Government

Submission + - Hacker feels bad: Well, duh.... (wired.com)

sackbut writes: From the story:"Jean-Pierre Lesueur is in many ways a typical 22-year-old computer geek. He lives outside of Paris, coding Java by day for a European company that processes airline tickets. He likes playing the piano and reading Stephen Hawking. But he’s also the man who built Dark Comet — which was recently used by the Syrian government to steal information from the computers of activists fighting to overthrow it.

Dark Comet is a software application that gives you remote control over another computer, and Lesueur says he wrote it just to prove his programming cred."

Submission + - POLL: My longest string of consecutive days reading Slashdot was broken by...

An anonymous reader writes: My longest string of consecutive days reading Slashdot was broken by...
. vacation
. natural disaster
. non-disaster-related power outage
. dealing with a virus/trojan/etc.
. just forgot about it that day
. moving
. military service
. other
Communications

Submission + - Sign Language-to-Speech Translating Gloves Take Out Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: Since beginning in 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup has tasked students the world over with developing technology aimed at solving real-world problems. In this, its 10th year, students were asked to build their project around a specific Millennium Development Goal (MDG), with the finals held this month in Sydney, Australia. The winners have just been announced and beating out teams from 75 countries to claim first place (and US$25,000) in the Software Design category was the Ukraine’s quadSquad with their EnableTalk gloves that translate sign language into speech in real time.
Open Source

Submission + - OUYA A $99 Open Games Platform Gets $1 million - For What? (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Well it's actually over $2 million and rising. The OUYA has already been discussed on Slashdot
On the surface it all sounds like a really good idea. The OUYA games console is planned to be an open competitor to the likes of Xbox and PS3. It seems so good that it has been crowd funded to the tune of $1 million — but why exactly is it needed? There must be a good reason — after all the wisdom of crowds is never wrong.
The simple answer seems to be freedom.
The company claims that you can do what you want to the machine. A CyanogenMod will allow you to do what you like to the OS and it won't void your warranty. You can hack the hardware or software. However, it is important to note that this isn't open hardware. You can ask for the design and they might or might not give it to you. In the same way the software seems to be open and yet controlled. You have to include a free level for people to play but if you don't — what? The Kickstarter page says
"When we say, “open” we mean it. We've made many decisions based on this philosophy:.."
But it isn't Open Source.
And yet it is so much better than the alternative. Perhaps this is a sign of just how desperate we all are to get away from the control of the big console manufacturers, that we will fund anything that sounds even slightly reasonable.
The walled gardens of Apple, Sony and Microsoft no longer seem the warm and welcoming places they once did (if they ever did)

Patents

Submission + - ECJ says Software Functionality not protected by copyright (clarkslegal.com)

An anonymous reader writes: ECJ has decided that copyright cannot protect the functionality of a software program, its programming language or its data file format, so that rivals can study a product’s functionality and create a product that provides identical functions.
Idle

Submission + - Man Tries To Live An Open Source Life For A Year (itworld.com) 1

jfruh writes: "Sam Muirhead, a New Zealand filmmaker living Berlin, will, on the 1st of August, begin an experiment in living an open source life for a year. But this is going way beyond just trading in his Mac for a Linux machine and Final Cut Pro for Novacut. He's also going to live in a house based on an open source design, and he notes that trying to develop and use some form of open source toilet paper will be an "interesting and possibly painful process.""
Government

Submission + - Telstar at 50: The little satellite that launched an industry (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "It was a momentous occasion in the communications industry 50 years ago. NASA launched the world’s first communications satellite July 10, 1962 and two days later it relayed the world's first transatlantic television signal, from Andover Earth Station, Maine in the United States, to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center, Brittany, France. Telstar was built by Bell Laboratories for AT&T. Such systems of course seem commonplace today but its technology was hailed as a truly modern miracle that united the world."
Facebook

Submission + - Formspring Hacked - 420,000 Passwords Leaked (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Formspring, the Social Q&A portal focused on conversations and personal interests, admitted to being breached on Tuesday. The compromise led to the loss of 420,000 passwords, forcing the site to reset all member passwords. Mirroring the recent LinkedIn breach, Formspring said that it was alerted to a forum post that contained 420,000 password hashes. Engineers shutdown the service and confirmed the passwords were indeed theirs.

In less than a day, an investigation reveled that the attacker(s) had “broken into one of our development servers and was able to use that access to extract account information from a production database,” a blog post explains. There have been no reported incidents of individual account compromise, but there were reports of Phishing by some users on Twitter attempting to capitalize on the incident.

Google

Submission + - Google Settles Over Circumventing Safari's Privacy Settings (nytimes.com)

Slashbots writes: Google has settled with FTC for nearly $22.5 million over its bypassing of Apple's Safari browser privacy settings. Google, the largest settlement with FTC over privacy related charges ever. By abusing privacy hole in Safari, Google circumvented user settings to show them advertising and track the users, "Safari, unlike other browsers, blocks cookies from ad networks like Google’s. But because of a loophole, Google had been able to avoid the block, as researchers discovered in February. It installed cookies and tracked Safari users across the Web to show them personalized ads".
Privacy

Submission + - The TSA's latest investment: Terahertz laser scanners (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "It seems like every time I set foot in an airport, there is some new machine I need to stand in, walk through, or put my shoes on. The argument can be made that much of this is security theater — an effort to just make things look safe. However, if a new kind of laser-based molecular scanner lives up to its promise and finds its way into airports as planned, it could actually make a difference. A company called Genia Photonics has developed a programmable picosecond laser that is capable of spotting trace amounts of a variety of substances. Genia claims that the system can detect explosives, chemical agents, and hazardous biological substances at up to 50 meters. This device relies on classic spectroscopy; just a very advanced form of it. In the case of Genia’s scanner, it is using far-infrared radiation in the terahertz band. This is why the US Department of Homeland Security is so keen on getting it into airports. Understandably, some are calling foul on the possible privacy concerns, but this technology is halfway to a Star Trek tricorder."
Privacy

Submission + - Drones invade domestic airspace and your privacy (patexia.com)

ericjones12398 writes: "Imagine a rabbit-sized drone hovering over your Fourth of July backyard barbeque, covert and stealthy, scanning the property for expired license plates, wanted jaywalkers and oversized Roman candles. Depending on your location, this Orwellian scene may already be possible. An uptick in domestic drone activity, including February’s FAA Reauthorization Act and the recent release of a drone operator’s unofficial rulebook has angered privacy advocates and aggravated fears we are living in a surveillance society. Digital freedom fighters like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy & Technology, along with an obligatory stance from the American Civil Liberties Union, question the constitutionality of law enforcement’s use of drone technology. And many taxpayers find the notion of drone-filled American skies intrusive, unsafe and downright creepy."

Submission + - Bank of England plans IT risk assessment system amid LIBOR scandal (computerworlduk.com)

DerekduPreez writes: "The Bank of England (BoE) is planning to implement an IT system before the end of 2012 to assess the risk of firms operating in the financial sector.

The announcement comes amid the LIBOR-fixing scandal by banks such as Barclays that is currently rocking the financial services sector, which has put the BoE's risk assessment systems into question.

It is estimated that the system will cost up to £2.5 million and allow the BoE to record firms’ risk scores, whilst also providing the capability to analyse and report on risk assessments.

The BoE also wants the capability to analyse firms by time series, peer group or sector, and be able to drill-down and aggregate within firm structures and generate advanced visualisations and management reports."

Transportation

Submission + - Ultra-efficient 4,000 mph vacuum-tube trains – why aren't they being built (gizmag.com) 1

cylonlover writes: In the 1800s, when pneumatic tubes shot telegrams and small items all around buildings and sometimes small cities, the future of mass transit seemed clear: we'd be firing people around through these sealed tubes at high speeds. And it turns out we've got the technology to do that today – mag-lev rail lines remove all rolling friction from the energy equation for a train, and accelerating them through a vacuum tunnel can eliminate wind resistance to the point where it's theoretically possible to reach blistering speeds over 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) using a fraction of the energy an airliner uses – and recapturing a lot of that energy upon deceleration. Ultra-fast, high efficiency ground transport is technologically within reach – so why isn't anybody building it? Gizmag's Loz Blain looks at some of the problems.

Submission + - GitHub Takes $100M From VC King Andreessen-Horowitz (wired.com)

aneroid writes: "GitHub has partnered with Andreessen-Horowitz for a $100 million investment, a first for the 'Social Coding' site. Quoting wired, '[github] had intentionally held off on venture funding for the first four years of its life...Not having investors "makes sure that we optimize for customer happiness," said co-founder Tom Preston-Werner.' So why now? 'Because we want to be better. We want to build the best products. We want to solve harder problems. We want to make life easier for more people. The experience and resources of Andreessen Horowitz can help us do that.' Interestingly, Linus Torvalds, the inventor of git, has some issues with GitHub's translation of git for the web. However he also says, 'The hosting of github is excellent. They’ve done a good job on that. I think GitHub should be commended enormously for making open source project hosting so easy.'"
Android

Submission + - More malware on official Android Market (arstechnica.com)

Dupple writes: The discovery demonstrates limitations in Google Play's antimalware service.

"What is most interesting about this Trojan is the fact that the threat managed to stay on Google Play for such a long time, clocking up some serious download figures before being discovered," Asrar wrote. "Our suspicion is that this was probably due to the remote payload employed by this Trojan."

Cellphones

Submission + - AT&T Starts Blocking Service to Stolen Phones

theodp writes: Just days after a UK report asked if Apple could do more to prevent iPhone theft, AT&T has started allowing users to report and block service to their stolen phones. Hey, with all of the reports of iPhone thefts, perhaps Apple should update its Creating Jobs Through Innovation page to give itself credit for creating a host of other jobs — thieves, armed robbers, doctors, dentists, surgeons, hospital workers, police, detectives, judges, jailers, and even morticians (let's hope the deceased had iPhone insurance).
Medicine

Submission + - Dental cavaties a thing of the past? (geek.com)

Sooner Boomer writes: "A scientest ib Chile has discovered a chemical that could keep us cavity-free, no matter how much sugary treats we eat. The chemical, KEEP 32, kills the bacteria, Streptococcus Mutans, that livew on our teeth, metabolizes the sugar, and produces acid (causing cavities). The inventors have a provisional patent on the molecule in the U.S. and are seeking funding to complete human trials for a period of 14 to 18 months, preparing a product for the market. "The molecule can not only be incorporated into a gum, but products like toothpastes, mouthwashes, toothpastes sheets, candies, dental night gel and other (products) who may be inside the mouth 60 seconds at least," said Erich Astudillo , CEO of Top Tech Innovations, a company that hosts this development. "In Chile we were seeking funding for two years and no one is interested in putting resources to R & D," he says. So he joined the Founder Institute (one of the largest incubators and business accelerators in the world) to better model the business and looking for capital in international networking. more at http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.df.cl%2Fcientificos-chilenos-patentan-molecula-que-elimina-las-caries%2Fprontus_df%2F2012-06-29%2F195432.html (Google translation)."
Software

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What application prototype should I make in my 20% time? 1

cg_racer writes: I work in a small team of developers for a law firm, our primary duties centre around writing and maintaining small web applications for our intranet and webmastering the company website. Our boss recently proposed that we trial 20% time, each of us can work on our own prototype for ideas that "we think would benefit the business in some way..." apart from that it seems entirely open in terms of what technology we use and what we make with it.
So I thought I'd reach out to the Slashdot community for some suggestions, we've been given a month in which 20% of our time will be allocated for these prototypes, we have access to a lot of data, so I was thinking along the lines of data visualisation, or simply a graphical way of looking up a fellow staff member and generating a mapped route to their office (a lot of people seem to get lost when visiting the IT department).

Any ideas, whether inspired or whacky (hopefully both!) would be most welcome.
Android

Submission + - An Android tablet victory may be problematic for Free Software (h-online.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Glyn Moody writes at The H that Google's Nexus 7 tablet seems to be in a good position to shake up the market and pave the way for a serious threat to the iPad. That said, he's worried about the potential downsides to a market full of mostly 'open' devices: 'Such customised systems are likely to be as locked down as they can be – the last thing either manufacturers or companies want is for users to start fiddling with the settings or installing their own software. As a result, the apps that run on such systems are likely to be closed source, since that's the way vertical markets tend to work. Such systems will also expose a persistent problem with the open source development methodology. While big and general projects find it relatively easy to attract interested developers, smaller, more targeted solutions tend not to thrive as free software.'

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