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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:17pm
snydeq writes The wheels of justice spin slowly, but they seem finally to be running software patents out of town, writes Simon Phipps in his analysis of how Alice Corp. v CLS Bank is becoming a landmark decision for patent cases in the U.S. 'In case after case, the Court of Appeals is using Alice to resolve patent appeals. In each case so far, the Court of Appeals has found the software patents in question to be invalid. ... As PatentlyO points out, the Alice effect is even reaching to lower courts, saving the Court of Appeals from having to strike down patent findings on appeal.' Although the patent industry broadly speaking sees the Alice verdict as a death knell for many existing patents, some expect Alice to turn software patents into 'draftsmen's art because as you and I have seen over the years, every time there's a court ruling it just means that you have to word the patent claims differently.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:35am
mikejuk writes with this excerpt: When Google Labs closed there was an outcry. How could an organization just pull the rug from under so many projects? At least Google announced what it was doing. Mozilla, it seems since there is no official record, just quietly tiptoes away — leaving the lights on since the Mozilla Labs Website is still accessible. It is accessible but when you start to explore the website you notice it is moribund with the last blog post being December 2013 with the penultimate one being September 2013. The fact that it is gone is confirmed by recent blog posts and by the redeployment of the people who used to run it. The projects that survived have been moved to their own websites. It isn't clear what has happened to the Hatchery -the incubator that invited new ideas from all and sundry. One of the big advantages of open source is the ease with which a project can be started. One of the big disadvantages of open source is the ease with which projects can be allowed to die — often without any clear cut time of death. It seems Mozilla applies this to groups and initiatives as much as projects. This isn't good. The same is true at companies that aren't open source centric, though, too, isn't it?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

15 Insanely Great Tricks to Master Apple’s iOS 8

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:00am

So, you just downloaded iOS 8. Looks pretty familiar, right? But there are a bunch of differences, and not all of them will be immediately obvious. Let us show you.

The post 15 Insanely Great Tricks to Master Apple’s iOS 8 appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Explore Black Holes and Destroy Planets in the Awesome New Interstellar Game

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 11:00am

Remember those solar system mobiles and models that used to populate your science classrooms? Remember how you ripped off Pluto in anger once some jerks (fine, astronomers) decided it was now a just "dwarf planet"? Wait, not everyone did that? OK, that's cool. However, for those of us who would stare at those mobiles and dream of building universes of our own design, the new app promoting director Christopher Nolan's upcoming space epic Interstellar enables all of those fantasies to come true.

The post Explore Black Holes and Destroy Planets in the Awesome New Interstellar Game appeared first on WIRED.


Categories: Open Source, Technology

Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:53am
HughPickens.com writes The Interecept reports that contrary to lurid claims made by U.S. officials, a new independent analysis of Edward Snowden's revelations on NSA surveillance that examined the frequency of releases and updates of encryption software by jihadi groups has found no correlation in either measure to Snowden's leaks about the NSA's surveillance techniques. According to the report "well prior to Edward Snowden, online jihadists were already aware that law enforcement and intelligence agencies were attempting to monitor them (PDF)." In fact, concerns about terrorists' use of sophisticated encryption technology predates even 9/11. Earlier this month former NSA head Michael Hayden stated, "The changed communications practices and patterns of terrorist groups following the Snowden revelations have impacted our ability to track and monitor these groups", while Matthew Olsen of the National Counterterrorism Centre would add "Following the disclosure of the stolen NSA documents, terrorists are changing how they communicate to avoid surveillance." Snowden's critics have previously accused his actions of contributing from everything from the rise of ISIS to Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. "This most recent study is the most comprehensive repudiation of these charges to date," says Murtaza Hussain. "Contrary to lurid claims to the contrary, the facts demonstrate that terrorist organizations have not benefited from the NSA revelations, nor have they substantially altered their behavior in response to them."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Apple Takes a Swipe at Google in Open Letter on Privacy

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:49am

Apple wants you to know that your data is safe in their hands, and on Thursday, the company launched a new website, complete with a letter from CEO Tim Cook, to explain just how your information is protected.

The post Apple Takes a Swipe at Google in Open Letter on Privacy appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Lustful Leafhoppers Locate Each Other Through Good Vibrations

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:45am

It can be hard to find a mate when you’re less than 5 mm long. Luckily, leafhoppers can pick up on each other’s vibes. The first step in mating is identifying and finding a partner. Nearctic leafhoppers (Scaphoideus titanus) do this through vibrations. They communicate by sending out vibrations, which are carried by the plants […]

The post Lustful Leafhoppers Locate Each Other Through Good Vibrations appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

When Extrapolation Fails Us: Incorrect Mathematical Conjectures

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:44am

It is well-known that our intuition is not perfect. We are predictably irrational in a huge number of ways in our everyday lives. But what about something a bit more sophisticated? Are there times when we use our reason—our ability for extrapolation and prediction—and still fail, because things are simply too complicated. This sort of […]

The post When Extrapolation Fails Us: Incorrect Mathematical Conjectures appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Tim Cook Is Keeping Your Apple Data Safe From The Cops

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:31am

Apple rolled out a massive update to its operating system on Wednesday, along with a made a significant update to its privacy policy. Beginning with iOS 8, Apple says data on your device is kept private, even from the police.

"Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of all our hardware, software, and services, including iCloud and new services like Apple Pay," CEO Tim Cook wrote in an open letter published concurrently with Apple's new privacy policy. 

See also: Apple's Privacy Record Sucks. Here's Why You Should Care

Before making it "absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services," Cook appears to single out Google, the company’s biggest competitor:

“Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.”

Cook’s letter also discussed the company’s plans to strengthen iCloud security. After the personal celebrity photo leak last month, hackers may be an even greater customer concern than government entities for the time being.

With iOS 7 and earlier, government entities were able to bring seized locked Apple devices to the company, where Apple could extract a significant amount of data. Apple's updated privacy policy explains the changes made with the new operating system.

"On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode," the privacy policy now reads.

See also: For Once, The Entire Internet Isn't Blaming The Victims Of This Nude Celebrity Photo Leak

"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."

Photo by JD Hancock.

Categories: Technology

US Military Aware Only Belatedly of Chinese Attacks Against Transport Contractors

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:28am
itwbennett writes The Senate Armed Service Committee released on Wednesday an unclassified version of a report (PDF) commissioned last year to investigate cyberattacks against contractors for the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM). The report alleges that the Chinese military successfully stole emails, documents, login credentials and more from contractors, but few of those incidents were ever reported to TRANSCOM. During a one-year period starting in June 2012, TRANSCOM contractors endured more than 50 intrusions, 20 of which were successful in planting malware. TRANSCOM learned of only two of the incidents. The FBI, however, was aware of 10 of the attacks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Australian Police Arrest 15, Charge 2, For Alleged Islamic State Beheading Plot

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 10:06am
The Washington Post reports (building on a short AP report they're also carrying) that "[Australian] police have arrested 15 people allegedly linked to the Islamic State, some who plotted a public beheading." According to the Sydney Morning Herald, of the arrestees, only two have been charged. From the Washington Post story: “Police said the planned attack was to be “random.” The killers were to behead a victim and then drape the body in the black Islamic State flag, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. ... Direct exhortations were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in [the Islamic State] to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at a press conference, as the BBC reported. “So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

London's Crime Hot Spots Predicted Using Mobile Phone Data

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 9:26am
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes A growing number of police forces around the world are using data on past crimes to predict the likelihood of crimes in the future. These predictions can be made more accurate by combining crime data with local demographic data about the local population. However, this data is time consuming and expensive to collect and so only updated rarely. Now a team of data experts have shown how combing crime data with data collected from mobile phones can make the prediction of future crimes even more accurate. The team used an anonymised dataset of O2 mobile phone users in the London metropolitan area during December 2012 and January 2013. They then used a small portion of the data to train a machine learning algorithm to find correlations between this and local crime statistics in the same period. Finally, they used the trained algorithm to predict future crime rates in the same areas. Without the mobile phone data, the predictions have an accuracy of 62 per cent. But the phone data increases this accuracy significantly to almost 70 per cent. What's more, the data is cheap to collect and can be gathered in more or less real time. Whether the general population would want their data used in this way is less clear but either way Minority Report-style policing is looking less far-fetched than when the film appeared in 2002.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

This New Internet Security Tool Guards Goldman Sachs From Eavesdroppers

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 9:00am

When security researchers uncovered the Heartbleed bug, it underscored a big problem for companies that want to spread out on the internet without exposing their secrets: Even if they’re using common encryption techniques to secure their data, their sites may still be vulnerable to eavesdroppers. But five months on, a San Francisco startup called CloudFlare […]

The post This New Internet Security Tool Guards Goldman Sachs From Eavesdroppers appeared first on WIRED.


Categories: Open Source, Technology

iOS 8 Gives You Greater Control Over How Apps Track You

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 9:00am

On and off: Those used to be the only options for sharing your location with applications on iDevices. Now with iOS 8, there's a new alternative: a setting for sharing your location only while using a particular app. 

When you log into an app that uses location-sharing, it will ask you whether or not you want to share your location with the service. That gives you the traditional options of yes or no. But if you then go to the location privacy page in your device's general settings, you'll see a new set of permissions for individual apps:

With some apps, agreeing to share your information with them means that, by default, your phone will "always" send them your location.

For instance, if you've given Facebook permission to access your location in the past, it will carry over that permission in iOS 8, and continue to enable location services even when the application isn't open. Facebook says this is because Nearby Friends—the opt-in feature that lets your friends know where you are at all times—requires always-on location in order to operate.

Other applications may default to "always" on as well. If you'd rather restrict the way apps collect your data, be sure to check their permissions under your location services settings. 

Lead image courtesy of Apple

Categories: Technology

Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:45am
onproton (3434437) writes The journal Nature released a study today that reveals a link between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and the development of glucose intolerance [note: abstract online; paper itself is paywalled], a leading risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, citing a critical alteration of intestinal bacteria. Paradoxically, these non-caloric sweeteners, which can be up to 20,000 times sweeter than natural sugars, are often recommended to diabetes patients to control blood glucose levels. Sugar substitutes have come under additional fire lately from studies showing that eating artificially sweetened foods can lead to greater overall calorie consumption and even weight gain. While some, especially food industry officials, remain highly skeptical of such studies, more research still needs to be done to determine the actual risks these substances may pose to health.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

IOCCC 2014 Now In Progress

Slashdot - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:26am
leob (154345) writes In case you haven't noticed yet, the 23rd International Obfuscated C Code Contest is now in progress. A pre-announcement was made on Twitter in the end of August; the online submission tool is now available until 2014-Oct-19 18:17:16 UTC.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

On Its First Day, iOS 8 Took Off More Slowly Than Its Predecessors

ReadWriteWeb - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 8:06am

One day after iOS 8 was made available to the public, adoption of Apple's software for mobile devices is trailing that of its predecessors. 

According to data provided by mobile marketing firm Fiksu, iOS 8 adoption is lagging as much as 50% compared to iOS 7 adoption last year. Data from mobile ad firm Tapjoy tells a similar story: "iOS 8 stands at under 6% [adoption] eighteen hours after its initial availability, while iOS 7 was at 12% after the same time period," the company wrote in a blog post.

iOS 8 adoption is also slower than iOS 6, although the difference isn't as drastic:

It's not surprising that people aren't rushing to download iOS 8 as quickly as they were to iOS 7. The latest software upgrade isn't as much of an Earth-shattering redesign as last year's counterpart, and considering the enormous free memory required by the upgrade, people might be holding off for a bit longer while they juggle their digital stuff to make room.

See Also: How To Download iOS 8 When Your iPhone Is Too Full Of Stuff

Older iPhone users might also be wary of the way iOS 7 treated the iPhone 4, and don't want to be the ones to suffer this time. Multiple reports of sluggishness on older devices, including the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5, could be prompting owners of older models to hold off upgrading their software until the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the devices for which iOS 8 is designed, are in their hands.

Lead image by Apple; graphic courtesy of Tapjoy

Categories: Technology

Cape Watch: Marvel Spills Avengers Secrets and Professor X Loses His Hair

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:30am

The revelation of the Avengers: Age of Ultron plot pretty much dominated superhero news this week, but that doesn't mean there weren't a few other interesting tidbits. We've gathered them all up for you right here.

The post Cape Watch: Marvel Spills Avengers Secrets and Professor X Loses His Hair appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

A New Gossip Tool That Keeps Fake Tipsters Away, But Guards Anonymity

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:30am

Someone just said something on the internet, and you know they’re wrong. You know because you’re an expert on the subject this bozo is spewing nonsense about. But, at the same time, you don’t want to post a response under your own name. Maybe you have an opinion that would make you unpopular with your […]

The post A New Gossip Tool That Keeps Fake Tipsters Away, But Guards Anonymity appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Watch: Famous Athletes Redrawn as Hypnotizing Geometric Forms

Wired - Top Stories - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:30am

This illustrated short translates the movements of famous Olympians into graceful, minimalist graphics.

The post Watch: Famous Athletes Redrawn as Hypnotizing Geometric Forms appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology