coolnumbr12 writes "A new partnership between Starbucks and Google hopes to improve the lives of freelance writers around the country. Starting in August, Google plans to make Internet speeds at all 7,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. 10 times faster than the current AT&T-powered service. For people in a city equipped with Google Fiber, Google says the speed in Starbucks could increase as much as 100 times."
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snydeq writes "Taming technology is sometimes more art than science, but the difference can sometimes be hard to discern, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'You've probably come across colleagues who were extremely skilled at their jobs — system administrators who can bend a zsh shell to their every whim, or developers who can write lengthy functions that compile without a whimper the first time. You've probably also come across colleagues who were extremely talented — who could instantly visualize a new infrastructure addition and sketch it out to extreme detail on a whiteboard while they assembled it in their head, for example, or who could devise a new, elegant UI without breaking a sweat. The truly gifted among us exhibit both of those traits, but most fall into one category or another. There is a difference between skill and talent. Such is true in many vocations, of course, but IT can present a stark contrast between the two.'"Assuming Venezia is correct, which do you think is more important?
GovTechGuy writes "Things don't look good for Google, Microsoft and other companies hoping to experiment with super WiFi and other technologies in unused TV channels or 'White spaces'. Both House Republicans and Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller are prodding the FCC to sell as much spectrum as possible at next year's incentive auction, which may not leave much for those hoping to advance the next generation of WiFi technology."
alphadogg writes "An Android tablet brought back from North Korea by a tourist has provided a glimpse at some of the restrictions placed on IT users in the famously secretive country. The Samjiyon is the third tablet to have gone on sale in North Korea. It was unveiled at a trade show in the capital, Pyongyang, last September and received some coverage on state television, but few westerners have had a chance to see it up close. The tablet was likely manufactured outside of North Korea and the hardware itself is fairly unremarkable, but the software and the usage restrictions placed on the device provide some insights about life in the country."
Trailrunner7 writes "NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander's keynote today at Black Hat USA 2013 was a tense confessional, an hour-long emotional and sometimes angry ride that shed some new insight into the spy agency's two notorious data collection programs, inspired moments of loud applause in support of the NSA, and likewise, profane heckling that called into question the legality and morality of the agency's practices. Loud voices from the overflowing crowd called out Alexander on his claims that the NSA stands for freedom while at the same time collecting, storing and analyzing telephone business records, metadata and Internet records on Americans. He also denied lying to Congress about the NSA's capabilities and activities in the name of protecting Americans from terrorism in response to such a claim from a member of the audience."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Just in time for hurricane season, the National Weather Service has finished upgrading the supercomputers it uses to track and model super-storms. 'These improvements are just the beginning and build on our previous success. They lay the foundation for further computing enhancements and more accurate forecast models that are within reach,' National Weather Service director Louis W. Uccellini wrote in a statement. The National Weather Service's 'Tide' supercomputer — along with its 'Gyre' backup — are capable of operating at a combined 213 teraflops. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which runs the Service, has asked for funding that would increase that supercomputing power even more, to 1,950 teraflops. The National Weather Service uses that hardware for projects such as the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model, a complex bit of forecasting that allows the organization to more accurately predict storms' intensity and movement. The HWRF can leverage real-time data taken from Doppler radar installed in the NOAA's P3 hurricane hunter aircraft."
CowboyRobot writes "Poul-Henning Kamp argues that the 'recent exposure of the dragnet-style surveillance of Internet traffic has provoked a number of responses that are variations of the general formula: "More encryption is the solution." This is not the case. In fact, more encryption will probably only make the privacy crisis worse than it already is.' His argument takes a few turns, but centers on a scenario that is a bit too easy to imagine: a government coercing software developers into disabling their encryption: 'There are a whole host of things one could buy to weaken encryption. I would contact providers of popular cloud and "whatever-as-service" providers and make them an offer they couldn't refuse: on all HTTPS connections out of the country, the symmetric key cannot be random; it must come from a dictionary of 100 million random-looking keys that I provide. The key from the other side? Slip that in there somewhere, and I can find it (encrypted in a Set-Cookie header?). In the long run, nobody is going to notice that the symmetric keys are not random — you would have to scrutinize the key material in many thousands of connections before you would even start to suspect something was wrong.'"
cylonlover writes "Thanks to efforts of groups such as Google, Oxford University, BMW and Continental, we're getting closer and closer to the advent of autonomous cars – vehicles that drive themselves, with the human 'driver' pretty much just along as a passenger. Researchers at Germany's Technische Universität München, however, are looking at taking things a step further. They're developing remote-control cars that could travel along city streets with no one in them at all, their operator located somewhere far away."
astroengine writes "Giant plumes of water vapor and ice particles blast from geysers on Saturn's moon Enceladus — but scientists have often wondered why the relatively diminutive moon, which measures only 310 miles across, wasn't frozen solid. They also began creating computer models to try to unravel the physics behind the stunning geological phenomenon. Now, after analyzing 252 images of Enceladus' plumes, scientists have part of the answer: Gravitational variations during the moon's slightly eccentric, 1.37-day orbit around Saturn create tidal forces that directly impact how much material is shot into space from four fissures around the moon's south pole. 'It's not a subtle variation. You can look at some of the images and you can actually see it with your eyes. It's very dramatic,' said planetary scientist Matthew Hedman."
cold fjord writes "Some reformers travel a harder road than others. The Seattle Times reports, 'The founder of a liberal-minded website in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after angering Islamic authorities in the ultraconservative kingdom. ... Raif Badawi, through his website known as Free Saudi Liberals, had urged Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the country, which follows a strict form of Islam that includes harsh punishments for challenging customs. A judge in the Red Sea port of Jiddah imposed the sentences but dropped charges of apostasy, which could have brought a death sentence, the Al-Watan newspaper reported. Badawi has been held since June 2012.' More at details are available at the BBC, which informs us that 'The judge ordered that the 600 lashes be administered 150 at a time.' 'The lashes could be spread out but in Sharia this is a sign that the judge wants to insult him,' Badawi's lawyer said."
Luyseyal writes "BOINC is now available on Android. Many of you may not know, but the Slashdot Users team makes a decent showing on World Community Grid. WCG supports research on AIDS, schistoma, cancer, clean energy, and more. Now is your chance to put your idle charge cycles to good use. Let's do some science!"
Timothy Lord caught up with Ubuntu's Jono Bacon at OSCON and got a nice update on the state of the Ubuntu Phone, which Canonical first announced in January, 2013. Tim interviewed Jono about it on camera at CES in February. Look at the "Related Stories" attached to this intro and you'll see a bunch more Ubuntu phone stories. DISCLOSURE: At least two Slashdot editors currently run Ubuntu or Kubuntu, so we have at least a mild pro-Ubuntu bias. Bias or no, It's interesting to watch the Ubuntu phone development process, even as those who are satisfied with Android phone or iPhones, ask, "Why?" We could ask the same about the Firefox OS Phone, too. Maybe the most realistic answer in both cases is, "Because we could." But who knows? These new phone operating systems might turn out to be more useful than Android or iOS. We'll see.
Two unmanned aerial vehicles have received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to perform commercial operations in United States airspace. The Scan Eagle 200 from Insitu will be launched from a ship and used to monitor icebergs and migrating whales in parts of the Arctic where companies are looking for oil. The PUMA from Aerovironment will be used by emergency response teams for monitoring oil spills. (Both are referred to as unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, by the Administration.) "Issuing the type certificates is an important step toward the FAA's goal of integrating UAS into the nation's airspace. These flights will also meet requirements in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that define Arctic operational areas and include a mandate to increase Arctic UAS commercial operations."
rullywowr writes "CNN reports that a recent government study found TSA misconduct has risen sharply in three years. Most have heard of the problems such as stealing, but the report also notes that some employees are sleeping on the job, taking bribes, and letting friends/family through the checkpoints without screening."
SmartAboutThings writes "A month ago, Microsoft was involved in a legal battle in the United Kingdom, when the court found that there was a conflict between Microsoft's SkyDrive and a trademark owned by the British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB). Back then, the UK court ruled that Microsoft was infringing the BSkyB's trademark. And now we have confirmation that Microsoft will be forced to change the SkyDrive brand name. This is quite a big branding issue for Microsoft. What are they going to call it? DriveSky? And chances are that the name change will be worldwide and not only in the United Kingdom."