Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


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! ×

Comment Re:Microsoft should know... (Score 1) 503

One of the main differences in my experience between ActiveX and other plugin systems that made it so hazardous is that ActiveX’s system for plugin discovery actually worked. The plugin lookups for NPAPI-based browsers required asking a service run by the browser manufacturer what plugins could handle a certain mime-type (or, earlier, they just directed to a generic web page that listed some common plugins), whereas ActiveX allowed the <object> tag to explicitly declare a URL where a plugin could be found. Allowing the page itself to provide an arbitrary URL to a plugin package may have seemed like a great idea from an ease-of-use perspective, but it also meant that there was no gatekeeper to prevent unscrupulous authors from creating plugins and dumping them in the hands of unwitting users. It’s kind of like the Apple iOS model vs the Android model of software distribution. Even changing it to ask whether or not to run/install a control wasn’t a great change because it would still interrogate the package for the plugin name, which often ended up being something like “CLICK YES TO VIEW THIS PAGE”.


Submission + - Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker (wired.com)

Suki I writes: "A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online." Interesting incident. The FBI planted the device in such a clumsy manner it was discovered during an oil change. Afifi's idea to sell the device on eBay was thwarted when the FBI showed up to take the device back.

Submission + - LinkedIn users hammered with malware attack (infoworld.com)

tsamsoniw writes: Not a good day to be a social network user. First Twitterers are under attack; now LinkedIn users are being targeted by a massive spam attack, according to Cisco. The messages — which accounted for as much as 24 percent of all spam earlier today — contain a fake connection request. Clicking the link makes the victim's PC download data-theft malware.

Submission + - How to Record the Cops - A Guide to Accountability (reason.com) 1

SonicSpike writes: This summer the issue of recording on-duty police officers has received a great deal of media attention. Camera-wielding citizens were arrested in Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts under interpretations of state wiretapping laws, while others were arrested in New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Florida, and elsewhere based on vaguer charges related to obstructing or interfering with a police officer. In 47 other states, the law is clearer: It is generally legal to record the police, as long as you don't physically interfere with them. You may be unfairly harassed, questioned, or even arrested, but it's unlikely you will be charged, much less convicted. The dizzying advancements in personal technology during the last decade have slipped a powerful government accountability tool into our pockets. But it happened mostly by accident. The technology was intended for other uses, and it still needs some fine tuning to work better as a protection against abuses of state power.

Submission + - Citibank Using DMCA To Hide Old Report (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Back when the Obama administration first proposed Wall Street reform, Citibank came out with a report saying that the plan was "bank-friendly [and] investor-friendly." These days, with Wall Street looking for Obama to take away some of the oversight regulations put on the banks, Citigroup is not too happy with anyone realizing that it actually said the plan wasn't so bad. So it's using the best tool in the book for censorship: the DMCA. To hide the report, it sent a DMCA notice demanding it be taken down. As economist Brad DeLong pointed out, this clearly has nothing to do with copyright, as the market for that report — 18 months after it came out — is zero. The only reason to use the DMCA here is to hide the historical record.

Submission + - GOG.com Conference Reveals Closing as Low PR Stunt (bit-tech.net) 1

eldavojohn writes: A press conference from noon today revealed that GOG's closing was a hoax designed to promote the transition from Beta to full service. Several people claimed as such but GOG said in a media press conference online, 'We'd like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com. As a small company we don't have a huge marketing budget and this why we could not miss a chance to generate some buzz around an event as big as launching a brand new version of our website.' Although deceiving and worrying, it appears GOG is doing better than ever and those who invested in GOG can rest easy for now.

Submission + - Distinguishing encrypted data from random data 5

gust5av writes: I'm working on a little script to provide _very_ simple and easy to use steganography. I'm using bash together with cryptsetup (without LUKS) and the plausable deniability lies in writing to different parts of a container file. On decryption you specify the offset of the hidden data. Together with a dynamically expanding filesystem this makes it possible to have an arbitrary number of hidden volumes in a file. It is implausible to reveal the encrypted data without the password, but is it possible to prove there is encrypted data where you claim there's not?

If I give someone one file containing random data and another containing data encrypted with AES, will he be able to tell which is which?

Submission + - Is SSD density about to hit a wall? (enterprisestorageforum.com)

Zombie Puggle writes: Enterprise Storage Forum has an article by Jeffrey Layton in which he contends that solid state disks will stay stuck at 20-25nm unless the materials and techniques used to design Flash drives changes and soon. “Anything smaller and the data protection and data corruption issues become so great that either the performance is abysmal, the data retention period doesn't meet JEDEC standards, or the cost increases.”

(“Why Flash Drive Density Will Stop Growing Next Year” http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/technology/article.php/3904146/Why-Flash-Drive-Density-Will-Stop-Growing-Next-Year.htm)

Though engineers are working on performance and density improvements via new technologies (they’re also trying to drive costs down), these are fairly new techniques and are not likely to make it into devices for a while. All of which supports Henry Newman’s belief that SSDs won’t replace spinning disk drives.

("Why Solid State Drives Won't Replace Spinning Disk" http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/technology/features/article.php/3894671/Why-Solid-State-Drives-Wont-Replace-Spinning-Disk.htm)


Submission + - Peer Review Highly Sensitive To Poor Refereeing (physicsworld.com)

$RANDOMLUSER writes: A new study described at physicsworld.com claims that a small percentage of shoddy or self-interested referees can have a drastic effect on published article quality. The research shows that article quality can drop as much as one standard deviation when just 10% of referees do not behave "correctly". At high levels of rational or random behavior, "the peer-review system will not perform much better than by accepting papers by throwing (an unbiased) coin". The model also includes calculations for "friendship networks" (nepotism) between authors and reviewers.
The original paper, by a pair of complex systems researchers, is at arXiv.org. No word on when we can expect it to be peer reviewed.

Submission + - The Road to Intellectual Serfdom (forbes.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Are ever more stringent intellectual property laws giving ammo to governments to crack down more harshly on dissent. A new article at Forbes.com warns that this is an inevitable consequence of the international IP system.

Submission + - Adobe releases new 64-bit Flash plugin for Linux (adobe.com) 1

TheDarkener writes: Adobe seems to have made an about face regarding their support for native 64-bit Linux support for Flash today, and released a new preview Flash plugin named "Square". This includes a native 64-bit version for Linux, which I have verified works on my Debian Lenny LTSP server by simply copying libflashplayer.so to /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins — with sound (which I was never able to figure out with running the 32-bit version with nspluginwrapper and pulseaudio).

Submission + - 72% of adults support violent-game ban for minors (gamespot.com) 1

SpuriousLogic writes: The US Supreme Court won't start hearing arguments over California's law banning game sales to minors until November 2. However, the ruling in the court of popular opinion is already in, according to a new poll.

This week, parent watchdog group Common Sense Media released the results of a survey it commissioned on children's access to violent games. Conducted by polling firm Zogby International, the survey asked 2,100 adults whether they would support a law that "prohibits minors from purchasing ultraviolent or sexually violent video games without parental consent." Of those surveyed, some 72 percent said they would approve such a law.

Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer, whose nonprofit organization is lobbying for game-restriction legislation in many states, hailed the poll's findings. "We hope the [state] attorneys general will take a look at these poll results and that they'll side with families over protecting the profits of the video game industry."

Zogby also asked those parents that were polled some more general questions about violent video games and their children. Some 65 percent said they were "concerned about the impact of ultraviolent video games on their kids." A full 75 percent of parents would give the game industry as a whole a "negative rating when it comes to how they protect kids from violent video games." Over half of both adults and parents would rate the industry's efforts as "poorly" in the latter matter.

Submission + - GAO says piracy "damage" may be overblown. (martindale.com) 1

poptones writes: A recent article at Martindale.com, that summarises a recent GAO report conducted as a
requirement of the PRO-IP act, seems to reinforce the argument that "industry estimates"
(and even "government estimates") of damages caused by intellectual property piracy may
well be both baseless and overblown. The summary (and, apparently, the report) points out
the many difficulties in even attempting to quantify the effects of piracy on the marketplace
in anything resembling an objective manner. Among the many notable quotations:

"The GAO gave three examples of widely cited piracy estimates that could not be substantiated: 1) an FBI
estimate that U.S. businesses lose $200-$250 billion annually... a 2002 CBP press release that estimated
that U.S. businesses lose $200 billion a year in revenue and 750,000 jobs... and 3) a Motor and Equipment
Manufacturers Associated report of an estimate that the U.S. automotive parts industry has lost $3 billion in
sales... due to counterfeit goods"

A 3 1/2 page pdf that's well worth the read; very interesting to see this sort of discussion appearing in legal print.


Submission + - PayPal withholding indie dev's 600k Euro account (tumblr.com) 1

epee1221 writes: Markus Persson, a.k.a. Notch, the developer of Minecraft posted in the development blog today that PayPal limited his account with unspecified cause on August 25th. Since then, payments for the alpha version of Minecraft have continued accumulating while Notch has been unable to withdraw them, and the account now contains over €600,000. PayPal recently told him it may take up to two more weeks for things to get sorted out and that if they conclude that there is funny business involved, they will keep the money.
Classic Games (Games)

Submission + - Breathing new life to old DirectDraw games (gfxile.net)

An anonymous reader writes: I bought a bunch of old Wing Commander games for windows, and these use DirectDraw, which Microsoft has deprecated. They don't work too well under Windows 7, so I ended up reimplementing ddraw.dll, using OpenGL to output the games' graphics. I wrote an article describing the process and all the fun workarounds I had to come up with, and released all related source code for others to hack on.

Slashdot Top Deals

Not only is UNIX dead, it's starting to smell really bad. -- Rob Pike