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Privacy

Can We Abandon Confidentiality For Google Apps? 480

An anonymous reader writes "I provide IT services for medium-sized medical and law practices. Lately I have been getting a lot of feedback from doctors and lawyers who use gmail at home and believe that they can run a significant portion of their practice IT on Google Apps. From a support standpoint, I'd be happy to chuck mail/calendar service management into the bin and let them run with gmail, but for these businesses, there is significant legal liability associated with the confidentiality of their communications and records (e.g., HIPAA). For those with high-profile celebrity clients, simply telling them 'Google employees can read your stuff' will usually end the conversation right there. But for smaller practices, I often get a lot of push-back in the form of 'What's wrong with trusting Google?' and 'Google's not interested in our email/calendar.' Weighing what they see as a tiny legal risk against the promise of Free IT Stuff(TM) becomes increasingly lopsided given the clear functionality / usability / ubiquity that they experience when using Google at home. So my question to the Slashdot community is: Are they right? Is it time for me to remove the Tin Foil Hat on the subject of confidentiality and stop resisting the juggernaut that is Google? If not, what is the best way to clarify the confidentiality issues for these clients?"
Government

Keeping Up With DoD Security Requirements In Linux? 211

ers81239 writes "I've recently become a Linux administrator within the Department of Defense. I am surprised to find out that the DoD actually publishes extensive guidance on minimum software versions. I guess that isn't so surprising, but the version numbers are. Kernel 2.6.30, ntp 4.2.4p7-RC2, OpenSSL 9.8k and the openssh to match, etc. The surprising part is that these are very fresh versions which are not included in many distributions. We use SUSE Enterprise quite a bit, but even openSUSE factory (their word for unstable) doesn't have these packages. Tarballing on this many systems is a nightmare and even then some things just don't seem to work. I don't have time to track down every possible lib/etc/opt/local/share path that different packages try to use by default. I think that this really highlights the trade-offs of stability and security. I have called Novell to ask about it. When vulnerabilities are found in software, they backport the patches into whatever version of the software they are currently supporting. The problem here is that doesn't give me a guarantee that the backport fixes the problem for which this upgrade is required (My requirements say to install version x or higher). There is also the question of how quickly they are providing the backports. I'm hoping that there are 100s of DoD Linux administrators reading this who can bombard me with solutions. How do you balance security with stability?"
Censorship

Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Others Blocked In China 151

An anonymous reader writes "Two days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square 'incident,' several high profile Internet sites have been blocked in mainland China. These include Twitter.com, Flickr.com, Live.com, and Bing.com. While Internet blocks are common enough in mainland China, blocking such high-profile sites is unusual. In addition, blog reports suggest even state-owned television broadcasts are suffering multiple instances of muting lasting several seconds (again, not unusual for some foreign stations broadcast over cable, but unusual for local state-owned media) suggesting state security, online or through other technology, has tightened significantly, perhaps in anticipation or discovery of protest plans."
Sci-Fi

Red Dwarf To Return, Find Earth 298

Lawrence Person writes "Everyone's favorite live-action science fiction comedy series will finally return to TV, with Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and the Cat all making it to Earth. The new two-part series Red Dwarf: Back to Earth will appear on digital channel Dave, will be written and directed by Red Dwarf co-creator Doug Naylor, and will reunite the line-up. 'It will sit alongside two further new episodes — the improvised Red Dwarf: Unplugged, which will feature the cast dealing with no sets, effects or autocue, and Red Dwarf: the Making of Back to Earth, a behind the scenes look at the new production.' Personally, I think this is pretty smegging fantastic."
Government

Barack Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the US 1656

Just before noon today, Eastern time, Barack Obama was sworn in before the US Capitol building as the 44th President of the United States (Whitehouse.gov has already been updated to reflect the new President), and offered an inaugural address which outlined some of the challenges that the country currently faces, both within the country's borders and abroad. Obama's election has been called "a civil rights triumph," and his candidacy has inspired perhaps the most visible political involvement of young voters of any candidate since John Kennedy. Here's your chance to discuss the newest occupant of the White House and what you'd like to see happen over the course of his presidency.
Medicine

Sarcasm Useful For Detecting Dementia 389

An anonymous reader writes "Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but Australian scientists are using it to diagnose dementia, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of New South Wales, found that patients under the age of 65 suffering from frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common form of dementia, cannot detect when someone is being sarcastic."
Displays

The Age of Touch Computing 414

DigitalDame2 writes "In 2009, touch computing will go mainstream. More and more devices will be legitimately touch-enabled with gesture controls for browsing through photos, tossing objects around the screen, flicking to turn the page of a book, and even playing video games and watching movies. In fact, Gartner analyst Steve Prentice told the BBC recently that the mouse will be dead in three to five years. PCMag has a full look at touch computing — the past, the present, and the future — including an interview with Sabrina Boler, touch UI designer."
Databases

Is MySQL's Community Eating the Company? 223

mjasay writes "Craigslist's Jeremy Zawodny reviews the progress of MySQL as a project, and discovers that through third-party forks and enhancements like Drizzle and OurDelta 'you can get a "better" MySQL than the one Sun/MySQL gives you today. For free.' Is this a good thing? On one hand it demonstrates the strong community around MySQL, but on the other, it could make it harder for Sun to fund core development on MySQL by diverting potential revenue from the core database project. Is this the fate of successful open-source companies? To become so successful as a community that they can't eke out a return as a company? If so, could anyone blame MySQL/Sun for creating its own proprietary fork in order to afford further core development?"
Robotics

Ethical Killing Machines 785

ubermiester writes "The New York Times reports on research to develop autonomous battlefield robots that would 'behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans.' The researchers claim that these real-life terminators 'can be designed without an instinct for self-preservation and, as a result, no tendency to lash out in fear. They can be built without anger or recklessness ... and they can be made invulnerable to ... "scenario fulfillment," which causes people to absorb new information more easily if it agrees with their pre-existing ideas.' Based on a recent report stating that 'fewer than half of soldiers and marines serving in Iraq said that noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect, and 17 percent said all civilians should be treated as insurgents,' this might not be all that dumb an idea."
Cellphones

iPhone Gaming Continues To Grow 131

1Up reports that the popularity of gaming on smartphones is growing, particularly on the iPhone. In fact, gaming on portable devices is growing even at home, where users presumably have access to more powerful platforms. CNN points out that the developer for Trism, one of the first popular games, has raked in over $250,000 in profits through the App Store. Apple exec Bob Borchers and various game developers recently discussed the future of games on the iPhone. "Patrick Gunn, director of marketing for EA Mobile, showcased Need for Speed Undercover, which will be available next month. Gunn says that EA has 'taken full advantage of all of the unique elements ... like touch, flick, accelerometer, and motion sensitivity' — and graphically, the game appears to be roughly on par with a PSP title."

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