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+ - Hackers Steal Data On 4.5 Million US Hospital Patients->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Community Health Systems said the attack occurred in April and June of this year, but it wasn't until July that it determined the theft had taken place. Working with a computer security company, it determined the attack was carried out by a group based in China that used 'highly sophisticated malware' to attack its systems. The hackers got away with patient names, addresses, birthdates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers of the 4.5 million people who were referred to or received services from doctors affiliated with the company in the last five years. The stolen data did not include patient credit card, medical or clinical information."
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+ - Are altcoins undermining Bitcoin's credibility?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The editor of a Bitcoin advocacy site believes the proliferation of altcoins (cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin) is harming Bitcoin's long-term potential as an alternative to traditional currencies. Posting at, a site that seeks to expose online scams that target Bitcoin users, the pseudonymous ViK compares altcoins, including the Internet meme inspired Dogecoin, to a pump-and-dump scheme where developers create their own version of the Bitcoin wallet and blockchain and then "pre-mine" or generate a significant number cryptocurrency units before the altcoin's official release. Later, when their value has risen, the pre-mined altcoins are exchanged for Bitcoin or in some cases converted directly to cash. While critics of cryptocurrencies in general might find ViK's comments about the altcoin "tulip" mania ironic, the self-confessed Bitcoin fan is nevertheless calling for an altcoin boycott: "The easiest way to stop them is to not participate. We all know that they only have one purpose, and that is to make Bitcoin for the so called developers.""

+ - Correcting Killer Architecture->

Submitted by minstrelmike
minstrelmike (1602771) writes "In Leeds, England, architects are adding a plethora of baffles and other structures to prevent the channeling of winds from a skyscraper that have pushed baby carriages into the street and caused one pedestrian death by blowing over a truck (lorry). Other architectural mistakes listed in the article include death ray buildings that can melt car bumpers and landscape ponds that blind tenants."
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+ - A Thousand Kilobots Self-Assemble Into Complex Shapes->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Harvard's Self-Organizing Systems Research Group—describe their thousand-robot swarm in a paper published today in Science (they actually built 1024 robots). In the past, researchers have only been able to program at most a couple hundred robots to work together. Now, researchers at Harvard University have programmed the biggest robot swarm yet. Alone, the simple little robot can’t do much, but working with 1,000 or more like-minded fellow bots, it becomes part of a swarm that can self-assemble into any two-dimensional shape. These are some of the first steps toward creating huge herds of tiny robots that form larger structures—including bigger robots."
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+ - Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp. How Would You Go About It?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Given the hundreds of thousands of apps currently on offer, it’s hard for any one app (no matter how well designed) to stand out on Apple's App Store, much less stay atop the bestseller charts for very long. In an August 10 blog posting, former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée offered Apple CEO Tim Cook some advice: Let humans curate the App Store. 'Instead of using algorithms to sort and promote the apps that you permit on your shelves, why not assign a small group of adepts to create and shepherd an App Store Guide,' he wrote. 'A weekly newsletter will identify notable new titles, respond to counter-opinions, perhaps present a developer profile, footnote the occasional errata and mea culpa.' Whether or not such an idea would effectively surface all the good content now buried under layers of Flappy Bird rip-offs is an open question; what’s certain is that, despite Apple’s rosy picture, developers around the world face a lot of uncertainty and competition when it comes to making significant money off their apps. Sure, some developers are making a ton of cash, but the rising tide doesn’t necessarily float all boats. If you had the opportunity, how would you revamp/revise/upgrade/adjust/destroy the App Store to better serve the developers who put apps in it?""
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Comment: Separate Docs from Training (Score 1) 199

by ripvlan (#47672649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should You Invest In Documentation, Or UX?

Yes - an obvious UI should reduce the need for documentation. Are you documenting every single screen - and is it really useful?

We split everything into a few buckets:
  * Proper and Intended Use of the product
  * End User Training
  * Suggested workflow and use (kind of a how-to accomplish important tasks)

If users are unable to accomplish their work without reading the documentation - then there is a problem. Our documentation went down from "feet thick" to a small "1 cm thick" manual. Via a removal of duplication and splitting into Role based helped keep changes to a minimum.

Of course - if the UI is changing that drastically every year - are the customers happy? It sounds like there's a huge investment from the customer base to re-learn the product every year. At some point I'd get tired of that and slow down how often I upgraded...or went looking for a less complicated product.

To answer your general question: Yes - it is possible and you will be successful in doing it.
Wider question, not asked but we all derived, it sounds like some change control needs to happen.

Good luck.

+ - Google Expands Its Safe Browsing Service to Block PUAs 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is expanding its Safe Browsing service to protect users against malware that makes unexpected changes to your computer. Google says it will show a warning in Chrome whenever an attempt is made to trick you into downloading and installing such software. In the case of malware, PUA stands for Potentially Unwanted Application, which is also sometimes called Potentially Unwanted Program or PUP. In short, the broad terms encompass any downloads that the user does not want, typically because they display popups, show ads, install toolbars in the default browser, change the homepage or the search engine, run several processes in the background that slow down the PC, and so on."

Comment: Re:Three Divisions of Computer Science (Score 1) 637

by ripvlan (#47622357) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Yes - thank you for this - I'll add my follow on here.

I've heard people speak of this difference as Computer Scientist (strategy/concepts) vs a Computer Engineer (code monkey/skills)

Your job will be to solve problems - what language you use is secondary. Solving the problem efficiently is more important than the language you use. My current company outsources to the lowest bidder the code monkey/maint jobs and retains the educated people to solve the hard problems.

Differences in teaching methodology via an example: I recently took a Relational database class at the local University (my alma mater), and a younger friend did the same at a local "skills" College. I learned Relational Algebra & Calculus, how one mathematically reduces a statement to find the shortest/fastest "plan" - brush up on set theory, and how modern "search" is really done. He learned SQL Syntax and how to write/type SQL. I also looked at his C#/Java class and he was learning Syntax - whereas I remember learning Linked Lists the differences between Asm/Lisp/C/Prolog (yea - a while ago) - Functional vs Imperative vs Logic vs... etc and syntax came only as part of learning the concepts and visiting each language.

Coding-wise, when I went to University - Java didn't exist (actually, ANSI-C had just become - well ANSI Standard C, my K&R book was stamped "NEW! Updated for ANSI-C"). But I learned what Garbage collection was - in the class on memory management and CPU architecture. What is a Heap/Stack and why approaches such as Garbage collection are useful (including algorithms for multi vs single pass culling) There were little 1 credit classes to learn specific languages(e.g. later on C++). Heck - I even learned how an ALU physically works in my EE class (that was way-cool ! A light bulb went on and I switched from EE to CS)

The best classes where the Analysis of Algorithms & Data Structures. While I hated it at the time, learning what O(n) means has turned out to be very helpful - esp when applied to other concepts like Bandwidth and Latency. A lot of "new" programmers don't understand latency and believe trips across the wire are just fine - yo - make as many as you'd like. In my day a trip across the wire was from the CPU to main memory. No adays it is from browser to web-server. However, with proper training one learns the Min/Max of "as few as necessary"

If your method of solving a problem can't possibly go faster - fiddling with code will only improve it in single digit percentages. Knowing why this is and finding the better algorithm or mathematical simplification/reduction will improve execution time by double/triple or maybe exponentially - and thus make you a better asset.

+ - NASA tests 'impossible' flying saucer drive->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NASA has tested an electrical space drive what uses no propellant – and found it works even when it is designed not to.
The system uses microwave energy reflected around a specially designed chamber to produce thrust. The idea first appeared as the Emdrive by British inventor Roger Shawyer in 2001, who designed a system which he showed could produce power in this way. But critics scoffed, saying it would violate the laws of momentum.

The EmDrive generates thrust by using the properties of radiation pressure. An electromagnetic wave has a small amount of momentum which, when it hits a reflector, can translate that into thrust, Shawyer found, and this can be used to power flight in the near-frictionless environment of space.

The idea languished, but a decade later the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a paper saying that it too had built an EmDrive-like which, when fed 2.5kW, generated 720mN of thrust. This got the attention of NASA, which in 2013 commissioned a series of tests on the drive and got some surprising results.
In an eight-day trial held by US engineering firm Cannae the researchers found that by using a reflective chamber similar to that proposed by Shawyer the team was able to use solely electrical inputs to generate 30-50 micro-Newtons of thrust.

"Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma," the team reported in a paper to the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, at the end of July.

Being scientists, the Cannae team also built a second chamber which was designed not to work as a control mechanism, or a "null test article". To their surprise they found that this control engine also generated thrust, although nowhere near as much as the first design.

The system isn’t perfect – it requires manual control of the microwave emissions to get the best results, but the Cannae team said that an automatic controller was under development and could be used in a scaled-up system.

If a larger-scale engine works in the same way as the test system the design could revolutionize space travel as we know it. Potentially it could get us to Mars in weeks rather than the nine months or so currently projected.

The weight and cost of fuel needed for rocket motors is one of the key limiting factors in space travel – simply getting one pound of fuel into orbit costs thousands of dollars in launch costs. Spacecraft then need to carry enough fuel to accelerate to their target, and a similar amount to slow down at the other end of the trip, but a fuel-less drive system like EmDrive changes that equation.

Instead of firing a controlled engine burn to get up to speed, then coasting towards the target and firing rockets again to slow down, the EmDrive could fire constantly until the midpoint of the mission, powered by solar power cells. At the midway point the engine can then be rotated and fired again constantly to slow down the spacecraft.

The challenge now is to scale a system like the EmDrive up to full size and see exactly how much thrust can be generated within a given solar power input envelope. Hopefully it won't take NASA another 12 years to try out the system."

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+ - Winners of Raspberry Pi Photography Award Contest 2014->

Submitted by coop0030
coop0030 (263345) writes "Adafruit held a 2014 Raspberry Pi Photography contest that has completed with the winners selected. You can see the winning photographs as well as all of the entries. Andrew Mulholland, using a Raspberry Pi powered LEGO panobot, is the winning photographer. He's also provided a video of how his winning photographs were put together."
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+ - A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World->

Submitted by Tekla Perry
Tekla Perry (3034735) writes "The "Weissman Score"—created for HBO's Silicon Valley to add dramatic flair to the show's race to build the best compression algorithm—creates a single score by considering both the amount of compression and the compression speed. While it was created for a TV show, it does really work, and it's quickly migrating into academia. Computer science and engineering students will begin to encounter the Weissman Score in the classroom this fall."
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+ - Internet Census 2012 Data Examined: Authentic but Chaotic and Unetical->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers at the TU Berlin and RWTH Aachen presented an analysis of the Internet Census 2012 data set in the July edition of the ACM Sigcomm Computer Communication Review journal. After its release on March 17, 2013 by an anonymous author, the Internet Census data created an immediate media buzz, mainly due to its unethical data collection methodology that exploited default passwords to form the Carna botnet.
The now published analysis suggests that the released data set is authentic and not faked, but also reveals a rather chaotic picture. The Census suffers from a number of methodological flaws and also lacks meta-data information, which renders the data unusable for many further analyses. As a result, the researchers have not been able to verify several claims that the anonymous author(s) made in the published Internet Census report. The researchers also point to similar but legal efforts measuring the Internet and remark that the illegally measured Internet Census 2012 is not only unethical but might have been overrated by the press."

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+ - A Personal Electronic Aura Could be the Answer to Password Hell ->

Submitted by DavidGilbert99
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Imagine using chips implanted in accessories like glasses, shoes and belts — or even under your skin — to generate a personal electronic aura. This would be your own personal safe zone, and only inside this would your electronics work, including a device which logs and stores thousands of passwords. This is the vision of a Cambridge University professor who wants to create an Electronic Aura for everyone."
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+ - Stanford Engineers Explain How They Created a Fictitious Compression For HBO's S->

Submitted by Tekla Perry
Tekla Perry (3034735) writes "Professor Tsachy Weissman and Ph.D student Vinith Misra came up with (almost) believable compression algorithms for HBO's Silicon Valley. Some constraints--they had to seem plausible, look good when illustrated on a whiteboard, and work with the punchline, "middle out". Next season the engineers may encourage producers to tackle the challenge of local decodability."
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Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra