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Submission + - Aptly Helps Android Devs Distribute Test Apps (aptly.mobi)

davidpettersson writes: Being tired of having to explain to beta users how to install Android apps, I wrote Aptly that helps devs (and others) to distribute their Android apps. Great for when you are near beta, but don't want to upload to Market quite yet. Works a lot like a URL shortener, except it handles APK files. Thought I would share it with the world, there are surely others than me in need of this functionality. First version is just out, and improvements will be rolled out continuously. Check out how it works, or just try it out.

Submission + - Crimanal action against speed trap tweeter (iol.co.za)

martinlp writes: Pigspotter is making big news in South Africa. The traffic authorities in Johanessburg, South Africa are looking at taking legal action against Pigspotter, an individual who is tweeting up to the minute information about speed traps in and around the city. He has recently stopped, stating that his Blackberry is going in for repairs but it may be out of fear of getting prosecuted. The police claim he must be getting inside information and suspect that disgruntled traffic officers may be involved. There is also speculation that it is more than one individual that is tweeting.
Security

Submission + - Hole in Linux kernel provides root rights (h-online.com)

oztiks writes: A vulnerability in the 32-bit compatibility mode of the current Linux kernel (and previous versions) for 64-bit systems can be exploited to escalate privileges. For instance, attackers can break into a system and exploit a hole in the web server to get complete root (also known as superuser) rights or permissions for a victim's system.

According to a report, the problem occurs because the 32-bit call emulation layer does not check whether the call is truly in the Syscall table. Ben Hawkes, who discovered the problem, says the vulnerability can be exploited to execute arbitrary code with kernel rights. An exploit (direct download of source code) is already in circulation; in a test conducted by The H's associates at heise Security on 64-bit Ubuntu 10.04, it opened a shell with root rights.

The kernel developers have remedied the flaw in the repository, and Linux distributors will probably soon publish new kernels to close the hole. Until then, switching off 32-bit ELF support solves the problem if you can do without this function. For instructions, see: "Workaround for Ac1db1tch3z exploit".

Hawkes says the vulnerability was discovered and remedied back in 2007, but at some point in 2008 kernel developers apparently removed the patch, reintroducing the vulnerability. The older exploit apparently only needed slight modifications to work with the new hole.

 

IT

Submission + - T-Mobile Censoring Text Messages Says Lawsuit (wired.com)

Tootech writes: mobile-marketing company claimed Friday it would go out of business unless a federal judge orders T-Mobile to stop blocking its text-messaging service, the first case testing whether wireless providers can block text messages they don’t like.

EZ Texting claims T-Mobile blocked the company from sending text messages for all of its clients after learning that legalmarijuanadispensary.com, an EZ Texting client, was using its service to send texts about legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California. “T-Mobile subjectively did not approve of one of the thousands of lawful businesses and non-profits served by EZ Texting,” according to New York federal lawsuit.

The suit against T-Mobile, which controls about 15 percent of the U.S. mobile market, comes as the company just announced it was raising its texting prices, which some claim is an abuse of its market share. And the case comes amid a fierce debate surrounding net neutrality, with net giant Google claiming that wireless carriers should not be bound by the same rules as wireline carriers.

Even the New York-based texting service acknowledges that the case raises novel issues. “At the very least, EZ Texting has raised serious questions about the legal ability of a wireless service provider, T-Mobile, to block its customers from exchanging text messages with EZ Texting’s customers,” according to the suit.

A similar text-messaging flap occurred in 2007, but ended without litigation, when Verizon reversed itself and allowed an abortion-rights group to send text messages to its supporters.

T-Mobile, of Bellevue, Washington, said in a statement: “We believe the claims in the lawsuit are meritless.”

Intel

Submission + - Intel Threatens to Sue Anyone Who Uses HDCP Crack (wired.com) 2

Tootech writes: Intel threatened legal action Friday against anybody who uses its proprietary crypto key — leaked on the internet — to produce hardware that defeats the so-called HDCP technology that limits home recording of digital television and Blu-ray.

“There are laws to protect both the intellectual property involved as well as the content that is created and owned by the content providers,” said Tom Waldrop, a spokesman for the company, which developed HDCP. “Should a circumvention device be created using this information, we and others would avail ourselves, as appropriate, of those remedies.”

Intel’s comments came as it confirmed that the internet leak of the “master key” to the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection system was authentic.

HDCP is a copy-protection technology that encrypts high-definition video traveling from Blu-ray players or set-top boxes to television monitors. The technology was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2004, and is a standard feature in televisions, cable boxes, satellite receivers and Blu-ray players in much of the modern world.

Politics

Submission + - Facing oblivion, island nation makes big sacrifice (mongabay.com) 1

Damien1972 writes: Kiribati, a small nation consisting of 33 Pacific island atolls, is forecast to be among the first countries swamped by rising sea levels. Nevertheless, the country recently made an astounding commitment: it closed over 150,000 square miles of its territory to fishing, an activity that accounts for nearly half the government's tax revenue. What moved the tiny country to take this monumental action? President Anote Tong, says Kiribati is sending a message to the world: "We need to make sacrifices to provide a future for our children and grandchildren."
Education

Submission + - Learning by Playing

theodp writes: This week's NY Times Magazine — a special issue on education and technology — is tailor-made for the Slashdot crowd. For the cover story, Sarah Corbett explores the games-and-education movement, which she notes is alive-and-well at Quest to Learn, a NYC middle-school that aims to make school nothing less than 'a big, delicious video game.' Elsewhere in the issue, Paul Boutin writes about Microsoft's efforts to inspire The 8-Year-Old Programmer with its Kodu Project, and Nicholas Carlson reports on Columbia University's efforts to mix journalism and hard-core computer science with its unique dual-degree master's in journalism and CS. There's also an accompanying timeline that nicely illustrates how learning machines have progressed from the Horn-Book to the iPad. And that's just for starters!

Submission + - Sprint Epic4G 3G upload speeds limited to 150kbps (sprint.com)

Miamicanes writes: Nearly everyone who owns a Sprint Samsung Epic 4G and has benchmarked its 3G performance has discovered that its 3G upload speeds are apparently limited to 150kbps. So far, Sprint has not officially acknowledged it as a problem, nor has it indicated whether this might be a firmware bug, a PRL issue, tower-related, or the result of a deliberate policy to cap 3G upload speeds. Regardless, the problem is causing widespread anger among Epic4G owners, many of whom have bitterly noted the irony of being charged a $10 surcharge so they can endure data transfers that are slower than they had 4 years ago (and a quarter of the speeds enjoyed by Evo owners on the same 3G network).
Education

Submission + - Is CS and Journalism a Marriage Made in Heaven?

theodp writes: NYU adjunct prof Nick Bilton, a former programmer at the NY Times, argues that reporters need to know how to manipulate computers in order to tell the stories that matter most to their audiences. He feels that hacks should be hackers, and he isn't alone. Forbes reporter Taylor Buley, who admits to being less than a great programmer, knocks out code to help him 'do the same work, just quicker.' And now, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism is starting a dual-degree master's program in journalism and computer science, aiming to elevate j-school computing skills way above video editing and writing HTML.

Submission + - Movie published directly through PirateBay. (thepiratebay.org)

Dewy721 writes: For the first time a large budget film has been published through and hosted by ThePirateBay.org
Titled: Die Beauty. This surreal fantasy/thriller is creating quite a stir amongst the p2p community hailing the producer as a bold visionary.
The film is in Swedish with English subtitles.

Comment Re:Oh if you find yourself repeating some code (Score 1) 590

Sadly, if you're working in Java then you will frequently be forced to write the same 8 damn lines over 70 times, and there will be literally no way to avoid it unless you resort to automatic code generation, which is a fancy name for using a separate program to do the copying-and-pasting for you.

Color me confused. I'm genuinely not understanding you here. If a team member told me he was writing the same 8 lines over 70 times in Java, it would probably a hint to me that he needed to brush up on his understanding of basic object oriented programming. If the code in question is a cohesive unit, there's no reason you can't put it in a class, and re-use that class for all eternity. What did I miss?

Comment Emotional Things I Wish I Knew Earlier (Score 2, Insightful) 590

we could not figure out whether the author was an incredibly elaborate troll or just a run-of-the-mill idiot.

Reading this comment of his reminds me of something I read recently:
Physicists stand on each other's shoulders. Engineers dig each other's graves.

I've never understood why so many software developers feel the need to disparage one another in an attempt to prove their intelligence/superiority. There are plenty of tough problems out there and we all can learn something from one another, no? I've definitely been guilty of this in my tech career but lately I'm wondering more and more, why does the person who has a different solution always have to be an "idiot?" Why isn't he/she just someone who has a different take on solving this particular problem?

Now, I'm not saying that engineers do this more than any other group but out of all of my friends (some of whom are doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.) it certainly seems like a more common event among software developers.

Image

School District Drops 'D' Grades 617

Students in one New Jersey school district will no longer be able to squeak by in class after the Morris County School Board approved dropping the D grade. Beginning in the fall students who don't get a C or higher will get an F on their report card. "I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it," said Superintendent Larrie Reynolds in a Daily Record report.
Government

Internet Sales Tax Gets a New Champion 276

Archness1 writes with an excerpt from Declan McCullagh's piece at CNET about the recently renewed push for a sales tax on Internet purchases, led by Massachusetts Representative Bill Delahunt. "At the moment, Americans who shop over the Internet from out-of-state vendors usually aren't required to pay sales taxes. Californians buying books from Amazon.com or cameras from Manhattan's B&H Photo, for example, won't be required to cough up the sales taxes that they would if shopping at a local mall." That could all change, though.

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