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The 2015 Vintage Computer Festival East is April 17-19 (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 11:31 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's they-don't-make-them-like-they-used-to department:
The Vintage Computer Festival East is where you go to see working computers from the forties through the eighties. It's held at the Information Age Learning Center (InfoAge) in Wall, New Jersey, a site that is full of electronics history on its own. In addition to displays (including a number of items for sale), there are sessions on topics ranging from "Keyboard Restoration" to "Fixing what's hopelessly broken." Event volunteer Evan Koblentz, today's interviewee, says that most of the several hundred people the event draws every year come from the United States, but there are always at least a few international visitors. And if New Jersey isn't your thing, there are other Vintage Computer Festivals you might want to attend. To get current news about these events, you might want to sign up for the VCF email list.

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Ask Slashdot - Breaking Into Penetration Testing At 30
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 10:46 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's braking-in department:
An anonymous reader writes I currently work for a small IT MPS in the Southern USA. Recently, my boss approached me about offering security evaluation and penetration testing to customers in our area due to the increasing number of regulations companies area are having to meet. My role in the company is that of a proactive systems administrator. I have strong troubleshooting skills, a moderate knowledge of Linux, and a strong grasp on Windows systems. My working knowledge of networks is a bit rusty, but I've started working on my CCNA again, and skill/knowledge of any kind of programming language is extremely lacking as I have slacked off in that department. However, I've been working with Powershell scripting, and have picked up some resources on Python. Where would a guy like me start? What can I do, as far as personal development, to give me a shot at building this "new department" within my company? Am I beyond hope?

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Why We Need Free Digital Hardware Designs
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 10:01 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's open-it-up department:
jrepin writes Free software is a matter of freedom, not price; broadly speaking, it means that users are free to use the software and to copy and redistribute the software, with or without changes. Applying the same concept directly to hardware, free hardware means hardware that you are free to use and to copy and redistribute with or without changes. But, since there are no copiers for hardware, is the concept of free hardware even possible? The concept we really need is that of a free hardware design. That's simple: it means a design that permits users to use the design (i.e., fabricate hardware from it) and to copy and redistribute it, with or without changes. The design must provide the same four freedoms that define free software. Then "free hardware" means hardware with an available free design.

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Researchers Nearly Double the Size of Worker Ants
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 09:16 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-would-you-do-this department:
sciencehabit writes: Researchers have nearly doubled the size of a handful of Florida ants by chemically modifying their DNA, rather than by changing its encoded information. The work may help explain how the insects—despite their high degree of genetic similarity—grow into the different varieties of workers needed in a colony.

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Flaw In Dropbox SDK For Android Lets Attackers Steal Data Sent To Users' Account
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 09:01 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's many-points-of-failure department:
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from IBM's security team have discovered an authentication flaw in the Dropbox Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android that can be exploited to capture new data a user saves to its Dropbox account. The flaw has been extensively documented by the researchers in a blog post, but the things you initially need to know are these: the vulnerability can be exploited if you use an app that uses a Dropbox SDK Version 1.5.4 through 1.6.1 (the latest one is v1.6.3), or if you visit a specially-crafted malicious page with your Android web browser targeting that app, and that's only if you don't have the Dropbox for Android app installed. Also, an attacker can't access the data you have previously stored in your Dropbox account.

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Some of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels Are Fix-Ups
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 08:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pendulum-swinging-back department:
HughPickens.com writes: What do science fiction classics like Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle, Simak's City, and Sturgeon's More Than Human have in common? Each of them is a "fix-up" — a novel constructed out of short stories that were previously published on their own. "This used to be one standard way to write a science fiction novel — publish a series of stories that all take place in the same world, and then knit them together into a book," says Charlie Jane Anders. "Sometimes a great deal of revision happened, to turn the separate stories into a single narrative and make sure all the threads joined up. Sometimes, the stories remain pretty separate but there are links between them."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Billionaire Teams Up With NASA To Mine the Moon
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 07:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-don't-pull-a-praxis department:
schwit1 writes: Moon Express, a Mountain View, California-based company that's aiming to send the first commercial robotic spacecraft to the moon next year, just took another step closer toward that lofty goal. Earlier this year, it became the first company to successfully test a prototype of a lunar lander at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The success of this test—and a series of others that will take place later this year—paves the way for Moon Express to send its lander to the moon in 2016. Moon Express conducted its tests with the support of NASA engineers, who are sharing with the company their deep well of lunar know-how. The NASA lunar initiative—known as Catalyst—is designed to spur new commercial U.S. capabilities to reach the moon and tap into its considerable resources.

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Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 07:16 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's year-of-linux-on-the-console department:
An anonymous reader writes: This week the Steam Linux client has crossed the threshold of having more than 1,000 native Linux games available while Steam in total has just under 5,000 games. This news comes while the reported Steam Linux market-share is just about 1.0%, but Valve continues brewing big plans for Linux gaming. Is 2015 the year of the Linux gaming system?

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New Evidence Strengthens NSA Ties To Equation Group Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tax-funded-hacks department:
An anonymous reader writes: When researchers from Kaspersky Lab presented the Equation Group espionage malware, many in the security community were convinced it was part of an NSA operation. Now, Kaspersky has released new evidence that only strengthens those suspicions. In a code sample, they found a string named <tt>BACKSNARF_AB25</tt>, which happens to be the name of a project in the NSA's Tailored Access Operations. Further, when examining the metadata on the malware files, they found the modification timestamps were almost always consistent with an 8-5 workday in the UTC-3 or UTC-4 timezones, consistent with work based in the eastern United States. The authors also tended to work Monday through Friday, and not on the weekends, suggesting a large, organized development team. "Whereas before the sprawling Equation Drug platform was known to support 35 different modules, Kaspersky has recently unearthed evidence there are 115 separate plugins. The architecture resembles a mini operating system with kernel- and user-mode components alike."

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edX Welcomes 'The University of Microsoft' Into Its Fold
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mascot-is-the-fightin'-chairthrower department:
theodp writes: "At edX," explains the upscale MOOC founded by MIT and Harvard, "we believe in offering the highest quality courses, created by schools and partners who share our commitment to excellence in teaching and learning, both online and in the classroom." You know, like Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure (course trailer). On Tuesday, edX welcomed Microsoft as its first corporate member to offer MOOCs on edX.org. "Through this program," said edX, "Microsoft will offer the edX global learning community courses to acquire the core development skills needed to be successful in the cloud-first, mobile-first world." The new initiative, explained Microsoft, expands upon an existing Microsoft partnership with edX to create interactive online courses using Office Mix and PowerPoint 2013. Classes start March 31st.

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Why Israel Could Be the Next Cybersecurity World Power
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention department:
jfruh writes: Beersheba is a small town in southern Israel, more than an hour's drive away from Tel Aviv and the bulk of the country's population. But the city is a hotbed of cybersecurity startups driven in part by a graduate program at the local university and the country's military and intelligence apparatus's keen interest in the subject. "To become such a cyber nexus, any place has to have several ingredients: A great university with a solid computer science department with a penchant for security research. Check. Several industry partners who have set up their own research and innovation laboratories nearby, to take advance of the cheap labor pool of graduate students. Check. An active venture capitalist operation that can fund startups is also essential, along with mentors who can help entrepreneurs along. Double check. And finally some solid support for local and national government to grease the wheels of progress. Check."

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Clinton Regrets, But Defends, Use of Family Email Server
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's security-through-obscurity department:
dcblogs writes: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that, in hindsight, her decision to use a private email server to conduct official business was not the best one. But she is defending it and said the system was secure. Clinton, at news conference in New York, said the email server that she used had been set up for former President Bill Clinton. The system had "numerous safeguards" and is on home property protected by the U.S. Secret Service, she said. "There were no security breaches," said Clinton. "I think the use of that server, which started with my husband, proved to be effective and secure," she said. It still remains unclear about just how appropriate Clinton's system was. As a general rule, government IT policies don't give federal employees the option of using their own email accounts to exclusively conduct government business.

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Open Source Hardware Approaching Critical Mass
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '15 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nuclear-metaphors department:
angry tapir writes: The Open Compute Project, which wants to open up hardware the same way Linux opened up software, is starting to tackle its forklift problem. You can't download boxes or racks, so open-source hardware needs a supply chain, said OCP President and Chairman Frank Frankovsky, kicking off the Open Compute Project Summit in San Jose. The companies looking to adopt this kind of gear include some blue-chip names: Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Capital One are members. The idea is that if a lot of vendors build hardware to OCP specifications, IT departments will have more suppliers to choose from offering gear they can easily bring into their data centers. Standard hardware can also provide more platforms for innovative software, Frankovsky said. Now HP and other vendors are starting to deliver OCP systems in a way the average IT department understands. At the same time, the organization is taking steps to make sure new projects are commercially viable rather than just exercises in technology.

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Dry-ice Heat Engines For Martian Colonists
Posted by News Fetcher on March 10 '15 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's until-we-get-a-gas-station-up-and-running department:
LeadSongDog writes: Heat engines using the "Leidenfrost effect" can exploit the gas expansion as CO2 sublimates to drive turbines. "The technique has exciting implications for working in extreme and alien environments, such as outer space, where it could be used to make long-term exploration and colonisation sustainable by using naturally occurring solid carbon dioxide as a resource rather than a waste product. If this could be realised, then future missions to Mars, such as those in the news recently, may not need to be ‘one-way’ after all.

Dry ice may not be abundant on Earth, but increasing evidence from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) suggests it may be a naturally occurring resource on Mars as suggested by the seasonal appearance of gullies on the surface of the red planet. If utilised in a Leidenfrost-based engine dry-ice deposits could provide the means to create future power stations on the surface of Mars. " The research was published in Nature Communications, and one of the researchers published an explanatory article at The Conversation.


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Turkish Ministry Recommends Banning Minecraft -- Over Violence
Posted by News Fetcher on March 10 '15 at 09:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's weapons-of-mass-construction department:
An anonymous reader writes: Minecraft is known for a lot of things. It's a fantastic creative outlet and the digital sandbox of youngsters' dreams, for instance. The game has also been known to raise the ire of unrelated companies who somehow think all that creativity by gamers is something that can be sued over. It's known for amazing user-generated content, including games within games and replicas of entire cities. The nation of Turkey is known for very different things. It's a country that absolutely loves to censor stuff, for instance. And, thanks to recent developments, Turkey is also known as a great place to get a front-row look at the incredible violence done by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. But the Turkish government has a plan to keep its youngsters from witnessing too much violence: it is calling to ban Minecraft.

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South African Government Issues Plans To Censor Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on March 10 '15 at 08:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-learning-from-the-mistakes-of-others department:
An anonymous reader writes: The South African department of communications is sitting on a draft paper drawn up by the local Film & Publication Board, which proposes strict regulation of the internet within in the country in order to bring online publishing inline with that of DVD, video and terrestrial TV ratings. The proposals are being called censorship and unconstitutional, and include plans to criminalize anyone who publishes material online — including uploading videos to YouTube — who doesn't pay a licence and submit to vetting by FPB agents.

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Strange Stars Pulse To the Golden Mean
Posted by News Fetcher on March 10 '15 at 06:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's math-is-beautiful department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from an article at Quanta Magazine:
What struck John Learned about the blinking of KIC 5520878, a bluish-white star 16,000 light-years away, was how artificial it seemed. Learned, a neutrino physicist at the University of Hawaii, Mnoa, has a pet theory that super-advanced alien civilizations might send messages by tickling stars with neutrino beams, eliciting Morse code-like pulses. "It's the sort of thing tenured senior professors can get away with," he said. The pulsations of KIC 5520878, recorded recently by NASA's Kepler telescope, suggested that the star might be so employed.

A "variable" star, KIC 5520878 brightens and dims in a six-hour cycle, seesawing between cool-and-clear and hot-and-opaque. Overlaying this rhythm is a second, subtler variation of unknown origin; this frequency interplays with the first to make some of the star's pulses brighter than others. In the fluctuations, Learned had identified interesting and, he thought, possibly intelligent sequences, such as prime numbers (which have been floated as a conceivable basis of extraterrestrial communication). He then found hints that the star's pulses were chaotic. But when Learned mentioned his investigations to a colleague, William Ditto, last summer, Ditto was struck by the ratio of the two frequencies driving the star's pulsations. "I said, 'Wait a minute, that's the golden mean.'"


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Linux Kernel Adopts 'Code of Conflict'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 10 '15 at 05:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's be-excellent-to-each-other department:
Motor was one of several readers to note that a small patch recently added to the Linux kernel contains guidelines for discourse and dispute resolution within the community. It's called the "Code of Conflict." Quoting:
Your code and ideas behind it will be carefully reviewed, often resulting in critique and criticism. The review will almost always require improvements to the code before it can be included in the kernel. Know that this happens because everyone involved wants to see the best possible solution for the overall success of Linux. .... If however, anyone feels personally abused, threatened, or otherwise uncomfortable due to this process, that is not acceptable. ... As a reviewer of code, please strive to keep things civil and focused on the technical issues involved.

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Lawsuit Claims Major Automakers Have Failed To Guard Against Hackers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 10 '15 at 04:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's maybe-they'll-listen-when-lawyers-say-it department:
Lucas123 writes: A Dallas-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claiming Ford, GM and Toyota all ignored basic electronic security measures that leave vehicles open to hackers who can take control of critical functions and endanger the safety of the driver and passengers. The suit, filed on behalf of three vehicle owners and "all others similarly situated" is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction that would force automakers to install proper firewalls or encryption in vehicle computer bus systems, which connect dozens of electronic control units. "Toyota, Ford and GM have deliberately hidden the dangers associated with car computer systems, misleading consumers," attorney Marc Stanley said. The lawsuit cites several studies revealing security flaws in vehicle electronics. A 2013 study by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency found researchers could make vehicles "suddenly accelerate, turn, [and] kill the brakes." A study released last month by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) also claims automakers have fallen far short in their responsibility to secure their vehicles' electronics.

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On Firing Open Source Community Members
Posted by News Fetcher on March 10 '15 at 03:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-we-all-just-get-along department:
An anonymous reader writes: As open source started booming, more people joined. Opinionated people. People who listened to the "we welcome everyone!" message and felt that their opinion could be their primary contribution. For some, they felt showing up at the gig gave them the right to dictate what the band played. From a leadership perspective, this was a tough spot to be in. On one hand, you want to foster an open, welcoming, and empowered community. You want that diversity of skills, but you also want value and quality. Low-quality contributors don't bring much other than noise: they are a net drain on resources because other good contributors have to take time away to support them.

In addition to this, those entitled, special-snowflakes who felt they deserved to be listened to would invariably start whining on their blogs about what they considered to be poor decisions. This caused heat in a community, heat causes sweating, sweating causes irritability, and irritability causes more angry blog posts. Critical blog posts were not the problem; un-constructive, critical blog posts were the problem. So what's the best way to foster a welcoming environment while still being able to remove the destructive elements?


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