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Submission + - How the FBI Hacks around Encryption (

Advocatus Diaboli writes: To hear FBI Director James Comey tell it, strong encryption stops law enforcement dead in its tracks by letting terrorists, kidnappers and rapists communicate in complete secrecy. But that’s just not true. In the rare cases in which an investigation may initially appear to be blocked by encryption — and so far, the FBI has yet to identify a single one — the government has a Plan B: it’s called hacking.

Hacking — just like kicking down a door and looking through someone’s stuff — is a perfectly legal tactic for law enforcement officers, provided they have a warrant. And law enforcement officials have, over the years, learned many ways to install viruses, Trojan horses, and other forms of malicious code onto suspects’ devices. Doing so gives them the same access the suspects have to communications — before they’ve been encrypted, or after they’ve been unencrypted.


We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says 417

Velcroman1 writes: At a sky-high press conference atop the new World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, Acer unveiled a sky-high lineup of goods – and placed a flag in the sand for the sagging PC industry. "There are only four or five players in the PC industry, and all of us are survivors," Jason Chen, CEO of Acer Corp, told an international group of reporters. "We will be the last man standing for the PC industry." To that end, the company showed off a slew of new laptops and 2-in-1s, the new Liquid X2 smartphone, and introduces a new line of gaming PCs, called Predator. I suspect Apple will outlive Acer; who do you think will fall next (or rise next)?

Submission + - Modern Supercomputers Have Just Hit the End of Another Architectural Era (

An anonymous reader writes: There has been a steady climb toward accelerators for top-ranked machines, but with the self-hosted model of the upcoming Knights Landing architecture, this offload model and the bottleneck of data movement between the GPU and other elements, will likely go away. The OpenPower efforts of IBM and Nvidia to use NVlink to speed that communication will be put to the test with the Power9 based systems coming to other centers in the next couple of years, including the future 150-petaflop “Sierra” machine coming to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, but Gara says that these are still using what amounts to an offload model in that data has to be pushed between multiple components.

It is not clear how the Top 500 folks will choose to classify systems that have a GPU that is part of the compute since the accelerators classification generally just refers to a coprocessor that sits across a bus. The main question, however, is how long it will take for this classification to disappear entirely. As it stands, the new top-tier systems that will start to come online, possibly for the November rankings, will sport Knights Landing, wherein the accelerator is not a discrete unit. Gara says the shift away from the offload model is already starting to happen, and will continue with the introduction of Knights Landing into the full HPC market (right now just the national labs—at least as far we know) are part of the early access program for these chips.

Submission + - Java at 20: where has it been and where will it go

An anonymous reader writes: Time flies when your hacking. The Java programming language turns 20 on May 23. Now in the hands of Oracle, you don't hear much about zero-day flaws any more. But it still powers everything from Minecraft to Hadoop. ITWorld looks at where Java has been and where it's going.

Submission + - The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

Nemo the Magnificent writes: Is there an IT talent shortage? Or is there a clue shortage on the hiring side? Hiring managers put on their perfection goggles and write elaborate job descriptions laying out mandatory experience and know-how that the "purple squirrel" candidate must have. They define job openings to be entry-level, automatically excluding those in mid-career. Candidates suspect that the only real shortage is a one of willingness to pay what they are worth. Job seekers bend over backwards to make it through HR's keyword filters, only to be frustrated by phone screens seemingly administered by those who know only buzzwords. Meanwhile, hiring managers feel the pressure to fill openings instantly with exactly the right person, and when they can't the team and the company suffer. InformationWeek lays out a number of ways the two sides can start listening to each other. For example, some of the most successful companies find their talent through engagement with the technical community, participating in hackathons or offering seminars on hot topics such as Scala and Hadoop. These companies play a long game in order to lodge in the consciousness of the candidates they hope will apply next time they're ready to make a move.

Ford Develops a Way To Monitor Police Driving 151

cartechboy writes Sometimes you wonder, "Who's watching the police?" Well, now it appears everyone can as Ford has developed a way to track how the police drive. The automaker has announced a new telematics system for police cars that will keep tabs on the cops while they are driving, tracking their behavior in real time. The system will be able to tell what speed the police offers are traveling, whether they're wearing their seat belts, and where they're driving. The idea behind this system is to improve fleet management with a side benefit of creating a degree of transparency to improve public trust.

Smartphone App To Be Used As Hotel Room Keys 150

An anonymous reader writes Starwood Hotels and Resorts has became the first chain to let guests unlock doors with their phones at 10 Aloft, Element and W hotels. They hope to expand the program to 140 more properties in those brands by the middle of next year. From the article: "The technology's developer says that it uses its own encrypted secure channel to ensure thieves cannot abuse the innovation. But one expert had reservations. "Nothing is 100% secure, and once this technology is in widespread use it will make a very tasty target for hackers," said Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey's department of computing.

Submission + - The Carder Who Loved Me (aka how to entrap a Credit Card Criminal) (

darthcamaro writes: Credit card theft is the bane of the modern world and credit card thieves — known as Carders — are growing in number. Big retail breaches are giving these carders lots of numbers to play with, but thankfully law enforcement is up to the task of tracking down the carders. In a session at the SecTor security conference in Toronto, Grayson Lenik, recounted a story of how a good looking undercover female agent convinced a card to come to Las Vegas to marry her. It didn't end well for the carder — or his friends.

Submission + - Apple might lose Siri's core tech to Samsung 1

An anonymous reader writes: We all know Apple bought Siri in 2010, but what many didn't know is its core technology is owned by Nuance, maker of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Well, it seems Samsung is looking to buy Nuance, and if it does, what are the chances it will cut off the Nuance core from Apple? About as likely as the sun rising in the east.

Submission + - Some raindrops exceed their terminal velocity (

sciencehabit writes: New research reveals that some raindrops are “super-terminal” (they travel more than 30% faster than their terminal velocity, at which air resistance prevents further acceleration due to gravity). The drops are the result of natural processes—and they make up a substantial fraction of rainfall. Whereas all drops the team studied that were 0.8 millimeters and larger fell at expected speeds, between 30% and 60% of those measuring 0.3 mm dropped at super-terminal speeds. It’s not yet clear why these drops are falling faster than expected, the researchers say. But according to one notion, the speedy drops are fragments of larger drops that have broken apart in midair but have yet to slow down. If that is indeed the case, the researchers note, then raindrop disintegration happens normally in the atmosphere and more often than previously presumed—possibly when drops collide midair or become unstable as they fall through the atmosphere. Further study could improve estimates of the total amount of rainfall a storm will produce or the amount of erosion that it can generate.

Video The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video) 120

Bob Pendleton calls his blog "The Grumpy Programmer" because he's both grumpy and a programmer. He's also over 60 years old and has been programming since he was in his teens. This pair of videos is a break from our recent spate of conference panels and corporate people. It's an old programmer sharing his career experiences with younger programmers so they (you?) can avoid making his mistakes and possibly avoid becoming as grumpy as he is -- which is kind of a joke, since Bob is not nearly as grumpy as he is light-hearted. (Transcript covers both videos. Alternate Video Link One; Alternate Video Link Two)

Submission + - Feds creating database to track hate speech on Twitter (

walterbyrd writes: The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

The university has received $919,917 so far for the project.

Submission + - Spain's Link Tax Taxes My Patience (

rsmiller510 writes: Spain's new tax on linking to Spanish newspaper articles is ill defined and short sighted and ends up protecting a dying industry, while undermining a vibrant one. In another case of disrupted industries turning to lawmakers to solve their problems, this one makes no sense at all, especially given the state of the Spanish economy and the fact that it comes 15 years too late to even matter.

Submission + - Won't Let You Submit Comments (

An anonymous reader writes: Are you trying to submit comments regarding the FCC's attempt to undo net neutrality? Good luck.

Presumably due to the massive outcry against their proposal, their website has stopped responding. Either that or my Comcast connection is mysteriously blocking the page...

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