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


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Submission + - Saudi Free Speech Campaign Goes Online

cultrhetor writes: "Following the arrest of ten Saudi activists involved in circulating a petition in favor of protecting freedom of expression, fellow reform advocates have posted the petition online, according to a BBC news article posted today. According to the article, By placing their petition on the internet, the Saudi activists are taking an enormous risk. From the article:

The petition calls for elections in which both men and women would be allowed to vote.
The signatories want freedom of expression to be protected by law and they want the powers of the interior ministry curtailed.
But the Saudi authorities have made it clear they will not tolerate public calls for political change.
What do you think? Can the Internet be use effectively to change policy in truly authoritarian governments?"

Submission + - Cisco WebVPN & Firefox 2.0 vulnerability

An anonymous reader writes: Problem description: The Cisco VPN 3000 / ASA series hangs when a user
uploads a large file to a CIFS share using WebVPN and Firefox 2.0.

1) Configuration needed
- configure your Cisco VPN for NT or ActiveDirectory authentication
- enable WebVPN access
- allow access to CIFS shares over WebVPN

2) Steps that will cause the VPN to hang
- Access WebVPN by https using Firefox 2.0 (Win32)
- login using NT/ActiveDirectory credidentials
- upload a large file (>10MB) to a CIFS share

The VPN/ASA hangs with 100% CPU within 30 seconds. Power cycle required! SNMP queries during the upload can speed up the lockup. This works with Cisco VPN 4.7.2 and recent ASA 55xx versions.

The problem has been reported to Cisco in October 2006. Internal BugID: CSCsh59317 The bug is severe but has not been published.

IT Departments Fear Growing Expertise of Users 499

flatfilsoc recommends a long article in CIO magazine on users who know too much and the IT leaders who fear them. Dubbing the universe of consumer technology the "shadow IT department," the article highlights the extent to which the boundary between users' workplace and home have broken down. It notes the increasing clash — familiar to anyone who works in a company with an IT department — between users' home-grown productivity boosters and IT's mandate to protect corporate data. The inherent tendency of the IT department to want to crack down and control technology that it doesn't supply should be resisted at all costs, according to CIO. The article outlines strategies for co-existence. It just might persuade some desperate CIO somewhere not to embark on a career-limiting path of decreeing against gmail and IM.
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Surgical success linked to skill at video games

mjh writes: According to The Guardian, "A study has found a direct link between skill at video gaming and skill at keyhole, or laparoscopic, surgery. Young surgeons who spent at least three hours a week playing video games in the past made 37% fewer errors, were 27% faster, and scored 42% better overall than surgeons who had never played a video game at all." The sample size they quote seems rather small, but it suggests that Steven Johnson might be right.
Internet Explorer

Submission + - IE7 No longer a critical update?

Gene K writes: While running a handful of newly-installed machines by Windows Update today, I noticed that the Internet Explorer 7 'critical update' is no longer listed. Is this simply an oversight or has Microsoft finally buckled in the face of incompatibility?
User Journal

Journal Journal: Drug patents threatening cheap drugs

This was a story I tried to submit but was rejected by Slashdot's editorial staff. Not grousing, saving my composition here for posterity, as I do with other of my rejected stories.

iTunes Uncovers Musical Hoax 311

holy_calamity writes "The reliance by iTunes on the CDDB has burst open a musical fraud in the usually staid world of classical piano. Albums by the much vaunted British pianist Joyce Hatto, who died in June 2006, are identified by the iTunes player as belonging to other performers. A more scientific analysis by an audio remastering firm has found that none of Hatto's works appear to be hers. Her husband, who produced all her albums, says he 'cannot explain' the similarities."

Submission + - Vista's RAM sweet spot: 4GB

jcatcw writes: David Short, an IBM consultant who works in the Global Services Divison and has been beta testing Vista for two years, says users should consider 4GB of RAM if they really want optimum Vista performance. With Vista's minimum requirement of 512MB of RAM, Vista will deliver performance that's 'sub-XP,' he says. (Dell and others recommend 2GB.) One reason: SuperFetch, which fetches applications and data, and feeds them into RAM to make them accessible more quickly. With more RAM, there's more caching.
Operating Systems

Submission + - The Open Source in Mac OS X Server

DECS writes: Apple has used open source to rapidly build a server business after its previous efforts fell flat in the mid 90s. Open Source in Mac OS X Server explains how Apple balances its commercial and open developments, why the criticism of Apple's Darwin project is inevitable, and how open source has fueled rapid progress in five versions of Mac OS X Server.

Longhorn Server Will Stress Virtualization 101

Rob writes in with an article from CBROnline based on an interview with Microsoft's UK server director. He says the timing of the release of the next version of Microsoft's server OS, dubbed Longhorn, depends on the company getting virtualization ready to go. Microsoft has apparently decided to embed its hypervisor technology into Windows, an OS-centric approach to virtualization shared by XenSource Inc., its open-source rival and partner. This contrasts with the model of virtualizing the hardware layer being pursued by VMWare. The Microsoft spokesman is coy about a release date for Longhorn, saying it could be earlier or it could be later (but it should be in 2007).

Submission + - Google: "Screw PC's...Cell phones are the next

rnjonjo writes: "Bangalore, India — Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vinton Cerf predicted that cellphones, not PCs, will fuel growth of the Net as countries like India snap up millions of handsets monthly. From 50 million in 1997, the number of people who have logged onto the Internet has exploded to nearly 1.1 billion, Cerf, who is considered one of the founding fathers of the Internet, said. Yet, the Internet only reaches a sixth of the world's population, Cerf told reporters during a visit to this southern city, known as India's Silicon Valley, where Google has a research and development facility. "You will get those other 5.5 billion people only when affordability increases and the cost of communication goes down," said Cerf, 63, who joined Google in 2005. "The mobile phone has become an important factor in the Internet revolution." The silver-bearded scientist, dressed in a three-piece suit for a presentation on the Internet, is hearing-impaired and had to read the lips of reporters who asked him questions. Cerf, a winner of the Alexander Graham Bell award, said one of the reasons he started working on the Internet project was to give the hearing impaired an instant tool to communicate. Worldwide there are 2.5 billion cellphone users, whose numbers are growing rapidly in developing countries led by China and India, the world's most populous countries, Cerf said in his presentation. India, a country of 1.1 billion people, alone is adding seven million cellphone users a month, a powerful enough lure for British telecom giant Vodafone to pay $11.1 billion for a controlling stake in local mobile firm Hutch-Essar this month. Handset manufacturers and mobile-phone companies are offering an array of Internet-enabled features and services including payment and navigation systems while dropping charges under the pressure of growing competition that will bring many of the new subscribers to the Internet, Cerf said. "There are an enormous number of applications available on mobiles," said Cerf, who's responsible for identifying new technologies and applications on the Internet for Google. Google has rapidly expanded its research and service offices in the country at the cities of Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai besides Bangalore, but Cerf said he has been visiting India since the early 1990s to understand its tech scene. The company wants to tap the talent of Indian engineers to innovate technologies and widen its range of services, said Cerf. India is estimated to have 40 million people online, a meager 3.5 percent of its vast population, he said, adding Google will focus on local languages, culture, content and delivery of new business models to widen the reach of the Internet. Cerf was the co-designer with Robert Kahn of the basic architecture of the Internet. In 2005, they both received the highest civilian honor bestowed in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which recognized that their work on the software code used to transmit data across the Internet has put them "at the forefront of a digital revolution that has transformed global commerce, communication and entertainment." The Internet has brought access to the world's information to users, introduced new business models, education services, ushered in a new advertising medium and enabled consumers to become producers, Cerf said. It also has brought spam mail, computer viruses and worms, misinformation, fraud and social abuse, he conceded in his presentation. "This is a mirror to the population that uses it," the scientist said. But Cerf's interests aren't limited to the Internet. He enjoys fine wine, gourmet cooking and science fiction, said Prasad Ram, who heads Google's Indian research facility."

Submission + - When IT security gets physical

ancientribe writes: A social engineering firm is forced to actually steal the laptop of a technology-savvy suspected employee-gone-bad to investigate his actions for a large corporate client, and things get physical — literally, as they wrestle over the machine, according to this column in Dark Reading. Steve Stasiukonis, vice president and founder of Secure Network Technologies, recounts the sting operation that led to a scuffle, as well as getting the goods on the culprit. 531&WT.svl=tease3_2

Submission + - Scientist make quantum encryption breakthrough

Madas writes: "Scientists working in Cambridge, England have managed to make quantum encryption completely secure by putting decoy pulses in the key transmission stream. According to the story this paves the way for safe, encrypted high-speed data links. Could this allow completely private transmission of data away from snooping eyes and ears? Or will it mean film studios can stop movies from being copied when travelling on the internet?"

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