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


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Submission + - Antitrust case against RIAA reinstated (blogspot.com) 2

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In Starr v. SONY BMG Music Entertainment, an antitrust class action against the RIAA, the complaint — dismissed at the District Court level — has been reinstated by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In its 25-page opinion (PDF) , the Appeals court held the the following allegations to sufficiently allege antitrust violations: 'First, defendants agreed to launch MusicNet and pressplay, both of which charged unreasonably high prices and contained similar DRMs. Second, none of the defendants dramatically reduced their prices for Internet Music (as compared to CDs), despite the fact that all defendants experienced dramatic cost reductions in producing Internet Music. Third, when defendants began to sell Internet Music through entities they did not own or control, they maintained the same unreasonably high prices and DRMs as MusicNet itself. Fourth, defendants used [most favored nation clauses (MFNs)] in their licenses that had the effect of guaranteeing that the licensor who signed the MFN received terms no less favorable than terms offered to other licensors. For example, both EMI and UMG used MFN clauses in their licensing agreements with MusicNet. Fifth, defendants used the MFNs to enforce a wholesale price floor of about 70 cents per song. Sixth, all defendants refuse to do business with eMusic, the #2 Internet Music retailer. Seventh, in or about May 2005, all defendants raised wholesale prices from about $0.65 per song to $0.70 per song. This price increase was enforced by MFNs.'

Submission + - SPAM: Ray Kurzweil: lossless compression of the brain?

destinyland writes: In a new interview, Ray Kurzweil argues the human brain isn't as complex as we think. "In The Singularity is Near, I show that if you apply lossless compression, you get [the human genome] down to about 50 million bytes. About half of that is the brain, so that's about 25 million bytes... There just isn't trillions of lines of code — of complexity — in the design of the brain. There is trillions, or even thousands of trillions of bytes of information, but that's not complexity because there's massive redundancy." And he also notes that the brain transmits information a million times slower than electronics, so if we can engineer it mechanically, "We'll be overcoming problems at a very rapid rate, and that will seem magical. But that doesn't mean it's not rooted in science and technology." (This interview appears in the Winter edition of H+ magazine.)
Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Terrorists are Winning (slashdot.org) 4

headkase writes: Ask Slashdot indeed. If you travel by plane then you have a vested interest in this story. The terrorists are winning. The purpose of terrorism is not to kill as many people as possible but rather to disrupt the systems of your enemy. In the United States terrorists have succeeded brilliantly. The main agency formed to combat terrorism, the TSA, is a reactionary organization. It does not operate by logic but rather operates by "theater". Its purpose is to say that "something is being done" is more important than actually doing something. The TSA is being manipulated by terrorists. Terrorists are succeeding is disrupting the lives and quality of life of millions of Americans daily. Jerks. This "Ask Slashdot" is to generate ideas and seed them into the wider Internet community so that the purposes of terrorism can be more effectively negated. Please contribute any suggestion, criticize and build on any others, and in general act like a Citizen instead of a sheep. Thank you.

Submission + - GSM Decryption Published 3

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that German encryption expert Karsten Nohl says that he has deciphered and published the 21-year-old GSM algorithm, the secret code used to encrypt most of the world's digital mobile phone calls, in what he called an attempt to expose weaknesses in the security system used by about 3.5 billion of the 4.3 billion wireless connections across the globe. Others have cracked the A5/1 encryption technology used in GSM before, but their results have remained secret. “This shows that existing GSM security is inadequate,” Nohl told about 600 people attending the Chaos Communication Congress. “We are trying to push operators to adopt better security measures for mobile phone calls.” The GSM Association, the industry group based in London that devised the algorithm and represents wireless operators, called Mr. Nohl’s efforts illegal and said they overstated the security threat to wireless calls. “This is theoretically possible but practically unlikely,” says Claire Cranton, a GSM spokeswoman, noting that no one else had broken the code since its adoption. “What he is doing would be illegal in Britain and the United States. To do this while supposedly being concerned about privacy is beyond me.” Simon Bransfield-Garth, the chief executive of Cellcrypt, says Nohl's efforts could put sophisticated mobile interception technology — limited to governments and intelligence agencies — within the reach of any reasonable well-funded criminal organization. “This will reduce the time to break a GSM call from weeks to hours,” Bransfield-Garth says. “We expect as this further develops it will be reduced to minutes.”"

Submission + - The top underreported tech stories of 2009 (infoworld.com)

GMGruman writes: Think your wireless service is crummy? Just wait until next year when the spectrum drought really hits home. And maybe you've been telling your users that installing a graphics card in an office PC is a waste of money. If that's the case, you're missing a chance to make them a lot more productive (as long as the games stay at home). You've known about CMOS for years. But do you know that an emerging technology called PCMOS, which uses non-Boolean logic, is on the verge of slashing power consumption in ASICs? Those are just three of the 10 top technology stories of 2009 you probably haven't heard about but should have heard more of. Bill Snyder reports on all 10 of these stories that haven't gotten the media attention they deserve.

Submission + - NetBIOS Design Allows Traffic Redirection (skullsecurity.org) 1

iago-vL writes: Security researchers at SkullSecurity released research demonstrating how the NetBIOS protocol allows trivial hijacking due to its design; they have demonstrated this attack in a tool called 'nbpoison' (in the package 'nbtool'). If a DNS lookup fails on Windows, the operating system will broadcast a NetBIOS lookup request that anybody can respond to. One vector of attack is against business workstations on an untrusted network, like a hotel; all DNS requests for internal resources can be redirected (Exchange, proxy, WPAD, etc). Other attack vectors are discussed here. Although similar attacks exist against DHCP, ARP, and many other LAN-based protocols, and we all know that untrusted systems on a LAN means game over, NetBIOS poisoning is much quieter and less likely to break other things.

The Path From Hacker To Security Consultant 96

CNet has a series of interviews with former hackers who ran afoul of the law in their youth, but later turned their skills toward a profession in security consulting. Adrian Lamo discusses taking "normal every day information resources and [arranging] them in improbable ways," describing a time when he broke into Excite@Home's system and ended up answering help desk questions from their users. Kevin Mitnick, famous for gaining access to many high-profile systems, warns today's young hackers not to follow in his footsteps, saying, "A lot of pen testers today have done unethical things in their past during their learning process, especially the older ones because there was no opportunity to learn about security. Back in the '70s and '80s, it was all self-taught. So a lot of the old-school hackers really learned on other people's systems. And at the time, I couldn't even afford my own computer." Mark Abene explains how he got interested in phone phreaking, and how it led to a prison term and a career in computer security. Like Mitnick, he says that easy access to powerful modern computers removes part of the motivation for breaking into other systems.

The Simpsons Worth More Per Viewer On Hulu Than On Fox 191

N!NJA writes with this excerpt from PCWorld: "A tectonic shift has taken place for the digital age: ad rates for popular shows like The Simpsons and CSI are higher online than they are on prime-time TV. If a company wants to run ads alongside an episode of The Simpsons on Hulu or TV.com, it will cost the advertiser about $60 per thousand viewers, according to Bloomberg. On prime-time TV that same ad will cost somewhere between $20 and $40 per thousand viewers. Online viewers have to actively seek out the program they want to watch, so advertisers end up with a guaranteed audience for their commercial every time someone clicks play on Hulu or TV.com. Online programs also have an average of 37 seconds of commercials during an episode, while prime-time TV averages nine minutes of ads."
The Almighty Buck

Copyfraud Is Stealing the Public Domain 263

malkavian writes "This community has complained long and loudly about the very one-sided approach to copyright, and the not-so-slow erosion of the public domain. On top of the corporate lobbying to remove increasingly larger parts of the public domain, there is now an growing pattern whereby works are directly taken from the public domain and effectively stolen by a single company leveraging protections provided under copyright law. The Register's article is based on a paper by Jason Mazzone at the Brooklyn Law School, which starkly details the problems that are now becoming evident as entities grab control over public domain works. The paper proposes some possible solutions, such as amending the Copyright Act. From the abstract: 'Copyright law itself creates strong incentives for copyfraud. The Copyright Act provides for no civil penalty for falsely claiming ownership of public domain materials. There is also no remedy under the Act for individuals who wrongly refrain from legal copying or who make payment for permission to copy something they are in fact entitled to use for free. While falsely claiming copyright is technically a criminal offense under the Act, prosecutions are extremely rare. These circumstances have produced fraud on an untold scale, with millions of works in the public domain deemed copyrighted, and countless dollars paid out every year in licensing fees to make copies that could be made for free.'"

Submission + - Buzz Aldrin's NASA Plan: Scrap Ares, Colonize Mars (popularmechanics.com)

longacre writes: "Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has a problem with NASA's current manned space plan: Namely, the five-year gap between the shuttle's scheduled retirement next year and the debut of the Ares I rocket and the Orion spacecraft, which will take us no further than the moon--a place we've already been. Aldrin thinks NASA can do better. His plan is to scrap Ares I, stretch out the remaining six shuttle flights and fast-track the Orion to fly on a Delta IV or Atlas V. Then, set our sites on colonizing Mars. In this piece, Buzz challenges NASA to take on his bolder mission."

Submission + - 'Microsoft Subsidy' Cuts Tuition for H-1B Families

theodp writes: "If you're a U.S. citizen, but not a permanent resident of Washington State, your kids will pay $24,367-a-year (pdf) if they want to attend the University of Washington. But if you're in the U.S. on a temporary H-1B or L visa, you, your spouse, and your kids will soon be able to pay only $7,692-a-year to attend UW thanks to HB 1487, which has been dubbed the 'Microsoft Subsidy Bill'. Sponsored by former Microsoft exec Ross Hunter, the bill stands to benefit the families of thousands of Microsoft workers. Lydia Tamez — associate general counsel and director of global migration at Microsoft — defended the bill, explaining that it will not only make life easier for H-1B employees who rely on Microsoft for their sole income, but also address the concerns of Microsoft guest workers who want to earn MBAs or second degrees, but balk at having to pay out-of-state tuition rates. Not all are impressed by her argument. The 'emergency' law (deja vu, anyone?), which legislators deemed 'necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions,' takes effect on July 1."

Submission + - Computer failure may have caused D.C. train crash (ap.org)

An anonymous reader writes: 'Investigators looking into the deadly crash of two Metro transit trains focused Tuesday on why a computerized system failed to halt an oncoming train, even though there is evidence that the operator tried to slow it down. At the time of the crash, the train was also operating in automatic mode, meaning it was controlled primarily by computer. In that mode, the operator's main job is to open and close the doors and respond to emergencies.'
The Media

Dutch Gov. Wants To Tax Online Media To Fund Print 187

Godefricus writes "Outrage ensued among Dutch techie and media websites, after a government report advised that the dwindling print media industry should be financially supported by the online industry (Google translation; Dutch original here). The idea is to help the old media fund 'innovative initiatives.' The suggested implementation of the plan is by taxing a percentage of each ISP subscription, and give the money to the papers. The report, which was solicited by the Dutch parliament and written by a committee of its members, specifically states that 'news and the gathering of news stories is not free, and the public must be made aware of that.' The report is not conclusive, but from here it's just one step toward a legislative proposal. Both industries are largely privately owned in The Netherlands, and the current government is center-left wing. Who needs an RIAA if you can build one into your government? And hey, why invest in the future if you can invest in the past?"

An Experiment In BlackBerry Development 207

ballwall writes "We've all read the stories about how lucrative selling apps on the iPhone can be (or not), but what about other platforms? BlackBerry accounts for twice as many handsets shipped as Apple, according to Gartner, so I decided to find out. I wrote about my experiences developing my first BlackBerry application including sales, platform issues, and a bunch of other things I thought new mobile developers might want to know about."

Questioning Mozilla's Plans For HTML5 Video 242

AberBeta writes with this excerpt from OSNews: "We're on the verge of a serious evolution on the web. Right now, the common way to include video on the web is by use of Flash, a closed-source technology. The answer to this is the HTML5 video tag, which allows you to embed video into HTML pages without the use of Flash or any other non-HTML technology; combined with open video codecs, this could provide the perfect opportunity to further open up and standardize the web. Sadly, not even Mozilla itself really seems to understand what it is supposed to do with the video tag, and actually advocates the use of JavaScript to implement it. Kroc Camen, OSNews editor, is very involved in making/keeping the web open, and has written an open letter to Mozilla in which he urges them not to use JavaScript for HTML video."

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington