Friday, July 31, 2009

Hackers Get Free Parking In San Francisco

Posted by timothy on Friday July 31, @07:58AM
from the usually-spots-at-the-end-of-the-judah-line dept.
Hugh Pickens writes"PC World reports that at the Black Hat security conference this week, security researchers say that it is pretty easy for a technically savvy hacker to make a fake payment card that gives them unlimited free parking on San Francisco's smart parking meter system. 'It wasn't technically complicated and the fact that I can do it in three days means that other people are probably already doing it and probably taking advantage of it,' says Joe Grand. 'It seems like the system wasn't analyzed at all.' To figure out how the payment system worked, Grand hooked up an oscilloscope to a parking meter and monitored what happened when he used a genuine payment card. Grand discovered the cards aren't digitally signed, and the only authentication between the meter and card is a password sent from the former to the latter. Examining the meters themselves could yield additional vulnerabilities that might allow someone to conduct other kinds of attacks, such as propagating a virus from meter to meter via the smart cards or a meter minder's PDA."

Got Zinc? New Zinc Research Suggests Novel Therapeutic Targets

ScienceDaily (July 31, 2009) — Everyone knows that vitamins "from A to zinc" are important for good health. Now, a new research study in the August 2009 print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biologysuggests that zinc may be pointing the way to new therapeutic targets for fighting infections. Specifically, scientists from Florida found that zinc not only supports healthy immune function, but increases activation of the cells (T cells) responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria.

11-Word Extracts May Infringe Copyright In Europe

Posted by kdawson on Friday July 31, @08:42AM
from the dibs-on-copyright-on-"the" dept.
splodus writes"The European Court of Justice, Europe's highest court, has ruled that a service providing 11-word snippets of newspaper articles could be unlawful. Media monitoring company Infopaq International searches newspaper articles and provides clients with a keyword and the five words either side. This practice was challenged by the DDF, a group representing newspaper interests, as infringing their members' copyright. The court has referred the issue back to national courts to determine whether copyright laws in each country will be subject to the ruling. The full ruling is available at the European Court of Justice Web site."

Mines Could Provide Geothermal Energy

ScienceDaily (July 31, 2009) — Mine shafts on the point of being closed down could be used to provide geothermal energy to local towns. This is the conclusion of two engineers from the University of Oviedo, whose research is being published in the journal Renewable Energy. The method they have developed makes it possible to estimate the amount of heat that a tunnel could potentially provide.

Coconut headphone mod makes us long for Kokomo

by Darren Murph, posted Jul 31st 2009 at 6:01AM

You knew somebody would do it, and now you're just downtrodden that said somebody isn't you. Yes friends, the gadget you see above really is a pair of working headphones with coconut halves for earcups. We already got word that Dave Chappelle's crack-infused twin fully approves, but we're still waiting for Dr. Dre to give us the all-clear before we deem them "street credible."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Games That Design Themselves

Posted by Soulskill on Thursday July 30, @12:20PM
from the real-time-savers dept.
destinyland writes"MIT's Media Lab is building 'a game that designs its own AI agents by observing the behavior of humans.' Their ultimate goal? 'Collective AI-driven agents that can interact and converse with humans without requiring programming or specialists to hand-craft behavior and dialogue.' With a similar project underway by a University of California professor, we may soon see radically different games that can 'react with human-like adaptability to whatever situation they're thrust into.'"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Windows 7 activation already cracked with Lenovo's OEM license key

by Nilay Patel, posted Jul 29th 2009 at 12:14PM

Sort of funny that Microsoft made a big show of handing over the Windows 7 RTM code to Lenovo and other manufacturers last week -- the first activation crack for the OS has just appeared, and it's based on Lenovo's OEM license key. Oops. The crack apparently works with 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Ultimate, and it apparently passes Genuine Advantage, so things are looking good for all you wannabe pirates out there. Youdid buy an upgrade disc, though, right?

Rude Drivers Reduce Traffic Jams

Posted by Soulskill on Wednesday July 29, @11:49AM
from the earning-that-one-finger-salute dept.
BuzzSkyline writes"Traffic jams are minimized if a significant fraction of drivers break the rules by doing things like passing on the wrong side or changing lanes too close to an intersection. The insight comes from a cellular automata study published this month in the journal Physical Review E. In effect, people who disregard the rules help to break up the groups that form as rule-followers clump together. The risk of jamming is lower if all people obey the rules than if they all disobey them, according to the analysis, but jamming risk is lowest when about 40 percent of people drive like jerks."


This is the mesasge in it's current form. I need any other comments by 2 today please.

From: IT Service Desk

To: TSSC All; SBTS All

Subject: Opening of school technology support information

To be sent: 8/3/09

IT Service Desk Hours

The IT Service Desk is available to answer your technical support questions by phone Monday through Friday (except holidays) 6:30 AM - 5:30 PM. You may also e-mail to anytime and the issue will be addressed the next business day.

Student accounts

TSSpecs are responsible for creating student accounts at a school. The IT Service desk is available for advice if needed but does not have access to automatically create student accounts.

Never delete, disable or enable an employee account

FCPS has an automated process to manage the lifecycle of an employee accounts. If you need an employee account to be deleted, disabled or enabled, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Connected systems

Just a reminder that your FCPS network username and password is used for many different systems to include: Outlook Web Access, UConnect, Online Travel form, SEA-STARS and RequestIT.

The IT Service Desk cannot change passwords over the phone

The IT Service Desk has no ability to validate the identity of an employee over the phone and is not able to reset a password over the phone. If the user has not answered the password challenge questions (mentioned below) and the local tech support team is not available, the IT Service Desk is able to reset a user’s password on e-mail request to from the user’s supervisor.

Preparing users to reset a forgotten password

All FCPS employees may reset a forgotten network (e-mail) account password provided they have answered the password challenge questions in the Identity Manager application. Please have users go to this address Once they sign in with their network account, they will be prompted to answer 5 questions so if they forget their password in the future, they can answer the questions and reset their password.

Accepting the AUP annually

All FCPS users are to review and acknowledge the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) annually. Please assist as needed to help all new and existing staff log onto the Identity Manager application: (This is also accessible on the “Manage Network Account” page in the IT Service Catalog:

User Home Shares

Home shares are not moved for employees. If they need their data in the new location, please work with the employee to move their data or call the IT Service Desk for assistance.


· Forgot Password link uses the email address of rather than

· FLSA must be completed by Oct 1. Individuals may watch it on their own or program managers may request a CD for total department or school viewing. (


· To access online training (including FLSA training required for all FCPS employees by 10/1/09), log in as follows:

· For the User ID, enter your FCPS network user name (e.g. zwsmith)

· For the default password, enter your six-digit FCPS Employee ID number Note: If you are unable to login or if you have changed your password and cannot remember it, then enter your FCPS network user name
(e.g. zwsmith):

Click on Forgot Your Password

Click on Send Me a New Password (a new password will be sent to your FCPS email) VPN is not needed when connecting from home

· To see course completion and to view class certificates (such as FLSA training), please go to My Report, Completed Courses.

FCPS 24/7

If you forgot your password, FCPS 24/7 now has a forgot password link on its login page. You can reset your password without picking up the phone or contacting anyone else! Course, accounts and enrollments for 0910 school year have already started to be loaded based on the site’s readiness with SASI scheduling.

Escalating a ticket to the IT Service Desk

Please make sure that you have documented all troubleshooting steps when escalating a ticket to the IT Service Desk. This will help us to resolve your issue much faster.

TaskPad review

Before the opening of school gets into full swing, please take a few moments to reacquaint yourself with the taskpad that will allow you to reset user password at your site.

The summary menu in RequestIT has expanded for designees

All IT Repair Requests now go through RequestIT, including services provided by Field Information Systems, such as phones and fire alarms. School and central office administrators were asked via a memo from Dr. Dale to designate through this page staff at their location to be granted permission to the extended menu choices in RequestIT. Per earlier notification, as a convenience SBTS and TSSpecs have the ability to submit tickets for any IT repair. Tickets for items owned by Field Information Systems and Field Services will be routed directly to those groups for resolving. Please note: maintenance work orders will still be entered in Sitenet/ACT/Requestline.

Thank you,

IT Service Desk

Microsoft's Urgent Patch Precedes Black Hat Session

Posted by Soulskill on Wednesday July 29, @08:54AM
from the no-time-like-the-present dept.
Julie188 writes"Mystery solved! Microsoft's latest emergency out-of-band patch was weird beyond belief. A notice was sent to journalists and researchers late Friday evening that the patch was coming Tuesday, but Microsoft refused to explain the flaw and even put a cone of silence around researchers who would have otherwise talked about it. But finally, one researcher broke ranks and explained that the patch was caused by a flaw introduced in Microsoft's own development tools. This flaw was also the source of the emergency ActiveX patch, which took about 18 months to complete and which supposedly fixed the problem by turning off ActiveX (setting a 'killbit' on the control). Researchers at Black Hat on Wednesday will be demonstrating how to override the killbit controls and get access to vulnerabilities supposedly stopped with a killbit. What's really scary is that Microsoft has issued 175 killbits fixes so far."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Real-World Consequences of Social Networking Posts

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday July 28, @01:47PM
from the world-is-watching dept.
gbulmash sends in a classic Streisand Effect story of a Chicago landlord suing a tenant over a tweet complaining of mold in her apartment. The landlord claims that the tweet caused $50,000 damage to their reputation. If it didn't, then the fallout from their own ill-advised lawsuit surely will. The woman's Twitter account is now gone (possibly on advice of counsel), but the tweet that started it all lives on. And in a similar vein, reader levicivita notes a firing over a political comment on a Facebook page."Lee Landor, who had been the deputy press secretary to Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer since May, posted comments on her Facebook page criticizing Mr. Gates [Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.] and the president, whom she referred to at one point as 'O-dumb-a.' ... The borough president has accepted Ms. Landor's resignation, effective immediately."

Blackboard Patent Invalidated By Appellate Court

Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 28, @11:30AM
from the mechanism-for-doing-stuff-described-herein dept.
Arguendo writes"A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Blackboard Inc.'s patent on a learning management system is invalid in light of the inventors' own prior software product. We have previously discussed the patent and Blackboard's trial court victory against Desire2Learn. It's not completely over, but this is almost certainly the death knell for Blackboard's patent. If so inclined, you may read the appellate court's decision here (PDF) or on scribd."

Transparent Aluminum Is "New State of Matter"

Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 28, @01:01PM
from the baseball-bats-will-never-be-the-same dept.
Professor_Quail writes with this interesting excerpt:"Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminum by bombarding the metal with the world's most powerful soft X-ray laser. 'Transparent aluminum' previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion."

Finally, a True Green Laser

Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 28, @09:08AM
from the greenwashing-is-everywhere dept.
dusty writes"Remember those green lasers from Star Wars? Turns out that faking green lasers has been easy for years, but making true green laser diodes has been the stuff of science fiction. Until recently, that is. Now researchers from Japan have created the world's first true green laser diode. Until now, only red and blue laser diodes were available, and now with the addition of green, new TVs and projectors that are more efficient can be produced. And if you were wondering how green lasers pointers are already produced, it is a hack that involved doubling the frequency of an infrared laser. The new true green laser diodes have much higher efficiency than the current 6%, leading many to expect big time laser display breakthroughs in the near future. Ars Technica has a well-written article on this breakthrough."

Researchers Warn: 'Antivirals Might Be Wasted On The Elderly'

ScienceDaily (July 28, 2009) — A model of influenza transmission and treatment suggests that, if the current swine flu pandemic behaves like the 1918 flu, antiviral treatment should be reserved for the young. Researchers found that, in this situation, providing the elderly with antiviral drugs would not significantly reduce mortality, and may lead to an increase in resistance.

Monday, July 27, 2009