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Submission + - SPAM: The first streamingpocalypse hit records in the 1930s. It was called radio.

David Gerard writes: The music industry occasionally forgets that entertainment is an optional expense, consumer confidence is a critical material condition for what they do, and when times are tough people stop spending. The first streamingpocalypse hit the record in the 1930s: it was called "radio". 100 million records were sold in the US in 1930; 6 million in 1932. The difference was people had (1) radios (2) no money, because it was the Great Depression. A bit like now!
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Bandcamp: the Holy Grail of online record stores (rocknerd.co.uk)

David Gerard writes: Is Bandcamp the Holy Grail of online record stores? Hell yes. Unencumbered downloads in any format you like, excellent discoverability and a ridiculously better experience than any other download store. Musicians too: "The interface and the available tools are all so well-thought-out it’s genuinely a pleasure to use." They also like that they straight-up get 85% of the take.

Submission + - The timing of error messages contributes to them being ignored (byu.edu)

sandbagger writes: A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly — while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc. — results in up to 90 percent of users disregarding them.

Researchers found these times are less effective because of "dual task interference," a neural limitation where even simple tasks can't be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss. Or, in human terms, multitasking.

Submission + - Kim Dotcom's Mega 3, with Bitcoin: two bad ideas that go worse together (rocknerd.co.uk)

David Gerard writes: "Colourful racing identity" Kim Dotcom has a scheme for his third Mega enterprise: combining MegaUpload with Bitcoin. It is entirely unclear how anything about this makes sense, but I'm sure that with a trustworthy soul with an impeccable track record like Dotcom at the helm, nothing can possibly go badly for anyone involved.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Handling Windows Updates after October 2016 (slashdot.org)

An anonymous reader writes: We've read about the changes coming to Windows Update in October 2016. Average Joe and Grandma Flo will end up getting the cumulative update via WU each month which includes non-security updates. For more discerning users with existing Win 7 / 8.1 systems, one can disable WU and download the security-only update each month. But what happens when it's time to wipe and reload the OS? Or what about installing Windows on different hardware? Admittedly, there are useful non-security updates worth having, but plenty to avoid (e.g. telemetry).

How does one handle this challenge? Set up a personal WSUS box before October to sync all desired updates through October 2016? System images can work if you don't change primary hardware, but what if you do?

Or should one just bend the knee to Microsoft, go to the nearest drug store, and stock up on KY?

Submission + - SingularDTV: using Ethereum for DRM on a sci-fi TV show about the Singularity (rocknerd.co.uk)

David Gerard writes: SingularDTV is an exciting new blockchain-based entertainment industry startup. Their plan is to adapt the DRM that made $121.54 for Imogen Heap, make their own completely premined altcoin and use that to somehow sell two million views of a sci-fi TV show about the Singularity. Using CODE, which is explicitly modeled on The DAO ... which spectacularly imploded days after its launch. There's a white paper, but here's an analysis of why these schemes are a terrible idea for musicians.

Submission + - Mobilize to attack climate change just like we did in WWII (newrepublic.com)

mspohr writes: Bill McKibbin has an article in the New Republic which lays out the case for a broad effort to mobilize our resources to fight climate change.
"For years, our leaders chose to ignore the warnings of our best scientists and top military strategists. Global warming, they told us, was beginning a stealth campaign that would lay waste to vast stretches of the planet, uprooting and killing millions of innocent civilians. But instead of paying heed and taking obvious precautions, we chose to strengthen the enemy with our endless combustion; a billion explosions of a billion pistons inside a billion cylinders have fueled a global threat as lethal as the mushroom-shaped nuclear explosions we long feared. Carbon and methane now represent the deadliest enemy of all time, the first force fully capable of harrying, scattering, and impoverishing our entire civilization."
"By most of the ways we measure wars, climate change is the real deal: Carbon and methane are seizing physical territory, sowing havoc and panic, racking up casualties, and even destabilizing governments. "
He includes analysis of just what it would take in terms of industrial mobilization to stop polluting with CO2. The answer is, a lot, but it is possible.

Submission + - Internet Voting Leaves Out a Cornerstone of Democracy: The Secret Ballot

Presto Vivace writes: Maintaining the secrecy of ballots returned via the Internet is “technologically impossible,” according to a new report.

That’s according to a new report from Verified Voting, a group that advocates for transparency and accuracy in elections. ... A cornerstone of democracy, the secret ballot guards against voter coercion. But “because of current technical challenges and the unique challenge of running public elections, it is impossible to maintain the separation of voters’ identities from their votes when Internet voting is used,” concludes the report, which was written in collaboration with the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the anticorruption advocacy group Common Cause.

Submission + - Internet user may get 3-yr in jail for viewing torrent site/blocked URL in India (intoday.in)

An anonymous reader writes: It is official now. The the punishment for rape is actually less and not carried out properly. But, the Indian government about to introduce a new law. The Indian government, with the help of internet service providers, and presumably under directives of court, has banned thousands of websites and URLs in the last five odd years. But until now if you somehow visited these "blocked URLs" all was fine. However, now if you try to visit such URLs and view the information, you may get three-year jail sentence as well as invite a fine of Rs 3 lakhs (USD 4468.398). Some users think that this is all fault of Bollywood/Hollywood movie studios. They are abusing power, court and money and setting up the "Cargo Cult State" in India, that has copied the worst aspects of the West.

Submission + - The Big Driver of Mass Incarceration That Nobody Talks About (the-american-interest.com) 1

schwit1 writes: If you follow media coverage of America’s mass incarceration problem, you are likely to hear a lot about unscrupulous police officers, mandatory minimums, and drug laws. But you are unlikely to hear these two words that have probably played a larger role in producing the excesses of the American criminal justice system than anything else: plea coercion.

The number of criminal cases that actually go to trial in America is steadily dwindling. That’s because prosecutors have so much leverage during plea bargaining that most defendants take an offer—in particular, defendants who are held on bail, and who might need to wait in jail for months or even years before standing trial and facing an uncertain outcome.

We reported last week on a study from Columbia showing that all things being equal, defendants in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia who were made to pay bail are much more likely to plead guilty. Since then, a separate study from researchers at Harvard, Princeton and Stanford has come out that reaches a similar conclusion. . . .

Of course, bail remains a vital tool for judges, and some defendants are too dangerous to be let out before their trial, period. But there are ways we might be able to reform the pre-trial detention system so as to reduce the number of defendants who simply resign themselves to a guilty plea out of desperation since they can’t come up with the money to buy their temporary freedom. For example, the average amount of money bail assessed should be reduced (it has risen exponentially over the last several decades) and courts should experiment with ankle bracelets and home visits to monitor defendants rather than holding them in a jail cell before they have been convicted of a crime.

The focus on policing and minimum sentences and drug laws in the public discourse is all well and good. But if they are serious about making our justice system more fair and less arbitrary, criminal justice reformers should devote more of their efforts to reforming what happens in the period after arrest and before sentencing. That’s an area where big progress can be made with relatively straightforward, and politically palatable reforms.

Submission + - SPAM: TEPCO's 'ice wall' failing at Fukushima nuclear plant 1

mdsolar writes: Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s “frozen wall of earth” has failed to prevent groundwater from entering the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and the utility needs a new plan to address the problem, experts said.
An expert panel with the Nuclear Regulation Authority received a report from TEPCO on the current state of the project on Aug. 18. The experts said the ice wall project, almost in its fifth month, has shown little or no success.
“The plan to block groundwater with a frozen wall of earth is failing,” said panel member Yoshinori Kitsutaka, a professor of engineering at Tokyo Metropolitan University. “They need to come up with another solution, even if they keep going forward with the plan.”

Link to Original Source

Submission + - New Linux Trojan Is All-Around Threat: DDoS Tool, Bitcoin Miner, Web Ransomware (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A trojan that targeted Drupal sites on Linux servers last May that was incredibly simplistic and laughable in its attempt to install (and fail) web ransomware on compromised websites, has now received a major update and has become a top threat on the malware scene. That trojan, named Rex, has evolved in only three months into an all-around threat that can: (1) compromise servers and devices running platforms like Drupal, WordPress, Magento, Jetspeed, Exarid, AirOS; (2) install cryptocurrency mining in the background; (3) send spam; (4) use a complex P2P structure to manage its botnet; and (5) install a DDoS agent which crooks use to launch DDoS attacks.

Worse is that they use their DDoS capabilities to extort companies. The crooks send emails to server owners announcing them of 15-minute DDoS tests, as a forewarning of future attacks unless they pay a ransom. To scare victims, they pose as a known hacking group named Armada Collective. Other groups have used the same tactic, posing as Armada Collective, and extorting companies, according to CloudFlare.

Submission + - Is KDE Dying? 2

fwells writes: I have to confess that I've been a loyal KDE user and fan from day one. I've always felt that it was the more complete and integrated of the many Linux desktop environments and generally the most familiar to the broader user base. Thus having the most potential to win over new Linux converts. For whatever reason, that clearly hasn't happened. Nonetheless, lately I'm really starting to feel that KDE has become rather stale and stagnant. While the underling KDE technologies may (?or may not?) be advancing, as a user I just don't feel it the way I once did.

KDE-Look.org, once a fairly vibrant and active contributory site, has become a virtual ghost town. Perhaps the same might be said for its GNOME-look.org counterpart, which I honestly don't know since, as a KDE user, I rarely have the need visit GNOME anything. Perhaps that will change.

Various core KDE components and features are quite broken and have been so for some time. One simple and frustrating example is Recent Items (aka Application Launcher History), which works only on occasion with no clear rhyme or reason as to why. KDEPIM/KMail frankly seems targeted specifically at the poweruser, maintaining over many years its rather plain and arguably retro interface. The Konqueror web browser has been a virtual carcus for several years, yet it mysteriously remains an integral component. I honestly wonder if even a single KDE user uses it over any of the other popular browsers. The KDE theming engine seems disjoint and rather non-intuitive. The default Application Launcher and Task Manager widgets are also starting to feel quite old and stale as well.

Now, having said all that, I confess that I continue to use KDE exclusively and have no major functional issues with it. It does serve my needs from a practical perspective. But I can't help but feel like I do when I'm cruising accross town in my 12 year old Chevy truck, feature rich for its time, which I keep for similarly practical reasons. Solid and reliable, but definitely starting to fade and certainly lacking some modern creature comforts.

I do recognize that Desktop development has largely been sidelined by the more sexy and lucrative mobile platform development. However, the Desktop is certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future and users really are paying attention to its evolution — as seemingly evidenced by the gleeful adoption of Windows 10, which arguably has quite an impressively polished user interface (finally). And I say that as a religiously staunch and loyal opponent to virtualy anything coming out of Redmond (rationality notwithstanding).

I've thought for many years that what the Linux desktop (and for that matter open source in general) fundamentally lacks is basic curb appeal. Developers must be willing to accept that the larger user community actually does prefer form over function and then develop accordingly. We're drawn to what looks and smells good. Substance is secondary as unfortunate as that may seem. Ignoring this, however technically principled, I feel has innevitably led to the questionable demise I'm rasing here.

So, back to my opening question... Is KDE Dying? Has innovation and development evaporated in a development world dominated by the mobile device? And, if so, can it be reinvogorated? Will the pendulum ever swing back? Can it? Should it?

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