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Major US Tech Firms Press Congress For Internet Surveillance Reforms

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:40pm
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: Facebook, Amazon and more than two dozen other U.S. technology companies pressed Congress on Friday to make changes to a broad internet surveillance law, saying they were necessary to improve privacy protections and increase government transparency. The request marks the first significant public effort by Silicon Valley to wade into what is expected to be a contentious debate later the year over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, parts of which will expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress reauthorizes them. Of particular concern to the technology industry and privacy advocates is Section 702, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies to vacuum up vast amounts of communications from foreigners but also incidentally collects some data belonging to Americans that can be searched by analysts without a warrant.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Coreboot Ready To Ship On Upcoming Purism Librem 13/15 Laptops

Phoronix - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:11pm
Purism is preparing to ship their updated Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops with Coreboot...

The hold is filled with storage news! Grab a bucket and BAIL

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:08pm
Keelhauling through the week's movers and shakers

Behind every great enterprise and technology news website lies storage, humming away in the background heeded by no one. But the industry never stands still and every week El Reg is inundated with news – some significant, some less so. However, we're not solely a storage 'zine and we need somewhere to stack the shorter bits that wouldn't necessarily make a standalone story but we know you storageheads out there would appreciate. So pull up a pew, pour yourself a mug o' joe, and read on to find out about Bristol Uni's new supercomputer, Intel's SSD wins, Diablo Tech's Memory1 benchmarks, and much more.…

In a Throwback To the '90s, NTFS Bug Lets Anyone Hang Or Crash Windows 7, 8.1

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:00pm
Windows 7 and 8.1 (and also Windows Vista) have a bug that is reminiscent of Windows 98 age, when a certain specially crafted filename could make the operating system crash (think of file:///c:/con/con). From an ArsTechnica report: The new bug, which fortunately doesn't appear to afflict Windows 10, uses another special filename. This time around, the special filename of choice is $MFT. $MFT is the name given to one of the special metadata files that are used by Windows' NTFS filesystem. The file exists in the root directory of each NTFS volume, but the NTFS driver handles it in special ways, and it's hidden from view and inaccessible to most software. Attempts to open the file are normally blocked, but in a move reminiscent of the Windows 9x flaw, if the filename is used as if it were a directory name -- for example, trying to open the file c:\$MFT\123 -- then the NTFS driver takes out a lock on the file and never releases it. Every subsequent operation sits around waiting for the lock to be released. Forever. This blocks any and all other attempts to access the file system, and so every program will start to hang, rendering the machine unusable until it is rebooted.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel Gen 4~5 BLORPing Happens With Mesa 17.2 Git

Phoronix - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 3:41pm
Earlier this month we reported on patch work done to bring Intel's BLORP blitting framework to older Intel graphics hardware and now that work has landed in Git for Mesa 17.2...

Former Mozilla CTO: 'Chrome Won'

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 3:20pm
Responding to Firefox marketing head Eric Petitt's blog post from earlier this week, Andreas Gal, former chief technology officer of Mozilla (who spent seven years at the company) offers his insights. Citing latest market share figures, Gal says "it's safe to say that Chrome is eating the browser market, and everyone else except Safari is getting obliterated." From his blog post (edited and condensed for length): With a CEO transition about 3 years ago there was a major strategic shift at Mozilla to re-focus efforts on Firefox and thus the Desktop. Prior to 2014 Mozilla heavily invested in building a Mobile OS to compete with Android: Firefox OS. I started the Firefox OS project and brought it to scale. While we made quite a splash and sold several million devices, in the end we were a bit too late and we didn't manage to catch up with Android's explosive growth. Mozilla's strategic rationale for building Firefox OS was often misunderstood. Mozilla's founding mission was to build the Web by building a browser. [...] Browsers are a commodity product. They all pretty much look the same and feel the same. All browsers work pretty well, and being slightly faster or using slightly less memory is unlikely to sway users. If even Eric -- who heads Mozilla's marketing team -- uses Chrome every day as he mentioned in the first sentence, it's not surprising that almost 65% of desktop users are doing the same. [...] I don't think there will be a new browser war where Firefox or some other competitor re-captures market share from Chrome. It's like launching a new and improved horse in the year 2017. We all drive cars now. Some people still use horses, and there is value to horses, but technology has moved on when it comes to transportation. Does this mean Google owns the Web if they own Chrome? No. Absolutely not. Browsers are what the Web looked like in the first decades of the Internet. Mobile disrupted the Web, but the Web embraced mobile and at the heart of most apps beats a lot of JavaScript and HTTPS and REST these days. The future Web will look yet again completely different. Much will survive, and some parts of it will get disrupted.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Pirates hack was a hoax, says Disney boss

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 3:00pm
'You are without a doubt the worst pirate I’ve ever heard of'

The supposed "Pirates hack" was only ever a hoax, according to Disney chief exec Bob Iger.…

Sainsbury's IT glitch spoils bank holiday food orders

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 2:41pm
Hoping to stock up for a barbecue? Tough

The sun is shining and the prospect of barbecue and beer over the bank holiday is almost in grabbing distance. But customers who ordered their groceries online with Sainsbury's today may be in for a disappointment.…

Opera Abandons iOS Platform

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 2:40pm
Reader BrianFagioli writes: After searching for Opera in the Apple App Store, I noticed something odd -- none of the company's iOS browsers (Opera Mini and Opera Coast) had been updated in 2017. Since we are almost halfway through the year, I decided to ask Opera what was up. Shockingly, the company told me that it no longer has a team working on iOS. An Opera employee by the name of 'Rosi' sent me a tweet this morning, making the revelation. While the desktop version of the browser is still in development, the company has chosen to abandon its efforts on iOS. To show just how bad it is, the Opera Mini browser hasn't been updated in almost a year. Opera Coast was updated in December of 2016, however -- almost six months ago.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Brocade goes bye-bye: Out on a high note ahead of Broadcom slurp

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 2:31pm
Revenues increase as it faces dismemberment

+Comment  Say goodbye to Brocade as an independent company. It has just published its last quarterly results before being gobbled up and dismembered by Broadcom.…

'Do not tell Elon': Ex-SpaceX man claims firm cut corners on NASA part tests

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 2:11pm
Firm: Not what he was saying before we sacked him

A fired SpaceX worker has accused the company of leaning on its employees to forge test records for parts destined for NASA.…

Mark Zuckerberg Calls for Universal Basic Income in His Harvard Commencement Speech

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 2:00pm
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become the latest major tech figure to call for universal basic income as a solution for inequality, joining a growing chorus from Silicon Valley. From a report: "Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it's time for our generation to define a new social contract," Zuckerberg said during his commencement speech at Harvard University. "We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things," he said. Zuckerberg told the class of 2017 that he was able to pursue his passion in Facebook because he knew he had a safety net to fall back on.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NVIDIA vs. Radeon VDPAU Mesa 17.2 Video Decode Performance

Phoronix - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 1:56pm
In yesterday's GeForce GT 1030 Linux review, a $70 USD graphics card that's low-profile and passively-cooled, I featured a number of NVIDIA VDPAU video acceleration benchmarks. But a question came up about Radeon VDPAU performance, so here are some benchmarks on that front, but they are far from ideal.

'President Zuck' fundraiser opens for business

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 1:38pm
"I'm Commander-in-Chief, bitch!"

A fundraising vehicle to help get the world's fifth richest man Mark Zuckerberg elected as President of the United States will now take your money.…

Phoronix Test Suite 7.2 Milestone 3 Released

Phoronix - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 1:04pm
The third development release of Phoronix Test Suite 7.2-Trysil is now available for your open-source, cross-platform benchmarking needs...

Hyper-converged trashes all-flash: Nutanix out-grows Pure Storage

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 1:01pm
$100m+ quarterly loss fuels relentless drive for growth

Nutanix is racing on to the billion dollar revenue mark for next year with a $100m net loss fuelled quarter of growth.…

Messenger App Kik Debuts Its Own Digital Currency

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 1:00pm
The messaging app Kik Interactive has decided to create its own digital currency. Kik's plans are for an "initial coin offering," a process by which it sells tokens that can be used to buy services on its platform. "The idea is that as more and more people use Kik, the value of those tokens, called 'Kin,' will rise in value," reports TechCrunch. From the report: Kik, which has raised about $120 million (in real money) from investors including Tencent Holdings Ltd., could serve to add a new layer of legitimacy to the process. "Kik will be the largest install base of cryptocurrency users in the world," Chief Executive Officer Ted Livingston said. "Kin, on day one will be the most-used cryptocurrency in the world." The move comes as Kik finally reveals how many people actually use its app regularly each month: 15 million. That's a far-cry from the 300 million total registered users number it was sharing around this time last year. Kik plans to gift a certain amount of Kin to each user. They'll be able use the new currency to buy games, live video streams and other digital products. The company's goal is to attract new merchants to sell on the platform, creating a snowball effect where Kin becomes more valuable and more sellers pile onto Kik, increasing its popularity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Scientists are counting atoms to figure out when Mars last had volcanoes

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 12:41pm
Astroboffin-in-training makes dating breakthrough

Astroboffins have figured out a new way of dating planets and meteorites by counting individual atoms in rock samples snatched from the depths of space.…

‪WannaCry‬pt ransomware note likely written by Google Translate-using Chinese speakers

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 12:13pm
Signs of machine translation spotted by analysts

The ‪WannaCry‬pt extortion notes were most likely written by Chinese-speaking authors, according to linguistic analysis.…

Apple fights off iTunes patent spat appeal

El Reg - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 11:52am
That bit where you said we didn't have to give them $500m – stick with that

Apple is trying to kill off an attempt by Smartflash to reverse a patent panel's ruling and thereby force Cupertino to hand it $533m in a Federal Circuit dispute.…

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