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+ - UK's New DWP Manager Seeks Another Digital Exemplar to Reform Obsolete Systems

Submitted by product_bucket
product_bucket writes: The new manager of the UK's Department for Work and Pensions is looking for [green-park-jobs.co.uk] someone to reform its sprawling and often outdated [slashdot.org] IT infrastructure . In the continued effort to ensure the governments public facing IT service is fit for purpose, Government Digital Service boss Mike Bracken pins high hopes on [governmentcomputing.com] DWP tech lead Mayank Prakash and Digital Transformation Director Kevin Cunnington in finding someone else to rebuild this complex and expensive infrastructure.

+ - Linus Torvalds Wants Us All to Chill Out About the Leap Second->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg writes: The leap second is the rare and obscure practice of occasionally adding a second to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) system that most of us use to set our watches. It’s necessary, but not exactly computer friendly. In 2012 it crashed websites such as Reddit and Yelp and snarled up airline departures in Australia, so you’d think most computer experts would really hate them. After all, we have perfectly accurate timekeeping systems, such as the one used by GPS, that don’t futz with leap seconds. But it turns out many computer folks are OK with the leap second, including Linux’s creator, Linus Torvalds.
Link to Original Source

+ - Comcast's Lobbyists Hands Out VIP Cards To Skip the Wait->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A lengthy story about how David Gregory lost his job hosting Meet the Press holds an interesting tidbit: Comcast's team of lobbyists regularly hands out VIP cards to influential (and influence-able) people in Washington that lets them bypass normal customer service and fast-track their support problems. "Its government-affairs team carried around 'We'll make it right' cards stamped with 'priority assistance' codes for fast-tracking help and handed them out to congressional staffers, journalists, and other influential Washingtonians who complained about their service. A Comcast spokeswoman says this practice isn't exclusive to DC; every Comcast employee receives the cards, which they can distribute to any customer with cable or internet trouble. Nevertheless, efforts like this one have surely helped Comcast boost its standing inside the Beltway and improve its chances of winning regulatory approval for its next big conquest: merging with the second-largest cable provider in the country, Time Warner Cable." (The David Gregory article is worth a look, too; it shows how Comcast's purchase of NBC has led to interference in NBC's attempts at real journalism.)
Link to Original Source

+ - Warrantless surveillance validated by UK judges->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The UK’s Investigatory Power Tribunal (IPT), has today ruled that authoritative bodies tapping major internet cables in the UK is a legal practice and is not in breach of human rights. The case focused on the U.S. Prism and the British Tempora schemes, as revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Tempora reportedly involved GCHQ, the British spy agency, tapping into global communications via national infrastructures. "The ‘Snowden revelations’ have led to the impression voiced in some quarters that the law in some way permits the Intelligence Services carte blanche to do what they will. We are satisfied that this is not the case," the statement reads.
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+ - Ofcom Will Remove Mandatory Ham Callsign ID interval, allow encryption for some.

Submitted by product_bucket
product_bucket writes: The UK's radio regulator Ofcom have today published changes [ofcom.org.uk] in the licensing conditions that remove the mandatory 15 minute callsign ID interval on all allocated frequencies apart from 5MHz, where special conditions remain. In it's place, a requirement for the station to be "clearly identifiable at all times" has been made, along with a requirement to transmit the station callsign "as frequently as is practicable" in a form consistent with the operating mode. The decision also permits the use of encryption when the station is being used for, or on behalf of a user service such as St. John Ambulance. Unusually, no response to the consultation [ofcom.org.uk] has been made available, so there is at present no way to assess the extent to which the changes were based on actual reponses.

+ - UK legalises music, film and e-book back-ups->

Submitted by rastos1
rastos1 writes: A law has come into effect that permits UK citizens to make copies of CDs, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays and e-books. Consumers are allowed to keep the duplicates on local storage or in the cloud.
While it is legal to make back-ups for personal use, it remains an offence to share the data with friends or family. Users are not allowed to make recordings of streamed music or video from Spotify and Netflix, even if they subscribe to the services.
Thirteen years after iTunes launched, it is now legal to use it to rip CDs in the UK.

Link to Original Source

+ - UK Ham Radio Reg Plans to Drop 15min Callsign Interval And Allow Encryption->

Submitted by product_bucket
product_bucket writes: A consultation [ofcom.org.uk] published by the UK Radio Regulator Ofcom seeks views on its plan to remove the mandatory 15 minute callsign identifier interval for amateur radio licensees. The regulator also intends to permit the use of encryption by a single volunteer emergency communications organisation.
  The consultation is open until 20th October, and views are sought by interested parties.

Link to Original Source

+ - We Gave Away 123 Million Books During World War Two->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Information wants to be free? During the Second World War, it actually was. Publishers took advantage of new printing technologies to sell crates of cheap, paperback books to the military for just six cents a copy, at a time when almost all the other books they printed cost more than two dollars. The army and the navy shipped them to soldiers and sailors around the world, giving away nearly 123 million books for free. Many publishers feared the program would destroy their industry, by flooding the market with free books and destroying the willingness of consumers to pay for content. Instead, it fueled a postwar publishing boom, as millions of GIs got hooked on good books, and proved willing to pay for more. It's a freemium model, more than 70 years ago.
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+ - Council dumps Microsoft Windows XP for Google Chromebooks, saves £400,000->

Submitted by girlmad
girlmad writes: Google has scored a major win on the back of Microsoft’s Windows XP support cut-off. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has begun moving all its employees over to Samsung Chromebooks and Chromeboxes ahead of the 8 April deadline. The council was previously running 3,500 Windows XP desktops and 800 XP laptops, and is currently in the process of retiring these in favour of around 2,000 Chromebooks and 300 Chromeboxes. It estimates the savings at around £400,000, no small change.
Link to Original Source

+ - HullCoin launched as 'local digital currency'->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian writes: A virtual currency designed to be a "local digital currency", has been launched by Hull City Council.
In the form of digital "tokens", HullCoins can be used to pay council tax and for goods and services from firms signed up to the scheme. Hull City Council said it hoped the scheme would eventually be extended to the major supermarket chains. David Shepherdson, from the City Council, said HullCoins would have "a social purpose".

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+ - UK's "Internet of Things" Will Use UHF->

Submitted by product_bucket
product_bucket writes: Ofcom, the UK's communications watchdog, has decided to permit/encourage the use of the Short Range Device allocations 870-876 MHz and 915-921 MHz for a proposed up and coming Internet of Things. It intends to see the bands used by smart meters, car to car data links and machine to machine communication, among other potential applications.
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