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What Bell Labs Was Like C.1967
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 09:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Bell-Labs department:
New submitter niittyniemi writes: There's a rather interesting photo-gallery over at The Guardian
which gives an indication of what life was like at Bell Labs c.1967.

This was the year that Dennis
Ritchie joined Bell Labs and went on to produce a body of work which has
been pretty much unrivaled in its influence on the modern computing
landscape, even some 50 years later.

What's noticeable about the pictures, is that they are of woman. I don't
think this is a result of the photographer just photographing "eye candy". I
think it's because he was surrounded by women, whom from his comments he
very much respected and hence photographed.

In those times, wrangling with a computer was very much seen as "clerical
work" and therefore the domain of woman. This can be seen as far back as
Bletchley Park and before that Ada Lovelace.

Yet 50 years later, the IT industry has turned full-circle. Look at any IT
company and the percentage of women doing software development or similar is
woeful. Why and how has this happened? Discuss.

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AT&T To Begin 5G Wireless Field Trials This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 09:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's can-you-hear-me-now department:
AT&T will begin field trials of its 5G wireless technologies later this summer after conducting extensive lab development and testing with several partners in the second quarter of 2016. The company unveiled its 5G roadmap and testing plans in a Feb. 11 announcement as it continues to work on the creation of its next-generation wireless network across the nation. When completed, 5G wireless systems are expected to deliver speeds 10 to 100 times faster than the average 4G LTE connections of today, according to AT&T. "New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before," John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T technology and operations, said in a statement. "These technologies will be immersive, pervasive and responsive to customers. 5G will help make them a reality."

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Microsoft Patents A Modular PC With Stackable Components
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 08:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's modular-computing department:
Microsoft has patented a "modular computing device" that would enable people to put together the exact PC components they want, allowing for replacement of certain parts rather than forcing people to buy entire new computers when they want upgrades. Microsoft applied for the patent in July 2015, and it was published earlier this week, on February 11.

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Hollywood Escalates "DVD Ripping" Case To International Incident
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 07:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's escalating-quickly department:
A group of Hollywood studios and technology partners have asked the U.S. Government to assist in solving a long-running court battle against the Antique based software company SlySoft. Despite an earlier conviction SlySoft continues to offer its DVD and BluRay ripping tools. To progress the matter, rightsholders have asked the U.S. to place Antigua on the Priority Watch List. "Circumvention through programs such as SlySoft's AnyDVD HD is a source for widespread, large-scale and commercial copyright infringement by users located in the United States, as well as Antigua & Barbuda, and many other countries," AACS writes (pdf).

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The Linux Foundation Forms Open Source Effort To Advance IO Services
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 05:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's open-source department:
The Linux Foundation is announcing FD.io ("Fido"), a Linux Foundation Project. FD.io is an open source project to provide an IO services framework for the next wave of network and storage software. Early support for FD.io comes from founding members 6WIND, Brocade, Cavium, Cisco, Comcast, Ericsson, Huawei, Inocybe Technologies, Intel Corporation, Mesophere, Metaswitch Networks (Project Calico), PLUMgrid and Red Hat. Architected as a collection of sub-projects, FD.io provides a modular, extensible user space IO services framework that supports rapid development of high-throughput, low-latency and resource-efficient IO services. The design of FD.io is hardware, kernel, and deployment (bare metal, VM, container) agnostic.

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Microsoft Plans To Make Windows 10, Xbox One Game "Crossbuys" A Habit
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's buy-one-get-one department:
Gamers who preorder Remedy's upcoming Xbox One game, Quantum Break, will receive a free digital copy for Windows 10 PCs -- a "crossbuy" strategy that Microsoft's Xbox chief plans to make a "platform feature" of the gaming console. Behind the scenes, Microsoft has worked to tie its Windows 10 and Xbox One operating systems closer together, sharing features and data. The Xbox One includes versions of Skype and Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft has said that universal apps written for Windows 10 can theoretically run on the Xbox One, as well as Windows 10 PCs and Windows 10 Mobile phones. Eventually, Microsoft envisions a world where PC and Xbox One gamers will drift between platforms, and where gamers on each platform will be able to compete with one another.

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Samsung Warns Customers To Think Twice About What They Say Near Smart TVs
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 03:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's big-brother department:
In a troubling new development in the domestic consumer surveillance debate, an investigation into Samsung Smart TVs has revealed that user voice commands are recorded, stored, and transmitted to a third party. The company even warns customers not to discuss personal or sensitive information within earshot of the device. The new Samsung controversy stems from the discovery of a single haunting statement in the company's "privacy policy," which states: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."

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Amazon's IoT Hacking Contest Won By Voice-Controlled Drone
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 01:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's voice-controlled-drone department:
An anonymous reader writes: On Thursday, Amazon announced the winners of its first-ever "AWS IoT Mega Contest," a competitive hardware hacking event held in conjunction with Hackster last month which drew nearly a thousand participants. First place went to an RFID, infrared, light and sound sensor system that gathers data about a sleeping baby and to a voice-controlled drone that sends radio signals using a Raspberry Pi board. "IoT is here now," posted an Amazon cloud evangelist, just four months after Amazon released their own Internet of Things platform. "People are building devices, sites, and applications that are sophisticated and useful."

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New Shape-Shifting Polymer Holds 1,000 Times Its Own Mass - Watch Out Plastic Man!
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 12:23 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Mystique department:
University of Rochester researchers have announced the development of a new polymer, capable of supporting 1,000 times its own mass. Polymers that can change shape when heated have been developed in the past, yet this new polymer exhibits the rare quality of becoming flexible when exposed to body heat. This property, which can be used to change the shape of a device, could make the substance useful in medical applications. When the new polymer is removed from the heat source (such as human body), the material immediately returns to its original configuration.

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UK Scientists Designing Cement To Safely Store Nuclear Waste For 100,000 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 11:05 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nuclear-waste department:
An anonymous reader writes: A team of British scientists are working on designing a form of cement which could safely withstand the harmful effects of nuclear waste for thousands of years. The team at the UK's synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, said the project will be vital as Britain looks to expand on its nuclear industry. The team believe the new material is 50% better at reducing the impact of radiation than current storage solutions. The government is set to choose a location of where to store the estimated 300,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste which is estimated to have been accumulated by the UK by 2030.

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DARPA's Robot Ship Slated For April Unveiling
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 09:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's spare-parts department:
93 Escort Wagon writes: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to launch a 130-foot autonomous ship this year. The Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel will be the largest unmanned surface vehicle ever built at 130-feet long. It will be christened in April in Portland, Oregon, and then begin to demonstrate its long-range capabilities over 18 months in cooperation with the Office of Naval Research and the Space and Naval Systems Warfare Command. My regards to Captain Dunsel.

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Best Way To Mine Bitcoins - Allow Errors!
Posted by News Fetcher on February 14 '16 at 08:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's looking-for-gold department:
An anonymous reader writes: A recent paper from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows that bitcoin mining profits can be increased considerably if mining hardware is allowed to produce occasional errors. The research shows that mining hardware that allows occasional errors ("approximate mining") can run much faster and take up less area than a conventional miner. Furthermore, the errors that are produced by the miner do no corrupt the blockchain since such errors are easily detected and discarded by the bitcoin network. Mining profits can increase by over 30%.

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'Rogue Scientists' Could Exploit Gene Editing Technology, Experts Warn
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unintended-consequences department:
A senior geneticist and a bioethicist warned on Friday that they fear "rogue scientists" operating outside the bounds of law, and agreed with a US intelligence chief's assertion this week that gene editing technology could have huge, and potentially dangerous, consequences. Recent advances in genetics allow scientists to edit DNA quickly and accurately, making research into diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and cancer, easier than ever before. But researchers increasingly caution that they have to work with extreme care, for fear that gene editing could be deployed as bioterrorism or, in a more likely scenario, result in an accident that could make humans more susceptible to disease rather than less.

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Apple And AT&T Sued For Infringement Over IPhone Haptic Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's touchy-subject department:
Haptic technology company Immersion has accused Apple and carrier AT&T of infringement of three of its patents in the latest iPhone models and Apple watches. Immersion, which claims over 2,100 issued or pending patents worldwide covering various aspects and commercial applications of haptic or touch feedback technology, has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban the import of the specified iPhone and Apple Watch models in the U.S., besides suing for damages in a Delaware federal court, company CEO Victor Viegas said in a conference call Thursday. Immersion decided to include AT&T and subsidiary AT&T Mobility in the action because the carrier is the most significant distributor of the iPhone in the U.S.

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US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Has Died
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
clovis writes: US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died in his sleep while on a hunting trip near Marfa, Texas. Justice Scalia was a Constitutional originalist and textualist. He did not believe the Constitution was a living document to be interpreted with the evolving standards of modern times. I, for one, am very interested to see what happens next.

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Reluctant Wikipedia Lifts Lid On $2.5M Internet Search Engine Project
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's reluctantly-crouched-at-the-starting-line department:
The Wikimedia Foundation has finally disclosed details of its controversial Knowledge Engine grant -- and it confirms that Wikipedia is getting seriously into search, despite Jimmy Wales' categorical denial that WMF is "doing a Google." After a Wikipedia signpost article, and coverage at El Reg this week, the WMF caved and posted the Knight Foundation's approval of the $250,000 grant. The grant provides seed money for stage one of the Knowledge Engine, described as "a system for discovering reliable and trustworthy information on the Internet." The discovery stage includes an exploration of prototypes of future versions of Wikipedia.org which are "open channels" rather than an encyclopedia, analyzing the query-to-content path, and embedding the Wikipedia Knowledge Engine "via carriers and Original Equipment Manufacturers."

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Seeing Beyond The Hubris Of Facebook's Free Basics Fiasco
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's east-india-company department:
Facebook's Free Basics was an ill-conceived effort to bring Internet access to the poor in India. It created a walled garden in which Facebook and the Indian telecom providers selected which websites people could visit. The users of Free Basics would find that Facebook was the center of their virtual universe and would experience only what it allowed them to.

The Free Basics project originated from an idea that Zuckerberg had about connecting the next 5 billion people. He documented this in a paper titled Is Connectivity A Human Right? He wrote that in the U.S. "an iPhone with a typical two-year data plan costs about $2,000, where about $500-600 of that is the phone and $1,500 is the data." What Zuckerberg and his U.S. team didn't understand was that in India you can buy computer tablets and smartphones for as little as $50, and that 100MB of data -- which is more than a Free Basics user will consume in a month -- costs much less than a dollar. So the entire basis of the paper was flawed.

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CERN Engineer Details AMD Zen Processor Confirming 32 Core Implementation, SMT
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 02:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-generation-PC department:
MojoKid writes: AMD is long overdue for a major architecture update, though one is coming later this year. Featuring the codename "Zen," AMD's already provided a few details, such as that it will be built using a 14nm FinFET process. In time, AMD will reveal all there is to know about Zen, but we now have a few additional details to share thanks to a computer engineer at CERN. CERN engineer Liviu Valsan recently gave a presentation on technology and market trends for the data center. At around 2 minutes into the discussion, he brought up AMD's Zen architecture with a slide that contained some previously undisclosed details. One of the more interesting revelations was that upcoming x86 processors based on Zen will feature up to 32 physical cores. To achieve a 32-core design, Valsan says AMD will use two 16-core CPUs on a single die with a next-generation interconnect. It has also been previously reported that Zen will offer up to a 40 percent improvement in IPC compared to its current processors as well as symmetric multithreading or SMT akin to Intel HyperThreading. In a 32-core implementation this would result in 64 logical threads of processing.

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Would You Bet Against Sex Robots? AI 'Could Leave Half Of World Unemployed'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 01:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Ex-Machina department:
Machines could put more than half the world's population out of a job in the next 30 years, according to a computer scientist who said on Saturday that artificial intelligence's threat to the economy should not be understated. Vardi, a professor at Rice University and Guggenheim fellow, said that technology presents a more subtle threat than the masterless drones that some activists fear. He suggested AI could drive global unemployment to 50%, wiping out middle-class jobs and exacerbating inequality. "Humanity is about to face perhaps its greatest challenge ever, which is finding meaning in life after the end of 'in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread'," he said. "We need to rise to the occasion and meet this challenge."

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Brown CS Department Hiring Student Diversity, Inclusion Advocates
Posted by News Fetcher on February 13 '16 at 01:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's issues-of-diversity department:
theodp writes: Brown University's Department of Computer Science is seeking to hire student advocates for diversity and inclusion as part of its new action plan to increase diversity. The new hires, who will also serve as members of the CS Diversity Committee, will support students, plan inclusion activities, and educate TAs on issues of diversity. Also on the diversity front, Brown touted last weekend's Hack@Brown, the school's annual student hackathon, as being "unlike any other hackathon" -- welcoming, inclusive, and inviting to students of all experience levels." A cynic might point out that Hack@Brown's tech giant sponsors boast track records that are quite the opposite. By the way, Brown@Hackathon certainly upped the ante on conference Codes of Conduct, warning that those anonymously-charged with making others feel uncomfortable on the basis of "gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion (or lack thereof)" will be "expelled from the event without travel reimbursement at the discretion of the event organizers." Brown explained that travel reimbursements were provided to promote "economic diversity", ensuring that students who couldn't otherwise afford to get to and from Providence could attend the Ivy League event. Hey, what "economically diverse" kid wouldn't want to go to a conference where rubbing someone the wrong way could leave them stranded in Rhode Island!

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