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Submission + - Taking a new Tack on Net Neutrality

An anonymous reader writes: I am the IT director for a large rental property company that owns approximately 15,000 apartments in college towns across America. The board of directors has tasked me with exploring whether we can "privatize" our network (we provide network access as part of rent in all of our properties) and charge certain commercial entities for access to our residents. Right now the network is more or less open, except that we block access (by court order) to certain sites at the request of various copyright holders.

Specifically, they are interested in targeting commercial providers of services directed at college students, such as textbook rental firms, online booksellers, and so on. With approximately 35,000 residents, I guess they are thinking there is a substantial profit to be made here. Personally I don't like it one bit, but I thought I would ping Slashdot for thoughtful opinions. I imagine the phones will start ringing off the hook if students suddenly lose access to places like Amazon.com.

I think it has "bad idea" written all over it. What do you think?

Comment Re:Mortgages are public records (Score 2) 294

Your credit rating, payment history, and other details; however, are NOT public record. The government wants that information now so it can "help" people.

"Oh hey, we notice you haven't paid your mortgage in three months. We'll just send your tax refund to the bank to help you stay in your house."

That's what this is all about - helping government help its corporate overlords.

Star Wars Prequels

Ask Slashdot: Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved? 403

An anonymous reader writes "10 years ago today, in the wake of two disappointing Star Wars prequels, we discussed whether Episode III could salvage itself or the series. Now, as production is underway on Episode VII under the care of Disney, I was wondering the same thing: can it return Star Wars to its former glory? On one hand, many critics of the prequels have gotten what they wanted — George Lucas has a reduced role in the production of Episode VII. Critically, he didn't write the screenplay, which goes a long way toward avoiding the incredibly awkward dialogue of the prequels. On the other hand, they're actively breaking with the expanded universe canon, and the series is now under the stewardship of J.J. Abrams. His treatment of the Star Trek reboot garnered lots of praise and lots of criticism — but his directorial style is arguably more suited to Star Wars anyway. What do you think? What can they do with Episode VII to put the series back on track?"
Cellphones

Why Cheap Smartphones Are Going To Upset the Industry 234

An anonymous reader writes "Just when people got used to good smartphones costing $200 with a 2-year contract, they also started to realize that those 2-year contracts were bad news. Still, it's often more palatable than fronting $600 for good, new hardware. But that's starting to change. Cell phone internals are getting cheap enough that prices for capable devices have been creeping downward below $200 without a contract. We ran into something similar with the PC industry some years back — previous-gen chips had no trouble running next-gen software (excluding games with bleeding-edge graphics), and so the impetus to keep getting the latest-and-greatest hardware disappeared for a lot of people. That revolution is underway now for smartphones, and it's going to shake things up for everybody, including Apple and Samsung. But the biggest effects will be felt in the developing world: '[F]or a vast number of people in a vast number of countries, the cheap handset will be the first screen, and the only screen. Their primary interface with the world. A way of connecting to the Internet where there are no telephone lines or coaxial cables or even electricity. In nations without subsidized cell phone contracts or access to consumer credit, the $50-and-you-own-it handset is going to be transformative.'"
Security

Emory University SCCM Server Accidentally Reformats All Computers Campus-wide 564

acidradio writes: "Somehow the SCCM application and image deployment server at Emory University in Atlanta accidentally started to repartition, reformat then install a new image of Windows 7 onto all university-managed computers. By the time this was discovered the SCCM server had managed to repartition and reformat itself. This was likely an accident. But what if it weren't? Could this have shed light on a possibly huge vulnerability in large enterprise organizations that rely heavily on automated software deployment packages like SCCM?"
Bug

Finding More Than One Worm In the Apple 116

davecb (6526) writes "At Guido von Rossum's urging, Mike Bland has a look at detecting and fixing the "goto fail" bug at ACM Queue. He finds the same underlying problem in both in the Apple and Heartbleed bugs, and explains how to not suffer it again." An excerpt: "WHY DIDN'T A TEST CATCH IT? Several articles have attempted to explain why the Apple SSL vulnerability made it past whatever tests, tools, and processes Apple may have had in place, but these explanations are not sound, especially given the above demonstration to the contrary in working code. The ultimate responsibility for the failure to detect this vulnerability prior to release lies not with any individual programmer but with the culture in which the code was produced. Let's review a sample of the most prominent explanations and specify why they fall short. Adam Langley's oft-quoted blog post13 discusses the exact technical ramifications of the bug but pulls back on asserting that automated testing would have caught it: "A test case could have caught this, but it's difficult because it's so deep into the handshake. One needs to write a completely separate TLS stack, with lots of options for sending invalid handshakes.""
Space

The Shrinking Giant Red Spot of Jupiter 160

schwit1 (797399) writes "Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot — a swirling storm feature larger than Earth — is shrinking. This downsizing, which is changing the shape of the spot from an oval into a circle, has been known about since the 1930s, but now these striking new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images capture the spot at a smaller size than ever before."

Comment "No Lobbyists in my Administration" (Score 1) 90

"I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists â" and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president."

-- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA
November 10, 2007

Comment Comcast already has a bandwidth cap (Score 3, Interesting) 475

They just refuse to tell anyone what it is, or give you any warning that you have violated it before they disconnect you.

The thing that is most amusing about these people is that, out of one side of their mouths they whine about how they don't have the capacity to give everyone truly unlimited Internet like they advertise, but out of the other side they have as much as anyone is willing to pay for, with no limit.

It really is time to label Internet service as a public utility and place it under proper regulation.

Comment Just a few things (Score 1) 107

1) There is no such thing as spy-proof
2) If you can install an app on it, it is not secure
3) If you can connect it to a network, it is not secure
4) If you do not own and have complete access to audit all firmware, including the radio, then it is not secure
5) The Blackphone looks like nothing more than a platform from which to sell expensive annual subscriptions to quasi-private services

Comment Re:You can virtualize DOS (Score 1) 522

Yep, I have DOS 6.22 and WFW running in a VM along with QEMM. It works quite nicely except for the lack of vmtools and the lack of high res graphics. There's a patched driver out there that supposedly allows 1024x768, but I have never been able to get it to work without crashing the VM when starting Windows.

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