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Microsoft

Microsoft Doesn't Have Plans For a Dedicated Handheld Gaming Device 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the mobile-kinect-will-never-be-a-thing dept.
DroidJason1 writes: "Rumors have persisted for a while now that Microsoft is working on a dedicated handheld gaming device to go against the Sony PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS. The head of Xbox has now responded to a question about it from an eager gamer on Twitter who asked whether there were any plans for a 'handheld Xbox-One-like gaming device.' The answer is no. Microsoft is focused on Windows Phone, tablets, and perhaps both with controller support someday."
Cloud

Dropbox and Box Leaked Shared Private Files Through Google 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the everything's-secure-until-it-isn't dept.
judgecorp writes: "People using shared storage providers such as Box and Dropbox are leaking data, a competitor has discovered. Links to shared files leak out when those links are accidentally put into the Google search box, or if users click links from within the documents. Dropbox competitor Intralinks stumbled across mortgage applications and bank statements while checking Google Analytics data for a Google Adwords campaign. Graham Cluley explains the problem in detail and suggests answers: for Dropbox users, it means upgrading to the Business version, which lets you restrict access to shared document links." Dropbox has posted an official response and disabled access to previously shared links. Box made a vague statement about their awareness of the issue.
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects? 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the port-quake-3-to-my-microwave dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I've been teaching myself to code recently. I've made good progress so far, and I've written a bunch of little scripts to make my life easier. Here's the problem: most project ideas I come up with now either seem pretty easy or pretty impossible. I'm having trouble thinking of a project that'll stretch my skills without overloading them. I've tried finding open source projects to read through, but I run into the same thing: either it's straight-forward, or it requires reading a half-dozen dependencies, each of which has dependencies of their own. Anyone have suggestions on some intermediate-skill projects to undertake? Or some project files in an online repo that go beyond the basics without getting overwhelming? My language of choice is Python, but other languages are welcome."
Network

Comcast: Destroying What Makes a Competitive Internet Possible 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the have-your-cake-and-stream-it-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Vox has another in-depth report on the perilous state of net neutrality regulation, and how Comcast is attempting to undermine it. Quoting: 'In the bill-and-keep internet, companies at each "end" of a connection bill their own customers — whether that customer is a big web company like Google, or a an average household. Neither end pays the other for interconnection. ... ISP's typically do this by hiring a third party to provide "transit," the service of carrying data from one network to another. Transit providers often swap traffic with one another without money changing hands. ... The terminating monopoly problem occurs when a company at the end of a network not only charges its own customers for their connection, but charges companies in the middle of the network an extra premium to be able to reach its customers. In a bill-and-keep regime, the money always flows in the other direction — from customers to ISPs to transit companies. ... But when an ISP's market share gets large enough, the calculus changes. Comcast has 80 times as many subscribers as Vermont has households. So when Comcast demands payment to deliver content to its own customers, Netflix and its transit suppliers can't afford to laugh it off. The potential costs to Netflix's bottom line are too large.'"
Government

Open Source Program To Give Voters More Active Role In Government 60

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-ways-to-express-your-internet-rage dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Argentinian political activists are developing an open source program that will allow voters to direct their representatives on how to vote on certain issues by giving voters a platform to debate and vote on issues themselves. Started as an accompaniment to and a fundamental feature of a new political party in Argentina, Democracy OS is not designed to be anonymous (i.e., no secret ballots, no anonymous comments). 'Fortunately, the software isn't yet being used to gather real votes, just to gather public feedback.' Critics see this program as yet another iteration of Germany's Pirate Party, which could not engage enough voters in its own open source program, Liquid Feedback, to gain any meaningful policy direction from their constituents. German newspaper Der Spiegel once called the movement 'a grassroots democracy where no one is showing up to participate.'"
Math

Brain Injury Turns Man Into Math Genius 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the ace-your-exam-in-one-easy-step dept.
mpicpp sends in the story of Jason Padgett, a man who developed extraordinary mathematical abilities as the result of brain trauma when he was attacked outside a bar. "Padgett, a furniture salesman from Tacoma, Wash., who had very little interest in academics, developed the ability to visualize complex mathematical objects and physics concepts intuitively. The injury, while devastating, seems to have unlocked part of his brain that makes everything in his world appear to have a mathematical structure 'I see shapes and angles everywhere in real life' — from the geometry of a rainbow, to the fractals in water spiraling down a drain, Padgett told Live Science." "He describes his vision as 'discrete picture frames with a line connecting them, but still at real speed.' If you think of vision as the brain taking pictures all the time and smoothing them into a video, it's as though Padgett sees the frames without the smoothing. "
Businesses

The Exploitative Economics of Academic Publishing 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
v3rgEz sends this piece from the Boston Globe: "Taxpayers in the United States spend $139 billion a year on scientific research, yet much of this research is inaccessible not only to the public, but also to other scientists. This is the consequence of an exploitative scientific journal system that rewards academic publishers while punishing taxpayers, scientists, and universities. Fortunately, cheap open-access alternatives are not only possible, but already beginning to take root, as this article explores in-depth: 'Why is it so expensive to publish in these open-access journals? According to the journals, these fees defray their publication and operating costs. However, this argument is undermined by the existence of open-access journals that charge authors nothing and have negligible operating costs. One prominent example is the Journal of Machine Learning Research (JMLR), one of the top publications in the field of machine learning. JMLR has a similar editorial process to many other journals, with a volunteer editorial board and an automated system for managing the peer-review process. Unlike many closed-access publishers, it does not take any advertising. MIT provides the web server for hosting JMLR, which would otherwise cost around $15 per year. The biggest expense is paying for a tax accountant to deal with paperwork so JMLR can maintain its tax-exempt status. Altogether, the total cost of running JMLR since it was founded in 2000 is estimated to be less than $7,000, or $6.50 per article published. This proves that cheap open-access publishing is possible.'"
Government

US Military Drones Migrating To Linux 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the arming-the-penguin dept.
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "Raytheon is switching its UAV control system from Solaris to Linux for U.S. military drones, starting with a Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter. Earlier this month Raytheon entered into a $15.8 million contract with the U.S. Navy to upgrade Raytheon's control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to a recent Avionics Intelligence report. The overhaul is designed to implement more modern controls to help ground-based personnel control UAVs. Raytheon's tuxified version of its Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Air Vehicle Tactical Control System (TCS) will also implement universal UAV control qualities. As a result the TCS can be used in in all U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps UAVs that weigh at least 20 pounds. By providing an open standard, the common Linux-based platform is expected to reduce costs by limiting the types of UAV control systems that need to be built and maintained for each craft."
Medicine

Polio Causes Global Health Emergency 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the polio-2:-the-revenge dept.
mdsolar (1045926) sends this news from Bloomberg: "The spread of polio to countries previously considered free of the crippling disease is a global health emergency, the World Health Organization said, as the virus once driven to the brink of extinction mounts a comeback. Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of exporting the virus to other countries, and should ensure that residents have been vaccinated before they travel, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today after a meeting of its emergency committee. It's only the second time the United Nations agency has declared a public health emergency of international concern, after the 2009 influenza pandemic. Polio has resurged as military conflicts from Sudan to Pakistan disrupt vaccination campaigns, giving the virus a toehold. The number of cases reached a record low of 223 globally in 2012 and jumped to 417 last year, according to the WHO. There have been 74 cases this year, including 59 in Pakistan, during what is usually polio's 'low season,' the WHO said. "
Earth

US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe 627

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it-was-cold-yesterday dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Darryl Fears reports in the Washington Post on the U.S. government's newest national assessment of climate change. It says Americans are already feeling the effects of global warming. The assessment carves the nation into sections and examines the impacts: More sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and Caribbean; more drought and wildfires in the Southwest. 'Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides. Inland cities near large rivers also experience more flooding, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Insurance rates are rising in some vulnerable locations, and insurance is no longer available in others. Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage. In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded, and autumn storms now cause more erosion, threatening many communities with relocation.' The report concludes that over recent decades, climate science has advanced significantly and that increased scrutiny has led to increased certainty that we are now seeing impacts associated with human-induced climate change. 'What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.'"
Linux

Another Year of LinuxFest Northwest (Video) 12

Posted by Roblimo
from the volunteer-for-15-years-and-you-get-15-shirts-with-logos-on-them dept.
We last interviewed LinuxFest volunteer Jakob Perry in January, 2013, when he and the rest of the crew that makes this event happen were gearing up for their 14th version of this outstanding regional Linux/FOSS conference. Now they've gotten through LinuxFest 15, which makes this one of the longest-lasting Linux shows around. And Jakob is still helping to put it together, as he has since he was a teenager. Since he's been with LinuxFest Northwest since the beginning, this gives him some serious longevity cred, especially when you realize that he has been volunteering with LFNW since he was 15 years old -- and hasn't seemed to lose a bit of his enthusiasm in all that time. (Alternate Video Link)
Cellphones

The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone' 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the phones-of-middling-intelligence dept.
zarmanto writes: "The numbers have been telling us for a while now that (formerly expensive) feature phones have been slowly displaced by more feature-rich, high-end smartphones. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the other end of the market is also receiving active encroachment by low-end smartphones. Now, ARM is suggesting that it's actually quite conceivable for OEMs to produce a 'smartphone' for as little as $20 — as long as you compromise a bit on those things which actually make it a smartphone in the first place. So, is this just more graying of the line between smartphones and feature phones? Or is this an indication that the feature phone (as we used to know it) is finally well-and-truly dead?"
Stats

Actual Results of Crimean Secession Vote Leaked 557

Posted by timothy
from the not-quite-as-advertised dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Forbes reported on Monday that The President of Russia's Council on Civil Society and Human Rights very briefly and supposedly by accident posted the actual results of the Crimean secession vote. According to the blog post, which has since been taken down, only 30% of Crimeans participated in the vote instead of the 83% participation officially advertised by Russia, and of that 30% only half voted for secession, which means that 15% of all Crimeans voted for secession rather than the 82% officially reported by Russia. There is no way for this claim to be verified as no foreign observers were allowed during the voting process. The vote is reportedly being conducted again during the 'May 11 referendum on the status of the so-called People's Republic of Donetsk.'" We've had a lot of discussion over the years about election methods and transparency; it would be interesting to hear from Ukranian readers in particular on this topic.
Privacy

Police Departments Using Car Tracking Database Sworn To Secrecy 202

Posted by timothy
from the you-swear-not-to-reveal-the-swearing-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Vigilant Solutions maintains what they claim is the nation's largest database of license-plate tracking data, 'LEARN' (Law Enforcement Archival and Reporting Network). But when a law enforcement agency signs up to use the database, they are sworn to keep it secret. The reason? They are quite clear about that: 'to prohibit users from cooperating with any media outlet to bring attention to LEARN or LEARN-NVLS.' So, they're tracking you (they're tracking everybody)... but they don't want you to know. The agreement, uncovered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, states: You shall not create, publish, distribute, or permit any written, electronically transmitted or other form of publicity material that makes reference to LEARN or this Agreement without first submitting the material to LEARN-NVLS and receiving written consent from LEARN-NVLS. This prohibition is specifically intended to prohibit users from cooperating with any media outlet to bring attention to LEARN or LEARN-NVLS. Breach this provision may result in LEARN-NVLS immediately termination of this Agreement upon notice to you."

Immediately after WIRED published the story, though, the agreement mysteriously changed. The secrecy provision is still there, but the statement that it's 'specifically intended' to prevent the media attention has vanished."
Security

Anti-Virus Is Dead (But Still Makes Money) Says Symantec 254

Posted by timothy
from the look-for-antivirus-with-the-rms-serial-of-approval dept.
judgecorp (778838) writes "Symantec says anti-virus is dead but the company — the world's largest IT security firm — still makes 40 percent of its revenue there. AV now lets through around 55 percent of attacks, the company's senior vice president of information security told the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, other security firms including FireEye, RedSocks and Imperva are casting doubt on AV, suggesting a focus on data loss prevention might be better."
The Internet

Internet Transit Provider Claims ISPs Deliberately Allow Port Congestion 210

Posted by timothy
from the please-open-the-porthole-a-bit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Level 3, an internet transit provider, claimed in a recent blog post that six ISPs that it regularly does business with have refused to de-congest most of their interconnect ports. 'Congestion that is permanent, has been in place for well over a year and where our peer refuses to augment capacity.' Five of the six ISPs that Level 3 refers to are in the U.S., and one is in Europe. Not surprisingly, 'the companies with the congested peering interconnects also happen to rank dead last in customer satisfaction across all industries in the U.S. Not only dead last, but by a massive statistical margin of almost three standard deviations.' Ars Technica reports that ISPs have also demanded that transit providers like Level 3 pay for access to their networks in the same manner as fringe service providers like Netflix."
Windows

The Upcoming Windows 8.1 Apocalypse 293

Posted by timothy
from the or-at-least-a-kerfuffle dept.
arglebargle_xiv (2212710) writes "As most people will have heard, Microsoft will end support for anyone who hasn't upgraded to Win8.1 Update 1 on May 8. What fewer people have heard is that large numbers of users can't install the 8.1 Update, with over a thousand messages in this one thread alone, and that's for tech geeks rather than home users who won't find out about this until their PC becomes orphaned on May 8. Check your Windows Update log, if you've got a "Failed" entry next to KB2919355 then your PC will also become orphaned after May 8."
The Media

Skepticism Grows Over Claims That MH370 Lies In the Bay of Bengal 126

Posted by timothy
from the homeopathic-jet-fuel dept.
Sockatume (732728) writes "The latest episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Mediawatch program addresses GeoResonance's claims to have found the lost Malasia Airlines MH370 in the Bay of Bengal. They attribute the company's sudden prominence to increasing desperation amongst the press. Meanwhile, the Metabunk web site has been digging into the people and technology behind GeoResonance and its international siblings, finding noted pseudoscientist Vitaly Gokh and a dubious variation on Kirlian photography."
The Military

Norway Is Gamifying Warfare By Driving Tanks With Oculus Rift 106

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-killing-through-technology dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Look at Norway, where the Army has started using Oculus Rift to drive tanks with increased visibility, according to the Norwegian TV station tu.no. Four VR cameras are mounted on the sides of the tank to give the soldier inside donning the headset a full 360 degree view of what's going on outside, like X-ray vision. Using cameras to 'see through' a vehicle isn't a new concept; when the hatches are down tanks are notoriously hard to navigate. But the Oculus Rift dev kit is just a fraction of the price of traditional 360-degree camera equipment: Lockheed Martin's F-35 helmet for pilots can cost tens of thousands of dollars."
Government

Rand Paul Starts New Drone War In Congress 272

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the rand-paul-plus-aclu-what dept.
SonicSpike (242293) writes with news that the ACLU and Rand Paul both think every Senator should read David Barron's legal memos justifying the use of drones against an American citizen before he is confirmed to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. From the article: "Paul, the junior Republican senator from Kentucky, has informed Reid he will object to David Barron's nomination to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals unless the Justice Department makes public the memos he authored justifying the killing of an American citizen in Yemen. The American Civil Liberties Union supports Paul's objection, giving some Democratic lawmakers extra incentive to support a delay to Barron's nomination, which could come to the floor in the next two weeks. Barron, formerly a lawyer in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, penned at least one secret legal memo approving the Sept. 2011 drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric whom intelligence officials accused of planning terrorist attacks against the United States."
Earth

Earthquake Warning Issued For Central Oklahoma 127

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cthulhu-rises dept.
New submitter bobbied (2522392) writes "A rare warning has been issued by the US Geological survey today, warning of an increased risk of a damaging earthquake (magnitude 5.0 or greater) in central Oklahoma. There have been more earthquakes in Oklahoma (per mile) than California this year, prompting the USGS to issue their warning today (May 5, 2014).

This warning is the first such warning to be issued for a state east of the Rockies."
United Kingdom

Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says 589

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cliche-about-free-time dept.
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Jos Creese, CIO of the Hampshire County Council, told Britain's 'Computing' publication that part of the reason is that most staff are already familiar with Microsoft products and that Microsoft has been flexible and more helpful. 'Microsoft has been flexible and helpful in the way we apply their products to improve the operation of our frontline services, and this helps to de-risk ongoing cost,' he told the publication. 'The point is that the true cost is in the total cost of ownership and exploitation, not just the license cost.' Creese went on to say he didn't have a particular bias about open source over Microsoft, but proprietary solutions from Microsoft or any other commercial software vendor 'need to justify themselves and to work doubly hard to have flexible business models to help us further our aims.'"

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