Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - How Flight Tracking Works: A Global Network Of Volunteers

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: If a website can show the flight path and all those little yellow planes in real time, how can they not know where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went down? Answering that involves understanding a little about how flight-tracking sites work, where they get their data, and the limitations of existing technologies. It also involves appreciating a relatively new approach that the two large flight-tracking companies, Texas-based FlightAware and Sweden-based Flightradar24 are rushing to expand, a global sensor system known as ADS-B, which broadcasts updates of aircraft GPS data in real time. ADS-B is slowly superseding the ground-based radar systems that have been used for decades, becoming central not only to flight tracking but also to the future of flight safety. And it's powered, in part, by thousands of dedicated aviation hobbyists around the globe.

+ - BitTorrent Launches Its Torrent-Based Browser Project Maelstrom In Beta

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: BitTorrent today launched Project Maelstrom, the company's distributed browser, in beta. The company also released new tools on GitHub that let developers and publishers build content for the browser. Announced in December, BitTorrent described Project Maelstrom, then just an invite-only alpha, as “the first torrent-based browser.” The launch today is an open beta, meaning anyone can now try an early version of Maelstrom. You do, however, need a Windows computer. Windows users can download the beta now from here. Since the alpha, BitTorrent says it has improved stability, integrated support for automatic updates, and added DHT visualization for users when loading torrents.

+ - "Smart Sewer" Project Will Reveal a City's Microbiome->

Submitted by the_newsbeagle
the_newsbeagle writes: Public health officials want to turn streams of sewage into streams of data. A new project in Cambridge, Mass. will equip sewer tunnels with robotic samplers that can routinely collect sewage from 10 different locations. MIT scientists will then analyze the sewage content for early signs of a viral outbreak or a food-borne bacterial illness, and may be able to draw conclusions about specific health trends throughout the city. This Cambridge effort is a proof of concept; the MIT researchers plan to deploy a larger system in Kuwait, where officials are particularly interested in studying obesity and the effectiveness of public health interventions.
Link to Original Source

+ - As Big As Net Neutrality? FCC Kills State-Imposed Internet Monopolies->

Submitted by tedlistens
tedlistens writes: On Thursday, before it voted in favor of "net neutrality," the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to override state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that have barred local governments and public utilities from offering broadband outside the areas where they have traditionally sold electricity. Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance said the move was as important for internet competition as net neutrality: "Preventing big Internet Service Providers from unfairly discriminating against content online is a victory, but allowing communities to be the owners and stewards of their own broadband networks is a watershed moment that will serve as a check against the worst abuses of the cable monopoly for decades to come." The laws, like those in over a dozen other states, are often created under pressure from large private Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon, who consequently control monopolies or duopolies over high-speed internet in these places.
Link to Original Source

+ - Ask SD: How do you handle the discovery of a web site disclosing private data?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: I recently discovered that a partner web site of a financial institution I do business with makes it trivially easy to view documents that do not belong to me. As in, change the document ID in a URL and view someone else's financial documents. This requires no authentication, only a document URL. (Think along the lines of an online rebate center where you upload documents including credit card statements.) I immediately called customer service and spoke with a perplexed agent who unsurprisingly didn't know what to do with my call. I asked to speak with a supervisor who took good notes and promised a follow-up internally. I asked for a return call but have not yet heard back. In the meantime, I still have private financial information I consider to be publicly available. I'm trying to be responsible and patient in my handling of this, but I am second guessing how to move forward if not quickly resolved. So, Slashdot, how would you handle this situation?

+ - Uber hauls GitHub into court to find who hacked database->

Submitted by SwampApe
SwampApe writes: Uber has subpoenaed GitHub to unmask netizens suspected of hacking its database of taxi drivers.

The ride-booking app maker is trying to force GitHub to hand over the IP addresses of anyone who visited a particular gist post between March and September last year.

That gist is believed to have contained a login key used by a hacker to access an internal Uber database of 50,000 drivers. Github refused to hand over the information, leading to Friday's subpoena filing.

Link to Original Source

+ - Hyperloop Construction Starts Next Year With the First Full-Scale Track->

Submitted by neanderslob
neanderslob writes: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies plans to start construction on an actual hyperloop next year. The idea is to build this to serve the proposed Quay Valley (A 150K resident solar power city in Kings County California, developed by Kings County Ventures). The project will be paid for with $100 million that Hyperloop Transportation Technologies expects to raise through a direct public offering in the third quarter of this year. The track itself will be a 5 mile loop and won't reach anywhere close to the 800mph that Musk proposed in his white paper but it's a good start!
Link to Original Source

+ - NSA Spying Wins Another Rubber Stamp->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: The FISA court has again renewed an order allowing the NSA to continue its illegal bulk collection of Americans' phone records, at least until June 1 when it is set to expire in Congress. President Obama pledged to end the controversial program more than a year ago.

The extension is the fifth of its kind since Obama said he would effectively end the Snowden-exposed program as it currently exists during a major policy speech in January 2014. Obama and senior administration officials have repeatedly insisted that they will not act alone to end the program without Congress.

After all the other things he's done against or without congressional approval and he balks at this one?

Link to Original Source

+ - BlackPhone, in wake of Gemalto fallout, receives $50 million in funding.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The BlackPhone, a $600-plus encrypted Android handset designed to keep the prying eyes of criminals and the government out of mobile communications, is now fully owned by Silent Circle thanks to the company raking in investment cash.

Terms of the buyout deal with Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone, the phone's hardware manufacturer, were not disclosed. Silent Circle said Thursday that it has raised $50 million and plans on showing off an encrypted "enterprise privacy ecosystem" at World Mobile Congress next week. A BlackPhone tablet is on the way, too.

Link to Original Source

+ - The New Ubuntu Phone Won't Rely On Apps, And That's Brilliant

Submitted by tedlistens
tedlistens writes: To tackle the chicken-and-egg problem faced by the Windows Phone or Blackberry—you need an app ecosystem to gain market share, but you need market share in order to entice developers to your platform—Canonical, the creators of the free, open-source Linux-based OS Ubuntu, have taken a novel approach with their new phone, which will be launched in Europe next week: The phone—the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, made with Spanish manufacturers BQ—won't feature apps. Instead, it will have a new user experience paradigm called Scopes. These are "essentially contextual home-screen dashboards that will be much simpler and less time-consuming to develop than full-on native apps." For instance, the music Scope will pull songs from Grooveshark alongside music stored locally on your device, without strong differentiation between the two. The user experience, writes Jay Cassano at Fast Company, seems a lot more intuitive than the "app grids" that dominate most devices.

+ - Why the nuclear industry targets renewables instead of gas-> 3

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar writes: Cheap natural gas has upended the nation’s energy landscape and made aging nuclear power plants increasingly uncompetitive.

Yet the nuclear industry, which generates almost a fifth of the nation’s energy, has declared war not on gas but on wind and solar, which represent about 4 and 0.2 percent of our energy mix, respectively.

Nuclear generators have successfully fought against renewable and energy efficiency standards on the state level, and lobbied against tax incentives for wind and solar on the federal level. They’re in the process of securing changes in regional capacity markets that would benefit nuclear and harm solar and wind.

And as states develop their Clean Power Plans to fulfill the federal mandate to reduce carbon emissions, nuclear is often pitted against renewables.

In deregulated states like Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, nuclear generators have found it increasingly difficult to sell their power at a profit on open markets, because of competition primarily from gas but also from wind.

Meanwhile, energy efficiency and distributed solar generation have reduced demand for electricity and are part of a fundamental shift which could significantly shrink the role of large, centralized power plants.

Link to Original Source

+ - NYPD creating fake social media profiles to track loud parties, underage drinkin->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz writes: Is that Facebook friend request from the cute girl in third period, or an undercover officer looking to bust up the next high shool kegger? That's the question more students in New York City might be asking, as newly released documents from the NYPD recently disclose its process for agents creating undercover social media aliases with the aims of uprooting terrorist plots, tracking "political activity," and other nefarious crimes like underage drinking or pre-meditated loud partying.

Fake profiles must be approved by bureau brass, unless it would "seriously impair" an investigation or risk life or pproperty damage.

Link to Original Source

+ - The Man Squatting on Millions of Dollars Worth of Domain Names

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler writes: For the last 21 years, Gary Millin and his colleagues at World Accelerator have been slowly accumulating a veritable treasure trove of seemingly premium generic domain names. For instance, Millin owns, has sold, or has bartered away world.com, usa.com, doctor.com, lawyer.com, comic.com, email.com, cyberservices.com, and more than 1,000 other domain names that can be yours (including yours.com, which he owns), as long as you've got the startup idea to back it up. Millin doesn't sell domain names anymore, instead, he trades them to startups in exchange for a stake in the company.

+ - Students demo firefighting humanoid robot on US Navy ship->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: In fall 2014 in Mobile Bay, Alabama, Virginia Tech engineering students made history during a five-minute demo that placed an adult-sized humanoid robot with a hose in front of a live fire aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

The robot located the fire and sprayed water from the hose. Water blasted the flames.

The demo, four years in the making, is part of a new effort by the U.S. Navy to better assist sailors in fighting fires, controlling damage, and carrying out inspections aboard ships via user-controlled unmanned craft or humanoid robots. The firefighting robot is named SAFFiR, short for Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, and the U.S. Office of Naval Research envisions a future — long off, but tangible — in which every ship has a robot as a tool for firefighters.

Link to Original Source

+ - Big Banks Will Vie For Your Attention With Cardless ATMs and VR

Submitted by tedlistens
tedlistens writes: In the year that bitcoin began to grow up and Apple Pay was born—and massive cyberattacks—the country’s largest financial institutions want you to imagine themselves as incubators. Three of the big banks opened up innovation labs to imagine what’s next in mobile banking; some are starting their own accelerators. Meanwhile, the latest research estimates that U.S. mobile payments, currently at $3.7 billion, will grow to $142 billion within five years. Now an industry not exactly known for speed is approaching 2015 with an ethos that sounds more Silicon Valley than Wall Street, touting visions of fridges that shop for you, Google Glass and Oculus Rifts, and the kind of futuristic security they hope will inspire consumers to trust them and their technology in the first place.

This is now. Later is later.

Working...