Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Submission + - The real price of Windows 10 is your privacy (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Windows 10 is a free upgrade, right? Well, surely you know by now that there's no such thing as a free lunch. We're only 48 hours on from the launch of Windows 10 and already the complaining and criticism is underway. One thing that has been brought under the spotlight is privacy under the latest version of Microsoft's operating system.

Some people have been surprised to learn that Microsoft is utilizing the internet connections of Windows 10 users to deliver Windows Updates to others. But this is far from being the end of it. Cortana also gives cause for concern, and then there is the issue of Microsoft Edge, and ads in apps. Is this a price you're willing to pay?

Windows 10 is more closely tied to a Microsoft account than any previous version of the OS. This allows Microsoft to assign an ID number to users that can then be used to track them across different devices, services, and apps. This in turn can be used to deliver closely targeted ads to people. Microsoft has been pushing the mobile first, cloud first philosophy for some time now, and it becomes clear with Windows 10 that the love of the cloud is as much to do with the ability it gives Microsoft to gather useful data as it is about convenience for users.

Submission + - Will Autonomous Cars Be the Insurance Industry's Napster Moment? (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Most of us are looking forward to the advent of autonomous vehicles. Not only will they free up a lot of time to previously spent staring straight ahead at the bumper of the car in front of you, they'll also presumably make commuting a lot safer. While that's great news for the 30,000+ people who die in traffic accidents every year in the U.S., it may not be great news for insurance companies. Granted, they'll have to pay out a lot less money with the lower number of claims, but premiums will necessarily drop as well and the overall amount of money within the car insurance system will dwindle. Analysts are warning these companies that their business is going to shrink. It will be interesting to see if they adapt to the change, or cling desperately to an outdated business model like the entertainment industry did. "One opportunity for the industry could be selling more coverage to carmakers and other companies developing the automated features for cars. ... When the technology fails, manufacturers could get stuck with big liabilities that they will want to cover by buying more insurance. There’s also a potential for cars to get hacked as they become more networked."

Submission + - Flash on Slashdot

An anonymous reader writes: Why the hell in this day and age is Slashdot pushing flash video? Are you still run by awesome geeks, or have brain-dead zombie suits taken over the operation?

Submission + - Amazon Germany pays 0.1% tax rate in 2014, funnels sales through low-tax haven (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: E-retail giant Amazon.com’s German branch paid just 11.9 million euros (approx. $16 million) in tax last year, equivalent to a 0.1% tax rate considering the company reported $11.9 billion in gross sales in Germany in 2014. German corporate income tax stood at 29.58% last year which would mean Amazon Germany would have been expected to pay $3.5 billion in tax in 2014. Amazon.de is the group’s largest and most successful market outside of the U.S., according to its annual sales records. However following investigation it has been revealed that almost all of the company’s German sales and profits were reported from businesses in Luxembourg, a low-tax haven. Amazon said last week that it had implemented a number of changes across Europe, including in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy from May 1st, in order to ensure that future sales would be managed in the countries themselves.

Submission + - Why the nuclear industry targets renewables instead of gas (midwestenergynews.com) 3

mdsolar writes: Cheap natural gas has upended the nation’s energy landscape and made aging nuclear power plants increasingly uncompetitive.

Yet the nuclear industry, which generates almost a fifth of the nation’s energy, has declared war not on gas but on wind and solar, which represent about 4 and 0.2 percent of our energy mix, respectively.

Nuclear generators have successfully fought against renewable and energy efficiency standards on the state level, and lobbied against tax incentives for wind and solar on the federal level. They’re in the process of securing changes in regional capacity markets that would benefit nuclear and harm solar and wind.

And as states develop their Clean Power Plans to fulfill the federal mandate to reduce carbon emissions, nuclear is often pitted against renewables.

In deregulated states like Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, nuclear generators have found it increasingly difficult to sell their power at a profit on open markets, because of competition primarily from gas but also from wind.

Meanwhile, energy efficiency and distributed solar generation have reduced demand for electricity and are part of a fundamental shift which could significantly shrink the role of large, centralized power plants.

Submission + - Interest Rates Have Gone Negative in Europe

HughPickens.com writes: Matthew Yglesias writes at Vox that something really weird that economists thought was impossible is happening now in Europe where interest rates have gone negative on a range of debt — mostly government bonds from countries like Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany but also corporate bonds from Nestlé and, briefly, Shell. As in you give the owner of a Nestlé bond 100 euros, and four years later Nestlé gives you back less than that. "In the most literal sense, negative interest rates are a simple case of supply and demand. A bond is a kind of tradable loan," says Yglesias. "If there isn't much demand for buying the bonds, the interest rate has to go up to make customers more willing to buy. If there's a lot of demand, the interest rate will fall."

But why would you want to buy a negative interest rate loan? The question itself seems absurd – the very idea that anyone should have to pay someone to keep their money safe rather than demand an interest payment for the use of their money is counter-intuitive. But according to Yglesias, very rich people and big companies need to do something with their money and most European banks only guarantee 100,000 euros.Plowing the money into negative-yielding government bonds can appeal to banks when the alternative is to pay even more to store cash on deposit. J.P. Morgan calculates there is currently 220 billion euros of bank reserves subject to negative interest rates, which looks set to grow exponentially because of the European Central Bank’s forthcoming colossal bond-buying program. "It may be the case that if governments push the negative interest rates thing too far the entire economy would become a cash based system," says Merryn Somerset Webb. "But that might take a while to get to."

Submission + - Linking drought and climate change: difficult to do (fivethirtyeight.com)

Geoffrey.landis writes: An article about the current California drought on 538 points out that even though global climate warming may exacerbate droughts, it's nearly impossible to attribute any particular drought to climate warming: The complex, dynamic nature of our atmosphere and oceans makes it extremely difficult to link any particular weather event to climate change. That’s because of the intermingling of natural variations with human-caused ones. http://fivethirtyeight.com/fea... They also cite a Nature editorial pointing out the same thing about extreme weather: http://www.nature.com/news/ext...
Science

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Explaining to my girlfriend that humans didn't ride dinosaurs (dinosaurc14ages.com) 4

p00kiethebear writes: "Dear Slashdot. Remember when you learned that Santa Clause wasn't real? I have a wonderful and beautiful girlfriend. She treats me so right in every way. We've been together for almost a year now and everything seemed to be going perfectly until this morning. Over breakfast we were discussing dinosaurs and she told me a story about how her grandfather, fifty years ago, dated footprints of a dinosaurs and a man that were right next to each other to be within the same epoch of history. I laughed when she said this and then realized that she wasn't joking. She seriously believes this. She believes dinosaurs and humans walked at the same time together. Her grandfather told her this when she was little so regular logic and wiki isn't going to be able to contest her childhood dreams that she has been raised to believe. The odd thing is that she's not religious, it's just what her archeologist grandfather taught her. More important than just backing up evidence to the contrary, how do I explain this to her without crushing her childhood dreams? Is it even worth discussing it further with her? Have you ever had a loved one or family member that believed something that made you uncomfortable?"
HP

Submission + - Backdoor Found in HP LaserJet Pro Series Printers (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: US-CERT has warned users about a backdoor present in HP LaserJet printers that would allow remote attackers to gain unauthorized access to data. A total of 10 models of HP’s LaserJet Pro series of printers are affected by this vulnerability. The printers can be accessed through a telnet session without requiring a password thereby giving remote attackers access to unencrypted data. According to the advisory, users who own the affected printers should update the printer’s firmware to patch the vulnerability.
IBM

IBM Stops Disclosing US Headcount Data 377

theodp writes "ComputerWorld reports that IBM has stopped providing breakouts on US employees, closing a door to data that provided insights into the bellwether company's employment shift. In its latest Annual Report, Big Blue only provides its global headcount, and an IBM spokesman confirmed that disclosure of US headcount is a thing of the past. The Rochester Institute of Technology's Ron Hira called the US workforce data critical for policymakers trying to understand the dynamics of offshoring. 'By hiding its offshoring, IBM is doing a disservice to America — through omission the company is providing misleading labor market signals and information to policy makers,' Hira said. Ironically, CEO Sam Palmisano's Letter to Shareholders, which accompanied the Annual Report, touts how IBM's Analytics and 'Smarter Planet' efforts are empowering US government decision-makers. Nondisclosure domestically and abroad seems to be the new rule of thumb for Big Tech, sparking calls for government intervention." IBM laid off about 10,000 US workers last year, and 2,900 so far this year, according to the Alliance@IBM, a labor union.
The Media

IT Labor Shortage Is Just a Myth 619

buzzardsbay writes "For the past few years, we've heard a number of analysts and high-profile IT industry executives, Bill Gates and Craig Barrett among them, promoting the idea that there's an ever-present shortage of skilled IT workers to fill the industry's demand. But now there's growing evidence suggesting the "shortage" is simply a self-serving myth. "It seems like every three years you've got one group or another saying, the world is going to come to an end there is going to be a shortage and so on," says Vivek Wadhwa, a professor for Duke University's Master of Engineering Management Program and a former technology CEO himself. "This whole concept of shortages is bogus, it shows a lack of understanding of the labor pool in the USA.""
Government

White House Email Follies 205

Presto Vivace forwards a link detailing a recent House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the White House missing emails mess. David Gewirtz's report, carried in OutlookPower and DominoPower (in 6 parts, keep clicking), makes for scary reading. "If, in fact, the bulk of the White House email records are now stored in bundles of rotting PST files, all at or above their maximum safe load-level, that ain't good in a very big way... I object to using the inaccurate and inflated claim of excessive cost as a reason to avoid compliance with the Presidential Records Act."
Japan

Experiment Shows Traffic 'Shock Waves' Cause Jams 642

Galactic_grub writes "Japanese researchers recently performed the first experimental demonstration of a phenomenon that causes a busy freeway to inexplicably grind to a halt. A team from Nagoya University in Japan had volunteers drive cars around a small circular track and monitored the way 'shockwaves' — caused when one driver brakes — are sent back to other cars, caused jams to occur. Drivers were asked to travel at 30 kmph but small fluctuations soon appeared, eventually causing several vehicles to stop completely. Understanding the phenomenon could help devise ways to avoid the problem. As one researcher comments: 'If they had set up an experiment with robots driving in a perfect circle, flow breakdown would not have occurred.'"
The Internet

BBC iPlayer Bandwidth Explosion Bodes Ill For ISPs 249

penfold69 writes "Dave Tomlinson is one of the network gurus at PlusNET PLC, a Tier-2 ISP in the UK. He recently put up a blog post about the ramifications of the BBC iPlayer for the ISP industry in the UK. The post makes some very interesting reading regarding the bandwidth usage triggered by the iPlayer, and raises timely questions about the Net Neutrality debate. The Register also picked up on this story with a good review of who is going to have to pay for all this legal video streaming."
The Almighty Buck

2009 US Budget Holds Mixed News For Science 190

sciencehabit writes "ScienceNOW has the details on the impacts of President Bush's appropriation request — bad news for biomedicine, better news for the physical sciences. Some agencies really get slammed and many projects are jeopardized. The Bush administration's theory is that a 5-year run-up in National Institutes of Health funding, which ended in 2003, left the federal funding picture seriously unbalanced. Each year since then the administration's budget request for science has moved to shift the balance. Biomedical researchers are expected to lobby hard in Congress for relief. The NYTimes notes that prognosticators expect Congress not to act on a budget until the next President arrives, betting on it being a Democrat. "

Slashdot Top Deals

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.

Working...