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Security

The First Windows 7 Zero-Day Exploit 289

xploraiswakco writes with the first Microsoft-confirmed Windows 7 zero-day vulnerability, with a demonstration exploit publicly available. The problem is in SMBv2 and SMBv1 and affects Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, but not Vista, XP, or Windows Server 2003. A maliciously crafted URI could hard-crash affected machines beyond any remedy besides pushing the white button. "Microsoft said it may patch the problem, but didn't spell out a timetable or commit to an out-of-cycle update before the next regularly-scheduled Patch Tuesday of December 8. Instead, the company suggested users block TCP ports 139 and 445 at the firewall." Reader xploraiswakco adds, "As important as this the mentioned article is, it should also be pointed out that any IT staff worth their pay packet should already have port 139 blocked at the firewall, and probably port 445, too."
Moon

Caves of the Moon 172

jeno passes along this excerpt from New Scientist: "A deep hole on the moon that could open into a vast underground tunnel has been found for the first time. The discovery strengthens evidence for subsurface, lava-carved channels that could shield future human colonists from space radiation and other hazards. ... The hole measures 65 meters across, and based on images taken at a variety of sun angles, the hole is thought to extend down at least 80 meters. It sits in the middle of a rille, suggesting the hole leads into a lava tube as wide as 370 meters across."
Be

After 8 Years of Work, Be-Alike Haiku Releases Official Alpha 411

NiteMair writes "The Haiku project has finally released an official R1 alpha, after 8 years of development. This marks a significant milestone for the project, and it also debuts the first official/publicly available LiveCD ISO image that can be easily booted and used to install Haiku on x86 hardware. Haiku is a desktop operating system inspired by BeOS after Be, Inc. closed its doors in 2001. The project has remained true to the BeOS philosophy while integrating modern hardware support and features along the way." Eugenia adds this link to an article describing the history of the OS, along with a review of the alpha version."
Programming

Nokia Makes LGPL Version of PyQt 263

EtaCarinae writes "Nokia didn't succeed in convincing Riverbank to change its licensing terms on PyQt, and so decided to create their own LGPL'ed version of it. From the FAQ at the PySide site: 'Nokia's initial research into Python bindings for Qt involved speaking with Riverbank Computing, the makers of PyQt. We had several discussions with them to see if it was possible to use PyQt to achieve our goals. Unfortunately, a common agreement could not be found , so in the end we decided to proceed with PySide.'"
Robotics

High-Speed Robot Hand Shows Dexterity and Speed 133

An anonymous reader tips a blog posting that begins "A few blogs are passing around videos of the Ishikawa Komuro Lab's high-speed robot hand performing impressive acts of dexterity and skillful manipulation. However, the video being passed around is slight on details. Meanwhile, their video presentation at ICRA 2009 (which took place in May in Kobe, Japan) has an informative narration and demonstrates additional capabilities. ... [It] shows the manipulator dribbling a ping-pong ball, spinning a pen, throwing a ball, tying knots, grasping a grain of rice with tweezers, and tossing / re-grasping a cellphone!"
Programming

The Best First Language For a Young Programmer 634

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions whether Scheme, a dialect of Lisp taught as part of many first-year CS curricula and considered by some to be the 'latin of programming,' is really the best first language for a young programmer. As he sees it, the essentially write-only Scheme requires you to bore down into the source code just to figure out what a Scheme program is trying to do — excellent for teaching programming but 'lousy for a 15-year-old trying to figure out how to make a computer do stuff on his own.' And though the 'hacker ethic' may in fact be harming today's developers, McAllister still suggests we encourage the young to 'develop the innate curiosity and love of programming that lies at the heart of any really brilliant programmer' by simply encouraging them to fool around with whatever produces the most gratifying results. After all, as Jeff Atwood puts it, 'what we do is craftmanship, not engineering,' and inventing effective software solutions takes insight, inspiration, deduction, and often a sprinkling of luck. 'If that means coding in Visual Basic, so be it. Scheme can come later.'"
Programming

Stroustrup Says New C++ Standard Delayed Until 2010 Or Later 501

wandazulu writes "At the end of an article written by the creator of C++, where he talks about removing a feature from the new C++ standard, he drops a bombshell: The new C++ standard (typically referred to as C++0x) has been delayed until 2010 or later. What does this mean? No new C++ features like threads, proper enum classes, or hash tables. C++0x is dead, long live C++1x!"
Space

Something May Have Just Hit Jupiter 299

The blog of Anthony Wesley, an Australian amateur astronomer, has what may be the first photos of a recent comet or asteroid impact on Jupiter, near the south pole. These photos are 11 hours old. The ones at the bottom of the page show three small dark spots in addition to the main dark mark. The Bad Astronomy blog picked up the story a few hours later — but cautions that what we're seeing may not be an impact event. This is all reminiscent of the closely watched impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy on Jupiter in 1994.

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