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The Media

Montana Newspaper Plans To Out Anonymous Commenters Retroactively ( 245 writes: Eugene Volokh reports at the Washington Post that in a stunning policy shift, The Montana Standard, a daily newspaper in Butte, Montana, has decided to replace commenters' pseudonyms with their real names. "The kicker here is that the change is retroactive," writes Paul Alan Levy. "Apparently unwilling to part with the wealth of comments that are already posted on its web site under the old policy, but also, apparently, unwilling to configure its software so that comments posted before the new policy is implemented remain under the chosen screen names, the Standard announces that past comments will suddenly appear using the users' real names unless users contact the paper no later than December 26 to ask that their comments be removed." In a November 12 editorial outlining the new real-name policy, the newspaper said, "We have encountered consistent difficulty with posts that exceed the bounds of civil discourse — as have many sites where comments from anonymous posters are allowed."

The paper's new policy has proven controversial among readers. "This is the end of open and honest comments on this site," wrote one user, who goes by the name BGF. "It is easy to put your name to your comments if you are retired. But it is another thing altogether if you have to worry about upsetting your peers and bosses at work." The newspaper editor, David McCumber, says he has extensively investigated the feasibility of configuring the newspaper's software to keep comments posted before the new policy is implemented under the chosen screen names. He says he was told by his content-management software experts that such a configuration is impossible. "Based on that, I am trying to do what is most equitable to all of our readers," says McCumber. "When a relatively small city is at the center of your market, just about everybody commented about is known, and the anonymous comments sting."


US Government IT Outsourcing Is Poorly Managed ( 85

itwbennett writes: The U.S. government is spending way more than it has to on IT outsourcing. That's the finding of a report released in September by the Government Accountability Office that studied IT services outsourcing at three military branches within the Department of Defense, along with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to the report, while efforts to better manage their IT outsourcing had improved, most of these agencies' IT spending "continues to be obligated through hundreds of potentially duplicative contracts that diminish the government's buying power."

Open-Source GPU Drivers Show Less Than Ideal Experience For SteamOS/Linux Gaming ( 109

An anonymous reader writes: Phoronix's recent 22-Way SteamOS Graphics Card Comparison showed that NVIDIA wins across the board when it comes to closed-source OpenGL driver performance. However, when it comes to the open-source driver performance for Steam Linux gaming, no one is really the winner. A new article, "Are The Open-Source Graphics Drivers Good Enough For Steam Linux Gaming?" answers that question with "heck no" by its author. While AMD is generally regarded as having better open-source support, their newer graphics cards still can't run at their rated clock frequencies due to lack of power management support, the lack of enough OpenGL 4.x support means many AAA Linux games simply cannot run yet, not enough QA means regressions are common, and other issues were noted when it comes to testing a number of modern graphics cards on the open-source drivers.
Open Source

Microsoft Publishes OpenSSH For Windows Code ( 164

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has published early source code for its OpenSSH-for-Windows port for developers to pick apart and improve. In a blog post on Monday, Steve Lee – the PowerShell team's principal software engineer manager – said Redmond has finished early work on a Windows port of OpenSSH 7.1, built in a joint-effort with NoMachine. Their rough roadmap from here: 1) Leverage Windows crypto APIs instead of OpenSSL/LibreSSL and run as Windows Service. 2) Address POSIX compatibility concerns. 3) Stabilize the code and address reported issues. 4) Production quality release.

Comment By all means - YES (Score 1) 437

because we WANT our programmers to eventually not understand how a microprocessor works.

We need to breed a dumber programmer so s/he can write buggy code, fast.

Make it idiot-proof because eventually the bar will be so low, only idiots will be needed to do the job.

If we're lucky, this will cause a resurgence in VisualBasic.


AT&T Offers $250k Reward To Find the California Fiber-Optic Ripper 145

An anonymous reader writes: AT&T have offered a $250,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of what appears to be a serial disruptor of fiber-optic connections in California. The latest incident has taken place in Livermore in the San Francisco Bay Area, where an individual thought by the FBI to possess expert knowledge and specialist tools severed a critical AT&T cable, gaining access to the enclosure via a manhole. The attack precedes 11 previous ones in California in the preceding twelve months.

60,000 Antelope Died In 4 Days, and No One Knows Why 206

An anonymous reader writes: The Saiga antelope has been hunted to near extinction. They've been put on the endangered species list, and they play a vital role in the ecosystems around Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan, where their grazing helps get rid of fallen plant matter, which is prevented from decomposing by the cold temperatures. But earlier this year, a huge die-off hit the Saiga antelope herd in Kazakhstan, felling over 120,000 of them in a few short weeks. Scientists say an entire group of 60,000 died within a four-day span. The cause of this die-off is still a mystery. The researchers suspect some sort of bacteria, and early on pointed to Pasteurella strains. But those bacteria don't usually cause this much damage unless something else has weakened the antelope. "There is nothing so special about it. The question is why it developed so rapidly and spread to all the animals," one researcher said. They're looking into environmental factors, but nothing else seems too far out of the ordinary.

Virginia Ditches 'America's Worst Voting Machines' 393

Geoffrey.landis writes: Computerized voting machines are bad news in general, but the WINVote machines used in Virginia might just have earned their reputation as the most insecure voting machine in America. They feature Wi-Fi that can't be turned off (protected, however, with a WEP password of "abcde"), an unencrypted database, and administrative access with a hardcoded password of "admin." According to security researcher Jeremy Epstein, if the machines weren't hacked in past elections, "it was because nobody tried." But with no paper trail, we'll never know.

Well, after ignoring the well-documented problems for over a decade, Virginia finally decided to decommission the machines... after the governor had problems with the machines last election and demanded an investigation. Quoting: "In total, the vulnerabilities investigators found were so severe and so trivial to exploit, Epstein noted that 'anyone with even a modicum of training could have succeeded' in hacking them. An attacker wouldn't have needed to be inside a polling place either to subvert an election... someone 'within a half mile with a rudimentary antenna built using a Pringles can could also have attacked them.'"
United Kingdom

Man Arrested After Charging iPhone On London Overground Train 674

An anonymous reader writes: 45-year-old Robin Lee was arrested after he used a socket on a London Overground train to charge up his iPhone. He was handcuffed and arrested for "abstracting electricity". Robin was then charged with "unacceptable behaviour" after "becoming aggressive" when objecting to his first arrest. The Guardian reports: "Speaking to the Evening Standard, Lee said he had been confronted by a police community support officer on the overground train from Hackney Wick to Camden Road on 10 July. The Overground is part of Transport For London’s wider network that also includes London Underground and the buses. 'She said I’m abstracting electricity. She kept saying it’s a crime. We were just coming into the station and there happened to be about four police officers on the platform. She called to them and said: ‘This guy’s been abstracting electricity, he needs to be arrested’.”
United States

Proposed Regulation Could Keep 3D-printed Gun Blueprints Offline For Good 423

SonicSpike sends a report on a proposed update to the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) regulations which could shut down the sharing of files for 3D printed gun parts over the internet. "Hidden within the proposal, which restricts what gear, technology, and info can and cannot be exported out of the U.S., is a ban on posting schematics for 3D printed gun parts online." This follows a lawsuit from Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed back in May fighting the federal government's command to remove blueprints for the "Liberator" 3D-printed gun from their website. A senior official at the U.S. State Department said, "By putting up a digital file, that constitutes an export of the data. If it's an executable digital file, any foreign interests can get a hold of it."

Nvidia Details 'Gameworks VR', Aims To Boost Virtual Reality Render Performance 25

An anonymous reader writes: In a guest article published to Road to VR, Nvidia graphics programmer Nathan Reed details Nvidia's 'Gameworks VR' initiative which the company says is designed to boost virtual reality render performance, including support for 'VR SLI' which will render one eye view per GPU for low latency stereoscopy. While many Gameworks VR features will be supported as far back as GeForce 6xx cards, the company's latest 'Maxwell' (9xx and Titan X) GPUs offer 'Multi-projection' which Reed says, 'enables us to very efficiently rasterize geometry into multiple viewports within a single render target at once... This better approximates the shading rate of the warped image that will eventually be displayed—in other words, it avoids rendering a ton of extra pixels that weren't going to make it to the display anyway, and gives you a substantial performance boost for no perceptible reduction in image quality.'

NASA To Test Inflatable Donut For Landing On Mars 38

An anonymous reader writes: When NASA has put rovers on the surface of Mars, they've relied heavily on parachutes to get through the atmosphere safely. Aerobraking doesn't work as well as it does on Earth because Mars's atmosphere is so thin. Parachuting runs into the same problem, but it's easier to pack a bigger chute than it is to bring along a bigger heat shield. But NASA has been working on that exact problem, and they'll soon test the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), which looks an awful lot like a giant, inflatable donut. When a spacecraft is ready to enter an atmosphere, the LDSD will inflate along its outside edge, substantially increasing its surface area while not adding too much weight. Weather has postponed the test a couple times already, but NASA hopes to complete it on Monday.

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