redletterdave writes "For the second time in a row, Microsoft's Security Essentials failed to earn certification from AV-Test, the independent German testing lab best known for evaluating the effectiveness of antivirus software. Out of 25 different security programs tested by AV-Test, including software from McAfee, Norman, Kaspersky, and others, Microsoft's Security Essentials was just one out of three that failed to gain certification. These results are noteworthy because Microsoft Security Essentials is currently (as of December) the most popular security suite in North America and the world."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday launched a new mobile app powered by Windows Azure called HelpBridge that lets you both ask for help after a natural disaster, as well as offer to give it. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the launch is an excellent initiative to rally everyone around one cause: supporting each other during a time of need. You can download the app right now from the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, and the Windows Phone Store. Unfortunately, it's only available in the US right now, but hopefully Microsoft will be expanding regional support soon."
Qedward writes with this except from Computerworld UK: "Germany should change a law to enable public administrations to make their software available as free and open source, a German parliamentary committee has advised. German public administrations currently are not allowed to give away goods, including software, said Jimmy Schulz, a member of Parliament and chairman of the Interoperability, Standards and Free Software Project Group. The current law prohibits governments from being part of the development process in the free software community, he said. 'This is a clear disadvantage because it cuts off all benefits obtained from free software, such as being cost-efficient and state-of-the-art,' he said. Besides a recommendation that the government should explore whether the law can be changed for software, the group also called for the use of open standards in order to make sure that everybody can have access to important information, Schulz said. 'We also called for public administrations in general to make sure that new software is created as platform independent as possible,' he added. While the project group is not in favour of giving priority to one type of software over another, it said in its recommendation to the Parliament earlier this week that free and open source software could be a viable alternative to proprietary software." I think a fair rule is that, barring extraordinary and demonstrated need, all tax dollars for software should go only for the development of software for which source is available gratis to all taxpayers, and that secret-source software makers are free to change to fit this requirement any time they'd like to have their software considered for a bid.
HansonMB writes "After launching on one of the nation's Long March rockets and a three-day transit, Chang'E 3 will reach the Moon and enter into a 62 mile orbit. Once settled, the 2,645 pound lander will separate from the roughly 8,200 pound spacecraft and descend into a highly elliptical orbit 62 by 9.5 miles above the surface." Russia wants a taste, too, and plans a moon-sampling mission set for 2015.
Some Bitch writes "Following previous stories that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was to review the safety of the Boeing 787 and that Japan had already grounded their fleet, the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive which has been endorsed around the world with the fleets of all eight airlines flying the 787 now grounded. EADS (the parent company of Airbus) shares were up 3.9% at close of business." General Electric's call for more sifting of more data from more sensors might have some resonance right now within Boeing.
Rikki Endsley has been Community Manager for USENIX since September, 2011. She also edits their magazine, ;login:, writes for publications ranging from Linux.com to Network World, and is a long-distance runner to boot. But this interview concentrates on USENIX, a worthy organization that does a great job of helping its members (and the entire Unix/Linux community) stay up to date technically and, with its job board, keep USENIX members employed. Toward the end of the conversation, Rikki mentions some of the intangible but valuable benefits people get when they attend USENIX events. (Remember: If you don't have time to watch the video, can't see the video or just don't like video, you can click on the "Show/Hide Transcript" link and read a text version of the video.)
An anonymous reader writes "Kim Dotcom on Thursday used Twitter to reveal some interesting new tidbits in regards to his upcoming Mega service, which will be hosted at the New Zealand-based domain Mega.co.nz. Two days before the service is to go live, Doctom says he plans to offer 50GB of free storage to all members and is also working on bringing over users' Megaupload files and data, but has so far run into legal issues." To say that Kim Dotcom has "run into legal issues" is like saying that Julian Assange is having a sleepover at the Ecuadorian embassy.
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes with some strong cautions on a Facebook "feature" that lets you search for random phone numbers and find the accounts of users who have registered that number on their Facebook profile. This has privacy implications that are more serious than searching by email address. Especially in light of the expanding emphasis that Facebook is putting both on search qua search and on serving as a VoIP intermediary (not to mention the stream of robocalls that the FCC is unable to stop), this might make you think twice about where your phone number ends up. Read on for Bennett's description of the problem and some possible solutions.
hypnosec writes "Online version control system GitHub, which is based on Git — the distributed version control system developed by Linus Torvalds — now has over three million registered users, it has been revealed. Announcing the achievement, the code sharing site used by the likes of jQuery, Perl, PHP, Ruby as well as Joomla said in a blog post that the 'three millionth person signed up for a GitHub account' on Monday night."
First time accepted submitter der_pinchy writes "For many years I have used a high-contrast desktop color scheme (with green text on black background) and notice more and more software uses a forced color scheme that can make it difficult to use. For web browsing I have always used Opera and its white-on-black user style sheet, but have to constantly tweak it so that certain elements and transparent images are visible. Is there anything to be done with some of the major offenders, like Office or recent versions of Visual Studio? Even recent browsers that support user style sheets still use a forced color scheme on a lot of there dialog controls."
The Washington Post (among many others) reports on a development from Facebook that may excite many more users than does the much-hyped announcement about richer search capabilities: after launching a Canadian trial balloon not long ago, Facebook is expanding the reach of its free in-app VoiP communications with free voice comms via the company's smartphone app. "Excite" for some people will also mean "infuriate": to get the free candy, the recipient will need to have shared his or her number with Facebook, which many people will understandably be loath to do. From the WaPo article: "To use the feature, Facebook users must hit the 'i' info icon in the corner or a conversation or contact information page. That panel has a 'Free Call' button that you can use if your friend has shared a mobile number with Facebook and is available for a call. The company slowly has been building out the features available in chat — most notably with the 2011 Skype partnership that put video calling on the Web version of its site. When it released Facebook Messenger last fall, it became even clearer that messaging and mobile applications were priorities for the company."
kthreadd writes "The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 derivative CentOS version 5.9 has been released just 10 days after its upstream provider. According to the release notes a number of changes have been made. New packages available in CentOS 5.9 includes for example OpenJDK 7 and Rsyslog 5. Several drivers have also been updated in the kernel which has been updated to version 2.6.18-348, including support for Microsoft's virtualization environment Hyper-V." CentOS has been plugging away now for nearly 10 years.
First time accepted submitter singinho writes "In times of political turmoil, operators are caught in the middle, between the wishes of the regime and the communications needs of the public. Orange exec Marc Rennard explains how he is forced to risk the lives of his employees." Companies operating with the blessing of any particular regime end up in some interesting predicaments; trying to keep communications open in a place like Mali (one of the places Rennard oversees) must make for some exciting work days for the guys in the field.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Software developer Jeff Cogswell writes: 'Let's compare Java and C#, two programming languages with large numbers of ardent fans and equally virulent detractors. I'm not interested in yet another test that grindingly calculates a million digits' worth of Pi. I want to know about real-world performance: How does each language measure up when asked to dish out millions of Web pages a day? How do they compare when having to grab data from a database to construct those pages dynamically? The results were quite interesting.' Having worked as a professional C# programmer for many years, Cogswell found some long-held assumptions challenged."
mask.of.sanity writes "The Department of Homeland Security has taken charge of pushing medical device manufacturers to fix vulnerable medical software and devices after researchers popped yet another piece of hospital hardware. It comes after the agency pushed Philips to move to fix critical vulnerabilities found in its popular medical management platform that is used in a host of services including assisting surgeries and generating patient reports. To date, no agency has taken point on forcing the medical manufacturers to improve the information security profile of their products, with the FDA even dubbing such a risk unrealistic (PDF)."