Technology

'Unprecedented' Bleaching Damages Two-Thirds Of Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Slashdot - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 3:00am
An anonymous reader writes: Unprecedented coral bleaching in consecutive years has damaged two-thirds of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, aerial surveys have shown. The bleaching — or loss of algae — affects a 1,500km (900 miles) area of the reef, according to scientists. The latest damage is concentrated in the middle section, whereas last year's bleaching hit mainly the north. Experts fear the proximity of the two events will give damaged coral little chance to recover.

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OpenELEC 8.0 Linux Distro Released For PC, Raspberry Pi, WeTek Hub

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 11:34pm
BrianFagioli writes: Today, popular Linux distro OpenELEC reaches version 8.0 stable. This operating system leverages Kodi to provide a well-rounded media center experience. Not only are there images for PC, but for Raspberry Pi, and WeTek boxes too. 'OpenELEC 8.0 release contains a Kodi major version bump. If you are updating from OpenELEC 7.0 or earlier we strongly recommend you perform a full backup before performing a manual update. If you experience issues please perform a soft-reset to clear OpenELEC and Kodi settings,' says Stephan Raue, OpenELEC.

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Spotify Executive Chris Bevington Dies In Stockholm Attack

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 9:45pm
"On Friday, four people were killed and about 15 more were injured when a truck plowed through a shopping area in the heart of Sweden's capital," reports Variety. One of the four victims was Chris Bevington, an executive at Spotify. An anonymous reader writes: "The British 41-year-old had served as Spotify's director of global partnerships/business development, working from Stockholm," reports Variety. The streaming service's founder, Daniel Ek, confirmed the news with a Facebook post on Sunday. "Chris has been a member of our band for over five years. He has had a great impact on not just the business but on everyone who had the privilege to know and work with him. There are no words for how missed he will be or for how sad we all are to have lost him like this."

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Celebrating '21 Things We Miss About Old Computers'

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 7:52pm
"Today, we look back at the classic era of home computing that existed alongside the dreariness of business computing and the heart-pounding noise and colour of the arcades," writes the site Den of Geek. An anonymous reader reports: The article remembers the days of dial-up modems, obscure computer magazines, and the forgotten phenomenon of computer clubs. ("There was a time when if you wanted to ask a question about something computer related, or see something in action, you'd have to venture outside and into another building to go and see it.") Gamers grappled with old school controllers, games distributed on cassette tapes, low-resolution graphics and the "playground piracy" of warez boards -- when they weren't playing the original side-scrolling platformers like Mario Bros and Donkey Kong at video arcades. In a world where people published fanzines on 16-bit computers, shared demo programs, and even played text adventures, primitive hardware may have inspired future coders, since "Old computers typically presented you with a command prompt as soon as you switched them on, meaning that they were practically begging to be programmed on." Home computers "mesmerised us, educated us, and in many cases, bankrupted us," the article remembers -- until they were replaced by more powerful hardware. "You move on, but you never fully get over your first love," it concludes -- while also adding that "what came next was pretty amazing." Does this bring back any memories for anybody -- or provoke any wistful nostalgic for a bygone era? Either way, I really liked the way that the article ended. "The most exciting chapter of all, my geeky friends? The future!"

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DeepMind Open Sources 'Sonnet' Library For Easier Creation Of Neural Networks

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 6:45pm
"We are very excited about contributions from the community," announced Alphabet's DeepMind, open sourcing a new library to make it easier to build complex TensorFlow neural networks. An anonymous reader writes: "DeepMind foresees Sonnet to be used by the community as a research propellant," reports FossBytes. "Also, it would allow easy sharing of other models created by DeepMind with the community." Sonnet uses an object-oriented approach, a recent blog post explained, pointing to more details on GitHub. "The main principle of 'Sonnet' is to first construct Python objects which represent some part of a neural network, and then separately connect these objects into the TensorFlow computation graph." DeepMind sees this as part of their broader commitment to open source AI research. "In recent months we've also open-sourced our flagship platform DeepMind Lab, and are currently working with Blizzard to develop an open source API that supports AI research in StarCraft II."

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Microsoft Claims Windows 10 Saves Enterprises 28% More Than They Claimed Last Year

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 5:45pm
"Microsoft this week boosted by 28% its claim of how much enterprises can save by deploying Windows 10," writes Computerworld. An anonymous reader quotes their report: The revised estimate came from a Microsoft-commissioned analysis first done in mid-2016 by Forrester Research. Then, Forrester said the per-worker savings over a three-year stretch would be $404. To reach that number, the research firm interviewed four Microsoft customers that had begun moving to Windows 10, then modeled a hypothetical organization with 24,000 Windows devices, and a large number of mobile workers among the 20,000 employees. Using that pretend company, Forrester forecast the difference between running Windows 10 and retaining Windows 7. Late last year, Forrester interviewed another quartet of Windows early 10 adopters, then added that data to what it had originally. The new per-employee savings: $515 over three years, a jump of almost a third... Forrester's increase in the number of mobile workers -- the total climbed by 460 employees -- was the biggest factor in the changed estimate... The bottom line, said Forrester and Microsoft, was that the migration to Windows 10 would pay for itself -- the breakeven point when savings equal costs -- in 14 months. The report says IT administrators "estimate a 20% improvement in management time, as Windows 10 requires less IT time to install, manage, and support with in-place deployment and more self-service functions," while because of the OS's security software, "security events requiring IT remediation are reduced or avoided by 33%."

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Ask Slashdot: How Should You Launch A Software Startup?

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 4:39pm
Slashdot reader ben-hnb is a developer who loves the idea of running a startup, or being one of the ones who got in early. But how exactly does he get there? I've got no "business" experience. Everyone seems to want to get on the startup incubator train -- the latest U.K. model I've seen, Launchpad, would even train (MA!) and support me financially for a year while developing the initial product. This just one in a long list of different models, from the famous Y-Combinator three-month model to the 500 Startups four-month seed program and simple co-working spaces with a bit of help, like Launch 22. If you wanted to get a startup going, where would you go to first and why? Or would you just strike out in your bedroom/garage? Leave your best answers in the comments. How would you launch a software startup?

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Bitcoin Exchange Sues Wells Fargo Over Massive Wire Transfer Suspension

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 3:39pm
An anonymous reader quotes this report from the cryptocurrency news site Bitcoin.com: Bitfinex, on Wednesday, filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo for suspending its outgoing U.S. dollars wire transfers. In addition to "a preliminary and permanent injunction against Wells Fargo," the exchange is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $75,000 and any additional relief the court may deem fair as well as a jury trial for the case... The court document states that Bitfinex is a customer of four Taiwan-based banks but is not itself a customer of Wells Fargo. However, its banks in Taiwan use Wells Fargo as a correspondent bank to process U.S. dollar wire transfers, which is a normal practice in cross-border payments. "So far, close to US$180M in funds is locked up in Wells Fargo accounts," writes The Merkle, "with no clear path to a resolution in sight." But a Bitfinex representative on social media pointed out that "Funds are not frozen," adding that Wells Fargo is just a correspondent bank, and "They have chosen to block wire transfers between us and our customers which we are challenging in court." Another post from BFX_Brandon states that "If we allow them to simply flip a switch and disrupt business, then there becomes a precedence in the Bitcoin industry beyond just Bitfinex, so we believe it is the appropriate time to take action."

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Canonical Founder Criticizes Free Software Developers Who 'Hate On Whatever's Mainstream'

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 2:39pm
Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth said Saturday that "I came to be disgusted with the hate" on Canonical's display server Mir, saying it "changed my opinion of the free software community." After announcing his company was abandoning Unity for GNOME, Shuttleworth posted a gracious thank-you note to the Unity community Friday on Google Plus. But on Saturday, he added a sharper comment: "I used to think that it was a privilege to serve people who also loved the idea of service, but now I think many members of the free software community are just deeply anti-social types who love to hate on whatever is mainstream. When Windows was mainstream they hated on it. Rationally, Windows does many things well and deserves respect for those. And when Canonical went mainstream, it became the focus of irrational hatred too. The very same muppets would write about how terrible it was that IOS/Android had no competition and then how terrible it was that Canonical was investing in (free software!) compositing and convergence. Fuck that shit." The comment begins by saying "The whole Mir hate-fest boggled my mind - it's free software that does something invisible really well. It became a political topic as irrational as climate change or gun control, where being on one side or the other was a sign of tribal allegiance. We have a problem in the community when people choose to hate free software instead of loving that someone cares enough to take their life's work and make it freely available."

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New 'Spray-On' Memory Could Turn Everyday Items Into Digital Storage Devices

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 1:39pm
Researchers at Duke University have developed "spray-on" digital memory using only an aerosol jet printer and nanoparticle inks. An anonymous reader quotes Duke Today: The device, which is analogous to a 4-bit flash drive, is the first fully-printed digital memory that would be suitable for practical use in simple electronics such as environmental sensors or RFID tags. And because it is jet-printed at relatively low temperatures, it could be used to build programmable electronic devices on bendable materials like paper, plastic or fabric... The new material, made of silica-coated copper nanowires encased in a polymer matrix, encodes information not in states of charge but instead in states of resistance. By applying a small voltage, it can be switched between a state of high resistance, which stops electric current, and a state of low resistance, which allows current to flow. And, unlike silicon, the nanowires and the polymer can be dissolved in methanol, creating a liquid that can be sprayed through the nozzle of a printer. Amazingly, its write speed is three microseconds, "rivaling the speed of flash drives." The information can be re-written many times, and the stored data can last for up to 10 years.

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A Huge Trove of Patient Data Leaks, Thanks To Telemarketers' Bad Security

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 12:39pm
"A trove of records containing personal and health information on close to a million people was exposed after a former developer working at a telemarketing company uploaded a backup of its database to the internet," writes ZDNet. An anonymous reader quotes their report: The data contained personal and health-related information, such as names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, Social Security numbers, health insurance information, and other data relating to the types of health problems the individuals have regarding the products they need, though many of the records were truncated or incomplete. An examination showed that the database was used to market products to thousands of customers by telemarketers at HealthNow -- no longer a registered business as of 2015. Several records we've seen included customized notes written by staff who were tasked with calling customers, such as when they are home and any other relevant information on the subject. The database apparently lingered online for years in an AWS instance until it was discovered two weeks ago in search results from Shodan by a Twitter user calling himself Flash Gordon. Databreaches.net, which investigated the breach with ZDNet, believes this as a teachable moment. "Before you give your personal or health insurance information to telemarketers or firms that call to offer you supplies for diabetes or back pain or other conditions, think twice."

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McAfee: Big Spike In Mac OS Malware In 2016, Mostly From Adware Bundling

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 11:34am
An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: Security firm McAfee released a report this week that showed a big jump in 2016 regarding malware hitting the Mac operating system. The McAfee report said there were 460,000 malware instances affecting the Mac OS in the fourth quarter of 2016, an over 700% jump from the previous year during the same quarter. McAfee's new report confirms similar research by other cybersecurity firms in recent years that show an increased prevalence of malware affecting Apple computers. Essentially, as more people buy Apple computers, there are more possibilities for malware to infect the machines. But while an over 700% surge in malware may sound frightening, it should be noted that "the big increase in Mac OS malware was due to adware bundling," the report's authors wrote.

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Electric Vertical Take-Off Aircraft Successfully Tested By DARPA

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 10:34am
Slashdot reader drunkdrone tipped us off to some big aviation news: After several years of development DARPA has successfully completed flight-testing of one of the most novel, and odd-looking, aircraft designs we've seen in some time -- the sub-scale electric X-Plane. After calling for an innovative new approach to an aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, DARPA awarded its Phase 2 contract to Aurora Flight Sciences in early 2016. Aurora's design includes 24 electric ducted fans, 18 on the main wings and six on the smaller front canards. Both the main wings and the canards are designed to tilt upwards for vertical takeoff before rotating to the horizontal for regular flight... The prototype was also used to trial a number of other technologies DARPA has been developing, such as 3D-printed plastics for flight structures and aerodynamic surfaces. The article includes video of the test flight, and reportedly the aircraft also successfully tested "sustained hovering." DARPA will now begin officially developing a full-scale aircraft, which has been designated "the XV-24A."

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Tunnelled IPv6 Attacks Bypass Network Intrusion Detection Systems

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 9:34am
"The transition to internet protocol version 6 has opened up a whole new range of threat vectors that allow attackers to set up undetectable communications channels across networks, researchers have found." Slashdot reader Bismillah summarizes a report from IT News. Researchers at NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and Estonia's University of Tallinn have worked out how to set up communications channels using IPv6 transition mechanisms, to exfiltrate data and for systems control over IPv4-only and dual-stack networks -- without being spotted by network intrusion detection systems. The article argues that "Since IPv6 implementations and security solutions are relatively new and untested, and systems engineers aren't fully aware of them, the new protocol can become a network backdoor attackers can exploit undetected." The researchers' paper is titled "Hedgehog In The Fog."

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Eric S. Raymond Unveils New List Of 'Hacker Archetypes'

Slashdot - Sun, 04/09/2017 - 6:34am
An anonymous reader writes: Open source guru Eric S. Raymond has announced public brainstorming on a "gallery of hacker archetypes to help motivate newbies" by defining several different psychologies commonly found among programmers. He's unveiled an initial list developed with a friend, along with some interesting commentary. (Algorithmicists often have poor social skills and "a tendency to fail by excessive cleverness. Never let them manage anyone!") Raymond cautions that "No hacker is only one of these" -- though apparently most of the hackers he knows appear to be two of them, "an indication that we are, even if imperfectly, zeroing in on real traits." But the blog post ends by asking "What archetypes, if any, are we missing?" It'll be interesting to see if Slashdot readers if they recognize themselves in any of the archetypes. But the blog post also answers the inevitable question. What archetype is Eric S. Raymond? "Mostly Architect with a side of Algorithmicist and a touch of Jack-of-All-Trades."

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A spacecraft’s final mission … and other news from TED speakers

TED Blog - Fri, 04/07/2017 - 6:18pm
Please enjoy your weekly roundup of TED-related news: Good luck and farewell to the Cassini spacecraft. Launched 20 years ago, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will begin its final mission on April 26.  The spacecraft will embark on a series of 22 dives through the space between Saturn and its rings, transmitting data that may help us […]
Categories: Technology

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