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Submission + - Facebook's Account Kit Login System Works via Phone Numbers, No Passwords Needed (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: At this year's F8 developer conference, Facebook announced a new tool called Account Kit which can be used by app developers to support a phone number-based login systems. Every time the user wants to log in, he has to enter his phone number. Facebook will then send him a verification code via SMS, which he has to enter on the site. The system was already tested live, and Facebook expects it to be widely adopted, allowing sites to offer users accounts that don't require them to memorize a new password.

Submission + - Google: Too Many White/Asian Males Play Computer Scientists on TV and in Movies 2

theodp writes: In partnership with Gallup, Google has released a second report with its take on the state of U.S. K-12 CS education. Entitled Images of Computer Science: Perceptions Among Students, Parents and Educators in the U.S., the report suggests tech's woeful diversity can be traced back to Hollywood's portrayal of Computer Scientists. "Students and parents perceive that there are few portrayals of women, Hispanic or Black computer scientists on TV or in movies," the report explains in its Key Findings. "These groups are much more likely to see White or Asian men engaged in computer science. They also often see computer scientists portrayed wearing glasses." In an accompanying post at the Google for Education blog, Google's Head of R&D for K-12 Education adds, "The results show that there's high value and interest in CS among all demographics, and even more so for lower-income parents. But unfortunately perceptions of who CS is for and who is portrayed in CS are narrow-White, male, smart with glasses. Even though they value it, students often don't see themselves in it." As a result of this and other factors, the report notes that "among the 49 states with at least one student taking the [AP] computer science exam, 12 had no Black students participating in 2014." It's an alarming factoid, but also a misleading one. As Gas Station Without Pumps explained two years ago, it is hardly surprising from a statistical standpoint that there are no Black student test takers in a state if there are essentially no test takers at all. So, let's not forget about girls and minorities, but let's also not forget that pretty much everyone is underrepresented if we look at the big AP CS picture — only 46,344 AP CS scores were reported in 2015 for a HS population of about 16 million students. So, shouldn't the goal at this stage of the game really be CS education for all? Towards that end, perhaps Google might want to look into commissioning a free programming book for kids from O'Reilly instead of another point-the-finger report from Gallup. But if Google wants to continue its search for things that have discouraged kids from coding, it might want to look in the mirror. After all, dropping a programming language for kids — as Google did with App Inventor in 2011 after CEO Larry Page ordered the plug pulled on projects deemed unworthy of Google 'wood' — didn't exactly send kids (and their perplexed teachers) the message that CS was for them, did it?

Submission + - The War on Campus Sexual Assault Goes Digital

HughPickens.com writes: According to a recent study of 27 schools, about one-quarter of female undergraduates said they had experienced nonconsensual sex or touching since entering college, but most of the students said they did not report it to school officials or support services. Now Natasha Singer reports at the NYT that in an effort to give students additional options — and to provide schools with more concrete data — a nonprofit software start-up in San Francisco called Sexual Health Innovations has developed an online reporting system for campus sexual violence. One of the most interesting features of Callisto is a matching system — in which a student can ask the site to store information about an assault in escrow and forward it to the school only if someone else reports another attack identifying the same assailant. The point is not just to discover possible repeat offenders. In college communities, where many survivors of sexual assault know their assailants, the idea of the information escrow is to reduce students’ fears that the first person to make an accusation could face undue repercussions.

"It’s this last option that makes Callisto unique," writes Olga Khazan. "Most rapes are committed by repeat offenders, yet most victims know their attackers. Some victims are reluctant to report assaults because they aren’t sure whether a crime occurred, or they write it off as a one-time incident. Knowing about other victims might be the final straw that puts an end to their hesitation—or their benefit of the doubt. Callisto’s creators claim that if they could stop perpetrators after their second victim, 60 percent of campus rapes could be prevented." This kind of system is based partly on a Michigan Law Review article about “information escrows,” or systems that allow for the transmitting of sensitive information in ways that reduce “first-mover disadvantage" also known to economists as the "hungry penguin problem". As game theorist Michael Chwe points out, the fact that each person creates her report independently makes it less likely they’ll later be accused of submitting copycat reports, if there are similarities between the incidents.

Submission + - Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinate Via Unencrypted SMS (techdirt.com)

schwit1 writes: In the wake of the tragic events in Paris last week encryption has continued to be a useful bogeyman for those with a voracious appetite for surveillance expansion. Like clockwork, numerous reports were quickly circulated suggesting that the terrorists used incredibly sophisticated encryption techniques, despite no evidence by investigators that this was the case. These reports varied in the amount of hallucination involved, the New York Times even having to pull one such report offline. Other claims the attackers had used encrypted Playstation 4 communications also wound up being bunk.

Submission + - Julia Programming Language Receives $600k Donation

jones_supa writes: The Julia programming language has received a $600k donation from Moore Foundation. The foundation wants to get the language into a production version. This has a goal to create more efficient and powerful scientific computing tools to assist in data-driven research. The money will be granted over the next two years so the Julia Language team can move their core open computing language and libraries into the first production version. The Julia Language project aims to create a dynamic programming language that is general purpose but designed to excel at numerical computing and data science. It is especially good at running MATLAB and R style programs.
Data Storage

ZFS Hits an Important Milestone, Version 0.6.1 Released 99

sfcrazy writes "ZFS on Linux has reached what Brian Behlendorf calls an important milestone with the official 0.6.1 release. Version 0.6.1 not only brings the usual bug fixes but also introduces a new property called 'snapdev.' Brian explains, 'The snapdev property was introduced to control the visibility of zvol snapshot devices and may be set to either visible or hidden. When set to hidden, which is the default, zvol snapshot devices will not be created under /dev/. To gain access to these devices the property must be set to visible. This behavior is analogous to the existing snapdir property.'"

Festo's Drone Dragonfly Takes To the Air 45

yyzmcleod writes "Building on the work of last year's bionic creation, the Smart Bird, Festo announced that it will literally launch its latest creation, the BionicOpter, at Hannover Messe in April. With a wingspan of 63 cm and weighing in at 175 grams, the robotic dragonfly mimics all forms of flight as its natural counterpart, including hover, glide and maneuvering in all directions. This is made possible, the company says, by the BionicOpter's ability to move each of its four wings independently, as well as control their amplitude, frequency and angle of attack. Including its actuated head and body, the robot exhibits 13 degrees of freedom, which allows it to rapidly accelerate, decelerate, turn and fly backwards."

Comment Re:Wha? (Score 1) 239

Hehe. You missed the part about "same could be said for all participants". My point was that as vicotrs, the Americans got to write about their achievements, while minimizing the achievements of others, and glossing over their mistakes.

History is seldom written from the perspective of the losing side; if it's written it's called a hostorical novel or fiction.

Comment Re:Let me get past the easy comments... (Score 1) 1006

There are already tons of posts saying either "document it" or "find another job". Here's what I recommend. 1. Take a software inventory. Figure out what is installed where, and which license codes/CD keys are being used. 2. Pull records. We get a lot of our PCs pre-loaded with MS apps and Acrobat. Those OEM installs stay with the machines, though many places try to move them forward from machine to machine (thus creating the impression that "we must have bought it sometime"). 3. Check online sites, like Microsoft's eOpen site, or contact specific vendors (e.g., call Autodesk or your VAR) and ask them to send you a summary of your current licenses. 4. Document your level of usage against your level of compliance. Include all costs for becoming compliant. Be sure to include one time costs (e.g., buying additional seats) and any recurring costs (e.g., maintenance, back maintenance, reinstatement fees). 5. Educate management that software is licensed, not purchased. 6. Include information regarding the legal liability related to pirated software. Include references to any cases you can find, including actual fines, as well as potential fines (caps). Note the reputational risk to the company as well. 7. Prepare a plan for bringing the company into compliance. Include possible stop-gap measures and alternatives (e.g., limiting the number of users with a specific pieces of software, buying one additional license per year, using OpenOffice). 8. Compile everything into a well-documented report/memo (depending on your company's preferred style), and be sure to present it personally (don't just email it off). Offer to meet at another time, if necessary, but you must make it clear how important this is. Offer to meet with the entire management team. Communicate, communicate, communicate. 9. Let management know you don't plan on blowing the whistle (they'll surely say "nobody knows, so we're fine"), but make them aware that any disgruntled employee could make a call in to the piracy hotline. If you have the intestinal fortitude to do so, you could even make it clear (if it reflects your beliefs) that you value your integrity and that you cannot, in good conscience, help the company steal software/violate contract terms. Of course, that means you need to be ready to put up or shut up. All that being well and good, you can take some practical steps to start getting things into compliance going forward:

  • Commit to buying licenses for all new software requests.
  • Keep good inventory records of hardware (and associated OEM software) and software.
  • Start buying machines with appropriate OEM software (if small enough where volume licensing doesn't make sense), and consider buying shrink-wrap software on the same order (this might let the financial eggheads depreciate the entire purchase - IANATA)
  • Adopt free software that is not limited to home/personal/educational use, like Comodo Internet Security and OpenOffice.
  • Pray you don't get audited.

Good points, making a comment so I have a reference to go back

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