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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 + - Australia passes site-blocking legislation->

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."
Link to Original Source

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 + - ISP Not Following Net Neutrality? The FCC's Got A Complaint Form For That.

Presto Vivace writes: Consumerist

The FCC has updated their new consumer help center — specifically, the internet service complaint form. Among the issues concerned consumers can complain about, the form now contains “open internet/net neutrality,” right there alphabetically between “interference” and “privacy.”
So what, specifically, qualifies as a net neutrality violation you can complain about? The FCC has guidance for that, too. In general, paraphrased, if’s a problem if there’s
Blocking: ISPs may not block access to any lawful content, apps, services, or devices.
Throttling: ISPs may not slow down or degrade lawful internet traffic from any content, apps, sites, services, or devices.
Paid prioritization: ISPs may not enter into agreements to prioritize and benefit some lawful internet traffic over the rest of it on their networks.

Submission + - Copyright Law As an Intimidation Tactic

Presto Vivace writes: Guy Reveals Airtel Secretly Inserting JavaScript, Gets Threatened With Jail For Criminal Copyright Infringement

Last week, an Indian blogger, Thejesh GN, discovered that mobile operator Airtel was injecting javascript into subscribers' browsing sessions, which is both incredibly sketchy and a huge security concern (not to mention raising net neutrality issues on the side). He posted the proof to GitHub and tweeted about it.
He posted the evidence showing that javascript was being quietly inserted, and that it apparently tried to insert some sort of toolbar:
That's all super sketchy. But that's just the very beginning of this story. Because days later, Thejesh received the most ridiculous legal threat letter, coming from a lawyer named Ameet Mehta from the law firm Solicis Lex. It claims to be representing an Israeli company, Flash Network, which is apparently responsible for the code injection software... and it claims that by merely revealing to the public that Airtel was doing these injections, he had engaged in criminal copyright infringement under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Submission + - WikiLeaks releases secret TISA docs

Presto Vivace writes: The new agreement that would hamstring governments and citizens even further.

the EU would be forbidden from requiring that US companies like Google or Facebook keep the personal data of European citizens within the EU—one of the ideas currently being floated in Germany. Article 9.1 imposes a more general ban on requiring companies to locate some of their computing facilities in a territory: "No Party may require a service supplier, as a condition for supplying a service or investing in its territory, to: (a) use computing facilities located in the Party’s territory."

Article 6 of the leaked text seems to ban any country from using free software mandates: "No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory." The text goes on to specify that this only applies to "mass-market software," and does not apply to software used for critical infrastructure. It would still prevent a European government from specifying that its civil servants should use only open-source code for word processing—a sensible requirement given what we know about the deployment of backdoors in commercial software by the NSA and GCHQ.

Any agreement whose text has not been publicly released cannot possibly be a good agreement.

Submission + - Why American broadband is slow

Presto Vivace writes: The basic truth about broadband that cable companies want to hide

The American cities that are delivering best-in-the-world speeds at bargain prices are precisely the cities that aren't relying on Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time-Warner, etc. to run their infrastructure. In Kansas City, Google built a state-of-the-art fiber optic network largely just to prove a point. In Chattanooga and Lafayette, the government did it. At the moment, the US federal government could issue 5-year bonds at a 1.58 percent interest rate and make grants to cities interested in following Chattanooga and Lafayette down that path. But it doesn't happen, because while broadband incumbents don't want to spend the money it would take to build state-of-the-art fiber networks, they are happy to spend money on lobbying.

Submission + - Uber Revises Privacy Policy, Wants More Data From Users->

itwbennett writes: Uber Technologies is revising its privacy policy to allow it to access a rider’s location when its smartphone app is running in the background, and to send special offers to users’ friends and family. Writing about the policy update in a blog post Thursday, Katherine Tassi, managing counsel of data privacy at Uber, noted that users will be in control in either case, and will be able to choose whether to share that data. The company has faced criticism in the past over how it handles sensitive information, particularly over its so-called ”God view” tool that apparently lets some Uber employees track the location of customers that have requested car service.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - You destroy basic usability by hijacking the scrollbar

Presto Vivace writes: Facebook vs the news media

Here’s an absolute fact that all of these reporters, columnists, and media pundits need to get into their heads:
The web doesn’t suck. Your websites suck.
All of your websites suck.
You destroy basic usability by hijacking the scrollbar. You take native functionality (scrolling, selection, links, loading) that is fast and efficient and you rewrite it with ‘cutting edge’ javascript toolkits and frameworks so that it is slow and buggy and broken. You balloon your websites with megabytes of cruft. You ignore best practices. You take something that works and is complementary to your business and turn it into a liability.
The lousy performance of your websites becomes a defensive moat around Facebook.
Of course, Facebook might still win even if you all had awesome websites, but you can’t even begin to compete with it until you fix the foundation of your business.

"What I've done, of course, is total garbage." -- R. Willard, Pure Math 430a

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