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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Good, yet uncommon, gift for a friend?

An anonymous reader writes: I, having the title of alpha geek in my classroom (15 yo), was asked by a female friend of mine whether "buying" a star for someone was legit. (It is for a friend of her whom I know & I am also friends with her.) I obviously replied no, no official body would recognize it and it is (imho) a waste of money.

So, Slashdot, ideas for a (birthday) gift for someone? I guess it's not a requirement, but I think it should be better if it was not one of the common gifts (yet cheap, we're young!). (On the other hand, I know how to program, so don't exclude gifts which require a (computer) program or something [weird scenario, I know]).
Wikipedia

Submission + - Wiki Loves Monuments 2012: Wikipedia photo contest (wikilovesmonuments.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photo contest around cultural heritage monuments in September. Starting from the Netherlands in 2010 and organized on a European level in 2011, it goes global in 2012.

Everybody can participate and take photos of cultural heritage. In every participating country you can win awards, and the best photos in each country continues to the international jury – which will select the best monument photos in 2012.

There are some maps that help to find monuments near to you: United States, Canada and 30+ more.

Would you like to help Wikipedia improve its contents? Join the contest now!

Google

Submission + - Google Maps Introduces 8-Bit Quest Maps (google.com)

AbsoluteXyro writes: Today users of Google Maps will notice a new mapping option — "Quest" — alongside the usual "Map" and "Satellite" views. Quest view renders the planet in a retro 8-bit fantasy video game style, including renders of famous landmarks such as the White House and the Eiffel Tower. Even Pegman gets in on the game, now taking on the appearance of a sword wielding 8-bit adventurer, allowing you to witness Street View through 8-bit eyes. Basically, imagine a fully functioning Google Maps on an NES.
AI

Submission + - Militarizing Your Backyard with Python and AI (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Shooting squirrels with a water cannon might not seem to be a serious project, but it involves AI and a lot of hardware. Kurt Grandis took some cutting edge and open source AI tools, Python, an Arduino and a SuperSoaker and built the (almost) perfect squirrel hosing machine. The project involved Open Computer Vision (OpenCV), an a SVM learning procedure that he trained to tell the difference between a squirrel and a non-squirrel. After "perfecting" the classifier the hardware came next — a SuperSoaker Mark I was used as the "water cannon". A pair of servos were used to aim the gun and a third to pull the trigger.
If you want to see squirrels being soaked check out the video.

Android

Submission + - How a Web Link Can Take Control of Your Phone (technologyreview.com)

dstates writes: Technology Review reports a chilling demonstration at the RSA security conference in which George Kurtz and colleagues from security startup CrowdStrike showed on stage that a real, unmodified Android phone could be hacked by a single web click. Kurtz, acted as a busy user who received a text message asking him to download an update to his phone's software. When he clicked on the link in that message, the phone's browser crashed and the device rebooted. Once restarted, the device appeared unchanged, but a silent, malicious app had been installed that relayed all his phone calls and text messages to the attacker, who could also track his location on a map. The bugs exploited are present in the distributions used by 90% of Android users worldwide.

Submission + - Man claims he invented the internet, sues Google, Yahoo, and others (wired.com) 1

sohmc writes: Michael Doyle claims that he invented the first internet. It was designed to allow doctors to view embryos on a browser window. If the name sounds familiar, it's because back in 1999, his company Eolas successfully sued Microsoft for violating the same patent. Microsoft appealed, but eventually settled. Tim Berners-Lee — father of the early web — is scheduled to testify. As someone who denounces software patents in general, I wonder why Google, et al, would even ask him to testify. Many of these companies (think Amazon's 1-click patent) have used patent laws to their advantage. It will be interesting to see what shakes out.

Submission + - Free Multi-user Remote Desktop Management

digitalderbs writes: I'm setting up a research lab in physical chemistry, and as part of my setup, I'd like to get a server with 8-12 cores that can be used by my students and post-docs. I'd like to give desktop (GUI) access to each of my users so that they may use software licensed only for that computer. I've tried X-forwarding with ssh on a fast network, and performance is definitely an issue. I'm looking for a free (and preferrably open sourced) system for managing multiple remote desktop sessions. VNC is of course the standard, and it works well but, from what I can tell, lacks multi-user session management. The NoMachine NX server works wonderfully on both low and high latency networks, but it's limited to two concurrent users. Alternative NX server implementations exist, including FreeNX, x2go and Google's neatx. What are your recommendations for remote desktop management client and server software for 6-12 concurrent users over a high (100Mbps) or low (1Mbps) bandwidth connection?
KDE

Submission + - Spark, First Linux Tablet Running KDE Plasma Activ (ubuntuvibes.com)

dartttt writes: Aaron J. Seigo, from KDE Plasma Active development team has revealed a tablet which could be the first device to come with Plasma Active pre-installed. Named 'Spark', the tablet features an open Linux stack on unlocked hardware and comes with open content and services market.

Plasma Active is a joint project by the KDE community, basysKom and open-slx. The goals for this open source project are to deliver a fast embedded UX platform with minimal memory requirements, provide customizable and modular to support different form factors and design an interface that adapts as users change Activities.

Plasma Active is intended for all types of tablets, smartphones and touch computing devices such as settop boxes, smart TVs, home automation or in-vehicle infotainment.

Submission + - Monty Python to reunite for movie (ew.com)

dutchwhizzman writes: The surviving members of Monty Python have announced they will make a new movie. It will be titled "Absolutely Anything". Graham Chapman won't be there to join them anymore, but they think the movie will still be in the spirit of "Life of Brian", "The meaning of Life" and other movies they made in the past.
Security

Submission + - Should FTP be Retired Over Security? (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: Web hosting firm DreamHost made headlines recently when it opted to reset the file transfer protocol (FTP) and shell access passwords of its customers after uncovering a possible data breach.

The FTP Protocol has turned 40 years old in 2011, and while it's widely used and has many uses, some security experts suggest that organizations should consider some of the security issues surrounding the protocol, and think about the risks introduced when transferring sensitive data over FTP.

FTP was not designed to encrypt its traffic, making it possible for attackers to sniff packets on the network. A common answer for this is to use FTPS, an extension for FTP that supports the transport layer security (TLS) and secure sockets layer (SSL) protocols.

If security is a key consideration, should FTP be put on the shelf for good?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot New Database 3

I thought I would mention one of the key activities we have been working on in recent months is our infrastructure. For a long time now, and like many companies, we have been living on older hardware and software. After some solid work by our engineers, esp. PerlJedi we finally got our DB upgraded.

User Journal

Journal Journal: New DB 1

Slashdot is now running on upgrade database backend software, and new hardware. Anecdotal evidence suggests improved performance. Was anybody worried? I wasn't. Next week, updated front end web servers!

Facebook

Submission + - Facebook to share private data (allthingsd.com) 1

tomhudson writes: "If you're still looking for a reason to hate Facebook, allthingsd is reporting that Facebook has agreed to share users PRIVATE data with Politico.

Most notably, the Facebook-Politico data set will include Facebook users’ private status messages and comments.

every post and comment — both public and private — by a U.S. user that mentions a presidential candidate’s name will be fed through a sentiment analysis tool

Yes, they claim it will be anonymized. We've seen that doesn't really work in real life."

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