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+ - Thirteen open source workshops at colleges in 2013-> 1

Submitted by paulproteus
paulproteus (112149) writes "Three years ago, Slashdot covered a "How To Get Involved In Open Source" workshop I helped run at the University of Pennsylvania. I'm part of the team that put that together, and in 2013, we ran 13 events, 7 of which were organized by women in CS groups. There's still no shortage of students that want to get involved, so read how we're going to run even more in 2014!"
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Security

The Windows Flaw That Cracks Amazon Web Services 114

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell decided to poke around the security of Amazon Web Services, and found a potential loophole that could theoretically allow anyone — a developer, an unscrupulous Amazon employee, the NSA — to access and copy data volumes stored on the system, using a slightly modified version of the popular 'chntwp' password tool. In this article, he breaks down how he did it, and suggests some ways for those who use cloud-hosting services to keep their data a little more secure in the future. 'The key here, of course, is that an unscrupulous employee might be able to make a copy of any existing Windows volume, and go to work on it without the customer ever knowing that it happened,' he writes. 'Now let's be clear: I'm not accusing anyone of having done this; in fact, I doubt anybody has, considering I was unable to find a working copy of chntpw until I modified it.' It's a security concern, and one that's particularly insidious to patch."

Comment: This is w/r/t CPython, not random code in Python (Score 5, Informative) 187

by paulproteus (#44751085) Attached to: Open-Source Python Code Shows Lowest Defect Density

The Slashdot summary is confusing, as is the eweek.com headline. Reading the article, it is clear that it is about the code that powers the official Python interpreter, AKA CPython, AKA /usr/bin/python. When I clicked the link, I thought Coverity had surveyed the entire world of open source Python code and discovered that Python programmers as a whole publish higher quality code than people who e.g. program in Ruby. That's not what the article's about.

It'd be great if the headline in Slashdot were to be fixed to say, "Python interpreter has fewer code defects compared to other open source C programs, says Coverity."

Software

Ask Slashdot: Tags and Tagging, What Is the Best Way Forward? 142

Posted by timothy
from the spray-and-pray dept.
siliconbits writes "The debate about tagging has been going for nearly a decade. Slashdot has covered it a number of times. But it seems that nobody has yet to come up with a foolproof solution to tagging. Even luminaries like Engadget, The Verge, Gizmodo and Slashdot all have different tagging schemes. Commontag, a venture launched in 2009 to tackle tagging, has proved to be all but a failure despite the backing of heavyweights like Freebase, Yahoo and Zemanta. Even Google gave up and purchased Freebase in July 2010. Somehow I remain convinced that a unified, semantically-based solution, using a mix of folksonomy and taxonomy, is the Graal of tagging. I'd like to hear from fellow Slashdotters as to how they tackle the issue of creating and maintaining a tagging solution, regardless of the platform and the technologies being used in the backend." A good time to note: there may be no pretty way to get at them, but finding stories with a particular tag on Slashdot is simple, at least one at a time: Just fill in a tag you'd like to explore after "slashdot.org/tag/", as in "slashdot.org/tag/bizarro."
Microsoft

Microsoft Patents "Cartoon Face Generation" 117

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the return-of-jerkcity dept.
theodp writes "The latest round of patents granted by the USPTO included one for Cartoon Face Generation, an invention which Microsoft explains 'generates an attractive cartoon face or graphic of a user's facial image'. Microsoft adds, 'The style of cartoon face achieved resembles the likeness of the user more than cartoons generated by conventional vector-based cartooning techniques. The cartoon faces thus achieved provide an attractive facial appearance and thus have wide applicability in art, gaming, and messaging applications in which a pleasing degree of realism is desirable without exaggerated comedy or caricature.' A Microsoft Research Face SDK Beta is available. Hey, too bad Microsoft didn't have this technology when they generated Bob from Ralphie!"
Games

Mining Companies Borrow From Gamers' Physics Engines 39

Posted by Soulskill
from the experts-in-blowing-things-up dept.
littlekorea writes "Mining companies are developing new systems for automating blasting of iron ore using the same open source physics engines adapted for games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. The same engine that determines 3D collision detection and soft body/rigid body dynamics in gaming will be applied to building 3D blast movement models — which will predict where blasted materials will land and distinguish between ore and waste. Predictive blast fragmentation models used in the past have typically been either numerical or empirical, [mining engineer Alan Cocker] said. Numerical models such as discrete element method, he noted, are onerous to configure and demanding of resources — both computing and human — and are generally not appropriate for operational use at mines. 'The problem with empirical models, by contrast, is that they tend to operate at a scale too coarse to give results useful for optimizations,' he added, noting typical Kuz-Ram-based fragmentation models (PDF) (widely used to estimate fragmentation from blasting) assume homogeneous geology (the same type of materials) throughout a blast."
Programming

What Early Software Was Influential Enough To Deserve Acclaim? 704

Posted by timothy
from the cultural-literacy dept.
theodp writes "That his 28-year-old whip-smart, well-educated CS grad friend could be unaware of MacWrite and MacPaint took Dave Winer by surprise. 'They don't, for some reason,' notes Winer, 'study these [types of seminal] products in computer science. They fall between the cracks of "serious" study of algorithms and data structures, and user interface and user experience (which still is not much-studied, but at least is starting). This is more the history of software. Much like the history of film, or the history of rock and roll.' So, Dave asks, what early software was influential and worthy of a Software Hall of Fame?"
Transportation

Ford and GM Open Car Software To Outside Developers 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
Dr Herbert West writes with news that General Motors and Ford have both used CES to announce a Software Development Kit for developers to create in-car apps. "Ford is focusing on three primary categories for apps: news and information, music and entertainment, and navigation and location. Marchwicki said the automaker will “instantly deny” apps that incorporate video, excessive text and gaming in a bid to reduce the risk of distracted driving. After developers have incorporated the Sync AppLink code into a proposed app, they submit it to Ford engineers for review. Ford will certify the app is bug-free and appropriate for automobiles. Once approved, Ford will work with the developer to provide a distribution license and get the app on the market." Similarly GM seeks infotainment apps that can be downloaded directly to the dashboard. "GM will provide developers with an SDK through an online portal that allows them to work with the automaker to design, test and deliver relevant automotive apps. GM also is including an HTML5 Java Script framework in its SDK."
GNU is Not Unix

+ - The FSF Adapts the Kickstarter Approach to Fund-raising 3

Submitted by ChronoEngineer
ChronoEngineer (1133813) writes "Recently the Free Software foundation launched a new fund-raising system starting with the GNU Mediagoblin project. Rewards from its new tiered donation reward system include physical objects such as a 3d print of the project's mascot as well as digital ones (Rewards List). This gives free software projects an alternative crowd-funding source where all of their contributions go to advancing free software since the administrative cut taken from the earnings goes to the Free Software Foundation. Chris Webber, of GNU Mediagoblin, mentions this as one of the reasons he chose the FSF over Kickstarter for his project."
Education

Ask Slashdot: How To Allow Test Takers Internet Access, But Minimize Cheating? 330

Posted by timothy
from the great-paradox dept.
New submitter linjaaho writes "I work as lecturer in a polytechnic. I think traditional exams are not measuring the problem-solving skills of engineering students, because in normal job you can access the internet and literature when solving problems. And it is frustrating to make equation collections and things like that. It would be much easier and more practical to just let the students use the internet to find information for solving problems. The problem: how can I let the students access the internet and at same time make sure that it is hard enough to cheat, e.g. ask for ready solution for a problem from a site like Openstudy, or help via IRC or similar tool from another student taking the exam? Of course, it is impossible to make it impossible to cheat, but how to make cheating as hard as in traditional exams?"
GNU is Not Unix

+ - GNU Mediagoblin Project launches->

Submitted by
paroneayea
paroneayea writes "The GNU project is starting a new federated web application project called GNU MediaGoblin, written in Python. From the article:

    The GNU Project is taking a shot photo sharing. On May 2nd, the wraps came off the GNU Mediagoblin project. If successful, the GNU Mediagoblin could solve several problems that haven't been addressed well by existing photo sharing services — namely privacy, data ownership, reliability, and software freedom.

    So what's GNU Mediagoblin? The project is starting with the goal of creating a federated photo sharing site that could stand alongside popular services like Flickr, DeviantArt, Picasa, and Facebook. Eventually, the project hopes to tackle other types of media, but the first target is photo/artwork sharing. Right now? It's very much a work in progress."

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