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Silk Road 2.0 Deputy Arrested

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 22:28
An anonymous reader writes With the Ulbricht trial ongoing in a case over the original Silk Road, Homeland Security agents have made another arrest in the Silk Road 2.0 case more than two and a half months after the site was shut down. This time they arrested Brian Richard Farrell who went by the moniker "DoctorClu." From the article: "Homeland Security agents tracked Silk Road 2.0 activity to Farrell's Bellevue home in July, according to an affidavit by Special Agent Michael Larson. In the months that followed, agents watched his activities and interviewed a roommate who said Farrell received UPS, FedEx and postal packages daily. One package was found to contain 107 Xanax pills, Larson said. That led to a search on Jan. 2 that recovered computers, drug paraphernalia, silver bullion bars worth $3,900, and $35,000 in cash, Larson said."

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Oracle Releases Massive Security Update

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 21:45
wiredmikey writes Oracle has pushed out a massive security update, including critical fixes for Java SE and the Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite. Overall, the update contains nearly 170 new security vulnerability fixes, including 36 for Oracle Fusion Middleware. Twenty-eight of these may be remotely exploitable without authentication and can possibly be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password.

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US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 21:03
sciencehabit writes The U.S. Senate's simmering debate over climate science has come to a full boil today, as lawmakers prepare to vote on measures offered by Democrats that affirm that climate change is real—with one also noting that global warming is not "a hoax." In an effort to highlight their differences with some Republicans on climate policy, several Democrats have filed largely symbolic amendments to a bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. They are designed to put senators on the record on whether climate change is real and human-caused.

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What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 20:20
Nerval's Lobster writes As previously rumored, Google has discontinued selling Google Glass, its augmented-reality headset... but it could be coming out with something new and (supposedly) improved. The company has placed a relentlessly positive spin on its decision: "Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk," reads a posting on the Google+ page for Glass. "Well, we still have some work to do, but now we're ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run." Formerly a project of the Google X research lab, Glass will now be overseen by Tony Fadell, the CEO of Google subsidiary (and Internet of Things darling) Nest; more than a few Glass users are unhappy with Google's decision. If Google's move indeed represents a quiet period before a relaunch, rather than an outright killing of the product, what can it do to ensure that Glass's second iteration proves more of a success? Besides costing less (the original Glass retailed for $1,500 from Google's online storefront), Google might want to focus on the GoPro audience, or simply explain to consumers why they actually need a pair of glasses with an embedded screen. What else could they do to make Glass 2.0 (whatever it looks like) succeed?

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Illinois Students Suspected of Cyberbullying Must Provide Social Media Passwords

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 19:36
derekmead writes: School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules. The law (PDF), which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state's school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours. A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords.

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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 18:53
mpicpp was one of many to point out this bit of news about Windows 10."Microsoft just took another big step toward the release of Windows 10 and revealed it will be free for many current Windows users. The company unveiled the Windows 10 consumer preview on Wednesday, showcasing some of the new features in the latest version of the operating system that powers the vast majority of the world's desktop PCs. The developer preview has been available since Microsoft first announced Windows 10 in the fall, but it was buggy, limited in scope and very light on new features. Importantly, Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows users running versions of Windows back to Windows 7. That includes Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows Phone. Microsoft specified it would only be free for the first year, indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to, rather than buy outright. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group Joe Belfiore showed off some of the new features in Windows 10. While Microsoft had already announced it would bring back the much-missed Start Menu, Belfiore revealed it would also have a full-screen mode that includes more of the Windows 8 Start screen. He said Windows machines would go back and forth between to two menus in a way that wouldn't confuse people. Belfiore also showed a new notification center for Windows, which puts a user's notifications in an Action Center menu that can appear along the right side, similar to how notifications work in Apple OS X. Microsoft Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson revealed that 1.7 million people had downloaded the Windows 10 developer preview, giving Microsoft over 800,000 individual piece of feedback. Myerson explained that Windows 10 has several main intents: the give users a mobility of experience from device to device, instill a sense of trust in users, and provide the most natural ways to interact with devices."

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Moot Retires From 4chan

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 18:10
vivaoporto writes Moot bids his final farewell as the administrator of the (in)famous imageboard. The full resignation letter can be read on the site blog (it's cool, it's SFW) but for those who are not brave enough to dwell in the "underbelly of the internet" here are some excerpts: "I founded 4chan eleven and a half years ago at the age of 15, and after more than a decade of service, I've decided it's time for me to move on. 4chan has faced numerous challenges... [B]ut the biggest hurdle it's had to overcome is myself. As 4chan's sole administrator, decision maker, and keeper of most of its institutional knowledge, I've come to represent an uncomfortably large single point of failure. I've spent the past two years working behind the scenes to address these challenges,... [T]he site isn't in danger of going under financially any time soon,... and while I've still been calling the shots, I've delegated many of my responsibilities to a handful of trusted volunteers, most of whom have served the site for years. That foundation will now be put to the ultimate test, as today I'm retiring as 4chan's administrator.... I look forward to one day returning to 4chan as its Admin Emeritus or just another Anonymous,... I'm humbled to have had the privilege of both founding and presiding over what is easily one of the greatest communities to ever grace the Web."

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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 17:27
An anonymous reader writes: VentureBeat is running an indictment of the tech industry's penchant for laying off huge numbers of people, which they say is responsible for creating a culture of "disposable employees." According to recent reports, layoffs in the tech sector reached over 100,000 last year, the highest total since 2009. Of course, there are always reasons for layoffs: "Companies buy other companies and need to rationalize headcount. And there's all that disruption. Big companies, in particular, are seeing their business models challenged by startups, so they need to shed employees with skills they no longer need, and hire people with the right skills." But the article argues that this is often just a smokescreen. "The notion here is that somehow these companies are backed into a corner, with no other option than to fire people. And that's just not true. These companies are making a choice. They're deciding that it's faster and cheaper to chuck people overboard and find new ones than it is to retrain them. The economics of cutting rather than training may seem simple, but it's a more complex calculation than most people believe. ... Many of these companies are churning through employees, laying off hundreds on one hand, while trying to hire hundreds more."

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Microbots Deliver Medical Payload In Living Creature For the First Time

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 16:45
Zothecula writes: Researchers working at the University of California, San Diego have claimed a world first in proving that artificial, microscopic machines can travel inside a living creature and deliver their medicinal load without any detrimental effects. Using micro-motor powered robots propelled by gas bubbles made from a reaction with the contents of the stomach in which they were deposited, these miniature machines have been successfully deployed in the body of a live mouse.

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Gender and Tenure Diversity In GitHub Teams Relate To Higher Productivity

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 16:03
New submitter Bogdan Vasilescu writes: Diversity in teams is a double-edged sword. Increased team diversity results in more varied backgrounds and ideas, providing the team with access to broader information, enhanced creativity, adaptability, and problem solving skills. However, due to greater perceived differences in values, norms, and communication styles in more diverse teams, members become more likely to engage in stereotyping, cliquishness, and conflict. In a recent study, researchers from University of California, Davis and Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands have analyzed the effects of gender and tenure diversity on productivity and turnover for more than 23,000 open-source projects on GitHub. Using regression modeling, they showed that after controlling for team size and other confounds (such as a project's age, development model, or amount of social activity), both gender and tenure diversity are positive and significant predictors of productivity, together explaining a small but significant fraction of the data variability. On an economic and societal scale, these findings suggest that added investments in educational and professional training efforts and outreach for female programmers will likely result in added overall value. The paper describing the results (preprint PDF here) will be presented at the prestigious ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, in Seoul, South Korea, in April 2015.

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DARPA Wants Atlas Robot To Go Wireless

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 15:42
mikejuk writes: Atlas is a humanoid robot, one of the most advanced in the world. But it's always had cables that provided it with power and made it look a little like a dog on a leash. It was designed to provide a hardware platform for teams competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge — a competition designed to encourage the construction of an effective disaster response robot. DARPA now says the finals of the challenge later in the year will require that the robots be completely wireless. Power will be supplied by an onboard 3.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That battery will drive a variable-pressure pump which operates all of the hydraulic systems. The pump makes ATLAS much quieter, but introduces a complication for the teams: it can be run at low pressure to save power and then switched to high pressure to get harder work done. Managing power consumption will be a very difficult task, but DARPA has also upped the prize money to $3.5 million in total.

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Time For Microsoft To Open Source Internet Explorer?

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 15:23
An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica's Peter Bright argues that it's time for Microsoft to make Internet Explorer open source. He points out that IE's major competitors are all either fully open source (Firefox), or partially open source (Chrome, Safari, and Opera), and this puts Microsoft at a huge disadvantage. Bright says, "It's time for Microsoft to fit in with the rest of the browser industry and open up Trident. One might argue that this argument could be made of any software, and that Microsoft should by this logic open source everything. But I think that the browser is special. The community that exists around Web standards does not exist in the same way around, say, desktop software development, or file system drivers, or user interfaces. Development in the open is integral to the Web in an almost unique way. ... Although Microsoft has endeavored to be more open about how it's developing its browser, and which features it is prioritizing, that development nonetheless takes place in private. Developing in the open, with a public bug tracker, source code repositories, and public discussion of the browser's future direction is the next logical step."

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Facebook Will Let You Flag Content As 'False'

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 14:39
jfruh writes: If you're tired of seeing fake or misleading news articles posted by your friends to Facebook and then spreading like wildfire, you might be in luck. In a system that's something like Slashdot comment moderation on a grand scale, you'll now be able to flag a story as false. Links that have been flagged this way by many users will appear less frequently in people's newsfeeds, or with a disclaimer attached.

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SOTU: Community Colleges, Employers To Train Workers For High-Paying Coding Jobs

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 13:57
theodp writes: Coding got a couple of shout-outs from the White House in Tuesday's State of the Union Address. "Thanks to Vice President Biden's great work to update our job training system," said President Obama (YouTube), "we're connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics." And among the so-called "boats" in the new "River of Content" that the White House social media folks came up with to enhance the State of the Union is a card intended to be shared on Twitter & Facebook which reads, "Let's teach more Americans to code. (Even the President is learning!)." President Obama briefly addressed human spaceflight, saying, "I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs – converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay." He also called once more for action on climate change. Politifact has an annotated version of the transcript for more background information on Obama's statements, and FiveThirtyEight has a similar cheat sheet.

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Healthcare.gov Sends Personal Data To Over a Dozen Tracking Websites

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 13:14
An anonymous reader tips an Associated Press report saying that Healthcare.gov is sending users' personal data to private companies. The information involved is typical ad-related analytic data: "...it can include age, income, ZIP code, whether a person smokes, and if a person is pregnant. It can include a computer's Internet address, which can identify a person's name or address when combined with other information collected by sophisticated online marketing or advertising firms." The Electronic Frontier Foundation confirmed the report, saying that data is being sent from Healthcare.gov to at least 14 third-party domains. The EFF says, "Sending such personal information raises significant privacy concerns. A company like Doubleclick, for example, could match up the personal data provided by healthcare.gov with an already extensive trove of information about what you read online and what your buying preferences are to create an extremely detailed profile of exactly who you are and what your interests are. It could do all this based on a tracking cookie that it sets which would be the same across any site you visit. Based on this data, Doubleclick could start showing you smoking ads or infer your risk of cancer based on where you live, how old you are and your status as a smoker. Doubleclick might start to show you ads related to pregnancy, which could have embarrassing and potentially dangerous consequences such as when Target notified a woman's family that she was pregnant before she even told them. "

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Windows Server 2003 Reaches End of Life In July

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 10:18
Several readers sent word that we're now less than six months away from the end of support for Windows Server 2003. Though the operating system's usage peaked in 2009, it still runs on millions of machines, and many IT departments are just now starting to look at replacements. Although Microsoft publishes support deadlines long in advance -- and has been beating the drum to dump Server 2003 for months -- it's not unusual for customers to hang on too long. Last year, as Windows XP neared its final days of support, there were still huge numbers of systems running the aged OS. Companies lined up to pay Microsoft for extended support contracts and PC sales stabilized in part because enterprises bought new replacement machines. Problems replacing Windows Server 2003 may appear similar at first glance, but they're not: Servers are critical to a business because of the applications that run on them, which may have to be rewritten or replaced. [In many cases, legacy applications are the sole reason for the continued use of Server 2003.] Those applications may themselves be unsupported at this point, the company that built them may be out of business or the in-house development team may have been disbanded. Any of those scenarios would make it difficult or even impossible to update the applications' code to run on a newer version of Windows Server. Complicating any move is the fact that many of those applications are 32-bit -- and have been kept on Windows Server 2003 for that reason -- and while Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a compatibility mode to run such applications, it's not foolproof.

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First Look At Dell Venue 8 7000 and Intel's Moorefield Atom Performance

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 08:55
MojoKid writes: Dell has been strategically setting-up their new Venue 8 7000 tablet for cameo appearances over the past few months, starting back at Intel Developer's Forum in September of last year, then again at Dell World in November and at CES 2015. What's interesting about this new device, in addition to Intel's RealSense camera is its Atom Z3580 quad-core processor, which is based on Intel's latest Moorefield architecture. Moorefield builds upon Intel's Cherrytrail Atom feature set and offers two additional CPU cores with up to a 2.3GHz clock speed, an enhanced PowerVR 6430 GPU and support of faster LPDDR3-1600 memory. Moorefield is also built for Intel's XMM 7260 LTE modem platform, which supports carrier aggregation. Overall, Moorefield looks solid, with performance ahead of a Snapdragon 801 but not quite able to catch the 805, NVIDIA Tegra K1 or Apple's A8X in terms of graphics throughput. On the CPU side, Intel's beefed-up quad-core Atom variant shows well.

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Paris Terror Spurs Plan For Military Zones Around Nuclear Plants

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 07:21
mdsolar sends this report from Bloomberg: Lawmakers in France want to create military zones around its 58 atomic reactors to boost security after this month's Paris terror attacks and almost two dozen mystery drone flights over nuclear plants that have baffled authorities. "There's a legal void that needs to be plugged," said Claude de Ganay, the opposition member of the National Assembly spearheading legislation to be considered by parliament on Feb. 5. The proposals would classify atomic energy sites as "highly sensitive military zones" under the control of the Ministry of Defense, according to an outline provided by de Ganay.

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Silverlight Exploits Up, Java Exploits Down, Says Cisco

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 05:19
angry tapir writes: Attempts to exploit Silverlight soared massively in late 2014 according to research from Cisco. However, the use of Silverlight in absolute terms is still low compared to the use of Java and Flash as an attack vector, according to Cisco's 2015 Annual Security Report. The report's assessment of the 2014 threat landscape also notes that researchers observed Flash-based malware that interacted with JavaScript. The Flash/JS malware was split between two files to make it easier to evade anti-malware protection. (The full report is available online, but registration is required.)

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Local Hackerspace Loses Solar Balloon, Creating Another UFO In New Mexico

Wed, 21/01/2015 - 04:31
bugnuts writes: Local Albuquerque, New Mexico Hackerspace Quelab created and unintentionally launched a solar-powered tetroon over the city, prompting several calls to the FAA, Kirtland Air Force Base, and news organizations, describing it as a "floating tortilla chip." The tetroon allows sunlight to pass through the top layer, heating the inner black layers, creating a hot-air balloon as the interior gas expands. Besides the well-known "Roswell" incident, New Mexico often has many UFO sightings due to the prevalence of technology and military groups, good weather, and clear skies.

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