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+ - Mr. Schmidt Goes to Washington: a Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth->

Submitted by barlevg
barlevg (2111272) writes "In May 2012, in the midst of an FTC investigation into Google's search practices, the law school at George Mason University in Northern Virginia hosted a conference attended by congressmen, regulators and staffers. The topic: competition, search and social media. What none of the attendees of the conference knew was that Google was pulling many of the strings behind the event, even going so far as to suggest invited speakers.

This event, as documented in The Washington Post is just a snapshot of the operations of one of the largest and highest spending lobbying entities in DC, a far cry from the one-man shop it started out as nine years ago, from a company "disdainful" of Washington's "pay-to-play" culture."

Link to Original Source

+ - Apple's Spotty Record Of Giving Back To The Tech Industry->

Submitted by chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "One of the meta-stories to come out of the Heartbleed (http://heartbleed.com/) debacle is the degree to which large and wealthy companies have come to rely on third party code (http://blog.veracode.com/2014/04/heartbleed-and-the-curse-of-third-party-code/) — specifically, open source software maintained by volunteers on a shoestring budget. Adding insult to injury is the phenomenon of large, incredibly wealthy companies that gladly pick the fruit of open source software, but refusing to peel off a tiny fraction of their profits to financially support those same groups.

Exhibit 1: Apple Computer. On Friday, IT World ran a story that looks at Apple's long history of not giving back to the technology and open source community. The article cites three glaring examples: Apple's non-support of the Apache Software Foundation (despite bundling Apache with OS X), as well as its non-support of OASIS and refusal to participate in the Trusted Computing Group (despite leveraging TCG-inspired concepts, like AMDs Secure Enclave in iPhone 5s).

Given Apple's status as the world's most valuable company and its enormous cash hoard, the refusal to offer even meager support to open source and industry groups is puzzling. From the article:

"Apple bundles software from the Apache Software Foundation with its OS X operating system, but does not financially support the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in any way. That is in contrast to Google and Microsoft, Apple's two chief competitors, which are both Platinum sponsors of ASF — signifying a contribution of $100,000 annually to the Foundation. Sponsorships range as low as $5,000 a year (Bronze), said Sally Khudairi, ASF's Director of Marketing and Public Relations. The ASF is vendor-neutral and all code contributions to the Foundation are done on an individual basis. Apple employees are frequent, individual contributors to Apache. However, their employer is not, Khudairi noted.

The company has been a sponsor of ApacheCon, a for-profit conference that runs separately from the Foundation — but not in the last 10 years. "We were told they didn't have the budget," she said of efforts to get Apple's support for ApacheCon in 2004, a year in which the company reported net income of $276 million on revenue of $8.28 billion."

Carol Geyer at OASIS is quoted saying her organization has done "lots of outreach" to Apple and other firms over the years, and regularly contacts Apple about becoming a member. "Whenever we're spinning up a new working group where we think they could contribute we will reach out and encourage them to join," she said. But those communications always go in one direction, Geyer said, with Apple declining the entreaties.

Today, the company has no presence on any of the Organization's 100-odd active committees, which are developing cross-industry technology standards such as The Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) and the Public-Key Cryptography Standard (PKCS)."

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+ - PC Gaming Alive and Dominant->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Ars reports on a panel at PAX East which delved into the strength of the PC as a platform for games, and what its future looks like. The outlook is positive: 'Even as major computer OEMs produce numbers showing falling sales, the PC as a platform (and especially a gaming platform) actually shows strong aggregate growth.' The panelists said that while consoles get a lot of the headlines, the PC platform remains the only and/or best option for a lot of developers and gamers. They briefly addressed piracy, as well: 'Piracy, [Matt Higby] said, is an availability and distribution problem. The more games are crowdfunded and digitally delivered and the less a "store" figures into buying games, the less of a problem piracy becomes. [Chris Roberts] was quick to agree, and he noted that the shift to digital distribution also helps the developers make more money—they ostensibly don't have everyone along the way from retailers to publishers to distributors taking their cut from the sale.'"
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+ - Do backups on Linux no longer matter?-> 5

Submitted by cogcritter
cogcritter (3614357) writes "In June of 2009, the dump/restore utilities version 0.4b42 for Linux's ext3 filesystem were released. This was the last version where incremental dumps could actually be used. A bug introduced in 0.4b43, one year later, causes restore to fail when processing an incremental backup unless, basically, no directory deletions occurred since the level 0 part of the backup set was taken.

The bug is certainly present in Debian Wheezy, and comments in Debian's defect tracking system suggest that the bug has permeated out into other distros as well.

How can Linux's backup/restore tools for its popular ext2/ext3 filesystem be broken for 3+ years, and nobody seems to care? Does nobody take backups? Or do they not use incremental backups? How many people are going to find themselves scrambling when they next NEED to restore a filesystem, and find themselves in possession of long-broken tools?

Just in case this article is where some hapless sysadmin ends up, the workaround is to go to dump.sf.net, go to the files section, pull down the 0.4b42 version and build it for yourself. For me, I think going forward I'm going to switch to filesystem mirroring using rsync."

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+ - IRS misses XP deadline, pays Microsoft millions for patches-> 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When Microsoft terminated official support for Windows XP on April 8th, most organizations had taken the six years of warnings to heart and migrated to another solution. But not the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Only 52,000 of their 110,000 Windows-powered computers have been upgraded to Windows 7. They'll now be forced to pay Microsoft for Custom Support. How much? Using Microsoft's standard rate of $200 per PC, it'll be $11.6 million for one year. That leaves $18.4 million of their $30 million budget to finish the upgrades themselves, which works out to $317 per computer."
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+ - Heroes of Hardware Revolution: Bob Widlar->

Submitted by szczys
szczys (3402149) writes "Aleksandar Bradic just wrote an epic post about Bob Widlar and his role in the early days of the modern IC industry. It includes a bit about the 1-finger salute which was so common with the early analog wizards, and covers his nearly mythological behavior when on the job.

If you're involved in electronics in any way this should be on the top of the week's reading list."

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+ - Waves Spotted On Titan->

Submitted by minty3
minty3 (2942557) writes "Planetary scientists believe they have observed waves rippling on one of Titan’s seas. The findings, presented on March 17 at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, describes how the Cassini spacecraft captured images of sunlight glinting off the Punga Mare, suggesting they are not reflective sunlight but waves."
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+ - New Stanford institute to target bad science-> 1

Submitted by ananyo
ananyo (2519492) writes "John Ioannidis, the epidemiologist who published an infamous paper entitled 'Why most published research findings are false', has co-founded an institute dedicated to combating sloppy medical studies. The new institute is to focus on irreproducibility, waste in science and publication bias. The institute, called the Meta-Research Innovation Centre or METRICS, will, the Economist reports, 'create a “journal watch” to monitor scientific publishers’ work and to shame laggards into better behaviour. And they will spread the message to policymakers, governments and other interested parties, in an effort to stop them making decisions on the basis of flaky studies. All this in the name of the centre’s nerdishly valiant mission statement: “Identifying and minimising persistent threats to medical-research quality.”'"
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Comment: Never Replacing CMOS (Score 2) 35

by darenw (#46489905) Attached to: Nanoscale Terahertz Optical Switch Breaks Miniaturization Barrier

Indeed. For Si-based electronic technology, CMOS or other, we routinely deal with two-digit nanometer scales. 22nm, for example.

For optical technology, structure on that scale has no effect on EM radiation with wavelengths on scales of mm (THz) or microns (IR). This is seriously into UV territory. Bits of matter holding bits of information as a phase changes need to be of a certain size, probably larger than we would like (but I'm not expert on it), for phases to be meaningful.

For a given energy of interaction, massless quanta tend to be more spread out than massive, as a rule of thumb for practical purposes. I think we'll be using electron-oriented information processing technologies for a long time, until someone figures out a way to stabilize muons. Then we can make some really tiny technology.

+ - The Earth is a gravitational wave detector->

Submitted by b30w0lf
b30w0lf (256235) writes "Gravitational wave detection—i.e. the detection of propagating ripples in spacetime—is a hot subject these days with ground-based interferometer experiments like LIGO active, and hopes for a space interferometer like LISA. But, physicist Freeman Dyson proposed back in 1969 that the earth itself could be used as a gravitational wave detector. The idea is behind the approach is that gravitational waves impact the earth’s crust, causing potentially detectable seismic waves. Using Dyson’s approach, Physicists at Harvard and NINP, Florence were able to put an upper limit on the intensity of gravitational background radiation based on a year of observational seismic data. The upper limit they found improved currently laboratory upper limits by 9 orders of magnitude."
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+ - The FBI Accidentally Told Us It Had Three Drones As of 2010->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "It’s been four and a half months since a federal judge ordered the FBI to release thousands of documents on the agency’s use of drones. At 800 pages released so far, the Bureau has done its damnedest to scrub out particulars about its unmanned inventory, past and present.

But even FBI redaction artists slip up and accidentally divulge some hard figures once in awhile.

After months of anticipation, we finally know approximately how many drones the FBI had. In 2010.

In a December 2010 submission to the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI asserted that its three drones [“UAS,” or unmanned aerial system, in the above] were safe to fly in domestic skies. In an otherwise heavily redacted document, this one number escaped the censors’ gaze."

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+ - Did NSA impersonated Facebook and others ?

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Following the revelation of NSA's fake Facebook server by Snowden, Mark Zuckerberg is very upset and said that he has called up Obama to complain.

Mr. Zuckerberg also calls the US government as a "Threat to Internet" and wrote "“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.,"

NSA has responded to the allegation by insisting that what they did was legal.

By saying the “NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate US company websites” — the NSA appears to overly simplify what had been reported by the The Intercept

In one man-on-the-side technique, codenamed QUANTUMHAND, the agency disguises itself as a fake Facebook server. When a target attempts to log in to the social media site, the NSA transmits malicious data packets that trick the target’s computer into thinking they are being sent from the real Facebook. By concealing its malware within what looks like an ordinary Facebook page, the NSA is able to hack into the targeted computer and covertly siphon out data from its hard drive. A top-secret animation demonstrates the tactic in action.

Now the question is, did NSA impersonated FB and others ?

The original report on NSA's QUANTUMHAND is available @ firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/12/nsa-plans-infect-millions-computers-malware/

Zuckerberg's reaction can be had @ www.itnews.com.au/News/375099,zuckerberg-decries-nsas-fake-facebook-server-malware.aspx

and/or

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/social/Facebook-founder-Mark-Zuckerberg-says-US-government-threat-to-internet/articleshow/31968638.cms

and/or

abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2014/03/mark-zuckerberg-calls-us-government-threat-to-the-internet/

NSA's skirt-the-issue type of denial is reported @ arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/03/nsa-says-indiscriminate-facebook-hacking-allegations-are-simply-false/"

+ - NYPD Denies Freedom of Information Request for Freedom of Information Handbook->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Journalist Shawn Musgrave filed a records request under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for the police department’s FOIL handbook, the guide officers use to apply public record law.

However, the NYPD told Musgrave its Freedom of Information handbook is not covered by FOIL, arguing it is protected under attorney-client privilege."

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Comment: Re:Too bad the scope seems to be somwehat limited (Score 1) 285

Boulder has plenty of high tech, especially space science and computing. And great craft beers, if we could rationalize counting that as high tech.

Just what is in Missoula? It is a nice place to visit, but I didn't see anything high-tech there beyond the expected ambient background level for any small city. Unless you are counting the excellent craft beers made in that area as high tech?

Comment: Small scientist-infested NM town = wealth (Score 1) 285

Spent one year in Socorro NM, where NRAO operates the VLA and VLBA. Renting a whole house was astonishingly cheap. Why, I'm not sure. Salary was a bit lackluster compared to industry, but not bad. I piled up so much $$$, bought a car, got some rolled-up prints framed, even bought the fancy coffee. Donated to projects on Kickstarter. Life was good.

As long as there's a good coffee shop in town, cutting-edge astrophysics lectures, and income much greater than outgo, I'm happy. I'd stay there forever if not for water scarcity throughout the southwest.

For anyone who likes explosions, the dynamite research done by NM Tech would be a bonus.

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne

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