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Submission + - "Throttling" Broadband Provided Sued in Australia (

destinyland writes: Optus has been severely throttling users who exceed a download quota, according to ZDNet — down from 100Mbps to 64Kbps — and it's drawn attention from federal regulators. Optus's ad campaign promises "supersonic" speeds, and one technology blog notes that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission "isn’t happy about Optus’ sensationalist claims, which it's sure breaches the Trade Practices Act." Australia's trade commission called the practice "misleading or deceptive," and the broadband provider now has a date in court next month, the second one since a June hearing over "unlimited" voice and data plans that actually had usage caps.

Submission + - There really is a "stupid" gene (

overshoot writes: Researchers have discovered a gene in mice that reduces the ability to learn and remember. When researchers produced mice without the RGS14 gene, they were better able to remember objects they'd previously encountered and were quicker to learn mazes. Humans also have RGS14, so science has confirmed what we've always joked about: there really is a "stupid gene."

Deleting Certain Gene Makes Mice Smarter 259

An anonymous reader writes "Deleting a certain gene in mice can make them smarter by unlocking a mysterious region of the brain considered to be relatively inflexible, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found. Mice with a disabled RGS14 gene are able to remember objects they'd explored and learn to navigate mazes better than regular mice, suggesting that RGS14's presence limits some forms of learning and memory."

Submission + - Second major hole in Linux being exploited in wild

quartertime writes: CVE-2010-3081, this week's second high-profile local root exploit in the Linux kernel has been quite a doozy! The bug affects all 64-bit kernels going back to 2.6.26 (and was also backported into RHEL 5's 2.6.18 kernel) and wasn't fixed until last week — shortly before "Ac1db1tch3z" published code to let any local user become root. The exploit works on most versions of Red Hat, Debian and Ubuntu. Several vendors, including Ubuntu and Debian but not Red Hat, have rushed out new kernels to address this bug over the last 2 days. Red Hat's recommended workaround, it turns out, didn't actually close the hole — it just makes the published exploit not work. And Ac1db1tch3z's exploit is more malicious than your typical demo exploit: it leaves a backdoor behind for itself to exploit later even if the hole is patched. Hot-updates vendor Ksplice wrote a tool to see if your system has the backdoor installed (meaning you've been exploited) and has rushed out a "rebootless" patch to plug the hole in advance of Red Hat's own fix.

(Today's earlier article on the H-Online on CVE-2010-3301 incorrectly refers to the workaround Red Hat has recommended for CVE-2010-3081 as a workaround for CVE-2010-3301. The workaround is not effective for either vulnerability.)

DDoS From 4chan Hits MPAA and Anti-Piracy Website 318

ACKyushu writes "Say what you like about 4chan; when they want something done, it gets done. Following a call to arms yesterday, the masses inhabiting the anonymous 4chan boards have carried out a huge assault on a pair of anti-piracy enemies. The website of Aiplex Software, the anti-piracy outfit which has been DDoSing torrent sites recently, fell victim to a DDoS itself. They were joined in the Internet wasteland by the MPAA's website, which also fell to a huge and sustained attack."

Keanu Reeves To Star In Cowboy Bebop 439

It excites me incredibly to know that a Cowboy Bebop movie is happening. But it makes me scared to think that Keanu is getting the lead in what might be my single favorite Anime series of all time. I'm very skeptical that he can pull off this role. For now we'll have to wait and speculate who the rest of the cast will be. I'm mostly curious who will get Faye Valentine. And we can only cross our fingers and hope that the soundtrack remains intact.
GNU is Not Unix

Tricked Into Buying 543

mldkfa writes "Recently I told a friend about OpenOffice and how it was a great alternative to the big name pay office suites. She went home and searched on Google for it and thought she found the website, filled typical registration information, and downloaded 3.0. The next time she opened her e-mail she found a request for 98 [Euro] for her 1-year subscription to 3.0 from the company that she downloaded it from. Apparently the EULA stated this cost and here in Germany she is required to pay up. So I thought I would ask Slashdot, should she pay? On the German website there is a warning of these schemes being legal. Shouldn't Sun change the license of to protect their fans or are they doing this to protect someone else? It has really made me think about recommending it to any more friends." Below, read Google's translation of the warning; it wouldn't be the first time that open source software has been lightly repackaged and sold in ways that should raise eyebrows among anyone familiar with the wide, free availability of the same apps.

GPUs Used To Crack WiFi Passwords Faster 189

MojoKid writes "Russian-based ElcomSoft has just released ElcomSoft Wireless Security Auditor 1.0, which can take advantage of both Nvidia and ATI GPUs. ElcomSoft claims that the software uses a 'proprietary GPU acceleration technology,' which implies that neither CUDA, Stream, nor OpenCL are being utilized in this instance. At its heart, what ElcomSoft Wireless Security Auditor does is perform brute-force dictionary attacks of WPA and WPA2 passwords. If an access point is set up using a fairly insecure password that is based on dictionary words, there is a higher likelihood that a password can be guessed. ElcomSoft positions the software as a way to 'audit' wireless network security."

Can We Create Fun Games Automatically? 198

togelius writes "What makes games fun? Some (e.g. Raph Koster) claim that fun is learning — fun games are those which are easy to learn, but hard to master, with a long and smooth learning curve. I think we can create fun game rules automatically through measuring their learnability. In a recent experiment, we do this using evolutionary computation, and create some simple Pacman-like new games completely without human intervention! Perhaps this has a future in game design? The academic paper (PDF) is available as well."
PC Games (Games)

Crayon Physics Combines Science and Puzzles 78

IamAHack writes "NPR covered a new game that seems like it would have great appeal to Slashdot readers: Crayon Physics. Quoting: 'A new computer game went on sale this week. It's not a blockbuster like Halo or World of Warcraft. There's no first-person shooting, no sports, no guitar, no microphone. Instead, there's a crayon. The game is Crayon Physics Deluxe. It's a simple, mesmerizing game created by a 25-year-old independent games designer from Finland named Petri Purho. "It's a game where your crayon drawings come to life,' Purho tells NPR's Melissa Block. 'You draw stuff and your drawings behave physically correctly. As soon as you release the last button, the laws of physics are applied to your drawing."' A demo is available, and Opposable Thumbs has a review of the game."

Interview With an Adware Author 453

rye writes in to recommend a Sherri Davidoff interview with Matt Knox, a talented Ruby instructor and coder, who talks about his early days designing and writing adware for Direct Revenue. (Direct Revenue was sued by Eliot Spitzer in 2006 for surreptitiously installing adware on millions of computers.) "So we've progressed now from having just a Registry key entry, to having an executable, to having a randomly-named executable, to having an executable which is shuffled around a little bit on each machine, to one that's encrypted — really more just obfuscated — to an executable that doesn't even run as an executable. It runs merely as a series of threads. ... There was one further step that we were going to take but didn't end up doing, and that is we were going to get rid of threads entirely, and just use interrupt handlers. It turns out that in Windows, you can get access to the interrupt handler pretty easily. ... It amounted to a distributed code war on a 4-10 million-node network."

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Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"