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Announcements

Come Try Out Slashdot's New Design (In Beta) 1191

Slashdot's biggest redesign effort ever is now in beta and you're invited to help guide it. This redesign has been shaped by feedback from community members over the past few months (a big thanks to those of you who participated in our alpha testing phase!), and we'd like your thoughts on it, too. This new design is meant to be richer but also simpler to use, while maintaining the spirit of what Slashdot is all about: News for Nerds. Stuff that matters. Read on for the details of what's included, or read this blog post. Update: 10/02 19:16 GMT by T : Since this post went live, we've been reading through the comments below as well as your (hundreds!) of emails. These are all valuable, as we continue to implement our current features into the Beta. Keep 'em coming; we love the feedback. Please keep in mind that this is called Beta for a reason; we've still folding in lots of improvements. One important thing to bear in mind is that the images are optional: check out the Classic mode by clicking on the view selection widget (just above the stories) on the Beta page.
Microsoft

Former Microsoft Privacy Chief Doesn't Trust Company, Uses Open Source Software 199

MojoKid writes "Microsoft's onetime Chief Privacy Advisor, Caspar Bowden, has come out with a vote of no-confidence in the company's long-term privacy measures and ability or interest to secure user data in the wake of the NSA's PRISM program. From 2002 — 2011, Bowden was in charge of privacy at Microsoft, and oversaw the company's efforts in that area in more than 40 countries, but claims to have been unaware of the PRISM program's existence while he worked at the company. In the two years since leaving Microsoft, Bowden has ceased carrying a cell phone and become a staunch open source user, claiming that he no longer trusts a program unless he can see the source."
Space

Cassini Probe Sees Plastic Ingredient On Titan Moon 71

Ron024 writes "The Cassini probe has detected propene, or propylene, on Saturn's moon Titan. It is the first definitive detection of the plastic ingredient on any moon or planet, other than our home world, says the U.S. space agency (NASA). The discovery, made by Cassini's infrared spectrometer, is reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters [abstract]."

Comment Technology is not the problem (Score 2) 90

'It's not just this one technology that's the problem,' Schneier says. 'It's the mic plus the drones, plus the signal processing, plus voice recognition.'"

I usually agree with Bruce. But unless that quote was taken way out of context, he is wrong here. Technology isn't the problem. It never is. It is the people salivating at the thought of using it against us. Even those who think they are doing us a service to keep us safe: when they invade our privacy, they are the problem. The tech? It's actually cool. There are probably - how would someone jaded to the world of sound and copyright put it - many non-infringing uses of the tech. It can probably even be used in a way that isn't spying. For example recording a conference speaker (with permission) in a noisy room or the like.

Comment Re:Cargo size? (Score 2) 68

They would need weaponized autonomous vehicles though. Otherwise the other drug runners would steal from them by capturing their autonomous vehicle. They would need to be hardened from a computer / radio front so that they can't simply be "hacked" to go to a different destination and they would need to be hardened to physical assault so that crazies in rubber boats wouldn't come steal the drugs or simply grab the whole unit.
Classic Games (Games)

Myst Was Supposed To Change the Face of Gaming. What Is Its Legacy? 374

glowend writes "On 24 September 1993, computer users were introduced to Myst. Grantland takes a look at the game's legacy, two decades on. Quoting: 'Twenty years ago, people talked about Myst the same way they talked about The Sopranos during its first season: as one of those rare works that irrevocably changed its medium. It certainly felt like nothing in gaming would or could be the same after it. Yes, Myst went on to sell more than 6 million copies and was declared a game-changer (so to speak), widely credited with launching the era of CD-ROM gaming. It launched an equally critically adored and commercially successful sequel, and eventually four more installments. Fans and critics alike held their breath in anticipation of the tidal wave of exploratory, open-ended gaming that was supposed to follow, waiting to be drowned in a sea of new worlds. And then, nothing.' Why didn't Myst have a larger impact?"
Communications

Georgia Cop Issues 800 Tickets To Drivers Texting At Red Lights 1440

McGruber writes "WSB-Television, Atlanta, tells us that Gwinnett County police officer Jessie Myers has issued more tickets for texting and driving than any other officer in the state. Officer Myers said he sees most people typing away on their phones while waiting at red lights. 'Most people think they're safe there,' Myers said. However, he said it's still illegal. 'At a red light, you're still driving, according to the law. You're on a roadway, behind (the wheel of) a car, in charge of it, with a vehicle in drive,' Myers said. Myers also tickets drivers using navigation apps. One driver said she was just using her phone's GPS. The law forbids that and Myers issued her a ticket. "That's right. You can't use your navigation while driving. Unless it is a GPS-only device, such as Garmin or Tom Tom, something that is not used as a communication device,' Myers said."
Classic Games (Games)

Boot To Zork 106

Seemingly to inflict more suffering upon himself, Matthew Garrett (lord of getting things to boot using EFI) decided that booting directly into Zork would be cool. Quoting his weblog entry: "So, Frotz seemed like the natural choice when this happened. But despite having a set of functionality that makes it look much more like an OS than a boot environment, UEFI doesn't actually expose a standard C library. The EFI Application Development Kit solves this particular design decision. Porting Frotz ended up involving far more fixing up of Frotz bugs that tripped up -Werror than anything else. One note, though - make sure you include DevShell in the list of required packages at build time, otherwise file i/o will mysteriously fail." Grab the code, assuming you have a copy of Zork (or any other Z-machine game, as long as you name it ZORK1.DAT, I think).
Databases

Will Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Stay With MySQL? 245

littlekorea writes "The world's largest web-scale users of MySQL have committed to one further upgrade to the Oracle-controlled database — but Facebook and Twitter are also eyeing off more open options from MariaDB and cheaper options from the NoSQL community. Who will pay for MySQL enterprise licenses into the future?"
Operating Systems

New Operating System Seeks To Replace Linux In the Cloud 335

New submitter urdak writes "At CloudOpen in New Orleans, KVM veterans Avi Kivity and Dor Laor revealed their latest venture, a new open-source (BSD license) operating system named OSv. OSv can run existing Linux programs and runtime environments such as a JVM, but unlike Linux, OSv was designed from the ground up to run efficiently on virtual machines. For example, OSv avoids the traditional (but slow) userspace-kernel isolation, as on the cloud VMs normally run a single application. OSv is also much smaller than Linux, and breaks away from tradition by being written in C++11 (the language choice is explained in in this post)."
Privacy

German Data Protection Expert Warns Against Using iPhone5S Fingerprint Function 303

dryriver writes "Translated from Der Spiegel: Hamburg Data-Protection Specialist Johannes Caspar warns against using iPhone 5S's new Fingerprint ID function. 'The biometric features of your body, like your fingerprints, cannot be erased or deleted. They stay with you until the end of your life and stay constant — they cannot be changed. One should thus avoid using biometric ID technologies for non-vital or casual everyday uses like turning on a smartphone. This is especially true if a biometric ID, like your fingerprint, is stored in a data file on the electronic device you are using.' Caspar finds Apple's argument that 'your fingerprint is only stored on the iPhone, never transmitted over the network' weak and misleading. 'The average iPhone user is not capable of checking, on a technical level, what happens to his or her fingerprint once it is on the iPhone. He or she cannot tell with any certainty or ease what kind of private data applications downloaded onto the iPhone can or cannot access. The recent disclosure of spying programs like Prism makes it riskier than ever before to share important personal data with electronic devices.' Caspar adds: 'As a matter of principle, one should never hand over any biometric data when it isn't strictly needed. Handing over a non-changeable biometric feature like a fingerprint for no better reason than that it provides 'some convenience' in everyday use, is ill advised and foolish. One must always be extremely cautious where and for what reasons one hands over biometric features.'"
Bug

SSD Failure Temporarily Halts Linux 3.12 Kernel Work 552

jones_supa writes "The sudden death of a solid-state drive in Linus Torvalds' main workstation has led to the work on the 3.12 Linux kernel being temporarily suspended. Torvalds has not been able to recover anything from the drive. Subsystem maintainers who have outstanding pull requests may need to re-submit their requests in the coming days. If the SSD isn't recoverable he will finish out the Linux 3.12 merge window from a laptop."
Apple

The iPhone 5S Hasn't Been Officially Announced, Already Has Line 181

Daniel_Stuckey writes "The iPhone 5S line has already begun, despite Apple not even having made its announcement yet. From the looks of the invite to the unveiling in San Francisco on Sept. 10 (and another event the following day in Beijing, where iPhones are all the rage), the company will not only be announcing a next generation iPhone, the 5S, but also the lower-priced 5C model, in a variety of cheaper-looking colors."

Comment Absolutely not! (Score 4, Insightful) 659

Bombing even selected targets will just make innocent people pay for the actions of a few. There are a few people who were involved in ordering the chemical attacks. If anything were done, those few would be taken to international court (the Hague is it?) and charged with war crimes. That should be the extent of it. Oh, and someone should investigate the claims that the rebels also used chemicals several months ago. There might be some folks that need to be charged with war crimes there too.
Science

How Seeing Can Trump Listening, Mapped In the Brain 51

cortex writes "University of Utah bioengineers discovered our understanding of language may depend more heavily on vision than previously thought: under the right conditions, what you see can override what you hear. In an article published in PLOS One, 'Seeing Is Believing: Neural Representations of Visual Stimuli in Human Auditory Cortex Correlate with Illusory Auditory Perceptions,' the authors showed that visual stimuli can influence neural signals in the auditory processing part of the brain and change what a person hears. In this study patients were shown videos of an auditory illusion called the McGurk Effect while electrical recordings were made from the surface of the cerebral cortex."

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