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


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Submission + - White Shark RFID/Sattellite Tracking Shows Long Journeys, Many Beach Visits (

Lucas123 writes: Marine biologists from OCEARCH, a non-profit shark research project, have been tagging scores of great whites and other shark species with an array of wireless technologies, gathering granular data on the sharks over the past year or more. For example, Mary Lee, a great white shark that's the same weight and nearly the same length as a Buick, was tagged off of Cape Cod and has made beach visits up and down the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda. She came so close to beaches that the research team alerted local authorities. The team attaches an array of acoustic and satellite tags as well as accelerometers to the sharks, which collect more than 100 data points every second — 8.5 million data points per day. The data has provided a detailed, three-dimensional view of the shark's behavior, which the team has been sharing in real time on its website. OCEARCH plans to expand that data sharing over the next few weeks to social networks and classrooms.

Submission + - Top 100 Places To Work In IT Reward Employees for Innovation (

Lucas123 writes: A supportive work environment and a commitment to innovation stands out among the top attributes a great company for IT workers, according to the results of a survey of the best places to work by Computerworld. For example, CareerBuilder awarded employees $236,000 for innovative ideas in 2011 and USAA offers $10,000 tuition reimbursement per year. At Commonwealth Financial network staffers get free stay at chairman's vacation home and Quicken Loans
gives IT staffers 4 hours a week for personal tech projects.

Data Storage

Submission + - Costly SSDs Worth It, Users Say (

Lucas123 writes: When you're paying $30,000 for a PCIe flash card, it had better demonstrate an ROI. While users are still struggling with why solid state storage cost so much, when they target the technology at the right applications, the results can be staggering. For example, when Dan Marbes, a systems engineer at Associated Bank, deployed just three SSDs for his B.I. applications, the flash storage outperformed 60 15,000rpm Fibre Channel disk drives in small-block reads. But when Marbes used the SSDs for large-block random reads and any writes, "the 60 15K spindles crushed the SSDs," he said,

Submission + - Unpatched software and no antivirus at Diginotar

Dr La writes: On request of the Dutch government an independant company (Fox-IT — no relation to the TV network whatsoever) investigated the situation at Diginotar, the hacked Dutch company at the center of the fraudulent SSL certificates scandal. The report contains some amazing observations. While the company is active in the internet security business, Diginotar was extremely sloppy regarding it's own security to internet threaths.

The report ( mentions that:

a) No antivirus software was present on Diginotar's servers;
b) "the most critical servers" had malicious software infections;
c) The software installed on the public web servers was outdated and not patched;
d) all servers were accessible by one user/password combination, which was "not very strong and could easily be brute-forced".

Diginotar did appear to have run a firewall though.

Submission + - Flying car 'Transition' gets road approval from NH (

arisvega writes: Terrafugia’s car/plane vehicle called the Transition, has received approval from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) clearing the way for delivery to customers sometime next year. Last year it received approval to fly as a “light sport aircraft” from the Federal Aviation Administration, but not before being given a special exemption to fly 110 pounds heavier than other’s in its class. This time around it had to convince the NHTSA to allow a special exemption for its Plexiglas windows and aircraft landing capable tires. The current price of $250,000 may or may not be the final price.

Submission + - Toshiba On The Verge Of Shipping Its First Tablet

adeelarshad82 writes: Flying under the radar, Toshiba's Thrive tablet running Google's Android 3.1 Honeycomb is now available or pre-order on Best Buy. According to the BestBuy the tablet will come in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB versions. The tablet will be powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip, feature multi-touch and carry a 10.1 inch screen with 1280-by-800 LED display. The tablet hosts two cameras, a 2-megapixel front-facing webcam, and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Submission + - Google Maps Now Available Offline On Android (

sfcrazy writes: One of the grips of the Android users was the lack of offline Google Maps. If you are driving across the country you need continuous Internet connectivity to download the maps of the region as you move in. Many times it happened that you lose the connectivity and now you are stranded if you need to re-navigate.

Google was expected to announce a feature which allowed users to download maps and use them offline. Google just did it. Google has added a feature in its Labs which allows users to download the map of the area they are visiting.


Submission + - Washington Post Job Board Hacked: 1.27M Accounts (

wiredmikey writes: The Washington Post has notified users of its jobs board that a recent a cyber attack has resulted in a data breach that compromised up to 1.27 million job seeker accounts.

The Washington Post said that the attack occurred in two brief episodes, once on June 27 and once on June 28, resulting in the attacker(s) getting hold of roughly 1.27 million user IDs and e-mail addresses. Passwords or other personal information were not compromised, the publisher said.

Just over a week ago, Gannett Government Media, publisher of several high profile publications catering to the military and government sectors, was the victim of a recent a cyber attack, resulting in files containing information including first and last name, userID, password, email address, and customer numbers for its subscribers.


Submission + - H-1B At 20: How 'Tech Worker Visa' Is Remaking IT (

CWmike writes: When Congress created the H-1B visa program 20 years ago this month, it sent the American IT industry into uncharted territory from which it has yet to emerge. Over the years, supporters have included Microsoft's Bill Gates and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 2009 told Congress that the annual visa cap of 85,000 is 'too small to meet the need' and that protecting U.S. IT workers from global competition creates a 'privileged elite.' Groups like the Economic Policy Institute have begged to differ. In a report released last month by researcher Ron Hira, he argues that the H-1B along with the L-1 visa allow employers to bypass U.S. workers. Computerworld's special report on the 20th anniversary of the H-1B includes first-person accounts from five IT workers who have been directly affected by the H-1B program and visual and interactive tools to help you analyze H-1B visa data.

Submission + - Flat Pay Prompts 1 in 3 in IT to Consider Jump (

CWmike writes: Companies have cut salaries and training, held back on bonuses and piled more work on employees in response to the economic downturn. These tactics may well be pushing many IT pros to go job hunting, Computerworld's latest salary poll has found. More than one third (36%) of the 343 respondents to a recent poll said they are looking to move to a new employer in the next six months. And 69% reported they had not received a pay raise in the past six months. The poll was conducted during the last two weeks in September. For employers, the warning could not be more clear. As the economy improves, the most able IT workers may leave for something better.

Submission + - Missing MIS: 5 Old-School Ideas We Want Back (

CWmike writes: Back before the age of the PC, men in computer science — and they were almost always men — wearing white shirts, ties and pocket protectors, spent their days punching data requests onto cards. On machines such as the IBM/System 360 was built the entire hierarchy of MIS — management information systems, writes Michael Fitzgerald. Today, both machine and management style look Neolithic, he writes. Storage space, processing speeds and data volume have expanded far beyond what few in the 1960s could have begun to imagine, and the stove-piped, glass-towered, heads-down MIS departments of old have given way to decentralized, service-oriented, business-focused IT organizations. Nobody wants to go back to punch-card programming, but some other old tech practices could stand a revival. Cobol, anyone?

Submission + - BlackBerry's encryption hacked; backups now a risk (

GMGruman writes: InfoWorld blogger Martin Heller reveals that a Russian passcode-breaker developer has broken the encryption used in BlackBerry backups. That can help recover data when passwords are lost but also give data thieves access to a treasure trove of corporate secrets. And the developer boasts that it was easier to crack the BlackBerry encryption than it was to crack Apple iOS's.

Submission + - 68% of iPhone Apps Collect Unique Device ID (

An anonymous reader writes: It looks like iPhone users are not immune to the types of data leaks recently discovered on the Android platform. Researchers looked at the top free applications available from the App Store and discovered that "68% of these applications were transmitting UDIDs to servers under the application vendor’s control each time the application is launched." The iPhone's Unique Device ID, or UDID, cannot be changed, nor can it's transmission be disabled by the user. The full paper is here.

Submission + - Massive Satellite Could Harvest Space Wind Energy (

disco_tracy writes: A solar sail orbiting the planet could capture enormous streams of charged particles zooming away from the sun at several hundred kilometers per second. Scientists have calculated that such a satellite could generate one billion billion gigawatts of power.

Submission + - Linux Based Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network (

tetrahedrassface writes: When a disaster strikes connectivity can be one of the most important and least available resources for responders. The Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne or EPFL have developed autonomous swarming, flying robots that run linux. The robots are low cost, and can run for 30 minutes per charge. Swarm controllers are implemented on a Toradex Colibri PXA270 CPU board running Linux, connected to an off-the-shelf USB WiFi dongle. The output of these controllers, namely a desired turn rate, speed or altitude, is sent as control command to the autopilot. These flying machines work in two ways. The first is to let the bots loose and let artificial evolution come up with good evolved controllers whose setting are saved for potential scenarios. The second is to mirror the was ants swarm and follow pheromone pathways. There is a lot of video of the swarm in action in the article, and it sure looks interesting.

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