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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 8 declined, 1 accepted (9 total, 11.11% accepted)

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Submission + - Jacob Applebaum apparently exonerated

MrNaz writes: In the past few days we have heard the accusations against key Tor developer and advocate Jacob Applebaum made by Emerson Tan, Meredith Patterson, and Andrea Shepard, that they witnessed Jacob engaged in sexual misconduct. Following these accusations, the Tor mailing list quickly split into two, with those supporting Jacob accusing the other side of being a lynch mob, and those supporting Jake's accusers labeling his supporters apologists of rape.

It turns out that the girl that was witnessed with Jacob is a long time friend of his, and has released a statement which apparently exonerates Jacob. From the article:

I recall Tan approaching me, asking me if Jacob was harassing me. I said he wasn’t. Nevertheless, Tan dragged me away and immediately started talking intensely to Jake. At that point I decided to leave, since my friend was waiting for me. I walked him to his hotel, which was only a couple of blocks away.

So where does the Slashdot community stand on this? Is this a sign that the community is developing a healthy disdain for sexual misconduct, or a reflection of the fact that we need to reign in uninformed kneejerk reactions and vigilantism?

Submission + - The sorry state of Android backup

MrNaz writes: Android has been around for 8 years, and is now in a fairly mature state. Yet, there is still no official or even unofficial simple backup method that The Average User can be pointed to. Contact lists, calendar data and other items that are deeply ingrained in the Google platform are easy as they sync seamlessly, however that's about where it stops. SMS/MMS content is difficult and flaky to backup and restore as the plethora of apps each have their own gotchas relating to things like multi-part SMSes, non-Latin characters, or message limits. The most commonly cited simple backup tool, Helium, which claims to be "the missing app sync and backup solution for Android", does not back up MMSes nor apps where the developer has flagged they don't want to allow backups. Absurdly, it also does not back up app data which is almost the entire point of backups. I can re-download all my apps from the Play Store anyway. Google has built an app data backup mechanism into the platform, but it is up to the developers of individual apps to use it. Or not, if they can't be bothered. Some apps have their own mechanism, such as WhatsApp, which backs up to Google Drive. However, when restoring, it's hit or miss whether it will detect the presence of a backup, and if it does not, there is no way to force it to recheck after the first startup. Titanium Backup has a UI that is so imposing that I don't recommend it to any but the most confident of technical experts. I'm no Apple fan, but backing up or cloning an iDevice is a joy. So what's the deal? Why is this seemingly core feature still missing from the Android ecosystem?

Submission + - What is the future of desktop applications?

MrNaz writes: Over the last fifteen years or so, we have seen the dynamic web mature rapidly. The functionality of dynamic web sites has expanded from the mere display of dynamic information to fully fledged applications rivaling the functionality and aesthetics of desktop applications. Google Docs, MS Office 365, and Pixlr Express provide in-browser functionality that, in bygone years, was the preserve of desktop applications.

The rapid deployment of high speed internet access, fiber to the home, cable and other last-mile technologies, even in developing nations, means that the problem of needing offline access to functionality is becoming more and more a moot point. It is also rapidly doing away with the problem of lengthy load times for bulky web code.

My question is this: Is this trend a progression to the ultimate conclusion where the browser becomes the operating system and our physical hardware becomes little more than a web appliance? Or is it the case that this trend has an upper limit, and that there will always remain a place where desktop applications are more appropriate than applications delivered in a browser? If so, where does this limit lie? What factors should software vendors take into consideration when deciding whether to build new functionality on the web or into desktop applications?

Submission + - How to educate government agencies about security?

MrNaz writes: Here in Australia we are supposed to have one of the most IT heavy health care systems in the world. Yet, over the years, the general lack of IT savvy has been a problem I have butted up against repeatedly. For example, I was recently involved in a government program which required sending a list of certain patients to a government department for processing. The list had patient names, addresses, Medicare numbers and a few other details. In the instructions that I received from the department, I was instructed to generate the list as a MS Excel file, and then password protect it before burning it to a CD and mailing it. Now, we all know the folly of relying on Excel passwords to protect lost CDs from becoming an ID thief's wet dream, but how to educate the government about this? Anyway, how does this even happen? When deciding on a procedure, whichever suited bureaucrat came up with the idea could have and should have at least consulted the IT guy down the hall. How can we instill a practice whereby decision makers at least bring it up with someone in the know before making an on-the-spot decision that could result in disaster?
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - DIY Production Server?

MrNaz writes: "We need to build a file server with very specific physical dimensions. We do not have a lot of space to play with, and the weight must also be kept to a bare minimum. Server cases, especially those with 8 or more HDD bays, are far too heavy for our application. After about 30 minutes of musing constructing my own chassis from sheets of PVC, I realized that what I was contemplating amounted an ill-conceived combination of backyard DIY and deploying a server into a production environment. It seemed like a terrible idea, but for no specific reason. Having built countless PCs and servers over the years I am thoroughly familiar with thermal management issues and the importance of protection against dust and other foreign matter and have even dealt extensively with noise reduction, but perhaps there are aspects of case construction that I am not familiar with. So I thought I'd ask the Slashdot community; Are there any reasons that building a server box like this is a bad idea? Has anyone in the Slashdot crowd built their own production server box like this?"
Data Storage

Submission + - Online multi user file sharing and sync

MrNaz writes: "For personal and work use, I have 2 laptops and a desktop. All of them are dual boot Windows and Linux, and I also have several VMs that I use. I want to be able to access my files from any of these machines and OSes. I've given up on maintaining a synchronized file repository, as it gets too convoluted when this many sources of change exist. So I've decided to move all my documents to be primarily stored online. At the moment, under Linux, I'm mounting a remote directory using SSHFS, and under Windows I'm mounting it using WebDrive. These solutions work, however I'm looking for a more scalable way to do this so if I wanted to provide remote file spaces for, say, 10,000 users, I could. So I ask Slashdot: What are the options for a scalable, secure remote file hosting platform that is seamless to the OS, easy for the end user and completely open source? Bonus points if there is a way to maintain local copies for offline work, and then sync with the server easily while providing an effective conflict resolution mechanism."

Submission + - Misrepresenting science for good? (

MrNaz writes: "I recently received an email from the WWF asking for donations to help pandas affected by the recent earthquake in China. While I both support the mission of the WWF as well as the need for generosity in the face of natural disasters, I find myself offended by the misrepresentation of the facts of the scenario. Is the general level of education really so poor that the average person would be fooled by such a blatant play on emotion? Am I being reasonable in my quest for intellectual honesty or should I just allow white lies like this to pass given that the cause is admirable?"

Submission + - A journey in i18n

MrNaz writes: "I have recently been doing a lot of work in i18n, and have become more and more frustrated by just how badly it is currently done on the web and in software in general. I have decided to share my experiences in this area in the hope that other developers may be inspired to pay more attention to this increasingly important aspect of software development."

Submission + - The most amazing Chuck Norris fact ever! (

MrNaz writes: "Chuck Norris facts have been circulating the Interwebs for some time now. Given that the only ones that really get around are those that are the most extreme and outrageous, it would seem obvious that they are a gag. However, Le Chuck has now decided that it is necessary to sue somebody to ensure that people aren't falsely duped into thinking that his tears cure cancer or that his sidekick is not capable of altering the Earth's orbit. Chuck Norris Fact 37,342: Chuck Norris is so awe-inspiring that he has to sue to make sure people don't think these facts are true!"

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