NicknamesAreStupid writes "Many outlets are reporting that AT&T will allow owners of iPhones whose contracts have expired to unlock their devices. One might think that a call or a quick trip to their local AT&T store would do the trick, and they do provide this service to people who are currently under contract with a newer phone and want to use their older one. However, AT&T has never made anything free to be easy, and this may not bode well for former customers who offer no profitable revenue. For example, when AT&T bought Bell South, they were ordered by the court as part of the acquisition to offer $10/month 'DSL lite' service. The maze in their website which led to this opportunity is now a story of legend. Will the key to this unlocking the iPhone be as byzantine for former customers?"
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An anonymous reader writes "Last year Slashdot ran a story on scientists from the Max-Planck-Institute for Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany developing a novel method to improve password security. A strong long password is split in two parts; the first part is memorized by a human, and the second part is stored as a CAPTCHA-like image of a chaotic lattice system. Today, after a year of work, the same group at Max Planck Institute released a working prototype online, where everybody can try this technology to encrypt files (Java plugin required)."
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook already shares its Law Enforcement Guidelines publicly, but we've never actually seen the data Menlo Park sends over to the cops when it gets a formal subpoena for your profile information. Now we know. This appears to be the first time we get to see what a Facebook account report looks like. The document was released by the The Boston Phoenix as part of a lengthy feature titled 'Hunting the Craigslist Killer,' which describes how an online investigation helped officials track down Philip Markoff. The man committed suicide, which meant the police didn't care if the Facebook document was published elsewhere, after robbing two women and murdering a third."
An anonymous reader writes "I was looking at multimedia players from brands such as SumVision, Noontec and Western Digital. They all seem to be some device which accepts a USB hard-drive and commands from an IR remote control, and throws the result over HDMI. I have my own idea of what a hardware multimedia player should do (e.g. a personalized library screen for episodes, movies and documentaries; resume play; loudness control; etc.). I also think it will a good programming adventure because I will have to make the player compatible with more than a few popular codecs. Is this an FPGA arena? Or a mini-linux tv-box? Any advice, books or starting point to suggest?" There certainly have been a lot of products and projects in this domain over the years, but what's the best place to start in the year 2012?
retroworks writes "'Wi-Fi network use will nearly double in homes around the world come 2016, according to new Strategy Analytics research. Already used in some 439 million households worldwide, equivalent to 25% of all households, Wi-Fi home network penetration will expand to 42%.' The report says China already has the highest home Wi-Fi use."
An anonymous reader writes "As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing. This is SOPA being passed in smaller chunks... 'H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short) has vague definitions that could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.'"
New submitter BBCS writes "The National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China ('NCAC') is seeking public comments on a controversial draft amendment to China's copyright law. A number of recording artists and musicians have reacted strongly against this proposed amendment because it appears to encourage using others works without compensation. The amendments that have drawn particular ire are article 46 & 48. Per Article 46, one does not need consent to make recordings of another person's musical work if 3 months have passed since such work was published. Per Article 48, to use such person's musical work, one must contact the NCAC, identify the published material and its author, and within 1 month of use, submit a usage fee as per the NCAC, to facilitate the distribution of payment to applicable parties. I wonder what happens when someone applies to make use of Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses." What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the NYT's "Bits" column: "Justin Watt, a Web engineer, was browsing the Web in his room at the Courtyard Marriott in Midtown Manhattan this week when he saw something strange. On his personal blog, a mysterious gap was appearing at the top of the page. After some sleuthing, Mr. Watt, who has a background in developing Web advertising tools, realized that the quirk was not confined to his site. The hotel's Internet service was secretly injecting lines of code into every page he visited, code that could allow it to insert ads into any Web page without the knowledge of the site visitor or the page's creator."
hondo77 writes "Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health '...have re-created the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder in several honeybee hives simply by giving them small doses of a popular pesticide, imidacloprid.' This follows recently-reported studies also linked the disorder to neonicotinoid pesticides. What is really interesting is the link to when the disorder started appearing, 2006. 'That mechanism? High-fructose corn syrup. Many bee-keepers have turned to high-fructose corn syrup to feed their bees, which the researchers say did not imperil bees until U.S. corn began to be sprayed with imidacloprid in 2004-2005. A year later was the first outbreak of Colony Collapse Disorder.'"
CowboyRobot writes "Stanford's CPU DB project (cpudb.stanford.edu) is like an open IMDB for microprocessors. Processors have come a long way from the Intel 4004 in 1971, with a clock speed of 740KHz, and CPU DB shows the details of where and when the gains have occured. More importantly, by looking at hundreds of processors over decades, researchers are able to separate the effect of technology scaling from improvements in say, software. The public is encouraged to contribute to the project."
Hugh Pickens writes "Innovation News reports that the U.S. Navy plans to upgrade its robotic Fire Scouts with electronic 'brains' that are able to automatically recognize small pirate boats spotted through 3D laser imaging by bouncing millions of laser pulses off distant objects to create a 3D 'radar' image of any boats on the high seas — a technology known as LIDAR or LADAR — so that their new software can automatically compare the 3D images to pirate boat profiles on record. Having smarter robotic helicopters could ease the workload strain for Navy sailors, who must otherwise eyeball the data coming from the new Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS) — a sensor mix of high-definition cameras, mid-wave infrared sensors and the 3D LADAR technology. Meanwhile, the Navy has begun testing other new technologies to tackle the problem of piracy — an especially thorny issue because of Somali pirates attacking ships off the coast of East Africa. Its more forceful countermeasures include a combination of lasers and machine guns, as well as swarms of smart rockets capable of picking out their own small boat targets."
00_NOP writes "The One Laptop Per Child project has disappointed in Peru, reports the Economist, apparently because in general teachers did not make creative use of the technology. As in other cases the computers seem to have been regarded as ends in themselves rather than tools to help change the ways kids are taught. Quite disappointing for those of us looking for Linux-Global-Domination but not really much of a surprise given the experience in richer countries either."
Lucas123 writes "Paper products maker Kimberly-Clark drove the morale of its IT infrastructure group into the ground after massive firings and outsourcing. When they hired a new VP of Infrastructure four years later to turn things around, he implemented a program to spur innovation. The VP took a venture capitalist approach where any employee could submit an idea and if accepted, make a pitch in 30 minutes or less. If the idea had merit, it received first, then second rounds of funding. If not, the employee's idea still got lauded on the company's internal Sharepoint site. As he puts it, 'Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. It's about what we learn from the failure. Not the failure itself. We celebrate that learning.'"
New submitter everithe writes "Dear Slashdot, I am nearing the end of my undergraduate years and hoping to continue on in academia, probably focusing on condensed matter physics. Recently I've noticed some alarming pessimism among Slashdotters about the state of science — that fraud is rampant and that people honestly trying to do science are less likely to be recognized and obtain tenure. Obviously I am very interested in doing real and useful science, but am worried that this could conflict with my ability to put food on the table. My question is, how bad is it really, and do you have any advice for how one just starting out might survive in such an environment?"
CowboyRobot writes "The National Weather Service has begun testing the way it labels natural disasters. It's hoping that the new warnings, which include words like 'catastrophic,' 'complete devastation likely,' and 'unsurvivable,' will make people more likely to take action to save their lives. But what about their digital lives? Recommendations include: Keep all electronics out of basements and off the floor; Unplug your hardware; Buy a surge protector; Enclose anything valuable in plastic. If the National Weather Service issued a 'complete devastation' warning today, would your data be ready?"