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Updated: 8 min 51 sec ago

Can Your Hardware Top 18 Years and Ten Months?

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 6:30pm
DesertNomad points out this article at The Register "about a fairly aged Pentium-based server that lasted 18+ years without much in the way of service." Reminds me that I have a pair of working, occasionally used, Pentium-based notebooks (more like lug-books), one of which is a 1999 Thinkpad, and the other a 1996 CTX. I'm sure there are plenty of boxes out there that have survived at least 18 years and that are in daily or constant use. The fans are always the tricky part! What's your best personal hardware-survival stories? I have some keyboards in active service that were made in 1984, and probably some of them go back well before that, but keyboards should last that long.

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The Best Ways To Simplify Your Code?

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 5:36pm
Nerval's Lobster writes: Technical debt arises for many reasons—whether moving goal posts, pressure to get code tested and released, high programmer turnover, and lack of documentation. Over time, it can also render code a spaghetti-like mess. But how to deal with it? In a new column on Dice, developer David Bolton offers some suggestions, ranging from refactoring to using compiler inference to increase readability and shorten declarations. While those techniques are straightforward, it's clear that a lot of developers let their code get out of control, and trying to plan beforehand doesn't necessarily prevent the work from getting overcomplicated. It seems like every developer has a go-to technique (or four) for keeping things a little more streamlined. What are yours?

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AMD Unveils 64-Bit ARM-Based Opteron A1100 System On Chip With Integrated 10GbE

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 4:54pm
MojoKid writes: AMD is adding a new family of Opterons to its enterprise processor line-up today called the Opteron A1100 series. Unlike AMD's previous enterprise offerings, however, these new additions are packing ARM-based processor cores, not the X86 cores AMD has been producing for years. The Opteron A1100 series is designed for a variety of use cases and applications, including networking, storage, dense and power-efficient web serving, and 64-bit ARM software development. The new family was formerly codenamed "Seattle" and it represents the first 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57-based platform from AMD. AMD Opteron A1100 Series chips will pack up to eight 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 cores with up to 4MB of shared Level 2 and 8MB of shared Level 3 cache. They offer two 64-bit DDR3/DDR4 memory channels supporting speeds up to 1866 MHz with ECC and capacities up to 128GB, dual integrated 10Gb Ethernet network connections, 8-lanes of PCI-Express Gen 3 connectivity, and 14 SATA III ports. AMD is shipping to a number of software and hardware partners now with development systems already available.

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Microsoft Open Sources Edge JavaScript Code, Plans Linux Port

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 4:13pm
colinneagle writes: One month after promising to release the JavaScript engine of its Edge browser, Microsoft has proven good for its word and then some. Not only is it releasing the code, it's planning a Linux port. The company uploaded the code to GitHub and announced its plans via a blog post by Gaurav Seth, principal PM manager for Chakra, which is what they're calling the JavaScript engine. "Today, we are excited to share with you that we've just made the sources for ChakraCore available under the MIT License at the ChakraCore GitHub repository," he wrote. "Going forward, we'll be developing the key components of Chakra in the open." With the release, you can build ChakraCore on Windows 7 SP1 or above with Visual Studio 2013 or 2015 with C++ support installed, Seth said. Of course, Edge is more than just the Chakra engine, but this could result in a back port to Windows 7. He also said Microsoft is committed to bringing it to other platforms, starting with Linux, and invited developers to "help us in the pursuit either by letting us know which other platforms they'd like to see ChakraCore supported on, or even by helping port it to the platform of their choice."

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NASA Safety Panel Finds Concerns With the Journey To Mars

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 3:27pm
MarkWhittington writes: NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel issued its annual report on various space agency programs. The panel found a number of areas of concern surrounding the Journey to Mars program, virtually all of them stemming from inadequate funding. It suggested that NASA's plan to launch the first crewed mission on the Orion, which would use the heavy lift Space Launch System to go around the moon, in 2021 was unrealistic given current, anticipated funding. The panel also suggested that lack of a clear plan for the Mars program is compromising its viability. It also suggested that the decision not to return to the moon should be revisited in view of the desire of international partners to do so and the need of low gravity surface experience in advance of going to Mars

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EU Companies Can Monitor Employees' Private Conversations While At Work

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 2:37pm
An anonymous reader writes: A recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights has granted EU companies the right to monitor and log private conversations that employees have at work while using the employer's devices. The ruling came after a Romanian was fired for using Yahoo Messenger back in 2007, while at work, to have private conversations with his girlfriend. He argued that his employer was breaking his right for privacy and correspondence. Both Romanian and European courts disagreed.

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Nest Thermostat Bug Leaves Owners Without Heating

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 1:54pm
An anonymous reader writes: Google-owned smart homeware company Nest has asked users to reset their connected thermostats after a software bug forced controllers offline and left owners unable to heat their homes. The company has confirmed that a software update error had caused the thermostat's batteries to drain, therefore making it unable to control the temperature. Users of the smart home device took to social media to express their anger at being left with cold houses. Some feared that the fault had put water pipes under pressure, risking burst plumbing.

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Sweden Makes Another Request To Ecuador For Permission To Question Assange

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 1:13pm
cold fjord writes: Thelocal.se reports that Sweden's state prosecutor's office said today that it has formally asked Ecuador in writing for permission to interrogate Julian Assange. They don't know when Ecuador will reply. The request follows the signing of an agreement in December on general legal cooperation between the two countries. Ecuador required the agreement before it would consent to an interview of Assange. The Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange regarding rape allegations that have a statute of limitations that run till 2020. The statue of limitations for other sex crimes Assange has been accused of have expired while Assange has been in hiding. Sweden had previously asked to question Assange in the embassy, but Ecuador declined permission. In another peculiar twist to the case, RTE.ie is reporting that Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has stated that the exact procedures that will be used are not known, but that Ecuadorian prosecutors will be the ones actually questioning Assange although Swedish officials can be present. Sweden's view on this is unclear.

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Netflix Movie and TV Show Country Comparison and Content Lists

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 12:25pm
SlappingOysters writes: Netflix's surprise large-scale global rollout to over 100 countries last week saw the company's huge entertainment offering appear in homes across the world overnight, however, no two countries were offered the exact same content. Finder has created a master list of TV shows and movies available for each country. There is also an interactive global map comparing each country and a comparison table that compares each country's offering to those of the USA. Last week a list of ID codes for all subgenres was released for anyone interested in narrowing down their searches.

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Microsoft Open-Sources Its JavaScript Engine Chakra

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 10:33am
An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Microsoft has open-sourced the core components of Chakra, the company's JavaScript engine used in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. The project, dubbed ChakraCore, has been released under the MIT License on GitHub. The official blog post reads in part: "The ChakraCore repository provides a fully supported and open-source standalone JavaScript engine, with the same characteristics as the Microsoft Edge’s Chakra engine, to embed in projects, innovate on top of and contribute back to. We will be accepting community contributions and input to ChakraCore. Once the changes from any pull request have been vetted, our goal is to ensure that all changes find their way to be shipped as a part of the JavaScript engine powering Microsoft Edge and the Universal Windows Platform on Windows 10."

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Ann Caracristi, Who Cracked Codes, and the Glass Ceiling At NSA, Dies At 94

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 8:08am
An anonymous reader writes with this story at The Washington Post about the life and death of Ann Caracristi. From the article: "Ann Caracristi, who became one of the highest ranking and most honored women at the code breaking National Security Agency after a career extending from World War II through much of the Cold War, died Jan. 10 at her home in Washington. She was 94. ... Ms. Caracristi formally retired from her intelligence career in 1982, after becoming the sixth deputy director of the NSA . . . She was the first woman to serve as deputy director. One of her strengths was reconstructing enemy code books, said Liza Mundy, a former Washington Post staff writer who is working on a book about U.S. female code breakers during the war. Admired for her early accomplishments as a young woman in wartime Washington, Ms. Caracristi was credited in her later career with providing leadership for new generations of code breakers and for her efforts to bring computers and technology to bear on the work. ... One of her jobs at the NSA was as chief from 1959 to 1980 of branches devoted to research and operations. Her honors there included the Defense Department's Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the National Security Medal, among other top federal honors. After retiring, she began serving on a variety of prominent scientific, defense and intelligence advisory boards and committees."

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Nvidia Blames Apple For Bug That Exposes Browsing In Chrome's Incognito

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 5:28am
An anonymous reader points out this story at VentureBeat about a bug in Chrome's incognito mode that might be a cause for concern for some Apple users. From the story: "If you use Google Chrome's incognito mode to hide what you browse (ahem, porn), this might pique your interest. University of Toronto engineering student Evan Andersen discovered a bug that affects Nvidia graphics cards, exposing content that you thought would be for your eyes only. And because this only happens on Macs, Nvidia is pointing the finger at Apple."

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New Remote Access Trojan Used In Cyberespionage Operations

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 3:06am
itwbennett writes: Researchers from Arbor Networks have discovered a new remote access Trojan, dubbed Trochilus, whose detection rate was very low among antivirus products. The malware was discovered while the researchers were investigating attacks in Myanmar that were launched from compromised government websites. While the Myanmar attacks provided initial insights into the group's operations, additional research revealed that the hackers' activities extend beyond that country.

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Universal To License Music To SoundCloud In Streaming Deal

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 1:28am
An anonymous reader writes: Universal Music Group has agreed to license its music to online audio platform SoundCloud – a major step for the popular startup, which has struggled to receive legitimate recognition in the industry. SoundCloud will enjoy access to Universal material, including work from top global artists signed to the label such as Adele, Taylor Swift and Kanye West. Conversely Universal will be able to access SoundCloud's advertising, analytics and data tools with the aim of increasing revenue streams and bolstering fan/artist engagement.

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Seagate Adopts Helium For a 10TB HDD

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 12:45am
Lucas123 writes: Seagate has finally adopted helium as an inert gas in its data center drives and has used it to produce a 10TB HDD for cloud-based data centers. Seagate had relied on its shingled magnetic recording technology for high-capacity drives right up until its last 8TB HDD, even after WD has used helium in several iterations of its hermetically sealed, 3.5-in HDDs. The lighter-than-air helium reduces friction on platters and allows more to be used. In Seagate's new HDD, it crammed seven platters 14 heads, a 25% increase in disk density over its 8TB drive.

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Why Sharing Ransomware Code For Educational Purposes Is Asking For Trouble

Thu, 14/01/2016 - 12:01am
Mark Wilson writes: Trend Micro may still be smarting from the revelation that there was a serious vulnerability in its Password Manager tool, but today the security company warns of the dangers of sharing ransomware source code. The company says that those who discover vulnerabilities need to think carefully about sharing details of their findings with the wider public as there is great potential for this information to be misused, even if it is released for educational purposes. It says that 'even with the best intentions, improper disclosure of sensitive information can lead to complicated, and sometimes even troublesome scenarios'. The warning may seem like an exercise in stating the bleeding obvious, but it does serve as an important reminder of how the vulnerability disclosure process should work.

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Al Jazeera America Terminates All TV and Digital Operations

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 11:18pm
waspleg writes: Executives of Al Jazeera America (AJAM) held a meeting at 2 p.m. Eastern Time to tell their employees that the company is terminating all news and digital operations in the U.S. as of April 2016, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs. AJAM has been losing staggering sums of money from the start. That has become increasingly untenable as the network's owner and funder, the government of Qatar, is now economically struggling due to low oil prices. The decision was made recently to terminate AJAM, which allows the network to terminate all of its cumbersome distribution contracts with cable companies, and re-launch its successful Al Jazeera English inside the U.S.

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Alfred Poor Talks About Health Wearables at CES (Video)

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 10:34pm
The biggest shift in wearables that Alfred Poor saw at CES was from consumer wearables to wearables designed to serve corporate goals, especially cutting health care costs. He says that when it comes to fitness and other health-related wearables, "consumer is the past and business is the future."

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NASA Forms New Planetary Defense Office To Manage Asteroid Threats

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 9:51pm
An anonymous reader writes: NASA has set up a new Planetary Defense Coordination Office to detect and track near-Earth objects. CNN reports: "The department, which includes the position of Planetary Defense Officer, is managed by the Planetary Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. And its mission includes the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) — asteroids and comets which get within 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth's orbit around the sun (7.5 million kilometers) and are large enough, greater than around 30 — 50 meters (98 — 164 feet), to reach the Earth's surface." Bruce Willis had no comment on his level of involvement in the new agency.

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Are Phone Numbers Doomed To Die?

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 9:08pm
HughPickens.com writes: Valentina Zarya writes at Fortune Magazine that the top 2016 prediction for David Marcus,Facebook's vice president of messaging products, is the disappearance of the phone number and its replacement by applications like Facebook's Messenger. " You can make video and voice calls while at the same time not needing to know someone's phone number," writes Marcus. "You don't need to have a Facebook account to use Messenger anymore, and it's also a cross platform experience – so you can pick up where you left off whether you're on a desktop computer, a tablet, or your phone." Jonah Berger, Wharton professor and author of "Contagious: Why Things Catch On" agrees. "For most of us, I think it's really hard to actually remember what someone's phone number actually is. We use our phones so often or we click on a button that has it. But if there was a test where you had to say, do you remember your best friends number or could you type in your best friend's number I think most of us would fail." But not everyone agrees that Murcus' predictions are objective and disinterested. "It's all very well the company wanting to be the de facto Internet — especially in places like India. But drier minds and eyes might wonder whether the wish to eradicate phone numbers has something to do with not everyone having yet given Facebook their phone numbers," says Chris Matyszczyk. "It may well be that phone numbers will disappear. Some, though, might wonder how making their disappearance a company theme squares with what Marcus claims is the ultimate goal: 'It's all about delight.' This one's easy. It's all about delighting Facebook."

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