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Submission + - Ask Slashtot: How to determine if your IOT device is part of a botnet? 1

galgon writes: There has been a number of stories of IoT devices becoming part of
Botnets and being used in DDOS Attacks. If these devices are seemingly working correctly to the user how would they ever know the device was compromised? Is there anything the average user can do to detect when they have a misbehaving device on their network?

Submission + - New formula massively reduces prime number memory requirements.

grcumb writes: Peruvian mathematician Harald Helfgott made his mark on the history of mathematics by solving Goldbach's Weak Conjecture, which every odd number greater than 5 can be expressed as the sum of three prime numbers. Now, according to Scientific American, he's found a better solution to the Sieve of Erasthones:

In order to determine with this sieve all primes between 1 and 100, for example, one has to write down the list of numbers in numerical order and start crossing them out in a certain order: first, the multiples of 2 (except the 2); then, the multiples of 3, except the 3; and so on, starting by the next number that had not been crossed out. The numbers that survive this procedure will be the primes. The method can be formulated as an algorithm.

But now, Helfgott has found a method to drastically reduce the amount of RAM required to run the algorithm:

Helfgott was able to modify the sieve of Eratosthenes to work with less physical memory space. In mathematical terms: instead of needing a space N, now it is enough to have the cube root of N.

So what will be the impact of this? Will we see cheaper, lower-power encryption devices? Or maybe quicker cracking times in brute force attacks?

Submission + - What are the FLOSS community's answers to Siri and AI? (upon2020.com)

jernst writes: A decade ago, we in the free and open-source community could build our own versions of pretty much any proprietary software system out there, and we did. Publishing, collaboration, commerce, you name it. Some apps were worse, some were better than closed alternatives, but much of it was clearly good enough to use every day.

But is this still true? For example, voice control is clearly going to be a primary way we interact with our gadgets in the future. Speaking to an Amazon Echo-like device while sitting on my couch makes a lot more sense than using a web browser. Will we ever be able to do that without going through somebody’s proprietary silo like Amazon’s or Apple’s? Where are the free and/or open-source versions of Siri, Alexa and so forth?

The trouble, of course, is not so much the code, but in the training. The best speech recognition code isn’t going to be competitive unless it has been trained with about as many millions of hours of example speech as the closed engines from Apple, Google and so forth have been. How can we do that?

The same problem exists with AI. There’s plenty of open-source AI code, but how good is it unless it gets training and retraining with gigantic data sets? We don’t have those in the FLOSS world, and even if we did, would we have the money to run gigantic graphics card farms 24×7? Will we ever see truly open AI that is not black-box machinery guarded closely by some overlord company, but something that “we can study how it works, change it so it does our computing as we wish” and all the other values embodied in the Free Software Definition?

Who has a plan, and where can I sign up to it?

Submission + - Lenovo denies claims it plotted with Microsoft to block Linux installs (theregister.co.uk)

kruug writes: Several users noted certain new Lenovo machines' SSDs are locked in a RAID mode, with AHCI removed from the BIOS. Windows is able to see the SSD while in RAID mode due to a proprietary driver, but the SSD is hidden from Linux installations — for which such a driver is unavailable.

Speaking to The Register today, a Lenovo spokesperson claimed the Chinese giant "Does not intentionally block customers using other operating systems on its devices and is fully committed to providing Linux certifications and installation guidance on a wide range of products."

Complaints on Lenovo's forums suggest that users have been unable to install GNU/Linux operating systems on models from the Yoga 900S to the Ideapad 710S, with one 19-page thread going into detail about the BIOS issue and users' attempts to work around it.

Submission + - Code.org Touts Apple's Swift Playgrounds, Disses Wolfram Language

theodp writes: Tech-backed Code.org, one of the leaders of the new CSforAll Consortium that was announced at the White House on Wednesday, took to its blog Thursday to say "Thanks, Tim [Cook], for supporting the effort to give every student the opportunity to learn computer science," giving a shout out to Apple for providing "resources for teachers who want to put Swift Playgrounds in their classrooms (a day earlier, the White House said Apple developed Swift Playgrounds "in support of the President’s call to action" for CS for All). Curiously, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi argued Friday that "the Wolfram Language has serious shortcomings for broad educational use" in an EdSurge op-ed that was called a "response to a recent blog post by Stephen Wolfram" on Wolfram's ambitious plan to teach computational thinking in schools. Partovi's complaints? "It requires login for all but the simplest use cases, but doesn’t provide any privacy safeguards for young children (required in the U.S. through legislation such as COPPA). Also, a serious user would need to pay for usage, making implementation inaccessible in most schools. Lastly, it’s a bit difficult to use by students who struggle with English reading or writing, such as English language learners or early elementary school students." So, if you were a teacher trying to teach computational thinking skills to the 11-and-older set, would you be inclined to embrace Wolfram's approach, Apple's Swift Playgrounds, Microsoft TEALS' Java-centric AP CS curriculum, or something else (e.g., R, Tableau, Excel+VBA)?

Submission + - Microsoft Weaponizes Minecraft in the War over Classrooms (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: In the two years since Microsoft acquired Minecraft's parent company, its discovered a brilliant new direction to take the game: it's turning it into a tool for education, creating both an innovative approach to classroom technology and an inspired strategy for competing with Google and Apple in the ed-tech market. "I actually never believed there would be a game that would really cross over between the commercial entertainment market and education in a mainstream way,” says cultural anthropologist Mimi Ito—but Minecraft has managed to do just that.

Submission + - Android-x86 6.0 Released to Let You Run Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Your PC

prisoninmate writes: Android-x86 6.0 has been in the works since early this year, and it received a total of two RC (Release Candidate) builds during its entire development cycle, one in June and another in August. After joining the Remix OS team, Chih-Wei Huang now has all the reasons to update and improve its Android-x86 system for the latest Android releases. Therefore, as you might have guessed already, Android-x86 6.0 is the first stable version of the project to be based on Google's Linux kernel-based Android 6.0 Marshmallow mobile operating system, and includes the most recent AOSP (Android Open Source Project) security updates too. Under the hood, Android-x86 6.0 is using the long-term supported Linux 4.4.20 kernel with an updated graphics stack based on Mesa 12.0.2 3D Graphics Library, and offers support for Samsung's F2FS file system for SSD drives, better Wi-Fi support after resume and suspend, and initial HDMI audio support.

Submission + - How many servers does it take to deliver Netflix to the world? This many (ieee.org)

Wave723 writes: For the first time, a team of researchers has mapped the entire content delivery network that brings Netflix to the world, including the number and location of every server that the company uses to distribute its films. They also independently analyzed traffic volumes handled by each of those servers. Their work allows experts to compare Netflix's distribution approach to those of other content-rich companies such as Google, Akamai and Limelight.

To do this, IEEE Spectrum reports that the group reverse-engineered Netflix's domain name system for the company's servers, and then created a crawler that used publicly available information to find every possible server name within its network through the common address nflxvideo.net. In doing so, they were able to determine the total number of servers the company users, where those servers are located, and whether the servers were housed within Internet exchange points or with Internet service providers, revealing stark differences in Netflix's strategy between countries.

One of their most interesting findings was that two Netflix servers appear to be deployed within Verizon's U.S. network, which one researcher speculates could indicate that the companies are pursuing an early pilot or trial.

Submission + - Young grads in India aim to land a robot on the moon. (thehindu.com)

GillBates0 writes: Team Indus (http://www.teamindus.in/) is one of the 16 remaining from the 29 that had entered the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP: http://lunar.xprize.org/) competition. It plans to use ISRO’s (http://www.isro.gov.in/) workhorse — the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) to send the spacecraft to the moon. Among it's rivals are – Israeli non-profit organisation SpaceIL and US-based start-up Moon Express. An official designated as ‘Skywalker’, said that such space missions used to be limited to extremely elite people and PhDs in the past. That stereotype is now breaking. “I was just a college student a couple of years ago and now I am working on an actual space mission, how cool is that,” said Karan Vaish, 23, who is helping the team to design the lunar rover. Eighty per cent of the team is reported to be less than five years out of college (http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/young-grads-aim-to-land-a-robot-on-the-moon/article9043063.ece?w=alauto).

Submission + - Princeton Researchers Announce Open Source 25-core Chip (princeton.edu) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Princeton announced at Hot Chips this week their 25-core Piton Processor (http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S47/19/67G69/?section=topstories). The processor was designed specifically to increase data center efficiency with novel architecture features enabling over 8,000 of these processors to be connected together to build a system with over 200,000 cores. Fabricated on IBM’s 32nm process and with over 460 Million transistors, Piton is one of the largest and most complex academic processors every built. The Princeton team has opened their design up and released all of the chip source code, tests, and infrastructure as open source in the OpenPiton (http://www.openpiton.org) project enabling others to build scalable manycore processors with potentially thousands of cores.

Submission + - Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years (independent.co.uk)

campuscodi writes: Orangutans will be extinct from the planet within 10 years unless action is taken to preserve forests in Indonesia and Malaysia where they live, a conservation charity has warned.

The Bornean orangutan was officially listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last month, joining the only other kind, the Sumatran orangutan, in that classification. In just 25 years, more than a quarter of Indonesia's forests – 76 million acres, an area almost the size of Germany – have disappeared. One of the main reasons is to clear land to make way for palm oil plantations.

Submission + - Powershell is Open Sourced and available for Linux and MacOS (microsoft.com)

Bobfrankly1 writes: Some have suspected the possibility of Powershell on linux since the release of DotNet Core. JSnover announced the release today:

Today, we are taking the next step in our journey. I am extremely excited to share that PowerShell is open sourced and available on Linux. (For those of you who need a refresher, PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language built on the .NET Framework to help IT professionals control and automate the administration of the Windows, and now Linux, operating systems and the applications that run on them.)

It's available on github now: https://github.com/PowerShell/...

Submission + - The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime and Exxon fired the gun (theguardian.com) 1

mspohr writes: An article published by Bill McKibben in The Guardian points the finger at Exxon for spreading climate change denial which led to lack of action to prevent widespread coral die-off.
"We know the biggest culprits now, because great detective work by investigative journalists has uncovered key facts in the past year. The world’s biggest oil company, Exxon, knew everything there was to know about climate change by the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its scientists understood how much and how fast it was going to warm, and how much damage that was going to do. And the company knew the scientists were right: that’s why they started “climate-proofing” their own installations, for instance building their drilling rigs to accommodate the sea level rise they knew was coming.

What they didn’t do was tell the rest of us. Instead, they – and many other players in the fossil fuel industry – bankrolled the rise of the climate denial industry, helping fund the “thinktanks” and front groups that spent the last generation propagating the phoney idea that there was a deep debate about the reality of global warming. As a result, we’ve wasted a quarter century in a phoney argument about whether the climate was changing."

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