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Submission + - Non-Coders as the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

theodp writes: You wouldn't select Linus Torvalds to be the public face for the 'Year of Basketball.' So, why tap someone who doesn't code to be the face of 'The Year of Code'? Slate's Lily Hay Newman reports on the UK's Year of Code initiative to promote interest in programming and train teachers, which launched last week with a Director who freely admits that she doesn't know how to code. "I'm going to put my cards on the table," Lottie Dexter told Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman on national TV. I've committed this year to learning to code...so over this year I'm going to see exactly what I can achieve. So who knows, I might be the next Zuckerberg." "You can always dream," quipped the curmudgeonly Paxman, who was also unimpressed with Dexter's argument that the national initiative could teach people to make virtual birthday cards, an example straight out of Mark Zuckerberg's Hour of Code playbook (coming soon to the UK). Back in the States, YouTube chief and Hour of Code headliner Susan Wojcicki — one of many non-coder Code.org spokespersons — can be seen on YouTube fumbling for words to answer a little girl's straightforward question, "What is one way you apply Computer Science to your job at Google?". While it's understandable that companies and tech leaders probably couldn't make CS education "an issue like climate change" (for better or worse) without embracing politicians and celebrities, it'd be nice if they'd at least showcase a few more real-life coders in their campaigns.

Submission + - Installing OpenSource VLC Media Player Voids Your Dell Laptop Warranty

An anonymous reader writes: VLC is incapable of increasing the actual power past 100%, all that is being done is the waveform is being modified to be louder within the allowed constraints. But, that didn't stop Dell from denying warranty service for speaker damage if the popular VLC Media Player is installed on a Dell laptop. Also we got a report that service was denied because a KMPlayer was installed on a laptop. The warranty remains valid on the other parts of the laptop. VLC player developer denied the issue with VLC and further claimed the the player cannot be used to damage speakers. How can I convince Dell to replace my laptop speaker which is still in warranty? Or class action is only my option?

Submission + - How Dogecoin Occupied Wall Street (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: At about 9:30pm on Friday in Lower Manhattan, a group of more than a hundred people marched out of the new Bitcoin Center at 40 Broad Street, and into the streets. "To the moon! To the moon! To the moon!" Donning Shiba Inu-branded flair, t-shirts, paper masks—and joined by three live Shiba Inus—the all-ages group, fully sugared up, paraded through the streets of New York’s Financial District to its famous bull sculpture at Bowling Green, where they planned to take it over, doge style.

"Dogecoin is a celebration of doge and dogecoin and the joy of life," said Ben Doernberg, the organizer of the evening's proceedings, who bravely unzipped his doge hoodie to reveal a large doge on his T-shirt. "What better way to turn something so serious into the cutest most fun thing in the world? Which is a doge."

Suddenly, a city bus screeched to a halt near the crowd. The driver shoved open his window and shouted out, "Is this Occupy Wall Street?" A dump truck behind him waited.

Submission + - How Snowden gained high-level access .. (yahoo.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In an interview on Tuesday with the Wall Street Journal, former NSA chief and Booz Allen Vice Chairman Mike McConnell explained how Edward Snowden gained access to all of the files that he’s been leaking. If McConnell is to be believed, Snowden was hired in the first place after using a trick he probably learned in high school: He “stole” an NSA admittance test with the answers, and used it to ace the test.

Submission + - Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

An anonymous reader writes: Zachary Keck wonders why the U.S. government is doubling down on missile defense systems even as hypersonic missiles threaten to render them obsolete.

Keck notes that hypersonic missiles pose two distinct challenges to current missile defense systems. First, they travel far faster than the missiles the defense systems are designed to intercept. Second, they travel at lower altitudes and possess greater maneuverability than the missiles the current systems have been built to destroy.

Nonetheless, the U.S. was planning on spending $2 billion a year on missile defense through 2017, and now the Pentagon is asking for an additional $4.5 billion over the next five years.

Submission + - An open letter to the management of Slashdot. 14

onyxruby writes: I have been watch for some time now as Slashdot has started beta testing a new version of the website. As you are well aware the new site would constitute a complete change to the look, interface and functionality of Slashdot.org.

Change happens, and for those of us who work with technology for a living it is the only constant. Change is a process and in and of itself is not a bad thing when it offers improvement. Unfortunately the change that has been offered negatively impacts the look, interface and most importantly the functionality of Slashdot.
Many people have had trouble reverting back to the classic interface. The new interface simply does not offer the functionality of the old. Things like statistics, comments and layout are very difficult to find. You have a community that lives and breathes data and want to know their data. How is my comment ranked, how many people responded – it’s really all about the dialogue. Can I get the information that I want in a readily digestible format?

As you’re well aware the new site does not offer the very thing that people come here for. This in and of itself is not why your community has organized a boycott of Beta. The boycott was originated because the new version will be implemented whether the community wants it or not.

I want to explain why this change has gone down people’s throats about as well as Windows 8’s Metro interface. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with the interface and everything to do with the perception that the editors and management of Slashdot appear to have.

The message that has been consistently handed down is that we are “your audience”. We are not your “your audience” we are your product. People do not come to Slashdot for the news stories, there are untold other sites that provide those as well as professional and original writing about them. People come here for the community of insiders from across the industry.

Please respect the community and stop what you’re doing. You have commented that you don’t want to maintain two code bases. Your community works in the industry and understands this, which leads many to suggest you abandon the new code base entirely so that you are only maintaining once code base. Tell us what your trying to accomplish and I would imagine that a wide range of experts would be more than willing to help you meet your goals.

Submission + - A Modest Proposal, re: Beta vs. Classic 19

unitron writes: Dice wants to make money off of what they paid for--the Slashdot name--, or rather they want to make more money off of it than they are making now, and they think the best way to do that is to turn it into SlashingtonPost.

They should take this site and give it a new name. Or get Malda to let them use "Chips & Dips".

Leave everything else intact, archives, user ID database, everything except the name.

Then use the Beta code and start a new site and give it the slashdot.org name, and they can have what they want without the embarrassment of having the current userbase escape from the basement or the attic and offend the sensibilities of the yuppies or hipsters or metrosexuals or whoever it is that they really want for an "audience".

Submission + - If You're Life Was A Video Game This is Your Walkthrough (oliveremberton.com)

Xight writes: Life is a game, a fairly complicated game. Like with all games, someone usually writes a generic walk-through for it. It usually comes in the form of self-help books or [Insert Topic Here] for Dummies books. Most of which become very good dust collectors and or barbque fire starters. Oliver Emberton decided to write a very thorough walk-through for the game of life which everyone is currently playing.

Submission + - Dice Holdings, Inc, deleting unflattering stories from Slashdot firehose 4

An anonymous reader writes: Stories submitted to the Slashdot firehose that take a negative view on the site's redesign are being deleted. 4 hours ago, it was full of anti-beta posts. Now they are gone. That's right. A forum that usually leaves V14GRA spam in place for posterity is deleting user content.

Submission + - Slashdot goes kerplunk 4

An anonymous reader writes: dice abandons slashdot classic look forcing long-time users to abandon slashdot.
Security

NBC News Confuses the World About Cyber-Security 144

Nerval's Lobster writes "In a video report posted Feb. 4, NBC News reporter Richard Engel, with the help of a security analyst, two fresh laptops, a new cell phone, and a fake identity, pretended to go online with the technical naiveté of a Neanderthal housepet. (Engel's video blog is here.) Almost as soon as he turned on the phone in the Sochi airport, Engel reported hackers snooping around, testing the security of the machines. Engel's story didn't explain whether 'snooping around' meant someone was port-scanning his device in particular with the intention of cracking its security and prying out its secrets, no matter how much effort it took, or if the 'snooping' was other WiFi devices looking for access points and trying automatically to connect with those that were unprotected. Judging from the rest of his story, it was more likely the latter. Engel also reported hackers snooping around a honeypot set up by his security consultant which, as Gartner analyst Paul Proctor also pointed out in a blog posting, is like leaving the honey open and complaining when it attracts flies. When you try to communicate with anything, it also tries to communicate with you; that's how networked computers work: They communicate with each other. None of the 'hacks' or intrusions Engel created or sought out for himself have anything to do with Russia or Sochi, however; those 'hacks' he experienced could have happened in any Starbucks in the country, and does almost every day, Proctor wrote. That's why there is antivirus software for phones and laptops. It's why every expert, document, video, audio clip or even game that has anything at all to do with cybersecurity makes sure to mention you should never open attachments from spam email, or in email from people you don't know, and you should set up your browser to keep random web sites from downloading and installing anything they want on your computer. But keep up the fear-mongering."

Submission + - New Microsoft CEO Member of Myhrvold-Gates Patent Club

theodp writes: It turns out a pretty good clue that new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella enjoyed an inside track for the top job at the software giant was just a patent search away. While a USPTO search turned up no issued or pending patents assigned to Microsoft that listed Nadella as an inventor, it did surprisingly turn up 33 patent applications listing Nadella, Bill Gates, and Nathan Myhrvold as co-inventors, most of which were assigned to Intellectual Ventures holding company Elwha, LLC. So, with Nadella and Gates driving Microsoft, is it time for the software giant to provide an explanation for why its top execs were moonlighting for a patent bully, and how that squares with the Microsoft Standards of Business Conduct?

Submission + - What is your best hacking and/or DOS story?

drfreak writes: I started using the Internet early in the upper 1980's. Back then most people didn't have direct access. We'd dial into a server instead which gave us shell accounts to play with and use text-based content such as UseNet and IRC.

Even with the net being that limited many of us forged our first attacks; often just to mess with our friends but sometimes also to punish an adversary. It was all in good fun back then and no real damage was intended. It also gave my friends at the time and myself a lot of new experience coding because it is always more fun to have a goal when writing a script or program than to just do "Hello World."

Ok, so I'll disclose my personal favorite: Hanging out on EFNet IRC a lot, I was always attracted to the misfits called "Operators" which actually ran (still do) the network and hanged out there. Many people (including myself) have tried and failed to hack that channel and kick all the operators out as a badge of honor. Knowing I didn't have the skill at the time to write a bot to do it, I took a bare-bones approach and read the IRC RFC looking for loopholes.

My Friends and I were so intent on hacking IRC we experimented with creating our own network of servers just to see how they operated. While doing that I had an epiphany that there was no limit on how many people can be listed in a -o message. The only limit was in the client, which was typically four.

So, I convinced a friend who was an IRCop to give me an O: line to test my new server. I then commenced to login via telnet masquerading as said server and de-op nearly everyone on #twilight_zone. The only thing which prevented my success was I was typing the list by hand and someone joined at the same time so didn't get de-opped. I was banned forever from that channel for managing to de-op a few dozen people in one line, but I still felt successful for pulling off something a regular bot could never do by my own hands in a telnet session. The only reason I wasn't banned from that network forever was out of respect for the research and attention it took to pull off the attack. I also had no idea what social engineering was back then but it was key to getting server-level access.

So what are your early benign hacks, folks?
Crime

NYPD Is Beta-Testing Google Glass 158

Presto Vivace writes "The New York City Police Department is trying to determine how useful Google Glass would be for law enforcement. From the article: 'The New York City Police Department's massive and controversial intelligence and analytics unit is evaluating whether Google Glass is a decent fit for investigating terrorists and helping cops lock up bad guys, VentureBeat has learned. The department recently received several pairs of the modernist-looking specs to test out. "We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we're trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes," a ranking New York City law enforcement official told VentureBeat.'"

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