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Comment Re:Not really a big deal. (Score 1) 135

This is why people hate computers. The Common Application is basically lying to its users, because its developers are too lazy to handle a situation that is both easy to stumble into and can produce really bad results. And your solution? Put the burden on the user to work around the developers' laziness.

If the limit is 1000 characters, then tell the user it's 1000 characters. Don't say "150 words". And make sure that you really can fit 1000 characters on the printed version of the application 100% of the time. This really isn't that hard.

Comment Re:Yea (Score 1) 496

I suspect this was far less of a hypothesis about aliens and far more social commentary on humans.

Most speculation on the behavior of aliens generally is. Which is why, 25 years ago, the proposed reason why there were no aliens was because all technologically-advanced civilizations eventually destroy themselves in global thermonuclear war. 25 years from now, the proposed reason will probably have something to do with the alien equivalent of Peak Oil.


English Shell Code Could Make Security Harder 291

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that finding malicious code might have just become a little harder. Last week at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, security researchers Joshua Mason, Sam Small, Fabian Monrose, and Greg MacManus presented a method they developed to generate English shell code [PDF]. Using content from Wikipedia and other public works to train their engine, they convert arbitrary x86 shell code into sentences that read like spam, but are natively executable. "In this paper we revisit the assumption that shell code need be fundamentally different in structure than non-executable data. Specifically, we elucidate how one can use natural language generation techniques to produce shell code that is superficially similar to English prose. We argue that this new development poses significant challenges for in-line payload-based inspection (and emulation) as a defensive measure, and also highlights the need for designing more efficient techniques for preventing shell code injection attacks altogether."

IBM Smartphone Software Translates 11 Languages 102

coondoggie writes to mention that IBM researchers have an internal smartphone software project that is capable of translating text between English and 11 other languages (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, French, Italian, Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Arabic). There are no concrete plans to release this as a public product, but IBM certainly isn't shutting out that possibility. "Hosted as an internal IBM service since August 2008, n.Fluent offers a secure real-time translation tool that translates text in web pages, electronic documents, same-time instant message chats, and provides a BlackBerry mobile translation application. According to IBM, the software was developed from an internal IBM crowd-sourcing project where Big Blue's nearly 400,000 employees in more than 170 countries submit, update and continuously refine word translations. Every time it's used, n.Fluent 'learns' and improves its translation engine. To date, the tool has been used by IBMers to translate more than 40 million words, IBM stated."

Submission + - Google AdSense Meltdown Continues

gbulmash writes: "The Google AdSense reporting meltdown continued on Friday, with even worse reporting discrepancies coming to the fore and web publishers blaming it for real losses in income, while Google just says "don't worry, we're working on it" and that's it. With this problem dating back to the "scheduled maintenance" last Saturday, it's screaming toward being a week old, yet Google remains tight-lipped. Could we end up seeing some lawsuits as fallout?"

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