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Places Where the Silicon Valley Bubble Could Pop
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's acquire-while-the-acquirin's-good department:
waderoush writes: "If Silicon Valley is in a bubble — which it is – how will it finally burst? Where is the bubble's membrane being stretched so thin that it's in danger of tearing open and letting the real world rush in? This commentary from Xconomy picks real places around the San Francisco Bay Area embodying tensions, imbalances, injustices, or dangers that could escalate into a show-stopping crisis for the technology economy. One is Bank of America's former headquarters in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District; another is an elementary school in Oakland that happens to sit on the Hayward Fault. 'If we can identify the fractures that threaten to destroy the innovation machine, we might be able to patch them up and keep the system going for a while longer — and maybe even point it in a smarter direction,' the piece argues."

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Why Microsoft Shouldn't Patch the XP Internet Explorer Flaw
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's going-to-take-flak-one-way-or-another department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Sebastian Anthony argues that Microsoft is setting an awful precedent by caving and issuing a fix for Windows XP. 'Yes, tardy governments and IT administrators can breathe a little easier for a little bit longer,' writes Anthony, 'and yes, your mom and dad are yet again safe to use their old Windows XP beige box. But to what end? It's just delaying the inevitable.' Lance Ulanoff argues that Microsoft can't turn a blind eye the security of XP users, even though the company ended support for the 12-year-old operating system on April 8, a fact that Microsoft has been warning about for, literally, years. But this won't be the only vulnerability found in XP, says Dwight Silverman. 'If Microsoft makes an exception now, what about the flaw found after this one? And the next? And the one after that, ad infinitum?' Even though Microsoft has released a patch for the IE flaw, and Windows XP is included, it's time to move on – really. 'I don't want to hear that tired "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" line. Hey, XP IS broke, and it will just get more so over time. Upgrade to a newer version of Windows, or switch to another modern operating system, such as OS X or Linux.'"

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Report: Comcast and EA To Stream Games To TVs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's glad-that-network-congestion-cleared-up-for-you-comcast department:
An anonymous reader writes "Reuters is reporting that Electronic Arts and Comcast are working on a partnership that would stream video games to consumer televisions through Comcast's cable boxes. It will start with the FIFA and Madden sports game franchises. 'Comcast and EA's aim is to make buying games as easy as ordering a pay-per-view movie, sources said. This could create a new distribution model that circumvents console and video-streaming device makers.' The report says consumers will also be able to use tablets as controllers for the games."

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Washington Files First Consumer Protection Lawsuit Over Kickstarter Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reckoning-comes-due department:
An anonymous reader writes "In 2012, a card game called Asylum was successfully funded on Kickstarter. Two months later, its expected delivery date came and passed without a product. In July 2013, the company behind the game stopped communicating with backers. Now, the Washington state Attorney General has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the makers. This is the first time a project from a crowdfunding site has been the target of such a lawsuit. The AG said, 'Consumers need to be aware that crowdfunding is not without risk. This lawsuit sends a clear message to people seeking the public's money: Washington state will not tolerate crowdfunding theft. The Attorney General's Office will hold those accountable who don't play by the rules.' Here's the legal document (PDF)."

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Nasty Security Flaw In OAuth, OpenID
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 01:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-day-another-flaw department:
jones_supa writes: "A notable security vulnerability has been discovered which impacts both OAuth and OpenID, which are software packages that provide a secure delegated access to websites. Wang Jing, a Ph.D student at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, discovered that the 'Covert Redirect' flaw can masquerade as a login popup based on an affected site's domain. Covert Redirect is based on a well-known exploit parameter. For example, someone clicking on a malicious phishing link will get a popup window in Facebook, asking them to authorize the app. Instead of using a fake domain name that's similar to trick users, the Covert Redirect flaw uses the real site address for authentication. If a user chooses to authorize the login, personal data will be released to the attacker instead of to the legitimate website. Wang did already warn a handful of tech giants about the vulnerability, but they mostly dodged the issue. In all honesty, it is not trivial to fix, and any effective remedies would negatively impact the user experience. Users who wish to avoid any potential loss of data should be careful about clicking links that immediately ask you to log in to Facebook or Google, and be aware of this redirection attack."

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Volvo Testing Autonomous Cars On Public Roads
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's swedes-are-known-for-their-ability-to-dodge-traffic department:
cartechboy writes: "Multiple automakers have already committed to selling autonomous vehicles by 2020, but only a handful of them have actually started testing and developing them. Now Volvo is putting self-driving test cars on real public roads in Sweden among other, non-autonomous traffic. 'The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves, Volvo engineer Erik Coelingh said in a statement. 'This is an important step towards our aim that the final Drive Me cars will be able to drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode.' The goal for the Drive Me project is to deliver 100 autonomous cars to customers in Gothenburg by 2017."

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Talking To the Public: the Biggest Enemy To Reducing Greenhouse Emissions
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's none-of-us-are-as-dumb-as-all-of-us department:
Lasrick writes: "Lucien Crowder is fed up with the notion that solutions for climate change would be easier to enact if only the public (especially the American public) understood the science better. Crowder looks to nuclear disarmament advocates as a model, as the move to reduce nuclear weapons has seen comparatively greater success even without public awareness and understanding: 'Indeed, in the nuclear and climate realms, desirable policy often seems to flow less from public engagement than from public obliviousness. Disarmament advocates, no matter how they try, cannot tempt most ordinary people into caring about nuclear weapons—yet stockpiles of weapons steadily, if still too slowly, decrease. Climate advocacy provokes greater passion, but passion often manifests itself as outraged opposition to climate action, and atmospheric carbon has reached levels unseen since before human beings evolved.'"

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How 'Fast Lanes' Will Change the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's my-data-is-first-among-equals department:
An anonymous reader writes "Net neutrality has been looking pretty shaky in recent months. Netflix has started paying Comcast and Verizon directly and the FCC is saying that's perfectly fine. We may be witnessing a fundamental change in the nature of the internet. Timothy B. Lee at Vox explains how all of this works, and what it means for the future of the web. Quoting: '[S]ome of the largest ISPs now seem to view declining network performance not as a technical problem to be solved so much as a source of leverage in business negotiations. Another reason is that regulating interconnection is much more complex than a "classic" network neutrality rule. When all of an ISP's traffic comes through one cable, it's not too hard to write a rule requiring that the packets in that cable be treated equally. But it's harder to write a rule governing when and how ISPs must interconnect. Someone needs to pay for the cost of these connections, and the fairest way to split the costs depends on many subtle factors, including geography, traffic patterns, and the relative size of the interconnecting networks. A poorly written interconnection rule could create a lot of work for lawyers without actually preventing abusive practices.'"

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Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-computer-is-broadcasting-an-ip-address department:
Capt.Michaels writes: "I need to start sending security alerts and warnings to employees at my somewhat sizable company. My problem: I'm not sure how to send these alerts without freaking everyone out and causing the help desk to get flooded with phone calls. For example, let's take the current Internet Explorer exploit that caused US-CERT to recommend switching browsers. I don't want everyone killing our limited help desk with ridiculous questions like, 'I downloaded $New_Browser, how can I get my toolbar? How do I bookmark things in this browser? Can you tell me which browser you recommend?' Simply put: some vulnerabilities are worth major changes, but many aren't. If we switched software every time a new vulnerability came out, we'd never get anything done. Sooner or later, a patch will come out, and everything will be back to normal. But how do I communicate to end users that they should be aware of an issue and take extra care until it's fixed, without causing panic?"

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Figuring Out the iPad's Place
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's glued-to-the-ceiling department:
An anonymous reader writes "One of the most interesting notes from Apple's recent quarterly report was that iPad sales are down. Pundits were quick to jump on that as evidence that the iPad was just a fad, but there were still more than 16 million units sold. iPads, and the tablet market as a whole, clearly aren't a fad, but it's also unclear where they're going. They're not convincingly replacing PCs on one end or phones on the other. Meanwhile, PCs and phones are both morphing into things that are more like tablets. New form factors often succeed (or fail) based on what they can do better than old form factors, and the iPad hasn't done enough to make itself distinct, yet. Ben Thompson had an insightful take on people demanding desktop functionality from the iPad: 'This sounds suspiciously like the recommendation that the only thing holding the Macintosh back was its inability to run Apple II programs. It's also of a piece with the vast majority of geek commentary on the iPad: multiple windows, access to the file system, so on and so forth. I also think it's misplaced. The future of the iPad is not to be a better Mac. That may happen by accident, just as the Mac eventually superseded the Apple II, but to pursue that explicitly would be to sacrifice what the iPad might become, and, more importantly, what it already is.'"

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ESA Taking Applications for Summer of Code in Space
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's still-need-working-holodeck-code department:
phyr writes: "ESA Summer of Code in Space (SOCIS) is a program run by the European Space Agency. It aims at offering student developers stipends to write code for various space-related open source software projects. Through SOCIS, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers. Applicants must be attending a European or Canadian university and will receive 4000 Euros for supporting one of the accepted open source projects. Applicants have until May 15th to submit their proposals and resumes. I'm particularly interested to have exceptional proposals for the NEST project."

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Astronomers Calculate How To Spot Life On an Alien Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's E.T.-=-mc^2 department:
KentuckyFC writes: "One of the main goals of the space program is to spot an Earth-like planet orbiting another star. And by Earth-like, astronomers mean a planet with liquid water, gaseous oxygen and even chlorophyll, or a light-harvesting molecule like it. The biosignatures of these molecules were all observed during the first Earth fly-by in 1990 when the Galileo spacecraft measured the light reflected off Earth as it flew past on its way to Jupiter. But if these biosignatures exist on more distant exoplanets, could we spot them today? Now astronomers have calculated how good the next generation of space telescopes will have to be to pick up these biosignatures of life. They say that gaseous water should be relatively straightforward to pick out and that oxygen will be more challenging. But the spectral signature of chlorophyll-like molecules will be much harder to spot, requiring significantly more sensitivity than is possible today (either that or a great deal of luck). That suggests a plan, they say. The next generation of space telescopes should look for water and oxygen on exoplanets orbiting nearby stars and only then begin the time-consuming and expensive task of looking for chlorophyll on the most promising targets. One spacecraft that might do this is the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope or ATLAST that is currently scheduled for launch in the 2025-2035 time frame."

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Yahoo Stops Honoring 'Do-Not-Track' Settings
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's doesn't-fit-the-new-logo department:
An anonymous reader writes "When web browsers started implementing 'do-not-track' settings, Yahoo got some respect for being the first of the huge tech companies to honor those settings. Unfortunately, that respect has now gone out the door. As of this week, Yahoo will no longer alter their data collection if a user doesn't want to be tracked. They say there are two reasons for this. First, they want to provide a personalized web-browsing experience, which isn't possible using do-not-track. Second, they don't think do-not-track is viable. They say, '[W]e've been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard. However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry.' It looks like this is another blow to privacy on the web."

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For the First Time Ever, the FAA Is Trying To Fine a Drone Hobbyist
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's be-careful-with-your-rc-helicopters department:
Jason Koebler writes: "For the first time ever, the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to fine a hobby drone operator, a development that threatens to throw the whole hobby into disarray if the agency successfully levies the fine. While the FAA has explicitly said it doesn't want anyone flying drones commercially, it has never issued similar suggestions about hobby flight, which is why it has been just fine for some guy to fly a drone above a tornado, but illegal, in the FAA's eyes, for a journalist to do the same. That has changed, according to the agency. A spokesperson for the FAA told me that the agency 'has proposed a civil penalty against an individual in New York City. The operator, who is a hobbyist, flew a drone carelessly or recklessly and violated air traffic rules as well. He ran the drone into a couple of buildings and it crash-landed 20 feet from a person (video).'"

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Google Hit With Antitrust Lawsuit Over Default Search on Android Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's same-problems,-different-decade department:
itwbennett writes: "A class-action lawsuit filed Thursday (PDF) accuses Google of strong-arming device manufacturers into making its search engine the default on Android devices, driving up the cost of those devices and hurting consumers. The suit does not argue that device manufacturers entered Mobile Application Distribution Agreements involuntarily, but that the market power of Google compels them to. 'Because consumers want access to Google's products, and due to Google's power in the U.S. market for general handheld search, Google has unrivaled market power over smartphone and tablet manufacturers,' says the suit."

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Star Cluster Ejected From Galaxy At 2,000,000 MPH
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-out-and-stay-out department:
William Robinson writes: "According to a new report, a globular cluster of several thousand stars (compressed into a space just a few dozen light-years apart) is being thrown out of galaxy M87. The cluster, named HVGC-1, is traveling at a rate of 2 million miles per hour. The discovery was made by Nelson Caldwell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and his team while studying the space around the supergiant elliptical galaxy M87. Caldwell and colleagues think M87 might have two supermassive black holes at its center. The star cluster wandered too close to the pair, which picked off many of the cluster's outer stars while the inner core remained intact. The black holes then acted like a slingshot, flinging the cluster away at a tremendous speed."

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Born In the NSA: These Former Spies Are Starting Companies of Their Own
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we-did-it-our-way department:
First time accepted submitter ElyKahn (3637855) writes "The diaspora of startups with an NSA pedigree is rapidly growing. These startups, such as Sqrrl, Virtru, and Synack, are typically security-focused and often are commercializing technology projects from the NSA. However, coming from the NSA is a dual-edged sword... the technology is world-class and cutting-edge, but they must also fight the viewpoint of some that the startups are merely a front for the NSA."

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Rand Paul Suggests Backing Bitcoin With Stocks
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's back-it-with-waffles-instead department:
SonicSpike writes:
"In a recent interview, Senator Rand Paul said there's one thing he would change about Bitcoin: it should be backed by something with intrinsic value, like stocks. He said, 'I was looking more at it until that recent thing [sic]. And actually my theory, if I were setting it up, I'd make it exchangeable for stock. And then it'd have real value. And I'd have it pegged, and I'd have a basket of 10 big retailers I think it would work, but I think, because I'm sort of a believer in currency having value, if you're going to create a currency, have it backed up by — you know, Hayek used to talk about a basket of commodities? You could have a basket of stocks, and have some exchangeability, because it's hard for people like me who are a bit tangible. But you could have an average of stocks, I'm wondering if that's the next permutation.'"

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Sony Tape Storage Breakthrough Could Bring Us 185 TB Cartridges
Posted by News Fetcher on May 02 '14 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pack-it-in department:
jfruh (300774) writes "Who says tape storage is out of date? Sony researchers have announced a breakthrough in magnetic tape tech that increases the data density per square inch by a factor of 74. The result could be 185 TB tape cartridges. 'By comparison, LTO-6 (Linear Tape-Open), the latest generation of magnetic tape storage, has a density of 2 gigabits per square inch, or 2.5 TB per cartridge uncompressed.'"

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Grad Student Makes Nanowires Just Three Atoms Thick
Posted by News Fetcher on May 01 '14 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lets-get-small department:
Science_afficionado (932920) writes "A Vanderbilt University graduate student, working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has discovered a way to create nanowires capable of linking transistors and other components made out of the monolayer material TMDC. His accomplishment is an important step toward creating monolayer microelectronic devices, which could be as thin and flexible as paper and extremely tough."

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