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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Snafu Causes Miners To Generate Invalid Blocks 178 178

An anonymous reader writes: A notice at bitcoin.org warns users of the cryptocurrency that many miners are currently generating invalid blocks. The cause seems to be out-of-date software, and software that assumed blocks were valid instead of checking them. They explain further "For several months, an increasing amount of mining hash rate has been signaling its intent to begin enforcing BIP66 strict DER signatures. As part of the BIP66 rules, once 950 of the last 1,000 blocks were version 3 (v3) blocks, all upgraded miners would reject version 2 (v2) blocks. Early morning UTC on 4 July 2015, the 950/1000 (95%) threshold was reached. Shortly thereafter, a small miner (part of the non-upgraded 5%) mined an invalid block--as was an expected occurrence. Unfortunately, it turned out that roughly half the network hash rate was mining without fully validating blocks (called SPV mining), and built new blocks on top of that invalid block. Note that the roughly 50% of the network that was SPV mining had explicitly indicated that they would enforce the BIP66 rules. By not doing so, several large miners have lost over $50,000 dollars worth of mining income so far."
Safari

Is Safari the New Internet Explorer? 311 311

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple.

"It's hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin' Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year's WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he'll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately."

He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it's time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we're going to hurt somebody's feelings."
Bitcoin

Greek Financial Crisis Is an Opportunity For Bitcoin 359 359

An anonymous reader writes: Greece's economy has been in trouble for several years, now, and a major vote next weekend will shake it up even further. The country can't pay its debts, and the upcoming referendum will decide whether they face increased austerity measures or start the process of exiting the Euro. One side effect of the crisis is that alternative currencies like Bitcoin suddenly look much more attractive as the "normal" currencies become unstable. "Tony Gallippi, the co-founder of bitcoin payment processor Bitpay, tweeted on Sunday night that he expected the price of bitcoin to rise to between $610 and $1,250 if Greece exits the Euro. The currency is currently worth $250. Part of the reason why the crisis is so tempting for proponents of the cryptocurrency is the echoes of a previous crisis in the Eurozone: the banking collapse in Cyprus in 2013, which saw that nation also impose capital controls to prevent massive outflows of currency from the panicking country. That collapse came at the same time as the first major boom in the price of bitcoin, which began the year at less than $20 and peaked at ten times that by early April – before it all came crashing down."

Comment: Re:Infinity (Score 1) 1067 1067

Asking what is X divided by zero is no different than asking what is Y plus red, or what is Z times pineapple.

I say focus on a proper mathematical answer for multiplying by blue first, and then apply it to the equally nonsensical divide by zero question.

Everybody knows that Z times pineapple is the square root of unicorn - by definition.

Comment: Re:The downside is taxpayers... (Score 1) 283 283

Internet access is nearly as important as electricity in our modern age.

Perhaps. But why not just give the poor a basic income supplement, and let them decide for themselves what to spend it on? Some of them may use it for Internet, but others may use it to buy food or medicine. Why should the government presume to know their priorities better than they do.

Golly, I wonder if any politicians supporting this program received campaign contributions from Comcast and TWC.

Because then conservatives would complain that the poor spend their government subsidy on non-essentials. Just look at Republican efforts to prevent food stamps from being used for food they consider "luxury" items, like sushi.

Security

Samsung Cellphone Keyboard Software Vulnerable To Attack 104 104

Adesso writes: A serious security problem in the default Samsung keyboard installed on many of the company's cellphones has been lurking since December 2014 (CVE-2015-2865). When the phone tries to update the keyboard, it fails to encrypt the executable file. This means attackers on the same network can replace the update file with a malicious one of their own. Affected devices include the Galaxy S6, S5, S4, and S4 mini — roughly 600 million of which are in use. There's no known fix at the moment, aside from avoiding insecure Wi-Fi networks or switching phones. The researcher who presented these findings at the Blackhat security conference says Samsung has provided a patch to carriers, but he can't find out if any of them have applied the patch. The bug is currently still active on the devices he tested.

Comment: Re:Location services? (Score 1) 130 130

Well, the app could require it or not function. It would be nice if the OS had an option to always feed false location information to an app. It could always report that you were in Antarctica, or a maximum security prison, or the white house, or any of your favorite places.
The Media

Pirate Party Founder Rick Falkvinge Launches News Service 66 66

New submitter lillgud writes: Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, has unveiled a news service to compete against "oldmedia." The news stories will be three sentences in length, and distributed within shareable images. Falkvinge says this obviates certain parts of the industry — for example, there will be no need for clickbait headlines, because there's nothing to click on. The business model is based around advertising, but those ads will simply be a watermark on the image. Thus, no worries about adblock, and no concerns about ad networks collecting information from users. The service is targeted to be operational in Q3. Each writer will be paid in accordance to a revenue sharing model, and Falkvinge's goal is for each part-time writer to receive €125/month in exchange for four stories (12 sentences).
China

Report: Russia and China Crack Encrypted Snowden Files 546 546

New submitter garyisabusyguy writes with word that, according to London's Sunday Times, "Russia and China have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services," and suggests this non-paywalled Reuters version, too. "MI6 has decided that it is too dangerous to operate in Russia or China," writes the submitter. "This removes intelligence capabilities that have existed throughout the Cold War, and which may have helped to prevent a 'hot' nuclear war. Have the actions of Snowden, and, apparently, the use of weak encryption, made the world less safe?"
Earth

EPA Says No Evidence That Fracking Has "Widespread" Impact On Drinking Water 266 266

sycodon writes: A long-awaited EPA report on hydraulic fracturing concludes that the extraction process has "not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources." The report also cautions of potential contamination of water supplies if safeguards are not maintained. "The study was undertaken over several years and we worked very closely with industry throughout the process," Tom Burke, EPA's science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development, said on a conference call hosted by the agency.

Comment: Re:Wrote POS System Software (Score 1) 90 90

Also, don't use a loyalty program.

Just use someone else's. They all take a phone number as "alternate ID." You can even try a few before one works. "Um, I can't remember which phone number I signed up under." Or just use Jenny's 867-5309. Apparently, it's taken in most area codes.

BLISS is ignorance.

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