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Bitcoin Fees Are Skyrocketing

Slashdot - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:40am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The cost to complete a Bitcoin transaction has skyrocketed in recent days. A week ago, it cost around $6 on average to get a transaction accepted by the Bitcoin network. The average fee soared to $26 on Friday and was still almost $20 on Sunday. The reason is simple: until recently, the Bitcoin network had a hard-coded 1 megabyte limit on the size of blocks on the blockchain, Bitcoin's shared transaction ledger. With a typical transaction size of around 500 bytes, the average block had fewer than 2,000 transactions. And with a block being generated once every 10 minutes, that works out to around 3.3 transactions per second. A September upgrade called segregated witness allowed the cryptographic signatures associated with each transaction to be stored separately from the rest of the transaction. Under this scheme, the signatures no longer counted against the 1 megabyte blocksize limit, which should have roughly doubled the network's capacity. But only a small minority of transactions have taken advantage of this option so far, so the network's average throughput has stayed below 2,500 transactions per block -- around four transactions per second.

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Archive of 1.4 BEEELLION credentials in clear text found in dark web archive

El Reg - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:05am
Find shows people still suck at passwords

A data dump containing over 1.4 billion email addresses, passwords, and other credentials, all in clear text, has been found online by security shop @4iQ.…

Netflix silent about ridicule as it discusses punters' viewing habits

El Reg - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:03am
Vid biz's admission shows that no data is private

A tweet sent in jest from Netflix's official Twitter account on Sunday evening has called the company's data practices into question.…

Ask Slashdot: Biggest IT Management Mistakes?

Slashdot - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 1:00am
snydeq writes: Sure, nobody's perfect. But for those in charge of enterprise technology, the fallout from a strategic gaffe, bad hire, or weak spine can be disastrous, writes Dan Tynan, in an article on the biggest management mistakes in IT. "Some of the most common IT gaffes include becoming trapped in a relationship with a vendor you can't shake loose, hiring or promoting the wrong people, and hiding problems from top management until it's too late to recover." What are some other career- and company-destroyers you've witnessed in your years in IT?

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Microsoft Releases Free Preview of Its Quantum Development Kit

Slashdot - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:30am
Microsoft is releasing a free preview version of its Quantum Development Kit. "The kit includes the Q# programming language and compiler and a local quantum computing simulator, and is fully integrated with Visual Studio," reports ZDNet. "There's also an Azure-based simulator that allows developers to simulate more than 40 logical qubits of computing power, plus documentation libraries, and sample programs, officials said in their December 11 announcement." From the report: Quantum computers are designed to process in parallel, thus enabling new types of applications across a variety of workloads. They are designed to harness the physics of subatomic particles to provide a different way to store data and solve problems compared to conventional computers, as my ZDNet colleague Tony Baer explains. The result is that quantum computers could solve certain high-performance-computing problems more efficiently. Microsoft officials have said applications that developers create for use with the quantum simulator ultimately will work on a quantum computer, which Microsoft is in the process of developing. Microsoft's goal is to build out a full quantum computing system, including both the quantum computing hardware and the related full software stack.

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Trump to NASA: Fly me (or some other guys) to the Moon

El Reg - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:08am
POTUS also wants to Make Mars Great Again

President Trump has called on NASA to focus its attention on returning humans to the Moon and landing on Mars.…

FCC Explains How Net Neutrality Will Be Protected Without Net Neutrality Rules

Slashdot - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 12:03am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Federal Communications Commission is still on track to eliminate net neutrality rules this Thursday, but the commission said today that it has a new plan to protect consumers after the repeal. The FCC and Federal Trade Commission released a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) describing how the agencies will work together to make sure ISPs keep their net neutrality promises. After the repeal, there won't be any rules preventing ISPs from blocking or throttling Internet traffic. ISPs will also be allowed to charge websites and online services for faster and more reliable network access. In short, ISPs will be free to do whatever they want -- unless they make specific promises to avoid engaging in specific types of anti-competitive or anti-consumer behavior. When companies make promises and break them, the FTC can punish them for deceiving consumers. That's what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen are counting on. "Instead of saddling the Internet with heavy-handed regulations, we will work together to take targeted action against bad actors," Pai said in a joint announcement with the FTC today.

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In-Store WiFi Provider Used Starbucks Website To Generate Monero Coins

Slashdot - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 11:20pm
hjf writes: On December 2nd, Twitter user Noah Dinkin tweeted a screenshot that showed that Starbucks' in-store "free WiFi" is using their captive portal to briefly mine the Monero cryptocurrency during the 10-second delay splash screen. Starbucks has not yet responded to the tweet, and neither has their wifi provider, Fibertel Argentina. While Dinkin mentioned that the culprit behind the scheme could be Starbucks' in-store wifi provider, it's possible that a cybercriminal could have hacked their website to place CoinHive code secretly. HackRead notes that "just a few days ago researchers identified more than 5,000 sites that were hijacked to insert CoinHive code, yet Starbucks' direct involvement is still unclear." CoinHive is a company that produces a JavaScript miner for the Monero Blockchain that you can embed in your website. Any coins mined by the browser are sent to the owner of the website.

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AI-Assisted Fake Porn Is Here and We're All Screwed

Slashdot - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 10:40pm
New submitter samleecole shares a report from Motherboard: There's a video of Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother on the internet. But it's not really Gadot's body, and it's barely her own face. It's an approximation, face-swapped to look like she's performing in an existing incest-themed porn video. The video was created with a machine learning algorithm, using easily accessible materials and open-source code that anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms could put together. It's not going to fool anyone who looks closely. Sometimes the face doesn't track correctly and there's an uncanny valley effect at play, but at a glance it seems believable. It's especially striking considering that it's allegedly the work of one person -- a Redditor who goes by the name 'deepfakes' -- not a big special effects studio that can digitally recreate a young Princess Leia in Rouge One using CGI. Instead, deepfakes uses open-source machine learning tools like TensorFlow, which Google makes freely available to researchers, graduate students, and anyone with an interest in machine learning. Anyone could do it, and that should make everyone nervous.

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Intel beefs up low-end line with Gemini Lake CPUs

El Reg - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 10:12pm
Pentium Silver, Celeron get gigabit WiFi update

Intel has released the successors to its low-power Pentium 'Silver' and Celeron lines.…

Apple Buys Shazam To Boost Apple Music

Slashdot - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 10:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple agreed to acquire music-identification service Shazam, taking ownership of one of the first apps to demonstrate the power of the iPhone, recognizing songs after hearing just a few bars of a tune. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but a person familiar with the situation said Apple is paying about $400 million for the U.K.-based startup. That would be one of Apple's largest acquisitions ever, approaching the size of its 1996 purchase of Next Computer Inc. which brought co-founder Steve Jobs back to the company. That transaction would be worth more than $600 million in today's dollars. The Shazam app uses the microphone on a smartphone or computer to identify almost any song playing nearby, then points users to places they can listen to it in future, such as Apple Music or Google's YouTube. "Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users," Apple said in an emailed statement on Monday. "We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today's agreement. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS," Apple also said. "Today, it's used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms." The acquisition would help Apple embed that capability more deeply into its music offerings. The company's digital assistant Siri gained Shazam integration in 2014, so users could ask it what song is playing in the background.

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Canuck privacy commissioner to dig into Uber data breach

El Reg - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 9:55pm
Formal investigation launched. Not the first, won't be the last

Canada's privacy commissioner has launched a formal investigation into the massive data breach concealed by the ride-hailing app company Uber.…

Microsoft asks devs for quantum leap of faith

El Reg - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 9:33pm
Try writing quantum code in Q#, because...uh, teleportation

Those without access to a quantum computer can console themselves with Microsoft's Quantum Development Kit, introduced as a preview release on Monday.…

President Trump Is Sending NASA Back To The Moon

Slashdot - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 9:20pm
President Trump has formally told NASA to send U.S. astronauts back to the moon. From a report: "The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery," he said. Standing at the president's side as he signed "Space Policy Directive 1" on Monday was Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, one of the last two humans to ever walk on the moon, in a mission that took place 45 years ago this week. Since that time, no human has ventured out beyond low-Earth orbit. NASA doesn't even have its own space vehicle, having retired the space shuttles in 2011. Americans currently ride up to the international space station in Russian capsules, though private space taxis are expected to start ferrying them up as soon as next year.

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Forget Bruce Willis, Earth's atmosphere is our best defense against meteorites

El Reg - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 8:50pm
Porous space rocks just can't handle the pressure

Researchers have discovered why most meteorites disintegrate before they reach Earth - and it's all to do with atmospheric pressure.…

The First Women in Tech Didn't Leave -- Men Pushed Them Out

Slashdot - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 8:40pm
An anonymous reader writes: A column on the Wall Street Journal argues that sexism in the tech industry is as old as the tech industry itself. At its genesis, computer programming faced a double stigma -- it was thought of as menial labor, like factory work, and it was feminized, a kind of "women's work" that wasn't considered intellectual (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source). In the U.K., women in the government's low-paid "Machine Operator Class" performed knowledge work including programming systems for everything from tax collection and social services to code-breaking and scientific research. Later, they would be pushed out of the field, as government leaders in the postwar era held a then-common belief that women shouldn't be allowed into higher-paid professions with long-term prospects because they would leave as soon as they were married. Today, in the U.S., about a quarter of computing and mathematics jobs are held by women, and that proportion has been declining over the past 20 years. A string of recent events suggest the steps currently being taken by tech firms to address these issues are inadequate.

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Kentucky lawmaker pushes smut filter law (update: maybe not)

El Reg - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 8:28pm
Rep. Johnson shuns Kentucky sly clickin'

A state legislator in Kentucky, USA, wants to mandate porn filters on all PCs and mobile phones sold in the state.…

Is PowerTop / TLP Still Useful To Save Power On Linux Laptops?

Phoronix - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 8:08pm
A Phoronix reader recently inquired about whether power-saving utilities like Intel PowerTop and TLP are still useful for conserving power on modern Linux distributions and modern hardware. The short answer is, yes, and here are some numbers.

LinkedIn Bro Poetry Pretty Much Sums Up 2017

Slashdot - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 8:00pm
An anonymous reader shares an article: It starts out like this: I was homeless. I was fired yesterday. I was walking home. I took an Uber. Someone stopped me on the street. My boss told me not to take a chance on anyone over 50, but I hired him anyway. It was Elon Musk. LinkedIn has become overrun with these types of inspirational tales posted as long status updates. They're characterized by their short sentences and read like E.E. Cummings poems recited from memory by Tony Robbins. They're usually between 15 to 25 lines long, always double spaced. They start with a hook in the first couple sentences that entices the reader to click the "see more" link that's displayed on LinkedIn posts that are longer than three lines. Some refer to this type of post as "the LinkedIn haiku" others call it "broetry" and it has completely cannibalized the LinkedIn newsfeed.

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Berners-Lee, Woz, Cerf: Cancel flawed net neutrality vote

El Reg - Mon, 11/12/2017 - 7:28pm
Technologists publish open letter warning about "imminent threat" to internet

Internet and technology luminaries, including Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and "Father of the internet" Vint Cerf, have called on the FCC to cancel its planned net neutrality vote this week, arguing that it is based on a "flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology."…