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Ask Slashdot: Whiteboard Substitutes For Distributed Teams? 164

DoofusOfDeath writes I work on a fully distributed software development team with 5-10 people. Normally it's great, but when we're doing heavy design work, we really need to all be standing in front of a whiteboard together. This is expensive and time consuming, because it involves airplanes and hotels. Conference calls, editing shared Google docs, etc. just don't seem to be the same. Have people found any good tools or practices to replace standing in front of a real whiteboard?
United States

US Officials Cut Estimate of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil By 96% 411

First time accepted submitter steam_cannon (1881500) writes "The U.S. Energy Information Administration ( is planning to release a major 96% reserve downgrade to the amount of oil and gas recoverable from the Monterey Shale formation, one of the largest oil/gas reserves in the United States. After several years of intensified exploration the Monterey oil shale play seems to have much less recoverable oil and gas then previously hoped. This is due to multiple factors such as the more complex rippled geology of the shale and over-hyped recovery estimates by investors. By official estimates the Monterey Shale formation makes up 2/3 of the shale reserves in the US and by some estimates 1/3 of all crude reserves in the US. Not a drop in the bucket. Next Month the will be announcing cutting it's estimates for Monterey by 96%. That's a huge blow to the US energy portfolio, trillions of dollars, oil and gas the US might have used for itself or exported. Presently the White House is evaluating making changes to US oil export restrictions so this downgrade may result in changes to US energy policy. As well as have a significant impact on US economy and the economy of California."

Open Source — the Last Patent Defense? 52

dp619 writes "A developer might fly under the patent troll radar until she makes it big, and then it's usually open season. Apple just shared that it has faced off 92 lawsuits over just 3 years. Even Google's ad business is at risk. FOSS attorney Heather Meeker has blogged at the Outercurve Foundation on what to consider and what to learn if you're ever sued for patent infringement. 'There have been at least two cases where defendants have successfully used open source license enforcement as a defensive tactic in a patent lawsuit. ... In both these cases, the patent plaintiff was using open source software of the defendant, and the patent defendant discovered a violation of the applicable open source license that it used to turn the tables on the plaintiff. In this way, open source license enforcement can be a substitute for a more traditional retaliatory patent claim.' Meeker also examines how provisions of open source licenses can deflate a patent troll's litigation and shift the balance in favor of the defense."

Oldest Known Star In the Universe Discovered 141

Zothecula writes "A team of astronomers at The Australian National University working on a five-year project to produce the first comprehensive digital survey of the southern sky has discovered the oldest known star in the Universe. The star dates back 13.7 billion years, only shortly after the Big Bang itself. It's also nearby (at least, from a cosmological perspective) — about 6,000 light-years away. The star is notable for the very small amount of iron it contains (abstract). The lead researcher, Stefan Keller, said, 'To make a star like our Sun, you take the basic ingredients of hydrogen and helium from the Big Bang and add an enormous amount of iron – the equivalent of about 1,000 times the Earth's mass. To make this ancient star, you need no more than an Australia-sized asteroid of iron and lots of carbon. It's a very different recipe that tells us a lot about the nature of the first stars and how they died.'"

VPN Encryption Vulnerability On Android 77

An anonymous reader writes "Cyber security labs at Ben Gurion University have uncovered a network vulnerability on Android devices which has serious implications for users of VPNs. This vulnerability enables malicious apps to bypass active VPN configuration (no root permissions required) and redirect secure data communications to a different network address. These communications are captured in clear text (no encryption), leaving the information completely exposed. This redirection can take place while leaving the user completely oblivious, believing the data is encrypted and secure."

Comment Re:Infrequent (Score 4, Insightful) 176

'Once every 500 years' is not equal to 'with 500 years interval'. The next Carrington Event could be tomorrow.

Worse, even events less powerful than the Carrington Event occur more frequently than the Carrington Event and can cause significant damage to our high voltage infrastructure.

Comment Re:QA is not the problem (Score 1) 323

What seems more amazing is that a simple software check pre-launch (i.e. "do all the sensors think they are pointed up?") was not part of the SOP. Given that their exact function is orientation detection, skipping the opportunity for self-test via that function is somewhat baffling.

No - the sensors were 'angular velocity sensors'. They do not measure orientation but change of orientation. Is a bit more difficult to check pre-launch than an orientation sensor.

Comment Re:An IP address doesn't identify a person (Score 2) 240

If there is spyware on a machine, doing it's dirty thing without the users knowledge or consent, then any piece of event logging, keystroke logging or pictures taken is suspect. It could be produced by the user, by other spyware, or by a hacker with access to the machine.

The very fact that the 'evidence' is collected by spyware is full evidence that spyware is performing activities the user is unaware about. It implicitely proofs the machine is not under full user control. It therefore proofs not all actions performed at the machine are endorsed by the user.

Since one piece of spyware/malware managed to get installed on the computer means users anti virus and anti malware software is not up to its task. If that is the case, then the installation of other spyware/malware packages is very likely. Meaning there is reasonable doubt about who or what did a download.
And you can not convict a suspect if there is reasonable doubt - not yet anyway.

Comment Re:An IP address doesn't identify a person (Score 1) 240

A picture of the user sitting at the keyboard is no evidence if other software/spyware capable of downloading copyrighted has been installed (without user knowledge or consent) at the same computer.

All the picture proofs is that said user was using the computer at a certain point in time. It doesn't proof the user was doing the download of the copyrighted material. If there was other spyware running at the computer, then that other piece of spyware could be performing the download. All recorded keystrokes, mouse clicks and other logged event are suspect if spyware packages are running at the a machine.
If such a picture were to be accepted as 'evidence' in court, then hackers could easily frame anybody they dislike. Just install the hackers spyware package, spoof some 'evidence' towards the corporate spyware and another sucker gets owned.

Comment Re:An IP address doesn't identify a person (Score 1) 240

Spyware like this can prove that someone did indeed commit acts of copyright infringement as alleged.

No, it can't. Since the TFA talks about "a group of 13 industry associations", we would get every one of these industry associations to install it's own spyware package on your machine.
So if copyrights were to be infringed from your machine, who can prove that YOU were to one to do it, and not one of the spyware packages? All one can prove is that it happened from your machine, not WHO or WHAT did it. A compromised system is by definition out of your control.

Submission + - Alpha Centauri B has an Earth mass planet (

VitaminB52 writes: Astronomers have announced they have found a planet orbiting one of the stars making up the most famous star in the sky: Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our own! Orbital period of the planet is 3.24 days, far too close to the star and therefore too hot to sustain any kind of life as we know it.

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison