Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Man Tunnels into GameStop, Steals Games ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Life imitates Minecraft: Computer game piracy is big business, but there are still those who prefer to get their games the old-fashioned way: by digging a tunnel into their local games shop and making off with as much stock as they can carry.
At least, that's the slightly bizarre approach taken by a man from Greeneville, Tennessee, who was arrested late last week after being caught tunnelling into his local GameStop store from an empty adjoining building.


Submission + - Coffee spill diverts United Airlines flight ( 1

PolygamousRanchKid writes: A United Airlines flight from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, was diverted to Toronto this week after the pilot dumped a cup of coffee on the plane's communication's equipment. The unwanted liquid triggered a series of emergency codes, including one for a hijacking, according to Transport Canada, the agency that regulates transportation in Canada.

Google Loses Street View Suit, Forced To Pay $1 225

Translation Error writes "Two and a half years ago, the Borings sued Google for invading their privacy by driving onto their private driveway and taking pictures of their house to display on Google Street View. Now, the case has finally come to a close with the judge ruling in favor of the Borings and awarding them the princely sum of $1. While the judge found the Borings to be in the right, she awarded them only nominal damages, as the fact that they had already made images of their home available on a real estate site and didn't bother to seal the lawsuit to minimize publicity indicated the Borings neither valued their privacy nor had it been affected in any great way by Google's actions."

Submission + - Google buries searches for 'bad' businesses (

digitaldc writes: Do you wish that all those unhelpful websites that show up in your Google search results would disappear and only those which offer a good user experience stay? Well, Google is here to help. It has tweaked the search ranking algorithm of its search engine. Thus, today onwards, websites giving poor a user experience would not be showing up in the searched results and will get buried eventually.

This was the result of a news story run by The New York Times about Clarabelle Rodriguez's horrible experience with one of the online vendor. Even though Google search engine is smart enough, several individuals try to understand how the search engine's ranking systems work. While many try to make the best of it, select few try to find loopholes and exploit it. As per NY Times' story, Vitaly Borker, a seller at, purposely shouted and ill-treated several customers as he saw that online complaints of the same put his site rankings higher.

So, does this mean that banks involved in the housing mortgage crisis are getting buried as well?


Submission + - How to become an old white guy and move to Canada ( 1

formfeed writes: The Toronto Star has a story how a young man from Hong Kong disguised himself as an old white guy, so he could get on a flight to Canada, where he asked for Asylum.

Not only did he wear a — really believable — silicone mask, he apparently had also studied his role pretty well. Don' t know how he did it, but since he didn't wear a plaid shirt, his character can' t be based on the Red Green show.


Journal Journal: some open sores code for certain people

As a public service, I hereby release the following into the public domain:


It's bookmarklet code, designed for those who are exclusively one-sided in their political writings, to save them the time it would normally take to craft a lengthy JE or snotty retort here on Slashdot. And save the rest of us the agonizing boredom of predictability.

Submission + - USB "Dead Drops" ( 1

Okian Warrior writes: Aram Bartholl is building a series of USB dead drops in NYC.

Billed as "an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space", he has embedded USB sticks as file cache devices throughout NYC.

From the Hackaday link: "Upload what you want, download what you want. They are completely offline which means monitoring gets a lot harder.

Current locations (more to come) include: 87 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (Makerbot), Empire Fulton Ferry Park, Brooklyn, NY (Dumbo), 235 Bowery, NY (New Museum), Union Square, NY (Subway Station 14th St), and West 21st Street, NY (Eyebeam)


Submission + - Pilot refuses TSA full-body scan 2

another similar writes: Upping the ante for privacy advocates, ExpressJet co-pilot Michael Roberts caused a stir by refusing a full-body scan [Memphis Commercial Appeal] at Memphis International Airport. Privacy advocates have raised concerns we've covered several times this year. Their major concern seems to hinge on whether the images are stored or merely viewed in real-time. Roberts' concerns are broader, since he also refused the alternative manual pat-down procedure and chose to leave the airport.

To what extent do TSA efforts make you feel safer than before 9/11?

Submission + - Programmer humor: Best code comments ever ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Comments are the perfect place for programmers to hide an inside joke or drop in some witty text. Some of these comments gain some serious notoriety. Whether that’s because the project they were used in, how long they were undiscovered, or just how funny they were, it’s only nature that at some point they will be brought from the depths and exposed. After all, what good is a joke that only you know about? With that in mind, here are some of the best comments ever.

Submission + - Competitor threatens suit - counter DMCA takedown?

An anonymous reader writes: Zen Magnets, a maker of neodymium magnets, has been under assault by the much larger and better distributed Buckyballs, a maker of a nearly identical toy. After Zen Magnets listed a couple of eBay auctions with a set of Buckyballs and a set of their own, asking customers to decide which was higher quality, Buckyballs replied with a legal threat. Zen Magnets responded with an open video response, in which they presented the voicemail from Buckyballs and demonstrated their claims of quality through repeatable, factual tests, providing quantitative data to back up their assertions.

Soon after, Buckyballs CEO Jake Bronstein got the video taken down from Youtube via a DMCA takedown, despite the fact that the only elements not made by Zen Magnets are the voicemail he left and some images of himself, which are low resolution and publicly available online.

Zen Magnets is now asking for help as they don't know what to do. It's appalling and I can't imagine that it is infringing, but I am not a lawyer. What would you do in this scenario?

(I am affiliated with neither company, although Thinkgeek sells Buckyballs...Slashdot & ThinkGeek share a corporate overlord.)


Tootech writes: POLICE chiefs were last night probing how a memory stick containing top secret anti-terror documents was found dumped in the street outside their own station.
The 4in stick contains more than 2,000 pages of highly-sensitive and confidential information intended to be seen only by senior officers.

Sections on countering the threat of terrorism on British streets include strategies for acid and petrol bomb attacks, blast control training and the use of batons and shields.
There is even a comprehensive list of officers’ names, ranks and their divisions.

Also covered are sections detailing the use and understanding of firearms as well as water cannons and CS gas.
Describing its contents as “an essential reference for all officers”, it goes on to outline methods to combat football violence, riots, public disorder and how to deal with violent people when entering a room.

Produced by the National Police Improvement Agency, the files, bearing the title Manual On Guidance Of Keeping The Peace, cover all aspects of counter terrorism and “tactical deployment”.
The memory stick was found dumped on the pavement outside the police station in Stalybridge, near Manchester.


Submission + - Apple and Microsoft "threatened to sue Sun" (

Barence writes: Sun's former chief executive has claimed that both Apple and Microsoft tried to sue the company for patent infringement. Jonathan Schwartz has related a meeting between Sun executives and Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, which could have put the future of the free OpenOffice project in doubt. "Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had flown in over a weekend to meet with Scott McNealy, Sun's then CEO... As we sat down in our Menlo Park conference room, Bill skipped the small talk, and went straight to the point, 'Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice. We’re happy to get you under license.' That was code for 'We’ll go away if you pay us a royalty for every download' – the digital version of a protection racket." According to Schwartz, Sun promptly pointed out the similarities between Microsoft's .NET framework and Java, bringing the meeting to a close.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben