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Nvidia Faces Suit Over GTX970 Performance Claims

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 22:18
According to this story at PC World, Nvidia was hit with a class action lawsuit Thursday that claims it misled customers about the capabilities of the GTX 970, which was released in September. Nvidia markets the chip as having 4GB of performance-boosting video RAM, but some users have complained the chip falters after using 3.5GB of that allocation. The lawsuit says the remaining half gigabyte runs 80 percent slower than it's supposed to. That can cause images to stutter on a high resolution screen and some games to perform poorly, the suit says. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California and names as defendants Nvidia and Giga-Byte Technology, which sells the GTX 970 in graphics cards. Nvidia declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday and Giga-Byte couldn't immediately be reached.

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L.A. School Superintendent Folds on Laptops-For-Kids Program

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 21:16
In an announcement yesterday reported on by Ars Technica, [Los Angeles school superintendent] Ramon C. Cortines said that the city can't afford to buy a computer for every student. The statement comes after intense controversy over a $1.3 billion initiative launched by Cortines' predecessor, former superintendent John Deasy, in which every student was supposed to be given an iPad loaded with content from educational publisher Pearson. (That controversy is worth reading about, and sparked an FBI investigation as well.)

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Chicago's Red Light Cameras Now a Point of Contention for Mayoral Candidates

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 20:09
The same system of red-light cameras in Chicago that was shown last year to have been generating bogus tickets is still around -- but now, reports Reuters, it's a political punching bag for opponents of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel in an upcoming election. "[Emanuel], who supports the nation's largest automated camera system, is polling slightly under the 50 percent plus one vote he needs to avoid a run-off against the second-highest vote-getter. Three of the four challengers seeking to topple Emanuel say the cameras should go. Emanuel's closest rival, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who is polling at about 20 percent, said he would only keep cameras that have been proven to reduce accidents. .... Chicago has red-light cameras at 174 intersections and 144 speed cameras near schools and parks around the city. They have brought in $500 million since 2003, according to media reports, a figure Chicago has neither confirmed nor disputed.

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Antitrust Case Against Google Thrown Out of SF Court

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 19:15
Mark Wilson (3799011) writes "Just a few days ago Google was threatened with legal action for anti-competitive behavior in Russia. While we don't yet know if that will amount to anything, there has been some better news for the search giant in the US. A San Francisco judge dismissed a case brought against the firm by two men who thought the inclusion of Google services in Android pushed up the prices of their handsets."

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Apple Will Let Users Test iOS Beta Versions For the First Time

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 18:18
9to5 Mac reports that In an effort to eliminate bugs from upcoming iOS versions ahead of their general releases, Apple plans to launch the first-ever public beta program for the iOS operating system, according to multiple people briefed on the plans. Following the successful launch of the OS X Public Beta program with OS X Yosemite last year, Apple intends to release the upcoming iOS 8.3 as a public beta via the company’s existing AppleSeed program in mid-March, according to the sources. The article goes on to say Like the early iOS 8 developers builds, the public betas will include a dedicated app that allows users to report bugs to Apple. The main goal of the iOS beta program will be a more reliable and widely tested operating system by the time of the wider consumer launch, as Apple has come under fire for lack of quality control in iOS 8. Launching public beta versions of iOS will also reduce the demand for unauthorized sales of beta downloads from developer accounts, which enabled some consumers to test-drive future iOS features.

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Ask Slashdot: How Can Technology Improve the Judicial System?

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 17:18
An anonymous reader writes One of the cornerstones of any democracy is its judicial system. Fortunately, most of us never have to deal with it. On the other hand, the fact that we so seldom interact with it also means that most of us are not constantly thinking about it. It is possible our judicial system would be much better if most of us had to spend more time thinking about it. I myself had not put much thought into it until I watched a documentary about Aaron Swartz. It is frightening to think that someone could have been left in a position like that. I also hear about so many cases were people end up pleading guilty because they do not have enough money to fight a case in court. Is this really the best we can do? The Marshal Project is also an interesting source of information regarding the shortfalls of our current system. What do you think about it? How can we improve our judicial system? Is there any interesting way that technology could be used to improve the system?

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Linux Foundation: Bugs Can Be Made Shallow With Proper Funding

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 16:20
jones_supa writes The record amount of security challenges in 2014 undermined the confidence many had in high quality of open source software. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, addressed the issue head-on during last week's Linux Collaboration Summit. Zemlin quoted the oft-repeated Linus' law, which states that given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow. "In these cases the eyeballs weren't really looking", Zemlin said. "Modern software security is hard because modern software is very complex," he continued. Such complexity requires dedicated engineers, and thus the solution is to fund projects that need help. To date, the foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative has helped out the NTP, OpenSSL and GnuPG projects, with more likely to come. The second key initiative is the Core Infrastructure Census, which aims to find the next Heartbleed before it occurs. The census is looking to find underfunded projects and those that may not have enough eyeballs looking at the code today."

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Wired On 3-D Printers As Fraud Enablers

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 15:24
An anonymous reader writes Citing a report from the Gartner Group estimating $100 billion in intellectual property losses within five years, Joshua Greenbaum warns of "the threat of a major surge in counterfeiting" as cheap 3-D printers get more sophisticated materials. Writing for Wired, Greenbaum argues that preventing counterfeiting "promises to be a growth market," and suggests that besides updating IP laws, possible solutions include nanomaterials for "watermarking" authentic copies or even the regulation of 3-D printing materials. Major retailers like Amazon are already offering 3-D print-on-demand products — though right now their selection is mostly limited to novelties like customized bobbleheads and Christmas ornaments shaped like cannabis leaves. Apropos: Smithonian Magazine has an article that makes a good companion piece to this one on the long political history of the copy machine, which raised many of the same issues being rediscovered in the context of 3-D printing.

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Ten Lies T-Mobile Told Me About My Data Plan

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 14:30
reifman (786887) writes "Last June, my post "Yes, You Can Spend $750 in International Data Roaming in One Minute on AT&T" was slashdotted and this led to T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeting 'how crappy @ATT is' and welcoming me to the fold. Unfortunately, now it's TMobile that's having trouble tracking data; it seems to be related to the rollout of their new DataStash promotion. Just like AT&T, they're blaming the customer. Here are the ten lies T-Mobile told me about my data usage today."

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Homeland Security Urges Lenovo Customers To Remove Superfish

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 13:31
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Reuters reports that the US Department of Homeland Security has advised Lenovo customers to remove "Superfish" software from their computers. According to an alert released through its National Cyber Awareness System the software makes users vulnerable to SSL spoofing and could allow a remote attacker to read encrypted web browser traffic, spoof websites and perform other attacks on Lenovo PCs with the software installed. Lenovo inititally said it stopped shipping the software because of complaints about features, not a security vulnerability. "We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns," the company said in a statement to Reuters early on Thursday. On Friday, Lenovo spokesman Brion Tingler said the company's initial findings were flawed and that it was now advising customers to remove the software and providing instructions for uninstalling "Superfish". "We should have known about this sooner," Tingler said in an email. "And if we could go back, we never would have installed this software on our machines. But we can't, so we are dealing with this head on.""

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The Best, and Worst, Places To Drive Your Electric Car

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 10:43
sciencehabit writes For those tired of winter, you're not alone. Electric cars hate the cold, too. Researchers have conducted the first investigation into how electric vehicles fare in different U.S. climates. The verdict: Electric car buyers in the chilly Midwest and sizzling Southwest get less bang for their buck, where poor energy efficiency and coal power plants unite to turn electric vehicles into bigger polluters.

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Crystal Pattern Matching Recovers Obliterated Serial Numbers From Metal

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 08:05
chicksdaddy writes Criminals beware: researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have figured out how to recover serial numbers obliterated from metal surfaces such as firearms and automobiles — a common problem in forensic examinations. According to this report, NIST researchers used a technique called electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) to read, in the crystal structure pattern, imprints on steel that had been removed by polishing. ... The more perfect the crystal structure, the stronger and clearer the pattern. Software can then calculate the pattern quality to reveal crystal damage; areas with more damage produce lower quality patterns. In the NIST experiments, described in Forensic Science International, researchers hammered the letter 'X' into a polished stainless steel plate. The letter stamps were as deep as 140 micrometers, meeting federal regulations for firearm serial numbers. The researchers then polished the metal again to remove all visible traces of the letters, and collected the EBSD diffraction patterns and pattern quality data and analyzed them for evidence of the imprints.

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The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 05:01
snydeq writes Researchers warn that a glut of code is coming that will depress wages and turn coders into Uber drivers, InfoWorld reports. "The researchers — Boston University's Seth Benzell, Laurence Kotlikoff, and Guillermo LaGarda, and Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs — aren't predicting some silly, Terminator-like robot apocalypse. What they are saying is that our economy is entering a new type of boom-and-bust cycle that accelerates the production of new products and new code so rapidly that supply outstrips demand. The solution to that shortage will be to figure out how not to need those hard-to-find human experts. In fact, it's already happening in some areas."

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No Tech Bubble Here, Says CNN: "This Time It's Different."

Sat, 21/02/2015 - 02:13
ErichTheRed writes I saw this on the Money page of CNN today. Apparently, various stock analysts have declared that this run-up in stock prices is different than the 1999 version. OK, we don't have the pets.com sock puppet, Webvan or theglobe.com anymore, but when Uber is given a valuation of $40 billion, can a crash be far behind?

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Australian ISPs To Introduce '3-Strike' Style Anti-piracy Scheme

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 23:57
angry tapir writes Australian ISPs are considering a draft industry code, developed in response to government threats to step in and do it for them, that will implement a 'three notice' scheme for alleged copyright infringement. If an ISP customer gets three notices in 12 months, a rights holder can go to court to obtain their details and potentially take legal action against them. (The other part of the government's copyright crackdown is the introduction of a scheme to have pirate websites blocked — the government has yet to introduce the legislation for it, however.)

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Why Sony Should Ditch Everything But the PlayStation

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 23:04
An anonymous reader writes: A couple weeks ago, we were surprised by news that Sony was spinning off its game development studio. More recently, the company has been thinking about exiting both the mobile phone market and the TV market. An opinion piece suggests Sony shouldn't stop there, focusing more on the its PlayStation division and a few other areas — and giving up on the rest. "Continuing to concentrate on phones and other products actually makes the PlayStation experience worse for most people. Take the PS4's ability to stream games to mobile devices — a killer feature needlessly limited to the PS Vita and Sony's Xperia Android line. Why can't I play Destiny on my iPad when the TV's occupied? The iOS PlayStation app, meanwhile, is a confusing mess that hasn't even been updated for the iPhone 6. These sound like minor points, but imagine what Sony could do if everyone at the company were focused on making its most important product as good as possible. As Microsoft is learning with its recent iOS and Android experiments, you have to serve the customers where they already are."

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US State Department Can't Get Rid of Email Hackers

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 22:21
An anonymous reader sends this quote from a Wall Street Journal report: Three months after the State Department confirmed hackers breached its unclassified email system, the government still hasn't been able to evict them from the network, say three people familiar with the investigation. Government officials, assisted by outside contractors and the National Security Agency, have repeatedly scanned the network and taken some systems offline. But investigators still see signs of the hackers on State Department computers, the people familiar with the matter said. Each time investigators find a hacker tool and block it, these people said, the intruders tweak it slightly to attempt to sneak past defenses. It isn't clear how much data the hackers have taken, the people said. They reaffirmed what the State Department said in November: that the hackers appear to have access only to unclassified email. Still, unclassified material can contain sensitive intelligence.

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Also Hackable: Drive-Through Car Washes

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 21:38
PLAR writes It turns out LaserWash automatic car washes can be easily hacked via the Internet to get a free wash or to manipulate the machines that clean the cars, a security researcher has found. Billy Rios says these car washes have web interfaces with weak/default passwords which, if obtained, could allow an attacker to telnet in and use an HTTP GET request to control the machines. Rios adds that this probably isn't the only car wash brand that's vulnerable.

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Rapid Test For Ebola Now Available

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 20:54
sciencehabit writes: The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the first rapid diagnostic test for Ebola. The test needs no electricity, requires just a few drops of blood from a finger prick, and can return results in 15 minutes. That will be a huge help to health workers in remote areas. Current PCR-based tests require a blood sample taken by needle, secure transport of the blood to a properly equipped laboratory with trained staff, and at least several hours to return results. Depending on how far away a suspected case is from a testing laboratory, it can take more than a day to receive test results."

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Why Hollywood Fudged the Relativity-Based Wormhole Scenes In Interstellar

Fri, 20/02/2015 - 20:12
KentuckyFC writes: When Christopher Nolan teamed up with physicist Kip Thorne of Caltech to discuss the science behind his movie Interstellar, the idea was that Thorne would bring some much-needed scientific gravitas to the all-important scenes involving travel through a wormhole. Indeed, Thorne used the equations of general relativity to calculate the various possible shapes of wormhole and how they would distort the view through it. A London-based special effects team then created footage of a far away galaxy as seen through such a wormhole. It showed the galaxy fantastically distorted as a result, just as relativity predicts. But when it came to travelling through a wormhole, Nolan was disappointed with the footage. The problem was that the view of the other side when travelling through a wormhole turns out to be visually indistinguishable from a conventional camera zoom and utterly unlike the impression Nolan wanted to portray, which was the sense of travelling through a shortcut from one part of the universe to another. So for the final cut, special effects artists had to add various animations to convey that impression. "The end result was a sequence of shots that told a story comprehensible by a general audience while resembling the wormhole's interior," admit Thorne and colleagues in a paper they have published about wormhole science in the film. In other words, they had to fudge it. Nevertheless, Thorne is adamant that the visualisations should help to inspire a new generation of students of film-making and of relativity.

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