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


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Submission + - GCC 4.5.0 released. (

jamesswift writes: "The GNU project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 4.5.0.
This release is a major release, containing new features (as well as many other improvements) relative to GCC 4.4.x."

The changes are too numerous to list but the additional C++0x work is particularly encouraging.

Submission + - Ubisoft's new DRM system cracked within a day (

mobby_6kl writes: The previous article on this topic got even more attention from slashdot posters than the original confirmation of Ubisoft's new draconian DRM system, but one of the first games to implement this has been released recently, and, perhaps to the surprise of few, was cracked on the very same day, according to Eurogamer and many other sources. Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic was supposed to implement the system under which a constant connection to Ubi's servers was required in order to play the game, but contrary to the article linked in the previous submission, it appears to have been much more vulnerable than expected.

So far Ubisoft denies that the game has been really cracked, and while it is indeed too early to tell which part of the protection was circumvented, and whether it was a weakness in the specific implementation, it is hard to argue with the ability to play the game after the rather standard process of installing the game and then overwriting the executable with the one provided. It should also be noted that the patch which was rushed out to address some of the game's technical issues fared no better than the original release.

Submission + - Alien prequel to be in 3D, and may be a trilogy (

An anonymous reader writes: An interview with Star Wars and Alien production designer Roger Christian has revealed that the rumours about Ridley Scott's 'Alien' prequel being in 3D are true. Christian says: "Ridley's doing the next Alien in 3D." Christian also commented about his hopes for a new Alien trilogy and discusses how Alien/Scott are the only combination that would bring him back from directing movies to his former role as an art director.

Submission + - Apple removes Wi-Fi finders from App Store (

jasonbrown writes: Apple on Thursday began removing another category of apps from its iPhone App Store. This time, it's not porn, it's Wi-Fi.
Apple removed several Wi-Fi apps commonly referred to as stumblers, or apps that seek out available Wi-Fi networks near your location. According to a story on Cult of Mac, apps removed by Apple include WiFi-Where, WiFiFoFum, and yFy Network Finder.


Submission + - Ballmer bets Microsoft's future on the cloud (

angry tapir writes: "Seventy percent of the 40,000 people who work on software at Microsoft are in some way working in the cloud, CEO Steve Ballmer said in a talk to comp sci students at the University of Washington. "A year from now, that will be 90 percent," he said. Ballmer also said that Microsoft wants to help foster the development of different cloud-computing services, both private and public. All Microsoft products including Windows, Office, Xbox, Azure, Bing and Windows Phone are driven by the idea of being connected to the cloud."

Submission + - Hacker Space Festival splits across locations ( 1

lekernel writes: After the success of the second Hacker Space Festival, the international community of hackers are invited to participate in the multiple events of the third edition. Hackito Ergo Sum (Paris, April 8-10) will be your usual security conference. Breizh Entropy Congress (Rennes, April 15-17, submission deadline March 16) is an eclectic event themed around free culture and technologies. Les Contorsions Technologiques (Paris, May 1st, submission deadline March 20) focuses on DIY hardware. Tetalab Hacker Space Festival (Toulouse, May 28-30) will consist in conferences and workshops revolving around hackerspaces activities. Eventually, Estive Numérique (Southern Alps countryside, July 20-26) will be about autonomy and self-sufficiency in the digital age. With such events blossoming, France looks like the place to be during the next months!

Submission + - YouTube Makes Captioning Available to All

adeelarshad82 writes: Google's YouTube announced that it has moved its automatic speech-recognition and closed-captioning technology out of beta and have now made it available to the YouTube community at large. Most, if not all, YouTube videos now include a "CC" button that, if pressed, will automatically generate the closed-captioning technology. The technology processes the audio feed, using the speech-recognition technology used in the core voice search feature that has also built into the Android voice search feature, the GOOG-411 phone search, and other products.

Submission + - Google launches 'person finder' for Chile quake... (

KPexEA writes: Google on Saturday quickly activated an online "person finder" tool to allow relatives and friends to find loved ones following the huge earthquake in Chile.

The "Person Finder: Chile Earthquake" from the California-based Internet giant is located at and offers users the choice of using it in English and Spanish.

It asks users "What is your situation?" and gives them the choice between "I'm looking for someone" and "I have information about someone."


Submission + - US Gov't Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition 5

Hugh Pickens writes: "Pulitzer Prize–winning science journalist Deborah Blum has an interesting article in Slate about the US government's little known policy to scare people into giving up illicit drinking during prohibition in the 1920's by poisoning industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States. Known as the "chemist's war of Prohibition," the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, killed at least 10,000 people by the time Prohibition ended in 1933. The story begins with ratification of the 18th Amendment, which banned sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the United States after high-minded crusaders and anti-alcohol organizations helped push the amendment through in 1919. When the government saw that its “noble experiment” was in danger of failing, it decided that the problem was that methyl alcohol, readily available as industrial alcohol, didn't taste nasty enough and put its chemists to work designing ever more unpalatable toxins adding such chemicals as kerosene, brucine (a plant alkaloid closely related to strychnine), gasoline, benzene, cadmium, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, camphor, carbolic acid, quinine, and acetone. In 1926, in New York City, 1,200 were sickened by poisonous alcohol; 400 died. The following year, deaths climbed to 700. These numbers were repeated in cities around the country as public-health officials nationwide joined in the angry clamor to stop the poisoning program but an official sense of higher purpose kept it in place while lawmakers opposed to the plan were accused of being in cahoots with criminals and that bootleggers and their law-breaking alcoholic customers deserved no sympathy. As one of its most outspoken opponents, Charles Norris, the chief medical examiner of New York City during the 1920s, liked to say, it was "our national experiment in extermination.""

Submission + - Starting a programming project 1

leachlife4 writes: I am a freshman Computer Science major, I have taken two years of programming in high school which used Visual Basic for the introductory course and Java for the 'advanced' AP class. Having received credit from the AP test I was able to take CS II (which was also taught in Java) my first semester here in college where I felt extremely bored, my professor encouraged the use of UML diagrams and MVC program structure. This semester i am taking a discreet math course and a Computer Architecture course based on MIPS assembly. Recently I have become involved with *nix and have learned a bunch, but I would like to contribute to the OSS community. I have an idea for a project and have written out rough guidelines for what i would like to implement, but I am at a loss for where to begin with the design and implementation of the program. I would like to program this in C++ though I have limited knowledge thus far. I really want to learn a lot from this project but also end up with a good and usable program. What can i do to get myself going on this project (which may well be outside of my knowledge so far), or at this point should I not even be thinking about beginning to write code and still be working on planning?

Submission + - First Interview with NASA Chief Technologist (

shadowspawn1 writes: The NASA Chief Technologist is the principal adviser for NASA regarding agency-wide technology policy and program development. You want NASA to develop your rocket-packs? You'll need to make your case to this fellow.

' spoke with Braun near the end of his first week doing what he calls his dream job. The chief technologist talked about how NASA can tap new innovations and game-changing technologies to realize any number of possible futures for exploring the moon, the asteroids, Mars and beyond'


Submission + - Grammar Checking Add-on for Firefox (

An anonymous reader writes: My project just released a grammar, style, and spell checking add-on for Firefox. It's smart because it uses context to generate spelling suggestions and decide which errors to show. After the Deadline for Firefox works with most web pages. You can check grammar in Google Docs, vet your comments on Slashdot, and check your tweets with the push of a button. Our goal is to give everyone tools to write better, no matter where they are. The technology is open source too.

Submission + - Google hack author may have been identified (

SpuriousLogic writes: US analysts believe they have identified the Chinese author of the critical programming code used in the alleged statesponsored hacking attacks on Google and other western companies, making it far harder for the Chinese government to deny involvement.

Their discovery came after another team of investigators tracked the launch of the spyware to computers inside two educational institutions in China, one of them with close ties to the military.

A freelance security consultant in his 30s wrote the part of the program that used a previously unknown security hole in the Internet Explorer web browser to break into computers and insert the spyware, a researcher working for the US government told the Financial Times. Chinese officials had special access to the work of the author, who posted pieces of the program to a hacking forum and described it as something he was "working on".

The developments will add to the furore over the hacking campaign, revealed last month when Google said its systems had been compromised. It threatened to pull out of China, and secretary of state Hillary Clinton asked the Chinese foreign minister for a probe.


Submission + - Real-time movie-quality CGI for games? (

An anonymous reader writes: An Intel-owned development team can now render CGI-quality graphics in real time! "Their video clips show artists pulling together 3D elements like a jigsaw puzzle, making movie-level CG look as easy as following a recipe." It's hoped that the simplicity of "Project Offset" could ultimately give them the edge in the race to produce real-time graphics engines for games.

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