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Pressure From Uber Forces London Taxis To Finally Accept Cards ( 85

An anonymous reader writes: Following a public consultation that compared the service unfavorably with Uber, London's 21,000 black cabs will finally accept card payment from October of 2016, with a possible option to pay via PayPal. London Mayor Boris Johnson continues to support and defend the legendarily expensive and iconic taxi service, saying 'This move will boost business for cabbies and bring the trade into the 21st century by enabling quicker and more convenient journeys for customers'. Most Londoners feel that the move should have been made in the 1980s, and the consultation report indicates that Uber's increasing share of London fares has forced the innovation.
Hardware Hacking

Raspberry Pi Unveils New $5 Mini-computer 170

An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled the Pi Zero, a new $5 mini-computer, Thursday morning. The board is the smallest Raspberry Pi yet, containing the first-gen Raspberry Pi's BCM2835 chip (safely overclocked to 1GHz) and 512MB RAM. The latest issue of The Magpi will include a free Raspberry Pi Zero and hits U.K. newsstands Thursday. The announcement came just a few days before the highly anticipated C.H.I.P. $9 mini-computer goes on sale to the public. puddingebola writes: How can they achieve this price, you may ask? "Its 40-pin GPIO header has identical pinouts, although the pads on the circuit board are "unpopulated," meaning you'll have to solder on your own connector. The same goes for the composite video output: The connection is available, but if you need a socket, you must solder it yourself." Dude, go to Radio Shack. Some relevant specs besides those mentioned above, from the blog post linked:
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • mini-HDMI socket for 1080p60 video output
  • Micro-USB sockets for data and power
  • Identical pinout to Model A+/B+/2B
  • An unpopulated composite video header
  • "Our smallest ever form factor, at 65mm x 30mm x 5mm"

New submitter graffitiwriter adds a note that the newest Pi has "already been turned into a retro gaming console. It turns out the Pi Zero is more than capable of running Retro Pie and other emulators, and even has a video output that lets you play games on an old CRT TV."


What Is the Future of the Television? ( 206

An anonymous reader writes: Benedict Evans has an interesting post about where television hardware is headed. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the tech industry made a huge push to invade the living room, trying to make the internet mesh with traditional TV broadcasts. As we all know, their efforts failed. Now, we periodically see new waves of devices to attach to the TV, but none have been particularly ambitious. The most successful devices of the recent wave, like the Chromecast and Apple TV, are simply turning the TV into a dumb screen for streamed content. Meanwhile, consumption of all types of video content is growing on smaller screens — tablets, phones, etc. Even game consoles are starting to see their market eroded by boxes like the Steam Link, which acts as a pipe for a game being played elsewhere on a PC. It raises an intriguing question: where is the television headed? What uses and functions does one giant screen serve that can't be cleverly redistributed to smaller screens? Evans concludes, "The web's open, permissionless innovation beat the closed, top-down visions of interactive TV and the information superhighway."

Engineers Nine Times More Likely Than Expected To Become Terrorists ( 469 writes: Henry Farrel writes in the Washington Post that there's a group of people who appear to be somewhat prone to violent extremism: Engineers. They are nine times more likely to be terrorists than you would expect by chance. In a forthcoming book, Engineers of Jihad, published by Princeton University Press, Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog provide a new theory explaining why engineers seem unusually prone to become involved in terrorist organizations. They say it's caused by the way engineers think about the world. Survey data indicates engineering faculty at universities are far more likely to be conservative than people with other degrees, and far more likely to be religious. They are seven times as likely to be both religious and conservative as social scientists. Gambetta and Hertog speculate that engineers combine these political predilections with a marked preference towards finding clearcut answers.

Gambetta and Hertog suggest that this mindset combines with frustrated expectations in many Middle Eastern and North African countries (PDF), and among many migrant populations, where people with engineering backgrounds have difficulty in realizing their ambitions for good and socially valued jobs. This explains why there are relatively few radical Islamists with engineering backgrounds in Saudi Arabia (where they can easily find good employment) and why engineers were more prone to become left-wing radicals in Turkey and Iran.

Some people might argue that terrorist groups want to recruit engineers because engineers have valuable technical skills that might be helpful, such as in making bombs. This seems plausible – but it doesn't seem to be true. Terrorist organizations don't seem to recruit people because of their technical skills, but because they seem trustworthy and they don't actually need many people with engineering skills. "Bomb-making and the technical stuff that is done in most groups is performed by very few people (PDF), so you don't need, if you have a large group, 40 or 50 percent engineers," says Hertog. "You just need a few guys to put together the bombs. So the scale of the overrepresentation, especially in the larger groups is not easily explained."


On iFixit and the Right To Repair ( 231

Jason Koebler writes: Motherboard sent a reporter to the Electronics Reuse Convention in New Orleans to investigate the important but threatened world of smartphone and electronics repair. As manufacturers start using proprietary screws, offer phone lease programs and use copyright law to threaten repair professionals, the right-to-repair is under more threat than ever. "That Apple and other electronics manufacturers don't sell repair parts to consumers or write service manuals for them isn't just annoying, it's an environmental disaster, [iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens] says. Recent shifts to proprietary screws, the ever-present threat of legal action under a trainwreck of a copyright law, and an antagonistic relationship with third-party repair shops shows that the anti-repair culture at major manufacturers isn't based on negligence or naiveté, it's malicious."

Lori Garver Claims That NASA Is 'Wary' of Elon Musk's Mars Plans ( 100

MarkWhittington writes: Ars Technica reports that former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver claimed, during a panel discussion at the Council for Foreign Relations, that many at NASA are "wary" of the Mars ambitions of SpaceX's Elon Musk. While the space agency has yielded low Earth operations to the commercial sector as part of the commercial crew program, it reserves for itself deep space exploration. Garver herself disagrees with that sentiment: "I thought, fundamentally, you just don’t understand. We’re not in a race in a swimming pool where everyone is racing against one another. We're in a cycling race where the government is riding point and the others are drafting behind us, and if someone comes alongside us and can pass us because they’ve found a better way, we don’t get out our tire pump and stick it between their spokes."

Comment Re: C is high level? (Score 1) 91

C and C++ look radically different when reverse engineering their assembly. Like, it's easy to reverse engineer C and much harder to do C++ without symbols. The allocators they call are different. Folk seem to use more heap allocation in C++. More calls in C++.

At least, that's what I assume is going on. Some things I reverse engineer easily in hours. Other things it takes me days before I give up. I believe this difference comes from C vs X++

Comment Thirty Years of Windows. (Score 1) 248

The MS-DOS and Windows PC entered the market as an affordable office workhorse, with strong software support from every major vendor.

The OEM Windows system install became the gold standard for retail sales and support. The modular design of the PC meant that hardware advanced quickly --- and with Plug and Play configuration becoming the norm --- quite painlessly.

Windows evolved into a capable operating system designed for users who share almost none of the geek's paranoia or obsessions with the internals of the system.

Comment Re:Work/Life balance means Life *is* work (Score 1) 242

My guess is that work/life balance isn't for us in the trenches, it's for the guys in the corner offices who make more than a $Million per year, own 6 fancy cars, and talk about their "Vacation Home" in Hawaii.

I'm in the trenches too. I realized that my company will happily drain everything out of me, every possible waking hour. But on the other hand, it will also be happy with merely taking 35-40 hours per week out of me.

The company has no insight into my personal work/life balance. Only I do. It's up to me to set limits. The company won't set limits itself, has no way of setting limits itself, but it will happily respect the limits I set.

Example: last year I told my manager "Every Thursday I will work from home. I won't answer emails. I'll pursue whatever programming things interest me. Still get paid of course." He was entirely happy with this. It helps that my company produces tools for developers, so by being a developer myself I'm basically doing market research.

Example: I realized that over the past years, every really valuable contribution that I've made has come from the projects I get into from curiosity or personal passion or hobby development. They haven't come from the daily grind of answering emails and attending emails. I set up Outlook rules to filter out about 80% of my incoming email, so I only see 15-20 work emails a day now. I unilaterally decided not to accept or attend any meetings on Mondays or Thursdays. It's done wonders for my productivity and creativity.

Example: I always used to do 1-2 hours of work in the evening, mostly catching up on emails so I could start the next day with a clean slate. Then due to severe storms and a fallen tree in early September, my house had no power for 2 weeks and no internet for 2 weeks more and I couldn't do any work in the evenings. And surprisingly -- I was still just as productive, still as respected by my team members! Since then, I've only done one piece of work in the evenings, preparing a conference talk that I gave last week. My family has loved it, and I've loved it. And I've got to play some Dragon Age: Inquisition too. First video gaming I've done since my toddler was born.

Example: I'll be taking three months (paid) paternity leave next year when my twins are born.

It helps that I'm in a larger team, so there are people who can take over my workload when I'm away. Maybe that's the key. I am in the trenches. I don't have 6 cars. Only one, a 1988 model, and since its engine cracked I've switched to public transport.


Carnegie Mellon Denies FBI Paid For Tor-Breaking Research ( 79

New submitter webdesignerdudes writes with news that Carnegie Mellon University now implies it may have been subpoenaed to give up its anonymity-stripping technique, and that it was not paid $1 million by the FBI for doing so. Wired reports: "In a terse statement Wednesday, Carnegie Mellon wrote that its Software Engineering Institute hadn’t received any direct payment for its Tor research from the FBI or any other government funder. But it instead implied that the research may have been accessed by law enforcement through the use of a subpoena. 'In the course of its work, the university from time to time is served with subpoenas requesting information about research it has performed,' the statement reads. 'The university abides by the rule of law, complies with lawfully issued subpoenas and receives no funding for its compliance.'"

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.