Cave operators reportedly engaged the services of two 'Klingon scholars' from the US, following Star Trek's naming of a 'Sydney Class' Starship, the USS Jenolan."

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iPad Owners Are 'Selfish Elites'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 05:01 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sounds-about-right deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It's not exactly official, but should also surprise no one: According to a new study the psychological profile of iPad owners can be summed up as "selfish elites" while have-not critics are "independent geeks." Consumer research firm MyType conducted the study, in which opinions of 20,000 people were analyzed between March and May. The firm's conclusion was that iPad owners tend to be wealthy, sophisticated, highly educated and disproportionately interested in business and finance, while they scored terribly in the areas of altruism and kindness. In other words, "selfish elites.""

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Kepler Investigator Says 'Galaxy Is Rich In Earth-Like Planets'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 04:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's member-of-a-larger-club deptartment:
astroengine writes "In a recent presentation, Kepler co-investigator Dimitar Sasselov unexpectedly announced news that the Kepler Space Telescope has discovered scores of candidate Earth-like exoplanets. Not waiting for the official NASA press release to announce the discovery, Sasselov went into some detail at the TEDGlobal talk in Oxford, UK earlier this month. This surprise announcement comes hot on the heels of controversy that erupted last month when the Kepler team said they were withholding data on 400 exoplanet candidates until February 2011. In light of this, Sasselov's unofficial announcement has already caused a stir. Keith Cowing, of NASAWatch.com, has commented on this surprise turn of events, saying it is really annoying 'that the Kepler folks were complaining about releasing information since they wanted more time to analyze it before making any announcements. And then the project's Co-I goes off and spills the beans before an exclusive audience — offshore. We only find out about it when the video gets quietly posted weeks later.' Although Sasselov could have handled the announcement better (and waited until NASA made the official announcement), this has the potential to be one of the biggest astronomical discoveries of our time — so long as these Earth-like 'candidates' are confirmed by further study."

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UK ISP TalkTalk Caught Monitoring Its Customers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 01:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's shades-of-phorm deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The UK ISP TalkTalk has been caught using a form of Deep Packet Inspection technology to monitor and record the websites that its customers visit, without getting their explicit consent. The system, which is not yet fully in place, ultimately aims to help block malware websites by comparing the URL that a person visits against a list of good and bad sites. Bad sites will then be restricted. TalkTalk claims that its method is totally anonymous and that the only people with visibility of the URL database itself are Chinese firm Huawei, which will no doubt help everybody to feel a lot better (apply sarc mark here) about potentially having their privacy invaded."

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How a Key Enzyme Repairs Sun-Damaged DNA
Posted by News Fetcher on July 27 '10 at 12:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's one-proton-and-one-electron deptartment:
BraveHeart writes "Researchers have long known that mammals, including humans, lack a key enzyme — one possessed by most of the animal kingdom and even plants — that reverses severe sun damage. For the first time, researchers have witnessed how this enzyme works at the atomic level to repair sun-damaged DNA. 'Normal sunscreen lotions convert UV light to heat, or reflect it away from our skin. A sunscreen containing photolyase could potentially heal some of the damage from UV rays that get through.'"

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Facing 16 Years In Prison For Videotaping Police
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 10:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's we-are-watching-you deptartment:
krou sends this snip from the Maine Civil Liberties Union: "The ACLU of Maryland is defending Anthony Graber, who faces as much as sixteen years in prison if found guilty of violating state wiretap laws because he recorded video of an officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop. ... Once [the Maryland State Police] learned of the video on YouTube, Graber's parents' house was raided, searched, and four of his computers were confiscated. Graber was arrested, booked, and jailed. Their actions are a calculated method of intimidation. Another person has since been similarly charged under the same statute. The wiretap law being used to charge Anthony Graber is intended to protect private communication between two parties. According to David Rocah, the ACLU attorney handling Mr. Graber's case, 'To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist.'" Here are a factsheet (PDF) on the case from the ACLU of Maryland, and the video at issue.

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Your Online Education Experience?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 07:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's no-more-teachers'-dirty-looks deptartment:
pspahn writes "I am currently enrolled at a very well-known online school. I was hesitant when I enrolled; now more than a year has gone by, and I am regretting my decision. The main problem is that I am not learning anything. I have several years' experience with Web design, yet I was not allowed to bypass Intro to Web Design 1. Similarly, there are other classes on my list that will teach me very little I don't already know, yet will cost me money all the same. Now, I do have a great desire to learn and to further myself academically, but I just don't see much value in continuing to take classes I could have aced in ninth grade. It is also difficult when fellow classmates clearly have very little intelligent input to offer and our online discussions are reminiscent of an AOL chat room. While it is possible simply to attend a local school in person, I would much prefer an online environment as it seems to be a more natural medium considering the content of my studies. I am interested specifically in Information Security programs. What online education programs have Slashdot readers been happy with and considered successful?"

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OpenGL 4.1 Specification Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 05:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's gentlemen-start-your-coders deptartment:
WesternActor writes "The Khronos Group has announced full details for the OpenGL 4.1 specification. Among the new features of the spec, which comes just five months after the release of the 4.0 specification, is full support for OpenGL ES, which simplifies porting between mobile and desktop platforms. It'll be interesting to see what effect, if any, this new spec has on the graphics industry — more compatibility could change the way many embedded systems are designed. There are lots of other changes and additions in the spec, as well." Reader suraj.sun contributes insight from Ars, which brings OpenGL's competition into focus: "OpenGL 4.0 brought feature parity with Direct3D 11's new features — in particular, compute shaders and tessellation — and with 4.1, the Khronos Group claims that it is surpassing the functionality offered in Microsoft's 3D API. ... Whether this truly constitutes a leapfrogging of Direct3D 11 is not obvious."

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Android Users Aren't As Disloyal As Reported
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 03:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's ask-the-right-question deptartment:
ergo98 writes "As we discussed recently, a CNN article had a statement that '77% of iPhone owners say they'll buy another iPhone, compared to 20% of Android customers who say they'll buy another Android phone.' This was a gross misrepresentation. The CNN story now has up this note: 'Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that 20% of Android customers say they'll buy another Android phone. The survey actually revealed that 20% of all smartphone customers say they'll buy an Android phone.' The Yankee Group has further sought to clarify the situation by saying that the 20% are people who explicitly said they would buy a 'Google-branded' phone (which excludes the overwhelming majority of popular Android phones) — as Google gets out of the business of selling branded phones. Summarizing their position on Android: 'Yankee Group still believes that Android will become the next breakout mobile phone platform, making it the third most popular platform behind iPhone and RIM's Blackberry in installed base for at least the next five years.'"

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How Cyber Spies Infiltrate Business Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 03:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's hire-the-baddest-pen-testers-you-can deptartment:
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Bob Violino reports on the quiet threat to today's business: cyber spies on network systems. According to observers, 75 percent of companies have been infected with undetected, targeted attacks — ones that typically exploit multiple weaknesses with the ultimate goal of compromising a specific account. Such attacks often begin by correlating publicly available information to access a single system. From there, the entire environment can be gradually traversed enabling attackers to place monitoring software in out-of-the-way systems, such as log servers, where IT often doesn't look for intrusions. 'They collect the data and send it out, such as via FTP, in small amounts over time, so they don't rise over the noise of normal traffic and call attention to themselves,' Violino writes. 'There's probably no way you can completely protect your organization against the increasingly sophisticated attacks by foreign and domestic spies. That's especially true if the attacks are coming from foreign governments, because nations have resources that most companies do not possess.'"

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Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nobody-needed-to-frag-each-other-while-stomping-koopas deptartment:
hornedrat writes "Gamepro discusses the idea that modern games put too much emphasis on multiplayer, and that players aren't as concerned about it as developers think. 'The current environment encourages developers to unnecessarily toss multiplayer into their games without caring about it — or even considering whether anyone will bother playing it. It’s like they're checking an invisible quota box that demands multiplayer's inclusion.' Personally I agree that too much emphasis is placed on competitive multiplayer. I play online, but only with my brother in games that allow co-operative modes, like Rainbow Six: Vegas and ARMA 2. 'My point isn't that developers shouldn't try and conquer Halo or Call of Duty. We'd never have any progress in this industry if developers didn't compete. Game companies, however, should think carefully about what they want their games to be, and more important, gamers should consider what they want. If a developer wants to eclipse Halo, then by all means, pour that effort into a multiplayer mode that's different.' I would be interested to know how many gamers really care about the multiplayer components of the games they buy."

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A New Take On the Fermi Paradox
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's drake's-game-of-life deptartment:
TravisTR points out some new research that aims to update and supplement the Fermi paradox — the idea that if intelligent life was as common as we expect, we should have detected it by now. The academic paper (PDF) from scientists at the National Technical University of Ukraine is based on the idea that civilizations can't expand forever on their own. The authors make the assumption that an isolated civilization will eventually die out or go dark through some other means, which leads to some interesting models of intergalactic colonization. "In certain circumstances, however, when civilizations are close enough together in time and space, they can come into contact and when this happens the cross-fertilization of ideas and cultures allows them both to flourish in a way that increases their combined lifespan. ... Bezsudnov and Snarskii say that for certain values of these parameters, the universe undergoes a phase change from one in which civilizations tend not to meet and spread into one in which the entire universe tends to become civilized as different groups meet and spread. Bezsudnov and Snarskii even derive an inequality that a universe must satisfy to become civilized. This, they say, is analogous to the famous Drake equation which attempts to quantify the number of other contactable civilizations in the universe right now."

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Why SSDs Won't Replace Hard Drives
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's infinitely-small-infinitely-fast deptartment:
storagedude writes "Flash drive capacities have been expanding dramatically in recent years, but this article says that's about to change, in part because of the limits of current lithography technology. Meanwhile, disk drive densities will continue to grow, which the author says will mean many years before solid state drives replace hard drives — if they ever do. From the article: 'The bottom line is that there are limits to how small things can get with current technology. Flash densities are going to have data density growth problems, just as other storage technologies have had over the last 30 years. This should surprise no one. And the lithography problem for flash doesn't end there. Jeff Layton, Enterprise Technologist for HPC at Dell, notes that as lithography gets smaller, NAND has more and more troubles — the voltages don't decrease, so the probability of causing an accidental data corruption of a neighboring NAND goes up. "So at some point, you just can't reduce the size and hope to not have data corruption," notes Layton.'"

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Cell Phone Interception At Def Con
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-i-hear-you-now deptartment:
ChrisPaget writes "I'm planning a pretty significant demonstration of GSM insecurity at Defcon next week, where I'll intercept and record cellular calls made by my attendees, live on-stage, no user-input required. As you can imagine, intercepting cellphones is a Very Big Deal in the eyes of the law; this blog post is an attempt to reassure everyone that their privacy is being taken seriously despite the nature of the demo. I'm not just making it up either — the EFF have helped significantly with the details."

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Electronic Arts, THQ Look To Microtransactions
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-want deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Forbes: "Electronic Arts, one of the world's largest games publishers, on Monday partnered with microtransactions platform Live Gamer to bolster its online game efforts. ... THQ also announced a partnership with Live Gamer last week to facilitate microtransactions of its online PC and mobile games in North America. ... Worldwide sales of virtual items are expected to reach $7 billion by 2015, according to online games research firm DFC Intelligence. Fast-growing social games companies like Zynga, the maker of FarmVille, are leading the charge. The company is estimated to be pulling in around $600 million in revenue annually, largely from the sale of virtual goods. Americans are also growing comfortable with the microtransactions model. Game companies point to the music industry, where consumers buy 99-cent digital tracks instead of full albums on CDs."

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Southwest Adds 'Mechanical Difficulties' To Act Of God List
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's blameless-travel deptartment:
War, earthquakes, and broken washers are all unavoidable events for which a carrier should not be liable if travel is delayed according to Southwest Airlines. Southwest quietly updated their act of God list a few weeks ago to include mechanical problems with the other horrors of an angry travel god. From the article: "Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst based in Port Washington, NY, called it 'surprising' that Southwest, which has a reputation for stellar customer service, would make a change that puts passengers at a legal disadvantage if an aircraft breakdown delays their travel. Keeping a fleet mechanically sound 'is certainly within the control of any airline,' Mann said. 'Putting mechanical issues in the same category as an act of God — I don't think that's what God intended.'"

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Major Flaws Found In Recent BitTorrent Study
Posted by News Fetcher on July 26 '10 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's seeding-facts deptartment:
Caledfwlch writes with a followup to news we discussed a couple days ago about a study that found only 0.3% of torrents to be legal. (A further 11% was described as "ambiguous.") TorrentFreak looked more deeply into the study and found a number of flaws, suggesting that the researchers' data may have been pulled from a bogus tracker. Quoting: "Here's where the researchers make total fools out of themselves. In their answer to the question they refer to a table of the top 10 most seeded torrents. ... the most seeded file was uploaded nearly two years ago (The Incredible Hulk) and has a massive 1,112,628 seeders. The torrent in 10th place is not doing bad either with 277,043 seeds. All false data. We're not sure where these numbers originate from but the best seeded torrent at the moment only has 13,739 seeders; that's 1% of what the study reports. Also, the fact that the release is nearly two years old should have sounded some alarm bells. It appears that the researchers have pulled data from a bogus tracker, and it wouldn't be a big surprise if all the torrents in their top 10 are actually fake." They also take a cursory look at isoHunt, finding that 1.5% of torrent files come from Jamendo alone, "a site that publishes only Creative Commons licensed music."

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