v3rgEz writes "Documents released by the FBI provide an unusual inside look at how the agency is struggling to penetrate 'darknet' Onion sites routed through Tor, the online privacy tool funded in part by government grants to help global activists. In this case, agents were unable to pursue specific leads about an easily available child pornography site, while files withheld indicate that the FBI has ongoing investigations tied to the Silk Road marketplace, a popular, anonymous Tor site for buying and selling drugs and other illegal materials." Sounds similar to the problems that plagued freenet.
First time accepted submitter discussM tipped us to a story about a recently granted patent in which "a system and method preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted academic texts is provided in which trademark licenses, discussion boards, and grade content are integrated into a web-based system that aligns the interests of teaching professionals, students, and publishers while also enhancing the overarching academic mission to create and disseminate knowledge." Quoting Torrent Freak: "As part of a course, students will have to participate in a web-based discussion board, an activity which counts towards their final grade. To gain access to the board students need a special code, which they get by buying the associated textbook." But don't worry too much, from Ars: "Beyond the legal questions, other experts suggested forcing students to buy texts through such a system is unlikely to be implemented. Professors have few incentives to make it more difficult and to compel students even more than they already are to buy textbooks, digital or analog. (A 2011 survey from UC Riverside found that 78 percent of undergraduates 'bought fewer books, bought cheaper books or read books on reserve to help meet expenses.')"
First time accepted submitter mike_toscano writes "At least some of us have recently seen Linus' most recent comments on his experience with Gnome 3 — he didn't have many nice things to say about it and as you know, he's not the only one. On the other hand, there have been some great reviews and comparisons of KDE with the other options (like this one) lately. Sure, early releases of 4.x were painful but the desktop today is fully-functional and polished. So the question: To those who run *nix desktops and are frustrated by the latest Gnome variants, why aren't you running KDE? To clarify, I'm not asking which desktop is better. I'm really talking to the people who have already decided they don't like the new Gnome & Unity but aren't using KDE. If you don't like KDE or Gnome, why not?"
The Washington Post features an article on the continuing problem of drivers distracted by technology, specifically by texting or even talking on the phone while at the wheel. The piece mentions a few apps designed to disable phones, or at least some phone features, when they detect sustained motion that might indicate that the user is driving. Trouble is, as the writer points out, these apps are trying to do a context-sensitive task (under the best of circumstances) with only the broadest of clues. Further, many of them require ongoing subscription fees, just to be able to disable phone functions — and yet feature override features simple enough for a driver to activate.
First time accepted submitter WindyWonka writes "Google and AOL were sued for patent infringement Thursday, accused of violating two former British Telecom patents via Google's search 'snippets' and by Google AdSense and Advertising.com ad serving technology. Incredibly, the lawsuit by apparent patent troll Suffolk Technologies asserts that every Google search result 'snippet' display violates one patent, and that another really broad server patent is violated every time Google and AOL serve up ads."
New submitter SouthSeaDragon writes "I'm a computer professional who has performed most of the functions that could be expected over a 39 year career, including hardware maintenance and repair, sitting on a 800 support line, developing a help desk application from the ground up (terminal-based), writing a software manual, plus developing and teaching software courses. In recent years, I've worked for computer software vendors doing pre-sales support generally for infrastructure products including applications, app servers, integration with Java based messaging and ESB product and most recently a Business Rules product. I was laid off recently due to a restructuring and am now trying to figure out the next phase. With the WIA displaced worker grants now available I am attempting to figure out what training would be good to pursue. I am hearing that 'the Cloud' is the next big thing, but I'm also looking into increasing my development skills with a current language. I wonder what the readers might suggest for new directions."
Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that journalist Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, has stirred up quite a controversy in tech circles with his off-the-cuff remarks that history will remember Bill Gates fondly while Steve Jobs slips into obscurity. Gladwell likened Gates' charitable work to the German armaments maker Oskar Schindler's famous efforts to save his Jewish workers from the gas chambers during World War II, and added that because of Gates there's a reasonable shot we will cure malaria. 'Gates, sure, is the most ruthless capitalist. And then he decides, he wakes up one morning and he says, "Enough." And he steps down, he takes his money, takes it off the table ... and I think, I firmly believe that 50 years from now, he will be remembered for his charitable work,' said Gladwell. 'And of the great entrepreneurs of this era, people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. Who's Steve Jobs again?' For all his dismissal of Jobs' legacy, however, Gladwell remains utterly fascinated with him. 'He was an extraordinarily brilliant businessman and entrepreneur. He was also a self-promoter on a level that we have rarely seen,' said Gladwell. 'What was brilliant about Apple, he understood from the get-go that the key to success in that marketplace was creating a distinctive and powerful and seductive brand.' Gladwell concludes that the most extraordinary moment in the biography of Jobs is when Jobs is on his deathbed and it's over and he knows it. 'And on, I forget, three, four occasions, he refuses the mask because he is unhappy with its design. That's who he was. Right to the very end, he had a set of standards. If he was going to die, dammit, he's going to die with the right kind of oxygen mask. To him it was like making him send his final emails using Windows.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Atlantic has an article discussing how 18- to 35-year-old males are losing their place as the most important demographic for tech adoption. 'Let me break out the categories where women are leading tech adoption: internet usage, mobile phone voice usage, mobile phone location-based services, text messaging, Skype, every social networking site aside from LinkedIn, all Internet-enabled devices, e-readers, health-care devices, and GPS. Also, because women still are the primary caretakers of children in many places, guess who controls which gadgets the young male and female members of the family get to purchase or even use?' The article points out that most of the tech industry hasn't figured this out yet — perhaps in part to a dearth of women running these companies."
fmatthew5876 writes "I have a friend who graduated with a degree in philosophy and sociology. He has been spending a lot of his spare time for the last couple years learning system administration and web development. He has set up web servers, database servers, web proxies and more. He has taught himself PHP, MySQL, and how to use Linux and openBSD without any formal education. I believe that if given the chance with an entry level position somewhere and a good mentor he could really be a great Unix admin, but the problem is that he doesn't have a degree in computer science or any related field. He is doing stuff now that a lot of people I graduated with (I was a CS major) could not do when they had a bachelor's degree. Does Slashdot have any advice on what my friend could do to build up his resume and find a job? I know a lot of people think certifications are pretty useless or even harmful, but in his case do you think it would be a good idea?"
CowboyRobot writes "Following yesterday's post about Poul-Henning Kamp no longer supporting md5crypt, the author has a new column at the ACM where he details all the ways that LinkedIn failed, specifically related to how they failed to 'salt' their passwords, making them that much easier to crack. 'On a system with many users, the chances that some of them have chosen the same password are pretty good. Humans are notoriously lousy at selecting good passwords. For the evil attacker, that means all users who have the same hashed password in the database have chosen the same password, so it is probably not a very good one, and the attacker can target that with a brute force attempt.'"
darthcamaro writes "So how did World IPv6 Launch go? Surprisingly well, according to participants at the event. Google said it has seen 150% growth in IPv6 traffic, Facebook now has 27 million IPv6 users and Akamai is serving 100x more IPv6 traffic. But it's still a 'brocolli' technology. 'I've said in the past that IPv6 is a 'broccoli' technology,' Leslie Daigle, CTO of the Internet Society said. 'I still think it is a tech everybody knows it would be good if we ate more of it but nobody wants to eat it without the cheese sauce.'" Reader SmartAboutThings adds a few data points: "According to Google statistics, Romania leads the way with a 6.55% adoption rate, followed by France with 4.67%. Japan is on the third place so far with 1.57% but it seems here 'users still experience significant reliability or latency issues connecting to IPv6-enabled websites.' In the U.S. and China the users have noticed infrequent issues connecting to the new protocol, but still the adoption rate is 0.93% and 0.58%, respectively."
jfruh writes "Booth babes," promotional models paid to showcase products, are ubiquitous figures at tech trade shows. Ever wonder what they think of their jobs? Well, it may not surprise you to learn that standing up for eight hours in heels isn't much fun. Some enjoy the work, while others don't enjoy being the subject of stares. And one model adds that 'The industry is now moving towards making models show more skin.'"
ananyo writes with a story about more concrete plans for a reduced or nuclear-free energy future for Japan. From the article: "It's official: nuclear power will have a much smaller role in Japan's energy future than was once thought. Since the meltdowns and gas explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in March 2011, all of Japan's remaining reactors have been shut down for inspections and maintenance. The government offered a glimpse of their future, and that of the country's nuclear power in general, when it published an outline of four ways to satisfy Japan's future energy demands. One scenario recommends using a market mechanism to determine the nuclear contribution. Under the other three, nuclear power would supply at most one-quarter of Japan's energy by 2030 — and in one case, none at all. The scenarios come from a 25-person advisory committee to the industry ministry. The sharp reductions in the nuclear power part of the country's energy mix mean that Japan will struggle to reach the 31% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that it had planned by 2030 (PDF)."
An anonymous reader writes "U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith estimates in a new paper (PDF) that 30,000 secret surveillance orders are approved each year in U.S. courts. 'Though such orders have judicial oversight, few emerge from any sort of adversarial proceeding and many are never unsealed at all.' Smith writes, 'To put this figure in context, magistrate judges in one year generated a volume of secret electronic surveillance cases more than thirty times the annual number of FISA cases; in fact, this volume of ECPA cases is greater than the combined yearly total of all antitrust, employment discrimination, environmental, copyright, patent, trademark, and securities cases filed in federal court.' He also adds a warning: 'Lack of transparency in judicial proceedings has long been recognized as a threat to the rule of law and roundly condemned in ringing phrases by many Supreme Court opinions.'"
snydeq writes "The NYTimes reports on the San Francisco's shifting socio-economic landscape thanks to a massive influx of tech workers and tax and regulation breaks to big-name startups. 'In a city often regarded as unfriendly to business, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, elected last year with the tech industry's strong backing, has aggressively courted start-ups. But this boom has also raised fears about the tech industry's growing political clout and its spillover economic effects. Apartment rents have soared to record highs as affordable housing advocates warn that a new wave of gentrification will price middle-class residents out of the city. At risk, many say, are the very qualities that have drawn generations of outsiders here, like the city's diversity and creativity. Families, black residents, artists and others will increasingly be forced across the bridge to Oakland, they warn.'"