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Businesses

Electrical Engineer Unemployment Soars; Software Developers' Rate Drops to 2.2% 419

Posted by Soulskill
from the guess-they-built-a-few-too-many-robots dept.
dcblogs writes "The unemployment rate for people at the heart of many tech innovations — electrical engineers — soared in the first quarter of this year to 6.5%. That's nearly double the unemployment rate from last year. The reasons for the spike aren't clear, but the IEEE-USA says the increase is alarming. At the same time, U.S. Labor Dept. data showed that jobs for software developers are on the rise. The unemployment rate for software engineers was 2.2% in the first quarter, down from 2.8% last year. This professional group warns that unemployment rates for engineers could get worse if H-1B visas are increased. The increase in engineering unemployment comes at the same time demand for H-1B visas is up."
Apple

Apple Bans Sale of Comic Book On All iOS Apps Over Gay Sex Images - Update 299

Posted by Soulskill
from the past-lessons-remain-unlearned dept.
New submitter RicardoGCE writes "Apple has banned all iOS apps from carrying Saga #12, a comic book created by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and published by Image Comics. The reason for the ban is the depiction of oral sex appearing on the computer monitor that serves as the head of one of the characters. The content has been deemed pornographic, and sale of the comic has been blocked. Comixology will allow users to sync their purchases, however, so users of their app will be able to read the book on their i-devices. They just won't be able to buy it through the iOS version of the app." Vaughan himself points out the sexual representation in this issue ("two postage stamp-sized images") are not as graphic or as prominent as other situations from past issues. The difference is that this depiction is of a homosexual encounter rather than a heterosexual one. Image Comics took the high road, saying they regret the decision, but that it's "Apple’s decision and it would be inappropriate for us to tell another company how to run its business."
Update: 04/10 18:36 GMT by S : As it turns out, reports of Apple censorship were wrong. Comixology posted today on their blog that they were the ones who decided to remove the issue of Saga from the app. They did so because they were trying to follow Apple's content guidelines. The issue will be available via their app soon.
Hardware

Tiny Chiplets: a New Level of Micro Manufacturing 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the website-idea:-chiplets-&-diplets dept.
concealment sends this quote from the NY Times: "Today’s chips are made on large wafers that hold hundreds of fingernail-sized dies, each with the same electronic circuit. The wafers are cut into individual dies and packaged separately, only to be reassembled on printed circuit boards, which may each hold dozens or hundreds of chips. PARC researchers have a very different model in mind. ... they have designed a laser-printer-like machine that will precisely place tens or even hundreds of thousands of chiplets, each no larger than a grain of sand, on a surface in exactly the right location and in the right orientation. The chiplets can be both microprocessors and computer memory as well as the other circuits needed to create complete computers. They can also be analog devices known as microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, that perform tasks like sensing heat, pressure or motion. The new manufacturing system the PARC researchers envision could be used to build custom computers one at a time, or as part of a 3-D printing system that makes smart objects with computing woven right into them."
Graphics

NVIDIA Releases Optimus Linux Driver With New Features 123

Posted by Soulskill
from the baby-steps dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly one year after Linux creator Linux Torvalds publicly bashed NVIDIA and several years after their multi-GPU mobile technology premiered, the graphics vendor has finally delivered an Optimus-supported Linux driver. NVIDIA released the 319.12 Beta Linux driver that brings support for 'RandR 1.4 GPU provider objects' that basically allows for Optimus-like functionality when using the latest X Server, Linux kernel, and XRandR. The 319.12 beta also has many other features including better UEFI support, installer improvements, new pages on their settings panel, and new GPU support."
Crime

Hackers Swipe Unreleased Game From Ubisoft 99

Posted by Soulskill
from the somehow-not-stymied-by-DRM dept.
hypnosec writes with news that a group of Russian hackers has compromised the security of Ubisoft's digital distribution platform, uPlay, finding a way for users of the service to download any of its games for free. What makes this particularly notable is that the hackers found a copy of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, an unreleased spin-off of Far Cry 3 that hasn't even been officially announced (except as part of an April Fool's joke). The hackers posted a half-hour of gameplay footage to YouTube, and Ubisoft took uPlay down to fix the security vulnerability. They say no user information was compromised.
Movies

New Revenue Model For Low Budget Films: Lawsuits 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the doubling-down dept.
conspirator23 writes "A 64-year-old retired English teacher is being sued by a copyright troll for illegal BitTorrent downloading of a motion picture. Perhaps it's not all that shocking in the current era. That is, until we learn that rather than protecting something like Game of Thrones, the plaintiff is accusing Emily Orlando of Estacada, Oregon of downloading Maximum Conviction, a direct-to-video action flick released earlier this year starring Steven Segal and ex-WWE wrestler Steve Austin. Voltage Pictures is demanding $7500 from Emily and 370 other defendants. If all the defendants were to pay the demands, Voltage would gross over $2.75 million, minus legal fees. Who needs Kickstarter?" As you might expect, Mrs. Orlando had never heard of BitTorrent before receiving the legal threat, and she lives in an area with dynamic IP assignments. This is the same company who has been going after file-sharers by the thousands since 2010.
Mozilla

Mozilla: Unlike FB and Twitter Single Sign-in, Persona Protects User Privacy 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-it-has-fiber-and-calcium-and-zero-carbs dept.
tsamsoniw writes "Mozilla today unveiled Persona Beta 2, the newest edition of the organization's open authentication system. The release includes Identity Bridging, which lets user sign in to Persona-supported sites using their existing webmail accounts, starting with Yahoo. Mozilla used the release as an opportunity to bash social sign-in offerings from Facebook and Twitter, which 'conflate the act of signing into a website with sharing access to your social network, and often granting the site permission to publish on your behalf,' said Lloyd Hilaiel, technical lead for Mozilla Persona. He added that they are built in such a way that social providers have full visibility into a user's browsing behavior."
Transportation

Speeding Ticket Robots — Laws As Algorithms 400

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-have-been-flagged-for-17,092-speeding-violations dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As the age of autonomous cars and drone surveillance draws nearer, it's reasonable to expect government to increasingly automate enforcement of traffic laws. We already deal with red light cameras, speed limit cameras, and special lane cameras. But they aren't widespread, and there are a host of problems with them. Now, Ars reports on a group of academics who are attempting to solve the problem of converting simple laws to machine-readable code. They found that when the human filter was removed from the system, results became unreasonable very quickly. For example, if you aren't shy about going 5 mph over the limit, you'll likely break the law dozens of times during an hour of city driving. On the freeway, you might break it continuously for an hour. But it's highly unlikely you'd get more than one ticket for either transgression. Not so with computers (PDF): 'An automated system, however, could maintain a continuous flow of samples based on driving behavior and thus issue tickets accordingly. This level of resolution is not possible in manual law enforcement. In our experiment, the programmers were faced with the choice of how to treat many continuous samples all showing speeding behavior. Should each instance of speeding (e.g. a single sample) be treated as a separate offense, or should all consecutive speeding samples be treated as a single offense? Should the duration of time exceeding the speed limit be considered in the severity of the offense?' One of the academics said, 'When you're talking about automated enforcement, all of the enforcement has to be put in before implementation of the law—you have to be able to predict different circumstances.'"
Software

Why AppGratis Was Pulled From the App Store 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the stories-that-will-fit-your-preconceived-notions dept.
RougeFemme writes "By now, you may know that AppGratis, a popular app discovery app, was recently pulled from the App store. Apple listed violations of the following guidelines: '2.25 Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected. ... 5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.' Now, the company's CEO, Simon Dawlat, has made a blog post with 'the rest of the story.'" As it turns out, AppGratis had been cleared by Apple for guideline 2.25 as recently as October, and its iPad version was approved less than a week ago. The brand new Apple review team member who contacted the company isn't able to explain what went into the decision to ban it now. Dalwat says the complaint about guideline 5.6 was 'another surprise for us since we only send one "system notification" a day to our users, coming in the form of a generic, opt-in only "Today’s deal is here!" message, which is precisely how Apple recommends developers to use its push notification service.'" However, the AllThingsD article cites sources claiming Apple was "more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure." Dalwat does not address this in his post.
Security

The Search Engine More Dangerous Than Google 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-perhaps-a-catalog-of-people-doing-dangerous-things dept.
mallyn writes "This is an article about a search engine that is designed to look for devices on the net that are not really intended to be viewed and used by the general public. Devices include pool filters, skating rink cooling system, and other goodies. 'Shodan runs 24/7 and collects information on about 500 million connected devices and services each month. It's stunning what can be found with a simple search on Shodan. Countless traffic lights, security cameras, home automation devices and heating systems are connected to the Internet and easy to spot. Shodan searchers have found control systems for a water park, a gas station, a hotel wine cooler and a crematorium. Cybersecurity researchers have even located command and control systems for nuclear power plants and a particle-accelerating cyclotron by using Shodan. ... A quick search for "default password" reveals countless printers, servers and system control devices that use "admin" as their user name and "1234" as their password. Many more connected systems require no credentials at all — all you need is a Web browser to connect to them.'"
Businesses

EA Repeats As 'Worst Company In America' 346

Posted by Soulskill
from the show-what-our-priorities-are-at-least dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Electronic Arts has successfully defended its title as the 'Worst Company In America.' Consumerist finished its annual tournament for bad companies, pitting notorious companies against each other in a single-elimination bracket where readers vote on which is worse. EA won last year, and today Consumerist announced the results of this year's final vote. EA was voted worse than Bank of America by 78% of participants. 'A made a royal mess of the SimCity release by failing to foresee that the people who would buy the game — and who would, per the game's design, be required to connect to the EA servers — might actually want to play at some point in the week after making their purchase. But that's just the latest in EA's long history of annoying its customer base with bad support.' Of course, EA saw this coming, and its CEO pre-emptively responded last Friday. Of course, many of his explanations and promises rang hollow for gamers who are sick of the company's practices: 'Until EA stops sucking the blood out of games in order to make uninspiring sequels, or at least until they begin caring about how much gamers hate their lack of respect for our money and intelligence, this is going to continue. We don't hate them because we're homophobes, we hate them because they destroy companies we love. We hate them because they release poor games. We hate them because they claim our hate doesn't matter as long as we give them our money.'"
Sci-Fi

Classic BBC Sci-fi Series Blake's 7 To Return On Syfy Channel 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-old-is-new dept.
Zaiff Urgulbunger writes "According to the BBC, 'Cult classic sci-fi series Blake's 7 is to be remade for the Syfy network, it has been announced. FremantleMedia International said 13 hour-long episodes will be written by Heroes writer Joe Pokaski.' Here's hoping the special effects budget will be higher than for the original series! Also, I'm hoping that the Liberator is of similar design and includes Zen — the ships computer."
Cellphones

FBI's Smartphone Surveillance Tool Explained In Court Battle 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the spying-made-simple dept.
concealment writes with news that a court battle has brought to light details on how the FBI's "stingray" surveillance tool works, and how they used it with Verizon's help to collect evidence about an alleged identity thief. Quoting: "Air cards are devices that plug into a computer and use the wireless cellular networks of phone providers to connect the computer to the internet. The devices are not phones and therefore don’t have the ability to receive incoming calls, but in this case Rigmaiden asserts that Verizon reconfigured his air card to respond to surreptitious voice calls from a landline controlled by the FBI. The FBI calls, which contacted the air card silently in the background, operated as pings to force the air card into revealing its location. In order to do this, Verizon reprogrammed the device so that when an incoming voice call arrived, the card would disconnect from any legitimate cell tower to which it was already connected, and send real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI. This allowed the FBI to position its stingray in the neighborhood where Rigmaiden resided. The stingray then "broadcast a very strong signal" to force the air card into connecting to it, instead of reconnecting to a legitimate cell tower, so that agents could then triangulate signals coming from the air card and zoom-in on Rigmaiden’s location. To make sure the air card connected to the FBI’s simulator, Rigmaiden says that Verizon altered his air card’s Preferred Roaming List so that it would accept the FBI’s stingray as a legitimate cell site and not a rogue site, and also changed a data table on the air card designating the priority of cell sites so that the FBI’s fake site was at the top of the list."
Google

Google Fiber's Austin, Texas Rollout Confirmed 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the assuming-north-korea-leaves-it-intact dept.
skade88 writes "As earlier rumors suggested, Google Fiber will indeed roll out in Austin, Texas, with the first homes receiving service in mid-2014. The delay is due to the need for a whole new fiber network to be deployed for the service. It will only be deployed within the Austin City limits. Google says in early 2014 they will allow people in Austin register their address for service. They plan to deploy to the neighborhoods with the most interest."
Sci-Fi

Interviews: Ask J. Michael Straczynski What You Will 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the last-best-hope-for-answers dept.
He has written for many different comic book titles including Superman and The Amazing Spider-Man, and wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated movie Changeling, but J. Michael Straczynski (jms) is probably best known as being the creator, writer, and producer of Babylon 5. Recently, jms has teamed up with the Wachowskis and Netflix to create a new original sci-fi series, Sense8, coming out in late 2014. Straczynski has agreed to take a few minutes from writing sci-fi epics in order to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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