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Two Years After Snowden Leaks, Encryption Tools Are Gaining Users

Slashdot - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 11:20am
Patrick O'Neill writes: It's not just DuckDuckGo — since the first Snowden articles were published in June 2013, the global public has increasingly adopted privacy tools that use technology like strong encryption to protect themselves from eavesdroppers as they surf the Web and use their phones. The Tor network has doubled in size, Tails has tripled in users, PGP has double the daily adoption rate, Off The Record messaging is more popular than ever before, and SecureDrop is used in some of the world's top newsrooms.

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<i>Reg</i> scribe feels disturbance in the force at secret <i>Empire Strikes Back</i> screening

El Reg - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 11:00am
Ahh ... father. Powerful Jedi was he

Film Review  Last week, I was transported to a galaxy far, far away (well OK, Sarf London) to barter with Jawas. Life’s hard when you’re a Jedi kitted out in eBay's finest robes, especially after a night drinking Spice Smugglers at the Mos Eisley Cantina.…

Buy with your head, drive with your heart: Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe

El Reg - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 10:00am
Seduced by a sexy Italian

Vulture at the Wheel  The Alfa Romeo 4C is unusual. It’s not, like every other Alfa, “the make or break car for the company’s future” – a tag which has been attached to pretty much every new launch since the 75 in 1985.…

Illinois Supreme Court: Comcast Must Identify Anonymous Internet Commenter

Slashdot - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 9:16am
An anonymous reader writes: In 2011, an anonymous person on the internet posted a comment to the Freeport Journal Standard newspaper's website implying that a local political candidate was a pedophile. The candidate, Bill Hadley, took offense to this, and tried to get Comcast to tell him who the commenter was. Comcast refused, so Hadley took it to the courts. The Illinois Supreme Court has now ruled (PDF) that Comcast must divulge the commenter's identity. "Illinois' opinion was based in large part on a pair of earlier, lower-court decisions in the state, which held that the anonymity of someone who makes comments in response to online news stories isn't guaranteed if their opinions are potentially defamatory, according to Don Craven, an attorney for the Illinois Press Association."

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Two foreigners, a desert and a jeep full of bank statements

El Reg - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 9:00am
Armed guards at security checkpoints? Our reader has a plan

On-Call  Welcome again to On-Call, our weekend regular in which we share readers' tales of odd things that happen at odd times in odd places.…

Why is it that women are consistently paid less than men?

El Reg - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 8:00am
Assuming that what we're told is correct, that is ...

Worstall @ the Weekend  There is undoubtedly a gender pay gap in our society. Even a number of them across our various societies.…

Amazon Overhauling Customer Reviews

Slashdot - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 6:09am
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon says it's making some big changes to its product review system, one of the most heavily used on the internet and a vital part of Amazon's business. A machine-learning platform will endeavor to select helpful reviews with an emphasis on more recent ones. The average score will change as well: new reviews will be weighted higher than old reviews. Reviews from verified purchasers will have more influence as well, and also reviews voted up by other customers. "For example, sometimes a company will make small tweaks to a product or address some customer complaints, though this product isn't officially updated or renamed. With the new system, [Amazon] said, these small modifications should become more noticeable when shoppers are buying products." Because the review system is so important to customers, Amazon will be rolling out changes slowly, and watching for anything that breaks or gets skewed in unexpected ways.

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Samsung Fixes Cellphone Keyboard Vulnerability

Slashdot - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 3:01am
An anonymous reader writes: Several days ago, news broke that Samsung's keyboard software on their Galaxy series of cell phones had a glaring security issue that left 600 million devices vulnerable to attackers. The company has now fixed the flaw internally, and is making plans to roll out security updates to affected devices. They say the likelihood of an actual attack is low, because a particular set of conditions need to be met before any damage could be done.

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ILO Gallium3D Continues Marching To Its Own Beat

Phoronix - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 1:00am
While it doesn't have the backing of Intel Corp, the ILO Gallium3D driver continues to advance on its own for bringing HD/Iris Graphics to Gallium3D as an alternative open-source driver to the i965 Mesa DRI driver...

Samsung Continues Working On "Waycheck" For Wayland Testing

Phoronix - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 12:50am
Developers at Samsung's open-source group have been working on a simple unit/integration test framework and test program. This new tool is dubbed "Waycheck" and will hopefully lead to promptly catching functional regressions/bugs...

Venus May Have Active Volcanoes

Slashdot - Sun, 21/06/2015 - 12:00am
An anonymous reader writes: The European Space Agency's Venus Express spacecraft has discovered hot lava flows on the surface of Venus, providing the best evidence yet that the planet may have active volcanoes. "[U]sing a near-infrared channel of the spacecraft's Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) to map thermal emission from the surface through a transparent spectral window in the planet's atmosphere, an international team of planetary scientists has spotted localized changes in surface brightness between images taken only a few days apart (abstract)." Venus is fairly similar to Earth in size and composition, which suggests it has an internal heat source. One of the biggest mysteries about Venus is how that heat escapes, and volcanic activity could be the answer.

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Windows 10 Will Be Free To Users Who Test It

Slashdot - Sat, 20/06/2015 - 10:57pm
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has been making a big push to change its business model for Windows — likely due to the low/no cost updates you can get for competing operating systems. The company surprised everyone when it said legit copies of Windows 7 and 8 would be supplied with free upgrades, but now they're extending that even further: anyone who tests the Windows 10 Technical Preview will get a free upgrade to the full version of Windows 10 when it comes out. In a blog post, Microsoft's Gabe Aul said, "As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the [Microsoft account] you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated. Once you have successfully installed this build and activated, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh."

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Mesa 10.5.8 Has A Few Nouveau & Intel Fixes

Phoronix - Sat, 20/06/2015 - 9:57pm
For those still living on the Mesa 10.5 release train rather than the latest Mesa 10.6 stable or even Git, there's the 10.5.8 update out this weekend...

Facebook's Absurd Pseudonym Purgatory

Slashdot - Sat, 20/06/2015 - 9:54pm
An anonymous reader sends a story from a writer whose Facebook account was locked because somebody reported it as using a pseudonym. It doesn't, but Facebook demands a look at identification documents before releasing control over the account. Anyone whose name doesn't sound "real" to Facebook is at risk for this, and the social network doesn't even have a consistent stance on what an "authentic" name is. "Aside from the complexity of identity, the policy is haphazardly enforced at best. At worst, it’s dangerous and discriminatory, and has demonstrably and repeatedly been used to target people who often already are marginalized and vulnerable." Matt Cagle, attorney for the ACLU, says, "By controlling the identity of the speaker with this policy, Facebook has the effect of both reducing speech and eliminating speakers from the platform altogether. This is a particularly concerning move to the ACLU because forums like Facebook serve as the modern-day equivalent of the public square for a lot of communities.

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Ubuntu 15.10 Updates Packages To GNOME 3.16, Ports More Software To Python 3

Phoronix - Sat, 20/06/2015 - 9:49pm
This past week the Ubuntu 15.10 desktop updated many of their GNOME packages to the GNOME 3.16.x series. There's also been other improvements on the desktop front...

Where Is Europe's Silicon Valley?

Slashdot - Sat, 20/06/2015 - 8:50pm
An anonymous reader writes: A New York Times story delves into the conundrum faced by Europeans: Why are there few, if any, technology companies from Europe with the size and reach of American tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple? The article hypothesizes that, though employment regulations and other business and legal factors play a role, it's actually deeply embedded cultural differences that are the primary cause, citing less aversion to risk-taking, less stigma from business failures such as bankruptcies, little or no stigma from leaving and rejoining a company (seen as disloyal in European cultures), more acceptance of disruptive innovation, and a less rigid educational system that allows individuals to find their own form of success.

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Open Source Hardware Pioneer Ladyada Interviews the New MakerBot CEO

Slashdot - Sat, 20/06/2015 - 7:47pm
ptorrone writes: Open source hardware pioneer and founder of Adafruit Limor "Ladyada" Fried sat down and interviewed the new CEO of MakerBot, Jonathan Jaglom. She asked some really tough questions had some suggestions for them, too, if they're going to turn things around. Discussed: Is there a desire for MakerBot to patch things up with the open source community? Jaglom wants to assure the 3D-printing community there are not any plans for filament DRM, and it was nice to hear him say "patents are not the way to win." Lastly, Fried suggested the open-sourcing of some specific elements of the MakerBot to get back to its open-source hardware roots.

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