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Net Neutrality Is Trump's Next Target, Administration Says [Flagged]
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 08:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's list-of-to-dos department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fierce Telecom: During a press event yesterday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that next up on President Trump's telecom agenda is to roll back the FCC's 2015 Open Internet net neutrality rules. However, according to some reports, that might not happen as quickly as Congress' recent move to rescind rules that prevented internet service providers from selling users' data. As noted by the New York Times, Spicer said that President Trump had "pledged to reverse this overreach" created by net neutrality. He said the FCC's net neutrality rules, passed in 2015, are an example of "bureaucrats in Washington" placing unfair restrictions on internet service providers, essentially "picking winners and losers" in the telecom market. In comments aimed at the wider telecom market, Spicer said Trump will "continue to fight Washington red tape that stifles American innovation, job creation and economic growth." However, as the NYT reports, the process to repeal net neutrality likely won't follow the same procedure as Congress' recent vote to remove broadband privacy rules -- since those rules were only a year old, Congress was able to use the Congressional Review Act to move forward with its action. The FCC's net neutrality rules, however, are more than two years old and so can't be reviewed by that same act. Thus, it may fall on newly installed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to rescind the FCC's Open Internet rules, which he voted against when he was a commissioner at the agency under former chief Tom Wheeler.

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Net Neutrality Is Trump's Next Target, Administration Says
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's list-of-to-dos department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fierce Telecom: During a press event yesterday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that next up on President Trump's telecom agenda is to roll back the FCC's 2015 Open Internet net neutrality rules. However, according to some reports, that might not happen as quickly as Congress' recent move to rescind rules that prevented internet service providers from selling users' data. As noted by the New York Times, Spicer said that President Trump had "pledged to reverse this overreach" created by net neutrality. He said the FCC's net neutrality rules, passed in 2015, are an example of "bureaucrats in Washington" placing unfair restrictions on internet service providers, essentially "picking winners and losers" in the telecom market. In comments aimed at the wider telecom market, Spicer said Trump will "continue to fight Washington red tape that stifles American innovation, job creation and economic growth." However, as the NYT reports, the process to repeal net neutrality likely won't follow the same procedure as Congress' recent vote to remove broadband privacy rules -- since those rules were only a year old, Congress was able to use the Congressional Review Act to move forward with its action. The FCC's net neutrality rules, however, are more than two years old and so can't be reviewed by that same act. Thus, it may fall on newly installed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to rescind the FCC's Open Internet rules, which he voted against when he was a commissioner at the agency under former chief Tom Wheeler.

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Study Shows Laptop Batteries Often Don't Last As Long As They Say
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's false-advertising department:
A new study conducted by Which? magazine has found that "the battery life claimed by laptop manufacturers rarely lives up to reality. "Although Apple's battery life claims were the closest to reality, in the case of some other manufacturers, their laptops lasted hours less than the stated time," reports Digital Trends. From the report: In its testing, Which looked at the battery life claims of 67 different laptop models from manufacturers as diverse as Asus, Apple, Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba -- some of the world's most popular laptop makers. It found that while Apple's average claim of 10 hours was proven correct -- and was even slightly better in some cases -- Dell's claims were overstated by more than four hours, and HP, close to five. The times listed in the header image are the average claimed battery life for all of the laptops Which? has tested over the past year versus the times it recorded in its internal testing. That involved charging the laptops to full, then running them down to nothing three times, using online web browsing via Wi-Fi or watching local videos to do so. Out of all laptops tested, the only manufacturer to understate battery claims was Apple. In one case, it claimed that its MacBook Pro 13 could achieve 10 hours of usage, while tests suggested it could go for as long as 12 hours. At the other end of the spectrum though, there were some really egregious overstatements. The Lenovo Yoga 510 has a claimed battery life of five hours -- it only lasted two hours and seven minutes. The HP Pavilion 14-al115na is supposed to be able to run for nine hours, but was only capable of four hours and 25 minutes. The Acer E15 claimed six hours but ran for just under three hours.

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USB Canary Sends An SMS When Someone Tinkers With Your USB Ports
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tinker-toys department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: A new tool released on GitHub last week can help paranoid sysadmins keep track of whenever someone plugs in or disconnects an USB-based device from high-value workstations. Called USB Canary, this tool is coded in Python and currently, works only on Linux (versions for Windows and Mac are in the works). The tool works by watching USB ports for any activity while the computer is locked, which generally means the owner has left his desk. If an USB device is plugged in or unplugged, USB Canary can perform one of two actions, or both. It can alert the owner by sending an SMS message via the Twilio API, or it can post a message in a Slack channel, which can be monitored by other co-workers. USB Canary can prove to be a very useful tool for large organizations that feature strict PC policies. For example, if you really want to enforce a "No USB drives" at work, this could be the tool for the job. Further, with modifications, it could be used for logging USB activity on air-gapped systems.

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Oculus Co-Founder and Rift Creator Palmer Luckey Leaves Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's internal-personnel-matters department:
bongey writes: Palmer Lucky has left Facebook, which bought Oculus for $2 billion. The anti-Hillary memes controversy led to the resignation. UploadVR reports: "According to Oculus, this will be Palmer's last week with Friday marking his official last day as an employee of Facebook. In an official statement, the company said that: 'Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer's legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We're thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.' When asked if Luckey's departure was voluntary, Facebook representatives declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing internal personnel matters. This revelation comes around one year after Luckey himself hand-delivered the first consumer Oculus Rift to a pre-order customer in Alaska. In just over 12 months, the 24-year-old transformed from the face of one of the tech world's most well-known teams into a bit of a recluse, disappearing from public view during the 2016 US presidential election and emerging only for an appearance in court." UploadVR has provided a timeline of events leading up to Luckey's departure in their report.

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Rogue System Administrator Faces 10 Years In Prison For Shutting Down Servers, Deleting Core Files On the Day He Was Fired
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 03:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bad-day department:
Joe Venzor, a former employee at boot manufacturer Lucchese, had a near total meltdown after he got fired from his IT system administrator position. According to TechSpot, he shut down the company's email and application servers and deleted the core system files. Venzor now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. From the report: Venzor was let go from his position at the company's help desk and immediately turned volatile. He left the building at 10:30AM and by 11:30, the company's email and application servers had been shut down. Because of this, all activities ground to a halt at the factory and employees had to be sent home. When the remaining IT staff tried to restart them, they discovered the core system files had been deleted and their account permissions had been demoted. Eventually the company was forced to hire a contractor to clean up all of the damage, but this resulted in weeks of backlog and lost orders. While recovering from the attack was difficult, finding out who did it was simple. Venzor was clearly the prime suspect given the timing of the incident, so they checked his account history. They discovered he had collected usernames and passwords of his IT colleagues, created a backdoor account disguised as an office printer, and used that account from his official work computer.

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Microsoft Is Shutting Down CodePlex
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 03:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
Microsoft corporate vice president Brian Harry announced in a blog post today that they are shutting down CodePlex, its service for hosting repositories of open source software. "As of this post, we've disabled the ability to create new CodePlex projects," Harry wrote. "In October, we'll set CodePlex to read-only, before shutting it down completely on December 15th, 2017." VentureBeat reports: While people will be able to download an archive of their data, Microsoft is teaming up with GitHub, which provides similar functionality for hosting code that people can collaborate on, to give users "a streamlined import experience" to migrate code and related content there. "Over the years, we've seen a lot of amazing options come and go but at this point, GitHub is the de facto place for open source sharing and most open source projects have migrated there," Harry wrote. Microsoft has been leaning in more and more to GitHub in the past few years. It moved the CNTK deep learning toolkit from CodePlex to GitHub last year. Today Microsoft's GitHub organization has more than 16,000 open source contributors, Harry wrote. And last year GitHub itself made a big deal about Microsoft's adoption of GitHub. At the same time, CodePlex has rotted. In the past month people have made commits to fewer than 350 projects, Harry wrote. GitHub is based on the Git open source version control software, which keeps track of changes by multiple people. People can move code to alternative systems like Atlassian's Bitbucket and Microsoft's Visual Studio Team Services, Harry wrote. The startup GitLab also offers hosting for open and closed source projects. Slashvertisement: Here is SourceForge's message to CodePlex devs.

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Next-Generation DDR5 RAM Will Double the Speed of DDR4 In 2018
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 02:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-soon-to-a-computer-near-you department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: You may have just upgraded your computer to use DDR4 recently or you may still be using DDR3, but in either case, nothing stays new forever. JEDEC, the organization in charge of defining new standards for computer memory, says that it will be demoing the next-generation DDR5 standard in June of this year and finalizing the standard sometime in 2018. DDR5 promises double the memory bandwidth and density of DDR4, and JEDEC says it will also be more power-efficient, though the organization didn't release any specific numbers or targets. Like DDR4 back when it was announced, it will still be several years before any of us have DDR5 RAM in our systems. That's partly because the memory controllers in processors and SoCs need to be updated to support DDR5, and these chips normally take two or three years to design from start to finish. DDR4 RAM was finalized in 2012, but it didn't begin to go mainstream until 2015 when consumer processors from Intel and others added support for it. DDR5 has no relation to GDDR5, a separate decade-old memory standard used for graphics cards and game consoles.

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This is Why Australia Hasn't Had a Recession in Over 25 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 02:12 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's state-of-things department:
Australia is close to seizing the global crown for the longest streak of economic growth thanks to a mixture of policy guile and outrageous fortune. From a report: While growth is being underpinned by population gains and resource exports to China, failure to spur productivity has meant stagnant living standards and electoral discontent; a property bubble fueled by record-low interest rates has driven household debt to levels that threaten financial stability; and a timid government facing political gridlock could lose the nation's prized AAA rating as early as May because of spiraling budget deficits. Australia's last recession -- defined locally as two straight quarters of contraction -- occurred in 1991 and was a devastating conclusion to eight years of reform designed to create an open, flexible and competitive economy. But it also proved cathartic, paving the way for a low-inflation, productivity-driven expansion. As momentum started waning, China's re-emergence as a pre-eminent global economic power sent demand for Australian resources skyrocketing, helping shield the nation from the worst of the global financial crisis. But the post-crisis return of the boom proved ephemeral, failing to boost government coffers and pushing the local currency higher, eroding competitiveness and driving another nail into the coffin of a fading manufacturing sector.

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Amazon Bans Sales of Media Player Boxes That Promote Piracy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 12:52 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-stand department:
Amazon is taking a tough stance against vendors who sell fully-loaded Kodi boxes and other "pirate" media players through its platform. From a report: The store now explicitly bans media players that "promote" or "suggest" the facilitation of piracy. Sellers who violate this policy, of which there are still a few around, risk having their inventory destroyed. [...] While Kodi itself is a neutral platform, millions of people use third-party add-ons to turn it into the ultimate pirate machine. In some cases, the pirate add-ons are put onto the devices by vendors, who sell these "fully-loaded" boxes through their own stores or marketplaces such as Amazon. The ecommerce giant appears to be well aware of the controversy, as it recently published an updated policy clarifying that pirate media players are not permitted on the platform. Merely 'suggesting' that devices can be used for infringing purposes is enough to have them delisted.

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Verizon, AT&T, Comcast Say They Will Not Sell Customer Browsing Histories
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 12:52 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's some-relief department:
Comcast, Verizon, AT&T Inc said Friday they would not sell customers' individual internet browsing information, days after the U.S. Congress approved legislation reversing Obama administration era internet privacy rules. From a report on Reuters: The bill would repeal regulations adopted in October by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama requiring internet service providers to do more to protect customers' privacy than websites like Alphabet's Google or Facebook. The easing of restrictions has sparked growing anger on social media sites. "We do not sell our broadband customers' individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC's rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so," said Gerard Lewis, Comcast's chief privacy officer. He added Comcast is revising its privacy policy to make more clear that "we do not sell our customers' individual web browsing information to third parties." Verizon does not sell personal web browsing histories and has no plans to do so in the future, said spokesman Richard Young.

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Fear of Robots Taking Jobs in the Short Term is Overblown, Says General Electric CEO
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 11:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: "I think before we go to the phase where it's only robots at every bench, we are going to go through a phase of smarter workers," General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt told reporters on March 30. GE has been investing heavily in futuristic manufacturing techniques. Immelt said that in Lafayette, Indiana -- where GE Aviation is ramping up production for portions of its new fuel-efficient LEAP aircraft engine -- "we're going to add workers, but probably not as many as we would have twenty years ago" and each worker will be "higher value, smarter, more productive." [...] So if phase one is smart workers, what's the next? "I'm not that smart," Immelt said. "I don't know exactly how many phases that we're going to go through. But I think we're going to be in phase 'smart worker' for a fair amount of time. I really do. I think we're better off as a country focusing on the smart-worker phase than going right to 'robots are evil.'"

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CIA Tricked Antivirus Programs, Claims WikiLeaks
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 11:32 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's inside-details department:
Reader Mark Wilson writes: Today, WikiLeaks published the third installment of its Vault 7 CIA leaks. We've already had the Year Zero files which revealed a number of exploits for popular hardware and software, and the Dark Matter batch which focused on Mac and iPhone exploits. Now we have Marble to look at. A collection of 676 source code files, the Marble cache reveals details of the CIA's Marble Framework tool, used to hide the true source of CIA malware, and sometimes going as far as appearing to originate from countries other than the US. The source code for Marble Framework is tiny -- WikiLeaks has provided it in a zip file that's only around 0.5MB. WikiLeaks explains that the tool is used by the CIA to hide the fact that it is behind malware attacks that are unleashed on targets: "Marble is used to hamper forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA. Marble does this by hiding ("obfuscating") text fragments used in CIA malware from visual inspection. This is the digital equivalent of a specialized CIA tool to place covers over the english language text on U.S. produced weapons systems before giving them to insurgents secretly backed by the CIA. Marble forms part of the CIA's anti-forensics approach and the CIA's Core Library of malware code."

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More Compulsory Math Lessons Do Not Encourage Women To Pursue STEM Careers, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 10:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's getting-to-the-bottom department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The demand for employees in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering and math) is particularly high, as corporations compete to attract skilled professionals in the international market. What is known as "curriculum intensification" is often used around the world to attract more university entrants -- and particularly more women -- to these subjects; that is to say, students have on average more mandatory math courses at a higher level. Scientists from the LEAD Graduate School and Research Network at the University of Tubingen have now studied whether more advanced math lessons at high schools actually encourages women to pursue STEM careers. Their work shows that an increase in advanced math courses during two years before the final school-leaving exams does not automatically create the desired effects. On the contrary: one upper secondary school reform in Germany, where all high school students have to take higher level math courses, has only increased the gender differences regarding their interests in activities related to the STEM fields. The young female students' belief in their own math abilities was lower after the reform than before. The results have now been published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

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ESPN Has Seen the Future of TV and They're Not Really Into It
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 10:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's big-dilemma department:
From a report: ESPN has lost more than 12 million subscribers since 2011, according to Nielsen, and the viewership erosion seems to be accelerating. Last fall, ESPN lost 621,000 subscribers in a single month, the most in the company's history. In some respects, the challenges facing ESPN are the same that confront every other media company: Young people simply aren't consuming cable TV, newspapers, or magazines in the numbers they once did, and digital outlets still aren't lucrative enough to make up the deficit. But while most of ESPN's TV peers have courted cord cutters -- CBS and Turner Broadcasting, for instance, are allowing anyone to watch some of their March Madness games online for free -- ESPN's view cuts against the conventional wisdom in new media. Essentially, ESPN was hoping that sports will remain unaffected by the growing trend of "cord-cutting." The article adds: If a combination of hockey, low-wattage college sports, and cricket doesn't quite seem worthy of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, that's by design: ESPN doesn't want its new product to draw viewers away from its very profitable cable channel. And, as John Kosner, the network's head of digital and print media notes, when ESPN began broadcasting in 1979, plenty of people doubted whether anyone would want to watch bowling at two in the morning. "I was in college when ESPN started," he says. "I felt sorry for the people working there."

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Twitter Is Ditching the Egg
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 08:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-riddance department:
Long time reader and journalist harrymcc writes: In 2010, Twitter started representing new users with an icon of an egg. It was playful at the time, but the image has come to represent the worst of Twitter: trolls and bots. So the company is killing the egg. For Fast Company, I talked to Twitter's designers about their rationale for doing away with the well-known symbol, and the challenge of replacing it. From the article: The idea was that "eventually you'd crack out of an egg and become an amazing Twitter user," says senior manager of product design Bryan Haggerty, who worked on the project and recalls toying with the idea of even showing the hatching in progress. Nowadays, "the playfulness of Twitter is in the content our users are creating, versus how much the brand steps forward in the UI," says product designer Jen Cotton. Starting today, however, the egg is history. Twitter is dumping the tarnished icon for a new default profile picture -- a blobby silhouette of a person's head and shoulders, intentionally designed to represent a human without being concrete about gender, race, or any other characteristic. Everyone who's been an egg until now, whatever their rationale, will automatically switch over.

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US College Grads See Slim-to-Nothing Wage Gains Since Recession
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 08:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it's-worth department:
The worth of a college degree is losing its luster in the US job market. From a report on Bloomberg: Wages for college graduates across many majors have fallen since the 2007-09 recession, according to an analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce in Washington using Census bureau figures. Young job-seekers appear to be the biggest losers. What you study matters for your salary, the data show. Chemical and computer engineering majors have held down some of the best earnings of at least $60,000 a year for entry level positions since the recession, while business and science graduates's paychecks have fallen. A biology major at the start of their career earned $31,000 on an annual average in 2015, down $4,000 from five years earlier. "It has been like this for the past five, six years now," said Ban Cheah, a research professor at Georgetown who compiled the data. "It's a little depressing."

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Millions of Websites Affected By Unpatched Flaw in Microsoft IIS 6 Web Server
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 08:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
A proof-of-concept exploit has been published for an unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0, a version of the web server that's no longer supported but still widely used. From a report on PCWorld: The exploit allows attackers to execute malicious code on Windows servers running IIS 6.0 with the privileges of the user running the application. Extended support for this version of IIS ended in July 2015 along with support for its parent product, Windows Server 2003. Even so, independent web server surveys suggest that IIS 6.0 still powers millions of public websites. In addition, many companies might still run web applications on Windows Server 2003 and IIS 6.0 inside their corporate networks, so this vulnerability could help attackers perform lateral movement if they access such networks through other means.

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Windows 10 Mobile Needs To Be Put Out of Its Misery
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 07:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road department:
From a column on BetaNews: It's time for Microsoft to pull the plug. Windows 10 Mobile has been on life support for a long time, and the software giant is only making things worse by not giving it the mercy killing it deserves. It may sound harsh, but there's no future for Windows on smartphones in its current state. Microsoft wants to keep the door open to future developments but, let's face it, when it decided to sell Samsung's new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ through its stores it basically sealed its own platform's fate. There is no turning back from this. We know it and its fans know it too. [...] Really, the only reason I can see Microsoft developing Windows 10 Mobile -- or Windows on smartphones -- further is to give its fans the illusion that something could happen. One day. Someday. Eventually. Maybe. Hopefully. If all the stars align. And Apple and Google and all the other successful vendors are wiped out from the face of the Earth. Hey, it could happen!

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'Verified' Is Now a Derogatory Term on Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '17 at 07:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's verification-game department:
From an article on The Outline: Since 2009, Twitter has added a blue checkmark symbol to certain accounts that have been deemed "verified," which means "that an account of public interest is authentic," according to Twitter. For some, the verified distinction is coveted. For others, it's become a dirty word. "Verifieds" or "blue checks" are the elite, the establishment. Since many members of the media are verified, they have also become associated, for some, with the perceived liberal bias of the fourth estate. Conservatives, alt-righters, and Donald Trump fans have noticed that when Trump tweets, there is invariably a flood of "blue check liberals" responding in a negative way. There is also the perception that Twitter, a California company, is biased toward liberals. Also, according to Twitter, there are now about 250,000 people who're verified on the site, some of which are for unknown reasons.

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