Freshly Exhumed writes: In a paper submitted to EuroSys ’16, researchers claim to have identified four major performance bugs in the Linux scheduler (PDF) that result in cores sitting idle while runnable processes remain queued, causing large performance and energy inefficiencies. Reassuringly, they have not just identified the problems but are also presenting their results and tools for Linux scheduler improvement over on GitHub.
Freshly Exhumed writes: A Vancouver journalist has demonstrated how the new $194-million Compass-card fare system can be hacked to gain free access to SkyTrain. CTV's Jon Woodward ran an expired, paper Compass ticket by his smartphone, showing how this simple act could open the closed fare gate at a SkyTrain system. This is accomplished with the help of NFC technology, which rewrites the data on the ticket. TransLink announced in 2010 that it had selected San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems and IBM as its supplier of a new smart-card-operated fare-gate system. Cubic's lobbyists included a former TransLink CEO and project manager.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Jonas 'Sortie' Termansen has announced a small, new, self-hosting x86-based operating-system aimed at being a clean and modern POSIX implementation, called: Sortix 1.0. Project features, goals, and decisions can be seen here, with links to screenshots available. Interestingly, early development took place under the GPL v2 and v3 licenses, yet with Sortix 1.0 the license has been changed to the ISC License. Time will tell whether that is a fortuitous decision or not.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Telemarketers in Canada and the USA have essentially been bypassing eachnation's do-not-call registry by basing their efforts from the other or from off-shore locations, while cross border spam remains rampant. Now the CRTC, Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator, announced today it has signed a partnership agreement with the Federal Trade Commission of the United States to fight against spam and calls from pesky telemarketers. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) consists of all unsolicited telecommunications, unsolicited commercial email (spam), and other “illegal electronic threats” that cover anti-spam laws in the United States and Canada.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Redox OS, a project on GitHub aimed at creating an alternative OS able to run almost all Linux executables with only minimal modifications, is to feature a pure Rust ecosystem, which they hope will improve correctness and security over other OSes. In their own words, 'Redox isn't afraid of dropping the bad parts of POSIX, while preserving modest Linux API compatibility.' They also level harsh criticisms at other OSes, saying '...we will not replicate the mistakes made by others. This is probably the most important tenet of Redox. In the past, bad design choices were made by Linux, Unix, BSD, HURD, and so on. We all make mistakes, that's no secret, but there is no reason to repeat others' mistakes.' Not stopping there, Redox documentation contains blunt critiques of Plan 9, the GPL, and other mainstays.
Freshly Exhumed writes: A series of posts on the Project Sputnik developers' forum at Dell indicate that hardware on a soon to be released XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop will support Thunderbolt 3 USB Type C, which has been tested on the device with video and USB 3.1 on non-dock devices, although Dell's Type C docks are not yet supported. Intel has already implemented Thunderbolt 3 drivers in the Linux kernel, so this Dell initiative represents a first for a physical implementation on a consumer platform.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Microsoft has mandated that the feedback functionality built into Insider Preview Beta software be switched on, a change from earlier when testers could block questions from the company about what users thought of specific features. Starting with Build 14271 and newer, the frequency in which Windows 10 will ask for your feedback will be locked to "Automatically (Recommended)" in the Settings app.
This would seem to disrupt what was traditionally been a tacit understanding between corporations and their beta testers/sandboxers: that the latter would volunteer their time, effort, CPU cycles, possible hardware failures/breakage, and more as part of a bargain to receive feedback or to test fly the beta OS with internal software environments in private. Microsoft now would seem to be altering that relationship.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Microsoft has told The INQUIRER that it is aware of a bug which has been causing users' default programs to switch to the bundled Microsoft options. After deleting the update, a user discovered the next day that Windows had reinstalled it, and reset the defaults again. InfoWorld gives some real world scenarios: "If you have Chrome as the default browser on your Windows 10 computer, you'd better check to make sure Microsoft didn't hijack it last week and set Edge as your new default. The same goes for any PDF viewer: A forced cumulative update also reset PDF viewing to Edge on many PCs. Do you use IrfanView, Acdsee, Photoshop Express, or Elements? The default photo app may have been reset to — you guessed it — the Windows Photos app. Music? Video? Microsoft may have swooped down and changed you over to Microsoft Party apps, all in the course of last week's forced cumulative update KB3135173."
Freshly Exhumed writes: An undercover sting has revealed that two prominent climate science sceptics, William Happer and Frank Clemente, were available for hire by the hour to write reports casting doubt on the dangers posed by global warming. Posing as consultants to fossil fuel companies, Greenpeace approached professors at leading US universities to commission reports touting the benefits of rising carbon dioxide levels and the benefits of coal. Happer agreed to accept funding to produce pro-industry research while concealing the source of that funding. Citing an hourly rate of $275 an hour, Clemente sent over a paper he did for the International Energy Agency that he said cost them $50,000. An “8-10 page paper” would run $15,000. “My op/ed fee usually is $6,000 for 2-3 pages.” Clemente now claims that his emails were "pirated", whatever that means. Shades of the Dr. Willie Soon fiasco...
Freshly Exhumed writes: Pens and paper have no place in the modern classroom. And chalkboards? They should be banished from our schools too. That’s what Lia De Cicco Remu, director of Partners in Learning at Microsoft Canada, told the Georgia Straight ahead of the Microsoft Summit 2015 in Vancouver, which is set to be attended by around 200 teachers. “When was the last time you used a piece of chalk to express yourself?” De Cicco Remu, a former teacher, asked by phone from Toronto. “Kids don’t express themselves with chalk or in cursive. Kids text.” Given the Microsoft Study Finds Technology Hurting Attention Spans story posted to Slashdot in the last 2 days it would seem that Redmond's Marketing and R&D people are at cross-purposes.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Wellness advocate Belle Gibson, who translated her high profile as a cancer survivor into publishing success, has admitted her cancer diagnosis was not real. Ms Gibson, 23, who claimed to have healed terminal brain cancer by eating wholefoods, made the admission in an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly. The success of Gibson's book, The Whole Pantry, and her smartphone application, which advocates natural therapies, has been largely dependent on her high-profile as a cancer survivor. Sadly, we've seen this sort of behaviour before. It would seem that Belle Gibson has emulated Dr. Andrew Wakefield in knowingly decieving the public in ways that could possibly be dangerous to the health of believers.
Freshly Exhumed writes: In the lead-up to the FCC's pivotal net neutrality vote on Thursday, civil rights and media justice organizations across the United States are taking their demands for an open internet to the store-fronts of the telecommunications giants that continue to aggressively fight the protections. In partnership with the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-net), local organizations began rallying last week to bring the call "Don't Block My Internet" to AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner. Notable actions have already taken place in numerous cities—including Berkeley, California; Urbana-Champaign, Illinois; and San Antonio, Texas—with more slated for the coming days.