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Ditch Linux For Windows 10 On Your Raspberry Pi With Microsoft's IoT Kit 308

An anonymous reader writes: Partnering with Adafruit, Microsoft has announced the Windows IoT Core Starter Kit. The $75 kit comes comes with an SD card preloaded with Windows 10 IoT. According to the Raspberry Pi blog: "The pack is available with a Pi 2 for people who are are new to Raspberry Pi or who'd like a dedicated device for their projects, or without one for those who'll be using a Pi they already own. The box contains an SD card with Windows 10 Core and a case, power supply, wifi module and Ethernet cable for your Pi; a breadboard, jumper wires and components including LEDs, potentiometers and switches; and sensors for light, colour, temperature and pressure. There's everything you need to start building."

APIs, Not Apps: What the Future Will Be Like When Everyone Can Code 255

An anonymous reader writes: There's been a huge push over the last few years to make programming part of the core academic curriculum. Hype or not, software developer Al Sweigart takes a shot at predicting what this will be in a future where some degree of coding skill is commonplace and he has an interesting take on it: "More programmers doesn't just mean more apps in app stores or clones of existing websites. Universal coding literacy doesn't increase the supply of web services so much as increase the sophistication in how web services are used. Programming—by which I mean being able to direct a computer to access data, organize it, and then make decisions based on it— will open up not only a popular ability to make more of online services, but also to demand more.

Almost every major website has an Application Program Interface (API), a formal specification for software to retrieve data and make requests similar to human-directed browsers. ... The vast majority of users don't use these APIs—or even know what an API is—because programming is something that they've left to the professionals. But when coding becomes universal, so will the expectation that websites become accessible to more than just browsers."

When Should Cops Be Allowed To Take Control of Self-Driving Cars? 236 writes: A police officer is directing traffic in the intersection when he sees a self-driving car barreling toward him and the occupant looking down at his smartphone. The officer gestures for the car to stop, and the self-driving vehicle rolls to a halt behind the crosswalk. This seems like a pretty plausible interaction. Human drivers are required to pull over when a police officer gestures for them to do so. It's reasonable to expect that self-driving cars would do the same. But Will Oremus writes that while it's clear that police officers should have some power over the movements of self-driving cars, what's less clear is where to draw the line. Should an officer be able to do the same if he suspects the passenger of a crime? And what if the passenger doesn't want the car to stop—can she override the command, or does the police officer have ultimate control?

According to a RAND Corp. report on the future of technology and law enforcement "the dark side to all of the emerging access and interconnectivity (PDF) is the risk to the public's civil rights, privacy rights, and security." It added, "One can readily imagine abuses that might occur if, for example, capabilities to control automated vehicles and the disclosure of detailed personal information about their occupants were not tightly controlled and secured."

Comcast Planning Gigabit Cable For Entire US In 2-3 Years 253

An anonymous reader writes: Robert Howald, Comcast's VP of network architecture, said the company is hoping to upgrade its entire cable network within the next two years. The upgraded DOCSIS 3.1 network can support maximum speeds of 10 Gpbs. "Our intent is to scale it through our footprint through 2016," Howald said. "We want to get it across the footprint very quickly... We're shooting for two years."

MIT Designs Less Expensive Fusion Reactor That Boosts Power Tenfold 337

jan_jes writes: Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak (donut-shaped) fusion reactor. The stronger magnetic field makes it possible to produce the required magnetic confinement of the superhot plasma — that is, the working material of a fusion reaction — but in a much smaller device than those previously envisioned (abstract). The reduction in size, in turn, makes the whole system less expensive and faster to build, and also allows for some ingenious new features in the power plant design.

Oracle Exec: Stop Sending Vulnerability Reports 229

florin writes: Oracle chief security officer Mary Ann Davidson published a most curious rant on the company's corporate blog yesterday, addressing and reprimanding some pesky customers that just will not stop bothering her. As Mary put it: "Recently, I have seen a large-ish uptick in customers reverse engineering our code to attempt to find security vulnerabilities in it." She goes on to describe how the company deals with such shameful activities, namely that "We send a letter to the sinning customer, and a different letter to the sinning consultant-acting-on-customer's behalf — reminding them of the terms of the Oracle license agreement that preclude reverse engineering, So Please Stop It Already."

Later on, in a section intended to highlight how great a job Oracle itself was doing at finding vulnerabilities, the CSO accidentally revealed that customers are in fact contributing a rather significant 1 out of every 10 vulnerabilities: "Ah, well, we find 87 percent of security vulnerabilities ourselves, security researchers find about 3 percent and the rest are found by customers." Unsurprisingly, this revealing insight into the company's regard for its customers was removed later. But not before being saved for posterity.

Microsoft Creates an AI That Can Spot a Joke In a New Yorker Cartoon 66

An anonymous reader writes: For over a decade Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the New Yorker, and his assistants have gone through 5,000 cartoon entries for the magazine's caption contest each week. Needless to say, the burnout rate of his assistants is quite high, "The process of looking at 5,000 caption entries a week usually destroys their mind in about two years, and then I get a new one," Mankoff says. But now thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft, Bob may finally have found the perfect helper. Researchers have been working on an artificial intelligence project to teach a computer what's funny. Fortune reports: "Dafna Shahaf, a researcher at Microsoft, used the database of cartoons to train the program to understand commonalities and differences in the millions of cartoons, which lets the AI run through the entries the New Yorker receives each week for its back-of-magazine cartoon caption contest. About 55.8% of the time the humans agree with the captions the AI selects, which is a pretty good percentage."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Releases Privacy Badger, an Addon That Algorithmically Blocks Online Trackers 136

New submitter zfc writes: Online tracking has become a pervasive invisible reality of the modern web. Most sites you load are likely to be full of ads, tracking pixels, social media share buttons, and other invisible trackers all harvesting data about your web browsing. These trackers use cookies and other methods to read unique IDs associated with your browser, the result being that they record all the sites you visit as you browse around the internet. This sort of tracking is invisible to most web users, meaning they never get the option to agree to or opt-out of it. Today the EFF has launched the 1.0 version of Privacy Badger, an extension designed to prevent these trackers from accessing unique info about you and your browsing.

"Confound these ancestors.... They've stolen our best ideas!" - Ben Jonson