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US Blocking Costa Rican Sugar Trade To Force IP La
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 11:00 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's if-you-can't-beat-em-squeeze-harder deptartment:
For the last couple of days news has been trickling in about how the U.S. is trying to ram IP laws down Costa Rica's throat by blocking their access to the US sugar market. Techdirt has a good summary of the various commentaries and a related scoop in the Bahamas where the U.S. is also applying IP pressure. "The first is in Costa Rica, which is included in the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Yet like with other free trade agreements that the US has agreed to elsewhere, this one includes draconian intellectual property law requirements. I still cannot understand why intellectual monopoly protectionism — the exact opposite of "free trade" — gets included in free trade agreements. At least in Costa Rica, a lot of people started protesting these rules, pointing out that it would be harmful for the economy, for education and for healthcare. So the Costa Rican government has not moved forward with such laws. How has the US responded? It's blocking access to the US market of Costa Rican sugar until Costa Rica approves new copyright laws."

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Verizon and Google Offer Up Net Neutrality Truce
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 10:30 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's can't-we-all-just-get-along deptartment:
When it comes to net neutrality, can we get along? Google and Verizon, antagonists on the question yet partners in Droid, say yes. The two companies have even teamed up to send the FCC ideas on how to handle network management disputes. 'Google/Verizon say that the Internet should function as an "open platform." That means, to them, that "when a person accesses cyberspace, he or she should be able to connect with any other person that he or she wants to—and that other person should be able to receive his or her message," they write. The 'Net should operate as a place where no "central authority" can make rules that prescribe the possible, and where entrepreneurs and network providers are able to "innovate without permission."'"

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Google Investigating Chinese Employees
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 09:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i'm-such-a-voyeur deptartment:
BluePeppers writes "The Guardian is reporting that Google China is investigating it's staff in lieu of The Incident. ""We're not commenting on rumor and speculation. This is an ongoing investigation and we simply cannot comment on the details," a Google spokeswoman said. Security analysts told Reuters the malicious software or malware used in the attack was a modification of a trojan called Hydraq. A trojan is a hidden program allowing unauthorized access to a computer. The analysts said the sophistication in the attack was in knowing whom to attack, not the malware itself.""

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What's Holding Back Encryption?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 09:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's cypher-sex-is-a-different-thing deptartment:
nine-times writes "After many years in IT, I've been surprised to notice how much of my traffic is still unencrypted. A lot of businesses that I interact with (both business and personal) are still using unencrypted FTP, and very few people use any kind of encryption for email. Most websites are still using unencrypted HTTP. DNSSEC seems to be picking up some steam, but still doesn't seem to be widely used. I would have thought there would be a concerted effort to move toward encryption for the sake of security, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I wanted to ask the Slashdot community, what do you think the hold up is? Are the existing protocols somehow not good enough? Are the protocols fine, but not supported well enough in software? Is it too complicated to manage the various encryption protocols and keys? Is it ignorance or apathy on the part of the IT community, and that we've failed to demand it from our vendors?"

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IEEE Ethernet Specs Could Soothe Data Center Ills
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 07:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i'm-on-pins-and-crimpers deptartment:
alphadogg writes "Cisco, HP and others are waging an epic battle to gain more control of the data center, but at the same time they are joining forces to push through new Ethernet standards that could greatly ease management of those increasingly virtualized IT nerve centers. The IEEE 802.1Qbg and 802.1Qbh specifications are designed to address serious management issues raised by the explosion of virtual machines in data centers that traditionally have been the purview of physical servers and switches. In a nutshell, the emerging standards would offload significant amounts of policy, security and management processing from virtual switches on network interface cards (NIC) and blade servers and put it back onto physical Ethernet switches connecting storage and compute resources. "There needed to be a way to communicate between the hypervisor and the network," says Jon Oltsik, an analyst at Enterprise Systems Group. "When you start thinking about the complexities associated with running dozens of VMs on a physical server the sophistication of data center switching has to be there.""

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Microsoft Says Upgrade To IE8, Even Though It's Vulnerable
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 07:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's oh-we'll-fix-it-eventually deptartment:
Barence writes "Microsoft has issued a statement urging people to upgrade their browser to IE8, after the zero-day exploit that was used to attack companies such as Google went public. According to Microsoft's security advisory: "the vulnerability exists as an invalid pointer reference within Internet Explorer. It is possible under certain conditions for the invalid pointer to be accessed after an object is deleted. In a specially-crafted attack, in attempting to access a freed object, Internet Explorer can be caused to allow remote code execution." But, although IE6 has been the source of the attacks until now, Microsoft's advisory admits that both IE7 and IE8 are vulnerable to the same flaw, even on Windows 7."

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NVIDIA Previews GF100 Features and Architecture
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 06:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's visualize-this deptartment:
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA has decided to disclose more information regarding their next generation GF100 GPU architecture today. Also known as Fermi, the GF100 GPU features 512 CUDA cores, 16 geometry units, 4 raster units, 64 texture units, 48 ROPs, and a 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface. If you're keeping count, the older GT200 features 240 CUDA cores, 42 ROPs, and 60 texture units, but the geometry and raster units, as they are implemented in GF100, are not present in the GT200 GPU. The GT200 also features a wider 512-bit memory interface, but the need for such a wide interface is somewhat negated in GF100 due to the fact that it uses GDDR5 memory which effectively offers double the bandwidth of GDDR3, clock for clock. Reportedly, the GF100 will also offer 8x the peak double-precision compute performance as its predecessor, 10x faster context switching, and new anti-aliasing modes."

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Microsoft Bots Effectively DDoSing Perl CPAN Testers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stuck-in-a-rut deptartment:
at_slashdot writes "The Perl CPAN Testers have been suffering issues accessing their sites, databases and mirrors. According to a posting on the CPAN Testers' blog, the CPAN Testers' server has been being aggressively scanned by '20-30 bots every few seconds' in what they call 'a dedicated denial of service attack'; these bots 'completely ignore the rules specified in robots.txt.'" From the Heise story linked above: "The bots were identified by their IP addresses, including 65.55.207.x, 65.55.107.x and 65.55.106.x, as coming from Microsoft."

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Police In Britain Arrest Man For Bomb-Threat Joke On Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on January 18 '10 at 02:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's credibility-gap-looms deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A British man was arrested under anti-terrorism legislation for making a bomb joke on Twitter. Paul Chambers, 26, was arrested under the provisions of the Terrorism Act (2006). His crime? Frustrated at grounded flights over inclement weather, he made a joke bomb threat on the social networking site Twitter."

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Next Linux Kernel Due Early March
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-what-I-call-a-public-good deptartment:
swandives writes "The Linux.conf.au is in full-swing in Wellington, New Zealand, and Computerworld Australia has an interview with Jon Corbet in the leadup to his Kernel Report. The latest kernel release is due early March and will include reversed-engineered drivers for Nvidia chipsets."

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HandBrake Abandons DivX As an Output Format
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 07:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-2003 deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "DivX was the first digital video format to really win mainstream acceptance, doing for movies what MP3 did for music (both good and bad). Eventually even Sony, the king of proprietary formats, caved into pressure and added DivX support to its DVD players and the PlayStation 3. Now HandBrake's developers have made an interesting choice for version 0.9.4 — they ditched support for AVI files using DivX and XviD. Your only option now is to convert DVDs and other media to MKV or MP4 files, with the option to save as Apple-friendly M4V files. So why is HandBrake ditching AVI and XviD support when it's a format that's won such widespread acceptance? In the words of the developers, 'AVI is a rough beast. It is obsolete.'"

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ChromeOS Zero Released
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-your-testing-curiosity deptartment:
charliesome writes "Hexxeh, a student from the United Kingdom, has been the source for ChromeOS builds since the release of the Google operating system. He's just released ChromeOS Zero, a small build designed for speed and aesthetics. He recently did an interview with The Chrome Source."

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NY Times To Charge For Online Content
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's soon-we'll-be-nostalgic-for-free-registration deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "New York Magazine reports that the NY Times appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of debate inside the paper, the choice has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system. The decision to go paid is monumental for the Times, and culminates a yearlong debate that grew contentious, people close to the talks say. Hanging over the deliberations is the fact that the Times' last experience with pay walls, TimesSelect, was deeply unsatisfying and exposed a rift between Sulzberger and his roster of A-list columnists, particularly Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who grew frustrated at their dramatic fall-off in online readership. The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. But with the painful declines in advertising brought on by last year's financial crisis, the argument that online advertising might never grow big enough to sustain the paper's high-cost, ambitious journalism — gained more weight."

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Wii Balance Board Gives $18,000 Medical Device a Run For Its Money
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hat-tip-to-tim-o-reilly deptartment:
Gizmodo highlights a very cool repurposing effort for the Wii's Balance Board accessory. Rather than the specialized force platforms used to quantify patients' ability to balance after a trauma like stroke, doctors at University of Melbourne thought that a Balance Board might serve as well. Says the article: "When doctors disassembled the board, they found the accelerometers and strain gauges to be of 'excellent' quality. 'I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up.'" Games controllers you'd expect to be durable and at least fairly accurate; what's surprising is just how much comparable, purpose-built devices cost. In this case, the Balance Board (just under $100) was compared favorably with a test platform that costs just a shade less than $18,000.

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Truth Or Dare — What Is the Best US Cell Company?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's 10-paces-turn-and-fire deptartment:
Epsilon Eridani writes "I am returning to the US after an extended time overseas and upon my return I need to jump head first into the data enabled phone bandwagon. I have to admit ... I am lost as to what is the best company to choose. Before I left the US I used a Sprint HTC phone running Windows with the 'simply everything' plan to communicate and stay organized and a Sprint Wireless Card to connect my laptop to the world. Coming back several generations of technology later, what is the best set up technology-wise to link phone and laptop or two to the Internet? (Open source solutions accepted too!) Can the Slashdot community verify some of the claims on quality of service before I give my first born up when I sign a service contract?"

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Is Gawker's "Apple Tablet Scavenger Hunt" Illegal?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's best-publicity-can't-be-bought deptartment:
theodp writes "Not too surprisingly, Apple was not amused by Valleywag's announcement of an Apple Tablet Scavenger Hunt, which offered cash prizes ranging from 10K-100K for info about the much-anticipated new Apple device. The promo prompted a threatening cease-and-desist letter from Apple's lawyers, which Valleywag deemed the most concrete evidence yet that there may indeed be a tablet in the works. But is the Scavenger Hunt really illegal, as the attorney claimed? The jury's still out, but Slate concludes Apple's got a pretty good case, although it notes that Valleywag's unconventional Scavenger Hunt 'stunt' may not really be all that different from 'reporting' practiced by mainstream publications like the WSJ."

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Lacking Buyers, NASA Cuts Prices On Shuttles and Old Engines
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's try-craigslist deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Russia's Space Shuttle, Buran, ended its days at a theme park in Moscow and was once offered for sale on the Internet for 3 million dollars. Now the NY Times reports that when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration put out the call in December 2008 seeking buyers for US shuttles from museums, schools and elsewhere, the agency didn't get as much interest as expected, so now NASA has slashed the price of the 1970s-era spaceships, available for sale this fall once their flying days are over, from $42 million to just $28.8 million apiece. 'We're confident that we'll get other takers,' says agency spokesman Mike Curie. The Discovery is already promised to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum but the Atlantis and the Endeavour are still up for grabs and it is possible that the Enterprise, a shuttle prototype that never made it to space, will also be available. The lower price is based on NASA's estimate of the cost for transporting a shuttle from Kennedy Space Center to a major airport, and for displaying it indoors in a climate-controlled building. As for the space shuttle main engines, those are now free. NASA advertised them in December 2008 for $400,000 to $800,000 each, but no one expressed interest. So now the engines are available, along with other shuttle artifacts, for the cost of transportation and handling."

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Google Phone Could Drive Apple Into Allegiance With Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's clash-of-the-titans deptartment:
rsmiller510 writes "A BusinessWeek report suggests that the Nexus One release marks the latest volley in an escalating war between Google and Apple, one that could force Apple into working more closely with Microsoft. 'When companies start to imitate one another, it's usually either an extreme case of flattery—or war. In the case of Google and Apple, it's both. Separated by a mere 10 miles in Silicon Valley, the two have been on famously good terms for almost a decade. ... Now the companies have entered a new, more adversarial phase. With Nexus One, Google, which had been content to power multiple phonemakers' devices with Android, enters the hardware game, becoming a direct threat to the iPhone. With its Quattro purchase, Apple aims to create completely new kinds of mobile ads, say three sources familiar with Apple's thinking. The goal isn't so much to compete with Google in search as to make search on mobile phones obsolete. ... Some analysts believe the Apple-Google battle is likely to get much rougher in the months ahead. Ovum's Yarmis thinks Apple may soon decide to dump Google as the default search engine on its devices, primarily to cut Google off from mobile data that could be used to improve its advertising and Android technology. Jobs might cut a deal with—gasp!—Microsoft to make Bing Apple's engine of choice, or even launch its own search engine, Yarmis says."

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Options Dwindling For Mars Spirit Rover
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's shouldn't-have-let-your-AAA-account-lapse deptartment:
coondoggie writes "NASA says it is narrowing a short list of things its scientists can do to extricate its stuck Mars Spirit rover. They are exploring a couple remaining options, such as driving backwards and using Spirit's robotic arm to sculpt the ground directly in front of the left-front wheel, the only working wheel the arm can reach. The amount of energy that Spirit harvests each day, however, is declining, as autumn days shorten on southern Mars. 'At the current rate of dust accumulation, solar arrays at zero tilt would provide barely enough energy to run the survival heaters through the Mars winter solstice.' NASA is currently analyzing results of a Jan. 13th attempt to move the spacecraft that involved a very slow rotation of the wheels. Earlier drives in the past two weeks using wheel wiggles and slow wheel rotation produced negligible progress toward extricating Spirit, NASA stated."

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What Clown On a Unicycle?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 17 '10 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's walking-into-stationary-objects deptartment:
R3d M3rcury writes "The New York Times has an article about walking and using a cellphone. 'The era of the mobile gadget is making mobility that much more perilous, particularly on crowded streets and in downtown areas where multiple multitaskers veer and swerve and walk to the beat of their own devices.' But the interesting part was an experiment run by the University of Western Washington this past fall. There was a student who knew how to ride a unicycle and a professor who had a clown suit. They dressed a student up as a clown and had him ride his unicycle around a popular campus square. Then they asked people, 'Did you see the Unicycling Clown?' 71% of the people walking in pairs said that they had. 51% of the people walking alone said that they had. But only 25% of the people talking on a cellphone said that they saw the unicycling clown. On the other hand, when asked 'Did you see anything unusual?' only about one person in three mentioned a unicycling clown. So maybe unicycling clowns aren't enough of a distraction at the University of Western Washington..."

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