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Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '14 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keep-your-away-messages-to-yourself department:
AmiMoJo writes Sure, you can set an out-of-office auto-reply to let others know they shouldn't email you, but that doesn't usually stop the messages; you may still have to handle those urgent-but-not-really requests while you're on vacation. That's not a problem if you work at Daimler, though. The German automaker recently installed software that not only auto-replies to email sent while staff is away, but deletes it outright.

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Feds: Red Light Camera Firm Paid For Chicago Official's Car, Condo
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '14 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's red-light-red-light department:
An anonymous reader writes "The former CEO of Redflex, a major red light camera vendor, and John Bills, former Managing Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Transportation, have been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from a contract with the City of Chicago. According to the indictment, a friend of Bills was hired as a contractor and paid $2 million. Much of that money was then kicked back to Bills, who also got a Mercedes and a condominium via Redflex employees. The defendants are facing 23 counts including: mail fraud, wire fraud, and bribery. Each fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years."

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Ebola Quarantine Center In Liberia Looted
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '14 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-worse department:
An anonymous reader writes The BBC and other outlets are reporting that a major quarantine center for patients who have been infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia has been looted and ransacked. Reports vary on the motive of the attack, but officials have confirmed that the Ebola patients are missing and that the quarantine center's medical supplies have been stolen. Officials say that the looters are highly likely to contract the virus themselves and worsen the epidemic further, as the WHO counts 1000+ lives claimed by the virus total."

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Fighting Invasive Fish With Forks and Knives
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 10:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-forget-the-tartar department:
An anonymous reader writes "NPR commentator Bonny Wolf has a unique solution to battle the threat of invasive fish species in our waterways. She proposes we fight them with a knife, fork, and a few lemon wedges. From the article: "Take the , which has made its way into tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. It competes with native species for food, and then eats the native species, not to mention the odd frog or bird, with its mouthful of sharp teeth. It's been called "Fishzilla." It breeds fast, has no natural predators and can grow to be 4 feet long. The northern snakehead hangs out in grassy shallows, making it hard to catch. But a couple of years ago, Maryland started promoting the snakehead as an eating fish. Its harvest has increased from zero to 5,000 pounds a year.""

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ICANN Offers Fix For Domain Name Collisions
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's jury-rigging department:
An anonymous reader writes with news about ICANN's fix for conflicting domain names. This kind of problem — when an internal server's DNS name conflicts with one of the new Top Level Domain (TLD) names — is going to start happening more and more often. With over 300 new TLDs available to be used by August 2014 and 1,100 more to come, you can expect to see it a lot. Fortunately, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has a fix so you don't have to go through all the hoops I did to find the problem: the Name Collision Occurrence Management Framework. According to ICANN, which is also the organization that has blessed us with so many new TLDs to add to such old favorites of .com, .edu, and .org, "The framework is designed to mitigate the impact of name collisions in the DNS, which typically occur when fully qualified domain names conflicts with similar domain names used in private networks. When this occurs, users can be taken to an unintended web page or encounter an error message."

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Windows 8.1 Update Crippling PCs With BSOD, Microsoft Suggests You Roll Back
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's back-to-the-old department:
MojoKid writes Right on schedule, Microsoft rolled-out an onslaught of patches for its "Patch Tuesday" last week, and despite the fact that it wasn't the true "Update 2" for Windows 8.1 many of us were hoping for, updates are generally worth snatching up. Since the patch rollout, it's been discovered that four individual updates are causing random BSoD issues for its users, with KB2982791, a kernel-mode related driver, being the biggest culprit. Because of the bug's severity, Microsoft is recommending that anyone who updated go and uninstall a couple of the specific updates, or rollback using Windows Restore. You can uninstall these updates in much the same way you uninstall any app; the difference is that once you're in the "Programs and Features" section, you'll need to click on "View installed updates" on the left. While it's mostly recommended that you uninstall 2982791, you may wish to uninstall the others as well, just in case.

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No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-the-end-of-the-world-or-not department:
An anonymous reader writes "Phil Plait wants you to know that asteroid 1950 DA is very, very unlikely to hit the Earth in 2880, despite what you may have read. He writes: "As it happens, 1950 DA is what's called a 'near-Earth asteroid', because its orbit sometimes brings it relatively close to Earth. I'll note that I mean close on a cosmic scale. Looking over the next few decades, a typical pass is tens of millions of kilometers away, with some as close as five million kilometers — which is still more than ten times farther away than the Moon! Still, that's in our neighborhood, which is one of the reasons this asteroid is studied so well. It gets close enough that we can get a decent look at it when it passes. Can it impact the Earth? Yes, kindof. Right now, the orbit of the asteroid doesn't bring it close enough to hit us. But there are forces acting on asteroids over time that subtly change their orbits; one of them is called the YORP effect, a weak force that arises due to the way the asteroid spins and radiates away heat. The infrared photons it emits when it's warm carry away a teeny tiny bit of momentum, and they act pretty much like an incredibly low-thrust rocket. Over many years, this can change both the rotation of the asteroid as well as the shape of its orbit."

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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-can't-tell-up-from-down department:
An anonymous reader writes "In an attempt to keep you from having to explain to your crazy relatives that despite what they read, Vice President Biden *didn't* get a grow light delivered to the White House under a fake name, Facebook is testing a "satire" tag on news feeds. A Facebook representative issued the following statement to Ars Technica: "We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units."

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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's least-of-your-worries department:
An anonymous reader writes The editor of a Bitcoin advocacy site believes the proliferation of altcoins (cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin) is harming Bitcoin's long-term potential as an alternative to traditional currencies. Posting at BadBitcoin.org, a site that seeks to expose online scams that target Bitcoin users, the pseudonymous ViK compares altcoins, including the Internet meme inspired Dogecoin, to a pump-and-dump scheme where developers create their own version of the Bitcoin wallet and blockchain and then "pre-mine" or generate a significant number of cryptocurrency units before the altcoin's official release. Later, when their value has risen, the pre-mined altcoins are exchanged for Bitcoin or in some cases converted directly to cash. While critics of cryptocurrencies in general might find ViK's comments about the altcoin "tulip" mania ironic, the self-confessed Bitcoin fan is nevertheless calling for an altcoin boycott: "The easiest way to stop them is to not participate. We all know that they only have one purpose, and that is to make Bitcoin for the so called developers."

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New Cridex Malware Copies Tactics From GameOver Zeus
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery department:
Trailrunner7 writes The GameOver Zeus malware had a nice run for itself, making untold millions of dollars for its creators. But it was a run that ended with a multi-continent operation from law enforcement and security researchers to disassemble the infrastructure. Now researchers have identified a new variant of the Cridex malware that has adopted some of the techniques that made GOZ so successful in its day.

Researchers at IBM's X-Force research team have seen a new version of Cridex, which is also known as Bugat and Feodo, using some of the same techniques that GOZ used to such good effect. Specifically, the new strain of malware has adopted GOZ's penchant for using HTML injections, and the researchers say the technique is nearly identical to the way that GOZ handled it.

"There are two possible explanations for this. First, someone from the GOZ group could have moved to the Bugat team. This would not be the first time something like this has happened, which we've witnessed in other cases involving Zeus and Citadel; however, it is not very likely in this case since Bugat and GOZ are essentially competitors, while Zeus and Citadel are closely related. The second and more likely explanation is that the Bugat team could have analyzed and perhaps reversed the GOZ malware before copying the HTML injections that made GOZ so highly profitable for its operators," Etay Maor, a senior fraud prevention strategist at IBM, wrote in an analysis of the new malware.


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Is Storage Necessary For Renewable Energy?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's on-the-fly department:
mdsolar writes Physicist and energy expert Amory Lovins, chief scientist at The Rocky Mountain Institute, recently released a video in which he claims that renewable energy can meet all of our energy needs without the need for a fossil fuel or nuclear baseload generation. There's nothing unusual about that — many people have made that claim — but he also suggests that this can be done without a lot of grid-level storage. Instead, Lovins describes a "choreography" between supply and demand, using predictive computer models models to anticipate production and consumption, and intelligent routing to deliver power where it's needed. This "energy dance," combined with advances in energy efficiency, will allow us to meet all of our energy needs without sacrificing reliability.

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ISS Earth at Night Photos Crowdsourced For Science
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's worth-a-thousand-words department:
teleyinex writes The Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) is leading a project called Cities at Night to catalog the images taken by astronauts from the ISS. The project uses the platform Crowdcrafting powered by the open source software PyBossa to catalog images in cities, stars or other objects, as well as geo-reference them."

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Financial Services Group WCS Sues Online Forum Over Negative Post
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-wish-you-wouldn't-say-that department:
First time accepted submitter kavzee writes The popular Australian online discussion forum, Whirlpool, is being sued by a financial services group for refusing to remove a negative review about its services. A similar story occurred a number of years ago when another company by the name of 2Clix attempted to sue Whirlpool for the same reasons but later withdrew their case. "A financial services business licenced through National Australia Bank is suing an online forum for refusing to remove an allegedly fake and negative post about its services, claiming it has damaged its reputation with would-be clients. It is the latest legal action launched against an online forum or review website for publishing negative comments, following several high profile cases in Australia and overseas. Financial advice group WCS Group has initiated action against Whirlpool in the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking unspecified damages and costs, despite the fact the forum generates no revenue."

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Scientists Record Quantum Behavior of Electrons Via Laser Lights
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's spinning-lasers department:
An anonymous reader writes in with news about a breakthrough in recording quantum behavior in electrons. A group of researchers has said that they have come up with a new method to record and control electron behavior at the quantum mechanical level. The research team, headed by the scientists at the University of Chicago, used laser lights in ultra-fast pulses for the experiment. The laser light controlled the quantum state of electrons. It contained inside nanoscale defects in a diamond. The researchers observed changes in that electron over a time period. They focused on the quantum mechanical property of electrons known as spin. Lead author David Awschalom, a molecular engineering professor at a university in Chicago, said, "These defects have attracted great interest of the scientists over the past decade. They provide a test-bed system for developing semiconductor quantum bits as well as nanoscale sensors."

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Researchers Discover New Plant "Language"
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-does-the-ficus-say? department:
An anonymous reader writes A Virginia Tech scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, that allows then to share genetic information with one another. Jim Westwood, a professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, found evidence of this new communication mode by investigating the relationship between dodder, a parasitic plant, and the flowering plant Arabidopsis and tomato plants to which it attaches and sucks out nutrients with an appendage called a haustorium. Westwood examined the plants' mRNA, the molecule in cells that instructs organisms how to code certain proteins that are key to functioning. MRNA helps to regulate plant development and can control when plants eventually flowers. He found that the parasitic and the host plants were exchanging thousands of mRNA molecules between each other, thus creating a conversation.

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Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-rose-by-any-other-name department:
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's Internet Explorer engineering team told a Reddit gathering that discussions about a name change have taken place and could happen again. From the article: "Microsoft has had "passionate" discussions about renaming Internet Explorer to distance the browser from its tarnished image, according to answers from members of the developer team given in a reddit Ask Me Anything session today. In spite of significant investment in the browser—with the result that Internet Explorer 11 is really quite good—many still regard the browser with contempt, soured on it by the lengthy period of neglect that came after the release of the once-dominant version 6. Microsoft has been working to court developers and get them to give the browser a second look, but the company still faces an uphill challenge."

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Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-aren't-part-of-the-solution,-you're-part-of-the-preciptate department:
An anonymous reader writes Following up on a recent experiment into the status of software engineers versus managers, Jon Evans writes that the easiest way to find out which companies don't respect their engineers is to learn which companies simply don't understand them. "Engineers are treated as less-than-equal because we are often viewed as idiot savants. We may speak the magic language of machines, the thinking goes, but we aren't business people, so we aren't qualified to make the most important decisions. ... Whereas in fact any engineer worth her salt will tell you that she makes business decisions daily–albeit on the micro not macro level–because she has to in order to get the job done. Exactly how long should this database field be? And of what datatype? How and where should it be validated? How do we handle all of the edge cases? These are in fact business decisions, and we make them, because we're at the proverbial coal face, and it would take forever to run every single one of them by the product people and sometimes they wouldn't even understand the technical factors involved. ... It might have made some sense to treat them as separate-but-slightly-inferior when technology was not at the heart of almost every business, but not any more."

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Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '14 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deader-than-an-arbitrarily-dead-thing department:
Safensoft writes: Symantec recently made a loud statement that antivirus is dead and that they don't really consider it to be a source of profit. Some companies said the same afterwards; some other suggested that Symantec just wants a bit of free media attention. The press is full of data on antivirus efficiency being quite low. A notable example would be the Zeus banking Trojan, and how only 40% of its versions can be stopped by antivirus software. The arms race between malware authors and security companies is unlikely to stop.

On the other hand, experts' opinions of antivirus software have been low for a while, so it's hardly surprising. It's not a panacea. The only question that remains is: how exactly should antivirus operate in modern security solutions? Should it be one of the key parts of a protection solution, or it should be reduced to only stopping the easiest and most well-known threats?

< article continued at Slashdot >

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EFF's Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '14 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-use-your-cell-phone-as-a-projectile-weapon department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has updated its guide for protecting yourself and your cell phone at a protest. In addition to being extremely powerful tools (real-time communication to many watchers via social media, and video recording functionality), cell phones can also give authorities a lot of information about you if they confiscate it. The EFF is trying to encourage cell phone use and prepare people to use them. (The guide is based on U.S. laws, but much of the advice makes sense for other places as well.) Here are a few small snippets: "Start using encrypted communications channels. Text messages, as a rule, can be read and stored by your phone company or by surveillance equipment in the area. ... If the police ask to see your phone, tell them you do not consent to the search of your device. Again, since the Supreme Court's decision in Riley, there is little question that officers need a warrant to access the contents of your phone incident to arrest, though they may be able to seize the phone and get a warrant later. ... If your phone or electronic device was seized, and is not promptly returned when you are released, you can file a motion with the court to have your property returned."

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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '14 at 08:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bazookas-for-all department:
v3rgEz writes: Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what equipment other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon's 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear.

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