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+ - New PCIe SSDs load games, apps as fast as old SATA drives

Submitted by crookedvulture
crookedvulture writes: Slashdot has covered a bunch of new PCI Express SSDs over the past month, and for good reason. The latest crop offers much higher sequential and random I/O rates than predecessors based on old-school Serial ATA interfaces. They're also compatible with new protocols, like NVM Express, which reduce overhead and improve scaling under demanding loads. As one might expect, these new PCIe drives destroy the competition in targeted benchmarks, hitting top speeds several times faster than even the best SATA SSDs can muster. The thing is, PCIe SSDs don't load games or common application data any faster than current incumbents—or even consumer-grade SSDs from five years ago. That's very different from the initial transition from mechanical to solid-state storage, where load times improved noticeably for just about everything. Servers and workstations can no doubt take advantage of the extra oomph that PCIe SSDs provide, but desktop users may struggle to find scenarios where PCIe SSDs offer palpable performance improvements over even budget-oriented SATA drives.

+ - Mandelbrot zooms now surpass the scale of the observable Universe

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: You’re used to real numbers: that is, numbers that can be expressed as a decimal, even if it’s an arbitrarily long, non-repeating decimal. There are also complex numbers, which are numbers that have a real part and also an imaginary part. The imaginary part is just like the real part, but is also multiplied by i, or the square root of -1. It's a simple definition: the Mandelbrot set consists of every possible complex number, n, where the sequence n, n^2 + n, (n^2 + n)^2 + n, etc.—where each new term is the prior term, squared, plus n—does not go to either positive or negative infinity. The scale of zoom visualizations now goes well past the limits of the observable Universe, with no signs of loss of complexity at all.

+ - We the people petition to revoke Scientology's Tax exempt status->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: There has been a lot of interest in the activities of the Church of Scientology recently, especially since the release of Alex Gibney's documentary "Going Clear". A petition against tax-exempt status for Scientology, has been started on the United States white house petition website. If it receives more than 100,000 signatures, it will qualify for an official white house response. Even slashdot has had its own run-ins with Scientology in the past. Has the time come for Scientology go "clear"?
Link to Original Source

+ - U.S. started keeping secret records of international telephone calls in 1992->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Starting in 1992, the Justice Department amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries

The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA's intelligence arm, was the government's first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched to identify terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks. That dragnet drew sharp criticism that the government had intruded too deeply into Americans' privacy after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked it to the news media two years ago.

More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials described the details of the Justice Department operation to USA TODAY. Most did so on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the intelligence program, part of which remains classified.

The DEA program did not intercept the content of Americans' calls, but the records â" which numbers were dialed and when â" allowed agents to map suspects' communications and link them to troves of other police and intelligence data. At first, the drug agency did so with help from military computers and intelligence analysts.

The operation had "been approved at the highest levels of Federal law enforcement authority," including then-Attorney General Janet Reno and her deputy, Eric Holder.

Link to Original Source

+ - US Gov Investigating Highly Sophisticated Russian Hack Of White House->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The FBI, US Secret Service, and US intelligence agencies are investigating a highly sophisticated hack of White House systems that support the executive office of the President. The attack leveraged the existing compromise of the US State Department network which may still be unresolved, and raises further questions about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for her official responsibilities. The attack on the White House is thought to have begun with a phishing email attack. The attack was routed through computers around the world, but signs point to hackers working for the Russian government. Although the systems compromised were not classified they contained data considered to be highly sensitive, including detailed information on President Obama's schedule. US officials have been surprised by the aggressiveness of Russian hackers in recent months. Two months ago Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate committee that the "Russian cyberthreat is more severe than we have previously assessed." This comes at a time when Russia is increasing flexing its military muscle by supporting separatists in Ukraine, more aggressive probes by Russian bombers and fighter jets along the borders of Baltic nations, the UK, and US, and President Putin's recent revelation that he was willing to order Russia's nuclear combat forces to alert to ensure the success of Russia's covert invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
Link to Original Source

+ - We're Living In The Golden Age Of Star Trek Webseries Right Now

Submitted by DakotaSmith
DakotaSmith writes: "We're Living In The Golden Age Of Star Trek Webseries Right Now"

If you're a true geek, you already know about Star Trek Continues and Star Trek: Phase II .

(If you're a true geek and you don't know, run — do not walk run — to watch "Lolani". Your brain and — and more importantly, your heart — will love you for the rest of your life.)

But there's more to it than that. A lot more.

How about the years'-long wait for Act IV of Starship Exeter : "The Tressaurian Intersection"?

Or Yorktown: "A Time to Heal" — an attempt to resurrect an aborted fan film from 1978 starring George Takei?

For fans of old-school Star Trek (the ones who pre-date "Trekker" and wear "Trekkie" as a badge of honor) only since 1969 has there been a better time to watch Star Trek: The Original Series.

(Oh, and there's plenty content out there for you "Trekkers" and NextGen-era fans. It all varies in quality, but it doesn't take much effort to find them. This is truly a Golden Age. It'll have a place in the history books, alongside the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Golden Age of Television. Recognize it and enjoy it while it lasts.)

+ - New bill would repeal Patriot Act

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Two Congressmen have introduced legislation to repeal the Patriot Act as well as end all unconstitutional domestic spying by government agencies.

The article notes that there is bi-partisan support for “doing something” about the out-of-control surveillance of federal agencies like the National Security Agency. I agree. Expect something like this to get passed. Whether Obama will veto it is another question. Despite what he says (which no one should every believe), he likes the idea of prying into the lives of private citizens.

Comment: Re:so, the key to amnesty... (Score 1) 322

by Wolfrider (#49317235) Attached to: Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades

--Even a "free" upgrade won't get traction if the user interface is crap. See Win 8.x, Vista, Slashdot Beta. On the plus side, I've been evaluating the Win10 beta and it's *not* crap (so far.)

--I should qualify my next statement by saying that I hate Win 8.x with the fire of a thousand burning suns, and refuse to use it or work on it AT ALL, even if someone wants to pay me for it.

--I still like Win7 the best, especially for business (but my main bare-hardware desktop is still Xubuntu--64-LTS.) As long as they don't take the Win10 GUI changes in a wrong direction, I'm willing to try Win10 at this point; but I'm still keeping full-partition image backups of all my Win7 installs and VMs just in case.

+ - Online 'Swatting' Becomes a Hazard for Gamers Who Play Live on the Internet 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Nick Wingfield reports at the NYT that practical jokers who call in bogus reports of violence provoking huge police responses have set their sights on a new set of victims: video gamers who play live on the Internet, often in front of huge online audiences. Last month, several hundred people were watching Joshua Peters as he played RuneScape from his parents’ home as video showed Peters suddenly leaving his computer when police officers appeared at the house and ordered him and his family at gunpoint to lie face down on the ground after some had called 911 claiming Peters had just shot his roommate. “With the live-streaming platforms, it amplifies the entire situation,” says James Clayton Eubanks who says he has been swatted about a half-dozen times while he streamed his Call of Duty sessions. “Not only do they get to do this and cause this misery, they get to watch it unfold in front of thousands of people.”

Game companies like Twitch have publicly said that swatting is dangerous, but that there is little else they can do to prevent the pranks. Tracking the culprits behind the pranks is difficult. While bomb scares and other hoaxes have been around for decades, making threats anonymously has never been so easy. Swatters use text messages and online phone services like Skype to relay their threats, employing techniques to make themselves hard to trace. They obtain personal addresses for their victims through property records and other public databases, or by tricking businesses or customer service representatives at a victim’s Internet provider into revealing the information. Brandon Willson, a gamer known online as “Famed God," made up a murder to get police to go to an unsuspecting west suburban resident’s home last year and ended up behind bars in Nevada awaiting extradition. As part of the investigation, police traveled to Las Vegas to help local police execute a search warrant at Willson’s home. Computers seized there contained evidence of the swatting incident, as well as similar incidents across the country, prosecutors claim. Willson faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted on charges of computer tampering and one count each of intimidation, computer fraud, identity theft and disorderly conduct. His mother, Brenda Willson, says her son is innocent and does not smoke, drink or have tattoos. “He would never swat," she says.

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