Submission + - Google Patents Staple of '70s Mainframe Computing 2 2

theodp writes: 'The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field,' Alan Kay once lamented. And so it should come as no surprise that the USPTO granted Google a patent Tuesday for the Automatic Deletion of Temporary Files, perhaps unaware that the search giant's claimed invention is essentially a somewhat kludgy variation on file expiration processing, a staple of circa-1970 IBM mainframe computing and subsequent disk management software. From Google's 2013 patent: 'A path name for a file system directory can be "C:temp\12-1-1999\" to indicate that files contained within the file system directory will expire on Dec. 1, 1999.' From Judith Rattenbury's 1971 Introduction to the IBM 360 computer and OS/JCL : 'EXPDT=70365 With this expiration date specified, the data set will not be scratched or overwritten without special operator action until the 365th day of 1970.' Hey, things are new if you've never seen them before!

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What would you say to an alien in order to save mankind? 3 3

blanchae writes: "If something happened like the movie: "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and an alien, who was omnipowerful like Klaatu, arrived to evaluate whether to thumbs up or thumbs down the earth and mankind. What would you present as mankind's greatest triumphs and accomplishments and why?"

Submission + - NY Times reports conclusive evidence of hacking against US by Chinese Army-> 1 1

sotweed writes: The NY Times in Tuesday's paper is that a group in Shanghai is hacking against American companies and government agencies, and appears to be supported by and part of the Chinese Liberation Army. American intelligence officials have confirmed their knowledge of this organization. The Times says, "An unusually detailed 60-page study, to be released Tuesday by Mandiant, an American computer security firm, tracks for the first time individual members of the most sophisticated of the Chinese hacking groups — known to many of its victims in the United States as “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group” — to the doorstep of the headquarters of a People’s Liberation Army unit." Attention of the hackers is now turning to America's infrastructure: power grids, gas lines, waterworks, presumably via unsecured or inadequately secured SCADA systems.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Babies can become Bilingual as Early as 7 Months of Age

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have found that babes who are born and grow up in a bilingual environment can as early as seven months of age distinguish between and learn the grammar of the two different languages. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia and Université Paris Descartes.
Open Source

Submission + - Torvalds Releases Linux 3.8 Kernel-> 2 2

hypnosec writes: Linus Torvalds has released the Linux 3.8 kernel on Monday afternoon marking it as a special "Presidents' Day Release. Linus released the Linux 3.8-rc6 at the start of the month and had warned developers against sending in large number commits that are bulky. Developers seem to have taken the warning seriously as announcing the release through a mailing list, Linus revealed the new kernel and noted that the last week was quite calm when it came to commits because they were less in numbers and smaller in size.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Book Review: "USB: The Universal Serial Bus"->

An anonymous reader writes: Have you ever wondered exactly what happens when you plug a USB device into one of those ports on your PC? How does the computer know that it is a keyboard, mouse, external hard drive, or camera? How does the computer know if it is a low-, full-, high-, or super-speed device? What is the difference anyway?

Sure, I can let the latest operating system do the work for me, but what if the platform I am targeting is very low on resources and I must write the drivers myself? How do I even attempt to read that file from my pen-drive, capture that picture from my USB camera, or even grab a key from this keyboard? Maybe like many others, I just want to do it myself anyway. Remember when we use to take dad’s drill apart to see how it worked?

These questions were asked many years ago when the first USB controllers were starting to show. What kind of controllers were used and how do I access them. Another mystery, the idea of how I could plug a mouse into the port and the computer would know what it was without ever installing a driver.

All of these questions inspired the book, “USB: The Universal Serial Bus”. Within the pages of this book, the author explains the ins and outs (pun intended) and how to communicate with an attached device, starting with programming the PCI(e) interface.

Once a controller is found and identified, the process to reset and start the controller, creating a USB stack, and finally sending and receiving packets from attached devices, is explained.

This book also has many examples, with detailed diagrams, of many different types of control, interrupt, and bulk delivery devices. Along with the body of text are side-notes, or tidbits if you will, quirks, errors, and less documented items about the USB, a brief history, code examples, and many tables and figures to explain the process from connection to an operational ready to use device.

The text is written so that the reader needs very little knowledge of operating system programming and shows how to accomplish the task at hand with no outside help. In other words, it is not dependent on any existing operating systems. The only operating system dependency is the ability to view the files on the included disc, and if the example code is executed, the ability boot the included FreeDOS ( floppy disk image.

What? I can hear it already, “who has a floppy disk drive?” The advantage we have today is the ability to emulate whole operating systems. When the author was doing research for the book, he wrote a majority of the core USB code within the Bochs emulator ( The current code, thanks to others that have helped, will emulate the needed floppy drive, but more importantly, will emulate a UHCI controller interface along with the new xHCI Super Speed controller interface and a few attached devices. Of course it is not perfect, but it does do a fine job for those needing to use an emulator for their work.

In conclusion, if you ever wanted to work with the bare-bones USB hardware, for work or play, the text within this book will get you started, and started fairly quickly. It is easy to follow, shows step-by-step procedures to get a working USB stack in all four major controller interfaces, the UHCI, OHCI, EHCI, and the new Super Speed xHCI controller.

For more information, please visit


or visit your online retail book store.

Link to Original Source
Open Source

Submission + - Linux 3.8 released

diegocg writes: Linux kernel 3.8 has been released. This release includes support in Ext4 for embedding very small files in the inode, which greatly improves the performance for these files and saves some disk space. There is also a new Btrfs feature that allows to replace quickly a disk, a new filesystem F2FS optimized for SSDs, support of filesystem mount, UTS, IPC, PID, and network namespaces for unprivileged users, accounting of kernel memory in the memory resource controller, journal checksums in XFS, an improved NUMA policy redesign and, of course, the removal of support for 386 processors. Many small features and new drivers and fixes are also available. Here's the full list of changes.
Open Source

Submission + - Linux 3.8 released->

jrepin writes: "Linux Torvalds has just announced the release of Linux 3.8. Some of the headline features in this release include metadata integrity checking in the xfs filesystem, the foundation for much improved NUMA scheduling, kernel memory usage accounting and associated usage limits, inline data support for small files in the ext4 filesystem, nearly complete user namespace support, and much more. See the Kernel Newbies 3.8 page for lots of details."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - New 'Zombie' Cells Outperform the Living in the Lab

An anonymous reader writes: For all fans that follow The Walking Dead, it turns out the dead may indeed outperform the living. Scientists have created "zombie" mammalian cells that function better after they die. Although creating "zombie" cells may seem like a dubious endeavor, it has quite a few practical applications. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico coated a cell with a silica solution. This created a near-perfect replica of the structure that could simplify a wide variety of commercial fabrication processes. In fact, the process allowed the researchers to preserve cells down to the minor grooves of its DNA.

Submission + - SSD Write Endurance Considered... Sufficient->

jyujin writes: Ever wonder how long your SSD will last? It's funny how bad people are at estimating just how long "100,000 writes" are going to take when spread over a device that spans several thousand of those blocks over several gigabytes of memory. It obviously gets far worse with newer flash memory that is able to withstand a whopping million writes per cell. So yeah, let's crunch some numbers and fix that misconception. Spoiler: even at the maximum SATA 3.0 link speeds, you'd still find yourself waiting several months or even years for that SSD to start dying on you.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Naked scammers blackmail men on web->

innocent_white_lamb writes: Police in Singapore have received many reports of a blackmail ring that uses attractive women to seduce men via webcam/chat. "They would commence a webcam conversation with the victims and initiate cybersex by undressing themselves first before persuading the male victims to appear nude or perform sexual acts in front of the webcams", according to the Singapore Police Force. The victim then received an email and/or phone call demanding $50,000.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - GameStop's Mayan Apocalypse->

kube00 writes: The rumor mill is saying the next generation of consoles might not play used games. What does this mean for retailers such as Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy? Will gamers flock to the one console that can still play used games? GoozerNation speculates if the Mayan apocalyspse draws near for used game sales
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Canonical Announcing Ubuntu Tablet Tomorrow?->

hypnosec writes: While browsing for clues on Ubuntu Touch Developer preview, we have come across something rather interesting. Canonical has a countdown going on up at its site that indicates a possible tablet announcement sometime tomorrow. With the Ubuntu Touch developer preview launching this week, the announcement about a tablet or at least an operating system for a tablet from Canonical has, it seems, taken a backseat. From the countdown that reads "Tick, tock, tablet time!" it is evident that Canonical is going to make some announcement about tablets tomorrow.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - U.S. Joins Google, Microsoft in "Brain Race"->

Nerval's Lobster writes: "Decades after the space race pitted the United States against Russia, a new race has emerged: the race to map the human brain. The New York Times reported Feb. 18 that the Obama administration is gearing up to announce the Brain Activity Map project, an effort to map an active human brain that could give new insight into how neurons interact with each other, providing new avenues of research for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The U.S. will apparently pit itself against a collection of European research agencies that have announced similar projects. The U.S. effort, however, will apparently involve U.S. businesses, which would naturally benefit from the high-profile nature of the effort; in theory, the latter could also apply the resulting discoveries to their own computing efforts. The Times reported that representatives from Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm met with government representatives at the California Institute of Technology to try and figure out whether or not there are sufficient computing resources to process the vast amounts of data that the experiments are expected to produce, or whether new ones would need to be built."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Facebook Hacks Points to Much Bigger Threat for Mobile Developers->

DavidGilbert99 writes: "Facebook admitted last weekend that it was hacked but assured everyone that no data was compromised. However following some investigation by security firm F-Secure, it seems this could be just the tip of the iceberg and that thousands of mobile app developers without the dedicated security team Facebook has in place could already be compromised.

The vector for the attack was a mobile developer's website, and the malware used likely targeted Apple's Mac OS X rather than Windows. Why? Because MacBook's are the laptop of choice of any discerning Silicon Valley engineer/developer."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Halo Developer, Bungie Reveals "Destiny" and Its Vision of MMO Gaming->

MojoKid writes: "Bungie, the company that brought forth Halo, is embarking on development of a new MMO title called "Destiny" that is aimed at being unlike any gaming experience we’ve seen. There are few hard details available, such as a launch date or pricing, but Bungie gave a preview that teases the game and showed off concept art. It’s a large-scale MMO set in a post-apocalyptic world, but the gameplay and social interaction is supposed to be far more natural and fluid than previous generation MMOs. There will apparently not be a subscription model, so gamers won’t have monthly fees to deal with, either. Bungie plans to develop a complex storyline with Destiny over the course of the next decade. There will be 10 books, complete with a story arc, so it follows that the world will evolve in a manner of speaking even as people participate in activities to change things within it."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Google looks to cut funds to illegal sites->

rbrandis writes: Google is in discussions with payment companies including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal to put illegal download websites out of existence by cutting off their funding. If Google goes ahead with the radical move, it would not mark the first time that illegal websites have been diminished or driven out of business by having a block put on their source of cash.
Link to Original Source