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

Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Cloud Service On a Budget? 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the throw-a-little-money-at-it dept.
First time accepted submitter MadC0der writes "We just signed a project with a very large company. We are a computer vision based company and our project gathers images from a facility from PA. Our company is located in TN. The company we're gather images from is on a very high speed fiber optic network. However, being a small company of 11 developers, and 1 systems engineer, we're on a business class 100mb cable connection which works well for us but not in this situation. The information gathered from the client in PA is s 1½mb .bmp image, along with a 3mb Depth map file, making each snapshot a little under 5 megs. This may sound small, but images are taken every 3-5 seconds. This can lead to a very large amount of data captured and transferred each day. Our facility is incapable of handling such large transfers without effecting internal network performance. We've come to the conclusion that a cloud service would be the best solution for our problem. We're now thinking the customer's workstation will sync the data with the cloud, and we can automate pulling the data during off hours so we won't encounter congestion for analysis. Can anyone help suggest a stable, fairly price cloud solution that will sync large amounts for offsite data for retrieval at our convenience (nightly Rsync script should handle this process)?
Earth

Exxon Charged With Illegally Dumping Waste In Pennsylvania 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the looks-like-you-spilled-something dept.
Exxon has been charged with illegally dumping over 50,000 gallons of wastewater at a shale-gas drilling site in Pennsylvania. From the article: 'Exxon unit XTO Energy Inc. discharged the water from waste tanks at the Marquandt well site in Lycoming County in 2010, according to a statement on the website of Pennsylvania’s attorney general. The pollution was found during an unannounced visit by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The inspectors discovered a plug removed from a tank, allowing the wastewater to run onto the ground, polluting a nearby stream. XTO was ordered to remove 3,000 tons of soil to clean up the area. Wastewater discharged from natural-gas wells can contain chlorides, barium, strontium and aluminum, the attorney general’s statement showed. “Criminal charges are unwarranted and legally baseless,” the XTO unit said yesterday in a statement posted on its website. “There was no intentional, reckless or negligent misconduct by XTO.”'
Transportation

TSA Reminds You Not To Travel With Hand Grenades 378

Posted by samzenpus
from the thanks-for-the-tip dept.
coondoggie writes "Some of the travel recommendations posted on the Transportation Security Administration's blog seem stupefying obvious. This week's, entitled: 'Leave Your Grenades at Home' seemed like a no brainer, but alas. The TSA wrote about grenades in particular: Year to date, the agency's officers have discovered: 43 grenades in carry-on baggage and 40 grenades in checked baggage."
Open Source

How IP Law Helps FOSS Communities 98

Posted by samzenpus
from the strange-bedfellows dept.
dp619 writes "Fighting against software patents (New Zealand has banned them) tends to blind FOSS communities to aspects of IP law that actually serve them well. While certainly not perfect, patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret law each has something to offer FOSS communities. Penn State law professor Clark Asay wrote a guest post for the Outercurve Foundation briefly describing some of the ways in IP law can help open source developers."
Microsoft

Microsoft Botches More Patches In Latest Automatic Update 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the we'll-do-it-live dept.
snydeq writes "'No sooner did Microsoft release the latest round of Black Tuesday patches than screams of agony began sounding all over the Internet,' writes Woody Leonhard, reporting on verified problems with Microsoft Automatic Updates KB 2817630, KB 2810009, KB 2760411, KB 2760588, and KB 2760583. The latest round of MS Auto Update hell comes on the heels of one of the worst runs in MS Patch Tuesday history — and just in time for Microsoft to expand the scope of its automatic update damage. 'Does this make you feel warm and fuzzy about automatic app updates in Windows 8.1?'"
Transportation

Ferrari's New Car Tech Idea: Make Car Go Really Fast 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-strap-rockets-to-it dept.
cartechboy writes "Forget EV batteries and autonomous driving. Ferrari understands old-school advanced car tech — basically, they just want to make the thing go ridiculously fast. The Italians showed off very serious chasis technology today in the new Ferrari Speciale at the Frankfurt Auto Show. The new electronic 'Side Slip angle Control' system uses algorithms that compute and analyze lateral acceleration, yaw angle, steering wheel angle and wheel speed in real-time. The system compares these readings to target data, and then just adjusts traction control and electric differential to be more efficient. Top speed: 202 mph."
Space

Black Holes Grow By Eating Quantum Foam 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the om-nom-nom dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The discovery that even the most distant galaxies have supermassive black holes at their cores is a puzzle for astrophysicists. These objects must have formed relatively soon after the Big Bang. But if a galaxy is only a billion years old and contains a black hole that is a billion times more massive than the Sun, how did it get so big, so quickly? Now one cosmologist says he has the answer: black holes feed off the quantum foam that makes up the fabric of spacetime. This foam is 'nourishing' because it contains quantum black holes that can contribute to the black hole's growth. This idea leads to a prediction: that the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way must also be growing in this way and at a rate that we should be able to measure. Just watch out for the burps."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Are 'Rock Star' Developers a Necessity? 356

Posted by Soulskill
from the smashes-keyboard-after-every-performance dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Do you think so called 'rock star' developers are necessary at every company? Personally, I don't think so, and I equate it to not needing a college degree to work at Walmart. If you give every problem a complexity value from 1 to 10, and your problems never get higher than a 6 or 7, do you need people capable of solving the 10s? I work for a large software company and I'd rate myself a 7. There are more technically proficient developers, but I don't have an ego about my work, I work well with coworkers and customers, and I bring people up around me. Most 'rock stars' I've seen have been difficult to work with. Most of them are no longer with the company because they were terminated or quit for more money. Is this usually the case? Is it worth the trouble? (Note to any managers reading this: if you have a rockstar who is a pleasant person, pay them well; they are very rare.)"
Biotech

Cells Reprogrammed In Living Mice 29

Posted by Soulskill
from the turn-your-excess-bodyfat-into-brain-cells dept.
sciencehabit writes "Researchers have discovered a surprisingly effective way to 'reprogram' mature mouse cells into an embryolike state, able to become any of the body's cell types (abstract). Their recipe: Let the transformation happen in a living animal instead of a petri dish. The finding could help scientists better understand how reprogramming works and it may one day help breed replacement tissues or organs in the lab—or in living patients."
Bug

SSD Failure Temporarily Halts Linux 3.12 Kernel Work 552

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-be-nvidia's-fault dept.
jones_supa writes "The sudden death of a solid-state drive in Linus Torvalds' main workstation has led to the work on the 3.12 Linux kernel being temporarily suspended. Torvalds has not been able to recover anything from the drive. Subsystem maintainers who have outstanding pull requests may need to re-submit their requests in the coming days. If the SSD isn't recoverable he will finish out the Linux 3.12 merge window from a laptop."
PC Games (Games)

Valve Announces Family Sharing On Steam, Can Include Friends 263

Posted by Soulskill
from the microsoft-looks-on-sadly dept.
Deathspawner writes "Valve has today announced its next attempt at a console-killer: 'Family Sharing' is a feature that will allow you to share your Steam library with family and close friends. This almost seems too good to be true, and while there are caveats, this is going to be huge, and Valve knows it. As Techgage notes, with it you can share nearly your entire Steam library with family or friends, allowing them to earn their own achievements, and have their own saved games. 'Once a device is authorized, the lender's library of Steam games becomes available for others on the machine to access, download, and play. Though simultaneous usage of an account’s library is not allowed, the lender may always access and play his games at any time. If he decides to start playing when a friend is borrowing one of his games, the friend will be given a few minutes to either purchase the game or quit playing.'"
Government

NSA Shares Intel On Americans With Israel 328

Posted by Soulskill
from the hits-keep-coming dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.K.'s Guardian newspaper is reporting that the NSA shares the raw intel collected on Americans with Israel. From the article: 'Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the U.S. government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis. ... The deal was reached in principle in March 2009, according to the undated memorandum, which lays out the ground rules for the intelligence sharing. The five-page memorandum, termed an agreement between the U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies "pertaining to the protection of U.S. persons," repeatedly stresses the constitutional rights of Americans to privacy and the need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect these rights. But this is undermined by the disclosure that Israel is allowed to receive "raw Sigint" – signal intelligence. The memorandum says: "Raw Sigint includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content."'
Security

The Windows Flaw That Cracks Amazon Web Services 114

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell decided to poke around the security of Amazon Web Services, and found a potential loophole that could theoretically allow anyone — a developer, an unscrupulous Amazon employee, the NSA — to access and copy data volumes stored on the system, using a slightly modified version of the popular 'chntwp' password tool. In this article, he breaks down how he did it, and suggests some ways for those who use cloud-hosting services to keep their data a little more secure in the future. 'The key here, of course, is that an unscrupulous employee might be able to make a copy of any existing Windows volume, and go to work on it without the customer ever knowing that it happened,' he writes. 'Now let's be clear: I'm not accusing anyone of having done this; in fact, I doubt anybody has, considering I was unable to find a working copy of chntpw until I modified it.' It's a security concern, and one that's particularly insidious to patch."
Science

Croak & Dagger: Following the Trail of a Herpetologist Spy 40

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tales-of-science-and-intrigue dept.
bmahersciwriter writes "When Rafe Brown started doing field research in the Philippines, he constantly found himself in the long shadow of Edward Taylor, an irascible giant of herpetology (the study of amphibians) from the mid-20th century, whose legacy was tarnished by accusations of fraud, questions about his naming methods, and rumours of a double life working for the U.S. government. Brown forged a bond with his predecessor and has begun to restore a collection of Taylor's specimens that were lost during the Second World War, and which could aid in allocating resources for conservation. He has meanwhile found out more about Taylor's extracurricular activities, which included work with the organization that would eventually become the CIA."
Intel

Intel Bay Trail Brings New Architecture and Performance To Atom 68

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the small-cpus-are-so-cute dept.
Vigile writes "Today at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the company officially released the Atom Z3000 series of SoCs (Bay Trail) based on the Silvermont architecture. Unlike previous Atom designs, the Z3000 and Silvermont is a completely re-architected product from the ground up and is no longer based on legacy processors. Changes include a move to an out-of-order x86 architecture with drastically improved single threaded performance but the removal of Intel's HyperThreading technology. Dual-core modules with 1MB of shared cache can be paired up to create a quad-core SoC that also includes upgraded graphics design. Intel is no longer depending on PowerVR for a GPU and has integrated a 4 EU (execution unit) Intel HD Graphics design that is very similar to the one used in Ivy Bridge. As a result, as tested at PC Perspective in both Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2.2, the Bay Trail part is as much as 4x faster in single threaded tasks and 3.5x faster in gaming and graphics. Power consumption remains nearly the same as it did with Clover Trail (Atom Z2760) but with improved power gating and support for Connected Standby, Intel's new Atom looks and feels completely different than any before it." MojoKid notes that Intel also announced an "open" SoC architecture (where open involves you giving Intel tons of money).
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Trove of NSA Documents and FISC Opinions Declassified Thanks to EFF Lawsuit 110

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the what-is-truth dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Thanks to an EFF lawsuit, the office of the Director of National Intelligence is releasing declassified redacted versions of various documents relating to the NSA's domestic surveillance activities. The documents are being released on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks." The EFF is hosting the documents, which are searchable. A few initial findings were posted yesterday evening; they include (thanks to another anonymous reader) the NSA illegally using phone data for three years, and evidence that Clapper knowingly mislead the public about metadata collection.
Education

Google Joins Open edX 29

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the by-your-sources-combined dept.
lpress writes "Google and MIT have both built open source MOOC platforms and offered innovative MOOCs. They have just announced the establishment of mooc.org, a non-profit organization that will provide a platform to develop, host, and research online courses. The devil is, no doubt, in the details, but this combination of MIT's educational expertise and reputation, Google's vast infrastructure, and the lofty goals of both organizations might turn out to be revolutionary." From Google's research weblog: "Google and edX have a shared mission to broaden access to education, and by working together, we can advance towards our goals much faster. In addition, Google, with its breadth of applicable infrastructure and research capabilities, will continue to make contributions to the online education space, the findings of which will be shared directly to the online education community and the Open edX platform." Course Builder will continue to be maintained for the time being, but eventually Google will "provide an upgrade path to Open edX and MOOC.org from Course Builder."
Science

Study Suggests Weather and Not Hunting Killed Off Wooly Mammoths 150

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mother-nature-wants-you-to-die dept.
Big Hairy Ian writes, quoting the BBC: "A DNA analysis shows that the number of creatures began to decrease much earlier than previously thought as the world's climate changed. It also shows that there was a distinct population of mammoth in Europe that died out around 30,000 years ago. ... Dr Dalen worked with researchers in London to analyse DNA samples from 300 specimens from woolly mammoths collected by themselves and other groups in earlier studies ... [The researchers] speculate that it was so cold that the grass on which they fed became scarce. The decline was spurred on as the Ice Age ended, possibly because the grassland on which the creatures thrived was replaced by forests in the south and tundra in the north."
BSD

FreeBSD Removes GCC From Default Base System 333

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the autoconf-revival dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the LLVM/Clang migration, FreeBSD developers have now disabled building GCC and the GNU C++ standard library (libstdc++) as part of the FreeBSD base system. GCC and libstdc++ have been superseded by LLVM's Clang and libc++, respectively, on primary architectures for FreeBSD 10.0." You can still flip a few switches to get GCC, but the system compiler will still be clang. Update: 09/11 14:50 GMT by U L : Reader Noryungi noted that the What's Cooking for FreeBSD 10 page is also worth a look, adding "I have to say, this is shaping up to be a very interesting release. Bhyve [the BSD hypervisor], in particular, sounds very promising."
Google

Court Declares Google Must Face Wiretap Charges For Wi-Fi Snooping 214

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sergey-brin-peering-through-your-window dept.
New submitter Maser_24 writes with news about continued action against Google for snooping on unsecured Wi-Fi networks when collecting data for Street View. From the article: "A federal appeals court this week ruled that Google could be held liable for civil damages for the company's 2011 scandal involving the company's collection of Wi-Fi data from unsecured hotspots using their Street View vehicles. To come to that conclusion, the court followed a rather unique logic path; according to the court, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots are not 'radio communications' that are 'readily accessible' to the general public and therefore Google violated the Wiretap Act." This despite being cleared of wrongdoing by the FCC.
Java

Java 8 Developer Preview Released 189

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-contains-three-quarters-of-a-common-lisp dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Oracle has released the first developer preview of Java 8 for the full range of platforms (Windows, Max OS X, Linux, Solaris). Java 8 is a major update to both language and platform with Lambda expressions, method references, default methods, a new Date and Time API, Compact Profiles, the Nashorn JavaScript Engine, and the removal of the Permanent Generation from the HotSpot virtual machine. 'This milestone is intended for broad testing by developers,' Java Platform Chief Architect Mark Reinhold wrote on his blog. 'We've run all tests on all Oracle-supported platforms and haven't found any glaring issues. We've also fixed many of the bugs discovered since we reached the Feature Complete milestone back in June.' Let the bug hunt commence!" This is the second part of the JDK "Plan B" where JDK 7 was pushed out without cool new features like lambda expressions to prevent stalling language development for too long.
Encryption

Are the NIST Standard Elliptic Curves Back-doored? 366

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the nsa-versus-nist dept.
IamTheRealMike writes "In the wake of Bruce Schneier's statements that he no longer trusts the constants selected for elliptic curve cryptography, people have started trying to reproduce the process that led to those constants being selected ... and found it cannot be done. As background, the most basic standard elliptic curves used for digital signatures and other cryptography are called the SEC random curves (SEC is 'Standards for Efficient Cryptography'), a good example being secp256r1. The random numbers in these curve parameters were supposed to be selected via a "verifiably random" process (output of SHA1 on some seed), which is a reasonable way to obtain a nothing up my sleeve number if the input to the hash function is trustworthy, like a small counter or the digits of PI. Unfortunately it turns out the actual inputs used were opaque 256 bit numbers, chosen ad-hoc with no justifications provided. Worse, the curve parameters for SEC were generated by head of elliptic curve research at the NSA — opening the possibility that they were found via a brute force search for a publicly unknown class of weak curves. Although no attack against the selected values are currently known, it's common practice to never use unexplainable magic numbers in cryptography standards, especially when those numbers are being chosen by intelligence agencies. Now that the world received strong confirmation that the much more obscure and less widely used standard Dual_EC_DRBG was in fact an NSA undercover operation, NIST re-opened the confirmed-bad standards for public comment. Unless NIST/the NSA can explain why the random curve seed values are trustworthy, it might be time to re-evaluate all NIST based elliptic curve crypto in general."
NASA

Space Food From Space Farms 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-have-a-space-burger-with-space-fries-please dept.
Modern Farmer magazine has an article about NASA's efforts into growing food in space, a slow, difficult process that's nonetheless necessary if humanity is to have any significant presence away from Earth's surface. Quoting: "This December, NASA plans to launch a set of Kevlar pillow-packs, filled with a material akin to kitty litter, functioning as planters for six romaine lettuce plants. The burgundy-hued lettuce (NASA favors the 'Outredgeous' strain) will be grown under bright-pink LED lights, ready to harvest after just 28 days. NASA has a long history of testing plant growth in space, but the goals have been largely academic. Experiments have included figuring out the effects of zero-gravity on plant growth, testing quick-grow sprouts on shuttle missions and assessing the viability of different kinds of artificial light. But [the Vegetable Production System] is NASA's first attempt to grow produce that could actually sustain space travelers. Naturally, the dream is to create a regenerative growth system, so food could be continually grown on the space station — or, potentially, on moon colonies or Mars. ... Plant size is a vital calculation in determining what to grow on the space station, where every square foot is carefully allotted. Harvest time is also of extreme importance; the program wants to maximize growth cycles within each crew’s (on average) six-month stay."
Movies

The Tech Behind Man of Steel's Metropolis 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-childhood-has-been-replaced-with-a-very-small-shell-script dept.
angry tapir writes "Much of the urban vistas of Man of Steel, Cars 2 and the horrible remake of Total Recall were not modelled by hand. Instead they relied on a product called CityEngine, which is more typically associated with local government bodies' urban planning and urban design. The software procedurally generates cities using scripts written in a Python-like language. The next version of CityEngine, coming out next month, will incorporate an SDK so third-party developers can use parameter-defined procedural generation of urban environments in their own applications. CityEngine's product manager talks about the upcoming version, how it's being used at the moment, and plans to incorporate augmented reality in it."
Sony

PS Vita TV's Killer App: Remote Play 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-your-gadgets-have-subgadgets dept.
jfruh writes "When Sony announced the PS Vita TV yesterday, most observers saw it as competition for the Apple TV and Roku, or maybe the Ouya. But gaming writer Peter Smith views it differently; he thinks that remote play, including the ability to stream games from the upcoming PlayStation 4 console, will be the Vita TV's killer-app. In that sense, it isn't so much a low-cost replacement for casual gamers as an add-on to the high-end PS4. '[W]hen you're in the middle of a game and someone wants to watch TV, you can just grab a Vita and keep on playing. (This is similar to the popular "tablet play" feature of Nintendo's Wii U, without the Wii U's limitation of having to stay in close proximity to the base console.) ... For any Playstation 4 household with more than one TV I think the PS Vita TV will become a 'must-have' accessory; it's almost like getting a second PS4 for $100.'"
Open Source

How To Turn Your Pile of Code Into an Open Source Project 176

Posted by Soulskill
from the learn-how-to-swear-at-people-on-mailing-lists dept.
Esther Schindler writes "You've written some code, you think it would be useful to the world, and you'd like to give back to the open source world. But how do you do it? Andy Lester provides a checksheet for developers for how to release an open source project and get it noticed. For instance: Before you release the project to the wild, write some documentation, create a mailing list, create an issue tracker, and so on. 'Users require releases of your software. It’s a disservice to your users to point at the Git repo and say “Just pull from the master branch and install it.” Users don’t want to have to use version control just to get a release of the code. Create a proper tarball (.tar.gz) that is easily downloadable by anyone. Announce each release. Your announcements should not assume that the reader is familiar with your project.' You think he's missing anything?"

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