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False Start For Cyber Security Challenge UK
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '10 at 02:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wee-oopsie deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Netcraft writes about an ironic 'false start' for the Cyber Security Challenge UK website. The new venture touts itself as 'a programme of national challenges, designed by experts, to identify and nurture the UK's future cyber security workforce.' Unfortunately, the website appears to be vulnerable to a basic cross-site scripting vulnerability which was easily found by some Twitter users."

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IT Crowd (UK) Coming Back For Season 4
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '10 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-thing-the-german-didn't-eat-him deptartment:
sammyF70 writes "Every geek's favourite non-sci-fi show (the original UK one, not the abysmally bad German and US remakes) is coming back for a fourth season! According to the IMDB's message board, it should be on the air 'Juneish.' While you wait, you can check out what kind of vintage hardware will be on the show this time, and remember: if you illegally download movies, you will face the consequences!"

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Australian Gov't Claims Internet Filter Legislation Still In Play
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's too-slightly-good-to-be-true deptartment:
Dracophile writes "Contrary to yesterday's article about The Australian's report that the Australian government had put on the back burner plans to introduce Internet filter legislation before the next election, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the government rejected claims that it had abandoned such plans, and that 'a spokeswoman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the government remained committed to the policy.' Unless the Australian Labor Party abandons the plan altogether, will the timing make any difference to voters?"

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James Cameron To Develop 3D Camera For Mars Rover
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-you-mean-james-cameraman deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Computerworld reports that movie director James Cameron, of Avatar and Titanic fame, is working with Malin Space Science Systems Inc. to build an updated 3-D camera that will be installed on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, 'Curiosity,' if completed in time, to be the machine's 'science-imaging workhorse,' says Michael Malin, who is working on the camera team. Malin delivered two cameras to be installed on the rover's main mast; however NASA has provided Malin with funding to work with Cameron to build alternatives to these two cameras. 'The fixed focal length [cameras] we just delivered will do almost all of the science we originally proposed. But they cannot provide a wide field of view with comparable eye stereo,' he says. 'With the zoom [cameras], we'll be able to take cinematic video sequences in 3D on the surface of Mars.'"

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Writer Peter Watts Sentenced; No Jail Time
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 06:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's new-spirit-of-openness deptartment:
shadowbearer writes "SF writer Peter Watts, a Canadian citizen, whose story we have read about before in these pages, was sentenced three days ago in a Port Huron, MI court. There's not a lot of detail in the story, and although he is still being treated like a terrorist (cannot enter or pass through the US, DNA samples) he was not ordered to do any time in jail, and is free and has returned home to his family. The judge in the case was, I believe, as sympathetic as the legal system would allow him to be."

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Steve Jobs Hints At Theora Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's fuddish-duddish deptartment:
netcrawler writes "Steve Jobs' open letter on Flash has prompted someone at the Free Software Foundation Europe to ask him about his support of proprietary format H.264 over Theora. Jobs' pithy answer (email with headers) suggests Theora might infringe on existing patents and that 'a patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other "open source" codecs now.' Does he know something we don't?" Update: 05/01 00:38 GMT by T : Monty Montgomery of Xiph (the group behind Theora, as well as Ogg Vorbis, and more) provides a pointed, skeptical response to the implicit legal threat, below.

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Why Tor Users Should Be Cautious About P2P Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-this-computer's-in-a-safe-location deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "I went across your post a few days ago saying that a machine connected to the Internet was all one needed to spy on most BitTorrent users of the Internet. I followed the link to find out that those researchers from INRIA claimed their attacks also worked for BitTorrent users on Tor. I didn't believe it at first, but then today I found this link on the Tor Project. It seems their attacks don't only link your real IP to your BitTorrent files on Tor but also to the web pages that you're browsing! Tell me it's a joke." No joke, but according to Jacob Appelbaum (a Tor developer), the security flaw is more nuanced — and the fault of software outside of Tor. Read on for his explanation of how the privacy benefits of Tor can be easily lost.

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Japanese Researchers Make Plastic Out of Water
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's what's-kanji-for-boffin? deptartment:
greenrainbow writes with this excerpt from Inhabit: "The material shown in the picture above is just ice, right? Look again. Elastic water, a new substance invented by researchers at Tokyo University, is a jelly-like substance made up of 95% water along with two grams of clay and a small amount of organic materials. As is, the all-natural substance is perfect for medical procedures, because it's made of water, poses no harm to people and is perfect for mending tissue. And, if the research team can increase the density of this exciting new substance, it could be used in place of our current oil-based plastics for a host of other things."

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Apple Raises E-Book Prices For Everyone
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's here-a-penny-there-a-penny deptartment:
Nom du Keyboard writes "I was informed by my publisher this week that they would have to raise my eBook prices because they planned to sell them through the Apple iBooks store. How could this happen? A lot of my individual stories sell in the $1 to $3 range, which is well within the impulse purchase amount for many people. In this price range a 50 cent price difference may well be the difference between a purchase and a pass. Meanwhile Apple is touting their new 'Agency Model' whereby the publishers set the prices. However, it seems that Apple requires books sold in their iBook store have prices ending in .99 – nothing else." (More below.)

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Recourse For Draconian Encryption Requirements?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cold-dead-fingers deptartment:
CryoStasis writes in with this question, which likely resulted from the new Massachusetts data security law. "I work for a major hospital in the Northeast. Recently the hospital has taken it upon itself to increase its general level of computer security. As a result they now require full-disk encryption on any computer connected to their network on site. Although I think this stance is perhaps a little over-exuberant, most of these computers are machines that have been purchased with hospital funding. In the department that I work in, however, many of the employees (myself included) bring their own personal machines to work every day. For obvious reasons we're rather reluctant to allow the hospital's IT staff to attempt installation of the encryption software. Those who have allowed the installation have had major problems afterwards, on both Macs and Windows machines — ranging from severe/total data loss to frequent crashes to general slowness — which the hospital does very little to remedy. To make matters worse, the hospital is now demanding that any machine that is used to check email (via email clients or webmail directly) be encrypted, including desktop-style machines at home, which must be brought in to the IT department, as they refuse to distribute the encryption software to the employees for install. By monitoring email access they have begun harassing employees who check email from off campus, stating that their email/login access will be disabled unless they bring in their computers. I have no intention of letting these people install anything on my machine, particularly software of which their IT staff clearly doesn't have a solid grasp. Have other Slashdot readers come across this kind of a problem? Do I have any recourse, legal or otherwise, to stop them from requiring me to install software on my personal machines?"

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Kid Health Experts Attack Video Game Summer Camp
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's friendly-environment-to-frag-noobs deptartment:
Jack Action writes "The University of British Columbia runs a summer camp where kids get to play computer games for three hours a day. The camp organizers say it is 'a good social opportunity for some kids who didn't fit into other programs.' However, health professionals declare they are 'troubled' by the camp. A professor in UBC's department of medicine says kids should be outside and engaged in 'unstructured play,' while the CEO of an NGO that monitors kids' health chimes in that they already spend too much time in front of screens and not exercising. Do the health experts have a point, or are they just criticizing something they don't understand, or perhaps is not to their taste?"

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Philip K. Dick's Exegesis To Be Published In 2011
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-pkd deptartment:
Dynamoo writes "The NYT reports that a two-part edition of PKD's Exegesis will be published next year. This huge work, a combination of journal and philosophical treatise, has been published in part before, but this is the first time that the whole version will be made generally available."

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Can Oil-Eating Bacteria Help Clean Up the Gulf Oil Spill?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-only-we-hadn't-converted-to-green-bacteria deptartment:
sciencehabit writes "At this point it's unclear how much of an environmental threat oil spreading from the BP spill will cause, but the federal government is mobilizing thousands of workers to prepare for the worst. They have a potential ally: microbes that have evolved an ability to break down oil that seeps from the ocean bottom. It gets devoured by a variety of bacteria, which eat it by chemically transforming its compounds into useful cellular constituents." Wired has some pictures of the spill from orbiting satellites.

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Palin E-mail Snoop Found Guilty On 2 Charges
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sorry-about-your-luck deptartment:
netbuzz writes "A federal jury in Knoxville today has convicted David Kernell, 22, of two charges – misdemeanor computer fraud and felony obstruction of justice — in connection with the 2008 episode where he accessed the personal Yahoo e-mail account of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and then initiated a worldwide rummaging of its contents. The obstruction charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years."

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Nostalgic Elation — the Super Mario Crossover
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it'sa-me-megaman deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Sure, they're stepping all over proprietary rights and copyright, but something must be said about the amount of bliss-filled nostalgia inside Exploding Rabbit's Super Mario Crossover. If the plumbers never really did it for you, you can now kill those goombas as Link, Mega Man, Samus, Simon Belmont or Contra's Bill. Goodbye jumping and spitting; hello slicing, whipping, and shooting. Is this one of the early firsts in the new genre of video game mashups?"

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Avatar Blu-Ray DRM Issues
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's revolutionary-zero-d-technology deptartment:
geekd writes "Once again, DRM only hurts legit content purchasers: 'An unusual glitch has angered some Avatar Blu-ray owners. For these unlucky people, since the disc won't play on their Blu-ray players, their new Avatar DVD serves no real purpose other than to sit idly on the coffee table. ... It appears the main culprit concerning playback issues with Avatar is, ironically, the disc's DRM (digital rights management). ... Even with updated firmware, a lot of Blu-ray players weren't prepared for these security measures. Despite the security problems, bootleggers are having a field day. Pirated copies of Avatar, according to Los Angeles Times, were available as early as January.'" Reader Murpster adds that this problem isn't specific to the Blu-ray version: "Got a regular Avatar DVD and it won't play on either of my DVD players. It will play on one computer DVD drive, if I want to watch it on a 12 inch screen."

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The End of the PC Era and Apple's Plan To Survive
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's moore-money-moore-problems deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Charlie Stross has written a very interesting essay, ostensibly about the 'real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash,' but really about how Jobs is betting Apple's future on an all-or-nothing push into a new market as Moore's law tapers off and the personal computer industry craters and turns into a profitability wasteland. Stross says that Apple is trying desperately to force the growth of a new ecosystem — one that rivals the 26-year-old Macintosh environment — to maturity in five years flat — the time scale in which they expect the cloud computing revolution to flatten the existing PC industry and turn PC manufacturers into suppliers of commodity equipment assembled on a shoestring budget with negligible profit. 'Any threat to the growth of the app store software platform is going to be resisted, vigorously, at this stage,' writes Stross. 'And he really does not want cross-platform apps that might divert attention and energy away from his application ecosystem.' The long term goal is to support the long-term migration of Apple from being a hardware company with a software arm into being a cloud computing company with a hardware subsidiary. 'This is why there's a stench of panic hanging over Silicon Valley. This is why Apple have turned into paranoid security Nazis, why HP have just ditched Microsoft from a forthcoming major platform and splurged a billion-plus on buying up a near-failure; it's why everyone is terrified of Google,' writes Stross. 'The PC revolution is almost coming to an end, and everyone's trying to work out a strategy for surviving the aftermath.'"

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US Says 4.3 Billion People Live With Bad IP Laws
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's shame-on-all-of-you deptartment:
bowser100 writes "The US government has released its annual Special 301 report (PDF) in which it purports to identify those countries with inadequate intellectual property laws. Michael Geist digs into the report, noting the list is so large that it is rendered meaningless. According to the report, approximately 4.3 billion people live in countries without effective intellectual property protection. Since the report does not include any African countries outside of North Africa, the US is effectively saying that only a small percentage of the world meets its standard for IP protection."

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Opera Acquires Fastmail.fm
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hopefully-for-more-than-a-song deptartment:
mattcsn writes "Opera Software just bought email service provider Fastmail.fm. Here's hoping that Opera uses a light touch and keeps the email service as unchanged as possible. From the article: 'FastMail has included a FAQ, in which it says that users who wish to not transfer their accounts over to Opera have to go into settings and indicate just that. Not acting upon the email the company sent out to its users or actively accepting the transfer will result in Opera assuming control over the mailbox and the account registration details. As to the reason for selling, FastMail says the market was getting increasingly competitive and that Opera's expertise in web browsers and especially the mobile market would help the company grow and take on the next big challenges in running and building an email service.'"

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What Happened To Obama's Open Source Adviser?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 30 '10 at 09:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's get-over-it deptartment:
gov_coder writes "Back in January of 2009, various news articles announced that former Sun CEO Scott McNealy was to become the Obama administration's Open Source Technology adviser. Currently, however, a search for Scott on the whitehouse.gov website yields zero results. Searching a bit more, I found that Scott is currently working on CurriWiki, a kind of Wikipedia for school curriculum. So my question is, what happened? Did some lobbyist block the appointment? Did Scott decide his other activities were more important? Scott, if you are out there — please tell us what happened. There are many people working in government IT, such as myself, who were really excited about the possibilities of an expanded role for open source software in government, and are now wondering what went wrong."

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