An anonymous reader writes "Despite weaknesses in the Linux-hostile 'secure boot' mechanism, both Fedora and Ubuntu decided to facilitate it, by essentially adopting two different approaches. Richard Stallman has finally spoken out on this subject. He notes that 'if the user doesn't control the keys, then it's a kind of shackle, and that would be true no matter what system it is.' He says, 'Microsoft demands that ARM computers sold for Windows 8 be set up so that the user cannot change the keys; in other words, turn it into restricted boot.' Stallman adds that 'this is not a security feature. This is abuse of the users. I think it ought to be illegal.'"
Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!
Several readers sent word that Google has announced its intention to start fighting drug cartels and other 'illicit networks.' According to a post on the official blog, the company thinks modern technology plays a key role in helping to 'expose and dismantle global criminal networks, which depend on secrecy and discretion in order to function.' They're holding a summit in Los Angeles this week, which aims to 'bring together a full-range of stakeholders, from survivors of organ trafficking, sex trafficking and forced labor to government officials, dozens of engineers, tech leaders and product managers from Google and beyond. Through the summit, which lasts until Wednesday, we hope to discover ways that technology can be used to expose and disrupt these networks as a whole—and to put some of these ideas into practice.'
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, a Canadian Supreme Court decision attracted attention for reduced copyright fees for music and video. Michael Geist has a detailed analysis that concludes there are two bigger, long term effects. First, Canada has effectively now adopted fair use. Second, the Supreme Court has made technological neutrality a foundational principle of Canadian copyright. The technological neutrality principle could have an enormous long-term impact on Canadian copyright, posing a threat to some copyright collective tariff proposals and to the newly enacted digital lock rules."
MrSeb writes with a bit from Extreme Tech: "After a lot of theorizing, posturing, and non-human trials, it looks like bionic eye implants are finally hitting the market — first in Europe, and hopefully soon in the U.S. These implants can restore sight to completely blind patients — though only if the blindness is caused by a faulty retina, as in macular degeneration (which millions of old people suffer from), diabetic retinopathy, or other degenerative eye diseases. ... The Bio-Retina, developed by Nano Retina, is a whole lot more exciting. The Bio-Retina costs ... around the $60,000 [and] the 576-pixel vision-restoring sensor is actually placed inside the eye, on top of the retina. The operation only takes 30 minutes and can be performed under local anesthetic. Once installed, 576 electrodes on the back of the sensor implant themselves into your optic nerve. The best bit, though, is how the the sensor is powered: The Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses that are modified so that they can fire a near-infrared laser beam through your iris to the sensor at the back of your eye. On the sensor there is a photovoltaic cell that produces up to three milliwatts — not a lot, but more than enough."
An anonymous reader writes "Alan Jacobs at The Atlantic writes about a book called New Model Army (NMA), which takes the idea of Anonymous — a loose, self-organizing collective with a purpose — and adds twenty-five years of technological advancement. The book's author, Adam Roberts, 'asks us to imagine a near future when electronic communications technologies enable groups of people to communicate with one another instantaneously, and on secure private networks invulnerable, or nearly so, to outside snooping.' With the arrival of advanced communications tech, such groups wouldn't be limited to enacting their will from behind a computer screen, or in a pre-planned flash mob; they could form actual armies. 'Again, each NMA organizes itself and makes decisions collectively: no commander establishes strategy and gives orders, but instead all members of the NMA communicate with what amounts to an advanced audio form of the IRC protocol, debate their next step, and vote. Results of a vote are shared to all immediately and automatically, at which point the soldiers start doing what they voted to do. ... They are proud of their shared identity, and tend to smirk when officers of more traditional armies want to know who their "ringleaders" are. They have no ringleaders; they don't even have specialists: everyone tends the wounded, not just some designated medical corps, and when they need to negotiate, the negotiating team is chosen by army vote. Each soldier does what needs to be done, with need determined by the NMA which each has freely joined.' Let's hope resistance isn't futile."
Nerval's Lobster writes "For the past 40-some years, relational databases have ruled the data world. Relational models first appeared in the early 1970s thanks to the research of computer science pioneers such as E.F. Codd. Early versions of SQL-like languages were also developed in the early 70s, with modern SQL appearing in the late 1970s, and becoming popular by the mid-1980s. For the past couple of years, the Internets have been filled with heated arguments regarding SQL vs NoSQL. But is the fight even legitimate? NoSQL databases have grown up a bit (and some, such as Google's BigTable, are now mature) and prove themselves worthy. And yet the fight continues. Tech writer (and programmer) Jeff Cogswell examines both sides from a programming perspective."
First time accepted submitter cjsm writes "James and Janet Baker were the inventors of Dragon Systems' speech recognition software, and after years of work, they created a multimillion dollar company. At the height of the tech boom, with investment offers rolling in, they turned to Goldman Sachs for financial advice. For a five million dollar fee, Goldman hooked them up with Lernout & Hauspie, the Belgium speech recognition company. After consultations with Goldman Sachs, the Bakers traded their company for $580 million in Lernout & Hauspie stock. But it turned out Lernout & Hauspie was involved in cooking their books and went bankrupt. Dragon was sold in a bankruptcy auction to Scansoft, and the Bakers lost everything. Goldman and Sachs itself had decided against investing in Lernout & Hauspie two years previous to this because they were lying about their Asian sales. The Bakers are suing for one billion dollars."
An anonymous reader writes "An article at Time speculates that the recent hype surrounding 3-D display technology has finally peaked and begun to subside. As evidence, they point to comments from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who does not seem particularly enthusiastic about it, and concedes it won't be a major selling point if the company continues to have 3-D enabled products in the future. He said, 'So, now we've created the 3DS and 3DS XL and also have some games out there that are really using that 3D effect that we can see, from my point of view, that it's an important element. But as human beings are this kind of surprise effect wears off quickly, and just [having] this 3D stereoscopic effect isn't going to keep people excited.' Revenue from 3-D films is also dropping, and while 3-D television sales are rising, only 14 percent of potential buyers think 3-D is a 'must have' feature."
jfruh writes "Sam Muirhead, a New Zealand filmmaker living Berlin, will, on the 1st of August, begin an experiment in living an open source life for a year. But this is going way beyond just trading in his Mac for a Linux machine and Final Cut Pro for Novacut. He's also going to live in a house based on an open source design, and he notes that trying to develop and use some form of open source toilet paper will be an "interesting and possibly painful process.""
An anonymous reader writes "Some 450,000 email addresses and associated unencrypted passwords have been dumped online by the hacking collective 'D33Ds Company' following the compromise of a Yahoo subdomain. The attackers said that they managed to access the subdomain by leveraging a union-based SQL injection attack, which made the site return more information that it should have. According to Ars Technica, the dump also includes over 2,700 database table or column names and 298 MySQL variables retrieved during the attack." Update: 07/12 20:03 GMT by T :Reader techfun89 adds this update: "Yahoo has confirmed that the usernames and passwords of more than 400,000 accounts were stolen from their servers earlier this week and that data was briefly posted online. The information has since been removed but it wasn't just credentials for Yahoo, but also Gmail, AOL, Comcast, Hotmail, MSN, SBC Global, BellSouth, Verizon and Live.com as well."
OverTheGeicoE writes "About a year ago, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on EPIC v. DHS, a lawsuit that sought to end TSA's use of body scanners. The Court found that DHS violated federal law by not seeking public comment before using body scanners as a primary search method. They ordered TSA to take public comment on its body scanning policy but did not require TSA to suspend its use of the scanners during the comment period. Several months later nothing had been done yet. One year later TSA has still done nothing, and even EPIC, the original plaintiff, seems to have given up. Others have apparently picked up the torch, however. Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, has posted a piece on Ars Technica about TSA's violation of the court order. He also started a petition on Whitehouse.gov asking TSA to comply with the order. An earlier petition ended with a non-response from TSA Administrator John Pistole. Will the latest petition fare any better, even in an election year?"
Velcroman1 writes "Steve Jobs worshippers need not apply. But if you're looking to get in God's good graces, or you're simply in the market for a family-friendly tablet, you may want to check out Family Christian's Edifi. Billed as the world's first Christian tablet, its genesis came with the inevitable intersection of technology and religion, according to Brian Honorable, a technology supervisor at Family Christian, the group that sells the tablet. 'We wanted to be able to offer our customers the ability to use our Holy Bible application, which has 27 different English translations of the Bible,' Honorable said."
New submitter Slashbots writes "Google will settle with the FTC for nearly $22.5 million over its bypassing of Apple's Safari browser privacy settings. It would be the largest settlement with the FTC over privacy-related charges ever. By abusing a privacy hole in Safari, Google circumvented user settings to show them advertising and track the user. 'Safari, unlike other browsers, blocks cookies from ad networks like Google's. But because of a loophole, Google had been able to avoid the block, as researchers discovered in February. It installed cookies and tracked Safari users across the Web to show them personalized ads.'"
crookedvulture writes "It has been quite a while since Slashdot last covered multi-monitor gaming. A lot has changed in the interim. Monitors prices continue to fall, and improved AMD Eyefinity and Nvidia Surround implementations make creating multi-display arrays incredibly easy. Graphics cards have gotten faster, allowing high-end models to handle the latest games at the ultra-high resolutions that multi-screen setups enable. Developers are doing a better job of supporting those resolutions, too, although HUD placement and single-screen cinematics are still problematic in some titles. Even in the games that do have niggling flaws, the wider perspective of a triple-screen config can offer a more engaging and immersive experience. As stereoscopic 3D implementations fail to catch on, multi-screen setups look like the best upgrade for PC gamers."
An anonymous reader tips an article about comments from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer regarding Microsoft's attitude toward Apple. It seems Microsoft is tired of being behind the curve in most areas of the tech market, and will be trying very hard to prevent Apple and other companies from beating them to the punch in the future. From the article: "In a recent interview, Ballmer explained that the company had ceded innovations in hardware and software to Apple, but that the-times-they-are-a-'changin. 'We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,' Ballmer explained. 'Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch.' ... An admirable goal, but it's fair to argue that attempting to innovate everywhere results in innovation nowhere. A big part of the reason Apple has been so successful is that they devote the bulk of their attention to only a few select market areas. By trying to innovate everywhere, so to speak, Microsoft runs the continued risk of spreading itself too thin and not really having a fundamental impact in any one market."