Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Police Increasingly Peeping at Email, IM (

itwbennett writes: "Police and other agencies have 'enthusiastically embraced' asking for email, instant messages and mobile-phone location data, but with no federal law requiring the reporting of requests for stored communications data, 'this surveillance largely occurs off the books, with no way for Congress or the general public to know the true scale of such activities,' wrote Christopher Soghoian, a doctoral candidate at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, in a newly published paper. That's in contrast to traditional wiretaps and 'pen registers,' which record non-content data around a particular communication, such as the number dialed or e-mail address that a communication was sent to."

Submission + - WikiLeaks And The Guardian Didn't See Eye To Eye (

OCatenac writes: Vanity Fair has an article describing the uneasy relationship between Julian Assange and the Guardian, the UK newspaper that has been one of the main outlets for Wikileaks secrets.

Among the more interesting and ironic revelations is the fact that Assange threatened to sue the Guardian to keep it from publishing the information supplied to it by Wikileaks because he could not exercise sufficient control over what they published and what they did not.

From the article:
"In Rusbridger’s office, Assange’s position was rife with ironies. An unwavering advocate of full, unfettered disclosure of primary-source material, Assange was now seeking to keep highly sensitive information from reaching a broader audience. He had become the victim of his own methods: someone at WikiLeaks, where there was no shortage of disgruntled volunteers, had leaked the last big segment of the documents, and they ended up at The Guardian in such a way that the paper was released from its previous agreement with Assange—that The Guardian would publish its stories only when Assange gave his permission. Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released."

Perhaps it's too easy an interpretation of his actions but Assange is beginning to sound a bit arrogant; that is, it sounds as if he's fine with releasing documents as long as he's the person controlling the flow of information but when he loses that control he's threatening to use the same sort of legal tactics that we all despise from the IP cartel.


Submission + - Man Arrested for Exploiting Error in Slot Machines ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: A man awaiting trial in Pennsylvania was arrested by Federal agents on Jan. 4, and accused of exploiting a software "glitch" within slot machines in order to win payouts. The exploit may have allowed the man to obtain more than a million dollars from casinos in Pennsylvania and Nevada, and officials say they are investigating to see if he used the method elsewhere. The accused stated that "I'm being arrested federally for winning on a slot machine. Let everybody see the surveillance tapes. I pressed buttons on the machine on the casino. That's all I did.".

Apparently, slot machine software errors are fairly common, as witnessed in these stories:

The lesson here seems to be that casinos can deny you a slot machine win any time they wish by claiming software errors, and if you find an error that you can exploit, you may find yourself on Federal charges for doing so.


Submission + - First SoC With WebM (VP8) Acceleration Launches (

Blacklaw writes: Support for Google's open-source VP8 video codec received a boost today, with Chinese fabless semiconductor firm Rockchip announcing the RK2918 CPU — the first SoC to include hardware VP8 acceleration on-chip.
The chip, designed for mobile Internet devices, portable media players, and tablets, is based around an ARM Cortex-A8 processing core running at speeds of up to 1.2GHz and featuring 512KB of L2 cache and the powerful NEON SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) engine. As well as support for hardware decoding of H.264, RealVideo, WMV, AVS, H.264, and MPEG4 video at resolutions up to 1080p, the chip adds full decoding acceleration for Google's open-source VP8 video codec — the first system-on-chip design to include such support, despite murmurs from x86 giant Intel that support might be added to future Atom chips.


Submission + - 2010: The Year We Lost Free Use of Our Money (

frontwave writes: I can’t believe that in a free society we can no longer use our money to support an organization that promotes free speech and abhors secrecy.

I’m really concerned with the public complacency about the recent blocking of donations to Wikileaks by the biggest bank in the US: Bank of America, one of the leading credit card companies: Mastercard and the largest online payment provider: PayPal.

I don’t completely agree with Wikileaks' actions but, as of today, no lawsuit has been filed against the organization in any court of law, it has not been declared by any country or international organization as a terrorist group, and there is no court order anywhere in the world to freeze their bank accounts. But if I try to go to BoA with my money, and I ask them to make a wire transfer to Wikileaks account in Switzerland, they will refuse to do it.

Their PayPal account has been suspended, and Mr. Osama Bedier, a PayPal Vice President, explaining his company’s decision, said, “on Nov. 27, the State Department — the U.S. government, basically — wrote a letter saying the WikiLeaks activities were deemed illegal in the United States.” However that letter from the State Department did not argue that publication of the documents by WikiLeaks, or any media organization, would be illegal. Instead, it says that the documents “were provided in violation of U.S. law” to WikiLeaks, which means that the State Department considered the original leak of the documents to Mr. Assange’s organization to have been a criminal act.

"We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty." — John F. Kennedy

Submission + - VOIP now technically illegal in China (

ironfrost writes: A recent ruling by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has declared that VOIP services are illegal, except for the ones operated by state-owned telecom operators China Telecom and China Unicom. According to the article, "the decision is expected to make Skype, UUCall and other similar services unavailable in China", and is widely seen as a way to protect the traditional telecom operators' profits. Here's a more in-depth story in Chinese (Google Translate version).

Comment Power kites towing a train around a track? (Score 1) 252

Large stationary wind turbines are all the rage currently but how about a very large railroad loop/oval 10 or 20 miles set across the prevailing winds and use big computer control kites to tow the train creating power? You see kite sailing catching on and power kites to reduce fuel consumption on sea going vessels. Why not Kites?

IBM's Pilot Program For Internal Use of Macs 257

geoffrobinson writes "Roughly Drafted has obtained internal IBM documents detailing the results of a small pilot program for internal use of Macs. Positive and negative results were detailed, but overall most participants were happy with their Mac experience. The pilot will be expanded this year. One advantage cited: less reliance on Windows. So it seems a mix of Macs, PCs, and Linux boxes are in IBM's future. Given the history between IBM and Microsoft, this is quite interesting."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - What a dumb a year it's been!

An anonymous reader writes: Fortune's "101 Dumbest Moments in Business" is out for 2007. And what a banner year it has been! Everything from CEO excesses (playing *LOTS* of golf while Merrill Lynch posts the first quarterly loss ever), fancy restaurants with expensive desserts (then the restaurant fails health inspection), sleazy business practices (e.g., Best Buy setting up an in-store web server with higher priced specials), and loads of hilariously defective or just plain unlucky technological stuff (e.g., 365 Main's 3-backup power failure). Apparently you can't be charged with DUI in New Jersey if you are driving a Zamboni (who knew?). Oh, and of course, there's Comcast's surprise porn.

Submission + - Lets all do the Samba! Merry Christmas! (

The Open Sourcerer writes: "Fantastic! The EU vs. Microsoft litigation that finished a couple of months ago has finally bourne fruit. The Samba team now have royalty free access to the protocol documentation for Windows Workgroup protocols. Read the full story over on Groklaw. Big thanks are due to PJ for keeping the pressure on the EU so its judgement provided a way for Microsoft to deliver their protocol specs without encumbering users and developers with Patent restrictions and licenses. Merry Christmas — This is a BIG deal for the Open Source Community and what a great way to finish what has been a pretty stonking year for OSS in general."
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Mac Intel Virtualization Benchmarking

An anonymous reader writes: MacTech has a write up on the differences between booting Windows XP in the three different options on an Intel-based Mac. They benchmark Parallels, VMware Fusion and Bootcamp. They come to surprising results in the virtualized options with Parallels on top of VMware's Fusion. In some cases the virtualized OS was faster than the bare metal.

Submission + - Google Mashup and Web 2.0 storage solutions (

BlueVoodoo writes: "Google Maps API along with DB2 or Informix, PHP, JavaScript, and XML let you create an easy-to-use map with your data on it. Use custom icons, change the map type, create a sidebar, and use event handlers. Once created, manage your mashup data cache. Also, be sure to check out how you can use new Web 2.0 tools, principles, and practices in your company."
The Media

Submission + - Talking to Scoble gets a guy fired

netbuzz writes: "An interview subject on the ScobleShow — hosted by former Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble — has been fired for talking to the press without the permission of his company's public relations department. Certainly not a first, but it does open the door for a discussion about corporate communications and the press in an era of employee blogs and calls for more transparency. Scoble says one lesson he has taken from the episode is to be sure to ask interview subjects beforehand if they've received permission to talk. He won't find many journalists following that advice — and for good reason. 4"

Slashdot Top Deals

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.