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Submission + - Users of new CPU architectures will not receive Windows 7/8.1 updates at all (microsoft.com) 1

Artem Tashkinov writes: In a move that will shock a lot of people someone at Microsoft decided to deny Windows 7/8.1 updates to the users of the following CPU architectures:
  • Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors (Kaby Lake)
  • AMD “Bristol Ridge” (Zen/Ryzen)
  • Qualcomm “8996"

It's impossible to find any justification for for this decision for the x86 architectures listed above because you can perfectly run MS-DOS on them. Perhaps, Microsoft has decided that the process of foisting Windows 10 isn't running at full steam, so the company created this purely artificial limitation. I expect it to be cancelled soon after a wide backlash from corporate customers.

Submission + - How would you solve the IM problem?

Artem Tashkinov writes: The XKCD comics has posted a wonderful and exceptionally relevant post in regard to the today's situation with various instant messaging solutions. E-mail has served us well in the past however it's not suitable for any real time communications involving video and audio. XMPP was a nice idea however it has largely failed except for a low number of geeks who stick to it. Nowadays some people install up to seven IMs to be able to keep up with various circles of people. How do you see this situation being resolved?

People desperately need a universal solution which is secure, decentralized, fault tolerant, not attached to your phone number, protects your privacy, supports video and audio chats and sending of files, works behind NATs and other firewalls and has the ability to send offline messages. I believe we need a modern version of SMTP.

Submission + - The World Health Organization issues a list of 12 most resistent bacteria (medicalxpress.com)

Artem Tashkinov writes: The World Health Organization has issued a list of the top dozen bacteria most dangerous to humans, warning that doctors are fast running out of treatment options. WHO said the most-needed drugs are for germs that threaten hospitals, nursing homes and among patients who need ventilators or catheters. The agency said the dozen listed resistant bacteria are increasingly untreatable and can cause fatal infections; most typically strike people with weakened immune systems. At the top of WHO's list is Acinetobacter baumannii, a group of bacteria that cause a range of diseases from pneumonia to blood or wound infections. In recent years, health officials have detected a few patients resistant to colistin, the antibiotic of last resort. So far, doctors have been able to treat them with other drugs. But experts worry that the colistin-resistant bacteria will spread their properties to other bacteria already resistant to more commonly used antibiotics, creating germs that can't be killed by any known drugs.

Submission + - First victim of SHA-1 collisions: Subversion. Technique was reverse engineered

Artem Tashkinov writes: A WebKit developer who tried to upload "bad" PDF files generated from the first successful SHA-1 attack broke WebKit's SVN repository because Subversion uses SHA-1 hash to differentiate commits. The reason to upload the files was to create a test for checking cache poisoning in WebKit.

Another news story is that based on the theoretical incomplete description of the SHA-1 collision attack published by Google just two days ago, people have managed to recreate the attack in practice and now you can download a python script which can create a new PDF file with the same SHA-1 hashsum using your input PDF. The attack is also implemented as a website which can prepare two PDF files with different JPEG images which will result in the same hash sum.

Submission + - Intel unofficially cuts prices for its x86 CPUs across the board 1

Artem Tashkinov writes: In an expected turn of events, now that AMD Ryzen is less than a week away from going public, Intel has unofficially cut prices for a long range of its CPUs. The biggest price cuts involve the following CPUs:
  • Intel Core i7-6850K, Broadwell, 3.6GHz, 6 cores (with HT), LGA 2011-3, was $700, now $550 (21% off)
  • Intel Core i7-6800K, Broadwell, 3.4GHz, 6 cores (with HT), LGA 2011-3, was $500, now $360 (28% off)
  • Intel Core i7-5820K, Haswell, 3.3GHz, 6 cores (with HT), LGA 2011-3, was $420, now $320 (24% off)
  • Intel Core i7-6700K, SkyLake, 4.0GHz, 4 cores (with HT), LGA 1151, was $400, now $260 (35% off)
  • Intel Core i7-6600K, SkyLake, 3.5GHz, 4 cores (with HT), LGA 1151, was $270, now $180 (33% off)

It's so good to finally have a competition in the x86 CPU market back after more than ten years since Intel released its Core 2 CPUs.

Submission + - Google has demonstrated a successful practical attack against SHA-1 (googleblog.com)

Artem Tashkinov writes: Ten years after of SHA-1 was first introduced, Google has announced the first practical technique for generating an SHA-1 collision. It required two years of research between the CWI Institute in Amsterdam and Google. As a proof of the attack, Google has released two PDF files that have identical SHA-1 hashes but different content. The amount of computations required to carry out the attack is staggering: nine quintillion (9,223,372,036,854,775,808) SHA1 computations in total which took 6,500 years of CPU computation to complete the attack first phase and 110 years of GPU computation to complete the second phase.

Google says that people should migrate to newer hashing algorithms like SHA-256 and SHA-3, however it's worth noting that there are currently no ways of finding a collision for both MD5 and SHA-1 hashes simultaneously which means that we still can use old proven hardware accelerated hash functions to be on the safe side.

Submission + - Mozilla will deprecate XUL add-ons before the end of 2017 2

Artem Tashkinov writes: Mozilla has published a plan of add-ons deprecation in future Firefox releases. Firefox 53 will run in multi process mode by default for all users with some exceptions. Most add ons will continue to function, however certain add ons have already ceased to function because they don't expect multi user mode under the hood. Firefox 54-56 will introduce even more changes which will ultimately break even more addons. Firefox 57, which will be preliminarily released on the 28th of Novermber, 2017, will only run WebExtensions: which means no XUL (overlay) add ons, no bootstrapped extensions, no SDK extensions and no Embedded WebExtensions. In other words by this date the chromification of Firefox will have been completed. If you depend on XUL add ons your only choice past this date will be Pale Moon.

Submission + - Microsoft disables p2p Skype protocol starting March 1, 2017

Artem Tashkinov writes: In a recent update of Skype for Windows Microsoft has announced that starting March 1, 2017 older, p2p versions of Skype will cease to work. This affects Skype for Windows versions 7.16 and below, Skype for Mac version 7.0 to 7.18 and the native Linux client (its only functional version 4.3). This news is especially unpleasant for Linux users of Skype, since the new "cloud ready" version of Skype for Linux is nothing more than a packaged Google Chromium web browser with Node.js running a web version of Skype, which means its memory consumption is huge and it's unable to store your conversation history locally indefinitely like the native client did.

Submission + - A point of contention: modern user interfaces 4

Artem Tashkinov writes: Here are the staples of the modern user interface (in varying degree apply to modern web/and most operating systems like Windows 10, iOS and even Android):
  • Too much white space, huge margins, too little information
  • Text is indistinguishable from controls
  • Text in CAPS
  • Certain controls cannot be easily understood (like on/off states for check boxes or elements like tabs)
  • Everything presented in shades of gray or using a severely and artificially limited palette
  • Often awful fonts suitable only for HiDPI devices (Windows 10 modern apps are a prime example)
  • Cannot be controlled by keyboard
  • Very little customizability if any

How would Slashdotters explain the proliferation and existance of such unusable user interfaces and design choices?

Submission + - What happened to UI? Who are the people who approve modern UI?

Artem Tashkinov writes: Here are the staples of the modern user interface (in varying degree apply to modern web/and most operating systems like Windows 10, iOS and even Android):
  • Too much white space, huge margins, too little information
  • Text is indistinguishable from controls
  • Text in CAPS
  • Certain controls cannot be easily understood (like on/off states for check boxes or elements like tabs)
  • Everything presented in shades of gray or using a severely and artificially limited palette
  • Often awful fonts suitable only for HiDPI devices (Windows 10 modern apps are a prime example)
  • Cannot be controlled by keyboard
  • Very little customizability if any

How would Slashdotters explain the proliferation and existance of such unusable user interfaces and design choices?

Submission + - "Artificial Intelligence" was the Fake News of 2016

Artem Tashkinov writes: The Register argues that the AI hype in 2016 was just that, a hype. The definition of AI was stretched out of limits to encompass what basically is very advanced algorithms for harvesting and processing data. Various intelligent assistants, such as Google Assistent and Siri, are at best a nicely looking and sounding interface to search engines. Of course, speech and images recognition has become much better but the doom and gloom of millions of people losing their jobs to AI haven't materialized yet and it's not immediately obvious that the prediction will hold any sway in the nearest future.

Submission + - The driverless future is here: Waymo will release autonomous cars in 2017

Artem Tashkinov writes: Waymo, what used to be a Google division and now is a new division in Alphabet, has revealed its first production ready fully autonomous car based on Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The new vehicle for six passengers will retain all its human driving features such as a steering wheel and foot pedals. A limited production, a fleet of 100 cars, is expected to hit the road in 2017.

Submission + - Google's DeepMind can now lip read four times better than humans

Artem Tashkinov writes: After training Deepmind on thousands of hours of raw TV footage, Google's AI lip reading algorithm is now able to annotate video footage with 46.8% accuracy. That doesn't sound like a huge feat considering that existing applications can now "hear" with up to 98% accuracy, however when a human lip-reader was subjected to the same footage, his accuracy was just 12.4%. You can only imagine the implications of this new invention in regard to mass surveillance.

Submission + - Google's DeepMind developed a new speech synthesis AI algorithm called WaveNet

Artem Tashkinov writes: To this date the researches behind Google's DeepMind company have been creating the AI algorithms which could hardly be applied in real life aside from pure entertainment purposes, the Go game being the most recent example, however their most recent development, a speech synthesis AI algorithm called WaveNet beats the two existing methods of generating human speech by a long shot — at least 50% by Google's own estimates. The only problem with this new approach is that it's very computationally expensive. The results are even more impressive considering the fact that WaveNet allows to mimic breathing, mouth movements, intonation and other features of human's speech, and it can be easily trained to generate any voice using a very small sample database.

Submission + - GTK developers decided to give up on long term API/ABI compatibility (gnome.org)

Artem Tashkinov writes: Just when you thought that the speed of software/hardware development has decreased owning to the fact that both software and hardware nowadays are good enough for pretty much everything and everyone, GTK developers decided they do not want to confine themselves to long term API/ABI compatibility and they will release new major incompatible releases every two years (4.0, 5.0, etc) and every six months they will release point releases which will be binary compatible with previous point releases (read 4.0, 4.2, 4.4, etc) but as a user or a software developer you won't be able to compile previous point releases software (say 4.0) on newer point releases (say 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, etc).

People frequently bemoan the fact the Linux is still not gaining any traction on the desktop but unfortunately Linux developers still do not want to develop anything resembling a long term supported platform which guarantees API/ABI compatibility between distros.

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