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+ - Intelligent response to robocall

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A challenge: develop a machine intelligence to respond to robocalls.

Points scored for longest conversation recorded."

+ - "Canvas Fingerprinting" Online Tracking Difficult To Block->

Submitted by globaljustin
globaljustin (574257) writes "First documented in a forthcoming paper by researchers at Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium, this type of tracking, called canvas fingerprinting, works by instructing the visitor’s Web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it.

[The] fingerprints are unusually hard to block: They can’t be prevented by using standard Web browser privacy settings or using anti-tracking tools such as AdBlock Plus.

The researchers found canvas fingerprinting computer code, primarily written by a company called AddThis, on 5 percent of the top 100,000 websites."

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+ - Ask Slashdot: How do I deal with a boss that can't Google?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "My new 30-something year old boss, in an administrative position, doesn't know how to use Google. And he's just as incompetent with everything else as you'd imagine of someone who can't Google. Our entire job is on a computer. What do I do?

- Stricken with shock, Australia"

+ - Hair-raising technique detects drugs, explosives on human body->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "That metal ball that makes your hair stand on end at science museums may have a powerful new use. Scientists have found a way to combine these Van de Graaff generators with a common laboratory instrument to detect drugs, explosives, and other illicit materials on the human body. In the laboratory, scientists had a volunteer touch a Van de Graaff generator for 2 seconds to charge his body to 400,000 volts. This ionized compounds on the surface of his body. The person then pointed their charged finger toward the inlet of a mass spectrometer, and ions from their body entered the machine. In various tests, the machine correctly identified explosives, flammable solvents, cocaine, and acetaminophen on the skin."
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+ - Tired of playing cyber cop, Microsoft looks for partners in crime fighting->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "When it comes to fighting cyber crime, few companies can claim to have done as much as Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, which spent the last five years as the Internet's Dirty Harry: using its size, legal muscle and wealth to single-handedly take down cyber criminal networks from Citadel, to Zeus to the recent seizure of servers belonging to the (shady) managed DNS provider NO-IP.

The company's aggressive posture towards cyber crime outfits and the companies that enable them has earned it praise, but also criticism. That was the case last week after legitimate customers of NO-IP alleged that Microsoft's unilateral action had disrupted their business. (

There's evidence that those criticisms are hitting home – and that Microsoft may be growing weary of its role as judge, jury and executioner of online scams. Microsoft Senior Program Manager Holly Stewart gave a sober assessment of the software industry's fight against cyber criminal groups and other malicious actors.

Speaking to a gathering of cyber security experts and investigators at the 26th annual FIRST Conference in Boston (, she said that the company has doubts about the long term effectiveness of its botnet and malware takedowns.

Redmond is willing use its clout to help other companies stomp out malicious software like botnets and Trojan horse programs. Stewart said Microsoft will use its recently announced Coordinated Malware Eradication (CME) program to empower researchers, industry groups and even other security firms that are looking to eradicate online threats. That includes everything from teams of malware researchers and PR professionals to software and cloud-based resources like the company's Malicious Software Removal Tool and Windows update.

"Use MSRC as a big hammer to stomp out a malware family," Stewart implored the audience, referring to the Microsoft Security Response Center. "Go ahead and nominate a malware family to include in MSRT," she said, referring to the Malicious Software Removal Tool."

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+ - Ask Slashdot: Why is it so difficult to find basic database speed information?-> 2

Submitted by DidgetMaster
DidgetMaster (2739009) writes "I am developing a new general-purpose data management system that handles unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data well, so it has features found in file systems, relational databases, and NoSQL solutions. I am a file system expert so it is very easy for me to see how my system outperforms traditional file systems (e.g. search is 1000x+ times faster), but although I have moderate DB experience it is tough to tell just how my database features compare to the likes of MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, etc.. I have tried to find simple performance metrics on sites that compare various database products, but none of them seem to give any basic information.

I realize that every setup is different and you can tune most databases to get benchmarks to make a particular product look good against the competition, but something simple like "good performance today means you can insert 10 column rows into a table at a rate of 25,000 rows per second" or "a simple database view for finding all customer names that start with the letter 'B' on a 10 million row table should take 3.5 seconds or less". Using my software on a desktop system (intel i7), I can read, parse, and insert 5 million rows (10 columns each) into a table in 1 minute 6 seconds. Queries against that table (e.g. SELECT * FROM table WHERE customerName LIKE '%au%';) usually take less than 2 seconds. (My custom database is a column store that de-dupes all data and does not need any indexes.)

It seems fast to me but is it really? I tried doing the same thing using MySQL Workbench and it always took much longer (sometimes 17 seconds or more for each query), but I can't tell if I am just not doing it right. How long should it take on a desktop machine to import a 5 million row, 10 column .CSV file into a database table? How long should it take to execute simple views against that table? I don't need exact millisecond numbers, just ballpark figures."

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+ - New Technology for Building Homes Lower Costs by 50%!->

Submitted by Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth (903542) writes "An Israeli entrepreneur has developed a smart building block that has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry, reducing building and running costs for new homes.

The new block, currently under development, is called S-brick. It looks like a large concrete Lego piece with built in holes and a v-shape part which can be removed, exposing the inner porous structure. This design combines several distinct advantages. The S-block is made from a special concrete developed in Germany that is as strong as steal — eliminating the need for expensive and time consuming metal reinforcements in the building. Each block has holes for running pipes, plumbing and electrical wires. The outer part of the block is removable, allowing easy access for inserting the pipes during construction and inspecting and maintaining them later on. These are just two of almost a dozen unique advantages of the S-brick compared to any existing comparable building technology which according to the developers could reduce building costs by as much as 50%."

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+ - US Court Rules Against Government for Using Seized Data Beyond Scope of Warrant

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit last week reversed a tax evasion conviction against an accountant because the government had used data from his computers that were seized under a warrant targeting different suspects. The Fourth Amendment, the court pointed out, 'prevents the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another.' Law enforcement originally made copies of his hard drives and during off-site processing, separated his personal files from data related to the original warrant. However, 1.5 years later, the government sifted through his personal files and used what it found to build a case against him. The appeals court held that '[i]f the Government could seize and retain non-responsive electronic records indefinitely, so it could search them whenever it later developed probable cause, every warrant to search for particular electronic data would become, in essence, a general warrant', which the Fourth Amendment protects against. The EFF hopes that the outcome of this appeal will have implications for the NSA's dragnet surveillance practice."

+ - Employees who stay more than 2 years paid 50% less->

Submitted by fleebait
fleebait (1432569) writes "According to Forbes:

The worst kept secret is that employees are making less on average every year. There are millions of reasons for this, but we’re going to focus on one that we can control. Staying employed at the same company for over two years on average is going to make you earn less over your lifetime by about 50% or more."

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+ - NIgerian born UK TV repairman sentenced 16 months prison for 91% reuse-> 1

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "The Guardian uses a stock photo of obvious electronic junk in its coverage of the sentencing of Joseph Benson of BJ Electronics. But film of the actual containers showed fairly uniform, sorted televisions which typically work for 20 years. In 2013, the Basel Convention Secretariat released findings on a two-year study of the seized sea containers containing the alleged "e-waste", including Benson's in Nigeria, and found 91% working and repaired product. The study, covered in Slashdot last February, declared the shipments legal, and further reported that they were more likely to work than new product sent to Africa (which may be shelf returns from bad lots, part of the reason Africans prefer used TVs from nations with strong warranty laws).

Director of regulated industry Harvey Bradshaw of the UK tells the Guardian: "This sentence is a landmark ruling because it's the first time anyone has been sent to prison for illegal waste exports." But 5 separate university research projects question what the crime was, and whether prohibition in trade is really the best way to reduce the percentage of bad product (less than 100% waste). Admittedly, I have been following this case from the beginning and interviewed both Benson and the Basel Secretariat Executive Director, and am shocked that the UK judge went ahead with the sentencing following the publication of the E-Waste Assessment Study last year. But what do Nerds at Slashdot think about the campaign to arrest African geeks who pay 10 times the value of scrap for used products replaced in rich nations?"

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+ - When drones fall from the sky->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "More than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001, a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open American skies to drone traffic, according to a year-long Washington Post investigation."
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+ - Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Creators of compilers are in an arms race to improve performance. But according to a presentantation at this week's annual USENIX conference, those performance boosts can undermine your code's security. For instance, a compiler might find a subroutine that checks a huge bound of memory beyond what's allocated to the program, decide it's an error, and eliminate it from the compiled machine code — even though it's a necessary defense against buffer overflow attacks."
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Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. -- Henry Spencer