The Internet

Vint Cerf: Data That's Here Today May Be Gone Tomorrow 358

dcblogs writes "Vinton Cerf is warning that digital things created today — spreadsheets, documents, presentations as well as mountains of scientific data — may not be readable in the years and centuries ahead. Cerf illustrates the problem in a simple way. He runs Microsoft Office 2011 on Macintosh, but it cannot read a 1997 PowerPoint file. 'It doesn't know what it is,' he said. 'I'm not blaming Microsoft,' said Cerf, who is Google's vice president and chief Internet evangelist. 'What I'm saying is that backward compatibility is very hard to preserve over very long periods of time.' He calls it a 'hard problem.'" We're at an interesting spot right now, where we're worried that the internet won't remember everything, and also that it won't forget anything.

Why Your Users Hate Agile 597

Esther Schindler writes "What developers see as iterative and flexible, users see as disorganized and never-ending. This article discusses how some experienced developers have changed that perception. '... She's been frustrated by her Agile experiences — and so have her clients. "There is no process. Things fly all directions, and despite SVN [version control] developers overwrite each other and then have to have meetings to discuss why things were changed. Too many people are involved, and, again, I repeat, there is no process.' The premise here is not that Agile sucks — quite to the contrary — but that developers have to understand how Agile processes can make users anxious, and learn to respond to those fears. Not all those answers are foolproof. For example: 'Detailed designs and planning done prior to a project seems to provide a "safety net" to business sponsors, says Semeniuk. "By providing a Big Design Up Front you are pacifying this request by giving them a best guess based on what you know at that time — which is at best partial or incorrect in the first place." The danger, he cautions, is when Big Design becomes Big Commitment — as sometimes business sponsors see this plan as something that needs to be tracked against. "The big concern with doing a Big Design up front is when it sets a rigid expectation that must be met, regardless of the changes and knowledge discovered along the way," says Semeniuk.' How do you respond to user anxiety from Agile processes?"
The Internet

Hackers Spawn Web Supercomputer On Way To Chess World Record 130

New submitter DeathGrippe sends in an article from Wired about a new take on distributed computing efforts like SETI@Home. From Wired: "By inserting a bit of JavaScript into a webpage, Pethiyagoda says, a site owner could distribute a problem amongst all the site's visitors. Visitors' computers or phones would be running calculations in the background while they read a page. With enough visitors, he says, a site could farm out enough small calculations to solve some difficult problems. ... With this year's run on the value of Bitcoins — the popular digital currency — security expert Mikko Hyppönen thinks that criminals might soon start experimenting with this type of distributed computing too. He believes that crooks could infect websites with JavaScript code that would turn visitors into unsuspecting Bitcoin miners. As long as you're visiting the website, you're mining coins for someone else."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

U.N. Realizes Internet Surveillance Chills Free Speech 90

An anonymous reader writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that the United Nations has finally come to the realization that there is a direct relationship between government surveillance online and citizens' freedom of expression. The report (PDF) says, 'The right to privacy is often understood as an essential requirement for the realization of the right to freedom of expression. Undue interference with individuals' privacy can both directly and indirectly limit the free development and exchange of ideas. An infringement upon one right can be both the cause and consequence of an infringement upon the other.' The EFF adds, 'La Rue's landmark report could not come at a better time. The explosion of online expression we've seen in the past decade is now being followed by an explosion of communications surveillance. For many, the Internet and mobile telephony are no longer platforms where private communication is shielded from governments knowing when, where, and with whom a communication has occurred.'"

Should the Power of Corporate Innovation Shift Away From Executives? 149

Lucas123 writes "At the Consumerization of IT conference in San Francisco this week, several speakers agreed the next big shift in the corporate establishment will not be technological but social, away from top-down responsibility for innovation and change. Businesses are on the cusp of a leadership revolution because millennials moving into the workforce are 'the most authority-phobic' generation in history, according to Gary Hamel, a management educator at the London School of Business. Not only should low-level workers be incentivized for being creative, they should be given the power to spend corporate money on research and development, Hamel said. By doing that, companies will diversity their experimental capital. 'If you don't do that, you'll never change that innovation curve,' he said. Hamel was not alone. Kevin Jones, a consulting social & organizational strategist for NASA's Marshall and Goddard Space Flight Centers, agreed that traditional corporate culture needs a radical shakeup. 'The values of management today are different from the values of the social enterprise and different from the values of the consumerization of IT — and they're not mixing very well,' Jones said. 'That's where we're having the battle.'"

Google Security Expert Finds, Publicly Discloses Windows Kernel Bug 404

hypnosec writes "Security expert Tavis Ormandy has discovered a vulnerability in the Windows kernel which, when exploited, would allow an ordinary user to obtain administrative privileges of the system. Google's security pro posted the details of the vulnerability back in May through the Full Disclosure mailing list rather than reporting it to Microsoft first. He has now gone ahead and published a working exploit. This is not the first instance where Ormandy has opted for full disclosure without first informing the vendor of the affected software."
Input Devices

Wi-Fi Signals Allow Gesture Recognition All Through the Home 122

vinces99 writes "Forget to turn off the lights before leaving the apartment? No problem. Just raise your hand, finger-swipe the air and your lights will power down. Want to change the song playing on your music system in the other room? Move your hand to the right and flip through the songs. University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality. They have shown it's possible to use Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras. By using an adapted Wi-Fi router and a few wireless devices in the living room, users could control their electronics and household appliances from any room in the home with a simple gesture."

XCOR COO Warns That Proposed State Department Rule Could Cripple Space Tourism 105

MarkWhittington writes "Andrew Nelson, the chief operating officer of XCOR Aerospace, a company that proposes to take paying customers on suborbital jaunts on its Lynx rocketplane, posted some good news/bad news concerning some proposed rule changes from the State Department on June 3, 2013. On the good news side, the Department of State has proposed changes (PDF) that would move satellites from the Department of Defense's Munitions list, where they have been since 1999, to the Department of Commerce's commerce control list. 'This is a great step for the industry. Since the time commercial satellites were placed on the munitions list in 1999, the commercial satellite industry was almost wiped out.' On the bad news side, the State Department proposes to place commercial manned spacecraft on the DOD munitions list, making it very difficult if not impossible to fly them outside the United States. 'This is the same backward path provided to the US satellite manufacturing and launch community two decades ago that almost decimated that industry.'"

Video How Google Street View Keeps an Eye on Things Where There Are No Streets (Video) 52

It's not called Google Grand Canyon View, but Street View can show you what the canyon looks like even though there are no streets there -- or in the Meteor Crater or thousands of other places Google Street View Cars or tricycles or other vehicles can't go. How? With a 40 pound, human-carried version of the camera rig in the cars, complete with GPS and a "pause" button in case the human motive power system needs to take a break. But, asks Slashdot's Tim Lord, what about new, small cameras? Like GoPro? Don't they make the Trekker rig kind of obsolete? Well... Google's always working on "new and improved" everything, so the next version of the Trekker is likely to be kind of interesting.

Watching the Police: Will Two-Way Surveillance Reduce Crime? 309

An anonymous reader writes "As surveillance technologies have matured in both their sophistication and usage, some are starting to ask the question: is it time we start using them to watch the watchers? The proliferation of dashboard cameras has reduced liability costs, provided valuable evidence, and made police officers safer. The next progression would naturally be for the camera to move out of the car and onto the officer's uniform itself. In The Verge appears a fascinating report about the company behind the non-lethal stun guns that have become commonplace around the world, Taser International, which has set out to transform policing once again – this time, with Axon Flex, a head-mounted camera with a twelve-hour battery life that officers can use to record interactions. The device is constantly on, but it only captures video of the thirty seconds before its wearer begins using it, and then both video and audio while police are speaking to a citizen. Footage is then uploaded to a cloud-based service where it can be accessed by the police department. It includes an audit trail to reveal who has accessed the information and when."

IBM Buys Dallas Based Softlayer For $2 Billion 78

An anonymous reader writes "IBM this morning announced a deal to acquire the Dallas based hosting company Softlayer, the largest privately held cloud computing provider in the world. Formerly known as The Planet, they have a dark past and hopefully a bright future. Interesting that ISS and Softlayer will now be under the same roof. 'IBM will integrate SoftLayer’s public-cloud services with its own IBM SmartCloud portfolio. In theory, that will allow IBM to more speedily deliver a combination of private, public and hybridized cloud platforms to business clients. CloudLayer features include the ability to deploy virtual cloud servers (with processors 2.0GHz or faster), a content-delivery network with scalability and security, an object-storage platform based on OpenStack Object Storage, and private-cloud solutions.'"
The Media

Researchers Pull Out of Talks With Publishers On Text-Mining 67

ananyo writes "Disagreement between scientists and publishers has grown on a thorny issue: how to make it easier for computer programs to extract facts and data from online research papers. On 22 May, researchers, librarians and others pulled out of European Commission talks on how to encourage the techniques, known as text mining and data mining. The withdrawal has effectively ended the contentious discussions, although a formal abandonment can be decided only after a commission review in July. Scientists have chafed for years at limitations on computer-aided research. They would like to use computer programs to crawl over thousands or millions of articles and other online research content, extracting data to build up databases or to pick out patterns such as associations between genes and diseases. But in many parts of the world, including Europe (though perhaps not in the U.S. — the situation is unclear), this sort of use currently requires permission from the content's copyright owner. Even if an institution has paid to access a journal, its academics do not necessarily have permission to mine the text."

Can Microsoft Survive If Windows Doesn't Dominate? 497

Nerval's Lobster writes "In his latest Asymco blog post, analyst Horace Dediu suggested that Windows' share of the personal-computing market is declining at a faster rate than many believe, once Microsoft's cash cow is put in direct competition with Android, iOS, and other platforms built for tablets. In that context, Windows' share of the personal-computing market has dipped past 60 percent on its way to 50 percent. The big question is whether it'll keep plunging. 'If Windows tablets start growing as fast as the tablet market overall then Windows could stabilize in share,' Dediu wrote. 'But if Android and iOS tablets follow their phone brethren in growth then it will be far harder for Microsoft to maintain share.' Yet despite that gloomy scenario, Dediu doesn't necessarily see a market-share dip as a cause for concern on Microsoft's part: 'Even if Windows dips to only 20 [percent] of the world's computing market it will still be perfectly 'viable' for some time to come,' he wrote. But even if Windows can perpetuate, will its decline fatally undermine Microsoft as a company? All that Windows (and Office) money also allows Microsoft to launch projects that lose money for years before they gain traction. Without that monetary base, for example, it's possible that the Xbox (which bled money for the first few years of its existence) wouldn't have survived long enough to become a viable platform from a financial perspective—much less the center of Microsoft's future plans for living room domination."

Banking Malware, Under the Hood 92

rye writes "What is your computer actually DOING when you click on a link in a phishing email? Sherri Davidoff of LMG Security released these charts of an infected computer's behavior after clicking on a link in a Blackhole Exploit Kit phishing email. You can see the malware 'phone home' to the attacker every 20 minutes on the dot, and download updates to evade antivirus. She then went on to capture screenshots and videos of the hacker executing a man-in-the-browser attack against Bank of America's web site. Quoting: 'My favorite part is when the attacker tried to steal my debit card number, expiration date, security code, Social Security Number, date of birth, driver's license number, and mother's maiden name– all at the same time. Nice try, dude!!'"

Labor Dept. Wanted $1M For E-mail Addresses of Political Appointees 154

Virtucon writes with this snippet from an Associated Press story as carried by "'The AP asked for the addresses following last year's disclosures that the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency had used separate email accounts at work. The practice is separate from officials who use personal, non-government email accounts for work, which generally is discouraged—but often happens anyway—due to laws requiring that most federal records be preserved. The scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery: Most U.S. agencies have failed to turn over lists of political appointees' email addresses, which the AP sought under the Freedom of Information Act more than three months ago. The Labor Department initially asked the AP to pay more than $1 million for its email addresses.' The reason for the $1 million dollar request was to do research including going to backup tapes. Some of the information has been turned over to AP but it still seems that the government just can't get their hands on e-mail addresses for their own people."
Open Source

Indian FOSS Evangelist Atul Chitnis Dead At 51 39

New submitter knwny writes "Atul Chitnis, the man who popularized open software in India, died on 3rd June of intestinal cancer. As a technology mentor, writer and public speaker he promoted Linux and FOSS since the late 1980s through his association with various tech magazines and conferences. He introduced Linux to thousands of PC Quest magazine readers by convincing them to carry the first ever Linux distribution in India on its cover CD in 1996."

World of Warcraft Film Shooting Begins Early 2014 181

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this year Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) was announced as Director of the long-awaited movie based on World of Warcraft. Legendary Pictures finally appears to be ready to move forward with production. Producer Charles Roven confirmed to SlashFilm that World of Warcraft: The Movie 3D IMAX Experience (suggested title) begins shooting in early 2014."

Dreambox: the World's First 3D Printing Vending Machine 97

coolnumbr12 writes "Frustrated by the lack of access to 3D printers at their school, three recent graduates from UC Berkeley have installed Dreambox, the world's first '3D printing vending machine,' on their campus. Dreambox gives everyone access to the 3D printer for a small fee, allowing them to print objects from their own designs or from an online store. The creators hope that it will help democratize 3D printing and help more people realize the technology's potential."

White House Announces Reforms Targeting Patent Trolls 124

andy1307 writes "According to Politico (and, paywalled, at The Wall Street Journal), the White House on Tuesday [released] plans to announce a set of executive actions President Barack Obama will take that are aimed at reining in certain patent-holding firms, known as 'patent trolls' to their detractors, amid concerns that the firms are abusing the patent system and disrupting competition. The plan includes five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations. They include requiring patent holders and applicants to disclose who really owns and controls the patent, changing how fees are awarded to the prevailing parties in patent litigation, and protecting consumers with better protections against being sued for patent infringement."

Footage Reveals Drone Aircraft Nearly Downed Passenger Plane in 2004 206

Newly released footage, writes reader Wowsers, shows that in 2004 "A German drone aircraft was within meters of bringing down a passenger aircraft with 100 people on board. The link shows stills from onboard the drone. The incident had been hushed up for nine years, and is creating waves in Germany now the footage has been leaked out."

A Serious Proposal To Fix Windows 8 578

GMGruman writes "Windows 8 is simply not selling, and everyone but Microsoft knows it's a mess of an OS. And the Windows 8.1 'Blue' that Microsoft revealed some details of late last week doesn't address the fundamental flaws. So a team at InfoWorld worked up a serious proposal to rework Windows 8 for both PCs and tablets that fixes those flaws and lets Microsoft's true innovations break free of today's Windows 8, complete with mockups of the proposed Windows 'Red.'"

Lowest Mass Exoplanet Ever Directly Imaged. Probably. 43

The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers announced today that they have taken a direct image of the lowest mass exoplanet ever seen. HD 95086 b has a mass about 4 to 5 times that of Jupiter, and orbits a star 300 light years away that is slightly more massive and hotter than the Sun. The planet is not 100% confirmed, but it appears very likely to be real. If so, it's a hot gas giant, still cooling from its formation less than 20 million years ago. The picture, taken in the infrared, clearly shows the planet, making it one of fewer than a dozen such planets seen in actual telescopic images."

New Asus Device Runs Both Windows and Android 126

taz346 writes "Asus has unveiled a new 11.6-inch tablet/laptop that runs both Windows 8 and Android Jelly Bean side by side, the BBC reports. The firm said 'users would be able to synchronise data between the platforms in order to enjoy a "smooth transition" between each mode.' Hmmm, I'm guessing one could also create another partition and install a full Linux distro as well, though there's no telling how UEFI might come into play."

Marriages Spawned From Online Dating As Satisfying As From Traditional Dating 313

sciencehabit writes "Millions of people first met their spouses through online dating. But how have those marriages fared compared with those of people who met in more traditional venues such as bars or parties? Pretty well, according to a new study. A survey of nearly 20,000 Americans reveals that marriages between people who met online are at least as stable and satisfying as those who first met in the real world—possibly more so."

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