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Comment: Re:worry about the other "Zone of Lawlessness"! (Score 2) 418

Fix that, and then the American people might consider not using encryption anymore.

That ship has sailed, and is not coming back. When the American Government is indistinguishable from any other type of criminal, you are well advised to protect yourself from them all.

Communications

FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems 94

Posted by timothy
from the shrugging-it-off dept.
WheezyJoe writes Verizon agreed to a $5 million settlement after admitting that it failed to investigate whether its rural customers were able to receive long distance and wireless phone calls. The settlement is related to the FCC's efforts to address what is known as the rural call completion problem. Over an eight-month period during 2013, low call answer rates in 39 rural areas should have triggered an investigation, the FCC said. The FCC asked Verizon what steps it took, and Verizon said in April 2014 that it investigated or fixed problems in 13 of the 39 areas, but did nothing in the other 26.

"Rural call completion problems have significant and immediate public interest ramifications," the FCC said in its order on the Verizon settlement today. "They cause rural businesses to lose customers, impede medical professionals from reaching patients in rural areas, cut families off from their relatives, and create the potential for dangerous delays in public safety communications." Verizon has been accused of letting its copper landline network decay while it shifts its focus to fiber and cellular service. The FCC is working a plan to protect customers as old copper networks are retired.
Security

'Never Miss Another Delivery' - if You Have a TrackPIN (Video) 85

Posted by Roblimo
from the let-me-in-let-me-in-by-the-hair-on-my-chinny-chin-chin dept.
The company is called TrackPIN, as is the product. Its creator, Mark Hall, showed it off at CES. Timothy pointed his camcorder at Mark as he explained how his product would let you get package deliveries safely when you aren't home by giving the UPS or FedEx (or other) delivery person access to your garage, as well as letting in selected people like your maid, your plumber, and possibly an aquarium cleaner. Each one can have a private, one-time PIN number that will actuate your garage door opener through the (~$250) TrackPIN keypad and tell your smartphone or other net-connected device that your garage was just opened, and by whom. You might even call this, "One small step for package delivery; a giant leap forward for the Internet of Things." Except those of us who don't have garages (not to mention electric garage door openers) may want to skip today's video; the TrackPIN isn't meant for the likes of us. (Alternate Video Link)
Verizon

Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the you're-stuck-with-comcast dept.
WheezyJoe writes: If you've been holding out hope that FiOS would rescue you from your local cable monopoly, it's probably time to give up. Making good on their statements five years ago, Verizon announced this week it is nearing "the end" of its fiber construction and is reducing wireline capital expenditures while spending more on wireless.

The expense of replacing old copper lines with fiber has allegedly led Verizon to stop building in new regions and to complete wiring up the areas where it had already begun. The fiber network was profitable, but nowhere near as profitable as their wireless network. So, if Verizon hasn't started in your neighborhood by now, they never will, and you'd best ignore all those ads for FiOS.
The Internet

Moot Retires From 4chan 184

Posted by samzenpus
from the fare-thee-well dept.
vivaoporto writes Moot bids his final farewell as the administrator of the (in)famous imageboard. The full resignation letter can be read on the site blog (it's cool, it's SFW) but for those who are not brave enough to dwell in the "underbelly of the internet" here are some excerpts: "I founded 4chan eleven and a half years ago at the age of 15, and after more than a decade of service, I've decided it's time for me to move on. 4chan has faced numerous challenges... [B]ut the biggest hurdle it's had to overcome is myself. As 4chan's sole administrator, decision maker, and keeper of most of its institutional knowledge, I've come to represent an uncomfortably large single point of failure. I've spent the past two years working behind the scenes to address these challenges,... [T]he site isn't in danger of going under financially any time soon,... and while I've still been calling the shots, I've delegated many of my responsibilities to a handful of trusted volunteers, most of whom have served the site for years. That foundation will now be put to the ultimate test, as today I'm retiring as 4chan's administrator.... I look forward to one day returning to 4chan as its Admin Emeritus or just another Anonymous,... I'm humbled to have had the privilege of both founding and presiding over what is easily one of the greatest communities to ever grace the Web."
Medicine

Microbots Deliver Medical Payload In Living Creature For the First Time 41

Posted by Soulskill
from the unless-you-count-star-trek dept.
Zothecula writes: Researchers working at the University of California, San Diego have claimed a world first in proving that artificial, microscopic machines can travel inside a living creature and deliver their medicinal load without any detrimental effects. Using micro-motor powered robots propelled by gas bubbles made from a reaction with the contents of the stomach in which they were deposited, these miniature machines have been successfully deployed in the body of a live mouse.
Open Source

Gender and Tenure Diversity In GitHub Teams Relate To Higher Productivity 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the bad-news-for-my-clone-army dept.
New submitter Bogdan Vasilescu writes: Diversity in teams is a double-edged sword. Increased team diversity results in more varied backgrounds and ideas, providing the team with access to broader information, enhanced creativity, adaptability, and problem solving skills. However, due to greater perceived differences in values, norms, and communication styles in more diverse teams, members become more likely to engage in stereotyping, cliquishness, and conflict.

In a recent study, researchers from University of California, Davis and Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands have analyzed the effects of gender and tenure diversity on productivity and turnover for more than 23,000 open-source projects on GitHub. Using regression modeling, they showed that after controlling for team size and other confounds (such as a project's age, development model, or amount of social activity), both gender and tenure diversity are positive and significant predictors of productivity, together explaining a small but significant fraction of the data variability. On an economic and societal scale, these findings suggest that added investments in educational and professional training efforts and outreach for female programmers will likely result in added overall value.

The paper describing the results (preprint PDF here) will be presented at the prestigious ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, in Seoul, South Korea, in April 2015.
Internet Explorer

Time For Microsoft To Open Source Internet Explorer? 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-can't-beat-'em dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica's Peter Bright argues that it's time for Microsoft to make Internet Explorer open source. He points out that IE's major competitors are all either fully open source (Firefox), or partially open source (Chrome, Safari, and Opera), and this puts Microsoft at a huge disadvantage. Bright says, "It's time for Microsoft to fit in with the rest of the browser industry and open up Trident. One might argue that this argument could be made of any software, and that Microsoft should by this logic open source everything. But I think that the browser is special. The community that exists around Web standards does not exist in the same way around, say, desktop software development, or file system drivers, or user interfaces. Development in the open is integral to the Web in an almost unique way. ... Although Microsoft has endeavored to be more open about how it's developing its browser, and which features it is prioritizing, that development nonetheless takes place in private. Developing in the open, with a public bug tracker, source code repositories, and public discussion of the browser's future direction is the next logical step."

Comment: Re:Proprietary (Score 1) 647

by StormReaver (#48858615) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

...but the "proprietary" argument doesn't hold any water....

"Proprietary" means:

1) Support can be pulled at any time for any reason, and there isn't a thing you can do about it. See Visual Basic (it's so bizarre that you argue against your point, but don't even realize it).

2) You are locked-in to the vendor's whims, and there isn't a thing you can do about it.

3) You are restricted to the vendor's supported platforms, and there isn't a thing you can do about it.

4) You have no idea what is going on under the hood, and there isn't a thing you can do about it (under threat of fine and/or imprisonment).

There are more, but I don't have time.

Privacy

Police Nation-Wide Use Wall-Penetrating Radars To Peer Into Homes 290

Posted by timothy
from the shoot-anything-that-looks-like-a-blob dept.
mi writes At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside. The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what's happening inside. The Range-R's maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each. Other radar devices have far more advanced capabilities, including three-dimensional displays of where people are located inside a building, according to marketing materials from their manufacturers. One is capable of being mounted on a drone. And the Justice Department has funded research to develop systems that can map the interiors of buildings and locate the people within them.
PC Games (Games)

Sid Meier's New Game Is About Starships 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the klingons-off-the-starboard-bow dept.
jones_supa writes: The next game from the mind of veteran strategy and simulation game designer Sid Meier has been revealed. 2K and Firaxis Games have announced Sid Meier's Starships, a turn-based interstellar strategy game scheduled to arrive in early 2015 for Windows, OS X, and iOS (iPad). In the game, you control a fleet of starships as you journey through the galaxy to complete missions, protect planets and their inhabitants, and build a planetary federation. As you trek through the stars, you will be challenged to expand your federation's influence and reach. You shall also amass futuristic technology and take part in combat using a deep roster of customizable ships. When designing Starships, Meier was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth. "What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth," Meier asks. "My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration."
The Internet

Republican Bill Aims To Thwart the FCC's Leaning Towards Title II 182

Posted by timothy
from the belief-in-authority dept.
SpzToid writes U.S. congressional Republicans on Friday proposed legislation that would set "net neutrality" rules for broadband providers, aiming to head off tougher regulations backed by the Obama administration. Republican lawmakers hope to counter the Federal Communications Commission's vote on Feb. 26 for rules that are expected to follow the legal path endorsed by President Barack Obama, which Internet service providers (ISPs) and Republicans say would unnecessarily burden the industry with regulation. Net neutrality activists, now with Obama's backing, have advocated for regulation of ISPs under a section of communications law known as Title II, which would treat them more like public utilities. The White House on Thursday said legislation was not necessary to settle so-called "net neutrality" rules because the Federal Communications Commission had the authority to write them.
Businesses

Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out 218

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-can-go-it dept.
sciencehabit writes Certain scientific fields require a special type of brilliance, according to conventional wisdom. And a new study suggests that this belief, as misguided as it may be, helps explain the underrepresentation of women in those fields. The authors found that fields in which inborn ability is prized over hard work produced relatively fewer female Ph.D.s. This trend, based on 2011 data from the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates, also helps explain why gender ratios don't follow the simplified STEM/non-STEM divide in some fields, including philosophy and biology, they conclude.
Security

NSA Official: Supporting Backdoored Random Number Generator Was "Regrettable" 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-we-had-to-do-it-over-again dept.
Trailrunner7 writes In a new article in an academic math journal, the NSA's director of research says that the agency's decision not to withdraw its support of the Dual EC_DRBG random number generator after security researchers found weaknesses in it and questioned its provenance was a "regrettable" choice. Michael Wertheimer, the director of researcher at the National Security Agency, wrote in a short piece in Notices, a publication of the American Mathematical Society, that even during the standards development process for Dual EC many years ago, members of the working group focused on the algorithm raised concerns that it could have a backdoor in it. The algorithm was developed in part by the NSA and cryptographers were suspect of it from the beginning. "With hindsight, NSA should have ceased supporting the dual EC_DRBG algorithm immediately after security researchers discovered the potential for a trapdoor. In truth, I can think of no better way to describe our failure to drop support for the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm as anything other than regrettable," Wertheimer wrote in a piece in Notices' February issue.

Comment: GUI Datasets (Score 3, Informative) 264

by StormReaver (#48804965) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Database GUI Application Development?

Having programmed in GTK+, Qt, Java, and C#: I find C# to be the most painful for database interactivity. Its data bound controls (to me) are infuriatingly convoluted, complex, inefficient, and inflexible.

I find it far, far easier to use a tool that generates database models, create readers and writers based on those models to abstract them away from the application, and then use those readers/writers in the mainline application. The payoff is immense.

The closest fit for you is Java (since C# started life as Microsoft's attempt to make a Windows-specific version of Java). The two best IDE choices then become Netbeans and IntelliJ (do yourself a favor, and skip Eclipse).

A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems. -- P. Erdos

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