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Businesses

+ - 262 High Frequency Trading: Far Worse then you Thought->

Submitted by Required Snark
Required Snark (1702878) writes "High Frequency Trading is a software engineering disaster, according to a study by the Chicago Federal Reserve. As reported at The Economic Populist, problems include:

Industry and regulatory groups have articulated best practices related to risk controls, but many firms fail to implement all the recommendations or rely on other firms in the trade cycle to catch an out-of-control algorithm or erroneous trade. In part, this is because applying risk controls before the start of a trade can slow down an order, and high-speed trading firms are often under enormous pressure to route their orders to the exchange quickly so as to capture a trade at the desired price.

Another area of concern is that some firms do not have stringent processes for the development, testing, and deployment of code used in their trading algorithms. For example, a few trading firms interviewed said they deploy new trading strategies quickly by tweaking old code and placing it into production in a matter of minutes.

Chicago Fed staff also found that out-of-control algorithms were more common than anticipated prior to the study and that there were no clear patterns as to their cause. Two of the four clearing BDs/FCMs, two-thirds of proprietary trading firms, and every exchange interviewed had experienced one or more errant algorithms.

To sum things up, the well being of the entire world economy is now in the hands of greedy, incompetent corrupt insiders who will do anything to achieve a profit. The regulators are all off on a permanent vacation. (The Federal Reserve does not regulate HFT.) What could possibly go wrong?"
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Privacy

+ - 207 W3C Community Group proposed to tackle covert sharing of user agent state.->

Submitted by
FredAndrews
FredAndrews writes "A W3C Community Group (Private User Agent PUA) has been proposed to tackle the privacy of the web browser by developing technical solutions to close the leaks. Current Javascript APIs are capable of leaking a lot of information as we browse the Internet, such as details of our browser that can be used to identify and track our online presence, and the content on the page including any private customizations and the effects of extensions, and can monitor and leak our usage on the page such a mouse movements and interactions on the page. This problem is compounded by the increased use of the web browser as a platform for delivering softare, and also by yet more leak standards are being developed which is often justifying by their authors by pointing to the current leaky infrastructure. While the community ignores the issue, solutions are being developed commercially and patented — we run the risk of ending up unable to have privacy because the solutions are patented. The proposed W3C PUA CG proposes to address the problem with technical solutions at the web browser, such as restricting the back channels available to Javascript, and also by proposing HTML extensions to mitigate lost functionality. Note this work can not address the privacy of information that we overty share, and there are other current W3C innitiatives working on this such as DNT."
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Software

+ - 239 Ask Slashdot: How to ask college to change Intro to Computing? 3

Submitted by taz346
taz346 (2715665) writes "I got a Bachelor's degree 30 years ago, but I recently started back to college to get an Associate's degree. Most of the core courses are already covered by my B.A. but one that I didn't take way back when was Introduction to Computing. I am taking that now but have been very disappointed to find that it is really just Introduction to Microsoft Office 2010. That's actually the name of the (very expensive) textbook. It is mindless, boring and pretty useless for someone who's used PCs for about 20 years. But beyond that, why does it have to be all about MS Office and nothing else? Couldn't they just teach people to create documents, etc., and let them use any office software, like Libre Office? It seems to me that would be more useful; students would learn how to actually create things on their computers, not just follow step-by-step commands from a dumbed-down book about one piece of increasingly expensive software. I know doing it the way they do now is easy for the college, but it's not really teaching students much about what they can do with computers. So when the class is over, I plan to write a letter to the college asking them to change the course as I suggested above. I'm not real hopeful, but what the heck. Do folks out there have any good suggestions as to what might be the most persuasive arguments I can make?"
Google

+ - 120 Google News Turns 10->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Google News, which was launched on September 22, 2002 has turned 10 today. Started as a means to suffice the need of serving news to the internet community after the 9/11 attacks, Google News has become one of the primary source of news on the internet. As pointed out by Google in a blog post, Google News currently has 72 editions in 30 languages and extracts news from a whopping 50,000 news sources and gets around 1 billion unique users a week."
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Government

+ - 232 Medicare Bills Rise as Records Turn Electronic

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "As part of the economic stimulus program, the Obama administration put into effect a Bush-era incentive program that provides tens of billions of dollars for physicians and hospitals that make the switch to electronic records, using systems like Athenahealth (which made U.S. CTO Todd Park a wealthy man). The goal was not only to improve efficiency and patient safety, but also to reduce health care costs. But, in reality, the move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients by making it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services, whether or not they provide additional care. Hospitals received $1 billion more in Medicare reimbursements in 2010 than they did five years earlier, at least in part by changing the billing codes they assign to patients in emergency rooms, according to a NY Times analysis. There are also fears that features which can be used to automatically generate detailed patient histories and clone examination findings for multiple patients make it too easy to give the appearance that more thorough exams were conducted than perhaps were. Critics say the abuses are widespread. 'It's like doping and bicycling,' said Dr. Donald W. Simborg. 'Everybody knows it's going on.'"
IOS

+ - 183 iOS 6 Adoption At 25-35% After Just 48 Hours->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "iOS 6 has seen rapid adoption among iPhone and iPad users, reports developer David Smith. Smith’s applications like Audiobooks get around 100k downloads weekly and he’s taken to mapping the adoption of Apple’s software releases over the last couple of years. This update’s data shows a 35.4% adoption of iOS 6, with iOS 5.x holding court at 71.5% adoption. That’s a pretty rapid pace, eclipsing Android Jelly Bean’s 2-month adoption levels of 1.2% easily."
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+ - 208 Gaming with only one hand...

Submitted by Hork_Monkey
Hork_Monkey (580728) writes "I recently sustained a severe injury to one of my arms, and lucky not to be an amputee. I'm an avid gamer (primarily PC, but also XBox) and looking for advice one how to adapt to the challenge now presented of enjoying one of my favorite past times. My google-fu has lead me to some devices and tips, but I wanted to tap the collective while experimenting. I know there has to be some /.'ers in a similar position who could provide some guidance. I'm figuring a few things out, and also hope to share what I find for others in a similar situation."

+ - 230 Federal judge says no right to secret ballot->

Submitted by doug141
doug141 (863552) writes "A Colorado county put bar codes on printed ballots in a last minute effort to comply with a rule about eliminating identifying markings. Citizens sued, because the bar codes can still be traced back to individual voters. In a surprise ruling, Denver U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello said the U.S. Constitution did not contain a "fundamental right" to secret ballots, the citizens could not show their voting rights had been violated, nor that they might suffer any specific injury from the bar codes."
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Science

+ - 222 Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Smartphone Charging Coming in 2013->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "The search for a hydrogen based cell phone charger is over as ROHM, Aquafairy and Kyoto University have developed a hydrogen based fuel cell that is capable of charging a phone in about 2 hours. Electricity in the compact and portable fuel cell is generated by producing hydrogen through a chemical reaction that involves calcium hydride sheets and water. The fuel cell generates approximately 4.5 liters of hydrogen from the calcium hydride sheet that is less than 3cc in volume thus providing 5Whr of electricity. ROHM said that the new fuel cell operate in ambient temperatures making it suitable for day to day use with smartphones, tablets, other portable devices."
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Privacy

+ - 201 Ubuntu Will Now Have Amazon Ads Pre-installed 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Scheduled to be released next month, Ubuntu 12.10 now includes both amazon ads in the user's dash and by default an amazon store in the user's launcher. The reason for these "features"? Affiliate revenue. Despite previous controversies with Banshee and Yahoo, Canonical is "confident it will be an interesting and useful feature for
our 12.10 users." But are the "users" becoming products?"
EU

+ - 218 Google Faces Heavy Antitrust Fines in the EU->

Submitted by SquarePixel
SquarePixel (1851068) writes "Europe's competition watchdog is considering formal proceedings against Google over antitrust complaints about the way it promotes its own services in search results, potentially exposing the company to a fine of 10 percent of its global turnover. Google is accused of using its search service to direct users to its own services and to reduce the visibility of competing websites and services. If the Commission found Google guilty of breaking E.U. competition rules, it could restrict Google's business activities in Europe and fine the company up to 10 percent of its annual global revenue (US$37.9 billion last year)."
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Cloud

+ - 237 Intel talks Cloud Gaming->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Intel researcher Daniel Pohl (also known from projects like Wolfenstein Ray Traced) talked at the Cloud Gaming USA conference about three challenges in cloud gaming today. First cloud games are just the same as their PC and console versions and don't make use of a potential, more powerful cloud to enable more features and higher quality rendering. Second the topic of latency, not only regarding internet, but along the full way from user input to the screen is analyzed in detail. Last an outlook discusses the huge increase in screen resolutions over the next years and therefore the challenge regarding bandwidth and compute. Both slides and a video of the talk are available."
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Iphone

+ - 121 WOZ in OZ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Apple co-founder and longtime iPhone enthusiast Steve Wozniak surprised iPhone fans by joining the queue outside the Chermside Apple store this morning.

Wozniak tells Peter and Mary from 4BC Breakfast about his visit to the city and reveals his ambitions to become an Australian citizen."

Link to Original Source

+ - 298 Ask Slashdot: Engineering in the Ancient World 1

Submitted by lostmy4digitUID
lostmy4digitUID (2736503) writes "As a profesional engineer and a historical hobbyist I have have been researching some of the greatest ancient accomplishments. What i found was that some of the greatest accomplshments are not as well know in the mainstream as they should be. When we hear about ancient engineering we hear about the Giza pyramids, Stonehedge, or the Nazca lines. I am contemplating writing a book about the lesser known but far more impressive ancient accomplishments such as the Ba'albek stone in Lebanon which weighed about 1200 tons (2.4 million pounds) or the construction of Pumapunku in Bolivia which displays perfect 90 degree angle cuts with out any tool marks ( supposedly built by a civilization that was illiterate). There are many more examples such as the Antikythera mechanism which is arguably the worlds first complicated machine. I would like to ask the group think machine for any other examples and possible explanations for such advanced engineering in such prinitive times."
NASA

+ - 168 Space shuttle items for sale soon through online auction->

Submitted by shortyadamk
shortyadamk (2453182) writes "According to the Government Services Administration auction page, "Attention GSA Auctions bidders and interested participants. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Space Shuttle Program has retired and NASA has partnered with GSA Auctions to sell the many shuttle related items through a series of auctions in 2012." The only catch is that you must be a U.S. Citizen and schedule a visit 48 hours ahead of time to pick up your item.

I'm not really sure which piece of the shuttle I'd want the most... Those robotic arms are pretty sweet."

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Businesses

+ - 146 Sir Patrick Stewart defeated by the cable company-> 1

Submitted by whoever57
whoever57 (658626) writes "While in his role portraying Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek series he was able to defeat opponents across the galaxy, but in real life he was defeated by a much more mundane foe — a foe that many here at /. are familiar with — the cable company. Venting his frustration via twitter, he tweeted that he had lost the will to live after attempting to get a new account with Time Warner Cable in New York City New York City."
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Programming

+ - 183 What Causes Spaghetti Code? (Not the GOTO)

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Michael O'Church writes that spaghetti code is an especially virulent but specific kind of bad code related to the dreaded and mostly archaic goto statement, a simple and powerful control flow mechanism that makes it difficult to reason about code, because if control can bounce about a program, one cannot make guarantees about what state a program is in when it executes a specific piece of code. Goto statements were once the leading cause of spaghetti code, but goto has fallen so far out of favor that it’s a non-concern. "Now the culprit is something else entirely: the modern bastardization of object-oriented programming," writes O'Church adding that inheritance is an especially bad culprit, and so is premature abstraction: using a parameterized generic with only one use case in mind, or adding unnecessary parameters. Object-oriented programming, originally designed to prevent spaghetti code, has become one of the worst sources of it (through a “design pattern” ridden misunderstanding of it). An “object” can mix code and data freely and conform to any number of interfaces, while a class can be subclassed freely about the program. "There’s a lot of power in object-oriented programming, and when used with discipline, it can be very effective. But most programmers don’t handle it well, and it seems to turn to spaghetti over time," concludes O'Church. "I recognize that this claim – that OOP as practiced is spaghetti code – is not a viewpoint without controversy. Nor was it without controversy, at one time, that goto was considered harmful.""

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