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


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Submission + - Prosecutors to Use Secret Code in NSA Leak Trial

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Baltimore Sun reports that that the US government wants to invoke a little-used rule that allows prosecutors to use code words in the courtroom — making portions of a public trial private in the trial of Thomas Drake, an employee at the National Security Agency accused of sharing classified documents with journalist Siobhan Gorman that revealed that NSA's Trailblazer Program was was a boondoggle of sorts — and that the agency had removed several of the privacy safeguards that were put in place to protect domestic conversations and e-mails from being stored and monitored. The "silent witness rule," is meant to minimize the disclosure of classified information by allowing only those directly involved in a case — the judge, jury, witnesses, lawyers and defendants — to see the evidence. Any public discussion of the secret details must be done in code. "They literally have a key, a glossary, that the jury would have that the public would not," says Abbe D. Lowell, a Washington, DC defense attorney who gave an example of what the code would sound like: "When [the defendant] and I were talking about Country A, we discussed the fact that there was a possibility that Leader 1 might not appreciate the United States' sanction on Topic C." That's impossible for a jury to follow, and it will cripple a defendant's rights to really cross-examine and confront the evidence against him says Lowell. Drake's defense attorneys say Drake is more whistleblower than traitor. "The documents at issue in this case concern NSA's waste, fraud, and abuse," says Maryland federal public defender James Wyda, who represents Drake. "Most importantly, Mr. Drake's activities relating to these documents were intended to reveal the waste, fraud, and abuse that cost the taxpayers money, weakened our civil liberties, and hindered our nation's ability to identify potential threats against our security.""

Submission + - Six Atari 2600 "vaporware" games from 1983 found! (

Anonymous Coward writes: "Six previously unreleased Atari VCS/2600 games that were developed by Jerry Lawson’s company, Video Soft, are at last being released! The games were mentioned in press releases from the early 1980s and were long thought to have been just one of the many vaporware titles that never materialized. Not only do they exist in prototype form, but all were far enough along in development to be playable, with half of them considered to be complete!

Thanks to Jerry Lawson and the efforts of a few, dedicated Atari fans, the prototypes were archived, new artwork was created, and cartridges were produced. Each includes both a box and manual, and production is limited to 100 numbered copies of each title. Only 100 of each will ever be produced. This is the single-largest cache of unreleased Atari VCS/2600 prototypes to ever be released at one time!"


Submission + - Spanish government to subsidize IPv6 ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Spanish government will initiate a plan to incorporate IPv6 starting in april, initially the Ministry of Industry with other ministries to follow. The biggest part of the plan is a program of subsidies for small and medium sized enterprises that will cover projects involving, among others, pilot testing, network reconfiguration, purchase of software and equipment replacement. The plan will revise registration procedures for the .es TLD to include IPv6 addressing.

Submission + - Is Daylight Saving Time Bad for You?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Time Magazine reports that according to experts on circadian rhythms, the hour shift in sleep schedule from Daylight Savings Time can have serious effects on some people's health, particularly in people with certain pre-existing health problems with one study finding that men were more likely to commit suicide during the first few weeks of Daylight Saving Time (DST) than at any other time during the year and another study showing that the number of serious heart attacks jumps 6% to 10% on the first three workdays after DST begins. Dr. Xiaoyong Yang, an assistant professor of comparative medicine and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale University, theorizes that shifts in biologic rhythms could trigger harmful inflammatory or metabolic changes at the cellular level, which these individuals may be more susceptible to. "Most people don't have much of a problem — they can adjust their body clock quickly. Eventually, after a couple of days, they already can adapt to the new schedule," says Yang. "But for some groups of people — people who have depression or a heart problem — there's some research that suggests that [they] have a higher risk of suicide and heart attack.""

Submission + - iPad 2 teardown shows tablet's guts (

alphadogg writes: Apple's iPad 2 tablet, which became available Friday, boasts a big battery, tiny speakers, an ample 512MB of RAM and a glass front that's tricky for tinkerers to take off. That's the upshot from an initial teardown of the new Apple tablet by iFixit, which specializes in Apple product repair. IFixit warns that those who dare to peer into the insides of the iPad 2 on their own risk cracking the glass front panel, which is thinner than that from the original iPad (0.62 mm vs. 0.85 mm) and glued on rather than attached via tabs. A heat gun was needed by iFixit to disassemble the device.

Submission + - Facebook Develops HTML5 Gaming Benchmark (

An anonymous reader writes: A couple of Facebook engineers are developing an HTML5 gaming benchmark. They write, 'Two weeks ago Bruce and I released JSGameBench version 0.1. Today marks the release of version 0.2, a much faster and cleaner version. We continue to learn both from tightening the code and from the strong HTML5 community. Version 0.2 reinforces our belief in HTML5 as a strong, horizontal platform for games and highly interactive applications across the web.'

Submission + - Google makes Java more precise (

mikejuk writes: Contract-oriented design has the potential to reduce programmer errors by enforcing conditions on class and interface alike. Now there's an open source way to add contracts to Java with cofoja — shame about the name it sounds more like an illness

Submission + - 4G Broadband May Jam GPS (

mferrare writes: Avweb is reporting that "[t]he GPS industry is warning that a proposed broadband Internet network could effectively jam GPS signals". The 4G broadband frequencies (1525-1559MHz) live right next to the GPS frequencies (1559-1610MHz) and this could be problematic. Testing is still under way with results expected in June

Submission + - FCC approves broadcasts that may jam GPS (

kybred writes: GPS World reports that on January 26, the FCC waived its own rules and granted permission for Lightsquared to broadcast in the GPS L1 Band from powerful terrestrial transmitters. Prior to the decision, representatives of the U.S. GPS Industry Council and prominent GPS manufacturers presented a report showing consumer GPS device began to be jammed at a power level representing a distance of 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers) from the simulated LightSquared

Submission + - Johannesburg Stock Exchange to move to Linux (

jmaccelari writes: It looks like Africa's largest bourse — the Johannesburg Stock Exhange (JSE) — is set to follow in the footsteps of the LSE by replacing its flaky Microsoft .Net platform with the Linux-based Millennium Exchange system as of 2012...

Submission + - Bing Localizations break links

crossmr writes: Since I moved halfway across the world, I have found that a lot of websites and software likes to make assumptions about you based on your IP. While it isn't obvious if you move to a country that has the same native language as you it becomes rather apparent when you move to a country with a different native language. Besides Windows Live Messenger sending me updates in Korean, even though I've selected English as my language and my account was created in an English speaking country years ago, Microsoft has taken this a step further with Bing and absolutely destroying links people send. A Bing video was linked on facebook today. Those of you in North America and maybe the UK will have no issue viewing the video. However here in South Korea Microsoft has decided that instead of serving the linked content, they're going to break the link and redirect to a local provider doing a search for itself. While I can appreciate that a site like google redirects to a Korean version when you go to from Korea, they don't invalidate links to deeper content just because you're out of the country. I cannot find any obvious way to disable this "service". I had no inclination to use Bing before, but even less now.

Submission + - Are all DVR users created equal? (

Bullstocks writes: Duke University recently completed a study that found that the ad skipping ability of DVR's has no appreciable affect on the purchasing habits of viewers. The long dreaded "Tivo" effect really doesn't exist. Really?

  "Mela reminds marketers that consumers spend about five to six hours a day watching television while Internet usage is still far less." Is that true? Anyone who works in front of a computer surely spends more time on the Internet than in front of a television. I would gander that Slashdot viewers spend more time on the Internet than in front of a Television, and when they do watch tv with a DVR they use it effectively. Perhaps a Poll?

Question: How many television commercials do you view a day?

1. Too many to count.
2. Very few, I am a DVR Master
3. None, I download all my shows silly!
4. I only watch DVD's on my TV
5. Broadband made my TV obsolete.
6. Same amount as before my DVR

The Courts

Submission + - IT Staffing Firms Sue Feds Over New H-1B Rules

theodp writes: Three IT staffing firms which hire H-1B workers as software engineers, developers and analysts have joined with IT services industry association TechServe Alliance to file a lawsuit challenging a memo issued by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which requires that the companies maintain direct control of employees assigned to third party worksites. The group is seeking an injunction that would prevent the USCIS from enforcing the so-called Neufeld Memo, saying the USCIS actions could cost the IT staffing industry some $100 million in business annually. In April, the White House argued that the U.S. needs H-1B visas to avoid 'competitive disadvantage'.

Submission + - Microsoft Impersonates Bank Officials to Pitch IE8

theodp writes: Techflash reports that Microsoft is employing old-fashioned fear tactics in the latest IE8 TV ads, showing New Yorkers getting ripped off at a scam bank. Microsoft explains it's staged live recreations of notorious internet scams to 'raise awareness of just how easy it is to fall victim to these risks and to highlight some of the ways that Internet Explorer 8 can help to protect you.'

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