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+ - Small Bank in Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Nathaniel Popper writes at the NYT that the Citizens Bank of Weir, Kansas, or CBW, has been taken apart and rebuilt, from its fiber optic cables up, so it can offer services not available at even the nation’s largest bank. The creation of the new bank, and the maintenance of the old one, are the work of Suresh Ramamurthi and his wife, Suchitra Padmanabhan who were born in India and ended up buying the bank in Kansas in 2009 after living in Silicon Valley and passing through jobs at Google and Lehman Brothers. Their goal was to find solutions to logjams that continue to vex consumers all over the country, such as the obstacles that slow money moving from one bank to another and across international borders. The new services that CBW is providing, like instant payments to any bank in the United States, direct remittance transfers abroad and specialized debit cards that can be set for particular purchases, such as those at specific stores, or at specific times might seem as if they should be painless upgrades in an age of high-frequency trading and interplanetary space missions. But the slowness of current methods of moving money is a widely acknowledged problem in the financial industry.

In the United States the primary option that consumers have to transfer money is still the ACH payment. Requests for ACH transfers are collected by banks and submitted in batches, once a day, and the banks receiving the transfers also process the payments once a day, leading to long waits. ACH technology was created in the 1970s and has not changed significantly since. The clunky system, which takes at least a day to deliver money, has become so deeply embedded in the banking industry that it has been hard to replace. CBW went to work on the problem by using the debit card networks that power ATM cash dispensers. Ramamurthi’s team engineered a system so that a business could collect a customer’s debit card number and use it to make an instant payment directly into the customer’s account — or into the account of a customer of almost any other bank in the country. The key to CBW's system is real-time, payment transaction risk-scoring — software that can judge the risk involved in any transaction in real time by looking at 20 to 40 factors, including a customers’ transaction history and I.P., address where the transaction originated. It was this system that Elizabeth McQuerry, the former Fed official, praised as the “biggest idea” at a recent bank conference. "Today's banks offer the equivalent of 300-year-old paper ledgers converted to an electronic form — a digital skin on an antiquated transaction process," says Suresh Ramamurthi. "We'll now be one of the first banks in the world to offer customers a reliable, compliant, safe and secure way to instantly send and receive money internationally.""

+ - Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told a conference on surveillance at the Cato Institute that Edward Snowden's revelations on NSA spying shocked the company's engineers — who then immediately started working on making the company's servers and services more secure. Now, after a year and a half of work, Schmidt says that Google's services are the safest place to store your sensistive data."
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+ - Fake GSM Towers Used to Spy on Norwegian Government

Submitted by Novus
Novus (182265) writes "Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has uncovered fake GSM base stations in central Oslo capable of eavesdropping on calls, collecting information on phones and even installing spyware in an area containing several important Norwegian state institutions, including Stortinget (the Norwegian parliament), the Prime Minister's office and the Ministry of Defence. It is still unclear who has set up the IMSI catchers that were found, but the cost and limited availability of the equipment involved suggests a major intelligence operation."

+ - Microsoft to open source cloud framework behind Halo 4 services->

Submitted by angry tapir
angry tapir (1463043) writes "Microsoft plans to open-source the framework that helps developers of cloud services like those behind Halo 4. Project Orleans is a framework built by the eXtreme Computing Group at Microsoft Research using .NET, designed so developers who aren't distributed systems experts can build cloud services that scale to cope with high demand and still keep high performance. The Orleans framework was used to build several services on Azure, including services that are part of Halo 4. The code will be released under an MIT license on GitHub early next year."
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+ - Ask Slashdot: Best software for image organization? 1

Submitted by Wycliffe
Wycliffe (116160) writes "Like many people, I am starting to get a huge collection of digital photos from family vacations, etc... I am looking for some software that allows me to rate/tag my own photos in a quick way. I really don't want to spend the time tagging a bunch of photos and then be locked into a single piece of software so what is the best software to help organize and tag photos so that I can quickly find highlights without being locked into that software for life. I would prefer open source to prevent lock-in and also prefer linux but could do windows if necessary."

+ - American Intelligence Agencies Building New Superconducting Supercomputer->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "UPI reports, "The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a branch of the U.S. intelligence community, said in a press release that the agency has embarked on a multi-year research effort called the Cryogenic Computer Complexity program, or C3. Current supercomputing utilizes technology that relies on tens of megawatts and requires large amounts of physical space to house the infrastructure and power and cool the components. C3 hopes to use recent breakthroughs in supercomputing technologies ... to construct a superconducting supercomputer with "a simplified cooling infrastructure and a greatly reduced footprint." "The power, space, and cooling requirements for current supercomputers ... are becoming unmanageable," said Marc Manheimer, C3 program manager at IARPA. ... The international intelligence community has been competing to outpace each other and build the first computer to break the exaFLOP barrier for some time, but scaling out contemporary CMOS technologies to construct computers capable of exaFLOP calculations would require hundreds of megawatts to power, necessitating an energy source with an output equal to that of a single small nuclear reactor. ... Currently the record for single computer speed is China's Tianhe-2, ranked the world's fastest with a record of 33.86 petaFLOPS in June of 2013 ... In his 2008 book, The Shadow Factory, best-selling author and journalist James Bamford reported that the NSA told the Pentagon it would need an exaFLOP computer by 2018 ..." — More at Defense Systems."
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+ - Was Microsoft Forced to Pay $136M in Back Taxes in China?->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency said on Sunday that an unnamed international company was forced to pay 840 million yuan ($136 million) in back taxes, as part of a Chinese government crackdown on tax evasion. The Xinhua article simply referred to it as the "M company," describing it as a top 500 global firm headquartered in the U.S. that in 1995 set up a wholly owned foreign subsidiary in Beijing. The details match Microsoft's own background, and no other company obviously fits the bill. Xinhua added, that despite the company's strengths, its subsidiary in China had not been not making a profit, and posted a loss of over $2 billion during a six-year period."
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+ - Top 5 Python GUI Frameworks->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "As a Python developer, sooner or later you’ll want to write an application with a graphical user interface. Fortunately, there are a lot of options on the tools front: The Python wiki on GUI programming lists over 30 cross-platform frameworks, as well as Pyjamas, a tool for cross-browser Web development based on a port of the Google Web Toolkit. How to choose between all these options for Python GUIs? Developer David Bolton started by narrowing it down to those that included all three platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and, where possible, Python 3. After that filtering, he found four toolkits (Gtk, Qt, Tk, and wxWidgets) and five frameworks (Kivy, PyQt, gui2Py, libavg and wxPython). He provides an extensive breakdown on why he prefers these."
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+ - Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Singleplayer

Submitted by Robotron23
Robotron23 (832528) writes "The developers behind the sequel to legendary videogame Elite has, to the anger and dismay of fans, dropped the offline singleplayer mode it promised. The game is due for full release in under a month. With the title having raised about $1.5 million from Kickstarter, and millions more in subsequent campaigns that advertised the feature, gamers are livid. A complaints thread on the official Elite forums has swelled to 450+ pages in only three days, while refunds are being lodged in the thousands. It is down to the discretion of Frontier, the game's developer, whether to process refund requests of original backers."

+ - Electric shock study suggests we'd rather hurt ourselves than others->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "If you had the choice between hurting yourself or someone else in exchange for money, how altruistic do you think you’d be? In one infamous experiment, people were quite willing to deliver painful shocks to anonymous victims when asked by a scientist. But a new study that forced people into the dilemma of choosing between pain and profit finds that participants cared more about other people’s well-being than their own. It is hailed as the first hard evidence of altruism for the young field of behavioral economics."
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+ - Apple and Samsung renew their partnership.->

Submitted by chasm22
chasm22 (2713399) writes "Apple and Samsung have again joined hands to manufacture the chips that power many Apple products. It's considered a big win for Samsung, which has seen a remarkable drop in profits this year due in part to a drop in its chip production. There are few companies in the world that are capable of the producing the chips in the quantity and with the quality that Apple needs. Without a company being capable of producing the chips, Apples in-house designing would be an exercise in futility. And without the lift in chip production that this contract with Apple will provide, Samsung would see a large portion of its chip production capability lay idle."
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+ - NYC to replace most of its payphones with free gigabit WiFi in 2015

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "NYC announced its plans: LinkNYC — a network of 10,000 gigabit WiFi hotspots that will line the streets of all five boroughs of New York City. The project will replace all but a small handful of historic payphones with "Links," small towers equipped with WiFi, an Android tablet with select city-service apps and, of course, the ability to make phone calls. What's missing? The word pay: it's all free."

+ - Robots Put To Work On E-Waste->

Submitted by aesoteric
aesoteric (1344297) writes "Australian researchers have programmed industrial robots to tackle the vast array of e-waste thrown out every year. The research shows robots can learn and memorise how various electronic products — such as LCD screens — are designed, enabling those products to be disassembled for recycling faster and faster. The end goal is less than five minutes to dismantle a product."
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