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Submission + - Google Acquires Qwiklabs Which Provides The Training Labs For Amazon

FairAndUnbalanced writes: Google has acquired Qwiklabs a startup that Amazon has been using to provide its cloud training labs for the last few years. Though Qwiklabs founder Enis Konuk says that "Our partners who deliver instructor-led training sessions and events can continue to do so," it remains to be seen what type of response Amazon will make especially will their sold-out annual re:Invent conference coming up next week.

Submission + - Google Will Display Election Results As Soon As Polls Close (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google has been highly involved with connecting U.S. voters to timely information throughout this election cycle, by offering everything from voter registration assistance to polling place information in its search result pages. Today, the company announced plans to display the results of the U.S. election directly in search, in over 30 languages, as soon as the polls close. Web searchers who query for “election results” will be able to view detailed information on the Presidential, Senatorial, Congressional, Gubernatorial races as well as state-level referenda and ballot propositions, says Google. The results will be updated continuously – every 30 seconds, as indicated by a screenshot shared by the company on its official blog post detailing the new features. Tabs across the top will let you switch to between the various races, like President, House, and Senate, for example. The results will also include information like how many more electoral votes a presidential candidate needs to win, how many seats are up for grabs in the House and Senate, and how many Gubernatorial races are underway, among other things. This data is presented in an easy-to-read format, with Democrats in blue, Republicans in red, and simple graphs, alongside the key numbers.

Submission + - Thousands Lose Money in Tesco Bank Hack

wiredmikey writes: Tesco Bank, wholly owned by the UK's largest supermarket chain Tesco, said that some of its customers' had money withdrawn fraudulently as a result of "online criminal activity."

Benny Higgins, the bank's chief executive, said 40,000 of current accounts had experienced suspicious transactions and about half had money taken from their account. Customers are reporting on social media individual thefts of £600 and £700. One report quotes a customer complaint: "Spoke to Tesco after 1 hour 20 minutes on hold, like others, just waiting for a call back and no sign of my £2,400 today. I'm taking the day off work, I can't go in feeling as low as this."

Submission + - Despite Push, 32 States Saw Fewer Than 100 Additional AP CS Exams Taken in 2016

theodp writes: In conjunction with the widely-publicized Hour of Code event at the White House in Dec. 2014 (at which President Obama learned to code), a WH Fact Sheet announced commitments to expand computer science offerings to "millions more students." So, one might have expected to see a nice bump in the number of Advanced Placement Computer Science exam takers — a measure often cited as a barometer of CS education success — in the following 2015-2016 school year. Preliminary 2016 AP data released in July was presented as evidence that AP CS is the "fastest growing course of the decade," but the number of AP CS test takers in 2016 was only 8,035 higher than the year before (there are 16+ million HS students). And state-level AP CS exam numbers released last week by the College Board showed that more than 90% of the increase was attributable to 18 states — the other 32 states registered incremental gains of fewer than 100 exams in 2016 (an average of 20 exams/state), and 6 of those actually saw slight declines. And like last year, the data again showed wide differences in adoption and success along gender and ethnicity lines (data, VBA scraping code here).

Submission + - Ask /.: Why are American tech people paid so well?

davidwr writes: Ask Slashdot:

Why are American programmers and IT professionals paid so much when many programming and IT jobs can be outsourced overseas so easily?

If I'm a mid-career programmer looking for a job, why should I expect to be paid a whole lot more than my peer in India when applying for a job that could easily be outsourced to India? If I do get the job, why should I expect to keep it more than a year or two instead of being told "your job is being outsourced" before 2020?

Is my American education and 5-25 years of experience in the American workplace really worth it to an employer?

Should we, as an industry, lower our salary expectations — and that of students entering the field — to make us more competitive with our peers in India and similar "much cheaper labor than first world" economies? If not, what should we be doing to make ourselves competitive in ways that our peers overseas cannot duplicate?

Note — I'm not talking about jobs that can't be easily outsourced like on-site tech support or "security clearance required" positions, and I'm not talking about "rock star" or "near rock star" employees (the "top 10%" of the industry). I'm also not talking about positions that aren't almost entirely technical, such as management or sales positions.

(dis)claimer: I am an American-born, American-educated mid-career IT professional who is not currently looking for work.

Submission + - All about life around an M-class star

RockDoctor writes: Arxiv has a review article on "The Habitability of Planets Orbiting M-dwarf Stars" (PDF). Although Star Trek had a minor smattering of "M-class planets" — a designation that tells one nothing of substance, "M-class star" is a much more meaningful designation of colour, with two size classes, the dwarfs and the red giants. M-class ("red") giants are not prospective for life — it's a short duration of the life of any star that gets into that state (most won't) and it ends badly for anything not made of tungsten carbide. M-class dwarfs, on the other hand "are our galaxy’s silent majority: they constitute 70% of the stars in the Milky Way and 40% of its stellar mass budget, yet not a single M dwarf is visible to the naked eye. They span nearly an order of magnitude in mass and two orders of magnitude in luminosity. [...] As a spectral class, M dwarfs span a larger range in mass than the next three spectral classes (F,G & K) combined." But probably the most important reason for paying attention to them is their persistence — an M-dwarf of 1/10 the mass of the Sun will burn for around 1000 times the time that the Sun does. No M-dwarf has ever turned into a red giant — there hasn't been enough time.

Therefore, if humanity ever meets an alien species, the odds of them coming from an M-dwarf are already high. If humanity ever meets an alien species that has been around a billion years longer than us and has technology we can't even dream of, then the odds of it coming from an M-dwarf are overwhelmingly high. Clearly, understanding these stars, and the influences of these stars range of properties on their planets and possible inhabitants (including our distant descendants) is a good idea. And this review article will keep you up to date for your next term paper. Or for keeping your SF magnum opus somewhere with a passing acquaintance with reality.

Submission + - The day the 911 network stood still (networkworld.com)

Miche67 writes: On Oct. 26, the emergency 911 network in the United States was accidentally brought to its proverbial knees by a teenager looking for an Apple iOS bug.

Detailed reports of the incident show Meetkumar Hiteshbhai Desai set up a web page that reused a snippet of code that would interact with the browser on a smartphone device. He claims that his intention was to get the victim to click a link and then display an annoying pop-up message on the phone. The program would then dial 911 and loop once the call terminated, therefore making another call to 911.

Apparently the cycle was difficult to break out of, and people had to shut off their phone or remove the battery. With more than 1,800 people clicking the link and simultaneously generating calls to 911, he essentially triggered a Telephony Denial of Service (TDoS) attack.

All indications point to an accidental exploit of pre-existing click-to-dial functionality, something very common in today's environment.


Submission + - CEO's message jolts IT workers facing layoffs (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: IT workers in the infrastructure team at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) were notified recently of their layoff. They expect to be training replacements from India-based contractor HCL. The layoff affects more than 500 IT workers. But this familiar IT story begins a little differently. A few days before employees were notified in mid-October of their layoff, HCSC CEO Paula Steiner talked about future goals in an internal, company-wide video. Steiner's comments weren't IT-department-specific, but the takeaway quote by one IT employee was this: "As full-time retiring baby boomers move on to their next chapter, the makeup of our organization will consist more of young and non-traditional workers, such as part-time workers or contractors," said Steiner in the video. What Steiner didn't say in the employee broadcast is that some of the baby boomers moving "on to the next chapter" are being pushed out the door. "Obviously not all of us are 'retiring' — a bunch of us are being thrown under the bus," said one older employee.

Submission + - Android Spyware Targets Business Executives (helpnetsecurity.com)

Orome1 writes: Researchers from mobile security outfit Skycure have recently analyzed a malicious app they found on an Android 6.0.1 device owned by a VP at a global technology company. The name of the malicious package is “com.android.protect”, and it comes disguised as a Google Play Services app. It disables Samsung’s SPCM service in order to keep running, installs itself as a system package to prevent removal by the user (if it can get root access), and also hides itself from the launcher. The spyware is able to collect chats and messages sent and received via SMS, MMS, and popular email and IM apps; record audio and telephone calls; collect pictures and take screenshots; collect contacts, browser histories, the contents of the calendar, and so on.

Submission + - Investigation into spyware-related political espionage case halted

An anonymous reader writes: Reuter reports that Switzerland's attorney general has halted an investigation into suspected political espionage at a Geneva hotel, which was opened a month after talks on Iran's nuclear plans took place.

The reason for opening the investigation in the first place was the spyware discovered on hotel computers.

The attorney general's office said it was suspending proceedings because no evidence regarding the perpetrators' identities had been obtained.

Submission + - Possible Extraterrestrial Intelligence Candidates Again in the News (independent.co.uk) 1

SlashD0tter writes: The Independent [www.independent.co.uk] is running a scoop on an paper submitted to the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific on the detection of multiple radio transmission sources in the cosmos that can't be easily explained by astronomers. As such, a connection to Extraterrestrial Intelligence can't be ruled out [yet]. Apparently the odd signals are being emitted by a number of stars, not just one. No word yet on any connection to the Dyson sphere candidate around Tabby's Star.

Submission + - Family sues Amazon after counterfeit hoverboard catches fire, destroys home (usatoday.com)

tripleevenfall writes: A Nashville family whose $1 million home was destroyed earlier this year in a fire caused by a hoverboard toy is suing Amazon saying the retail giant knowingly sold a dangerous product.

The lawsuit says the seller of the hoverboard listed online, "W-Deals," is a sham organization that is registered to an apartment in New York City that has not responded to requests from lawyers in the case. It alleges the family was sold a counterfeit product from China instead of a brand with a Samsung lithium ion battery they believed they were buying from Amazon.

Submission + - Uber is defined as an employer in UK (bbc.co.uk) 1

eionmac writes: An employment tribunal (a form of employment court in UK) has defined Uber as an employer due to its significant control of employee (displines, raises or lowers prices, controls access to work, directs employees). This means Uber must pay statutory rights of employee such as as sick pay, minimum wage, holiday pay etc. This will change how they operate in UK and perhaps with existing EU links also EU position.

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