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 + - Skype whitewashes wiretap concerns with improved battery life and cloud services ( 3

quantr writes: In 2008, Skype said it didn't have the ability to help the government wiretap calls. The reason: the company's technology relied on peer-to-peer networks rather than servers under its control. Over the past few years, though, that has started to change, with Skype moving to a new cloud infrastructure which relies more and more on the company's own servers to do the heavy lifting. There's no question that opens up new possibilities for Skype, and that's what the company is highlighting today.
In an official blog post, Skype VP Mark Gillett explains how the move away from P2P allows everything from more battery life for smartphones (since they don't have to do as much computing locally) to persistent video and chat messages that you can receive even when you aren't logged in. Skype will also soon synchronize chat message status across devices, so you won't get bombarded anew each time you log in from a different machine.
However, it's hard to read Skype's blog post without thinking about what the company was accused of earlier this year: helping US government agencies listen to private audio and video calls via the controversial PRISM surveillance program. If it was true in 2008 that peer-to-peer technologies made such wiretaps impossible, was it worth trading that for a little additional stability and functionality? That's an legitimate question. Privacy and utility are often at odds: the more a company knows about you, the better service it can provide.

Submission + - Atlassian launches 'MakeaDiff' for charity-minded developers (

angry tapir writes: Software company Atlassian has launched a new platform — MakeaDiff — to make it easier for developers to contribute their skills to non-profits. Charities can post technical projects on the site, which will then be broken down into tasks that developers can take on. The results of the projects will be open sourced, letting other organisations take advantage of any software produced. I had a chat to the people who built the new platform about its goals.

Submission + - Nokia's Elop $25M personal bonus clause .. (

An anonymous reader writes: Now We Know Why — Nokia's Elop had a $25M personal bonus clause from the Nokia Board if he was able to sell the handset unit to Microsoft

Ok, the truth is seeping out, and this is smelly shit. I apologize for the language. We have news about Elop and his incentives. Yes, Elop had a contract that would pay him 25 million dollars if he managed to sell Nokia's handset unit to Microsoft. This is a blatant conflict of interest, and one that incentivizes Elop for destructive behavior against Nokia. I had been trying to think of a good analogy,

Submission + - Facebook & Cisco Offer Check-In Service for Free Wifi

cagraham writes: According to TechCrunch, Facebook and Cisco are now expanding their joint "Facebook Wifi" program nationwide. The service directs customers who connect to a store's wifi to a landing page where they are encouraged to "check-in" to the business in order to be connected. While users can currently opt out of this and still be connected, the "skip this" button is noticeably difficult to find. The free software integrates with businesses existing routers and providers. Facebook provides reports to participating businesses as well, complete with anonymized aggregate data on the demographics of the customers who checked-in.

Submission + - Team Of Dentists Create "The Six-Second Toothbrush" (

dryriver writes: A team of dentists has created a toothbrush they say can clean teeth thoroughly in less than six seconds. Manufacturer Blizzident uses the same scans dentists use to fit braces and an extremely precise 3D printer to create a brush for each individual customer. Each brush contains about 400 soft bristles and requires the wearer to grind their teeth in order to clean. Its makers say it eliminates brushing errors that people typically make, but experts say more research is needed. The technology comes at a price — a customer's first brush, which will last for a year, costs 299 euros ($405; £250). Subsequent brushes are cheaper, and old ones can be reconditioned for less than 100 euros, the company says. "Because you are brushing all your teeth at the same time, you are brushing extremely quickly," the company says. "You brush all the difficult-to-reach and interdental regions without even having to think about it."

Submission + - Ancient supervolcanoes revealed on Mars (

ananyo writes: A series of Martian craters assumed to have been formed by meteorites may actually be extinct volcanoes so massive that, when they were active billions of years ago, they could have buried Mars in ash.
The craters pepper the surface of Arabia Terra, a geologically ancient region of northern Mars. They appear as several huge circular pits that resemble Earth's calderas, in which magma beneath a volcano drains after a volcanic eruption, causing the ground above the magma chamber to collapse. Using data from several satellites orbiting Mars, researchers mapped Eden patera in detail. In a report in Nature today (abstract), they describe three separate calderas within the depression, along with possible signs of a lake of solidified lava and a volcanic vent where lava could have oozed out.

Submission + - US Court rejects Google, et. al. motion to disclose national security requests (

hypnosec writes: US court has rejected the motion for declaratory judgment filed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn.Google and other companies asked for permission from the US Government and FBI to publish national security request data as a part of their transparency reports and filed a motion for declaratory judgment with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in an effort to provide greater transparency. The court argues that the nondisclosure obligation provision in FISA orders require companies to protect the secrecy of authorized surveillance. According to the court companies are interpreting the court orders as “protecting only information about specific targets” and are allowed to broadly disclose information about the “Government sources and methods of surveillance.” The court states that such “a result is contrary to the text and purpose of the secrecy provisions in FISA on which the court orders are based.” According to the court, if the companies are allowed to disclose information as they propose, the disclosures could serious harm to national security. The court concludes that it should reject the companies’ contention and proposed disclosures.

Submission + - Microsoft investors call for Bill Gates to step down as chairman

rjmarvin writes: Now that Ballmer is on his way out, flak for Microsoft's middling stock prices and lagging mobile innovation is finally starting to land on Bill Gates himself. Three of the company's top 20 investors are lobbying the Board of Directors, pressing Gates to step down as chairman. The stockholders believe his presence would handcuff the next CEO's ability to re-make the company with new strategies and sweeping changes. They also think Gates wields a disproportionate amount of power relative to his financial stake and day-to-day activity within the company. No word yet from Gates or the board on this internal strife.
Open Source

Why Linux Is Not Attracting Young Developers 742

judeancodersfront writes "Jonathan Corbet recently pointed out at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit that the Linux kernel team was getting older and not attracting young developers. This article suggests the Linux kernel no longer has the same appeal to young open source developers that it did 10 years ago. Could it be that the massive code base and declining sense of community from corporate involvement has driven young open source programmers elsewhere?"
Open Source

Microsoft's CoApp To Help OSS Development, Deployment 293

badpazzword writes "Microsoft employee Garrett Serack announces he has received the green light to work full time on CoApp, an .msi-based package management system aiming to bring a wholly native toolchain for OSS development and deployment. This will hopefully bring more open source software on Windows, which will bring OSS to more users, testers and developers. Serack is following the comments at Ars Technica, so he might also follow them here. The launchpad project is already up."
The Media

Google Wants To Ease News Browsing With Fast Flip 125

CWmike writes "Google is developing a product called Fast Flip that aims to make it simpler and faster to browse through news articles on the Web, a process the company says is cumbersome and discourages people from reading more online. Fast Flip, which lets readers glance at pages and browse through them quickly without having to wait for multiple page elements to load, was expected to go live late Monday at the Google Labs Web site. The idea is to try to replicate online the ease with which people flip through the pages of print magazines and newspapers in the offline world. This could motivate people to read more online, which Google argues will help publishers attract more readers and increase their revenue. However, when users click on a Fast Flip link, they will be taken to the corresponding publisher's Web site, where the Google technology will not be on hand to display the page more quickly."
Operating Systems

OpenSolaris vs. Linux, For Linux Users 303

An anonymous reader writes "With Sun busy being swallowed up by Oracle, should Linux geeks pay any interest to OpenSolaris? TuxRadar put together a guide to OpenSolaris's most interesting features from a Linux user's perspective, covering how to get started with ZFS and virtualisation alongside more consumer-friendly topics such as hardware and Flash support."

Kernel 2.6.31 To Speed Up Linux Desktop 360

Dan Jones writes "As the Linux community looks forward to another kernel release, the kernel hackers have been working on improving the memory management so that the X desktop responsiveness is doubled under high memory pressure. The result is an improved desktop experience. Benchmarks on memory-tight desktops show clock time and major faults reduced by 50 per cent, and pswpin numbers (memory reads from disk) are reduced to about one-third. Another improvement coming with 2.6.31 is kernel mode-setting support for ATI Radeon graphics cards, enabling faster user switching and a more seamless startup experience. Peripheral developments that will also improve the Linux desktop experience include support for the new USB 3.0 specification and a new Firewire stack. Even minor Linux releases have heaps of new features these days!"

Submission + - Bill to give Obama emergency Control of Internet 5

neonprimetime writes: Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

Slashdot Top Deals

Nothing succeeds like excess. -- Oscar Wilde