Submission + - Patent trolls getting the attention of the Feds-> 1 1

crazyvas writes: The New York Times has published an article on the FTC which is planning to investigate the patent system, and likely patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures. From the article: 'To its defenders, Intellectual Ventures is a revolutionary company unfairly viewed, in the words of its co-founder Peter N. Detkin, “as the poster child of everything that is wrong with the patent system.” To its critics, it is a protection racket otherwise known as a patent troll. This summer, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to begin a sweeping investigation of the patent system after the agency’s chairwoman, Edith Ramirez, urged a crackdown. She has singled out a particular kind of miscreant, one that engages in “a variety of aggressive litigation tactics,” including hiding behind shell companies when it sues.'

How does Intellectual Ventures describe itself? See for yourself here.

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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Scientific Research Positions for Programmers?

An anonymous reader writes: I recently (within the past couple years) graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and currently work as a programmer for a large software consulting firm. However, I've become gradually disillusioned with the financial-obsession of the business world and would like to work for the overall betterment of humanity instead. With that in mind, I'm looking to shift my career more toward the scientific research side of things. My interest in computer science always stemmed more from a desire to use it toward a fascinating end — such as modeling or analyzing scientific data — than from a love of business or programming itself. My background is mostly Java, with some experience in C++ and a little C. I have worked extensively with software analyzing big data for clients. My sole research experience comes from developing data analysis software for a geologic research project for a group of grad students; I was a volunteer but have co-authorship on their paper, which is pending publication.

Is it realistic to be looking for a position as a programmer at a research institution with my current skills and experiences? Do such jobs even exist for non-graduate students? I'm willing to go to grad school (probably for geology) if necessary. Grad school aside, what specific technologies should I learn in order to gain an edge? Although if I went back to school I'd focus on geology, I'm otherwise open to working as a programmer for any researchers in the natural sciences who will take me.

Submission + - Seventy Videos From Linaro Connect Europe 2013->

DeviceGuru writes: Linaro has just published videos and slides from keynotes, technical presentations, and panel discussions at last week's Linaro Connect Europe 2013 event held in Dublin, Ireland. Linaro is a nonprofit organization focused on consolidating and optimizing open source software for the ARM architecture, including the GCC toolchain, the Linux kernel, ARM power management, graphics and multimedia interfaces. The conference's sessions spanned a wide range of topics, including Android, Builds and Baselines, Enterprise, Graphics and Multimedia, Linux Kernel, Network, Project Management Tools, Training, and more.
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Submission + - Red Planet Riviera: Ancient Mars Ocean Found?->

astroengine writes: With the help of rover Curiosity, we now know that ancient Mars had large quantities of liquid water flowing across its surface. However, evidence for large bodies of water — i.e. seas/oceans — has been hard to come by. But using high-resolution orbital data, Caltech scientists now think they’ve found a long-dry river delta that once flowed into a very large body of water. Welcome to the Aeolis Riviera — the strongest evidence yet for a Martian coastline. “This is probably one of the most convincing pieces of evidence of a delta in an unconfined region — and a delta points to the existence of a large body of water in the northern hemisphere of Mars,” said Roman DiBiase, Caltech postdoctoral scholar and lead author of the paper that was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
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The Internet

Poll + - If I search online for my full name... 213 213

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Submission + - Office 365, Amazon, others vulnerable to exploit Microsoft knew about in 2012

colinneagle writes: Ethical hacking professor Sam Bowne recently put a cookie re-use method to test on several major web services, finding that Office 365, Yahoo mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon, eBay, and WordPress all failed the security test. Both Amazon and eBay can be tied directly to your money via the method of payment you have on record. And, just for kicks, we tried it with Netflix. And it worked.

Microsoft has apparently known that accounts can be hijacked since at least 2012 when The Hacker News reported the Hotmail and Outlook cookie-handling vulnerability, so Bowne was curious if Microsoft closed the hole or if stolen cookies could still be re-used. He claims he "easily reproduced it using Chrome and the Edit This Cookie extension."

Bowne is asking other people to test more services and tweet the results to him @sambowne.

Submission + - Piracy Rates Plummet as Legal Alternatives Find Norway

jones_supa writes: Entertainment industry groups in Norway have spent years lobbying for tougher anti-piracy laws, finally getting their way earlier this month. But with fines and site blocking now on the agenda, an interesting trend has been developing. According to a new report published by Ipsos, between 2008 and 2012 piracy of movies and TV shows collapsed in Norway, along with music seeing a massive drop to less than one fifth of the original level. Olav Torvund, former law professor at the University of Oslo, attributes this to good legal alternatives which are available today. Of those questioned for the survey, 47% (representing around 1.7 million people) said they use a streaming music service such as Spotify. And of those, just over half said that they pay for the premium option.

Submission + - Small, electric-powered nano-lasers may help keep Moore's Law valid->

coondoggie writes: Some experts believe that the idea behind Moore’s Law — that the number of transistors embedded on integrated circuits would double about every two years — will ultimately fail as the difficulty of shrinking such technology any smaller will cause all sorts of untenable problems. But a research team with Arizona State University this week said a seven year project has culminated with an electrically powered nano-laser that would let developers put ever more lasers into the same space, to achieve far greater processing speeds and ultimately making it makes possible to build future generations of computers that would comply with the Moore’s Law theory.
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Submission + - EFF Sues NSA, Justice Department, FBI

Jawnn writes: The Washington Post reports that the EFF has filed suit in Federal Court in San Francisco, on behalf of multiple groups. Those groups include, "...Rights activists, church leaders and drug and gun rights advocates..." Apparently, not everyone out there is believing the "If you have nothing to hide..." excuses being offered up from various government quarters.

Submission + - 10 Sci-Fi Stories That Predicted the Surveillance State->

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Just to address one thing straight away: one of your favorite science fiction stories dealing, whether directly or indirectly, with surveillance is bound to be left off this list. And 1984's a given, so it's not here.

At any rate, the following books deal in their own unique way with surveillance. Some address the surveillance head-on, while others speculate on inter-personal intelligence gathering, or consider the subject in more oblique ways. Still others distill surveillance down to its essence: as just one face of a much larger, all-encompassing system of control, that proceeds from the top of the pyramid down to its base.

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Submission + - W3C Rejects Ad Industry's Do-Not-Track Proposal->

itwbennett writes: The W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group, which is mainly concerned with standardizing the mechanisms for server-side compliance with do-not-track requests, has rejected a proposal by from the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) that would have allowed advertisers to continue profiling users who had asked not to be tracked. The proposal would also have allowed them to 'retarget' ads to those users by showing ads relevant to one site or transaction on all subsequent sites they visited, according to the co-chairs of the W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group. The working group co-chairs also said that they planned to reject proposals similar to those made by the DAA.
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Submission + - Students, Start-Up Team To Create Android APK Patch App->

chicksdaddy writes: The saga of the application-signing flaw affecting Google’s Android mobile phones (https://securityledger.com/2013/07/flaw-leaves-900m-android-devices-vulnerable/) took another turn Tuesday when a Silicon Valley startup teamed with graduate students from Northeastern University in Boston to offer their own fix-it tool for hundreds of millions of Android phones that have been left without access to Google’s official patch.

Duo Security announced the availability of an Android utility dubbed “ReKey” (http://www.rekey.io/) on Tuesday. The tool allows Droid users to patch the so-called “Master Key” vulnerability on Android devices, even in the absence of a security update from Android handset makers (OEMs) and carriers who service the phones, according to a post on the Duo Security blog.

In an e-mail exchange with The Security Ledger, Jon Oberheide, the CTO of Duo Security, said that ReKey provides an in-memory patch for the master key vulnerability, dynamically instrumenting the Dalvik bytecode routines where the vulnerability originates, patching it in-memory. Oberheide said that ReKey will also”hook” (or monitor) those routines to notify you if any malicious applications attempt to exploit the vulnerability.

Despite the availability of a patch since March, many Android users remain vulnerable to attacks that take advantage of the application signing flaw. That is because Android handset makers have been slow to issue updates for their Droid handsets. For platforms (HTC and Samsung) that have been patched, carriers delayed the rollout to customers further.

“The security of Android devices worldwide is paralyzed by the slow patching practices of mobile carriers and other parties in the Android ecosystem,” said Oberheide. However, the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem is significant enough that it is no longer feasible for Google to take over responsibility for distributing patches. Third parties may need to step in to fill the void.

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Submission + - New Thermocell could turn 'Waste Heat' into Electricity->

dryriver writes: Harvesting waste heat from power stations and even vehicle exhaust pipes could soon provide a valuable supply of electricity. A small team of Monash University researchers working under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) has developed an ionic liquid-based thermocell. Thermocell technology is based on harnessing the thermal energy from the difference in temperature between two surfaces and converting that energy into electricity. The new thermocell could be used to generate electricity from low grade steam in coal fired power stations at temperatures around 130C. This would be implemented by having the steam pass over the outer surface of the hot electrode to keep it hot while the other electrode is air or water cooled.
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Submission + - Describe any location on earth in 3 words

jameshumphreys writes: London startup what3words has successfully launched a new website which has carved the world map into almost 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, assigning each square a simple, unique 3 word address. For instance, the 'what3words' for the famous Peter Pan statue in London’s Hyde Park is ‘union.prop.enjoy’. This means you can easily describe even remote locations with great precision. CEO, Chris Sheldrick, says "We see our service being most useful where current methods of describing location (e.g. postcodes or ZIP codes) don’t do the job well enough or don’t do the job at all — but of course it has applications as a preferred alternative even where the existing solutions do a decent job, but perhaps less precise/customised than w3w."
An API is planned "in the coming weeks".

Submission + - Hurricane Sandy A 1-in-700-Year Event Says NASA Study->

Rebecka writes: Hurricane Sandy, which pelted multiple states in Oct. and created billions of dollars in damage, was a freak occurrence and not an indication of future weather patterns according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies via LiveScience. The study, which calculated a statistical analysis of the storms trajectory and monitored climate changes’ influences on hurricane tracks, claims that the tropical storm was merely a 1-in-700-year event.

"The particular shape of Sandy's trajectory is very peculiar, and that's very rare, on the order of once every 700 years," said senior scientist at NASA and study co-author, Timothy Hall. According to Hall, the extreme flooding associated with the storm was also due to the storm’s trajectory which was described as being “near perpendicular.” The storm’s unusual track was found to have been caused by a high tides associated with a full moon and high pressure that forced the storm to move off the coast of the Western North Atlantic.

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Submission + - America's First Eco-City: Doomed From the Start->

An anonymous reader writes: Despite backing from the Clinton Climate Initiative, and a $111 million investment from Subway Restaurant mogul Fred DeLuca, a planned city for Central Florida called "Destiny" was doomed from the start, according to memos retrieved from Florida's Department of Community Affairs. According to state officials, despite a great deal of hype about Destiny, Florida, becoming the first fully sustainable city in the US, plans to build the city were rejected almost immediately due to concerns over "possible urban sprawl, energy inefficient land use patterns, the endangerment of natural resources, and the undermining of agriculture."
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Submission + - Visual Studio vs. Eclipse: A Programmer's Comparison->

Nerval's Lobster writes: Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell is back with a comparison of Eclipse and Visual Studio, picking through some common complaints about both platforms and comparing their respective features. "First, let’s talk about usability," he writes, "and let’s be frank: Neither Eclipse nor Visual Studio is a model for sound usability." That being said, as an open-source project, Eclipse wins some points for its customizability and compatibility with languages; it's more difficult to modify Visual Studio to meet some programmer needs, which has led to any number of abandoned projects over the years. Microsoft choosing to eliminate macros in recent versions of Visual Studio has also led to some programmer frustrations (and a need for external tools). "A developer with sufficient skills can be productive in both Visual Studio and Eclipse, although each platform has its own aggravations," he concludes. "But in the end, both can get the job done." Read on for a more extensive comparison of features, as well as some discussion about whether IDEs are really helping programmers all that much. What do you think?
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Submission + - How to compete with NSA by hacking a Verizon network extender

Anita Hunt (lissnup) writes: This snooping hack-in-a-backpack could become a hot Summer accessory, since Reuters reported that "researchers at iSec hacked into a Verizon network extender, which anyone can buy online, and turned it into a cell phone tower small enough to fit inside a backpack capable of capturing and intercepting all calls, text messages and data sent by mobile devices within range" complete with video interview

Submission + - HBO Asks Google to Take Down "Infringing" VLC Media Player-> 1 1

another random user writes: It’s no secret that copyright holders are trying to take down as much pirated content as they can, but their targeting of open source software is something new. In an attempt to remove pirated copies of Game of Thrones from the Internet, HBO sent a DMCA takedown to Google, listing a copy of the popular media player VLC as a copyright infringement. An honest mistake, perhaps, but a worrying one.


Usually these notices ask Google to get rid of links to pirate sites, but for some reason the cable network also wants Google to


The same DMCA notice also lists various other links that don’t appear to link to HBO content, including a lot of porn related material, Ben Harper’s album Give Till It’s Gone, Naruto, free Java applets and Prince of Persia 5.

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Submission + - Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists Graduate->

An anonymous reader writes: the republicans in AZ are trying to force kids to swear an oath to get a diploma.

A quote from the proposed bill Arizona House Bill 2467
"Beginning in the 20132014 school year, In addition to fulfilling the course of study and assessment requirements prescribed in this chapter, before a pupil is allowed to graduate from a public high school in this state, the principal or head teacher of the school shall verify in writing that the pupil has recited the following oath:

I, _________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God. "

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Submission + - Automatically sanitising PDF email attachments

supachupa writes: It seems the past couple of years that spearfishing is getting very convincing and it is becoming more and more likely someone (including myself) will accidentally click on a PDF attachment with malicious javascript embedded. It would be impossible to block PDFs as they are required for business. We do disable javascript on Adobe reader, but I would sleep a lot better knowing the code is removed completely.

I have looked high and low but could not find a cheap out of the box solution or a "how to" guide for automatically neutralising PDFs by stripping out the javascript. The closest thing I could find is using PDF2PS and then reversing the process with PS2PDF.

I wonder if any of you slashies have worked a solution for this that is not too complex, works preferably at the SMTP relay, and can work with ZIPed PDFs as well, or otherwise have some common sense advice for dealing with this so that once its in place, there is no further action required by myself or by users.

Submission + - W3C Do Not Track chairs reject Ad industry proposal

Presto Vivace writes: W3C Do Not Track chairs reject Ad industry proposal that would allow unfettered data collection

Attached please find a document entitled “What Base Text to Use for the Do Not Track Compliance Specification.” For tonight, the document will speak for itself. It is available at: http://www.w3.org/2011/tracking-protection/2013-july-decision/

What Base Text to Use for the Do Not Track Compliance Specification

The Tracking Protection Working Group was chartered “to improve user privacy and user control by defining mechanisms for expressing user preferences around Web tracking and for blocking or allowing Web tracking elements.” The group reached an important series of decision points this summer, when participants submitted change proposals after the May face-to-face meeting. The co-chairs here record the group decision on one change proposal that presents a fork in the road, after the Digital Advertising Alliance and related participants asked to move to a new draft text. After consideration, the chairs have determined that the group has rejected that change proposal, finding it at odds with our chartered aims and the weight of group consensus.

The question before the group was whether to change its base text for the continued work on the Compliance Specification, to adopt the version proposed by the DAA or to continue addressing issues against the text proposed to the group in June. We conclude, based on the comments submitted, that the June Draft provides a better basis from which to address the criteria for a W3C standard, as understood in the Working Group, than does than the DAA Proposal. We thus will continue to use the June Draft as the base text and work through the remaining issues raised. We will not revisit the choices presented in the DAA change proposal and rejected in this decision.

Submission + - New Moon Found Orbiting Neptune->

Dave Knott writes: A tiny, previously unknown moon circling Neptune has been spotted by astronomers using the Hubble telescope.

The moon, which is currently known as S/2004 N1, was found on July 1 by Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., NASA announced Monday.

It is less than 20 kilometres wide and its orbit is 105,000 kilometres from Neptune, between those of Larissa and Proteus, two of Neptune's other 14 known moons. It circles Neptune once every 23 hours.

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