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Updated: 15 min 16 sec ago

Fedora QA Lead Pans Canonical 'Propaganda' On Snap Apps

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 8:30pm
Long-time Slashdot reader JImbob0i0 shares a scathing article by Red Hat's Fedora QA "community monkey"/senior QA engineer on Canonical's announcement about their application delivery mechanism "snap"... ...and how it's going to unite all distributions and kill apt and rpm! This is, to put it diplomatically, a heaping pile of steaming bullshit... The press release and the stories together give you the strong impression that this thing called Snappy is going to be the cross-distribution future of application delivery, and it's all ready for use today and lots of major distributions are buying into it... The stories have headlines like "Adios apt and yum? Ubuntu's snap apps are coming to distros everywhere" and "Snap Packages Become Universal Binary Format for All GNU/Linux Distributions"... Now, does Snappy actually have the cross-distribution buy-in that the press release claims (but never outright states) that it has? No... The sum total of communication between Canonical and Fedora before the release of this press release was that they mailed us asking about the process of packaging snappy for Fedora, and we told them about the main packaging process and COPR. They certainly did not in any way inform Fedora that they were going to send out a press release strongly implying that Fedora, along with every other distro in the world, was now a happy traveler on the Snappy bandwagon... They just decided to send out a wildly misleading press release and actively encourage the specialist press to report that Snappy was all set to take over the world and everyone was super happy with that.

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Ask Slashdot: Should You Store Medical Details In The Cloud?

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 7:30pm
"Paper forms are a security risk", warns the web site for CareMonkey, which maintains digital and up-to-date medical information in the cloud "for any organization with a duty of care". This is raising concerns for long-time Slashdot reader rolandw, who says he's being asked by his daughter's school to approve using the site to store "her full medical details". CareMonkey say that this data is stored on AWS and their security page says that it is secured by every protocol ever claimed by AWS (apparently). As a sysadmin and developer who has used AWS extensively for non-secure information my alarm bells are sounding. Should he ignore those alarm bells and approve the storage of his daughter's medical history in the cloud? And if not, what specific reason would you give for refusing?

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Court Slams Record Companies in New Vimeo/DMCA Ruling

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 6:30pm
Remember when Capitol Records sued Vimeo over copyright-violating videos? They just lost in court again, when an Appeals court overruled three lower court decisions. Slashdot reader NewYorkCountryLawyer shares the specifics of the Appeals court's findings: [T]he Copyright Office was dead wrong in concluding that pre-1972 sound recordings aren't covered by the DMCA... the judge was wrong to think that Vimeo employees' merely viewing infringing videos was sufficient evidence of "red flag knowledge"... a few sporadic instances of employees being cavalier about copyright law did not amount to a "policy of willful blindness" on the part of the company. "The decision once again affirms that the DMCA extends immunity to a service provider for the infringement of their customers if the service provider removes material at the request of the right holder," writes Ars Technica.

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Those 100,000 Lost Air Force Files Have Been Found Again

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 5:30pm
The Air Force now says it will be able to recover those 100,000 investigation files dating back to 2004, after "aggressively leveraging all vendor and department capabilities." An anonymous reader quotes a report from Government Executive about the mysteriously corrupted database: In a short, four-sentence statement released midday on Wednesday, service officials said the Air Force continues to investigate the embarrassing incident in which the files and their backups were corrupted. "Through extensive data recovery efforts over the weekend and this week, the Air Force has been able to regain access to the data in the Air Force Inspector General Automated Case Tracking System..." the statement reads. Earlier on Wednesday, the Air Force chief of staff said that the effort to recover the files involved Lockheed Martin and Oracle, the two defense contractors that run the database, plus Air Force cyber and defense cyber crime personnel. The Chief of Staff hopes "there won't be a long-term impact, other than making sure we understand exactly what happened, how it happened and how we keep it from ever happening again." The Air Force is conducting an independent review, while Lockheed Martin is now also performing a separate internal review.

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At Black Hat's Oscars: an Award For Hacking Junk

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 4:30pm
chicksdaddy shares an article from Security Ledger: The Pwnies, a long-running awards ceremony that is the hacker community's equivalent of The Oscars (or at least The People's Choice Awards) is adding an award for "Junk Hacking" to its 2016 roster... [I]n a nod to the security industry's penchant for stunt hacking and the technology industry's penchant for unwarranted complexity, the award will be given to researchers who "discovered and performed the most needlessly sophisticated attack against the most needlessly Internet-enabled 'Thing.'" Among other new categories that are being added are Pwnies for the "Best Cryptographic Attack," the "Best Backdoor," and the closely related "Best Stunt Hack," awarded to "the researchers, their PR team, and participating journalists for the best, most high-profile, and fear-inducing public spectacle that resulted in the most panic-stricken phone calls from our less-technical friends and family members"... Anyone can nominate a recipient for a Pwnie using the organizationâ(TM)s web site. Though the award targets pointless products on the Internet of Things, one judge points out that "It may be that there's some exploit in your connected toothbrush that could also be used against a home security system..."

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The NSA Would Be Eliminated Under President Gary Johnson

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 3:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson says he'd sign an executive order eliminating America's National Security Agency if he wins the 2016 election. And he's also forcefully arguing that domestic surveillance of internet activity and phone calls in the United States is worse than in China. Johnson took issue with an interviewer at The Daily Beast who pointed out that China monitors political dissidents, saying "What do you call the NSA and the satellites that are trained on us and the fact that 110 million Verizon users are having everything we do on our cell phones being data-collected?" Johnson also wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, replacing both income taxes and corporate taxes with a single federal consumption tax, and says he'd be willing to sign legislation eliminating the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Commerce, which he says fuels "crony capitalism". "I'll sign legislation to eliminate any federal agency that they present me with." Johnson has also said that if he were elected President, he'd pardon Edward Snowden.

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Businesses Lose $3.1 Billion to Email Scams, FBI Warns

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 2:30pm
Business have lost over $3 billion because of compromised e-mail accounts, the FBI reports, citing "a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments." 22,143 business have been affected -- 14,302 within the U.S. -- with a total dollar loss of $3,086,250,090, representing an increase of 1,300% since January of 2015. Using social engineering or "computer intrusion techniques," the attackers target employees responsible for wire transfers (or issuing checks) using five scenarios, which include bogus invoices or executive requests for a wire transfer of funds, with some attackers even impersonating a corporate law firm. "Victims report that IP addresses frequently trace back to free domain registrars," warns the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, which also urges businesses to avoid free web-based e-mail accounts.

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Microsoft Tests New Tool To Remove OEM Crapware

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 1:30pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Windows 10 already includes ways to clear out applications and data to repair misbehaving systems or prepare them to be sold, courtesy of the Refresh and Reset features added in Windows 8. Microsoft is now adding a third option: a new refresh tool. Currently available only for Windows Insiders, the new tool fetches a copy of Windows online and performs a clean installation. The only option is whether or not you want to preserve your personal data. Any other software that's installed will be blown away, including the various applications and utilities that OEMs continue to bundle with their systems. Ars Technica points out that the tool isn't perfect. For example, "it installs a preview build from the fast track, but Microsoft notes that the new tool can sometimes install a version older than the one currently installed. When this kind of version mismatch occurs, the option to preserve your files is removed."

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NASA Unveils Plans For Electric-Powered Plane

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 11:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from New York Times: A new experimental airplane being built by NASA could help push electric-powered aviation from a technical curiosity and pipe dream into something that might become commercially viable for small aircraft. At a conference on Friday of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Washington, Charles F. Bolden Jr., the NASA administrator, announced plans for an all-electric airplane (Warning: source may be paywalled) designated as X-57 and nicknamed "Maxwell," part of the agency's efforts to make aviation more efficient and less of a polluter. "The X-57 will take the first giant step in opening a new era of aviation," Mr. Bolden declared. Maxwell is equipped with 14 electric propeller-turning motors located along the wings, which will all be used to create sufficient thrust during take-off and landing. Only two large motors on the tips of the wings will be used once it's up in the air. The plane is a result of NASA's "New Aviation Horizons" initiative: a 10-year program to create a new generation of X-planes that will make use of greener energy, use half as much fuel, and be half as loud as commercial aircraft in use today.

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Star Trek/Axanar Lawsuit Isn't Going Away Just Yet

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 7:30am
New submitter monkeyman.kix quotes a report from Gizmodo: Even though it sounded like we may be getting close to ending the battle between the fan film Axanar and the studios that own Star Trek, the latest court action hints that it's just starting. Last month at a Star Trek fan event, J.J. Abrams indicated that they believed that CBS and Paramount's lawsuit against the fan film Axanar would be settled. At the time, he said that Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin was "outraged by this as a longtime fan" and that they both realized "this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans." Except that the legal proceedings haven't stopped yet. The parties were back in court today, with CBS and Paramount (the plaintiffs) taking center stage. The state of the case is this: Paramount and CBS sued Axanar Productions for copyright infringement in late 2015. The judge rejected the defendant's motion to dismiss the case, finding that the studios had sufficient cause and provided enough notice to the fan film to proceed. He also dismissed a separate brief, refusing to decide on whether Klingon as a language was copyrightable. The Hollywood Reporter writes: "Now, instead of asking for an extension, Paramount and CBS have filed their own answer to the counterclaim admitting public statements, saying such items speak for themselves, but otherwise acting as though the lawsuit is moving forward. The plaintiffs, for example, deny that the works in controversy represent a fair use of their copyrights. "

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Cancer Is An Evolutionary Mechanism To 'Autocorrect' Our Gene Pool, Suggests Paper

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 3:30am
schwit1 quotes a report from ScienceAlert: Two scientists have come up with a depressing new hypothesis that attempts to explain why cancer is so hard to stop. Maybe, they suggest, cancer's not working against us. Maybe the disease is actually an evolutionary 'final checkpoint' that stops faulty DNA from being passed down to the next generation. To be clear, this is just a hypothesis. It hasn't been tested experimentally, and, more importantly, no one is suggesting that anyone should die of cancer. In fact, it's quite the opposite -- the researchers say that this line of thinking could help us to better understand the disease, and come up with more effective treatment strategies, like immunotherapy, even if a cure might not be possible. So let's step back a second here, because why are our bodies trying to kill us? The idea behind the paper is based on the fact that, in the healthy body, there are a whole range of inbuilt safeguards, or 'checkpoints,' that stop DNA mutations from being passed onto new cells. One of the most important of these checkpoints is apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Whenever DNA is damaged and can't be fixed, cells are marked for apoptosis, and are quickly digested by the immune system -- effectively 'swallowing' the problem. No mess, no fuss. But the new hypothesis suggests that when apoptosis -- and the other safeguards -- don't work like they're supposed to, cancer just might be the final 'checkpoint' that steps in and gets rid of the rogue cells before their DNA can be passed on... by, uh, killing us, and removing our genetic material from the gene pool.

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Olli is a 3D Printed, IBM Watson-Powered, Self-Driving Minibus

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 2:05am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Phys.Org: Arizona-based startup Local Motors unveiled Olli -- a 3D-printed minibus capable of carrying 12 people. It's powered by IBM's supercomputer platform Watson and is designed as an on-demand transportation solution that passengers can summon with a mobile app. The company claims it can be "printed" to specification in "micro factories" in a matter of hours. They say it is ready to go as soon as regulations allow it to hit the streets. While Local Motors has developed the system to control the driving, IBM's Watson system is used to provide the user interface so passengers can have "conversations" with Olli. "Watson is bringing an understanding to the vehicle," said IBM's Bret Greenstein. "If you have someplace you need to be you can say that in your own words. A vehicle that understands human language, where you can walk in and say, 'I'd like to get to work,' that lets you as a passenger relax and enjoy your journey," he said. The vehicle relies on more than 30 sensors and streams of data from IBM's cloud. Olli will be demonstrated in National Harbor, Maryland, over the next few months with additional trials expected in Las Vegas and Miami.

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Hackers Find 138 Different Security Gaps In Pentagon Websites

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 1:25am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via ABC News: High-tech hackers brought in by the Pentagon to breach Defense Department websites were able to burrow in and find 138 different security gaps, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Friday. The white-hat hackers were offered various bounties if they could find vulnerabilities on five of the Pentagon's internet pages. The Pentagon says 1,410 hackers participated in the challenge and that the first gap was found just 13 minutes after the hunt began. Overall, 1,189 vulnerabilities were found, though only 138 were deemed valid and unique. The experiment cost $150,000, and about half of it was paid to the hackers as bounties. The "Hack the Pentagon" program will be followed by a series of initiatives, including a process that will allow anyone who finds a security gap in Defense Department systems to report it without fear of prosecution.

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Watts Bar Unit 2 Is The First New US Nuclear Reactor In Decades

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 12:45am
tomhath writes from a report via The Washington Post: The Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first nuclear reactor to come online since 1996, when the Watts Bar Unit 1 started operations. The new reactor is designed to add 1,150 megawatts of electricity generating capacity to southeastern Tennessee. By summer's end, authorities expect the new reactor at this complex along the Chickamauga Reservoir, a dammed section of the Tennessee River extending northward from Chattanooga, to steadily generate enough electricity to power 650,000 homes. But while nuclear reactors account for the lion's share of the carbon-free electricity generated in the United States, the industry faces this new set of circumstances in a state of near-crisis. A combination of very cheap natural gas and deregulated energy markets in some states has led to a growing number of plant closures in recent years. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydroelectric will overtake natural gas as an energy source by 2027.

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Like Comcast, Google Fiber Now Forces Customers Into Arbitration

Sat, 18/06/2016 - 12:05am
An anonymous reader writes: In Google Fiber's updated terms, the company now says they "require the use of binding arbitration to resolve disputes rather than jury trials or class actions." Ars Technica reports: "While the clause allows cases in small claims court, it otherwise forces customers to waive the right to bring legal actions against the ISP. Arbitration must be sought on an individual basis, as the clause also prevents class arbitration. The previous terms of service did not have the binding arbitration clause, though they did limit Google Fiber's liability to the amount customers pay to use the services." The good news: customers can opt out of the change. The bad news: they have 30 days. "According to the terms, the new agreement kicks in within 30 days of accepting the new language. Customers can, however, during that time period use this online form (you must be logged in to your Fiber account to access it) to opt out of this change and future changes to the arbitration agreement," writes The Consumerist. Ars Technica reports that Google told them customers have 60 days to opt out. "An e-mail sent to customers on June 14 says the new terms of service will apply unless they call to cancel service within 30 days. If customers do nothing, they will have "accepted" the terms at that 30-day mark. After that, customers who remain with Google Fiber have another 30 days to opt out of the new terms using the online form," writes Ars.

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Apple Explains Why iMessage Isn't Coming To Android

Fri, 17/06/2016 - 11:20pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: Ahead of Apple's WWDC keynote this year, one of the more bizarre and sketchy rumors we saw take shape claimed that Apple was planning to deliver iMessage to Android. As is typically the case, the rumor mill took this somewhat ridiculous rumor and ran with it. The only problem is that some people were so busy trying to figure out the ramifications of iMessage hitting Android that they didn't take a step back and try and figure out if this is something Apple would even contemplate in the first place. Remember, every move Apple makes is strategic and geared towards making more money, either via device sales or software. That being the case, iMessage on Android would not only be a free app, but it would also eliminate a user-experience advantage of iOS. Interestingly enough, Walt Mossberg of The Verge asked a senior Apple executive about the rumor whereupon the nameless executive all but indicated that iMessage will never be coming to Android. Walt Mossberg writes: "First, he said, Apple considers its own user base of 1 billion active devices to provide a large enough data set for any possible AI learning the company is working on. And, second, having a superior messaging platform that only worked on Apple devices would help sales of those device -- the company's classic (and successful) rationale for years."

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Domino's Ends Free Pizza Promo With T-Mobile Due To High Demand

Fri, 17/06/2016 - 10:40pm
An anonymous reader writes: In addition to giving customers stock in the company, T-Mobile announced last week at its "un-carrier" event that it would be offering freebies every Tuesday through its new app, such as Domino's pizza and Fandango movie tickets. One week has passed since then and Domino's is now backing out of the free pizza promotion due to higher-than-expected demand. T-Mobile CEO John Legere posted an internal memo from the company that read, "After reviewing yesterday's results and taking your feedback into account, the decision has been made not to continue the T-Mobile Tuesdays promotion unless we can find a solution that is best for the brand." Customers of T-Mobile were upset to find that Domino's was limiting the number of free pizzas per store due to promotion limits. Some stores simply stopped accepting the coupons. What may have led to the extremely high demand was the fact that under the deal's terms, T-Mobile customers on a single family plan could all use their own codes to place large orders of multiple pizzas. That is to say, each line warranted a free pizza.

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Kickstarter Just Did Something Tech Startups Never Do: It Paid a Dividend

Fri, 17/06/2016 - 10:00pm
Joshua Brustein, reporting for Bloomberg: In early March, Kickstarter quietly sent shareholders a dividend. In the wider world of business, such an action would be unremarkable. More than 80 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 pay dividends, and many smaller companies do, too. But divvying up quarterly profits with shareholders is unheard of among tech startups. People who follow the venture capital industry were hard-pressed to come up with a single example of a VC-backed startup that has ever paid regular dividends. Doing so would be a rejection of the industry's basic math. VCs bet that they can find the few companies that will generate enormous payouts by going public or getting acquired; the rest fail. There's not supposed to be anything in between. "It sounds strange for a VC-backed company as it means they're taking out and distributing money versus investing it in the business," said Anand Sanwal, the chief executive officer of research firm CB Insights. Paying a dividend, which the company didn't make public, is just the latest example of Kickstarter's heterodoxy.

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LG Sells Mosquito-Repelling TV In India

Fri, 17/06/2016 - 9:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: In effort to fight Zika, dengue and malaria, LG has released the "LG 32LG52D" TV with "Mosquito Away Technology." According to Reuters, the TV uses ultrasonic waves that are inaudible to humans but cause mosquitoes to fly away. The TV has been released in India Thursday, and will go on sale next month in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, with no plans to market it elsewhere. It is available in two models, priced at 26,500 rupees and 47,500 rupees ($394 and $706). LG says the same technology used in its new TV has been used in some of its air conditioners and washing machines.

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Is the 'Secret' Chip In Intel CPUs Really That Dangerous?

Fri, 17/06/2016 - 8:40pm
New submitter Miche67 writes: A recent Boing Boing blog post by Damien Zammit is stirring up fears, claiming Intel's x86 processors have a secret control mechanism that no one can audit or examine. And because of that, he says it could expose systems to undetectable rootkit attacks that cannot be killed.Blogger Andy Patrizio, after talking with an Intel spokesperson, says the developer's argument has holes and he doesn't think Zammit will persuade Intel to replace the system with a free, open source option. So, what we have is an open source crusader scaring the daylights out of people on a giant what-if scenario that even he admits couldn't happen in our lifetimes. An Intel spokesperson told the publication: While the Intel Management Engine is proprietary and Intel does not share the source code, it is very secure. Intel has a defined set of policies and procedures, managed by a dedicated team, to actively monitor and respond to vulnerabilities identified in released products. In the case of the Intel Management Engine, there are mechanisms in place to address vulnerabilities should the need arise.

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