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Community vid reveals demos of vSphere-on-AWS cloud concoction

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 7:27am
Right-click to vMotion VMs between on-prem and AWS

VMware's revealed some demos of its planned hybrid cloud service running inside Amazon Web Services.…

As of today, iThings are even harder for police to probe

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 7:02am
iOS 10.3 lands, complete with heavily encrypted Apple File System

Apple today released iOS 10.3, watchOS 3.2 and tvOS 10.2 (14W265), the first two of all of which bring some pleasing extra functionality to iThings, But the main attraction in the new release is Apple File System, because it adds comprehensive encryption to the iPhone and Apple Watch.…

NASA Spends 72 Cents of Every SLS Dollar On Overhead Costs, Says Report

Slashdot - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 7:00am
A new report published by the nonpartisan think tank Center for a New American Security shows us where a lot of NASA's money is being spent. The space agency has reportedly spent $19 billion on rockets -- first on Ares I and V, and now on the Space Launch System rocket -- and $13.9 billion on the Orion spacecraft. If all goes according to plan and NASA is able to fly its first crewed mission with the new vehicles in 2021, "the report estimates the agency will have spent $43 billion before that first flight, essentially a reprise of the Apollo 8 mission around the Moon," reports Ars Technica. "Just the development effort for SLS and Orion, which includes none of the expenses related to in-space activities or landing anywhere, are already nearly half that of the Apollo program." From the report: The new report argues that, given these high costs, NASA should turn over the construction of rockets and spacecraft to the private sector. It buttresses this argument with a remarkable claim about the "overhead" costs associated with the NASA-led programs. These costs entail the administration, management, and development costs paid directly to the space agency -- rather than funds spend on contractors actually building the space hardware. For Orion, according to the report, approximately 56 percent of the program's cost, has gone to NASA instead of the main contractor, Lockheed Martin, and others. For the SLS rocket and its predecessors, the estimated fraction of NASA-related costs is higher -- 72 percent. This means that only about $7 billion of the rocket's $19 billion has gone to the private sector companies, Boeing, Orbital ATK, Aeroject Rocketdyne, and others cutting metal. By comparison the report also estimates NASA's overhead costs for the commercial cargo and crew programs, in which SpaceX, Boeing, and Orbital ATK are developing and providing cargo and astronaut delivery systems for the International Space Station. With these programs, NASA has ceded some control to the private companies, allowing them to retain ownership of the vehicles and design them with other customers in mind as well. With such fixed-price contracts, the NASA overhead costs for these programs is just 14 percent, the report finds.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

If you can't beat AI, join it: Boffinry biz baron Elon Musk backs brain-machine interface biz

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 6:01am
Computers wired into our minds. What could go wrong?

Three years ago, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, mused that artificial intelligence represented humanity's biggest existential threat.…

CompSci boffins propose scheme to protect privacy in database searches

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 5:02am
Queries indicate your intentions, so they're worth hiding

From stock searches to map directions, any time a user queries a database, they tell the database owner something valuable.…

AWS emits EnginFrame 2017 for cloudy HPC

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 4:04am
Simpler cluster config

Amazon Web Services' 2016 acquisition of NICE Systems is bearing fruit, with AWS lifting the lid on the next iteration of a high performance computing service called EnginFrame.…

Climate Change Is Altering Global Air Currents

Slashdot - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: One of the scientists who demonstrated conclusively that global warming was an unnatural event with the famous "hockey stick" graph is now warning that giant jetstreams which circle the planet are being altered by climate change. Jetstreams are influenced by the difference in temperatures between the Arctic and the equator. But the Arctic has been warming much faster than tropical climates -- the island of Svalbard, for example was 6.5 degrees celsius warmer last year compared to the average between 1961 and 1990. The land has also been warming faster than the sea. Both of those factors were changing the flow of these major air currents to create "extreme meanders" which were helping to cause "extreme weather events", Professor Michael Mann said. In a paper in the journal Scientific Reports, Professor Mann and other researchers wrote that evidence of the effect of climate change on the jetstreams had "only recently emerged from the background noise of natural variability." They said that projections of the effect on the jetstreams in "state-of-the-art" climate models were "mirrored" in "multiple" actual temperature measurements. The jetstream normally flows reasonably consistently around the planet, but can develop loops extending north and south. The researchers, who studied temperature records going back to 1870 as well as satellite data, said these loops could grow "very large" or even "grind to a halt" rather than moving from west to east. The effect has been most pronounced during the past 40 years, they found.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Redmond takes a small step towards opening Service Fabric

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 2:43am
No runtime yet, but two developer repos have landed

Last year, Microsoft offered up its first public beta of Azure Service Fabric for Linux. This month, it quietly took another step with the fabric by partly open-sourcing it.…

nbn™ builder prioritises easy premises, because it must work like that

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 2:09am
Don't criticise CEO Morrow for keeping the build moving

Stop me if you've heard this one: nbn™, builder and operator of Australia's national broadband network (NBN), is being accused of polishing its rollout figures by fast-tracking areas that are easy to service.…

New AI Algorithm Beats Even the World's Worst Traffic

Slashdot - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 1:30am
"Computer scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a new intelligent routing algorithm that attempts to minimize the occurrence of spontaneous traffic jams -- those sudden snarls caused by greedy merges and other isolated disruptions -- throughout a roadway network," reports Motherboard. "It's both computationally distributed and fast, requirements for any real-world traffic management system. Their work is described in the April issue of IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computational Intelligence." From the report: The Nanyang researchers' algorithm starts off by just assuming that, given enough traffic density, shit is going to happen. Someone is going to make a greedy merge -- something is going to cause enough of a traffic perturbation to result in a network breakdown. Breakdown in this context is a technical-ish term indicating that for some period of time the traffic outflow from a segment of roadway is going to be less than the traffic inflow. "We assume that the traffic breakdown model has already been given, and the probability of traffic breakdown occurrence is larger than zero (meaning that traffic breakdowns would occur), and our goal is to direct the traffic flow so that the overall traffic breakdown probability is minimized," Hongliang Guo and colleagues write. Put differently, "our objective is to maximize the probability that none of the network links encounters a traffic breakdown." So, the goal of the algorithm is this maximization, which reduces to a fairly tidy equation. It then becomes a machine learning problem. Things get pretty messy at this point, but just understand that we're taking the current traffic load, adding an unknown additional load that might enter the network at any time, and then coming up with probabilities of network breakdown at each of the network's nodes or intersections. Crunch some linear algebra and we wind up with optimal routes through the network. Crucially, Guo and co. were able to come up with some mathematical optimizations that make this kind of calculation feasible in real-time. They were able to demonstrate their algorithm in simulations and are currently working on a further analysis with BMW, which is providing a vast trove of data from its Munich car-sharing fleet. This may not be as distant a technology as it might seem. As it turns out, only 10 percent of cars in a network need to be driving according to the optimizations for those optimizations to have a positive effect on the entire network.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Green software blacked out Australian State

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 1:27am
Wind-turbine-ware defaults didn't handle exceptional weather events

Something good is going to come out of last year's “Black System” in the Australian State of South Australia: the global wind power industry has learned how to do better modelling for systems under attack from repeated failures.…

Facebook Launches 'Town Hall' For Contacting Government Reps, Adds Local Election Reminders

Slashdot - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 12:50am
Facebook has officially launched their "Town Hall" feature that allows users to locate, follow and contact their local, state and federal government representatives. The social media company also announced that they will be launching local election reminders in an effort to get more users to vote in state, county, and municipal elections. TechCrunch reports: The feature was recently made available in the "More" menu on mobile and on desktop to a subset of users. When you launch it, you would be presented with a list of reps at the local, state and federal level, and you could click to visit their Facebook page or send them a message, call them, or email. Not all reps offer their contact information via Facebook, however. And Facebook doesn't yet pull in the missing phone numbers or emails from off-site sources, like official government websites, for example. The company tell us that's something it wants to address in time, though. Today, Town Hall is available to all U.S. Facebook users and some of its features will now be integrated in the News Feed. If you like or comment on a post made by one of your elected officials, a new feature below the comments will invite you to call, message or email the rep. After doing so, users will then be prompted to share a post saying that they contacted the rep, as a means of encouraging their friends to do the same. Facebook says that this Contact Your Rep post is not shown to everyone, but only to those who are also already engaging with an elected official's post, through a like or comment. Additionally, Facebook says it will now offer Election Reminders for local elections. The new, local election reminders will appear for all state, county, and municipal elections in the U.S. in areas with a population of over 10,000 people, and will include both primaries and general elections.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung plans Galaxy Note 7 fire sale

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 12:33am
Flaming phablet stockpile to be refurbished, resold, rented and/or broken up for parts

Samsung's revealed it will soon start selling the Galaxy Note 7 again.…

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Working Environment For a Developer?

Slashdot - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 12:10am
New submitter Dorgendubal writes: I work for a company with more than a thousand developers and I'm participating in activities aimed at improving the work experience of developers. Our developers receive an ultrabook that is rather powerful but not really adapted for development (no admin rights, small storage capacity, restrictive security rules, etc.). They also have access to VDIs (more flexibility) but often complain of performance issues during certain hours of the day. Overall, developers want to have maximum autonomy, free choice of their tools (OS, IDE, etc.) and access to internal development environments (PaaS, GIT repositories, continuous delivery tools, etc.) . We recently had a presentation of VMWare on desktop and application virtualization (Workstation & Horizon), which is supposedly the future of the desktops. It sounds interesting on paper but I remain skeptical. What is the best working environment for a developer, offering flexibility, performance and some level of free choice, without compromising security, compliance, licensing (etc.) requirements? I would like you to share your experiences on BYOD, desktop virtualization, etc. and the level of satisfaction of the developers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cheap, flimsy, breakable and replaceable – yup, Ikea, you'll be right at home in the IoT world

El Reg - Tue, 28/03/2017 - 12:02am
First step, smart bulbs and sensors

Analysis  Ikea has just announced the entry of smart home technology into the mainstream with a new range of lights that can be activated by motion or smartphone app.…

The Meson Build System Is Being Fitted For The X.Org Server

Phoronix - Mon, 27/03/2017 - 11:31pm
Longtime X.Org developer Eric Anholt who previously worked for Intel and is now working for Broadcom on the open-source VC4 driver stack is working to add the Meson build system support for the xorg-server...

Facial Recognition Database Used By FBI Is Out of Control, House Committee Hears

Slashdot - Mon, 27/03/2017 - 11:30pm
The House oversight committee claims the FBI's facial recognition database is out of control, noting that "no federal law controls this technology" and "no court decision limits it." At last week's House oversight committee hearing, politicians and privacy campaigners presented several "damning facts" about the databases. "About 80% of photos in the FBI's network are non-criminal entries, including pictures from driver's licenses and passports," reports The Guardian. "The algorithms used to identify matches are inaccurate about 15% of the time, and are most likely to misidentify black people than white people." From the report: "Facial recognition technology is a powerful tool law enforcement can use to protect people, their property, our borders, and our nation," said the committee chair, Jason Chaffetz, adding that in the private sector it can be used to protect financial transactions and prevent fraud or identity theft. "But it can also be used by bad actors to harass or stalk individuals. It can be used in a way that chills free speech and free association by targeting people attending certain political meetings, protests, churches, or other types of places in the public." Furthermore, the rise of real-time face recognition technology that allows surveillance and body cameras to scan the faces of people walking down the street was, according to Chaffetz, "most concerning." "For those reasons and others, we must conduct proper oversight of this emerging technology," he said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Prominent Drupal, PHP Developer Kicked From the Drupal Project Over Unconventional Sex Life

Slashdot - Mon, 27/03/2017 - 10:50pm
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Last week the Drupal community erupted in anger after its leader, Dries Buytaert, asked Larry Garfield, a prominent Drupal contributor and long-time member of the Drupal and PHP communities, "to leave the Drupal project." Buytaert claims he did this "because it came to my attention that he holds views that are in opposition with the values of the Drupal project." A huge furor has erupted in response -- not least because the reason clearly has much to do with Garfield's unconventional sex life. [Garfield is into BDSM, and is a member of the Gorean community, "a community who are interested in, and/or participate in, elaborate sexual subjugation fantasies, in which men are inherently superior to women."] Buytaert made his post (which is now offline) in response after Larry went public, outing himself to public opinion. Buytaert retorted (excerpt available via TechCrunch): "when a highly-visible community member's private views become public, controversial, and disruptive for the project, I must consider the impact [...] all people are created equally. [sic] I cannot in good faith support someone who actively promotes a philosophy that is contrary to this [...] any association with Larry's belief system is inconsistent with our project's goals [...] I recused myself from the Drupal Association's decision [to dismiss Garfield from his conference role] [...] Many have rightfully stated that I haven't made a clear case for the decision [...] I did not make the decision based on the information or beliefs conveyed in Larry's blog post." TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans goes on to "unpack" the questions that naturally arise from these "Code of Conduct conflicts."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Stylebooks Finally Embrace the Single 'They'

Slashdot - Mon, 27/03/2017 - 10:10pm
Two major style manuals are now allowing the singular use of "they" in certain circumstances. While this is a victory for common sense, the paths taken are unusual in the evolution of usage. From a report on Columbia Journal Review: Both manuals, the Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style, emphasize that "they" cannot be used with abandon. Even so, it's the middle of the end for the insistence that "they" can be only a plural pronoun. To recap: In English, there is no gender-neutral pronoun for a single person. In French, for example, the pronoun on can stand in for "he" or "she." English has no such equivalent; "it" is our singular pronoun, so devoid of gender that calling a person "it" is often considered insulting. We could use "one," but that is a very impersonal pronoun. Consider this sentence, for instance. "Everyone needs to be sure to tighten ____ safety belt before approaching the cliff." The article adds: For hundreds of years, anyone writing formally would default to "he." Advances in women's rights led to the clumsy "he or she." Many writers alternate "he" or "she." This twisting and turning is because what's known as "the epicene they" has been considered incorrect. [...] But that's not the "they" the style guides have let loose. Simply, the singular "they" will be allowed if someone prefers that pronoun.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Valve Preparing To Roll Out SteamVR 360 Video Playback

Phoronix - Mon, 27/03/2017 - 10:05pm
Valve issued a new Steam client beta this afternoon where the sole listed change are the internal changes for supporting SteamVR 360 video playback...
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