Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Submission + - ZXX: A Font to Annoy the NSA 1

timothy writes: NOTE: THIS MIGHT BE AN OK QUICKIE ON AN NSA STORY, OR ABBREVIATED ...

Edward Snowden isn't the only former NSA contractor who should annoy the agency ("No Secrets Allowed" remains my favorite expansion of the TLA): Reason reports that Sang Mun has created a font called ZXX: 'The font is named after the Library of Congress code ZXX, which labels a document as containing “no linguistic content.” The goal is to make the contents of a document unreadable by text scanning software while still being intelligible to a human reader.' This is probably more of an awareness-raising art project than an important privacy tool (not that raising awareness is a bad thing); I'd like to see a dynamically changing font along the same lines."
http://reason.com/archives/2013/09/14/a-font-to-discourage-nsa-snooping

Submission + - Afghanistan is offline ... for now (foxnews.com)

Velcroman1 writes: Imagine living in a country where only 3.5 percent of the population use the Internet. When you ask a neighbor about Facebook, they give you a confused look. Posting a status update on Twitter is a foreign concept, and most citizens still rely on printed newspapers and radio reports. That’s life in Afghanistan today, where only 1.5 million people (out of 30M) have Internet access. A new National Social Media Summit intends to change that trend. To be held September 22 to 23 in Kabul, and featuring some 200 speakers, the event will promote the use of social media as a way to not only discuss current news, but to make news. The summit, called Paiwand (or Unity), aims to boost Net use further. It will break out into several themes including social media and government transparency, new media trends and emerging tech.

Submission + - Motorola uses NFC to enable touch-to-unlock for smartphones (networkworld.com)

smaxp writes: The next best thing to a password pill, the Motorola Skip can both bolster a smartphone's security and make it more convenient to use.

Earlier this year, Motorola’s head of advanced technologies Regina Dugan discussed an alternative to the increasingly vulnerable password method for authentication – a “password pill” that would store credentials within the user’s body.

It makes sense, then, for Motorola to introduce a non-invasive version. The Skip, a magnetized clip that can be worn on clothes without the intrusiveness of a password pill, looks like a derivative of the password pill research, providing strong authentication with simplicity of operation. It’s based on NFC technology, the same technology used to secure contactless payments and building access.

Submission + - SkyOS Beta is Now Public and Free To Download 2

Lose writes: SkyOS halted development in 2009 after the lone remaining developer Robert Szeleney noted SkyOS development could not keep pace with the rate at which hardware and technology was advancing. Now, after 4 years of near radio silence, Szeleney has quietly made the decision to make the latest beta build of SkyOS freely availible for download.

It was made publicly available earlier this month, to little media attention. No direct indication regarding whether the operating system would resume active development was given.

Submission + - The Amazon rainforest wants its TLD back from Amazon.com (mongabay.com)

terrancem writes: The Seattle-based Amazon.com has applied for its brand to be a generic top-level domain name (.amazon), but South American governments argue this would prevent the use of this internet address for environmental protection, the promotion of indigenous rights and other public interest uses. Along with dozens of other disputed claims to names including ".patagonia" and ".shangrila", the issue cuts to the heart of debates about the purpose and governance of the internet.

Submission + - How Ray Kurzweil Will Help Google Make the Ultimate AI Brain (wired.com)

anavictoriasaavedra writes: Over at Wired there's an interesting interview with Ray Kurzweill. He speculates the gap between natural language and computer understanding of it will be closed by 2029. When asked if the problem can be reduced to hardware and software, Kurzweill replies: 'There are both hardware and software requirements. I believe we actually are very close to having the requisite software techniques. Partly this is being assisted by understanding how the human brain works, and we’re making exponential gains there. We can now see inside a living brain and see individual inter-neural connections being formed and firing in real time. We can see your brain create your thoughts and thoughts create your brain. A lot of this research reveals how the mechanism of the neocortex works, which is where we do our thinking. This provides biologically inspired methods that we can emulate in our computers. We’re already doing that. Using these biologically inspired models, plus all of the research that’s been done over the decades in artificial intelligence, combined with exponentially expanding hardware, we will achieve human levels within two decades'.

Submission + - Hackers could abuse electric car chargers to cripple the grid, researchers say (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: Hackers could use vulnerable charging stations to prevent the charging of electric vehicles in a certain area, or possibly even use the vulnerabilities to cripple parts of the electricity grid, a security researcher said during the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam on Thursday. While electric cars and EV charging systems are still in their infancy, they could become a more common way to travel within the next 10 years. If that happens, it is important that the charging systems popping up in cities around the world are secure in order to prevent attackers from accessing and tempering with them, said Ofer Shezaf, of HP ArcSight. At the moment, they are not secure at all, he said.

Submission + - 'Secretbook' Lets You Encode Hidden Messages in Your Facebook Pics

tad001 writes: There is a story up on Wired about encoding messages into your Facebook pics. We know about the practice of concealing messages inside computer files (steganography) but hiding things in Facebook pictures is hard because they compress the image.

For now only Chrome users can a have a browser extension (released this week by 21-year-old Oxford University computer science student and former Google intern Owen-Campbell Moore) that will work.
IT

Submission + - It's twilight for small in-house data centers (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Virtualization, cloud services and software-as-a-service (SaaS) is making it much easier to shift IT infrastructure operations to service providers, and that is exactly what many users are doing. Service providers are growing dramatically. Of the new data center space being built in the U.S., service providers accounted for about 13% of it last year, but by 2017 they will be responsible for more than 30% of this new space, says IDC. "We are definitely seeing a trend away from in-house data centers toward external data centers, external provisioning," said Gartner analyst Jon Hardcastle. Among those planning for a transition is the University of Kentucky's CIO, who wants to reduce his data center footprint by half to two thirds. He expects in three to five years service provider pricing models "will be very attractive to us and allow us to take most of our computing off of our data center." IT managers says a big reason for the shift is IT pros don't want to work in data centers at small-to-mid size firms that can't offer them a career path. Hank Seader, managing principal of the Uptime Institute, said that it takes a "certain set of legacy skills, a certain commitment to the less than glorious career fields to make data centers work, and it's hard to find people to do it."

Submission + - Meet the man who sold his fate to investors at $1 per share (wired.com)

RougeFemme writes: This is a fascinating story about a man who sold shares in himself, primarily to fund his start-up ideas. He ran into the same issues that companies run into when taking on corporate funding — except that in his case, the decisions made by his shareholders bled over into his personal life. This incuded his relationship with his now ex-girlfriend, who became a shareholder activist over the issue of whether or not he should have a vasectomy. The experiment continues.

Submission + - Fewer Children Mean Longer Life? (sciencedaily.com)

UppercaseM writes: New research into ageing processes, based on modern genetic techniques, confirms theoretical expectations about the correlation between reproduction and lifespan. Studies of birds reveal that those that have offspring later in life and have fewer broods live longer. And the decisive factor is telomeres, shows research from The University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Google

Submission + - Google leads white-space trial in South Africa (eetimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google is working with television white-space pioneer Neul Ltd. to use the television spectrum to provide broadband connectivity to schools in South Africa.
The Internet

Submission + - Undersea Cable Re-Routed to Connect Remote Island (ahumanright.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A Human Right has successfully lobbied infrastructure company eFive to modify the planned route of a 10,000 km long undersea cable connecting Africa to South America. The 4,200 people on the island of St. Helena, one of the most isolated places in the world, will be getting high speed Internet access.

Previously, the route missed the island by a mere 500 km, which would have been a lost opportunity for an island with limited connectivity. With the support of advocates in St. Helena, A Human Right launched the “Move This Cable, Connect St. Helena” campaign in January of 2012. The initiative was brought to the floor of the UK Parliament, and ultimately to the attention of the leadership at eFive.

Hardware

Submission + - How to add 5.5 petabytes and get banned from Costco during a hard drive crisis (gigaom.com)

concealment writes: "“We buy lots and lots of hard drives . . . . [They] are the single biggest cost in the entire company.”

Those are the words of Backblaze Founder and CEO Gleb Budman, whose company offers unlimited cloud backup for just $5 a month, and fills 50TB worth of new storage a day in its custom-built, open source pod architecture. So one might imagine the cloud storage startup was pretty upset when flooding in Thailand caused a global shortage on internal hard drives last year.

Backblaze details much the process in a Tuesday-morning blog post, including the hijinks that followed as the company got creative trying to figure out ways around the new hard drive limits. Maps were drawn, employees were cut off from purchasing hard drives at Costco — both in-person throughout Silicon Valley and online (despite some great efforts to avoid detection, such as paying for hard drives online using gift cards) — and friends and family across the country were conscripted into a hard-drive-buying army."

Printer

Submission + - Cornell Unveils Working 3D Food Printer (cornell.edu)

An anonymous reader writes: The Cornell Creative Machines Lab has invented a 3-D printer that not only allows you to print food, but lets you create almost any design imaginable with your favorite ingredients. Working with experts from the French Culinary Institute, Cornell’s new technology may soon be available for chefs and home use, allowing enterprising cooks to customize new and interesting dishes with healthier ingredients.

Slashdot Top Deals

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.

Working...