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Submission + - Can You Trust The Apps You Use?

An anonymous reader writes: With the advent of smartphones, the word "app" has almost become a synonym for pleasure. Whatever you need, whatever you want is right there at your fingertips, located in a few huge online marketplaces, ready to be downloaded and used in minutes, often for free. The problem with this is that many users enjoy the instant gratification, but don't think about the loss of security and / or privacy that goes with using apps (on whatever platform) from well- and lesser-known developers.

Security Researcher Alex Balan asks the question: "How much control we have over our security once we've allowed apps access to our private information?", and explains the unwelcome answer.

Submission + - At what point has a Kickstarter project failed? 2

skywiseguy writes: I have only used Kickstarter to back a single project so far, but one of the backers of that project pointed us to a project promising video capable glasses which was once one of the top 10 highest funded projects in Kickstarter history. After reading through the comments, it is obvious that the project has not met its expected deadline of "Winter 2011" but the project team rarely gives any updates with concrete information, all emails sent to them by backers get a form letter in reply, they routinely delete negative comments from their Facebook page, and apparently very soon after the project was funded, they posted pictures of themselves on a tropical beach with the tagline "We are not on a beach in Thailand." Their early promotions were featured on Engadget and other tech sites but since the project was funded they've rarely, if ever, communicated in more than a form letter. So at what point can a project like this be considered to have failed? And if you had backed a project with this kind of lack of communication from the project team, what would you consider to be the best course of action? Disclaimer: I have not backed this project, but I am very interested in funding Kickstarter projects and I do not want to get caught sending money to a less than reputable project. According to the above project's backers, Kickstarter claims to have no mechanism for refunding money to backers of failed projects and no way to hold the project team accountable to their backers. This does not seem like a healthy environment for someone who is averse to giving their money to scam artists.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How Have You Handled Illegal Interview Topics ( 1

kodiaktau writes: profiles 14 questions that interviewers may or may not ask during the interview process such as the standards of age, gender and sexual orientation. They also profile several lesser known illegal or border line questions like height/weight, military background, country of origin and family status.

With the recent flap over companies asking potential employees for passwords during the interview process it is important to know and review your legal rights before entering the interview.

Have you been confronted with borderline or illegal interview questions in the past? How have you responded to those questions?


Submission + - Bill Gates' Letter to Steve Jobs on his Deathbed 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The long and stormy relationship between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs has been chronicled in Jobs’s biography, but, until now, Gates has said little about their divisions — and their bonds. Now the Telegraph reports that some months before Jobs died, Gates paid him a long visit. “We spent literally hours reminiscing and talking about the future.” Later, with his old adversary’s death imminent, Gates wrote to Jobs. “I told Steve about how he should feel great about what he had done and the company he had built. I wrote about his kids, whom I had got to know.” That last gesture was not, Gates says, conciliatory. “There was no peace to make. We were not at war. We made great products, and competition was always a positive thing. There was no [cause for] forgiveness.” After Jobs’s death, Gates received a phone call from his wife, Laurene. “She said; 'Look, this biography really doesn’t paint a picture of the mutual respect you had.’ And she said he’d appreciated my letter and kept it by his bed.”"

Submission + - Corporate boardrooms open to eavesdropping

cweditor writes: One afternoon this month, a hacker toured a dozen corporate conference rooms via equipment that most every company has in those rooms: videoconferencing. Rapid7 says it could 'easily read a six-digit password from a sticky note over 20 feet away from the camera' and 'clearly hear conversations down the hallway from the video conferencing system.' With some systems, they could even capture keystrokes being typed in the room. Teleconferencing vendors defended their security, saying the auto-answer feature that left those sytsem vulnerable was an effort to strake the right balance between security and usability.

Submission + - What happens to your files when a cloud service sh ( 2

MrSeb writes: "Megaupload's shutdown poses an interesting question: What happens to all the files that were stored on the servers? XDA-Developers, for example, has more than 200,000 links to Megaupload — and this morning, they're all broken, with very little hope of them returning. What happens if a similar service, like Dropbox, gets shut down — either through bankruptcy, or federal take-down? Will you be given a chance to download your files, or helped to migrate them to another similar service? What about data stored on enterprise services like Azure or AWS — are they more safe?"

Submission + - What If Tim Berners-Lee Had Patented The Web? (

An anonymous reader writes: Last week Slashdot had the story that the web had turned 20 years old. Of course, patents also last 20 years, which has resulted in some asking what would have happened if Tim Berners-Lee had patented the web? Thankfully, he didn't (and wouldn't). But we'd be living in a very different (and probably less interesting) world if he had.
The Internet

Submission + - 40GB of data that costs the same as a house ( 1

Barence writes: "PC Pro has an infographic that reveals the extortionate cost of roaming data. They compared the cost of data typically bundled with a fixed-line broadband package (40GB) costing £15, with the cost of buying that data on various mobile tariffs. Buying 40GB of data on a domestic mobile internet tariff from Orange would cost the same as an iMac; buying the same quantity of data on O2's non-Europe roaming tariff would cost £240,000 — or the same as a three-bedroom house."

Submission + - Why Johnny Can't Code -- And How That Can Change (

snydeq writes: "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister discusses why schools are having a hard time engaging young minds in computer science — and what the Scalable Game Design program in Colorado is doing to try to change that. 'Repenning's program avoids this disheartening cycle in three important ways. First, it deemphasizes programming while still encouraging students to develop the logical thinking skills they'll need for more advanced studies. Second, it engages students by encouraging them to be creative and solve their own problems, rather than just repeating exercises dictated by their instructor. Third, and perhaps most important, students are rewarded for their efforts with an actual, concrete result they can relate to: a game.'"

Submission + - Ensuring Product Quality at Google (

aabelro writes: James Whittaker, a former Microsoft architect, author of several books in the “How to Break Software” series, and currently Director of Test Engineering at Google, has written a series of posts on how Google does testing. Google blends development with testing, having relatively few testers, and each product goes through successive channels before is ready for prime time.

Submission + - Android Devices Are Hives of License Violations (

inkscapee writes: Android developers are paying little attention to Free/Open Source software licenses and have a 71% violation rate. Come on folks, FOSS licenses are easy to comply with, certainly easier than proprietary software licenses, and less punitive. But it seems even the tiny hoops that FOSS requires are too much for devs eager to cash in.
The Internet

Submission + - BitTorrent Moots World ISP P2P Speed Report (

Mark.JUK writes: "The San Francisco-based inventor of the hugely popular peer-to-peer (P2P) internet file sharing protocol, BitTorrent, has revealed that it is considering whether or not to release the broadband performance (speed) data for more than 9,000 ISPs around the world. The technology company claims that the data forms part of its new project, which is sadly still in the very early stages of development, but could one day give consumers a near real-time perspective of how their ISP is performing. It wouldn't just cover P2P traffic either, with BitTorrent also tracking general HTTP transfers too.

BitTorrent claims that its service can, for example, display that most UK ISPs "aggressively throttle BitTorrent traffic after 6 p.m. at night", with speeds suddenly going "off a cliff". Suffice to say that such information could prove to be very useful for consumers and advocates of Net Neutrality (the principal of treating all internet traffic as equal)."


Submission + - Intel CEO: Nokia should have gone with Android (

nk497 writes: "Intel's CEO Paul Otellini has said Nokia made a mistake choosing Windows Phone 7, and should have gone with Android — but admitted the money on offer may have been too much to ignore. "I wouldn't have made the decision he made, I would probably have gone to Android if I were him," he said. "MeeGo would have been the best strategy but he concluded he couldn't afford it." Otellini said some closed mobile platforms will "certainly survive," but said open systems will "win" in the end."

Submission + - Agriculture: Invented, so that we might have beer (

Jeremy Erwin writes: Our Neolithic ancestors might have first experimented with agriculture in order to ensure a steady supply of alcoholic liquids according to a new book by Patrick McGovern, Uncorking the Past The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages

"Archaeologists have long pondered the question of which came first, bread or beer. McGovern surmises that these prehistoric humans didn't initially have the ability to master the very complicated process of brewing beer. However, they were even more incapable of baking bread, for which wild grains are extremely unsuitable. They would have had first to separate the tiny grains from the chaff, with a yield hardly worth the great effort. If anything, the earliest bakers probably made nothing more than a barely palatable type of rough bread, containing the unwanted addition of the grain's many husks."

Calcium Oxalate is considered by most brewers to be an undesirable byproduct of alcohol production. Lacking a firm grasp of chemistry and filters, early brewers simply created special grooved beer crocks would allow the beer stone to precipitate out of solution into the grooves. 5500 years later, the deposits remained, providing archaeologists with evidence of beer production.


Google CEO Says Privacy Worries Are For Wrongdoers 671

bonch writes "In a surprising statement to CNBC, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told reporter Maria Bartiromo, 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.' This will only fuel concerns about Google's behavior as it becomes an ever more powerful gatekeeper of information; though Google says it is aware of these concerns and has taken steps to be transparent to users about the information that is stored."

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. -- Cartoon caption