cylonlover writes "The United States Air Force (USAF) has released the results of last August's third test of the X-51a Waverider, which resulted in the crash of the unmanned scramjet demonstrator. At a press teleconference featuring the Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory, Charles Brink, it was confirmed that a malfunctioning fin was the cause of the crash. However, engineers are confident of correcting the fault in time for the fourth test flight scheduled for (Northern Hemisphere) late spring or early summer of next year."
Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!
jones_supa writes "The SDL developers Ryan Gordon and Sam Lantinga have proposed a window manager change to work out the full-screen X11 window mess, primarily for games. The proposal is to come up with a _NET_WM_STATE_FULLSCREEN_EXCLUSIVE window manager hint that works out the shortcomings of the full-screen hint used currently by most games, _NET_WM_STATE_FULLSCREEN. Ryan and Sam have already worked out an initial patch for SDL but they haven't tried hooking it to any window manager yet. Those interested in the details, information is available from this mailing list message. One of the key changes is that software would make the request to the window manager to change the resolution, rather than tapping RandR or XVidMode directly. Martin Gräßlin of KDE was rather wary about the patch and said that games changing the resolution just tend to mess up the desktop." Seems like a reasonable idea, given a bit of time to mature as a spec. In KDE's case, a separate daemon from the window manager handles resolution changes so going through the WM would add complexity, and the plasma shell still has no way to realize that it shouldn't reflow the desktop widgets. Setting window properties seems like a sensible IPC method for communicating intent though (without making yet another aspect of the X desktop reliant upon the not-very-network-transparent dbus): "hey, I need to resize, but just for me so don't reshuffle the desktop and docks."
smackay writes "Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory is building a humanoid robot designed for dangerous rescue missions as part of the new DARPA Robotics Challenge. Lab founder/director Dennis Hong calls it the 'greatest challenge of my career.' The robot's name: THOR" From the article: "The task is massive: The adult-sized robot must be designed to enter a vehicle, drive it, and then exit the vehicle, walk over rubble, clear objects blocking a door, open the door, and enter a building. The robot then must visually and audibly locate and shut off a leaking valve, connect a hose or connector, climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway. The final and possibly most difficult task: Use a power tool and break through a concrete wall. All these tasks must be accomplished under a set time limit."
An anonymous reader sent in a link to an article in Wired about the latest DMCA loophole hearing. Bad news: the federal government rejected requests that would make console modding and breaking DRM on DVDs to watch them legal. So, you dirty GNU/Linux hippies using libdvdcss better watch out: "Librarian of Congress James Billington and Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante rejected the two most-sought-after items on the docket, game-console modding and DVD cracking for personal use and 'space shifting.' Congress plays no role in the outcome. The regulators said that the controls were necessary to prevent software piracy and differentiated gaming consoles from smart phones, which legally can be jailbroken. ... On the plus side, the regulators re-authorized jailbreaking of mobile phones. On the downside, they denied it for tablets, saying an 'ebook reading device might be considered a tablet, as might a handheld video game device.'" So you can jailbreak a phone, but if it's 1" larger and considered a "tablet" you are breaking the law.
hypnosec writes "Developers over at Red Hat are busy porting OpenJDK to ARM's latest 64-bit architecture — the ARMv8, also known as the AArch64. The current OpenJDK ARM situation is rather unsatisfactory: for the current 32-bit ARM processors, there are two versions of the HotSpot JVM for OpenJDK — Oracle's proprietary JIT, and a less sophisticated free JIT that performs poorly in comparison. To avoid a similar situation for the 64-bit platform, the developers are working on an entirely Free Software port of HotSpot to 64-bit ARM."
hessian writes "It's not certain that Google will face a federal antitrust lawsuit by year's end. But if that happens, it seems likely to follow an outline sketched by Thomas Barnett, a Washington, D.C., lawyer on the payroll of Google's competitors. Barnett laid out his arguments during a presentation here last night: Google is unfairly prioritizing its own services such as flight search over those offered by rivals such as Expedia, and it's unfairly incorporating reviews from Yelp without asking for permission. 'They systematically reinforce their dominance in search and search advertising,' Barnett said during a debate on search engines and antitrust organized by the Federalist Society. 'Google's case ought to have been brought a year or two ago.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A new version of the Trusted Platform Module, called TPM2 or TPM 2.0 by Microsoft, has apparently been designed specifically for the release of Windows 8 this week. The details of this new standard have been kept secret. But a major update to the original TPM standard, which came out 10 years ago, seems to have been very quietly released on the Trusted Computing web site (FAQ) earlier this month. Following in the footsteps of the original, this version is quite a challenging read (security through incomprehensibility?). But this new version also seems to support some controversial crypto algorithms that were made public by the 'State Encryption Management Bureau' of China for the first time about 2 years ago. This is roughly the time that Microsoft seems to have begun working in earnest on TPM2, Windows 8, and probably even Surface. But that's probably just a coincidence. This crypto is controversial because of serious EU concerns with domestic restrictions on the implementation, use, and importation of cryptography in China."
Gunkerty Jeb writes "The death knell for SSL is getting louder. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford University have discovered that poorly designed APIs used in SSL implementations are to blame for vulnerabilities in many critical non-browser software packages. Serious security vulnerabilities were found in programs such as Amazon's EC2 Java library, Amazon's and PayPal's merchant SDKs, Trillian and AIM instant messaging software, popular integrated shopping cart software packages, Chase mobile banking software, and several Android applications and libraries. SSL connections from these programs and many others are vulnerable to a man in the middle attack."
sfcrazy writes "Andrew Wafaa, an ARM developer who is responsible for porting openSUSE to ARM, just got his hands on the Chromebook, and he managed to run openSUSE on it." Hopefully that means other distros can be soon ported to the Chromebook as well.
scibri writes "Once a Tyrannosaurus took down a Triceratops, how did it go about eating it? By looking at the bite marks on Triceratops fossils, a group of paleontologists have pieced together the steps, and created an illustrated guide. Step one? Pull off the head."
An anonymous reader writes "Google's Android operating system will be used on more computing devices than Microsoft's Windows within four years, data from research firm Gartner showed on Wednesday, underlining the massive shift in the technology sector. At the end of 2016, there will be 2.3 billion computers, tablets and smartphones using Android software, compared with 2.28 billion Windows devices, Gartner data showed." The comparison would make less sense if Android was strictly for phones, and Windows was strictly for desktops-with-keyboards, but gets interesting as the devices on which each system runs overlap ever more.
Says a story at Slash Datacenter: "Dell announced Oct. 24 that it had taken the next step into the low-power server market through the development of a second ARM-based server platform, which it will donate to the Apache Software Foundation for software development and app porting. The 'Zinc' concept runs the Calxeda EnergyCore chip, an ARM-based processor that the company hopes will eventually be featured in data centers running specialized workloads. It follows Dell’s earlier effort, dubbed 'Copper,' which it released in May. Neither server is commercially available, with Dell saying only that it would bring the hardware to market at an 'appropriate time.' Dell has said that it believes that the ARM-based server market is approaching an inflection point, and that it believes now is the right time to help foster development and testing of operating systems and applications for ARM servers. It’s a big step for the company, which has historically been an all-Intel shop, only occasionally buying processors from AMD." The ASF has access to the server (humming in a data center in Austin), and it's been busy: developers have "performed more than a dozen builds within the first 24 hours of the servers’ deployment, and on-going builds are being performed by the Apache Derby, River, Tapestry, and Thrift projects."
hypnosec writes "A hacker who claims to be a member of the hacking collective Anonymous has revealed that the hacktivist group is working on a Wikileaks-like service dubbed Tyler and that it will be launched on December 21. The Anonymous member revealed that the service will be decentralized and will be based on peer-to-peer service, unlike Wikileaks, thus making Tyler rather immune to closure and raids. The site will serve as a haven for whistleblowers, where they can publish classified documents and information. The hacker said in an emailed interview that 'Tyler will be P2P encrypted software, in which every function of a disclosure platform will be handled and shared by everyone who downloads and deploys the software.'" That sounds like a lot to live up to. Decentralized, attack-resistant and encrypted all sound nice, but I'm curious both about the funding it would take, and whether it matches Wikileaks' own security.
Orome1 writes "Microsoft today announced the global availability of Windows 8. Beginning Friday, Oct. 26, consumers and businesses worldwide will be able to experience all that Windows 8 has to offer, including a new user interface and a wide range of applications with the grand opening of the Windows Store. Launching at the same time is a new member of the Windows family — Windows RT — designed for ARM-based tablets and available pre-installed on new devices. In addition to Microsoft Office 2013, Windows RT is designed exclusively for apps in the new Windows Store. In addition to the range of new Windows-based devices available, consumers can also upgrade their existing PCs. Through the end of January, consumers currently running PCs with Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 are qualified to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of US$39.99." Also at Slash Cloud, where Nick Kolakowski writes: "If the operating system and its associated hardware capture the attention (and dollars) of mobile-device users, Microsoft will have successfully expanded the Windows brand to a new and rapidly growing market segment. But if it fails, and Apple and Google continue to rule the mobility space, then Microsoft is left with few alternatives."
concealment writes "State-owned Baotou Steel Rare Earth (Group) Hi-tech Co. said in a statement released through the Shanghai Stock Exchange that it suspended production Tuesday to promote 'healthy development' of rare earths prices. It gave no indication when production would resume and phone calls to the company on Thursday were not answered. Beijing is tightening control over rare earths mining and exports to capture more of the profits that flow to Western makers of lightweight batteries and other products made of rare earths. China has about 30 percent of rare earths deposits but accounts for more than 90 percent of production. Beijing alarmed global manufacturers by imposing export quotas in 2009. It also is trying to force Chinese rare earths miners and processors to consolidate into a handful of government-controlled groups."