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Submission + - How to fix Slashdot Beta? 17

Forbo writes: Since the migration to Slashdot Beta was announced, it seems all meaningful discussion has been completely disrupted with calls to boycott and protest. Rather than pull an Occupy, what can be done to focus and organize the action? What is the end goal: To revert entirely to the previous site, or to address the problems with the new site?

Submission + - Google's F1 - Scalable Alternative to MySQL (

mikejuk writes: Google has moved its advertising services from MySQL to a new database, created in-house, called F1. The new system combines the best of NoSQL and SQL approaches.
The store is dynamically sharded, supports replication across data centers while keeping transactions consistent, and can deal with data center outages without losing data. The downside of keeping the transactions consistent means F1 has higher write latencies compared to MySQL, so the team restructured the database schemas and redeveloped the applications so the effect of the increased latency is mainly hidden from external users. Because F1 is distributed, Google says it scales easily and can support much higher throughput for batch workloads than a traditional database.


Submission + - Google, Intel release new Chrome-based PCs (

ericjones12398 writes: "All of you haiku fans (like many of us on the Chrome team) can stop here; the rest can read on for more details.

A year ago Google introduced a new model of computing with the launch of Chromebooks. We’ve heard from many of you who’ve enjoyed the speed, simplicity and security of your Chromebooks at home, at school or at work. (Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and stories!) Today, Google wanted to share some developments with you—new hardware, a major software update and many more robust apps—as we continue on our journey to make computers much better.

Next-generation devices
Their partner Samsung has just announced a new Chromebook and the industry’s firstChromebox. Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office."


Submission + - Even worse than SOPA: New CISPA cybersecurity bill (

An anonymous reader writes: As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing. This is SOPA being passed in smaller chunks...

H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short) has vague definitions that could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.

Feed Techdirt: Google Maps Exodus Continues As Wikipedia Mobile Apps Switch To OpenStreetMap (

Last year, Google announced that it would begin charging high-volume users for access to its previously free Maps API. It seemed like an odd move. Jacking up the price on something, without actually offering anything new to entice customers to stay, only works if you have a total monopoly—and free competitor OpenStreetMap was already growing rapidly at the time.

Not long after the Google announcement, we reported that property search engine Nestoria was jumping ship to OpenStreetMap. Then, in March, news began to spread that Apple was making a strong push to move away from Google Maps data on the iOS platform. FourSquare also abruptly switched. Now the exodus is continuing, with Wikipedia announcing that the latest versions of its mobile apps for iOS and Android have also ditched Google Maps for OpenStreetMap:

Previous versions of our application used Google Maps for the nearby view. This has now been replaced with OpenStreetMap - an open and free source of Map Data that has been referred to as Wikipedia for Maps. This closely aligns with our goal of making knowledge available in a free and open manner to everyone. This also means we no longer have to use proprietary Google APIs in our code, which helps it run on the millions of cheap Android handsets that are purely open source and do not have the proprietary Google applications.

One wonders how Google didn't see this coming—or if they did, what exactly their strategy is here. OpenStreetMap is gaining a lot of momentum, and in some areas even features much better data. The real lesson here is that there's never an incumbent that isn't at risk of being unseated, no matter how widespread the adoption of their product or service—especially if they make an anti-customer decision like Google when it put a price tag on Maps. The situation also points to the long-term strength of open solutions: while a crowdsourced system like OpenStreetMap never could have put together a global mapping product as quickly as Google did, over time it has become a serious competitor in terms of both quality and convenience. Indeed, none of the companies that have switched pointed to the price as their number one reason—potentially superior quality, and the desire to support open data, are generally listed as significant factors. Location-based tools are a rapidly growing field, and by failing to stay ahead of their more open competitors (while becoming less open themselves), Google may have sacrificed their role as a crucial engine driving such services.

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Submission + - Megaupload Points Out That The Feds Want To Destroy Evidence In Its Case (

SolKeshNaranek writes: Summary: Megauplload says US Government wants to destroy critical evidence it needs to defend itself. This evidence is on the servers seized by the feds.

Excerpt from the long article:

There are all sorts of problems with the federal government's arguments against Megaupload. Even if the site and its founders are guilty of breaking the law, it's amazingly troubling to look at the details of how the government has gone about proving this. The most immediate situation, as we've been discussing, involves the handling of the data on Megaupload's servers.

Very soon after the raids, the feds told the hosting company that Megaupload used, Carpathia, that it no longer needed the data and that it could be destroyed. As we pointed out at the time, this made no sense at all. After all, the government is alleging that this content is at the center of a criminal conspiracy ring. So why would it want the evidence destroyed? Furthermore, it seems likely that there could be plenty of evidence on those servers that support Megaupload's case (ah, perhaps that's why the government wants it destoryed!).

Of course, since then, a bunch of parties, including Megaupload, EFF, Megaupload users and (oddly) the MPAA have gotten involved in trying to preserve the data, while the hosting firm, Carpathia has asked the court for permission to delete it, get paid for it, or have someone take it off their hands. Megaupload has specifically offered to pay Carpathia to get the servers, but since the government seized all its assets, it can't do that. Plus, the government has objected to this plan. Furthermore, the MPAA — which still wants the data preserved — has claimed that if the content goes to any third party it's infringement — and could lead to the revival of Megaupload.

Remainder of article in link.

Additional related information links:

Submission + - Just how big are porn websites?

xmas2003 writes: ExtremeTech has an interesting piece about how big are porn websites. They get some actual traffic/bandwidth data from YouPorn.Com (only NSFW link here) which I'm sure has plenty of naked chicks and Boobies in their 100 Terabyte archive of porn. Every day, they handle over 100 million page views and almost a Petabyte of data transfer — one metric says this is about 10x of Slashdot.

While Sebastian Anthony has some fun with the subject matter — "While it's difficult domain to penetrate ... hard numbers are few and far between" — he plays it straight and provides some interesting facts about some of the most trafficked parts of the internet which present some real scalability challenges (PPT preso) using software such as Redis & Nginx. It's certainly a complicated industry as outlined in the Geek-Kings of Smut.

Submission + - Amazing! Google's self-driving car allows blind man to drive (

Velcroman1 writes: This is some of the best driving I've ever done," Steve Mahan said the other day. Mahan was behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius tooling the small California town of Morgan Hill in late January, a routine trip to pick up the dry cleaning and drop by the Taco Bell drive-in for a snack. He also happens to be 95 percent blind.

Mahan, head of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, “drove” along a specially programmed route thanks to Google’s autonomous driving technology. Look, ma! No hands. And no feet!” Mahan jokes at one point in the video. “I love it,” he added. Google announced the self-driving car project in 2010. It relies upon laser range finders, radar sensors, and video cameras to navigate the road ahead, in order to make driving safer, more enjoyable and more efficient — and clearly more accessible. In a Wednesday afternoon post on Google+, the company noted that it has hundreds of thousands of miles of testing under the belt, letting the company feel confident enough in the system to put Mahan behind the wheel.

The Internet

Submission + - S&M vs. SPDY: Microsoft and Google battle over HTTP 2.0 ( 1

MrSeb writes: "HTTP, the protocol that underpins almost every inch of the world wide web, is about to make the jump from version 1.1 to 2.0 after some 13 years of stagnation. For a long time it looked like Google’s experimental SPDY protocol would be the only viable option for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to ratify as HTTP 2.0, but now out of left field comes a competing proposal from Microsoft. Lumbered with the truly awful name of HTTP Speed+Mobility, or HTTP S&M for short, Microsoft’s vision of HTTP 2.0 is mostly very similar to SPDY, but with additional features that cater towards apps and mobile devices. 'The HTTP Speed+Mobility proposal starts from both the Google SPDY protocol and the work the industry has done around WebSockets,' says Jean Paoli from the Microsoft Interoperability team. Basically, the S&M proposal looks like it's less brute-force than SPDY: Where server push, encryption, and compression are all built into SPDY, Microsoft, citing low-powered devices and metered connections, wants them to be optional extensions. Judging by the speed at which the internet (and the internet of things) is developing, I think MS's extensible, flexible solution has its merits."

Submission + - Kaspersky Takes Down Kelihos Botnet Again, Expects Return (

Gunkerty Jeb writes: For the second time in six months, researchers from the Russian antivirus company, Kaspersky Lab, carried out an operation to take down the newest iteration of the Kelihos botnet, also known as "Hlux."

Kaspersky Lab said it will "sinkhole" the botnet — taking control of the botnet's command and control servers and preventing them from distributing any more malicious content. While the private firm does not have the legal authority to sanitize infected machines, Kaspersky will contact the Internet service providers (ISPs) whose customers are infected, and hope they action.

Despite their success, the re-emergence of Kelihos just months after being "taken down" in a similar, coordinated effort underscores the difficulty of wrangling global networks of infected computers. Tillmann Werner of Crowd Strike and Kaspersky Lab's Marco Preuss warned on Wednesday that Kelihos will emerge again.


Submission + - Warehouse robots come of age as Amazon buys Kiva ( 1

MrSeb writes: "In Kurt Vonnegut’s 'Player Piano,' workers displaced by robots find themselves with an abundance of material goods but a lack of jobs. Watching robots like those from Kiva — recently acquired by Amazon for nearly a billion dollars — zip around warehouses fetching products, it’s easy to wonder whether his dark vision of the future is becoming part of ours. The last 50 years have seen dramatic advances in robotic technology and machines have been made suitable for a dramatically increased number of tasks. The path hasn’t been smooth, though, and it hasn’t proceeded in a way anyone expected, but robots are coming of age in one area after another — most recently warehouse automation. Warehouse robots are a logical evolution of the conveyor belt. They are highly mobile and capable of navigating themselves around the complex environment of a distribution facility. Often they have no arms at all, and simply act as glorified, motorized hydraulic jacks, ferrying loads from one place to another. If you've ever wondered how Amazon keeps its prices low, here's your answer: It's the robots."

Submission + - Ubuntu TV unveiled (

Barence writes: "Canonical has unveiled the first screenshots and details of Ubuntu TV. Plans for versions of the Linux distro for tablets, smartphones and TVs were unveiled last year, and now the television is — perhaps surprisingly — the first of those to arrive. "It's a simple viewing experience for online video, both your own and routed over the internet," Jane Silber, Canonical's CEO told PC Pro. Movie streaming services will be supported as well as live television broadcasts. Ubuntu TV will be integrated into television sets, but Canoncial was unable to confirm any manufacturers. It will be released later this year."

Submission + - ViaSat delivers 12 Mbps+ via Satellite (

An anonymous reader writes: Last Thursday, ViaSat announced pricing for its new home broadband service, which is set to deliver 12 Mbps+ download speeds (3 Mbps+ up) beginning next week for $50 per month. Engadget just dropped by the company's demo home just a few feet from the Engadget trailer at the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot to try it out, and posted their review here.

Submission + - How Stephen Hawking Has Defied the Odds for 50 Yea

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Now aged 70, Prof Stephen Hawking, winner of 12 honorary degrees, a CBE and in 2009 awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is an extraordinary man but what is perhaps most extraordinary about Hawking is how he has defied and baffled medical experts who predicted he had just months to live in 1963 when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a disease that only 5% survive for more than a decade after diagnosis. Hawking started having symptoms shortly before his 21st birthday. At first they were mild — a bit of clumsiness and few unexplained stumbles and falls but, predictably, by the very nature of the disease, his incurable condition worsened. The diagnosis came as a great shock, but also helped shape his future. "Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research, and I got engaged to a girl called Jane Wilde, whom I had met just about the time my condition was diagnosed," says Hawking. "That engagement changed my life. It gave me something to live for." Another important thing in Hawking's life has been his work and at the age of 70, Hawking continues working at the University of Cambridge and recently published a new book — The Grand Design. "Being disabled, or physically challenged, makes no difference to how my scientific colleagues treat me apart from practical matters like waiting while I write what I want to say." Finally the grandfather-of-three continues to seek out new challenges and recently experienced first-hand what space travel feels like by taking a zero-gravity flight in a specially modified plane. "People are fascinated by the contrast between my very limited physical powers, and the vast nature of the universe I deal with," says Hawking. "I'm the archetype of a disabled genius, or should I say a physically challenged genius, to be politically correct. At least I'm obviously physically challenged. Whether I'm a genius is more open to doubt.""

Submission + - Patriot missiles found on China-bound ship ( 1

schwit1 writes: The Finnish authorities have impounded an Isle of Man-flagged ship bound for China with undeclared missiles and explosives, officials say.

"Actually in our investigation at the moment, we have got the information that we found 69 Patriot missiles on the ship and around 160 tonnes of explosives," said Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen from the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation.

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