OpenGov’s Comparisons Aims To Help Local Governments Benchmark Spending

placeit-1-e1445882786248 OpenGov launched Comparisons yesterday morning, a feature that allows local and municipal governments in its network to compare their performances against other jurisdictions and established benchmarks. In addition to giving governments using the platform access to information about other local authorities, Comparisons also pulls census data and financial metrics, which are incorporated into… Read More

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Ask Slashdot: An ‘Ex Libris’ For My Books In a Digital Age?

New submitter smalgin writes: While I cannot boast an extensive library, it keeps growing every week. I share the books I like the most with my friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, some of them are sloppy and forget to return my books, so to speak. I would like to put some mark, sticker or a stamp (Ex Libris) on my books to make them recognizable later. However, living in a digital age (blah blah yada yada) I cannot help but wonder how I could improve the ex libris beyond an ink stamp on a title page or a glued-on postcard-sized monstrosity some libraries use. Has anyone tried using RFIDs to identify his books? Please share your experience.

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Junkyard Owner Saves Lunar Rover Prototype

An anonymous reader writes: On Tuesday, Slashdot users learned that a man in Alabama sold a lunar rover prototype for scrap metal. We now learn that the junkyard owner has saved this important piece of scientific history. The man claims that, upon receiving the prototype at his scrap facility, he set it aside because he knew exactly what it was.

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Open source desktop publishing with Scribus

Scribus is an open source, graphical desktop publishing (DTP) tool that focuses on
layout, frames, styles, color management, and intercolumn document flow. Scribus is free
software that runs on the Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X platforms, and provides most of the
capabilities of traditional DTP tools at no cost.

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Field as Block – Less Critical – Information Disclosure – SA-CONTRIB-2015-161


This module enables you to take a field from the current entity and place it elsewhere as a block.

The module caches the block output in a manner that could allow sensitive content to be seen by visitors who should not see it.

The problem will only occur when other modules alter field output based on user permissions.

CVE identifier(s) issued

  • A CVE identifier will be requested, and added upon issuance, in accordance with Drupal Security Team processes.

Versions affected

  • Field as Block 7.x-1.x versions prior to 7.x-1.4.

Drupal core is not affected. If you do not use the contributed Field as Block module, there is nothing you need to do.


Install the latest version:

Also see the Field as Block project page.

Reported by

Fixed by

Coordinated by

Contact and More Information

The Drupal security team can be reached at security at or via the contact form at

Learn more about the Drupal Security team and their policies, writing secure code for Drupal, and securing your site.

Follow the Drupal Security Team on Twitter at

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IBM goes into the weather business — no, really

IBM logo

IBM’s artificial intelligence computer Watson is expanding into the weather forecast territory. According to the company, it is buying The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI,, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand.

The TV segment — The Weather Channel — will not be acquired by IBM, but will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract, the company added.

All of abovementioned acquired technology will be used to power the new Watson Internet of Things unit.

Even though weather seems to be in the focus here, it’s actually about data — and large quantities of it. “The planned acquisition would bring together IBM’s powerful cognitive and analytics platform and The Weather Company’s dynamic cloud data platform, which powers the fourth most-used mobile app daily in the United States and handles 26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services each day”.

“The Weather Company’s extremely high-volume data platform, coupled with IBM’s global cloud and the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of Watson, will be unsurpassed in the Internet of Things, providing our clients significant competitive advantage as they link their business and sensor data with weather and other pertinent information in real time”, said John Kelly, senior vice president, IBM Solutions Portfolio and Research.

“This powerful cloud platform will position IBM to arm entire industries with deep multimodal insights that will help enterprises gain clarity and take action from the oceans of data being generated around them”.

The acquisition will help IBM offer weather data insights, but the goal is to help businesses operate more efficiently.

Published under license from, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

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EC2 VPC VPN Update – NAT Traversal, Additional Encryption Options, and More

You can use Amazon Virtual Private Cloud to create a logically isolated section of the AWS Cloud. Within the VPC, you can define your desired IP address range, create subnets, configure route tables, and so forth. You can also use a network gateway to connect the VPC to your existing on-premises network using a hardware Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection. The VPN running in the AWS Cloud (also known as a VPN gateway or VGW) communicates with a customer gateway (CGW) on your network or in your data center (read about Your Customer Gateway to learn more).

Today we are adding several new features to the VPN. Here’s a summary:

  • NAT Traversal
  • Additional Encryption Options
  • Reusable IP addresses for the CGW

In order to take advantage of any of these new features, you will need to create a new VGW and then create new VPN tunnels with the desired attributes.

NAT Traversal
Network Address Translation (NAT) maps one range of IP addresses to another. Let’s say that you have created a VPC and assigned it to a desired IP address range, and then split that range into a couple of subnets. Then you launch some EC2 instances within the VPC, each bound to one of those subnets. You can now use Network Address Translation to map the VPC’s IP address range to a different range when seen from your existing network.  This mapping process takes places across the VPN connection and is known at NAT-T, or NAT Traversal. NAT-T allows you to create IP connections that originate on-premises and connect to an EC2 instance (or vice versa) using addresses that have been translated.

You can set this up when you create a new VPN connection in the AWS Management Console. You will need to open up UDP port 4500 in your firewall in order to make use of NAT-T.

Additional Encryption Options
You can now make use of several new encryption options.

When the VPC’s hardware VPN is in the process of establishing a connection with your on-premises VPN, it proposes several different encryption options, each with a different strength. You can now configure the VPN on the VPC to propose AES256 as an alternative to the older and weaker AES128. If you decide to make use of this new option, you should configure your device so that it no longer accepts a proposal to use AES128 encryption.

The two endpoints participate in a Diffie-Hellman key exchange in order to establish a shared secret. The Diffie-Hellman groups used in the exchange will determine the strength of the hash on the keys. You can now configure the use of a wider range of groups:

  • Phase 1 can now use DH groups 2, 14-18, 22, 23, and 24.
  • Phase 2 can now use DH groups 1, 2, 5, 14-18, 22, 23, and 24.

Packets that flow across the VPN connection are verified using a hash algorithm. A matching hash gives a very high-quality indicator that the packet has not been maliciously modified along the way. You can now configure the VPN on the VPC to use the SHA-2 hashing algorithm with a 256 bit digest (also known as SHA-256). Again, you should configure your device to disallow the use of the weaker hash algorithms.

Reusable CGW IP Addresses
You no longer need to specify a unique IP address for each customer gateway connection that you create. Instead, you can now reuse an existing IP address. Many VPC users have been asking for this feature and I expect it to be well-used.

To learn more, read our FAQ and the VPC Network Adminstrator Guide.


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