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Audiophile torrent site <i>What.CD</i> fully pwnable thanks to wrecked RNG

El Reg - Mon, 02/05/2016 - 12:38am
Use of mt_rand means there's free .flac for those who crack

WAHckon  Users of popular audiophile torrent site What.CD can make themselves administrators to completely compromise the private music site and bypass its notorious download ratio limits.…

Telstra wants to become the Uber of Telstra

El Reg - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 11:51pm
First step in Uberfication is $50m to head off future network SNAFUs

Telstra wants to become the Uber of Telstra.…

If the Internet of Things will be SOOO BIG why did Broadcom just quit the market?

El Reg - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 11:18pm
Radio silicon offloaded to Cypress Semi for US$550m as founder and CEO retires

Cypress Semiconductor has made Broadcom an offer too good to refuse: US$550 million in cash for its wireless Internet of Things business unit.…

Linux 4.6-rc6 Kernel Released, Codenamed "Charred Weasel"

Phoronix - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 11:11pm
For those not busy partying around the Maypole today, the Linux 4.6-rc6 kernel is now available as the latest weekly test candidate of the Linux 4.6 kernel...

The Government Wants Your Fingerprint To Unlock Phones

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 11:10pm
schwit1 quotes this report from the Daily Gazette: "As the world watched the FBI spar with Apple this winter in an attempt to hack into a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, federal officials were quietly waging a different encryption battle in a Los Angeles courtroom. There, authorities obtained a search warrant compelling the girlfriend of an alleged Armenian gang member to press her finger against an iPhone that had been seized from a Glendale home. The phone contained Apple's fingerprint identification system for unlocking, and prosecutors wanted access to the data inside it. It marked a rare time that prosecutors have demanded a person provide a fingerprint to open a computer, but experts expect such cases to become more common as cracking digital security becomes a larger part of law enforcement work. The Glendale case and others like it are forcing courts to address a basic question: How far can the government go to obtain biometric markers such as fingerprints and hair?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Have a Cptn Cook: VXers learn 'Strayan to plunder Down Under

El Reg - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 10:21pm
Net ratbags probing how much a koala can bear with dinky-di scams

WAHckon  Strewth! Australian organisations are gunna be shirt-fronted by malware that includes colourful local language*.…

Windows Desktop Market Share Drops Below 90%

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 10:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat's new article about desktop operating systems: Windows 7 is still the king, but it no longer holds the majority. Nine months after Windows 10's release, Windows 7 has finally fallen below 50 percent market share and Windows XP has dropped into single digits. While this is good news for Microsoft, April was actually a poor month for Windows overall, which for the first time owned less than 90 percent of the market, according to the latest figures from Net Applications.

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What Happened to Google Maps?

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 9:10pm
Google Maps has reduced the number of cities it shows by up to 83% over the past few years, according to Justin O'Beirne. Maps, in addition, has increased the number of roads it showcases. O'Beirne, who writes about digital maps, in a blog post outlines the changes Google has made to its mapping and navigation service over the years. The side-by-side screenshots comparison on his blog post shows that Google has largely abandoned labelling towns and cities in favor of showing as many roads as it can. He has also looked into several elements of Maps from the design standpoint, and questioned Google's decision. He writes: If these roads were so important that they deserved to be upgraded in appearance, why weren't they also given shield icons? After all, an unlabeled road is only half as useful as a labeled one. [...] [Comparing Google Maps to a paper map] Even though it's from the early 1960s, the old print map has so much more information than the Google Map. So many more cities. So many more road labels. And the text size is comparable between the two. O'Beirne believes that Google has made these changes to better serve mobile users. "Unfortunately, these 'optimizations' only served to exacerbate the longstanding imbalances already in the maps," he writes. "As is often the case with cartography: less isn't more. Less is just less."

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KDE Akonadi Support For Microsoft Exchange

Phoronix - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 9:04pm
Krzysztof Nowicki has announced the initial release of the Akonadi resource for supporting Microsoft's Exchange Web Services (EWS)...

Reaper Audio Software Is Coming To Linux

Phoronix - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 8:52pm
If Audacity and Ardour aren't cutting it for your audio editing needs on Linux, there's another Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) option coming to Linux: Reaper...

CV of Failures: Princeton Professor Publishes Resume of His Career Lows

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 8:10pm
An anonymous reader shares a Guardian report: A professor at Princeton University has published a CV listing his career failures (PDF), in an attempt to "balance the record" and encourage others to keep trying in the face of disappointment. Johannes Haushofer, who is an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at the university in New Jersey, posted his unusual CV on Twitter last week. The document contains sections titled Degree programs I did not get into , Research funding I did not get and Paper rejections from academic journals. Haushofer writes: Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective. He added another section called "Meta-Failures" to his resume, writing, "This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work."

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RIP Kuro5hin

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 7:50pm
themusicgod1 writes: Can we please get a moment of silence? Long-time sister site to Slashdot, Kuro5hin has finally gone offline.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Government Could Ban BBC From Showing Top Shows at Peak Times

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 7:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: The BBC is on a collision course with the government over reported efforts to bar it from showing popular shows at peak viewing times. The culture secretary, John Whittingdale, is widely expected to ban the broadcaster from going head-to-head with commercial rivals as part of the BBC charter review. He is due to publish a white paper within weeks that will set out a tougher regime as part of a new royal charter to safeguard the service for another 11 years. ITV has complained about licence fee money being used to wage a ratings battle with it and other channels funded by advertising. A source at the BBC said the public would be deeply concerned if it were forced to move programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Sherlock from prime time weekend slots.In some unrelated news, Clarkson, Hammond, and May are still figuring out the name for their new show.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple's Smartwatch Draws Competition And A Very Bad Review

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 6:30pm
Apple's share of the smartwatch market actually started declining in 2016, dropping down to just 52.4% (down from 63%), according to Business Insider. And following up on Apple's first drop in earnings in over 10 years, Slashdot reader Zanadou shares a Gizmodo's latest story about the Apple Watch. "I stopped wearing it two months ago, and I'm not sure if I'll ever wear it again. That's because it doesn't really do anything that anyone needs, and even when it does, it doesn't always work like it's supposed to. Here are some things I learned over the past year of strapping the screen vibrator to my wrist." The article describes wanting to try a new form factor, but ending up confused by the watch's two-button interface (where the buttons perform multiple functions). Gizmodo's writer complains that "there's literally no comfortable way to actually use it," and while he did appreciate things like the time-of-sunrise feature and the ability to read text messages on your wrist, most Apple Watch apps "just end up being a shell of the iPhone app". And worst of all, it was difficult to use the watch to actually tell time, since "the screen doesn't always turn on when you raise your wrist like it's supposed to."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Chip Offers Artificial Intelligence On A USB Stick

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 5:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: "Pretty much any device with a USB port will be able to use advanced neural networks," reports PC Magazine, announcing the new Fathom Neural Compute Stick from chip-maker (and Google supplier) Movidius. "Once it's plugged into a Linux-powered device, it will enable that device to perform neural network functions like language comprehension, image recognition, and pattern detection," and without even using an external power supply. Device manufacturers could now move AI-level processing from the cloud down to end users, PC Magazine reports, with one New York computer science professor saying the technology means that now "every robot, big and small, can now have state-of-the-art vision capabilities." The article argues that this standalone, ultra-low power neural network could start the creation of a whole new category of next-generation consumer technologies.

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Engineers Plan The Most Expensive Object Ever Built

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 4:30pm writes: Ed Davey has an interesting story at BBC about the proposed nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, UK which at $35 billion will be the most expensive object ever put together on Earth. For that sum you could build a small forest of Burj Khalifas -- the world's tallest building, in Dubai, which each cost $1.5 billion. You could build almost six Large Hadron Colliders, built under the border between France and Switzerland to unlock the secrets of the universe, and at a cost a mere $5.8 billion. Or you could build five Oakland Bay Bridges in San Francisco, designed to withstand the strongest earthquake seismologists would expect within the next 1,500 years at a cost of $6.5 billion... But what about historical buildings like the the pyramids. Although working out the cost of something built more than 4,500 years ago presents numerous challenges, in 2012 the Turner Construction Company estimated it could build the Great Pyramid of Giza for $5 billion. That includes about $730 million for stone and $58 million for 12 cranes. Labor is a minor cost as it is projected that a mere staff of 600 would be necessary. In contrast, it took 20,000 people to build the original pyramid with a total of 77.6 million days' labor. Using the current Egyptian minimum wage of $5.73 a day, that gives a labor cost of $445 million. But whatever the most expensive object on Earth is, up in the sky is something that eclipses all of these things. The International Space Station. Price tag: $110 billion.

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Ask Slashdot: How Could You Statistically Identify The Best Sci-Fi Books?

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 3:30pm
jimharris writes: Over at SF Signal I wrote a piece "How Well-Read Are You in Science Fiction?" There are three databases that collect lists of popular science fiction books that try to statistically identify the best books of the genre, [offering] combined list that shows which books were cited the most. They use different sets of best-of lists, but their results are often similar. The final lists are, Classics of Science Fiction, Worlds Without End Top Listed, and Premiosylista Comparativas: Comparativas: Ciencia ficcion (Spain). Interestingly, each list has a different book in its #1 position (though both "Dune" and "Frankenstein" make the top four on at least two of the three lists). But is this really a good methodology for determining the classic canon? What would be the best way to statistically identify the greatest sci-fi books? (And have you read any good science fiction novels lately?)

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Can Quantum Entanglement Create Faster-Than-Light Communication?

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 2:30pm
Slashdot reader StartsWithABang writes: If you were to send a space probe to a distant star system, gather information about it and send it back to Earth, you'd have to wait years for the information to arrive. But if you have an entangled quantum system -- say, two photons, one with spin +1 and one with spin -1 -- you could know the spin of the distant one instantly by measuring the spin of the one in your possession. This "incredible idea to exploit quantum weirdness" for communication was the subject of a recent Forbes article [which blocks ad-blockers] as well as a NASA mission directorate. ("Entanglement-assisted Communication System for NASA's Deep-Space Missions: Feasibility Test and Conceptual Design".) And Friday MIT News reported a research team is now making progress toward capturing paired electron halves for quantum computing on gold film. "Our first goal is to look for the Majorana fermions, unambiguously detect them, and show this is it. " This week even 85-year-old Star Trek actor William Shatner cited quantum entanglement in a discussion of Star Trek's transporter technology, arguing that "Although a lot of the concepts in science fiction are absurd to our Newtonian minds, anything is possible because of the new language of quantum physics."

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DragonBox Pyra Goes Up For Pre-Order

Phoronix - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 2:25pm
It's been a while since last hearing anything about the DragonBox Pyra as an open-source gaming handheld system and successor to OpenPandora, but that changed this weekend with the launch of pre-orders for this Linux-powered device...

Flexible Floating Football-Field Sized Solar Panels

Slashdot - Sun, 01/05/2016 - 1:30pm
mdsolar writes: Offshore wind farms are growing in popularity as energy providers look for different ways of harvesting power from the sun without using valuable land resources. One unique idea being developed by engineers at Vienna University of Technology is a floating platform called a Heliofloat that would function as a sea-based solar power station.... an open-bottom, flexible float as large as a football field and covered from edge to edge with solar panels. Heliofloats can operate as standalone platforms for smaller operations with moderate energy requirements. Multiple heliofloats also can be connected together, forming a floating solar-harvesting power grid. Each heliofloat is 100 meters long, reportedly cheap and easy to build, and may eventually be used to power desalination plants and biomass extraction.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.