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Canada

+ - 145 Canadian Copyright Reform In Force: Expanded User Rights Now the Law->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "This morning, the majority of Bill C-11, Canada's copyright reform bill, took effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian copyright law in decades. Michael Geist summarizes the changes, which include expanded fair dealing, new protection for creators of user generated content, consumer exceptions such as time shifting, format shifting, and backup copies, and a cap on liability for non-commercial infringement."
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Science

+ - 194 Researchers Create Working Laser the Size of a Virus Particle->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laser the size of a virus particle that can operate at room temperature. The "nanolaser," which uses gold nanoparticles instead of mirrors, is claimed to be the first demonstration to make use of a so-called bowtie arrangement of metal nanoparticles, though nano-scale lasers have been previously demonstrated."
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Google

+ - 239 Ask Slashdot: How would you convince someone to give up an old system? 5

Submitted by Vanderhoth
Vanderhoth (1582661) writes "I’m currently serving as a new member of a board for a not for profit organization. The board currently has a few other members, and a couple of vacant positions. One of the issues I’ve noticed since joining the board is the method in which they conduct business is very out of date. The member that maintains our web presences (Bob) has developed a system over the last ten years to allow us to store documents, such as agendas and minutes on a website server.

Some of the big issues are:
  • The system is very disorganized, there are documents from the late 90’s that aren’t relevant, but have to be sifted through to find more current stuff.
  • Often documents are not where they should be and are difficult to find.
  • No one except Bob really knows how the system works, and
  • No one really wants to use the system because of the monster it’s become.

My concern is if Bob decided to leave the organization no one would be able to maintain the existing system and we would be scrambling to put something new in place. I feel, for what we want to do, Google Docs would be an excellent platform for collaborating and sharing documents. The other board members, except Bob, have agreed with me, but are worried that bringing the issues with the existing system may cause offense and ultimately cause Bob to leave. Other than being overly vested in a system he developed, Bob is an important part of our board and a very valuable member.

We’re already having a difficult time finding members to serve on the board so it’s very important that we don’t lose any existing board members. I’m hoping that I can convince the Bob to start supporting some Google docs objects on the site and try to wean him off his existing system to something a bit more manageable and collaborative that can be passed on to new members and maintained easily.

I don’t want this to turn into old dogs and new tricks. I’m not that far behind Bob in years and can appreciate the difficulty of being told it’s time to give in to something more modern. I’m wondering how the situation could be approached tactfully so maybe Bob will see how much easier a new system could be for everyone, including him."

Security

+ - 149 The Web Won't Be Safe or Secure until We Break It

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes "Jeremiah Grossman of Whitehat Security has an article at the ACM in which he outlines the current state of browser security, specifically drive-by downloads.

"These attacks are primarily written with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, so they are not identifiable as malware by antivirus software in the classic sense. They take advantage of the flawed way in which the Internet was designed to work."

Grossman's proposed solution is to make the desktop browser more like its mobile cousins.

"By adopting a similar application model on the desktop using custom-configured Web browsers (let's call them DesktopApps), we could address the Internet's inherent security flaws. These DesktopApps could be branded appropriately and designed to launch automatically to Bank of America's or Facebook's Web site, for example, and go no further. Like their mobile application cousins, these DesktopApps would not present an URL bar or anything else making them look like the Web browsers they are on the surface, and of course they would be isolated from one another.""

+ - 157 Me.ga Suspended, Dotcom Says "We Have Alternative Domain"->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Kim Dotcom’s plan of launching a “bigger, better, faster, stronger, safer” Megaupload successor, Mega, is already in peril as Gabon's government has suspended the domain www.me.ga. Announcing his decision, Gabon’s Communication Minister Blaise Louembe said "I have instructed my departments... to immediately suspend the site www.me.ga" in a bid to "protect intellectual property rights" and "fight cyber crime effectively." Dotcom has revealed through a tweet that he is in possession on an alternative domain name and that the recent suspension “demonstrates the bad faith witch hunt the US government is on.”"
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Education

+ - 150 Tuition Should be Lower for Science Majors Says Florida Task Force

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Jordan Weissmann writes that a task force commissioned by Florida Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state's public universities to charge lower tuition for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers including science, technology, engineering, and math. The hope is that by keeping certain degrees cheaper than others, Florida can encourage students into fields where it needs more talent. For some, it might seem inherently unfair to send dance majors deeper into debt just to keep tuition low for engineers, who are already poised to earn more once they graduate but task force chair Dale Brill says tax dollars are scarce, and the public deserves the best possible return from its investment in education and that means spending more generously on the students who are most likely to help grow Florida's economy once they graduate. Brill also argues that too few young people consider their career prospects carefully when picking a major. “We’re trying to introduce some semblance of a market dynamic information in an environment where there is none,” Brill says. “Most students couldn’t tell you what they pay in tuition. In economics, pricing is all we have to determine and work out supply and demand. So, when the consumer is completely separated from the cost of a product, then the cost rises.”"
AT&T

+ - 150 AT&T To Pay $700,000 For Overcharging Consumers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports on an agreement between AT&T and the FCC which will require the telecom company to pay $700,000 to the federal government. AT&T will also refund charges to customers who were switched from pay-as-you-go data plans to monthly plans after AT&T said they could keep the old plans. 'AT&T has also agreed to an extensive compliance plan (PDF), which includes: consumer notification, training of customer care representatives, and periodic compliance reports to the FCC. AT&T must also conduct additional searches of its records to identify improperly switched consumers and ensure appropriate refunds.'"
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Security

+ - 314 Google security engineer issues Sophos warning->

Submitted by
angry tapir
angry tapir writes "Google security engineer Tavis Ormandy discovered several flaws in Sophos antivirus and says the product should be kept away from high value information systems unless the company can avoid easy mistakes and issue patches faster. Ormandy has released a scathing 30-page analysis (PDF) “Sophail: Applied attacks against Sophos Antivirus”, in which he details several flaws “caused by poor development practices and coding standards”, topped off by the company’s sluggishly response to the warning he had working exploits for those flaws. One of the exploits Ormandy details is for a flaw in Sophos‘ on-access scanner, which could be used to unleash a worm on a network simply by targeting a company receiving an attack email via Outlook. Although the example he provided was on a Mac, the “wormable, pre-authentication, zero-interaction, remote root” affected all platforms running Sophos. (Ormandy released the paper as an independent researcher, not in his role as a Google employee.)"
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The Internet

+ - 192 Ask Slashdot: What is the best way to become a rural ISP? 1

Submitted by
hawkeyeMI
hawkeyeMI writes "I live in a small, rural town nestled in some low hills. Our town has access to only one DSL provider, and it's pretty terrible. However, a regional fiber project is just being completed, and some of the fiber is in fact running directly past my house.

Currently, there are no last-mile providers in my area, and the regional project only considers itself a middle-mile provider, and will only provide service to last-mile providers. Assuming this will not be my day job, that the local populace is rather poor, and that because of the hills, line-of-sight service will be difficult, how could I set myself up as an ISP? I have considered WiFi mesh networking, and even running wires on the power/telephone polls, but the required licensing and other issues are foreign to me. What would you do?"
Advertising

+ - 199 A Trail of Clicks, Culminating in Conflict->

Submitted by NotSanguine
NotSanguine (1917456) writes "Technology companies are up in arms about the FTC's pending rules change which would require explicit parental permission allowing websites to gather a wide range of data on children 13 and under.

From the NYT Article:


“If adopted, the effect of these new rules would be to slow the deployment of applications that provide tremendous benefits to children, and to slow the economic growth and job creation generated by the app economy,” Catherine A. Novelli, vice president of worldwide government affairs at Apple, wrote in comments to the agency.

But would that be a bad thing? As reported in the New York Times last week, Matt Richtel of the NYT writes:

There is a widespread belief among teachers that students’ constant use of digital technology is hampering their attention spans and ability to persevere in the face of challenging tasks, according to two surveys of teachers being released on Thursday.

So, will the new FTC rules end up helping children (by enhancing their privacy and, if industry pundits are right, reducing the amount of content available online for children — thus enhancing their attention spans), or will the negative effects on corporations have as deleterious an effect on the economy as to measurably reduce the quality of education?"
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Government

+ - 170 Voting Machines Should Be as Secure as Slot Machines-> 2

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes "The problems with elections in the U.S. are well-known, yet we seem to need reminding every four years about how bad it's getting.
Howard Marks at NetworkComputing has an essay, pointing out exactly what we need for reliable, accurate voting:
"A valid audit trail, such as a printed ballot the voter can verify; A mechanism for recounting the printed ballots on a machine made by another vendor so the results can be compared; and An audit of the software by an independent third party to insure that the software accurately records and tabulates the voter's true intent."
He then looks at his own experience working with casinos, who would never tolerate the kinds of problems voting machines have. So why not take a lesson from gaming machines and build voting machines the same way?
"The slot machine industry is several times bigger, and significantly more competitive, than the voting machine industry. If IGT, Bally's and Aristocrat can compete for the slot market, then Diebold and Election Systems and Software can stand the same level of scrutiny.""

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+ - 201 MIT Develops Open Source Game A Slower Speed of Light->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Are you a science buff who is curious how the world would look like if you travel at the speed of light? Will it twist everything around you as the light from different objects reach you at a different interval as per the special theory of relativity? How will everything look like if the speed of light is slowed down? This is what an open source game developed by MIT Game Lab tried to do."
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Google

+ - 181 Why Google Went Offline Today and a Bit about How the Internet Works

Submitted by mc10
mc10 (2402526) writes "Google went temporarily offline for about 27 minutes at around 6:24pm PST / 02:24 UTC (5 Nov. 2012 PST / 6 Nov. 2012 UTC), when CloudFlare realized that Google's services went offline. CloudFlare explains how the Internet is glued together by the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), and how Moratel, an Indonesian ISP, was announcing a network that wasn't actually behind them."

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