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The Quest To Crystallize Time - Previously Considered Impossible, Researchers Create Time Crystals
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 12:42 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's breakthrough department:
New submitter omaha393 writes: Researchers have addressed a perplexing issue in physics: the existence of time crystals. Time crystals, previously only hypothetical in nature, are structures that oscillate without any external energy supplied. The idea of time crystals set off a massive feud among physicists, arguing that such a state of matter could not exist. As leading time crystal proponent Frank Wilczek describes it: "conceptually, it is a clock that ticks forever without being wound." With the paper published in Nature Wednesday, researchers showed their method of production and the unusual nature of time crystals, which owe their oscillation properties to never achieving a state of equilibrium. From a report on Phys.org: Ordinary crystals such as diamonds, quartz or ice are made up of molecules that spontaneously arrange into orderly three-dimensional patterns. The sodium and chlorine atoms in a crystal of salt, for example, are spaced at regular intervals, forming a hexagonal lattice. In time crystals, however, atoms are arranged in patterns not only in space, but also in time. In addition to containing a pattern that repeats in space, time crystals contain a pattern that repeats over time. One way this could happen is that the atoms in the crystal move at a certain rate. Were a time crystal of ice to exist, all of the water molecules would vibrate at an identical frequency. What is more, the molecules would do this without any input from the outside world. [...] Shivaji Sondhi, a Princeton professor of physics said that the work addresses some of the most fundamental questions about the nature of matter. "It was thought that if a system doesn't settle down and come to equilibrium, you couldn't really say that it is in a phase. It is a big deal when you can give a definition of a phase of matter when the matter is not in equilibrium," he said.

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Tech's Ruling Class Casts a Big Shadow
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 12:42 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's oligopoly department:
Veteran technology columnist Walt Mossberg believes that Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, or Gang of Five -- as he likes to call them, are casting a big shadow over how today's startups foster, a phenomenon he believes will continue to happen over the years to come. From his column for The Verge: What we have now in consumer tech, in 2017, is an oligopoly, at least superficially similar to the old industrial-era American corporate groups that once dominated key industries. I think that their enduring and growing power casts a shadow over the Silicon Valley legend that there are lots of great new consumer tech innovations being incubated right now in garages or dorm rooms somewhere that will be taken all the way to becoming great companies, the way each of the Gang of Five was. What I fear is more likely to happen to any such startup is that, if they're good, they get acquired by a member of the Gang, or that their idea is turned into a feature for one of the Gang's products. And, even if that never happens and a startup thrives, too often it can only thrive by being successful on a platform controlled by one or more Gang members, with the big guy maybe taking a cut. For instance, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, which went public last week, famously spurned a $3 billion takeover offer from Gang member Facebook in 2013. But it depends for its very operation on the cloud services of Google and on the mobile app platforms of Apple and Google. And plenty of other companies which either presented threats or opportunities to the Gang have been snapped up by them. Each of the five companies actively scoops up numerous smaller companies every year, in many cases just for their talent and / or patents. In fact, I'd be amazed if there weren't plenty of startups whose main goal is to be purchased by the Gang.

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Windows Server on ARM Is Finally Happening, And It Should Worry Intel
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 11:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tables-turning department:
Mary Jo Foley, writing for ZDNet: There have been rumors for the past several years that Windows Server would be coming to ARM. Today, March 8, that rumor became an acknowledged reality. Microsoft officials said that the company is committed to use ARM chips in machines running its cloud services. Microsoft will use the ARM chips in a cloud server design that its officials will detail at the the US Open Compute Project Summit today, March 8. Microsoft has been working with both Qualcomm and Cavium on the version of Windows Server for ARM, according to company officials. From a report on Bloomberg: Intel chips have remained one of the sole big-name products widely in use. Microsoft's work with ARM, in progress for several years, could pave the way for a real challenge to Intel, which controls more than 99 percent of the market for server chips. [...] Any challenge to Intel's dominance in server chips is a threat to its most profitable business and main revenue driver as demand for PC processors continues to shrink. The company's Data Center Group turned $17.2 billion of sales into $7.5 billion of operating profit in 2016, and Intel has been running ads that say, "98 percent of the cloud runs on Intel."

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Federal Criminal Probe Being Opened Into WikiLeaks' Publication of CIA Documents
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 11:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's so-it-begins department:
A federal criminal investigation is being opened into WikiLeaks' publication of documents detailing alleged CIA hacking operations, CNN reports citing several U.S. officials. From the report: The officials said the FBI and CIA are coordinating reviews of the matter. The investigation is looking into how the documents came into WikiLeaks' possession and whether they might have been leaked by an employee or contractor. The CIA is also trying to determine if there are other unpublished documents WikiLeaks may have. The documents published so far are largely genuine, officials said, though they are not yet certain if all of them are and whether some of the documents may have been altered. One of the biggest concerns for the federal government is if WikiLeaks publishes critical computer code on how operations are conducted, other hackers could take that code and cause havoc overseas. Security expert Robert Graham, wrote on Tuesday: The CIA didn't remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There's no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. The CIA didn't defeat Signal/WhatsApp encryption. The CIA has some exploits for Android/iPhone. If they can get on your phone, then, of course they can record audio and screenshots. Technically, this bypasses/defeats encryption -- but such phrases used by Wikileaks are highly misleading, since nothing related to Signal/WhatsApp is happening. [...] This hurts the CIA a lot. Already, one AV researcher has told me that a virus they once suspected came from the Russians or Chinese can now be attributed to the CIA, as it matches the description perfectly to something in the leak. We can develop anti-virus and intrusion-detection signatures based on this information that will defeat much of what we read in these documents. This would put a multi-year delay in the CIA's development efforts. Plus, it'll now go on a witch-hunt looking for the leaker, which will erode morale.

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Big Tech Lobbying Is On the Verge of Killing Right To Repair Legislation In Minnesota
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 10:04 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's worst-yet-to-come department:
Jason Koebler, writing for Motherboard: Statehouse employees in Minnesota say that lobbying efforts by big tech companies and John Deere are on the verge of killing right to repair legislation in the state that would have made it easier for consumers and small businesses to fix their electronics. According to two of the bill's sponsors, the bill, which would have introduced "fair repair" requirements for manufacturers in the state, will not get a hearing that's necessary to move the legislation forward. Minnesota Senate rules automatically kills any bills that do not have a hearing scheduled by a certain date (this year, it's March 10). Last year, tech industry lobbying killed a similar bill in New York. "Unfortunately, it's not going to make deadline this session," Republican Sen. David Osmek, one of the sponsors, told me in an email. Osmek would not give additional specifics about his colleagues' concerns with the bill, but a legislative assistant for the bill's other sponsor told me that electronic manufacturer lobbying is likely to blame, while another source close to the legislature told me that tractor manufacturer John Deere -- a long time enemy of fair repair -- helped kill the bill as well.

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IT Executives Believe Service Management Is Key To Digital Transformation
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 08:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's things-they-believe-in department:
Ian Barker, writing for BetaNews: A new survey reveals that a majority of IT executives believe investment in IT service management (ITSM) is important to gain the agility needed to compete in an era of global, cross-industry disruption and digital transformation. The study of more than 250 IT executives for enterprise management specialist BMC conducted with Forbes Insights reveals that 88 percent of respondents say ITSM is important to their digital transformation efforts. In addition 86 percent see ITSM as important to related initiatives around cloud computing, 83 percent to mobility and 83 percent to big data. Also 75 percent believe the time, money, and resources spent on ongoing maintenance and management is affecting the overall competitiveness of their organizations.

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Firefox 52 Is The Last Version of Firefox For Windows XP and Vista
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 08:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road department:
Mozilla has confirmed that Firefox 52, the new version of its browser it made available earlier this week, will be the last major version to support two legacy operating systems - Windows XP and Windows Vista. The company said future versions will require Windows users to be on a machine that has at a minimum Windows 7 running on it.

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Apple Begins Rejecting Apps With 'Hot Code Push' Feature
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 08:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's assuming-control department:
Apple has long permitted "hot code push", a feature that allows developers to continuously deploy changes to their mobile apps and have those changes reflect in their apps instantly. This allowed developers to make quick changes to their apps without having to resubmit the new iteration and get approval from the Apple Store review team. But that's changing now. In response to a developer's query, Apple confirmed that it no longer permits "hot code push." The company told the developer: Your app, extension, and/or linked framework appears to contain code designed explicitly with the capability to change your app's behavior or functionality after App Review approval, which is not in compliance with section 3.3.2 of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement and App Store Review Guideline 2.5.2. This code, combined with a remote resource, can facilitate significant changes to your app's behavior compared to when it was initially reviewed for the App Store. While you may not be using this functionality currently, it has the potential to load private frameworks, private methods, and enable future feature changes.

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Hey CIA, You Held On To Security Flaw Information -- But Now It's Out. That's Not How It Should Work
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 07:23 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's is-it-worth-the-sacrifice department:
Cindy Cohn, writing for EFF: The dark side of this story is that the documents confirm that the CIA holds on to security vulnerabilities in software and devices -- including Android phones, iPhones, and Samsung televisions -- that millions of people around the world rely on. The agency appears to have failed to accurately assess the risk of not disclosing vulnerabilities to responsible vendors and failed to follow even the limited Vulnerabilities Equities Process. As these leaks show, we're all made less safe by the CIA's decision to keep -- rather than ensure the patching of -- vulnerabilities. Even spy agencies like the CIA have a responsibility to protect the security and privacy of Americans.

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Microsoft Is Closing the Social Network You Forgot It Ever Launched
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 07:23 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
So.cl, the little-known and probably much-forgotten social network project from Microsoft Research's FUSE Labs division, is closing down. From a report on TechCrunch: The service was launched in late 2011 as a social community where the objective was "collaborative consumption, not communication." Initially for students, So.cl opened up to anyone once it had gotten going and subsequently added support for mobile devices, too. When word of the project first leaked out prior to its launch, many had assumed that Microsoft was building a social network to compete directly with Facebook -- this was a time when companies might be inclined to do that, remember Google Buzz launching in 2010? But Facebook this wasn't. It actually used Facebook log-in for user sign-up so if anything it is/was a Facebook app. If you're looking for a comparison, the focus on image collages and video made So.cl a little like a Pinterest-style service for visual content.

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Google AMP Is Rolling Out For 1 Billion People In Asia-Pacific Region
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 06:05 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's more-the-merrier department:
meshrepublic shares a report: As per the latest announcement, Google AMP is rolling out for 1 billion people in Asia Pacific. Baidu and Sogou, which account for around 90% of the search market in China, made the announcement on the opening day of the first AMP developer conference which is taking place in New York. Also, Yahoo Japan will connect to AMP pages from their Search results. This will bring all the benefits of AMP to their 58m daily users in Japan. With the addition of these search giant's, means, a billion more people will be using Google Accelerated Mobile Pages. Per Google research, 70 percent of conventional mobile pages take seven to 10 seconds for visual page content to load. By comparison, AMP pages' load in less than one second, on average.

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The Dark Web Has Shrunk By 85%
Posted by News Fetcher on March 08 '17 at 03:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's size-doesn't-matter department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: The number of Dark web services has gone down significantly following the Freedom Hosting II hack that took place at the start of February, and only consists of around 4,400 services, according to a recently published OnionScan report. Previous research published in April 2016 by threat intelligence firm Deep Light had the total number of Dark Web services at around 30,000. Comparing the two numbers, the report shows a decrease of over 85% in the overall size of Dark Web in the last year alone. According to the recent OnionScan statistics, the Dark Web is laughably small, with around 4,000 HTTP websites, 250 TLS (HTTPS) endpoints, 100 SMTP services, and only 10 FTP nodes.

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Airbus Reveals a Modular, Self-Piloting Flying Car Concept
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 11:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink department:
At this year's Geneva Motor Show, Airbus has revealed a concept design created in partnership with Italdesign. "The demonstration vehicle offers modular functionality, meaning it can operate both on the ground and in the air, and Airbus thinks it's one potential answer to the growing problem of urban traffic congestion," reports TechCrunch. From the report: The concept vehicle is intended to work with others to form a network that can be summoned on demand, with passengers hailing a ride from an app on their mobile device. The capsule-based design can connect to either ground or air conveyance modules, letting customers specify their preferred method of transit. It's also designed to be used in concert with other existing transportation methods for maximum efficiency. Airbus and Italdesign call their creation the "Pop.Up System," which includes the artificial intelligence platform that uses what it knows about any individual user, and available routes and transit options to determine the best travel options. The main vehicle itself is a passenger capsule, which holds the rider and which can be paired with either ground and air modules, as well as, Airbus suggests, with hyperloop systems down the line once that tech becomes more widely available. There's a third part of Pop.Up that ensures this whole project touches all bases when it comes to current tech hype -- an interface that will respond and interact with the user in a "fully virtual environment" while in transit. They've thought of everything.

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Americans Are Having Less Sex Than 20 Years Ago, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 08:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sexy-times department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: American adults reported having nine fewer romps a year in the early 2010s than they did in the late 1990s -- dropping from an average of about 62 times a year between 1995 and 2000 to around 53 a year between 2010 and 2014. Researchers saw declines across ages, races, religions, education levels, employment statuses, and regions. They linked the sagging numbers to two trends: an increase in singletons over that period -- who tend to have less sex than married or partnered people -- plus a slow-down in the sex lives of married and coupled people. But the drivers of those trends are still unclear. The study is based on data from a long-standing national survey called the General Social Survey (GSS). It involves a nationally representative sample of Americans over 18 years old, surveyed most years between 1972 and 2014. The new study involved responses from 26,620 Americans. Specifically, researchers found that married people's annual whoopee frequency dropped from an average of nearly 69 in the 1995-2000 period to just below 56 in the 2010-2014 period. The unmarried saw their lovemaking drop from 54 per year to 51 in the same timeframes. Meanwhile, the number of people without steady partners -- married or otherwise -- rose from 26 percent of survey respondents in 2006 to 33 percent in 2014. People who took the biggest hits in the bedroom since the 1990s were those with a college degree (about 15 fewer times a year) and people living in the South (about 13 fewer times a year). The study has been published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

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Developer Proclaims Death of Cyberfox Web Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 08:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-life department:
In a forum entitled "Cyberfox and its future direction," the lead developer of Cyberfox proclaimed the death of their web browser. The lead developer, Toady, writes: "Over the years the Cyberfox project has grown immensely and its thanks to all the amazing support of our users and has been an amazing couple of years this however has demanded far more of my time causing me to drop allot of projects and passions id like to pursue, the time factor this project has demanded has also take a toll lifestyle wise as have the changes made by Mozilla requiring more and more time to maintain so its come to a point where i recently had to assess the direction of this project and the direction i wish to head for the future. This has being no easy choice and the last few months allot of thinking about the direction of this project has taken place." He continues, "This project has been amazing no one could ask for a better project or community sadly as much as i love this project my heart is no longer fully in it, dreams of pursuing game development were pushed aside and lifestyle steadily declined ultimately slowly coming to this point where changes and choices have to be made ones that will affect this project and the future of what i have spent all these years building." Ghacks Technology News reports: The death of Cyberfox, or more precisely, the announcement of end of life for the web browser may come as a shock to users who run it. It should not be too much of a surprise though for users who keep an eye on the browser world and especially Mozilla and Firefox. Mozilla announced major changes to Firefox, some of which landed already, some are in process, and others are announced for 2017. [Some of the critical changes:] Multi-process Firefox is almost done, plugins are out except for Flash and Firefox ESR, Windows XP and Vista users are switched to Firefox ESR so that the operating systems are supported for eight additional releases, and WebExtensions will replace all other add-on systems of the browser. That's a lot of change, especially for projects that are maintained by a small but dedicated group of developers such as Cyberfox. The author of Cyberfox made the decision to switch the browser's release channel to Firefox 52.0 ESR. This means that Cyberfox will be supported with security updates for the next eight release cycles, but new features that Mozilla introduces in Firefox Stable won't find their way into the browser anymore. UPDATE 3/07/17: We have updated the headline to clarify that Cyberfox, specifically, is the browser that will be coming to an end. We have also added an excerpt from the developer's post. Toady clarified at the end of his post: "The largest factor was lifestyle a nicer way of saying health issues without making it to personalized."

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AMD Offers Full Details and Performance of Zen-Based Naples Server Platform
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 06:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's finer-details department:
MojoKid writes: AMD lifted the veil this morning on architecture details and performance expectations of its next generation Zen-based server platform, codenamed Naples. Naples is an up to 32-core, 64-thread variant of Zen, targeted at enterprise and data center applications. The processors will feature eight-channel DDR4 memory controllers (with up to 16 DIMMs attached per CPU), with support for up to 4TB of memory and 128 lanes of on-chip PCI Express connectivity. In a 2P (dual processor/dual socket) configuration, Naples offers up to 64 physical cores (128 threads), access to 32 DIMM slots, and aggregate 16 memory channels. Versus a 2P Intel Xeon E5-2699A V4 based server, the 2P Naples setup ends up with double the memory channels, a higher total memory capacity, more cores (20 more physical cores, 40 more threads), and 48 more available PCI Express lanes. AMD's performance comparisons at its tech day event pit a 2P Naples server with 512GB of DDR4 RAM up against a 2P Intel Xeon E4-2699A V4 configuration with 384GB of RAM. The Naples system had a higher memory capacity and that memory was clocked much higher too -- 2400MHz versus 1866MHz. The Naples system has more cores, and with SMT on, can ultimately process more threads as a result. The AMD Naples system also has double the memory channels, further improving peak memory bandwidth. In its demos, AMD used a seismic analysis workload, which involved multiple iterations of 3D wave equations. According to AMD, the test taxes the entire system, including CPU cores, memory and I/O. In this demo, the AMD server system completed equations roughly 2.5x faster than the dual-socket Intel Xeon server. Expected price points weren't given, but Naples processors and servers should be available in Q2 this year.

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Cyberfox Developer Proclaims Death of Web Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 06:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-life department:
In a forum entitled "Cyberfox and its future direction," the lead developer of Cyberfox proclaimed the death of the web browser. "Cyberfox is a Firefox-based browser that is available as processor-specific builds, in classic and Australis styles," reports Ghacks Technology News. "It ships with additional features built-in to the browser, but is compatible mostly with Firefox." From the report: Cyberfox, and other Firefox-based browsers like Pale Moon or Waterfox, came to prominence by offering optimized builds, especially for 64-bit versions of Windows, long before Mozilla started to even offer 64-bit versions officially. The death of Cyberfox, or more precisely, the announcement of end of life for the web browser may come as a shock to users who run it. It should not be too much of a surprise though for users who keep an eye on the browser world and especially Mozilla and Firefox. Mozilla announced major changes to Firefox, some of which landed already, some are in process, and others are announced for 2017. [Some of the critical changes:] Multi-process Firefox is almost done, plugins are out except for Flash and Firefox ESR, Windows XP and Vista users are switched to Firefox ESR so that the operating systems are supported for eight additional releases, and WebExtensions will replace all other add-on systems of the browser. That's a lot of change, especially for projects that are maintained by a small but dedicated group of developers such as Cyberfox. The author of Cyberfox made the decision to switch the browser's release channel to Firefox 52.0 ESR. This means that Cyberfox will be supported with security updates for the next eight release cycles, but new features that Mozilla introduces in Firefox Stable won't find their way into the browser anymore.

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WikiLeaks CIA Files: The 6 Biggest Spying Secrets Revealed By the Release of 'Vault 7'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bigger-isn't-always-better department:
Earlier today, WikiLeaks unleashed a cache of thousands of files it calls "Year Zero," which is part one of the release associated with "Vault 7." Since there are over 8,000 pages in this release, it will take some time for journalists to comb through the release. The Independent has highlighted six of the "biggest secrets and pieces of information yet to emerge from the huge dump" in their report. 1) The CIA has the ability to break into Android and iPhone handsets, and all kinds of computers. The U.S. intelligence agency has been involved in a concerted effort to write various kinds of malware to spy on just about every piece of electronic equipment that people use. That includes iPhones, Androids and computers running Windows, macOS and Linux.
2) Doing so would make apps like Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp entirely insecure. Encrypted messaging apps are only as secure as the devices they are used on -- if an operating system is compromised, then the messages can be read before they are encrypted and sent to the other user(s).
3) The CIA could use smart TVs to listen in on conversations that happened around them. One of the most eye-catching programs detailed in the documents is "Weeping Angel." That allows intelligence agencies to install special software that allows TVs to be turned into listening devices -- so that even when they appear to be switched off, they're actually on.
4) The agency explored hacking into cars and crashing them, allowing "nearly undetectable assassinations." Many of the documents reference tools that appear to have dangerous and unknown uses. One file, for instance, shows that the CIA was looking into ways of remotely controlling cars and vans by hacking into them.
< article continued at Slashdot's bigger-isn't-always-better department >

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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Best Protect Client Files From Wireless Hacking?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-first department:
dryriver writes: A client has given you confidential digital files containing a design for a not-yet-public consumer product. You need to work on those files on a Windows 10 PC that has a wireless chipset built into it. What can you do, assuming that you have to work under Windows 10, that would make 3rd party wireless access to this PC difficult or impossible? I can imagine that under a more transparent, open-source, power-user OS like Linux, it would be a piece of cake to kill all wireless access completely and reliably even if the system contains wireless hardware. But what about a I-like-to-phone-home-sometimes, non open-source OS like Windows 10 that is nowhere near as open and transparent? Is there a good strategy for making outside wireless access to a Windows 10 machine difficult or impossible?

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How To Close the Gender Pay Gap By 2044
Posted by News Fetcher on March 07 '17 at 03:52 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's fixing-things department:
An anonymous reader shares an article on FastCompany: The wage gap in developing countries could be reduced by 35% by 2030 and eliminated by 2044, according to a new report from consultancy Accenture. But in order achieve pay parity, women need to be more involved in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, the report notes. But, workplaces will have to change too. One of the biggest barriers to women attaining equal pay is that many women don't work full-time. They take part-time jobs in order to balance responsibilities at home or within a family -- work that is generally unpaid. If workplaces provide more flexible schedules, allowing women to work 40 hours outside of a typical 9-5 schema, more women would be able to work full-time.

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