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Submission + - Skype TOS Change Leaks New Video Messaging Feature (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "If an update to Skype's terms of service is to be believed, the rumored video messaging service is about to become reality for Skype Premium subscribers: 'If you are a Skype Premium subscriber you can ... send and receive an unlimited number of Video Messages and any Video Messages you send and/or receive shall have no expiry date,' the terms of service read."
Privacy

Submission + - FTC Bars Ad Firm From Snooping Browser History (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "Score 1 for online privacy. The Federal Trade Commission and online ad firm Epic Marketplace have reached a settlement that will bar Epic from using browser history sniffing technology. According to the news report, 'The history sniffing allowed Epic to determine whether a consumer had visited more than 54,000 domains, including pages relating to fertility issues, impotence, menopause, incontinence, disability insurance, credit repair, debt relief, and personal bankruptcy. Epic used the tracking to send targeted ads related to several health issues, the FTC said.'"
Google

Submission + - Google's Schmidt: Patent Wars Harm Startups (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: "Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt opened up to The Wall Street Journal in a Dec. 4 interview. Among the topics covered: the status of his company’s ongoing patent war with Apple, as well as its attempts to make the Android mobile operating system more of a revenue giant. In Schmidt’s mind, startups have the most to lose in the current patent wars: “There’s a young [Android co-founder] Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That’s the real consequence of this.”"
Android

Submission + - New Smartphone Malware Designed to Steal Your Life

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Neal Ungerleider writes about PlaceRaider, a trojan that can run in the background of any phone running Android 2.3 or above, and is hidden in a photography app that gives PlaceRaider the necessary permissions to access the camera and upload images. Once installed, PlaceRaider quietly takes pictures at random that are tagged with the time, location, and orientation of the phone while muting the phone's shutter sound. Once pictures are taken, PlaceRaider uploads them to a central server where they are knitted together into a 3D model of the indoor location where the pics were taken. A malicious user can then browse this space looking for objects worth stealing and sensitive data such as credit card details, identity data or calender details that reveal when the user might be away. If a user's credit card, bank information, or personal information happen to be out in the open — all the better. — the software can identify financial data, bar codes, and QR codes. End users will also be able to get the full layout of a victim's office or room. The good news? PlaceRaider isn't out in the wild yet. The malware was built as an academic exercise by a team at Indiana University as a proof of concept to show the invasive potential of visual malware beyond simple photo or video uploads and demonstrate how to turn an individual's mobile device against himself (PDF), creating an advanced surveillance platform capable of reconstructing the user's physical environment for exploration and exploitation. "The message is clear — this kind of malware is a clear and present danger. It's only a matter of time before this game of cat and mouse becomes more serious.""
Data Storage

Submission + - Hitachi's Waterproof Glass 'Disk' Can Store Data Forever (inhabitat.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Hitachi has developed a simple square of glass that may hold the key to the vexing problem of storing data indefinably. The technology prints a binary series of dots upon a sliver of quartz glass, which can then be easily read with a common microscope. It sounds simple enough, and that is exactly the point – the data can be easily accessed no matter what the future technologies of the digital age bring. Even better, the data is safe from fire, chemicals, and water – almost anything, except perhaps a hammer.
Open Source

Submission + - Malicious phpMyAdmin Served From SourceForge Mirror (net-security.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A malicious version of the open source Web-based MySQL database administration tool phpMyAdmin has been discovered on one of the official mirror sites of SourceForge, the popular online code repository for free and open source software.

The file — phpMyAdmin-3.5.2.2-all-languages.zip — was modified to include a backdoor that allowed attackers to remotely execute PHP code on the server running the malicious version of phpMyAdmin.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Explaining Version Control to Non-Techincal People 2

billius writes: I was recently hired (along with another guy) as a web developer at a large university. Our job is to build tools to support the social science researchers on our team. When I got here the codebase was an unholy mess: the formatting was terrible, there were .bak files scattered everywhere and there was no version control system in place. We quickly went to work cleaning things up and implementing new features. My boss was so pleased with our work that she took us out to lunch. During lunch, she asked us if there were any additional tools we needed to do our job more efficiently. We both told her that version control was an invaluable tool for any kind of software development, but had a difficult time describing to her what exactly version control was. I attempted to explain that it created a log of all the changes made to the code and allowed us to make sure that multiple developers working on the same project would not step on each other’s toes. I don’t think we really got through to her and a few weeks passed with us hearing nothing. Today we were asked by another supervisor if we needed any additional tools and we went through the same spiel about version control. She suggested that we try to write up a brief description of what we wanted and how much it would cost, but I’m drawing a blank an how exactly to describe version control to a person who isn’t very technical, let alone a developer. Does anyone out there have any tips on how to sell version control to management?
NASA

Submission + - Milky Way is Surrounded by Halo of Hot Gas (spaceindustrynews.com)

littlesparkvt writes: Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was used to estimate that the mass of the halo is comparable to the mass of all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. If the size and mass of this gas halo is confirmed, it could be the solution to the ”missing-baryon” problem for the Galaxy.
Cloud

Submission + - NYTimes Indictment of Data Centers Misses Big Picture (informationweek.com)

CowboyRobot writes: "InformationWeek has an editorial disputing the New York Times' recent assertion that data centers are wasteful and polluting. Among the numerous flaws in the Times' argument are that "the first part of the story describes an aging, mixed-system data center straight out of the 1980s or 1990s," that no distinction is made between the enterprise IT manager and cloud data center creator, and perhaps most importantly, that although computing-driven electricity consumption is going up, consumption per computing action is going down. "Nowhere does the Times address this salient point. Instead, it concludes we are doing a lot more computing and, therefore, we are all guilty of driving environmental degradation. If you're going to reform the world, you need to build a better soapbox than this.""
Space

Submission + - The deepest picture of the Universe ever taken: the Hubble Extreme Deep Field

The Bad Astronomer writes: "Astronomers have unveiled what may be the deepest image of the Universe ever created: the Hubble Extreme Deep Field, a 2 million second exposure that reveals galaxies over 13 billion light years away. The faintest galaxies in the images are at magnitude 31, or one-ten-billionth as bright as the faintest object your naked eye can detect. Some are seen as they were when they were only 500 million years old."

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