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Security

AT&T Invents Surveillance Programming Language 119

An anonymous reader writes "AT&T has long been associated with advances in the programming arts as well as communications. They've recently brought those disciplines together to create a powerful datamining language called Hancock. Hancock is a C variant developed to mine gigabytes of the company's telephone and internet records for surveillance purposes. 'The manual for the language includes a Hello World variant that shows you how to write a program that will parse logs of IP addresses and record them into permanent hashes. The program for parsing millions of records as they flow into permanent data farms sounds oddly close to the data mining the NSA performed after 9/11 to find targets for its warrantless spying on American citizens calls and emails."
Power

Electric Motorcycle Inventor Crashes at Wired Conference 337

not5150 writes "The inventor of the electric 'KillaCycle" motorcycle was taken to the hospital for x-rays after demonstrating the vehicle to reporters. Bill Dube, a government scientist during the day and bike builder at night, attempted a burnout in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center during the Wired NextFest fair. Fueled by the "most powerful" lithium-ion batteries in the world, the bike accelerated uncontrollably into another car. There's a video interview (thankfully before the crash) and footage of Dube crashing."
Toys

Gadgets Have Taken Over For Our Brains 311

skotte writes "According to a Trinity College survey released Friday, the boom in mobiles and portable devices that store reams of personal information has created a generation incapable of memorizing simple things. In effect, the study argues, these devices have replaced our long-term memory capabilities. 'As many as a third of those surveyed under the age of 30 were unable to recall their home telephone number without resorting to their mobile phones or to notes. When it came to remembering important dates such as the birthdays of close family relatives, 87 per cent of those over the age of 50 could remember the details, compared with 40 per cent of those under the age of 30.'"
The Courts

Indecent Game Sales Now A Felony In New York 398

Gamespot reports on the final passing of New York senate bill A8696, legislation proposed just last week, that now makes it a serious felony to sell or rent a violent game to minors. The bill makes it illegal to sell a console without parental control options and establishes a group to second guess the ESRB's rating decisions. "'This bill is impermissibly vague,' EMA president Bo Andersen said in a statement. 'A8696 seeks to apply real-world standards of violence to the fictional and fanciful world of video games, an environment in which they have no meaning. As a result, retailers and clerks will not and cannot know with certainty which video games could send them to jail under A8696. It was depressing to hear members of the Assembly note the constitutional problems with the bill and then state that they were voting for it.'" The senate seems to have no fear of possible overturn of the bill, and claims it's only thinking of the children.
The Internet

Monday is Wiretap the Internet Day 264

Alien54 wrote with a link to a Wired blog entry noting that May 14th is the official deadline for internet service providers to modify their networks, and meet the FBI and FCC's new regulations. The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act requires that everyone from cable services to Universities give them access, within certain parameters, to the usage habits of customers. "So, if you're a broadband provider (separately, some VOIP companies are covered too) ... Hurry! The deadline has already passed to file an FCC form 445, certifying that you're on schedule, or explaining why you're not. You can also find the 68-page official industry spec for internet surveillance here. It'll cost you $164.00 to download, but then you'll know exactly what format to use when delivering customer packets to federal or local law enforcement, including 'e-mail, instant messaging records, web-browsing information and other information sent or received through a user's broadband connection, including on-line banking activity.'"
The Almighty Buck

Sun Says, "Compensate OSS Developers" 210

krelian writes "Talking at Netbeans Day, Rich Green, Sun executive vice president for software, expressed doubts about the current open source model in which developers create free intellectual property only to have others scoop it up and generate huge amounts of revenue. Green said, 'I think in the long term that this is a worrisome scenario [and] not sustainable. We are looking very closely at compensating people for the work that they do.'" Green didn't provide any details about how payments from Sun or others might work.
Media

Two US States Restrict Used CD Sales 500

DrBenway sends us to Ars Technica for a report that Florida and Utah have placed draconian restrictions on the sale of used music CDs; Wisconsin and Rhode Island may soon follow suit. In Florida, stores have to hold on to CDs for 30 days before they can sell them — for store credit only, not cash. Quoting: "No, you won't spend any time in jail, but you'll certainly feel like a criminal once the local record shop makes copies of all of your identifying information and even collects your fingerprints. Such is the state of affairs in Florida, which now has the dubious distinction of being so anal about the sale of used music CDs that record shops there are starting to get out of the business of dealing with used content because they don't want to pay a $10,000 bond for the 'right' to treat their customers like criminals."

Why Apple Should Acquire AMD 340

slashdotLIKES writes "CoolTechZone.com columnist Gundeep Hora has a new column up that discusses why Apple should acquire AMD and how both companies would be a good fit for each other. From the article, "After private equity groups, let's look at a more strategic acquisition. For that, Apple is the best bet. Yes, I know it sounds way too radical to be taken seriously. However, Apple could drop Intel altogether and adopt AMD for its Macintosh PCs. Sure, the transition is going to take sometime, and it would probably make Apple announce a brand new line of PCs. However, it will be well worth it. We know Steve Jobs is ruthless when it comes to making interesting deals with powerful companies. This makes AMD a perfect match. Obviously Intel isn't going to be too delighted, but other companies don't bother Jobs. We all know he's the type of executive who crafts deals on his own terms. If Intel wants to be associated with Apple, then they won't really have much of a choice."
Data Storage

Tech Magazine Loses June Issue, No Backup 245

Gareth writes "Business 2.0, a magazine published by Time, has been warning their readers against the hazards of not taking backups of computer files. So much so that in an article published by them in 2003, they 'likened backups to flossing — everyone knows it's important, but few devote enough thought or energy to it.' Last week, Business 2.0 got caught forgetting to floss as the magazine's editorial system crashed, wiping out all the work that had been done for its June issue. The backup server failed to back up."
PlayStation (Games)

The Dark Side of HDCP - Why is My PS3 Blinking? 233

FloatsomNJetsom writes "High Definition Content Protection is supposed to make sure you're not playing pirated content, but sometimes your devices screw up the HDCP 'handshake' (over an HDMI cable) and nothing works. This happens with some regularity with the PS3, and Popular Mechanics investigated and found a quick and dirty workaround. From the article: 'We then checked with Leslie Chard, president of HDMI Licensing, which owns the rights to the standard, who told us that HDCP is one component of HDMI that has been plagued with interoperability issues. HDCP (high-bandwidth digital content protection) is designed to prevent the interception of data — specifically copyrighted Hollywood movies — between an output component and a display. As Steve Balough, the president of Digital Content Protection, the licensing company for HDCP explains, the two pieces of hardware must exchange a key, a sort of certificate of authenticity unique to each individual device, to verify a secure connection.' The problem isn't limited to the PS3 — many HDTV cable boxes and have the same problem. The fix there? Unplugging the power cable."
Microsoft

Office 2007 — Better But a Tough Switch 484

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Office 2007, coming out Jan. 30, is a 'radical revision,' writes the Wall Street Journal's Walter S. Mossberg. 'The entire user interface, the way you do things in these familiar old programs, has been thrown out and replaced with something new. In Word, Excel and PowerPoint, all of the menus are gone — every one. None of the familiar toolbars have survived, either. In their place is a wide, tabbed band of icons at the top of the screen called the Ribbon. And there is no option to go back to the classic interface.' He adds, 'It has taken a good product and made it better and fresher. But there is a big downside to this gutsy redesign: It requires a steep learning curve that many people might rather avoid.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Drinking Alcohol May Extend Your Life 548

Adolytsi writes "MSNBC has an interesting article on an Italian study on alcoholism. While the obvious notion of overconsumption of alcohol being detrimental to one's health is supported, apparently drinking it in moderation can actually extend your lifespan. A study on over 1 million drinkers and 94,000 deaths yielded the results: "According to the data, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol — up to four drinks per day in men and two drinks per day in women — reduces the risk of death from any cause by roughly 18 percent, the team reports in the Archives of Internal Medicine. However, "things radically change" when consumption goes beyond these levels, study leader Dr. Augusto Di Castelnuovo, from Catholic University of Campobasso, said in a statement. Men who have more than four drinks per day and women who have more than two drinks per day not only lose the protection that alcohol affords, but they increase their risk of death, the data indicates.""
Software

Autodesk Suing to Keep Format Closed 365

An anonymous reader writes "AutoCAD is by far the industry standard CAD tool for engineering drawings. When I was an engineering student it was on every computer in the college of engineering. Autodesk, the makers of the AutoCAD software, are attempting to quash an effort to reverse-engineer the proprietary binary format used by AutoCAD. Looking at the court order, their whole argument revolves around something called TrustedDWG that basically looks like a digital signature that verifies the file was created by an Autodesk product."
Nintendo

Wiimote Straps Result in Class Action Suit 812

Kotaku reports the news that problems with breaking Wiimote straps has resulted in a class action lawsuit against Nintendo. From the press release about the suit: "Green Welling LLP filed a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of the owners of the Nintendo Wii against Nintendo of America, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The class action lawsuit arose as result of the defective nature of the Nintendo Wii. In particular, the Nintendo Wii game console includes a remote and a wrist strap for the remote. Owners of the Nintendo Wii reported that when they used the Nintendo remote and wrist strap, as instructed by the material that accompanied the Wii console, the wrist strap broke and caused the remote to leave the user's hand. Nintendo's failure to include a remote that is free from defects is in breach of Nintendo's own product warranty."

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