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The Ultimate Geek Christmas Card
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's when-you-care-to-send-the-geekiest deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "CNET reports on the world's most geeky Christmas card, and also the most expensive. The card is made out of a 1st gen iPhone, hacked into a Christmas card using cardboard, paper and glue. The card includes a virtual 'bauble' which uses the iPhone's accelerometer to recreate Christmas decorations that bounce and move with the card. The makers of the card say that because of the iPhone's battery life 'you probably don't want to post it anywhere it will take more than 3 days to arrive.'"

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Saying No To Promotions Away From Tech?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-none-of-my-ties-fit deptartment:
lunchlady55 writes "I have been happily working for my current employer for five years. After moving up the ranks within my department from Intern to Technical Lead, a new manager essentially told me that I have to move into a different role oriented towards, 'administrative duties and management.' We are a 24x7x365 shop, and will now be required to work 5 eight-hour days rather than 4 ten-hour days and be on call during the other two days of the week. Every week. Including holidays. My question is, have any Slashdotters been forced into a non-technical role, and how did it work out? Has anyone said 'No thanks' to this kind of promotion and managed to keep their jobs?"

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Google Upgrades Chrome To Beta For OS X, Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's browsing-is-what-cows-do deptartment:
wkurzius writes with this nugget from Mac Rumors: "As anticipated, Google has finally released an official beta version of its Chrome browser for Mac. The initial beta version, termed Build 4.0.249.30, requires Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard, and is only compatible with Intel-based Macs." And hierofalcon writes with word that Chrome has also been made available as an official Linux Beta.

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Dev Booted From App Store For Inflated Reviews
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's built-in-garbage-collection deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Molinker, a Chinese developer of iPhone apps, has been booted from the App Store after being caught trying to game the App Store review system. It seems reviewers were being paid off with free apps in return for 5-star reviews." This means the removal of over 1000 apps, described in this article as "knock-offs of existing applications."

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Data-Sifting For Timely Intelligence Still an Elusive Goal
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's even-if-you-like-all-the-sifting deptartment:
gyrogeerloose writes "Although there was evidence to suggest that the Japanese navy was up to something in December 1941, that information was scanty and came too late. Today's intelligence agencies have another problem altogether — more information than they can deal with, and computers aren't helping as much as one might expect for reasons that will be familiar to Slashdot readers: computers can crunch numbers faster and more accurately than humans but they're still easily baffled by language as it is commonly used in the real world. Metaphor, slang and simple figures of speech can confuse the best algorithm and, as quoted in the linked article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, 'A system that takes a week to discover a bombing will occur in a day isn't very useful.'"

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Israeli Knesset Approves Biometric Database Law
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-who-will-you-be-visiting? deptartment:
Lord Duran writes "The Israeli Knesset approved a bill that will require every Israeli citizen to submit a visual scan of their face and a biometric scan of their fingerprints to a national database. I, for one, fail to see how this is anything but evil. TFA mentions the Israeli census was breached — I'd like to point out, for comparison, that it's still freely available on your peer-to-peer file sharing network of choice."

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ECMAScript Version 5 Approved
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's javascript-by-any-other-name deptartment:
systembug writes "After 10 years of waiting and some infighting, ECMAScript version 5 is finally out, approved by 19 of the 21 members of the ECMA Technical Committee 39. JSON is in; Intel and IBM dissented. IBM is obviously in disagreement with the decision against IEEE 754r, a floating point format for correct, but slow representation of decimal numbers, despite pleas by Yahoo's Douglas Crockford." (About 754r, Crockford says "It was rejected by ES4 and by ES3.1 — it was one of the few things that we could agree on. We all agreed that the IBM proposal should not go in.")

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Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-ethics-may-vary deptartment:
bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, "At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail." Print was next with 51 cases. Also, "Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business." China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

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DVD-by-Mail Services Cleared In Patent Troll Case
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-the-mail-system-no-one-knows-you're-a-dog deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Media Queue holds the rights to patent 7389243 which is simply a patent on the notification system (like e-mail) to users of changes in the status of their DVD rental queues. Of course, they filed suit in a random place against Netflix, Blockbuster and everyone else sending e-mail updates about DVD-by-Mail services. It was later moved to California and was dismissed last week. In related news on the ailing patent system, the USPTO unveiled a new plan to reduce backlog in its system by offering pending patents special examiner status if the holder abandons another co-pending unexamined application."

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Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's get-over-it deptartment:
bonch writes "In a surprising statement to CNBC, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporter Maria Bartiromo, 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.' This will only fuel concerns about Google's behavior as it becomes an ever more powerful gatekeeper of information; though Google says it is aware of these concerns and has taken steps to be transparent to users about the information that is stored."

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The Struggle For Private Game Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's let's-make-onyxia-fight-ragnaros deptartment:
A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."

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What Can I Expect As an IT Intern?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 03:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's here's-a-hint-it-flows-downhill deptartment:
p3np8p3r writes "I'm in college and working towards my Bachelors in Computer Science. Last year I passed both my CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications and now have been offered (via a staffing company) a full-time Internship at a wireless lab of a major laptop manufacturer. The pay is going to be around $8 an hour full-time but that is not my primary motivator. I'm considering this significant decrease in pay from my previous (non-IT) job to be counterbalanced by what valuable knowledge I may gain both in the technical aspects and industry insight while I finish school. This field is all new to me and I don't personally know anyone who has worked in it before who will give me their honest opinions on it. Although I know circumstances differ greatly, in general, what can I expect as an IT Intern? What have been your experiences?"

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Building the Dream Google Smartbook
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '09 at 12:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's call-it-the-ijoojoo deptartment:
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Mel Beckman conjectures on the functionality necessary to make the Google 'smartbook dream' a reality, prioritizing the features any smartphone/netbook hybrid would require to succeed. From multitouch, to SSDs, to dual-boot capabilities, the list goes beyond what early Android-based entrants have to offer but remains within the realm of possibility, especially if Google CEO Eric Schmidt's hints at a future Chrome/Android OS convergence come to pass."

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Dead Space 2 Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '09 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's now-with-extra-dead deptartment:
Electronic Arts announced on Monday that their popular survival-horror game Dead Space is officially getting a sequel. According to the press release, it's being developed for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. There's speculation that Dead Space 2 may include some form of multiplayer, after an EA job opening was spotted on LinkedIn that mentioned multiplayer level design for the franchise.

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TSA's Sloppy Redacting Reveals All
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '09 at 09:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's hire-a-competent-clerk-why-don'tcha deptartment:
A travel blog breaks the story of a poor job of redacting by the TSA: they posted a PDF of airport screening policies, with certain sections blacked out — not realizing that simply laying a black rectangle over the text is hardly sufficient. Cryptome has posted a copy with the redaction removed (ZIP).

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Linux Reaches 32% Netbook Market Share
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '09 at 07:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's one-third-of-world-domination deptartment:
christian.einfeldt writes "Linux netbooks have captured 32% of the global netbook market, says Jeff Orr, an analyst with consumer computer research firm ABI Research. The largest share of netbook sales is in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, according to Orr. ABI's latest figures align with a statement by Dell executives in February of this year, to the effect that Linux netbooks comprised about 33% of Dell shipments of Dell Inspiron mini 9s netbooks. These data points cast doubt on claims by Microsoft that Windows XP has captured 98% of the netbook market (a figure Microsoft later revised to 93%). In an interview with DesktopLinux.com, Orr made clear that the 32% Linux netbook market share did not include either user-installed Linux or dual-boot systems, but was confined to just pre-installed Linux shipments."

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WPA-PSK Cracking As a Service
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '09 at 05:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's get-out-of-the-cafe-quicker deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Moxie Marlinspike, a security researcher well known for his SSL/TLS attacks, today launched a cloud-based WPA cracking service, where for $34 you can test the security of your WPA password. The WPA Cracker Web site states: 'WPA-PSK networks are vulnerable to dictionary attacks, but running a respectable-sized dictionary over a WPA network handshake can take days or weeks. WPA Cracker gives you access to a 400CPU cluster that will run your network capture against a 135 million word dictionary created specifically for WPA passwords. While this job would take over 5 days on a contemporary dual-core PC, on our cluster it takes an average of 20 minutes.'"

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Subverting Fingerprinting
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '09 at 05:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's on-a-stalk deptartment:
squizzar writes in with news of a 27 year old Chinese woman who was discovered to have had her fingerprints surgically swapped between hands in order to fool Japanese immigration. "It is Japan's first case of alleged biometric fraud, but police believe the practice may be widespread. ... The apparent ability of illegal migration networks to break through hi-tech controls suggests that other countries who fingerprint visitors could be equally vulnerable — not least the United States, according to BBC Asia analyst Andre Vornic." Time for some biometric escalation. Could iris scans be subverted as easily?

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FCC May Pry Open the Cable Set-Top Box
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '09 at 04:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's otherwise-known-as-pandora's deptartment:
awyeah writes "The NY Times reports that the FCC is finally looking into the practice of cable companies requiring use of their set-top boxes to access their digital cable and video on-demand services. The inquiry (PDF) states: 'Consumers can access the Internet using a variety of delivery methods (e.g., wireless, DSL, fiber optics, broadband over powerlines, satellite, and cable) on myriad devices made by hundreds of manufacturers; yet we know of no device available at retail that can access all of an MVPD's services across that MVPD's entire footprint.' Yes, there are a few devices out there — for example CableCARD-enabled TVs, and CableCARD/Tuning Adapter-enabled TiVos and Windows Media Center PCs, but only the cable companies' set-tops can access services other than broadcast TV, such as video-on-demand and pay-per-view. Is it finally time to open these devices and embrace actual standards and competition?" Lauren Weinstein has a cautionary blog post about the world we may be entering if this FCC initiative comes to fruition, which concludes: "I have difficulty seeing how this universe can be made to function effectively in the absence of some sort of regulatory regime to ensure transparency and fairness in situations where the Internet access providers themselves are providing their own content that directly competes with content from the external Internet."

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Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '09 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's fattening-up-on-brains deptartment:
ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."

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