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Experiment On Public Pre-reviewing and Discussion of Workshop Paper Submissions ( 41

An anonymous reader writes: The ADAPT workshop (6th international workshop on adaptive, self-tuning computing systems) is trying a new publication model: all papers have been submitted via Arxiv, are now publicly discussed via Reddit, and will then be selected by a Program Committee for a presentation at the workshop. The idea is to speed up dissemination of novel ideas while making reviews more fair and letting the authors actively engage in discussions, defend their techniques, fix mistakes and eventually improve their open articles.

Ask Slashdot: An 'Ex Libris' For My Books In a Digital Age? 149

New submitter smalgin writes: While I cannot boast an extensive library, it keeps growing every week. I share the books I like the most with my friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, some of them are sloppy and forget to return my books, so to speak. I would like to put some mark, sticker or a stamp (Ex Libris) on my books to make them recognizable later. However, living in a digital age (blah blah yada yada) I cannot help but wonder how I could improve the ex libris beyond an ink stamp on a title page or a glued-on postcard-sized monstrosity some libraries use. Has anyone tried using RFIDs to identify his books? Please share your experience.

W3C Sets Up Web Payments Standards Group To Improve Check-Out Security 30

campuscodi writes to note that the World Wide Web Consortium has launched a Working Group to help streamline the online "check-out" process and make payment by internet easier and more secure. The proposed standards will support a wide array of existing and future payment methods, including debit, credit, mobile payment systems, escrow, and Bitcoin and other distributed ledger technologies. The group estimates that the new payments API will reach browsers by the end of 2017. For more details, you can consult the Web Payments Working Group Charter, and the group's wiki FAQ page.

Walmart Plays Catch-Up With Amazon 203 writes: According to James B. Stewart in the NY Times, for the past 16 years Walmart has often acted as though it hoped Amazon would just go away. When Walmart announced last week that it was significantly increasing its investment in e-commerce, it tacitly acknowledged that it had fallen far behind Amazon in the race for online customers. Now, the magnitude of the task it faces has grown exponentially as e-commerce growth continues to surge globally. " has been severely mismanaged," says Burt P. Flickinger III. "Walmart would go a few years and invest strategically and significantly in e-commerce, then other years it wouldn't.Meanwhile, Amazon is making moves in e-commerce that's put Walmart so far behind that it might not be able to catch up for 10 more years, if ever."

In 1999, Amazon was a fledgling company with annual revenue of $1.6 billion; Walmart's was about $138 billion. By last year, Amazon's revenue was about 54 times what it was in 1999, nearly $89 billion, almost all of it from online sales. Walmart's was about three times what it was 15 years before, almost $486 billion, and only a small fraction of that — 2.5 percent, or $12.2 billion — came from Walmart's superefficient distribution system — a function of its enormous volume and geographic reach — was long the secret to Walmart's immense profitability. Ravi Jariwala, a Walmart spokesman, says that Walmart is building vast new fulfillment centers and is rapidly enhancing its delivery capabilities to take advantage of its extensive store network to provide convenient in-store pickup and adds that 70 percent of the American population lives within five miles of a Walmart store. "This is where e-commerce is headed," says Jariwala, which is to a hybrid online/in-store model. "Customers want the accessibility and immediacy of a physical store," along with the benefits of online shopping.
Data Storage

Not Just Paris: Community Activists Target Data Centers ( 151

1sockchuck writes: This week's case in which a Paris data center lost its license isn't an isolated incident, but the latest in a series of disputes in which community groups have fought data center projects, citing objections to generators or power lines. Data center site selection is often a secretive process, with cloud builders using codenames to cloak their identity. Community groups are using social media, blogs, research and media outreach to bring public attention to the process and voice their concerns. Protests from a Delaware group led to the cancellation of a data center project that planned to build a cogeneration plant. In Virginia, a coalition has organized to oppose a power line for an Amazon Web Services data center. Everyone wants their Internet, just not in their backyard.

What Hurricane Sandy Taught IT About Disaster Preparedness 68

StewBeans writes: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center is calling for calmer than normal storm activity this hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30. But it's likely that data centers and IT companies in NYC are still taking disaster preparedness seriously. Three years ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated homes, businesses, transportation, and communication in New York, and taught many companies (the hard way) how to keep the lights on when the lights were literally off for weeks on end. Alphonzo Albright, former CIO of the Office of Information Technology in New York City, gives a behind-the-scenes account of what life and business were like in the dark, cold days following Hurricane Sandy in NYC. He also shares tips for other tech leaders to create their own Business Continuity Plan in case this year's storms take a turn for the worse.

The View From 2015: Integrated Space Plan's 100-Year Plan 36

garyebickford writes: Wired Magazine has posted an article about the new 2015 version of the Integrated Space Plan, updated 14 years after the last version and descended directly from the original 1989 version. The original one was printed in the thousands, distributed by Rockwell, and appeared on walls throughout the space industry. One even hung behind the NASA administrator's desk. The new one is prettier, great for dorm room walls and classrooms, and Integrated Space Analytics, the company behind it, promises to expand their website into an up-to-date, live interactive tool. This is a great new beginning after over 30 years.

Ask Slashdot: New Employee System Access Tracking? 87

New submitter mushero writes: We are a fast-growing IT services company with dozens of systems, SaaS tools, dev tools and systems, and more that a new employee might need access to. We struggle to track this, both in terms of what systems a given set of roles will need and then has it been done, as different people manage various systems. And of course the reverse when an employee leaves. Every on-boarding or HR system we've looked at has zero support for this; they are great at getting tax info, your home address, etc. but not for getting you a computer nor access to a myriad of systems. I know in a perfect world it'd all be single-sign-on, but not realistic yet and we have many, many SaaS service that will never integrate. So what have you used for this, how do you track new employee access across dozens of systems, hundreds of employees, new hires every day, etc.?
Open Source

Linus Torvalds Isn't Looking 10 Years Ahead For Linux and That's OK 108

darthcamaro writes: At the Linuxcon conference in Seattle today, Linus Torvalds responded to questions about Linux security and about the next 10 years of Linux. For security, Torvalds isn't too worried as he sees it just being about dealing with bugs. When it comes to having a roadmap he's not worried either as he just leaves that to others. "I'm a very plodding, pedestrian person and look only about six months ahead," Torvalds said. "I look at the current release and the next one, as I don't think planning 10 years ahead is sane."

Mars One CEO Insists, Our Mars Colonization Plan Is Feasible 147

szotz writes: Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp has a bizarre definition of the word "plan". Last week he debated two MIT aerospace engineers who were co-authors on a report that said that astronauts would suffocate on Mars if they tried to grow their own food with existing tech. The question on the table: Is the Mars One plan feasible? And the answer seemed to be "it depends on what your definition of a plan is". The stated plan is to send the first humans to Mars for $6 billion by 2027 (twice delayed already). Lansdorp admits they probably won't stick to that schedule or that budget, but that has nothing to do with whether they're going or not. IEEE Spectrum has a write-up of the debate and a link to the MIT team's presentation. It seems the company's looking for $15 million now to fund--you guessed it--more studies.

Ask Slashdot: Best Setups For Navigating a Programming-Focused MOOC? 39

theodp writes: As one works his or her way through EdX's free The Analytics Edge, one finds oneself going back-and-forth between videos and R to complete the programming exercises associated with the lectures. While this can certainly be done on a cheap-o 13" laptop with a 6mbps connection by jumping around from the web-based videos to the client-based programming environment and to the web for help (god bless Stack Overflow), have you found (or do you dream of) a better setup for the MOOC programming courses offered by the likes of EdX, Udacity, and Coursera? Are you using multiple screens, split screens, touch screens, laptops/desktops/tablets, speakers, headphones, higher-speed connections? Anything else? Do you rely solely on the class materials and web-based resources, or do you purchase complementary books? Any thoughts on how to make the experience work best for those learning at home, in a classroom setting, on the road for business/travel, or during lengthy train commutes? Do you playback videos at faster speeds (e.g., 1.5x)? Any other tips?
Data Storage

1 In 3 Data Center Servers Is a Zombie 107

dcblogs writes with these snippets from a ComputerWorld story about a study that says nearly a third of all data-center servers are are comatose ("using energy but delivering no useful information"). What's remarkable is this percentage hasn't changed since 2008, when a separate study showed the same thing. ... A server is considered comatose if it hasn't done anything for at least six months. The high number of such servers "is a massive indictment of how data centers are managed and operated," said Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University, who has done data center energy research for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "It's not a technical issue as much as a management issue."
The Internet

North Korea Blocks Data Access For Foreigners 28

According to Reuters, foreigners in North Korea who formerly had online access via the country's 3G network have now been blocked from using it, in the wake of a fire at Pyongyang's Koryo Hotel, though it was not immediately clear whether the two events are related. has an interesting look into what internet access is like for North Koreans, but as the linked Reuters report explains, access is in general much freer for residents as well as visiting foreigners.

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With Service Providers When You're an IT Pro? 479

New submitter username440 writes: So, a lot of us will have been here: You have a problem with your ISP, cable TV, cellphone whatever technology and you need to call the provider. Ugh. Foreign call centers, inane fault-finding flowcharts (yes, I have turned it off and on again) and all the other cruft that you have to wade through to get to someone with the knowledge to determine that YOU in fact also have a degree of knowledge and have a real problem.

Recently I had a problem with my ISP, where the ISP-provided "modem" — it's a router — would lock up at least 3 times per day. I had router logs, many hundreds of Google results for that model and release of hardware showing this as a common problem, and simply wanted the ISP to provide a new router (it's a managed device). I replaced the router with a spare Airport Extreme and the problems disappeared, to be replaced with a warning from the ISP that they could't access my managed device" and the connection is provided contingent to using THIER router. However my point was to prove that their router is at fault.

How do you fare when trying to get through to a service provider that they actually DO know something in the field? How do you cut through the frontline support bull*hit and talk to someone who knows what they are doing? Should there be a codeword for this scenario?

Ask Slashdot: What Asset Tracking Software Do You Recommend? 68

grahamsaa writes: I work for an organization that has a number of physical assets, as well as presence in multiple data centers. On the DC side, there are a number of specific things we need to track (one thing we want to be able to account for is how much power we need for each rack). On the office side, our needs are more basic. We need to be able to tag and track laptops, workstations, monitors, etc.

I would like to use a single system for all of this, but have yet to find something that will work well on the office side and the data center side. Free / open source solutions are preferred, but we're prepared to spend money on a commercial solution if it meets our needs. What would you recommend?

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert