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


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 + - Google SSL Blocked by Schools Across the World ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Over the past several weeks, the rolling out of Google SSL search has been getting attention here at slashdot, but also some not-so-pleasant obstacles have been in the making much to the frustration of school students and teachers alike. All of this is due to the fact that many content filter vendors have decided to block all google ssl traffic.

While this is being worked on by google to appease these vendors, my question to slashdot is this, "Is it the right of a company to restrict SSL traffic so they can snoop your data, or is it the right of an individual to be entitled to encrypted internet facilities? Also, is the search data you create your data, or your company's?" IANAL but this all seems at odds with the Data Protection Act as some local governments here and here possibly use the very same filtering service for their government employees (as well as the one I work for), and it would also seem to go against the spirit of FIPS (though I appreciate Federal standards are separate from schools in the states).

Submission + - White House stalls new oil spill research (

cycleflight writes: It appears that having an independent advisory panel made up of six scientists, including a former NSF director, is insufficient for the White House when it comes to reviewing proposals for oil spill prevention research. "...Governors, and state and local environmental and health authorities," must be consulted before research can begin. Scientists are concerned that the bureaucratic inefficiencies in government will slow the pace of their research efforts.

Submission + - States launch joint probe of Google Wi-Fi snooping (

CWmike writes: As many as 30 states could join an investigation into Google's collection of personal information from unprotected wireless networks, Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, said on Monday. Google's response was similar to what it said earlier this month. 'It was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we didn't break any U.S. laws,' a company spokesman said in an e-mail. 'We're working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.' Google already faces investigations by privacy authorities in several European countries, including the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Last week, the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) said its investigation had concluded that Google had snatched passwords and extracts of e-mail messages from the air. In the U.S., Google faces multiple civil lawsuits, and the company has been asked for more information from several congressmen as a preliminary step to a legislative hearing. Google has asked that the lawsuits be consolidated and moved to a California federal court's jurisdiction.

Submission + - Why engineers don't like Twitter (

PabloSandoval48 writes: A recent EE Times survey of 285 engineers found that 85 don’t use Twitter. More than half indicated that the statement “I don’t really care what you had for breakfast,” best sums up their feelings about it.

Submission + - Europe to Import Sahara Solar Power Within 5 Years (

An anonymous reader writes: If just one percent of the Saharan Desert were covered in concentrating solar panels it would create enough energy to power the entire world. That’s a powerful number, and the European Union has decided to jump on their proximity to the Sahara in order to reap some benefits from the untapped solar energy beaming down on Northern Africa. Just yesterday, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger announced that Europe will start importing solar energy from the Sahara within the next five years. It is estimated that the initiative will cost $400 billion Euros. If the EU decides to scale it up — the initiative will power a large part of Europe but not all of it — they’d only need to cover .3% of the desert with solar panels to power the entire continent.

Submission + - SPAM: Biggest tech industry apologies of 2010 - so far

alphadogg writes: While apologies from BP to the world regarding its environmental disaster and even from a U.S. Congressman to BP have stolen headlines of late, the tech industry has not been without its fair share of apologies during the first half of 2010 either.

Google has had to apologize for privacy issues related to its Street Views and Buzz, AT&T for getting its iPad customer list hacked, Apple for being overwhelmed by iPhone 4 orders, McAfee for accidentally shutting down Windows XP machines with an antivirus update, Adobe for overlooking a Flash bug, and more.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - IEEE 802.3ba Standard Released ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: EEE announced the ratification of IEEE 802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet, a new standard governing 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet operations. An amendment to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, IEEE 802.3ba, the first standard ever to simultaneously specify two new Ethernet speeds, paves the way for the next generation of high-rate server connectivity and core switching. The new standard will act as the catalyst needed for unlocking innovation across the greater Ethernet ecosystem. IEEE 802.3ba is expected to trigger further expansion of the 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet family of technologies by driving new development efforts, as well as providing new aggregation speeds that will enable 10 Gb/s Ethernet network deployments.
Open Source

Submission + - Who owns the code? (

nk497 writes: Web app developer Kevin Partner is turning to open source after having some difficulty deciding who owns the code he creates for his clients. "The intellectual property rights to code I write for clients under contract remains with my company even after the client has paid, but in practice I’m happy to agree with the client to hand over the source so they can change developers if they wish: this might include a formal transfer of ownership of the unique parts of the code, or simple agreement to share ownership. What isn’t fair is for the client to benefit from my library code via reduced costs, then also expect to own that code." Now, he's turning to open source, hoping that will solve at least some of the problem. "For all my new projects, the client won't get exclusive ownership of the framework or library code because they'll be open source, but will be free to use them any way they wish without referring to the original developer. That should lance this particularly troublesome boil."

Submission + - SPAM: Google Wave out of beta

googlePLEXS writes: Wave open sign-ups: Google Wave is open to all users at, as a Google Labs product — no invitation needed. Google Apps administrators will also have the option to add Wave as a Labs feature for their domains, helping groups of people communicate and work together more productively.
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:*First post.. (Score 1) 590

Who says that these lesson plans are produced *at* government public schools? The last I checked, the average overtime a teacher spends dwarfs many other occupations. If a teacher spends that additional time so they can cookie-cut and streamline the information so there is more time for productive feedback and scoring of a student's ability then great.

But.. if teachers use this alongside equally cookie-cut tests (multi-choice) then yeah... I'd start to ask what the hell is it they're doing with our tax dollars.

Comment Re:Proper monitoring (Score 1) 86

"I believe that proper real-time monitoring of the system could have prevented most of the attack..."

As someone who has worked in the Card Fraud industry, I can assure you that it is a requirement for every card processor to use real time monitoring software for the prevention of fraud. Visa/Mastercard/etc demand it if you want their logo on the card. The amount of money prevented from fraudulent activity over the past 10 years has dropped very, very significantly. $9 mill on this would be a drop in the bucket in the 90s for some banks. Interestingly this is something that can be worked in to financial institution's budgets as a type of expense/liability.

Here's the problem with realtime monitoring in its current breadth and depth. It can only process and monitor suspect transaction where either the card issuer (the bank of the card user) or acquirer (the bank of the place making the transaction). issuer approvals happen in near-realtime. They have to, otherwise we'd all be waiting at a checkout for hours/days to get approval on the payment. Where banks can fall short, is they are all very much to themselves with their data. Rightly so, this also really, really slows up the ability to share data. Factor in each various country's data protection laws, and this is simply unattainable for some (the UK for example, does not share data just because it'd be nice to do so).

On top of that, there is a bit of a schizm as to whether neural networks or rule-based (human-created manual rules for detection) are the 'best' approach to catch and prevent fraud.

A more recent push, for PCI-DSS enforces encryption of certain data, and to verify that it's done. So I ask you the question, is it the fraud monitoring here, or the security failure and weak encryption allowing this group to legitimize the transactions? It goes back to your original statement that secure design and implementation are the solution.. I'd like to add one-time passwords on to that list.

Lastly, for 'proper' realtime monitoring is a bit of a throw away comment. Take the amount of credit card transaction a day (let's say 3 million) and 1% of those are fradulant (how do we do this properly again?) which means we have to find 30,000 transactions that could cost us money. For 50 people at say, $40,000 a year to find 30,000 fradulent transactions a day would cost say... $2 million annually. So if they caught 'every' fraudulent transaction, then that is a $1 million saving. But realistically, is 50 people enough? how about 500? Now lets make this operation 24 hours, plus office space, equipment, etcetera. At the end of it all, there has to be a line where money spent preventing fraud has a return on its investment (within reason).

Comment Pluto Home Automation (Score 1) 409

Pluto Home This is pretty good stuff. The core is linux, but if you want those essential extras (DVD recording/playback) then you'll need to either add your own packages to the system, or purchase the canned solution they offer.

The thought of shouting abuse at a burgler/stalker/milkman through my home stereo system while watching him on my mobile is oh so exciting! There might be a world's funniest video hidden in there..

Slashdot Top Deals

Mathematicians practice absolute freedom. -- Henry Adams