Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×
The Internet

Submission + - Rights & Wrongs in the FCC Open Internet Order (

Richard Bennett writes: Activists on both the far left and the far right were upset about the FCC's Open Internet order issued this week. The left found too many loopholes, and the right rejected the FCC's claimed authority to regulate the Internet: It's another classic net neutrality food fight. The order itself casts doubt on the ability of the FCC to evaluate complaints and reach the right conclusions about which specific ISP practices are kosher. It contains significant errors of interpretation and technical analysis, but does suggest that a technical advisory group will be created to help FCC staff figure out what's going on. The success of the Open Internet regime has less to do with the rules than with the process for judging actual cases.

Submission + - An FBI-Mozilla Connection? ( 1

AHuxley writes: Is a former Animal Liberation Front prisoner and FBI informant now working for Mozilla?
The article has a link to grand jury testimony and notes the exchange for a reduced sentence.

United Kingdom

Submission + - 'Eternal' Solar Plane's Records are Confirmed (

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC has a story on the confirmation of the record breaking flight of Qinetiq's Zephyr UAV: 'The UK-built solar-powered Zephyr aeroplane has been confirmed as a record-breaker following its non-stop two-week flight earlier this year. The world governing body for air sports records, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), gave Zephyr three records including longest time aloft. Built by defence technology company Qinetiq, the craft completed its two-week flight in the US in July. The company sees applications in surveillance and communications. The July feat led to Zephyr being dubbed the "eternal plane".' YouTube has some footage of the Zephyr in action.

Submission + - Woman arrested at ABIA after refusing enhanced pat ( 1

masterwit writes: In the wake of recent articles involving the arguable privacy issues and constitutional rights violations involved with the new technology employed by the TSA , back scanners...this happened:
The article states: "One of the first people in line after that shutdown never made it through. She was arrested and banned from the airport.
Claire Hirschkind, 56, who says she is a rape victim and who has a pacemaker-type device implanted in her chest, says her constitutional rights were violated. She says she never broke any laws. But the Transportation Security Administration disagrees."
It will be interesting to see the fallout from this unfortunate situation.

The Courts

Submission + - 16 Years Jail For Videotaping Police? (

krou writes: The ACLU of Maryland is defending Anthony Graber, who potentially faces sixteen years in prison if found guilty of violating state wiretap laws because he recorded video of an officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop. ... Once [the Maryland State Police] learned of the video on YouTube, Graber's parents house was raided, searched, and four of his computers were confiscated. Graber was arrested, booked and jailed. Their actions are a calculated method of intimidation. Another person has since been similarly charged under the same statute. The wiretap law being used to charge Anthony Graber is intended to protect private communication between two parties. According to David Rocah, the ACLU attorney handling Mr. Graber's case, "To charge Graber with violating the law, you would have to conclude that a police officer on a public road, wearing a badge and a uniform, performing his official duty, pulling someone over, somehow has a right to privacy when it comes to the conversation he has with the motorist."

Airlines Get Billions From Unbundled Services 432

Hugh Pickens writes "In hearings before Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that airlines reported revenue of $7.9 billion from baggage fees and reservation change and cancellation fees in calendar years 2008 and 2009 — fees on unbundled services that once were considered part of the ticket price. 'We believe that the proliferation of these fees and the manner in which they are presented to the traveling public can be confusing and in some cases misleading,' says Robert Rivkin, the Department of Transportation's general counsel. Published fares used by consumers to choose flights don't 'clearly represent the cost of travel when these services are added.' However, Spirit Airlines President and CEO Ben Baldanza defended the practice of unbundling, saying it allows his airline to charge lower fares (PDF) and allows the customers the choice to purchase the services or not."

Submission + - Web Based Plotting/Graphing for Large Data Sets 1

kumpfjn writes: I recently have taken on a project where we have to produce plots for sensor readings. These line plots can be over several years meaning one sensor's line plot could consist of 50,000+ points. We have been using the GD graphing in PHP (also jpGraph) but it is still pretty slow when the final rendering occurs. I've done quite a bit of searching and so far (for PHP at least) my results have been lest than favorable. Everything I have found ends up performing the same or slower than GD. I also did quite a bit of testing of every piece of my code and the database and queries are very well optimized. The bottleneck is at the final generation of the image for display. My next step was to pursue tools in Python but I wanted to know what the expert community of Slashdot users are using and/or would recommend for this type of project. We are using Linux/Unix servers but otherwise are pretty open to whatever performs the best. These plots need to be generated on the fly based on parameters (date ranges, sensor combinations, etc) so running batch jobs to generate images and selecting them would not be favorable for us although this may be fall back.

Submission + - Internet Access While Sailing? (Revisited) ( 1

El Genio Malvado writes: 10 years ago the question was asked, what is the best way to get Internet while at sea..
After reading the responses.. and a decade of technological advancement is there a better more reliable method?
If someone had the ability to telecommute 100% of the time then the idea of Sailing around the world with a Paycheck direct deposited is getting more and more tempting..

What does the community at large have for modern resources for constant streaming internet at sea?

To quote the original posting..
"Who needs land anyway? Give me a boat, the stars, working global wireless Internet and a wind to sail by!"


Submission + - Apps for Healthy Kids: When PC Meets PC's

theodp writes: Put the Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and Madden away, kids! Over at Apps for Healthy Kids, First Lady Michelle Obama has a whole new slate of games for you to play with! Voting on entries in the White House-backed game development competition has begun, and you'll find exciting titles like 'Balanced Meal' (6 votes), 'Blubber Blaster' (9 votes), 'Calorie Quest' (10 votes), and 'Count Peas' (7 votes) — and that's just for starters!

Submission + - Canadian Court Rules Net Neutrality Tied to Levy

schon writes: The Canadian Federal Court of Appeals made an important ruling today, ruling that ISPs can not be the subject of a federal levy, as long as they remained neutral parties.

Canadian cultural groups asked the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission) to impose a levy on ISPs, in order to fund "Canadian Content". ISP groups objected, and the question went to Federal Appeals court.

The court ruled that ISPs can't be subject to a proposed levy because they weren't broadcasters under the Broadcasting Act; however the court also said that this definition only holds so long as the ISPs remain neutral channels with regards to content distribution.

So a big win for Canadian internet users — if ISPs don't want to be forced to pay the levy, they have to remain committed to net neutrality!

Submission + - ARM Cortex A9 Laptops to be Linux Powered (

Charbax writes: In this video, Jerone Young, lead partner engineer at Canonical, explains some of the challenges that Canonical and other companies who are part of the new Linaro project have been working on for the past many months, in preparation for the now imminent release of a whole bunch of ARM Cortex A9 Powered laptops and desktops likely to be manufactured by giants of the industry such as HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Quanta, Invetec, Pegatron, Compal, all of whome have been showing tens of early prototype designs of these ARM Powered laptops at trade shows around the world during the past year and a half. They work to standardize the boot process, write drivers to use graphics and video hardware acceleration, they optimize the web browser (Chrome and Mozilla), they implement faster DDR3 RAM and faster I/O bus speeds, they also optimize the software to use the new faster dual core ARM Cortex A9 processors. The goal is to have these upcoming ARM Powered laptops feel as usable to end consumers as Intel x86 based laptops/netbooks. With increased competition thanks to this alternative CPU architecture, prices of laptops and desktops could rapidly go down (sub-$149 laptops and sub-$99 desktops are likely), battery life could run much longer (up to 30-50 hours using a Pixel Qi LCD screen), sizes and weights can be much smaller. This could be the type of low-power, low-cost computer that the next 5 billion people in the world may use as their first computer.

Submission + - Paperless Tickets Flourish Despite Grandma Problem 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "Is a concert ticket a piece of property that its holder has the right to buy and sell as he sees fit, or is it merely a seat-rental contract subject to restrictions determined by its issuer? The Washington Post reports that in an effort to thwart scalpers and dampen ticket reselling on the so-called secondary market, musicians as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Miley Cyrus, and Metallica have adopted "paperless ticketing" for some or all of the seats at their live shows as ticket issuers Ticketmaster and Veritix tout paperless tickets as a way to eliminate worries about lost, stolen or counterfeit tickets, and to banish long will-call lines. But paperless tickets aren't really tickets at all but essentially personal seat reservations, secured electronically like airline tickets where fans buy tickets with a credit card and must then go to the venue with the same credit card and a photo ID to gain admittance. The problem is that Ticketmaster's paperless tickets can't be transferred from a buyer to a second party and the inability to pass along a seat creates what's become known in the industry as the "grandma" problem because it's almost impossible for a grandma living at one end of the country to buy a paperless ticket as gift for a grandchild living at the other end. Without the ability to transfer virtual tickets, brokers and dealers fear being run out of business and consumers have a harder time selling unwanted tickets. "People should be free to give away or sell their tickets to whomever they want, whenever they want," says Gary Adler, a Washington attorney who represents the National Association of Ticket Brokers, a resellers' group that includes StubHub. "An open market is really best for consumers.""

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Finding a Research Mentor?

bsomerville writes: As an aspiring social scientist preparing to apply to Ph.D. programs, I'm keen to find a faculty mentor somewhere in North America who shares my research interests. This is more difficult than I thought it would be. While links to program websites are readily available, I'm surprised to find no comprehensive collection of faculty research interests in my field (clinical psychology). Instead this information is buried several levels down in each university website. Is this a common problem across all fields, and is there some inherent reason why no wiki-type web resource exists to meet this need? It seems like a text-searchable database could be built fairly quickly and maintained by users,saving thousands of clicks through university websites.

Submission + - SPAM: SandForce SF1500 Enterprise SSD Processor

Das Capitolin writes: The SandForce SF1500 SSD processor is an Enterprise-class Solid State Drive technology that powers products such as the OCZ Vertex-2 Pro. With a potential top-speed of 260 MBps read and write bandwidth, the SandForce SF1500-based SSD series will push SATA-II to the limit. In this article Benchmark Reviews investigates the technology behind the SandForce SF1500 SSD processor, and tests bandwidth speed and IOPS performance.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Publishing Banned e-Books in the Arabic World (

blackbearnh writes: At first glance, publishing e-book versions of banned books in the Arabic-reading world seems like an invitation to jail or worse. But Ramy Habeeb, who runs Kotobaradia, is doing just that. In an article on the state of e-books in Africa and the Middle East, Habeeb talks about the practical considerations involved in uncensored publishing in a very volatile area indeed. Not only does he face potential trouble from governments and religious leaders, but sometimes his own staff can get in the way. "We have these typists who were typing the books from A to Z, and then we have editors who will go in afterwards. It's common for a typist to miss a line or miss two lines, they're going so fast that their eyes just skip it. But this guy actually missed three pages, and when we looked closely at it, it was the three pages talking about the Virgin Mary effigy. And so when we questioned this guy about why these three pages were missing, he very innocently looked up at us and said, 'Oh, because it's not true so why write it?'" The article also talks to Arthur Attwell about how e-books are entering the African market.

I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.