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Comment Re:Unpopular? (Score 3, Informative) 78

Agree at some level but I was following this EFF report "For instance in an AP poll, nearly 60 percent of Americans said they oppose the NSA collecting data about their telephone and Internet usage. In another national poll by the Washington Post and ABC News, 74 percent of respondents said the NSA's spying intrudes on their privacy rights."

Submission + - NSA App Ideas to Popularize Spying and Big Data (

reifman writes: Perhaps the reason the NSA's surveillance programs are so unpopular with Americans is that we haven't seen any of the potential consumer benefits that spying and big data can provide. Here are ten ideas for the productization and monetization of the NSA's spying infrastructure to inspire Americans to consider the bright side of the dark arts.

Submission + - Amazon "Unlaunches" & Postpones $100,000 Civic Apps Contest for AWS (

reifman writes: In an unusual move, Amazon abruptly pulled the plug on its $100,000 Civic Apps contest for AWS, redirecting contestants to the AWS government site. All entrants through October 15th were to receive a $50 AWS credit. Amazon AWS PR says they, '...accidentally pushed this out early, but please stay tuned for more information on this program later this year.' The contest site, rules (pdf) and FAQ (pdf) of the apparently still upcoming contest can be read from the google cache. Contest prize winners would have had to 'spend' their AWS credits by December 2014.

Submission + - Conflict minerals and cell phones 1

Presto Vivace writes: Is your cellphone made with conflict minerals mined in the Congo? The industry doesn’t want you to know.

If you are reading this on a smartphone, then you are probably holding in your palm the conflict minerals that have sent the biggest manufacturing trade group in the U.S. into a court battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At stake in this battle between the National Association of Manufacturers and the government is whether consumers will know the potentially blood-soaked origins of the products they use every day and who gets to craft rules for multinational corporations—Congress or the business itself.

Submission + - US killer robot policy: Full speed ahead (

Lasrick writes: Princeton's Mark Gubrud has an excellent piece on the United States killer robot policy. In 2012, without much fanfare, the US announced the world's first openly declared national policy for killer robots. That policy has been widely misperceived as one of caution, according to Gubrud: 'A careful reading of the directive finds that it lists some broad and imprecise criteria and requires senior officials to certify that these criteria have been met if systems are intended to target and kill people by machine decision alone. But it fully supports developing, testing, and using the technology, without delay. Far from applying the brakes, the policy in effect overrides longstanding resistance within the military, establishes a framework for managing legal, ethical, and technical concerns, and signals to developers and vendors that the Pentagon is serious about autonomous weapons.' Excellent read.

Submission + - LucasFilm combines video games and movies to eliminate post-production (

llebeel writes: Lucasfilm is currently prototyping the combining of video game engines in film-making to eliminate the post-production process in movies.

That rather ambitious claim comes from Lucasfilm, the California production company responsible for the Star Wars franchise. Speaking at the Technology Strategy Board event at BAFTA in London this week, the company's chief technology strategy officer Kim Libreri announced that the developments in computer graphics have meant Lucasfilm has been able to transfer its techniques to film-making, shifting video game assets into movie production.

Submission + - Work Halted on Neal Stephenson's Kickstarted Swordfighting Video Game (

An anonymous reader writes: Last year, sci-fi author Neal Stephenson and a team of game developers set out to make video game swordfighting awesome. They set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of hardware and software tech that would make replace console controllers with something more realistic. Now, production on that tech and the game in which they showcase it has been halted. In an update on the Kickstarter page, Stephenson explains how they've sought other investments without success. The project is 'on pause,' and the team asks for patience. He says, 'The overall climate in the industry has become risk-averse to a degree that is difficult to appreciate until you've seen it. It is especially bemusing to CLANG team members who, by cheerfully foregoing other opportunities so that they could associate themselves with a startup in the swordfighting space, have already shown an attitude to career, financial, and reputational risk normally associated with the cast members of Jackass. To a game publisher crouched in a fetal position under a blanket, CLANG seems extra worrisome because it is coupled to a new hardware controller.'

Submission + - How to Talk to Your Mother in Law About Her Web Site Idea (

reifman writes: Building a website has become nearly trivial in the age of WordPress and SquareSpace, but it can be difficult to talk to the uninitiated about the depth, breadth and complexities that web publishing entails. So You Want to Build a Website? provides a guide for newbies (and intermediate techies) on the array of things to think about and invest in to succeed with a reasonably sophisticated web app, from choosing a content management system, to understanding the pros and cons of Facebook to being aware of legal issues. The guide covers a lot of territory in straightforward fashion and hopefully can act as a bridge between an idea and what it takes to get it done and make it successful over time.

Submission + - Running Your Own Private Email Server in the post-Snowden Era (

reifman writes: Here's a detailed tutorial for setting up open source iRedMail server with Roundcube webmail in the cloud. While running your email on a VPS isn't fully secure, it removes you from the mass unauthorized surveillance that's occurring at gmail. I also recommend support for open source encrypted email clients such as Mailpile. This is an update to the 2011 Ask Slashdot on gmail alternatives.

Submission + - Yahoo deletes journalists prepaid legacy site after suicide (

digitalFlack writes: Apparently Martin Manly has been a popular blogger and newspaper journalist for many years. For his own reasons, no indication of illness, he decided sixty years on this planet was enough. He designed a 40 page website with titles such as:
      "Why Suicide?," "Why Age 60?," "Growing Up," "The Heavens,"
        "First Two Loves," "Pictures," "KC Star," "Legal," "911 & Conspiracies" and "COOL STUFF."
Martin planned his suicide meticulously, but to manage his legacy — HE PICKED YAHOO! Even pre-paid for five years... After he left this mortal coil on his 60th birthday, Yahoo decided they don't want his traffic, so they took the site down. Sorry, Martin.

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