First time accepted submitter say_hwat writes "Today Reddit announced that it has banned subreddits dedicated to posting sexualized imagery of people under the age of 18. Last year, the site came under fire for r/jailbait, a subreddit dedicated to posting images of people under 18. The subreddit was shut down, but many others, such as r/gaolbait and r/bustybait, continued existing or sprung up afterwards. The policy change today came hours after a thread on Something Awful called for a public campaign against Reddit's lax attitude towards the sexualization of children. The Something Awful thread creator claims that Reddit's administrators know about child pornography being traded, but refuse to act. Among others, the thread creator cites r/preteen_girls as being particularly egregious."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
angry tapir writes "Crowd-funding website Crowdtilt officially launched last week, expanding upon the collective fundraising model pioneered by Kickstarter to enable raising money for any project — even a beer blitz. Like Kickstarter, Crowdtilt allows users to create a fundraising campaign with a tipping point. If the effort falls short of the set amount, would-be donors are not charged. However, unlike Kickstarter, the platform allows users to "group fund anything." Users can initiate campaigns without first getting the approval of service administrators, which they must do on Kickstarter."
snydeq writes "What your interface communicates to users can be just as important as what your software does, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister in discussing the latest edition of the 'Microsoft Manual of Style', a style guide aimed at designers and developers who create Microsoft software, as well as those who write about it. 'The gist of much of Microsoft's advice is that a user's relationship with computer software is a unique one, and it's important to craft the language of software UIs accordingly,' McAllister writes. 'Occasionally, Microsoft's recommendations verge on the absurd. For example, you might not think it necessary to admonish developers to "not use slang that may be considered profane or derogatory, such as 'pimp' or 'bitch,'" but apparently it is.'"
An anonymous reader writes "I am very happy with my current job, but there have always been a few ideas for things I've wanted to develop on the side. Ideally I'd keep my day job, reserving mornings, evenings and weekends to see if the side-projects could become viable. The problem is: my employer has an IP policy that states that anything I do while under their employ is theirs, even when I'm off the clock. Does anyone have suggestions about workarounds, magic loopholes, false identity for the side projects? Anything?"
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Wesch has been on the lecture circuit for years touting new models of active teaching with technology. The associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University has given TED talks. Wired magazine gave him a Rave Award. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching once named him a national professor of the year. But now Mr. Wesch finds himself rethinking the fundamentals of teaching after hearing that other professors can't get his experiments with Twitter and YouTube to work in their classes. Is the lecture best after all?"
coondoggie writes "It's somewhat hard to imagine that NASA doesn't need the computing power of an IBM mainframe any more, but NASA's CIO posted on her blog today that at the end of the month, the Big Iron will be no more at the space agency. NASA CIO Linda Cureton wrote: 'This month marks the end of an era in NASA computing. Marshall Space Flight Center powered down NASA's last mainframe, the IBM Z9 Mainframe.'"
New submitter cosmicaug writes with an update to yesterday's report that journalist Hamza Kashgari had been arrested by Malaysian police acting on a request conveyed from the Saudi government via Interpol. Now, says the BBC, "Police confirmed to the BBC that Hamza Kashgari was sent back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday despite protests from human rights groups. Mr Kashgari's controversial tweet last week sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. Insulting the prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam and is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Mr Kashgari, 23, fled Saudi Arabia last week and was detained upon his arrival in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Thursday." Writes cosmicaug: "Sadly, the most likely outcome is that they are going to execute this man for three tweets."
An anonymous reader writes "Last weekend, during the Nuremberg Toy Fair 2012, I spotted a really cool new system for 'professional' RC models based on Embedded Linux. The WiRC allows you to control an RC car (or any other RC vehicle) with an iOS/Android device using WiFi. The core of this system is a 240 MHz ARM9 processor, with 16 MB SDRAM and 4 MB FLASH (with 2 USB ports and 802.11b/g WiFi, a microphone input and a Speaker output). It features 8+4 channels of output. A free software SDK is now in development to code your own transmitter applications."
New submitter davidstites writes "I am a masters computer science student at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and in November I performed a security audit of 230+ popular iOS applications because I wanted to know how secure apps on smartphones and tablets really are. I made a shocking discovery. The largest single potential security breach was with the Southwest Airlines application. Southwest Airlines' iPhone app leaves a user's information vulnerable to hackers. When you login to the application on your phone using your Rapid Rewards account, the app submits your username and password information as plain-text (unencrypted) to a Southwest remote server (mobile.southwest.com). A potential attacker can simply sniff for the data on the network and steal it. This situation is a hackers dream! If a victims credentials were captured, a hacker could use those credentials to login to that particular account and they would have access to anything the victim would have access to, such as addresses, birthdays, e-mail, phone and credit cards. They could even book a flight in the victims name." (Read on below for more details.)
An anonymous reader writes "In light of the ruling against the University of California patent trolls seeking to claim ownership of the 'Interactive Web,' founding attorney of Beacon Hill Law Joe Stanganelli, has written an article defending process patents. In it, he refers to technology pundits as 'bizarro' and argues that it's a misconception that patents stifle innovation. As he writes, 'What I do not understand is — had the jury determined Eolas's patents valid — why it would be A-OK for dozens of already megarich corporations to get even richer adopting technology they did not invent or have legal permission to use, but somehow immoral for the actual creators of the technology to likewise profit[?]"" I am not a patent lawyer, but I doubt I'm the only one who thinks it's possible to support a patent on an industrial potash processing technique, but not software patents — or at least to distinguish them from each other.
retroworks writes "Today's Science Daily reports on 5 new UN studies of used computer and electronics management in Africa. The studies find that about 85% of surplus electronics imports are reused, not discarded. Most of the goods pictured in 'primitive e-waste' articles were domestically generated and have been in use, or reused, for years. Africa's technology lifecycle for displays is 2-3 times the productive use cycle in OECD nations. Still, EU bans the trade of used technology to Africa, Interpol has describes 'most' African computer importers as 'criminals,' and U.S. bill HR2284 would do the same. Can Africa 'leapfrog' to newer and better tech? Or are geeks and fixers the appropriate technology for 83% of the world (non-OECD's population)? "
Hugh Pickens writes "Daniel Berniger writes that one of the unexpected consequences of AT&T's transition to HD voice and all-IP networks is that the footprint of required network equipment will shrink by as much as 90 percent, translating into a $100 billion windfall as the global telecom giant starts emptying buildings and selling off the resulting real estate surplus. Since IP connections utilize logical address assignments, a single fiber can support an almost arbitrary number of end-user connections — so half a rack of VoIP network equipment replaces a room full of Class 4 and Class 5 circuit switching equipment, and equipment sheds replace the contents of entire buildings. AT&T's portfolio goes back more than 100 years, even as commercial real estate appreciated five fold since the 1970s, so growth of telephone service during the 20th century leaves the company with 250 million sq ft of floor space real estate in prime locations across America. 'The scale of the real estate divestiture challenge may justify creating a separate business unit to deal with the all-IP network transition,' writes Berniger, who adds that ATT isn't the only one who will benefit. 'The transition to all-IP networks allows carriers to sell-off a vast majority of the 100,000 or so central offices (PDF) currently occupying prime real estate around the globe.'"
aarondubrow writes "Researchers used the Ranger supercomputer to test a new, high-resolution hurricane forecasting system that incorporates Doppler radar data from planes flying into the storm. The forecasts were shown to improve intensity predictions by an average of 20 to 40 percent over the official forecasts of the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The prediction system is being hailed as a breakthrough and is one of a handful being assessed by the NHC to become part of the operational forecasting system used in emergency situations."
Shipud writes "A recent article in Journal of Biomolecular structure and Dynamics proposes to define life by semantic voting [Note: open-access article]: 'The definitions of life are more than often in conflict with one another. Undeniably, however, most of them do have a point, one or another or several, and common sense suggests that, probably, one could arrive to a consensus, if only the authors, some two centuries apart from one another, could be brought together. One thing, however, can be done – short of voting in absentia – asking which terms in the definitions are the most frequent and, thus, perhaps, reflecting the most important points shared by many.' The author arrives at a six-word definition, as explained here."
An anonymous reader writes "Details of the tools, techniques and procedures used by the hackers behind the RSA security breach have been revealed in a research paper (PDF) published by Australian IT security company Command Five. The paper also, for the first time, explains links between the RSA hack and other major targeted attacks. This paper is a vendor-neutral must-read for any network defenders concerned by the hype surrounding 'Advanced Persistent Threats.'"