Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Submission + - Customers, support thy selves...

An anonymous reader writes: Has anyone else noticed the trend towards "community forums" where customers are basically being recruited to solve the issues of other customers while the companies selling the products causing the issues sit back and take a passive role in the process? Granted, sometimes the companies' employees play an active part in the forums and provide some value-add by contributing crucial, and often undocumented, knowledge that solves the problem in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case and this leaves customers with no visibility into whether or not their problems are being addressed, and, if they are, when they might expect to receive assistance. This is bad enough when dealing with consumer electronics that cost up to a couple of hundred of dollars, but it's completely unacceptable when dealing with proprietary design tool vendors that are charging several thousand dollars for software licenses for tools that are the only option if a customer doesn't want to drop an order of magnitude more money to go with 3rd party tools (e.g., Synopsys).

This leads me to the following questions for all of you Slashdotters: who do you think are the worst offenders of this downloading of support onto the backs of the customers themselves, and what can be done to let them know that this new reality is ridiculous?
Android

Submission + - Malware Controls 620,000 Phones, Sends Costly Messages (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: "A new discovered malware is potentially one of the most costly viruses yet discovered. Uncovered by NQ Mobile, the "Bill Shocker" (a.expense.Extension.a) virus has already impacted 620,000 users in China and poses a threat to unprotected Android devices worldwide. Bill Shocker downloads in the background, without arousing the mobile device owner's suspicion. The infection can then take remote control of the device, including the contact list, Internet connections and dialing and texting functions. Once the malware has turned the phone into a "zombie," the infection uses the device to send text message to the profit of advertisers. In many cases, the threat will overrun the user's bundling quota, which subjects the user to additional charges."
Advertising

Submission + - Empty Times Square Building generates $23 Million a Year from Digital Ads (rt.com)

dryriver writes: 'Advertising things at the right place is proving to be a cash cow, as electronic ads earn about $23mn each year for an empty building at One Times Square – the iconic tourist destination in the New York City. A 25-story Manhattan office building that has long been empty keeps on bringing in millions to its owner as a billboard. Michael Phillips, CEO of Atlanta-based Jamestown Properties, bought One Times Square through a fund in 1997 for $117 million, as the Wall Street Journal reports. Above 100mn pedestrians pass through the square each year, which is 90% more than 16 years ago, says the Times Square Alliance, a non-profit business improvement organization. And this is what makes a price tag for having a company’s name placed on the building the highest in the world, even above such crowded tourist destinations as Piccadilly Circus in London. Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. pays $3.6mn a year for a Dunkin' Donuts digital sign on the One Times Square building, with Anheuser-Busch InBev paying another $3.4mn a year for its advertisement. Sony and News America pay $4mn a year for a shared sign.'
Businesses

Submission + - There is no Tablet Market, Only a iPad Market 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "James Kendrick writes that after Apple introduced the iPad, companies shifted gears to go after this undiscovered new tablet market but in spite of the number of players in tablets, no company has discovered the magic bullet to knock the iPad off the top of the tablet heap. "What's happening to the 7-inch tablet market is what happened to the PC market several times. Big name desktop PC OEMs, realizing that consumers didn't care about megahertz and megabytes — yes, that long ago — turned to a price war in order to keep sales buoyant," writes Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. "Price becomes the differentiating factor, and this in turns competition into a race to the bottom." Historically, when a race to the bottom is dictated by the market, it's more a sign of a lack of a market in general. If enough buyers aren't willing to pay enough for a product to make producers a profit, the market is just not sufficient. Price is a metric that most people know and understand because it's nowhere as ethereal or complicated as CPU power or screen resolution. Given a $199 tablet next to another for $299, the $100 difference in the price tag will catch the eye before anything else. But if price is such an important metric, why is the iPad — with its premium price tag — so popular? Simple, it was the first tablet to go mass market, and cumulative sales of around 85 million gives the iPad credibility in the eye on potential buyers. "So the problem with the Kindle Fire — and the Nexus 7 — is the same problem that's plagued the PC industry. Deep and extreme price cuts give the makers no wriggle room to innovate", writes Kingsley-Hughes. "By driving prices down to this level so rapidly, both Amazon and Google have irrevocably harmed the tablet market by creating unrealistic price expectations.""
Displays

Submission + - Optical Displays Made of Nothing But Air And Water (inhabitat.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Finnish scientists have developed a new optical display that works using using nothing more than air and water. Based out of Aalto University, the researchers took their inspiration from the superhydrophobic properties of the lotus leaf and fabricated a surface with structures in two size scales: microposts that have a size of ten micrometers and tiny nanofilaments that are grown on the posts. This two-level surface allowed the air layer to exist in two different shapes, or wetting states, while corresponding to the two size scales. The team also found that they could easily switch between the two states locally using a nozzle to create over- or under-pressure in the water

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Security Digests for the Home Network Admin?

halcyon1234 writes: "I'm currently cutting the webhost cord, and setting up a simple webserver at home to host a couple hobby websites and a blog. The usual LAMP stuff. I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous; I know how to get everything set up and get it up to date, but not enough to be sure I'm not overlooking common, simple security configurations. And then there's the issue of new vulnerabilities being found that I'm not even aware of. The last thing I want is to contribute to someone's botnet or spam relay.
What readings/subscriptions would you recommend for security discussions/heads up? Obviously I already read (too much) Slashdot daily, which I credit for hearing about some major security issues. Are there any RSS feeds or mailing lists you rely on for keeping up to date on security issues?"

Submission + - Quantum Dots Are Behind New Displays (ieee.org)

ArmageddonLord writes: "Liquid crystal displays dominate today’s big, bright world of color TVs. But they’re inefficient and don’t produce the vibrant, richly hued images of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, which are expensive to make in large sizes. Now, a handful of start-up companies aim to improve the LCD by adding quantum dots, the light-emitting semiconductor nanocrystals that shine pure colors when excited by electric current or light. When integrated into the back of LCD panels, the quantum dots promise to cut power consumption in half while generating 50 percent more colors. Quantum-dot developer Nanosys says an LCD film it developed with 3M is now being tested, and a 17-inch notebook incorporating the technology should be on shelves by year’s end." --IEEE Spectrum
Security

Submission + - Flame Abused Windows Update to Spread (net-security.org)

An anonymous reader writes: You have probably already heard that Microsoft released an out-of-band update that revokes three rogue certificates that were used to sign a couple of modules of the recently discovered Flame (SkyWiper) toolkit. What you might still not have heard is how some of the malware's modules — namely ones called "Gadget" and "Munch" — were responsible for spreading Flame to other machines in the same network as an already infected one. Initially, Kaspersky Lab experts thought computers were infected via an unknown 0-day vulnerability, as fully patched Windows 7 machines were being infected over the network in a very suspicious manner.
Android

Submission + - Gnuplot now Running on Android (kickstarter.com) 2

MathIsTasty writes: While it looks like the previously discussed campaign to raise funds for Octave and gnuplot development for Android is quite short of its goal, it looks like the developer has forged ahead and released a decent and only slightly buggy version of gnuplot running on Android already. Though it can create 2D and 3D plots and even output to a PostScript file, it looks like there is no pinch-zoom and similar. Maybe that is one of the things the requested funds are for. I just wonder whether the only person working on the project should have spent more time on marketing as opposed to development.

Submission + - John McAfee, antivirus pioneer, arrested by Belize police (techworld.com)

concertina226 writes: McAfee antivirus founder John McAfee is reportedly taking legal advice after a raid on his Belize home by police resulted in the software entrepreneur’s arrest and the death of his pet dog.

The raid in the early morning of 1 May by the country’s armed ‘Gang Suppression Unit’ (GSU) allegedly involved the doors to McAfee’s house being smashed down, his property ransacked, and his dog shot.

After searching the house for drugs and firearms and handcuffing him and his 12 employees, the police detained McAfee for a number of hours before releasing him at 2am the following morning.

Security

Submission + - Computer Virus Hits US Drone Fleet (wired.com) 3

Golgafrinchan writes: Quoting from the story:

"A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones. The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system."

Data Storage

Submission + - Self-Wiping Hard Drives From Toshiba (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: Toshiba announces a family of self-encrypting hard disk drives engineered to automatically invalidate protected data when connected to an unknown host. Data invalidation attributes can be set for multiple data ranges, enabling targeted data in the drive to be rendered indecipherable by command, on power cycle, or on host authentication error.

Submission + - 5 Exabytes of HDD Storage Shipped in 2010 (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Sales of disk storage systems were up 55% last year compared with 2009, with more than 5,000 petabytes of hard disk drive capacity sold, according to a new report from market research firm IDC. Factory revenues for disk storage subsystems totaled $28.7 billion in 2010, an 18% year-over-year improvement. One stand-out market was IP-based network storage, such as iSCSI and NAS, which saw a 21% increase in sales for a total of more than $5 billion in revenue.
Government

Submission + - Germany Builds Encrypted, Identity-Confirmed Email (itworld.com)

jfruhlinger writes: "Looking to solve the problems of spam, phishing, and uncomfirmed email identities, Germany is betting very, very big. The country will pass a law this month creating 'De-mail,' a service in which all messages will be encrypted and digitally signed so they cannot be intercepted or modified in transit. Businesses and individuals wanting to send or receive De-mail messages will have to prove their real-world identity and associate that with a new De-mail address from a government-approved service provider. The service will be enabled by a new law that the government expects will be in force by the end of this month. It will allow service providers to charge for sending messages if they wish. The service is voluntary, but will it give the government too much control?"

Slashdot Top Deals

Old programmers never die, they just hit account block limit.

Working...