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Microsoft Bringing Cortana To iOS, Android 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-ways-for-your-phone-to-yell-at-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes: While many big tech companies have their own personal assistant software these days, few of them are available on a broad variety of devices. Microsoft has now announced that it's becoming one of those few: Cortana will be available for iOS and Android devices later this year. It's part of an initiative by the company to ensure Windows 10 plays well with all sorts of devices, even phones made by the other major manufacturers. Microsoft said, "Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices – everything important to you should roam across the products you already own – including your phone." This led them to develop a "Phone Companion app," built into Windows 10, that's designed to help sync a user's PC with his phone.

Scientists Have Paper On Gender Bias Rejected Because They're Both Women 301

Posted by Soulskill
from the social-media-sites-surrender dept.
ferrisoxide.com writes: A paper co-authored by researcher fellow Dr. Fiona Ingleby and evolutionary biologist Dr. Megan Head — on how gender differences affect the experiences that PhD students have when moving into post-doctoral work — was rejected by peer-reviewed PLoS Onebecause they didn't ask a man for help.

A (male) peer reviewer for the journal suggested that the scientists find male co-authors, to prevent "ideologically biased assumptions." The same reviewer also provided his own ironically biased advice, when explaining that women may have fewer articles published because men's papers "are indeed of a better quality, on average," "just as, on average, male doctoral students can probably run a mile race a bit faster."
PLoS One has apologized, saying, "We have formally removed the review from the record, and have sent the manuscript out to a new editor for re-review. We have also asked the Academic Editor who handled the manuscript to step down from the Editorial Board and we have removed the referee from our reviewer database."

Comment: Re:Count cards (Score 2) 89

I was also confused how this could work in holdem. After some googling it appears that "counting" in poker only refers to certain stud games where hands ahead of you are exposed.

In holdem the only (?) additional info you could have over a competitor is if someone in early position folded and revealed their cards (obviously uncommon). That's info that the small blind wouldn't have had, and could be very useful if you're in late position, especially on the button. But imo that's not really "counting", just gaining info to craft your betting strategy.

Decent answer here:


Microsoft Starts Working On an LLVM-Based Compiler For .NET 125

Posted by timothy
from the spreading-like-bamboo dept.
An anonymous reader writes Are the days of Microsoft's proprietary compiler over? Microsoft has announced they've started work on a new .NET compiler using LLVM and targets their CoreCLR — any C# program written for the .NET core class libraries can now run on any OS where CoreCLR and LLVM are supported. Right now the compiler only supports JIT compilation but AOT is being worked on along with other features. The new Microsoft LLVM compiler is called LLILC and is MIT-licensed.

Obama Administration Wants More Legal Power To Disrupt Botnets 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the hopefully-does-not-involve-drone-strikes dept.
Trailrunner7 writes: The Obama administration has proposed an amendment to existing United Stated federal law that would give it a more powerful tool to go after botnets such as GameOver Zeus, Asprox and others. In recent years, Justice, along with private security firms and law enforcement agencies in Europe, have taken down various incarnations of a number of major botnets, including GameOver Zeus and Coreflood. These actions have had varying levels of success, with the GOZ takedown being perhaps the most effective, as it also had the effect of disrupting the infrastructure used by the CryptoLocker ransomware.

In order to obtain an injunction in these cases, the government would need to sue the defendants in civil court and show that its suit is likely to succeed on its merits. "The Administration's proposed amendment would add activities like the operation of a botnet to the list of offenses eligible for injunctive relief. Specifically, the amendment would permit the department to seek an injunction to prevent ongoing hacking violations in cases where 100 or more victim computers have been hacked. This numerical threshold focuses the injunctive authority on enjoining the creation, maintenance, operation, or use of a botnet, as well as other widespread attacks on computers using malicious software (such as "ransomware" )," assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell wrote.

Lenovo Still Shipping Laptops With Superfish 127

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-they-need-some-superbait dept.
Ars Technica reports that weeks after Lenovo said it would stop selling computers with Superfish adware installed, it's still there for many purchasers of the company's laptops. From the article: Based on the experience of Ars readers Chai Trakulthai and Laura Buddine, Lenovo overstated both assurances. The pair recently examined a $550 Lenovo G510 notebook purchased by a neighbor, and their experience wasn't consistent with two of Lenovo's talking points. First, the PC was ordered in early February more than four weeks after Lenovo said it stopped bundling Superfish, and yet when the notebook arrived in late February it came pre-installed with the adware and the secure sockets layer certificate that poses such a threat.

"Lenovo may be saying they haven't installed Superfish since December, but the problem is that they are still shipping out systems with Superfish installed," Buddine said. "The Windows build had a date of December. They apparently aren't sorry enough to re-image the computers they have in stock to remove the problem and they're still shipping new computers with Superfish installed."
Supply chains are long, and hand-work is expensive, so this might not surprise anyone. Less forgivable, though is this finding, of the software provided to purge machines of the adware: "Lenovo's software didn't begin to live up to its promise of removing all Superfish-related data. Based on its own self-generated report, the tool left behind the Superfish application itself. A scan using the Malwarebytes antivirus program found the Superfish remnants VisualDiscovery.exe, SuperfishCert.dll, and a VisualDiscovery registry setting."

Pharming Attack Targets Home Router DNS Settings 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
msm1267 (2804139) writes Pharming attacks are generally network-based intrusions where the ultimate goal is to redirect a victim's web traffic to a hacker-controlled webserver, usually through a malicious modification of DNS settings. Some of these attacks, however, are starting to move to the web and have their beginnings with a spam or phishing email. Proofpoint reported on the latest iteration of this attack, based in Brazil. The campaign was carried out during a five-week period starting in December when Proofpoint spotted phishing messages, fewer than 100, sent to customers of one of the country's largest telecommunications companies.

California Floats Conditional Approval For Comcast/TWC Merger 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-it-worth-our-while dept.
New submitter Lord Flipper writes: The California Public Utilities Commission decision on the Comcast/Time-Warner proposed merger has just been released. It's not an exciting read, but the 25-bullet-point Appendix to the decision is interesting (PDF, starts on page 75). For example: "19. Comcast shall for a period of five years following the effective date of the parent company merger neither oppose, directly or indirectly, nor fund opposition to, any municipal broadband development plan in California, nor any CASF or CTF application within its service territory that otherwise meets the requirements of CASF or CTF."

Whoa! Comcast was not expecting this at all, and they're not happy about it. Here's one more, as an example: "8. Comcast shall offer Time Warner's Carrier Ethernet Last Mile Access product to interested [Competitive Local Exchange Carriers] throughout the combined service territories of the merging companies for a period of five years from the effective date of the parent company at the same prices, terms and conditions as offered by Time Warner prior to the merger."

The ruling by the CPUC covers all customers, present or in the future of the merged company, in California. What they're talking about is opening up Last Mile Access. This could be a step in the right direction, but the ruling today is definitely a surprise. It could nix the merger in California, or it could light a fire under the FCC's butts, or it could bring real competition to Internet access in California.

The CPUC is basing their entire decision on Common Carrier law (Setion 706, as opposed to Title II), and, unlike the projected FCC decision (coming around the 26th of the month) the CPUC's decision has all kinds of "teeth" as opposed to the FCC's "Title II, with forbearance" approach. It could get very interesting, very soon.

Comment: Re:Make them pay (Score 1) 365

by theskipper (#49055229) Attached to: Smoking Is Even Deadlier Than Previously Thought

Not going to specifically defend what the AC said but perhaps the statement was related to alcohol's benefits being walked back recently:

Coupled with the resveratrol marketing scheme over recent years, it's getting very difficult to make any unequivocal comments about the benefits of alcohol consumption.

Comment: Re:Speculated at for over a year (Score 1) 331

by theskipper (#48976381) Attached to: Massive Layoff Underway At IBM

Officers of the company (i.e. insiders) would naturally want to exercise their options at the highest price possible. Increasing dividends makes the stock appear more attractive to institutional investors.

When institutions buy, that increases the pressure for the price to go up (retail investors don't move a market cap like this, only the big boys do). When the price per share goes up then that's more money that the officers can collect when they exercise their free options; in this case it looks like all the strikes were no higher than around $100. Or they simply sell some of their common position into the open market. The higher the stock price, the higher the profit. Tax strategies play a huge part too.

Any decent financial site will list insider transactions and their values, here's IBM's:

Dead? No excuse for laying off work.