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Submission + - Is this the biggest rip-off ever built on open source? ( 2

littlekorea writes: Australia's weather bureau has racked up bills of $38 million for a water data system, based on Red Hat Linux, MySQL and Java, that was originally scheduled to cost somewhere between $2 million and $5 million. The Bureau's supplier, an ASX-listed IT services provider SMS Management and Technology, did a good job of embedding itself in the bureau, with all changes having to be made by the original consultant that built it. Smells fishy?

Submission + - These Are the Companies the FAA Has Harassed for Using Drones ( 2

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Just as soon as the Minnesota-based Lakemaid Beer company excited everyone by delivering beer to ice fisherman with drones, the Federal Aviation Administration ruined their fun by demanding that they cease operations. But Lakemaid isn’t the only company that’s been harassed by the agency. Since 2012, the agency has sent official notices to 13 companies for the commercial use of drones.

Motherboard recently obtained the official documentation, which was released in response to a source's Freedom of Information Act request. All the letters are pretty straightforward, and most come from regional FAA offices. Most of them are note that the FAA does not allow the commercial use of drones, and that it only allows the use of drones if its flyers have a Certificate of Authorization (usually granted to public agencies and law enforcement), an Experimental Certification, or are recreational hobbyists.

Sometimes they note how the FAA became aware of the company, other times they do not. The companies include aerial photography businesses, storm chasers, National Geographic videographers, and safety inspectors. The list is an interesting look at what people plan on doing with drones.

Submission + - How to fix Slashdot Beta? 17

Forbo writes: Since the migration to Slashdot Beta was announced, it seems all meaningful discussion has been completely disrupted with calls to boycott and protest. Rather than pull an Occupy, what can be done to focus and organize the action? What is the end goal: To revert entirely to the previous site, or to address the problems with the new site?

Submission + - AT&T wants to offer "Sponsored Data" programs.

SumDog writes: AT&T is preparing to offer "sponsored data" programs. Companies can front to bill so their content is delieverd without impacting a consumer's mobile data caps. While this seems good for the consumer, it creates two tieres of service. If Google pays AT&T for streaming fees, it would encourage people to use YouTube over other services like Vimeo. It's a good thing the United States has network neutrality leglisglation to prevent this sort of thing. Oh wait, it doesn't.

Submission + - MPAA joins the W3C 1

Presto Vivace writes: TechDirt:

The W3C has been at the forefront of open standards and an open internet for many years, obviously. So it's somewhat distressing to see it announced this morning that .

So does the W3C still support open standards?

Submission + - LG TVs phone home with your viewing habits

psychonaut writes: Blogger DoctorBeet discovered that his new LG television was surreptitiously sending information about his TV viewing habits, as well as the names of the files he watched on removable media, to LG's servers. There is an undocumented setting in the TV configuration which supposedly disables this behaviour, but an inspection of the network traffic between the TV and the Internet showed that the TV continues to send the data whether or not the setting is disabled.

DoctorBeet contacted LG, but they shrugged the matter off, saying that it's a matter between him and the retailer he bought the TV from.

Submission + - How to kick Microsoft out of your organisation (

An anonymous reader writes: The story behind Munich City Council's decision to ditch Microsoft Windows and Office in favour of open source software. The project leader talks about why the shift was primarily about freedom, in this case freeing itself from being tied into Microsoft's infrastructure and having control over the software it uses. He talks about how the council managed to keep on track such a large project, affecting 15,000 people and spanning nine years. He also warns against organisations justifying the shift to open source software on the grounds that it will save money, arguing this approach is always likely to fail.

Submission + - Hackers actively exploiting JBoss vulnerability to compromise servers (

An anonymous reader writes: Attackers are actively exploiting a known vulnerability to compromise JBoss Java EE application servers that expose the HTTP Invoker service to the Internet in an insecure manner. At the beginning of October security researcher Andrea Micalizzi released an exploit for a vulnerability he identified in products from multiple vendors including Hewlett-Packard, McAfee, Symantec and IBM that use 4.x and 5.x versions of JBoss. That vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2013-4810, allows unauthenticated attackers to install an arbitrary application on JBoss deployments that expose the EJBInvokerServlet or JMXInvokerServlet.

Submission + - Google Completes SSL Upgrade to 2048 Bit RSA (

msm1267 writes: Google announced today that it has completed the upgrade of all its SSL certificates to 2048-bit RSA or better, coming in more than a month ahead of schedule.
Google announced in May that it had begun work on changing all its key lengths and that it wanted to do so before the end of 2013. That was a little more than two weeks before the first Edward Snowden leaks and bombshell revelations about NSA surveillance on Americans in the name of national security.
By choosing the longer key lengths, Google makes cracking the SSL connections that encrypt and secure banking transactions, email communication and more online that much tougher. The NSA, however, has had success obtaining user data either via a warrant, National Security Letter, or allegedly by subverting NIST-sponsored crypto algorithms.

Submission + - Warner Bros. Admits To Issuing Bogus Takedowns (

An anonymous reader writes: Warner Bros. Admits To Issuing Bogus Takedowns; Gloats To Court How There's Nothing Anyone Can Do About That

One of the bizarre side notes to Hollywood's big lawsuit against the cyberlocker Hotfile was a countersuit against Warner Bros. by Hotfile, for using the easy takedown tool that Hotfile had provided, to take down a variety of content that was (a) non-infringing and (b) had nothing to do with Warner Bros. at all (i.e., the company did not hold the copyright on those files). In that case, WB admitted that it filed a bunch of false takedowns, but said it was no big deal because it was all done by a computer. Of course, it then came out that at least one work was taken down by a WB employee, and that employee had done so on purpose, annoyed that JDownloader could help possible infringers download more quickly.

Submission + - Scientists create water splitter with Nickel nanofilm for Hydrogen Fuel cells.

rtoz writes: Stanford researchers have developed an inexpensive device that uses light to split water into oxygen and clean-burning hydrogen. It will be useful to supplement solar cells with hydrogen-powered fuel cells that can generate electricity when the sun isn’t shining or demand is high.

The silicon semiconductor coated in an ultrathin layer of nickel could help pave the way for large-scale production of clean hydrogen fuel from sunlight. The Standford team applied a 2-nanometer-thick layer of nickel onto a silicon electrode, paired it with another electrode and placed both in a solution of water and potassium borate. When light and electricity were applied, the electrodes began splitting the water into oxygen and hydrogen, a process that continued for about 24 hours with no sign of corrosion. To improve performance, the researchers mixed lithium into the water-based solution. Remarkably, adding lithium imparted superior stability to the electrodes. They generated hydrogen and oxygen continuously for 80 hours – more than three days – with no sign of surface corrosion.

Comment Re:I've got an anecdote (Score 1) 161

Similar experience, our main product was something that had lived a previous life on an IBM AS400. The app was ported to windows and the users complained a lot. Of course the developers were indifferent with comments of they are using it wrong, etc. So sitting the devs down with users at work caused that oh crap moment that the software really is the problem. After that, to stay in touch with the user base, the developers were assigned as the programmer of the day to help the support staff on calls. There is nothing like being in the trenches with users to get that usability in a design.

Submission + - Amateur Builds Telescope With 70-Inch Lens 1

192_kbps writes: Mike Clements, a long-haul trucker from West Jordan, Utah, built the largest amateur telescope ever with a whopping 70 inch primary mirror he purchased at auction. The entire telescope is 35 feet tall, 900 pounds, and he hopes to tour it in parks. As a hand-turned Dobsonian the telelscope lacks the photographic capacity and tracking required for professional astronomy but the views must be breathtaking.

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