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Submission + - Dear overlords

onyxruby writes: An open letter to the new overlords of Slashdot. Slashdot was once one of the Internet’s great sites. Once upon a time this was one of the largest watering holes for people in technology on the Internet.

Like many here, I would like to see that reoccur. Unlike many sites, your past and previous readers happen to include industry professionals who are more than happy to provide their expertise for free. All you have to do is stop pissing in their watering hole and clean up the mess previously made.

There were two primary changes that drove away many of the previous readers. Readers who were highly educated, highly paid and in positions of decision making authority at large companies if you prefer to think in marketing terms.

The first change was the forced change of the interface to Beta which took away functionality and choice. When you are working with people in technology taking away information and functionality is pretty much guaranteed to piss them off.

The bigger issue was hubris and treating the readership as the audience. The readers are your product, not your audience. People did not come to read the often plagiarized two paragraph story, they came for the community and industry insider knowledge about what something actually meant.

Here’s the short list of things people have been asking for here for years:
Professional editors (no more plagiarism!)
End to paid shills (HughPickens.com etc.)
Links for paywalled or adblocked sites (e.g. Forbes.com — anti-ad-blocking)
End the SJW barrage the previous management had

Submission + - Apple releases surprise update for no-longer-supported OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: When it comes to supporting older operating systems (or not), it is usually Microsoft that we are talking about. But this week Apple took its users by surprise by releasing an update to Snow Leopard — the lengthily-named Mac App Store Update for OS X Snow Leopard.

If you are wondering why an OS update should come as a surprise, it is because support for Snow Leopard came to an end in the latter half of 2013. It is an update that is ostensibly about ensuring continued access to the Mac App Store, but it also helps to give Snow Leopard users an easier path to upgrade to El Capitan.

Submission + - German inventor, innovator and businessman Artur Fischer dies at age of 96

Qbertino writes: As Spiegel.de reports (German link) inventor Artur Fisher has died at the age of 96. Artur Fisher is a classic example of the innovator and businessman of post-war Germany — he invented the synchronous flash for photography, the famed Fisher Fixing (aka Screwanchor/rawlplug or "Dübel" in German) and the Fisher Technik Construction Sets with which many a nerd grew up with, including the famous C64 Fisher Robotics Kit of the 80ies. His heritage includes an impressive portfolio of over 1100 patents and he reportedly remained inventive and interested in solving technical problems til the very end. ... Rest in piece and thanks for the hours of fun tinkering with Fishertechnik. ... Now where did that old C64 robot go?

Submission + - SPAM: Barbie Releases New Dolls With Realistic Body Shapes

An anonymous reader writes: For the first time in 57 years in the hopes that girls find a doll that ‘speaks to them’. How amazing is that? The “petite, tall and curvy” dolls were designed as part of the dramatically entitled “Project Dawn,” led by Evelyn Mazzocco
Link to Original Source

Submission + - The FCC is going to war over set-top boxes (engadget.com)

Mr D from 63 writes: From the Article; The FCC is preparing to propose rule changes that'll loosen cable companies' stranglehold on the set-top box market. According to the Wall Street Journal, Tom Wheeler is planning to give consumers far more choice over what hardware they can use. Right now, if you're a Comcast user, then you're expected to rent a Comcast box, or shell out for a TiVo and pay for it to be installed. The FCC, however, wants you to be able to choose whatever damn box you wanna use, so long as it's fit for purpose.

I hope this is successful. Cable companies have found ways to marginalize the usefulness of cable cards, and so there are no or very limited simple choices for consumers.

Submission + - Math whizzes of ancient Babylon figured out forerunner of calculus (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Tracking and recording the motion of the sun, the moon, and the planets as they paraded across the desert sky, ancient Babylonian astronomers used simple arithmetic to predict the positions of celestial bodies. Now, new evidence reveals that these astronomers, working several centuries B.C.E., also employed sophisticated geometric methods that foreshadow the development of calculus. Historians had thought such techniques did not emerge until more than 1400 years later, in 14th century Europe.

Submission + - GCHQ Denies That Its Voice Crypto Protocol Is Backdoored

Trailrunner7 writes: A week after a researcher published a detailed analysis of the MIKEY-SAKKE voice encryption standard that broke down how it could enable key escrow and mass surveillance, the U.K.’s GCHQ, which designed the standard, has come out in defense of its security and integrity.

Steven Murdoch, a researcher at University College London’s Department of Computer Science, took a close look at MIKEY-SAKKE and its implementation in the Secure Chorus standard and concluded that not only does the standard support key escrow, but that it could be set up for use in mass surveillance.

But Ian Levy, director of cyber security and resiliency at GCHQ, said in a defense of MIKEY-SAKKE that the protocol is designed with specific security applications in mind, such as public safety or internal monitoring in an organization.

“For investigative or regulatory reasons, most Organisations will want the ability to monitor their employees. MIKEY-SAKKE makes this possible; the organisation can record the encrypted traffic and decrypt it if and when they need to. They don’t need to actively ‘man-in-the-middle’ communications, which they’d have to do with other systems. And ONLY the enterprise can do this, because only the enterprise has the key management server,” Levy said.

In an email, Murdoch said he’s happy to see GCHQ talking about the security of MIKEY-SAKKE publicly, but that the facts of his analysis haven’t changed.

“I think it is very positive sign that GCHQ are willing to engage in an open discussion about the security of MIKEY-SAKKE. GCHQ’s response includes clarifications and also describes some of MIKEY-SAKKE’s design motivations. It is interesting and welcome, but ultimately it doesn’t make a substantial change to my conclusions because the response focusses more the language used rather than any fundamental points,” Murdoch said.

Submission + - FreeBSD-Powered Firewall Distro OPNsense 16.1 Released (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: OPNsense, the open-source firewall project powered by FreeBSD that began as a fork of pfSense, is out with a new release. OPNsense 16.1 was developed over the past half-year and is a big update. OPNsense 16.1 has upgraded to using a FreeBSD 10.2 base, support for a high-speed IPS mode, a redesigned captive portal, firewall improvements, and a wide range of other work.

Submission + - Scientists make type 1 diabetes breakthrough by halting disease for six months (thescienceworld.com)

Liaqat Andrabi writes: Researchers at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) show that type 1 diabetes can be effectively halted for up to six months, signalling a breakthrough in curing the autoimmune disease.

In this new study, funded by the JDRF, researchers demonstrated that encapsulated human islet cells can be transplanted into mice without causing an immune response.

Submission + - Oracle deprecates the Java browser plugin

rudy_wayne writes: Oracle has announced that the Java browser plugin will be deprecated in Java 9, which is currently available as an early access beta. A future release will remove it entirely.

The deprecation will affect the many companies and governments who continue to insist on the use of Java applets hosted within the browser. Oracle has some advice on how to migrate away from the plugin.

Will old browsers running old versions of Java become the new "Windows XP" that businesses and governments cling to long after it should be killed off?

Submission + - Admiral in charge of Navy intel has not been allowed to see secrets for years (washingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: This is not an onion article.

For more than two years, the Navy's intelligence chief has been stuck with a major handicap: He's not allowed to know any secrets.

Vice Adm. Ted "Twig" Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel.

Worried that Branch was on the verge of being indicted, Navy leaders suspended his access to classified materials. They did the same to one of his deputies, Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy's director of intelligence operations.

More than 800 days later, neither Branch nor Loveless has been charged. But neither has been cleared, either. Their access to classified information remains blocked.

Submission + - Desktop 3D printers shown to emit hazardous gases and particles (acs.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology by researchers at Illinois Institute of Technology and The University of Texas at Austin sheds more light on potentially harmful emissions from desktop FDM 3D printers. The researchers measured emissions of both ultrafine particles (UFPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from 5 commercially available polymer-extrusion 3D printers using up to 9 different filaments. Their estimates of time-varying UFP emission rates ranged from ~10^8 to ~10^11 particles per minute across all tested combinations, varying primarily by filament material. They also found that the individual VOCs emitted in the largest quantities included caprolactam from nylon-based and imitation wood and brick filaments (ranging from ~2 to ~180 g/min), styrene from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) filaments (ranging from ~10 to ~110 g/min), and lactide from polylactic acid (PLA) filaments (ranging from ~4 to ~5 g/min). Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC classification group 2B). While caprolactam is classified as probably not carcinogenic to humans, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) maintains low acute, 8-hour, and chronic reference exposure levels (RELs) of only 50, 7, and 2.2 g per cubic meters, respectively, all of which would likely be exceeded with just one of the higher emitting printers operating in a small office.

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