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Obamacare and Middle-Wheel-Wheelbarrows 199

Posted by timothy
from the well-here's-where-your-problem-is dept.
davecb writes "The Obamacare sign-up site was a classic example of managers saying 'not invented here' and doing everything wrong, as described in Poul-Henning Kamp's Center Wheel for Success, at ACM Queue." It's not just a knock on the health-care finance site, though: "We are quick to dismiss these types of failures as politicians asking for the wrong systems and incompetent and/or greedy companies being happy to oblige. While that may be part of the explanation, it is hardly sufficient. ... [New technologies] allow us to make much bigger projects, but the actual success/failure rate seems to be pretty much the same."

Verizon and AT&T Join the 'Transparency Report' Club 37

Posted by timothy
from the not-quite-the-same-as-the-invisible-men dept.
wiredmikey writes "Telecommunications giants Verizon and AT&T both announced (separately) this week that they would join a growing list of tech and telecom sector companies in publishing a 'transparency report' about demands for information from law enforcement agencies. Verizon said the first report would come in early 2014, with updates being published semi-annually. AT&T said it would also release a semiannual report starting in early 2014 with information 'to the extent permitted by laws and regulations.' The transparency reports will include things such as the total number of law enforcement agency requests in criminal cases, subpoenas, court orders and warrants. However, telecom and tech firms are still barred from releasing data on national security requests from the FBI and U.S. intelligence services."
Data Storage

Out-of-the-Box, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS To Support TRIM On SSDs 133

Posted by timothy
from the keep-it-snappy dept.
First time accepted submitter Maurits van der Schee writes "Where in older versions you had to add a cron job calling "fstrim" or mounting with the "discard" option in fstab, the new LTS (Long Term Stable) version of Ubuntu Linux will automatically enable TRIM for your SSD. Good news for hardware enthusiasts!"

Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted? 213

Posted by timothy
from the rot13-is-the-only-way dept.
First time accepted submitter monkaru writes "Given reports that various vendors and encryption algorithms have been compromised. Is it still possible to trust any commercial hardware routers or is 'roll your own' the only reasonable path going forward?" What do you do nowadays, if anything, to maintain your online privacy upstream of your own computer?

Ford Engineers Test 'Predictive Logic' To Improve Cruise Control 112

Posted by timothy
from the clippy-is-actually-old-enough-to-drive dept.
cartechboy writes "Sometimes what we think of as 'car tech' is colored by sensational coverage of things like autonomous cars. But real engineers are working behind the scenes every day to make existing auto technologies more efficient. Take cruise control: Today, even adaptive cruise systems just throttle up when the car's speed drops and ease off when speed rises or a car gets too close. Today's cruise-control systems aren't predictive--meaning they don't plan ahead. At all. Now, engineers at Ford are adding predictive algorithms and more sophisticated powertain mapping to reduce the built-in overcompensation that ends up wasting fuel. Ford has mapped each vehicle's powertrain in much greater detail, and their prototype control systems look at grade steepness, load on the engine, and other variables every few seconds to predict what's likely coming up. Will the hill level off soon? Will the driver ask for more gas, or let up on the accelerator? Down the road, connected-vehicle and cloud-based data will build on these predictive developments--as will those autonomous vehicles you hear so much about. Think of this as a building block to the future."

Big Buck Bunny In 4K, 60 Fps and 3D-stereo 102

Posted by timothy
from the open-culture dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Blender Foundation open movie projects like Sintel and Tears of Steel have been mentioned on Slashdot in the recent years. Now an old-timer, their open movie Big Buck Bunny from 2008, has been getting a make-over in a new release: The entire movie has been recreated in 3D stereo with a resolution of 4K (3840x2160) at 60fps. It took years to rework the movie because the original Big Buck Bunny was created for 2D. Most of the scenes had to be modified to work well in 3D stereo. Furthermore, the original movie was made for cinemas and was 24fps; a lot of changes to the animations had to be made to get the correct results. The creator of the reworked version explains about it on BlenderNation where he also talks about the fact that the entire movie was rendered via an online collaborative renderfarm, BURP, where volunteers provided spare CPU cycles to make it happen. If you want to see how your computer measures up to playing 4K content in 60 fps you can download the reworked movie from the official homepage — lower resolutions are also available."

Smooth, 6.5 Hour Spacewalk To Fix ISS Ammonia Pump 90

Posted by timothy
from the easy-peasy-space-is-breezy dept.
The ISS crew can breathe a little easier now; the NY Times reports that the ammonia pump repair that the station has needed has now been partly completed, and in less time than expected. More work is scheduled, but, says The Times: "The astronauts, Col. Michael S. Hopkins of the Air Force and Richard A. Mastracchio, were far ahead of schedule throughout the spacewalk as they detached tubing and electrical connectors from the pump. They were able to remove the 780-pound module and move it to a temporary storage location, a task that had been scheduled for a second spacewalk on Monday. ... Colonel Hopkins and Mr. Mastracchio stepped out of an airlock at 7:01 a.m. Eastern time, and even though they accomplished more than they had set out to do, they were able to return at 12:29 p.m., an hour earlier than had been scheduled. The two encountered few complications." Ars Technica has video, too.

Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Has Been Found 85

Posted by timothy
from the just-in-time-for-the-solstice dept.
jones_supa writes "A month ago there was worry about Kdenlive main developer being missing. Good news guys, Jean-Baptiste Mardelle has been finally reached and is doing fine. In a new mailing list post by Vincent Pinon, he says he managed to find Mardelle's phone number and contacted the longtime KDE developer. It was found out that Mardelle took a break over the summer but then lost motivation in Kdenlive under the burden of the ongoing refactoring of the code. Pinon agreed that there are 'so many things to redo almost from scratch just to get the 'old' functionalities'. The full story can be read from the kdenlive-devel mailing list. After talking with Jean-Baptiste, Vincent has called upon individual developers interested in Kdenlive to come forward. Among the actions called for is putting the Git master code-base back in order, ensuring the code is in good quality, provide new communication about the project, integrate new features like GPU-powered effects and a Qt5 port, and progressively integrate the new Kdenlive design."

French Team Implants First Long-Term Artificial Heart 106

Posted by timothy
from the bunch-of-greedy-capitalist-heart-makers dept.
TrueSatan writes "Physicians at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris have inserted a heart made by the French Carmat company. The heart features bovine tissue components used to reduce the clot forming tendencies of fully artificial units and is intended to allow greater freedom of movement to the patient than previous, short-term use, units permitted. It is powered by external, wearable, lithium-ion batteries and is approximately three times heavier than a typical (European) human heart, though the manufacturer intends to reduce the weight and size of the unit so as to allow use by smaller recipients — in particular most women and men from areas of the world where average body size is less than white/Caucasian averages."

Belgian Telecom Becomes First To Accept Bitcoin 65

Posted by timothy
from the exchange-rates-may-vary dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Belgian telecom Mobile Vikings announced this week that it will begin accepting payment in BitCoin. Combined with mobile wallet apps, the service promises to revolutionize point of sale technologies. Could this be the tipping point for both BitCoin and payment by mobile phone?"

Goodbye, California? Tim Draper Proposes a 6-Way Split 489

Posted by timothy
from the apologies-to-alistair-maclean dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes that venture capitalist Tim Draper has mooted a plan "to split California into six separate states, he told Tech Crunch, with Silicon Valley emerging as the richest and most powerful of all. The mockery is already pouring in. Of course a rich tech guru wants Silicon Valley to get its own government, so it can be freed from the dusty laws and regulations of California 1.0. Of course a deep undercurrent of self-aggrandizing narcissism runs through the proposal — only one other state-to-be gets an actual name, (inexplicably, 'Jefferson') and the rest are lazily affixed with topographical descriptors: West, South, Central, and North California...Yes, in shaping his doctrine, Draper has conjured the perfect blend of Seasteading's offshore tech nirvana lawlessness, boilerplate Tea Party antiestablishmentarianism, and good ol' secessionist chutzpah."
The Military

DoD Public Domain Archive To Be Privatized, Locked Up For 10 Years 183

Posted by timothy
from the oh-they're-only-tax-dollars dept.
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "Looks like the copyright cartel have raided the public domain yet again — the US DoD has signed an exclusive contract with T3 Media to digitize their media archive in exchange for T3 having complete licensing control for 10 years. Considering that all output from the US government is, by law, ineligible for copyright, this deal seems borderline illegal at best. To make matters worse, it appears that there is no provision to make the digitized content freely accessible after the 10 years are up — which means we risk having all that content disappear into T3."

Putting a Panic Button In Smartphone Users' Hands 175

Posted by timothy
from the menu-options-have-recently-changed dept.
theodp writes "If you own an Android phone, you may have inadvertently butt-dialed 911 from time-to-time. So, wonders Kix Panganiban, why don't our phones come with a universal 'Panic Button', that would make it just as easy to intentionally dial the police when it's truly needed? Panganiban envisions "a smartphone app that when triggered, would discreetly send out a distress message to contacts of your choice, and perhaps do some other functions that can get you out of bad (and maybe even life-threatening) situations." While a quick search reveals that some have taken a crack at apps that put a Panic Button in smartphone users' hands, are there good reasons why such a feature isn't just standard on mobile devices? And, with GPS and always-watching and always-listening tech only becoming cheaper and more ubiquitous, how far out in the future is it before your person can be continuously remotely monitored like your residence, even while mobile, and what might that look like?"

90 Percent of Businesses Say IP Is "Not Important" 185

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-not-to-them-in-particular dept.
langelgjm writes "In 2009, the National Science Foundation teamed up with the Census Bureau to ask U.S. businesses how important intellectual property was to them. Now, after three years of surveys, the results are in. Astonishingly, it turns out that when asked, 90 percent of businesses say intellectual property is 'not important'. While some very large businesses and specific sectors indicate that patents, copyrights, and trademarks are important, overall, the figures are shockingly low. What's more, the survey's results have received hardly any press. It appears that formal intellectual property protection is far less important to the vast majority of U.S. businesses than some federal agencies, such as the patent office, are willing to admit."

Protesters Block Apple and Google Buses In California 653

Posted by timothy
from the stop-disrupting-the-peaceful-gridlock dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Business Insider reports that protesters have stopped a bus filled with Apple employees in San Francisco and a Google bus in Oakland. Tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook provide free buses that take their employees from San Francisco to their headquarters in the suburbs. Protesters are mad at the tech companies because the wealthy tech employees have driven up the price of housing in San Francisco, which is pricing out some people. The buses also use public transit stops, and some protesters think that's wrong. Between 70 and 100 protesters gathered for the blockade of Apple private tech shuttle to protest evictions in the city of San Francisco. The activists in San Francisco were from Eviction Free San Francisco, Our Mission No Eviction, Causa Justa /Just Cause. Protesters stood in front of a white shuttle bus holding banners and signs. Some peeked through cardboard signs fashioned in the shape of place markers on Google maps, with "Evicted" written across the front. Meanwhile violence occurred in Oakland, according to reports from IndyBay, as protesters unfurled two giant banners reading "TECHIES: Your World Is Not Welcome Here" and "Fuck off Google" and "a person appeared from behind the bus and quickly smashed the whole of the rear window, making glass rain down on the street. Cold air blew inside the bus and the blockaders with their banners departed." Two weeks ago, protesters stopped a Google bus."

How Asimov's Three Laws Ran Out of Steam 153

Posted by timothy
from the droning-on-and-on-is-a-capital-offense dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It looks like AI-powered weapons systems could soon be outlawed before they're even built. While discussing whether robots should be allowed to kill might like an obscure debate, robots (and artificial intelligence) are playing ever-larger roles in society and we are figuring out piecemeal what is acceptable and what isn't. If killer robots are immoral, then what about the other uses we've got planned for androids? Asimov's three laws don't seem to cut it, as this story explains: 'As we consider the ethical implications of having robots in our society, it becomes obvious that robots themselves are not where responsibility lies.'"
Internet Explorer

Open Source Add-on Rewrites the User Interface of IE11 86

Posted by timothy
from the people-still-use-ie? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This is how Internet Explorer would look if you move the tabs to the top like in other browsers. Developed as a design and UX study, the open source add-on replaces the default navigation bar and combines three traditionally separate toolbars into one. The UX project started in 2004 to demonstrate that it is feasible to combine the address, search, and find box into one. Additionally, Quero offers a variety of customization options for IE, including making the UI themeable or starting Microsoft's desktop browser always maximized."

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]