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Submission + - When Google got flu wrong (

ananyo writes: "When influenza hit early and hard in the United States this year, it quietly claimed an unacknowledged victim: one of the cutting-edge techniques being used to monitor the outbreak. A comparison with traditional surveillance data showed that Google Flu Trends, which estimates prevalence from flu-related Internet searches, had drastically overestimated peak flu levels. The glitch is no more than a temporary setback for a promising strategy, experts say, and Google is sure to refine its algorithms. But with flu-tracking techniques based on mining of web data and on social media taking off, Nature looks at how these potentially cheaper, faster methods measure up against traditional epidemiological surveillance networks."

Submission + - Evil, almost full Vim implementation in Emacs, reaches 1.0 version (

karijes writes: Evil is a new Emacs major mode intended to implement full Vim emulation for Emacs editor and it reached first stable release. Evil implements many Vim features and has support for plugins, so there is port for rails.vim, NERDCommenter and mapleader among others. Details about this release you can find on mailing list.

Submission + - Spain busts 'ransomware' cybercrime gang (

Kaneda2112 writes: MADRID—Spanish authorities on Wednesday announced the breakup of a cybercrime gang that used a “ransomware” virus to lock computers throughout Europe, display false messages claiming the action was taken by police and demand payment of $135 to unlock the computers.

The gang, operating from the Mediterranean resort cities of Benalmadena and Torremolinos, made at least $1.35 million annually, said Deputy Interior Minister Francisco Martinez. Their notices to victims were accompanied by false threats claiming they were under investigation for accessing child pornography or illegal file-sharing.

Submission + - Surface Pro virtually unrepairable (

An anonymous reader writes: The Surface Pro is not a repair-friendly machine. In fact, itâ(TM)s one of the least repairable devices iFixit has seen: In a teardown of Microsoftâ(TM)s tablet-laptop hybrid, the company gave it a rock-bottom score of just one â" one! â" out of 10 for repairability, lower even than Appleâ(TM)s iPad and the Windows Surface RT.

Submission + - Unscrambling an Android telephone with FROST (

Noryungi writes: Researchers at the University of Erlangen demonstrates how to recover an Android phone confidential content, with the help of a freezer and FROST, a specially-crafted Android ROM. Quite an interesting set of pictures, starting with wrapping your Android phone in a freezer bag...

Submission + - Killing Your Sexual Desires for Academic and Intellectual Pursuits? 6

An anonymous reader writes: In the past few months, I have been applying to a multitude of graduate schools. Recently, I was accepted into a Ph.D. in computer science program at a fairly prestigious and demanding institution. Like most Slashdot readers, I have always been an exceptional student throughout high school and my undergraduate studies. However, as a heterosexual male individual, there has always been a persistent desire to associate myself with females in an effort to find love, have sex, and to be in a relationship. I have learned the hard way that this is often a colossal distraction from one's schooling and I would like to train myself to become more apathetic to such desires in preparation for the difficult but intellectually awarding years of graduate school that lay ahead. So, fellow Slashdot users, I ask you a rather odd but serious question on none other than Valentine's Day: How do you kill your sexual desires to enable you to focus more on academic and intellectual goals?

Submission + - Portrait sculptures from genetic material

rogue-girl writes: Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg showcases portrait sculptures from genetic material collected in public spaces. DNA extraction and processing are done in a DIYbio-compliant fashion at the DIYbio hackerspace Genspace in Brooklyn, the collected information is then given as input to a 3D printer. The software developed and used for this project is awkwardly dubbed 'friendware', that is it is neither open nor closed, but only available to friends. Reconstructing faces from DNA is not new: scientists already successfully reconstructed Neanderthal man's face from ancient DNA back in 2008. At first sight, the artist's project may seem fun and quite impressive as high-voltage science prooves once more feasible at home, but all the data one can have access to from totally banal samples leaves open worrying perspectives about how easy it is to use DNA collected in public spaces for "fingerprinting" people against their will and without their consent.

Submission + - Collaborative LaTeX editor with Preview in your web browser ( 1

Celarent Darii writes: Slashdot readers have undoubtably heard of Google Docs and the many other online word processing solutions that run in the browser. However, as a long-time user of TeX and LaTeX, these solutions are not my favorite way of doing things. Wouldn't it be nice to TeX something in your browser? Well, look no further, there is now a Online collaborative LaTeX editor with integrated rapid preview. Some fantastic features: quasi-instant preview, automatic versioning of source, easy collaboration and you can even upload files and pictures. Download your project later when you get home. Are you a TeX guru with some masterpieces? Might I suggest uploading them? For the beginner: you can start here.

Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with the site in anyway, just a fan. Hope exposure on Slashdot gets the word out on this great resource, which is very useful while travelling!


Submission + - Google's Touch-based Pixel Chromebook May Be Real (

sfcrazy writes: There was quite a lot of Hollywoodish (sans MPAA) drama around a 'secret' Google project called Chromebook Pixel. Some videos were leaked and the company in question said that their servers were hijaked. No one confirmed or rejected the story. Some called it a hoax. I think the device is in the making and I have some reasons to believe so. François Beaufort, who also shared the story about Chromebook Pixel on his Google+ has dropped another hint on 'touch friendly' new icons for Chromium.

Submission + - New tests developed for the addictive potential of computer games (

cylonlover writes: Leaving definitions aside for the moment, it's fair to say that an addictive computer game is likely to be a more successful product than a game that is merely fun to play. Games developers apply numerous techniques and tests in an attempt to evaluate which games will hit the right buttons. Now researchers at Academia Sinica and the National Taiwan University (ASNTU) have developed a direct test for the addictiveness of a computer game based on physiological responses of a group of new players.

Submission + - Inventing the Chromebook - First Version was Based on Firefox (

Andy Prough writes: Former Google engineer Jeff Nelson has written a fascinating blog post about how he created "Google OS", the forerunner to Chrome OS. Last August, he finally received a patent for it, but his work began in 2006, and the first versions of the OS were built on Firefox and a "bare-bones Linux distribution" that could execute any Linux program. In fact, when he first started writing the OS, Chrome itself did not exist, and the whole purpose for his work was to create a system that loaded fully — and only — into system RAM. This purpose grew out of his frustration with wait times as he wrote webapps for Google, and found himself waiting 30-45 seconds just to restart a web browser. By moving the entire OS to RAM, he was able to cut the Firefox restart time from 45 seconds to 1 second, and found similar speed increases for other mundane tasks. He built himself a "Chromebook" and used it as his primary development box for over a year. The fact that his boss and Google management originally had no interest in his project makes this story all the better. This blog post is a very interesting read, as it discusses the beginnings of the range of Google webapps that were ultimately created to "replace any and all functionality normally found on a desktop".

Submission + - locks out Linux users (

whtmarker writes: Despite supporting kindle fire and chromebook, linux users are finding themselves locked out of the turbotax website. Even two weeks ago, there when was an option to continue into the website, despite using linux thus not meeting the minimum requirements for the site. Dozens of linux users are frustrated but this illustrates a general problem of cloud services. You can be locked out of your data and denied service on a whim.

Submission + - What is the best programming language for a 12-year-old to learn? 3

wintersynth writes: My friend is sending his 12-year-old to a tech summer camp and wants to know the best language for him to learn. It looks like Java and Python are the main options, both applied to game programming. There are also classes using the Lego Mindstorm scripting language, and Scratch. Slashdotters, I assume you've run into this question before, and I could use the help. Programming tools have changed a lot since I was learning SmartBASIC on a Coleco Adam as a kid. I want to recommend something that will be powerful enough to show him the unlimited possibilities in programming, but easy enough to maintain his interest and not discourage him. What do you teach your kids? What has been effective?

Submission + - Watch Adobe's CEO refuse to answer Australian pricing questions ( 1

daria42 writes: If you live in Australia, you might have good reason to be annoyed at Adobe, considering that the company charges up to $1,400 more for its Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign etc) than it does in the US. However, in a press conference in Sydney this morning, the company's global CEO Shantanu Narayen flatly refused to directly answer any questions about the price differential, instead farcically pushing the message that Australians should pay for Creative Suite on a monthly basis instead ('Creative Cloud'). Steve Jobs' comments that Adobe has "turned out crap" as a company since founder John Warnock left might have been quite prescient.

Submission + - Brazilians can Now Buy an "iPhone" Loaded with Android (

Andy Prough writes: If you happen to be in Brazil and have 599 reals jingling in your pocket ($304 US dollars or £196), you can buy an iPhone — that runs Android. Gradiente Electronica, which registered the "iPhone" name in Brazil in 2000, has won the right to sell its iPhone Neo One, an Android phone running version 2.3, Gingerbread ( Gradiente won the ruling from the Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), despite Apple's argument that Gradiente should lose the right to "iPhone" because it had not used the name between 2008-2012. Apple retains the right to appeal the case, and Gradiente now has the right to sue Apple for exclusivity in Brazil. If Gradiente wins, the only iPhones sold in Brazil would have a picture of a cute green robot on the box cover.

Submission + - Lawmakers Say CFAA Is Too Hard On Hackers (

GovTechGuy writes: "A number of lawmakers are using the death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz to speak out against the Justice Department's handling of the case, and application of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The controversy surrounding the Swartz case could finally give activists the momentum they need to halt the steady increase in penalties for even minor computer crimes."
United States

Submission + - Pentagon' Distinguished Warefare Medal: for cyber attacks and drone wars (

bios10h writes: "The Boston Globe writes that the Pentagon is create a new medal. "[The] troops who launch the drone strikes and direct the cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized with the first new combat-related medal to be created in decades." A medal for hackers?"

Submission + - Do Not Track ineffective and dangerous, says researcher (

Seeteufel writes: Nadim Kobeissi, security researcher, describes the Do Not Track standard of the W3C as dangerous.

In fact, Google’s search engine, as well as Microsoft’s (Bing), both ignore the Do Not Track header even though both companies helped implement this feature into their web browsers. Yahoo Search also ignored Do Not Track requests. Some websites will politely inform you, however, of the fact that your Do Not Track request has been ignored, and explain that this has been done in order to preserve their advertising revenue. But not all websites, by a long shot, do this.

The revalations come as Congress and European legislators consider to tighten privacy standards amidth massive advertiser lobbying. "Do not track" received strong support from the European Commission.


Submission + - Gut Bacteria Conspired in Melamine Poisonings (

sciencehabit writes: In 2008, nearly 300,000 infants in China got sick from milk formula tainted with melamine, a plastics additive that was used illegally to bulk up the formula's apparent protein content. Now, a study in rats implicates bacteria living in the gut as unwitting accomplices in this mass poisoning. The bacteria convert some melamine to cyanuric acid, whichwas present in high concentrations in fatal kidney stones. The work helps clarify how melamine toxicity arises and also drives home the key role that gut bacteria play in human health.