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Submission + - Millions Said to Be Wasted on Public U.S. Broadband Expansion (

quantr writes: "Programs dedicating $7 billion from the 2009 U.S. stimulus plan to spread high-speed Internet service have wasted millions of dollars and unfairly competed with private companies, a lawmaker with oversight of the program said.

“The government has spent millions on equipment it did not need and on stringing fiber to areas that already had fiber,” Representative Greg Walden, of Oregon, said in an e-mail yesterday.
Walden is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce panel’s communications subcommittee, which is to hold a hearing tomorrow on the spending. The hearing is scheduled as Republicans and Democrats argue over across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect March 1 unless there’s an agreement.
“At a time when government is considering cutting meat inspectors and FAA traffic controllers to address the federal spending problem, we need to be careful how we use taxpayer dollars,” Walden said."


Submission + - Bi9 Says 32 Malicious Program Whitelisted In Recent Hack (

chicksdaddy writes: "The security firm Bit9 released a more detailed analysis of the hack of its corporate network was part of a larger operation that was aimed a firms in a “very narrow market space” and intended to gather information from the firms. The analysis, posted on Monday on Bit9s blog is the most detailed to date of a hack that was first reported on February 8 by the blog, but that began in July, 2012. In the analysis, by Bit9 Chief Technology Officer Harry Sverdlove said 32 separate malware files and malicious scripts were whitelisted in the hack. Bit9 declined to name the three customers affected by the breach, or the industry segment that was targeted, but denied that it was a government agency or a provider of critical infrastructure such as energy, utilities or banking.
The small list of targets — just three — and the fact that one malware program was communicating with a system involved in a recent "sinkholing operation" raises the specter that the hack of Bit9 may have played a part in the recent attacks on Facebook, Twitter and Apple, though Bit9 declined to name the firms or the market they serve."


Submission + - Smallest-ever astronomical satellite launched

cylonlover writes: At the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, this morning (Feb. 25), the smallest astronomical satellite ever built was launched into orbit aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C20 rocket. In fact, it wasn’t just one satellite, but two – each of the twin BRIght Target Explorer (BRITE) spacecraft take the form of a cube that measures just 20 cm (7.8 inches) per side, and weighs in at under seven kilograms (15.4 lbs). The BRITEs were designed at the Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. One of the two nano-satellites launched today, known as UniBRITE, was assembled at SFL and funded by the University of Vienna. The other, called BRITE-Austria, was assembled in Austria and funded by that country’s Technical University of Graz – it is being promoted as “Austria’s First Satellite.”

Submission + - Bypassing Google Two-Factor Authentication (

An anonymous reader writes: The team at Duo Security figured out how to bypass Google's two-factor authentication, abusing Google's application-specific passwords. Curiously, this means that application-specific passwords are actually more powerful than users' regular passwords, as they can be used to disable the second factor entirely to gain control of an account. Duo released this today after Google fixed this last week — 7 months after initially replying that this was expected behavior!

Submission + - How do you improve your general System Admin skills?

ccktech writes: I am wondering what are the best ways for system admins to improve their general system admin skills such as scripting, troubleshooting, communication, documentation after they have been working for a few years. My wife, a nurse, has the requirement for so many training hours a year and there are many opportunities for her ranging from 4 hour sessions at work, online training, to weekend long seminars. Most of these are not specific to a vendor, but general nursing skills. For system admins it seems we have expensive ($5000/week) vendor training or conferences, slightly less expensive online versions of the vendor training, or weekend training at some smaller conferences such as LOPSA-East, Cascadia IT, or SCALE. Do you know of other ways for system admins to improve their general skills? What do you do to improve your general system admin skills?

Submission + - Bacteria and global warming

fustakrakich writes: Like we do, most bacteria respire, that is they convert carbon containing compounds, into carbon dioxide and water, and as an outcome of this process generate cellular energy. Unfortunately, for us there are far more bacteria on the planet that there are people and as a consequence bacteria produce rather a lot of carbon dioxide. In fact the microbes that break down plant matter in soil release 55 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year into the atmosphere, which represents around eight times the amount that humans are putting into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. As the temperature of our planet increases, we will inevitably alter the activity of planet’s microbes and through this fundamentally their impact on the Earth’s climate

Submission + - New Technology Produces Cheaper Tantalum and Titanium (

Billy the Mountain writes: A small UK company is bringing new technology online that could reduce the prices of tantalum and titanium ten-fold. According to this piece in The Economist: A tantalising prospect, the key is a technique similar to smelting aluminum with a new twist: The metallic oxides are not melted as with aluminum but blended in powder form with a molten salt that serves as a medium and electrolyte. This technology is known as the FFC Cambridge Process. Other metals include Neodymium, Tungsten and Vanadium

Submission + - HP Sells WebOS to LG Electronics, Inc. (

kdryer39 writes: LG has snatched up full rights to HP's webOS (which was last used in now-defunct Palm and TouchPad devices) and will integrate it into their line of "smart" TV's. WebOS was viewed as having a strong software foundation, but HP could not create a viable application ecosystem to keep up with Apple, Google, and Amazon. This poison arrow led to the dismal launch and failure of the TouchPad in 2010 and the resulting opening up of webOS last year.

While set-top implementations are a natural progression, I can only imagine where LG could take the failed OS with a little work and a face lift. Perhaps it can move us one step closer to the "Internet of Things," and have all LG-branded devices in the home sync with each other (and as a result, secretly plot the creation of SKYNET).

The Military

Submission + - The military's medal for cyber-combat is a disservice to actual combat vets ( 2

Curseyoukhan writes: "The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to members of the military engaged in computer security and flying drones. It is the first new "combat-related" award since the Bronze Star was created in 1944.

A friend of mine was a Bronze Star recipient. He received the medal for leading troops in combat in Vietnam. He knew by heart the names of the dozen or so men who died under his command during that engagement. He eventually died from poisoning due to prolonged exposure to Agent Orange during his service.

The Pentagon says, "Another example [of a potential recipient] is that of a soldier at Fort Meade, Md., who detects and thwarts a cyberattack on a DOD computer system."

Other than carpal-tunnel syndrome what risk does our theoretical soldier face?

This stretches the term "combat-related" out of any recognizable shape."


Submission + - Firefox 20 Beta for Android Gets Per-Tab Private Browsing

An anonymous reader writes: Firefox 19 was released released less than a week ago, but already Mozilla has made a new Firefox for Android beta available. This new release adds per-tab private browsing, customizable home screen shortcuts, and support for 25 million more phones. Per-tab private browsing is of course the biggest new feature. It allows you to switch between private and standard tabs within the same browsing session, meaning you don’t have to relaunch the Firefox app every time.

Submission + - Data espionage sleuths aim to put Chinese companies in court (

holy_calamity writes: "Accusations that China is stealing corporate secrets have become commonplace, now a startup called CrowdStrike says it can gather firm enough evidence for victims to take legal action against those being fed information copied from their networks. Led by veterans of the FBI and McAfee, the company uses techniques such as planting fake data and embedding "beacons" into documents that send back traces of where they end up. Most infiltration of U.S. firms is by the Chinese military, which passes along what it finds to state-owned and allied industries, cofounder Dmitri Alperovitch told Technology Review. "You can’t do a lot against the PLA, but you can do a lot against that company," he says. Alperovitch says the some clients are already considering launching legal action or asking for government sanctions based on evidence provided by Crowdstrike."

Submission + - Vulcan to Join Our Solar System (Maybe) ( 1

jollyrgr3 writes: If William Shatner gets his wish one of Pluto's two new moons will be named Vulcan. reports that James T. Kirk (aka) William Shatner picked the names Vulcan and Cerberus. The names still have to be approved by the International Astronomical Union as they have the final say. Full link here:

The Internet

Submission + - Internet providers officially start spying to stop P2P file-sharing (

An anonymous reader writes: Starting this week, Internet Service Providers will throttle connection speeds for customers suspected to be pirating copyright-protected materials. Previously, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision Systems and other ISPs had signed onto the program, which was supposed to start in July 2012, but major protests against other restrictive Web policies left them to wait until the dust settled.

Submission + - Is Firefox OS 'Too Late' to Shake Up Mobile? (

CWmike writes: Analysts are skeptical that Mozilla's push into mobile with Firefox OS would be a game-changer, as Mozilla suggests it will be. 'The chances of Mozilla Firefox OS making good in mobile phones are about as good as WebOS making a comeback in smartphones,' said analyst Jack Gold, referring to the mobile operating system abandoned two years ago by Hewlett-Packard, sold on Monday to Korea's LG Electronics for use in smart TVs. 'They're just plain too late,' Gold added. 'If they had done this two, three years ago...maybe.' On Sunday, Mozilla — best known for its Firefox browser — previewed the first commercial build of Firefox OS and announced commitments from four handset makers and backing from 18 mobile carriers. Mozilla makes it clear it views Firefox OS as a kind of mobile 'Reset' button: On its Firefox OS website, Mozilla touts 'Greater participation in the value chain' and 'Ownership and control over relationships with customers' as two of the four benefits to carriers and other partners. At Mobile World Congress on Monday, carrier officials complained that mobile OS vendors — meaning Google and Apple — made fortunes on their backs, and that Firefox OS may inject enough competition to shake up the current business models. 'We need a more balanced relationship with the OS owners,' Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Colao said at the conference. 'With more competition, the relationship will be more balanced, and eventually, the winners will be the ones who have the best products, the lowest prices, and the highest willingness to invest, with us, in the channels.'

Submission + - Google Chrome Getting Audio Indicators To Show You Noisy Tabs

An anonymous reader writes: Google is working on identifying Chrome tabs that are currently playing audio (or recording it). The feature is expected to show an audio animation if a tab is broadcasting or recording sound. François Beaufort first spotted the new feature, a part of which is already available in the latest Chromium build. For those who don't know, Chromium is the open source web browser project that shares much of the same code and features as Google Chrome, and new features are often added there first.

Submission + - U.K. and India Sign Cybersecurity Pact (

CowboyRobot writes: "U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron last week signed a cybersecurity deal with India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reassure Brits about protection of data held by outsourcers or cloud companies in India. Data sovereignty remains a big obstacle to British cloud usage, especially in the public sector, which has to follow compliance rules that require that organizations know precisely where, geographically, their data is physically located at any given time. For example, Saunders' own company reported late last year that 47% of the 250 IT decision-makers from a range of small and midsize businesses, enterprises and public sector organizations it had polled identified data sovereignty as a key security concern."

Submission + - DARPA wants to build high-tech helicopters on steroids (

coondoggie writes: "Engineering an aircraft that can go fast, carry usable amounts of equipment and people and hover has always been one of aviation's greatest challenges. Sure there are plenty of fast helicopters but they are usually limited in the amount of weight they can carry. And there have been a few successful vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jets — the AV-8 Harrier is the industry standard — and while it is fast, it can carry one person, the pilot. The future-looking folks at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency would like to change all that with a project they call the VTOL X-Plane program."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How would you feel about recording your entire life?

skade88 writes: As I get older, I find the little details of my life slip away from my memory after years and decades pass. I find myself wishing I had a way to record at least sound and video of my entire life. It would be nice to be able to go back and see what I was like when I was younger without the fog of memory clouding my view of the past. It would be cool to share with my boy friend and future kids how I was when I was younger by just showing them video from my life. Do y'all know of any good way to do this? I would settle for recording what I see from a first person point of view. There is also concerns that range beyond the technical. If I were to record my entire life, that would mean also recording other people, when they are interacting with me on a daily basis. What sort of privacy laws pertain to this? Even without laws, would others act differently around me because they were being recorded with my life record? How would it make you feel if your friend or family member did this?