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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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+ - Oracle Sues 5 Oregon Officials for "improper influence"

Submitted by SpzToid
SpzToid (869795) writes "Following up on an earlier Slashdot story, the Oracle Corporation has filed a rather timely suit against five of former governor John Kitzhaber's staff for their "improper influence" in the decision to shutter the Cover Oregon healthcare website, while blaming Oracle to defuse the political consequences. Oracle argues the website was ready to go before the state decided to switch to the federal exchange in April.

"The work on the exchange was complete by February 2014, but going live with the website and providing a means for all Oregonians to sign up for health insurance coverage didn’t match the former-Governor's re-election strategy to 'go after' Oracle,” Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in a statement.

Kitzhaber resigned last week amid criminal probes into an influence-peddling scandal involving allegations that his fiancée used her position in his office for personal gain."

+ - UNDER U.S. PRESSURE, PAYPAL NUKES MEGA FOR ENCRYPTING FILES->

Submitted by seoras
seoras (147590) writes "After coming under intense pressure PayPal has closed the account of cloud-storage service Mega. According to the company, SOPA proponent Senator Patrick Leahy personally pressured Visa and Mastercard who in turn called on PayPal to terminate the account. Bizarrely, Mega's encryption is being cited as a key problem.... ... What makes the situation more unusual is that PayPal reportedly apologized to Mega for its withdrawal while acknowledging that company’s business is indeed legitimate.
However, PayPal also advised that Mega’s unique selling point – it’s end-to-end-encryption – was a key concern for the processor.""

Link to Original Source

+ - NSA Spying Wins Another Rubber Stamp->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The FISA court has again renewed an order allowing the NSA to continue its illegal bulk collection of Americans' phone records, at least until June 1 when it is set to expire in Congress. President Obama pledged to end the controversial program more than a year ago.

The extension is the fifth of its kind since Obama said he would effectively end the Snowden-exposed program as it currently exists during a major policy speech in January 2014. Obama and senior administration officials have repeatedly insisted that they will not act alone to end the program without Congress.

After all the other things he's done against or without congressional approval and he balks at this one?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Sabotage in Arizona Shuts Down Internet, Cellphone, Telephone Service Statewide->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Cellphone, Internet, and telephone services across half of Arizona went dark on Wednesday after vandals sliced a sensitive fiber optic cable, according to those familiar with the situation. The incident is raising concerns about the safety of U.S. infrastructure.

“There was a cut that took place on a fiber optic cable that basically runs from Phoenix to Northern Arizona. The line, which is composed of extremely thick cable, appeared to have been cut with a hacksaw"

“The fiber optic cable was encased in metal piping which would have to have been accessed prior to reaching the optics. This indicates the use of a power tool and doesn’t look like ‘vandalism’ but rather like sabotage,”"

Link to Original Source

+ - Why I'm Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft->

Submitted by DrJimbo
DrJimbo (594231) writes "Dan Gillmore says; "When I became a technology columnist in the mid-1990s, the public Internet was just beginning its first big surge. Back then, I advised my readers to avoid the semi-political, even religious battles that advocates of this or that technology platform seemed to enjoy. Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is—a tool—and use what works best.

So why am I typing this on a laptop running GNU/Linux, the free software operating system, not an Apple or Windows machine? And why are my phones and tablets running a privacy-enhanced offshoot of Android called Cyanogenmod, not Apple’s iOS or standard Android?""

Link to Original Source

+ - Leonard Nimoy, Spock of 'Star Trek,' Dies at 83->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83."
Link to Original Source

+ - How Google avoids downtime->

Submitted by Brandon Butler
Brandon Butler (2829853) writes "Google has an innovative way of attempting to keep its services — like its cloud platform and apps — up and running as much as possible. The man in charge of it is Ben Trenyor, who runs Google's Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) team.

Each Google product has a service level agreement (SLA) that dictates how much downtime the product can have in a given month or year. Take 99.9% uptime, for example: That allows for 43 minutes of downtime per month, or about 8 hours and 40 minutes per year. That 8 hours and 40 minutes is what is referred to at Google as an “error budget.”

Google product managers don’t have to be perfect — they just have to be better than their SLA guarantee. So each product team at Google has a “budget” of errors it can make.
If the product adheres to the SLA’s uptime promise, then the product team is allowed to launch new features. If the product is outside of its SLA, then no new features are allowed to be rolled out until the reliability improves.

In a traditional site reliability model there is a fundamental disconnect between site reliability engineers (SREs) and the product managers. Product managers want to keep adding services to their offerings, but the SREs don’t like changes because that opens the door to more potential problems.

This “error budget” model addresses that issue by uniting the priorities of the SREs and product teams. The product developers want to add more features, so they architect reliable systems. It seems to work; according to tracking company CloudHamrony, Google had one of the most reliable IaaS clouds among the major vendors in 2014."

Link to Original Source

+ - Jet lag is worse on Mars 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Research and actual experience has found that adjusting to the slightly longer Martian day is not as easy as you would think.

If you’re on Mars, or at least work by a Mars clock, you have to figure out how to put up with the exhausting challenge of those extra 40 minutes. To be exact, the Martian day is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds long, a length of day that doesn’t coincide with the human body’s natural rhythms. Scientists, Mars rover drivers, and everyone else in the space community call the Martian day a “sol” to differentiate it from an Earth day. While it doesn’t seem like a big difference, that extra time adds up pretty quickly. It’s like heading west by two time zones every three days. Call it “rocket lag.”

"

+ - Star Wars-style 'bionic hand' fitted to first patients ->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs.

The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as "bionic reconstruction," which includes a voluntary amputation, the transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand.

Previously, people with bionic hands have primarily controlled them with manual settings."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Unintended consequences (Score 3, Informative) 590

by schwit1 (#49126297) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules
This is a positive step IF the FCC is limiting this to ensuring all traffic is treated equally. But too many laws, rules and regulations have been perverted by the feds to concentrate power. The last thing we need is an obamacare version of internet regulation or regulators thinking ONLY of the children or ONLY of national security.

+ - 16,900 federal employees took home in excess of $200,000 in base salary in 2014-> 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "More than 16,900 federal employees took home in excess of $200,000 in base salary in 2014, according to a partial database of federal salary data.

The information, compiled by FedSmith.com using data from the Office of Personnel Management and other agencies, shows the annual compensation for every civilian federal worker, save those at the Defense Department. The number of workers earning more than $200,000 represented about 1.6 percent of employees on the list and is up from about 15,000 who cleared that salary in 2013. It also makes up a slightly higher percentage of the employees on this list.

Most of the high earners worked as medical officers at the Veterans Affairs Department. Other agencies that require a highly specialized workforce paid several employees at least $200,000; these included the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

More than 1,600 federal employees cleared $300,000 in base salary last year. Just two—VA doctors in Palo Alto, Calif., and Pittsburgh—took in more than $400,000."

Link to Original Source

I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning. -- Plato

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