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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Australia

+ - 231 Amazon to launch Sydney data centre->

Submitted by schliz
schliz (994115) writes "Amazon Web Services will unveil its first Australian data centres on Tuesday, ending more than a year of speculation. The move is expected to address enterprises' data soverignty and latency concerns, although local cloud providers argue that data held by US company Amazon would still be subject to the Patriot Act."
Link to Original Source
The Military

+ - 194 Naval Seals Disciplined for Revealing Secrets As Consultants on Video Game

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "CBS reports that seven active duty members of SEAL Team Six, best known for killing Osama bin Laden, have been disciplined for revealing secrets working as paid consultants on a video game, "Medal of Honor: Warfighter." The game does not recreate the bin Laden raid, but it does portray realistic missions, such as an attack on a pirates' den in Somalia. Electronic Arts boasts that real commandos, both active duty and retired, help make its games as realistic as possible. EA says "Medal of Honor Warfighter" was "written by actual U.S. Tier 1 Operators while deployed overseas," and that it "features a dotted line to real world events and provides players a view into globally recognized threats and situations letting them experience the action as it might have unfolded." It is unclear what secrets members of SEAL Team Six gave away, but while serving as consultants for the game, they used classified material which had been given to them by the Navy and also violated the unwritten code that SEALs are silent warriors who shun the spotlight. "We do not tolerate deviations from the policies that govern who we are and what we do as Sailors in the United States Navy," says Deputy Commander of Naval Special Warfare, Rear Admiral Garry Bonelli. "The non-judicial punishment decisions made today send a clear message throughout our Force that we are and will be held to a high standard of accountability.""
Canada

+ - 208 Canada's Supreme Court Tosses Viagra Patent For Vagueness

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "In a 7-to-0 decision, the Supreme Court Of Canada has ruled that Pfizer Canada Inc.'s patent on well-known erectile dysfunction remedy Viagra is now invalid due to insufficient information in Pfizer's patent application. The upshot is that competitors can now manufacture cheaper, generic versions of Viagra for sale in Canada. A problem with spreading this news item is that many email filters will not allow the topic, so cheers to /."

+ - 169 NY AG Subpoena's Craigslist for Post-Sandy Price Gougers->

Submitted by TheSync
TheSync (5291) writes "In the wake of Hurrican Sandy, the New York State Attorney General has subpoenaed Craigslist, demanding that the site identify more than 100 sellers whose prices on post-Sandy gas, generators and other supplies were of an “unconscionably excessive price” during an emergency. AG Eric Schneiderman said: “Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.""
Link to Original Source

+ - 255 Ask Slashdot: Which virtual machine software for a beginner 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I am getting ready to start trying out / learning the use of virtual machines. This is for personal use.

It would be good to run both Windows vms and linux vms. Early use would be maintaining multiple Windows installs using only one desktop computer with plenty of cores and memory. I would be starting with a Windows host, but probably later switching to a linux host after i learn more about linux.

Free is good, but reliability and ease of use are better.

What is the current Slashdot choice for a vm beginner:
vmware, zen, virtual box, etc. ???"
Australia

+ - 237 Bank puts 1b transaction records behind analytics site->

Submitted by schliz
schliz (994115) writes "Australia's UBank has put a billion real-world transaction records behind a website that allows users to compare their spending habits with others of the same gender, in the same age/income range, neighborhood and living situation. The 'PeopleLikeU' tool surfaces favorite shops and restaurants surprisingly accurately — because it's based on real customers' transactions, it lists places like good takeout joints that wouldn't normally come to mind when you think of a favorite place to eat. The bank says all data was 'deidentified' and it consulted with privacy authorities."
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - 227 Bungled Mobile Bet Will Be Ballmer's Swan Song->

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "'If Windows 8 and the Surface tablet flop, you'll see a shareholder revolt that will send Steve Ballmer packing by this time next year,' writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. 'InfoWorld and I have been dumping on Windows 8 so much I'm not going to repeat the arguments. Maybe we're wrong, and buyers will decide that the new OS and the Microsoft's first serious venture into hardware are what they want. It would be a huge boost for the industry if it happens, but I'm not optimistic. ... There's been a string of bad quarters, and the stock has been frozen for nine years. At some point — I think we're getting really close — investors are going to demand a shakeup. When they do, it's going to be good-bye, Ballmer.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - 217 "Why the hell does this mouse need to connect to the Internet?"->

Submitted by
jbrodkin
jbrodkin writes "In this hyper-connected, networked world, many more of our devices are getting linked to the cloud, whether we want them to or not. That's sometimes good, and sometimes bad, so when a basic device like a mouse requires a user to go online and set up an account to activate all of its functionality, people are understandably going to ask why? The latest entry in the saga of "Why the hell does this thing need to connect to the Internet?" comes from Razer, which has caused an uproar by asking users to register gaming mice on the Internet. While it's mainly for syncing settings across devices, gamers are complaining that certain functionality might not be available unless you create an online account for your mouse. Razer has responded to the controversy, but its answers aren't entirely satisfactory."
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Security

+ - 217 Telcos declare SMS unsafe for bank transactions->

Submitted by littlekorea
littlekorea (1656839) writes "Australia's telcos have declared that SMS technology should not be used by banks to verify identities for online banking transactions, in a bid to wash their hands of culpability for phone porting hacks. But three of Australia's largest four banks insist they will continue to use SMS messages to carry authentication codes for transactions."
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Government

+ - 150 Romney Campain Accidentally Launches Transition Web Site->

Submitted by stevegee58
stevegee58 (1179505) writes "The Mitt Romney presidential campain accidentally launched a transition web site the day after the election. Sporting a "President Elect" seal and a catchy new tagline ("Smaller, Simpler, Smarter") , the site was up briefly before the gaffe was discovered and the site taken down.

Fortunately an alert blogger, Taegan Goddard, found the errant site and published some screen shots."

Link to Original Source
Data Storage

+ - 160 A year after Thailand flooding, hard drive prices remain high-> 1

Submitted by
crookedvulture
crookedvulture writes "Last October, Thailand was hit by massive flooding that put much of the world's hard drive industry under water. Production slowed to a crawl as drive makers and their suppliers mopped up the damage, and prices predictably skyrocketed. One year later, production has rebounded, with the industry expected to ship more drives in 2012 than it did in 2011. For the most part, though, hard drive prices haven't returned to pre-flood levels. Although 2.5" notebook drives are a little cheaper now than before the flood, the average price of 3.5" desktop drives is up 35% from a year ago. Prices have certainly fallen dramatically from their post-flood peaks, but the rate of decline has slowed substantially in recent months, suggesting that higher prices are the new norm for desktop drives."
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Intel

+ - 184 Cray Unveils XC30 Supercomputer->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "Cray has unveiled a XC30 supercomputer capable of high-performance computing (HPC) workloads of more than 100 petaflops. Originally code-named “Cascade,” the system relies on Intel Xeon processors and Aries interconnect chipset technology, paired with Cray’s integrated software environment. Cray touts the XC30’s ability to utilize a wide variety of processor types; future versions of the platform will apparently feature Intel Xeon Phi and Nvidia Tesla GPUs based on the Kepler GPU computing architecture. Cray leveraged its work with DARPA’s High Productivity Computing Systems program in order to design and build the XC30.

Cray’s XC30 isn’t the only supercomputer aiming for that 100-petaflop crown. China’s Guangzhou Supercomputing Center recently announced the development of a Tianhe-2 supercomputer theoretically capable of 100 petaflops, but that system isn’t due to launch until 2015. Cray also faces significant competition in the realm of super-computer makers: it only built 5.4 percent of the systems on the Top500 list, compared to IBM with 42.6 percent and Hewlett-Packard with 27.6 percent. However, Cray also leads Appro (3.6 percent) and SGI and Bull (3.2 percent each)."

Link to Original Source
Hardware

+ - 148 Open Compute Wants to Make Biodegradable Servers->

Submitted by 1sockchuck
1sockchuck (826398) writes "The Open Compute Project has challenged students at Purdue University to develop a biodegradable server chassis. Although the steel used in most server chassis can be recycled, the OCP says it wants to "explore designs that retain the needed resiliency but push the boundaries of sustainability,” even allowing a chassis to be composted. The project aligns with Facebook's goal of separating the technology refresh cycle for CPUs and other components from the surrounding chassis and racks. The Purdue students will tackle this issue next semester, but Slashdot readers can brainstorm the issue now. Is a biodegradable server chassis viable? If so, can it be affordable?"
Link to Original Source
IT

+ - 187 What to do after you fire an idiot sysadmin or developer-> 1

Submitted by
Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler writes "The job of dealing with an under-performing employee doesn't end when the culprit is shown the door. Everyone focuses on security tasks, after you fire the idiot, such as changing passwords, but that's just one part of the To Do list. More important, in the long run, is the cleanup job that needs to be done after you fire the turkey, looking for the hidden messes and security flaws the ex-employee may have left behind. Otherwise, you’ll still be cleaning up the problems six months later, when you discovered that the backup he automated... well, not that we are speaking from experience or anything, but we wanted to bring him back in just so we could fire his butt all over again. Rick Cook has a checklist of Stuff To Look For in his article, Cleaning Out The Turkey Coop: What To Do After You Get Rid of an Incompetent Employee. See what you might add to the list."
Link to Original Source

+ - 138 Why are online contact forms so bad?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "This is a cry for help and an attempt to speak directly to the world's web developers. Why are web contact forms so useless? In the last hour I used one contact form for my bank that prohibited the use of the Euro symbol. I live in Europe. Ok, so banking back ends are subject to all kinds of regulation but another form I just used to contact an insurance company prohibited the pound sterling sign. Currency symbols aren't the only issue, of course. Contact forms often balk at dates and phone numbers not being entered exactly as they want them to be. Fields to type credit card numbers often balk if you type a space between the numbers — although that's how the numbers are printed on the card. Shouldn't we have found a way past these elementary gotchas in our modern day and age? Are there any open source libraries that can parse contact forms so that they're made safe, regardless of what the user types, so that the user isn't picked up for typing a potentially dangerous / or in their messages? Or that include intelligence to understand the various ways humans type dates? In short, does it really have to be like this?"
Politics

+ - 164 All of Nate Silver's Presidential Predictions Proved True-> 2

Submitted by
kkleiner
kkleiner writes "For the last few months, the political pundit class has been at war with NYT/FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver. Joe Scarborough of MSNBC called him a “joke,” while an op-ed in the LA Times accused him of running a “numbers racket.” But last night, Silver triumphed: every one of his state-level presidential predictions proved true. Statistics FTW!"
Link to Original Source
China

+ - 154 Foxconn Sees New Source Of Cheap Labor: The United States-> 1

Submitted by hackingbear
hackingbear (988354) writes "Foxconn is planning to build manufacturing plants in the U.S., probably in cites such as Detroit and Los Angeles. “Since the manufacturing of Apple’s products is rather complicated, the market watchers expect the rumored plants to focus on LCD TV production, which can be highly automated and easier.” Nice to think they will be hiring herebut still a fascinating insult to U.S. manufacturing prowess, dontcha think – the idea that actually making Apple products is a little too complicated for Americans to handle (Or maybe they won't be able to hire enough workers sitting 8 hours a day screwing really tiny screws into iPhone 5; despite of the higher unemployment rate, laborers here may not be as desperate as the millions of migrant workers looking for work in China.) Foxconn chairman Terry Guo, at a recent public event, noted that the company is planning a training program for US-based engineers, bringing them to Taiwan or China to learn the processes of product design and manufacturing."
Link to Original Source
Biotech

+ - 235 Proteins made to order->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "Proteins are an enormous molecular achievement: chains of amino acids that fold spontaneously into a precise conformation, time after time, optimized by evolution for their particular function. Yet given the exponential number of contortions possible for any chain of amino acids, dictating a sequence that will fold into a predictable structure has been a daunting task.
Now researchers report that they can do just that. By following a set of rules described in a paper published in Nature (abstract), a husband and wife team from David Baker’s laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle has designed five proteins from scratch that fold reliably into predicted conformations. The work could eventually allow scientists to custom design proteins with specific functions."

Link to Original Source
Piracy

+ - 150 BitTorrent traffic is up 40 percent from six months ago-> 2

Submitted by
damagedbits
damagedbits writes "BitTorrent traffic is still booming even though legal streaming services like Netflix and YouTube are on the rise. It's far from its all time high of the mid 2000's, but BT traffic is up 40 percent from six months ago. BitTorrent is responsible for about 11 percent of total Internet traffic in the US."
Link to Original Source

+ - 165 Cloud version of OpenOffice->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Apache Foundation revealed in Sinsheim, Germany their plans for a cloud version of OpenOffice.org based on html5. Chinese and German engineers use OpenOffice in "headless" mode as a base."
Link to Original Source
Television

+ - 161 Fox's attempt to block ad-skipping TV recorder Autohop fails-> 2

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "A bid to block a TV service that allows viewers to automatically skip adverts on recorded shows has been rejected.

Fox had called for a preliminary injunction on Dish Network's Autohop ahead of a copyright ruling.

Broadcasters Fox, Comcast, NBC and CBS have each sued Dish Networks, saying the show recordings are unauthorised.

Fox said it would appeal against the ruling. It says Autohop is "destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem".

But Dish called the decision not to grant a preliminary injunction a "victory for common sense".

Its Hopper digital video recorder can record and store prime-time content from the four major networks for up to eight days.

And the Autohop feature lets viewers skip advertisements completely — rather than fast-forwarding through them — at the press of a button."

Link to Original Source

+ - 160 Finding Work Over 60

Submitted by
Hatfield56
Hatfield56 writes "I've been in IT since the mid-1980s, mainly working for financial institutions. After 16 years at a company, as a programmer (Java, C#, PL/SQL, some Unix scripting) and technical lead, my job was outsourced. That was in 2009 when the job market was basically dead. After many false starts, here I am 3 years later wondering what to do. I'm sure if I were 40 I'd be working already but over 60 you might as well be dead. SO, I'm wondering about A+. Does anyone think that this will make me more employable? Or should I being a greeter at Walmart?"
Government

+ - 147 Bradley Manning offers partial guilty plea to military court->

Submitted by
concealment
concealment writes "During a pre-trial hearing in military court today, Manning's attorney, David Coombs, proposed a partial guilty plea covering a subset of the slew of criminal charges that the U.S. Army has lodged against him.

"Manning is attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses," Coombs wrote on his blog this evening. "The court will consider whether this is a permissible plea.""

Link to Original Source
Your Rights Online

+ - 158 Australia abandons plans for a mandatory internet filter->

Submitted by littlekorea
littlekorea (1656839) writes "The Australian Government has officially abandoned plans to legislate a mandatory internet filter. The news ends a four-year campaign by the ruling party to implement legislation that would have compelled ISPs to block a list of URLs dictated by Australia's telecommunications regulator, the ACMA. ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL."
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - 240 Microsoft's Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Ads->

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "Despite the fact that I've been using Windows 8 for the past three weeks, I somehow managed to overlook a rather stark feature in the OS: ads. No, we're not talking about ads cluttering up the desktop or login screen (thankfully), but rather ads that can be found inside of some Modern UI apps that Windows ships with. That includes Finance, Weather, Travel, News and so forth. On previous mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android, seeing ads inside of free apps hasn't been uncommon. It's a way for the developer to get paid while allowing the user to have the app for free. However, while people can expect ads in a free app, no one expects ads in a piece of software that they just paid good money for."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - 155 Adobe Reader zero-day found, selling for $50k->

Submitted by mask.of.sanity
mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes "A new exploit is being reportedly sold on underground cybercrime forums that is capable of compromising machines running the latest versions of Adobe Reader.

The exploit escapes the sandbox in Windows-based Reader installs of versions X and IX. It was selling for as much as US$50,000 on a few small underground criminal websites.

It was already incorporated into a version of the hugely popular Blackhole exploit kit.

Concerned users can protect themselves by switching pdf readers."

Link to Original Source
Biotech

+ - 139 Ear-powered medical devices in development->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "Our ears work by converting the vibrations of the eardrum into electrochemical signals that can be interpreted by the brain. The current for those signals is supplied by an ion-filled chamber deep within the inner ear – it’s essentially a natural battery. Scientists are now looking at using that battery to power devices that could be implanted in the ear, without affecting the recipient’s hearing.

The “battery chamber” is located in the cochlea. It is internally divided by a membrane, some of the cells of which are designed to pump ions. The arrangement of those specialized cells, combined with an imbalance of potassium and sodium ions on opposite sides of the membrane, are what creates the electrical voltage.

A team of scientists from MIT, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology have recently succeeded in running an ultra-low-power radio-transmitting chip using power from these battery chambers – in guinea pigs’ ears."

Link to Original Source
Lord of the Rings

+ - 189 New Dinosaur Named After the Eye of Sauron-> 1

Submitted by
SchrodingerZ
SchrodingerZ writes "A new study shows that 95 million years ago, the dinosaur Sauroniops pachytholus roamed northern Africa. The fossil, originally found in southern Morocco, only consisted of the upper skull, which included the eerie looking eye socket which resembles the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings movies. Andrea Cau, the leader of the study in Bologna, Italy, explains "The idea of a predator that is physically known only as its fierce eye reminded me of Sauron, in particular as depicted in Peter Jackson's movies." Using skull comparison, it is theorized the two-legged meat-eater would have been 40 feet tall, challenging the Tyrannosaurus Rex in height. More fossils are needed for a full analysis, but so far it is very clear this dinosaur towered over many."
Link to Original Source

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