Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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! ×

Submission + - Virgin Media censors talk of "bufferbloat" on their discussion forums (

mtaht writes: Given that bufferbloat is now fixed by fq_codel and the sqm-scripts for anyone that cares to install openwrt and derivatives on their home routers (or use any random linux box for the job), AND standardization efforts for the relevant algorithms near completion in the IETF, I went and posted a short, helpful message about how to fix it on a bufferbloat-related thread on Virgin Media's cable modems... And they deleted the post, and banned my IP... for "advertising". I know I could post again via another IP, and try to get them to correct their mistake, but it is WAY more fun to try to annoy them into more publically acknowledging their enormous bufferbloat problems and to release a schedule for their fixes. Naturally I figured the members of slashdot could help out Virgin and their customers understand their bufferbloat problems better. My explanations of how they can fix their bufferbloat, are now, here.

Submission + - The Gentleperson's Guide To Forum Spies (

Lotana writes: This recently leaked document describes modern COINTELPRO techniques for manipulating Internet forums. Observant readers may have noticed these techniques being used in familiar online forums. Part of modern media literacy includes understanding these techniques. This document contains information about:
1. COINTELPRO Techniques for dilution, misdirection and control of a internet forum
2. Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation
3. Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist
4. How to Spot a Spy (Cointelpro Agent)
5. Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression


Submission + - 'Vocal Fry' Creeping Into U.S. Speech (

sciencehabit writes: A curious vocal pattern has crept into the speech of young adult women who speak American English: low, creaky vibrations, also called vocal fry. Pop singers, such as Britney Spears, slip vocal fry into their music as a way to reach low notes and add style. Now, a new study of young women in New York state shows that the same guttural vibration—once considered a speech disorder—has become a language fad.

Submission + - NASA warns of potential climate doom (

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have long warned the world must cut carbon emissions to keep overall temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celcius. A new assessment from NASA finds we're doomed if temperatures go up even that much — a target few think the will be achieved. Instead of sea levels rising by a few feet, as previous studies have found, levels could rise four to six meters higher than today. “It would be a prescription for disaster,” said James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Submission + - How Should IT Respond to Anti-Overtime CPU Act? (

snydeq writes: "The CPU Act being discussed in Congress to gut IT workers of overtime pay begs the question, How should IT respond? 'Because most IT workers are not members of a union (and don't seem to want unionize), it isn't clear who's fighting the bill. The AFL-CIO opposes it, but I don't know if the organization is putting real muscle into the effort,' InfoWorld's Bill Snyder writes. The AFL-CIO's Paul E. Almeida has sent a letter to Congress, saying, 'The same companies that send work offshore and bring lower-paid workers to the U.S. on H-1B visas now want to pay U.S. workers less in the U.S.,' adding that if this effort succeeds, every other industry may follow suit in gutting FLSA for every covered private-sector worker. 'Almeida is right. There's a well-organized movement afoot to blame workers in both the public and private sector for a recession caused in large part by the greedy and irresponsible actions of a small minority of corporations and individuals.'"

Submission + - A Superhero Scrubs the Air: The Mighty Houseplant (

walterbyrd writes: The humble houseplant is on the attack. Building on NASA experiments for air purification in space, scientists are pinpointing plant species—from the peace lily to the asparagus fern—that are particularly skillful at cleaning indoor air of pollutants that can cause a range of health problems.

A growing body of global research is showing plants can reduce dust particles and contaminants, such as formaldehyde and benzene, that come from cigarette smoke, paint, furniture, building materials and other sources.


Submission + - Assange Profiled from WikiLeaks Inner Circle

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "John Naughton reports in the Guardian on a new book about WikiLeaks written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a computer scientist who worked in IT security prior to devoting himself to WikiLeaks at the end of 2007 and who left in September 2010, exhausted and embittered by the stress of working with Julian Assange. Domscheit-Berg, who faced allegations that he crippled WikiLeaks when he left the organization, portrays himself as a relatively straightforward and idealistic hacker who was mesmerised by a flawed genius, and captivated by that genius's vision of creating a world in which no government or corporation could hide things from the rest of us. The most interesting revelation in the book is how tiny the WikiLeaks operation has been from the beginning. For most of its brief life, WikiLeaks seems to have had a core of only four full-time people with a variable number of part-time supporters, groupies and hangers-on. Many journalists have commented on Assange's brilliant, willful, erratic, paranoid persona, but none has lived with him on a day-to-day basis, as Domscheit-Berg did. "Julian often behaved," Domscheit-Berg writes at one point, "as though he had been raised by wolves rather than by other human beings." The media's obsession with Assange is understandable, for he is indeed an amazingly complex and fascinating individual writes Naughton. "As a result of his work, governments everywhere are faced with a tough choice: to live with a WikiLeakable world or to shut down the net. Not bad for an Australian hacker of no fixed abode.""

Submission + - ACS:Law e-mails - the highlights (

Stoobalou writes: The breach that saw the e-mail database of UK anti-file-sharing firm ACS Law leaked onto the Internet has yielded some interesting extracts — and none of them paint the company in a good light.

Aside from the exposing the personal details of around 10,000 UK broadband customers — the majority of whom stand accused of sharing hardcore porn titles including "To The Manor Porn" and "Catch Her In The Eye" — which has prompted an immediate investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office, the uploading of the e-mail archive has offered a fascinating insight into the operations of an anti-file-sharing legal house — and into head honcho Andrew Crossley's professional and personal life.

Submission + - Wikileaks insiders resign (

Americano writes: Wired reports that at least six wikileaks insiders, including Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Wikileaks' spokesman in Germany, have resigned in the past few weeks. Those who have spoken with Wired cite differences and disputes with Julian Assange, and his autocratic leadership style, as the motivation for their departure.

From the article:
"You are not anyone's king or god," wrote Domscheit-Berg in the chat. "And you're not even fulfilling your role as a leader right now. A leader communicates and cultivates trust in himself. You are doing the exact opposite. You behave like some kind of emperor or slave trader."

"You are suspended for one month, effective immediately," Assange shot back. "If you wish to appeal, you will be heard on Tuesday."


Submission + - Wii Update 4.2 tries (and fails) to block homebrew ( 3

marcansoft writes: "On September 28, Nintendo released a Wii update, titled 4.2. This update was targeted squarely at homebrew, performing sweeping changes throughout the system. It hardly achieved that goal, though, because just two days later a new version of the HackMii installer was released that brings full homebrew capabilities back to all Wii consoles, including unmodified consoles running 4.2.

However, as part of their attempt to annoy homebrew users, Nintendo updated the lowest level updateable component of the Wii software stack: boot2 (part of the system bootloader chain). Homebrew users have been using BootMii to patch boot2 in order to gain low level system access and recovery functions (running Linux natively, fixing bricks, etc). The update hasn't hindered this, as users can simply reinstall BootMii after updating (it is compatible with the update). But there's a much bigger problem: Nintendo's boot2 update code is buggy. Boot2 had never been updated in retail consoles until now. During BootMii's development, its authors noticed that Nintendo's code had critical bugs and could sometimes permanently brick a console by writing incorrect or unchecked data to flash memory, so they decided to write their own, much safer flashing code. Now, Nintendo has pushed a boot2 update to all Wii users, and the results are what was expected: users are reporting bricks after installing 4.2 on unmodified consoles. Nintendo is currently attempting to censor posts and remove references to homebrew.

It is worth noting that the new boot2 does not attempt to block anything or offer any additional protection or functionality. Its sole purpose is to simply replace current versions which may or may not have been modified with BootMii. Another interesting tidbit is that Nintendo is not believed to have any method to repair this kind of brick at a factory, short of replacing the entire motherboard."


Submission + - iPhone Straining AT&T Network 1

dangle writes: More than 20 million other smartphone users are on the AT&T network, but other phones do not drain the network the way the nine million iPhones users do. Because the average iPhone owner can use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user, dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds are the result as AT&T's cellular network strains to meet the demand. AT&T says that the majority of the nearly $18 billion it will spend this year on its networks will be diverted into upgrades and expansions to meet the surging demands on the 3G network. The company intends to erect an additional 2,100 cell towers to fill out patchy coverage, upgrade existing cell sites by adding fiber optic connectivity to deliver data faster and add other technology to provide stronger cell signals.

Submission + - Cuba lifts ban on computer, DVD sales

Stanislav_J writes: Cuba has now authorized the sale of computers, DVD and video players, and other electrical appliances (including such things as electric pressure cookers, car alarms, and microwave ovens). Is this the first sign that things south of Key West might just get a little better under the big jefe's little brother? Or is it a relatively empty gesture, considering that most residents of the communist island probably can't afford to buy these things anyway? (Not to mention having enough reliable and stable electricity to power them.) Does it mean anything to allow the sale of car alarms when most Cubans can't afford a car, or microwave ovens when food rations run out halfway through the month? And one has to wonder if computers sold at the local Raul-Mart will come pre-equipped with spying/logging software.
The Internet

Submission + - Comcast Changes ToS to Thwart Lawsuits (

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Comcast has updated its ToS for the first time in two years. It now mentions, among other things, that Comcast 'uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards.' This mirrors language in the FCC's 2005 Internet Policy Statement (PDF) and is a clear attempt to thwart off lawsuits from customers who claim they were mislead. Of course, calling the forging of RST packets 'reasonable network management' doesn't make it true."

Submission + - Chart the rise and fall Gates and Jobs (

Urban Badger writes: "This site allows you to chart the success over the years of the head honchos who set the global technology agenda. Its taken from the Agenda Setters report which these guys do every year but this year it allows you to chose who features on the graph. There is all the old favourites from Berners Lee to Zennström. It is interesting to note the decline of the fortunes of Bill Gates and the rise of Steve Jobs."

Slashdot Top Deals

The amount of time between slipping on the peel and landing on the pavement is precisely 1 bananosecond.