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Government

Ontario Launches Universal Basic Income Pilot (www.cbc.ca) 518

Reader epiphani writes: The Ontario Government will pilot universal basic income in a $50M program supporting 4,000 households over a 3 year period. While Slashdot has vigorously debated universal basic income in the past, and even Elon Musk has predicted it's necessity, experts continue to debate and gather data on the approach in the face of increasing automation. Ontario's plan will study three communities over three years, with participants receiving up to $17,000 annually if single, and $24,000 for families.
Software

95% Engineers in India Unfit For Software Development Jobs: Report (gadgetsnow.com) 450

An anonymous reader shares a report: Talent shortage is acute in the IT and data science ecosystem in India with a survey claiming that 95 percent of engineers in the country are not fit to take up software development jobs. According to a study by employability assessment company Aspiring Minds, only 4.77 percent candidates can write the correct logic for a programme -- a minimum requirement for any programming job. Over 36,000 engineering students form IT related branches of over 500 colleges took Automata -- a Machine Learning based assessment of software development skills -- and over 2/3 could not even write code that compiles.

Comment Happy with DynDNS until they sold to Oracle (Score 1) 27

I had a domain registered to DynDNS for 10 years (5 at a time) because I was really happy with them, particularly back when they did free domains based off of subdomains on dyndns.org: that was a really helpful and useful feature so I supported them by actually paying for a domain long-term.

However the moment they were bought by Oracle I *IMMEDIATELY* put in a Transfer Request. The reason: Oracle I consider to be one of the world's most unethical companies, up there with Broadcom and Qualcom for various semi-illegal corporate practices and outright power-abuses. If you're not familiar with the stories behind OpenOffice, MySQL, VirtualBox (which forces people to sign over total rights and ownership of code contributions), and BerkeleyDB (change of license to an unacceptable one that's incompatible with Software Libre, forcing Debian to pull latest versions: many projects have converted to LMDB as a result) - the list goes on and on. If you're not familiar with these stories I recommend you *get* familiar, fast, and drop all dependency on Oracle as fast as you practically can. They poison every company they buy, including, sadly, Sun Microsystems.

Comment looks exactly the same size as EOMA68! (Score 5, Interesting) 80

i'm the creator and guardian of the EOMA68 standard, and someone just brought the intel compute card to my attention on the mailing list. the intel compute card is *exactly* the same size as EOMA68, which in turn is based on legacy PCMCIA casework and connector re-use: credit-card-sized at: 54 x 86 x 5mm. fortunately, from the BBC video, if you check 30 seconds in the connector is completely different (otherwise intel would have a Certification Mark infringment case on their hands): it looks like it's Mini-PCIe which, if that's true, would be a very sensible choice as it contains USB2, one PCIe lane, some GPIO and power.

i do wonder if my discussions with intel over the past couple of years, as well as the crowd-funding campaign which i'm here in taiwan presently to fulfil, have spurred them to go "i know! let's make our own computer card standard just like that guy did because he said "NO" when it came to having hardware-level spying capability in the BIOS through the Intel Management Engine, with the resultant *complete* meltdown from a security perspective as outlined here https://libreboot.org/faq/#int... "

i'll be watching this with interest, because standards, i've learned, live and die by whether the designers have enough foresight to design it with upgradeability in mind, as well as have the balls to say NO when it comes to "adding options" that are not backwards-compatible.

Comment Trademarks (Score 1) 103

okay, so this is about trademarks. canonical's trademark is being brought into disrepute by the irresponsible action of some cloud providers: it's perfectly reasonable for them to sort this out. now, here's where i have an issue with canonical: why do they think it's okay to have *canonical* not brought into disrepute, when they are themselves acting in a criminal capacity, bringing the *linux* trademark into disrepute by illegally distributing linux kernel source code after they lost their right to do so under the GPLv2, by including the (binary) incompatible ZFS kernel module?

China

Russia Falls Behind In Annual Space Launches For First Time Ever (themoscowtimes.com) 93

From a report on the Moscow Times: This year, for the first time in history, Russia has fallen behind the United States and China as the world's leading launcher of space rockets. Russia will finish 2016 with just 18 launches, according to open source data, compared to China's 19 and America's 20 launches. Alexander Ivanov, deputy chief of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, said on Nov. 29 that the launch rate has decreased because Moscow's space strategy has changed. Currently, it's top priority is reviving existing and aging satellite groupings. But there are other reasons Russia's launch rate may be falling behind. Since the 1957 launch of Sputnik, the world's first satellite, Russia has been the undisputed leader in annual launch rates -- a figure that spoke to the general health of its space program and aerospace industry. At the peak of the Soviet space program, Russia often launched around 100 rockets a year. Since 1957, Russia has launched over 3,000 rockets -- roughly twice as many as the U.S. But with the Russian economy in crisis, space budgets have plummeted. Funding for the next decade of Russian space activity stands at just 1.4 trillion rubles ($21.5 billion), a figure that was only finalized after three rounds of cuts to proposed funding, which began at 3.4 trillion rubles ($52.3 billion). The U.S. space agency, NASA, received a budget of $19.3 billion in 2016 alone. To make matters worse, Russian rockets are becoming uncharacteristically undependable.

Comment OSHWA Certification is an accident waiting to happ (Score 1) 57

i tried explaining the problem to the OSHWA group: they didn't get it. the problem with their Certification Programme is that there's nothing in their document which covers liability if a design causes injury or death (deliberate or accidental). the OSHWA group is therefore setting themselves up for a class action lawsuit where some incompetent person designs something extremely badly, slaps an OSHWA logo on it, then a chinese company goes and copies it (logo included... without bothering to find out what the logo's actually for), somebody dies in an electrical fire and the family gets an aggressive lawyer to sue and blame (rightly in this case) the people they deem to have been responsible.

what's particularly troublesome is that the OSHWA's Programme is "self-certifying" Certification Programmes *NEED* to actually have clout behind them, with money put aside to be able to take legal action against people who bring the Certificate into disrepute (using Trademark Law - not patents, not copyright), and there needs to be clauses and phrases that define and assign responsibility and liability. the OSHWA document has been written by well-meaning and unfortunately very naive people who cannot comprehend how much of a risk they are taking, who have not thought things through properly. they haven't taken legal advice, and they have no idea of the distinction between "Libre" and "Open".

what is useful however is that their mailing list is a focus for like-minded people to congregate and communicate.

Comment "consumption" of video??? (Score 2) 48

". According to the report, an estimated 279m music tracks, 56m TV shows, 34m movies, and 5m video games were consumed in the three month period."

how were they "consumed"? did they print them out on rice paper, frame by frame and then and only then manage to EAT them?? this is how the cartels manage to make it look like people are criminals - by using words like "pirate" and "consumption". videos are not "physical objects". copies can't be "stolen". or CONSUMED. the watching of a video does NOT subtract any physical substance from the universe (except perhaps indirectly reducing brain matter due to complete boredom and lack of stimulus). we're being duped here. time to take back control.

Comment Re:If all you have is a hammer... (Score 1) 153

I won't waste my time explaining you why NoSQL databases are suitable for many use cases

at the request of a client i did an evaluation of a range of databases, mongodb, postgresql, mysql, and after none of them matched up to the required performance tried leveldb and lmdb (which ended up the winner by a long, long margin). mongodb's performance was the worst of the worst. it wasn't so much that it was below the performance of the other databases, it was the *MASSIVE* pauses which began after about 90 seconds of continuous INSERTs, and continued to increase to over THIRTY SECONDS, that really put the nail in its coffin.

so after only ten minutes of INSERTs i gave up on the testing because it was clear that mongodb had some form of internal cacheing and administrative overhead that took absolute precedence over data entry. as the use-case was for the storage of real-time data, having massive pauses that effectively took the entire database offline was completely unacceptable, and i will not be using mongodb, ever.

Hardware Hacking

How I Freed My Android Tablet: A Journey in Reverse Engineering (www.thanassis.space) 79

Slashdot reader ttsiod is an embedded software engineer at the European Space Agency, and shares this story about his quest to "dominate" his new tablet: Just like it's predecessor, I wanted to run a Debian chroot inside it -- that would allow me to apt-get install and run things like Privoxy, SSH SOCKS/VPN tunnels, Flask mini-servers, etc; and in general allow me to stay in control. But there was no open-source way to do this... and I could never trust "one-click roots" that communicate with servers in China... It took me weeks to reverse engineer my tablet -- and finally succeed in becoming root. The journey was quite interesting, and included both hardware and software tinkering. I learned a lot while doing it -- and wanted to share the experience with my fellow Slashdotters...
He writes that "I trust Debian. Far more than I trust the Android ecosystem," and describes everything from how he probed the boot process and created his own boot image to hunting for a way "to tell SELinux to get off my lawn".
The Military

Air Force Says F-35 Glitches Mean the A-10 Will Keep Flying 'Indefinitely' (jalopnik.com) 325

The A-10 aircraft "is just too effective to get rid of," wrote one defense blogger -- especially in light of ongoing issues with the F-35. schwit1 quotes Jalopnik: Strategists have feared that the jet will be axed in favor of funding the F-35, but the U.S. Air Force recently confirmed that it plans to keep the A-10 flying "indefinitely." While the Air Force is theoretically supposed to be diverting the A-10's operating expenses to feed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the people in charge are now planning to keep the plane running...

Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski told AviationWeek in a interview, "Our command, anyway, is approaching this as another airplane that we are sustaining indefinitely." While the beancounters and product planners are trying to push the A-10 off the board, Materiel Command is going to keep on keeping the planes in peak condition, which will give the A-10 it's best chance of proving its worth over and over again. And it seems to be working -- the A-10 posted a 5% increase in its availability rate from 2014 to 2015, and the Air Force seems to keep postponing its demise.

In Congress one representative has even suggested an operational testing "fly-off" between the two aircraft -- a jet-vs-jet competition to determine whether any more A-10s get retired.
Google

Google's 'Project Zero' Hid A Major Vulnerability in Apple's OS and iOS Cores (thestack.com) 88

In June Google's task-force against zero day exploits "identified a coding exploit in the underlying kernel of Apple's OSX and it's mobile operating system iOS, which could allow for root-level escalation of privileges for an attacker in a non-updated version of the OS," according to The Stack.

An anonymous reader writes that Google "initially refused Apple's request for sixty days' grace, but eventually settled on September 21st for disclosure. But when Apple's last-minute September fix turned out to be ineffective, Project Zero agreed to keep quiet, eventually granting Apple nearly five months of silence about the task_t bug -- which has now been fixed in the latest updates to Mac OS and iOS." The fix was released Monday, the Stack reports: Since the task_t bug allows the user to gain any entitlements they may want, it could also nullify kernel code signing, which would allow unauthorized programs to run with elevated privileges on a Mac system. Any current OSX or iOS user who has applied the latest system updates is not susceptible to the task_t vulnerability.
Intel

Intel Announces Atom E3900 Series - Goldmont for the Internet of Things (anandtech.com) 68

Intel has announced the Atom E3900 series. Based upon the company's latest generation Goldmont Atom CPU core, the E3900 series will be Intel's most serious and dedicated project yet for the IoT market. AnandTech adds: So what does an IoT-centric Atom look like? By and large, it's Broxton and more. At its core we're looking at 2 or 4 Goldmont CPU cores, paired with 12 or 18 EU configurations of Intel's Gen9 iGPU. However this is where the similarities stop. Once we get past the CPU and GPU, Intel has added new features specifically for IoT in some areas, and in other areas they've gone and reworked the design entirely to meet specific physical and technical needs of the IoT market. The big changes here are focused on security, determinism, and networking. Security is self-evident: Intel's customers need to be able to build devices that will go out into the field and be hardened against attackers. Bits and pieces of this are inerieted from Intel's existing Trusted Execution Technology, while other pieces, such as boot time measuring, are new. The latter is particularly interesting, as Intel is measuring the boot time of a system as a canary for if it's been compromised. If the boot time suddenly and unexpectedly changes, then there's a good chance the firmware and/or OS has been replaced.

Comment In other news... (Score 1) 524

... Hardware bought from thinkpenguin.com costs even less than Macs because it's pre-vetted by their 3-man company to "Just Work". the only "support" calls that they get are down to flaky USB host chipsets, BIOS DRM/whitelisting which prevents certain WIFI cards from being recognised, and the *very* very occasional request for driver support for OSes that are getting on for 15 years old. they sell ACM dial-up modems because they get calls from people who have upgraded from windows xp only to find that their old conexant softmodem is "so old" it no longer works. they buy and sell printers that don't require firmware uploads and have "generic" drivers - postscript, PCL and so on. we don't *have* to live on the treadmill: it's a choice, to tolerate the pain, cost, stress and distress of living with hardware that's designed for obsolescence, trapped by our own desire to pay less for less.

Government

CIA 'Siren Servers' Can Predict Social Uprisings Several Days Before They Happen (sociable.co) 174

Through a combination of machine learning and deep learning, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using powerful supercomputers, dubbed "Siren Servers" by computer philosophy writer Jaron Lanier, to predict social unrest days before it happens. The Sociable reports: CIA Deputy Director for Digital Innovation Andrew Hallman announced that the agency has beefed-up its "anticipatory intelligence" through the use of deep learning and machine learning servers that can process an incredible amount of data. "We have, in some instances, been able to improve our forecast to the point of being able to anticipate the development of social unrest and societal instability some I think as near as three to five days out," said Hallman on Tuesday at the Federal Tech event, Fedstival. The CIA deputy director said that it was "much harder to convey confidence for the policymaker who may make an important decision from advanced analytics with deep learning algorithms." Now that the CIA claims to be able to predict social unrest days in advance, there are some interesting theoretical possibilities that can come of this. One is that the CIA's siren servers will become so efficient that they will predict all social uprising and will be able to prevent it. If they are successful in doing that, there would be no need for the CIA as their technology could predict and prevent any societal upheavals, and the agency would be obsolete. Another potential outcome would be that the CIA could use the data and not tell anyone, just like the finance sector did, and then make calculated decisions on whether or not to intervene in any socially distressing situation.

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