curtwoodward writes "MIT's long-awaited internal investigation into its handling of the Aaron Swartz prosecution has been released (PDF), and it's massive — about 180 pages, not counting the reams of supporting documents. And although the report's authors say they were told not to draw any conclusions about MIT's actions — really — they still gently criticized the university. Swartz, a well-known activist, killed himself earlier this year while being prosecuted for federal computer crimes after he improperly downloaded millions of academic research articles. MIT remained notably 'hands-off' throughout the case, the internal report notes, despite requests that it defend Swartz or oppose the prosecution, and ample opportunities to show leadership. The report quotes an MIT official: 'MIT didn't do anything wrong; but we didn't do ourselves proud.'" Swartz's partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, calls the report a whitewash.
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crashcy sends word that a verdict has been handed down in the case of Bradley Manning. Quoting: "A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, but convicted him of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act. Private Manning had already confessed to being WikiLeaks’ source for a huge cache of government documents, which included videos of airstrikes in which civilians were killed, hundreds of thousands of front-line incident reports from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, dossiers on men being held without trial at the Guantánamo Bay prison, and about 250,000 diplomatic cables. But while Private Manning had pleaded guilty to a lesser version of the charges he was facing, which could expose him to up to 20 years in prison, the government decided to press forward with a trial on a more serious version of the charges, including 'aiding the enemy' and violations of the Espionage Act. Beyond the fate of Private Manning as an individual, the 'aiding the enemy' charge — unprecedented in a leak case — could have significant long-term ramifications for investigative journalism in the Internet era."
ectoman writes "Are firms responsible for GPL violations on code they receive from third parties? A German court thinks so. The Regional Court of Hamburg recently ruled that Fantec, a European media player maker, failed to distribute 'complete corresponding source code' for firmware found in some of its products. Fantec claims its third-party firmware supplier provided the company with appropriate source code, which Fantext made available online. But a hackathon organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe discovered that this source code was incomplete, and programmer Harald Welte filed suit. He won. Mark Radcliffe, an IP expert and senior partner at DLA Piper who specializes in open source licensing issues, has analyzed the case—and argued that it underscores the need for companies to implement internal GPL compliance processes. 'Fantec is a reminder that companies should adopt a formal FOSS use policy which should be integrated into the software development process,' he writes. 'These standards should include an understanding of the FOSS management processes of such third-party suppliers. The development of a network of trusted third-party suppliers is critical part of any FOSS compliance strategy.'"
Lasrick writes "Scientific American has a really nice article explaining why insects should be considered a good food source, and how the encroachment of Western attitudes into societies that traditionally eat insects is affecting consumption of this important source of nutrients. Good stuff." Especially when they're so easy to grow.
mitcheli writes "Sprint announced a Q2 loss of $1.6B as 2 million subscribers left their service. While Sprint remains one of very few carriers to continue to allow unlimited data on their networks, the failure to reconcile two competing network technologies (iDEN Nextel and CDMA Sprint) combined with the lack of upgrades to their network and degrading service prompted a mass exodus of subscribers from their network. Of course the fact that during the iPhone 5 release, Sprint openly advertised that their iPhone would not be carrier locked, only to turn around and push out an OTA two months later that locked them probably didn't help much either."
alphadogg writes "The first heady rush of support for Canonical's crowd-funded Ubuntu Edge smartphone appears to have tapered off, as donations for the eye-catching device have slowed substantially over the past several days. The project sits just above the $7 million mark at the time of this writing – a large sum by the standards of crowd-funded projects, to be sure, but the $32 million goal is still a long way off. The Edge is slightly, but measurably, behind schedule – by about $600,000, according to a tracking graph made by Canonical's Gustavo Niemeyer. However, there's speculation that wealthy Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth might contribute some of his personal fortune to the project." The campaign has already broken records with its spectacular first few days. I hope that Shuttleworth does kick in to make production feasible, because the idea and the design are impressive — but I'm leery of spending quite so much on any phone.
hypnosec writes that the government of Thailand "has declared Bitcoin illegal following which all trading activities related to the electronic currently have been suspended indefinitely. Through a message posted on its website, the Bitcoin Co. Ltd. has said officials of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department cited absence of applicable laws, capital controls "and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets" as reasons because of which the virtual currency is illegal. This ruling implies that activities such as buying & selling of Bitcoins, buying or selling any service in exchange of Bitcoins, sending Bitcoins to anyone located outside of Thailand, and receiving Bitcoins from anyone outside of Thailand are illegal. This has forced the company to indefinitely suspend operations."
An anonymous reader writes "The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the House voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA's phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 'no' voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 'yes' voters."
chipperdog writes "NorthPine.com reports: 'ASCAP is firing back against Pandora Radio's attempt to get lower music royalty rates by buying a terrestrial radio station, "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City). In a petition to deny, ASCAP alleges "Pandora has failed to fully disclose its ownership, and to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission's foreign ownership rules." ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates. Pandora reached a deal to buy KXMZ from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 earlier this year and is already running the station through a local marketing agreement.'"
benrothke writes "SlideShareis a free web 2.0 based slide hosting service where users can upload presentation-based files. Launched in October 2006, it's considered to be similar to YouTube, but for slideshows. It was originally meant to be used for businesses to share slides among employees more easily, but it has since expanded to also become a host of a large number of slides which are uploaded merely to entertain. SlideShare gets an estimated 58 million unique visitors a month and has about 16 million registered users. With such a strong user base, authors Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer write in Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business how SlideShare users can use the site (including other similar collaborative sites such as Prezi and Scribd) to present their story to a worldwide audience. Given that visual presentations are the new language of business, understanding how to maximize their potential can be a valuable asset for the entrepreneur, job seeker and everyone in between." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
SmartAboutThings writes "If you think optical discs are dead and are a sign of the past, maybe you need to take this into consideration – Sony and Panasonic have just announced in Tokyo that they have signed a basic agreement with the objective of developing the next-generation optical discs that are said to have a recording capacity of at least 300GB. The two companies have even set a deadline for this ambitious project: before the end of 2015."
Nerval's Lobster writes "More than half of Americans believe that the federal courts have failed to limit the U.S. government's collection of personal information via phone records and the Internet, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. But that's nothing compared to the 70 percent who believe that the government 'uses this data for purposes other than investigating terrorism,' according to the organization's summary of its survey. Another 63 percent of respondents indicated they thought the government is collecting information about the content of their communications. The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,480 adults over the course of five days in July. 'The public's views of the government's anti-terrorism efforts are complex, and many who believe the reach of the government's data collection program is expansive still approve of the effort overall,' the organization's summary added. 'In every case, however, those who view the government's data collection as far-reaching are less likely to approve of the program than those who do not.' Some 47 percent of those surveyed approved of the government's collection of phone and Internet data, while 50 percent disapproved. Among those who thought the government is reading their personal email or listening to their phone calls, some 40 percent approved of the data collection, even as 58 percent disapproved. There's much more, including how opinions of government surveillance break across political party lines on the Pew Research Center's Website."
First time accepted submitter chris.kohlhepp writes "The Emacs editor just got consolidated package management with "Feline Herd", offering 2000+ packages under one roof. No struggle with convoluted keyboard shortcuts — only easy GUI navigation via toolbar buttons! Every conceivable programming language is handled. Cuts the Emacs learning curve to a minimum for learners."
First time accepted submitter marshallr writes "Technical Information Release TIR 13-10 becomes effective in Massachusetts on July 31st, 2013. It requires software consultants to collect a 6.25% sales tax from their clients if they perform 'computer system design services and the modification, integration, enhancement, installation or configuration of standardized software.' TIR 13-10 was published to mass.gov on July 25th, 2013 to provide the public a few working days to review the release and make comments."
elphie007 writes "Fourteen months after the Australian Parliament announced an inquiry into the disparity between IT pricing for Australian consumers, the Committee's final report has been published. The report highlights the importance of IT in Australia, and that Australian consumers are frequently shafted in an uncomfortable manner when it comes to purchasing IT goods and services. With recommendations ranging from the removal of parallel importation restrictions to the possible banning of geo-blocking services, could this mean the end of US bound Adobe shopping trips and the beginning of pricing equality for Australian IT consumers? More reports/analysis is available here and here."
renai42 writes "If you've been in the IT industry for a while, you'll know that Lenovo's ThinkPad brand has a strong reputation with large organisations for quality, dating back to the brand's pre-2005 ownership by IBM. However, all that may be set to change with the news that the defence agencies of key Western governments such as Australia, the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have banned Lenovo gear from being used in sensitive areas, because of concerns that the Chinese vendor has been leaving back doors in its devices for the Chinese Government. No evidence has yet been presented to back the claims, but Lenovo remains locked out of sensitive areas of these governments. Is it fearmongering? Or is there some legitimate basis for the ban?"
theodp writes "As noted earlier, Microsoft is tackling the CS education crisis with a popularity contest that will award $100K in donations to five technology education nonprofits that help make kids technically literate. Hopefully, the nonprofits will teach kids that the contest's voting Leader Board is a particularly good example of what-not-to-do technically. In addition to cherry-picking the less-pathetic vote totals to make its Leader Board, Microsoft also uses some dubious rounding code that transforms the original voting data into misleading percentages. Indeed, developer tools reveal that the top five leaders in the Microsoft STEM education contest miraculously account for 130% of the vote. Let's hope the quality control is better for those Microsoft Surface voting machines!"
An anonymous reader writes "We are teaching an introductory class in computer science for high school students. We have the technical aspects of the course covered, there is a lot of information on the internet on designing that aspect of the class. We also want to cover some aspects of how computers affect society, privacy, expectations, digital divide etc. We were suggested Blown to Bits, which covers a lot of this but I'm not sure high school students are really going to enjoy it or even take away the right implications ... any recommendations for anything else ? Movies, Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and any other media are all welcome. Students are expected to read no more than 200 pages (that's all the time they have)."
knorthern knight writes "Most major weather services (US NWS, Britain's Met Office, etc) have their own supercomputers, and their own weather models. But there are some models which are used globally. A new paper has been published, comparing outputs from one such program on different machines around the world. Apparently, the same code, running on different machines, can produce different outputs due to accumulation of differing round-off errors. The handling of floating-point numbers in computing is a field in its own right. The paper apparently deals with 10-day weather forecasts. Weather forecasts are generally done in steps of 1 hour. I.e. the output from hour 1 is used as the starting condition for the hour 2 forecast. The output from hour 2 is used as the starting condition for hour 3, etc. The paper is paywalled, but the abstract says: 'The global model program (GMP) of the Global/Regional Integrated Model system (GRIMs) is tested on 10 different computer systems having different central processing unit (CPU) architectures or compilers. There exist differences in the results for different compilers, parallel libraries, and optimization levels, primarily due to the treatment of rounding errors by the different software systems. The system dependency, which is the standard deviation of the 500-hPa geopotential height averaged over the globe, increases with time. However, its fractional tendency, which is the change of the standard deviation relative to the value itself, remains nearly zero with time. In a seasonal prediction framework, the ensemble spread due to the differences in software system is comparable to the ensemble spread due to the differences in initial conditions that is used for the traditional ensemble forecasting.'"
First time accepted submitter MetalliQaZ writes "Last week, Dr. Joseph Bonneau learned that he had won the NSA's first annual "Science of Security (SoS) Competition." The competition, which aims to honor the best 'scientific papers about national security' as a way to strengthen NSA collaboration with researchers in academia, honored Bonneau for his paper on the nature of passwords. And how did Bonneau respond to being honored by the NSA? By expressing, in an honest and bittersweet blog post, his revulsion at what the NSA has become: 'Simply put, I don't think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The High Court — England's highest civil court — has temporarily banned the publication of a scientific paper that would reveal the details of a zero day vulnerability in vehicle immobilisers and, crucially, give details of how to crack the system. Motor manufacturers argued that revealing the details of the crack would allow criminals to steal cars. Could this presage the courts getting involved in what gets posted on your local Bugzilla? It certainly means that software giants who dislike security researchers publishing the full facts on vulnerabilities might want to consider a full legal route."
johanneswilm writes "While writing my Ph.D in anthropology I found out it's almost impossible to get non-geeks to help me with editing my thesis because it was written in Latex. Lyx is almost there, but as it's not web based, it's difficult to use for online collaboration. Writelatex.com is online, but typing LaTeX code is a no-go for non-geeks. Google Docs is web based and near-WYSIWYG, but lacks support for professional print formats such as Latex. The Ph.D took longer than expected, so before finishing me and three others were able to code an entirely new editor: Fidus Writer: web based, open source (AGPL), almost-WYSIWYG and with tools for academics such as citation management and formula support and output formats PDF, Epub, Latex, HTML."
Not all 3-D printed guns can encounter the smooth, uneventful success of Cody Wilson's Liberator; Daniel_Stuckey writes with this excerpt: "A Canadian has just fired the first shot from his creation, 'The Grizzly,' an entirely 3D-printed rifle. In that single shot, CanadianGunNut (his name on the DefCad forum), or "Matthew," has advanced 3D-printed firearms to yet another level. Sort of: According to his video's description, the rifle's barrel and receiver were both damaged in that single shot."
An anonymous reader writes "The 233-year old American Academy of Arts and Sciences has announced that its longtime President and Chief Executive, Leslie Cohen Berlowitz, has agreed to resign effective at the end of this month following an investigation of charges of resume embellishment and other misconduct. Berlowitz falsely claimed to have received a doctorate from New York University, and has also been criticized for her behavior towards scholars and subordinates, and for her compensation package ($598,000 for 2012) relative to the size of the non-profit organization she led. The Academy, based in Cambridge MA, was founded during the American Revolutionary War and is one of the most prestigious honorary societies for the American intellectual elite, extending across math and science, arts and letters, business, law and public affairs. The active membership rolls contain people you've heard of; the incoming class list provides a more manageable glimpse of the society's breadth."
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "After signing a $30 million iPad deal with Apple in June, the Los Angeles School Board of Education has revealed the full extent of the program that will provide tablets to all students in the district. CiteWorld reports that the first phase of the program will see pupils receive 31,000 iPads this school year, rising to 640,000 Apple tablets by the end of 2014. Apple previously announced that the initiative would include 47 campuses and commence in the fall." Certain companies (not just Apple) stand to benefit from this kind of outlay.
An anonymous reader writes with an optimistic, present-tense summary of a crowdfunding project to explore Earth's deep ocean: "The Ictineu 3 will be the 10th deepest diving submersible in the world when it is launched later this year. Compared to its deep diving peers, including Russia's Mirs, Japan's Shinkai 6500, the U.S.'s Alvin,and Cameron's Deep Sea Challenger submersibles, the Ictineu 3 was developed on a shoestring budget. The management partners are self-taught, without formal engineering education. Instead of massive government grants, the project has been funded by a trickle of small grants, sponsorships, and private donors. Along with Karl Stanley, the Ictineu team are heroes to the DIY submariners of the world."
An anonymous reader writes "The United States Postal Service is seeking to implement a special postage rate for companies such as Netflix, GameFly and Blockbuster (PDF), which send DVDs to their customers and then receive them back. This proposal for special rates for two-way mailers of optical disks follows a protracted legal complaint from GameFly, which argued that Netflix was receiving special handling by the Postal Service while paying a cheaper postage rate."
theodp writes " Last night,' confesses Business Insider's Henry Blodget, 'I did something I very rarely do: I bought a newspaper. Why? 'Because there was some news in the newspaper that I wanted that wasn't available online for free [a hyperlocal zoning story].' The problem in the news industry, suggests Blodget, is there is way too much commodity news coverage of the same stories, so it has to be given away for free. To be able to charge for news, Blodget suggests, you need more news that can't be found anywhere else. So, is there any type of news that you're still willing to pay for these days?" I've recently discovered that a newspaper in The Villages, Florida publishes a monthly list of "Golf Cart Crashes (With Injuries)," googling for which only seems to bring up ads for lawyers specializing in that area, so paper will have to do.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The WSJ reports that Attorney General Eric Holder promises Edward Snowden won't be tortured or face the death penalty in a new letter hoping to persuade Russia not to grant him asylum or refugee status. Holder's letter, dated Tuesday, notes that press reports from Russia indicated Snowden sought asylum in part based on claims he could be tortured or killed by the US government. It is common for the US to promise not to seek the death penalty against individuals being sought in other countries, because even America's closest allies won't turn over suspects if they believe that person might be executed. The United Nations special rapporteur on torture found Bradley Manning's detention was 'cruel and inhuman'." Update: 07/27 13:15 GMT by T : Several readers have noted that change.gov, established by the Obama transition team in 2008, has recently (last month) gone offline; among other things, it contained language specifically addressing the protection of whistleblowers.
The UK's on-by-default censorship, as you might expect, presses with a heavy thumb: coolnumbr12 writes "The Open Rights Group spoke with several ISPs and found that in addition to pornography, users will also be required to opt in for any content tagged as violent material, extremist and terrorist related content, anorexia and eating disorder websites, suicide related websites, alcohol, smoking, web forums, esoteric material and web blocking circumvention tools. These will all be filtered by default, and the majority of users never change default settings with online services."
adeelarshad82 writes "While it's more limited than the Roku 3 and by no means Google's answer to Airplay, Chromecast sets itself apart from other similar products simply based on its price and potential of bringing Internet HDTV streaming to many more people than before. Priced at only $35, it's a direct stick that plugs into your HDTV's HDMI port and lets you stream media from Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play through your smartphone, tablet, or notebook. Unlike the Roku Stick, it uses a separate micro-USB port instead of MHL to power it. This on one hand means you need to run a cable from the stick to a USB port, making it much less neat than it would seem. On the other hand, it means the stick works with any HDTV, whether it has an MHL-capable HDMI port or not. Once connected, the setup itself is fairly simple and entirely app-controlled. Past the setup, your streaming content choices are currently limited, though Google released an API for the Chromecast, so more apps could support it in the future. For now Android users can stream media from Google Play Movies and Music, as well as Netflix and YouTube whereas iOS users can watch Netflix and YouTube via the Chromecast. From a computer, users can stream media from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome. Unlike Apple TV and AirPlay, Chromecast doesn't let you stream your locally stored media. In fact Google Play Music gives an error message when you try to play music you loaded on your device yourself and not through the Google Play store. All in all, at $35 it's the most affordable way to access online media services on your HDTV." El Reg also got their hands on one. Alas, one perk of grabbing the Chromecast is gone: Google ended the free three month Netflix bundle that was worth almost as much as the cost of the Chromecast itself after sales were much higher than expected (so high it looks like they ran out of them after only a day). Update: 07/26 21:20 GMT by U L : iFixIt posted a teardown of the Chromecast.
gnujoshua writes "The FSF has launched a fundraiser for Replicant, the fully free Android distro. As of version 4.0 0004, Replicant runs on 10 different devices, but, the hopes are that with additional funds, the developers will be able to purchase more devices and grow the project so it will run on more devices. Yesterday, the FSF asked Mark Shuttleworth if the Ubuntu EDGE would commit to using only free software and be able to support Replicant. But, in an AMA on Reddit, Shuttleworth confirmed that Replicant would not be supported because the EDGE hardware will require proprietary drivers/binary-blobs." Replicant now supports ten devices, compared to only the HTC Dream not all that long ago.
netbuzz writes "The latest scam involving stolen and/or fake Cisco equipment may also be one of the largest, as the Department of Justice says a 43-year-old San Jose-based reseller accumulated $37 million in ill-gotten gains over a period of years that he then poured into real estate and luxury cars. The feds say the guy also used part of the loot to set up college funds for his four children. At least four other such scams have been perpetrated against Cisco in recent years."
wiredmikey writes "A shocking and sad day today in the security industry. Well known hacker Barnaby Jack has passed away, sending a shock through the security community. Jack, a famed white hat hacker, was scheduled to present at the Black Hat conference on Tuesday, and present research on vulnerabilities in implantable medical devices. Shocked reactions hit the Twittersphere on Friday, as many in the industry conveyed their condolences, shock, and even disbelief, hoping new of the death was some sort of hoax. 'I just wake up and heard this, really sad, I can't believe this, no words,' Cesar Cerrudo, CTO, IOActive Labs, said in an email to SecurityWeek. Barnaby Jack is probably best known for his ATM hacking demonstrations, which he liked to refer as 'Jackpotting,' and performed at a few conferences, including a demonstration at Black Hat 2010 that got media attention around the world. The San Francisco Medical Examiner's office told Reuters that Jack had died in San Francisco on Thursday, but did not provide additional details."
An anonymous reader writes "Following the /. story on the Feds demanding SSL keys, now comes news that the feds are demanding user passwords, and in some cases, the encryption algorithm and salt used. From the article: 'A second person who has worked at a large Silicon Valley company confirmed that it received legal requests from the federal government for stored passwords. Companies "really heavily scrutinize" these requests, the person said. "There's a lot of 'over my dead body.'" ... Some of the government orders demand not only a user's password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt, according to a person familiar with the requests. ... Other orders demand the secret question codes often associated with user accounts.' I'm next expecting to see the regulation or law demanding that all users use plain text for all web transactions, to catch terrorists and for the children."
A few days ago, the CyanogenMod teamed teased a new project named Nemesis, a series of planned improvements to the user interface. An anonymous reader writes with news of the first part: a new camera application designed to replace the neglected stock Android camera app. From the article: "As cameras and camera software becomes an increasingly important part of our mobile experience, a great photography experience on your smartphone can make all the difference. The CyanogenMod project has decided to take smartphone photography a lot more seriously with the release of Focal, and all new camera app for CM users everywhere." Android Police also has an early look with screenshots. The menu system in particular looks a lot nicer to use than the current cumbersome interface to white balance/exposure/scene settings. Focal should be merged into nightly releases soon.
Barence writes "Mozilla is proposing that the Firefox browser collects data on users' interests to pass on to websites. The proposal is designed to allow websites to personalize content to visitors' tastes, without sites having to suck up a user's browsing history, as they do currently. 'Let's say Firefox recognizes within the browser client, without any browsing history leaving my computer, that I'm interested in gadgets, comedy films, hockey and cooking,' says Justin Scott, a product manager from Mozilla Labs. 'Those websites could then prioritize articles on the latest gadgets and make hockey scores more visible. And, as a user, I would have complete control over which of my interests are shared, and with which websites.'" This is the result of an extended experiment. The idea is that your history is used to generate a set of interests which you can then share voluntarily with websites, hopefully discouraging the blanket tracking advertising systems love to do now.
AmiMoJo writes "The BBC reports that Huawei, one of the world's largest manufacturers of telecoms equipment, is controlling popular ISP TalkTalk's web censorship system. The system, known as Homesafe, was praised by Prime Minister David Cameron. Customers who do not want filtering still have their traffic routed through the system, but matches to Huawei's database are dismissed rather than acted upon. In other words there is no opt-out. Mr Cameron has demanded similar measures be adopted by all internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK, to 'protect our children and their innocence.'"
dcblogs writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thursday switched on two new supercomputers that are expected to improve weather forecasting. The supercomputers are each 213 teraflops systems, running a Linux operating system on Intel processors. The U.S. is paying about $20 million a year to operate the leased systems. The NWS has a new hurricane model, Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF), which is 15% more accurate in day five of a forecast both for forecast track and intensity. That model is now operational and running on the new systems. In nine month, NWS expects to improve the resolution of the system from 27 kilometers to 13 kilometers. The European system, credited with doing a better job at predicting Sandy's path, is at 16 kilometers resolution. In June, the European forecasting agency said it had a deal to buy Cray systems capable of petascale performance."
An anonymous reader writes "Oilfield services giant Halliburton will plead guilty to destroying computer test results that had been sought as evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Company officials threw out test results that showed 'little difference' between the number of devices Halliburton said was needed to center the cement casing in the well at the heart of the disaster and the number well owner BP installed, according to court papers. The issue has been key point of contention between the two companies in hearings and litigation ever since the April 2010 blowout. BP and Halliburton are still battling over responsibility for the disaster in a New Orleans federal courtroom. BP had no comment on the plea agreement Thursday evening."
wiredmikey writes "US authorities have charged four Russians and a Ukrainian five on charges of running a global hacking operation that targeted major payment processors, retailers and financial institutions. The charges stem from hacking attacks dating back to 2005 against several global brands, including the NASDAQ exchange, 7-Eleven, JC Penney, Hannaford, Heartland, JetBlue, Dow Jones, Euronet, Visa Jordan, Global Payment, Diners Singapore and Ingenicard. The men allegedly used SQL injection attacks as the initial entry point into the computer systems of global corporations. Once networks were breached, the defendants allegedly placed malware on the systems. According to the indictment (PDF), the malware used created a "back door," leaving the system vulnerable and helping the defendants maintain access to the network. The men face five years in prison for conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers; 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud; five years in prison for unauthorized access to computers; and 30 years in prison for wire fraud."
Lasrick writes "Interesting opinion piece that explains successes and holes in the U.S. system of detecting and responding to pandemics: 'In April 2009, following an experimental protocol, staff members at a Navy lab in San Diego tested specimens from two patients using a new diagnostic device. Both tested positive for influenza, but, oddly, neither specimen matched the influenza A subtypes that are known to infect humans. This finding raised suspicions, and so the samples were sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further tests would reveal that these two patients were the first reported cases of a novel H1N1 influenza virus that would cause a global pandemic in 2009. In many respects, the Navy lab's discovery of H1N1 is a success story for US efforts to boost its biosurveillance capabilities.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Wikipedia today announced it has launched support for editing content on your mobile device. The first version of mobile editing, which requires a Wikimedia account, is available right now. 'For our first release, our primary goal was to create a fast, intuitive editing experience for new users and experienced editors alike, while still sticking with markup editing for now,' Wikimedia's Juliusz Gonera explained. 'We started simple so we could observe our users' needs and expectations.'"
An anonymous reader points out this story about the latest effort by the U.S. to get Edward Snowden back in the country. "A U.S. Senate panel voted unanimously on Thursday to seek trade or other sanctions against Russia or any other country that offers asylum to former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who has been holed up for weeks at a Moscow airport. The 30-member Senate Appropriations Committee adopted by consensus an amendment to a spending bill that would direct Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with congressional committees to come up with sanctions against any country that takes Snowden in."
An anonymous reader writes "During his company's quarterly earnings call, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed how Instagram will be monetized. The answer isn't too surprising: there is a big expectation for the app to one day be profitable, and advertising will be the name of the game. 'Kevin [Systrom] has always been clear that we're building Instagram to be a business,' Zuckerberg said. 'We expect over time to generate a lot of profit from it. We think the right focus for now is to continue increasing the footprint of Instagram and, when the right time comes, we'll think about advertising.'"
Jim Hazard is a lawyer who leans geek; since he got his law degree in 1979, he's been the guy in the office who could make sense of things technical more often than others could, and dates his interest in regularizing complex legal documents (and making them a bit *less* complex) back to the era where Wang word processors were being replaced with personal computers. Most documents -- no matter how similar to each other, and how much work was spent in re-creating similar parts -- were "pickled" in proprietary formats that didn't lend themselves to labor-saving generalization and abstraction. That didn't sit well with Jim, and (in the spirit of Larry Lessig's declaration that "law is code," Hazard has been working for years to translate some of the best practices and tools of programmers (like code re-use, version control systems, and hierarchies of variables) to the field of law, in particular to contract formation. (Think about how many contracts you're party to; in modern life, there are probably quite a few.) He calls his endeavor Common Accord, and he'd like to see it bring the benefits of open source to both lawyers and their clients.
v3rgEz writes "After the ACLU's Christopher Soghoian highlighted NSA programs listed on LinkedIn, Jason Gulledge filed a request for details about the program — and turned up lucky. The NSA released 7 pages of database descriptions of its ANCHORY program, an open-source intelligence data gathering effort. The NSA's FOIA office said it would pony up more, but only if Gulledge could prove he was requesting the documents as part of a news gathering effort or if he would agree to pay associated fees."
An anonymous reader writes "The latest major release of the LibreOffice office suite has just been published, including an experimental improved sidebar based on the work of Apache OpenOffice, embedded fonts, better Microsoft Office compatibility (improving their exclusive capability in the free software world of not only being able to read but also write .docx and .xlsx files) and many further Improvements."
First time accepted submitter ormembar writes "I have a laptop with a 1 TB hard disk. I use rsync to perform my backups (hopefully quite regularly) on an external 1 TB hard disk. But, with such a large hard disk, it takes quite some time to perform backups because rsync scans the whole disk for updates (15 minutes in average). Does it exist somewhere a kind of asynchronous RAID-1 free software that would record in a journal all the changes that I perform on the disk and replay this journal later, when I plug my external hard disk on the laptop? I guess that it would be faster than usual backup solutions (rsync, unison, you name it) that scan the whole partitions every time. Do you feel the same annoyance when backing up laptops?"
miller60 writes "The U.S. government keeps finding more data centers. Federal agencies have about 7,000 data centers, according to the latest stats from the ongoing IT consolidation process. The number started at 432 in 1999, but soon began to rise as agencies found more facilities, and exploded once the Obama administration decided to include server closets as well as dedicated data centers. The latest estimate is more than double the 3,300 facilities the government thought it had last year. The process has led to the closure of 484 data centers thus far, with another 855 planned over the next year. The GAO continues to call for the process to look beyond the number of facilities and focus on savings."