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+ - Band Releases Album As Linux Kernel Module->

Submitted by netbuzz
netbuzz (955038) writes "A band called netcat is generating buzz in software circles by releasing its debut album as a Linux kernel module (among other more typical formats.) Why? “Are you ever listening to an album, and thinking ‘man, this sounds good, but I wish it crossed from user-space to kernel-space more often!’ We got you covered,” the band says on its Facebook page. “Our album is now fully playable as a loadable Linux kernel module.”"
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+ - Don't Settle for Eventual Consistency->

Submitted by CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot (671517) writes "At ACM's Queue magazine, Wyatt Lloyd of Facebook writes that "Systems that sacrifice strong consistency gain much in return. They can be always available, guarantee responses with low latency, and provide partition tolerance. We coined the term ALPS for systems that provide these three properties—always available, low latency, and partition tolerance—and one more: scalability. Scalability implies that adding storage servers to each data center produces a proportional increase in storage capacity and throughput. Scalability is critical for modern systems because data has grown far too large to be stored or served by a single machine. The question remains as to what consistency properties ALPS systems can provide. Before answering this, let's consider the consistency offered by existing ALPS systems. For systems such as Amazon's Dynamo, LinkedIn's Project Voldemort, and Facebook/Apache's Cassandra, the answer is eventual consistency.""
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+ - Supreme Court Upholds Michigan's Ban On Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "CNN reports that the Supreme Court by a vote of 6 — 2 has upheld a Michigan law banning the use of racial criteria in college admissions, finding that a lower court did not have the authority to set aside the measure approved in a 2006 referendum supported by 58% of voters. "This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy. "Michigan voters used the initiative system to bypass public officials who were deemed not responsive to the concerns of a majority of the voters with respect to a policy of granting race-based preferences that raises difficult and delicate issues." Kennedy’s core opinion in the Michigan case seems to exalt referenda as a kind of direct democracy that the courts should be particularly reluctant to disturb. This might be a problem for same-sex marriage opponents if a future Supreme Court challenge involves a state law or constitutional amendment enacted by voters. Justice Sonia Sotomayor reacted sharply in disagreeing with the decision in a 58 page dissent. "For members of historically marginalized groups, which rely on the federal courts to protect their constitutional rights, the decision can hardly bolster hope for a vision of democracy (PDF) that preserves for all the right to participate meaningfully and equally in self-government."

The decision was the latest step in a legal and political battle over whether state colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing what students to admit. Michigan has said minority enrollment at its flagship university, the University of Michigan, has not gone down since the measure was passed. Civil rights groups dispute those figures and say other states have seen fewer African-American and Hispanic students attending highly competitive schools, especially in graduate level fields like law, medicine, and science. “Today’s decision turns back our nation’s commitment to racial equality and equal treatment under the law by sanctioning separate and unequal political processes that put undue burdens on students,” National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has made it harder to advocate and, ultimately, achieve equal educational opportunity.""

+ - The Witcher 3 and Projekt Red's DRM-free fight against piracy->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Interesting feature on the making of upcoming next-gen fantasy title The Witcher 3 in which studio CD Projekt Red reveals that, unusually, it'll be releasing the game day one, DRM (digital rights management) free to download, and why they're taking such a bold move.

“You’ll be able to purchase The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for PC on GOG.com from day one. We believe that DRM does more harm to legit gamers than good for the gaming industry, that’s why the game will also be completely DRM-free," says the game's level designer, Miles Tost."

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+ - The $5,600 Tablet->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Tablets have come a long way in the past few years, and it has become possible to find a capable device for under $200. But what about the tablets pushing toward the high end of the spectrum? Xplore Technologies sells a line of tablets that top out at $5,600. Who on earth would pay that much? The military, of course. 'The DMSR models both have handles and are encased in tough protective covers. They can be dropped more than 2 meters onto a plywood floor and 1.2 meters onto concrete, and can operate in temperatures between -30 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (-34 to 60 degrees Celsius). They’ve been tested to the U.S. military’s tough MIL-STD-810G standard for extreme conditions. The tablets run Windows and come with Intel’s latest Core i5 or i7 Haswell processors. Solid-state drive options extend to 480GB. ... They display images at 1024 x 768 resolution. That’s less than some cheaper Windows tablets, but Xplore claims to offer excellent LCD visibility in sunlight thanks to a display luminescence of 1,300 NITS. The tablets have internal fans but can still run for up to eight-and-a-half hours on a 10-cell battery, Xplore said. They weigh a hefty 2.4 kilograms.'"
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+ - Google's Project Ara Could Bring PC-Style Hardware Ecosystem to Phones->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Now that Google's modular phone effort, Project Ara, looks a bit less like vaporware, people are starting to figure out its implications for the future of cellphones. One fascinating possibility is that it could transform the cellphone purchasing process into something resembling desktop computer purchasing. Enthusiasts could search out the individual parts they like the best and assemble them into cellphone Voltron. People who just want a decent phone with no hassle could look at pre-built offerings — and not just from Apple, Samsung, and the like. It could open up a whole new group of phone 'manufacturers.' Of course, this comes with drawbacks, too — if you think fragmentation is bad now, imagine trying to support thousands of different hardware combinations."
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+ - OpenSSL: The New Face Of Technology Monoculture->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "In a now-famous 2003 essay, “Cyberinsecurity: The Cost of Monopoly” (http://cryptome.org/cyberinsecurity.htm) Dr. Dan Geer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Geer) argued, persuasively, that Microsoft’s operating system monopoly constituted a grave risk to the security of the United States and international security, as well. It was in the interest of the U.S. government and others to break Redmond’s monopoly, or at least to lessen Microsoft’s ability to ‘lock in’ customers and limit choice. “The prevalence of security flaw (sp) in Microsoft’s products is an effect of monopoly power; it must not be allowed to become a reinforcer,” Geer wrote.

The essay cost Geer his job at the security consulting firm AtStake, which then counted Microsoft as a major customer.(http://cryptome.org/cyberinsecurity.htm#Fired) (AtStake was later acquired by Symantec.)

These days Geer is the Chief Security Officer at In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm. But he’s no less vigilant of the dangers of software monocultures. Security Ledger notes that, in a post today for the blog Lawfare (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/04/heartbleed-as-metaphor/), Geer is again warning about the dangers that come from an over-reliance on common platforms and code. His concern this time isn’t proprietary software managed by Redmond, however, it’s common, oft-reused hardware and software packages like the OpenSSL software at the heart (pun intended) of Heartbleed.(https://securityledger.com/2014/04/the-heartbleed-openssl-flaw-what-you-need-to-know/)

“The critical infrastructure’s monoculture question was once centered on Microsoft Windows,” he writes. “No more. The critical infrastructure’s monoculture problem, and hence its exposure to common mode risk, is now small devices and the chips which run them," Geer writes.

What happens when a critical and vulnerable component becomes ubiquitous — far more ubiquitous than OpenSSL? Geer wonders if the stability of the Internet itself is at stake.

“The Internet, per se, was designed for resistance to random faults; it was not designed for resistance to targeted faults,” Geer warns. “As the monocultures build, they do so in ever more pervasive, ever smaller packages, in ever less noticeable roles. The avenues to common mode failure proliferate.”"

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+ - Parents' Privacy Concerns Kill Bill Gates' $100M inBloom Initiative

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "As things turn out, All Your Child's Data Are Not Belong To inBloom, the Bill Gates-bankrolled and News Corp. subsidiary-implemented data initiative that sought to personalize learning. GeekWire's Tricia Duryee reports that inBloom, which was backed by $100 million from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others, is closing up shop after parents worried that its database technology was violating their children's privacy. According to NY Times coverage (reg.), the inBloom database tracked 400 different data fields about students — including family relationships ("foster parent" or "father's significant other”") and reasons for enrollment changes ("withdrawn due to illness" or "leaving school as a victim of a serious violent incident") — that parents objected to, prompting some schools to recoil from the venture. In a statement, inBloom CEO Iwan Streichenberger said that personalized learning was still an emerging concept, and complained that the venture had been "the subject of mischaracterizations and a lightning rod for misdirected criticism." He added, "It is a shame that the progress of this important innovation has been stalled because of generalized public concerns about data misuse, even though inBloom has world-class security and privacy protections that have raised the bar for school districts and the industry as a whole [although it was still apparently vulnerable to Heartbleed]." As far as Gates goes, the world's richest man has a couple of irons left in the data-driven personalized learning fire via his ties to Code.org, which seeks 7 years of participating K-12 students' data, and Khan Academy, which recently attracted scrutiny over its data-privacy policies. Khan Academy — which counted the managing partner of Gates' bgC3 think-tank and Google CEO Eric Schmidt as Board members in a recent tax filing — just struck an exclusive partnership with CollegeBoard to prepare students for the redesigned SAT."

+ - How Can We Create A Culture Of Secure Behavior?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Most employees think they are immune to security threats. Despite the high news coverage that large breaches receive, and despite tales told by their friends about losing their laptops for a few days while a malware infection is cleared up, employees generally believe they are immune to security risks. Those types of things happen to other, less careful people. Training users how to properly create and store strong passwords, and putting measures in place that tell individuals the password they've created is "weak" can help change behavior."

+ - Venus' crust heals too fast for plate tectonics

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Without plate tectonics, carbon would build up in the atmosphere. Venus, which does not have tectonics, shows the results: an atmosphere that is 96 percent carbon dioxide. It's toxic. Yet Venus is about the same size and composition as our planet, so why doesn't it have plate tectonics? Some researchers made a model to explore how Earth initiated plate movements, and these same researchers made one model of its neighbor for comparison. A 1.5-billion-year-old Earth and a similarly aged Venus were modeled as a hot, mushy material made of tiny particles of rock. The model uses physics at the one-millimeter rock grain scale to explain how the whole planet behaves. According to David Bercovici, a geophysicist at Yale who was an author on the paper, the model also shows how plate tectonics emerged on Earth but not on her twin."

+ - Microsoft Plans $1 Billion Server Farm in Iowa->

Submitted by 1sockchuck
1sockchuck (826398) writes "Microsoft will invest $1.1 billion to build a massive new server farm in Iowa, not far from an existing data center in West Des Moines. The 1.2 million square foot campus will be one of the biggest in the history of the data center industry. It further enhances Iowa's status as the data center capital of the Midwest,, with Google and Facebook also operating huge server farms in the state."
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Google News Sci Tech: Nike to reportedly exit wearables market, fires bulk of FuelBand team [u] - Appl->

From feed by feedfeeder

Apple Insider

Nike to reportedly exit wearables market, fires bulk of FuelBand team [u]
Apple Insider
A rumor on Friday claims Nike is planning to shut down the division responsible for creating wearable fitness trackers, starting with the axing of as many as 55 people from the FuelBand team. FuelBand SE. Citing people familiar with the situation, CNET...
Bye-Bye FuelBand: Nike Won't Be the Last Company to Get Out of Wearable ... TIME
Nike Fires FuelBand Team in Move to Ditch WearablesMashable
Nike Dismantles their FuelBand Wearables TeamPatently Apple
TechCrunch-CNET-TechRadar UK
all 31 news articles

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Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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