Submission + - Google Apps beats Office 365 for DOI contract (

angry tapir writes: "The U.S. Department of the Interior has picked Google Apps to provide cloud-based email and collaboration applications to about 90,000 staffers, choosing Google's services over Microsoft's Office 365. Google had sued the U.S. agency in 2010, claiming its requirements for the contract tilted the scales unfairly toward Microsoft. Google eventually dropped its lawsuit last September."

Submission + - BART Defends Mobile Service Shutdown (

itwbennett writes: "In a filing to the FCC, Grace Crunican, BART's general manager, defended last August's mobile shutdown, saying that 'a temporary disruption of cell phone service, under extreme circumstances where harm and destruction are imminent, is a necessary tool to protect passengers.' Taking the opposing position, digital rights groups, including Public Knowledge, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the FCC that 'wireless interruption will necessarily prohibit the communications of completely innocent parties — precisely those parties closest to the site where the emergency is located or anticipated.'"

Submission + - Bug Busters! OpenBSD 5.1 released. (

An anonymous reader writes: Today the 31st release of OpenBSD has surfaced. As usual, it includes improved hardware support, OpenSSH 6.0, and over 7000 ports with major performance and stability improvements in the package build process(and some really cool stickers).

Submission + - NYTimes: "FBI Foils its own Terrorist Plots" (

Fluffeh writes: "Breaking up terrorist plots is one of the main goals of the FBI these days, but if it can't do that, well, it seems that making plots up, them valiantly stopping them is okay too — but the NYTimes is calling them on it. "The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.""


Submission + - Pakistani Court Rules on Internet Cencorship: Unconstitutional (

Fluffeh writes: "It looks like some Pakistanis are taking on "the man". With plans laid by the Pakistani Government that could sink up to fifty million webites that it isn't a fan of, Pakistanis took the matter to court — which ruled that such action by the government was unconstitutional. Reporters without Borders was however a little more skeptical "The high court’s ruling, if respected, would make it impossible for the government to introduce any nationwide website filtering system.

While welcoming the ruling, which penalizes the lack of transparency in the PTA’s past website blocking, Reporters Without Borders calls for vigilance because the PTA could try to circumvent it by devising a constitutional procedure based on the anti-blasphemy law and national security provisions. ""


Submission + - Xamarin: "Android Ported to C#" (

Eirenarch writes: "Xamarin has just announced that they got the Java part of Android ported to C# via machine translation. The resulting OS called XobotOS is available on Github. They claim some serious performance gains over Dalvik. For them this is an experiment that they are not planning to focus on but they will be using some of the technologies in Mono for Android."

Submission + - Venus to Appear in Once-In-A-Lifetime Event (

revealingheart writes: ScienceDaily reports that on 5 and 6 June this year, millions of people around the world will be able to see Venus pass across the face of the Sun in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will take Venus about six hours to complete its transit, appearing as a small black dot on the Sun's surface, in an event that will not happen again until 2117.

Transits of Venus occur only on the very rare occasions when Venus and Earth are in a line with the Sun. At other times Venus passes below or above the Sun because the two orbits are at a slight angle to each other. Transits occur in pairs separated by eight years, with the gap between pairs of transits alternating between 105.5 and 121.5 years — the last transit was in 2004.

"We are fortunate in that we are truly living in a golden period of planetary transits and it is one of which I hope astronomers can take full advantage," writes Jay M Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College, Massachusetts.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Crowd-sourcing a TV-revolt?

kfsone writes: In many areas, you don't get to choose your TV-provider, you take the local offering or nothing; you don't get to choose your TV channels, you take a bundle (along with the extra cost so many additional channels costs) or nothing. And now, cable wants you to pay cable even if you have chosen to take your money elsewhere... What would happen if the disgruntled Slashdot community all called their Cable/Satellite providers on the same day/days and asked to terminate their subscription at the end of the current cycle due to "lack of an a-la-carte option" (reserving, of course, the option to call back and un-cancel)?

Submission + - IBM offers retirement with job guarantee through 2013 (

dcblogs writes: IBM is offering employees who are nearing retirement — and may be worried about a layoff — a one-time voluntary program that would ensure their employment through Dec. 31, 2013. The program, described in a letter addressed to IBM managers, "offers participants 70% of their pay for working 60% of their schedule." Participating employees would receive "the same benefits they do today, most at a full-time level, including health benefits and 401(k) Plus Plan automatic company contributions." IBM isn't offering the program in lieu of U.S. workforce cutbacks. In 2006, IBM employed about 127,000 in U.S. The Alliance@IBM, a CWA local, now estimates the U.S. workforce at around 95,000. How far IBM will go in cutting gets debate, including one radical estimate.

Submission + - Stopping Side-Channel Attacks (

blinkin247 writes: In the last 10 years, cryptography researchers have demonstrated that even the most secure-seeming computer is shockingly vulnerable to attack. The time it takes a computer to store data in memory, fluctuations in its power consumption and even the noises it emits can betray information to a savvy assailant. Fortunately, even as they've been researching side-channel attacks, cryptographers have also been investigating ways of stopping them. Shafi Goldwasser, the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and her former student Guy Rothblum, who's now a researcher at Microsoft Research, recently posted a long report on the website of the Electronic Colloquium on Computational Complexity, describing a general approach to mitigating side-channel attacks.

Submission + - BlackBerry 10 unveiled (

arcite writes: Research in Motion Ltd's new CEO, Thorsten Heins unveiled BlackBerry 10 in Florida today. Will new features such as a virtual keyboard that learns from typing behavior to a camera that easily focuses on faces be enough to scrape back precious market share (which could possibly fall to 5%) from the likes of Apple and Android? With no physical device yet revealed and a release date ranging anywhere from August to October, it will be an uphill battle.

Submission + - Oracle and the End of Programming As We Know It (

An anonymous reader writes: An article at Dr. Dobb's looks into the consequences of a dangerous idea from Oracle during their legal battle with Google: 'that Google had violated Oracle's Java copyrights by reimplementing Java APIs in Android.' The issue is very much unsettled in the courts, but the judge in this case instructed the jury to assuming the APIs were copyrightable. 'In a nutshell, if the jury sides with Oracle that the copyrights in the headers of every file of the Java source base apply specifically to the syntax of the APIs, then Oracle can extract payment and penalties from Google for having implemented those APIs without Oracle's blessing (or, in more specific terms, without a license). Should this come to pass, numerous products will suddenly find themselves on an uncertain legal standing in which the previously benign but now newly empowered copyright holders might assert punitive copyright claims. Chief among these would be any re-implementation of an existing language. So, Jython, IronPython, and PyPy for Python; JRuby, IronRuby, and Rubinius for Ruby; Mono for C# and VB; possibly C++ for C, GCC for C and C++ and Objective-C; and so forth. And of course, all the various browsers that use JavaScript might owe royalties to the acquirers of Netscape's intellectual property.'

Submission + - HTML5 App Builder with Modernizr, jQuery and Kinvey (

An anonymous reader writes: This post explores a tool I've been hacking on that helps you get started quickly building HTML5 apps and includes Kinvey's latest Javascript library. The tool can be useful to anyone building HTML5 apps and doesn’t require the use of Kinvey.

You can find the GitHub repo here and see a screencast of installing the tool and creating an HTML5 project at the bottom of the post.

It started over the weekend when a customer contacted us regarding HTML5 support. I exchanged some messages with him about his application needs and provided him with a beta version of the Kinvey JavaScript library. Then on Monday, I was talking with Dave W. from our team and we came up with the idea for this tool.

Submission + - Google releases key part of Street View pipeline (

drom writes: Google released a key part of their Street View pipeline as open source today: Ceres Solver. It's a large-scale nonlinear least squares minimizer. What does that mean? It's a way to fit a model (like expected position of a car) to data (like GPS positions or accelerometers). The library is completely general and works for many problems. It offers state of the art performance for bundle adjustment problems typical in 3D reconstruction, among others.

Submission + - Researchers identify genetic systems disrupted in autistic brain (

hessian writes: "Autism has a strong genetic basis, but so far efforts to identify the responsible genes have had mixed results. The reason for this is that autism is influenced by many different genes, and different genes are involved in different individuals, making it hard to find the common genetic ground between patients.

Now, research conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has shown that despite this fact, the different genes involved in autism tend to be involved in specific processes in the brain. This can explain, on the one hand, similarities in the behavioral symptoms of different autistics, but also the large spectrum of behaviors observed in different autistic individuals."


Submission + - Thinking of mining an asteroid: Who owns them? (video) (

techfun89 writes: "According to Planetary Resources co-founder Eric Anderson, a US company has the right to an asteroid and its resources. He also says that its a goal of the US government to enable and promote such commercial activities in space.

This is the United States view on asteroids, but there is a 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty that may say otherwise.

"Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means," states Article 2 of the treaty.

"The UN treaty in essence forbids private ownership of celestial property. According to the treaty, you could not arrive on the Moon or an asteroid and claim it for ownership, at least as a country," according to an attorney Michael Gold for Bigelow Aerospace."

Hardware Hacking

Submission + - MIT Tetris Hack: Source code released (

An anonymous reader writes: The MIT Tech published an article with technical details behind the Tetris hack. The article includes photographs of the LED modules, as well as a link to some of the source code used in the hack. The hackers have released some of the source code on GitHub are looking for people to contribute code that could run on the system.