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Privacy

In Australian Town, Public CCTV Off Over Privacy Concerns 160

Posted by timothy
from the sanity-but-in-such-small-portions dept.
freddienumber13 writes "The CCTV cameras operated by the local government in the country town of Nowra, NSW (Australia) have been turned off following an order by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. The local government is crying because it believes that it is losing an effective method in combating crime in public. Locals however are rejoicing that they are no longer being recorded whilst walking down the street."
Space

Fermi and Swift Observe Record-setting Gamma Ray Burst 107

Posted by timothy
from the where-do-we-send-the-medal? dept.
symbolset writes "Phys.org shares a visual image of a 'shockingly bright' gamma ray burst observed April 27th, labelled GRB 130427A and subsequently observed by ground optical and radio telescopes. One gamma ray photon from the event measured 94 billion electron volts — three times the previous record. The burst lasted four hours and was observable for most of a day — another record. Typical duration of a gamma ray burst is from 10 milliseconds to a few minutes. Astronomers will now train optical telescopes on the spot searching for the supernova expected to have caused it — typically one is observed some few days after the burst. They expect to find one by the middle of May. The event occurred about 3.6 billion lightyears distant which is fairly close as gamma ray bursts go. Click on the GIF to view the actual burst."
The Courts

Redditors (and Popehat) Versus a Bus Company 153

Posted by timothy
from the some-people-are-nuts-in-public dept.
Techdirt explains the strange story of a lawsuit-happy bus company in Illinois which managed to tick off a cadre of determined redditors by calling them uncomplimentary names in the reddit forums. This all started when a bus passenger, Jeremy Leval, reported unsavory behavior by a company employee (telling an exchange student "If you don't understand English, you don't belong at the University of Illinois or any 'American' University.") and said so online. Besides the name calling on reddit, the bus company threatened the forum moderator with libel charges, and over insults posted by the bus company employees which the moderator had deleted. Further, company owner "[Dennis] Toeppen threatened to sue Leval, saying, 'The attorneys for Suburban Express are reviewing this incident with a view towards filing the appropriate legal action against this meddlesome MBA student.'" Attorney Ken White of Popehat got involved, though, and asked with good effect whether the company had fully considered the Streisand Effect. The strangest part? Toeppen's former involvement as a domain squatter.
Google

Google Sets Its Sights On Gaming, Hires Noah Falstein As Chief Game Designer 106

Posted by timothy
from the searching-for-waldo-carmen-san-diego-etc dept.
MojoKid writes "Google has its hands in every other aspect of the tech industry, so why not gaming, too? It appears as though the company is eyeing a run at the gaming market by hiring Noah Falstein as its 'Chief Game Designer.' Falstein's LinkedIn profile has been updated to reflect his new title, which is the latest in a long career. He started out in 1980 and put in time at (the recently-defunct) Lucasfilm Games as well as 3DO and Dreamworks Interactive."
Graphics

ORBX.js: 1080p DRM-Free Video and Cloud Gaming Entirely In JavaScript 103

Posted by timothy
from the streaming-requires-damming dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to Brendan Eich, CTO of Mozilla and the creator of JavaScript, ORBX.js can decode 1080p HD video and support low latency remote graphics entirely in JavaScript, offering a pure JavaScript alternative to VP8/H.264 native code extensions for HTML5 video. Watermarking is used during encoding process for protected IP, rather than relying on local DRM in the browser. Mozilla is also working with OTOY, Autodesk and USC ICT to support emerging technologies through ORBX.js — including light field displays and VR headsets like the Oculus Rift." Writes reader mikejuk: "The problem with all of this is that orbix.js is just a decoder and there is little information on the coder end of the deal. It could be that OTOY will profit big time from coding videos and watermarking them while serving virtual desktops from their GPU cloud. The decoder might be open source but the situation about the rest of the technology is unclear. In the meantime we have to trust that Mozilla, and Brendan Eich in particular, are not being sold a utopian view of a slightly dystopian future."
Censorship

Syria Buys Dell PCs Despite Sanctions 72

Posted by timothy
from the do-you-feel-violated dept.
puddingebola writes with a New York Times article about how mundane PC equipment — not just more esoteric and eyebrow-raising network monitoring equipment from Blue Coat — makes its way to Syria: "Large amounts of computer equipment from Dell have been sold to the Syrian government through a Dubai-based distributor despite strict trade sanctions intended to ban the selling of technology to the regime, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The disclosure of the computer sales is the latest example of how the Syrian government has managed to acquire technology, some of which is used to censor Internet activity and track opponents of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad."
Graphics

Google and Adobe Contribute Open Source Rasterizer to FreeType 77

Posted by timothy
from the fonts-matter dept.
alancronin writes with this excerpt from a PC World article: "Users of Android, Chrome OS, Linux, and iOS devices may not realize it, but FreeType open source software is used to render fonts on more than a billion such devices. Not only that, but the FreeType project this week got a significant update from none other than Adobe and Google. Specifically, Google and Adobe on Wednesday released into beta the Adobe CFF engine, an advanced Compact Font Format (CFF) rasterizer that 'paves the way for FreeType-based platforms to provide users with richer and more beautiful reading experiences,' as Google put it in an online announcement on the Google Open Source Blog. The new rasterizer is now included in FreeType version 2.4.12. Though it's currently off by default, the technology is 'vastly superior' to the old CFF engine and will replace it in the next FreeType release, the project says." The article features examples of how the new engine improves font rendering; for more explanation of the CFF, see this blog post from Adobe.
Security

Bruce Schneier: Why Collecting More Data Doesn't Increase Safety 149

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-only-wafer-thin dept.
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Bruce Schneier, security expert (and rational voice in the wilderness), explains in an editorial on CNN why 'Connecting the Dots' is a 'Hindsight Bias.' In heeding calls to increase the amount of surveillance data gathered and shared, agencies like the FBI have impaired their ability to discover actual threats, while guaranteeing erosion of personal and civil freedom. 'Piling more data onto the mix makes it harder, not easier. The best way to think of it is a needle-in-a-haystack problem; the last thing you want to do is increase the amount of hay you have to search through. The television show Person of Interest is fiction, not fact.'"
Advertising

Ask Slashdot: What's Your Company's Marketing-to-Engineering Ratio? 202

Posted by timothy
from the life-imitates-dilbert dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I just learned that the company I work for annually budgets ~$17,000 for non-labor engineering expenses, but budgets ~$250,000 for non-labor marketing and sales expenses. Am I just being cynical when I say that my company spends almost 15 times as much trying to convince the outside world that we make a good product, than it spends on actually making a good product? What's the marketing-to-engineering ratio at your company?"
Censorship

US Officials Rebuke India's Request To Subpoena Facebook, Google 96

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-fellas-no-can-do dept.
hypnosec writes "U.S. officials have told the Indian Government that they will not be able to serve summons to the executives of companies like Google and Facebook because they are not convinced that the content hosted on these sites can cause violence and that these summons impact 'free speech principles.' The reply comes as a response to India's request to the US to help serve papers to 11 Internet companies accused of hosting content on their sites that was meant to fuel communal hatred and violence. The U.S. authorities said that there are limitations when it comes to protection on free speech — when the speech comprises a true threat or provokes imminent violence — but in this particular case there is not sufficient evidence of either of these."
Government

Paul's Call To Abolish the TSA, One Year Later 353

Posted by timothy
from the inconsistency-every-single-time dept.
A year ago today, we noted that Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky called for the abolition of the Transportation Security Administration. It's now nearly 12 years since the hijacked-plane terror attacks of 2001; the TSA was created barely two months later, and has been (with various rules, procedures, and equipment, all of it controversial for reasons of privacy, safety, and efficacy) a major presence ever since at American commercial airports. "The American people shouldn't be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane," wrote Paul last year, and in June of 2012, he followed up by introducing two bills on the topic; the first calling for a "bill of rights" for air travelers, the other for privatizing airport screening practices. Neither bill went far. Should they have? Libertarian-leaning Paul did not succeed in knocking back the TSA, never mind privatizing its functions (currently funded at nearly $8 billion annually), though some of the things called for in his bill of rights are manifest now at least in muted form. (Very young passengers, as well as elderly passengers, face less stringent security requirements, for instance, and TSA has ended its prohibition of certain items aboard planes.) Whether you're from the U.S. or not, what practical changes would you like to see implemented? What shouldn't be on the bill of rights for airplane passengers?
Android

India's $20 Android Tablet First Project Completed 42

Posted by timothy
from the you-lakh-this dept.
symbolset writes "Though there were some troubles and worries along the way, Datawind has delivered to India's government the full allocation of 100,000 (1 lakh) 'Aakash 2' Android tablets from their first order. Priced at about $40, these tablets aren't the sort Americans would rave about: 330 MHz, 256MB RAM and so on. But for the last 2,000 units for the same price Datawind supplied Aakash 3 1GHz, 1GB RAM, 4GB Android tablets with SDHC and 3G mobile — for the same price. Such is the progress in mobile today. There was some doubt whether Datawind could deliver, so kudos to them."
Security

Fedora 19 To Stop Masking Passwords 234

Posted by timothy
from the dot-dot-dot-dot dept.
First time accepted submitter PAjamian writes "Maintainers of the Anaconda installer in Fedora have taken it upon themselves to show passwords in plaintext on the screen as they are entered into the installer. Following on the now recanted statements of security expert Bruce Schneier, Anaconda maintainers have decided that it is not a security risk to show passwords on your screen in the latest Alpha release of Fedora 19. Members of the Fedora community on the Fedora devel mailing list are showing great concern over this change in established security protocols." Note: the change was first reported in the linked thread by Dan Mashal.
Verizon

In Sandy-Struck NJ Town, Verizon Goes All Wireless, No Copper 155

Posted by timothy
from the copper-is-for-suckers dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a bit from the Asbury Park Press: "'Devastated and wiped out by superstorm Sandy, Verizon has no plans to rebuild its copper-line telephone network in Mantoloking. Instead, Verizon says Mantoloking is the first town in New Jersey, and one of the few areas in the country, to have a new service called Verizon Voice Link. Essentially, it connects your home's wired and cordless telephones to the Verizon Wireless network.' So no copper or fiber to a fairly densely populated area. Comcast will now be the only voice/data option with copper to the area."
United Kingdom

UK Benefits Claimants Must Use Windows XP, IE6 230

Posted by timothy
from the hot-commodity-on-craiglist-london dept.
First time accepted submitter carlypage3 writes "Benefits claimants in the UK are being forced to use Microsoft's now obsolete Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 software. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) states that its online forms are not compatible with Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and 10, Safari, Google Chrome or Firefox. As if that wasn't unnerving enough, the Gov.UK website says that users cannot submit claims using Mac OS X or Linux operating systems, either." (Note: as we noted not long ago, it's not just the DWP that's stuck using IE6.)
Security

Antivirus Firms "Won't Co-operate" With PC-Hacking Dutch Police 97

Posted by timothy
from the talk-about-bad-pr dept.
nk497 writes "Dutch police are set to get the power to hack people's computers or install spyware as part of investigations — but antivirus experts say they won't help police reach their targets. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, said the Dutch bill could lead to antivirus firms being asked asked to cooperate with authorities to let an attack reach the target. So far, Hypponen hasn't seen a single antivirus vendor cooperate with such a request, and said his own firm wouldn't want to take part. Purely for business reasons, it doesn't make sense to fail to protect customers and let malware through 'regardless of the source.'"
AI

AI System Invents New Card Games (For Humans) 112

Posted by timothy
from the they're-just-toying-with-us dept.
jtogel writes "This New Scientist article describes our AI system that automatically generates card games. The article contains a description of a playable card game generated by our system. But card games are just the beginning... The card game generator is a part of a larger project to automatise all of game development using artificial intelligence methods — we're also working on level generation for a variety of different games, and on rule generation for simple arcade-like games."

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