Fnord666 sends this quote from an article at Slate: "Despite the pervasiveness of law enforcement surveillance of digital communication, the FBI still has a difficult time monitoring Gmail, Google Voice, and Dropbox in real time. But that may change soon, because the bureau says it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a 'top priority' this year. ... a 1994 surveillance law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act only allows the government to force Internet providers and phone companies to install surveillance equipment within their networks. But it doesn't cover email, cloud services, or online chat providers like Skype. Weissmann said that the FBI wants the power to mandate real-time surveillance of everything from Dropbox and online games ('the chat feature in Scrabble') to Gmail and Google Voice. 'Those communications are being used for criminal conversations,' he said."
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kthreadd writes "Version 3.8 of the GTK+ GUI framework has been released. A new feature in GTK+ 3.8 is support for Wayland 1.0, the display server that will replace X on free desktops. Among the other new features are improved support for theming, fixes to geometry management and improved accessibility. There is also better support for touch, as part of an ongoing effort in making GTK+ touch-aware."
kandelar writes with news that BioShock: Infinite has been released. It's the third major release in the series of BioShock first-person shooters, and it's available for Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows. The game is garnering good critical reception, for the most part. Rock, Paper, Shotgun said, "Infinite is a game ruled by artists at least as much as it is by its writers. It’s the ultimate answer to the question of whether art or technology is the most important part of creating a visually excellent game – Crysis 3 might have far more going on under the hood, but its uninspired paintjob makes it seem so dull compared to Infinite’s vaguely Pixar-esque fusion of the photoreal and the colourfully unreal." Ars' reviewer wrote, "Infinite's battle system doesn't wear out its welcome or weigh down the game's excellent pacing. Infinite avoids the problem of near-endless waves of identical enemies that plagues so many shooters these days. The bits of shooting action are spaced and timed to serve as gentle punctuation marks that break up the story rather than full stops that bring it to a grinding halt." However, RPS adds this criticism of the player's effect the plot: "Infinite’s a triumph in terms of fantasy-architecture spectacle and bringing superb flexibility to the modern rollercoaster shooter, but in other respects it’s a small step down from the player agency and even the singular aesthetic of BioShock."
Lucas123 writes "It may be a movie about a stone age family, but DreamWorks said its latest 3D animated movie The Croods took more compute cycles to create than any other movie they've made. The movie required a whopping 80 million compute hours to render, 15 million more hours than DreamWorks' last record holder, The Rise of the Guardians. The production studio said between 300 and 400 animators worked on The Croods over the past three years. The images they created, from raw sketches to stereoscopic high-definition shots, required about 250TB of data storage capacity. When the movie industry moved from producing 2D to 3D high-definition movies over the past decade, the data required to produce the films increased tremendously. For DreamWorks, the amount of data needed to create a stereoscopic film leaped by 30%."
judgecorp writes with news that Google is beginning tests on white space spectrum to deliver broadband internet access to rural communities in South Africa. "White space has the advantage that low frequency signals can travel longer distances. The technology is well suited to provide low cost connectivity to rural communities with poor telecommunications infrastructure, and for expanding coverage of wireless broadband in densely populated urban areas. ... Ten schools in the Cape Town area will receive wireless broadband to test the technology. During the trial, we will attempt to show that broadband can be offered over white spaces without interfering with licensed spectrum holders. To prevent interference with other channels, the network uses Google’s spectrum database to determine white space availability."
sl4shd0rk writes "Hispalinux, which represents Spanish Open Source developers and users, has filed a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission. 14 pages of grief cited Windows 8 as an 'obstruction mechanism' calling UEFI Secure Boot a 'de facto technological jail for computer booting systems... making Microsoft's Windows platform less neutral than ever.' On March 6 of 2012 the Commission fined Microsoft 561 million Euros for failing to offer users a choice of web browser, and there was also a 2004 ruling which found the company had abused its market position by tying Windows Media Player to Windows itself. Relations appear to remain more tense towards Windows in Europe, so there may be some hope of making UEFI more Linux-friendly. UEFI has been implicated in the death of Samsung laptops running Linux."
AlphaWolf_HK writes "In what I see as a refreshing change, T-Mobile, the fourth largest carrier in the U.S., has made sweeping changes to its service, ending both phone subsidies and service contracts. Its CEO said, 'Here's the deal: If we suck this month, go somewhere else. If we're good, stay with us.' As part of that change, the new base plan will include unlimited access, including voice, text, and data. Data will be restricted to edge speeds after 500MB with no overage costs, but can be upgraded to 2.5GB for $10, or unlimited for $20. Portable Wi-Fi hotspot usage is also unrestricted for no additional cost. In addition, LTE services just went live in eight markets. As is already standard practice with T-Mobile, you are free to bring your own device. To keep customers from having to front the full cost of the phone with unsubsidized plans, they'll let people pay off phones in installments. They're also getting the iPhone 5 next month for $650."
Trailrunner7 writes "Android attacks have become all the rage in the last year or two, and targeted attacks against political activists in Tibet, Iran and other countries have been bubbling up to the surface more and more often. Now, those two trends have converged with the discovery of a targeted attack campaign that's going after Tibetan and Uyghur activists with a spear-phishing message containing a malicious APK file. Researchers say the attack appears to be coming from Chinese sources. The new campaign began a few days ago when unknown attackers were able to compromise the email account of a well-known Tibetan activist. The attackers then used that account to begin sending a series of spear-phishing messages to other activists in the victim's contact list. One of the messages referred to a human rights conference in Geneva in March, using the recipients' legitimate interest in the conference as bait to get them to open the attachment. The malicious attachment in the emails is named 'WUC's Conference.apk.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Want to be invisible to Google? Apparently you can't, at least according to the European Commission and Information Commissioner's Office. '"The right to be forgotten worries us as it makes people expect too much," said [deputy commissioner David Smith]. Instead, Smith said the focus should be on the "right to object" to how personal data is used, as this places the onus on businesses to justify the collection and processing of citizens' data. "It is a reversal of the burden of proof system used in the existing process. It will strengthen the person's position but it won't stop people processing their data." EC data protection supervisor Peter Hustinx added the right to be forgotten is currently unworkable as most countries are divided on what qualifies as sensitive personal data. "I believe the right to be forgotten is an overstatement," said Hustinx."
olePigeon (Wik) writes "Cornell University's New York based Weill Cornell Medical College issued a press release today regarding an unsettling trend in the U.S. patent system: Humans don't "own" their own genes, the cellular chemicals that define who they are and what diseases for which they might be at risk. Through more than 40,000 patents on DNA molecules, companies have essentially claimed the entire human genome for profit, report Dr. Christopher E. Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College, and the study's co-author, Dr. Jeffrey Rosenfeld, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and a member of the High Performance and Research Computing Group, who analyzed the patents on human DNA. Their study, published March 25 in the journal Genome Medicine, raises an alarm about the loss of individual 'genomic liberty.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Almost no one likes their carrier. And with the behavior described in this article, it's not surprising. TechCrunch catches T-Mobile taking money from a new pay-as-you-go customer after signing her up to its own premium horoscope text message service — and taking money before she's even put the SIM in the phone. Quoting: 'Perhaps carriers think they can get away with a few “human errors” in the premium SMS department because these services aren’t regulated. Perhaps it’s also symptomatic of the command and control mindset of these oligarchs. What’s certain is that if carriers dedicated a little of the energy they plough into maintaining these anachronistic, valueless (to their customers, that is) premium SMS ‘services’ into creating genuinely useful services that customers want to use then they would have a better shot at competing with the startups leapfrogging their gates. Or they would, if they hadn’t spent years destroying the trust of their users by treating them like numbers on a spreadsheet.'"
ananyo writes "In a twist that evokes the dystopian science fiction of writer Philip K. Dick, neuroscientists have found a way to predict whether convicted felons are likely to commit crimes again from looking at their brain scans. Convicts showing low activity in a brain region associated with decision-making and action are more likely to be arrested again, and sooner. The researchers studied a group of 96 male prisoners just before their release. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the prisoners' brains during computer tasks in which subjects had to make quick decisions and inhibit impulsive reactions. The scans focused on activity in a section of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a small region in the front of the brain involved in motor control and executive functioning. The researchers then followed the ex-convicts for four years to see how they fared. Among the subjects of the study, men who had lower ACC activity during the quick-decision tasks were more likely to be arrested again after getting out of prison, even after the researchers accounted for other risk factors such as age, drug and alcohol abuse and psychopathic traits."
Nerval's Lobster writes "When a major IT company pays a reported $30 million—roughly 90 percent of it in cash—for an iOS app with no monetization strategy and a million downloads since launch, is that a sign that the tech industry as a whole is riding a massive, overinflated bubble? Yahoo isn't alone, by a long shot: over the past couple years, a few apps have been snatched up for enormous sums—think Facebook's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram in 2012, or Google buying Sparrow for a reported $25 million. Nor has the money train stopped there: in a pattern that recalls the late-90s market frothiness for anyone over the age of 28, a handful of tech companies have either launched much-hyped IPOs or witnessed their share price skyrocket into the stratosphere. But does all this IPO activity and app-acquiring actually mean 'bubble'?"
An anonymous reader writes "I'm a 'prosumer' website builder, have a few sites that are mainly hobbies, but I would like to know that they're at least fairly robust. I'm thinking of the equivalent of a 'dental clinic' — where someone interested in the white hat security field might be willing to take on an audit for the experience and to build a resume. Or, tools such as websites that let you put in a password and see how long it takes to crack it. Or sites where you can put in a URL and it gets poked and prodded by a number of different cracker tools and a 'score' is given. Ideally with suggestions on how to improve. Does anything like that exist? I'm not talking FBI/CIA level security, but just common-sense basics. I've tried to use techniques that improve security, but I don't know how well they work. And I've realized that in the ever growing, fast changing field of computers I'm not going to ever get the knowledge I need to do this myself. I know there are software suites that allow you to sniff and test things on your own, but I'm afraid it's overwhelmingly foreign to me and I just feel like I can't reliably do this myself. Any ideas?"
jfruh writes "The Swedish Language Council is a semi-official, government funded body that regulates, cultivates, and tracks changes to the Swedish language. Every year it releases a list of new words that have crept into Swedish, and one of 2012's entries was 'ogooglebar' — 'ungoogleable,' meaning something that can't be found with a search engine. After Google demanded that the definition be changed and the Council add a disclaimer about Google's trademark, the Council has instead decided to remove the word from the list altogether."
coondoggie writes "In a move federal prosecutors hope sends a strong message to the knuckleheads who point lasers at aircraft for fun, a California man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for shining one at two aircraft. According to the FBI Adam Gardenhire, 19, was arrested on March 29, 2012 and named in a two-count indictment filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles that said he pointed the beam of a laser at a private plane and a police helicopter that responded to the report."
First time accepted submitter MurukeshM writes "I have a 16 GB Nexus 4. I rarely manage to push the RAM usage above 1 GB (not counting cached processes). Yet I find it increasingly annoying when apps do stuff to save on RAM usage, such as having a browser reload a tab if I havent used it for a long time, instead of keeping it in memory or have an ebook reader load from storage instead of keeping the entire eBook in RAM. I know there are plenty of phones with far less memory, but when most of the RAM is unutilized, with more and more phones and tablets having 1GB+ RAM, isn't it time that apps check on available RAM and use optimizations accordingly? And it isn't only about RAM. Android by default only downloads one thing at a time, whether it be an app from Play Store or a file from a site. When connected to WiFi or 3G/LTE, there's no reason why multiple simultaneous downloads shouldn't be used. How do Slashdot readers with high-end phones get the most out of their device? Are there custom ROMs which act more sensibly?"
We've mentioned over the last few years several times the funding problems that mean the U.S. government's weather satellite stable is thinner than we might prefer. A story at the Weather Underground outlines the plan of a company called PlanetIQ to fill the needs met with the current constellation of weather sats with private ones instead. From the article, describing testimony last week before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce: "PlanetIQ's solution includes launching a constellation of 12 small satellites in low-Earth orbit to collect weather data, which PlanetIQ says the federal government could access at less cost and risk than current government-funded efforts. ... [PlanetIQ Anne Hale] Miglarese added that within 28 to 34 months from the beginning of their manufacture, all 12 satellites could be in orbit. As for the cost, she says, "We estimate that for all U.S. civilian and defense needs globally for both terrestrial and space weather applications, the cost to government agencies in the U.S. will be less than $70 million per year. As the satellites collect data, PlanetIQ would sell the data to government weather services around the world as well as the U.S. Air Force. The most recently launched polar-orbiting satellite, sent into space by the U.S. in 2011, cost $1.5 billion."
An anonymous reader writes "Homebrew Coder Pate has released a DOS Emulator for the Raspberry Pi. Originally released for the Nintendo DS and Android, the emulator currently can emulate a CPU: 80486 processor, including the protected mode features (for running DOS4GW games) but without virtual memory support. The emulation runs at a speed around that of a 20MHz 80486 (which equals a 40MHz 80386) machine. It has support for Super VGA graphics, Soundblaster 2.0, Memory, USB keyboard and mouse. Perfect for playing old classics such as Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Theme Park."
An anonymous reader writes "As reported by Slashdot, Nokia recently notified the IETF that its RFC 6386 video codec (aka VP8, released by Google under a BSD license with a waiver of that company's patent rights) infringed several dozen of its patents; furthermore, Nokia was not inclined to license them under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminating) terms. While the list provided by Nokia looks intimidating, Pamela Jones at Groklaw discovered that many appeared to be duplicates except for the country of filing; and even within a single country (e.g. the U.S.), some appeared to be overlapping. In other words, there may be far fewer distinct patented issues than what appears on Nokia's IETF form. Thom Holwerda at OSNews also weighed in, recalling another case where sweeping patent claims by Qualcomm and Huawei against the Opus open source audio codec proved to be groundless FUD. The familiar name Florian Mueller pops up again in Holwerda's article."
A year ago James Cameron made history by traveling solo almost seven miles deep in an area of the Pacific Ocean known the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep. He made the trip in a submersible he helped design, the Deepsea Challenger submersible system and science platform. To celebrate the anniversary, Cameron is forming a partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and donating the Deep Sea Challenger. From the press release: "Cameron will transfer the Deepsea Challenger to Woods Hole, where WHOI scientists and engineers will work with Cameron and his team to incorporate the sub’s numerous engineering advancements into future research platforms and deep-sea expeditions. This partnership harnesses the power of public and private investment in supporting deep-ocean science. “The seven years we spent designing and building the Deepsea Challenger were dedicated to expanding the options available to deep-ocean researchers. Our sub is a scientific proof-of-concept, and our partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a way to provide the technology we developed to the oceanographic community,” says Cameron. James even sent us a few early drawings of the Deepsea Challenger that he made during a conversation with oceanographer Don Walsh in November 2003. The sketches are proof that many great ideas start out on napkins or lined paper.
First time accepted submitter Sodki writes "The Linux Game Tome, one of the most important websites related to video gaming in GNU/Linux, will shut down on the 13th of April, according to a news post published on the website. The decision was made due to the 'lack both the time and the ambition to do what is necessary to keep the site afloat,' which has resulted in 'spam clogging the forums, lack of updates and increasing brokenness of the site.' This might not be the end, though. The maintainers of The Linux Game Tome will make available a dump of the games database, so that anyone interested can cook up a new and updated version of the website, and a worthwhile effort will be considered for a transfer of ownership of the domain. The current source code of the website, which is from 1999, will not be available because 'it is not fit for human consumption.'" It certainly had a good run; I remember poking around the Linux Game Tome as a teenager in the misty past (and it's where I discovered Freeciv, Warzone 2100, and lbreakout2). Are there any alternatives already operating (unfortunately, Freecode doesn't seem popular with game authors)? Or: Which one of you is going to write the Linux Game Tome 3.0?
theodp writes "GeekWire reports on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' pending patent on remote displays that communicate with base stations and operate on wireless power. Reducing devices to mere screens with minimal storage that receive pre-rendered content (e.g., bitmap images), the patent application explains, eliminates the need for bulky batteries or processors, and employing techniques like electromagnetic or electrostatic induction allows one to cut the cord completely. Such remote displays, Amazon suggests, could find a home on college campuses (tablets), in your car (windshield displays or DVD players), and even on your face (eyeglasses)." There's already a (not wirelessly powered) device similar to the one described in the patent.
itwbennett writes "If you want to protect your brand before ICANN rolls out the new gTLDs (generic top-level domains), here's your chance. The clearinghouse will allow trademark owners to register their marks for an annual fee of between $95 and $150. The clearinghouse 'doesn't necessarily prevent trademark infringement or cybersquatting, but it does help trademark owners and brand owners somewhat in mitigating the damage that might occur,' said Keith Kupferschmid, general counsel and vice president of IP policy and enforcement for the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA). 'We've been telling brand owners it's not that expensive to protect themselves and they ought to do it.'" All of the new TLD registrars will be required to check the trademark clearinghouse before issuing domains, preemptively squashing trademark disputes.
ke4qqq writes with an excerpt from an ASF press release: "The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced that Apache CloudStack has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the Project's community and products have been well-governed under the ASF's meritocratic process and principles."