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Linux

Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma? 287

First time accepted submitter BlazeMiskulin writes "With XP approaching end-of-life, I find myself in a situation that I'm guessing is common: What to do with Mom's machine (or 'grandma's machine' for the younger of you). Since a change has to be made, this seems like a good time to move to a Linux distro. My mother (82) uses her computer for e-mail and web-browsing only. I know that any distro will be able to handle her needs. I've been using Linux (Ubuntu, CentOS, and Redhat--usually with KDE interface) for about 10 years now, but I know that my preferences are quite different from hers.

I have my own ideas, but I'm curious what others think: What combination of distro and UI would you recommend for an old, basic-level user who is accustomed to the XP interface and adverse to change?"
My Grandmother seems happy running KDE on Debian.
Earth

Doomsday Clock Remains at Five Minutes to Midnight 222

Lasrick writes "The Doomsday Clock remains at 5 minutes to midnight. In a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and members of the UN Security Council, the Bulletin announced its decision and how it was made. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains." Reasons for the clock remaining at five minutes include the U.S. and Russian not doing much for disarmament increasing nuclear weapon stockpiles in India and China, stalled efforts to reduce carbon emissions globally, and "killer robots."
Security

The Windows Flaw That Cracks Amazon Web Services 114

Nerval's Lobster writes "Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell decided to poke around the security of Amazon Web Services, and found a potential loophole that could theoretically allow anyone — a developer, an unscrupulous Amazon employee, the NSA — to access and copy data volumes stored on the system, using a slightly modified version of the popular 'chntwp' password tool. In this article, he breaks down how he did it, and suggests some ways for those who use cloud-hosting services to keep their data a little more secure in the future. 'The key here, of course, is that an unscrupulous employee might be able to make a copy of any existing Windows volume, and go to work on it without the customer ever knowing that it happened,' he writes. 'Now let's be clear: I'm not accusing anyone of having done this; in fact, I doubt anybody has, considering I was unable to find a working copy of chntpw until I modified it.' It's a security concern, and one that's particularly insidious to patch."
Idle

20 People Shot With BB Guns At LG G2 Promotional Event 151

coolnumbr12 tipped us to a tale of a contest gone wrong at LG's G2 release event. Quoting El Reg: "The PR boffins at LG decided it would be a good idea to release 100 helium-filled balloons, each carrying a voucher entitling the recipient to claim their 950,000 won ($852.54) smartphone. It then took to social media to promote the event, inviting people to witness the balloons' release and encouraging them to grab one of the vouchers. But what must have sounded like a good idea in the marketing meeting quickly dissolved into chaos. People aren’t stupid. They figured out that the only way to get the voucher was to burst the balloons, and they showed up equipped to do so with BB guns, knives on sticks, and other tools." In the ensuing carnage, 20 people were injured. Whoops.
Encryption

Draft IETF Standard for SSH Key Management Released 35

A few months ago, Tatu Ylonen (creator of SSH 1.x) declared that lax key management was hazardous. Now there's work being done on a standard for automated key management. hypnosec sent in the news; quoting Parity News on the content of the draft: "It presents a process that would allow for moving of already issued keys to protected location, removal of unused keys, key rotation, providing rights of what can be done with the keys and establishing an approval process for issue of new keys." There's a non-WG mailing list; the final version of the standard is expected in October.
Chromium

Google Chrome Getting Audio Indicators To Show You Noisy Tabs 155

An anonymous reader writes "Google is working on identifying Chrome tabs that are currently playing audio (or recording it). The feature is expected to show an audio animation if a tab is broadcasting or recording sound. François Beaufort spotted the new feature, a part of which is already available in the latest Chromium build."
Idle

Local Emergency Alert System Hacked, Warns Dead Rising From Graves 235

First time accepted submitter Rawlsian writes "Great Falls, Montana, television station KRTC issued a denial of an Emergency Alert System report that 'dead bodies are rising from their graves.' The denial surmises that 'someone apparently hacked into the Emergency Alert System...This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency.'"
KDE

KDE Multi-Monitor Control Getting An Overhaul 144

Multi-monitor support on Free systems has always been a pain (even after RANDR made it a lot less of a pain). GNOME2 had a great feature: you only had to configure a given pair of displays once and it would do-the-right-thing and remember their configuration. But if you wanted to mirror displays of different resolutions, you were out of luck. KDE handled the latter case, but infuriatingly enough doesn't remember or restore configurations like GNOME2 did, and worse yet requires manual intervention before disconnecting a display. But, now that's all changing: "As some of you might have noticed, display management in KDE is not really something we could be proud of. It does not work as expected, it lacks some features and it’s not really maintained. Time to change it, don’t you think? ... Alex has written the libkscreen library that provides information about available/connected/enabled outputs and notifications about their changes. He also intends to write a KDED daemon that would listen for these events and depending on connected monitors (every monitor can be uniquely identified by it’s EDID) it would load specific configuration. For example, docking your notebook into a docking station at work would automatically turn on a second monitor and place it left of the notebook screen (or whatever you configure the first time you do it). Undocking the notebook and connecting a data projector in a meeting room would automatically set clone mode etc. etc." Additionally, the dock applet and monitor configuration UI have been overhauled allowing for quickly setting common configurations ("extend display to the {right,left,top,bottom}" / "clone") directly from the desktop, and direct manipulation of the monitor positions if you do end up needing to use the configuration program (article has a video and screenshots).
Canada

Police Probing Theft of Millions of Pounds of Maple Syrup From Strategic Reserve 399

An anonymous reader writes with this bit from the Globe and Mail: "Quebec police are on the hunt for a sticky-fingered thief after millions of dollars of maple syrup vanished from a Quebec warehouse. The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check last week at the St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse, where the syrup is being held temporarily. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which is responsible for the global strategic maple syrup reserve, initially kept the news quiet, hoping it would help police solve the crime quickly."
Businesses

Craigslist Demands Exclusivity For Postings 160

Bill Dimm writes "Craigslist now demands an exclusive license to the content you post there. How many people are aware that they are agreeing not to post their job ads, rentals, items for sale, etc. anywhere else when they post to Craigslist?" It's not going out on much a limb to suspect this is to strengthen Craigslist's position against those extension sites they love so much.
Government

NSA Declassifies Memo About Failed TRAILBLAZER Project 15

decora writes "Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post reports that the NSA has just declassified one of the 5 documents NSA whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake was charged under the Espionage Act for retaining in his basement. The document, which Drake previously faced years in prison for possessing, is essentially a cheerleading memo, complimenting the Trailblazer project team for a great presentation and demo. It stands in stark contrast to numerous other reports that described the NSA IT project as an overbudget, ineffective, billion dollar seven year boondoggle."
Wikipedia

Kevin Bacon Meets Wikipedia With New Pathfinding Program 50

New submitter BLT2112 writes "Inspired by the Oracle of Bacon, the Oracle of Wikipedia finds the shortest path between two Wikipedia articles, as in Wikipedia Golf. As explained in the site, 'One selects one article as the tee and another article as the hole and then completes the course between them clicking as few links as possible. No typing is allowed. . . . The Oracle also allows you to search for the most challenging potential Wikipedia Golf courses. Can you find a longer course and merit a place in the "records" section?'"
Wikipedia

Kevin Bacon Meets Wikipedia With New Pathfinding Program 50

New submitter BLT2112 writes "Inspired by the Oracle of Bacon, the Oracle of Wikipedia finds the shortest path between two Wikipedia articles, as in Wikipedia Golf. As explained in the site, 'One selects one article as the tee and another article as the hole and then completes the course between them clicking as few links as possible. No typing is allowed. . . . The Oracle also allows you to search for the most challenging potential Wikipedia Golf courses. Can you find a longer course and merit a place in the "records" section?'"
Unix

Mosh: Modernizing SSH With IP Roaming, Instant Local Echo 158

An anonymous reader writes "Launched in 1995, SSH quickly became the king of network login tools, supplanting the old insecure mainstays TELNET and RLOGIN. But 17 years later, a group of MIT hackers have come out with "mosh", which claims to modernize the most annoying parts of SSH. Mosh keeps its connection alive when clients roam among WiFi networks or switch to 3G, and gives instant feedback on typing (and deleting). No more annoying network lag on typing, the MIT boffins say, citing Bufferbloat, which has been increasing latencies." The folks involved have a pre-press research paper with the gritty details (to be presented at USENIX later this year). Mosh itself is not particularly exciting; the new State Synchronization Protocol it is based upon might be: "This is accomplished using a new protocol called the State Synchronization Protocol, for which Mosh is the first application. SSP runs over UDP, synchronizing the state of any object from one host to another. Datagrams are encrypted and authenticated using AES-128 in OCB mode. While SSP takes care of the networking protocol, it is the implementation of the object being synchronized that defines the ultimate semantics of the protocol."

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