By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cyberpunked department
68-year-old science fiction author William Gibson just released a complicated new science fiction comic book, and this weekend Ars Technica proclaimed that "the results are grand". An anonymous reader shares their report:
A father and son occupy the new White House as President and Vice President. We never meet dad, but his son -- an evil jerk by the name of Junior Henderson -- has been surgically altered to resemble his grandfather, because Junior is about travel to an alternate Earth in 1945 to take grandpa's place, with the intent of remaking that world more to his liking (and, presumably, to prevent whatever it was that laid waste to the one we start off in)...The world is in ruins. The White House relocated to the ominous-sounding National Emergency Federal District in Montana. They have technology that far outstrips our own...
"It's an alternate-history/cross-worlds story," Gibson writes... "And I wouldn't want to spoil too much of the frame, because that's an inherent part of our narrative. But I will say that one of the first verbal tags we had for the material was 'Band Of Brothers vs. Blackwater.'"
On his Twitter feed, Gibson is also applauding the news that Marvel and DC comics abandoned a two and a half year legal battle to enforce their trademark on the word "superhero" against a publisher in the U.K.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Is-Denver-The-Next-High-Tech-Center? department
An anonymous reader write: "The spread of the tech industry outside Silicon Valley has helped make Denver the fastest-growing large city in the U.S.," reports the New Yorker, saying it's now growing faster than Austin and Seattle, becoming one of America's 20 most populous cities. Cost-conscious investors and tech executives now are opening offices in cheaper "secondary cities" outside of Silicon Valley, like Salt Lake City, and the good universities near Denver mean a well-educated workforce, coupled with a low cost of living.
"Though the city isn't the headquarters for any big tech companies -- like Dell in the Austin area or Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle -- several of them, including IBM and Oracle, have offices here. The presence of those offices, and of the universities, has also helped create a vibrant startup scene: people get educated here or come here for jobs, and then they graduate or leave those jobs and become entrepreneurs." Last year venture capitalists invested $800 million in Demver's tech, energy, food, and marijuana companies, and in 2014 Oracle paid over a billion dollars to acquire Denver-based Datalogix.
Anyone else live in a burgeoning "secondary" tech city? Scott McNealy said he co-founded his data-analysis startup in Denver because in California "The prices of everything have skyrocketed. The regulations. The pension deficit. The traffic. It's just not a fun place to go start."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'm-feeling-lucky department
An anonymous reader quotes an article from The Verge.
Inventor Ray Kurzweil made his name as a pioneer in technology that helped machines understand human language, both written and spoken. In a video from a recent Singularity conference Kurzweil says he and his team at Google are building a chatbot, and that it will be released sometime later this year... "My team, among other things, is working on chatbots. We expect to release some chatbots you can talk to later this year."
One of the bots will be named Danielle, and according to Kurzweil, it will draw on dialog from a character named Danielle, who appears in a novel he wrote -- a book titled, what else, Danielle... He said that anyone will be able to create their own unique chatbot by feeding it a large sample of your writing, for example by letting it ingest your blog. This would allow the bot to adopt your "style, personality, and ideas."
Kurzweil also predicted that we won't see AIs with full "human-level" language abilities until 2029, "But you'll be able to have interesting conversations before that."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 15-year-update-cycle department
At the annual convention of OS/2 users, Arca Noae announced their new OS/2-OEM distribution will be released in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the project, codenamed "Blue Lion", will officially be called ArcaOS 5.0. "The significance of the version number relates to IBM OS/2 4.52 -- the last maintenance release of the platform released by IBM in 2001," reports TechRepublic. martiniturbide writes: The article discusses the features of ArcaOS like USB bootable installer, USB (1.1 and 2) , ACPI, AHCI, and network card drivers, new OS installer, etc. It will be sold in two editions: ArcaOS Commercial Edition [with 12 months of priority support and updates] and ArcaOS Personal Edition...
Anyone have fond members of OS/2? Are there any Slashdot readers who are still using it?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's A,-B-C++ department
This week Apple CEO Tim Cook argued at Startup Fest Europe that coding should be a 'second language' taught to all children. theodp shares two quotes from a YouTube video. "We fundamentally believe that coding is a language and that just like other languages are required in school, coding should be required in school," Cook stated. "I do think coding is as important-- if not more important -- as the second language that most people learn in today's world," Cook later added... "I would go in and make coding a requirement starting at the fourth or fifth grade, and I would build on that year after year after year...I think we're doing our kids a disservice if we're not teaching them and introducing them in that way." Meanwhile, The Hill reported this week that The Computer Science Education Coalition -- which includes Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and dozens of other companies -- hired a fourth "advocacy firm" that specializes in "mobilizing groups of people to influence outcomes...to help convince policymakers to provide money to computer science education for grades K-12," and they're seeking an initial investment of $250 million. I'd be curious to hear what Slashdot readers think about government funding of grade school coding classes.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's the-other-internet department
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is the "dictator" of "the biggest nation in the world," says Peter Sunde, co-founder of the controversial website The Pirate Bay. Sunde, who appeared at The Next Web conference on Friday, added that there is "no democracy" online. From a CNBC report: "People in the tech industry have a lot of responsibilities but they never really discuss these things... Facebook is the biggest nation in the world and we have a dictator, if you look at it from a democracy standpoint, Mark Zuckerberg is a dictator. I did not elect him. He sets the rules," Sunde said. "And really you can't opt out of Facebook. I'm not on Facebook but there are a lot of drawbacks in my offline world. No party invitations, no updates from my friends, people stop talking to you, because you're not on Facebook. So it has real life implications."Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's talk-of-the-town department
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard (edited for clarity): A controversial surveillance company called Blue Coat Systems -- whose products have been detected in Iran and Sudan -- was recently issued a powerful encryption certificate by Symantec. The certificate, and the authority that comes with it, could allow Blue Coat Systems to more easily snoop on encrypted traffic. But Symantec downplayed concern from the security community. Blue Coat, which sells web-monitoring software, was granted the power in September last year, but it was only widely noticed this week. The company's devices are used by both government and commercial customers for keeping tabs on networks or conducting surveillance. In Syria, the technology has been used to censor web sites and monitor the communications of dissidents, activists and journalists.Blue Coat assures that it is not going to utilize the certificates to snoop on us. The Register reports: We asked Blue Coat how it planned to use its new powers -- and we were assured that its intermediate certificate was only used for internal testing and that the certificate is no longer in use. "Symantec has reviewed the intermediate CA issued to Blue Coat and determined it was used appropriately," the two firms said in a statement. "Consistent with their protocols, Symantec maintained full control of the private key and Blue Coat never had access to it. Blue Coat has confirmed it was used for internal testing and has since been discontinued. Therefore, rumors of misuse are unfounded."Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's where-you-get-your-news department
More people in the United States are now turning to social media instead of traditional media for news. According to Pew Research Center, which surveyed over 4,500 people with various backgrounds, an increasingly number of Americans -- 62% to be exact -- are getting their news from social media platforms such as Facebook, and Instagram. Of the 62% people, 66% of them get their news from Facebook, 23% from Instagram, 21% from YouTube, and 19% from LinkedIn. From a Huffington Post article: It's easy to believe you're getting diverse perspectives when you see stories on Facebook. You're connected not just to many of your friends, but also to friends of friends, interesting celebrities and publications you "like." But Facebook shows you what it thinks you'll be interested in. The social network pays attention to what you interact with, what your friends share and comment on, and overall reactions to a piece of content, lumping all of these factors into an algorithm that serves you items you're likely to engage with. It's a simple matter of business: Facebook wants you coming back, so it wants to show you things you'll enjoy.Read Replies (0)
EFF Warns of Harsher CFAA
Posted by News Fetcher on May 28 '16 at 05:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 30-year-old-laws department
An anonymous reader writes: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is "vague, draconian, and notoriously out of touch with how we use computers today," warns the EFF. But instead of reforming it, two U.S. Senators "are on a mission to make things worse..." The senators' proposed Botnet Prevention Act of 2016 "could make criminals of paid researchers who test access in order to identify, disclose, and fix vulnerabilities," according to the EFF. And the bill would also make it a felony to damage "critical infrastructure," which may include software companies and ISPs (since they're apparently using the Department of Homeland Security's definition).
The harsher penalties would ultimately give prosecutors much more leverage for plea deals. But worst of all, the proposed bill even "empowers government officials to obtain court orders to force companies to hack computer users for a wide range of activity completely unrelated to botnets. What's worse is that the bill allows the government to do this without any requirement of notice to non-suspect or innocent customers or companies, including botnet victims... These changes would only increase -- not alleviate -- the CFAA's harshness, overbreadth, and confusion."
The CFAA was originally written in 1986, and was partly inspired by the 1983 movie "WarGames".Read Replies (0)