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Submission + - Nearly 56,000 bridges called structurally deficient (usatoday.com)

schwit1 writes:

More than one in four bridges (173,919) are at least 50 years old and have never had major reconstruction work, according to the ARTBA analysis. State transportation officials have identified 13,000 bridges along interstates that need replacement, widening or major reconstruction, according to the group.

“America’s highway network is woefully underperforming,” said Alison Premo Black, the group’s chief economics who conducted the analysis. “It is outdated, overused, underfunded and in desperate need of modernization.”


Submission + - Its time to have a talk about Slashdot technology 3

hackwrench writes: On top of not fixing the problems that Slashdot has. the new owners have added an annoying ad that persistently blocks actual usage on every load.
Slashdot also frequently launches users some distance into comments for no explicable reason.
It doesn't do Unicode.
The new interface is horrendous. Fortunately it can be switched off.
Features that used to be free are now subscription-only items.
Let's all hash it out. Not just technological issues but editorial grievances as well. And how many of us are on a moderation ban list for some long forgotten stupid reason?

Submission + - Mozilla to Drop Support for All NPAPI Plugins in Firefox 52, Except Flash (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Starting with March 7, when Mozilla is scheduled to release Firefox 52, all plugins built on the old NPAPI technology will stop working in Firefox, except for Flash, which Mozilla plans to support for a few more versions. This means technologies such as Java, Silverlight, and various audio and video codecs won't work on Firefox.

These plugins once helped the web move forward, but as time advanced, the Internet's standards groups developed standalone Web APIs and alternative technologies to support most of these features without the need of special plugins.

The old NPAPI plugins will continue to work in the Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release) 52, but will eventually be deprecated in ESR 53. A series of hacks are available that will allow Firefox users to continue using old NPAPI plugins past Firefox 52, by switching the update channel from Firefox Stable to Firefox ESR.

Submission + - Blueprint for building a quantum computer released by Sussex U researcher (phys.org)

haruchai writes: "An international team, led by a scientist from the University of Sussex, have today unveiled the first practical blueprint for how to build a quantum computer, the most powerful computer on Earth

The work features a new invention permitting actual quantum bits to be transmitted between individual quantum computing modules in order to obtain a fully modular large-scale machine capable of reaching nearly arbitrary large computational processing powers.

Prof Hensinger said: "The availability of a universal quantum computer may have a fundamental impact on society as a whole. Without doubt it is still challenging to build a large-scale machine, but now is the time to translate academic excellence into actual application building on the UK's strengths in this ground-breaking technology. I am very excited to work with industry and government to make this happen."

Submission + - Why Have Hackers Failed on Trump's Tax Returns? 1

An anonymous reader writes: Given the size of Donald Trunp's holdings, the documentation of his financial holdings must be enormous. His tax returns are undoubtedly worked on by large staffs in multiple companies. How is it possible that no hacker has found them yet? Wikileaks recently stated they will publish the returns, and still...nothing. Is it really imaginable that not a single hacker has managed to find any part of these widely-distributed documents?

Submission + - Trump Wasn't Wrong To Secure @POTUS with a Gmail Account (securityledger.com)

chicksdaddy writes: The world is having a collective freak out about the serial (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/technology/donald-trump-phone-social-media-security.html?_r=0) security lapses (https://www.rt.com/usa/375109-trump-administration-private-server-rnc/) of the newly enshrined Trump administration. That includes the revelation, this week, that the Leader of the Free World is using a lowly Google Gmail account to secure @POTUS, the official Twitter account of the U.S.’s Chief Executive. (https://theintercept.com/2017/01/26/donald-trump-is-using-a-private-gmail-account-to-secure-the-most-powerful-twitter-account-in-the-world/)

For a President and Administration as unconventional as Mr. Trump, the news about how The Most Powerful Twitter Account in the World was being secured was just another data point in a raucous and singularly unprofessional first week in office – the online equivalent of trash talking the United States’ second largest trading partner. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/us/politics/mexico-wall-tax-trump.html)

But is having the Chief Executive’s Twitter account secured by a Google Gmail account really a security lapse? Not necessarily, according to security experts. In fact, Gmail may offer superior security to government-run platforms, The Security Ledger argues. (https://securityledger.com/2017/01/trump-securing-potus-with-gmail-is-reasonable-heres-why/)

“Companies like Google and Microsoft have invested billions of dollars in securing their infrastructure,” said John Ackerly, the CEO at the firm Virtru, a secure email provider. “If want your data to be secure, it’s tough to beat Google, Microsoft or Amazon’s cloud,” he said.

Indeed, Gmail offers a wide range back-end and front end security features that make it among the most difficult platforms to compromise – providing users take advantage of those features. Among them: detection of nation-state attacks, protection against account takeovers, strong encryption for all Gmail data both at rest and in transit, and the availability of strong second-factor authentication options such token based authentication and soft second factors like SMS codes and Google Authenticator.

In contrast, the U.S. government has struggled to secure its own IT assets. In fact, a report by GAO in 2015 listed “personal identity verification” (http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/670936.pdf) as a top cyber security challenge for government agencies. By GAO’s accounting, only 41 percent of user accounts at 23 civilian agencies had required these credentials for accessing agency systems.

Submission + - KDE and Slimbook Release a Laptop for KDE Fans 1

JRiddell writes: The scope of KDE projects grows ever larger and today we are announcing the KDE Slimbook. It comes pre-installed with KDE's Plasma desktop and runs KDE neon. "The KDE Slimbook allows KDE to offer our users a laptop which has been tested directly by KDE developers, on the exact same hardware and software configuration that the users get, and where any potential hardware-related issues have already been ironed out before a new version of our software is shipped to them. This gives our users the best possible way to experience our software, as well as increasing our reach: The easier it is to get our software into users' hands, the more it will be used."

Submission + - Mozilla Releases The Internet Health Report, An Open-Source Document

Krystalo writes: Fresh off its brand redesign, Mozilla has released The Internet Health Report, an open-source initiative to document the state of the internet, combining research and reporting from multiple sources. The report, which will be improved and expanded throughout the year, covers five key topics: decentralization, digital inclusion, open innovation, privacy and security, and web literacy.

Submission + - Microsoft rolls out Clear Linux for Azure instances (networkworld.com)

JG0LD writes: Microsoft announced today that it has added support for the Intel-backed Clear Linux distribution in instances for its Azure public cloud platform. It’s the latest in a lengthy string of Linux distributions to become available on the company’s Azure cloud.

Submission + - How the Human Brain Decides What Is Important and What's Not (neurosciencenews.com)

baalcat writes: A new study in Neuroscience News sheds light on how we learn to pay attention in order to make the most of our life experiences.

"The Wizard of Oz told Dorothy to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” in an effort to distract her, but a new Princeton University study sheds light on how people learn and make decisions in real-world situations.

The findings could eventually contribute to improved teaching and learning and the treatment of mental and addiction disorders in which people’s perspectives are dysfunctional or fractured."

Submission + - Obamacare repeal has gig economy worried (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement leaves some 18 million without health insuance in the first year alone, the Congressional Budget Office warned Tuesday. Millions more will lose insurance later on. The estimate includes independent, or gig, workers who use Fiverr's job marketplace. "The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is incredibly important," said Brent Messenger, Fiverr's global head of community. A wholesale repeal of the ACA, or Obamacare, will not only "negatively impact our marketplace but the gig economy as a whole," he said. Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump are promising an Obamacare replacement, but so far they haven't delivered it. That is making people nervous, because some of the ACA's provisions — including coverage for pre-existing conditions — are very important, especially to older independent workers, Jane Langeman, an independent management consultant and president of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), "Many of us are on our second-career as independent business owners and have a lot of life and pre-existing conditions under our belts," said Langeman. "The Affordable Care Act made it easier for business owners to even get health insurance, especially when faced with pre-existing health conditions," she said.

Submission + - SPAM: Kaggle Data Science Bowl Perfect Score Submission

karlnyberg writes: In the Data Science Bowl 2017 competition (with $1M in prize money available), Oleg Trott has shown that he can "game" the system and achieve a perfect score using only probes and test scores (not actual solutions to the problem at hand).

And he's good-humored about it, since this is only Stage 1 of the competition, meaning he's no closer to actually winning the $500K for first prize to be awarded at the end of Stage 2.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - 11 Predictions for the Future of Programming

snydeq writes: InfoWorld's Peter Wayner takes a long-term view of today's trends in programming to give a sense of where programmers should place their career bets in the years ahead. 'Now that 2017 is here, it’s time to take stock of the technological changes ahead, if only to help you know where to place your bets in building programming skills for the future. From the increasing security headache of the internet of things to machine learning everywhere, the future of programming keeps getting harder to predict.' How do you see technologies impacting the work of programming in the years ahead?

Submission + - Abrupt product termination consequences for Google?

managerialslime writes: I wonder how many good Google products never get adopted because IT executives (like me) are now too anxious about application abandonment?

When I was the CIO at a mid-size company, I rejected adoption of Google Voice, Google Wave, and Google Hangouts after seeing them abandon Google Desktop Search.

I reasoned that if Google could not give multi-year sunsetting like Microsoft, then they were not a partner I could rely on.

At what point will Google's advantage due to the flexibility of abrupt terminations be outweighed by resistance to adopting their products?

Hmm....

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