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+ - Think Tanks: How a Bill [Gates Agenda] Becomes a Law

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: The NY Times' Eric Lipton was just awarded a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting that shed light on how foreign powers buy influence at think tanks. So, it probably bears mentioning that Microsoft's 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas — which is on the verge of being codified into laws by the President and lawmakers — was hatched at an influential Microsoft and Gates Foundation-backed think tank mentioned in Lipton's reporting, the Brookings Institution. In 2012, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a forum on STEM education and immigration reforms, where fabricating a crisis was discussed as a strategy to succeed with Microsoft's agenda where earlier lobbying attempts by Bill Gates and Microsoft had failed. "So, Brad [Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith]," asked the Brookings Institution's Darrell West at the event, "you're the only [one] who mentioned this topic of making the problem bigger. So, we galvanize action by really producing a crisis, I take it?" "Yeah," Smith replied (video). And, with the help of nonprofit organizations like Code.org and FWD.us that were founded shortly thereafter, a national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis was indeed created. Last December, as Microsoft-backed Code.org 'taught President Obama to code' at a White House event to kick off the nations's Hour of Code (as a top Microsoft lobbyist looked on), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was also in D.C. publicly lobbying for high-skilled immigration and privately meeting with White House officials on undisclosed matters. And that, kids, is How a Bill [Gates Agenda] Becomes a Law!

+ - Which smartphone is stable these days?

Submitted by janimal
janimal writes: It used to be true that the iPhone was the smartphone that "just works". Ever since the 4S days, this has been true less and less with each generation. My wife's iPhone 6 needs to be restarted several times per week for things like internet search or making calls to work. An older 5S I'm using also doesn't consistently stream to Apple TV, doesn't display song names correctly on Apple TV and third party peripherals (like a Mercedes Benz). In short, the mainstay of Apple that is quality is fast receding. In your opinion, which smartphone brand these days is taking up the slack and delivering a fully featured smartphone that "just works"?

Comment: $13K is the Only Obstacle (Score 0) 256

by bill_mcgonigle (#49550645) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

I'm poised to install a $4K backup generator in the next few months. I don't live in a region where I can force my neighbors to pay for my tech goodies, and the $9K difference doesn't get paid for on any kind of time horizon that outpaces even a basic interest rate.

The generator also has a near-infinite runtime, in the case of a bad storm. However, it needs more maintenance, so if there were price-parity I might opt for the battery.

Give it another five years and that just might be feasible - good for Musk for getting this ball rolling, and kudos to the early adopters who take it in the pocket to promote the technology.

Comment: Re:Public Shaming the Red Chinese ? (Score 2) 50

by bill_mcgonigle (#49549111) Attached to: Github DDoS Attack As Seen By Google

And even with the 'cannon' in China, do we know who lit the fuse?

Almost certainly the same people who arranged for NXDOMAIN on github.com a few weeks back. They really hate that there are open source anti-censorship tools on there.

They had to stop breaking DNS for github since most of China's Internet developers couldn't get any work done anymore.

That Chinese developers are freely using a California hosting service which has benefits to everybody in the world, and everybody recognizes that the "damage" here is government, it actually gives me a bit of hope. People do prefer to cooperate on all things, until a few sociopaths get a set of keys.

+ - Microsoft, Chip Makers Working on Hardware DRM for Windows 10 PCs-> 1

Submitted by writertype
writertype writes: Last month, Microsoft began talking about PlayReady 3.0, which adds hardware DRM to secure 4K movies. Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm are all building it in, according to Microsoft. Years back, a number of people got upset when Hollywood talked about locking down "our content". So how important is hardware DRM in this day and age?
Link to Original Source

+ - Amazon's Profits Are Floating on a Cloud (Computing)

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: The NYT reports that Amazon unveiled the financial performance of its powerful growth engine for the first time on Thursday, and the numbers looked good, energized primarily by renting processing power to start-ups and, increasingly, established businesses. Amazon said in its first-quarter earnings report that its cloud division, Amazon Web Services, had revenue of $1.57 billion during the first three months of the year. What is more unusual at a company that often reports losses, the cloud business is generating substantial profits. The company said its operating income from AWS was $265 million.

Amazon helped popularize the field starting in 2006 and largely had cloud computing to itself for years, an enormous advantage in an industry where rivals usually watch one another closely. At the moment, there is no contest: Amazon is dominant and might even be extending its lead. Microsoft ranks a distant No. 2 in cloud computing but hopes to pick up the slack with infrastructure-related services it sells through Azure, the name of its cloud service. “Microsoft is a credible player,” says Lydia Leong. But, she added, “Amazon is the most common platform for start-ups.” Amazon executives have said they expect AWS to eventually rival the company’s other businesses in size. The cloud business has been growing at about 40 percent a year, more than twice the rate of the overall company and many Wall Street analysts have been hoping for a spinoff. As for Google, the cloud was barely mentioned in Google's earnings call. Nor did the search giant offer any cloud numbers, making it impossible to gauge how well it is doing. But the enthusiasm of Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, was manifest when he spoke at an event for cloud software developers this week. “The entire world will be defined by smartphones, Android or Apple, a very fast network, and cloud computing,” said Schmidt. “The space is very large, very vast, and no one is covering all of it.”

+ - RSA Ban On 'Booth Babes' Spares 'Marilyn Monroe'-> 1

Submitted by netbuzz
netbuzz writes: When RSA confirmed last month that it was banning “booth babes” from its security conference held this week, the decision was generally well received. Some, however, anticipated that there might be trouble deciding who is or is not appropriately attired. Take, for example, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. Booth babe? Or not? RSA said not, but there seems to be a good deal of disagreement.
Link to Original Source

+ - Good: Companies care about data privacy. Bad: No idea how to protect it. 1

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler writes: Research performed by Dimensional Research demonstrated something most of us know: Just about every business cares about data privacy, and intends to do something to protect sensitive information. But when you cross-tabulate the results to look more closely at what organizations are actually doing to ensure that private data stays private, the results are sadly predictable: While smaller companies care about data privacy just as much as big ones do, they’re ill-equipped to respond. What’s different is not the perceived urgency of data privacy and other privacy/security matters. It’s what companies are prepared (and funded) to do about it.

For instance:

When it comes to training employees on data privacy, 82% of the largest organizations do tell the people who work for them the right way to handle personally identifiable data and other sensitive information. Similarly, 71% of the businesses with 1,000-5,000 employees offer such training.

However, even though smaller companies are equally concerned about the subject, that concern does not trickle down to the employees quite so effectively. Half of the midsize businesses offer no such training; just 39% of organizations with under 100 employees regularly train employees on data privacy.

Presumably, your employer cares about data security and privacy, too (if for no other reason than to keep its name out of the news). But what is it really doing to ensure that protection?

+ - Groupon refuses to pay security expert who found serious XSS site bugs->

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson writes: Bounty programs benefit everyone. Companies like Microsoft get help from security experts, customers gain improved security, and those who discover and report vulnerabilities reap the rewards financially. Or at least that's how things are supposed to work.

Having reported a series of security problems to discount and deal site Groupon, security researcher Brute Logic from XSSposed.org was expecting a pay-out — but the site refuses to stump up the cash. In all, Brute Logic reported more than 30 security issues with Groupon's site, but the company cites its Responsible Disclosure policy as the reason for not handing over the cash.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re: Figures (Score 2, Insightful) 362

by bill_mcgonigle (#49537843) Attached to: iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users

It seems unlikely that development support of XP is more costly than the revenue generated by XP users. And Apple has plenty of cash. But this may still be shrewd - let's see if there's a bump in Mac sales this quarter. These users represent existing Apple customers running an OS that Microsoft abandoned. They don't need to know about how fast Apple abandons hardware, but to be fair Apple does upgrades pretty nicely. They can blame MS and gain the customer, all by hosing said customer. Devious and clever.

+ - iTunes Stops Working For Windows XP Users

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: iTunes users who still run Windows XP started to experience connectivity issues this week. As documented in an Apple Support Communities thread, they can’t log into the iTunes store, meaning functions like buying content, watching already purchased movies and TV shows, playing DRM-protected content, backing up, updating, and syncing all do not work.

+ - Qt Creator 3.4.0 Released

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa writes: Qt Creator 3.4.0 has been released with many new features. Qt Creator is a C/C++ IDE with specialized tools for developing Qt applications, and it works great for general-purpose projects as well. The new version comes with a C++ refactoring option to move function definitions out of a class declaration, auto-completion for signals and slots in Qt5-style connects, experimental Qt Test and Qt Quick Tests support in the Professional and Enterprise edition, support for 64-bit Android toolchains, and various other improvements. More details on the new version can be found in the official announcement and the changelog.

There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about. -- John von Neumann

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