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Submission + - Sourceforge staff takes over a user's account and wraps their software installer ( 11

An anonymous reader writes: Sourceforge staff took over the account of the GIMP-for-Windows maintainer claiming it was abandoned and used this opportunity to wrap the installer in crapware. Quoting Ars:

SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP's lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.

Submission + - FTC Creates Office Dedicated To "Algorithmic Transparency" (

jfruh writes: When Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm filters a meme you posted out of your friends' feed, you might find that annoying. When your bank's algorithm denies you a mortgage, that has a serious effect on your life. But both kinds of algorithms are generally opaque to customers and regulators, and the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection has set up an office dedicated to figuring out these algorithms affect our lives and intersect with the law.

Submission + - A Data-Driven Exploration of the Evolution Of Chess writes: Randy Olsen has a interesting article where he explores a data set of over 650,000 chess tournament games ranging back to the 15th century and looks at how chess has changed over time. His findings include:

Chess games are getting longer. Chess games have been getting steadily longer since 1970, increasing from 75 ply (37 moves) per game in 1970 to a whopping 85 ply (42 moves) per game in 2014. "This trend could possibly be telling us that defensive play is becoming more common in chess nowaday," writes Olsen. "Even the world’s current best chess player, Magnus Carlsen, was forced to adopt a more defensive play style (instead of his traditional aggressive style) to compete with the world’s elite."

The first-move advantage has always existed. White consistently wins 56% and Black only 44% of the games every year between 1850 and 2014 and the first-move advantage becomes more pronounced the more skilled the chess players are. "Despite 150+ years of revolutions and refinement of chess, the first-move advantage has effectively remained untouched. The only way around it is to make sure that competitors play an even number of games as White and Black."

Draws are much more common nowadays. Only 1 in 10 games ended in a draw in 1850, whereas 1 in 3 games ended in a draw in 2013. "Since the early 20th century, chess experts have feared that the over-analysis of chess will lead “draw death,” where experts will become so skilled at chess that it will be impossible to decisively win a game any more." Interestingly chess prodigy and world champion Jose Raul Capablanca said in the 1920's that he believed chess would be exhausted in the near future and that games between masters would always end in draws. Capablanca proposed a more complex variant of chess to help prevent “draw death,” but it never really seemed to catch on.

Submission + - Windows 10 Successor Carries Codename 'Redstone' And Will Splash Land In 2016 ( 1

MojoKid writes: Windows 10 isn't even out the door yet, so what better time than now to talk about its successor? Believe it or not, there's a fair bit of information on it floating around already, with its codename being particularly interesting: Redstone. Following in the footsteps of 'Blue' and 'Threshold', Redstone is an obvious tie-in to Microsoft's purchase of Minecraft, which it snagged from Mojang last year. Redstone is an integral material in the game, used to create simple items like a map or compass as well as logic gates for building electronic devices, like a calculator or automatic doors. The really important news is that we could see Windows Redstone sometime in 2016.

Submission + - Google let root certificate for Gmail expire (

Gr8Apes writes: The certificate for Google's intermediate certificate authority expired Saturday The certificate was used to issue Gmail's certificate for SMTP, and the expiration at 11:55am EDT caused many e-mail clients to stop receiving Gmail messages. While the problem affected most Gmail users using PC and mobile mail clients, Web access to Gmail was unaffected. Guess Google Calendar failed to notify someone.

Submission + - China Discloses Cyberwarfare Unit, No One Surprised (

itwbennett writes: For years, U.S. businesses and government agencies have complained about attacks originating from China, while the Chinese government persisted in denying attacking U.S. targets. Then last week the Chinese government noted the existence of the country’s cyberwarfare unit in “The Science of Military Strategy,” a publication put out by a research institute of the People’s Liberation Army, according to news reports.

Submission + - Leaked Snowden docs show Canada's 'false flag' operations (

An anonymous reader writes: Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Intercept []show the extent to which Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) cooperates with the NSA — and perhaps most interestingly details CSEC's 'false flag' operations, whereby cyberattacks are designed and carried out with the intention of attribution to an other individual, group or nation state. The revelations come in the midst of Canadian controversy regarding the anti-terrorism C-51 bill.

Submission + - Government Spies Admit that Cyber Armageddon is Unlikely

Nicola Hahn writes: NSA director Mike Rogers spoke to a Senate Committee yesterday, admonishing them that the United States should bolster its offensive cyber capabilities to deter attacks. Never mind that deterrence is problematic if you can’t identify the people who attacked you.

In the past a speech by a spymaster like Rogers would have been laced with hyperbolic intimations of the End Times. Indeed, for almost a decade mainstream news outlets have conveyed a litany of cyber doomsday scenarios on behalf of ostensibly credible public officials. So it’s interesting to note a recent statement by the U.S. intelligence community that pours a bucket of cold water over all of this. According to government spies the likelihood of a cyber Armageddon is “remote.” And this raises some unsettling questions about our ability to trust government officials and why they might be tempted to fall back on such blatant hyperbole.

Submission + - Google caught altering search-results for profit (

mi writes: We've always suspected, this may happen some day — and, according to FTC's investigation inadvertently shared with the Wall Street Journal, it did.

In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC’s bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and “scraping” content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals.

For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google’s shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn’t click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.

Submission + - GoDaddy Accounts Vulnerable To Social Engineering (and Photoshop) (

itwbennett writes: On Tuesday, Steve Ragan's GoDaddy account was compromised. He knew it was coming, but considering the layered account protections used by the world's largest domain registrar, he didn't think the attacker would be successful. He was wrong. Within days, the attacker gained control over Steve's account just by speaking to customer support and submitting a Photoshopped ID.

Submission + - Dell XPS 13: Smallest 13-inch Notebook With Broadwell-U, QHD+ Display Reviewed (

MojoKid writes: Dell's 2015 XPS 13 made a splash out at CES this year with its near bezel-less 13-inch QHD+ (3200X1800) display and Intel's new 5th Gen Core series Broadwell-U processor. At 2.8 pounds, the 2015 XPS 13 isn't the absolute lightest 13-inch ultrabook book going but it's lighter than a 13-inch MacBook Air and only a few ounces heavier than Lenovo's Core M-powered Yoga 3 Pro. The machine's Z dimensions are thin, at .33" up front to .6" at its backside near the hinge. However, its 11.98" width almost defies the laws of physics, squeezing a 13.3" (diagonal) display into an 11.98-inch frame making it what is essentially the smallest 13-inch ultrabook to hit the market yet. Performance-wise, this review shows its benchmarks numbers are strong and Intel's Broadwell-U seems to be an appreciable upgrade with lower power consumption.

Submission + - The American app economy is now 'bigger than Hollywood'

Lemeowski writes: Technology business analyst Horace Deidu found an interesting nugget while closely examining an Apple press release from earlier this year: "The iOS App Store distributed $10 billion to developers in 2014, which, Deidu points out, is just about as much as Hollywood earned off U.S. box office revenues the same year." That means the American app industry is poised to eclipse the American film industry. Additionally, Apple says its App Store has created 627,000 jobs, which Deidu contrasts with the 374,000 jobs Hollywood creates

Submission + - Tor Browser Security Under Scrutiny (

msm1267 writes: The keepers of Tor commissioned a study testing the defenses and viability of their Firefox-based browser as a privacy tool. The results were a bit eye-opening since the report’s recommendations don’t favor Firefox as a baseline for Tor, rather Google Chrome. But Tor’s handlers concede that budget constraints and Chrome’s limitations on proxy support make a switch or a fork impossible.

Submission + - Do readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper? Not necessarily

An anonymous reader writes: eBooks are great and wonderful, but as The Guardian reports they might not be as good for readers paper books. Results from a new study shows that test subjects who read a story on a Kindle had trouble recalling the right order of the plot points. Out of 50 test subjects,half read a 28-page story on the Kindle, while half read the same story on paper. The Kindle group scored about the same on comprehension as the control group, but when they were asked to put the plot points in the proper order the Kindle group was about twice as likely to put them in the wrong order.

So is this bad news for ebooks? Have we reached the limits of their usefulness? Not necessarily.

While there is evidence that enhanced ebooks don't enhance education, an older study from 2012 has shown that students who study with an e-textbook on an ebook reader actually scored as well or higher on tests than a control group who did not. While that doesn't prove the newer study wrong, it does suggest that further study is required.

Pascal is a language for children wanting to be naughty. -- Dr. Kasi Ananthanarayanan