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Submission + - My GPL code has been... patented! 4

ttsiod writes: Back in 2001, I coded HeapCheck, a GPL library for Windows (inspired by ElectricFence) that detected invalid read/write accesses on any heap allocations at runtime — thus greatly helping my debugging sessions. I published it on my site, and got a few users who were kind enough to thank me — a Serbian programmer even sent me 250$ as a thank you (I still have his mails). After a few years, Microsoft included very similar technology in the operating system itself, calling it PageHeap. I had more or less forgotten these stuff, since for the last 7 years I've been coding for UNIX/Linux, where valgrind superseeded Efence/dmalloc/etc. Imagine my surprise, when yesterday, Googling for references to my site, I found out that the technology I implemented, of runtime detection of invalid heap accesses, has been patented in the States, and to add insult to injury, even mentions my site (via a non-working link to an old version of my page) in the patent references! After the necessary "WTFs" and "bloody hells" I thought this merrits (a) a Slashdotting, and (b) a set of honest questions: what should I do about this? I am not an American citizen, but the "inventors" of this technology (see their names in the top of the patent) have apparently succeeded in passing this ludicrous patent in the States. If my code doesn't count as prior art, Bruce Perens's Efence (which I clearly state my code was inspired from) is at least 12 years prior! Suggestions/cursing patent trolls most welcome.

Submission + - TFETs as an alternative to MOSFTs in CMOS chips (

angry tapir writes: "A number of chip manufacturers and European research institutions have banded together to figure out how redesign microprocessors so that they consume less energy when in use and leak less energy when in stand-by mode. Called Steeper, the three-year research project will explore an alternative design to the standard CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) designs used to build virtually all commercially available computer chips today. The new approach will use nanowire-based TFETs (tunnel field effect transistors), as an alternative to the MOSFTs (metal--oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors) used in CMOS chips."

Submission + - China Penetrated NSA's Classified Operating System 2

Pickens writes: "Seymour M. Hersh writes in the New Yorker that after an American EP-3E Aries II reconnaissance plane on an eavesdropping mission collided with a Chinese interceptor jet over the South China Sea in 2001 and landed at a Chinese F-8 fighter base on Hainan Island, the 24 member crew were unable to completely disable the plane’s equipment and software. The result? The Chinese kept the plane for three months and eventually reverse-engineered the plane’s NSA.-supplied operating system, estimated at between thirty and fifty million lines of computer code, giving China a road map for decrypting the Navy’s classified intelligence and operational data. “If the operating system was controlling what you’d expect on an intelligence aircraft, it would have a bunch of drivers to capture radar and telemetry,” says Whitfield Diffie, a pioneer in the field of encryption. “The plane was configured for what it wants to snoop, and the Chinese would want to know what we wanted to know about them—what we could intercept and they could not.” Despite initial skepticism, over the next few years the US intelligence community began to “read the tells” that China had gotten access to sensitive traffic and in early 2009, Admiral Timothy J. Keating, then the head of the Pacific Command, brought the issue to the new Obama Administration. "If China had reverse-engineered the EP-3E’s operating system, all such systems in the Navy would have to be replaced, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars," writes Hersch. "After much discussion, several current and former officials said, this was done" prompting some black humor from US naval officers. “This is one hell of a way to go about getting a new operating system.”""

Submission + - Boeing: NASA software squeezes airline fuel use (

coondoggie writes: NASA today said Boeing had adopted software the space agency developed to boost fuel savings. The software, known as Direct-To was developed at NASA's Ames Research Center and promises to let airlines to save fuel and reduce emissions by identifying flight route shortcuts that are acceptable to air traffic controllers.

Submission + - Wikileaks releases CIA document (

Somewhat Delirious writes: Wikileaks has just released a document from the CIA which expresses worries that the perception of the United States as an exporter of terrorism may lead to barriers to extrajudicial judicial activities of the American intelligence services abroad: "If the US were seen as an exporter of terrorism, foreign partners may be less willing to cooperate with the United States on extrajudicial activities, including detention, transfer, and interrogation of suspects in third party countries."

It also shows how the US forces other countries into bilateral agreements to insure immunity for US citizens from International Criminal Court prosecutions: "Foreign perception of the US as an “exporter of terrorism” also raises difficult legal issues
for the US, its foreign allies, and international institutions. To date, the US is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and instead, has pursued Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs) with other countries to ensure immunity for US nationals from ICC prosecution. The US has threatened to terminate economic aid and withdraw military assistance with countries that do not accede to BIAs."

Submission + - SC Primary - First probable voting machine fraud? (

SeattleGameboy writes: South Carolina sure knows how to pick'em. Alvin Greene is a broke, unemployed guy facing a felony obscenity charge. Oh, he is also the brand new Democrat Senate nominee from South Carolina. Tom Schaller at does a detailed analysis of how a guys like this wins a primary race and much of the signs point to voting machine fraud "Those three are Darlington, Horry and Marlboro, and there are two others, Bamberg and Fairfield, with zero residual GOP votes (i.e., the total number of GOP voters in the county is identical to number cast in the GOP gubernatorial), which McDonald informs me is very, very rare." points out ( that South Carolina uses ES&S voting machines which have had strings of problems before and has no audit trail.

Is this the first documented case of voting fraud via voting machines?

Submission + - How can I capture a switch event on a USB port? 4

wilderbeest writes: My 90-year old neighbour is very much into clocks, and maintains our local church clock here in North Woochester, UK. As it's quite a way up the spire and he isn't getting any younger, he would like to monitor the accuracy of the clockwork using his computer from home.

I've come up with the following solution: An Alix 2d3 with a Huawei E220 3G modem attached to it, and Zeroshell installed on the Alix. That all works well, Zeroshell connects to my VPN and I can place the thing in the church spire as they have electricity up there. We also installed a micro switch on a part of the clock that rotates once every 5 minutes, and we get a switch on / off from that micro switch.

Now comes the hard part: I need some sort of component that I can plug into the USB port of my Alix 2d3 and connect it to the micro switch so can capture the event, timestamp it and write it to a remote database.

Any ideas? Can I use something like a USB mouse and mod it?

Submission + - Goodbye, freshmeat, we're going to miss you (

Roblimo writes:, the parent company of,,,,, and, has told employees that it will be closing and This information has not yet been released to the public, but we've heard it from more than one employee. The company also reportedly laid off 25% of its staff this week. After the story was posted at, a Vice President emailed this response to its author: 'If you're asking whether or not the sites are for sale, the answer is no. However, we are looking to create better ways for our community to interact with the information on these sites, likely through SourceForge.'

Submission + - NASA Finds Cause of Voyager 2 Glitch (

astroengine writes: "Earlier this month, engineers suspended Voyager 2's science measurements because of an unexpected problem in its communications stream. A glitch in the flight data system, which formats information for radioing to Earth, was believed to be the problem. And now NASA has found the cause of the issue: it was a single bit in the memory location that had erroneously flipped from a 0 to a 1. The cause of the error is yet to be understood, but NASA plans to reset Voyager's memory tomorrow, clearing the error."

Submission + - Lidar finds overgrown Maya pyramids (

AlejoHausner writes: A team of archeologists scanned the jungle of Belize with lidar. Although most of the reflections came from the jungle canopy, some light reflected off the ground surface. Using this, suddenly hidden pyramids, agricultural terraces, and ancient roads are revealed, at 6-inch resolution. The NY Times has the story.

Submission + - Google releases open source NX server (

wisesifu writes: "Amid the fanfare of last week's Chrome OS announcement, Google quietly released an open source NX server, dubbed Neatx, for remote desktop display. NX technology was developed by NoMachine to handle remote X Window connections and make a graphical desktop display usable over the Internet. "FreeNX's primary target is to replace the one closed component and is written in a mix of several thousand lines of Bash, Expect and C, making FreeNX difficult to maintain," according to Google."Designed from scratch with flexibility and maintainability in mind, Neatx minimizes the number of involved processes and all code is split into several libraries." Neatx is written in Python, with a few wrapper scripts in Bash and one program written in C "for performance reasons". There has already been some speculation that Neatx will be the default display server for the upcoming Chrome OS. Google insists the release date was just a coincidence."

Submission + - GPS problem overblown

Attila Dimedici writes: A NASA contractor writes about how the news reports about possible failure of the GPS is overblown.
There have been reports that the Global Positioning System could begin to fail next year because of delays in the development of GPS III satellites. The problem with this is that GPS III satellites are not scheduled to begin deployment until 2014. So even if they are delayed they could hardly cause problems with GPS next year. Series IIF satellites are scheduled to begin deployment in November of 2009. Additionally, there are currently 31 GPS satellites in orbit and functioning, only 24 are needed to provide reasonable global coverage.
Emulation (Games)

Submission + - William Gibson's AGRIPPA Recovered and Emulated (

MGK writes: "Agrippa (a book of the dead) appeared in 1992 as a collaboration between artist Dennis Ashbaugh, author William Gibson, and publisher Kevin Begos, Jr. On December 9, 2008--the sixteenth anniversary of the original "Transmission" event debuting Agrippa--The Agrippa Files ( announces the release of two major new discoveries for scholars and fans:
  • An emulated "run" of the entire original Agrippa poem, made possible by the forensic recovery of the code containing Gibson's text from a mint condition Agrippa diskette loaned by collector Allan Chasanoff. This is the first public view of Agrippa in its original incarnation (that is, its custom-made behaviors and interface) since 1992. direct link:
  • An hour's worth of never-before-seen footage from the December 9, 1992, public debut of Agrippa at the Americas Society in New York City during the "Transmission" event. This footage, shot by "Templar, Rosehammer, and Pseudophred" is the source of the transcription of the text that was released online within hours of the event. direct link:

These materials are accompanied by high-resolution images, stills from the video, screenshots, and a bit-level copy of the disk image itself, all publicly accessible with the permission of Kevin Begos, Jr., William Gibson, Allan Chasanoff, "Templar," and "Rosehammer."

We are also pleased to be releasing a major new full-length essay documenting the process of recovering these materials and exploring their significance for the study of the work: Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, with Doug Reside and Alan Liu, "No Round Trip: Two New Primary Sources for Agrippa."

direct link:

The Agrippa Files, a project of the UC Santa Barbara English Department's Literature.Culture.Media Center, was aided by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) and the Digital Forensics Lab at University of Maryland, College Park, in recovering and releasing these materials. Special thanks to Doug Reside and Matt Kirschenbaum for their efforts."


Submission + - Nationwide domain name/yard sign conspiracy ( 1

robertjmoore writes: "Everywhere I go lately, I see these lawn signs that say "Single?" and then give a URL with my town's name in it. Being a huge business intelligence geek with too much time on my hands, I decided to track down who was behind them and wound up uncovering ten thousand domain names, a massively coordinated and well-funded guerilla marketing machine, and the $45 Million revenue business hiding behind it all. Hot off the presses, these are my findings."

Submission + - New class of pulsars discovered (

xyz writes: "NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered a new class of pulsars which emit purely in gamma rays. A pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star, and of the nearly 1800 catalogued so far, only a small fraction emit at frequencies higher than radio waves. The gamma-ray-only pulsar, which lies within a supernova remnant known as CTA 1, is silent across parts of the electromagnetic spectrum where pulsars are normally found, indicating a new class of pulsars."

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