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Encryption

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Less Volatile Encryption?

FuzzNugget writes: A recent catastrophic hard drive failure has caused me to ponder whether the trade-off between security and convenience with software-based OTFE is worthwhile. My setup involves an encrypted Windows installation with TrueCrypt's pre-boot authentication, in addition to having data stored in a number of TrueCrypt file containers.

While it is nice to have some amount of confidence that my data is safe from prying eyes in the case of loss or theft of my laptop, this setup poses a number of significant inconveniences:

1. Backup images of the encrypted operating system can only be restored to the original hard drive (ie.: the drive that has failed). So, recovery from this failure requires the time-consuming process of re-installing the OS, re-installing my software and re-encrypting it. Upgrading the hard drive where both the old and new drives are still functional is not much better as it requires decryption, copying the partition(s) and re-encryption.

2. With the data being stored in large file containers, each around 100-200GB. It can be come quite burdensome to deal with these huge files all the time. It's also a particularly volatile situation, as the file container is functionally useless if it's not completely intact.

3. As much as I'd like to use this situation as an opportunity to upgrade to an SSD, use with OTFE is said to pose risks of data leaks, cause decreased performance and premature failure due to excessive write operations.

So, with that, I'm open to suggestions for alternatives. Do you use encryption for your hard drive(s)? What's your setup like and how manageable is it?
Programming

Submission + - Will Donglegate Affect Your Decision to Attend PyCon? 4

theodp writes: Its Code of Conduct describes PyCon as 'a welcoming, friendly event for all.' But will the post-conference fallout from this year's 'Donglegate' debacle and proposed remedies affect your decision — one way or the other — to attend next year's PyCon in ironically naughty Montreal? And even if not, could 'Donglegate' influence the-powers-that-be whose approval you'll need to attend? How about conference sponsors? Also, how important is PyCon to the Python ecosystem — any chance that this year's incident could have a short or long-term effect on Python itself?

Submission + - Monsanto's Death Patents .. (counterpunch.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Monsanto has yet another case pending in the court system, this time before the U.S. Supreme Court on the exclusivity of its genetically modified seed patents. Narrowly at issue is whether Monsanto retains patent rights on soybeans that have been replanted after showing up in generic stocks rather than being sold specifically as seeds, or whether those patent rights are “exhausted” after the initial planting. But more broadly the case also raises implications regarding control of the food supply and the patenting of life – questions that current patent laws are ill-equipped to meaningfully address.
Book Reviews

Submission + - Book Review: A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming (pearsonhighered.com)

Rambo Tribble writes: This new, third edition of Sobell's book brings enhancements that add to the text's value as both a learning tool and a reference. This has always been a foundation book for those wanting a professional level of familiarity with Linux. The addition of chapters to introduce the Python language and MySQL database serves to offer the reader practical insights into additional Linux-related technologies.

As the title suggests, this is a book about the Linux command line; GUI desktops are barely mentioned. This makes the text's primary audience computer professionals. As *nix professionals know, the command line not only offers quicker, more precise control of the system and its software, but is also far more portable across platforms. This is what allowed Sobell to extend his purview to encompass Mac OS X, in the second edition.

To be clear, this is not a volume to be taken lightly. It is a dense read, but is clearly written with concise and direct examples. In other words, it takes some concentration and effort to work through this book, but that effort is rewarded with a clear payoff of knowledge.

Sobell starts off by offering a basic introduction to Linux, exploring the roots of Unix and the evolution of Linux to become the mature and capable operating system it is today. Along the way, he delineates the aspects of the OS which define its character and form the basis of its appeal.

Next, he dives straight in to the particulars of running Linux from the command line. First, he outlines the CL environment and how to use it effectively. He is careful to point out the potential "gotchas" that can plague the uninformed neophyte. From there, he moves directly into the core commands, then the Linux filesystem and the shell environment. These subjects are at the heart of Linux system administration and while Sobell's treatment of them is necessarily brief, it is relevant and meaty.

In the book's second part, Sobell offers introductions to the most common editors to be found on Linux installations, vim and emacs. With a basic familiarity of how to edit text files, the reader is prepared to move into shell scripting, a powerful tool in controlling Linux and its suite of utilities and applications.

After a quick tour of shell environments, the author plunges into the common programming/scripting tools found on Linux, shell scripts, Perl, and Python. Once again, Sobell is obliged to brevity, but again he manages to provide a cohesive foundation that enables the reader to gain a good fundamental grasp of the subject, and a solid springboard for further learning.

The new chapter on Python introduces this cross-platform programming language, which enjoys growing popularity as a front-end development tool for Linux. Leveraging GUI toolkits, such as Qt or GTK+ , Python is considered by many to be the most effective choice for user-interface programming. The language is also commonly used in web server scripting. The Python coverage adds to Sobell's insightful treatment of the shell, shell scripts and editors already set forth in the volume.

The other new addition is a chapter on MySQL. MySQL has long enjoyed popularity as the "go to" database manager on Linux. Perhaps best known for being the "M" in "LAMP" web server setups, it is also commonly used as the back end for GUI programs, such as MythTV.

The coverage of programming tools wraps up with chapters on AWK, the pattern processing language, and sed, the stream editor. These essential tools of the command line provide useful data filtering and manipulation facilities.

The next section of the book is devoted to utilities providing secure network functions. OpenSSH and rsync are each given chapters which explore their capabilities in file management and secure communication use.

The command reference portion of the volume follows. Although it provides much the same information as the venerable on-line manual pages, it does so in a consistent voice with better illustrations and clear examples, something man pages are notoriously spotty on. Indeed, having Sobell's clear explanations, to compare, can be a great help in learning to interpret the often terse and sometimes arcane documentation the man pages provide.

Of course, 1150 pages, over a quarter of which is reference, doesn't leave time to repeat things or dwell in depth on any one topic. Sobell is often constrained to pages for subjects upon which numerous whole books have been written. With remarkable facility, however, he manages to clearly and directly convey the crux elements of each topic he addresses. This provides the reader with a broad and functional foundation in the basic elements of Linux/OS X system administration.

Bottom line: If you only get one book on the Linux command line and its tools, this should be it.

Disclaimer: Pearson North America provided a copy of the book for this review.

Author: Mark G. Sobell
Pages: 1154
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Rating: 9/10
Reviewer: Rambo Tribble
ISBN-13: 978-0-13-308504-4
Summary: A concise, definitive guide for learning to manage Linux through the command line.

Rambo Tribble, Individual at Large, since 1951.

IBM

Submission + - IBM Dipping Chips in 'Ionic Liquid' to Save Power (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: "IBM announced this week that it has developed a way to manufacture both logic and memory that relies on a small drop of “ionic liquid” to flip oxides back and forth between an insulating and conductive state without the need to constantly draw power. In theory, that means both memory and logic built using those techniques could dramatically save power. IBM described the advance in the journal Science, and also published a summary of its results to its Website. The central idea is to eliminate as much power as possible as it moves through a semiconductor. IBM’s solution is to use a bit of “ionic liquid” to flip the state. IBM researchers applied a positively charged ionic liquid electrolyte to an insulating oxide material—vanadium dioxide—and successfully converted the material to a metallic state. The material held its metallic state until a negatively charged ionic liquid electrolyte was applied in order to convert it back to its original, insulating state. A loose analogy would be to compare IBM’s technology to the sort of electronic ink used in the black-and-white versions of the Kindle and other e-readers. There, an electrical charge can be applied to the tiny microcapsules that contain the “ink,” hiding or displaying them to render a page of text. Like IBM’s solution, the e-ink doesn’t require a constant charge; power only needs to be applied to re-render or “flip” the page. In any event, IBM’s technique could conceivably be applied to both mobile devices as well as power-hungry data centers."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - GCC 4.8.0 Release Marks Completion of C++ Migration

hypnosec writes: GCC 4.8 has been released and with it the developers of the GNU Compiler Collection have switched to C++ as the implementation language for which the developers have been working for years. Licensed under the GPLv3 or later, version 4.8 of the GCC not only brings with it performance improvements but also adds memory error detector AddressSanitizer; and race condition detection tool the ThreadSanitizer. Developers wanting to build their own version of GCC should have at their disposal a C++ compiler that understands C++ 2003.
Games

Submission + - Capcom is Bringing Ducktales Back

jones_supa writes: Many of Slashdotters are probably aware of the 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System platformer classic DuckTales, designed around the Disney cartoon series. Capcom announced today at their PAX East panel that they are resurrecting the beloved game. Developed by Wayforward and Capcom, DuckTales: Remastered is something of a remake based on the original version. The embedded video shows some solid back-to-basics platformer action. The game will be out this summer for Xbox Live, PSN, and Wii U.
Apple

Submission + - European carriers complain to EU about anti-competitive contracts with Apple (dailytech.com)

whoever57 writes: Several European phone carriers have complained to the EU about the contracts that Apple imposes on them if they want to sell the iPhone. Because the contracts stipulate a minimum purchase, and the carier must compensate Apple if they fail to sell through that minimum, it has the effect of forcing the carrier to promote iPhones ahead of alternative phones. The European Commission is monitoring the situation. Apple claims that its "contracts fully comply with local laws wherever we do business, including the E.U"
Science

Submission + - Atomic Coating Could Protect Museum Artefacts for Decades (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Armed with Q-tips, chemical coatings, and lots of elbow grease, art conservators do constant battle with tarnish, a thin layer of sulfide that forms on silver when it's exposed to air. Constant polishing can wear down artifacts, however, and the protective coatings now in use cover the objects unevenly and last less than 10 years—a short time for museums charged with preserving centuries-old objects for future generations. Now, a group of materials scientists thinks that it's hit upon a solution. Using a commercial technique called atomic layer deposition (ALD), they coated pieces of silver with layers of aluminum oxide only 1 atom thick. One application of an ALD coating could protect a silver artifact for more than 80 years, the team reports. They expect the coating to be invisible and longer lasting than standard methods, but art lovers have little to worry about if they're wrong: The process is completely reversible.
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Time team: Meet the gamers keeping retro consoles alive (redbull.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: You see those stories popping up every now and then — new Dreamcast game released, first SNES game in 15 years etc — but an in-depth feature published today takes a look at the teams behind the retro revival, and looks at why they do what they do. Surprisingly, there seems to be a viable audience for new releases — one developer says his games sell better on Dreamcast than they do on Nintendo Wii. Even if the buyers vanished, the retro games would still keep coming though: "I wager I'd have to be dead, or suffering from a severe case of amnesia, to ever give this up completely,” says one developer.
Google

Submission + - Google Keep EOL Date Forecasted

An anonymous reader writes: A smart aleck journalist for UK's Guardian newspaper has turned the tables on Google by compiling data on 39 of the company's terminated projects, summarized in a table and bar graph. The mean lifespan of the doomed products turns out to be almost exactly 4 years, which led Mr. Arthur to conclude that your data would be safe with Google Keep — until March 2017, give or take a few months. Of course, this assumes that Keep is destined to be one of those products and services that wouldn't be Kept, or rather 'didn't gain traction with users' in the familiar lingo of Google marketing.
Security

Submission + - 'HOMELAND' TO SCAN EMAILS, MONITOR WEB TRAFFIC (nbcnews.com)

helix2301 writes: "The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country's private, civilian-run infrastructure. As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks."

Submission + - MasterCard stings PayPal with payment fee hike (theregister.co.uk)

iComp writes: "PayPal, Google Wallet and other online payment systems face higher transaction fees from MasterCard in retaliation for their refusal to share data on what people are spending. Visa is likely to follow suit.

The amount that PayPal has to pay MasterCard for every transaction will go up as the latter introduces new charges for intermediated payment processors. This change is on the grounds that such processors don't share transaction details, which the card giants would love to get hold of as it can be used to research buying patterns and the like.

Companies such as PayPal allow payments between users, so the party (perhaps a merchant) receiving the money doesn't need to be registered with the credit-card company. PayPal collects the dosh from the payer's card, and deducts a processing fee before passing the cash on to the receiving party. MasterCard would prefer the receiver to be registered directly so will apply the new fee from June to any payment that is staged in this way.

The fee will only apply within the US, initially at least, and Visa hasn't said it will follow suit. But Reuters tells us that Visa's CEO described the new fee as "totally appropriate", and it is already impacting PayPal's owner eBay according to financial blogger Tom Noyes.

PayPal exploded in use because registering to receive credit-card payments was a tortuous process best left to large retailers. But companies such as Square and Sailpay have simplified that process enormously and MasterCard clearly feels the PayPal's raison d'etre has been largely eliminated — so the time has come for the killer punch."

Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Apple Makes Two Factor Authentication Available for Apple IDs (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: In an effort to increase security for user accounts, Apple on Thursday introduced a two-step verification option for Apple IDs. As the “epic hacking” of Wired journalist Mat Honan proved, an Apple ID often carries much more power than the ability to buy songs and apps through Apple’s App store.

An Apple ID can essentially be the keys to the Kingdom when it comes to Apple devices and user maintained data, and as Apple explains, is the “ key to many important things you do with Apple, such as purchasing from the iTunes and App Stores, keeping personal information up-to-date across your devices with iCloud, and locating, locking, or wiping your devices.”

“After you turn [Two-step verification] on, there will be no way for anyone to access and manage your account at My Apple ID other than by using your password, verification codes sent your trusted devices, or your Recovery Key,” a announcing the new service explained.

Music

Submission + - Can You Really Hear the Difference Between Lossless, Lossy Audio? (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "Lossless audio formats that retain the sound quality of original recordings while also offering some compression for data storage are being championed by musicians like Neil Young and Dave Grohl, who say compressed formats like the MP3s being sold on iTunes rob listeners of the artist's intent. By Young's estimation, CDs can only offer about 15% of the data that was in a master sound track, and when you compress that CD into a lossy MP3 or AAC file format, you lose even more of the depth and quality of a recording. Audiophiles, who have long remained loyal to vinyl albums, are also adopting the lossless formats, some of the most popular of which are FLAC and AIFF, and in some cases can build up terabyte-sized album collections as the formats are still about five times the size of compressed audio files. Even so, digital music sites like HDtracks claim about three hundred thousand people visit each month to purchase hi-def music. And for music purists, some of whom are convinced there's a significant difference in sound quality, listening to lossy file formats in place of lossless is like settling for a Volkswagon instead of a Ferrari."
The Courts

Submission + - Twitter Sued $50M For Refusing To Identify Anti-Semitic Users (ibtimes.com) 1

redletterdave writes: "After a French civil court ruled on Jan. 24 that Twitter must identify anyone who broke France's hate speech laws, Twitter has since refused to identify the users behind a handful of hateful and anti-Semitic messages, resulting in a $50 million lawsuit. Twitter argues it only needs to comply with US laws and is thus protected by the full scope of the First Amendment and its free speech privileges, but France believes its Internet users should be subject to the country's tighter laws against racist and hateful forms of expression."
The Internet

Submission + - A 50 Gbps TCP connection with Multipath TCP (multipath-tcp.org)

Olivier Bonaventure writes: The TCP protocol is closely coupled with the underlying IP protocol.
Once a TCP connection has been established through one IP address,
the other packets of the connection must be sent from this address. This
makes mobility and load balancing difficult. Multipath TCP is
a new extension that solves these old problems by decoupling TCP from
the underlying IP. A Multipath TCP connection can send packets over
several interfaces/addresses simultaneously while remaining backward
compatible with existing TCP applications. Multipath TCP has several use
cases including smartphones that can use both WiFi and 3G or servers
that can pool multiple high-speed interfaces. Christoph Paasch, Gregory
Detal and their colleagues who develop the implementation of
Multipath TCP in the Linux kernel have achieved 50 Gbps for a single TCP
connection by pooling together six 10 Gbps interfaces. See here for
technical details and full source code.

Privacy

Submission + - Tracking the Web Trackers (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "Do you know what data the 1300+ tracking companies have on you? Privacy blogger Dan Tynan didn't until he had had enough of being stalked by grandpa-friendly Jitterbug phone ads. Tracking company BlueKai and its partners had compiled 471 separate pieces of data on him. Some surprisingly accurate, some not (hence the Jitterbug ad). But what's worse is that opting out of tracking is surprisingly hard. On the Network Advertising Initiative Opt Out Page you can ask the 98 member companies listed there to stop tracking you and on Evidon's Global Opt Out page you can give some 200 more the boot — but that's only about 300 companies out of 1300. And even if they all comply with your opt-out request, it doesn't mean that they'll stop collecting data on you, only that they'll stop serving you targeted ads."
Games

Submission + - Blizzard announces Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft "Card Game" (playerattack.com)

UgLyPuNk writes: Blizzard has revealed its "something new" at PAX East 2013: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft — a "charming collectible strategy game set in the Warcraft universe."We've been working on a little something, different from our other games, and we're pleased to invite you to be the first to see it. It's not a sequel, expansion or that rumored next-gen MMO, but it's something we're excited for you to get your hands on."

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