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Submission + - Aussie kids foil finger scanner with Gummi Bears ( 4

mask.of.sanity writes: An Australian high school has installed "secure" fingerprint scanners for roll call for senior students, which savvy kids may be able to circumvent with sweets from their lunch box. The system replaces the school's traditional sign-in system with biometric readers that require senior students to have their fingerprints read to verify attendance.

The school principal says the system is better than swipe cards because it stops truant kids getting their mates to sign-in for them. But using the Gummi Bear attack, students can make replicas of their own fingerprints from gelatine, the ingredient in Gummi Bears, to forge a replica finger. The attack worked against a bunch of scanners that detect electrical charges within the human body, since gelatine has virtually the same capacitance as a finger's skin.

A litany of fingerprint scanners have fallen victim to bypass methods, many of which are explained publicly in detail on the internet.

PC Games (Games)

Spore-Inspired Action RPG Darkspore Announced 86

Today Electronic Arts announced Darkspore, an action RPG in development from Maxis that is inspired by Spore's creature creator technology. The game is due to launch in February 2011, and a teaser is available on the official website. A more descriptive video is available from EA's live demo (start at 8:25). Quoting Joystiq: "...Darkspore will let up to three players traverse 'several' planets cooperatively, and while there will be PvP in the finished product, Maxis isn't providing details just yet. The basics will be the same whether going in solo or as a team: You'll be able to choose from a number (again, no specifics yet) of pre-created melee, ranged and support creatures that can have their stats and abilities augmented by equipment. ... When choosing to beam down from your starship to a planet, you will see a lineup of enemy types that you'll encounter. This gives you and your friends enough information to decide which three characters from your collection you'll want to deploy. The trio can then be switched between on the fly, albeit with a brief cool-down period afterward. The idea is to use the characters' various abilities strategically against what the Left 4 Dead-inspired 'AI director' decides to toss your way."

Venezuela's Last Opposition TV Owner Arrested 433

WrongSizeGlass writes "AP is reporting the owner of Venezuela's only remaining TV channel that takes a critical line against President Hugo Chavez was arrested Thursday. 'Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of Globovision, was arrested on a warrant for remarks that were deemed "offensive" to the president,' Attorney General Luisa Ortega said. This comes on the heels of last week's story titled Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom."

Pi Day and an Interview With a Pi Researcher 188

JoshuaInNippon writes "In honor of Pi Day, March 14 (or 3.14 for those who may need a hint), readers may be interested in reading an interview with Professor Daisuke Takahashi, the Japanese researcher who found 2.5 trillion digits of Pi back in August, before being apparently being edged out in December by a French computer programmer looking to prove his efficient coding abilities. Professor Takahashi's interview gives some unique insight into one man who truly marvels at the number that has driven people to ever greater lengths to find more digits for centuries." Plant Kingdom adds "There have been a number of proposals for alternatives to March 14 (see the Wikipedia page for Pi Day). Here's mine: when the Earth has gone through 1/pi-th of its orbit, as measured from Winter Solstice to Winter Solstice. I've put together a web site to make the case."

Submission + - Good language choice for school programming test ( 3

An anonymous reader writes: The Australian Informatics Olympiad programming test is being run in a couple of months. I'm an experienced programmer and I'm thinking of volunteering to tutor interested kids at my children's school to get them ready. There will be children of all levels in the group, from those that can't write 'hello world' in any language, to somewhat experienced programmers. For those starting from scratch, I'm wondering what language to teach them to code in. Accepted languages are C, C++, Pascal, Java, PHP, Python and Visual Basic.
I'm leaning towards Python, because it is a powerful language with a simple syntax. However, the test has a run-time CPU seconds limit, so using an interpreted language like Python could put the students at a disadvantage compared to using C. Is it better to teach them something in 2 months that they're likely to be able to code in but possibly run foul of the CPU time limit, or struggle to teach them to code in a more complicated syntax like C/C++ which would however give them the best chance of having a fast solution?


Former Astronauts Call Obama NASA Plans "Catastrophic" 555

krou writes "Talking to the BBC at a private function held at the Royal Society in London, former astronauts Jim Lovell and Eugene Cernan both spoke out about Obama's decision to postpone further moon missions. Lovell claimed that 'it will have catastrophic consequences in our ability to explore space and the spin-offs we get from space technology,' while Cernan noted he was 'disappointed' to have been the last person to land on the moon. Said Cernan: 'I think America has a responsibility to maintain its leadership in technology and its moral leadership ... to seek knowledge. Curiosity's the essence of human existence.' Neil Armstrong, who was also at the event, avoided commenting on the subject."

Submission + - Programming the Commodore 64: The Definitive Guide (

Mirk writes: "Back in 1985 it was possible to understand the whole computer, from the hardware up through device drivers and the kernel through to the high-level language that came burned into the ROMs (even if it was only Microsoft BASIC). The Reinvigorated Programmer revisits R. C. West's classic and exhaustive book Programming the Commodore 64 and laments the decline of that sort of comprehensive Deep Knowing."

Leveraging always beats prototyping.