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Government

Study Finds 1 in 10 Used Hard Drives Contains Old Personal Data 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the sharing-secrets dept.
Lucas123 writes "A newly published study by Britain's data protection regulatory agency found that more than one in 10 second-hand hard drives being sold online contain recoverable personal information from the original owner. "Many people will presume that pressing the delete button on a computer file means that it is gone forever. However this information can easily be recovered," Britain's Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said in a statement. In all, the research found 34,000 files containing personal or corporate information were recovered from the devices. Along with the study, a survey revealed that 65% of people hand down their old PC, laptop and cell phones to others. One in ten of those people who disposed of their old devices, left all their data on them. The British government also offered new guidelines for ensuring devices are properly wiped of data."
Displays

MIT Researchers Invent 'Super Glass' 199

Posted by samzenpus
from the none-better dept.
redletterdave writes "On Thursday, researchers at MIT announced a breakthrough in glass-making technology, which basically involves a new way to create surface textures on glass to eliminate all of the drawbacks of glass, including unwanted reflections and glare. The research team wanted to build glass that could be adaptable to any environment: Their 'multifunctional' glass is not only crystal clear, but it also causes water droplets to bounce right off its surface, 'like tiny rubber balls.' The glass is self-cleaning, anti-reflective, and superhydrophobic. The invention has countless applications, including TV screens, as well as smartphone and tablet displays that benefit from the self-cleaning ability of the glass by resisting moisture and contamination by sweat."
Earth

Organics Can't Match Conventional Farm Yields 452

Posted by timothy
from the that's-what-they-want-you-to-think dept.
scibri writes "A comprehensive analysis published in Nature (abstract) suggests that organic farming could supply needs in some circumstances. But yields are lower than in conventional farming, so producing the bulk of the globe's diet will still require chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The meta-analysis reviewed 66 studies comparing the yields of 34 different crop species in organic and conventional farming systems. The researchers included only studies that assessed the total land area used, allowing them to compare crop yields per unit area. Many previous studies that have showed large yields for organic farming ignore the size of the area planted — which is often bigger than in conventional farming. Crop yields from organic farming are as much as 34% lower than those from comparable conventional farming practices, though in some cases, notably with strawberries and soybeans, the gap is as small as 3%."
Crime

Terminal Mixup Implicates TSA Agents In LAX Smuggling Plot 255

Posted by timothy
from the and-your-knees-go-on-these-yellow-dots dept.
First time accepted submitter ian_po writes "The U.S. Attorney's office has filed indictments against 7 people, including two Transportation Security Administration Screeners and two former TSA employees, after federal agents set up several smuggling sting operations. The alleged smuggling scheme was revealed after a suspected drug courier went to Terminal 5, where his flight was departing, instead of going through the Terminal 6 checkpoint his written instructions directed him to. Court documents indicate the plan was to return to Terminal 5 through a secure tunnel after being allowed through security by the accused Screener. The courier was caught with 10 pounds of cocaine at the other checkpoint by a different TSA agent. If convicted, the four TSA employees face a minimum of 10 years in Federal prison." If ten pounds of anything can get onto a plane by the simple expedient of bribery, please explain again why adult travelers, but not children, must remove their shoes as they stand massed in an unsecured part of a typical U.S. airport.
Government

CISPA Bill Obliterates Privacy Laws With Blank Check of Privacy Invasion 192

Posted by timothy
from the also-it-sounds-sinister dept.
MojoKid writes "At present, the government's ability to share data on its citizens is fairly restricted, insomuch as the various agencies must demonstrate cause and need. This has created a somewhat byzantine network of guidelines and laws that must be followed — a morass of red tape that CISPA is intended to cut through. One of the bill's key passages is a provision that gives private companies the right to share cybersecurity data with each other and with the government 'notwithstanding any other provision of law.' The problem with this sort of blank check clause is that, even if the people who write the law have only good intentions, it provides substantial legal cover to others who might not. Further, the core problem with most of the proposed amendments to the bill thus far isn't that they don't provide necessary protections, it's that they seek to bind the length of time the government can keep the data it gathers, or the sorts of people it can't collect data on, rather than protecting citizens as a whole. One proposed amendment, for example, would make it illegal to monitor protesters — but not other groups. It's not hard to see how those seeking to abuse the law could find a workaround — a 'protester' is just a quick arrest away from being considered a 'possible criminal risk.'"
NASA

Is Extraterrestrial Life More Whimsical Than Plausible? 344

Posted by timothy
from the eeeehhhlliott dept.
coondoggie writes "Princeton University researchers are throwing some cold water on the hot notion that astrobiologists and other scientists expect to one day find life on other planets. Recent discoveries of planets similar to Earth in size and proximity to the planets' respective suns have sparked scientific and public excitement about the possibility of also finding Earth-like life on those worlds, but the expectation that life — from bacteria to sentient beings — has or will develop on other planets as on Earth might be based more on optimism than scientific evidence."
Google

Trimble To Acquire Google SketchUp 92

Posted by timothy
from the back-to-the-drawing-board dept.
yoink! writes "It looks like Google is selling off SketchUp or, conversely, Trimble is acquiring it. Despite several indications there will continue to be a free version of the 3D modelling software, users are unsure about what this will mean for the SketchUp community at large as indicated by the comments on the official Google SketchUp Blog post. They are, however, rejoicing that they will be freed from Groups for SketchUp discussions."
Books

Ask Slashdot: Sources For Firmware and Hardware Books? 88

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-what-do-you-call-the-layer-beneath-that? dept.
First time accepted submitter cos(0) writes "Between O'Reilly, Wrox, Addison-Wesley, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, and many others, software developers have a wide variety of literature about languages, patterns, practices, and tools. Many publishers even offer subscriptions to online reading of the whole collection, exposing you to things you didn't even know you don't know — and many of us learn more from these publishers than from a Comp Sci curriculum. But what about publishers and books specializing in tech underneath software — like VHDL, Verilog, design tools, and wire protocols? In particular, best practices, modeling techniques, and other skills that separate a novice from an expert?"
Advertising

Steve Jobs' Idea For an Ad-Supported OS 255

Posted by timothy
from the hey-it-works-for-broadcast-tv dept.
milbournosphere writes "It looks like Steve drew up an idea for an ad-supported OS. A patent was filed back in 2009 detailing how it was done. From the article: 'Rather than charge the normal upgrade price, which in those days was $99, he was thinking of shipping a second version of Mac OS 9 that would be given away for free — but would be supported instead by advertising. The theory was that this would pull in a ton of people who didn't normally upgrade because of the price, but Apple would still generate income through the advertising. And any time an owner of the free version wanted to get rid of the advertising, he or she could simply pay for the ad-free version. Steve's team had worked out the preliminary numbers the concept seemed financially sound.'"
Google

Mozilla Considers H264 After WebM Fails To Gain Traction 182

Posted by timothy
from the both-are-so-euphonic dept.
HerculesMO writes with word that "Looks as though Mozilla is considering using H264, one step closer to unification of a single protocol for video encoding. It's a big deal for HTML5 traction, but it still leaves Google holding onto WebM." The article, though a bit harsh on Ogg Theora, offers an interesting look at the way standards are chosen (and adopted by the browser makers).
Security

Opus Dei To Hunt Down Vatican Whistle-Blowers 286

Posted by timothy
from the dan-brown-hangs-his-head-dejectedly dept.
First time accepted submitter Aguazul2 writes "In a familiar story relocated into the bizarre world of the Vatican, a whistle-blower who brought to light excessive overpayments on contracts to friendly suppliers was sent to the USA as punishment, and further sources of leaks are now being hunted down by a crack team headed by an 82-year old Opus Dei cardinal. It's just like Wikileaks, only with parchment and quills — probably."
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Out; Unity Gets a Second Chance 543

Posted by timothy
from the will-reserve-judgment-until-I-try-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this enthusiastic review of the latest from Canonical: "So how does Ubuntu Precise Pangolin (12.04) fare? I will say exceptionally well. Unity is not the same ugly duckling it was made out to be. In Ubuntu 12.04, it has transformed into a beautiful swan. As Ubuntu 12.04 is a long term release, the Ubuntu team has pulled all stops to make sure the user experience is positive. Ubuntu 12.04 aka Precise Pangolin is definitely worthy of running on your machine."
Cloud

Privacy Advocates Slam Google Drive's Privacy Policies 219

Posted by timothy
from the rain-down-upon-thee dept.
DJRumpy writes "Privacy advocates voiced strong concerns this week over how data stored on Google Drive may be used during and after customers are actively engaged in using the cloud service. While the TOS for Dropbox and Microsoft both state they will use your data only as far as is necessary to provide the service you have requested, Google goes a bit farther: 'Google's terms of use say: "You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours. When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content."'
Android

Cybercriminals Exploit Björk's Biophilia App To Compromise Androids 75

Posted by timothy
from the click-here-for-free-bjork dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Russians who put out fake versions of Angry Bird Space and Instagram for Android last week have competition. Biophilia, a musical experiment by Bjork into the world of apps, has been ported to Android as a Trojan." Maybe not totally surprising; as the submitter reader continues, "last year at the launch of the app, Bjork was quoted in an interview inviting pirates/hackers to attempt to port her code over from iPhone to other platforms."
Security

Backdoor Found In Arcadyan-based Wi-Fi Routers 59

Posted by timothy
from the no-auth-cat dept.
Mojo66 writes "A recently reported flaw that allowed an attacker to drastically reduce the number of attempts needed to guess the WPS PIN of a wireless router isn't necessary for some Arcadyan based routers anymore. According to German computer publisher Heise, some 100,000 routers of type Speedport W921V, W504V and W723V are affected in Germany alone. (Google translation, original here.) What makes things worse is the fact that in order to exploit the backdoor, no button has to be pushed on the device itself and on some of the affected routers, the backdoor PIN ("12345670") is still working even after WPS has been disabled by the user. The only currently known remedy for those models is to disable Wi-Fi altogether. Since all Arcadyan routers share the same software platform, more models might be affected."

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