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Government

The NSA and Snowden: Securing the All-Seeing Eye 97

Posted by timothy
from the what-you-intend-to-practice dept.
First time accepted submitter ChelleChelle2 (2908449) writes "Edward Snowden's release of classified material exposing the existence of numerous global surveillance programs (obtained while working as an NSA contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton) has been referred to as 'the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.' Regardless of whether one choses to champion or condemn Snowden's actions, it is apparent that the NSA needs to dramatically rework its security measures. In this article Bob Toxen, renown author of several books and articles on Linux Security, discusses the security practices that could have stopped Snowden. Equally interesting, he weighs in on the constitutionality and morality of the NSA's spying on all Americans."
Programming

Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014 634

Posted by timothy
from the why-change dept.
New submitter InfoJunkie777 (1435969) writes "When you go to any place where 'cutting edge' scientific research is going on, strangely the computer language of choice is FORTRAN, the first computer language commonly used, invented in the 1950s. Meaning FORmula TRANslation, no language since has been able to match its speed. But three new contenders are explored here. Your thoughts?"
Government

Milwaukee City Council Proposal Would Pave Way For Uber, Lyft 76

Posted by timothy
from the anti-coordinative-forces dept.
New submitter rjune (123157) writes with some rare positive news from the online ride-sharing world, specifically from Milwaukee. "Ald. Robert Bauman is drafting a proposed ordinance that, if approved by the Common Council, would change the way public passenger vehicles are regulated and licensed. The proposal, expected to be outlined on Friday before the Common Council's Public Transportation Review Board, not only lifts the cap on taxicab vehicle perimits but accommodates new smartphone app services such as Uber and Lyft. Both Uber and Lyft are already in the marketplace." I wish that the cities I spend the most time in would do the same, but they've been busily protecting the local cartels, instead.
Graphics

Duo Sneak an Oculus Rift Onto Roller Coaster For a Wild Ride 81

Posted by timothy
from the keep-hands-and-arms-inside-the-cart-at-all-times dept.
New submitter bobbrocolli (3647945) writes "Equipped with a hidden laptop and Oculus Rift, O'Driscoll may be the first person to have ever gone on a 'Real VR' roller coaster with perfect motion feedback. The duo's system displayed a virtual version of the exact same roller coaster that O'Driscoll and Forder were on. With some practice they managed to sync the virtual reality roller coaster to the real rollercoaster."
Biotech

Luke Prosthetic Arm Approved By FDA 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-have-the-technology dept.
necro81 writes: "The FDA today approved the Luke prosthetic arm for sale. The Luke Arm, created by Dean Kamen's DEKA R&D Corp., was a project initiated by DARPA to develop a prosthetic arm for wounded warriors more advanced than those previously available. The Arm can be configured for below-the-elbow, above-the-elbow, and shoulder-level amputees. The full arm has 10 powered degrees of freedom and has the look and weight of the arm it replaces. Through trials by DEKA and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Arm has been used by dozens of amputees for a total of many thousands of hours. Commercialization is still pending."
Cellphones

How Free-To-Play Is Constricting Mobile Games 115

Posted by Soulskill
from the optimizing-for-the-wrong-thing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mobile gaming is crystallizing around one concept: games must be free-to-play. As an industry, it seems to work — there's no shortage of players willing to drop money on microtransactions and in-app purchases. But for making compelling or unusual games, this is a problem. 'Pitch a title that isn't games-as-a-service to publishers or investors and they'll practically install new doors to slam in your face. ... Free-to-play advocates naturally think their model is dominant because "that's what mobile gamers want," explaining that in-app purchases are just the players way of saying they care. If they've entertained the more dull notion that free-to-play is popular because... well, it's free? They seem not to let on. ... Recent data shows 20 percent of mobile games get opened once and never again. 66 percent have never played beyond the first 24 hours and indeed most purchases happen in the first week of play. Amazingly only around two to three percent of gamers pay anything at all for games, and even more hair-raising is the fact that 50 percent of all revenue comes from just 0.2 percent of players. This is a statistically insignificant amount of happy gamers and nothing that gives you a basis to make claims about "what people want."'"
The Courts

Court Orders Marvell To Pay Carnegie Mellon $1.5B For Patent Infringement 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the enforced-endowments dept.
Lucas123 writes "A U.S. District Court has ruled that Marvell Technology must pay Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) $1.54B for infringing on two hard drive chip patents. Marvell was also ordered to pay interest at 0.14% annually, and 50 cents for each chip sold that uses the intellectual property. While Marvell did not comment on the case, CMU said it 'understands' that Marvell will again appeal the ruling and the school 'will look forward to the federal circuit court' upholding the lower court's ruling. The latest decision by a U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania ends for now a five-year legal battle between the two. In 2012, a jury found Marvell had violated CMU's patents, and the chip maker then appealed that ruling."
Mozilla

Firefox OS 1.3 Arrives: Dual SIM Support, Continuous Autofocus, Graphics Boost 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today released Firefox OS version 1.3 to its partners for implementing in their smartphones. There are many new features for both users and developers, and the first phone to feature them is the ZTE Open C, which is available for sale as of today on eBay. First and foremost, Firefox OS users can expect dual-SIM dual-standby (DSDS) support, which gives you two lines on compatible phones, a popular feature in emerging markets. DSDS lets dual-SIM devices individually manage two different SIMs for calling, texting, or data through the 'SIM Manager' interface."
IT

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure? 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the name-your-servers-after-game-of-thrones-characters dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Every month we submit status reports to upper management. On the infrastructure side, these reports tend to be 'Hey, we met our service level agreements ... again.' IT infrastructure is now a lot like the electric company. Nobody thanks the electric company when the lights come on, but they have plenty of colorful adjectives to describe them when the power is off.

What is the best way to construct a compelling story for upper management so they'll appreciate the hard work that an IT department does? They don't seem particularly impressed with functioning systems, because they expect functioning systems. The extensive effort to design and implement reliable systems has also made IT boring and dull. What types of summaries can you provide upper management to help them appreciate IT infrastructure and the money they spend on the services it provides?"
Encryption

Physicists Turn 8MP Smartphone Camera Into a Quantum Random Number Generator 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-than-one-way-to-skin-schrodinger's-cat dept.
KentuckyFC writes: "Random numbers are the lifeblood of many cryptographic systems and demand for them will only increase in the coming years as techniques such as quantum cryptography become mainstream. But generating genuinely random numbers is a tricky business, not least because it cannot be done with a deterministic process such as a computer program. Now physicists have worked out how to use a smartphone camera to generate random numbers using quantum uncertainties. The approach is based on the fact that the emission of a photon is a quantum process that is always random. So in a given unit of time, a light emitter will produce a number of photons that varies by a random amount. Counting the number of photons gives a straightforward way of generating random numbers. The team points out that the pixels in smartphone cameras are now so sensitive that they can pick up this kind of quantum variation. And since a camera has many pixels working in parallel, a single image can generate large quantities of random digits. The team demonstrates the technique in a proof-of principle experiment using the 8-megapixel camera on a Nokia N9 smartphone while taking images of a green LED. The result is a quantum random number generator capable of producing digits at the rate of 1 megabit per second. That's more than enough for most applications and raises the prospect of credit card transactions and encrypted voice calls from an ordinary smartphone that are secured by the laws of quantum physics."
The Courts

SpaceX Injunction Dissolved 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the failure-to-launch dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Two weeks ago, SpaceX filed suit against the U.S. Air Force in an attempt to enforce competition for rocket purchases. They argued it was a bad idea to blindly shovel money into Russia's coffers for rides to space, and said there was no way for other rocket manufacturers to get a foot in the door. Last week, it looked like they were getting traction — an injunction was granted, temporarily halting the Air Force's process of buying rockets. Unfortunately for SpaceX, that injunction has now been dissolved. At the heart of the suit was Executive Order 13,661, which blocks the transfer of wealth to people in the Russian Federation who are related to the situation in the Ukraine. SpaceX said that since Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was the head of their space agency, payments to the agency were effectively payments to him. The U.S. departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury all sent letters to the court saying this was not the case, and the court agreed. Here's the final ruling."
Hardware Hacking

A 32-bit Development System For $2 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the computers-you-can-buy-with-a-$2-bill dept.
An anonymous reader writes "If you are too cheap to buy a $20 Arduino or too elitist to not have at least a 32-bit processor, Dr. Dobb's shows you how to take a $2 chip, put it on a breadboard with a TTL serial (or USB) cable, and be up and running with a 32-bit C/C++ system. Even if you have to buy the breadboard and the cable, it is comparable in price to an Arduino and much more capable. The Mbed libraries (optional) make it as easy to use a 'duino, too."
Oracle

Court: Oracle Entitled To Copyright Protection Over Some Parts of Java 303

Posted by Soulskill
from the cue-the-wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Remember the court battle between Google and Oracle? It's the one where Oracle claimed Android violated Oracle's patents and copyright related to Java. Oracle thought they deserved $6 billion in compensation, but ended up getting nothing. Well, it's still going, and the tide is turning somewhat in Oracle's favor. An appeals court decided that Oracle can claim copyright over some parts of Java. It's a complicated ruling (PDF) — parts of it went Google's way and parts of it went Oracle's way — but here's the most important line: '[T]he declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the 37 Java API packages at issue are entitled to copyright protection.' A jury's earlier finding of infringement has been reinstated, and now it's up to Google to justify its actions under fair use."
The Internet

Shunting the FCC To the Slow Lane 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-buffering dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the FCC's proposal a couple weeks ago to allow an internet fast lane, a group of activists has come up with a fun counterproposal: force the FCC itself into the slow lane and see how they like it. They write, 'Since the FCC seems to have no problem with this idea, I've (through correspondence) gotten access to the FCC's internal IP block, and throttled all connections from the FCC to 28.8kbps modem speeds on the Neocities.org front site, and I'm not removing it until the FCC pays us for the bandwidth they've been wasting instead of doing their jobs protecting us from the "keep America's internet slow and expensive forever" lobby.' The group has published the code snippet that throttles FCC IP addresses, and they encourage other web admins to implement it."
The Internet

Netcraft: Microsoft Closing In On Apache Web Server Lead 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the tortoise-and-the-other-tortoise dept.
angry tapir sends this IDG report: "After almost two decades of trailing the market leader, Microsoft's Web server software is coming close to rivaling the dominance of the Apache Web server, according to the latest Netcraft survey of Internet infrastructure. May saw an additional 9 million sites using Microsoft Web server software, increasing the company's share of the Web by 0.37 percent. In the same period, Apache's market share fell by 0.18 percent, despite gaining an additional 4.3 million sites. Microsoft is now just 4.1 percentage points behind Apache, which, as the most popular Web server software on the Internet, now powers about 37.6 percent of all sites."

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