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Encryption

+ - 248 Meet The Lawyer Suing Anyone Who Uses SSL->

Submitted by Sparrowvsrevolution
Sparrowvsrevolution (1926150) writes "Since 2008, Dallas, Texas attorney Erich Spangenberg and his company TQP have been launching suits against hundreds of firms, claiming that merely by using SSL, they've violated a patent TQP acquired in 2006. Nevermind that the patent was actually filed in 1989, long before the World Wide Web was even invented. So far Spangenberg’s targets have included Apple, Google, Intel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, every major bank and credit card company, and scores of web startups and online retailers, practically anyone who encrypts pages of a web sites to protect users’ privacy. And while most of those lawsuits are ongoing, many companies have already settled with TQP rather than take the case to trial, including Apple, Amazon, Dell, and Exxon Mobil.

The patent has expired now, but Spangenberg can continue to sue users of SSL for six more years and seems determined to do so as much as possible. “When the government grants you the right to a patent, they grant you the right to exclude others from using it,” says Spangenberg. "I don’t understand why just because [SSL is] prevalent, it should be free.""

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Businesses

+ - 199 Google Outage Shows Risk of Doing Business in China

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The WSJ reports that widespread disruptions to Google in China over the weekend halting use of everything from Google's search engine to its Gmail email service to its Google Play mobile-applications store underscore the uncertainty surrounding Beijing's effort to control the flow of information into the country, as well as the risks that effort poses to the government's efforts to draw global businesses.The source of the disruptions couldn't be determined but Internet experts pointed to China's Internet censorship efforts, which have been ratcheted up ahead of the 18th Party Congress. "There appears to be a throttling under way of Web access," says David Wolf, citing recent articles in foreign media about corruption and wealth in China spurred by the party congress and the fall of former party star Bo Xilai, "that's their primary concern, people getting news either through Google or through its services." Beijing risks a backlash if it were to block Google outright on a long-term basis, says Wolf and such a move could put Beijing in violation of its free-trade commitment under the World Trade Organization and make China a less-attractive place to do business. "If China insists in the medium and long term of creating another Great Firewall between the China cloud and the rest of the world, China will be an increasingly untenable place to do business.""

+ - 188 X-Ray Laser for creating supercharged particles->

Submitted by William Robinson
William Robinson (875390) writes "Scientists have found way to use X-Ray Laser for creating supercharged particles. The specific tuning of the laser's properties can cause atoms and molecules to resonate. The resonance excites the atoms and causes them to shake off electrons at a rate that otherwise would require higher energies. This could be used to create highly charged plasma."
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+ - 168 Help OED Find First Reference to 'FAQ'->

Submitted by northernboy
northernboy (661897) writes "The Oxford English Dictionary needs your help! In order to authoritatively document the history and usage of the English language, the editors are seeking references to the first appearance of the term 'FAQ'. While I really wanted to post their appeal for a reliable reference to the first usage of 'cooties' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3zbY069E9g&list=PL07253E5BE6882EC9&index=5&feature=plpp_video) I felt that the Slashdot editors were more likely to post this item if it were in support of the more noble cause of identifying the first usage of FAQ, as we know it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VxBIwL38V0&list=PL07253E5BE6882EC9&index=7&feature=plpp_video).

Surely someone in the Slashdot community has access to a documented first sighti
ng of the term FAQ?

Please dig deep into your archives, and help the editors of the Oxford English D
ictionary today!"

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Space

+ - 139 Global warming felt by space junk, satellites->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "From msnbc.msn.com, "Rising carbon dioxide levels at the edge of space are apparently reducing the pull that Earth's atmosphere has on satellites and space junk, researchers say. The findings suggest that man made increases in carbon dioxide might be having effects on the Earth that are larger than expected, scientists added... in the highest reaches of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide can actually have a cooling effect. The main effects of carbon dioxide up there come from its collisions with oxygen atoms. These impacts excite carbon dioxide molecules, making them radiate heat. The density of carbon dioxide is too thin above altitudes of about 30 miles (50 kilometers) for the molecules to recapture this heat. Cooling the upper atmosphere causes it to contract, exerting less drag on satellites."

Notice: Your tin foil hats may need to be turned in for bunkers against falling space debris."

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Graphics

+ - 158 Ivan Sutherland wins Kyoto Prize->

Submitted by cstacy
cstacy (534252) writes "The Inamori Foundation has awarded the Kyoto Prize to graphics pioneer Ivan Sutherland, for developing Sketchpad in 1963. The award recognizes significant technical, scientific and artistic contributions to the “betterment of mankind, and honors Sutherland him for nearly 50 years of demonstrating that computer graphics could be used “for both technical and artistic purposes.”"
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Piracy

+ - 303 Dictionary App auto-posts false accusations on users' Twitter Accounts-> 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Certain iPhone and iPad applications from a Japanese company have broken software piracy detection mechanisms that are sending out tweets on the user's own Twitter account saying, "How about we all stop using pirated iOS apps? I promise to stop. I really will. #softwarepirateconfession" The trouble is, it is sending these out on accounts of users who actually paid up to $50 or more for the software and who are legally using it. The app is asking for access to user's Twitter accounts, but does not give the reason why it is asking, so the author of the pocketables.com article concludes (rightly, I think) that things are being done deliberately.

Would you want your legally purchased software to send out messages to all of your contacts on Twitter or on other social networks saying that you were a software pirate? Would you excuse the writers of the software if it was just an error in their piracy detection measures? Your opinions would be quite interesting. In the meantime, search for the hashtag #softwarepirateconfession on Twitter to see the many instances of this piracy feature operating and/or misfiring."

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Businesses

+ - 167 Amid Fiscal Uncertainty Venture Capital is Way Down in Silicon Valley

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "With the 'fiscal cliff' just weeks away, Chris O'Brien writes that venture capital fundraising in silicon valley is down, the amount invested is down, the number of folks investing in venture capital is down, and the number of VC firms and partners are down. "The people I talked to in the industry sounded grim even as they tried to make the case for optimism," writes O'Brien. "Still, it remains difficult to identify a clear path for turning things around for the battered venture capitalists who make Silicon Valley hum." So what's wrong with the VC industry? The problems are many and complex but they can be boiled down to one thing: Not enough exits. For the size of venture capital being raised and invested, there simply aren't enough initial public offerings of stock or mergers and acquisitions to generate the returns that funds need. Venture insiders blame the global economic uncertainty. They believe that is part of the reason that giant corporations, which have amassed huge piles of cash, are just sitting on it, rather then using it to acquire startups. "The numbers are way down," said Ray Rothrock, a partner at Venrock. "All these companies with these fantastic balance sheets, and nobody is really buying anything. With all the uncertainty they're facing with the economy and taxes, buying little companies is way down on their list.""
Media

+ - 163 Director General of BBC resigns over "Poor Journalism"->

Submitted by dryriver
dryriver (1010635) writes "George Entwistle, the new Director General of the BBC who had been on the job for a mere 54 days, has voluntarily resigned over a BBC program that featured 'Poor Journalism'. The program in question was 'Newsnight', which typically features hard-hitting investigative journalism similar to American programs like '60 Minutes'. On Friday night, Newsnight accused a prominent Conservative MP and former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, Lord Alistair McAlpine, of having sexually abused a number of young boys at Bryn Estyn Children’s Home in the 70s and 80s. Only after Newsnight aired with the allegations in the UK did the BBC realize that 'the wrong photographs were shown' to the alleged sexual abuse victims, who are now adults, and that Lord Alistair McAlpine had nothing whatsoever to do with the abuses committed. Newsnight's 'Poor Journalism' caused George Entwistle, the Director General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, to resign voluntarily over the scandal caused by the erroneous allegations. This example of an important media chief 'resigning voluntarily due to bad journalism' is interesting, because many TV, Web and Print journalists make 'serious mistakes' in their coverage at some point or the other, and quite often no heads roll whatsoever as a result."
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Government

+ - 196 Support Forums Reveal SCADA Infections->

Submitted by
chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy writes "We hear a lot about vulnerabilities in industrial control system (ICS) software. But what about real evidence of compromised SCADA and industrial control systems?
According to security researcher Michael Toecker (@mtoecker), a consultant at the firm Digital Bond, the evidence for infected systems with links to industrial automation and control systems is right under our eyes: buried in public support forums.
Toecker audited support sites like bleepingcomputer.com, picking through data dumps from free malware scanning tools like HijackThis and DDS. He found scans of infected systems that were running specialized ICS software like Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL) AcSELerator Software and GE Power’s EnerVista Software (used to configure GE electric power protection products).
The infected end user systems could be the pathway to compromising critical infrastructure, including electrical infrastructure. “With access to a protection relay through a laptop, a malicious program could alter settings in the configuration file, inject bad data designed to halt the relay, or even send commands directly to the relay when a connection was made,” Toecker wrote."

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