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Updated: 6 min ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are American Tech Workers Paid So Well?

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 4:45am
Slashdot reader davidwr is "an American-born, American-educated mid-career IT professional." But he's still curious about why American geeks earn more than their IT counterparts overseas: If I'm a mid-career programmer looking for a job, why should I expect to be paid a whole lot more than my peer in India when applying for a job that could easily be outsourced to India? If I do get the job, why should I expect to keep it more than a year or two instead of being told "your job is being outsourced" before 2020? Is my American education and 5-25 years of experience in the American workplace really worth it to an employer? Should we, as an industry, lower our salary expectations -- and that of students entering the field -- to make us more competitive with our peers in India and similar "much cheaper labor than first world" economies? If not, what should we be doing to make ourselves competitive in ways that our peers overseas cannot duplicate? What's the secret ingredient that justifies those higher salaries? Leave your answers in the comments. Why are American tech workers paid so well?

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Gawker Pays $750,000 To That Guy Who Didn't Invent Email

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 2:45am
Shiva Ayyadurai still claims he invented email -- rather than the late ARPANET pioneer Ray Tomlinson. Now Gizmodo reports that Ayyadurai "will receive a $750,000 settlement from Gawker Media, the bankrupt publisher that he sued for defamation earlier this year." As part of the settlement, Gawker Media has agreed to delete three stories from the archive of Gawker.com, including one about Ayyadurai. Univision, which purchased most of Gawker Media's assets [including Gizmodo] out of bankruptcy in September, deleted two Gizmodo posts concerning Ayyadurai -- over the objections of the editorial staff -- immediately after closing the transaction... The offending Gizmodo articles made the case that "a lot of people don't believe that Ayyadurai invented email," and that "networked communication actually predates [his] computer program by a few years." As Tomlinson told Gizmodo in one of the stories Ayyadurai succeeded in getting unpublished, the email formats that are so familiar today -- to:, from:, etc. -- were in use years before Ayyadurai "invented" them. The third post was titled, "If Fran Drescher Read Gizmodo She Would Not Have Married This Fraud."

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Microsoft Promises To Defend World Chess Champion From Russian Hackers

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 1:14am
"World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has asked Microsoft to protect him against Russian hackers, as he expects to become the target of cyber attacks launched before the match with grandmaster Sergey Karjakin next week," reports Softpedia. An anonymous reader shares more details from The Telegraph: The man dubbed the 'Mozart of chess' has spent months using high-powered chess computers to meticulously prepare moves for his grueling 12-game match against challenger Sergey Karjakin. But any leak of his analysis would hand a significant advantage to Crimean-born Karjakin, the fiercely-patriotic darling of Russian president Vladimir Putin... "The element of surprise is vitally important in chess," explained the Vibeke Hansen, from Microsoft Norway... She said Microsoft Norway will "ensure that he has a safe training environment and secure communication and collaboration tools".

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Scientists at De Beers Fight the Growing Threat of Man-Made Diamonds

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 11:44pm
"In the past few years, lab-grown diamonds have become indistinguishable from natural diamonds to the naked eye..." reports the Wall Street Journal. This creates a problem for diamond-mining company De Beers. HughPickens.com writes: While synthetics make up just a fraction of the market, they have growing appeal to younger buyers -- a headache for mine owners, who are under pressure to cut supply and lower prices, because traders, cutters and polishers are struggling to profit amid a credit squeeze and languishing jewelry sales... "Martin Roscheisen, chief executive of Diamond Foundry Inc., a San Francisco synthetic-diamond producer with a capacity of 24,000 carats, says he believes nearly all diamonds consumers purchase will be man-made in a few decades," reports the Journal. "To counter the threat, last year De Beers helped launch a trade association with other producers to market the attraction of natural diamonds. It also started marketing a new, cheap detector called PhosView, that uses ultraviolet light to detect lab-grown stones that quickly screens tiny synthetic diamonds. It always seemed like a waste of money to me. After all, it's literally raining diamonds on Saturn.

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New Paper Explores The Prospects For Life Around M-Class Stars

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 10:14pm
Long-time Slashdot reader RockDoctor summarizes the significance of a new paper describing "The Habitability of Planets Orbiting M-Dwarf Stars": Although Star Trek had a minor smattering of "M-class planets" -- a designation that tells one nothing of substance -- "M-class star" is a much more meaningful designation of color, with two size classes, the dwarfs and the red giants... an M-dwarf of 1/10 the mass of the Sun will burn for around 1000 times the time that the Sun does... Therefore, if humanity ever meets an alien species, the odds of them coming from an M-dwarf [system] are already high. If humanity ever meets an alien species that has been around a billion years longer than us and has technology we can't even dream of, then the odds of it coming from an M-dwarf are overwhelmingly high. This new paper offers "a comprehensive picture of the current knowledge of M-dwarf planet occurrence and habitability," pointing out that most of these stars are apparently orbited by planets packed closely together, with "a paucity of Jupiter-mass planets and the presence of multiple rocky planets." And more importantly, roughly a third of those rocky planets are orbiting in a "habitable zone" -- far enough away from their stars to support liquid water.

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FBI: Review of New Emails Doesn't Change Conclusion on Clinton

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 9:04pm
FBI director James Comey told Congress Sunday that the new scrutiny of emails related to Hillary Clinton has turned up nothing that would cause the bureau to recommend charges against her. The conclusion comes nine days after rocking the presidential race with word that a new trove of emails had been discovered. "During that process, we have reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of State," Comey wrote. "Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton." From a report on CNN:"We were always confident nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it," tweeted Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon. Comey's last-minute announcement gives Clinton an opportunity for an I-told-you-so moment -- but it's unlikely to undo the political damage of his initial announcement. Trump and his allies have seized on that announcement, using it claim Clinton is likely to face criminal charges. "If she were to win, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis," Trump claimed Saturday night in Reno, Nevada. "In that situation we could very well have a sitting president under felony indictment and ultimately a criminal trial. It would grind government to a halt." The political benefit for Trump has been that Republicans who'd been skeptical of their party's nominee have largely followed vice presidential nominee Mike Pence's calls to "come home" to the party -- finding Trump less objectionable than Clinton.

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How I Freed My Android Tablet: A Journey in Reverse Engineering

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 8:34pm
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".

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Chrome Now Accounts For 55% of All Web Browsing

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 7:34pm
Google's Chrome browser "now accounts for more than half of all desktop browser usage and has nearly double the market share of Edge and Internet Explorer combined," reports Hot Hardware: Market research firm Net Applications has Chrome sitting pretty with a 54.99% share of the desktop browser market, up from 31.12% at this moment a year ago, while Internet Explorer and Edge combine for 28.39 percent and Firefox stuck at around 11%. Even more interesting is that when Windows 10 launched to the public at the end of July 2015, Chrome had a 27.82% share of the market while IE still dominated the landscape with a 54% share. Now the script has flipped. Just six months ago, the same research firm reported Chrome with a 41.66%, share barely beating Microsoft's 41.35%.

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Remembering The Creator of Marvel's Doctor Strange, Steve Ditko

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 6:34pm
An anonymous reader writes: As Marvel publicizes its Doctor Strange movie, "there's one key figure you won't be hearing from: the person who created the Sorcerer Supreme." Steve Ditko (who also co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee in 1962) introduced Doctor Strange in 1963, remembers The Hollywood Reporter, then abruptly left Marvel in 1966 to work for other publishers. "He would more or less be done with mainstream comics by the 1970s, though he would pop up from time to time (he co-created Squirrel Girl for Marvel in the 1990s)." Ditko was recently involved in a Kickstarter campaign to honor the anniversaries of famous comics (in which 152 backers ultimately pledged $5,462). He celebrated his 89th birthday this week, but "He is private and has intentionally stayed out of the spotlight like J.D. Salinger," says the director of Doctor Strange, adding "I hope he goes to see the movie wherever he is, because I think we paid homage to his work." The article includes fond memories of working with Ditko from both Jim Starlin and Stan Lee, who also praised his work in a book called The Art of Steve Ditko. "All I had to do was give Steve a one-line description of the plot and he'd be off and running. He'd take those skeleton outlines I had given him and turn them into classic little works of art that ended up being far cooler than I had any right to expect."

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Windows 10's Store Locks 'Call of Duty' Purchasers Into Windows-10-Only Battles

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 5:34pm
An anonymous reader writes: Two Call of Duty games have been remastered for Windows 10, but if you buy them through the Windows 10 Store there's a problem. "Windows 10 Store players will be isolated from other PC versions of the game," reports the Windows Central site, noting a statement from Microsoft which implies that the decision was made by Activision. "For unknown reasons, Windows 10 Store customers are segregated from customers who bought the game from Steam, which is by far the most popular platform on PC," reports Motherboard. "Call of Duty fans who made the unfortunate of mistake of giving Microsoft their cash are left sitting in lonely multiplayer lobbies waiting for games that'll never start." Motherboard reports that at least one player successfully requested a refund, calling the situation "another black eye for a digital storefront that PC gamers already avoid like the plague."

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User Forks FileZilla FTP Client After Getting Hacked

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 4:34pm
Slashdot reader Entropy98 writes: A frustrated FileZilla user took matters into his own hands after getting hacked due to the fact that his saved passwords were being saved in plain text files. Despite years of numerous requests over almost 10 years the FileZilla devs refused to add a Master Password option to encrypt the stored passwords. Finally fed up one user forked FileZilla and created FileZilla Secure with the Master Password option.

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Researchers Create An Undetectable Rootkit That Targets Industrial Equipment

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 3:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes Bleeping Computer: "Two researchers presenting at the Black Hat Europe security conference in London revealed a method of infecting industrial equipment with an undetectable rootkit component that can wreak havoc and disrupt the normal operations of critical infrastructure all over the world. The attack targets PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers), devices that sit between normal computers that run industrial monitoring software and the actual industrial equipment, such as motors, valves, sensors, breakers, alarms, and others." Researchers say they packed their attack as a loadable kernel module [PDF], which makes it both undetectable and reboot persistent. The attack goes after PLC pin configurations, meaning the PLC won't be able to tell which are the actual input and output pins, allowing the attacker full-control to make up bogus sensor data, send fake commands, or block legitimate ones. The researchers acknowledge that the attack is extremely complicated, but the article argues it would still be of interest to a state-sponsored actor.

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Mythbuntu Linux Has Been Discontinued

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 2:34pm
"Mythbuntu as a separate distribution will cease to exist. We will take the necessary steps to pull Mythbuntu specific packages from the repositories unless someone steps up to take these packages over," read Friday's announcement. prisoninmate writes: Mythbuntu was an operating system based on the widely-used Ubuntu Linux distro and built around the MythTV free and open source digital video recorder (DVR) project... The Mythbuntu team recommends users who want to use Mythbuntu to install the latest release of the Xubuntu Linux operating system and then add the Mythbuntu PPA (Personal Package Archive), which will continue to provide the latest MythTV releases and other related packages... The first release of the OS was back when Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) was announced, and the last one was Mythbuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus). From this point...there will be no new ISO images anymore. Also, the mythbuntu-desktop and Mythbuntu-Control-Centre packages are now discontinued and won't be available from the Ubuntu repositories anymore. However, users will still be able to install the MythTV software and configure it as they see fit.

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Blizzard Launches A Professional Sports League For 'Overwatch'

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 1:34pm
An anonymous reader quotes USA Today: One of Blizzard Entertainment's hottest video games is making the jump into a professional sports league. [Blizzard] announced Friday the launch of Overwatch League, a professional video gaming league kicking off its inaugural season during the second half of 2017... Blizzard says the league will combine competitive video gaming -- better known as eSports with hallmarks of professional sports leagues like the National Football League, complete with teams based in various cities worldwide featuring owners who will cultivate team and player development... Blizzard will start by recruiting prospective owners representing cities in the Americas, Europe, Asia and other parts of the globe... Players who get picked up by a team are guaranteed contracts complete with benefits, and owners will be required to take steps to develop their players and grow their fan bases. Overwatch already has 20 million players after just four months. Could professional videogame competitions someday become more popular than football?

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Steve Ballmer Says Smartphones Came Between Him and Bill Gates

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 11:34am
Steve Ballmer once said Apple's iPhone would flop because it cost too much -- though he now admits that he failed to anticipate carriers subsidizing the cost of the phone. But that was only the beginning. An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: The former CEO of Microsoft says he and Gates drifted apart over Microsoft's move into the hardware business in the early 2010s, according to Bloomberg. Ballmer says he was the one who pushed for Microsoft to design smartphones and tablets at a time when Apple was already well established. He says Gates and the board seemed reluctant to do so. "There was a fundamental disagreement about how important it was to be in the hardware business," Ballmer told Bloomberg. "I had pushed Surface. The board had been a little -- little reluctant in supporting it. And then things came to a climax around what to do about the phone business." Microsoft eventually took a $900 million write down for its first tablet, the Surface RT -- plus most of the value of their $9.5 billion acquisition of Nokia Oyj's handset unit as Microsoft pushed into hardware. "Ballmer's only regret: not doing it sooner," Bloomberg reports, adding that Surface is now profitable and this year will generate more than $4 billion in sales.

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IT Workers Facing Layoffs Jolted By CEO's Message

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 7:34am
HCSC recently announced layoffs for more than 500 IT workers, and expects them to train their replacements from an India-based contractor. But a few days earlier, CEO Paula Steiner said, "As full-time retiring baby boomers move on to their next chapter, the makeup of our organization will consist more of young and non-traditional workers, such as part-time workers or contractors." dcblogs quotes ComputerWorld: What Steiner didn't say in the employee broadcast is that some of the baby boomers moving "on to the next chapter" are being pushed out the door. "Obviously not all of us are 'retiring' -- a bunch of us are being thrown under the bus," said one older employee. The insurance provider argues that its members want easier technology solutions that "help keep rising costs in check. Our IT teams are being transformed...focusing on those and other member needs." But Slashdot reader ErichTheRed writes: Having a CEO actually say in public that their company wants to engage in age discrimination and eliminate full-time employment, rather than just carry out the work in secret, is new to me... for those mid- to late-career technical folks, how have you managed to adjust to new realities like this?

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Secret Service, DHS Scramble To Secure America's Election

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 3:34am
Secret service agents rushed Donald Trump off a stage in Nevada Saturday night, CNN reports. "A scuffle could be seen breaking out in the audience, but it was not immediately clear what happened... Secret Service and police tactical units rushed in to detain a man [who] was then rushed by a throng of police officers, Secret Service agents and SWAT officers armed with assault rifles to a side room... A law enforcement official told CNN no weapon was discovered. The GOP nominee was apparently unharmed and returned to the stage minutes later to finish his speech." Meanwhile, an anonymous reader writes: "All but two U.S. states have accepted help from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to probe and scan voter registration and election systems for vulnerabilities, a department official told Reuters." Ohio is relying on the National Guard's cyber protection unit, while Arizona says they've held discussions with the FBI, DHS and state-level agents on cyber security. But in addition, "U.S. military hackers have penetrated Russia's electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin's command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary, according to a senior intelligence official and top-secret documents reviewed by NBC News." American officials believe Russian hacking efforts will continue through 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal. "By hacking and dumping emails, Russia is trying 'to denigrate the American electoral system, to make it look chaotic, make it look manipulable, make it look subject to intrusion, cheating and vulnerable so you can't trust it...to make us look no better than the Russian electoral system,'" said one senior White House official. Russia is also expected to extend their efforts toward elections in Europe.

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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Way to Browse the Web Anonymously?

Sun, 06/11/2016 - 1:34am
An anonymous reader asks: In an age of evercookies, zombie cookies, and always expanding efforts to track browsers, devices, and people -- is there any way to browse totally anonymous to the sites you are visiting? With so many technologies quietly monitoring your activity, "How can a user today browse with confidence that they can't be tracked or identified, avoiding even being identified anonymously as a returning user or device?" Leave your best answers in the comments. What's the best way to browse the web anonymously?

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The FBI Spent Two Years Investigating An Online Cult That Didn't Exist

Sat, 05/11/2016 - 11:34pm
A two-year FBI investigation apparently centered on the satirical web site "GodHatesGoths". Long-time Slashdot reader v3rgEz writes: In 2005, the FBI launched an investigation into the "Church of the Hammer," a fundamentalist Christian sect which called for the wholesale slaughter of practitioners of the goth subculture. Two years later, the investigation was closed, on grounds that the Church didn't exist. The FBI's threat assessment detailed "an extremely right-wing Christian group that adheres to a Middle Ages Catholic text called the 'Malleus Malificarum.'" But MuckRock.com reports that "The Bureau's main source on the case was a goth who had engaged with members of the Church via their Yahoo Group...trying to dispel their misconceptions about the relationship between the subculture and Satanism." After two years of scouring through crime databases and making phone calls to the Salem police department, FBI investigators actually visited the GodHatesGoths web site -- which turned out to be a parody.

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