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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the tl;dr version of their findings: Refactoring doesn’t make code easier to analyze or change; it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't doesn’t result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable."
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+ - $415M Silicon Valley Salary-Fixing Conspiracy Settlement Heads For Approval->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "A lawsuit last year argued that the biggest players in Silicon Valley, including Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar had engaged in a conspiracy to fix and suppress employee salaries; an initial settlement in the suit at over $300 million was deemed by a judge to be too low. Now a $415 million settlement is headed for approval."
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+ - Mississipppi Attorney General Conspires With MPAA To Revive SOPA->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a subpoena last October seeking information about Google’s search and advertising practices in areas related to banned substances, human trafficking and copyrighted material. But a Federal judge has now quashed that investigation — and information from last fall's Sony leak made seemed to indicate that Hood had agreed to work with the MPAA to launch it in the first place, as part of a move to revive the reviled SOPA legislation through other means."
Link to Original Source

+ - Why Computers Still Struggle To Tell the Time-> 1

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "It’s pretty much impossible for a computer to keep exact time, although accuracy can be improved to the extent that users are willing to spend more money on the problem, said George Neville-Neil, a software engineer who helps financial institutions and other time-sensitive organizations maintain ultra-precise measurements of time. To keep internal time, computers use a crystal oscillator that creates an electromagnetic signal, or a vibration that the computer uses to coordinate processor, memory, bus and motherboard operations. But computer makers often use inexpensive crystals costing only a few cents each, which can compromise accuracy. 'If you buy server-class hardware, you will get cheap crystal, and time will wander if you don’t do something about it,' Neville-Neil said."
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+ - Google Prepares To Enter Wireless Market As An MVNO->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "Google is getting into the wireless connectivity business, but doesn't mean you'll be able to use them as your wireless connectivity provider any time soon. The company isn't building its own cell network, but will rather be a "mobile virtual network operator" offering services over existing networks. Google says it won't be a full-service mobile network in competition with existing carriers; instead, the MVNO will offer a platform through which it can experiment with new services for Android smartphones."
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+ - EU Political Youth Orgs Demand Net Neutrality->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "In Europe, most political parties have wings specifically for young people, which weild much more influence than their American counterparts. The European Council is currently trying to backtrack on net neutrality rules there, and these youth groups have come out strongly opposed to regulations that would allow ISPs to favor some kinds of Internet content over others. The opposition spans the political spectrum from left to right."
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+ - How a Blu-ray Disc Could Install Malware on Your Computer->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Stephen Tomkinson of NCC Group, a U.K.-based security consultancy, engineered a Blu-ray disc that detects the type of player the disc is running on and then picks one of two exploits to land malware on a computer. One of the problems is in PowerDVD, an application made by Taiwanese company CyberLink for playing DVDs on Windows computers. The second vulnerability lies in some Blu-ray disc player hardware. Tomkinson presented the research at the Securi-Tay conference at Abertay University in Scotland on Friday."
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+ - Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Sharp is launching a pair of landline phones designed to counter a growing form of fraud in Japan that preys upon the elderly. The 'ore ore' ('it’s me, it’s me') fraudsters pretend to be grandchildren in an emergency and convince their victims to send money, generally via ATM. Sharp’s new phones are designed to alert seniors to the dangers of unknown callers. When potential victims receive that are not registered in the internal memory of Sharp's new phones, their LED bars glow red and the phones go into anti-scam mode. An automated message then tells the caller that the call is being recorded and asks for the caller to state his or her name before the call is answered."
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+ - LTE Can Mooch Off Of Wi-Fi Spectrum With New Qualcomm Chipset->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "A chipset Qualcomm is introducing at Mobile World Congress next week is likely to make mobile operators happy and some Wi-Fi fans nervous. The FSM 99xx chipset for small cells, along with a matching transceiver that will go into mobile devices, are among the first products coming for so-called Licensed Assisted Access. LAA, sometimes called LTE-Unlicensed, is one of several emerging techniques to take advantage of the large amount of spectrum available in unlicensed bands used by Wi-Fi."
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+ - Google Shares Code To Help Server Software Digest HTTP/2->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Google has released as open source a framework for HTTP/2, the newly updated standard for transmitting Web pages and Web applications over the Internet. The software, called gRPC, handles remote procedure calls (RPC) between servers and clients, such as browsers or mobile applications. The gRPC framework powers most of Google’s services today, fielding tens of billions of Web calls every second."
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+ - Will Machine Intelligence Be So Human That It Will Get Religion?-> 1

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Earlier this month Reverend Dr. Christopher J. Benek raised eyebrows on the Internet by stating his belief that Christians should seek to convert Artificial Intelligences to Christianity if and when they become autonomous. Of course that's assuming that robots are born atheists, not to mention that there's still a vast difference between what it means to be autonomous and what it means to be human."
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+ - AI Learns To Beat Classic Atari Games Without Human Help->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "DeepMind, a British AI company recently acquired by Google, has taught software called the Deep Q-network (DQN) onto classic Atari 2600 video games. Well, taught is the wrong word: the AI takes as input only the pixel information from the screen and the score; with an iterative process and a biologically inspired architecture, DQN learned the winning strategy for a number of games, though it fared poorly on games that required long-term planning."
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