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Encryption

US Encryption Ban Would Only Send the Market Overseas (dailydot.com) 142

Patrick O'Neill writes: As U.S. legislatures posture toward legally mandating backdoored encryption, a new Harvard study suggests that a ban would push the market overseas because most encryption products come from over non-U.S. tech companies. "Cryptography is very much a worldwide academic discipline, as evidenced by the quantity and quality of research papers and academic conferences from countries other than the U.S.," the researchers wrote.
Crime

Hearthstone Cheats and Tools Spiked With Malware (csoonline.com) 41

itwbennett writes: Cheating at the online card game Hearthstone (which is based on Blizzard's World of Warcraft) can get you banned from the game, but now it also puts you at risk of 'financial losses and system ruin,' writes CSO's Steve Ragan. Symantec is warning Hearthstone players about add-on tools and cheat scripts that are spiked with malware. 'In one example, Hearth Buddy, a tool that allows bots to play the game instead of a human player (which is supposed to help with rank earnings and gold earning) compromises the entire system,' says Ragan. 'Another example, are the dust and gold hacking tools (Hearthstone Hack Tool), which install malware that targets Bitcoin wallets.'

Comment Re:Surge protectors *must* be voltage specific (Score 1) 137

Obviously you do not have the EE understanding required. A 220V surge protector is typically designed to clamp at around 500V. From rectified 110V AC that gives you a 350V relative spike into the capacitors. From rectified 220V it is only 190V. A 110V surge protector is typically designed to clamp at around 330V. That is an 180V spike. If you cannot see that a 350V spike may be a bit more destructive than an 190V/180V one, and that in particular, the components in the device may only be dimensioned for a 200V spike or so as that is what to expect with surge protection done correctly, then you have no business being in this discussion. If you have to ask where these numbers come from, the same applies.

Incidentally, this is only one of the problems with a wrongly dimensioned surge protector. And yes, the surge voltage is relevant, as it influences dU/dt and the surge current. In actual fact, there is a surge model behind this and the surge voltage is only one factor. Also, surge protection devices do not do a perfect clamping, and have maximum ratings. If they are exceeded, the surge protector may short out, fail or even start to burn if not fitted with a thermal fuse. Incidentally, there is a maximum of surges a surge protector can clamp, depending on the surges and its ratings. After that, it needs replacement.

Why do incompetent morons always feel they are qualified to comment on advanced engineering they really do not understand? The Dunning-Kruger effect is strong on Slashdot.

Comment "Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years" (Score 1) 158

"Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years" by Peter Norvig (http://norvig.com/21-days.html) is still an excellent discussion on how long it will take to learn programming to a degree that is actually adequate to do professional-level work.

In addition, I expect that most people will never get beyond "fair", even with this amount of training and experience, just as most people will not become much better than "fair" at any other task, unless they have some real talent/potential/gift/deal-with-the-devil/etc. whether it be cooking, mathematics, or playing the harp. That is not to discourage people. "Fair" would be a huge improvements over the skill-level of many of the people that write software today. "Fair" is level on which you can depend on people to get regular stuff right and to know what is beyond their skills ans ask for help.

Of course, "fair" is also the level where the expected salary needs to be very reasonable (say, at least enough for a 4 people family to live in modest comfort off it) in order to make people go though the long process of becoming good at it. In particular the latter is lacking today.

Android

Report: Google Will Go In Big For VR Hardware This Year 51

The Financial Times reports that Google isn't going to let the VR hardware wars fall to the likes of Samsung and Oculus; instead, it's working on a (cardboard-free) VR headset of its own, to be released in conjunction with Android VR software intended not only to make Android more VR friendly in general but specifically to help developers reduce nausea-inducing lag. The report doesn't quite come out of the blue, considering that Google has shipped more than 5 million of its own Cardboard viewer already, and has several projects dealing with VR infrastructure, either directly (like Jump) or indrectly (like Project Tango). Google (or Alphabet) has proven itself a hardware behemoth, not just the "search giant" it's so often called in news stories, and of late seems to be more interested in making its footprint in hardware a bit firmer.
AI

Microsoft's Cortana Doesn't Put Up With Sexual Harassment (hothardware.com) 506

MojoKid writes: Not long after Apple unveiled its Siri personal assistant to the world, it took very little time before people began asking her outrageous questions, sometimes inappropriate or just humorous, if for no other reason than they just could. When creating Cortana, Microsoft was well-aware of what its digital assistant was going to have to deal with, so, believe it or not, it was designed in such a way to handle abuse in a specific manner. According to Microsoft's Deborah Harrison, who is one of eight writers for Cortana, a chunk of the earliest queries were about Cortana's sex life. A specific goal was to make sure Cortana wasn't treated as a subservient. If she's insulted, she doesn't apologize or back down. She handles it with tact, so as to reduce the chance of further abuse.

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