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AT&T

Ask Slashdot: What To Do About Repeated Internet Overbilling? 79

Posted by timothy
from the hey-these-guys-did-it-to-me-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "AT&T has been overbilling my account based on overcounting DSL internet usage (they charge in 50 gigabyte units after the first 150). I have been using a Buffalo NFinity Airstation as a managed switch to count all traffic. As you may know, this device runs firmware based on dd-wrt and has hidden telnet functionality, so I am able to load a script to count traffic directly onto the device. I have an auto-scraper that collects the data and saves it on my computer's hard disk every two minutes while the computer is running. While it is not running, the 2 minute counters accumulate in RAM on the device. Power problems are not normally an issue here; and even when they are I can tell it has happened. The upshot of all this is I can measure the exact amount of download bandwidth and a guaranteed overestimate of upload bandwidth in bytes reliably. I have tested this by transferring known amounts of data and can account for every byte counted, including ethernet frame headers. AT&T's billing reporting reports usage by day only, lags two days, and uses some time basis other than midnight. It is also reading in my testing a fairly consistent 14% higher whenever the basis doesn't disturb the test by using too much bandwidth too close to midnight.

AT&T has already refused to attempt to fix the billing meter, and asserts they have tested it and found it correct. Yet they refuse to provide a realtime readout of the counter that would make independent testing trivial. I've been through the agencies (CPUC, FCC, and Weights & Measures) and can't find one that is interested, AT&T will not provide any means for reasonable independent testing of the meter. It is my understanding that if there is a meter and its calibration cannot be checked, there is a violation of the law, yet I can't find an agency that can even accept such a claim (I'm not getting "your claim is meritless", but "we don't handle that"). If indeed they are not overbilling, my claim of no way to verify the meter still stands. My options are running thin here. So that my account can be identified by someone who recognizes the case: 7a6c74964fafd56c61e06abf6c820845cbcd4fc0 (bit commitment).
IBM

Slashdot Talks WIth IBM Power Sytems GM Doug Balog (Video) 16

Posted by Roblimo
from the 1-u-2-u-more-u-than-u-bargained-4 dept.
Yesterday we had a story titled 'IBM Gearing Up Mega Power 8 Servers For October Launch.' In the intro Timothy wrote, '...watch for a video interview with Balog on how he's helping spend the billion dollars that IBM pledged last year on open source development.' This is that video, and in it Balog tells us how much IBM loves Linux and open source, and how they're partnering with multiple distros, recently including Ubuntu. So get ready for Power 8 servers in October. IBM is pushing them like mad -- especially in the Linux/FOSS realm. (Alternate Video Link)

+ - Famo.us Looking to Topple jQuery and More

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "Famo.us has bold plans to reinvent mobile Web apps with its library of native-like tools for Web and mobile developers. The company wants to replace critical components of the Web, including jQuery widgets and Bootstrap mobile application templates, with its own open source framework, InfoWorld reports. 'Famo.ous CEO Steve Newcomb has been talking big lately, fresh on the heels of getting a $25 million VC investment. "The worst-case scenario is Famo.us becomes the new jQuery — a nonprofit with no business model," Newcomb says. "But the best-case scenario is we own the front end of the Web completely. Either way, we revitalize the entire front end of the Web." But can Famo.us live up to Newcomb's big talk? After all, Famo.us had promised to duel with Adobe PhoneGap, the popular cross-platform mobile application development system. But now, Famo.us is partnering with Adobe instead.'"

+ - Comcast allegedly trying to block CenturyLink from entering its territory->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "CenturyLink has accused Comcast of trying to prevent competition in cities and towns by making it difficult for the company to obtain reasonable franchise agreements from local authorities.

CenturyLink made the claim yesterday in a filing that asks the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) or impose conditions that prevent Comcast from using its market power to harm competitors.

Comcast has a different view on the matter, saying that CenturyLink shouldn’t be able to enter Comcast cities unless CenturyLink promises to build out its network to all residents. Without such conditions, poor people might not be offered service, Comcast argues."

Link to Original Source

+ - Fish raised on land give clues to how early animals left the seas->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "When raised on land, a primitive, air-breathing fish walks much better than its water-raised comrades, according to a new study. The landlubbers even undergo skeletal changes that improve their locomotion. The work may provide clues to how the first swimmers adapted to terrestrial life. The study suggests that the ability of a developing organism to adjust to new conditions—its so-called developmental plasticity—may have played a role in the transition from sea to land."
Link to Original Source

+ - The DOT wants to know where you are 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "What could go wrong? The DOT has proposed that all new cars be required to broadcast their location and speed.

They claim that this data could be used to provide drivers with a warning if their vehicle might be getting too close to another vehicle. It will also be necessary to make driverless cars more reliable.

I wonder what other uses this information could have."

Techdirt: Respected Medical Journal Sold To Scammers Willing To Publish Anything... For A ->

From feed by feedfeeder
We've talked in the past about the ridiculous nature of the academic publishing world these days, which involve a variety of questionable tactics mostly focused on (1) predatorily preying on those who "need" to be published, (2) enabling researchers (and sometimes large companies) to whitewash shoddy research by "publishing" it for a fee, and (3) making the "publishers" filthy stinking rich despite doing no actual work. The problem is that, while much of this is scammy, the line between fraudulent practices and more "legitimate" practices are pretty damn blurry. After all, when you have "legitimate" names like the American Psychological Association trying to charge $2,500 to "deposit" newly published papers with PubMed (as required to do for NIH funded papers) or publishing giant Elsevier having an entire division devoted to publishing fake journals paid for by giant pharmaceutical companies promoting their drugs, sometimes it's tough to tell who's legit and who's the out and out swindler.

But, there's definitely been a flood of "predatory" publishers lately, who will basically offer to publish absolutely anything for a fee. This has resulted in some amusing stories of purely gibberish papers getting published as "legit" (that link points to a paper that directly claimed in its own text that it was a fraud and also widely quoted My Cousin Vinny). There are reports of such gibberish papers flooding academia, sometimes in attempts to highlight how lax publishers are, and what a giant scam all of this is.

The Ottawa Citizen has a story highlighting yet another twist and turn in this ongoing battle of bogosity in academic research, involving sketchy people stepping in to buy a formerly respected journal and turning it into a pure pay-to-play publication willing to publish absolute gibberish (which the Ottawa Citizen tested and easily proved). The Ottawa Citizen was turned onto the story by Jeffrey Beall, author of Scholarly Open Access, a site that chronicles predatory publishing scams, and who was last mentioned on these pages after being threatened with a $1 billion lawsuit and "criminal charges" for outing a predatory publisher based in India.

In this case, the Experimental Clinical Cardiology journal had been a widely respected publication covering research on (you guessed it) experimental and clinical cardiology. However, last year it got sold to some unknown folks who appear to have turned it into a pure gibberish publishing enterprise -- so long as you can pay the $1,200 fee. In other words, the new publishers are trading on the old reputation of the journal, now allowing it to publish junk science or nonsensical rantings. Here's how Tom Spears at the Ottawa Citizen tested it out:

To test the journal, the Citizen sent in an outrageously bad manuscript. The title is a hodgepodge of medical-sounding words adding up to nothing: “VEGF proliferation in cardiac cells contributes to vascular declension.”

For the rest we plagiarized a study on HIV but replaced “HIV” with the word “cardiac” throughout, to make it look (sort of) like cardiology. But it wouldn’t impress anyone who knows the subject.

We submitted detailed captions for graphs — but there are no graphs.
In case you're wondering, Spears notes that "declension" is not a medical word. "It means a group of nouns in Latin that behave the same way." And, it appears that other articles in the same journal have gone through a similar level of review (i.e., none, so long as the check clears):

This is paying off spectacularly. Experimental Clinical Cardiology published 142 articles in July alone, worth a total of $170,000 U.S. for one month. It operates online only and doesn’t bother with editing, so it has almost no costs.

The result is sloppy, or worse. Some articles are called “Enter Paper Title” — the layout instructions instead of the intended title. One is filled with visible paragraph markers (). Some authors’ names are missing.
The academic publishing world is already massively profitable, and with that it appears that the scammers have jumped in and are abusing the system to make money. Of course, the "legit" publishers made this quite easy in the first place, and now it appears that there are opportunities to jump in by using previously respected journal brand reputations as part of furthering these kinds of predatory practices.

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+ - Old Doesn't Have To Mean Ugly: Squeezing Better Graphics From Classic Consoles->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "If you're a classic gamer, you've probably had the unhappy experience of firing up a beloved older title you haven't played in a decade or two, squinting at the screen, and thinking: "Wow. I didn't realize it looked this bad." The reasons why games can wind up looking dramatically worse than you remember isn't just the influence of rose-colored glasses — everything from subtle differences in third-party hardware to poor ports to bad integrated TV upscalers can ruin the experience. One solution is an expensive upscaling unit called the Framemeister but while its cost may make you blanch, this sucker delivers. Unfortunately, taking full advantage of a Framemeister also may mean modding your console for RGB output. That's the second part of the upscaler equation. Most every old-school console could technically use RGB, which has one cable for the Red, Green, and Blue signals, but many of them weren't wired for it externally unless you used a rare SCART cable (SCART was more common in other parts of the world). Modding kits or consoles cost money, but if you're willing to pay it, you can experience classic games with much better fidelity."
Link to Original Source

+ - Euro Bank Santander Commissions Study on Bitcoin's Impact on Banking->

Submitted by Nikkos
Nikkos (544004) writes "Digital currency news website HashReport broke the news Monday that European megabank Santander has commissioned a study to "Analyze the impact of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on banks and devise a strategic course of action."

The study is being facilitated as a challenge through Yegii, an 'Insight Network' founded by Trond Undheim. Undheim is also a Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as Managing Director at Tautec Consulting.

The challenge was initiated by Julio Faura — Head of Corporate development for Banco Santander. According to Dr. Undheim, Faura was "looking for additional outside perspective onto the topic of Bitcoin. While acquiring consulting services from top tier consulting firms can be exciting, he thought that an outsider, multidisciplinary perspective, would be particularly helpful.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Eye Problems From Space Affect At Least 21 NASA Astronauts->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "How does microgravity affect your health? One of the chief concerns of NASA astronauts these days is changes to eyesight. Some people come back from long-duration stays in space with what appears to be permanent changes, such as requiring glasses when previously they did not.

And the numbers are interesting. A few months after NASA told Universe Today that 20% of astronauts may face this problem, a new study points out that 21 U.S. astronauts that have flown on the International Space Station for long flights (which tend to be five to six months) face visual problems. These include “hyperopic shift, scotoma and choroidal folds to cotton wool spots, optic nerve sheath distension, globe flattening and edema of the optic nerve,” states the University of Houston, which is collaborating with NASA on a long-term study of astronauts while they’re in orbit.

Primary original source: http://www.uh.edu/news-events/..."

Link to Original Source
Chromium

Chromium 37 Launches With Major Security Fixes, 64-bit Windows Support 99

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the almost-makes-up-for-<dialog> dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google has released Chrome/Chromium version 37 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Among the changes are better-looking fonts on Windows and a revamped password manager. There are 50 security fixes, including several to patch a sandbox escaping vulnerability. The release also brings stable 64-bit Windows support which ...offers many benefits for speed, stability and security. Our measurements have shown that the native 64-bit version of Chrome has improved speed on many of our graphics and media benchmarks. For example, the VP9 codec that’s used in High Definition YouTube videos shows a 15% improvement in decoding performance. Stability measurements from people opted into our Canary, Dev and Beta 64-bit channels confirm that 64-bit rendering engines are almost twice as stable as 32-bit engines when handling typical web content. Finally, on 64-bit, our defense in depth security mitigations such as Partition Alloc are able to far more effectively defend against vulnerabilities that rely on controlling the memory layout of objects. The full changelog.

+ - Fukushima Thyroid Cancer Data released-> 1

Submitted by puddingebola
puddingebola (2036796) writes "From the article, "The number of young people in Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer, a disease often caused by radiation exposure, now totals 104, according to prefectural officials. Of these 104, including 68 women, the number of definitive cases is 57, and one has been diagnosed with a benign tumor. The size of the tumors varies from 5 to 41 millimeters and averages 14 mm.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Fake nVidia graphics cards show up in Germany

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Several fake nVidia cards — probably GeForce GT 440 — have had their BIOS reflashed to report themselves as GeForce GTX 660. They were sold under the brand "GTX660 4096MB Nvidia Bulk" but only deliver 1/4 of the speed of a real GTX 660. Investigations are ongoing who did the reflashing, but several hundreds of them have already been sold and are now being recalled."

+ - Netflix open sources internal threat monitoring tools->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "Netflix has released three internal tools it uses to catch hints on the Web that hackers might target its services.
“Many security teams need to stay on the lookout for Internet-based discussions, posts and other bits that may be of impact to the organizations they are protecting,” wrote Andy Hoernecke and Scott Behrens of Netflix’s Cloud Security Team. http://techblog.netflix.com/20... One of the tools, called Scumblr, can be used to create custom searches of Google sites, Twitter and Facebook for users or keywords."

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Communications

+ - Intel builds 'world's smallest' 3G modem->

Submitted by stephendavion
stephendavion (2872091) writes "Intel has unveiled a 3G modem not much bigger than a UK penny or US one-cent coin, with the aim of embedding it in connected devices around the home. The company says the XMM 6255, with an area of about 300 sq mm, is the world's smallest modem. The standalone chip could be used in wearable tech, as well as security devices such as "smart" smoke alarms. It is built to protect against overheating, and withstand tough conditions. The modem also features an embedded power supply."
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"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

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