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New Crypto-Ransomware Encrypts Video Game Files
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 01:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-world-problems department:
An anonymous reader writes A new piece of ransomware that (mis)uses the Cryptolocker "brand" has been analyzed by Bromium researchers, and they discovered that aside from the usual assortment of file types that ransomware usually targets, this variant also encrypts file types associated with video games and game related software. It targets files associated with single-user games Call of Duty, Star Craft 2, Diablo, Fallout 3, Minecraft, Half-Life 2, Dragon Age: Origins, The Elder Scrolls and specifically Skyrim-related files, Star Wars: The Knights Of The Old Republic, WarCraft 3, F.E.A.R, Saint Rows 2, Metro 2033, Assassin's Creed, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Resident Evil 4, Bioshock 2; and online games World of Warcraft, Day Z, League of Legends, World of Tanks, and Metin2. Here's the Bromium Labs report.

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Fight Over Arduino Name Pits Originators Against Contract Manufacturer
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 01:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-a-name-is-money department:
szczys writes "Arduino is a household name in hobby electronics. But now there are two companies calling themselves Arduino and as you've probably guessed this is going to play out in the courts. How can this be? One company started the Arduino movement and used the other company, a contract manufacturer, to actually make the hardware. This went on for a few years before the trademark was actually granted. Elliot Williams did dome digging to help figure out how this all might shake out."

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Google Code Disables New Project Creation, Will Shut Down On January 25, 2016
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 01:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-a-shame department:
An anonymous reader writes GitHub has officially won. Google has announced that Google Code project creation has been disabled today, with the ultimate plan to kill off the service next year. On August 24, 2015, the project hosting service will be set to read-only. This means you will still be able to checkout/view project source, issues, and wikis, but nobody will be able to make changes or new commits. On January 25, 2016, Google Code will be shut down. Google says you will be able to download tarballs of project source, issues, and wikis "throughout the rest of 2016." After that, Google Code will be gone for good.

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Linux Might Need To Claim Only ACPI 2.0 Support For BIOS
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 12:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-you-can-taqiya-that-to-the-bank department:
jones_supa writes Some of us remember the story of why Linux kernel responds "False" when ACPI BIOS asks if the operating system is Linux. We have found yet another case where mimicking the Windows behavior instead of writing to the spec is the right choice if you just want your machine to work properly. The ACPI spec defines the <tt>_REV</tt> object as evaluating to the revision of the ACPI specification that the OS implements. Linux returns 5 for this, because Linux actually tries to implement ACPI 5.0, but Windows returns 2 (ACPI 2.0), possibly due to legacy reasons. Linux kernel expert Matthew Garrett discovered that still a fair amount of brokenness appears when 5 is returned as the revision, including a Dell machine which left the sound hardware in a misconfigured state. He is proposing a kernel patch which simply reports <tt>_REV</tt> as 2 on all x86 hardware.

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OpenSSL To Undergo Massive Security Audit
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 11:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cracking-down-on-cracking-down department:
rjmarvin writes Now that its codebase is finally viewed as stable, OpenSSL is getting a good top-to-bottom once-over in the form of a sweeping audit. As part of the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative, the foundation and the Open Crypto Audit Project are sponsoring and organizing what may arguably be the highest-profile audit of a piece of open-source software in history. The audit itself will be conducted by the information assurance organization NCC Group, and its security research arm, Cryptography Services, will carry out the code review of OpenSSL's 447,247 line codebase over the next several months.

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FCC Posts Its 400-Page Net Neutrality Order
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 11:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's meet-the-new-boss department:
jriding writes with the news that the FCC has released new rules outlining its newly officialized role as internet regulator. Simply titled "Open Internet FCC-15-24A1," the order runs 400 pages. The actual text of the new rules is only 305 words long. [FCC head Tom] Wheeler said reclassifying broadband as an utility gives the FCC its best shot at withstanding legal challenges. The courts have twice tossed out earlier rules aimed at protecting Internet openness. The FCC chairman has said repeatedly the agency does not intend to set rates or add new taxes to broadband bills. More than 100 pages of the 400-page document released Thursday explain that forbearance. AT&T had hinted it would file a lawsuit once the new rules become public. The company's chief lobbyist, Jim Cicconi, didn't indicate Thursday when or even if AT&T would sue — only that the battle is far from over. "Unfortunately, the order released today begins a period of uncertainty that will damage broadband investment in the United States," Cicconi said. "Ultimately, though, we are confident the issue will be resolved by bipartisan action by Congress or a future FCC, or by the courts."

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Endurance Experiment Kills Six SSDs Over 18 Months, 2.4 Petabytes
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 10:16 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's die-die-die department:
crookedvulture writes Slashdot has previously covered The Tech Report's SSD Endurance Experiment, and the final chapter in that series has now been published. The site spent the last 18 months writing data to six consumer-grade SSDs to see how much it would take to burn their flash. All the drives absorbed hundreds of terabytes without issue, far exceeding the needs of typical PC users. The first one failed after 700TB, while the last survived an astounding 2.4 petabytes. Performance was reasonably consistent throughout the experiment, but failure behavior wasn't. Four of the six provided warning messages before their eventual deaths, but two expired unexpectedly. A couple also suffered uncorrectable errors that could compromise data integrity. They all ended up in a bricked, lifeless state. While the sample size isn't large enough to draw definitive conclusions about specific makes or models, the results suggest the NAND in modern SSDs has more than enough endurance for consumers. They also demonstrate that very ordinary drives can be capable of writing mind-boggling amounts of data.

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Google's Pricey Pixel Gets USB-C and a Lower Price
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 09:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dang-I-say-dang department:
The Register reports that Google's high-end Chromebook Pixel has gotten a few spec bumps, and a lower price. It's still a touchscreen with a resolution of 2,560 × 1,700, but now that screen is backed by 8GB RAM (rather than 4) as a base configuration, and the system is equipped with a Broadwell Core i5 chip, rather than the Ivy Bridge in the first rev. The price has dropped, too; it may still be the most expensive Chromebook, but now it's "only" $999 on the low end, which is $300 less than the first Pixels cost. ($1300, though, gets an i7, 64 gigs of SSD instead of 32, and 8GB of RAM. Perhaps most interesting is that it adds USB type C, and (topping Apple's latest entry) it's got two of them.

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Ask Slashdot: Issue Tracker For Non-Engineers?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 08:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's who-did-what-when-where-why-and-to-whom? department:
purplie writes My non-technical spouse is an analyst in a small county government department, a handful of people plus some contractors for projects. Their project/task management is mouth-to-mouth, sticky notes, and emails, and it's driving them crazy. I want to suggest something like an issue tracker. It would have to work for tasks both large (year-long investigations) and small (arranging catering for a meeting). The issue trackers I'm familiar with are too software-development-oriented, or make too many assumptions about your 'agile' religion. Are there any good options for non-engineers? They use mainly Windows and have iPads. I don't like web-based tools, but that might work better for them because they don't have administrative privs on their machines. Something that also incorporates a wiki might be nice. There will be resistance if it's not really easy to use.

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Sir Terry Pratchett Succumbs To "the Embuggerance," Aged 66
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-the-world-is-worse-off department:
New submitter sp1nl0ck writes Sir Terry Pratchett, the creator of Discworld, has died aged 66, following a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. Sir Terry announced that he was suffering from The Embuggerance in an open letter to fans over seven years ago, and recently had to cancel a planned appearance at the International Discworld Convention last summer, and donated over £500K of his own money to research into the condition. He also spoke in favour of a euthanasia tribunal, the members of which would consider the case of each '...applicant...to ensure they are of sound and informed mind, firm in their purpose, suffering from a life-threatening and incurable disease and not under the influence of a third party'. Sadly, he didn't survive long enough to see such a tribunal — or indeed any kind of assistance for those suffering from an incurable condition who wish to end their own life — come into being. More at the BBC.

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Man 3D Prints a Working 5-Speed Transmission For Toyota Engines
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-awesome department:
ErnieKey writes A man named Eric Harrell has reverse engineered a 5-speed transmission for a Toyota 22RE Engine, and 3D printed an entire working replica on his desktop 3D printer. Even though it is made up almost entirely of plastic, he says that it could function as a replacement for the real thing. In all it took about 48 hours of print time, plus many more in order to assemble the device. He has made the files available for anyone to download and print themselves for free.

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Reporters Without Borders Unblocks Access To Censored Websites
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's look-over-here-instead department:
Mark Wilson writes Online censorship is rife. In many countries, notably China, citizens are prevented from accessing certain websites at the behest of their government. To help provide access to information and unbiased news, freedom of information organization Reporters Without Borders has set up mirrors to nine censored websites so they can be accessed from 11 countries that blocked them. As part of Operation Collateral Freedom, Reporters Without Borders is mirroring the likes of The Tibet Post International which is blocked in China, and Gooya News which is blocked in Iran. Mirrored sites are hosted on Amazon, Microsoft and Google servers which are unlikely to be blocked by a censoring country.

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The Role of a Nonprofit In Open Source Development
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gentle-guidance department:
jrepin writes KDE is among the biggest open source projects which continues to innovate and evolve with the changing times. Often we have seen this particular community create technologies ahead of its time which were later adopted by other projects. The Linux Foundation talked to Lydia Pintscher, the president of the KDE e.V., the nonprofit organization that oversees the legal and financial aspects of the KDE project, to understand the relationship between the community and the organization. We also discussed the challenge of recruiting more women to open source projects and women in the KDE community.

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BBC Returns To Making Computers For Schools
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's as-it-ever-was department:
Raging Bool writes According to the BBC News website, the BBC is returning to producing comparatively inexpensive computers for schools. Readers of sufficient age will remember the BBC Model B with great affection. But won't this be in competition with other pre-existing devices such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi? The BBC says not: "The BBC does not see Micro Bit as a rival to similar devices such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Galileo and Kano, but rather hopes it will act as a 'springboard' to these more complex machines." I hope they're at least consulting with Eben Upton.

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$7.4 Million Blurred Lines Verdict Likely To Alter Music Business
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's my-notes-I-take-them department:
HughPickens.com writes The Washington Post reports that the $7.4 million verdict that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke copied Marvin Gaye's music to create their hit song "Blurred Lines" could ripple across the music industry, potentially changing how artists work and opening the door to new copyright claims. Howard King, lead attorney for Thicke and Williams, said in closing arguments that a verdict for the Gaye family would have a chilling effect on musicians trying to evoke an era or create an homage to the sound of earlier artists. Williams contended during the trial that he was only trying to mimic the "feel" of Gaye's late 1970s music but insisted he did not use elements of his idol's work. "Today's successful verdict, with the odds more than stacked against the Marvin Gaye estate, could redefine what copyright infringement means for recording artists," says Glen Rothstein, an intellectual property attorney. King says record labels are going to become more reluctant to release music that's similar to other works — an assertion disputed by Richard Busch, the lead attorney for the Gaye family. "While Mr. Williams' lawyer suggested in his closing argument that the world would come to an end, and music would cease to exist if they were found liable, I still see the sun shining," says Busch. "The music industry will go on."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Court Overturns Dutch Data Retention Law, Privacy More Important
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keep-your-eyes-on-your-own-paper department:
wabrandsma writes According to DutchNews.nl: "Internet providers no longer have to keep their clients phone, internet and email details because privacy is more important, a Dutch court ruled on Wednesday." Digital rights organization Bits of Freedom writes in a blog: "The law's underlying European directive was meant as a tool in the fight against serious crimes. The Dutch law, however, is much more expansive, including everything from terrorism to bike theft. During the hearing, the state's attorneys avowed that the Public Prosecution does not take the law lightly, and would not call on the law to request data in case of a bicycle theft. The judge's response: it doesn't matter if you exploit the possibility or not, the fact that the possibility exists is already reason enough to conclude that the current safeguards are unsatisfactory."

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Newly Discovered Sea Creature Was Once the Largest Animal On Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '15 at 12:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we're-going-to-need-a-bigger-pot department:
sciencehabit writes Almost half a billion years ago, the largest animal on Earth was a 2-meter-long, helmet-headed sea creature that fed on some of the ocean's tiniest prey. The newly described species is one of the largest arthropods yet discovered, a class of animals that includes spiders and crabs. The well-preserved remains of the multisegmented creature are providing clues about how subsequent arthropods' legs may have evolved from the dozens of stubby flaps used to propel this beast through the water.

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New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's here-comes-the-sun department:
Lucas123 writes Solar energy installations beat both wind generated and coal-fired energy for the second year in a row, according to a new report from GTM Research. While solar only makes up about 1 percent of U.S. energy, in 2014, it added nearly as many new megawatts as natural gas, which is approaching coal as the country's primary energy source. Solar capacity grew 32 percent from 2013 to 2014 and GTM is predicting it will grow 59% YoY this year. Just two years ago, in 2012, coal represented 41% of new energy capacity and solar only 10%. Last year, coal was down to 23% of new electrical capacity. Solar capacity growth last year represents a 12-fold increase over the amounts being installed in 2009. Key to solar adoption has been falling costs across market segments and states.

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Google Nearline Delivers Some Serious Competition To Amazon Glacier
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 08:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's in-the-clouds department:
SpzToid writes Google is offering a new kind of data storage service – and revealing its cloud computing strategy against Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The company said on Wednesday that it would offer a service called Nearline, for non-essential data. Like an AWS product called Glacier, this storage costs just a penny a month per gigabyte. Microsoft's cheapest listed online storage is about 2.4 cents a gigabyte. While Glacier storage has a retrieval time of several hours, Google said Nearline data will be available in about three seconds. From the announcement: "Today, we're excited to introduce Google Cloud Storage Nearline, a simple, low-cost, fast-response storage service with quick data backup, retrieval and access. Many of you operate a tiered data storage and archival process, in which data moves from expensive online storage to offline cold storage. We know the value of having access to all of your data on demand, so Nearline enables you to easily backup and store limitless amounts of data at a very low cost and access it at any time in a matter of seconds."

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Swatch Co-Inventor Predicts Apple Will Bring an 'Ice Age' To Swiss Watch Market
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 06:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's got-to-have-one department:
MojoKid writes It seems that these days everything Apple touches turns to gold, hence why the company was able to post an $18 billion profit for its fiscal first quarter of 2015. Be that as it may, can Apple popularize the smartwatch market as others have been unable to do so far? Not only is that the expectation, but according to Swatch watch co-inventor Elmar Mock, Apple is going to bring about an "Ice Age" to the Swiss watch market. Elmar noted that he expects the Apple Watch to quickly reach sales of 20 million to 30 million units per year. For the sake of comparison, Switzerland exported 28.6 million watches in 2014, none of them with smart capabilities. "Apple will succeed quickly. It will put a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland...I do expect an Ice Age coming toward us," Elmar said. Analysts for Barclays noted to investors that the Apple Watch launch could result in a 6 percent annual decline in Swatch Group AG's revenue. To keep up with the times and fend off Apple, there are at least three Swiss watch companies planning to make smartwatches, including Swatch Group, which will unveil a smart model sometime this year.

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