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+ - 151 An Asian Origin for Human Ancestors?-> 2

Submitted by InfiniteZero
InfiniteZero (587028) writes "Researchers agree that our immediate ancestors, the upright walking apes, arose in Africa. But the discovery of a new primate that lived about 37 million years ago in the ancient swamplands of Myanmar bolsters the idea that the deep primate family tree that gave rise to humans is rooted in Asia. If true, the discovery suggests that the ancestors of all monkeys, apes, and humans—known as the anthropoids—arose in Asia and made the arduous journey to the island continent of Africa almost 40 million years ago."
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The Courts

+ - 240 A 'small claims court for the internet'->

Submitted by
angry tapir
angry tapir writes "It's not unusual for a freelance Web designer or developer to be burnt when a client refuses to pay up, citing one excuse or another. And what can you do about it? If a contract only amounts to a few thousand dollars, litigation to recover your fee can be far too expensive, and an increasingly vituperative exchange of emails is often not enough for client and contractor to come to agreement over who owes whom what. Into this gap steps judge.me: A start-up founded by Peter-Jan Celis that aims to provide internet-based, legally binding arbitration services — a 'small claims court' for the internet' — with a particular eye on settling the conflicts that arise over freelance development and Web design. I recently had a chat with Celis about how the service works."
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+ - 229 If You Can't Secure IPv6. Don't Turn it On.-> 1

Submitted by darthcamaro
darthcamaro (735685) writes "Lots of hoopla today about World IPv6 Launch day. The day the pundits tells us that we should be switching to IPv6. Well not all pundits, the Chief Security Officer of VeriSign (you know the guys the run the root DNS and .com) doesn't think IPv6 should be turned on by a whole lot of people. The problem is network security devices in many cases don't scan IPv6. So if you turn IPv6 on, you're screwed.
"If you don't have that visibility into IPv6, you should probably consider explicitly disabling IPv6 on your systems until you can take a very concerted approach to enabling IPv6 in a secure manner," McPherson said."

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NASA

+ - 120 NASA, Congress Reach Accord on Commercial Crew Program->

Submitted by
MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington writes "NASA and Congress have reached a deal on how to proceed with the commercial crew program that provides government subsidies to pay for the development of private spacecraft. NASA will select the number of competitors from the current four — SpaceX, Boeing, Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada — to two. A third competitor will be picked for partial funding as a fallback in case both of the main competing companies run into difficulties developing a space craft on time and on budget."
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Desktops (Apple)

+ - 109 Viability Of Funding Open Source Via Donations: Proved.->

Submitted by TroysBucket
TroysBucket (1748662) writes "Eight days ago, Linux Action Show host Bryan Lunduke set a challenge prove the viability of funding full time Open Source development via donations. If $4,000 in monthly contributions could be raised, in a short amount of time, he would Open Source (under the GPL) all of his software (including the game "Linux Tycoon" and the visual programming tool "Illumination"). The goal has been reached. The software is going GPL."
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Security

+ - 135 Google Fixes 2-Factor Auth. Flaw Used in CloudFlare Attack->

Submitted by tsu doh nimh
tsu doh nimh (609154) writes "An attack late last week that compromised the personal and business Gmail accounts of Matthew Prince, chief executive of Web content delivery system CloudFlare, revealed a subtle but dangerous security flaw in the 2-factor authentication process used in Google Apps for business customers. Google has since fixed the glitch, but the attack also apparently succeeded because someone at AT&T got social engineered into forwarding a voicemail account to a device the attackers controlled. Prince has posted a timeline of the attack, showing the process by which he and the perpetrators exchanged control over his account 10 times in 15 minutes."
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Book Reviews

+ - 154 How Google Tests Software Book Review

Submitted by
MassDosage
MassDosage writes "Having developed software for nearly fifteen years I remember the dark days before testing was all the rage and the large number of bugs that had to be arduously found and fixed manually. The next step was nervously releasing the code without the safety net of a test bed and having no idea if one had introduced regressions or new bugs. When I first came across unit testing I ardently embraced it and am a huge fan of testing of various forms — from automated to smoke tests to performance and load tests to end user and exploratory testing. So it was with much enthusiasm that I picked up How Google Tests Software — written by some of the big names in testing at Google. I was hoping it would give me fresh insights into testing software at “Google Scale” as promised on the back cover, hopefully coupled with some innovative new techniques and tips. While partially succeeding on these fronts the book as a whole didn’t quite live up to my expectations and feels like a missed opportunity.

The book is written in an informal, easy to read manner and organised in such a way that readers can read chapters in any order or just choose to focus on the parts that interest them. One annoying layout choice is to highlight and repeat certain key sentences (as is often done in magazines) resulting in one reading the same thing twice, often only words away from the original sentence. Thankfully this is only the case in the first two chapters but it highlights the variable quality of this book — possibly due to the authors having worked separately on different chapters. How Google Tests Software isn’t a book for people new to testing or software development. The authors assume you know a fair amount about the software development lifecycle, where testing fits into this and what different forms testing can take. It is also largely technology neutral, using specific examples of testing software that Google uses only to illustrate concepts.

After a brief introduction as to how testing has evolved over time at Google the book devotes a chapter to each of the key testing-related roles in the company: the “Software Engineer in Test” (SET), the “Test Engineer” (TE) and the “Test Engineering Manager” (TEM). SETs are coders who focus on writing tests or frameworks and infrastructure to support other coders in their testing. The TE has a broader, less well-defined role and is tasked with looking at the bigger picture of the product in question and its impact on users and how it fits into the broader software ecosystem. These two sections form the bulk of the book in terms of pages and interesting content. The TEM is essentially what the name says — someone who manages testers and testing and coordinates these activities at a higher level within Google.

The descriptions of each of these testing roles highlights the ways Google’s thinking about testing has matured and also shows how some of these approaches differ from other companies. There are also explanations of the tools and processes that people in these roles use and follow and this for me was the most interesting part of the book. Topics covered include: specific bug tracking and test plan creation tools; risk analysis; test case management over time; and automated testing. Particularly of note are discussions on using bots to perform testing of web pages to detect differences between software releases, cutting down on the amount of human interaction required as well as the opposite approach — using more humans via “crowd sourced testing” among first internal and then select groups of external users. The tools that Google utilizes to simplify tester’s jobs by recording steps to reproduce bugs and simplifying bug reporting and management sound very useful. Many of the tools described in the book are open source (or soon to be opened) and are probably worth following up on and investigating if this is what you do for a living.

In addition to the main body of text most chapters also include interviews with Google staff on various testing related topics. Some of these are genuinely interesting and give the reader a good idea of how testing is tackled at Google on a practical level. However some of the interviews fall into the “navel gazing” camp (especially when the authors interview one of themselves) and feel more like filler material. I enjoyed the interviews with Google hiring staff the most — their take on how they recruit people for testing roles and the types of questions they ask and qualities they look for make a lot of sense. The interview with the GMail TEM was also good and illustrated how the concepts described in the book are actually performed in practise. The interviews are clearly marked and can thus be easily skipped or skim read but one wonders what more useful text could have been included in their place.

The book wraps up with a chapter that attempts to describe how Google intends to improve their testing in the future. The most valuable point here is how testing as a separate function could “disappear” as it becomes part and parcel of the product being developed like any other feature, and thus the responsibility of all of the people working on the product as opposed to it being a separate thing. Another key point made throughout the book is how the state of testing at Google is constantly in flux which makes sense in such a fast moving and innovative company but leaves one questioning how much of this book will still be relevant in a few year’s time.

How Google Tests Software isn’t a bad book but neither is it a great one. It has some good parts and will be worth reading for those who are interested in “all things Google.” For everyone else I’d recommend skimming through to the parts that grab your attention most and glossing over the rest.

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book free of charge by the publisher for review purposes. They placed no restrictions on what I could say and left me to be as critical as I wanted so the above review is my own honest opinion."
Google

+ - 164 Google Warning Gmail Users About State-Sponsored Attacks ->

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "Google, whose users have been frequent targets of suspected attacks by foreign governments, is deploying a new warning system for users who may be victims of those kinds of attacks. The new system is in addition to existing warnings that Google will show Gmail users when their accounts may have been accessed by attackers.

Gmail users have been on the receiving end of a number of known attacks, including the infamous Google Aurora attack that has been blamed on China. Part of that operation was aimed at a specific subset of Gmail users, including Chinese dissidents and journalists. Now, Google says it will warn users about exactly the kind of activity that resulted in that compromise. The company says it always is looking for potentially state-sponsored attacks on its own networks and will provide users with the benefit of that monitoring.

The ability for Google to show this kind of warning to users obviously means that the company has the capability to identify attacks that it believes are coming from foreign governments--or their hired guns. Identifying attackers by their source IP address is a notoriously inaccurate method and even that basic method would only provide a general geographic location and no information on the attacker's intent or affiliation. Google could be using that as a starting point, however, and extending it to include the identification of traffic from known-bad IP blocks."

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The Internet

+ - 166 'World IPv6 Launch' ready for lift-off->

Submitted by
netbuzz
netbuzz writes "The Internet Society’s “World IPv6 Launch” is hours from lift-off and organizers are pushing a now-familiar message: "If you've been waiting to deploy IPv6, there is no reason to continue waiting," says Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer with the Internet Society. "There are customers who will view your website over IPv6 now. It isn't experimental. It's out there for real." More than 50 access networks and 2,500 websites — including Google, YouTube, Facebook and Yahoo – have committed to the event by pledging to turn on support IPv6 and leave it on for good."
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Your Rights Online

+ - 217 Stuxnet/Flame/Duqu uses GPL code: release it!->

Submitted by
David Gerard
David Gerard writes "It seems the authors of Stuxnet/Duqu/Flame used the LZO library, which is straight-up GPL. And so, someone has asked the US government to release the code under the GPL. (Other code uses various permissive licenses. As works of the US
federal government, the rest is of course public domain.) Perhaps the author could enlist the SFLC to send a copyright notice to the US government..."

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Space

+ - 141 Do Solo Black Holes Roam the Universe?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Two mysterious bright spots in a disheveled, distant galaxy suggest that astronomers have found the best evidence yet for a supermassive black hole being shoved out of its home. If confirmed, the finding would verify Einstein's theory of general relativity in a region of intense gravity not previously tested. The results would also suggest that some giant black holes roam the universe as invisible free floaters, flung from the galaxies in which they coalesced. Although loner black holes may be an entity that has to be reckoned with, they would still be rare."
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Your Rights Online

+ - 208 Fourth European Committee Rejects ACTA->

Submitted by Dangerous_Minds
Dangerous_Minds (1869682) writes "Last month, ACTA was rejected by three European committees (the industry committee, the civil liberties committee, and the legal affairs committee). Now, the fourth European committee, the the Development Committee, has voted to reject ACTA as well, making it zero for four. ZeroPaid is offering a quick timeline of the series of blows to ACTA all last month as well. The next stop for ACTA will be the lead committee, the Trade Committee which is scheduled to hand down a decision later this month on June 21. From there, it'll head to the full house for a vote in July."
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Java

+ - 99 Can we build a better mouse trap/hex editor?-> 4

Submitted by
00_NOP
00_NOP writes "Hex editors are probably one of the most basic parts of any serious coder's toolkit, yet earlier this year, when working on a filesystem driver for Linux I could not find one that did what I wanted — handle big and little endian 16 bit representations and block:offset addressing (I am not saying it doesn't exist, only that I could not find it).
I had a bit of a moan on my blog and then decided to do the free software thing of writing my own (in Groovy). I've now done that — and it's available for testing — but apart from personal satisfaction, was it really worth it? Should we still be working on such basic tools or getting on with building higher applications?"

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Games

+ - 162 Star Wars: 1313 To Offer M-Rated Gaming Adventure in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away-> 1

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "When it comes to Star Wars, the gaming industry has a long history of cranking out titles of uncertain quality. For every brilliant title like Knights of the Old Republic, we've seen several clunkers and a few outright failures like Republic Heroes. LucasArts demonstrated a new Star Wars game at E3 this week, Star Wars: 1313 and despite the brand's uneven history, folks are cautiously optimistic. The 1313 moniker refers to a specific level of Coruscant which is a haven for criminals, bounty hunters, and crime lords. You take on the role of a bounty hunter looking for information on an unspecified criminal conspiracy who descends to 1313 in search of data. This will be the first Star Wars game to be rated "M" for mature, and it focuses on the seedy underbelly of the universe."
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Android

+ - 121 Microsoft pushes mobile automation to new heights, but only for Android->

Submitted by zacharye
zacharye (2330148) writes "Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a new app and set of APIs called on{x}, which pushes smartphone automation to new heights. The app allows users to write custom scripts that automate various smartphone functions based on time, location and a number of parameters similar software does not currently support. On{x} opens the door to a wide range of functionality that isn’t widely available anywhere else, but for the time being, users with smartphones powered by Microsoft’s own Windows Phone platform won’t have access to any of it..."
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Education

+ - 193 Why Kids Should Be Building Rockets Instead of Taking Tests->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "On a morning visit to a Northern California middle school, I saw not a single student. The principal showed me around campus, but I didn’t see or hear students talking, playing, or moving about. The science lab was empty, as were the library and the playground. It was not a school holiday: It was a state-mandated STAR testing day. The school was in an academic lockdown. A volunteer manned a table filled with cupcakes, a small reward for students at day’s end.
This is what the American public school looks like in 2012, driven by obsessive adherence to standardized testing. The fate of children, their schools, and their teachers are based on these school test scores. ... I see the power of engaging kids in science and technology through the practices of making and hands-on experiences, through tinkering and taking things apart. Schools seem to have forgotten that students learn best when they are engaged; in fact, the biggest problem in schools is boredom. Students sit passively, expected to absorb all the content that is thrown at them without much context. The context that’s missing is the real world."

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Education

+ - 206 Classroom Clashes over Science Education->

Submitted by cheezitmike
cheezitmike (537630) writes "In a two-part series, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) examines two hot-button topics that create clashes in the classroom between science teachers and conservative-leaning students, parents, school boards, and state legislatures. Part 1 looks at the struggle of teachers to cover evolution in the face of religious push-back from students and legislatures. Part 2 deals with teaching climate change, and how teachers increasingly have to deal with political pressure from those who insist that there must be two sides to the discussion."
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+ - 198 Coffee consumption prevents Alzheimer's strongly->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Those cups of coffee that you drink every day to keep alert appear to have an extra perk — especially if you're an older adult. A recent study monitoring the memory and thinking processes of people older than 65 found that all those with higher blood caffeine levels avoided the onset of Alzheimer's disease in the two-to-four years of study follow-up. Moreover, coffee appeared to be the major or only source of caffeine for these individuals."
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Privacy

+ - 121 30,000 Electronic Surveillance Orders Issued Per Year In US->

Submitted by
SmartAboutThings
SmartAboutThings writes "Have you ever had the feeling that somebody is watching you? For some, it might be just the paranoia talking, but in reality, should we be concerned? According to the paper recently published by US Magistrate Judge Stephan Smith entitled “Gagged, Sealed & Delivered” we should be very worried. In the essay, he makes the unsettling presumption that federal judges are apparently issuing 30,000 secret electronic surveillance orders each year."
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Iphone

+ - 166 Buttons Morph Out Of Your Touchscreen With Tactus->

Submitted by
kkleiner
kkleiner writes "Wouldn’t it be awesome if our tablets and smartphones could have buttons that morphed out of the touchscreen, and then went away again when we didn't need them? It sounds like magic, but now it is reality. Created by Tactus Technology, a Fremont, California-based start-up, Tactus is a deformable layer that sits on top of a touchscreen sensor and display. The company is demonstrating the Tactile Layer publicly today for the first time at the Society For Information Display’s ‘Display Week’ in Boston."
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