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Submission + - Microsoft builds system for Iowa cacauses

Presto Vivace writes: Sanders camp suspicious of Microsoft’s influence in Iowa Caucus

DES MOINES, Iowa – The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is raising questions about the involvement of Microsoft in the Iowa Caucuses, now just five days away, and has built a independent system to check the official results.

For the first time this year, Microsoft partnered with the Iowa Democratic and Republican Parties to provide a technology platform with which the parties will run their caucuses. The software giant created separate mobile apps for each party, which officials at hundreds of caucuses across the state will use to report out results from individual precincts to party headquarters for tabulation.

What could possibly go wrong?

Submission + - Senators who think you don't need faster broadband

Presto Vivace writes: Why 6 Republican senators think you don't need faster broadband

The six Republican senators who signed the letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler say most users don't need fast broadband Internet as it's now defined. From that letter: "Looking at the market for broadband applications, we are aware of few applications that require download speeds of 25 Mbps. Netflix, for example, recommends a download speed of 5 Mbps to receive high-definition streaming video; and Amazon recommends as speed of 3.5 Mbps."

The senators' claims are accurate. However, they mistakenly assume consumers don't simultaneously connect multiple devices to the Internet. And when newer video formats such as 4K become more common, even single devices will need additional bandwidth. The ISPs know this, of course, and they frequently tout the benefits of faster — and more expensive — connectivity.

Who signed? Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Cory Gardner (Colo.).

Submission + - How to stop TPP

Presto Vivace writes: The gold standard in political activism is an in-person visit to your Senator's or Representative's office. That is not practical for most people, so a visit to their district office is the next best thing. Politicians assume that people who make in person visits are very serious about an issue, and further assume that for every voter who makes a personal visit their are ten more who feel the same way. Writing a letter via their congressional website is very effective. Using snail mail is not effective because of the post anthrax security delivery is delayed for weeks. What is more effective is writing a letter to the editor and including your Senator's or Representative's name in the letter. For example: TPP is a terrible deal and will have a very negative impact on the Internet and I hope that Senator Snort will vote against it. Senator Snorts will pick up the letter on their Google News Alert, or whatever they are using, and will see that someone was sufficiently movtivated to write a letter to the editor and that it was published. A letter to the editor will also alert the publisher that TPP is a hot issue, and will spread the word amongst the general public. It is a great tool for acitivism and I encouraged Slashdotter's to use it.

Submission + - America's voting machines are rapidly aging out

Presto Vivace writes: America’s Voting Machines at Risk

Technology has changed dramatically in the last decade, but America's voting machines are rapidly aging out. In 2016, for example, 43 states will use electronic voting machines that are at least 10 years old, perilously close to the end of most systems' expected lifespan. Old voting equipment increases the risk of failures and crashes — which can lead to long lines and lost votes on Election Day — and problems only get worse the longer we wait.

Submission + - Drones impede air battle against California wildfires

Presto Vivace writes: ‘If you fly we can’t,’ pleads firefighter

Drought stricken California is now fighting at least 14 large wildfires in at least ten counties across the state, engaging a force of some 7,000 firefighters plus National Guardsmen. They’re up against a triple-threat of three digit temperatures in some parts of the state, high winds that are spreading the fires rapidly and drought conditions furnishing fuel for the burning. ... ... A fourth threat is also emerging: Drones. ...

... One four-foot drone shut down evening operations over the Lake Fire, which burned an additional 3.5 square miles overnight Wednesday, KTLA news reported.

Submission + - Republicans push to limit FCC's net neutrality rules

Presto Vivace writes: Senate Republicans push rider to limit FCC's net neutrality rules

Senate Republicans are pushing a measure to bar the Federal Communications Commission from regulating broadband Internet rates under its net neutrality rules.

While the commission has vowed not to regulate rates under net neutrality, Republicans oppose the rules and are wary of expanding the FCC's powers.

The measure is included as a policy rider in the Senate's Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill that was reported out of an Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday

Submission + - Firefox Will Soon Show You Which Tabs Are Making Noise, And Let You Mute Them

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla is working on identifying Firefox tabs that are currently playing audio. The feature will show an icon if a tab is making sounds and let the user mute the playback. It’s worth noting that while Chrome has had audio indicators for more than a year now, it still doesn’t let you easily mute tabs. The option is available in Google’s browser, but it’s not enabled by default (you have to turn on the #enable-tab-audio-muting flag in chrome://flags/).

Submission + - Trucks driven by software

Presto Vivace writes: Self-Driving Trucks Will Hit Us Like Ton of Bricks

At $40,000 a year, the incentive to replace truck drivers with software is massive. And it will happen. Not only that, but insurance costs will drop. Most truck accidents are caused by user error: Driving too fast, driving while tired, driving intoxicated, etc.
Robots don't drink, don't get tired, won't drive unsafe to get to a destination faster,

Think of all the fun hackers could have with trucks driven by software.

Submission + - Australia passes site-blocking legislation (smh.com.au)

ausrob writes: Cementing their position as Australia's most backwards and dangerous government in recent memory comes this nasty bit of legislation, riddled with holes (which is nothing new for this decrepit Government): "The legislation allows rights holders to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas websites, or "online locations", blocked that have the "primary purpose" of facilitating copyright infringement. If a rights holder is successful in their blocking request, Australian internet providers, such as Telstra and Optus, will need to comply with a judge's order by disabling access to the infringing location."

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