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Submission + - Asl Slashdot: How Hard Is It To Have a Smart Home That's Not 'In The Cloud'? 1

An anonymous reader writes: It's beginning to seem like everything related to home (and much other) automation is basically remote control 'in the cloud' feeding information about you to somebody's advertising system. In principle, this should not be the case, but it is in practice. So how hard is it, really, to do 'home automation' without sending all your data to Google, Samsung, or whoever — just keep it to yourself and share only what you want to share? How hard would it be, for instance, to hack a Nest thermostat so it talks to a home server rather than Google? Or is there something already out there that would do the same thing as a Nest but without 'the cloud' as part of the requirement? Yes, a standard programmable thermostat does 90% of what a Nest does, but there are certain things that it won't do like respond to your comings and goings at odd hours, or be remotely switchable to a different mode (VPN to your own server from your phone and deal with it locally, perhaps?). Fundamentally, is there a way to get the convenience and not expose my entire life and home to unknown actors who by definition (read the terms of service) do not have my best interest in mind?

Submission + - Astronauts won't be flying to space in Boeing's Starliner until 2018 (theverge.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Boeing Starliner, one of two new spacecraft meant to break the Russian stranglehold on sending people to orbit, has hit a snag. Originally scheduled to start flying next year, the Starliner won't carry a crewed mission to the International Space Station until 2018 at the earliest. Six years is long enough. Ever since the 2011 retirement of the space shuttle NASA has been pushing for privately built craft capable of ferrying astronauts to orbit, which would let the agency buy American-made ships and end its dependency on renting seats aboard Russian spacecraft. The Starliner and SpaceX's Dragon were chosen, and 2017 was to be the year. But while SpaceX has sent its ship to the ISS on multiple uncrewed cargo resupply missions, the Starliner won't make such trips until 2017 and won't carry people until 2018 at the earliest. SpaceX maintains that it will be able to send crews to orbit in 2017.

Submission + - 'Drinkable Book' Pages Clean Dirty Drinking Water (bbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have developed what they're calling the " Drinkable Book," which contains pages that can be torn out and used to effectively filter drinking water. The book has just completed a series of field trials in a few African countries, and it successfully removed more than 99% of the bacteria in water taken from contaminated sources, bringing it in line with U.S. tap water. The book's pages are imprinted with nanoparticles of silver and copper, which sterilize a wide range of microorganisms. The lead researcher says each page can filter about 100 liters of water before needing to be discarded. The team currently makes all the pages by hand, so their next step will be to find a way to automate production.

Submission + - IBM Launches Linux-Only Mainframes (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: IBM is introducing two mainframe servers that only run on Linux. It's part of a new initiative from the Linux Foundation called the Open Mainframe Project. "The idea is that those companies participating in this project can work together, and begin building a set of open source tools and technologies for Linux mainframes, while helping one another overcome common development issues in the same manner as all open source projects." IBM's hardware release is accompanied by 250,000 lines of code that they're open sourcing as well. "Ultimately the mainframe mainstays are hoping to attract a new generation of developers to their platform. To help coax new users, IBM will be offering free access to the LinuxOne cloud, a mainframe simulation tool it developed for creating, testing and piloting Linux mainframe applications."

Submission + - Next Generation 460-Foot Towers To Bring Wind Power to All Fifty States

HughPickens.com writes: Diane Cardwell reports at the NYT that once the next generation of larger, taller turbines in development hits the market, all 50 states could become wind energy producers and the bigger machines — reaching as high as 460 feet — could eventually make faster winds at higher altitudes an economical source of electricity. “We believe very much the central role of wind in meeting our climate challenges, and we’re very committed in this direction,” says Ernest Moniz, the secretary of energy. “It’s going to require being able to take advantage of a broader set of resources,” and it will give wind power a “bigger footprint,” onshore and off.

Energy officials and executives are pushing toward machinery that would reach 360 to 460 feet high. That would increase the wind development potential in an additional 700,000 square miles — more than a fifth of the United States — bringing the total area to 1.8 million square miles. The potential expansion would affect areas where wind farms already exist and bring areas into the market. The main regions where height would increase potential wind production include the Southeast, Northeast, states around the Ohio River valley and the Great Lakes, and parts of the interior West and Pacific Northwest. In all, the DOE report "Enabling Wind Power Nationwide" says, land-based and offshore wind could produce 16,150 gigawatts of electricity a year, more than 10 times the country’s consumption (PDF). Wind installations now account for 65 gigawatts, just under 5 percent of national demand. “We’ve proven out as an industry in Europe, with a fair number of turbines in Europe at 120 meters,” says Tom Kiernan. “By going to 100 or 110 meters, we can open up all 50 states."

Submission + - First Artificial Burger Gets Tepid Reviews, Billionaire Financier Unmasked (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: "Close to meat. Not that juicy." That was Austrian food trend researcher Hanni Rützler's verdict on the world's first lab-grown beef patty, presented in London today at a tightly orchestrated and widely covered media event. Rützler was one of two people invited to taste the burger assembled from thousands of tiny strips of beef grown by Dutch researcher Mark Post at his lab at Maastricht University in the Netherlands; the other guinea pig was Chicago, Illinois-based author Josh Schonwald. Perhaps the most concrete news to come out of the event was the unmasking of the mysterious billionaire who financed the project to the tune of $375,000. He is Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who has an interest in environmental issues and who praised Post in a video message for thinking big. "There are basically three things that can happen going forward. One is that we all become vegetarian," Brin said. "The second is we ignore the issue and that leads to continued environmental harm, and the third option is we do something new."

Submission + - ICANN approves first set of new gTLD, .Amazon rejection looms (parityportal.com)

hypnosec writes: ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has approved the first set of global Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and surprisingly all four are non-English words including . (“Web” in Arabic); . (“Game” in Chinese); . (“Online” in Russian); and . (“Web site” in Russian). Approval of four non-English words can be considered as a milestone and this approval marks "the first time that people will be able to access and type in a website address for generic Top-Level Domains in their native language."

Submission + - Bruce Schneier: IT for Oppression (schneier.com) 2

jrepin writes: Whether it's Syria using Facebook to help identify and arrest dissidents or China using its "Great Firewall" to limit access to international news throughout the country, repressive regimes all over the world are using the Internet to more efficiently implement surveillance, censorship, propaganda, and control. They're getting really good at it, and the IT industry is helping. We're helping by creating business applications — categories of applications, really — that are being repurposed by oppressive governments for their own use.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - The 3D Un-Printer (wired.com)

An anonymous reader writes: 3D printing is on its way toward becoming ubiquitous. Of course, if you have a printer and want to print something, you need raw materials — the plastic filament that's fed into the machine. It's also likely that while you're learning the ropes, you'll print a bunch of terrible attempts at objects, and end up having to throw them out. Now, Wired is reporting on a device aiming to solve both of those problems. Tyler McNaney's 'Filabot' will break down failed projects as well as many other items from traditional manufacturers, turning it into a filament you can then feed through a 3D printer. 'So far the plastics that work are HDPE, LDPE, ABS, NYLON. More to come on the different types that work.' McNaney sees it as a 'closed-loop recycling system on your desk.' The Filabot's Kickstarter campaign succeeded easily in 2012, and now he and his team are getting ready to launch.
Space

Submission + - The space sim isn't dead after all! (robertsspaceindustries.com)

cwebster writes: Chris Roberts' (creator of the wing commander series) new foray into PC games is officially a "go". The new game, Star Citizen, is slated to be what anyone who has played wing commander or privateer dreams it could be. Best of all, Chris cut out the publishers (EA owns the rights to WC) and is self funding this project. There are 20 days left in the funding campaign to meet the ambitious stretch goals. Contribute at kickstarter or the main site for the game.
The Military

Submission + - Targeting the President's DNA 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Atlantic reports that experts in genetics and microbiology are convinced we may be only a few years away from the development of advanced, genetic bio-weapons able to target a single human being based on their DNA. The authors paint a scenario of the development of a virus that causes only mild flu in the general population but when the virus crosses paths with cells containing a very specific DNA sequence, the sequence would act as a molecular key to unlock secondary functions that would trigger a fast-acting neuro-destructive disease that produces memory loss and, eventually, death. The requisite equipment including gene sequencers, micro-array scanners, and mass spectrometers now cost over $1 million but on eBay, it can be had for as little as $10,000. According to Ronald Kessler, the author of the 2009 book In the President’s Secret Service, Navy stewards gather bedsheets, drinking glasses, and other objects the president has touched—they are later sanitized or destroyed—in an effort to keep would-be malefactors from obtaining his genetic material. However no amount of Secret Service vigilance can ever fully secure the president’s DNA, because an entire genetic blueprint can now be produced from the information within just a single cell. How to protect the President? The authors propose open-sourcing the president’s genetic information to a select group of security-cleared researchers who could follow in the footsteps of the computer sciences, where “red-team exercises,” are extremely common practices so a similar testing environment could be developed for biological war games. "Advances in biotechnology are radically changing the scientific landscape. We are entering a world where imagination is the only brake on biology," write the authors. "In light of this coming synbio revolution, a wider-ranging relationship between scientists and security organizations—one defined by open exchange, continual collaboration, and crowd-sourced defenses—may prove the only way to protect the president.""
Android

Submission + - Google cancels Monday's Nexus 4, Nexus 10 unveiling (bgr.com)

zacharye writes: Looking forward to checking out the new Nexus 4 smartphone and high-resolution Nexus 10 tablet? So are we, but unfortunately we’ll all have to wait a little longer as Google just announced that it is canceling Monday’s press conference due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The event has not yet been rescheduled...

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