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Lighthearted Facebook Friends Could Make You Join NAMBLA Group
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '10 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ground-floor deptartment:
mykos writes "The Facebook groups feature is causing bit of a stir with its users. TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington was allegedly added to a group about NAMBLA, and in turn, he added Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It's all in good (albeit tasteless) fun, except when a harmless joke goes awry and you find yourself being detained by customs when a friend decided to drag you into a mock terrorist group. Facebook representatives are aware of the matter, but are dismissive of it. A Facebook spokeswoman said, 'If you have a friend that is adding you to Groups you do not want to belong to, or they are behaving in a way that bothers you, you can tell them to stop doing it, block them or remove them as a friend — and they will no longer EVER have the ability to add you to any Group.' In somewhat related news, guillotines ensure you won't have dandruff on your shoulders anymore."

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New Class of Malware Will Steal Behavior Patterns
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '10 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-mojo-is-next deptartment:
KentuckyFC writes "The information within huge, supposedly anonymized data sets can be used to build a detailed picture of an individual's lifestyle and relationships. This data is hugely valuable, which is why many companies already mine the pattern of links in their data to help them build things like recommender systems. Now a group of computer scientists say it is inevitable that a new class of malware will emerge for stealing this behavioral pattern data from social networks. They've analyzed the types of strategies this malware will use to collect information from a real mobile phone database of 800,000 links between 200,000 phones. They point out that the theft of behavioral data can be much more serious than the theft of other personal information. If somebody steals your credit card or computer password, for example, you can just get another card or change your password, thereby limiting the damage. That can't be done with behavioral data, they say. Who would be willing or able to change their real world pattern of person-to-person relationships, friendships and family ties?"

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Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli's AGW Witch Hunt Continues
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '10 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-mann-up deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "A letter from Representative Edward Markey outlines Ken Cuccinelli's latest civil investigative demand targeting 39 people instead of just Michael Mann. You may recall that the original investigation was quashed by a judge, but the latest request demands records from people seemingly unrelated to Mann, including an Indian glaciologist. The Bad Astronomer calls Cuccinelli out in a similar manner and lists Cuccinelli's doubts about Mann's papers, including, 'Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning that the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect.' The school that hosted the research announced the new investigation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists accuses him of harassing scientists."

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US Negotiators Cave On Internet Provisions To ACTA
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's difference-between-law-and-legislation deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Ars Technica reports that with the release of the 'near-final' ACTA text (PDF), it is becoming clear that the US has caved on the most egregious provisions from earlier drafts (advocating 'three strikes' regimes, ordering ISPs to develop anti-piracy plans, promoting tough DRM anticircumvention language, setting up a 'takedown' notification system, ordering 'secondary liability' for device makers) and has largely failed in its attempts to push the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) onto the rest of the world. Apparently, a face-saving agreement is better than no agreement at all — but even the neutered ACTA could run into problems, with Mexico's Senate recently approving a nonbinding resolution asking for the country to suspend participation in ACTA, while key members of the European Parliament have also expressed skepticism about the deal."

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Software Evolution Storylines, Inspired By XKCD
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '10 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's top-that-with-sparklines deptartment:
jamie tips this mind-blowing data visualization concept from (naturally) data visualization researcher Michael Ogawa, who explains that it was inspired by "this XKCD comic. It represents characters as lines that converge in time as they share scenes. Could this technique be adapted for software developers who work on the same code?"

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French ISP Refuses To Send Out Infringement Notices
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 10:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's finest-bureaucratic-tradition deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Last month it was clear that French ISPs were not at all happy about the whole three strikes Hadopi process in France. Now that the 'notice' process has started, with Hadopi sending out notices to 10,000 people per day, it's hit a bit of a stumbling block. The French ISP named 'Free' has apparently figured out a bit of a loophole that allows it to not send out notices and protect its subscribers. Specifically, the law requires ISPs to reveal user info to Hadopi, but it does not require them to alert their users. But, the law does say that only users who are alerted by their ISP can be taken to court to be disconnected. In other words, even if Free is handing over user info, so long as it doesn't alert its users (which the law does not mandate), then those users cannot be kicked off the internet via Hadopi."

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Mission Complete! WMAP In 'Graveyard Orbit'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's perpetual-care deptartment:
astroengine writes "The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) has, quite literally, changed our view of the Universe. And after nine years of mapping the slight temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, its job is done and NASA has commanded the probe to fire itself into a 'graveyard orbit' around the sun. WMAP measured the most precise age of the universe (13.75 billion years), discovered more evidence supporting dark energy and dark matter theories, and found one or two mysteries along the way."

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Microsoft Eyes PC Isolation Ward To Thwart Botnets
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-you-said-no-malware deptartment:
CWmike writes "In a paper published Wednesday (PDF), Scott Charney, who heads Microsoft's trustworthy computing group, spelled out a concept of 'collective defense' that he said was modeled after public health measures like vaccinations and quarantines. The aim: To block botnet-infected computers from connecting to the Internet. Under the proposal, PCs would be issued a 'health certificate' that showed whether the system was fully patched, that it was running security software and a firewall, and that it was malware-free. Machines with deficiencies would require patching or an antivirus update, while bot-infected PCs might be barred from the Internet."

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Mozilla Releases Firefox 4 Beta For Android, Maemo
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's comes-the-fox deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has released the first beta of its Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo. The browser is based on the Firefox 4 core and should be released in the same time frame as the big brother. The mobile browser includes Firefox Sync, a cloud feature that enables users to sync browsing history, passwords, form-fill data and bookmarks, as well as open tabs." Android news site Androinica also mentions the release, and provides a small tutorial on installing beta apps for Android.

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Against Apple, Ballmer Floats Microsoft Merger With Adobe
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's natural-building-material deptartment:
Ebbesen writes "Ballmer had a meeting with the CEO of Adobe, and among other things: 'The meeting, which lasted over an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could partner in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.' Apparently MS has courted Adobe previously, but feared anti-trust regulations. With Google and Apple gaining, Microdobe might be possible."

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Spammers Using Soft Hyphen To Hide Malicious URLs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's conservative-in-what-you-accept deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes with this excerpt from ThreatPost illustrating the ongoing Spy-vs.-Spy battle between spammers and the rest of us: "Spammers have jumped on the little-used soft hyphen (or SHY character) to fool URL filtering devices. According to researchers, spammers are larding up URLs for sites they promote with the soft hyphen character, which many browsers ignore. Spammers aren't shy about jumping humans flexible cognitive abilities to slip past the notice of spam filters (H3rb41 V14gr4, anyone?). ... The latest trend involves the use of an obscure character called the soft hyphen or 'SHY' character to obscure malicious URLs in spam messages. Writing on the Symantec Connect blog, researcher Samir Patil said that the company has seen recent spam messages that insert the HTML symbol for the soft hyphen to obfuscate URLs for Web pages promoted by the spammers."

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Ubuntu Won't Moan To EU About Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's kudos-to-them deptartment:
Barence writes "The company behind the Ubuntu Linux distro says it has no plans to follow Opera's lead and file a complaint against Microsoft to the EU. Ubuntu 10.10 is the most 'consumer-friendly' version of the Linux distro to date, but it faces an uphill battle against Microsoft's marketing machine. Even high-profile supporter Dell has dropped Ubuntu machines from its website in recent months, while continuing to remind visitors that 'Dell recommends Windows 7' at the top of every PC page. 'I don't think we've ever considered [an EU complaint],' said Steve George, vice president of business development at Canonical. 'The improvements we're making to Ubunutu ... are a better route for us to reach out to users and get a bigger user base.'"

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Flat Pay Prompts 1 In 3 In IT To Consider Jump
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-time-tomorrow-where-will-we-be deptartment:
CWmike writes "Companies have cut salaries and training, held back on bonuses and piled more work on employees in response to the economic downturn. These tactics may well be pushing many IT pros to go job hunting, Computerworld's latest salary poll has found. More than one third (36%) of the 343 respondents to a recent poll said they are looking to move to a new employer in the next six months. And 69% reported they had not received a pay raise in the past six months. The poll was conducted during the last two weeks in September. For employers, the warning could not be more clear. As the economy improves, the most able IT workers may leave for something better."

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Final Space Shuttle External Tank Ready For Its Closeup
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's shut-down-jobs-not-people deptartment:
tedlistens writes "The last Space Shuttle's external tank was recently lifted into a 'checkout cell' in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, one of the largest buildings in the world. The completion of the last tank meant the shut down of the assembly line – and the 800 remaining people who worked on it – at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The tank contains the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen that, along with the solid rocket boosters, powers the Shuttle into orbit. Though they are not typically reused — ten seconds after the engines cut off, the tank falls away to break up over the Indian Ocean, away from known shipping lanes — one new plan imagines using old shuttle parts, including pieces of the tank, to build a new moon rocket. There's a beautiful video of the lifting of the tank at Motherboard."

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Newspaper Endorses the Candidate It's Suing Over Copyright
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sometimes-the-other-guy-is-worse deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Remember Righthaven? The copyright troll owned by the owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal? You may remember, then, that Righthaven had sued Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle for posting LVRJ stories on her site. At the same time, LVRJ has been having its execs talk about how copyright infringement is no different than garden variety theft. So ... doesn't it seem a bit odd that the LVRJ is endorsing the very same candidate that it sued for such 'theft'?"

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Libya Takes Hard Line On Link Shortening Domains
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 10:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's still-don't-like-shorteners deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that Libyan government has removed an adult-friendly link-shortening service from the web, saying that it fell afoul of local laws in a crackdown that could come as a blow to other url shortening services such as bit.ly, which is particularly popular on Twitter where all messages have to be limited to 140 characters. 'Other ly domains are being deregistered and removed without warning,' says Co-founder of vb.ly Ben Metcalfe. 'We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.' Alaeddin ElSharif from NIC.ly, the body that controls Libyan web addresses, told vb.ly co-founder Violet Blue that a picture of her on the website had sparked the removal. 'I think you'll agree that a picture of a scantily clad lady with some bottle in her hand isn't what most would consider decent or family friendly,' says ElSharif. 'While letters "vb" are quite generic and bear no offensive meaning in themselves, they're being used as a domain name for an openly admitted "adult-friendly url shortener." It is when you promote your site being solely for adult uses ... that we as a Libyan registry have an issue.'"

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Negroponte On OLPC's New Path, Plans For XO 3
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's he-oughtta-know deptartment:
waderoush writes "After laying off staff and splitting the organization in two, Nicholas Negroponte and the One Laptop Per Child effort may be hitting their stride again. In an interview with Xconomy, Negroponte says he has a new model for getting XO laptops to kids in Gaza and Afghanistan — and reveals more ideas about the planned XO 3 tablet and the future of books. 'Paper books are really dead — they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,' he says."

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Apple vs Google TVs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 09:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's can-there-be-only-one deptartment:
This SFGate article begins, "Apple and Google just kicked off the first round of their battle for the living room. Based on what we've seen so far, Apple is in the lead. It's still early, and this could change, but it looks like Apple is making an all-around smarter bet than Google." I haven't tried out the Google device yet. The Apple unit is decent, but it's so focused on TV rental that it makes it difficult to work with an existing library of media; between the transcoding, and tedious menu navigation... well, it's a good thing it's only $99. It's a dang cheap way to get your stuff on your bigger screens, provided you're willing to jump through the necessary hoops.

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Apple vs Google TVs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 09:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's can-there-be-only-one deptartment:
This SFGate article begins, "Apple and Google just kicked off the first round of their battle for the living room. Based on what we've seen so far, Apple is in the lead. It's still early, and this could change, but it looks like Apple is making an all-around smarter bet than Google." I haven't tried out the Google device yet. The Apple unit is decent, but it's so focused on TV rental that it makes it difficult to work with an existing library of media; between the transcoding, and tedious menu navigation... well, it's a good thing it's only $99. It's a dang cheap way to get your stuff on your bigger screens, provided you're willing to jump through the necessary hoops.

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The Inside Story of Microsoft's 'Project Natal'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '10 at 08:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's dance-for-your-joy deptartment:
Lanxon writes "Wired has published a lengthy behind-the-scenes feature documenting the inception, development and technological struggles of Microsoft's Project Natal, now known as Kinect. The feature is the result of conversations the magazine had with a number of key developers and researchers behind the project, and unprecedented access to Microsoft Research in a number of countries, over the course of three years."

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