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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Network

New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700% 130

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
MrSeb writes "Engineers at NC State University (NCSU) have discovered a way of boosting the throughput of busy WiFi networks by up to 700%. Perhaps most importantly, the breakthrough is purely software-based, meaning it could be rolled out to existing WiFi networks relatively easily — instantly improving the throughput and latency of the network. As wireless networking becomes ever more prevalent, you may have noticed that your home network is much faster than the WiFi network at the airport or a busy conference center. The primary reason for this is that a WiFi access point, along with every device connected to it, operates on the same wireless channel. This single-channel problem is also compounded by the fact that it isn't just one-way; the access point also needs to send data back to every connected device. To solve this problem, NC State University has devised a scheme called WiFox. In essence, WiFox is some software that runs on a WiFi access point (i.e. it's part of the firmware) and keeps track of the congestion level. If WiFox detects a backlog of data due to congestion, it kicks in and enables high-priority mode. In this mode, the access point gains complete control of the wireless network channel, allowing it to clear its backlog of data. Then, with the backlog clear, the network returns to normal. We don't have the exact details of the WiFox scheme/protocol (it's being presented at the ACM CoNEXT conference in December), but apparently it increased the throughput of a 45-device WiFi network by 700%, and reduced latency by 30-40%."
Internet Explorer

IE 10 Almost Finished For Windows 7 With Final Preview 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
Billly Gates writes "IE 10 just hit the final preview yesterday for Windows 7. Windows XP and Windows Vista support has been dropped. Most slashdotters have a complex relationship with Internet Explorer. Many of us hate it but have to use it in the office. Microsoft had tried last year to make IE good again with the release of IE 9 which had some fanfare on slashdot, such as hardware acceleration and better standards compliance. MS even launched a full campaign to get us to switch. IE 10 is supposed to continue the new process and promises to be much faster and support more HTML 5, CSS 3, W3C HTML 5.1 and CSS 3.1 with a score of 320 on HTML5test. As a comparison, last years IE 9 only scored 138. "
Transportation

Honda's "Micro Commuter" Features Swappable Bodies 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-you-want dept.
Zothecula writes "Further evidence of the coming fragmentation of personal transportation came today when Honda released details of the next iteration of its electric 'Micro Commuter' prototype which we first saw at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. The new version is close to production-ready, and concentrates the battery and functionality of the micro EV below the floor, enabling the vehicle's body to be easily changed to accommodate different functionality."
Security

Hacker Grabs 150k Adobe User Accounts Via SQL Injection 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the breaking-in dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Adobe today confirmed that one of its databases has been breached by a hacker and that it had temporarily taken offline the affected Connectusers.com website. The hacker, who also goes by Adam Hima, told Dark Reading that the server he attacked was the Connectusers.com Web server, and that he exploited a SQL injection flaw to execute the attack. 'It was an SQL Injection vulnerability, somehow I was able to dump the database in less requests than normal people do,' he says. Users passwords for the Adobe Connectusers site were stored and hashed with MD5, he says, which made them 'easy to crack' with freely available tools. And Adobe wasn't using WAFs on the servers, he notes. Tal Beery, a security researcher at Imperva, analyzed the data dump in the Connectusers Pastebin post and found that the list appears to be valid and that the hacked database was relatively old."
Data Storage

Red Hat Developer Demands Competitor's Source Code 394

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-drama-begin dept.
sfcrazy writes "A very serious argument erupted on the Linux kernel mailing list when Andy Grover, a Red Hat SCSI target engineer, requested that Nicholas A. Bellinger, the Linux SCSI target maintainer, provide proof of non-infringement of the GPL. Nick is developer at Rising Tide Systems, a Red Hat competitor, and a maker of advanced SCSI storage systems. Nick's company recently produced a groundbreaking technology involving advanced SCSI commands which will give Rising Tide Systems a lead in producing SCSI storage systems. Now, RTS is blocking Red Hat from getting access to that code as it's proprietary. What's uncertain is whether RTS' code is covered by GPL or not — if it is then Red Hat has all the rights to get access to it and it's a serious GPL violation."
Microsoft

The Empire In Decline? 488

Posted by Soulskill
from the blame-the-colonials dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Pundits continue to weigh in on Steve Sinofsky's sudden exit from Microsoft (as executive head of Windows Division, he oversaw the development and release of Windows 7 and 8). SemiAccurate's Charlie Demerjian sees Microsoft headed for a steep decline, with their habit of creating walled gardens deliberately incompatible with competitors' platforms finally catching up to them. Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones. On the Sinofsky front, Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley is willing to take the Redmond insiders' word that the departure was more about Sinofsky's communication style and deficiencies as a team player than on unfavorable market prospects for Windows 8 and Surface. Meanwhile, anonymous blogger Mini-Microsoft had suspiciously little to say."
Science

Vegetative State Man 'Talks' By Brain Scan 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the fleet-captain-pike-would-be-proud dept.
c0lo writes "'Severely brain-injured Scott Routley hasn't spoken in 12 years. None of his physical assessments since then have shown any sign of awareness, or ability to communicate, thus being diagnosed as vegetative (vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception of themselves or the outside world).' Scott Routley was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative. 'Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is.' As a consequence, medical textbooks would need to be updated to include Prof Owen's techniques, because only observational assessments (as opposed to using mind-readers) of Mr. Routley have continued to suggest he is vegetative. Functional MRI machines are expensive (up to $2 million), but it's quite possible that a portable high-end EEG machine, costing about $75,000, can be used at a patient's bedside. Phillip K. Dick's world is one step closer."
Android

CyanogenMod Domain Hijacked 143

Posted by Soulskill
from the greed-is-the-silent-enemy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The team behind CyanogenMod, one of the most popular community-driven, Android-based operating systems for phones and tablets, has announced that they're moving to Cyanogenmod.org after their .com domain was held ransom by a community member. He had been in control of the .com domain name for some time, but the team found out he was impersonating Cyanogen to make deals with community sites. When they removed his access to other parts of the CM infrastructure, he demanded $10,000 to relinquish control of the domain and threatened to change the DNS entries. When they refused to pay, he went through with it. The team is now disputing control of the domain with ICANN. They said, 'We will continue to be open about the what, when, how, but unfortunately, we may never know the "why" – though greed comes to mind. The team itself has not made a profit off of CM and that is not our goal. But to have one of our own betray the community like this is beyond our comprehension.'"
Hardware

Everspin Launches Non-Volatile MRAM That's 500 Times Faster Than NAND 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the 500-times?-that's-almost-600-times! dept.
MrSeb writes "Alternative memory standards have been kicking around for decades as researchers have struggled to find the hypothetical holy grail — a non-volatile, low-latency, low-cost product that could scale from hard drives to conventional RAM. NAND flash has become the high-speed, non-volatile darling of the storage industry, but if you follow the evolution of the standard, you'll know that NAND is far from perfect. The total number of read/write cycles and data duration if the drive isn't kept powered are both significant problems as process shrinks continue scaling downward. Thus far, this holy grail remains elusive, but a practical MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory) solution took a step towards fruition this week. Everspin has announced that it's shipping the first 64Mb ST-MRAM in a DDR3-compatible module. These modules transfer data at DDR3-1600 clock rates, but access latencies are much lower than flash RAM, promising an overall 500x performance increase over conventional NAND."
Space

Visualizing 100,000 Stars In Chrome 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-my-god-it's-full-of-webgl dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google has rolled out a new web experiment for Chrome. This one is a visualization of the locations of over 100,000 nearby stars. It pulls data from astrometric databases and catalogs to show accurate relative locations of the stars. You can zoom and pan around the cluster, zoom all the way in to the solar system, or zoom all the way out to see how even this huge number of stars is dwarfed by the rest of the Milky Way. It also has data on a number individual stars in our stellar neighborhood. This web app works best in Chrome (much like their previous one, Jam With Chrome), but I was able to try it in Firefox as well."
Crime

Salt Lake City Police To Wear Camera Glasses 307

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-protect-and-record dept.
Psychotic_Wrath writes "The Salt Lake Police department will be much more transparent with their law enforcement. A program is being rolled out to require officers wear glasses equipped with a camera to record what they see. Of course, there are several officers opposed to this idea, who will resist the change. One of the biggest shockers to me is that the police chief is in strong support of this measure: 'If Chief Burbank gets his way, these tiny, weightless cameras will soon be on every police officer in the state.' With all the opposition of police officers being recorded by citizens that we are seeing throughout the country, it is quite a surprise that they would make a move like this. The officers would wear them when they are investigating crime scenes, serving warrants, and during patrols. Suddenly Utah isn't looking like such a bad place to be. Now we just need to hope other states and departments would follow suit. It sure will be nice when there is video evidence to show the real story."
Math

Nate Silver Turns His Eye To the American League 50

Posted by Soulskill
from the too-close-to-call dept.
Lasrick writes "Nate Silver is at it again. This time, instead of the presidential election, he's focusing on the baseball's Most Valuable Player race for the American league. It's a race that embodies the split among baseball fans between those who think of it from a mathematical perspective (the Moneyball generation) and those who prefer the traditional, feel-of-the-game perspective. Here's a quote: 'On Thursday, the American League will announce the recipient of its Most Valuable Player award. The winner is likely to be Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers star who won the league’s triple crown by leading in batting average (.330), home runs (44) and runs batted in (139). It might seem as if these statistics make Cabrera, the first triple crown winner in either league since 1967, a shoo-in for the M.V.P. But most statistically minded fans would prefer that it go to another player, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.'"
Biotech

Artificial Wombs In the Near Future? 367

Posted by Soulskill
from the invest-in-popcorn-when-this-hits-mainstream-politics dept.
New submitter DaemonDan writes "The first successful pregnancy by IVF was accomplished over 50 years ago, essentially creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Many scientists are trying to take it one step farther with a 100% test tube baby brought to term in an artificial womb. 'Cornell University's Dr. Hung-Ching Liu has engineered endometrial tissues by prompting cells to grow in an artificial uterus. When Liu introduced a mouse embryo into the lab-created uterine lining, "It successfully implanted and grew healthy," she said in this New Atlantis Magazine article. Scientists predict the research could produce an animal womb by 2020, and a human model by early 2030s.' The author of the article seems to believe that birth via artificial wombs could become the new norm, but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?"
Network

Battery-Powered Transmitter Could Crash A City's 4G Network 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-york-must-have-a-lot-of-these dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "With a £400 transmitter, a laptop and a little knowledge you could bring down an entire city's high-speed 4G network. This information comes from research carried out in the U.S. into the possibility of using LTE networks as the basis for a next-generation emergency response communications system. Jeff Reed, director of the wireless research group at Virginia Tech, along with research assistant Marc Lichtman, described the vulnerabilities to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which advises the White House on telecom and information policy. 'If LTE technology is to be used for the air interface of the public safety network, then we should consider the types of jamming attacks that could occur five or ten years from now (PDF). It is very possible for radio jamming to accompany a terrorist attack, for the purpose of preventing communications and increasing destruction,' Reed said."
Music

Band Uses Nuclear Isotopes To Make Music 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the music-of-science dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Every second in your body, thousands of tiny isotopes are bursting with radioactive decay. And, all around you, imperceptible gamma rays explode in a brilliant but invisible lightshow. And they've just formed a live band. Yes, you read that correctly. But it's all for science: The Radioactive Orchestra 2.0 is part of a Swedish project to help us understand how low-energy radiation works, by showing the energy patterns of nuclear isotopes. Swedish musician Kristofer Hagbard conceived of the orchestra about a year ago and released an album last spring, but the new 2.0 version of 'the band' allows him to perform live in front of an audience. 'This can be looked at as a piano for high energy photons, so every detection gives us a note,' Hagbard said. 'The musical instrument is as good as the gamma spectrometer we are using.'"

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