Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×
The Internet

Submission + - Morality of throttling a Local ISP? 3

An anonymous reader writes: I work for a small (400 customers) local cable ISP. For the company the ISP is only a smaller side business, so my whole line of expertise lies in other areas, but since I know the most about Linux and networking I've been stuck into the role of part time sysadmin.

In examining our backbone and customer base I've found out that we are oversubscribed around 70:1 between our customer's bandwidth and our pipe. I've gone to the boss and showed him the bandwidth graphs of us sitting against the limit for the better part of the day, and instead of purchasing more bandwidth, he has asked me to start implementing traffic shaping and packet inspection against P2P users and other types of large downloading. Because this is in a certain limited market, the customers really have the choice between my work, and dial-up.

Being a person on the other side of that coin with my local ISP I'm struggling with the desire to give the customers I'm administering the best experience and the desire to do what my boss wants.

In my situation, what would you do ?

Submission + - Europe is testing 12.5 Gbs Wireless 1

Lorien_the_first_one writes: Science news reports that in Europe, a Breakthrough For Post-4G Communications has been announced. A public-private consortium known as IPHOBAC, has been developing new communications technology that is near commercialization now. From the article, "With much of the mobile world yet to migrate to 3G mobile communications, let alone 4G, European researchers are already working on a new technology able to deliver data wirelessly up to 12.5Gb/s.

"The technology — known as 'millimetre (mm)-wave' or microwave photonics — has commercial applications not just in telecommunications (access and in-house networks) but also in instrumentation, radar, security, radio astronomy and other fields."

That's great for Europe, but here in the US, I suspect that patent interests will try to stymie the adoption of such technology until they can get exclusive control of it here.

Submission + - Linux antivirus? 3

garyebickford writes: "Does an actually useful antivirus software package for Linux exist — either FOSS or commercial?

Today's article cited in Slashdot's Apple section discusses Apple's recommendation for its users to install antivirus software. I think that Linux users who think viruses won't attack their machines are increasingly whistling in the dark. Depending on its lack of market penetration will eventually be a failing strategy, as Linux becomes more popular in servers, appliances and especially desktops and laptops.

Considering the widely distributed development process and vast number of applications developed by (largely altruistic) independent teams all over the world, preventing viruses permanently is an intractable problem. I have personally come up with at least a few motives and methods for evil baddies to incorporate evil software into essential Linux applications in such a way that the exploit might not become known until triggered some time in the future. If you think about it, it is not a substantially different problem than a 'mole' infiltrating a high tech company or government body.

I confess that I sometimes do not exercise sufficient care when installing software. I suspect I am not alone, and even if I do take care, it would be highly difficult for me or anyone, no matter how sophisticated, to catch all possible exploits by reading the code. What if a user is offered a downloaded software package? What if it's my hypothetical grandmother who I have converted to Linux? They might accept the installation, and even provide the root password. No, they shouldn't — but some absolutely will. Or what if the software exploits a hidden flaw in some other software to achieve root access?

Once an exploit is executed and discovered, the community will no doubt be very quick in response, but that is closing the barn door after the horse has been stolen."

Comment Re:All this sounds nice, but there's another side. (Score 1) 1224

I guess you didn't watch the video then. You should, it's for people who think like you.

I'll give you a quick recap, a 15 year old Volvo 940 is crashed into 3 year old Renault Modus. The host had to leverage himself against the Volvo to get the car door open after the crash and once you saw the inside, it was pretty clear that if you had been driving, you wouldn't be walking anywhere. The dummy probably would have to be cut out of the car, and the lower leg damage might have been serious enough to warrant amputation. The steering wheel ended up somewhere in the driver's face.

On the other hand, the Renault Modus door was opened with only slight effort with one hand. There was no interior deformation, so the driver would been able to walk away. The air bags protected both the driver and passenger.

The cars deform for a reason - they are built to dissipate the kinetic energy of a car crash. All of the energy that goes into deforming metal is not being directed into the passengers.

Your comment about rural America is a specific case. Even if it was true what you said about deformation (and it isn't), you are saying that you think it is better to be a little more safe in one specific set of circumstances, as opposed to safer on the whole (and I'd argue that you'd be safer one the whole with a newer-built for safety car). Perhaps you do 99.99% of your driving on rural roads, but don't think serious/fatal car accidents only happen to lone drivers in the middle of nowhere when there is no one around to help.

You remind me of some people I knew a few years ago. The argued that they were safer not wearing seatbelts, because if you were wearing a seatbelt and hit in the door, you were more likely to die. They didn't stop and consider that the type of side impact that they were trying to protect themselves against only happens a small percentage of the time, and in all other types of crashes, you are much safer wearing safety belts.

I suggest also checking out the FARS Encyclopedia

Do yourself a favor and watch that video. It will take 9 minutes of your time and it could save your life.

Corporate Behemoth Keeps Ripping "Real" 121

Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton has written in with a tale of media rippers and corporate giants "In 2001 RealNetworks sued and blocked Streambox from distributing the Ripper, a program that let users rip and save RealAudio and RealVideo streams even if the stream contained a proprietary "do not copy" flag. Then one year ago this month, RealNetworks caused a stir by releasing a beta of RealPlayer 11 that similarly let the user record and save streams from sites like YouTube and Pandora. YouTube rippers and the like had existed before, but this was the first time a major company had included a stream ripper in its media player. And while RealPlayer 11 didn't explicitly ignore any copy protection flags, the release still provoked legal rumblings: in a Variety article by Scott Kirsner, an anonymous network exec said accused RealNetworks of 'aiding and abetting piracy' and said that they would 'more likely than not' take action against RealNetworks. But now that the feature has stayed in RealPlayer for a year, its real impact will be not on piracy but on the perceived legitimacy of ripping programs. The corporate behemoth, raked over the coals in the past for privacy violations and nuisance-ware, strikes a blow for free-culture hackers." The rest of Bennett's essay is available by following that magical link right below these words.
The Internet

Submission + - Canada slammed for copyright "deficiencies" ( 1

Doug McKenzie writes: The ESA and International Intellectual Property Alliance have called on Canada to tighten up with it calls 'deficiencies' in Canadian copyright enforcement. 'Canada has taken no meaningful steps toward modernizing its copyright law to meet the global minimum standards of the WIPO Internet Treaties, which it signed more than a decade ago,' according to the IIPA. Ars notes that pirated games are easy to find north of the 49th parallel: '"It's not a matter of pirate stores; there are entire malls. One example would be Pacific Mall, famous for selling imported and pirated materials,"' notes Canadian gaming writer Frank Caron.

Top 10 Most Memorable Tech Super Bowl Ads 179

theodp writes "From 1977's lovable Xeroxing Monk to 2007's smug-and-rich SalesGenie pitch man, Valleywag has rounded up videos for its Top 10 most memorable tech-oriented Super Bowl commercials. The commercials are: Apple (1984), Monster (1999), CareerBuilder (2005), GoDaddy (2005), Xerox (1977), E*Trade (1999), (2000), (2000), (2007) and OurBeginning (2000). This year's ads are coming soon." I've always been a fan of the gerbil cannon spot.
The Courts

Submission + - Type host -l, pay $50,000+ and perhaps go to jail ( 1

Joe Wagner writes: "In a written judgment that has only become public today, anti-spammer David Ritz has lost the SLAPP lawsuit filed by Jerry Reynolds filed for running "unauthorized" DNS lookups on their servers. Knowing "commands are not commonly known to the average computer user" can get you into serious peril in some judges' court rooms.

I kid you not. The Judge ruled that "In all intended uses of a zone transfer, the secondary server is operated by the same party that operates the primary server." The original complaint is here.

Ritz was a thorn in Reynolds' side during the years when Ritz was trying to get the Netzilla/Sexzilla porn spam operation to stop spamming. Reynolds has been quite aggressive in trying to get his past erased from the net (including forged cancel posts). The North Dakota Judge also awarded attorneys fee which could theoretically make the total bill over $500k for doing a domain zone transfer. Reynolds also filed a criminal complaint against Ritz which was on hold pending resolution of this trial.

Here is a literal worst-case scenario of what can happen when a court fails miserably to understand technology. The judge ruled:

Ritz has engaged in a variety of activities without authorization on the Internet. Those activities include port scanning, hijacking computers, and the compilation and publication of Whois lookups without authorization from Network Solutions.
The port scanning/hijacking computers is posting a test message through one of Verizon's machines to prove to Verizon they had an open relay — i.e. posting to via the relay a note to Verizon's security saying "What's it going to take to get you to secure this gaping hole in what you call your network," or words to that effect. Verizon apparently had no problem with the demo post and closed the relay.

Take note, for those anti-spammers out there, this Judge is ruling that if you post the whois record for a spammer's domain your are doing a malicious, tortious act.

There is a legal defense fund that was set up for his case. I believe he does not have the resources to appeal and this would be a very bad precedent to stand."


Submission + - Don't try to find a Spammer in North Dakota!

ZWithaPGGB writes: The DNS Operators list is abuzz with news about a case where a judge in North Dakota has ruled that doing a zone transfer while trying to track down a spam source was criminal hacking. The judge further said that pulling and republishing whois data, as part of a SPAM report, was illegal, at least in North Dakota.

What's next, it's illegal to request a page from a webserver in ND?

Seems like it's time to null route all traffic to/from ND, since connecting to public servers and services there, to get information they are designed to give us, is illegal.
United States

Submission + - Paypal Freezes New Hampshire GOP Recount Funds (

An anonymous reader writes: Paypal has frozen the fundraising account of the Granny Warriors, a Ron Paul supporters group who had been pushing for a recount in New Hampshire, causing a 3pm Tuesday deadline to be missed and the application rejected for lack of payment. The Granny Warriors had raised the necessary $55,600 deposit for the recount but at the last minute before it was transferred to the New Hampshire Secretary of State, Paypal blocked access to the funds

Submission + - Some DNS requests ruled illegal in North Dakota ( 1

jgreco writes: "A judge in North Dakota has just ruled that requesting a zone transfer from a public DNS server is criminal activity within the meaning of the North Dakota Computer Crimes Law. A zone transfer is a simple request that a DNS server hand over information in bulk, and a DNS server may be configured to allow or deny such requests. That the owner of a DNS server would configure the server to allow such requests, and then claim such requests were unauthorized, is simply stunning."


Submission + - Toshiba slashes HD DVD prices (

Lucas123 writes: "Toshiba announced today that it will slash the prices on HD DVD players from 40% to 50% to boost market adoption of its hi-def DVD format by mainstream consumers after it said it had a successful fourth quarter in unit sales. "While price is one of the consideration elements for the early adopter, it is a deal-breaker for the mainstream consumer," said Toshiba executive Yoshi Uchiyama in a statement."

Submission + - Google redesigns mobile apps after iPhone surge (

jbrodkin writes: "Google had to redesign its mobile applications to enable faster browsing for the iPhone's unique touch-based interface after realizing that a disproportionate amount of mobile Web traffic is coming from iPhone owners. Symbian operating systems are 30 times as prevalent as the iPhone, yet traffic to Google from the iPhone actually surpassed traffic to Google from Symbian phones over the Christmas holiday. Yahoo and a major ad agency have noticed similar surges in iPhone traffic. Google has acted quickly, rushing new improvements to applications like search, e-mail, calendar and news feeds, making them easier to manipulate with the iPhone's touch screen."

Slashdot Top Deals

"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977