First time accepted submitter jospoortvliet writes with news of a new openSUSE release. From the release announcement: "Two months of extra stabilization work have resulted into a stellar release, chock-full of goodies, yet stable as you all like it. The latest release of the world's most powerful and flexible Linux Distribution brings you speed-ups across the board with a faster storage layer in Linux 3.4 and accelerated functions in glibc and Qt, giving a more fluid and responsive desktop. The infrastructure below openSUSE has evolved, bringing in newly matured technologies like GRUB2 and Plymouth and the first steps in the direction of a revised and simplified UNIX file system hierarchy. Users will also notice the added polish to existing features bringing an improved user experience all over. The novel Btrfs file system comes with improved error handling and recovery tools. KDE has improved its stability, GNOME 3.4, developing rapidly, brings smooth scrolling to all applications and features a reworked System Settings and Contacts manager while XFCE has an enhanced application finder. Download openSUSE 12.2 from any of our mirrors."
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Trailrunner7 writes with news of more critical infrastructure not being well secured. From the article: "The Department of Homeland Security is warning users of some of GarrettCom's switches that there is a hard-coded password in a default account on the devices, which are deployed in a number of critical infrastructure industries, that could allow an attacker to take control of them. A researcher at Cylance discovered the hidden account and warned the ICS-CERT...The problem exists in the GarrettCom Magnum MNS-6K Management Software and the company has released an updated version of the application that addresses the vulnerability. GarrettCom's switches are used in a variety of industries, including transportation, utilities and defense. The company issued a new version of the affected software in May, but didn't note that the fix for this vulnerability was included in it. 'A "factory" account intended to only be allowed to log in over a local serial console port exists in certain versions of GarrettCom's MNS-6K and MNS-6K-SECURE software. Cylance has identified an unforseen method whereby a user authenticated as "guest" or "operator" can escalate privileges to the "factory" account,' Cylance said in its advisory."
eldavojohn writes "You may recall the news that Google would not be paying Oracle for Oracle's intellectual property claims against the search giant. Instead, Google requested $4.03 million for lawyer fees in the case. The judge denied some $2.9 million of those fees and instead settled on $1.13 million as an appropriate number for legal costs. Although this is relative peanuts to the two giants, Groklaw breaks the ruling down into more minute detail for anyone curious on what risks and repercussions are involved with patent trolling."
The Wiki Weapon Project and its idea of making guns with 3D printers has already been mentioned on Slashdot. It has also been written up on Forbes.com and a lot of other geek and non-geek sites. Note that when some Wiki Weapon proponents talk about making "guns" with 3D printers, they may be talking only about lower receivers or other static parts, not barrels, firing pins or other parts that must be machined to close tolerances and are subjected to a lot of stress when the gun fires. But low-cost 3D printing and low-cost CNC machining technologies are both advancing at a rapid rate, so thinking about the intersection of firearm manufacturing and open source is both worthwhile and timely. There's been a strong debate about this topic on Eric S. Raymond's Armed and Dangerous blog that's worth reading. Also recommended: The Home Gunsmith.com and CNC Gunsmithing. Astute Slashdot readers will, no doubt, recommend many more. Meanwhile, this video is about licensing, distribution, and legal matters, not the actual manufacture of firearms. There's a transcript (we're finally doing transcripts of selected videos) below the video for those who prefer to read instead of watch.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Nokia CEO Stephen Elop first took to the stage at Center548 on New York City's West Side, where Microsoft had first unveiled Windows Phone 7 in late 2010, to claim that Nokia was becoming a 'more nimble competitor' thanks to several strategic decisions under his tenure, including the choice of Windows Phone as the company's primary smartphone platform. ... In terms of [the 920's hardware]: the battery is 2000 mAh; the processor is a dual-core Snapdragon S4, which was apparently selected for its energy efficiency; and the aforementioned wireless charging, based on the 'Qi' wireless charging standard. ... Despite the enthusiasm displayed onstage for Windows Phone 8, the new smartphone platform poses something of a conundrum for Nokia. The company invested heavily in Windows Phone 7, all but abandoning its homegrown operating systems — including Symbian, once a dominant player in the mobile arena — in favor of Microsoft’s platform. But those Windows Phone 7 smartphones won't upgrade to Windows Phone 8 software, and nor will they run Windows Phone 8 apps."
Taco Cowboy writes with news on the slipping schedules in the move toward both larger wafers and 3D integrated circuits in the semiconductor fab world. From the articles: "TSMC ... said it planned to start mass-producing next-generation 450mm wafers using advanced 10-nanometer technology in 2018. The advanced 10-nanometer chips could first be used in mobile devices and other consumer electronics, like game consoles, that demand high-performance and low power consumption. The plan was included in the latest technology roadmap unveiled by TSMC about one year after the chipmaker attributed its delay in making 450mm wafers, originally scheduled in 2015, to semiconductor equipment suppliers' postponement in developing advanced equipment for manufacturing amid the industrial slump. Chipmakers can get 2.5 times more chips from a 450mm wafer than from a 300mm wafer ... The industry's gradual migration toward 3D ICs with through-silicon vias (TSV) is unlikely to happen until 2015 or 2016, according to sources at semiconductor companies. Volume production of 3D ICs was previously estimated to take place in 2014. Leading foundries and backend assembly and test service companies have all devoted much of their R&D efforts to TSV development, and are making progress. The major players are believed to be capable of supporting 3D ICs by 2014, but the emerging technology going into commercial production may not take place until around the 2015-16 timeframe." Probably one of the most interesting presentations at HOPE9, "Indistinguishable From Magic: Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips," covered modern semiconductor fabrication and why these things are cool. If you're interested in more background (what do all of those TLAs mean?), check out the slides / audio (or attached video of the presentation from YouTube).
An anonymous reader writes with a quick note about the changing tides of computer architecture. From the article: "Bill Allombert announced [yesterday] via the Debian-devel mailing list that the X86_64 version of Debian has now surpassed all of the other supported architectures by a narrow margin. The most surprising part of this announcement however, and accompanying info-graphics provided on the Debian Popularity Contest page, is that this was not already true."
hypnosec writes "An attacker managed to access an unencrypted backup of wallet keys and steal 24,000 BTC (worth more than a quarter million USD), following which Bitcoin exchange Bitfloor has been shut down while the investigation of the theft is going on. The attack was carried out sometime last night. In a forum post, Shtylman pleads with Bitcoin users that BitFloor needs their help."
New submitter gale the simple writes "While it is fairly common for the jaded and cynical to ride on the lawyers these days (often including Henry VI's famous line about them), every now and then we can see that they are not always the plague and scourge of the earth. EFF again shows that even lawyers can do good in this world. (PDF) All jokes aside, something seems to have moved. Maybe all that bloodletting between the major corporations (Apple vs Samsung) made the leaders recognize that MAD world of patents might not be very stable." From the EFF: "The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the research division of Congress known for its objective studies, recently released a report on the effects of patent trolls on innovation and the economy. ... According to the CRS report, 'The vast majority of defendants settle because patent litigation is risky, disruptive, and expensive, regardless of the merits; and many [patent trolls] set royalty demands strategically well below litigation costs to make the business decision to settle an obvious one.' Businesses lose both time and money, and innovation suffers."
judgecorp writes "The FBI has denied the UDID codes released yesterday came from an agent's laptop, as claimed by the AntiSec hacker group. The FBI says it does not hold such data, and the attack never happened. However, the agent named by AntiSec is real, and some of the published UDID codes have been found to be genuine. So where did they come from?"
DevotedSkeptic writes with news that today is the 35th anniversary of Voyager 1's launch. (Voyager 2 reached the same anniversary on August 20.) Voyager 1 is roughly 18 billion kilometers from the sun, slowly but steadily pushing through the heliosheath and toward interstellar space. From the article: "Perhaps no one on Earth will relish the moment more than 76-year-old Ed Stone, who has toiled on the project from the start. 'We're anxious to get outside and find what's out there,' he said. When NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 first rocketed out of Earth's grip in 1977, no one knew how long they would live. Now, they are the longest-operating spacecraft in history and the most distant, at billions of miles from Earth but in different directions. ... Voyager 1 is in uncharted celestial territory. One thing is clear: The boundary that separates the solar system and interstellar space is near, but it could take days, months or years to cross that milestone. ... These days, a handful of engineers diligently listen for the Voyagers from a satellite campus not far from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which built the spacecraft. The control room, with its cubicles and carpeting, could be mistaken for an insurance office if not for a blue sign overhead that reads 'Mission Controller' and a warning on a computer: 'Voyager mission critical hardware. Please do not touch!' There are no full-time scientists left on the mission, but 20 part-timers analyze the data streamed back. Since the spacecraft are so far out, it takes 17 hours for a radio signal from Voyager 1 to travel to Earth. For Voyager 2, it takes about 13 hours."
Hugh Pickens writes "In the past, carriers like Sprint have placed restrictions on their Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) to prevent them from competing directly against the carriers. The MVNOs were forced to sell budget service and budget technology. But Businessweek reports that the Galaxy S III has began shipping to customers of MVNO Ting, officially making Ting the first carrier to offer an LTE service without owning an LTE network. 'All the market trends we're talking about today are allowing us to be competitive at the high end,' says Elliot Noss, CEO of Ting, adding that Sprint has stripped off the last remaining obstacles to MVNOs competing with it on equal terms. Virtual carriers are experimenting with new pricing models, such as Ting's metered voice and data plans, that run counter to the way big operators have always sold their services. So far, only a minority of customers finds these new types of models appealing, but it's a growing minority, says Noss. MVNOs all but died out in the last decade, victim to their own over-segmentation of the market and the only survivors were the ones who kept their focus on the budget prepaid segment like TracFone. But nine months ago, AT&T and T-Mobile started selling data and voice airtime by the bucket, which gives MVNOs much more flexibility in pricing. Even more significantly, carriers started working directly with MVNOs to craft unique plans in exchange for a percentage of the plans' revenues. In the meantime, prepaid operators such as Leap Wireless are already selling the iPhone, and it's only a matter of time before the economics are right for Sprint to lift its iPhone restriction as well. 'I'll put it this way: I would be disappointed if we didn't have the iPhone by next summer,' says Noss. 'That kind of holdback of iconic devices is beginning to make less and less [business] sense.'"
New submitter funtapaz writes "Diaspora: Shattered Armistice, the Battlestar Galactica game based on the FreeSpace 2 Open engine, has launched! This cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac) release includes the ability to fly the MK VII Viper, the Raptor (or the new MK VIIe strike variant), multiplayer, a mission editor, an original soundtrack, and full voice acting."
alancronin tips this quote from CNet: "A new leaked photo of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone, or the 'London,' promises a completely different looking BlackBerry than the world is used to. According to the BlackBerry news site N4BB, a photo of the device (which is designed by Porsche) shows a slender touch-screen phone that is the color 'gun metal.' Several apps are shown in the photo, including Facebook, BBM, and DocsToGo. ... The London is the first BlackBerry 10 and is slated to have a TI OMAP dual-core CPU running at 1.5GHz, as well as 1GB of RAM, 16GB storage, and an 8-megapixel camera."
itwbennett writes "The young women working at Samsung's factory in Tianjin, China like their jobs about as much as factory workers anywhere. The work is boring and tiring, but it pays ok and there are perks (like air conditioning in the dorms), says 19-year-old Zhao Caixia. One 23-year-old woman, who assembles 200-300 camera lenses a day, told the IDG News Service's Michael Kan: 'You just keep doing the same thing over and over. There is nothing really to like, but nothing to really dislike either.' Labor rights group China Labor Watch tells a different story (PDF). One day after Samsung said it would audit its suppliers in China, the group reported cases of excessive overtime (exceeding 100 hours per month) and exhausting working conditions, with employees being made to stand for up to 12 hours for a single shift."