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Bitcoin Capitalist Opens Bounty For New Block Cipher

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 4:08pm
An anonymous reader writes: Bitcoin capitalist Mircea Popescu has opened a contest to find a new block cipher and is offering a 10 Bitcoin reward for a winning submission. The eccentric Popescu was previously featured on Slashdot for saving OpenBSD from their electric bill in their time of need.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Financial Advisers Disrupted By AI

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 3:26pm
schwit1 writes: Banks are watching wealthy clients flirt with robo-advisers, and that's one reason the lenders are racing to release their own versions of the automated investing technology this year, according to a consultant. Robo-advisers, which use computer programs to provide investment advice online, typically charge less than half the fees of traditional brokerages, which cost at least 1 percent of assets under management.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

The Performance of Ubuntu Linux Over the Past 10 Years

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 2:46pm
An anonymous reader writes: Tests were carried out at Phoronix of all Ubuntu Long-Term Support releases from the 6.06 "Dapper Drake" release to 16.04 "Xenial Xerus," looking at the long-term performance of (Ubuntu) Linux using a dual-socket AMD Opteron server. Their benchmarks of Ubuntu's LTS releases over 10 years found that the Radeon graphics performance improved substantially, the disk performance was similar while taking into account the switch from EXT3 to EXT4, and that the CPU performance had overall improved for many workloads thanks to the continued evolution of the GCC compiler.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Intel Says Chips To Become Slower But More Energy Efficient

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 2:06pm
An anonymous reader writes: William Holt, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, has said at a conference that chips will become slower after industry re-tools for new technologies such as spintronics and tunneling transistors. "The best pure technology improvements we can make will bring improvements in power consumption but will reduce speed." If true, it's not just the end of Moore's Law, but a rolling back of the progress it made over the last fifty years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Amazon's Thin Helvetica Syndrome: Font Anorexia vs. Kindle Readability

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 1:26pm
David Rothman writes: The Thin Helvetica Syndrome arises from the latest Kindle upgrade and has made e-books less readable for some. In the past, e-book-lovers who needed more perceived-contrast between text and background could find at least partial relief in Helvetica because the font was heavy by Kindle standards. But now some users complain that the 5.7.2 upgrade actually made Helvetica thinner. Of course, the real cure would be an all-text bold option for people who need it, or even a way to adjust font weight, a feature of Kobo devices. But Amazon stubbornly keeps ignoring user pleas even though the cost of adding either feature would be minimal. Isn't this supposed to be a customer-centric company?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

CFQ In Linux Gets BFQ Characteristics

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 12:47pm
jones_supa writes: Paolo Valente from University of Modena has submitted a Linux kernel patchset which replaces CFQ (Completely Fair Queueing) I/O scheduler with the last version of BFQ (Budget Fair Queuing, a proportional-share scheduler). This patchset first brings CFQ back to its state at the time when BFQ was forked from CFQ. Paolo explains: "Basically, this reduces CFQ to its engine, by removing every heuristic and improvement that has nothing to do with any heuristic or improvement in BFQ, and every heuristic and improvement whose goal is achieved in a different way in BFQ. Then, the second part of the patchset starts by replacing CFQ's engine with BFQ's engine, and goes on by adding current BFQ improvements and extra heuristics." He provides a link to the thread in which it is agreed on this idea, and a direct link to the e-mail describing the steps.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

A Bot That Drives Robocallers Insane

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 12:06pm
Trailrunner7 writes: Robocalls are among the more annoying modern inventions, and consumers and businesses have tried just about every strategy for defeating them over the years, with little success. But one man has come up with a bot of his own that sends robocallers into a maddening hall of mirrors designed to frustrate them into surrender. The bot is called the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, and it's the work of Roger Anderson, a veteran of the phone industry himself who had grown tired of the repeated harassment from telemarketers and robocallers. Anderson started out by building a system that sat in front of his home landlines and would tell human callers to press a key to ring through to his actual phone line; robocallers were routed directly to an answering system. He would then white-list the numbers of humans who got through. Sometimes the Jolly Roger bot will press buttons to be transferred to a human agent and other times it will just talk back if a human is on the other end of the line to begin with.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Wendelstein 7-X Fusion Reactor Produces Its First Flash of Hydrogen Plasma

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 11:45am
Zothecula writes: Experimentation with Germany's newest fusion reactor is beginning to heat up, to temperatures of around 80 million degrees Celsius, to be precise. Having fired up the Wendelstein 7-X to produce helium plasma late last year, researchers have built on their early success to generate its first hydrogen plasma, an event they say begins the true scientific operation of the world's largest fusion stellarator.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

What’s new on Drupal.org? - January 2016

Drupal - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 11:41am

Look at our Roadmap highlighting how this work falls into our priorities set by the Drupal Association staff with the direction from the Board and collaboration with the community.

Drupal.org Updates Following the Conversation

One of the most requested features from a wide swath of the community has been a better way to follow content on Drupal.org and receive email notifications. The issue queues have had this follow functionality for some time, but the implementation was quite specific to issues, and not easily extensible to the rest of the site.

Because of the volume of content on Drupal.org we have to be careful that our implementation will scale well. We now use a notification system based on the Message stack which functions much more generically and therefore can be applied to many content types on Drupal.org.

Follow functionality is now available for comments on Forum topics, Posts (like this one), Case Studies, and documentation Book Pages.

In the future we intend to extend this follow functionality to include notification of new revisions (for relevant content types, particularly documentation).

Community Elections for the Board

Nominations for the position of At-Large Director from the community are now open. There are two of these positions on the board, each elected on alternating years. For this year's elections process we've made several small refinements:

  • Candidates are now no longer required to display their real names on their candidate profile. We will now default to the Drupal.org username.
  • Candidates do not have to provide a photo, we will default to a generic avatar.
  • There is now an elections landing page with complete details about the elections process.

We encourage members of the community to nominate themselves!

Drupal.org Enhancements

A number of smaller enhancements made it into the January sprints as well. One of the key ones was the ability to configure an arbitrary one-off test in the issue queues against a custom branch. This is a small step towards ensuring that the DrupalCI testing framework will support the wider testing matrix required for feature branching, so that Drupal can always be shippable.

We also spent some time in January reviewing the results of the documentation survey that was placed on all existing documentation pages on the site. This information is helping to inform the next big item on the roadmap - improved Documentation section on Drupal.org.

Finally, we've continued our battle against spam with the help of Technology Supporter, Distil Networks. We've seen some very promising results in initial trials to prevent spam account registrations from happening in the first place, and will continue to work on refining our integration.

Sustaining support and maintenance

DrupalCon New Orleans Full -Site Launched!

In January we also launched the full -site for DrupalCon New Orleans with registration and the call for papers. As part of this launch, Events.drupal.org now supports multiple, simultaneous event registrations with multiple currencies, payment processors, and invoice formats. This was a significant engineering lift, but has made Events.drupal.org even more robust.

DrupalCon New Orleans is happening from May 9-13th, and will be the first North American DrupalCon after the release of Drupal 8!

DrupalCon Dublin

The next European DrupalCon will also be here before you know it, and we've been working with the local community and our designer to update the DrupalCon Dublin splash page with a new logo that we will carry through into the design for the full-site once that is ready to launch.

Permissions for Elevated Users

In January we also focused on auditing the users with elevated privileges on Drupal.org, both to ensure that they had the permissions they needed, and to enforce our principle of least-access. Users at various levels of elevated privileges were contacted to see if they were still needed, and if not those privileged roles were removed.

The following privileges were also fixed or updated: webmasters can now view a user's' public ssh keys; content moderators can administer comments and block spam users without user profile editing privileges. We also fixed taxonomy vocabulary access and now both content moderators and webmasters have access to edit tags in various vocabularies such as Issue tags, giving more community members access to clean those up and fight duplicates or unused tags.

Updates traffic now redirects to HTTPS

SSL is now the default for FTP traffic from Drupal.org and for Updates.drupal.org itself. This helps to enforce a best practice of using SSL wherever possible, and helps to address an oblique attack surface where a man-in-the-middle could potentially hijack an update for someone running their Drupal installation on an unprotected network (i.e. development environments on a personal laptop in a coffee shop).

Devwww2 Recovery

Drupal.org pre-production environments were affected by some instability in January, particulary the devwww2 server. A combination of a hard restart due to losing a NIC on the machine and some file-system level optimizations in the database containers lead to corruption on the dev site databases. Drupal.org infrastructure engineers restored the system and recovered the critical dev sites, and while some instability continues the system has been recovering more cleanly as they work to resolve the issue permanently.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Categories: Drupal

What’s new on Drupal.org? - January 2016

Drupal - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 11:41am

Look at our Roadmap highlighting how this work falls into our priorities set by the Drupal Association staff with the direction from the Board and collaboration with the community.

Drupal.org Updates Following the Conversation

One of the most requested features from a wide swath of the community has been a better way to follow content on Drupal.org and receive email notifications. The issue queues have had this follow functionality for some time, but the implementation was quite specific to issues, and not easily extensible to the rest of the site.

Because of the volume of content on Drupal.org we have to be careful that our implementation will scale well. We now use a notification system based on the Message stack which functions much more generically and therefore can be applied to many content types on Drupal.org.

Follow functionality is now available for comments on Forum topics, Posts (like this one), Case Studies, and documentation Book Pages.

In the future we intend to extend this follow functionality to include notification of new revisions (for relevant content types, particularly documentation).

Community Elections for the Board

Nominations for the position of At-Large Director from the community are now open. There are two of these positions on the board, each elected on alternating years. For this year's elections process we've made several small refinements:

  • Candidates are now no longer required to display their real names on their candidate profile. We will now default to the Drupal.org username.
  • Candidates do not have to provide a photo, we will default to a generic avatar.
  • There is now an elections landing page with complete details about the elections process.

We encourage members of the community to nominate themselves!

Drupal.org Enhancements

A number of smaller enhancements made it into the January sprints as well. One of the key ones was the ability to configure an arbitrary one-off test in the issue queues against a custom branch. This is a small step towards ensuring that the DrupalCI testing framework will support the wider testing matrix required for feature branching, so that Drupal can always be shippable.

We also spent some time in January reviewing the results of the documentation survey that was placed on all existing documentation pages on the site. This information is helping to inform the next big item on the roadmap - improved Documentation section on Drupal.org.

Finally, we've continued our battle against spam with the help of Technology Supporter, Distil Networks. We've seen some very promising results in initial trials to prevent spam account registrations from happening in the first place, and will continue to work on refining our integration.

Sustaining support and maintenance

DrupalCon New Orleans Full -Site Launched!

In January we also launched the full -site for DrupalCon New Orleans with registration and the call for papers. As part of this launch, Events.drupal.org now supports multiple, simultaneous event registrations with multiple currencies, payment processors, and invoice formats. This was a significant engineering lift, but has made Events.drupal.org even more robust.

DrupalCon New Orleans is happening from May 9-13th, and will be the first North American DrupalCon after the release of Drupal 8!

DrupalCon Dublin

The next European DrupalCon will also be here before you know it, and we've been working with the local community and our designer to update the DrupalCon Dublin splash page with a new logo that we will carry through into the design for the full-site once that is ready to launch.

Permissions for Elevated Users

In January we also focused on auditing the users with elevated privileges on Drupal.org, both to ensure that they had the permissions they needed, and to enforce our principle of least-access. Users at various levels of elevated privileges were contacted to see if they were still needed, and if not those privileged roles were removed.

The following privileges were also fixed or updated: webmasters can now view a user's' public ssh keys; content moderators can administer comments and block spam users without user profile editing privileges. We also fixed taxonomy vocabulary access and now both content moderators and webmasters have access to edit tags in various vocabularies such as Issue tags, giving more community members access to clean those up and fight duplicates or unused tags.

Updates traffic now redirects to HTTPS

SSL is now the default for FTP traffic from Drupal.org and for Updates.drupal.org itself. This helps to enforce a best practice of using SSL wherever possible, and helps to address an oblique attack surface where a man-in-the-middle could potentially hijack an update for someone running their Drupal installation on an unprotected network (i.e. development environments on a personal laptop in a coffee shop).

Devwww2 Recovery

Drupal.org pre-production environments were affected by some instability in January, particulary the devwww2 server. A combination of a hard restart due to losing a NIC on the machine and some file-system level optimizations in the database containers lead to corruption on the dev site databases. Drupal.org infrastructure engineers restored the system and recovered the critical dev sites, and while some instability continues the system has been recovering more cleanly as they work to resolve the issue permanently.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Categories: Drupal

Have Your iPhone 6 Repaired, Only To Get It Bricked By Apple

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 11:26am
New submitter Nemosoft Unv. writes: In case you had a problem with the fingerprint sensor or some other small defect on your iPhone 6 and had it repaired by a non-official (read: cheaper) shop, you may be in for a nasty surprise: error 53. What happens is that during an OS update or re-install the software checks the internal hardware and if it detects a non-Apple component, it will display an error 53 and brick your phone. Any photos or other data held on the handset is lost – and irretrievable. Thousands of people have flocked to forums to express their dismay at this. What's more insiduous is that the error may only appear weeks or months after the repair. Incredibly, Apple says this cannot be fixed by any hard- or software update, while it is clearly their software that causes the problem in the first place. And then you thought FTDI was being nasty ...

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Grandma's Phone, DSL, and the Copper They Share

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 10:45am
szczys writes: DSL is high-speed Internet that uses the same twisted pair of copper wire that still works with your Grandmother's wall-mounted telephone. How is that possible? The short answer is that the telephone company is cheating. But the long answer delves into the work of Claude Shannon, who figured out how much data could be reliably transferred using a given medium. His work, combined with that of Harry Nyquist and Ralph Hartley (pioneers of channel capacity and the role noise plays in these systems), brings the Internet Age to many homes on an infrastructure that has been in use for more than a hundred years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

UK Wants Authority To Serve Warrants In U.S.

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 10:04am
schwit1 writes with this news, as reported by USA Today: British and U.S. officials have been negotiating a plan that could allow British authorities to directly serve wiretap orders on U.S. communications companies in criminal and national security inquiries, U.S. officials confirmed Thursday. The talks are aimed at allowing British authorities access to a range of data, from interceptions of live communications to archived emails involving British suspects, according to the officials, who are not authorized to comment publicly. ... Under the proposed plan, British authorities would not have access to records of U.S. citizens if they emerged in the British investigations. Congressional approval would be required of any deal negotiated by the two countries.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

In Japan, a Battle Brewing Over the Right To Record 4k and 8k Broadcasts

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 9:23am
AmiMoJo writes: Japanese broadcasters have indicated that 4k and 8k broadcasts may have recording disabled via a 'do not copy' flag [via Google Translate], which receivers would be expected to obey. Now the Internet Users Association (MIAU) and Shufuren (Housewives Federation) have submitted documentation opposing the ban. The document points out that the ban will only inconvenience the majority of the general audience, while inevitably failing to prevent unauthorized copying by anyone determined to circumvent the protection.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

K-12 CS Framework Draft: Kids Taught To 'Protect Original Ideas' In Early Grades

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 8:42am
theodp writes: Remember that Code.org and ACM-bankrolled K-12 Computer Science Education Framework that Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others were working on? Well, a draft of the framework was made available for review on Feb. 3rd, coincidentally just 3 business days after U.S. President Barack Obama and Microsoft President Brad Smith teamed up to announce the $4+ billion Computer Science for All initiative for the nation's K-12 students. "Computationally literate citizens have the responsibility to learn about, recognize, and address the personal, ethical, social, economic, and cultural contexts in which they operate," explains the section on Fostering an Inclusive Computing Culture, one of seven listed 'Core K-12 CS Practices'. "Participating in an inclusive computing culture encompasses the following: building and collaborating with diverse computational teams, involving diverse users in the design process, considering the implication of design choices on the widest set of end users, accounting for the safety and security of diverse end users, and fostering inclusive identities of computer scientists." Hey, do as they say, not as they do! Also included in the 10-page draft (pdf) is a section on Law and Ethics, which begins: "In early grades, students differentiate between responsible and irresponsible computing behaviors. Students learn that responsible behaviors can help individuals while irresponsible behaviors can hurt individuals. They examine legal and ethical considerations for obtaining and sharing information and apply those behaviors to protect original ideas."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

MIT Reveals "Hack-Proof" RFID Chip

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 8:02am
JustAnotherOldGuy writes: A group of researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments claim that they have developed a new radio frequency identification chip that may be impossible to hack. Traditional RFID chips are vulnerable to side-channel attacks, whereby a hacker can extract a cryptographic key from the chip. The new RFID chip runs a random-number generator that creates a new secret key after each transaction. The key can then be verified with a server to ensure that it is correct. The group at MIT also incorporated protection against a power-glitch attack, an attack that would normally leave a chip vulnerable to an interruption of the power source that would in turn halt the creation of a new secret key. Texas Instruments CTO Ahmad Bahai stated, "We believe this research is an important step toward the goal of a robust, lo-cost, low-power authentication protocol for the industrial internet." The question is, how long will it be before this "hack proof" chip is hacked?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Anti-Malware Maker Files Lawsuit Over Bad Review

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:11am
itwbennett writes: In a lawsuit filed January 8, 2016, Enigma Software, maker of anti-malware software SpyHunter, accuses self-help portal Bleeping Computer of making 'false, disparaging, and defamatory statements.' At issue: a bad review posted by a user in September, 2014. The lawsuit also accuses Bleeping Computer of profiting from driving traffic to competitor Malwarebytes via affiliate links: 'Bleeping has a direct financial interest in driving traffic and sales to Malwarebytes and driving traffic and sales away from ESG.' Perhaps not helping matters, one of the first donations to a fund set up by Bleeping Computer to help with legal costs came from Malwarebytes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Free State Project Reaches Goal of 20,000 Signups

SlashDot - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 2:08am
Okian Warrior writes: As a followup to our recent story, at 11AM Tuesday, Free State Project president Carla Gericke announced the FSP had reached its goal of recruiting 20,000 participants. The 20,000 mark is significant, because it 'triggers the move' – the mass migration of the Free State Project participants who have all agreed to move to New Hampshire within the next five years. So far, almost 2,000 have already relocated to the state.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Porsche Builds Photovoltaic Pylon, Offsetting Luddite Position On Self-Drive

SlashDot - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 11:06pm
An anonymous reader writes: Porsche has just completed an impressive 25-meter high photovoltaic pylon. The construction, lonely in its current position and strongly resembling the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, comprises 7,776 solar cells and is capable of generating up to 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. From 2017 it will power the elite car manufacturer's new Berlin-Adlershof Porsche center. Porsche is keen to show a progressive stance on its new range of electric vehicles, considering that it has no intention of joining the movement towards self-driving.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News

Everything You Need To Know About the Big New Data-Privacy Bill In Congress

SlashDot - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 8:18pm
erier2003 writes with this excerpt from The Daily Dot: The United States and the European Union have agreed to a transatlantic data-sharing arrangement to protect U.S. companies' overseas activities and European citizens' privacy, but another initiative—one that's still working its way through Congress—could be just important to U.S.–E.U. relations and transnational privacy rights. The Judicial Redress Act is considered essential to a broader agreement between the U.S. and Europe over the sharing of data in criminal and terrorism investigations. The negotiations over the newly announced E.U.–U.S. Privacy Shield may have received more attention, but the concerns at the heart of this bill are no less important.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek News
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