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Virgin Media suspends 4 staff over misreporting connections

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 9:20am
Shakes up top brass after 142k misrepresented in £3bn Project Lightning

Virgin Media has admitted to overstating its £3bn Project Lightning superfast broadband rollout by 142,000 premises – a move that has led to the suspension of four staff and a reshuffle of its top brass.…

UK's 'homebrew firmware' Chinooks set to be usable a mere 16 years late

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 9:05am
After burning hundreds of millions into the bargain

The Ministry of Defence has started replacing the flight control software on its all-but-useless Chinook Mk.3 special forces helicopters, a mere 16 years after bungled attempts to bake its own software without involving manufacturer Boeing.…

The evolution of ransomware: How a nuisance turned into a business menace

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 8:31am
As ransomware rapidly evolves, defenders look for help keeping up

Promo  To many Internet users it must look as if ransomware arrived out of the blue. Pioneers such as Cryzip started circulating at very low levels in the UK as early as 2006 and yet it wasn’t until 2013 that this type of malware suddenly spiked with the appearance of its first big global superstar, CryptoLocker.…

ZX Spectrum Vega Plus backers complain of months-long refund delays

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 8:03am
But mouthpiece then denies they're a spokesman

Backers of the troubled ZX Spectrum Vega+ handheld gaming console have told The Register of long delays and seemingly ignored messages when requesting refunds from the company behind the project, Retro Computers Ltd.…

Inside Intel's Optanical garden

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 7:33am
What you see and what you might actually get could differ

Analysis  Intel has now had its brace of Optane P4800X SSD and M.2 2280 motherboard card releases and we’ve learned there is no straightforward performance comparison with equivalent flash product – Intel is eschewing that on the grounds of Optane being a significantly different storage product.…

Microsoft wants screaming Windows fans, not just users

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 7:03am
And it might be winning them: Windows Insiders program has cracked the ten million mark

Microsoft's revealed it doesn't just want Windows users, it wants Windows fans. As in queue-all-night, constantly-offer-unsolicited-feedback, faint-at-the-sight-of-pop-stars fans.…

NASA Launches Massive Digital Library For Space Video, Photos and Audio

Slashdot - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 7:00am
earlytime quotes a report from NASA on Tuesday (March 28) unveiled a new online library that assembles the agency's amazing space photos, videos and audio files into a single searchable library. The NASA Image and Video Library, as the agency calls it, can be found at and consolidates space imagery from 60 different collections into one location. The new database allows users to embed NASA imagery in websites, includes image metadata like date, description and keywords, and offers multiple resolution sizes, NASA officials said. According to the NASA statement, other features include: Automatic scaling to suite the interface for mobile phones and tablets; EXIF/camera data that includes exposure, lens used and other information (when available from the original image); Easy public access to high resolution files; Downloadable caption files for all videos. The new NASA archive is not meant to be a complete archive of all of the space agency imagery. But it does aim to showcase what the space agency has to offer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

ESA picks final two ExoMars landing site candidates

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 6:28am
Welsh corner of Mars makes the final list, along with once-wet Oxia Planum

The European Space Agency has narrowed its candidate list of landing sites for the ExoMars rover to two choices.…

'Trash-80' escapes the dustbin of history with new TRS-80 emulator

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 6:02am
Run the classic Model III on Windows

Antique Code Show  If you get misty-eyed over the expression 20 IF N=1 GOTO 10 (or reach for the pen to correct me), there's another open source TRS-80 BASIC emulator available.…

FBI secures guilty plea from Russian bot-herder

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 5:27am
Ebury infections for fun and profit, sentencing in August

A Russian citizen behind “tens of thousands” of Ebury trojan infections has entered a guilty plea in the US and will face sentencing in August.…

ETSI widens scope of mobile edge standard

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 5:02am
Mobile base stations to be treated as computers in their own right

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute has decided its Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) effort needed a bigger brief, so it's renamed it as Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).…

What a time to be alive: drone pooper-scoopers are a thing now

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 4:26am
Who needs a plastic bag and civic pride when two drones can do the job?

Finding dog poo in public places and picking it up before it can besmirch a sole probably isn't high on the list of things humanity needs to get better at, but that hasn't stopped Dutch folk throwing two drones at the problem.…

Boffins give 'D.TRUMP' an AI injection

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 4:02am
A statistical model for cluelessness named after the president. Because why not?

Let's give this points in the Academic Sense of Humour stakes for 2017: the wryly-named Data-mining Textual Responses to Uncover Misconception Patterns, or D.TRUMP, looks to automate the process of working out just how confused someone might be, from how they answer open-response questions.…

Scientists Turn Mammalian Cells Into Complex Biocomputers

Slashdot - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 3:30am
sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: Computer hardware is getting a softer side. A research team has come up with a way of genetically engineering the DNA of mammalian cells to carry out complex computations, in effect turning the cells into biocomputers. The group hasn't put those modified cells to work in useful ways yet, but down the road researchers hope the new programming techniques will help improve everything from cancer therapy to on-demand tissues that can replace worn-out body parts. To upgrade their DNA "switches," Wong and his colleagues steered clear of transcription factors and instead switched human kidney cell genes on and off using scissor-like enzymes that selectively cut out snippets of DNA. These enzymes, known as DNA recombinases, recognize two target stretches of DNA, each between 30 to 50 or more base pairs long. When a recombinase finds its target DNA stretches, it cuts out any DNA in between, and stitches the severed ends of the double helix back together. To design genetic circuits, Wong and his colleagues use the conventional cellular machinery that reads out a cell's DNA, transcribes its genes into RNA, and then translates the RNA into proteins. This normal gene-to-protein operation is initiated by another DNA snippet, a promoter, that sits just upstream of a gene. When a promoter is activated, a molecule called RNA polymerase gets to work, marching down the DNA strand and producing an RNA until it reaches another DNA snippet -- a termination sequence -- that tells it to stop. To make one of their simplest circuits, Wong's team inserted four extra snippets of DNA after a promoter. The main one produced green fluorescent protein (GFP), which lights up cells when it is produced. But in front of it was a termination sequence, flanked by two snippets that signaled the DNA recombinase. Wong and his team then inserted another gene in the same cell that made a modified recombinase, activated only when bound to a specific drug; without it, the recombinase wouldn't cut the DNA. When the promoter upstream of the GFP gene was activated, the RNA polymerase ran headfirst into the termination sequence, stopped reading the DNA, and didn't produce the fluorescent protein. But when the drug was added, the recombinase switched on and spliced out the termination sequence that was preventing the RNA polymerase from initiating production of GFP. Voila, the cell lit up. The approach Wong and his colleagues used worked so well that they were able to build 113 different circuits, with a 96.5% success rate. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

It's ESXi time for critical VMware patches

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 2:55am
Three to do, pronto, unless you like guest-host escape mirth

VMware's reported three bugs that probably deserve your urgent attention.…

Pirate of the Caribbean to play Hacker of the Caribbean

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 2:04am
Johnny Depp to play John McAfee in biopic depicting A-V man as Colonel Kurtz

POLL  Nobody's confirmed anything except Big Mac himself, but John McAfee reckons he's going to be played by Captain Jack Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp.…

Bay Area Tech Executives Indicted For H-1B Visa Fraud

Slashdot - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 1:00am
New submitter s.petry quotes a report from The Mercury News: Two Bay Area tech executives are accused of filing false visa documents through a staffing agency in a scheme to illegally bring a pool of foreign tech workers into the United States. An indictment from a federal grand jury unsealed on Friday accuses Jayavel Murugan, Dynasoft Synergy's chief executive officer, and a 40-year-old Santa Clara man, Syed Nawaz, of fraudulently submitting H-1B applications in an effort to illegally obtain visas, according to Brian Stretch, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California. The men are charged with 26 counts of visa fraud, conspiracy to commit visa fraud, use of false documents, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to prosecutors. Each charge can carry penalties of between two and 20 years in prison. Prosecutors say the men used fraudulent documents to bring workers into the U.S. and create a pool of H-1B workers to hire out to tech companies. The indictment charges that from 2010 to 2016, Dynasoft petitioned to place workers at Stanford University, Cisco and Brocade, but the employers had no intention of receiving the foreign workers named on the applications. Nawaz submitted fake "end-client letters" to the government, falsely claiming the workers were on-site and performing jobs, according to the indictment. Slashdot reader s.petry adds: "While not the only problem with the H-1B Visa program, this is a start at investigating and hopefully correcting problems."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alabama joins anti-web-smut crusade with mandatory opt-out filters

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 12:50am
Republican politico has something of an obsession with onanism

Yet another American state has seen legislation introduced to include mandatory anti-pornography filters on any internet-capable device – or else.…

Ask Slashdot: What Are Some Lies Programmers Tell Themselves?

Slashdot - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 12:20am
snydeq writes: "Confidence in our power over machines also makes us guilty of hoping to bend reality to our code," writes Peter Wayner, in a discussion of nine lies programmers tell themselves about their code. "Of course, many problems stem from assumptions we programmers make that simply aren't correct. They're usually sort of true some of the time, but that's not the same as being true all of the time. As Mark Twain supposedly said, 'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.'" The nine lies Wayner mentions in his discussion include: "Questions have one answer," "Null is acceptable," "Human relationships can be codified," "'Unicode' stands for universal communication," "Numbers are accurate," "Human language is consistent," "Time is consistent," "Files are consistent," and "We're in control." Can you think of any other lies programmers tell themselves?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

As a shock to absolutely no one, Uber is mostly pasty, male at the top

El Reg - Wed, 29/03/2017 - 12:01am
Rain is wet, sky is blue, Oracle is expensive, etc

Uber has published its first ever diversity report today, revealing that the car-hailing biz is, unsurprisingly, dominated by white males like most major American technology companies.…

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