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Submission + - The History of Android

benfrog writes: Ars Technica has pieced together an extensive History of Android, an attempt to preserve older versions of the OS before they die from "cloud rot". The article includes nearly every old and new version, starting from a rather curious Blackberry-like prototype and ending with today's KitKat.
Your Rights Online

Submission + - IDL Introduces "Cat Signal" to Proctect the Web from Censorship (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "The Internet Defense League, a loosely-organized group of diverse organizations that hopes to save the internet from acts like SOPA, has come put with a novel way to do it: the "Cat Signal." The embedded code (which can be plunked into almost any web site) can be centrally activated (subject to the override of the site's owner) whenever the IDL feels there is a threat to internet freedom on the horizon. It was also activated today, on the founding of the initiative. And yes, it's inspired by all of those pictures of fuzzy kitty cats on the 'net."
Earth

Submission + - Political Idealogy Shapes How People Perceive Temperature (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "In what likely isn't that much of a surprise, a study has shown that political ideology shapes how we perceive temperature changes (but not drought/flooding conditions). (An abstract of the study is here. 8,000 individuals were asked about temperatures and drought/flood events in recent years, then their political leanings. Answers regarding drought/flood events tended to follow the actual changes in conditions, while answers regarding temperature tended to follow people's political beliefs."
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook Loses Users, Users Happier With Google+ (theregister.co.uk)

benfrog writes: "Facebook has lost what (by the standards of their userbase) is a modest number of users over the last six months, perhaps being one of the causes of a fall in their stock price. In the meantime, a study shows that (both) Google+ users are more satisfied with the site than Facebook users, who are (understandability) upset about the number of recent UI changes, the amount of advertising, and other elements, according to a statement accompanying the study. Figures also show dramatic growth in Google+ usage."
Microsoft

Submission + - Office 2013: A Cloudy Future (arstechnica.com) 1

benfrog writes: "Ars Technica has published an in-depth review of Office 2013, the largely cloud-based (plans don't include physical copies, rely on cloud-based storage, and the like) next version of Microsoft's venerable Swiss-army knife. Many changes are included in this version that largely caters to touch-screen interfaces. Ars also includes first looks at Excel 2013, Word 2013, and Outlook 2013."
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook Ignorance Won't Help You Keep Your Job (theregister.co.uk)

benfrog writes: "A judge in a Texas appeals court has ruled that an EMT's firing was validfor a post on a colleague's Facebook Wall that he argued he intended only to be seen by his close friends but that was visible to his employer (ruling here, PDF). The EMT essentially argued in a last-ditch legal effort to save his job that his lack of knowledge of Facebook's privacy settings (or lack thereof) should have made his firing over the post invalid. Legal analysis in a blog post here."
Security

Submission + - Niagra Framework Leaves Government, Private Infrastructure Open to Hacks (washingtonpost.com)

benfrog writes: "Tridium's Niagra framework is a 'marvel of connectivity,' allowing everything from power plants to gas pumps to be monitored online. Many installations are frighteningly insecure, though, according to an investgation by the Washington Post, leaving both public and private infrastructure potentially open to simple hacks (as simple as a directory traversal attack)."
Java

Submission + - JQuery 2.0 will Drop Support for IE 6, 7, 8 (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "The developers of JQuery recently announced in a blog entry that JQuery 2.0 will drop support for legacy versions of Internet Explorer. The release will come in parallel with version 1.9, however, which will include support for older versions of IE. The versions will offer full API compatibility, but 2.0 will 'benefit from a faster implementation that doesn’t have to rely on legacy compatibility hacks.'""
Censorship

Submission + - Russia's Parliament Votes for Web Censorship Law (bbc.com)

benfrog writes: "Russia's parliament has voted for a law that would give the government the power to take web sites offline without a trial. The bill still needs to be approved by the upper house of Russia's parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law. Supporters of the amendment to the "Act for Information" claim that it will help the authorities block sites containing child abuse and other illegal materials. Opponents, however, are concerned that the "blacklist" of sites could be easily expanded. Several web sites have protested the law, including the Russian-language version of Wikipedia, which went dark and Yandex, whose editor-in-chief voiced her concerns in its blog."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft Kills Windows Gadgets via Security Update (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "Microsoft has taken the unusual step of killing the Windows Gadgets feature completely via a security update. According to an advisory issued Tuesday, an attacker could take over a user's system if they are logged in as admin and they install a vulnerable gadget. Microsoft has pulled the plug on its official Gadgets Gallery and is offering a Fix-it that completely disables the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets. Researchers Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg are scheduled to give a presentation on the vulnerability at the upcoming Black Hat conference called We Have You By the Gadgets."
Bug

Submission + - Instagram Bug Exposes Private Photos to Strangers (theregister.co.uk)

benfrog writes: "A just-patched bug in Instragram potentially exposed user's private photographs to strangers. According to a Spanish-languge blog post by security researcher Sebastián Guerrero (English-lanuage security advisory related to his post here), photos and private information were exposed by the bug stemming from the ability to guess and forge approved requests to follow a user. Guerrero illustrated the vulnerability by adding himself to a group of people followed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg."
Communications

Submission + - Software-Defined Radio: The Apple I of Broadcast? (arstechnica.com)

benfrog writes: "A company called Per Vices has introduced software-defined radio gear that Ars Technica is comparing to the Apple I. Why? Because software radio can broadcast and receive nearly any radio signal on nearly any frequency at the same time, and thus could "revolutionize wireless." The Per Vices Phi is one of the first devices aimed at the mass hobbyist market to take advantage of this technology."
Space

Submission + - Star's Dust Mysteriously Disappears (theregister.co.uk) 1

benfrog writes: "Scientists were recently baffled when a star's dust disappeared, but "now think that the vanishing fragments could [been] have used up in some superfast planet formation." Scientists first spotted the dust orbiting TYC 8241 2652 1 in the Scorpius-Centaurus stellar nursery in 1983, and weren't surprised to see it again 25 years later. It should take thousands if not millions of years to dissipate. However, it was gone in 2010. According to a study published in Nature (paywall), scientists now think that the dust may have been sucked up in a super-fast planet formation. Other theories are still valid, though--the star is too far away to see any new planet."

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