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Programming

+ - 237 What is the best programming language for a 12-year-old to learn? 3

Submitted by wintersynth
wintersynth (915045) writes "My friend is sending his 12-year-old to a tech summer camp and wants to know the best language for him to learn. It looks like Java and Python are the main options, both applied to game programming. There are also classes using the Lego Mindstorm scripting language, and Scratch. Slashdotters, I assume you've run into this question before, and I could use the help. Programming tools have changed a lot since I was learning SmartBASIC on a Coleco Adam as a kid. I want to recommend something that will be powerful enough to show him the unlimited possibilities in programming, but easy enough to maintain his interest and not discourage him. What do you teach your kids? What has been effective?"
Crime

+ - 221 Lawmakers Say CFAA Is Too Hard On Hackers->

Submitted by
GovTechGuy
GovTechGuy writes "A number of lawmakers are using the death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz to speak out against the Justice Department's handling of the case, and application of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The controversy surrounding the Swartz case could finally give activists the momentum they need to halt the steady increase in penalties for even minor computer crimes."
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United States

+ - 174 Pentagon' Distinguished Warefare Medal: for cyber attacks and drone wars->

Submitted by
bios10h
bios10h writes "The Boston Globe writes that the Pentagon is create a new medal. "[The] troops who launch the drone strikes and direct the cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized with the first new combat-related medal to be created in decades." A medal for hackers?"
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Privacy

+ - 159 Do Not Track ineffective and dangerous, says researcher->

Submitted by Seeteufel
Seeteufel (1736784) writes "Nadim Kobeissi, security researcher, describes the Do Not Track standard of the W3C as dangerous.

In fact, Google’s search engine, as well as Microsoft’s (Bing), both ignore the Do Not Track header even though both companies helped implement this feature into their web browsers. Yahoo Search also ignored Do Not Track requests. Some websites will politely inform you, however, of the fact that your Do Not Track request has been ignored, and explain that this has been done in order to preserve their advertising revenue. But not all websites, by a long shot, do this.

The revalations come as Congress and European legislators consider to tighten privacy standards amidth massive advertiser lobbying. "Do not track" received strong support from the European Commission."
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Science

+ - 163 Gut Bacteria Conspired in Melamine Poisonings ->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "In 2008, nearly 300,000 infants in China got sick from milk formula tainted with melamine, a plastics additive that was used illegally to bulk up the formula's apparent protein content. Now, a study in rats implicates bacteria living in the gut as unwitting accomplices in this mass poisoning. The bacteria convert some melamine to cyanuric acid, whichwas present in high concentrations in fatal kidney stones. The work helps clarify how melamine toxicity arises and also drives home the key role that gut bacteria play in human health."
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Games

+ - 144 Punkbuster Service Goes Down, Hundreds of Online Game Servers Affected->

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "PunkBuster, the anti-cheating service implemented in hundreds of online games, is down. As of the time of writing, the official PunkBuster website is up and down, after having been completely down for the past couple of hours. On Twitter, there are numerous reports of gamers who've been unable to play online in the most popular PunkBuster-backed title of the moment, Battlefield 3. EA has gone as far as to post an interim fix. Applying the fix is a simple matter of extracting an archive and then overwriting a couple of files inside of your Battlefield 3 install folder. While EA has little power over PunkBuster's ability to get things 100% functional again, this issue does highlight the fact that third-party solutions are not always the way to go."
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+ - 163 Monsanto takes home $23m from small farmers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Seed giant Monsanto has won more than $23 million from hundreds of small farmers accused of replanting the company’s genetically engineered seeds. Now, another case is looming – and it could set a landmark precedent for the future of seed ownership."
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+ - 177 Source code for Photoshop 1.0->

Submitted by
gbooch
gbooch writes "With the permission of Adobe Systems, the Computer History Museum has made available the source code for Photoshop version 1.0.1, comprising about 128,000 lines code within 179 files, most of which is in Pascal, the remainder in 68000 assembly language.

This the kind of code I aspire to write.

The Computer History Museum has earlier made available the source code to MacPaint (which you'll find here http://www.computerhistory.org/atchm/macpaint-and-quickdraw-source-code/)."

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Google

+ - 185 Tesla, Ford, Amazon Hint at Cloudy Future for Cars->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "The automobile, once the most analog of technologies, is rapidly becoming a smartphone on wheels: Amazon announced Feb. 13 that Ford SYNC Applink-equipped vehicles will include the Amazon Cloud Player, allowing drivers to access their music libraries via voice command or dashboard controls. Ford isn’t the only automotive company seeking to integrate cloud computing into the driving experience. Tesla Motors’ Model S electric sedan boasts a 17-inch capacitive touch-screen in place of the usual dashboard buttons and dials. And who could forget Google's self-driving car? This isn't a future everybody wants—there are more than a few wannabe Steve McQueens who won’t feel complete unless they can stomp on a pedal connected to an internal-combustion engine, flick a physical dashboard knob to the radio station of their choice, and peel out their driveway in a cloud of burning rubber. But as the latest technology migrates into automobiles, it could well be the future we’re going to receive."
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Programming

+ - 250 Ask slashdot: spreadsheet with decent programming language?

Submitted by
slartibartfastatp
slartibartfastatp writes "Spreadsheets are very flexible tools for data analysis and transformations, the obvious options being MS Excel and LibreOffice. However, I found increasingly infuriating to deal with the VBA--dialect functions or (even worse) its translated versions. Is there any spreadsheet that allows usage of a decent programming language in its formulae? I found PySpread intriguing, but still very beta (judging from its latest release version 0.2.3). Perl or even javascript would be better options than =AVERAGE(). The slashdot community knows any viable alternatives ?"
Android

+ - 175 How do you store sensitive data on your mobile devices?

Submitted by infodragon
infodragon (38608) writes "I'm just now seriously diving into the mobile world and have many questions surrounding all the devices, apps and options. However, one stands out; How do I protect sensitive data? On Linux this question is easy, I use RAID 1/5/6, depending on need, with LVM in the middle and topped with LUKS. This setup is very powerful and extremely flexible. Is it possible to match the strength of LUKS on Android? iOS? What are the solutions the /. crowd has used?"
Microsoft

+ - 174 BYOD nightmare: iOS devices hobble Exchange servers when they synch ->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "Microsoft and Apple recommend that businesses deny certain iPhones, iPads and iPods access to Calendar items until the companies can clear up a problem that slows Exchange servers to a crawl when the devices try to synch. The problem reveals itself to end users as an error message when they try to update items with Exchange Server 2010 that says "Cannot Get Mail" and "The connection to the server failed," according to a Microsoft support notification. The only option presented to users is to choose "OK," Microsoft says."
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Security

+ - 268 The Malware Industrial Complex-> 1

Submitted by
holy_calamity
holy_calamity writes "MIT Technology Review reports that efforts by U.S. government agencies and defense contractors to develop malware to attack enemies is driving a black market in zero-day vulnerabilities. Experts warn that could make the internet less secure for everyone, since malicious code is typically left behind on targeted systems and often shows up on untargeted ones, providing opportunities for reverse engineering."
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Intel

+ - 182 Intel Supports OpenGL ES 3.0 On Linux Before Windows->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Khronos Group has published the first products that are officially conformant to OpenGL ES 3.0. On that list is the Intel Ivy Bridge processors with integrated graphics, which support OpenGL ES 3.0 on open-source Linux Mesa. This is the best timing yet for Intel's open-source team to support a new OpenGL standard — the standard is just six months old where as it took years for them to support OpenGL ES 2.0. There's also no OpenGL ES 3.0 Intel Windows driver yet that's conformant. Intel also had a faster turn-around time than NVIDIA and AMD with the only other hardware on the list being Qualcomm and PowerVR hardware. OpenGL ES 3.0 works with Intel Ivy Bridge when using the Linux 3.6 kernel and the soon-to-be-out Mesa 9.1."
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Idle

+ - 172 Heart Attack Grill's Top Customer Dies of Heart Attack->

Submitted by Copper Nikus
Copper Nikus (1615089) writes "John Alleman visited the Heart Attack Grill so often, the restaurant designed an entire line of clothing featuring a cartoon of its beloved "Patient Joe," and placed his face front and center on their menu. Now the restaurant reports via its Facebook page that its most loyal patron has passed away at age 52, from a heart attack.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Alleman suffered a heart attack while waiting for a bus in front of the restaurant, which boasts highly caloric menu items such as the 9,982 calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger, Butterfat Milkshakes and Coronary Dogs.

May he rest in peace."

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Security

+ - 183 NASA: huge water loss in the Middle East->

Submitted by dstates
dstates (629350) writes "Water is a huge global security issue. To understand the middle east, you need to understand that the Golan Heights provides a significant amount of the water used in Israel. Focusing on conflicts and politics means that huge volumes of valuable water are being wasted in the Middle East, and this will only exacerbate future conflicts. Water is a serious issue between India and China. And then there is Africa.US food exports are in effect exporting irrigation water drawn from the Ogallala aquifer. Fracking trades water for energy, and lack of water limits fracking in many parts of th world. Think about it."
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Science

+ - 278 Scientist removed from EPA panel due to industry opposition->

Submitted by Beeftopia
Beeftopia (1846720) writes "The relationship between regulator and regulated is once again called into question as industry pressure leads to a scientist's removal from an EPA regulatory panel. From the article:

"In 2007, when Deborah Rice was appointed chair of an Environmental Protection Agency panel assessing the safety levels of flame retardants, she arrived as a respected Maine toxicologist with no ties to industry. Yet the EPA removed Rice from the panel after an intense push by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), an industry lobbying group that accused her of bias. Her supposed conflict of interest? She had publicly raised questions about the safety of a flame retardant under EPA review."

"

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Science

+ - 180 Oil Dispersants Used During Gulf Spill Degrade Slowly In Cold Water->

Submitted by
MTorrice
MTorrice writes "During the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, clean up crews applied millions of liters of dispersants to break up the oil. At the time, the public and some scientists worried about the environmental effects of the chemicals, in particular how long they would last in the deep sea. According to a new Environmental Protection Agency study, the key active ingredient in the dispersants degrades very rapidly under conditions similar to those found at the Gulf surface during the spill. Meanwhile, in the much colder temperatures found in the deep sea, the breakdown is quite slow. The chemicals’ persistence at deep-sea and Arctic temperatures suggests more research is needed on their toxicity, the researchers say."
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+ - 297 Computers Shown to be Better Than Docs at Diagnosing, Prescribing Treatment->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Applying the same technology used for voice recognition and credit card fraud detection to medical treatments could cut healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes by almost 50%, according to new research. The research by Indiana University found that using patient data with machine-learning algorithms can drastically improve both the cost and quality of healthcare through simulation modeling.The artificial intelligence models used for diagnosing and treating patients obtained a 30% to 35% increase in positive patient outcomes, the research found. This is not the first time AI has been used to diagnose and suggest treatments. Last year, IBM announced that its Watson supercomputer would be used in evaluating evidence-based cancer treatment options for physicians, driving the decision-making process down to a matter of seconds."
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The Internet

+ - 151 Internet Still Under Attack by UN, FCC Comish Fears->

Submitted by Velcroman1
Velcroman1 (1667895) writes "At a United Nations conference in December, 89 countries voted in favor of international government regulation of the Internet. Specific regulations have not been agreed upon, but FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said he fears the U.N. may seek further rulings at a 2014 conference in Busan, Korea. "You’ll have international bureaucrats making engineering and business decisions," McDowell said. The U.N. has no power to force the United States to adopt any Internet regulation, and the U.S. refused to sign the December treaty, along with 55 others countries. But if a large number of countries agree on regulations, the Internet could become fragmented, with very different rules applying in different regions of the world. "That becomes an engineering nightmare," McDowell said."
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Education

+ - 166 Ask Slashdot: Is the bar being lowered in Universities? 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I am in my late 20s, live in the US, work in the IT industry, and am going to school to upgrade from an associate's degree to a bachelor's degree. One of my classes is a web based course that requires students to write blogs. I am not attending one of those questionable for profit schools. This is a state funded, large, public university. In this course I have noticed poor writing skills are the norm rather than the exception. It is a 3rd year course, so students should have successfully completed some sort of writing course prior to this one. Blog posts, which students are graded on, tend to be very poorly written. They are not organized into paragraphs, have multiple run-on sentences, and sometimes don't make sense. I do not know what grades they are receiving for these posts. Slashdot, is what I am seeing the exception, or the norm? Is the bar being lowered for university students, or am I just expecting too much?"
Piracy

+ - 156 Finnish anti-piracy group copies HTML, style sheet from Pirate Bay->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Finland's main anti-piracy group, TTVK, has put a fake Pirate Bay website online . All of the links direct the user to a Finnish anti-piracy message. If you check the source code of the fake BitTorrent website, you can find its largely copied outright from the Pirate Bay website, with the best example being a style sheet that starts with the comment "The main style sheet for the thepiratebay.se"."
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Android

+ - 166 Oracle to Open Source iOS, Android Ports of JavaFX->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Oracle is going to open source JavaFX ports for Android and iOS soon as a part of its efforts to open source the framework. JavaFX, destined to replace Swing GUI library as the default method to develop graphical user interfaces, is a framework used to develop cross-platform rich internet applications (RIAs). The ports for iOS and Android are based on an “unreleased version of JavaSE Embedded for iOS/Android". Oracle’s Richard Bair revealed that the "first bits and pieces" for JavaFX for iOS should probably be out sometime next week. The rest of the release will be scheduled along with the release of prism. Oracle is going to leave javafx-font as closed source but, Bair has said that developers are already working towards an open source native replacement of the component through the OpenJFX list."
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Security

+ - 153 ATM Skimming Ring Compromised 6,000 Bank Accounts->

Submitted by
Orome1
Orome1 writes "U.S. federal authorities have announced the filing of an indictment against two alleged leaders of an international scheme to steal customer bank account information using “skimming” technology that secretly recorded the data of customers who used ATMs at banks in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The ring targeted J.P. Morgan Chase (“Chase”), and Capital One, N.A. banks. Throughout the course of the scheme, they engaged in over 50 skimming incidents that resulted in the compromise of over approximately 6,000 individual bank accounts, from which the defendants made and attempted to make over approximately $3 million in unauthorized withdrawals."
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Security

+ - 139 New Adobe Reader zero day used in phishing attacks-> 1

Submitted by mask.of.sanity
mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes "Zero day holes found in Adobe Reader are being exploited by attackers in phishing campaigns.

The attack drops two dll files: One opens a PDF to distract users while the other opens a backdoor.

Adobe confirmed the latest versions of Reader and Acrobat (10.1.5, and 11.0.1) are affected."

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Government

+ - 211 Obama Signs Executive Order on Cybersecurity->

Submitted by wiredmikey
wiredmikey (1824622) writes "President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Tuesday designed to better protect critical infrastructure from computer hackers.

Obama, in his annual State of the Union speech to a joint session of the US Congress, said his executive order would "strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy." The president also urged Congress to pass legislation "to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks." The executive order (PDF) calls for voluntary reporting of threats to US infrastructure, such as power grids, pipelines and water systems. The directive, which follows two failed attempts in Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation, allows the government to lead an information-sharing network but stops short of making mandatory the reporting of cyber threats.

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said he was "concerned that the order could open the door to increased regulations that would stifle innovation, burden businesses and fail to keep pace with evolving cyber threats."

Leslie Harris of the Center for Democracy & Technology welcomed the directive, arguing it "says that privacy must be built into the government's cybersecurity plans and activities, not as an afterthought but rather as part of the design."

White House officials noted that the measure would not apply to consumer-based services or information systems that do not meet the standard of "critical infrastructure." But the director of George Mason University's Technology Policy Program Jerry Brito said in a tweet that "top-down regulation is the last thing that will improve cybersecurity.""

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United Kingdom

+ - 230 Britain Could Switch Off Airport Radar And Release Spectrum->

Submitted by
judgecorp
judgecorp writes "Britain is considering switching off air traffic control radar systems and using "passive radar" instead. A two year feasibility study will consider using a network of ground stations which monitor broadcast TV signals and measure echoes from aircraft to determine their location and velocity. The system is not a new idea — early radar experiments used BBC shortwave transmitters as a signal source before antenna technology produced a transceiver suitable for radar — but could now be better than conventional radar thanks to new antenna designs and signal processing techniques. It will also save money and energy by eliminating transmitters — and release spectrum for 5G services."
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Software

+ - 260 Retail copies of Office 2013 are tied to a single computer forever -> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With the launch of Office 2013 Microsoft has seen fit to upgrade the terms of the license agreement, and it’s not in favor of the end user. It seems installing a copy of the latest version of Microsoft’s Office suite of apps ties it to a single machine. For life.

On previous versions of Office it was a different story. The suite was associated with a “Licensed Device” and could only be used on a single device. But there was nothing to stop you uninstalling Office and installing it on another machine perfectly legally. With that option removed, Office 2013 effectively becomes a much more expensive proposition for many."

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Software

+ - 147 Ancient Languages Reconstructed by Computers->

Submitted by
halls-of-valhalla
halls-of-valhalla writes "Researchers have developed a new software which can be used to reconstruct dead, ancient languages using probabilistic models of sound change.

This new software was tested by taking 637 Austronesian languages currently spoken in Asia and the Pacific, and attempting to reconstruct the ancient languages they're based on. The system was found to have provided a relatively accurate, large-scale automatic reconstruction of the protolanguages. A language believed to be roughtly seven thousand years old was reconstructed using a database of 142,000 words.

When compared to the results of linguists specializing in Austronesian languages, more 85% of the system's reconstructions were found to be within one character of the manual reconstruction. These are very promising results, however a linguist is still able to produce a higher accuracy, so this will be likely to become a tool used by linguists rather than a replacement for them."

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+ - 189 Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court To Not Hear Jammie Thomas Case->

Submitted by Jane Q. Public
Jane Q. Public (1010737) writes "The Jammie Thomas-Rasset case has been in the news for years now. As of the last court ruling, she has been ordered to pay $222,000 for sharing 24 songs. Her attorney argues that you can buy the same songs on iTunes for $24, and imposing a penalty of almost 10,000 times as much is "excessive and oppressive". The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Obama Administration has asked the Supreme Court to not review the case. Is this another example of this administration pandering to the copyright tro... I mean corporations, rather than The People they are supposed to represent?"

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+ - 185 Ask Slashdot: What is your favorite monitor for programming?

Submitted by BadassFractal
BadassFractal (2736365) writes "I'm in the market for a new large desktop monitor (or two) which I intend to use almost exclusively for programming and all sorts of software development-related work. I'm trying to keep the cost down reasonable, and I do enjoy as large of a resolution as possible. What do people "in the know" out there use these days for that purpose? I'm thinking a 1920x1200 24" would be good, unless there's an affordable 2560xFoo option out there. I keep hearing about nameless Korean 27" screens, any thoughts on that one?

Thanks!"
NASA

+ - 154 NASA's Garver Insists that American Commitment to Space Exploration Undiminished->

Submitted by
MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington writes "Space.com reports that NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, at a space-entrepreneurship forum organized by Stanford University's Institute for Economic Policy Research, insisted that the space agency's commitment to space exploration is undiminished. To support her contention, Garver cited overall spending for NASA as compared to that of space agencies of other countries. But other data, from the money spent on the space agency's space exploration and planetary science accounts to a scathing report from the National Research Council tells a different story."
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Earth

+ - 194 Obama Proposes 'Meaningful Action' on Climate Change->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "President Barack Obama called for "meaningful progress" on tackling climate change in his State of the Union speech in Washington, DC on Tuesday night. While acknowledging that "no single event makes a trend," the President noted that the United States had been buffeted by extreme weather events that in many cases encapsulated the predictions of climate scientists. "But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late," Obama added."
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