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Apple Agrees To $450 Million Ebook Antitrust Settlement

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 21:19
An anonymous reader writes: Last year, a U.S. District Judge ruled that Apple conspired with publishers to control ebook prices in violation of antitrust laws. Apple launched an appeal which has yet to conclude, but they've now agreed to a settlement. If the appeal verdict goes against Apple, they will be on the hook for $450 million, most of which will go to consumers. If they win the appeal, they'll still have to pay $70 million. $450 million is much more than the other publishers had to pay, but much less than the expected penalty from a damages trial set for August (and still only about one percent of Apple's annual profit).

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KDE Releases Plasma 5

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 15:08
KDE Community (3396057) writes "KDE proudly announces the immediate availability of Plasma 5.0, providing a visually updated core desktop experience that is easy to use and familiar to the user. Plasma 5.0 introduces a new major version of KDE's workspace offering. The new Breeze artwork concept introduces cleaner visuals and improved readability. Central work-flows have been streamlined, while well-known overarching interaction patterns are left intact. Plasma 5.0 improves support for high-DPI displays and ships a converged shell, able to switch between user experiences for different target devices. Changes under the hood include the migration to a new, fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack centered around an OpenGL(ES) scenegraph. Plasma is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5." sfcrazy reviewed the new desktop experience. It would appear the semantic desktop search features finally work even if you don't have an 8-core machine with an SSD.

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Breaches Exposed 22.8 Million Personal Records of New Yorkers

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 14:27
An anonymous reader writes Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a new report examining the growing number, complexity, and costs of data breaches in the New York State. The report reveals that the number of reported data security breaches in New York more than tripled between 2006 and 2013. In that same period, 22.8 million personal records of New Yorkers have been exposed in nearly 5,000 data breaches, which have cost the public and private sectors in New York upward of $1.37 billion in 2013. The demand on secondary markets for stolen information remains robust. Freshly acquired stolen credit card numbers can fetch up to $45 per record, while other types of personal information, such as Social Security numbers and online account information, can command even higher prices.

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SRI/Cambridge Opens CHERI Secure Processor Design

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 13:45
An anonymous reader writes with some exciting news from the world of processor design: Robert Watson at Cambridge (author of Capsicum) has written a blog post on SRI/Cambridge's recent open sourcing of the hardware and software for the DARPA-sponsored CHERI processor — including laser cutting directions for an FPGA-based tablet! Described in their paper The CHERI Capability Model: Reducing Risk in an age of RISC, CHERI is a 64-bit RISC processor able to boot and run FreeBSD and open-source applications, but has a Clang/LLVM-managed fine-grained, capability-based memory protection model within each UNIX process. Drawing on ideas from Capsicum, they also support fine-grained in-process sandboxing using capabilities. The conference talk was presented on a CHERI tablet running CheriBSD, with a video of the talk by student Jonathan Woodruff (slides). Although based on the 64-bit MIPS ISA, the authors suggest that it would also be usable with other RISC ISAs such as RISC-V and ARMv8. The paper compares the approach with several other research approaches and Intel's forthcoming Memory Protection eXtensions (MPX) with favorable performance and stronger protection properties. The processor "source code" (written in Bluespec Verilog) is available under a variant of the Apache license (modified for application to hardware). Update: 07/16 20:53 GMT by U L : If you have any questions about the project, regular Slashdot contributor TheRaven64 is one of the authors of the paper, and is answering questions.

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Mt. Fuji Volcano In 'Critical State' After Quakes

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 13:06
An anonymous reader writes: Mount Fuji, in addition to being a picturesque landmark and an important part of Japanese culture, is also an active volcano. Its last eruption was just over 400 years ago, but its location — where the Eurasian, Pacific, and Philippine tectonic plates meet — mean it will always have potential for eruption. A new study (PDF) has examined the pressures around Mount Fuji in the wake of several recent earthquakes, including the magnitude 9 tremor that unleashed the destructive tsunami in 2011. The researchers now say the volcano is in a "critical state." According to the study's lead author, "The volcanic regions are the ones where the fluids trapped in the rock – boiling water, gas, liquid magma, which cause an eruption when they rise to the surface – exert the greatest pressure. The seismic waves add to this pressure, causing even more disturbance." They have no way of predicting when an eruption might happen, but the potential seems greater than ever.

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Rand Paul and Silicon Valley's Shifting Political Climate

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 10:10
SonicSpike sends this story from NY Magazine: Rand Paul appears to be making a full-court press for the affections of Silicon Valley, and there are some signs that his efforts are paying off. At last week's Sun Valley conference, Paul had one-on-one meetings with Thiel and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. ... Next weekend, Paul will get to make his case yet again as the keynote speaker at Reboot, a San Francisco conference put on by a group called Lincoln Labs, which self-defines as "techies and politicos who believe in promoting liberty with technology." He'll likely say a version of what he's said before: that Silicon Valley's innovative potential can be best unlocked in an environment with minimal government intrusion in the forms of surveillance, corporate taxes, and regulation. “I see almost unlimited potential for us in Silicon Valley,” Paul has said, with "us" meaning libertarians. Today's Silicon Valley is still exceedingly liberal on social issues. But it seems more skeptical about taxes and business regulation than at any point in its recent history. Part of this is due to the rise of companies like Uber and Tesla Motors, blazing-hot start-ups that have been opposed at every turn by protectionist regulators and trade unions, in confrontations that are being used by small-government conservatives as case studies in government control run amok.

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French Blogger Fined For Negative Restaurant Review

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 07:04
An anonymous reader sends an article about another case in which a business who received a negative review online decided to retaliate with legal complaints. In August of last year, a French food blogger posted a review of an Italian restaurant called Il Giardino. The restaurant owners responded with legal threats based on the claim that they lost business from search results which included the review. The blogger deleted the post, but that wasn't enough. She was brought to court, and a fine of €1,500 ($2,040) was imposed. She also had to pay court costs, which added another €1,000 ($1,360). The blogger said, "Recently several writers in France were sentenced in similar proceedings for defamation, invasion of privacy, and so on. ... I don't see the point of criticism if it's only positive. It's clear that online, people are suspicious of places that only get positive reviews."

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Is the Software Renaissance Ending?

Wed, 16/07/2014 - 00:55
An anonymous reader writes Writer and former software engineer Matt Gemmell adds his voice to the recent rumblings about writing code as a profession. Gemmell worries that the latest "software Renaissance," which was precipitated by the explosion of mobile devices, is drawing to a close. "Small shops are closing. Three-person companies are dropping back to sole proprietorships all over the place. Products are being acquired every week, usually just for their development teams, and then discarded. The implacable, crushing wheels of industry, slow to move because of their size, have at last arrived on the frontier. Our frontier, or at least yours now. I've relinquished my claim." He also pointed out the cumulative and intractable harm being done by software patents, walled-garden app stores, an increasingly crowded market, and race-to-the-bottom pricing. He says that while the available tools make it a fantastic time to develop software, actually being an independent developer may be less sustainable than ever.

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Pseudonyms Now Allowed On Google+

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 23:59
An anonymous reader writes When Google+ launched, it received criticism across the internet for requiring that users register with their real names. Now, Google has finally relented and removed all restrictions on what usernames people are allowed to use. The company said, "We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be."

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Telcos Move Net Neutrality Fight To Congress

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 23:17
Presto Vivace writes: "Public Knowledge is rallying its supporters after learning that some House members plan to try and add an amendment to H.R. 5016, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act to block funding of FCC network neutrality rules. H.R. 5016 is the bill that keeps funding the government and whose failure to pass can shut it down. The White House has already said it opposed the existing FCC budget cuts and threatened a veto of a bill it says politicized the budget process." Public Knowledge is asking citizens to tell Congress to stop meddling with net neutrality. In a way this is a good sign. It is an indication that the telcos think that they will lose the current FCC debate. Meanwhile, the FCC's deadline for comments about net neutrality has arrived, and the agency's servers buckled after recording over 670,000 of them. The deadline has been extended until midnight on Friday.

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Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 19:43
An anonymous reader writes: My niece, who is graduating from high school, has asked me for some career advice. Since I work in data processing, my first thought was to recommend a degree course in computer science or computer engineering. However, after reading books by Jeremy Rifkin (The Third Industrial Revolution) and Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind), I now wonder whether a career in information technology is actually better than, say, becoming a lawyer or a construction worker. While the two authors differ in their political persuasions (Rifkin is a Green leftist and Kurzweil is a Libertarian transhumanist), both foresee an increasingly automated future where most of humanity would become either jobless or underemployed by the middle of the century. While robots take over the production of consumer hardware, Big Data algorithms like the ones used by Google and IBM appear to be displacing even white collar tech workers. How long before the only ones left on the payroll are the few "rockstar" programmers and administrators needed to maintain the system? Besides politics and drug dealing, what jobs are really future-proof? Would it be better if my niece took a course in the Arts, since creativity is looking to be one of humanity's final frontiers against the inevitable Rise of the Machines?

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Mozilla Doubles Down on JPEG Encoding with mozjpeg 2.0

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 19:00
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today announced the release of mozjpeg version 2.0. The JPEG encoder is now capable of reducing the size of both baseline and progressive JPEGs by 5 percent on average (compared to those produced by the standard JPEG library libjpeg-turbo upon which mozjpeg is based). Mozilla today also revealed that Facebook is testing mozjpeg 2.0 to see whether it can be used to improve the compression of images on Facebook.com. The company has even donated $60,000 to contribute to the ongoing development of the technology.

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White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 17:35
First time accepted submitter neanderslob (1207704) writes Last Friday, over a year after the petition gained the required signatures for a response, the White House rejected a We the People petition to "Allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states." The letter went on to defend the administration by citing their initiatives "in promoting vehicle efficiency." In response, Tesla is firing back, blasting the White House for a lack of leadership on the issue and stating "138,469 people signed the petition asking the White House to allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states. More than a year later, at 7.30pm EST on Friday as most of America prepared for the weekend, the White House released its disappointing response to those people. Rather than seize an opportunity to promote innovation and support the first successful American car company to be started in more than a century, the White House issued a response that was even more timid than its rejection of a petition to begin construction of a Death Star." There's a legal issue here: the executive can't just wave state law aside. But they could suggest Congress write new laws instead of just noting that Congress would need to take action.

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Google's Project Zero Aims To Find Exploits Before Attackers Do

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 17:01
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Google has announced Project Zero, a group of security experts who will hunt down security flaws in all software which touches the Internet. Among the group is a 24-year-old called George Hotz who shot to fame in 2007 when he was the first to unlock the iPhone before reverse engineering the PlayStation 3." Quoting the Project Zero announcement: You should be able to use the web without fear that a criminal or state-sponsored actor is exploiting software bugs to infect your computer, steal secrets or monitor your communications. Yet in sophisticated attacks, we see the use of "zero-day" vulnerabilities to target, for example, human rights activists or to conduct industrial espionage. This needs to stop. ... We're not placing any particular bounds on this project and will work to improve the security of any software depended upon by large numbers of people, paying careful attention to the techniques, targets and motivations of attackers. All issues will be reported to the usual public vulnerability databases after vendors are given a short period to fix their systems and software.

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OpenWRT 14.07 RC1 Supports Native IPv6, Procd Init System

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 16:20
An anonymous reader writes Release Candidate One of OpenWRT 14.07 "Barrier Breaker" is released. Big for this tiny embedded Linux distribution for routers in 14.07 is native IPv6 support and the procd init system integration. The native IPv6 support is with the RA and DHCPv6+PD client and server support plus other changes. Procd is OpenWRT's new preinit, init, hotplug, and event system. Perhaps not too exciting is support for upgrading on devices with NAND, and file system snapshot/restore so you can experiment without fear of leaving your network broken. There's also experimental support for the musl standard C library.

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The Last Three Months Were the Hottest Quarter On Record

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 15:42
New submitter NatasRevol (731260) writes The last three months were collectively the warmest ever experienced since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. From the article: "Taken as a whole, the just-finished three-month period was about 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th-century average. That may not sound like much, but the added warmth has been enough to provide a nudge to a litany of weather and climate events worldwide. Arctic sea ice is trending near record lows for this time of year, abnormally warm ocean water helped spawn the earliest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in North Carolina, and a rash of heat waves have plagued cities from India to California to the Middle East." Also, it puts to bed the supposed 'fact' that there's been a pause in temperature increase the last 17 years. Raw data shows it's still increasing. bizwriter also wrote in with some climate related news: A new report from libertarian think tank Heartland Institute claims that new government data debunks the concept of global climate change. However, an examination of the full data and some critical consideration shows that the organization, whether unintentionally or deliberately, has inaccurately characterized and misrepresented the information and what it shows. The Heartland Institute skews the data by taking two points and ignoring all of the data in between, kind of like grabbing two zero points from sin(x) and claiming you're looking at a steady state function.

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German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 10:04
mpicpp (3454017) writes with news that Germany may be joining Russia in a paranoid switch from computers to typewriters for sensitive documents. From the article: Patrick Sensburg, chairman of the German parliament's National Security Agency investigative committee, now says he's considering expanding the use of manual typewriters to carry out his group's work. ... Sensburg said that the committee is taking its operational security very seriously. "In fact, we already have [a typewriter], and it's even a non-electronic typewriter," he said. If Sensburg's suggestion takes flight, the country would be taking a page out of the Russian playbook. Last year, the agency in charge of securing communications from the Kremlin announced that it wanted to spend 486,000 rubles (about $14,800) to buy 20 electric typewriters as a way to avoid digital leaks.

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AMD FirePro W9100 16GB Workstation GPU Put To the Test

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 00:40
Dputiger (561114) writes "It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a heated battle in the workstation GPU wars with NVIDIA. AMD recently released the powerful FirePro W9100, however, a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290X, but aimed at the professional workstation market. The W9100's GPU features 2,816 stream processors, and the card boasts 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. The W9100 carries more RAM than any other AMD GPU as well, a whopping 16GB of GDDR5 on a single card. Even NVIDIA's top-end Quadro K6000 tops out at 12GB, which means AMD sits in a class by itself in this area. In terms of performance, this review shows that the FirePro W9100 doesn't always outshine its competition, but its price/performance ratio keep it firmly in the running. But if AMD continues to improve its product mix and overall software support, it should close the gap even more in the pro GPU market in the next 18-24 months."

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Coming Soon(ish) From LG: Transparent, Rollup Display

Tue, 15/07/2014 - 00:00
jfruh (300774) writes Korean electronics manufacturer LG has shown off experimental, see-through, roll-up displays, paper thin and flexible and capable of letting through about 30% of the light that strikes it. The company is eager to sell the concept and promises it'll be arriving soon, though they've shown of similar (though less capable) technology over the past few years and have yet to bring any products to market.

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Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

Mon, 14/07/2014 - 21:47
Billly Gates writes A leaked alpha of Windows 9 has been brewing on the internet. Today a screenshot shows what MS showed us at BUILD which includes a start menu with additional tiny tiles for things like people, calendar, pc settings, and news etc. "The new hybridized Start menu appears to be part of build 9788, which was compiled on July 4. While no one seems to have leaked the ISOs for build 9788 yet, the general consensus seems to be that the build does indeed exist somewhere at Microsoft — and that it might also feature Windows NT kernel version 6.4 (i.e. the complete version number is 6.4.9788). The screenshots show a Windows 8.1 Pro watermark, but this isn’t unusual for a very early alpha of a new build of Windows. If this really is the next version of the Windows NT kernel, then we’re most likely looking at an early build of Windows 9 (Threshold) rather than Windows 8.2."

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