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Updated: 16 hours 58 min ago

The Mexican Drug Cartels' Involuntary IT Guy

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 8:03am
sarahnaomi writes: It could have been any other morning. Felipe del Jesús Peréz García got dressed, said goodbye to his wife and kids, and drove off to work. It would be a two hour commute from their home in Monterrey, in Northeastern Mexico's Nuevo León state, to Reynosa, in neighboring Tamaulipas state, where Felipe, an architect, would scout possible installation sites for cell phone towers for a telecommunications company before returning that evening That was the last time anyone saw him. What happened to Felipe García? One theory suggests he was abducted by a sophisticated organized crime syndicate, and then forced into a hacker brigade that builds and services the cartel's hidden, backcountry communications infrastructure. They're the Geek Squads to some of the biggest mafia-style organizations in the world.

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NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 7:20am
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA held an event in San Francisco last night at GDC, where the company unveiled a new Android TV streamer, game console, and supercomputer, as NVIDIA's Jen Hsun Huang calls it, all wrapped up in a single, ultra-slim device called NVIDIA SHIELD. The SHIELD console is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1 SoC with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, Gig-E and 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO WiFi. It's also 4K Ultra-HD Ready with 4K playback and capture up to 60 fps (VP9, H265, H264) with encode/decode with full hardware processing. The company claims the console provides twice the performance of an Xbox 360. NVIDIA demo'ed the device with Android TV, streaming music and HD movies and browsing social media. The device can stream games from a GeForce powered PC to your television or from NVIDIA's GRID cloud gaming service, just like previous NVIDIA SHIELD devices. Native Android games will also run on the SHIELD console. NVIDIA's plan is to offer a wide array of native Android titles in the SHIELD store, as well as leverage the company's relationships with game developers to bring top titles to GRID. The device was shown playing Gearbox's Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, Doom 3 BFG Edition, Metal Gear Solid V, the Unreal Engine 4 Infiltrator demo and yes, even Crysis 3.

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Mars Curiosity Rover Experiences Short Circuit, Will Be Stationary For Days

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 6:38am
hypnosec writes: NASA says its Mars Curiosity rover has experienced a transient short circuit. The team has halted all work from the rover temporarily while engineers analyze the situation. Telemetry data received from Curiosity indicated the short circuit, after which the vehicle followed its programmed response, stopping the arm activity underway whenthe irregularity in the electric current happened. Curiosity will stay parked as its engineers analyze the situation and figure out if any damage has been done. NASA says a transient short circuit would have little effect on the rover's operations in some systems, but it could force the team to restrict use of whatever mechanism caused the problem.

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GitLab Acquires Gitorious

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 5:02pm
New submitter sckirklan writes with news that code repository GitLab has purchased rival service Gitorious. Gitorious users are now able to import their projects into GitLab. They must do so by the end of May, because Gitorious will shut down on June 1st. Rolf Bjaanes, Gitorious CEO, gives some background on the reasons for the acquisition: “At Gitorious we saw more and more organizations adopting GitLab. Due to decreased income from on-premises customers, running the free Gitorious.org was no longer sustainable. GitLab was solving the same problem that we were, but was solving it better.” “This acquisition will accelerate the growth of GitLab. With more than 100,000 organizations using it, it is already the most used on-premise solution for Git repository management, and bringing Gitorious into the fold will significantly increase that footprint.” says Sytse Sijbrandij, GitLab CEO.

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AMD Enters Virtual Reality Fray With LiquidVR SDK At GDC

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 4:21pm
MojoKid writes: AMD jumped into the virtual reality arena today by announcing that its new LiquidVR SDK will help developers customize VR content for AMD hardware. "The upcoming LiquidVR SDK makes a number of technologies available which help address obstacles in content, comfort and compatibility that together take the industry a major step closer to true, life-like presence across all VR games, applications, and experiences," AMD representatives said in a statement. Oculus is one of the VR companies that will be working with AMD's LiquidVR SDK, and likes what it's seen so far. "Achieving presence in a virtual world continues to be one of the most important elements to delivering amazing VR," said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus. "We're excited to have AMD working with us on their part of the latency equation, introducing support for new features like asynchronous timewarp and late latching, and compatibility improvements that ensure that Oculus' users have a great experience on AMD hardware."

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Rosetta Photographs Its Own Shadow On Comet 67P/C-G

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 4:00pm
mpicpp notes an image release from the European Space Agency showing the shadow of its Rosetta probe on the comet it's currently orbiting. The probe snapped the picture from a very low flyby — only six kilometers off the surface. The image has a resolution of 11cm/pixel. The shadow is fuzzy and somewhat larger than Rosetta itself, measuring approximately 20 x 50 metres. If the Sun were a point source, the shadow would be sharp and almost exactly the same size as Rosetta (approximately 2 x 32 m). However, even at 347 million km from 67P/C-G on 14 February, the Sun appeared as a disc about 0.2 degrees across (about 2.3 times smaller than on Earth), resulting in a fuzzy “penumbra” around the spacecraft’s shadow on the surface. In this scenario and with Rosetta 6 km above the surface, the penumbra effect adds roughly 20 metres to the spacecraft’s dimensions, and which is cast onto the tilted surface of the comet.

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Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 3:38pm
itwbennett writes: A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the short version of their findings: Refactoring doesn't make code easier to analyze or change (PDF); it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable.

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Former MLB Pitcher Doxes Internet Trolls, Delivers Real-World Consequences

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:54pm
An anonymous reader writes: When Twitter trolls began posting obscene, sexually explicit comments about his teenage daughter, former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling responded by recording their comments and gathering personal information readily available to the public. He then doxxed two of them on his blog, resulting in one being suspended from his community college and the other being fired from his part-time job as a ticket seller for the New York Yankees. There were seven others in Curt's crosshairs, all college athletes, but although he hasn't publicly doxxed those individuals, he hints, "I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who'd been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the 'I'm so sorry' apology used by those only sorry because they got caught."

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Physicists Gear Up To Catch a Gravitational Wave

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:11pm
sciencehabit writes: A patch of woodland just north of Livingston, Louisiana, population 1893, isn't the first place you'd go looking for a breakthrough in physics. Yet it is here that physicists may fulfill perhaps the most spectacular prediction of Albert Einstein's theory of gravity, or general relativity. Structures here house the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an ultrasensitive instrument that may soon detect ripples in space and time set off when neutron stars or black holes merge. Einstein himself predicted the existence of such gravitational waves nearly a century ago. But only now is the quest to detect them coming to a culmination. Physicists are finishing a $205 million rebuild of the detectors, known as Advanced LIGO, which should make them 10 times more sensitive and, they say, virtually ensure a detection.

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Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:00pm
rolandw writes We have daily stand-ups and normally there is at least one person missing from the room. We relay via on-line chat but the sound quality is rubbish. The remote person sounds great via our speaker when they use a headset but they can't hear what is happening in the room. We need a wireless mic that copes with a large echoing room and will stop feedback. Can you recommend one? We're not an over-funded start-up so don't have an unlimited budget...

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FREAK Attack Threatens SSL Clients

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 1:29pm
msm1267 writes: For the nth time in the last couple of years, security experts are warning about a new Internet-scale vulnerability, this time in some popular SSL clients. The flaw allows an attacker to force clients to downgrade to weakened ciphers and break their supposedly encrypted communications through a man-in-the-middle attack. Researchers recently discovered that some SSL clients, including OpenSSL, will accept weak RSA keys–known as export-grade keys–without asking for those keys. Export-grade refers to 512-bit RSA keys, the key strength that was approved by the United States government for export overseas. This was an artifact from decades ago and it was thought that most servers and clients had long ago abandoned such weak ciphers. The vulnerability affects a variety of clients, most notably Apple's Safari browser.

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A Versatile and Rugged MIDI Mini-Keyboard (Video)

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:46pm
The K-Board won a "Best in Show" award at CES 2015. Plus, as Timothy said, "I always like pour and stomp demos." And it's totally cross-platform. If your computer, tablet or smartphone has a USB port and (almost) any kind of music software, it works. In theory, you could hook a K-Board to your Android or iOS device and use it to accompany yourself while you sing for spare change on a downtown corner. Or noodle around to get a handle on a theme you'll use in your next major symphony. Or...?

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Linux and Multiple Internet Uplinks: a New Tool

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:02pm
New submitter Alessandro Zarrilli writes: Linux has been able do multipath routing for a long time: it means being able to have routes with multiple gateways and to use them in a (weighted) round-robin fashion. But Linux is missing a tool to actively monitor the state of internet uplinks and change the routing accordingly. Without it, from a LAN perspective, it's like having a RAID-0: just one uplink goes down and all of your LAN-to-WAN traffic goes down too. Documentation and examples on the subject are lacking; existing solutions are few and deeply integrated in firewall/routing specific distributions. To address these issues, a new standalone tool was just released: Fault Tolerant Router. It also includes a complete (iptables + ip policy routing) configuration generator.

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Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 11:20am
HughPickens.com writes: The Globe and Mail reports that Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, says the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor is working with American and German lawyers to return home. "I won't keep it secret that he wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I'm dealing with it on the Russian side." Kucherena added that Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial. The lawyer said Snowden had so far only received a guarantee from the U.S. Attorney General that he will not face the death penalty. Kucherena says Snowden is able to travel outside Russia since he has a three-year Russian residency permit, but "I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he will be taken to the U.S. embassy."

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Deutsche Telecom Calls For Google and Facebook To Be Regulated Like Telcos

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:38am
An anonymous reader writes Tim Hoettges, the CEO of the world's third-largest telecoms company, has called for Google and Facebook to be regulated in the same way that telcos are, declaring that "There is a convergence between over-the-top web companies and classic telcos" and "We need one level regulatory environment for us all." The Deutsche Telekom chief was speaking at Monday's Mobile World Congress, and further argued for a loosening of the current regulations which telcos operate under, in order to provide the infrastructure development that governments and policy bodies are asking of them. Hoettges' imprecation comes in the light of news about the latest Google Dance — an annual change in ranking criteria which boosts some businesses and ruins others. The case for and against regulating Google-level internet entities comes down to one question: who do you trust to 'not be evil'?

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Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 9:56am
Bennett Haselton writes: Vimeo and Youtube are pressured to remove a dark, fan-made "Power Rangers" short film; Vimeo capitulated, while Youtube has so far left it up. I'm generally against the overreach of copyright law, but in this case, how could anyone argue the short film doesn't violate the rights of the franchise creator? And should Vimeo and Youtube clarify their policies on the unauthorized use of copyrighted characters? Read on for the rest.

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Flaw In GoPro Update Mechanism Reveals Users' Wi-Fi Passwords

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 9:15am
An anonymous reader writes A vulnerability in the update mechanism for the wireless networks operated by GoPro cameras has allowed a security researcher to easily harvest over a 1,000 login credentials (including his own). The popular rugged, wearable cameras can be controlled via an app, but in order to do so the user has to connect to the camera's Wi-Fi network. Israel-based infosec expert Ilya Chernyakov discovered the flaw when he had to access the network of a friend's camera, but the friend forgot the login credentials.

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Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 8:33am
An anonymous reader writes On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a case involving the conviction of a man based solely on the analysis of his "inadvertently shed" DNA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argues that this tacit approval of the government's practice of collecting anyone's DNA anywhere without a warrant will lead to a future in which people's DNA are "entered into and checked against DNA databases and used to conduct pervasive surveillance."

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What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft?

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 7:54am
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft spent billions purchasing Mojang, the studio behind the game Minecraft, and while it's unlikely to start work on a sequel anytime soon, rather than continue development of the game, it's worth considering what a Minecraft 2 will look like. After all, as a public company with revenues to justify, it doesn't seem beyond unreasonable a few years down the line, especially since a Minecraft-like game was one of the stand-out tech demos shown for the software giant's HoloLens augmented reality headset. As the author points out, Microsoft will have to tread carefully, tackling issues like whether greater graphical fidelity is actually what players will want ever — and whether to continue to support Minecraft on PlayStation."

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Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 7:13am
An anonymous reader writes 14 years after the Anna Kournikova virus took advantage of users' ignorance about file-name extensions in order to wreak worldwide havoc, virus writers and hackers are still taking advantage of the tendency of popular consumer operating systems to hide file-name extensions: Windows users still need to activate extension visibility manually – even though email-transmitted viruses depend most on less savvy users who will never do this. Additionally applications on even the latest versions of Apple's OSX operating system still require the user to 'opt in' to including a file-name extension during an initial save. In looking at some of the eccentricities of the modern user experience, this article argues that it might be time to admit that users need to understand, embrace and responsibly use the only plain-text, obvious indicator of what a file actually is.

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