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Obama Calls For $4B 'Computer Science For All' Program For K-12 Schools

SlashDot - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 10:27am
Etherwalk writes: President Obama plans to announce a four billion dollar computer science initiative for K-12 schools, where fewer than 15 percent of American high schools offer Advanced Placement (i.e. college 101) Computer Science courses. This is still very much open to negotiation with Congress, because it is part of a budget request from the President. So write your Congressman if you support it. The $4 billion would be doled out over a period of three years to any state that applies for the funds and has a well-designed plan to expand access to computer science courses, especially for girls and minorities.

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In Memoriam: VGA

SlashDot - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 9:32am
szczys writes: VGA is going away. It has been for a long time but the final nails in the coffin are being driven home this year. It was the first standard for video, and is by far the longest-lived port on the PC. The extra pins made computers monitor-aware; allowing data about the screen type and resolution to be queried whenever a display was connected. But the connector is big and looks antiquated. There's no place for it in today's thin, design minded devices. It is also a mechanism for analog signaling in our world that has embraced high-speed digital for ever increasing pixels and integration of more data passing through one connection. Most motherboards no longer have the connector, and Intel's new Skylake processors have removed native VGA functionality. Even online retailers have stopped including it as a filter option when choosing hardware.

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iOS App Update Technique Puts Users At Risk

SlashDot - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 8:28am
itwbennett writes: An increasing number of iOS application developers use a technique that allows them to remotely modify the code in their apps without going through Apple's normal review process, potentially opening the door to abuse and security risks for users. An implementation of this technique, which is a variation of hot patching, comes from an open-source project called JSPatch. After adding the JSPatch engine to their application, developers can configure the app to always load JavaScript code from a remote server they control. This code is then interpreted by the JSPatch engine and converted into Objective-C. 'JSPatch is a boon to iOS developers,' security researchers from FireEye said in a blog post. 'In the right hands, it can be used to quickly and effectively deploy patches and code updates. But in a non-utopian world like ours, we need to assume that bad actors will leverage this technology for unintended purposes.'

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Europe Now Has Its Own "Most Wanted Fugitives" Web Page

SlashDot - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 5:13am
New submitter ffkom writes: European police organization Europol was probably jealous of the fame and popularity of the FBI's Most Wanted site, so they finally launched their own, European version. And if you want to know what a peaceful place Europe is, just consider this: You don't even have to kill anyone to get on the current "Most Wanted Fugitives" list. A mere fraud worth 12€ is currently enough to get you into this "Hall of questionable fame."

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US Gov't Confirms Clinton Emails Contained Top-Secret Information

SlashDot - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 2:03am
An anonymous reader writes: Just days before candidates begin primary season with caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Obama administration confirmed for the first time that Hillary Clinton's emails did contain sensitive information. The Associated Press reports that seven of these email chains, are being withheld from the press because they contain information deemed to be "top secret" and that 37 pages included messages described by intelligence officials as "special access programs" — meaning, highly restricted and closely guarded government secrets.

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Facebook Expands Online Commerce Role, But Says "No Guns, Please"

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 10:57pm
The New York Times reports that Facebook's newly staked-out role as a site to facilitate local, person-to-person sales (ala Craigslist) has a new wrinkle: the site has announced a site-wide policy restricting firearms sales that applies to personal sales, though not to licensed dealers or gun clubs. According to the story, Although Facebook was not directly involved in gun sales, it has served as a forum for gun sales to be negotiated, without people having to undergo background checks. The social network, with 1.6 billion monthly visitors, had become one of the worldâ(TM)s largest marketplaces for guns and was increasingly evolving into an e-commerce site where it could facilitate transactions of goods. ... Facebook said it would rely on its vast network of users to report any violations of the new rules, and would remove any post that violated the policy. Beyond that, the company said it could ban users or severely limit the ways they post on Facebook, depending on the type and severity of past violations. If the company believed someoneâ(TM)s life was in danger, Facebook would work with law enforcement on the situation. The policy applies as well to private sales that occur using Facebook Messenger, though the company does not scan Messenger exchanges and must rely on user reports.

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There's a Wind Turbine On the Horizon With Blades the Size of Trump Tower

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 7:59pm
merbs writes: Imagine a stretch of open ocean, populated by a swath of wind turbines with skyscraper-sized blades, whipping into the gusts like enormous palm trees. The vision is partly terrifying, partly inspiring, and being taken entirely seriously by the federal government and one of our top research laboratories. [Sandia National Labs, in an effort led by the University of Virginia] has unveiled the preliminary design for a new offshore wind turbine with 650-foot turbine blades. That, as its announcement points out, is twice the size of an American football field. It's also roughly the size of Trump Tower in New York.

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Cable Lobby Steams Up Over FCC Set-Top Box Competition Plan

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 6:36pm
An anonymous reader writes: Cable TV industry lobby groups expressed their displeasure with a Federal Communications Commission plan to bring competition to the set-top box market, which could help consumers watch TV on different devices and thus avoid paying cable box rental fees. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new rules that would force pay-TV companies to give third parties access to TV content, letting hardware makers build better set-top boxes. Customers would be able to watch all the TV channels they're already paying cable companies for, but on a device that they don't have to rent from them. The rules could also bring TV to tablets and other devices without need for a rented set-top box. The system would essentially replace CableCard with a software-based equivalent.

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Arnnon Geshuri, Newest Wikimedia Trustee, Forced To Resign

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 5:55pm
New submitter Mdann52 writes: Following an earlier vote of no confidence, it was announced that the recent appointee, Arnnon Geshuri, had stepped down from the board. This was following community criticism into his background. Says the announcement: The Board Governance Committee is working to improve and update our selection processes before we fill the vacancy left by Arnnonâ(TM)s departure. We are sorry for the distress and confusion this has caused to some in our community, and also to Arnnon.

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Xerox Splits Into Two Companies, Icahn Not Behind Move

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 5:13pm
An anonymous reader writes: Printer and copier maker Xerox has announced its plans to split into two separate publicly traded companies, giving billionaire Carl Icahn three board seats in the settlement. CEO Ursula Burns has now claimed that the decision was not driven in any way by the activist investor. Burns confirmed that the company had begun looking into its structure and portfolio from October 2015, in order to better reflect changes in the market. She added that no conversations with Icahn took place prior to these reviews, or before it made the final call. Xerox will now be divided into a new business process outsourcing company, and a document technology firm. Burns explained that her role, in either company, has not yet been confirmed. However now that the split is being implemented, leadership discussions will be held shortly, she said.

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The Dark Arts: Meet the LulzSec Hackers

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 4:33pm
szczys writes: Reputations are earned. When a small group of hackers who were part of Anonymous learned they were being targeted for doxing (having their identities exposed) they went after the would-be doxxer's company, hard, taking down two of the company websites, the CEO's Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and even his World of Warcraft accounts. The process was fast, professional, and like nothing ever seen before. This was the foundation of Lulz Security and the birth of a reputation that makes LulzSec an important part of black hat history. Good companion piece and update to some of our earlier posts about the hack; that would-be doxxer was Aaron Barr.

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Google Will Soon Let You Know By Default When Websites Are Unencrypted

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 3:52pm
An anonymous reader writes: Permanent changes are planned for future Google Chrome releases, which will add a big shiny red cross in the URL bar if the website you're accessing is not using HTTPS. Google says it is planning to add this to Chrome by the end of 2016, after one of its developers proposed the idea back in December 2014. Many have argued that the web is predominantly unencrypted, so they're displaying a persistent and ambiguous error message for a large portion of the Internet. Since unencrypted content is not an error state, the Chrome team should use alternate iconography, because the default error message this will just confuse average people, and it will encourage error blindness.

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T-Mobile's Binge On Violates Net Neutrality, Says Stanford Report

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 3:10pm
An anonymous reader writes: The debate over whether or not Binge On violates Net Neutrality has been raging ever since the service was announced in November. The latest party to weigh in is Barbara van Schewick, law professor at Stanford University. In a new report published today — and filed to the FCC, as well — van Schewick says that Binge on "violates key net neutrality principles" and "is likely to violate the FCC's general conduct rule." She goes on to make several arguments against Binge On, saying that services in Binge On distorts competition because they're zero-rated and because video creators are more likely to use those providers for their content, as the zero-rated content is more attractive to consumers.

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Jailbreak Turns Cheap Walkie-Talkie Into DMR Police Scanner

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 2:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: Last Shmoocon, famous reverse engineer Travis Goodspeed presented his jailbreak of the Chinese MD380 digital handheld radio. The hack has since been published at GitHub with all needed source code to turn a cheap digital radio into the first hardware scanner for DMR digital mobile radio: a firmware patch for promiscuous mode that puts all talk groups through the speaker including private calling. In the U.S. the competing APCO-25 is a suite of standards for digital radio communications for federal users, but a lot of state/county and local public safety organizations including city police dispatch channels are using the Mototrbo MotorolaDMR digital standard.

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Ancient Babylonians Figured Out Forerunner of Calculus

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 1:39pm
sciencehabit writes: Tracking and recording the motion of the sun, the moon, and the planets as they paraded across the desert sky, ancient Babylonian astronomers used simple arithmetic to predict the positions of celestial bodies. Now, new evidence reveals that these astronomers, working several centuries B.C.E., also employed sophisticated geometric methods that foreshadow the development of calculus. Historians had thought such techniques did not emerge until more than 1400 years later, in 14th century Europe.

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iTunes Radio Is Now "Apple Music" (and You Need a Subscription)

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 1:22pm
New submitter Kevin by the Beach writes: If you haven't noticed... If you try to play iTunes radio on your devices it is now paywalled (you can get a free three month trial at apple.com/music). The only reason I noticed is that I have an Apple TV which at one time had an iTunes Radio App. That app is no longer. Same is true if you select Music on your iOS devices, if you get to the iTunes Radio menu, you are redirected to sign up for the free trial. This reminds me of why I am forever reluctant to trade the music I have locally (on CDs, hard drives, and a few bits of vinyl I've been unwilling to jettison) for any kind of streaming service, whether it promises perpetuity or good-until-next-payment.

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Ask Slashdot: Economical Lego-Compatible 3-D Printer?

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 1:01pm
Wycliffe writes: There are plenty of high end 3d printers which allow high precision and large prints. There are also plenty of economical 3d printers but most of them don't have high enough precision for printing good Lego pieces. What is a good economical printer for printing small Lego pieces? Build size is not important as most Lego pieces are tiny but precision and quality prints are very important. What is a good, cheap 3D printer that can reliably print tiny Lego pieces? What is the best bang for the buck when you want a small printer and don't care about large prints?

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Canadian Government Lobbies Europe To Pass CETA

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 12:20pm
Dangerous_Minds writes: The Canadian government isn't just siding with the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Justin Trudeau is also actively lobbying Europe to try and pass the Comprehensive economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Freezenet points out that the agreement contains many provisions including a three strikes law and website blocking.

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Microsoft's Windows Phone Platform Is Dead

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 11:38am
Ammalgam writes: Tom Warren at the Verge today gave voice to what a lot of other technology analysts and today definitively declared that Microsoft's Windows Phone platform is dead. This largely based on the abysmal adoption numbers released in Microsoft's most recent earnings report. Mr. Warren articulates the obvious by stating: "With Lumia sales on the decline and Microsoft's plan to not produce a large amount of handsets, it's clear we're witnessing the end of Windows Phone. Rumors suggest Microsoft is developing a Surface Phone, but it has to make it to the market first. Windows Phone has long been in decline and its app situation is only getting worse. With a lack of hardware, lack of sales, and less than 2 percent market share, it's time to call it: Windows Phone is dead. " Now this news should not be surprising to anyone who has watched the slow decline of Windows Phone. Last December, in an article on Windows10update.com, Onuora Amobi also wrote off the platform. In this case, his analysis was based on the nonconformity of the Microsoft user interface to Apple and Android's widely adopted aesthetic appeal. He wrote "I believe Windows Phone is dead. Kaput. Finished. Over. Done. ... Windows 10 is successful in part because it's a return to Windows 7 in many ways and that's what made the consumers happy. One of the definitions of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result". This is exactly what Microsoft is doing and it's insane. Over 90% of Microsoft's desired audience like the look and feel of iPhones and Android devices. They do – it's not good or bad – it just is what it is. They spend their money on those two user interfaces."

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Google Testing Project Loon: Concerns Are Without Factual Basis

SlashDot - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 10:57am
An anonymous reader writes: In a filing submitted to the FCC, Google has stated that while concerns for health and environmental risks posed by Project Loon testing were 'genuinely held,' 'there is no factual basis for them.' Google's filing attempts to address a wide range of complaints, from environmental concerns related to increased exposure to RF and microwave radiation, to concerns for loss of control and crashes of the balloons themselves. First, it states that its proposed testing poses no health or environmental risks, and is all well within the standards of experimentation that the FCC regularly approves. It also pledges to avoid interference with any other users of the proposed bandwidth, by collocating transmitters on shared platforms and sharing information kept current daily by an FCC-approved third party database manager.

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