yl-roller writes "IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever. 'As if that news wasn't' troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October.' According to a ZDNet article, IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size."
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CyberSlugGump writes "Computer scientists at UC San Diego have developed a 3D first-person video game designed to teach young students Java programming. In CodeSpells, a wizard must help a land of gnomes by writing spells in Java. Simple quests teach main Java components such as conditional and loop statements. Research presented March 8 at the 2013 SIGCSE Technical Symposium indicate that a test group of 40 girls aged 10-12 mastered many programming concepts in just one hour of playing."
The Pirate Bay switched to two Greenland-based domains Tuesday morning but it looks like the party is already over. The company responsible for .GL TLD registrations said they would not allow the domains to be put to illegal use. “Tele-Post has today decided to block access to two domains operated by file-sharing network The Pirate Bay,” the company said. According to TorrentFreak: "Queries to the .GL domain registry now confirm that both the domains in question have been officially suspended."
First time accepted submitter jds91md writes "Scientists at Stanford have developed a technique to see the structural detail of actual brains with resolution down to the cellular and axonal/dendritic level. The process called CLARITY allows a 'transparent' view of the brain without having to slice or section it in any way. From the article: 'Even more important, experts say, is that unlike earlier methods for making the tissue of brains and other organs transparent, the new process, called Clarity by its inventors, preserves the biochemistry of the brain so well that researchers can test it over and over again with chemicals that highlight specific structures within a brain and provide clues to its past activity. The researchers say this process may help uncover the physical underpinnings of devastating mental disorders like schizophrenia, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and others.'"
flok writes "It's nice when your open source pet project is popular, but sometimes the constant stream of feature requests can be intimidating. The CatInCan website aims to help prioritize a project owner's efforts while letting them make some money on the side. Think of it as a Kickstarter-variant where people can raise funds to get functionality in software realized, or maybe to get that long-ignored bug fixed."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Within hours of Google announcing that Austin, Texas would be the next lucky recipient of its Google Fiber initiative, AT&T released a statement indicating that it was willing to build a high-speed broadband network in the city, too. 'AT&T announced that in conjunction with its previously announced Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second,' read the statement. But there's a not-so-slight catch: AT&T wants whatever conditions Google received from the city of Austin. Google itself has provided precious little guidance about its future plans. 'We are still in the very early stages of it,' Google CEO Larry Page told media and analysts during the company's Jan. 22 earnings call, according to a transcript. 'Obviously, we are going to a small number of people and so, but we are excited about the possibilities.' But if Google Fiber keeps expanding, it could compel AT&T and other infrastructure providers to boost their broadband service and offer it on more reasonable terms — nothing like some competition to make things a little better for the collective customer base. In that sense, even if Google Fiber doesn't expand into a national program (and imagine the costs of that), its existence will still do some larger good."
coondoggie writes "In the 1966 science fiction classic Fantastic Voyage, a tiny submarine with a crew of five is miniaturized and injected into a comatose man to surgically laser a blood clot in his brain and save his life. At this week's American Chemical Society Nanoengineering expert Joseph Wang detailed his latest work in developing micromotors and microrockets that are so small that thousands would fit inside this 'o'. Such machines could someday perform microsurgery, clean clogged arteries or transport drugs to the right place in the body. But there are also possible uses in cleaning up oil spills, monitoring industrial processes and in national security."
hydrofix writes "The Bitcoin-to-USD exchange rate had been climbing steadily since January 2013, from around 30 USD to over 250 USD only 24 hours ago. Now, the value bubble seems to have burst, at least partially. The primary trading site MtGox reported a drop in value all the way down to 140 USD today, a loss of almost half in real value. With many sites unreachable or slow, there are also news of a possible DDoS attack on MtGox: 'Attackers wait until the price of Bitcoins reaches a certain value, sell, destabilize the exchange, wait for everybody to panic-sell their Bitcoins, wait for the price to drop to a certain amount, then stop the attack and start buying as much as they can. Repeat this two or three times like we saw over the past few days and they profit.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Until today, hacking and hijacking planes by pressing a few buttons on an Android mobile app has been the stuff of over-the-top blockbuster movies. However, the talk that security researcher and commercial airplane pilot Hugo Teso delivered today at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam has brought it into the realm of reality and has given us one more thing to worry about and fear (presentation slides PDF). One of the two technologies he abused is the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which sends information about each aircraft (identification, current position, altitude, and so on) through an on-board transmitter to air traffic controllers, and allows aircrafts equipped with the technology to receive flight, traffic and weather information about other aircrafts currently in the air in their vicinity. The other one is the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which is used to exchange messages between aircrafts and air traffic controllers via radio or satellite, as well as to automatically deliver information about each flight phase to the latter. Both of these technologies are massively insecure and are susceptible to a number of passive and active attacks. Teso misused the ADS-B to select targets, and the ACARS to gather information about the onboard computer as well as to exploit its vulnerabilities by delivering spoofed malicious messages that affect the'behavior' of the plane."
Shipwack sends this quote from the Guardian: "The Iranian authorities have long accused Google Earth of being a tool for western spy agencies, but now they have taken their attacks on the 3D mapping service one step further — by planning the launch of an 'Islamic' competitor. ... The minister, however, gave little information on what he meant by an Islamic 3D map. 'We are developing this service with the Islamic views we have in Iran and we will put a kind of information on our website that would take people of the world towards reality Our values in Iran are the values of God and this would be the difference between Basir and the Google Earth, which belongs to the ominous triangle of the U.S., England and the Zionists [a reference to Israel].' Experts, however, have serious doubts about the project. An IT consultant who has worked on Iran's national internet project in the past said the announcement was merely an excuse to obtain funds and secure working contracts for the future. 'They have claimed to run their service in four months and said their data centre capacity will reach Google's size in three years,' he said. 'Three-year project, no business model and only relying on government funding, a piece of cake indeed. To have a data centre with such capacity and security level they need power stations, cooler systems, bandwidth, etc, which will require billions of dollars of investment that doesn't fit with Iran's sanctions-hit economy.'"
kodiaktau writes "The ACLU has issued a FOIA request to determine whether the IRS gets warrants before reading taxpayers' email. The request is based on the antiquated Electronic Communication Protection Act — federal agencies can and do request and read email that is over 180 days old. The IRS response can be found at the ACLU's website. The IRS asserts that it can and will continue to make warrantless requests to ISPs to track down tax evasion. Quoting: 'The documents the ACLU obtained make clear that, before Warshak, it was the policy of the IRS to read people’s email without getting a warrant. Not only that, but the IRS believed that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to email at all. A 2009 "Search Warrant Handbook" from the IRS Criminal Tax Division’s Office of Chief Counsel baldly asserts that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." Again in 2010, a presentation by the IRS Office of Chief Counsel asserts that the "4th Amendment Does Not Protect Emails Stored on Server" and there is "No Privacy Expectation" in those emails.'"
astroengine writes "Saturn's rings rain charged water particles down onto the gas giant's atmosphere, causing measurable changes in the planet's ionosphere. This intriguing conclusion comes from astronomers using the W. M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii that observed dark bands forming in Saturn's ionosphere. 'Saturn is the first planet to show significant interaction between its atmosphere and ring system,' said James O'Donoghue, postgraduate researcher at the University of Leicester and lead author of a paper to appear this week in the journal Nature. 'The main effect of ring rain is that it acts to 'quench' the ionosphere of Saturn, severely reducing the electron densities in regions in which it falls.'"
StrongAuth helps protect data with strong encryption, so that even if a company's network infrastructure is breached, its critical data -- including customers' credit card numbers, for example -- is still safe. Their software is open source, and their objective is to "become like the Toyota Camry of encryption key management," says StrongAuth CTO Arshad Noor. "Everybody should be able to afford it." These are big words from a company that only has 12 employees, all in Silicon Valley, but it's a company that not only has a strong reputation among its small and medium-sized business clients, but is starting to get acceptance from Fortune 500 behemoths, too. In this video interview (and in the transcript), Arshad not only talks about data security, but about how his company makes money while developing and relying purely on open source software. And did somebody ask about Linux? Yes, their software is all based on Linux. CentOS, to be exact.
Mystakaphoros writes "An article in The Atlantic examines the effects sites like TaskRabbit, Fiverr, and Rev.com are having on employment and freelancing. (I would add Amazon's Mechanical Turk to the list as well.) As the article mentions, 'Work is being stripped down to the bone. It's as if we're eliminating the 'extraneous' parts of a worker's day — like lunch or bathroom breaks — and paying only for the minutes someone is actually in front of the computer or engaged in a task.' How many Slashdotters have used these sites, either to hire or work? What's been your experience?"
theodp writes "After languishing on the market, the price of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt's Lone Ranger expedition yacht was cut from $20,000,000 to a mere $14,000,000 (sales brochure). Still no takers for the vessel, so the former pride of the Schmidt Ocean Institute — which can travel an amazing 31,000 miles at 12 knots thanks to a fuel capacity of 1.3 million liters — will be auctioned "as is" on April 20th at the Antibes Yacht Show, with bid estimates ranging from EUR 3 million to EUR 10 million (auction brochure). 'Lone Ranger and her truly astonishing story will appeal to a new generation of luxury yacht owner,' the sales brochure notes. 'The yacht epitomizes low key luxury, but most importantly offers the ideal platform for anyone wanting to explore the farthest flung corners of the world with their family.' And you can buy it just in time for Earth Day gift giving!"
New submitter fritsd writes "Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders, a volunteer site which helps provide public domain books to Project Gutenberg, announced that their 100 000+ volunteers have reached the milestone of 25 000 books scanned, OCRed, and then meticulously proofread." The 25000th title is The Art and Practice of Silver Printing by Capt. Abney and H. P. Robinson.
Velcroman1 writes "The House Intelligence Committee is warning that 'time is running out' before the next major cyberattack: The Russians, Iranians, Chinese, and others are likely already on your computer. 'You have criminal organizations trying to get into your personal computer and steal your personal stuff. And by the way, the Chinese are probably on your computer, the Russians are probably on your personal computer, the Iranians are already there,' House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R.-MI) said. 'They're trying to steal things that they think are valuable or use your computer to help them steal from someone else,' he said. 'That's a real problem.'"
kkleiner writes "Liquid Robotics first generation of wave gliders have successfully navigated from the U.S. to Australia, surviving numerous hurricanes. Now, the next generation of autonomous robots have been outfitted with thrusters that supplement the wave-energy harvesting technology that they use to move. They also are equipped with a weather station and sensors to collect even more data on the ocean. Currently, over 100 missions are in operation around the world."
ForgedArtificer writes "Earlier today, the Crisis Management Office Affairs Bureau for the city of Yokohama, Japan had some startling news for its followers; to wit, a North Korean missile was on its way to Japan. The tweet stayed up for about 20 minutes before being removed and replaced with an apology. The city reports that a pre-written tweet was released due to a malfunction in the 'mechanism' that would have released the tweet at the appropriate time."
New kalalau_kane writes with this tidbit from Extreme Tech: "A group of European researchers has proposed the largest quantum network yet: Between Earth and the International Space Station. Such a network would see entangled photons transmitted over a distance of 250 miles — two or three times greater than previous quantum communication experiments. Not only will this be the first quantum experiment in space, but it will allow the scientists to see if entanglement really is instantaneous over long distances, and whether it's affected by gravity." The proposal (licensed CC BY).
wiredmikey writes "An official investigation into a major cyber attack on South Korean banks and broadcasters last month has determined that North Korea's military intelligence agency was responsible. An investigation into access records and the malware used in the attack pointed to the North's military Reconnaissance General Bureau as the source, the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) said on Wednesday. To spread the malware, the attackers went through 49 different places in 10 countries including South Korea, the investigation found. The attacks used malware that can wipe the contents of a computer's hard disk (including Linux machines) and damaged 48,700 machines including PCs, ATMs, and servers."
A few months ago, Tatu Ylonen (creator of SSH 1.x) declared that lax key management was hazardous. Now there's work being done on a standard for automated key management. hypnosec sent in the news; quoting Parity News on the content of the draft: "It presents a process that would allow for moving of already issued keys to protected location, removal of unused keys, key rotation, providing rights of what can be done with the keys and establishing an approval process for issue of new keys." There's a non-WG mailing list; the final version of the standard is expected in October.
An anonymous reader writes "In response to a Freedom of Information Act request about Google's 2007 complaint against Windows Vista search interference, the Department of Justice has after six years released 114 partially redacted pages and 60 full pages of material. Yet these 'responsive documents' consist of public news articles and email boilerplate. All the substantive information has been blacked out."
Last week Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Home, a bit of software that aims to transform a smartphone's homescreen into a Facebook feed. Now, its release date has arrived, as has the earliest device to house Home: the HTC First. Reviews for phone and software have begun to appear, too. The Verge calls the device itself "a mid-range phone, through-and-through." Its hardware is capable but not impressive, and it's slow enough to be noticed, but not to annoy. What interested them the most was that by turning off Facebook Home, you get an operating system that's very close to an unpolluted, stock Android 4.1.2. Ars generally agrees, pointing out its solid feel, the trade-off of a less-readable but more-holdable 4.3" screen compared to the trend toward 4.8" displays, and an awkwardly placed micro-USB port. As for the Facebook Home Software: "Home takes status updates out of the Facebook app and slaps them right on your homescreen. Instead of little boxes scrolling vertically, however, each update from your News Feed becomes a full-screen photo with small bits of text at the top," says the Verge, adding that having Facebook updates located between you and whatever you picked up your phone to do can be awfully distracting. Ars says, "What we've seen is an application focused solely on making the Facebook experience the hub for all of your social correspondence, but that can be extremely limiting for those who use a number of other social networks." Both publications praise 'Chat Heads,' Facebook's way of surfacing messages without having to dig through a messaging app.
New submitter Chewbacon writes "If you can't hack it, smash and grab it. Video streaming service Vudu has emailed customers informing them of the theft of hard drives containing customer information. CNET reports the information on the stolen drives included: names, e-mail addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers, account activity, dates of birth, and the last four digits of some credit card numbers. Vudu's Chief Technology Officer Prasanna Ganesan said while no complete credit card numbers were stored on the hard drives and expressed confidence in password encryption, he felt the need to be proactive with the password reset and encouraged users to be proactive as well should the encrypted passwords become compromised. Vudu fails to mention, perhaps in a downplaying move, the last 4 digits of a credit card and much of the other information stolen is often enough to access an account through virtually any company's phone support."
New submitter rjupstate writes "Google places a lot of value on the spontaneous creativity that can occur when two employees from completely different parts of the company meet. It's an ideal that Google has perfected over the years, but it's not something that will work for most other organizations. Executives trying to replicate Google's approach could even create major problems among their workforces."
netbuzz writes "The police in Washington state arrested a suspected drug dealer, rummaged through the text messages on his phone, responded to one message while pretending to be the suspect, arranged a meeting, and then arrested the recipient of the text — all without a warrant. The state argues – and an appeals court majority agreed – that both suspects had neither a legal expectation of privacy nor Fourth Amendment protection because both considerations evaporate the moment that any text message arrives on any phone. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is urging the state's Supreme Court to overturn that decision and recognize that 'text messages are the 21st Century phone call.'"
SchrodingerZ writes "The Blue Angels squadron, known for their intricate and death-defying aerial demonstrations, has canceled all scheduled air shows for the rest of the year. The United States Navy, which controls the Blue Angels, has reported that the grounding comes from the massive rollbacks in spending, due to the 85 billion dollar sequestration given by the federal government. In a statement from the office of the Commander Naval Air Forces in San Diego, the Navy said, 'Recognizing budget realities, current Defense policy states that outreach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the governmen.' Currently, the cost of an air show is above $100,000. This story came just a week after the announcement by the Air Force that their Thunderbird shows will also be canceled."
dcblogs writes "The unemployment rate for people at the heart of many tech innovations — electrical engineers — soared in the first quarter of this year to 6.5%. That's nearly double the unemployment rate from last year. The reasons for the spike aren't clear, but the IEEE-USA says the increase is alarming. At the same time, U.S. Labor Dept. data showed that jobs for software developers are on the rise. The unemployment rate for software engineers was 2.2% in the first quarter, down from 2.8% last year. This professional group warns that unemployment rates for engineers could get worse if H-1B visas are increased. The increase in engineering unemployment comes at the same time demand for H-1B visas is up."