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Speed-Assembling Servers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '10 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's summon-precision-and-a-crown-and-coke deptartment:
Nieriko writes "The Planet is holding competitions to speed-assemble rack-mounted servers. It's like watching latter-day Marines field-strip and assemble their weapons. There is a video on youtube about this incredible contest. Looks pretty challenging."

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Iran Hacks US Spy Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '10 at 07:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's because-they-can deptartment:
superapecommando writes "Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hacked into 29 websites affiliated with US espionage networks, Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Sunday. "The hacked websites acted against Iran's national security under the cover of human rights activities," Fars reported. It did not disclose details of the attacks. The Internet has been used by Iranian opposition groups who contested the results of last year's elections there to organize demonstrations and share information about protests and arrests. The Revolutionary Guards is a military group that was founded after Iran's 1979 revolution. The group includes conventional army, navy, air force, and intelligence units, as well as the Basij paramilitary force and various business units."

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The Seven Hidden Browsers In the Windows Ballot
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '10 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's hanging-chads-need-not-apply deptartment:
Barence writes "Two weeks ago Microsoft started rolling out a Windows update within the European Union, giving every Internet Explorer user the option to switch browsers. As well as the five big names, anyone who scrolls the ballot window to the right will find seven further browsers, none of which is exactly a household name. There's no quality control being offered, either — they're simply the '12 most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows 7,' based on usage share in the European Economic Area. But what are these unknown browsers actually like? To find out, seven PC Pro staff installed a browser each, used it exclusively for a day, and ran a variety of tests. The browser-by-browser verdict on the hidden seven: two are worth a look for specific reasons, the other five are only likely to give an internet novice a horribly outdated idea of what web browsing is like."

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Nose Scanners — the New Face of Biometrics?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's check-out-that-schnoz deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Forget fingerprints and ID cards, this photo story shows how the latest thing in biometrics is nose scanning! Bath university researchers have claimed that the nose will soon be able to be used as a way of identifying a person. Apparently the 'PhotoFace system captures a 3D image of a person's face by taking several photos lit from different angles to throw shadows on the face and then building a model of facial features. The software determined that there are six main nose shapes: Roman, Greek, Nubian, Hawk, Snub and Turn-up.' Some cool pictures make this worth a click — but what happens if a person breaks their nose?!"

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Humans Continue To Be 'Weak Link' In Data Security
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '10 at 05:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's handcuffs-please deptartment:
ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Nearly 90 percent of IT workers in the UK have said a laptop in their organization has been reported lost or stolen, new research has found. Sixty-one percent said that this then resulted in a data breach, according to the '2010 Human Factor in Laptop Encryption Study: United Kingdom', a report produced by the Ponemon Institute for Absolute Software."

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SpaceX Conducts First On-Pad Test-Fire of Falcon 9
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's still-learning-how-to-stage-launches deptartment:
FleaPlus writes "On Saturday, SpaceX successfully conducted a launch dress rehearsal and on-pad test firing of their completed Falcon 9 rocket, with the 15-story tall rocket held down to prevent launch (videos). SpaceX is one of several likely competitors (ranging from the upstart Blue Origin to the more experienced Boeing) in NASA's new plans for commercial crew transportation to low-Earth orbit. SpaceX has been cleared by Cape Canaveral for the Falcon 9's first orbital launch next month, carrying a test model of the company's Dragon cargo/crew capsule, although CEO/CTO Elon Musk has cautioned that they're still in the equivalent of 'beta testing' for the first few flights."

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Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '10 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's piece-of-blue-sky deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "The Guardian is reporting on the strained relationship that Scientology is having with the German government and the airing of a pesky documentary on Southwest Broadcasting. Until Nothing Remains, a $2.3 million documentary, is slotted to air on German television at the end of this month. It recounts the true story of Heiner von Rönn and his family's suffering when he tried to leave the Church of Scientology. A Scientology spokesperson called the film false and intolerant and also said they are investigating legal means to stop the film from being aired. More details on the film can be gleaned here."

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In Israel, Potential Organ Donors Could Jump the Queue
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's unorthodox-move deptartment:
laron writes "In Israel, a new law is in the making: Holders of donor cards and their families would get preference if they should need an organ for themselves. Apparently this initiative faces resistance from Orthodox rabbis, who hold that organ donation is against religious law. Jacob Lavee, director of the heart transplant unit at Israel's Sheba Medical Center, and one of the draftees of this new law, hopes that a broader pool of organs will ultimately benefit everyone, but acknowledges that one of his primary motivations is 'to prevent free riders.' (Apparently receiving an organ is OK under religious law.)"

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Mario Reduced To 8x8 With Open Source and Arduino
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's demand-2-by-2 deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "The open-source Arduino electronics platform has received a ton of attention from the hardware enthusiast community. And one more follower is joining the fray--Mario himself. The mustachioed plumber of console video game fame has been converted into an eight-by-eight LED matrix by Carnegie Mellon University student Chloe Fan. However, the game isn't quite the Mario you know from your legacy Nintendo Entertainment System. For starters, it's just lights. While one often sees the game's LED-backed grid used in devices like the open-source Monome, where it can function as a push-button toggle for music beats and effects, Fan's version of Mario uses the grid as a display only. Mario--or rather, a one-light representation of the game's hero--is controlled NES-style through the use of two buttons. One button makes Mario move forward; the other makes him leap into the air."

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Good Language Choice For School Programming Test?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's 'strailian's-too-difficult deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian Informatics Olympiad programming test is being run in a couple of months. I'm an experienced programmer and I'm thinking of volunteering to tutor interested kids at my children's school to get them ready. There will be children of all levels in the group, from those that can't write 'hello world' in any language, to somewhat experienced programmers. For those starting from scratch, I'm wondering what language to teach them to code in. Accepted languages are C, C++, Pascal, Java, PHP, Python and Visual Basic. I'm leaning towards Python, because it is a powerful language with a simple syntax. However, the test has a run-time CPU seconds limit, so using an interpreted language like Python could put the students at a disadvantage compared to using C. Is it better to teach them something in 2 months that they're likely to be able to code in but possibly run foul of the CPU time limit, or struggle to teach them to code in a more complicated syntax like C/C++ which would however give them the best chance of having a fast solution?"

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SETI Is 50 Years Old; No Sign of ET
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-live-among-us deptartment:
EagleHasLanded writes "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is 50 years old next month, and still no sign of intelligent alien life. Paul Davies of the Beyond Center (also Chairman of the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup ) says it's time to re-think and expand the search for ET."

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Filter Vendor Agrees Aussie Censorship Can't Work As Promised
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's packets-resent-blockage deptartment:
Acidspew writes "The Australian Government's plan to filter the Internet has caused furore and has been with vehement objection. Many people have put their opinions forward regarding this matter but this time around, M86 Security — the vendor that provided many ISPs equipment during the initial filter trials — has finally weighed in on the discussion. Six of the nine ISP participants in the URL-based Internet filter trial last year used M86's R3000 filtering kit. According to ARN: 'Internet filtering won't prevent people deliberately looking for inappropriate material from accessing blocked content, according to security vendor, M86 Security.' The company continues by saying its filter gear was designed to be implemented into schools and enterprise businesses, not for an entire country. The article also touches on M86's views on censorship."

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Microsoft Employees Love Their iPhones
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's can-I-expense-this? deptartment:
portscan writes "There is an entertaining and telling article in the Wall Street Journal about iPhone use by Microsoft employees. Apparently, despite it being frowned upon by senior management, iPhone use is rampant among the Redmond rank and file. The head of Microsoft's mobile division tried to explain it away as employees wanting 'to better understand the competition,' although few believe this. Nowhere does the article mention attempts by the company to understand why the iPhone is more attractive to much of Microsoft's tech-savvy workforce than the company's own products."

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Obama Backs MPAA, RIAA, and ACTA
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's four-letter-acronyms deptartment:
boarder8925 writes "In a move sure to surprise no one, Obama has come out on the side of the MPAA/RIAA and has backed the ACTA: 'We're going to aggressively protect our intellectual property,' Obama said in his speech, 'Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American people [...] It is essential to our prosperity and it will only become more so in this century. But it's only a competitive advantage if our companies know that someone else can't just steal that idea and duplicate it with cheaper inputs and labor.'"

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What Aspects of Open Source Projects Do You Avoid?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-you-want-to-cuddle? deptartment:
paulproteus writes "I'm a Debian developer and a part-time contributor to a few smaller projects. I do a lot of free software-y and open source-y things. Sometimes, though, I don't do them. I figure some other Slashdotters might have similar hang-ups — we contribute to a project, but there are parts that we really dread thinking about. So I wrote a post about having these hang-ups, and I made a place on the web to share how others can help your project. What are the parts that, in your projects, you would be relieved if someone else looked at for you?"

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How To Make Your Own iPhone RFID Reader
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's make-bruce-sterling-proud deptartment:
andylim writes "It's been rumoured for some time now that Apple will include RFID technology in a future iPhone. An RFID-packing iPhone could interact with various objects including opening doors and it could even be used in shops to register items at the checkout. Beating Apple to the RFID punch, last year a company called Wireless Dynamics announced an iPhone RFID accessory called the iCarte but if you'd rather make your own reader then a research assistant at University College London has managed to build his own RFID iPhone accessory."

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Classmates.com Settles Lawsuit Over Phony Friends
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-your-three-bucks deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Techflash reports that Classmates.com has agreed to pay up to $9.5 million to its users to settle a lawsuit that accused the social network of sending deceptive emails that made people believe their old friends from high school were reaching out to connect — only to discover, after paying for a membership, that their long-lost buddies were nowhere to be found. Lawyers for the plaintiffs asserted that Classmates had 'profited tremendously from their false or deceptive e-mail subject lines and related marketing tactics.' Under terms of the proposed settlement, Classmates.com members who upgraded to premium memberships after receiving one of the 'guestbook' emails will be able to choose either a $3 cash payout or a $2 credit toward the future purchase or renewal of a Classmates.com membership. Classmates.com is also among companies that have come under scrutiny for their use of 'post-transaction marketing' tactics — in which customers are given additional offers as part of the online payment process, sometimes in such a way that they aren't aware they're also signing up to pay more. A November 2009 US Senate Committee report said Classmates made more than $70 million through its relationship with post-transaction marketing firms. The Classmates Media unit posted $58.8 million in operating profit for 2009, up more than 24 percent from the previous year, making Classmates 'the most profitable social network in the world,' according to CEO Mark Goldston."

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How Sony and Microsoft Hope To Crack the Motion Control Market
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's flailing-of-arms-and-marketing-departments deptartment:
An editorial at Eurogamer delves into what Sony and Microsoft hope to achieve with their upcoming console motion control systems, despite entering the market several years after Nintendo set the standard. "The cards Sony has placed on the table this week suggest one answer to that question. It sees PlayStation Move as being an upgrade path for Wii owners — an invitation to the tens of millions of consumers who have invested in Nintendo's platform to swim upstream to the more powerful, HD-enabled system. Yet even Sony's most optimistic view of the market will be tempered by a dose of realism here. ... What's more likely — and what Sony are probably quietly hoping to achieve a significant proportion of the Move's success through — is that the technology will expand the appeal of the PS3 in the family setting." The Digital Foundry blog has an in-depth look at the PlayStation Move from Sony's event at the Game Developers Conference, saying, "... if there was one positive you could take away from the event, it was that Move is clearly a far more precise implementation than the Wiimote. Some of the games felt clearly more 'tactile' than the Wii equivalents."

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Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's learning-from-china's-fine-example deptartment:
terets1 writes "Reuters reports that Venezuela's leader, Hugo Chavez, issued a call on Saturday for 'internet controls' to prevent rumors and inaccurate reporting from spreading. He specifically cited a case in which a website incorrectly reported that a senior minister had been assassinated and kept the story up for two days. Many of Venezuela's opposition movements use social networking sites to communicate. It is not apparent at this time exactly what kind of controls Chavez has in mind or whether those controls will be similar to the controls in Iran that have been used to silence opposition movements. Chavez said, 'The Internet cannot be something open where anything is said and done. Every country has to apply its own rules and norms.'"

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Google Makes Apps Script Available To All
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '10 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's come-one-come-all deptartment:
theodp writes "Formerly only available to Apps Users, Google has made Apps Script available to everyone (sample script), including you Google Docs low-lifers. Apps Script lets you automate actions across spreadsheets, sites, calendars, and other Google services. No spamming, kids!"

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