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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Security

Ask Slashdot: Why Do Firms Leak Personal Details In Plain Text? 252

Posted by timothy
from the more-exciting-that-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Having entered my personal details (full real name, home address) to websites with an 'https://' prefix in order to purchase goods, I am still being sent emails from companies (or their agents) which include, in plain text, those same details I have entered over a secure connection. These are often companies which are very keen to tell you how much they value your privacy and how they will not pass your details on to third parties. What recourse does one have to tell them to desist from such behaviour whilst still doing business with them if their products are otherwise desirable? I email the relevant IT team as a matter of course to tell them it's not appropriate (mostly to no avail), but is there any legislation — in any territory — which addresses this?"
Earth

Data Center Managers Weary of Whittling Cooling Costs 198

Posted by timothy
from the that's-a-lot-of-air-to-move dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes that a survey from the Uptime Institute "suggests something it calls 'green fatigue' is setting in when it comes to making data centers greener. 'Green fatigue' is exactly as it sounds: managers are getting tired of the increasingly difficult race to chop their PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness. The PUE is a measure of a data center's efficiency. The lower the PUE, the better — and Microsoft and Google, with nearly limitless resources, have set the bar so high (or low, depending on your perspective) that it's making less-capitalized firms frustrated. Just a few years ago, the Uptime Institute estimated that the average PUE of a data center was around 2.4, which meant for every dollar of electricity to power a data center, $1.4 dollars were spent to cool it. That dropped to 1.8 recently, an improvement to be sure. But then you have companies such as Google and Microsoft building data centers next to rivers for cheap hydroelectric power in remote parts of the Pacific Northwest and reporting insanely low PUEs (below 1.1 in some cases). The Institute latest survey of data center operators shows only 50 percent of respondents in North America said they considered energy efficiency to be very important to their companies, down from 52 percent last year and 58 percent in 2011."
Canada

Canadian Cellphone Users May Get Justice Over Phantom Charges 91

Posted by timothy
from the but-justice-is-thin-on-the-ground dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For years, Bell Mobility customers in northern Canada were charged 75 cents a month for 911 emergency service. The problem is that cellphone users outside Whitehorse, Yukon, don't have access to 911 service. The Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories ruled against Bell this week, following a class action lawsuit which challenged the phantom cellphone 911 billings. Subject to a possible final appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, Bell will likely owe 30,000 northern cellphone subscribers some bucks."
Google

Wired Writer Imagines Google Island 150

Posted by timothy
from the through-a-hazy-fog-of-snark dept.
theodp writes "The last thing Wired's Mat Honan remembered before awaking on the self-driving boat that dropped him on the island was sitting through a four-hour Google I/O keynote in Moscone Center and hearing Google CEO Larry Page promote a vision of a utopia where society could be free to innovate and experiment, unencumbered by government regulations or social norms. 'Welcome to Google Island,' a naked-save-for-a-pair-of-eyeglasses Larry Page tells Honan. 'As soon as you hit Google's territorial waters, you came under our jurisdiction, our terms of service. Our laws — or lack thereof — apply here. By boarding our self-driving boat you granted us the right to all feedback you provide during your journey. This includes the chemical composition of your sweat. Remember when I said at I/O that maybe we should set aside some small part of the world where people could experiment freely and examine the effects? I wasn't speaking theoretically. This place exists. We built it.'"
The Media

Syrian Electronic Army Hits Financial Times Sites, Feeds 24

Posted by timothy
from the people's-liberation-front dept.
puddingebola writes with an excerpt from the New York Times: "The Web site and several Twitter accounts belonging to The Financial Times were hacked on Friday by the Syrian Electronic Army in a continuing campaign that has aimed at an array of media outlets ranging from The Associated Press to the parody site The Onion, according to a claim by the so-called army. The Syrian Electronic Army said it seized control of several F.T. Twitter accounts and amended a number of the site's blog posts with the headline 'Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army.' Hackers used their access to the F.T.'s Twitter feed to post messages, including one that said, 'Syrian Electronic Army Was Here,' and another that linked to a YouTube video of an execution. Both messages were quickly removed.'"
Hardware Hacking

Arduino Branches Out, With a Plug-and-Program Robot 24

Posted by timothy
from the roll-'em dept.
mikejuk writes "The new Arduino robot looks a bit like a robot vacuum cleaner, but it has a lot more going for it and it certainly doesn't suck — well not unless you add an air pump to it. As always, the Arduino Robot is completely open source and comes as an easy to assemble kit involving no soldering, just some plugging in of components. It consists of two circular boards, 19cm in diameter, each with its own Arduino controller. They fit together to create a stack about 10cm tall. The bottom board has two wheels and motors which allow it to move in any direction. The top board contains lots of sensors and a central display. The two communicate via a serial connection. There is also a lot of space for expansion. There is a new library which can be downloaded to help write programs for this fairly sophisticated robot. There is only one big problem with the Arduino robot — you can't buy one at the moment. If you really can't wait, until early July when they should start shipping from the Arduino shop and from distributors, then you will have to get to the Maker Faire San Mateo (May 17-19) where they are being demonstrated and sold."
Businesses

After Kickstarter Record, Pebble Smartwatch Lands $15M From VCs 120

Posted by timothy
from the so-you're-saying-people-might-like-this dept.
LeadSongDog writes "The Globe and Mail is reporting that the 'Pebble' smartwatch has matched the $15M record for Kickstarter funding after initially being panned by the VC crowd." One advantage that the Pebble has over rumored watches from big names like Google and Apple is existing.
Earth

Electronics-Loving 'Crazy Ants' Invading Southern US 250

Posted by timothy
from the but-ants-are-nice dept.
From an article at the Houston Chronicle (not The Onion) comes a report of concern to anyone in a warm climate with, well, electronics. From the article: "According to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, invasive 'crazy ants' are slowly displacing fire ants in the southeastern United States. These 'Tawny Crazy Ants' have a peculiar predilection toward electronics as well. 'They nest in electronics and create short circuits, as they create a contact bridge between two points when they get electrocuted they release an alarm pheromone,' says UT research assistant Edward LeBrun. 'The other ants are attracted to the chemicals that other ants give off,' he adds. At this point, more ants arrive and create a larger nest." The L.A. Times also has a report, which says "Thus far, the crazy ants are not falling for the traditional poisons used to eliminate fire ant mounds. And when local mounds are destroyed manually, they are quickly regenerated. 'They don't sting like fire ants do, but aside from that they are much bigger pests,' LeBrun said. 'There are videos on YouTube of people sweeping out dustpans full of these ants from their bathroom. You have to call pest control operators every three or four months just to keep the infestation under control. It's very expensive.'"
Android

Intel Rolls Out "Beacon Mountain" Android Dev Platform For Atom 126

Posted by timothy
from the atom-as-element dept.
MojoKid writes "In an effort to coax developers to begin taking Atom seriously as an Android platform, Intel has just released a complete suite of tools that should help ease them into things — especially since it can be used for ARM development as well. It's called Beacon Mountain, named after the highest peak outside of Beacon, New York. As you'd expect, Beacon Mountain supports Jelly Bean (4.2) development, and with this suite, you're provided with a collection of important Intel tools: Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager, Integrated Performance Primitives, Graphics and System Performance Analyzers, Threaded Building Blocks and Software Manager. In addition, Android SDK and NDK, Eclipse and Cygwin third-party tools are included to complete the package."
Communications

Fed. Appeals Court Says Police Need Warrant to Search Phone 69

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a decision that's almost certainly going to result in this issue heading up to the Supreme Court, the Federal 1st Circuit Court of Appeals [Friday] ruled that police can't search your phone when they arrest you without a warrant. That's contrary to most courts' previous findings in these kinds of cases where judges have allowed warrantless searches through cell phones." (But in line with the recently mentioned decision in Florida, and seemingly with common sense.)
United Kingdom

UK Consumers Reporting Contactless Payment Errors 193

Posted by timothy
from the how-to-buy-a-hundred-subway-rides dept.
leathered writes "The BBC reports that some customers of UK retailer Marks and Spencer have reported that the store's contactless payment terminals have debited their cards despite being in their bags or pockets, sometimes paying twice when they have used another payment method. The cards are supposed to work only when the card comes within 4cm of the terminal. Customers of fast-food chain Pret a Manger have been reporting similar problems, and in both cases cited the customers weren't even aware they had been issued with NFC-enabled cards by their bank."
Privacy

FBI Considers CALEA II: Mandatory Wiretapping On Every Device 318

Posted by timothy
from the putting-it-gently dept.
Techmeology writes "In response to declining utility of CALEA mandated wiretapping backdoors due to more widespread use of cryptography, the FBI is considering a revamped version that would mandate wiretapping facilities in end users' computers and software. Critics have argued that this would be bad for security (PDF), as such systems must be more complex and thus harder to secure. CALEA has also enabled criminals to wiretap conversations by hacking the infrastructure used by the authorities. I wonder how this could ever be implemented in FOSS."
Education

Bloomberg To HS Grads: Be a Plumber 368

Posted by timothy
from the series-of-tubes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This being college graduation season, the insights provided by commencement speakers should be familiar by now: find work in a field you're passionate about, don't underestimate your own abilities, aim high, learn to communicate and collaborate with others, give something back to your community. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, whose current job is Mayor of New York City, evidently decided to break the mold by advising less academically adept youngsters to consider a career in plumbing. High wages, constant demand, no offshore competition. 'Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College — being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal'. Ouch! And hey, like a lawyer, a plumber can always dabble in politics."
United States

Of 1000 Americans Polled, Most Would Ban Home Printing of Guns 578

Posted by timothy
from the top-5-answers-on-the-board dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In results that may signal some discomfort with the enormous DIY promise of 3D printing and similar home-manufacturing technologies, a new Reason-Rupe poll finds that an otherwise gun control-weary American public thinks owners of 3D printers ought not be allowed to make their own guns or gun parts. Of course, implementing such a restrictive policy might be tad more difficult than measuring popular preferences." This poll is of only 1000 people, though; your mileage may vary.
Movies

Happy Culture Freedom Day! 45

Posted by timothy
from the free-opus dept.
Blug_fred writes "For the second edition, today is the time to celebrate Culture Freedom Day. While not as popular as HFD or SFD, celebrating Free Culture involves finding Free Culture artists, inviting them to your place and having them perform, display or talk about what their creation(s). Of course you can always simply project a couple of Free Culture movies and launch a discussion about their business models. Either way you can find all the happening for today here on the map and we sincerely hope there will be something of interest near you."
Power

RPiCluster: Another Raspberry Pi Cluster, With Neat Tricks 79

Posted by timothy
from the dots-dots-blinkenlights dept.
New submitter TheJish writes "The RPiCluster is a 33-node Beowulf cluster built using Raspberry Pis (RPis). The RPiCluster is a little side project I worked on over the last couple months as part of my dissertation work at Boise State University. I had need of a cluster to run a distributed simulator I've been developing. The RPiCluster is the result. I've written an informal document on why I built the RPiCluster, how it was built, and how it performs as compared to other platforms. I also put together a YouTube video of it running an MPI parallel program I created to demo the RGB LEDs installed on each node as part of the build. While there have certainly been larger RPi clusters put together recently, I figured the Slashdot community might be interested in this build as I believe it is a novel approach to the rack mounting and power management of RPis."

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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