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Submission + - SPAM: Slashcott Feb 10 to Feb 17 2

An anonymous reader writes: Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this in a new tab. After seeing that, click here to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott

Moderators — only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors — only discuss Beta
[spam URL stripped] — Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention. -----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: [spam URL stripped]
Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: [spam URL stripped]
Alternative Slashdot: [spam URL stripped] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106))

Submission + - The Individual Midnight Thread 40

unitron writes: Trying to figure out time zones is starting to make my brain hurt, but apparently in a bit over 6 hours somewhere on the other side of globe from Greenwich the Week of Slashcott will begin, as Midnight arrives for anyone in that zone, and then it travels west, where I will encounter it in about 23 hours.

So if we can get this thread out of the Firehose, I was thinking that, as the 10th arrives for us in our respective locations, we could leave here what may be our final farewells to Slashdot.

Until Midnight, this is our meeting place, our City Hall, our town square.

(and yes, our playground)

After that I'm not sure where we can congregate to discuss how the Slashcott's going and whether it's time to move on.

I'm going to jump the gun and lay claim to "So long and thanks for all the Karma", and perhaps someone could do a Bob Hope and re-write the lyrics to "Thanks for the Memories".

In the meantime, a bit of housekeeping.

An AC beat me to the week-long boycott idea by a couple of hours, and suggested the date range of the 10th through the 17th.

As part of a group of people familiar with the concept of beginning a count with 0 instead of 1, I really should have spotted the mistake of putting 8 days into that particular week.

So, should Slashcott Week end as the 17th begins, or do we give Dice a bonus day?

Submission + - CmdrTaco: Anti-Beta Movement a "Vocal Minority" ( 30

Antipater writes: The furor over Slashdot Beta is loud enough that even outside media has begun to notice. The Washington Post's tech blog The Switch has written a piece on the issue, and the anti-Beta protesters aren't going to be happy about it. The Post questioned Slashdot founder Rob Malda, who believes the protests are the work of only a vocal minority or readers: "It's easy to forget that the vocal population of a community driven site like Slashdot might be the most important group, but they are typically also the smallest class of users." The current caretakers of Slashdot need to balance the needs of all users with their limited engineering resources, Malda argues — noting wryly, "It ain't easy."

Submission + - Valve Releases Half-Life (Beta) For Linux (

Athens101 writes: "Yesterday Valve released Half-Life (beta) for the Steam Linux client. "We have released Half-Life 1 in Beta form on Linux (and OS X). Please report any issues you see on our github issues page. "

Half-Life is a science fiction first-person shooter video game developed by Valve Corporation, the company’s debut product and the first in the Half-Life series. First released in 1998 by Sierra Studios for Windows PCs, the game was also released for the PlayStation 2.[2] In Half-Life, players assume the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist who must fight his way out of a secret underground research facility whose research and experiments into teleportation technology have gone disastrously wrong."


Submission + - Former TSA Boss Admits Airport Screening Is Broken (

SolKeshNaranek writes:

Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about noted TSA-critic and security expert (among other things) Bruce Schneier debating former TSA boss Kip Hawley over at the Economist. While that debate was interesting, you might be forgiven for reading a WSJ piece written by Hawley and wondering if Hawley wasn't secretly replaced by Schneier. In the article, Hawley admits that the TSA screening process is ridiculously broken, and even makes a few statements that are almost word for word repeats of criticism Schneier has directed in the TSA's direction for years. Here's a snippet:

More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve.

The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple.

Any effort to rebuild TSA and get airport security right in the U.S. has to start with two basic principles:

First, the TSA's mission is to prevent a catastrophic attack on the transportation system, not to ensure that every single passenger can avoid harm while traveling. Much of the friction in the system today results from rules that are direct responses to how we were attacked on 9/11. But it's simply no longer the case that killing a few people on board a plane could lead to a hijacking. Never again will a terrorist be able to breach the cockpit simply with a box cutter or a knife. The cockpit doors have been reinforced, and passengers, flight crews and air marshals would intervene.

Second, the TSA's job is to manage risk, not to enforce regulations. Terrorists are adaptive, and we need to be adaptive, too. Regulations are always playing catch-up, because terrorists design their plots around the loopholes.

All of that sounds good... but why wasn't that the way the TSA acted under Hawley's 3.5 year tenure at the helm? As he explains it, some of it was merely giant bureaucratic institutional momentum. Some of it was political. Some of it was his own fault. Basically, there were a number of reasons — not all of which are particular convincing for the public that's sick of the TSA, something that Hawley admits. While he does say that there are some things that make more sense than people realize (for example, he says that there are more reasons for requiring people to take off their shoes than people realize), there are other things that he admits are pretty stupid, such as the liquid restrictions. He notes that there are plans on someone's desk (which existed while he was at the TSA) that would allow people to bring the liquids they wanted — basically by setting up separate lines for those bringing larger volumes of liquids, which can be scanned with relative ease with a software upgrade.

In the end, he suggests a few key changes to the TSA process to improve not just the airport experience, but also the safety of flying. And he notes all of these could be implemented in a matter of months if the TSA wanted to do it:

1. No more banned items: Aside from obvious weapons capable of fast, multiple killings—such as guns, toxins and explosive devices—it is time to end the TSA's use of well-trained security officers as kindergarten teachers to millions of passengers a day. The list of banned items has created an "Easter-egg hunt" mentality at the TSA. Worse, banning certain items gives terrorists a complete list of what not to use in their next attack. Lighters are banned? The next attack will use an electric trigger.

2. Allow all liquids: Simple checkpoint signage, a small software update and some traffic management are all that stand between you and bringing all your liquids on every U.S. flight. Really.

3. Give TSA officers more flexibility and rewards for initiative, and hold them accountable: No security agency on earth has the experience and pattern-recognition skills of TSA officers. We need to leverage that ability. TSA officers should have more discretion to interact with passengers and to work in looser teams throughout airports. And TSA's leaders must be prepared to support initiative even when officers make mistakes. Currently, independence on the ground is more likely to lead to discipline than reward.

4. Eliminate baggage fees: Much of the pain at TSA checkpoints these days can be attributed to passengers overstuffing their carry-on luggage to avoid baggage fees. The airlines had their reasons for implementing these fees, but the result has been a checkpoint nightmare. Airlines might increase ticket prices slightly to compensate for the lost revenue, but the main impact would be that checkpoint screening for everybody will be faster and safer.

5. Randomize security: Predictability is deadly. Banned-item lists, rigid protocols—if terrorists know what to expect at the airport, they have a greater chance of evading our system.

I think it's reasonable to criticize him for not doing more to get these changes in place while he was still in charge, but at least he's speaking out now. One key point in all of this, which often goes unnoted in the discussions of security theater, is that it often makes us less safe by the incentives it creates for TSA scanners. Above, one of his suggestions is to get rid of banned items, because of the "easter-egg hunt." As he notes elsewhere in the article, one of the problems with today's system is that agents become so focused on finding the specific "banned items" that they miss real threats. He relates the story of a test where agents were so focused on finding cigarette lighters that they missed bomb parts packed in the same bag around the lighter.

Of course, the problem in actually getting Hawley's ideas implemented remains the biggest hurdle. As much as the public hates the TSA screening process, no one is willing to make a change like this, because when an attack inevitably gets through (as it would with or without today's procedures), then the "new" security screening process will inevitably be blamed. As such, whoever agreed to put in place such a security regime would inevitably be sacrificed for "failing" in his or her job. So, you shouldn't necessarily expect any significant changes any time soon. Instead, it'll be yet another showing of traditional security theater... for old time's sake.


Submission + - Windows 8 Consumer Preview now available to download (

MrSeb writes: "At an event in Barcelona, to coincide with Mobile World Congress 2012, an ever-so-slightly-manic Steven Sinofsky has announced the immediate availability of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview; the public beta of the most important operating system Microsoft has ever developed. It is free to download, easy to whack on a USB stick or DVD, and well worth installing. Initial reports suggest that the Consumer Preview is slightly buggier than the Developer Preview, but given the huge number of new features and changes — some 100,000, according to Sinofsky — that isn't a huge surprise."

Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project Screenshot-sm 687

garg0yle writes "Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of 'a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics,' after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family 'get counseling.' Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?"
Data Storage

DRBD To Be Included In Linux Kernel 2.6.33 166

An anonymous reader writes "The long-time Linux kernel module for block replication over TCP, DRBD, has been accepted as part of the main Linux kernel. Amid much fanfare and some slight controversy, Linus has pulled the DRBD source into the 2.6.33 tree, expected to release February, 2010. DRBD has existed as open source and been available in major distros for 10 years, but lived outside the main kernel tree in the hands of LINBIT, based in Vienna. Being accepted into the main kernel tree means better cooperation and wider user accessibility to HA data replication."

Submission + - SPAM: Can We End Aging by 2029? 3

destinyland writes: "For the past 9 years, many of the world's leading researchers have been quietly collaborating on a scientific roadmap to reverse — yes, completely reverse — the human aging process," explains David A. Kekich. He's the founder of new biotech project that hopes to end the 100,000 lives lost to aging every day, and within 20 years. Many of the project's researchers believe we're approaching "longevity escape velocity" — where medical advances outpace aging itself, "potentially making death-by-aging a choice rather than a date with destiny." Two University of California researchers shared their findings at a kick-off event in November, where the group's colloboration was disclosed to the public.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - BitLocker might not be broken, but it's dented (

garg0yle writes: A group of German researchers have discovered a way around Microsoft's BitLocker drive encryption. The attack is non-trivial, but could be used by a determined attacker to subvert the boot process and capture the PIN in an unencrypted form, allowing later unauthorized access to the hard drive. The attack does require the attacker to access your system twice, the first time without detection.

Submission + - Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo (

RobGoldsmith writes: Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne designer, Burt Rutan, today revealed SpaceShipTwo to the public for the first time since construction of the world’s first manned commercial spaceship began in 2007. SpaceShipTwo has been designed to take many thousands of private astronauts into space.

SpaceShipTwo and its mothership, WhiteKnightTwo herald a new era in commercial space flight with daily space tourism flights set to commence from Spaceport America in New Mexico. View amazing new images and read this article for all the latest information regarding the Spaceship.


Submission + - Seattle CTO and OpenSource... NOT (

An anonymous reader writes: This post by the CTO of the City of Seattle is vehemently pro Microsoft. What is amazing is just how much so. Consider the opening rationale: "Microsoft provides 40,000 jobs in my area" and then another gem: "But I’m somewhat baffled that any CIO of a large government would seriously consider using open source software for our mission critical systems and services. This seems a little bit like using cell phones to dispatch police officers and firefighters or outsourcing your help desk to India. It will save money in the short term and work pretty well “most” of the time "

First iPhone Worm Discovered, Rickrolls Jailbroken Phones 215

Unexpof writes "Users of jailbroken iPhones in Australia are reporting that their wallpapers have been changed by a worm to an image of '80s pop icon Rick Astley. This is the first time a worm has been reported in the wild for the Apple iPhone. According to a report by Sophos, the worm, which exploits users who have installed SSH and not changed the default password, hunts for other vulnerable iPhones and infects them. Users are advised to properly secure their jailbroken iPhones with a non-default password, and Sophos says the worm is not harmless, despite its graffiti-like payload: 'Accessing someone else's computing device and changing their data without permission is an offense in many countries — and just as with graffiti there is a cost involved in cleaning-up affected iPhones. ... Other inquisitive hackers may also be tempted to experiment once they read about the world's first iPhone worm. Furthermore, a more malicious hacker could take the code written by ikee and adapt it to have a more sinister payload.'"

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department