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Real Time Strategy (Games)

Blizzard Won't Stop World of StarCraft Mod 129

On Wednesday we discussed news of an impressive-looking mod for StarCraft II that transformed the game into a WoW lookalike, which quickly drew a copyright infringement warning from Activision Blizzard. The company has now released an official statement green-lighting the mod for continued development. "'It was never our intention to stop development on the mod or discourage the community from expressing their creativity through the StarCraft II editor,' Blizzard said in a statement. 'As always, we actively encourage development of custom maps and mods for StarCraft II, as we've done with our strategy games in the past.' Blizzard went on the say that it's looking forward to seeing development of the mod continue, and that it has invited Winzen to the company's campus to meet the game's development team."
The Internet

Blizzard Previews Revamped Battle.net 188

Blizzard updated the official StarCraft II site today with a preview of how the revamped Battle.net will function. They emphasize the social features, competitive matchmaking system, and the ease of sharing mods and maps. Quoting: "When the legacy Battle.net service introduced support for user-created mods such as DotA, Tower Defense, and many others, these user-created game types became immensely popular. But while Battle.net supported mods at a basic level, integration with tools and the mod community wasn't where it needed to be for a game releasing in 2010. The new Battle.net service will see some major improvements in this area. StarCraft II will include a full-featured content-creation toolkit — the same tools used by the StarCraft II design team to create the single-player campaign. To fully harness the community's mapmaking prowess, Battle.net will introduce a feature called Map Publishing. Map Publishing will let users upload their maps to the service and share them with the rest of the community immediately on the service. This also ties in with the goal of making Battle.net an always-connected experience — you can publish, browse, and download maps directly via the Battle.net client. Finding games based on specific mods will also be much easier with our all-new custom game system, placing the full breadth of the modding community's efforts at your fingertips."
Media

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."
Encryption

Submission + - 512-bit RSA factoring in your spare time (unitedti.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The 512-bit RSA signing keys for several Texas Instruments (TI) calculators have been factored, allowing the installation of custom software, including operating systems. A forum member at unitedti.org reportedly used sophisticated factoring software developed by the open source GGNFS and Msieve projects. After the original poster cracked the key for the TI-83, the unitedti.org community mounted a distributed computational effort, quickly obtaining several more keys. Also mentioned were some interesting statistics:

-The factorization took, in total, about 1745 hours, or a bit less than 73 days, of computation. (I've actually been working on this since early March; I had a couple of false starts and haven't been able to run the software continously.)
-My CPU, for reference, is a dual-core Athlon64 at 1900 MHz.
-The sieving database was 4.9 gigabytes and contained just over 51 million relations.
-During the "filtering" phase, Msieve was using about 2.5 gigabytes of RAM.
-The final processing involved finding the null space of a 5.4 million x 5.4 million matrix.

This case is particularly notable, as the goal was to compromise live keys. Furthermore, the goal was accomplished using modest resources within only a few weeks. Invoking the DMCA, TI immediately moved to suppress the propagation of the keys, resulting in an even wider distribution.

Portables

Submission + - new energy-efficient microchip developed by MIT (newsdaily.com)

L Shlen writes: "A new energy-efficient microchip designed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Texas Instruments is reputed to be 10 times more efficient than current chips, according to an MIT news release. The chips could be used in cell phones and medical devices, among other applications. The energy savings is due to a high efficiency DC-to-DC converter that involves fewer components than are found on other chips."
Be

Submission + - Visiting Haiku's Kernel Debugging Land (haiku-os.org)

kokito writes: "Haiku is a project started in 2001 whose goal is to create a modern reimplementation of BeOS. One of the Haiku lead developers, Ingo Weinhold, has posted an interesting tutorial on how to use Haiku's built-in kernel debugger to the Haiku website, where he describes the most important commands, introduces the kernel tracing feature recently added to Haiku, and includes an example KDL session in which an inter application deadlock is debugged. According to Ingo, "Haiku's kernel debugger is a powerful tool whose usefulness does not end in the kernel domain. It can also help with certain userland problems, that would otherwise be tricky to tackle.""
Security

Submission + - Cryptographically hiding TCP ports (sf.net)

JohnGrahamCumming writes: "The shimmer project implements a cryptographically-based system for hiding important (e.g. SSH) open ports in plain sight. By automatically forwarding from a range of ports all but one of which are honeypots and by changing the ports every minute only a user knowing a shared secret can determine the location of the real SSH server."
Music

Submission + - Napster to go 100% MP3 (napster.com)

BigRedFed writes: "In either a return to it's roots or a desperate move to save it's business, Napster announced to Shareholder's today that they will be going 100% DRM free and releasing their whole library in MP3. The change is supposed to occur in the second "calendar" quarter of 2008. Details on any price changes or bit rate are non existent in the press release."
Security

Submission + - eBay Still Has Login Vulnerabilities?

Atario writes: "This morning I checked my email to find several apparent eBay-alike spam messages in my Inbox. This reminded me that I needed to leave feedback for something on the actual eBay. So I went there, only to find that I could no longer log in. Long story short, I realized that those "fake" eBay emails were the real thing — and were sent from my eBay account! Horrified, I contacted their help people and got my password reset, and some mass eBay emails following up to those who had been spammed, saying that I hadn't done it. Going to my account, I saw that the attackers had sent a "visit our happy and good-spirit Chinese web site and buy electronics" spam to 30 different people. (Only the first six came to me, because those used a general "contact an eBay-er" mechanism, whereas the rest used a "ask seller a question" one; apparently the latter doesn't automatically send you a copy in email automatically.) At any rate, whoever this was was able to change my password and send messages as me; this, to me, implies that they were able to crack my password and log in as me. This would mean either (1) inside job with DB access or (2) eBay is vulnerable to brute-force login-attempt attacks, which is something so easy to defeat (increasing attempt delays), they would need to be ashamed for about aleph-null years were this the case. So, what does Slashdot think: eBay is infested with Chinese spammers as employees, or they can't get security minimally right after all these years?"
Google

Submission + - Flaw in GMail message routing? 1

manoffoo writes: "I was signing up for a TV channel listing service to work with my pvr software and I incorrectly entered my garbage email address of manoffoo978@gmail.com when in fact it's actually man.of.foo978@gmail.com. Upon checking the account I saw that gmail had in fact routed the message. This is a repeatable behavior from other accounts. Makes you wonder if this could be exploited to receive messages intended for someone else."
Businesses

Submission + - An Insider's View of Apple Store Sales Training

Dekortage writes: "FastCompany has a report about the training that would-be Apple Store sales clerks undergo, with some insights as to the "magic" of low-key, high-volume sales movers. "Other workers... explained to customers that they had some questions to understand their needs, got permission to fire away, and then kept digging to ascertain which products would be best. Position, permission, probe. ... At an Apple Store, workers don't seem to be selling (or working) too hard, just hanging out and dispensing information. And that moves a ridiculous amount of goods: Apple employees help sell $4,000 worth of product per square foot per month." Note that Apple just beat analysts' quarterly profit estimates by around fifteen percent, and now has a market cap bigger than IBM's."
The Courts

Submission + - Possession of the Anarchist's Cookbook==Terrorist

Anonymous Terrorist writes: Back in the midsts of time, when I was a lad and gopher was the height of information retrieval I read The Anarchist's Cookbook in one huge text file. Now it appears the UK government considers possession of the book an offence under the Terrorism Act 2000 and is prosecuting a 17 year old boy, in part, for having a copy of the book.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Corporate Encouragement for Sharing Your WiFi

anagama writes: "BT to UK customers: Share your WiFi... please! Conventional wisdom is that one should lockdown wifi, your ISP doesn't want you to share your connection, that person checking email outside the coffee shop ought to be arrested. Here is an alternative model: "BT will encourage its three million broadband users to pick up a FON router and start sharing signals. The router provides two channels: one for public access, and one for access by the owner. The public channel is bandwidth-limited so as not to disrupt the user's own connection. Other "Foneros" can access the public channel for free, while non-Foneros can pay a few dollars a day to use the access points.""
Mozilla

Submission + - Thunderbird in crisis?

Elektroschock writes: "The two core developers of Thunderbird leave Mozilla. Scott McGregor made a brief statement: "I wanted to let the Thunderbird community know that Friday October 12th will be my last day as an employee of the Mozilla Corporation." and David blogged "Just wanted to let everyone know that my last day at The Mozilla Corporation will be Oct. 12. I intend to stay involved with Thunderbird... I've enjoyed working at Mozilla a lot, and I wish Mozilla Co and the new Mail Co all the best." I am scared. A few month ago Mozilla management considered to abandon their second product and set up a special corporation just for the mail client. Scott was more or less supportive. David joined in. While Sunbird just released a new version no appropriate resources were dedicated to the missing component. And while Thunderbird became the most used Linux mail client it is abandoned by Mozilla for 'popularity reasons'. Both messages from David and Scott do not sound if they as founders will play any role in the Thunderbird Mail Corporation. What happened to Mozilla? Is it a case of pauperization through donations?"

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