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Submission + - And This, Friends, Is How Russia Built a Sovereign Internet (

pacopico writes: Only a handful of countries have their very own Internet with their own e-mail systems, search engines and social networks. Russia has such an Internet, and it's wonderfully weird, creepy and innovative. Bloomberg Businessweek sent a reporter to Moscow and Siberia to produce a documentary on the rise of the Russian Internet and the current state of the country's technology industry. The show turns up some odd technology like FindFace, which lets anyone snap a picture of a stranger and then find them instantly on social networks, and Group-IB, which is the leading hunter of Russian-speaking hackers. There's also a visit to Akademgorodok, which is sort of like a Russian version of Silicon Valley only in Siberia. Given that Russia's technical influence is in the news, this documentary is timely if nothing else.

Comment Re:Maybe we should mimic civil engineering (Score 1) 280

"Ubiquity, like great power, requires of us great responsibility. It changes our duties, and it changes the kind of people we have to be to meet those duties. It is no longer enough for hackers to think like explorers and artists and revolutionaries; now we have to be civil engineers as well, and identify with the people who keep the sewers unclogged and the electrical grid humming and the roads mended. Creativity was never enough by itself, it always had to be backed up with craftsmanship and care â" but now, our standards of craftsmanship and care must rise to new levels because the consequences of failure are so much more grave." - Eric Raymond, in: see also:

Comment I am inclined to put this in the "win" column (Score 1) 52

As someone who helped put together one of the biggest filings with the FCC on this matter, with 260+ other people...

(in addition to 1300? 1700? filings from other orgs)

And later met in person with many of the top people there:

I am inclined to put this result in the "win" column, provisionally.

June 2 came and went, tp-link's router firmware returned to field upgradable, and other manufacturers did nothing to make flashing other firmwares any harder than it already was. Hopefully, our arguments buttressed the legal case ongoing at the time against tplink (I knew there was one, but not against whom, or over what, I hope to get more details).

This does not mean the war is won, however. Certainly binary blob firmware that completely controls the radio remains a problem - but progress is being made with the very thin firmware in the 802.11ac mt76 chipset, I am not aware of 5ghz ath9k chips requiring blobs, and other binary only firmwares are improving to support APIs that fq_codel on wifi needs.

(Recently a few new *major* chipsets had wifi drivers submitted to the linux kernel, but I haven't looked at what, exactly the firmware controls. The state of most wifi drivers and firmware is thoroughly depressing - and a very smart and fast co-processor is seemingly needed to run at very high rates)

Five things I learned from this exercise:

1) If a legalistic solution can be vague, it will be. It then can be spun many ways for many audiences. Read Ed Bernays.
Still, sometimes what is said publicly, continues to matter, and the FCC has said some very nice things.

2) The FCC was not the enemy, but a harried organization attempting to fulfill its mandates. As minimally outlined, their problem was the FAA complaining about wifi interference with weather radars. The first solution was overbroad. They have a much better understanding of the roles of open source, third party firmware now - after the keruffle - of the usefulness of user control, better security, and more frequent updates.

The FCC has WAY bigger problems than linux wifi. The number of wireless capable devices requiring certification and testing is skyrocketing, among other things. is a good source for the FCC's other concerns.

3) If you really want attention in D.C., it is a good idea to make a good argument, with a lot of well known people, file it somewhere inside the agency's process, and then issue (buy) a press release, and make the biggest stink you can.
As it turned out many of the recommendations we made above cannot be implemented inside the FCC's mandates, but the FTCs.

4) Chipmakers can now no longer hide behind an argument that the FCC will not let them open up their firmware.

5) The best "proof of the pudding" I can think of would be to push through a new product with much more or entirely open wifi firmware through the FCC processes, using the CRDA library to enforce the rules. Lining up a vendor willing to try that has so far not happened, although I expected a few mt76 chipsets to enter the US by now, I have not been actively watching their RSS feed for progress.

All in all, honestly, I do think we moved the dial a few notches in the right direction, and I'm going to sleep pretty well tonight.

The Internet

Netflix Launches To Show How Fast Your Internet Connection Really Is ( 172

Paul Sawers, writing for VentureBeat (condensed): Netflix really wants to show you how fast (or slow) your Internet connection is, and to do so it has launched a new website at that conveys the real-time speed of your connection to the Web. It's designed to give people "greater insight and control of their Internet service." Netflix said it was for: Providing a website featuring non-downloadable software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user's Internet connection, as well as downloadable computer software for testing and analyzing the speed of a user's Internet connection.Compared to, doesn't offer any details on how fast is your upload speeds, what's the ping time, and any detail on location and ISP. However, it's seemingly faster, and automatically detects your download speeds when you visit the website.

Live-Action Tetris Movie Secures $80 Million Funding, Plans To Be Part Of A Trilogy ( 122

An anonymous reader writes: In 2014, Threshold Entertainment announced it would be producing a live-action film based on the Russian stacking game Tetris. Today, Threshold Entertainment announced it had secured $80 million in funding for the project. Threshold's Larry Kasanoff has worked on the Mortal Kombat film in 1995, which grossed $70 million. Media mogul Bruno Wu, will serve as co-producer on the film ensuring that the movie will be able to sustain any unplanned budget overruns. According to Deadline, the film is planned for a 2017 release with Chinese locations and a Chinese case. However, Kasanoff notes "the goal is to make world movies for the world market." What's more is that the movie could be the basis of a trilogy, the producer says, with a plot that's "not at all what you think; it will be a cool surprise." Kasanoff told the Wall Street Journal that "this isn't a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We're not giving feet to the geometric shapes... What you [will] see in Tetris is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance."
Operating Systems

Developer Installs Windows 95 On An Apple Watch ( 98

An anonymous reader writes: Developer Nick Lee has successfully installed Windows 95 on his Apple Watch. It works, but it runs very slow. For example, it takes about an hour for the OS to boot up. In a blog post, Lee points out the Apple Watch features specs capable of running the old OS. To get Windows 95 running on the Apple Watch, Lee had to modify Apple's development software in "rather unorthodox ways" that allowed him to turn the OS into a Watch app, which also emulates an environment for the OS to run on, he tells The Verge. To deal with the fact that Apple Watch's screen is always turning itself off when not in use, he set up a motorized tube that constantly turns the Watch's crown, preventing it from falling asleep. In addition, Lee altered the Watch's software to let Windows 95 track a single fingertip, hence the constant swiping in his video.

Lasers Could Hide Us From Evil Aliens ( 218

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Washington Post: Most of the time when we talk about silly scientific papers related to alien life, we're talking about crazy ideas for how to find aliens. But a new study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society proposes a way of hiding from aliens. Humans are so fickle. A lot of our search for Earth-like planets (and, by extension, for life as we know it) hinges on transiting planets. These are planets that pass in front of their host star in such a way that the transit is visible from our perspective. The movement of the planet in front of the host star makes the light from that star dim or flicker, and we can use that to determine all sorts of things about distant worlds -- including how suitable they may be for life. Professor David Kipping and graduate student Alex Teachey, both of Columbia University, determined how much laser light it would take to mask the dimming caused by our planet transiting the sun, or cloak the atmospheric signatures associated with biological activity, [such as oxygen, which is achievable with a peak laser power of just 160 kW per transit]. From the report: "According to their math, it would take 10 continuous hours of shining a 30 MW laser once a year to eliminate the transit signal in visible light. Actually replicating every wavelength of light emitted by the sun would take about 250 MW of power."
The Military

US Says North Korean Submarine Missing ( 167

An anonymous reader writes: The North Korean regime lost contact with one of its submarines earlier this week, three U.S. officials familiar with the latest information told CNN. According to CNN, the U.S. military had been observing the submarine operate off North Korea's east coast when the vessel stopped, and U.S. spy satellites, aircraft and ships have been secretly watching for days as the North Korean navy searched for the missing sub. The U.S. is unsure if the missing vessel is adrift under the sea or whether it has sunk, the officials said, but believes it suffered some type of failure during an exercise. This comes after North Korea has threatened to use nuclear weapons at any time and turn its military posture to "pre-emptive attack" mode.
Classic Games (Games)

'Serious Sam 1' Engine Released As Open Source 82

jones_supa writes: id Software is well known for publicly releasing the source code of its old first-person-shooter games. Now Croteam is joining the club by releasing the source code of the engine of the very first Serious Sam game. It's the very same engine that the company used for Serious Sam Classic: The First Encounter and The Second Encounter. Croteam's Vyacheslav Nikitenko, who worked on the source code and prepared Serious Engine v.1.10 for this release, had this to say: "Historically, this version of Serious Engine is very important for Croteam and for me personally. I created several mods for Serious Sam back in the day, before even starting the work on the source code, and it was a great tool for learning. And it's even better today! Obviously, Serious Engine v1.10 won't produce top-notch graphics, but the source code is very well commented, easy to modify, and there are lots of user generated mods out there. This version has everything you need to build your own game – or just experiment. If you're looking to get started, just download the files from GitHub and head over to SeriousZone, it has a great community and lots of tutorials." Happy hacking! (And here's a video with some game play that shows what this engine can do.)

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