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Mosh: Modernizing SSH With IP Roaming, Instant Local Echo

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 15:29


An anonymous reader writes "Launched in 1995, SSH quickly became the king of network login tools, supplanting the old insecure mainstays TELNET and RLOGIN. But 17 years later, a group of MIT hackers have come out with "mosh", which claims to modernize the most annoying parts of SSH. Mosh keeps its connection alive when clients roam among WiFi networks or switch to 3G, and gives instant feedback on typing (and deleting). No more annoying network lag on typing, the MIT boffins say, citing Bufferbloat, which has been increasing latencies." The folks involved have a pre-press research paper with the gritty details (to be presented at USENIX later this year). Mosh itself is not particularly exciting; the new State Synchronization Protocol it is based upon might be: "This is accomplished using a new protocol called the State Synchronization Protocol, for which Mosh is the first application. SSP runs over UDP, synchronizing the state of any object from one host to another. Datagrams are encrypted and authenticated using AES-128 in OCB mode. While SSP takes care of the networking protocol, it is the implementation of the object being synchronized that defines the ultimate semantics of the protocol."

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MIT Fusion Researchers Answer Your Questions

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 14:52


You recently got the chance to ask a group of MIT researchers questions about fusion power, and they've now finished writing some incredibly detailed answers. They discuss the things we've learned about fusion in the past decade, how long it's likely to take for fusion to power your home, the biggest problems fusion researchers are working to solve, and why it's important to continue funding fusion projects. They also delve into the specifics of tokamak operation, like dealing with disruption events and the limitations on reactor size, and provide some insight into fusion as a career. Hit the link below for a wealth of information about fusion.

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Sony Projects Record Losses of $6.4 Billion

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 14:10


redletterdave writes "Not 24 hours after Sony announced it would slash about 10,000 jobs by the end of the year, the Japanese electronics maker announced on Tuesday that it has again doubled its annual net loss to a record $6.4 billion. The new annual estimate is Sony's fourth revision of its original forecast. The company had already more than doubled its loss forecast for fiscal 2011 on April 5 to $2.9 billion, blaming floods in Thailand, poor foreign exchange rates, and a failed partnership with Samsung... Kazuo Hirai, the company's new president and CEO hired 10 days ago, will take 'painful steps' to revive Sony, and will unveil a 'revival strategy' at a Thursday press briefing."

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Apple Developing Tool To Remove Flashback

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 13:31


Trailrunner7 writes, quoting Threatpost: "Apple is planning to release a software fix that will find and remove the Flashback malware that has been haunting Mac users for several months now. ... Apple said on Tuesday that it was in the process of developing a tool that would detect and remove Flashback, but the company did not specify when the fix would be available. Security researchers and customers have been questioning why Apple hasn't yet provided a fix for the malware even though Flashback has been around in one form or another for more than six months now."

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SKA Might Be Split Between South Africa and Australia

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 12:50


gbrumfiel writes "The Square Kilometre Array will be the world's most powerful telescope, assuming the nations involved can agree on where to build it. A scientific panel recently backed South Africa over Australia to host the project, but neither side has conceded defeat. Rather than splitting the partners, project leaders are now thinking about splitting the telescope between the two countries. There's little scientific advantage, but the thinking is that a split telescope would be better than no telescope."

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Interview With TSA Screener Reveals 'Fatal Flaws'

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 12:12


OverTheGeicoE writes "Jonathan Corbett, creator of the video showing that TSA's body scanners can't see metal objects on our sides, has a new video out. This time he's interviewing an experienced TSA screener identified only as 'Jennifer,' and her allegations point to 'fatal flaws' in TSA and its procedures. Worse, TSA's screeners are well aware of these flaws. According to Jennifer, body scanners frequently fail to detect objects on passengers, and this flaw is well known to the screeners on the job. People with visible items in their pockets can pass through scanners without detection, even when the items are simulated weapons or explosives. Jennifer also alleges that training for screeners is severely lacking. Screeners are directed to operate body scanners, even the X-ray scanners, without any training whatsoever. The manual of standard operating procedures often can't be found at the checkpoints, let alone read. Jennifer was so alarmed by what she experienced that she wrote her congressional representative to complain. She was ultimately fired as a result, effective yesterday."

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Statistical Analysis Raises Civil War Death Count By 20%

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 10:33


Hugh Pickens writes "For more than a century, it has been accepted that about 620,000 Americans died in the the bloodiest, most devastating conflict in American history. But now, BBC reports that historian J. David Hacker has used sophisticated statistical software to determine the war's death toll and found that civil war dead may have been undercounted by as many as 130,000. Hacker began by taking digitized samples from the decennial census counts taken from 1850-1880. Using statistical package SPSS, Hacker counted the number of native-born white men of military age in 1860 and determined how many of that group were still alive in 1870 and compared that survival rate with the survival rates of the men of the same ages from 1850-1860, and from 1870-1880 — the 10-year census periods before and after the Civil War. The calculations yielded the number of 'excess' deaths of military-age men between 1860-1870 — the number who died in the war or in the five subsequent years from causes related to the war. Hacker's findings, published in the December 2011 issue of Civil War History, have been endorsed by some of the leading historians of the conflict. 'The difference between the two estimates is large enough to change the way we look at the war,' writes Hacker. 'The war touched more lives and communities more deeply than we thought, and thus shaped the course of the ensuing decades of American history in ways we have not yet fully grasped. True, the war was terrible in either case. But just how terrible, and just how extensive its consequences, can only be known when we have a better count of the Civil War dead.'"

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Ask Slashdot: At What Point Has a Kickstarter Project Failed?

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 09:19


skywiseguy writes "I have only used Kickstarter to back a single project so far, but one of the backers of that project pointed us to a project promising video capable glasses which was once one of the top 10 highest funded projects in Kickstarter history. After reading through the comments, it is obvious that the project has not met its expected deadline of 'Winter 2011,' but the project team rarely gives any updates with concrete information. All emails sent to them by backers get a form letter in reply, they routinely delete negative comments from their Facebook page, and apparently very soon after the project was funded, they posted pictures of themselves on a tropical beach with the tagline, 'We are not on a beach in Thailand.' Their early promotions were featured on Engadget and other tech sites but since the project was funded they've rarely, if ever, communicated in more than a form letter. So at what point can a project like this be considered to have failed? And if you had backed a project with this kind of lack of communication from the project team, what would you consider to be the best course of action? Disclaimer: I have not backed this project, but I am very interested in funding Kickstarter projects and I do not want to get caught sending money to a less than reputable project. According to the above project's backers, Kickstarter claims to have no mechanism for refunding money to backers of failed projects and no way to hold the project team accountable to their backers. This does not seem like a healthy environment for someone who is averse to giving their money to scam artists."

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OLPC Australia Pushes Boundaries of Education

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 07:35


angry tapir writes "Slashdot recently discussed some of the problems with the One Laptop Per Child program in Peru, where, in general, teachers did not make creative use of the technology by just regarding the laptops as an end in themselves. In Australia, the local OLPC organization is attempting to address similar issues by creating an educational framework around the laptops that involves training students how to teach others about the technology and even conduct hardware repairs on the XOs. Some of the early results at XO-equipped schools, which in Australia are generally in remote and disadvantaged schools, have been impressive."

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SpaceX Is Studying Site For 'Commercial Cape Canaveral' Near Brownsville, Texas

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 06:25


New submitter RealTime writes "SpaceX filed a notice with the FAA (PDF) that it is preparing an environmental impact study in consideration of a site in Texas for use as a commercial spaceport. 'The site in question is in the southern tip of the state of Texas, just outside Brownsville in Cameron County, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, over which SpaceX's launches would fly.' The proposed site would handle up to 12 commercial launches per year. 'There's plenty of red tape associated with Kennedy Space Center, and the center is often reserved for large blocks of time by other launchers. If SpaceX had its own pad, it wouldn't have to share.'"

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US Government Licenses Unreal Game Engine To Train FBI Agents and Army Medics

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 05:12


cylonlover writes "While games like Batman: Arkham City and Gears of War are certainly entertaining, virtually beating up thugs and fighting subterranean creatures doesn't exactly translate into real world skills. However, a new agreement with teaching software developer Virtual Heroes could see Epic's Unreal Engine platform used to create more practical experiences and train medical staff and law enforcement officers to handle high-stress situations. By using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, some United States government agencies like the FBI and U.S. Army are hoping to give their employees tools for virtually practicing their skills in a more realistic environment and better prepare them to save lives."

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New Zealand Developers Building Open Source Code For Electric Cars

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 04:22


MatthewVD writes "New Zealand electric racecar developer Greenstage is close to finishing an open source project called 'Tumanako,' which would allow owners of electric cars and motorcycles to tweak the code in their vehicles. Electric vehicle gearheads grouse about proprietary code that keeps current, torque and speed within very conservative limits. 'In racing, you need the system to push all those parameters to the limits. You only need the system to survive until just past the finish line,' says Bill Dube, the owner of the record-setting KillaCycle. Open source code could also be used to build any type of electric vehicle, from cars and submarines to motor-launched aerial gliders, from scratch. It's like Linux for your Chevy Volt."

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Multicore Chips As 'Mini-Internets'

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 03:29


An anonymous reader writes "Today, a typical chip might have six or eight cores, all communicating with each other over a single bundle of wires, called a bus. With a bus, only one pair of cores can talk at a time, which would be a serious limitation in chips with hundreds or even thousands of cores. Researchers at MIT say cores should instead communicate the same way computers hooked to the Internet do: by bundling the information they transmit into 'packets.' Each core would have its own router, which could send a packet down any of several paths, depending on the condition of the network as a whole."

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Maryland Bans Employers From Asking For Facebook Passwords

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 02:15


Freddybear writes with news that yesterday Maryland passed a bill through both houses of the state legislature that would forbid employers from requiring job applicants or employees to provide access to social media accounts. The bill now awaits only the signature of governor Martin O'Malley. "The bill is the first of its kind in the country, and has shined a spotlight on the practice of employers demanding personal social media passwords from potential hires, [said Melissa Goemann of the ACLU]." Similar legislation is being developed in California, Illinois and Michigan, according to the Washington Post.

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Chrome OS Introduces Aura Window Manager

Wed, 04/11/2012 - 00:17


An anonymous reader writes "Don't look now, but Google has officially revealed their intentions to go after Windows and OS X. Chrome OS 19 has arrived for Samsung Series 5 and Acer AC700 Chromebooks running the developer channel, and the changes it brings may shock you. The new Aura window manager has landed, bringing with it a number of features that you'd expect from a traditional OS. For starters, there’s the Shelf along the bottom of the screen. It’s set to hide when you’ve got a browser window maximized by default, but you can choose to have it always on top or auto-hide, too, just like the Windows taskbar or OS X dock."

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Study: Online Dating Makes People "Picky" and "Unrealistic"

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 13:55


New submitter garthsundem writes with this tale of digital love: "A newly published meta-analysis of over 400 studies of online dating (PDF) shows both its popularity (second only to meeting through friends) and it's impact. More online daters report seeking a 'soulmate' online, and do so by searching through the wealth of available profiles. Unfortunately soul-searchers focus on faults, both in viewing profiles and then also once dating in person, leading to quick exits when relationships inevitably get complicated."

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Robert Boisjoly Dies At 73, the Engineer Who Tried To Stop the Challenger Launch

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 13:15


demachina writes "Robert Boisjoly has died at the age of 73. Boisjoly, Allan J. McDonald and three others argued through the night of 27 January, 1986 to stop the following day's Challenger launch, but Joseph Kilminster, their boss at Morton Thiokol, overruled them. NASA managers didn't listen to the engineers. Both Boisjoly and McDonald were blackballed for speaking out. NASA's mismanagement 'is not going to stop until somebody gets sent to hard rock hotel,' Boisjoly said after the 2003 Columbia disaster. 'I don't care how many commissions you have. These guys have a way of numbing their brains. They have destroyed $5 billion worth of hardware and 14 lives because of their nonsense.'"

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Capitol Records Motion To Enjoin ReDigi Denied

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 10:21


NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The motion by Capitol Records for a preliminary injunction against used digital music marketplace ReDigi has been denied. After hearing almost two hours of oral argument by attorneys for both sides, Judge Richard J. Sullivan ruled from the bench (PDF), holding that plaintiff had failed to show 'irreparable harm.'"

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HDD Price Update: How the Thai Floods Have Affected Prices, 3 Months Later

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 07:19


New submitter jjslash writes "The hard disk drive supply chain was hit hard late last year when a series of floods struck Thailand. The Asian country accounts for about a quarter of the world's hard drive production, but thousands of factories had to close shop for weeks as facilities were under water, in what is considered the world's fourth costliest natural disaster according to World Bank estimates. That's on top of the human cost of over 800 lives. TechSpot has monitored a number of mobile and desktop HDDs to get a better overview of how the situation has developed in the last three months."

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Pasadena Police Encrypt, Deny Access To Police Radio

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 05:15


An anonymous reader writes "There is media (but not public?) outcry over the Pasadena, CA police switch from analog radio that can be picked up by scanners to encrypted digital radio that cannot. 'On Friday, Pasadena police Lt. Phlunte Riddle said the department was unsure whether it could accommodate the media with digital scanners. Riddle said the greatest concern remains officer safety. "People who do bank robberies use scanners, and Radio Shack sells these things cheap," Riddle said. "We just had a robbery today on Hill Avenue and Washington Boulevard," Riddle said. "The last thing I want to do is to have the helicopter or the officers set up on the street and the criminals have a scanner and know where our officers are." Just prior to the switch over, city staffers said they would look into granting access to police radio chatter, most likely by loaning media outlets a scanner capable of picking up the secure signal.'"

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