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FreeBSD 11.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 12:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's going-up-to-11 department:
Long-time Slashdot reader basscomm writes, "After a couple of delays, FreeBSD 11 has been released. Check out the release notes here."
The FreeBSD Foundation writes:
The latest release continues to pioneer the field of copyfree-licensed, open source operating systems by including new architecture support, performance improvements, toolchain enhancements and support for contemporary wireless chipsets.
The new features and improvements bring about an even more robust operating system that both companies and end users alike benefit greatly from using.

FreeBSD 11 supports both the ARMv8 and RISC-V architectures, and also supports the 802.11n wireless networking standard. In addition, OpenSSH has been updated to 7.2p2, and OpenSSH DSA key generation has been disabled by default, so "It is important to update OpenSSH keys prior to upgrading."

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Tesla's Sales Increase - But Next Will We Need Smart Roads?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 10:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's In-Soviet-Union,-road-watches-you department:
Elon Musk says Tesla's autopilot has now driven over 222 million miles, and the company is now selling twice as many electric cars as it did in 2015. (Despite complaints from a coal-mining CEO that Tesla "is a fraud" because it receives tax-payer subsidies.)

But Slashdot reader mirandakatz writes, "It's not enough to build self-driving cars: we have to build the roads to accompany them. Roadside sensors might have once seemed a pipe dream, but with the advent of 5G internet infrastructure, they're not out of reach at all. And their implications span far beyond road safety, GMU researcher Brent Skorup explains at Backchannel:
Cities could use sensor data for conducting traffic studies, pushing out real-time public bus alerts, increasing parking space occupancy, metering commercial loading times to prevent congestion, and enhancing pedestrian safety. There are also commercial applications for sensor data: How many cars drive by a billboard? How many people walk by a storefront per day? How many of those people have dogs? These are all questions we could easily answer with roadside sensors.

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As Contradictions Mount, Experts Call For Declassification of Yahoo's Email-Scanning Order
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 10:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's did-you-Yahoo? department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
Look at this contradiction in the government's story about their secret scans on hundreds of millions of Yahoo emails. "Intelligence officials told Reuters that all Yahoo had to do was modify existing systems for stopping child pornography from being sent through its email or filtering spam messages." But three former Yahoo employee have now said that actually the court-ordered search "was done by a module attached to the Linux kernel -- in other words, it was deeply buried near the core of the email server operating system, far below where mail sorting was handled... They said that made it hard to detect and also made it hard to figure out what the program was doing."

Slashdot reader Trailrunner7 writes:

Now, experts at the EFF and Sen. Ron Wyden say that the order served on Yahoo should be made public according to the text of a law passed last year. The USA Freedom Act is meant to declassify certain kinds of government orders, and the EFF says the Yahoo order fits neatly into the terms of the law. "If the reports about the Yahoo order are accurate -- including requiring the company to custom build new software to accomplish the scanning -- it's hard to imagine a better candidate for declassification and disclosure under Section 402," Aaron Mackey of the EFF said.

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Skype For Linux Adds 'Experimental' Video Calls, Disables Some Alpha Versions
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 10:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's call-me-maybe department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
This morning Skype released version 1.10 of Skype for Linux which includes an "experimental version" of video calls. "We are not quite there. The 1-on-1 video calls work only between Skype for Linux Alpha clients for now," warns an announcement on the Skype forum. "Despite the early phase, we'd like to ask you, the Linux community, to help us with testing. Please let us know how the video works for you."

They're also disabling some older versions of the Skype for Linux Alpha (versions 1.1 through 1.6), saying "Those users will be asked to update to [the] latest version." But after a 20-month lull between releases for the old app, it's refreshing to see a much faster pace for development for this new WebRTC version. It's been less than a month since the release of version 1.8, and two weeks since version 1.9 came out, offering support for system HTTPS proxy.

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Is Britain Secretly Funding Its Nuclear Submarine Program?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 10:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's ruling-the-waves department:
Why is the U.K. funding a risky $22 billion joint project with China to produce electricity at twice the cost? mdsolar quotes a nuclear specialist from the University of Oxford:
...it only makes sense if one considers its connection to Britain's military projects -- especially Trident, a roving fleet of armed nuclear submarines, which is outdated and needs upgrading. Hawks and conservatives, in particular, see the Trident program as vital to preserving Britain's international clout...the government and some of its partners in the defense industry, like Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, think a robust civilian nuclear industry is essential to revamping Britain's nuclear submarine program...

Merging programs like research and development or skills training across civilian and military sectors helps cut back on military spending. It also helps maintain the talent pool for nuclear specialists. And given the long lead times and life spans of most nuclear projects, connections between civilian and military programs give companies more incentives to make the major investments required. One might say that with the Hinkley Point project, the British government is using billions of Chinese money to build stealth submarines designed to deter China.

The Op-Ed -- published in The New York Times -- calls for more openness about military spending, arguing "If Britain's energy policy were solely about energy, rather than also about defense, the nuclear sector would be forced to stand on its own two feet."

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UK's Chief Troll Hunter Targets Doxxing, Virtual Mobbing, and Nasty Images
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department:
Some bad news for trollers on the internet who use sophisticated techniques to hurl abuses at others. The UK's top prosecutor has warned that they are introducing new regulations to take these matters carefully and punish offenders with jail time. From an ArsTechnica report:New guidelines have been released by the Crown Prosecution Service to help cops in England and Wales determine whether charges -- under part 2, section 44 of the 2007 Serious Crime Act -- should be brought against people who use social media to encourage others to harass folk online. Over the past four years the CPS has repeatedly tweaked its guidelines on offensive behaviour on social media sites. The latest overhaul, among other things, addresses doxxing, where a person's personal information such as bank details or home address are published online; violence against women and girls such as "baiting" -- which labels someone as sexually promiscuous and can include the use of humiliating photoshopped images; and online harassment campaigns that encourage the use of derogatory hashtags. "Social media can be used to educate, entertain, and enlighten but there are also people who use it to bully, intimidate, and harass," said director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders. "Ignorance is not a defence and perceived anonymity is not an escape. Those who commit these acts, or encourage others to do the same, can and will be prosecuted."

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Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Endorses Gary Johnson For President
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 08:04 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's but-is-he-joking? department:
Long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike writes: Scott Adams, creator of the popular comic, Dilbert, has decided to endorse
Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson for President. He writes at his blog:
"Clinton supporters have been telling me for a few days that any visible support for Trump makes you a supporter of sex abuse.
From a persuasion standpoint, that actually makes sense. If people see it that way, that's the reality you have to deal with. I choose to not be part of that reality so I moved my endorsement to Gary Johnson. I encourage all Clinton supporters to do the same, and for the same reason...

"To be fair, Gary Johnson is a pot head who didn't know what Allepo was. I call that relatable. A President Johnson administration might bring with it some operational risks, and policy risks, but at least he won't slime you by association and turn you into some sort of cheerleader for sex abuse in the way you would if you voted for the Clintons or Trump.

The essay concludes, "You might enjoy my book because you're not sure if I'm really endorsing Gary Johnson or just saying so to protect my brand."

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Google Chrome 55 May Use Less Memory
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 08:04 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's more-reasons-to-hate-JavaScript department:
Slashdot reader justthinkit writes: Google Chrome is arguably the best browser and the biggest memory hog. Presently. But the Google engineers are hard at work, optimizing the next version of Chrome. Will this be an important, or just another incremental, upgrade?

They're specifically targeting the browser's JavaScript engine, V8, and they've already "analyzed and significantly reduced the memory footprint of several websites that were identified as representative..." (For example, on the mobile New York Times site they've reduced heap memory consumption by about 66%.) Chrome 55 is scheduled for release in December. Any Chrome fans looking forward to testing its performance?

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Milo Yiannopoulos Wants To Buy 4Chan, Promises Free Speech Haven
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 06:54 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unless-Martin-Shkreli-wants-it-more department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes The Hollywood Reporter:

Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right hero known for his banishment from Twitter, is preparing a bid to acquire his own social media firm: 4chan... The Hollywood Reporter learned that Yiannopoulos, with the help of a wealthy backer, is preparing to approach 4chan owner Hiroyuki Nishimura, a Japanese entrepreneur, with a bid this week. Contacted Saturday, Yiannopoulos confirmed plans for a possible acquisition but did not offer details.

"As a free-speech fundamentalist and a student of Internet culture, I appreciate how fragile and precious the 4chan ecosystem is and how much it gives to the wider Internet -- even if some corners of it, such as /pol/, don't always approve of me very much," Yiannopoulos said... "I spoke to my lawyer this morning about purchasing the business... I intend to approach the current owners in the next few days with an offer."

Yiannopoulos added this his philosophy as an owner "would be very simple: free-speech central, no ifs, no buts."

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Sean Parker Contributes $9 Million As States Push To Legalize Marijuana
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 04:00 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's growing-movement department:
Sean Parker has now donated nearly $9 million in his effort to legalize marijuana in California. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Billboard:
Whether it's founding Napster, guiding Facebook or investing in Spotify, Sean Parker has developed a reputation for pushing change forward, and now he's at the forefront of California's marijuana legalization movement... [A] competing proposal from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform was folded into Parker's, making his the leading ballot measure, by default, for 2016 in a state with the largest medical marijuana market in the country.

The U.S currently has a hodgepodge of legislation, with marijuana entirely legal only in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as in the District of Columbia, and in individual cities in Michigan and Maine.

But with five more states now voting on legalization,
pro-marijuana campaign ads are being broadcast in Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, California and Arizona. ("You decide who wins -- criminals and cartels, or Arizona schools?") And meanwhile, Slashdot reader schwit1 has identified one voter who's definitely opposing police efforts to hunt down marijuana growers:

All that remains of the solitary marijuana plant an 81-year-old grandmother had been growing behind her South Amherst home is a stump and a ragged hole in the ground... Tucked away in a raspberry patch and separated by a fence from any neighbors, the [medicinal] plant was nearly ready for harvest when a military-style helicopter and police descended on Sept. 21...

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Samsung Halts Galaxy Note 7 Production Temporarily
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '16 at 12:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's deja-vu department:
Samsung is halting production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after the replacement units -- the second batch of Note 7 produced -- by Samsung also seemed to be riddled with a similar issue, with nearly half a dozen of explosion and burning issues in the past week alone. Yonhap News Agency, and the WSJ are both reporting that the halt was done in cooperation with safety regulators from South Korea, China and the United States. From a WSJ report: Samsung's move comes after a spate of fresh reports of problems with replacement phones that have been distributed to consumers around the world. While Samsung hasn't confirmed the reports, it said in a statement Friday in response to one report that it would "move quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause and will share findings as soon as possible."

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Clinton Responds To WikiLeaks During Debate, And Blames Russian Hackers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 09:10 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's this-one's-a-public-position department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:During Sunday night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, moderators asked a question based on WikiLeaks documents released Friday -- to which both candidates responded. The leaked emails had included excerpts from Hillary's paid speeches to Wall Street in which she reportedly said "You need both a public and a private position on certain issues."

Clinton said she had been describing the 2012 movie Lincoln, and that Lincoln's use of different arguments for different groups of people was "a great display of presidential leadership." Then, citing intelligence reports, she said "Putin and the Russian government are directing the attacks -- the hacking on American accounts to influence our election...for Donald Trump."

Click through for a complete transcript of Clinton's remarks -- and Trump's response.

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Google Releases An Open Source Font That Supports 800 Languages
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 06:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Unicode-complete department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Hot Hardware:
It's been working on the project over the past five years in collaboration with Monotype in hopes of eradicating so-called "tofu" -- the blank boxes you see when a PC or website can't display a particular text -- from the web. Noto, or No more tofu, is Google's answer, and it's available now to download...

"We are thrilled to have played such an important role in what has become one of the most significant type projects of all time," said Scott Landers, president and CEO of Monotype... Monotype played the biggest role, though Google also collaborated with Adobe and had a network of volunteer reviewers. As far as Monotype is concerned, Noto is one of the expansive typography projects ever undertaken.

There's 110,000 characters, and Google says the project "required design and technical testing in hundreds of languages."

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O'Reilly Gives Away Free Programming Ebooks
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 05:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's digital-documents department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:
There's now a section on OReilly.com offering free ebooks about computer programming. There's four free Java ebooks and seven about Python, as well as an "Other" section which contains ebooks like C++ Today, Swift Pocket Reference, and Why Rust? But there's also some broader categories for Open Source and Software Architecture ebooks, as well as separate sections for their free ebooks about Data, Security, Web Development, and the Internet of Things.

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A Spotify Ad Slipped Malware Onto PCs and Macs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 03:44 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Now-Playing department:
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes TechHive:
Spotify's ads crossed from nuisance over to outright nasty this week, after the music service's advertising started serving up malware to users on Wednesday. The malware was able to automatically launch browser tabs on Windows and Mac PCs, according to complaints that surfaced online...the ads directed users' browsers to other malware-containing sites in the hopes that someone would be duped into downloading more malicious software.

It didn't last long -- Spotify quickly posted that they'd identified "the source of the problem." And they're not the only company dealing with hidden malware in ads, since the same thing has happened to both Google and Yahoo.

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Why Linus Torvalds Prefers x86 Over ARM
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 02:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's architectural-digress department:
Linus Torvalds answered a question about his favorite chip architecture at the Linaro Connect conference. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes PCWorld:
People are too fixated with the instruction set and the CPU core, Torvalds said. But ultimately "what matters is all the infrastructure around the instruction set, and x86 has all that infrastructure... at a lot of different levels. It's open in a way that no other architecture is... Being compatible just wasn't as big of a deal for the ARM ecosystem as it has been traditionally for the x86 ecosystem... I've been personally pretty disappointed with ARM as a hardware platform, not as an instruction set, though I've had my issues there, too. As a hardware platform, it is still not very pleasant to deal with."
You can watch the whole half-hour conversation on YouTube. My favorite part is where Linus candidly acknowledges that "sometimes my grumpiness makes more news than my being nice... 99% of the time I'm a very happy manager, and I mentally pat people on the head all the time. That maybe then highlights the times when things don't work so well a bit more."

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Germany Calls For a Ban On Combustion Engine Cars By 2030
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 12:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's time-to-let-go department:
Germany gave the world the internal combustion engine, and now it is prepping to ban the amazing invention in the country. The country's federal council has passed a resolution to ban the ICE starting in 2030. From an Engadget report:The country's Bundesrat (federal council) has passed a resolution calling for a ban on new internal combustion engine cars by 2030. From then on, you'd have to buy a zero-emissions vehicle, whether it's electric or running on a hydrogen fuel cell. This isn't legally binding, but the Bundesrat is asking the European Commission to implement the ban across the European Union... and when German regulations tend to shape EU policy, there's a chance that might happen. The council also wants the European Commission to review its taxation policies and their effect on the "stimulation of emission-free mobility." Just what that means isn't clear. It could involve stronger tax incentives for buying zero-emissions cars, but it could also involve eliminating tax breaks for diesel cars in EU states. Automakers are already worried that tougher emission standards could kill diesels -- remove the low cost of ownership and it'd only hasten their demise.

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Melinda Gates Was Encouraged To Use an Apple and BASIC. Her Daughters Were Not.
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 12:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's theodp department:
Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: In August, Melinda Gates penned Computers Are For Girls, Too, in which she lamented that her daughters "are half as likely to major in computer science as I was 30 years ago." So, what's changed in the last 30 years? Well, at last week's DreamForce Conference, Gates credited access to Apple computers at school and home for sparking her own interest in computer science [YouTube], leading to a career at Microsoft.

So, as she seeks ways to encourage more women to get into tech, Melinda may want to consider the effects of denying her own children access to Apple products [2010 interview] and of Microsoft [in 1984] stopping computers from shipping with a beginner's programming language (a 14-year-old Melinda reportedly cut her coding teeth on BASIC).
Melinda can raise her kids however she wants -- maybe her kids will just start programming with the Ubuntu that's shipping with Windows 10. But is it a problem that there's no beginner's programming language currently shipping with Macs? Over the years Macs have shipped with Perl, Python, Ruby, tcl, and a Unix shell. Do you think Apple could encourage young programmers more by also shipping their Macs with BASIC?

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Dropbox, Google Drive, GitHub and Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Services Blocked In Turkey
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 11:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's anti-social-media department:
An anonymous reader quotes the censorship-monitoring site Turkey Blocks: Turkey has blocked access to Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and partially restricted Google Drive cloud file sharing services following the leak of a set of private emails allegedly belonging to Minister Albayrak by hacktivist group RedHack. Both Google Drive and Dropbox services were issuing SSL errors, indicating intercepted traffic at the national or ISP level. Microsoft OneDrive was also subsequently blocked off throughout Turkey.
The emails reportedly document Turkey's use of pro-government trolls on Twitter -- though ironically, it's Twitter that's now being used to document the censorship.

(GitHub was also blocked last night, according to a status update from the group.) Google Drive was even displaying an official notice from the Turkish government's Information and Communication Technologies Authority describing their block as an "administration measure" -- although another Twitter update this morning says Google Drive is now back online after Google complied with the government's takedown order.

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Samsung Knew a Third Replacement Note 7 Caught Fire On Tuesday and Said Nothing
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '16 at 10:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's not-cool,-samsung department:
If you had started to feel sympathetic for Samsung, or safer with the Note 7, its latest flagship smartphone, don't be. Another replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has caught fire, making it three of such incident this week alone. Read how poorly Samsung has dealt with the situation, via The Verge: This one was owned by Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky. He told WKYT that he woke up at 4AM to find his bedroom filled with smoke and his phone on fire. Later in the day, he went to the hospital with acute bronchitis caused by smoke inhalation. "The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe," Klering told WKYT, saying that he had owned the replacement phone for a little more than a week. "It wasn't plugged in. It wasn't anything, it was just sitting there."The most unsettling part is that Samsung knew of Klering's phone, and didn't say anything.

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