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Submission + - China Arrests Hackers At Behest of US Government (washingtonpost.com)

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time, the Chinese government has arrested a group of hackers at the request of the United States. The hackers are suspected of having "stolen commercial secrets" from companies in the U.S., which were then passed on to Chinese competitors. "The arrests come amid signs of a potential change in the power balance between the U.S. and Chinese governments on commercial cyberespionage, one of the most fraught issues between the two countries. For years, U.S. firms and officials have said Beijing hasn't done enough to crack down on digital larceny." It's a big first step in establishing a functional cybersecurity relationship between the two nations. Now, everyone will be watching to see if China follows up the arrests with prosecution. "A public trial is important not only because that would be consistent with established principles of criminal justice, but because it could discourage other would-be hackers and show that the arrests were not an empty gesture."

Submission + - What's the harm in a default setting for div by zero? 2

CodeInspired writes: After 20 years of programming, I've decided I'm tired of checking for div by zero. Would there be any serious harm in allowing a system wide setting that said div by zero simply equals zero? Maybe it exists already, not sure. But I run into it ALL the time in every language I've worked with. Does anyone want their div by zero errors to result in anything other than zero?

Submission + - Canadian Court: Yes, We Can Order Google To Block Websites Globally (techdirt.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Almost exactly a year ago we wrote about a troubling lawsuit in British Colubmia, where a court ruled that Google needed to block access to a website globally. The case involved one company accusing another of selling counterfeit or copied equipment, and despite Google not even being a party to the case, said that Google needed to make sure no one could find the site in question via Google anywhere in the world. As we noted, this had tremendously problematic consequences. For example, China doesn't think anyone should be able to learn about the protests in Tiananmen Square. Can it now order Google to remove all links to such references globally? That result seems crazy. And, of course, there was a separate issue of how the court even had jurisdiction over Google, seeing as it does not have any operations, staff or servers in British Columbia. Google stepped in to protest the injunction at the appeals court.

Unfortunately, the court has now ruled against Google, using the same sort of logic the lower court did — basically arguing that because Google is available in British Columbia, the court has jurisdiction, and because it's trying to stop what it deems to be illegal actions from reaching Canada's shores, it has every right to order Google to block things worldwide, lest someone from British Columbia decide to type "google.com" into their browser to avoid the "google.ca."

Submission + - Ask Toolbar now considered malware by Microsoft

AmiMoJo writes: Last month Microsoft changed its policy on protecting search settings to include any software that attempts to hijack searches as malware. As a result, this month the Ask Toolbar, which most people will probably recognize as being unwanted crapware bundled with Java, was marked as malware and will now be removed by Microsoft's security software built in to Windows 7 and above.

Submission + - U.S. Top Court Throws Out Pennsylvania Man's Conviction for Facebook Threats

An anonymous reader writes: With a 8 to 1 vote, The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man found guilty of making threatening statements to his estranged wife, and others on social media. With the dissenting opinion in the Anthony Elonis case, Justice Samuel Alito says that he would have sent the case back to the appeals court for it to decide. The decision may make it harder to prosecute people for violent outbursts on social media. "We're pleased that the Supreme Court saw the case for what it was: an unprecedented criminal conviction for a 'crime' of pure speech based on only a showing of negligence," said Elonis' lawyer, John Elwood.


Submission + - Tech Bubble? What Tech Bubble?

HughPickens.com writes: Conor Dougherty writes in the NYT that the tech industry’s venture capitalists — the financiers who bet on companies when they are little more than an idea — are going out of their way to avoid the one word that could describe what is happening around them: Bubble “I guess it is a scary word because in some sense no one wants it to stop,” says Tomasz Tunguz. “And so if you utter it, do you pop it?” In 2000, tech stocks crashed, venture capital dried up and many young companies were vaporized. Today, people see shades of 2000 in the enormous valuations assigned to private companies like Uber, with a valuation of $41 billion, and Slack, the corporate messaging service that is about a year old and valued at $2.8 billion in its latest funding round. A few years ago private companies worth more than $1 billion were rare enough that venture capitalists called them “unicorns.” Today, there are 107 unicorns and while nobody doubts that many of tech’s unicorns are indeed real businesses, valuations are inflating, leading some people to worry that investment decisions are being guided by something venture capitalists call FOMO — the fear of missing out.

With interest rates at historic lows, excess capital causes investment bubbles. The result is too much money chasing too few great deals. Unfortunately, overcapitalizing startups with easy money results in superfluous spending and dangerously high burn rates and investors are happy to admit that this torrid pace of investment has started to worry them. “Do I think companies are overvalued as a whole? No,” says Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator. “Do I think too much money can kill good companies? Yes. And that is an important difference.”

Submission + - Animations in UI Design: For, Against, or Just Another /. Toxic Waste Zone?

Press2ToContinue writes: Google made it big limiting advertisements using strict guidelines: only simple text ads were allowed.Google's home page adhered to a similar concept: no distractions, nothing moving. It simply said "Google." The rise of the world's biggest brand was based on this premise of a simple, unmoving, unanimated theme.

How soon we forget. Now Google's page is always animated. The more they grow, the more they feel it is acceptable that user experience elements move, and more and more distractions are now acceptable, even pre-pending video ads at the beginning of videos, and animating Gmail sign-in boxes as they glide into place. But clearly, as evinced by the popularity of Adblock, distractions are annoying and unwelcome, Adblock is now so popular that makes a fortune accepting Google's payments to let distractions through, while users desperately search for ways to disable all possible animations. Somehow, it seems counterproductive to what we consider "good" UI design.

In fact, and depending entirely on who you consult, it seems that there can be no limit to the the idea that animation only ever makes the user experience richer. If it doesn't move in some way, it can be improved by movement. And this is the inherent, conflicting unquestioned assumption in the current state of UI design: movement is good. But where is the line between helpful movement and distractions? And is it the same for everyone?

Again, this is at odds with the anti-trend precepts that made Google popular, and at odds with the hate that we spew for animations and distractions on web pages, and especially for the videos that start playing when we land on a page.

But I ask you, seriously, as web and UI designers, in your head, where is that line between good UI design, and distracting, pointless movement? Does a line even exist? When it comes to UI design, is the sky the limit, and is it OK for everything to be animated at the whim of the designer, because they can utter incantations that justify their new, more animated, design?

Does anyone even think that UI animations, and animations in advertising, may both be simply manifestations of our innate desire to catch people's attention? Animations are the trend, but would anyone really miss them if they went away? Or worse, are some users actually distracted and impeded by them, but we don't want to know because it's less fun to design a static UI?

I can think of a dozen ways to design a UI with more efficient and accurate inputs than swipes, gestures, and carousels with artificially-induced momentum. Vista and Windows 8 failed miserably. Could it be that the commonality was that their core concept revolved around the assumption that users crave skeuomorphic movement? Will there come a time when someone says, these are all simply subclasses of the now-faded skeuomorphism fad of early UI design, the faux marble bitmaps and the cheesy animated gifs of the early web?

And could they, in some cases, actually be harmful enough that even though we think they are cool, we should always provide a way to switch them off?

And is the worst-case scenario, that we are simply wasting development time, and slowing down the user interface without really adding any value, time that could be better spent because what users really want is better performance, and real functionality?

Submission + - Senator Paul stands for over ten hours in Senate over NSA bulk data collection. (aljazeera.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Sen. Rand Paul held up a vote on the Fast Track Authority for a eleven hour dissertation on the flaws of the Patriot Act, the replacement the USA Freedom Act, bulk data collection including credit card purchases, the DEA and IRS's use of NSA intel. for "parallel construction", warrant-less GPS bugs on vehicles, as well as the important distinction of a general warrant v a spacific one.

The memes that have been created are clever too, "I don't normally take over C-Span2, but when I do -people watch C-Span2." Of course, the expected #StandWithRand and posting selfies with people actually watching C-Span2.

Comment Irresponsible of who?? (Score 2) 120

Exactly who is responsible for this kind of software bug?

The coder who wrote the code?
The functional spec writer?
The QA tester who didn't catch it?
The test scenario scripter?
The manager who oversaw the development process?
The QA manager?
The stakeholder who OK'd the move to production?
The project manager who co-ordinated the project?
The CTO of the company who funded the effort?

Or should they all be criminally liable, thus diluting the responsibility of any one person so that no one person is actually liable?

I sense a stone-thrower in a glass house here...

Submission + - Euro carriers want a piece of Google's advertising income. (arstechnica.com)

chasm22 writes: Apparently, mobile carriers in Europe are planning to block Google ads until they get a slice of the pie from Google. I wonder if this could lead to strongarming online retailers? If they are successful with their tactics why couldn't they, for an example, refuse to let anyone visit Macy's online store until Macy's gives them a slice of the revenue it earns. It seems like they're quite comfortable with using their position as carriers to also include the role of gatekeeper. Who gets what and where, who reads what, etc. And , of course, how much money can they leech.

Arguments can be made about Google using its dominant position to earn more money, but that isn't what this is about. As a matter of fact, if any of them bear any similarity to my carrier(Verizon), I would rather the money go to Google. One exec said, "The idea is to specifically target Google, blocking advertising on its websites in an attempt to force the company into giving up a cut of its revenues."

I guess they're banking on no one will care since its Google. No plans yet for Facebook, but with ad revenue in the billions last quarter, they are surely going to be a target in the future.

Submission + - Banks Conspire 2

Jim Sadler writes: I'll keep it short. Why do banks, charge cards and others have such lousy password software? My bank allows twenty letters or numbers but not all combinations of letters and numbers. Then on top of that one can not use symbols or ASCI symbols in ones password. Needless to say pass phrases are also banned. For example "JackandJillwentupthehilltofetch1394pounds of worms." would be very hard to crack and very easy to recall.
              I can't imagine why such passwords would be so hard to handle for financial institutions and they have everything in the world to lose from sloppy security. So just why, considering that these institutions complain of mega money being lost, do they not have a better password system? Do they somehow gain when money goes missing?

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