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Norway's Doomsday Vault Will Now Store and Protect the World's Data
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 07:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's doomsday-vault department:
Doomsday may be closer than ever, but thanks to the Arctic World Archive, at least your data could survive the looming apocalypse. From a report: Norway is already the home to the Global Seed Vault, a frozen ark for 1.5 million seeds to avoid their extinction, and now the Arctic World Archive aims to do the same for your data -- in the same disused mine in the same mountain on the island of Svalbard, famous for its polar bear population. Run by a small Norwegian archiving company called Piql, the World Arctic Archive will store key documents, books and other files on photosensitive film held in protective boxes, a technique Piql says it's tested to survive for at least 500 years and believes will last for 1,000. That longevity is helped by the storage location. More on this here.

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Apple To Develop Its Own GPU, UK Chip Designer Imagination Reveals In 'Bombshell' PR
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 07:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's cutting-reliance department:
From a report on AnandTech: In a bombshell of a press release issued this morning, Imagination has announced that Apple has informed their long-time GPU partner that they will be winding down their use of Imagination's IP. Specifically, Apple expects that they will no longer be using Imagination's IP in 15 to 24 months. Furthermore the GPU design that replaces Imagination's designs will be, according to Imagination, "a separate, independent graphics design." In other words, Apple is developing their own GPU, and when that is ready, they will be dropping Imagination's GPU designs entirely. This alone would be big news, however the story doesn't stop there. As Apple's long-time GPU partner and the provider for the basis of all of Apple's SoCs going back to the very first iPhone, Imagination is also making a case to investors (and the public) that while Apple may be dropping Imagination's GPU designs for a custom design, that Apple can't develop a new GPU in isolation -- that any GPU developed by the company would still infringe on some of Imagination's IP. As a result the company is continuing to sit down with Apple and discuss alternative licensing arrangements, with the intent of defending their IP rights.

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GitHub Repository Owners Targeted By Data-Stealing Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on April 03 '17 at 03:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's committing-changes department:
"Phishing emails zeroing in on developers who own Github repositories were infecting victims with malware capable of stealing data through keyloggers and modules that would snag screenshots," writes ThreatPost. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Researchers at Palo Alto Networks this week said that in mid-January, an unknown number of developers were targeted with emails purporting to be job offers. The attachments instead carried malicious .doc files containing an embedded macro. The macro executed a PowerShell command that would grab malware from a command and control site and execute it... [Senior threat researcher Brandon] Levene said it's unknown how widespread the January campaign was or why developers were targeted, but given the vast number of projects hosted on the platform, it would likely be an attractive target for either criminals and nation-state attackers.

Levene said the PowerShell script drops a binary named Dimnie, which has been around since 2014 but before January targeted primarily Russian-speaking targets. Someone who received two different emails said they appeared to be hand-crafted, according to Ars Technica, and referenced data changed that same day. They believe this suggests "a focused campaign explicitly targeting targets perceived as 'high return investments,' such as developers (possibly working on popular/open source projects)."

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Salary-Comparing Survey Identifies Top-Paid Developers, Discovers North America Pays Better
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 11:20 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's especially-if-they-work-at-Google department:
21,000 developers were surveyed for this year's annual survey by VisionMobile -- and for the first time, they were asked about their salaries. An anonymous reader quotes Linux.com:
[S]killed cloud and backend developers, as well as those who work in emerging technologies including Internet of Things, machine learning and augmented/virtual reality can make more money than frontend web and mobile developers whose skills have become more commoditized... The top 10 percent of salary earners in AR who live in North America earn a median salary of $219,000, compared with $169,000 for the top earning 10 percent of backend developers, according to the report... New, unskilled developers interested in emerging tech will have a harder time finding work, and earn less than their counterparts in more commoditized areas, due both to their lack of experience and fewer companies hiring in the early market. Along with skill level and software sector, developer salaries also vary widely by where they live in the world. A web developer in North America earns a median income of $73,600 USD per year, compared with the same developer in Western Europe whose median income is $35,400 USD. Web developers in South Asia earn $11,700 in South Asia while those in Eastern Europe earn $20,800 per year.
For developers who want to move up in the world, VisionMobile suggests "Invest in your skills. Do difficult work. Improve your English. Look for opportunities internationally. Go for it. You deserve it!"

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Tor Browser Will Feature More Rust Code
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 08:40 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Rusty-routers department:
An anonymous reader writes:
"The Tor Browser, a heavily modified version of the Firefox browser with many privacy-enhancing features, will include more code written in the Rust programming language," reports BleepingComputer. In a meeting held last week in Amsterdam, Tor developers decided to slowly start using Rust to replace the C++ code. The decision comes after Mozilla started shipping Rust components with Firefox in 2016. Furthermore, Rust is a memory-safe(r) language than C++, the language used for Firefox and the customized Tor code, which means less memory corruption errors. Less of these errors means better privacy for all.

"Part of our interest in using safer languages like Rust in Tor is because a tiny mistake in C could have real consequences for real people," Tor developer Isis Agora Lovecruft posted on Twitter, adding "Also the barrier to entry for contributing to large OSS projects written in C is insanely high."

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Will Streaming Media Lead To A Massive Writer's Strike?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 06:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's offline-media department:
"A decade ago, Hollywood writers brought the entertainment industry to a standstill when they walked off the job for three months in a dispute over pay for movies and TV shows distributed online," writes the Los Angeles Times. But they're reporting that it may happen again, with the Writers Guild of America now seeking a strike authorization vote from its members.
Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have transformed Hollywood and contributed to an unprecedented number of quality series being produced -- a phenomenon often described as the new Golden Age of TV. But times haven't been golden for many writers for whom more is now less. Shorter seasons are the new norm, with many series consisting of 10 or fewer episodes on cable and streaming -- less than half the length of traditional seasons on network shows. That has put writers in a financial crunch since many have exclusivity clauses that prevent them from working on multiple shows per season...
"It's getting more and more difficult to make a living as a writer," said John Bowman, a TV writer-producer, and former head of the WGA negotiating committee. Studios are equally dug in as more customers cut the cable cord in favor of streaming options. They're also grappling with a dramatic fall-off in once-lucrative DVD sales and a flattening of attendance at the multiplex. They are releasing fewer titles a year, meaning fewer opportunities for screenwriters... Complicating matters is a lack of transparency. Streaming services operate on subscription models and don't release viewer data, making it difficult to devise a formula for residuals (fees for reruns).
< article continued at Slashdot's offline-media department >

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Ask Slashdot: Can Linux Run a GPU-Computing Application Written For Windows?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 04:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's asking-about-emulation department:
dryriver writes:
I have been told that Linux can run Windows software using Wine or perhaps a VM. What happens if that Windows software is a GPU-computing application -- accessing the GPU through HLSL/GLSL/CUDA/OpenCL or similar interfaces?

Can Wine or other solutions run that software at a decent speed under Linux? Or is GPU-computing software written for the Windows platform unsuitable for use -- emulated or otherwise -- under Linux?
This sounds like one of those cases where there's a theoretical answer and then your own real-world experiences. So leave your best answers in the comments. Can Linux run a GPU-computing application that's written for Windows?

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Five US Navy SEAL Units Are Now Testing Brain-Zappers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 03:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's elite-ectro-cranial-stimulation department:
Five different Navy SEAL units are testing "transcranial electrical stimulation," reports Military.com, with one command's spokesperson saying the early results "show promising signs... we are encouraged to continue and are moving forward with our studies." The device's manufacturer says the number of devices being tested is "in the double digits," and believes the "neuro-priming" device could improve shooting performance, adding "it's kind of all about just training a little bit smarter." schwit1 quotes their report:
Transcranial electrical stimulation was one of the technologies touted by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter in July 2016 as part of his Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental) initiative. Since then, multiple SEAL units have begun actively testing the effectiveness of the technology, officials with Naval Special Warfare Command told Military.com... At a conference near Washington, D.C., in February, the commander of all Navy special operations units made an unusual request to industry: Develop and demonstrate technologies that offer "cognitive enhancement" capabilities to boost his elite forces' mental and physical performance. "We plan on using that in mission enhancement," Rear Admiral Tim Szymanski said.
Admiral Szymanski says experiments found that operators monitoring screens reportedly maintained peak performance for 20 hours -- rather than experience the usual drop-off in concentration after 20 minutes.

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California Company Plans Tests For Airfreight-Carrying Cargo Drones
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 02:02 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's excess-baggage department:
Their ultimate goal is "a cargo drone the size of a jetliner" built with sturdy, light-weight carbon fiber composites and supplemental electric engines to reduce fuel consumption. Long-time Slashdot reader linuxwrangler writes:
Backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, drone startup Natilus is attempting to reduce global airfreight costs by 50% through the use of autonomous cargo drones. To reduce regulatory and infrastructure burden, they plan to have their cargo drones take off and land on water 12 miles offshore and fly over uninhabited areas below controlled airspace. Shipments that take 11 hours in a 747 would take 30 in the drone but at half the cost. Container shipping is less than half the cost of the drone but takes three weeks. Test flights of a 30 foot prototype over San Pablo Bay north of San Francisco are planned for this summer.
The company hopes to start flying a 140-foot drone carrying 200,000 pounds by 2020, which Draper says will provide goods transportation "without the friction and costs associated with keeping people alive on airplanes."

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The US May Finally See Widespread 'Super Wi-Fi' Deployment
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 12:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's super-spectrum-auctions department:
The end of the FCC's spectrum auction last week "should give a clear indication of how much space will be available in each TV market for Super Wi-Fi," according to the Bay Area Newsgroup. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
[T]he technology has promised speedy internet for rural citizens and to help urban dwellers get connected in buildings and rooms that are now twilight zones for Wi-Fi signals... And because the spectrum is regulated and largely reserved for television signals, Super Wi-Fi transmissions don't have to contend with interference from random devices like microwaves or cordless phones, as do signals in other wireless bands. Super Wi-Fi signals generally won't be as fast as regular Wi-Fi signals, but for many customers, they'll be faster and provide better service than what they'd get otherwise...
It's widely expected that there will be plenty of room for Super Wi-Fi in rural areas where there are few television signals, which is why companies like Cal.net and Q-Wireless have pressed forward with the technology even before the auction closes. The big question is whether regulators will preserve sufficient space for Super Wi-Fi in areas like New York and Los Angeles where there are lots of broadcast stations and in cities like Detroit and San Diego that have to share the airwaves with cities from other countries. If there's not enough space in those areas, Super Wi-Fi, in this country at least, will likely be relegated to rural areas.

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Can Robots Help Children With Autism?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 12:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's autism-and-androids department:
An anonymous reader writes: Sunday is World Autism Awareness Day, and landmarks around the world will "light it up blue" as a show of support, including New York's Rockefeller Center and the White House. "Autism spectrum disorders affect an estimated one out of every 68 children in America," President Trump posted Friday, and autistic characters have now even been added to the new Power Rangers movie and on Sesame Street.
But technology could also play a role in improving the live of people with autism spectrum disorders. Reuters is reporting on a robot specifically designed to help teach communication and interaction skills to autistic children, while Vanderbilt University has 20 studies exploring more ways that robotics and technology could help, according to Zachary Warren, an associate professor of pediatrics. "A child may not respond to their mother calling their name but may automatically respond to a robot action or a piece of technology," Warren says after one program which showed improvement in five out of six participants. "If we can use that technology to shift how that child responds, then we may have a very valuable system to that child, that family and maybe for autism intervention."

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This Year's H-1B Visa Applications Look A Lot Like Last Year's
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 11:22 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-foreign-worker-visa-applications-great-again department:
"This year's round of H-1B visa program applications was scheduled to launch Monday, and it was largely absent of President Donald Trump's proposed policy changes," writes Newsweek. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services last updated its online page dedicated to the program, which granted visas to skilled foreign workers, Wednesday with the rules mostly similar to those of last year and quotas remaining the same. These requirements were set to launch despite Trump's vow to reform the program on the grounds that companies exploited it to fill jobs once held by U.S. citizens who earned higher wages.

An alleged draft of an executive order was leaked last month and widely circulated, raising fears that the administration was preparing to gut the program. These measures were never announced. "There was a window in which the White House could have made serious reforms," Russ Harrison, head of government relations for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA, told The Wall Street Journal. "For whatever reason, they decided not to take it."

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How To Protect Your Privacy Online
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 10:02 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's timely-tips department:
Though the U.S. Congress voted to roll back privacy rules, broadband customers can still opt-out of targeted advertising from Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and T-Mobile. But an anonymous reader explains why that's not enough:
"It's not clear that opting out will prevent ISPs from putting your data to use," reports The Verge, adding "you're opting out of seeing ads, but not out of providing data." Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, tells NPR that consumers can also "call their providers and opt out of having their information shared." But he also suggests a grass roots effort, calling this "an opportunity to pressure companies to implement good practices and for consumers to say 'I think that you should require opt-in consent and if you're not, why not?'"
To try to stop the creation of that data, Brian Krebs has also posted a guide for choosing a VPN provider, and shared a useful link to a chart comparing VPN providers that was recommended by the EFF. This may help avoid some of the problems reported with VPN services, and Krebs also recommends Tor as a free (albeit possibly slower) option, while sharing an informational link describing Tor's own limitations.
I'm curious what steps Slashdot's readers are taking (if any) to protect their own privacy online?

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Researchers Detect A Mysterious Flash Of X-Rays From A Faraway Galaxy
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 08:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's signals-from-space department:
"It was a spark in the night. A flash of X-rays from a galaxy hovering nearly invisibly on the edge of infinity. Astronomers say they do not know what caused it." Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes the New York Times:
The orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, was in the midst of a 75-day survey of a patch of sky known as the Chandra Deep Field-South, when it recorded the burst from a formerly quiescent spot in the cosmos. For a few brief hours on Oct 1, 2014, the X-rays were a thousand times brighter than all the light from its home galaxy, a dwarf unremarkable speck almost 11 billion light years from here, in the constellation Fornax. Then whatever had gone bump in the night was over and the X-rays died.
The event as observed does not fit any known phenomena, according to Franz Bauer, an astronomer at Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and lead author of a report to be published in Science.

He described some possible explanation in a blog post this week -- for example, a star being torn apart by a black hole, or the afterglow from a gamma ray burst seen sideways -- but the spectrum readings aren't a match, according to the Times. "None of the usual cosmic catastrophe suspects work."

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FSF Activists Want You To Call Tim Berners-Lee About DRM
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 08:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's phone-calls-for-freedom department:
"The Free Software Foundation is calling on netizens to make calls to the W3C demanding they not include DRM in Web standards," an anonymous reader writes. Cory Doctorow reports:
There's only two weeks left until members of the World Wide Web Consortium vote on whether the web's premier open standards organization will add DRM to the toolkit available to web developers, without effecting any protections for people who discover security vulnerabilities that affect billions of web users, let alone people who adapt web tools for those with disabilities and people who create legitimate, innovative new technologies to improve web video.

Tim Berners-Lee has final say over this change, according to the article, which directs callers to urge him to "keep the web free and open, rather than rescuing DRM from its slow collapse due to the complexity of fielding and supporting it without standards like those the W3C makes."

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Manatee No Longer An Endangered Species
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 07:22 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's how-now-sea-cow department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Miami Herald:
The manatee -- for decades the poster mammal for environmental decline in Florida -- is officially no longer an endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday that the manatee will instead be designated "threatened" -- a status change that reflects a boom in population over the last decade. In February, Florida wildlife managers released preliminary results of an annual count that recorded 6,620 manatees lumbering in the warm waters of Florida's lagoons, springs and canals... "We believe this is a devastating blow to manatees," Patrick Rose, Executive Director for Save the Manatee Club, said in a statement. "A federal reclassification at this time will seriously undermine the chances of securing the manatee's long- term survival."
It was the third consecutive year to see an increase in the estimated population of manatees.

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Trump Extends Obama Executive Order On Cyberattacks
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 07:22 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's political-retox department:
"U.S. President Donald Trump is extending by one year special powers introduced by former President Barack Obama that allow the government to issue sanctions against people and organizations engaged in significant cyberattacks and cybercrime against the U.S.," according to InfoWorld. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Executive Order 13694 was introduced on April 1, 2015, and was due to expire on Saturday, but the president sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday evening informing it of his plans to keep it active. Significant malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," Trump wrote in the letter. "Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13694 with respect to significant malicious cyber-enabled activities."
The executive order gave the U.S. new powers to retaliate for hacking of critical infrastructure, major denial of service attacks or large scale economic hacking. It was expanded in December 2016 to include election-related systems and used to sanction Russian agents and organizations for their alleged role in a series of attacks during the presidential election.

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Amazon's Drone-Delivery Dreams Are No Joke
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 04:33 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's serious-business department:
Backchannel's Steven Levy reports that Amazon "has a site at an undisclosed semi-rural location where it attempts to simulate the possible obstacles that drones will face in real-world deliveries." Amazon's drones reach speeds of 60 miles per hour, and can perform a 20-mile round trip, which makes Amazon believe they could especially useful deliveries to the suburbs, some rural areas. "The facility features a faux backyard and other simulated locations where drones might have to drop off their cargo." An anonymous reader quotes their report:
"For a while, we were missing clotheslines," says Paul Viola, an AI expert who is charge of Prime Air's autonomy efforts. Now, Amazon's vehicles have a "Don't Hit Clotheslines!" rule in their code. There's even a simulated dog (though not a robot) that Amazon uses to see how the vehicles will respond to canine threats... Amazon is also planning for urban deliveries, with the idea of landing drones on rooftops [and] eventually it might expand to multiple deliveries per expedition, or even take returns back to the warehouse... All of this is done without human intervention. Drones know where to go and how to get there without a human sitting at a ground station actually flying the plane... [A]n Air Prime technician can order a drone to land, but ultimately the drones are autonomous. Amazon envisions that eventually it will have sort of an air traffic controller monitoring the flight patterns of multiple drones.
If something goes wrong, "the first rule of Amazon drones is to abort the flight, returning to base or even carefully finding a landing spot from which to send a rescue signal. 'If it doesn't seem safe, it will land as soon as safely possible,' says Gur Kimchi, who has headed the Prime Air team for four years. (He previously worked at Microsoft.)"

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HTC Introduces Eye-Tracking 'VR Ad Service'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 02 '17 at 12:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's prolonged-eye-contact department:
We all knew this day would come: HTC has introduced a "VR Ad Service" that knows when viewers are actively looking at ads. "Ads that appear in immersive VR environments can not only provide more effective impressions, they can also track whether the users have viewed them or have turned away their gaze. Accordingly, the multiplied effect of effective impressions and verified viewings will bring you higher advertising revenue!" HTC explains. PC Gamer reports: Advertisers will only pay for ads after they've been viewed, according to Business Insider. Some of the formats they will use include loading scenes, 2D and 3D in-app placements, app recommendation banners, and big screen video. This will be an opt-in ad service for developers. HTC notes that by opting in, "all of your free apps would be automatically put on the list which can be used to integrate VR Ads." News of in-game ads coming to VR isn't exactly the sort of thing that will excite gamers. If there's a silver lining here, it's that ads are more likely to be relevant to the viewer's interests over time, at least in theory. "Compared to ordinary ad impressions, ads that are seen by users in a immersive VR environment can not only meet the user's needs by means of precise re-targeting, but can also be detected if they are viewed effectively by users," HTC states. "Therefore, promotion of your applications would have much more effective impression, which not only arouses the attention of potential users and enhance brand image, but further attracts interested users directly to download your apps in the VR environment!"

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Ask Slashdot: Seen Any Good April Fool's Pranks Today?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 01 '17 at 11:10 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's OMG-ponies department:
An anonymous reader writes:
It's that special time of year where sites around the net celebrate April Fool's Day with parodies of their own product offerings. Google Home announces a new companion service for smart yards called Google Gnome. Stack Overflow announces Dance Dance Authentication. The Russian foreign ministry changed their voicemail to include new menu options like "Press 2 to use the services of Russian hackers," and "press 3 to request election interference." And in what's either a really good prank or a horrific piece of bad timing, Phrack.org announces that they've been seized by the FBI. Has anybody else noticed anything funny today?

The internet has a long history of April Fool's Day pranks, and it looks like 2017 is no exception. So use the comments to share what you're seeing around the web today. Seen any good April Fool's Day pranks today?

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