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Wireless Networking

US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-wireless-benjamins dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The FCC's recent wireless spectrum auction closed on Thursday, and the agency has raked in far more money than anyone expected. Sales totaled $44.89 billion, demonstrating that demand for wireless spectrum is higher than ever. The winners have not yet been disclosed, but the FCC will soon make all bidding activity public. "The money will be used to fund FirstNet, the government agency tasked with creating the nation's first interoperable broadband network for first responders, to finance technological upgrades to our 911 emergency systems, and to contribute over $20 billion to deficit reduction. In addition, the auction brought 65 Megahertz of spectrum to market to fuel our nation's mobile broadband networks. The wireless industry estimates that for every 10 Megahertz of spectrum licensed for wireless broadband, 7,000 American jobs are created and U.S. gross domestic product increases by $1.7 billion."

+ - Tech Companies Worried Over China's New Rules For Selling To Banks->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "China is putting into place a new set of regulations for how banks interact with technology, and it has many companies worried. While the rules might enhance the security for the Chinese government, they devastate it for everyone else. For example. not only does China require that companies turn over source code for any software sold to banks, the companies building the software (and hardware) must build back doors into their systems. The bad news for us is that most companies can't afford to simply refuse the rules and write China off. Tech industry spending is estimated to reach $465 billion in 2015, and it's projected for a huge amount of growth."
Link to Original Source

+ - Reverse Engineering the Nike+ FuelBand's Communications Protocol->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Security researcher Simone Margaritelli has reverse engineered the Bluetooth low-energy communications protocol for his Nike+ FuelBand SE, a wrist-worn activity tracker. He learned some disturbing fact: "The authentication system is vulnerable, anyone could connect to your device. The protocol supports direct reading and writing of the device memory, up to 65K of contents. The protocol supports commands that are not supposed to be implemented in a production release (bootloader mode, device self test, etc)." His post explains in detail how he managed this, and how Nike put effort into creating an authentication system, but then completely undermined it by using a hard-coded token. Margaritelli even provides a command list for the device, which can do things like grab an event log, upload a bitmap for the screen, and even reset the device."
Link to Original Source

+ - U.S. wireless spectrum auction raises $44.9 billion->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The FCC's wireless spectrum auction closed on Thursday, and the agency has raked in far more money than anyone expected. Sales totaled $44.89 billion, demonstrating that demand for wireless spectrum is higher than ever. The winners have not yet been disclosed, but the FCC will soon make all bidding activity public. "The money will be used to fund FirstNet, the government agency tasked with creating the nation’s first interoperable broadband network for first responders, to finance technological upgrades to our 911 emergency systems, and to contribute over $20 billion to deficit reduction. In addition, the auction brought 65 Megahertz of spectrum to market to fuel our nation’s mobile broadband networks. The wireless industry estimates that for every 10 Megahertz of spectrum licensed for wireless broadband, 7,000 American jobs are created and U.S. gross domestic product increases by $1.7 billion.""
Link to Original Source
Government

Safety Review Finds Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Site Was Technically Sound 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the wasted-effort dept.
siddesu writes: The U.S. Department of Energy's 2008 proposal to build a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was technically sound, a report by the NRC says. However, the closed-down project is unlikely to revive, as its staff has moved on, and there are few funds available to restart it. "With the release of the final two volumes of a five-part technical analysis, the commission closed another chapter on the controversial repository nearly five years after President Barack Obama abandoned the project, and more than a quarter century after the site was selected. While the staff recommended against approving construction, the solid technical review could embolden Republicans who now control both houses of Congress and would like to see Yucca Mountain revived."
Biotech

New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels 75

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-switchgrass? dept.
HughPickens.com writes The NYT reports on a new study from a prominent environmental think tank that concludes turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand. They add that continuing to pursue this strategy is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world's growing population. "I would say that many of the claims for biofuels have been dramatically exaggerated," says Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization based in Washington that is publishing the report. "There are other, more effective routes to get to a low-carbon world." The report follows several years of rising concern among scientists about biofuel policies in the United States and Europe, and is the strongest call yet by the World Resources Institute, known for nonpartisan analysis of environmental issues, to urge governments to reconsider those policies.

Timothy D. Searchinger says recent science has challenged some of the assumptions underpinning many of the pro-biofuel policies that have often failed to consider the opportunity cost of using land to produce plants for biofuel. According to Searchinger, if forests or grasses were grown instead of biofuels, that would pull carbon dioxide out of the air, storing it in tree trunks and soils and offsetting emissions more effectively than biofuels would do. What is more, as costs for wind and solar power have plummeted over the past decade, and the new report points out that for a given amount of land, solar panels are at least 50 times more efficient than biofuels at capturing the energy of sunlight in a useful form. "It's true that our first-generation biofuels have not lived up to their promise," says Jason Hill said. "We've found they do not offer the environmental benefits they were purported to have, and they have a substantial negative impact on the food system."

+ - Computers are evil in early education-> 1

Submitted by nbauman
nbauman (624611) writes "Middle school students who got computers did worse in school. They wasted their time on games, social media, and entertainment (just like adults), according to Susan Pinker in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01... Computers only help when they're used by good, trained teachers. Infants who interact with parents do better in school. Screen time reduces interaction with parents.

In the early 2000s, economists tracked the academic progress of nearly one million disadvantaged middle-school students against the dates they were given networked computers. They assessed math and reading skills for 5 years.

“Students who gain access to a home computer between the 5th and 8th grades tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math scores,” they wrote. The Internet was also linked to lower grades in younger children.

Weaker students (boys, African-Americans) were affected more than others. When their computers arrived, their reading scores fell off a cliff.

Technology has a role in education — but only when it’s perfectly suited to the task, and only when it's deployed as a tool by a terrific, highly trained teacher."

Link to Original Source

+ - KDE Plasma Desktop 5.2 Released->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "

The KDE community officially released Plasma 5.2 this morning as the quarterly update to KDE's desktop shell powered by Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5. New components to Plasma 5 with the 5.2 release is BlueDevil for Bluetooth device management, KSSHAskPass, Muon for installing add-ons, SDDM is the log-in manager of choice now for Plasma, KScreen has seen its first Plasma 5 release, GTK Application Style allows for altering the themes of GNOME applications, and KDecoration makes it easier for coming up with KDE themes for KWin. KDE Plasma 5.2 also adds undo support to the Plasma desktop layout, smarter sorting of search results in KRunner, the new Breeze window decorations and icons by default, new Plasma widgets, and many other changes.

It might be a bit late, but nonetheless."
Link to Original Source

+ - Safety review finds Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site was technically sound->

Submitted by siddesu
siddesu (698447) writes "The US Department of Energy’s 2008 proposal to build a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was technically sound, a report by the NRC says. However, the closed-down project is unlikely to revive, as its staff has moved on, and there are few funds available to restart it."
Link to Original Source
United Kingdom

UK Broadcaster Sky To Launch Mobile Service 20

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-in-one dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that British pay-TV company Sky will launch mobile services next year. UK pay-TV firm Sky is launching a mobile phone service next year in partnership with O2's Spanish parent Telefonica. Sky will use Telefonica UK's wireless network, enabling the satellite broadcaster to offer mobile voice and data services for the first time. It takes Sky into the battle for "quad play", adding mobile to its existing services of internet, landline and TV. Offering all four services is seen as the next big UK growth area for telecoms firms and broadcasters.
Microsoft

Microsoft To Invest In Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen 177

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-a-pile-of-money dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft plans to be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing for mobile startup Cyanogen Inc. Neither company is commenting on the plan but last week during a talk in San Francisco, Cyanogen's CEO said the company's goal was to "take Android away from Google." According to Bloomberg: "The talks illustrate how Microsoft is trying to get its applications and services on rival operating systems, which has been a tenet of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella. Microsoft has in the past complained that Google Inc., which manages Android, has blocked its programs from the operating system."

+ - A "comet storm" is in our future, and it isn't pretty

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Out beyond the orbit of Neptune, hundreds of thousands of large, icy bodies stably orbit our Sun, held very tenuously by our Solar System's gravity at such great distances. For the most part, these objects leave us alone, but every once in a while, a star passes close enough to our Solar System to perturb them, sending a great number into the inner Solar System and causing a (potentially life-threatening) comet storm. There's a candidate for a huge one a few hundred thousand years from now, and a certain one coming in about 1.4 million years. Comet defense, anyone?"
Printer

VP Anthony Moschella Shows Off Makerbot's Latest Printers and Materials (Video) 39

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-can-make-fake-wood-designer-shapes-on-the-3d-printer-at-your-local-makerspace dept.
You may have read a few weeks ago about the new materials that MakerBot has introduced for its 3-D printers; earlier this month, I got a chance to see some of them in person, and have them explained by MakerBot VP of Product Anthony Moschella in a cramped demo closet — please excuse the lighting — at the company's booth at CES. Moschella had some things to say about materials, timelines, and what MakerBot is doing to try to salvage its open-source cred, despite being a very willing part of a corporate conspiracy to sell boxes of Martha Stewart-branded extruder filament — as well as a few unremarkable things that the company's ever-vigilant PR overseer decreed Moschella couldn't answer on the record for reasons like agreements between MakerBot parent Stratasys and their suppliers. The good news for owners of recent MakerBot models: they'll be upgradeable to use the new and interesting materials with a part swap, rather than a whole-machine swap (it takes a "smart extruder" rather than the current, dumber one). And the pretty good news for fans of open source, besides that the current generation of MakerBots are all Linux-based computers themselves, is that MakerBot's open API provides a broad path for 3-D makers to interact with the printers. (The bad news is that there's no move afoot to return the machines' guts to open source hardware, like the early generations of MakerBots, but STL files at least don't care whether you ship them to an FSF-approved printer to be made manifest.)
Networking

Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access? 408

Posted by timothy
from the granpa-tell-us-a-story dept.
New submitter rsanford, apropos of today's FCC announcement about what is officially consided "broadband" speed by that agency, asks In the early and middle 90's I recall spending countless hours on IRC 'Trout-slapping' people in #hottub and engaging in channel wars. The people from Europe were always complaining about how slow their internet was and there was no choice. This was odd to me, who at the time had 3 local ISPs to choose from, all offering the fastest modem connections at the time, while living in rural America 60 miles away from the nearest city with 1,000 or more people. Was that the reality back then? If so, what changed, and when?

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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