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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - Genetic Data Analysis Tools Reveal How US Pop Music Evolved

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The history of pop music is rich in anecdotes, folklore and controversy. But despite the keen interest, there is little in the form of hard evidence to back up most claims about the evolution of music. Now a group of researchers have used data analysis tools developed for genomic number crunching to study the evolution of US pop music. The team studied 30-second segments of more than 17,000 songs that appeared on the US Billboard Hot 100 between 1960 and 2010. Their tools categorised the songs according to harmonic features such as chord changes as well as the quality of timbre such as whether guitar-based, piano-based orchestra-based and so on. They then used a standard algorithm for discovering clusters within networks of data to group the songs into 13 different types, which turned out to correspond with well known genres such as rap, rock, country and so on. Finally, they plotted the change in popularity of these musical types over time. The results show a clear decline in the popularity of jazz and blues since 1960. During the same period, rock-related music has ebbed and flowed in popularity. By contrast, was rare before 1980 before becoming the dominant musical style for 30 years until declining in the late 2000s. The work answers several important question about the evolution of pop music, such as whether music industry practises have led to a decline in the cultural variety of new music and whether British bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones triggered the 1964 American music revolution [spoiler: no in both cases]."

+ - How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In light of recent revelations from Kaspersky Labs about the Equation Group and persistent hard drive malware, I was curious about how easy it might be to verify my own system's drives to see if they were infected. I have no real reason to think they would be, but I was dismayed by the total lack of tools to independently verify such a thing. For instance, Seagate's firmware download pages provide files with no external hash, something Linux distributions do for all of their packages. Neither do they seem to provide a utility to read off the current firmware from a drive and verify its integrity.

Are there any utilities to do such a thing? Why don't these companies provide such a thing to users? Has anyone compiled and posted a public list of known-good firmware hashes for the major hard drive vendors and models? This seems to be a critical hole in PC security.

I did contact Seagate support asking for hashes of their latest firmware; I got a response stating that '...If you download the firmware directly from our website there is no risk on the file be tampered with." [their phrasing, not mine]. Methinks somebody hasn't been keeping up with world events lately."

+ - Oracle Sues 5 Oregon Officials for "improper influence"

Submitted by SpzToid
SpzToid (869795) writes "Following up on an earlier Slashdot story, the Oracle Corporation has filed a rather timely suit against five of former governor John Kitzhaber's staff for their "improper influence" in the decision to shutter the Cover Oregon healthcare website, while blaming Oracle to defuse the political consequences. Oracle argues the website was ready to go before the state decided to switch to the federal exchange in April.

"The work on the exchange was complete by February 2014, but going live with the website and providing a means for all Oregonians to sign up for health insurance coverage didn’t match the former-Governor's re-election strategy to 'go after' Oracle,” Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in a statement.

Kitzhaber resigned last week amid criminal probes into an influence-peddling scandal involving allegations that his fiancée used her position in his office for personal gain."

+ - UNDER U.S. PRESSURE, PAYPAL NUKES MEGA FOR ENCRYPTING FILES->

Submitted by seoras
seoras (147590) writes "After coming under intense pressure PayPal has closed the account of cloud-storage service Mega. According to the company, SOPA proponent Senator Patrick Leahy personally pressured Visa and Mastercard who in turn called on PayPal to terminate the account. Bizarrely, Mega's encryption is being cited as a key problem.... ... What makes the situation more unusual is that PayPal reportedly apologized to Mega for its withdrawal while acknowledging that company’s business is indeed legitimate.
However, PayPal also advised that Mega’s unique selling point – it’s end-to-end-encryption – was a key concern for the processor.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Summary: Poor management, dishonesty (Score 1) 341

by Futurepower(R) (#49153927) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates
Interesting.

You said, "... poor program management, lack of requirements management, and often also marketing-driven decision-making."

Overall, that is poor management of technical projects. The biggest single problem? Dishonesty, on several levels.

The first step in improving management is to get everyone to understand that there is poor management.

+ - Ask SD: How do you handle the discovery of a web site disclosing private data?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I recently discovered that a partner web site of a financial institution I do business with makes it trivially easy to view documents that do not belong to me. As in, change the document ID in a URL and view someone else's financial documents. This requires no authentication, only a document URL. (Think along the lines of an online rebate center where you upload documents including credit card statements.) I immediately called customer service and spoke with a perplexed agent who unsurprisingly didn't know what to do with my call. I asked to speak with a supervisor who took good notes and promised a follow-up internally. I asked for a return call but have not yet heard back. In the meantime, I still have private financial information I consider to be publicly available. I'm trying to be responsible and patient in my handling of this, but I am second guessing how to move forward if not quickly resolved. So, Slashdot, how would you handle this situation?"

+ - NSA Spying Wins Another Rubber Stamp->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The FISA court has again renewed an order allowing the NSA to continue its illegal bulk collection of Americans' phone records, at least until June 1 when it is set to expire in Congress. President Obama pledged to end the controversial program more than a year ago.

The extension is the fifth of its kind since Obama said he would effectively end the Snowden-exposed program as it currently exists during a major policy speech in January 2014. Obama and senior administration officials have repeatedly insisted that they will not act alone to end the program without Congress.

After all the other things he's done against or without congressional approval and he balks at this one?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook Press WA for $40M for New UW CS Building

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes ""Nice computer industry you got there. Hate to see something bad happen to it." That's the gist of a letter sent by Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Code.org, and other tech giants earlier this week asking the WA State Legislature to approve $40M in capital spending to help fund a new $110M University of Washington computer science building ($70M will be raised privately). "As representatives of companies and businesses that rely on a ready supply of high quality computer science graduates," wrote the letter's 23 signatories, "we believe it is critical for the State to invest in this sector in a way that ensures its vibrancy and growth. Our vision is for Washington to continue to lead the way in technology and computer science, but we must keep pace with the vast demand." The UW Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering profusely thanked tech leaders for pressing for a new building, which UW explained "will accommodate a doubling of our enrollment." Coincidentally, the corporate full-press came not long after the ACM Education Council Diversity Taskforce laid out plans "to get companies to press universities to use more resources to create more seats in CS classes" to address what it called "the desperate gap between the rising demand for CS education and the too-few seats available." Interestingly, had Microsoft, Amazon, and Code.org execs not quashed a proposed WA State income tax in 2010, the tax on Steve Ballmer's planned $2B Microsoft stock sale alone might have raised $180 million. Hey, better that Ballmer's tax savings further enrich Donald Sterling, right?"

Comment: VLC 2.1.5 had no problems. (Score 1) 83

by Futurepower(R) (#49151029) Attached to: VLC Gets First Major Cross-Platform Release
Other people are not having that problem. That's what makes me think the problem is due to some weird interaction with the video driver. Maybe, instead of storing the video in memory, it is writing it to the paging file.

I just tried an 82 megabyte MP4 file with VLC 2.1.5 and had no problems selecting a time in the video well past the middle.

Then I tried a 3-hour VIDEO_TS on a dual layer DVD. I was able to select any time in the video instantly.

Ivy Bridge, i7-3770, 16 GB of memory, Win 7 Ultimate.

Uninstalling and re-installing VLC may help.

+ - Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov shot dead in Moscow.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "BBC News Reports

An unidentified attacker shot Mr Nemtsov four times in central Moscow, a source in the law enforcement bodies told Russia's Interfax news agency. He was shot near the Kremlin while walking with a woman, according to Russian-language news website Meduza. "Several people" had got out of a car and shot him, it added. Mr Nemtsov, 55, served as first deputy prime minister under the late President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, various sources report a massive gathering of protestors at the site of the shooting."

Comment: Re:Video over LAN (Score 1) 83

by Futurepower(R) (#49149369) Attached to: VLC Gets First Major Cross-Platform Release
Try the Intel Driver Update Utility. Possibly a newer version of the driver for the on-board video would help.

A next step would be to visit the web site of the manufacturer of the motherboard and install any newer versions of the BIOS or chipset drivers.

Sometimes motherboard manufacturers modify the Intel software, so it is necessary to deal with that. For example, the RAID drivers may have been modified.

+ - Why I'm Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft->

Submitted by DrJimbo
DrJimbo (594231) writes "Dan Gillmore says; "When I became a technology columnist in the mid-1990s, the public Internet was just beginning its first big surge. Back then, I advised my readers to avoid the semi-political, even religious battles that advocates of this or that technology platform seemed to enjoy. Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is—a tool—and use what works best.

So why am I typing this on a laptop running GNU/Linux, the free software operating system, not an Apple or Windows machine? And why are my phones and tablets running a privacy-enhanced offshoot of Android called Cyanogenmod, not Apple’s iOS or standard Android?""

Link to Original Source

+ - Blu-Ray Players Hackable via Malicious Discs

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Blu-Ray disc interactive features use Java and Stephen Tomkinson just posted a blog discussing research showing how using a specially created Blu-Ray discs it is possible to hack a couple of players. He hacked one Linux based network connected player to get root due to issues introduced by the vendor. Similarly he did the same thing against Windows Blu-Ray player software. He then combined both along with detection techniques into one disc.."

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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