posted 8 days ago on slashdot
First time accepted submitter Mark Wilson writes Google has a new battle on its hands, this time in the form of a potential anti-trust probe in Russia. Yandex, the internet company behind the eponymous Russian search engine, has filed a complaint to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). Yandex claims that the US search giant is abusing its position by bundling Google services with Android. It claims that users are forced into using the Google ecosystem including Google Search, and that it is difficult to install competing services on smartphones and tablets. There are distinct echoes of the antitrust lawsuits Microsoft has faced for its bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
itwbennett writes A week ago, the revelation that Samsung collects words spoken by consumers when they use the voice recognition feature in their smart TVs enraged privacy advocates, since according to Samsung's own privacy policy those words can in some cases include personal or sensitive information. Following the incident, David Lodge, a researcher with a U.K.-based security firm called Pen Test Partners, intercepted and analyzed the Internet traffic generated by a Samsung smart TV and found that Samsung does send captured voice data to a remote server using a connection on port 443, a port typically associated with encrypted HTTPS, but that the data was not encrypted. "It's not even HTTP data, it's a mix of XML and some custom binary data packet," said Lodge in a blog post.

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
jones_supa writes While routinely checking the latest exploited websites, Malwarebytes came across a strange infection pattern that seemed to start from the official site of British chef Jamie Oliver. Contrary to most web-borne exploits we see lately, this one was not the result of malicious advertising but rather carefully placed malicious JavaScript injection in the site itself. This, in turn, has been used to serve visitors a delicious meal consisting an exploit kit downloading the Dorkbot trojan. Malwarebytes has contacted the administrators immediately upon discovery of this infection.

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
jfruh writes There were a lot of rumored features of the Xbox One that vanished after public outcry — that it would need an always-on Internet connection, for instance. But another rumor from that era was that every Xbox One sold would include a dev kit that would allow anyone to create games — and it looks like this is one dream that might be coming true soon.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
MojoKid writes The bulk of today's high-capacity external storage devices still rely on mechanical hard disk drives with spinning media and other delicate parts. Solid state drives are much faster and less susceptible to damage from vibration, of course. That being the case, Samsung saw an opportunity to capitalize on a market segment that hasn't seen enough development it seems--external SSDs. There are already external storage devices that use full-sized SSDs, but Samsung's new Portable SSD T1 is more akin to a thumb drive, only a little wider and typically much faster. Utilizing Samsung's 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology and a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, the Portable SSD T1 redlines at up to 450MB/s when reading or writing data sequentially, claims Samsung. For random read and write activities, Samsung rates the drive at up to 8,000 IOPS and 21,000 IOPS, respectively. Pricing is more in-line with high-performance standalone SSDs, with this 1TB model reviewed here arriving at about $579. In testing, the drive did live up to its performance and bandwidth claims as well.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
This video is about Dr. Saeed Darvish-Kazem and Dr. Michael Pazaratz, two MDs from Canada, who came up with a free iOS app called WeMesh that lets you share video content with iOS-owning friends in real time. You see the video and so does your friend. more or less simultaneously. Cat videos and 90s music are two categories the doctors say are especially popular on WeMesh, which only works with YouTube at the moment, a shortcoming they hope to change in the near future. NOTE: If you're on the Slashdot main page and click the 'Read' link below this paragraph, the video will autoplay.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
First time accepted submitter bobo the hobo writesThe FreeBSD random number has been discovered to be generating possibly predictable SSH keys and SSL certificates for months. Time to regenerate your keys and certs if using FreeBSD-Current. A message to the freebsd-current mailing list reads in part: "If you are running a current kernel r273872 or later, please upgrade your kernel to r278907 or later immediately and regenerate keys. I discovered an issue where the new framework code was not calling randomdev_init_reader, which means that read_random(9) was not returning good random data. read_random(9) is used by arc4random(9) which is the primary method that arc4random(3) is seeded from."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
snydeq writes While it may have been unthinkable 20 years ago, Java and JavaScript are now locked in a battle of sorts for control of the programming world. InfoWorld's Peter Wayner examines where the old-school compiler-driven world of Java hold its ground and where the speed and flexibility of Node.js gives JavaScript on the server the nod. "In the history of computing, 1995 was a crazy time. First Java appeared, then close on its heels came JavaScript. The names made them seem like conjoined twins newly detached, but they couldn't be more different. One of them compiled and statically typed; the other interpreted and dynamically typed. That's only the beginning of the technical differences between these two wildly distinct languages that have since shifted onto a collision course of sorts, thanks to Node.js."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
astroengine writes It has long been assumed that the size of a supermassive black hole in a galaxy's core is intimately related to the number of stars that galaxy contains — but it might not be that simple after all. According to new research, it may in fact be a galaxy's extensive dark matter halo that controls the evolution of the central supermassive black hole and not the total number of stars that galaxy contains. "There seems to be a mysterious link between the amount of dark matter a galaxy holds and the size of its central black hole, even though the two operate on vastly different scales," said lead author Akos Bogdan of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), Cambridge, Mass.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Nerval's Lobster writes Procedural dungeon generation is a fun exercise for programmers. Despite the crude interface, such games continue to spark interest. A quarter century ago, David Bolton wrote a dungeon generator in procedural Pascal; now he's taken that old code and converted it to C#. It's amazing just how fast it runs on a five-year-old i7 950 PC with 16GB of RAM. If you want to follow along, you can find his code for the project on SourceForge. The first part of the program generates the rooms in a multilevel dungeon. Each level is based on a 150 x 150 grid and can have up to 40 rooms. Rather than just render boring old rectangular rooms, there are also circular rooms. "There are a couple of places where corridor placement could have been optimized better," Bolton wrote about his experiment. "However, the dungeon generation is still very fast, and could provide a good programming example for anyone exploring what C# can do." For C# beginners, this could represent a solid exercise.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
sarahnaomi writes: The NSA, GCHQ, and their allies in the Five Eyes are not the only government agencies using malware for surveillance. French intelligence is almost certainly hacking its targets too — and now security researchers believe they have proof. On Wednesday, the researchers will reveal new details about a powerful piece of malware known as "Babar," which is capable of eavesdropping on online conversations held via Skype, MSN and Yahoo messenger, as well as logging keystrokes and monitoring which websites an infected user has visited. The researchers are publishing two separate but complementary reports that analyze samples of the malware, and all but confirm that France's spying agency the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) was responsible for its creation.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
jfruh writes: With Google retooling its Glass offering, Sony appears to have jumped into the breach to offer an Android-compatible wearable face-computer. The developer edition of SmartEyeglass will be available in March for $840, with a commercial release planned for 2016. The device must be manipulated with a separate, wired controller unit that houses a microphone, speakers and an NFC module.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: One of the most powerful features of modern browsers is the ability to install third-party extensions. They allow third-party developers to work on really useful niche functionality, and let users customize their browser with the tools they need. Unfortunately, this environment has the same discover-ability and security problems as standalone software. Thus, my question: what are your most useful (and safe) browser extensions? I can't live without some privacy basics like NoScript, AdBlock, and Ghostery. I also find FoxyProxy helpful for getting around geolocation requirements for media streaming. OneTab works pretty well for saving groups of browser tabs, and Pushbullet keeps getting better at managing my phone while I'm at my PC.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Mark Nottingham, chair of the IETF HTTP working group, has announced that the HTTP/2 specification is done. It's on its way to the RFC Editor, along with the HPACK specification, where it'll be cleaned up and published. "The new standard brings a number of benefits to one of the Web's core technologies, such as faster page loads, longer-lived connections, more items arriving sooner and server push. HTTP/2 uses the same HTTP APIs that developers are familiar with, but offers a number of new features they can adopt. One notable change is that HTTP requests will be 'cheaper' to make. ... With HTTP/2, a new multiplexing feature allows lots of requests to be delivered at the same time, so the page load isn't blocked." Here's the HTTP/2 FAQ, and we recently talked about some common criticisms of the spec.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Nations allied with the United States may soon be able to purchase armed, unmanned aircraft, according to an updated U.S. arms policy. Purchase requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and foreign military bodies would have to agree to a set of "proper use" rules in order for the U.S. to go ahead with the sale. For example: "Armed and other advanced UAS are to be used in operations involving the use of force only when there is a lawful basis for use of force under international law, such as national self-defense." These rules have done nothing to silence critics of the plan, who point out that the U.S. has killed civilians during remote strikes without much accountability. The drones are estimated to cost $10-15 million apiece.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Bismillah tips news of research from ETH Zurich which brings the possibility of extremely long-term data storage. The scientists encoded data in DNA, a young but established technique that has a major problem: accuracy. "[E]ven a short period of time presents a problem in terms of the margin of error, as mistakes occur in the writing and reading of the DNA. Over the longer term, DNA can change significantly as it reacts chemically with the environment, thus presenting an obstacle to long-term storage." To get around this issue, they encapsulated the DNA within tiny silica spheres, a process roughly comparable to the fossilization of bones (abstract). The researchers say data can be preserved this way for over a million years.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
gbjbaanb writes: The BBC has converted its legacy WMA (Windows Media Audio) streams to the "industry-wide and open source" MPEG-DASH format. While this has left some users of old devices unable to receive the broadcasts, the BBC claims the use of WMA was "prohibitively expensive to operate"when existing licence agreements ran out. The BBC says that they are working with "radio industry and manufacturers towards using just one standard."

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Face recognition software underwent a revolution in 2001 with the creation of the Viola-Jones algorithm. Now, the field looks set to dramatically improve once again: computer scientists from Stanford and Yahoo Labs have published a new, simple approach that can find faces turned at an angle and those that are partially blocked by something else. The researchers "capitalize on the advances made in recent years on a type of machine learning known as a deep convolutional neural network. The idea is to train a many-layered neural network using a vast database of annotated examples, in this case pictures of faces from many angles. To that end, Farfade and co created a database of 200,000 images that included faces at various angles and orientations and a further 20 million images without faces. They then trained their neural net in batches of 128 images over 50,000 iterations. ... What's more, their algorithm is significantly better at spotting faces when upside down, something other approaches haven't perfected."

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
mpicpp sends word of a patent newly awarded to Apple, #8,957,835, which describes a head-mounted apparatus that uses an iPhone (or iPod) as a display. The device "temporarily integrates or merges both mechanically and electronically a head-mounted device with a portable electronic device." It sounds a bit like Samsung's Gear VR headset, and many outlets are reporting it as being a virtual reality device. However, the patent itself doesn't mention VR, and it was filed in 2008, long before the VR rush of the past few years. That said, Apple has recently been trying to hire engineers with experience developing VR-related software, so it's something they could be evaluating.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Re/code recently on a variety of topics relating to technology. The talk included the president's thoughts on encryption, which has been a controversial subject in tech circles lately after government officials (including Obama himself) have publicly complained about default encryption in modern communication tools. In the interview, he says he's a "strong believer in strong encryption," adding, "I lean probably further on side of strong encryption than some in law enforcement." Obama puts it another way, more bluntly: "There's no scenario in which we don't want really strong encryption." However, the president says the public itself is driving concern for leaving law enforcement a way in: "The first time that an attack takes place in which it turns out that we had a lead and we couldn't follow up on it, the public's going to demand answers."

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Lee Drake owns a small IT service and sales company in Rochester, New York, called OS Cubed. He was a cubicle denizen many years ago, and didn't like it. So he started his own business, first with a partner and later as the sole owner. Rochester may be part of the infamous "rust belt," but Lee seems to be doing well, to the point where he's happy to pass on some tips about how to start and grow your own IT business. While Lee's company specializes in "Microsoft solutions," his advice applies to almost any IT business -- and almost any other kind of business, too.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Venturebeat reports on companies using software to "create" patents. They say a company called Cloem will use the software to "linguistically manipulate a seed set of a client's patent claims by, for example, substituting in synonyms or reordering steps in a process, thereby generating tens of thousands of potentially patentable inventions." The article says, "There is reason to believe that at least some of its computer-conceived inventions could be patentable and, indeed, patents have already been granted on inventions designed wholly or in part by software."

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
Stephen Wolfram's accomplishments and contributions to science and computing are numerous. He earned a PhD in particle physics from Caltech at 20, and has been cited by over 30,000 research publications. Wolfram is the the author of A New Kind of Science, creator of Mathematica, the creator of Wolfram Alpha, and the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research. He developed Wolfram Language, a general multi-paradigm programming language, in 2014. Stephen has graciously agreed to answer any questions you may have for him. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
chicksdaddy writes: There is a report today on the 21st century's newest luxury item: online privacy The Christian Science Monitor writes about the growing market for premium privacy protection tools available to tech-savvy consumers with the desire for online anonymity — and the means to pay for it. The piece profiles new tools from companies like Abine that deliver everything from self-destructing e-mail messages to the 21st century's equivalent of Kleenex: one-off "throwaway" online identities to keep advertisers, merchants and government snoops at bay. Privacy experts, however, doubt that the new tools will tip the scales of online privacy in favor of consumers and away from governments and advertisers. "Consumers really don't have a fighting chance," says Andrea Matwyshyn of Princeton University. "Technology moves entirely too fast." She and others see the need for both bigger fixes and the level of Internet infrastructure and law. "As a consumer protection matter, there needs to be a floor," she said. "Just as there are laws protecting renters from substandard housing, or car buyers from 'lemons,' there need to be regulations that create a buffer between consumers and companies."

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
occamboy writes My spouse works at a company that deals with lots of documents (Word, spreadsheets, scans, and so forth), and they have a classic version control problem that sucks up hours of her time each week. Documents are stored on a shared server in some sort of hierarchy, but there are all kinds of problems, e.g. multiple copies get saved with slightly-different names because people are afraid of overwriting the old version 'just in case' and nobody can figure out which is the latest version, or which got sent out to a client, etc. Version control should help, and my first thought was to use SVN with TortoiseSVN, but I'm wondering if there's something even simpler that they could use? Do the Slashdotteratti have any experiences or thoughts that they could share? The ideal solution would also make it easy to text search the document tree.

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