Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


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! ×

Submission + - White House responds to SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN: "ask (

eefsee writes: The White House today responded to two petitions with a statement on Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet. They note that 'We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet.' In particular, they site manipulation of DNS as problematic. But overall the statement is clearly supportive of anti-piracy efforts and lays down this challenge: 'So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here? Don't limit your opinion to what'(TM)s the wrong thing to do, ask yourself what’s right.' So, what's right?

Comment Hypertalk! (Score 1) 538

The paper talks about things like "repeat" being more intuitive than "for"... I wonder if the authors considered testing languages like Hypertalk or AppleScript that are purposely designed for novice use. It would be interesting to see if they work. However, my gut (very unscientific) tells me that most professionals learn to think in the syntax they adopt, and other factors come into play than this intuitiveness. These might include efficiency (or density) of the language and ease of debugging (the whitespace issue). A test like this does not say much about the usefulness of a language to someone who devotes themselves to it.

Comment Losing control of Analytics (Score 1) 249

It actually appears to me that this is a significant challenge to Google, and any of the rest of us who depend on web analytics. Silk not only renders on the cloud, but fetches content (even whole pages) predictively for the user. In other words, Silk will hit my website even if the user has not "clicked" on my link. How can I (or Google) tell whether the "GET" is predictive or actual? Furthermore, since Silk is doing much of the rendering in the cloud, how can I be sure that my content is actually getting through (ads, for example, could be modified or replaced).

None of this is new, others have been able to do this to varying degrees for years. But the scale is new. Amazon will sell millions of Fire readers, and who is to say that Silk will remain limited to just Fire and its descendants? What if Amazon eventually releases Silk as desktop technology. I actually think Fire is the first trial of a technology that Amazon intends for much wider distribution. Why not? It can already claim great success in bringing significant web properties into the Amazon cloud, promising Silk integration will only strengthen that position. Imagine: your user can get to your website without even using the internet! The whole interaction can be in the Amazon cloud. The net is only used to cover the "last mile" to the browser.

Silk is a major play for Amazon. Possibly bigger than Kindle itself.

Comment touch is all over the Mac OS (Score 5, Insightful) 352

I am not a Windows user, so I can't comment on Gruman's take on Windows 7, but he seems to be missing a lot about the Mac. Ever since the iPhone and the advent of CocoaTouch, Apple has been migrating touch elements into the desktop Cocoa framework and the laptop trackpad hardware. Today's MacBooks have trackpads that are, essentially, as sensitive as the iPhone. Two-finger scrolling has been joined by other gestures, most recently four-finger strokes to invoke Expose and the like. Application in Cocoa can (and many do) take advantage of two finger "spread" and "squeeze" gestures to zoom in and out, or "twist" gestures to rotate.

Gruman identifies the chicken and egg problem correctly enough, but misses the fact that Apple has a great advantage in the way Cocoa is architected. Many of these features can be implemented by Apple in such a way that Cocoa apps inherit these behaviors "for free." At this point the Mac OS is quite "touchy" and this drives some of the tablet rumors we hear. There is very little to prevent Apple from making the Mac screen itself an input device with gestures that many (if not most) Mac apps would have no trouble interpreting.

The other advantage for Apple in all this is CocoaTouch itself. Apple has a touch interface already widely deployed and is on its third generation of the framework that drives it. The iPhone/iPodTouch has many more users than MS Surface and Apple is learning from every one of them. Just because a casual user of the Mac OS does not get confronted by a host of touch options does not mean the potential is not present, after all, this is the company that ships a five button mouse configured to act like a one button mouse!


Submission + - Is there a zero-day OpenSSH exploit in the wild? (

eefsee writes: reports 'Over the past 24 hours we've had a number of readers tell us that there is an OpenSSH exploit in active use.' It is not clear if this is a real exploit or sysadmin CYA masquerading as exploit, but some web hosts have already turned of SSH in response. On 7/5 HostGator shut down SSH on all its shared servers. Site5 did the same thing the next day. The loss of SSH, of course, kills SFTP on these hosts as well, forcing customers to fall back on FTP. Now that is security!

Submission + - Web hosts spooked by OpenSSH exploit ( 1

eefsee writes: On 7/5 HostGator shut down SSH on all its shared servers. The next day Site5 did the same thing. There are some claims that this is a hole so big in SSH that the baddies can gain root access on their Linux servers, so OpenSSH/SSL services had to be shut down until there was a fix. The odd thing is that there has been no new US-CERT announcement of any such vulnerability. Does anyone know what these hosts are reacting to? Should we all be shutting off OpenSSH on Linux and patching urgently or are these guys over-reacting. The loss of SSH, of course, kills SFTP on these hosts as well. What do customers have to fall back on? FTP. Now that is security!
The Internet

Submission + - The free version of Google Apps is history. ( 2

An anonymous reader writes:

The free version of Google Apps is history. The current sign up page makes no mention of the previously free Standard edition. Instead, new users get a 14 day free trial, and then must pay $50 per user per year after that trial. Google Apps is a suite of online applications like gmail, Google calendar, Google Docs, etc. that are packaged and tailored for business use.

Earlier this year we reported that the usage caps were being squeezed by Google over time for Google Apps, from 200 users down to just 50. When the service first launched in August 2006 it was free and described as "a service available at no cost to organizations of all shapes and sizes." A paid version first appeared in 2007.

Dave Girouard, Google's President of Enterprise, commented on our post that talked about the decreasing number of users allowed for the free version, saying that the cap reductions were needed to keep resellers happy, adding "There's no reason to believe that the cap will continue to "move down" — we have no plans whatsoever to do that."

I guess not. They didn't move the cap down, they just killed the Standard product entirely. No mention of this change was made at a Google Apps press event held last month.

You can actually still see the free version at this page. But it doesn't appear to be linked to from any Google page at this point. We're emailing Google for comment.

Comment Re:Customer information sharing (Score 1) 526

Actually, it's been years since I signed my name on any credit card slip. I sign "R U Checking" instead. Literally two years and I have yet to be challenged. I never thought of this as a security move, I just figured I'm trying to learn whether people ever check the sig. In my experience, even when they look at it, they don't see it.


Submission + - Active glacier found on Mars?

Smivs writes: "A probable active glacier has been identified for the first time on Mars. The icy feature has been spotted in images from the European Space Agency's (Esa) Mars Express spacecraft.
The young glacier appears in the Deuteronilus Mensae region between Mars' rugged southern highlands and the flat northern lowlands. "If it was an image of Earth, I would say 'glacier' right away," Dr Gerhard Neukum, chief scientist on the spacecraft's High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) was quoted as saying.
"We have not yet been able to see the spectral signature of water. But we will fly over it in the coming months and take measurements. On the glacial ridges we can see white tips, which can only be freshly exposed ice.
Dr Neukum said glacial features would be prime locations for robotic rovers to look for evidence of life on Mars."

Submission + - First Evidence of Another Universe? 2

blamanj writes: Three months ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a large hole at the edge of our universe. Now, Dr. Laura Mersini-Houghton thinks she knows what that means. (Subscription req'd at New Scientist site, there's also an overview here.) According to string theory, there are many universes besides our own. Her team says that smaller universes are positioned at the edge of our universe, and because of gravitational interactions, they can be observed, and they're willing to make a prediction. The recently discovered void is in the northern hemisphere. They contend another one will be found in the southern hemisphere.

Submission + - Obama at Google (

infinitysv5 writes: Obama made a campaign stop at Google. He pledged to post government data on the Internet in universally accessible formats, and likened his quick rise in politics to Google's rapid emergence as the giant it is. He also fielded questions, like this one:

"Obama was prepared when Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the event moderator, asked him the most efficient way to sort a million 32-bit integers.

Obama said he did not favor the bubble sort method, impressing engineers by his reference to a method of sorting out numerical algorithms.

"You answered the question correctly," Schmidt said."

Only a politician would even mention bubble sort.


Submission + - MySpace Hacked: Alicia Keys and other bands hit (

cottagetrees writes: Security uber-researcher Roger Thompson has discovered multipled hacked MySpace pages — most notably MySpace's #4 most popular major music artist Alicia Keys. Thompson has posted a super-interesting detailed video here: According to Thompson, the hack and exploit have some interesting characteristics... 1. MySpace is hacked, as opposed to the bad guys getting the usernames and passwords of a few bands (other bands hit include "Greements of Fortune," a French funk band, "Dykeenies," a rock band from Glasgow, and several others. 2. When a visitor visits the infected page, they're first hit by an exploit (which installs malware in the background if they're not fully patched against the latest security vulnerabilities), and next they're presented with a Fake Codec which tells them they need to install a codec to view the video. So even if they're patched, they can fall victim to the exploit. 3. The bad guys are using a deviously ingenious hack: The HTML in the page contains some sort of image map, which basically makes it so you can click on anything over a wide area on the page and your click is directed to the malicious hyperlink. Even the ads on the page are affected. Thompson's blog, with more information, is at

Submission + - Steal for the WGA (

eefsee writes: How can you support TV & movie writers during the current Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike? Kay Reindl, a TV writer, suggests boycotting iTunes in favor of bittorrent: '...go ahead and watch those DVDs. Yes, we're being underpaid for them but at least we ARE being paid. What I don't want people to do, however, is download episodes from iTunes or watch episodes on a network's website. ...when you download something or watch streaming video with commercials and the writers don't get any money for it, the networks call it promotion. ...Steal from the networks. You KNOW how much they hate it. But we're not supposed to hate it if they steal from us. Somehow, that's their logic. If you don't know how to use Bittorrent, go read up on it.' Makes you feel downright good to be a criminal!

Slashdot Top Deals

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!