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Ask Slashdot: Are Any Certifications Worth Going For?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lifeguard-certification-might-help department:
An anonymous reader writes: I am an IT professional in my 30s and have had some form if IT employment for the last 15 years. I've worked my way from technical support to IS manager, but my career seems to have stalled. I have a fancy 4-year degree in Information Systems (I was never much of a programmer) from an actual college, and a good deal of real-world experience combined with reading the odd technical book here and there to keep abreast of what's going on in the world of tech, but what I don't have is any certifications. None.

When I was a poor student fresh from college, I decided that certifications were a waste of money, since the jobs I was applying for at the time didn't care about them, and the tests were several hundred dollars each. Now, it seems most jobs I see listed want some certifications, and I suspect HR systems are weeding out resumes that don't have the correct alchemical formula of certifications.

So my question is: are any certifications now worth it? If so, where do I start? I will probably stick to the track I'm on (I'm better at managing than developing). Going to classes might be an option, but I'd prefer to be able to self-study if possible to work around being on-call constantly (and, to be blunt, classes are expensive). I don't want to stump up for a class only to find out I don't actually like the class or the material or the certification isn't actually what I thought it was.


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The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-we-blame-keynes-for-this department:
An anonymous reader writes: Most software developers are intimately familiar with having to waste time implementing something they probably shouldn't need to implement, or spending countless hours making their code work with bad (but required) software. Developer Paul Chiusano says this is because the economic model we use for building software just doesn't work. He writes, "What's the problem? In software, everyone is solving similar problems, and software makes it trivial to share solutions to these problems (unlike physical goods), in the form of common libraries, tools, etc. This ease of sharing means it makes perfect sense for actors to cooperate on the development of solutions to common problems. ... Obviously, it would be crazy to staff such critical projects largely with a handful of unpaid volunteers working in their spare time. Er, right?? Yet that is what projects like OpenSSL do. A huge number of people and businesses ostensibly benefit from these projects, and the vast majority are freeriders that contribute nothing to their development. This problem of freeriders is something that has plagued open source software for a very long time." Chiusano has some suggestions on how we can improve the way we allocate resources to software development.

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Asteroid Impacts May Have Formed Life's Building Blocks
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's project-genesis-begins department:
sciencehabit writes: A high-powered laser in the Czech Republic has now provided provocative evidence that the hellish conditions produced when an asteroid or comet slams into Earth could have created some key building blocks of life on Earth. In a lab experiment intended to duplicate the high temperatures and pressures of such an impact (abstract), researchers used the laser to simultaneously make adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil, the four organic compounds in RNA, which many believe to have been the first molecule to encode genetic information.

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Google Releases Android Studio 1.0, the First Stable Version of Its IDE
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
An anonymous reader writes After two years of development, Google today released Android Studio 1.0, the first stable version of its Integrated Development Environment (IDE) aimed solely at Android developers. You can download the tool right now for Windows, Mac, and Linux from the Android Developer site. Google first announced Android Studio, built on the popular IntelliJ IDEA Java IDE, at its I/O Developer conference in May 2013. The company's pitch was very simple: this is the official Android IDE.

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The Rise of the Global Surveillance Profiteers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's grab-that-cash-with-both-hands-and-make-a-stash department:
blottsie writes "A new report takes a deep dive into companies like Hacking Team, which have sprouted up in the years since 9/11 sparked a global war on terror and a wired technological revolution. As the U.S. developed the online surveillance tools that, over a decade later, would eventually be revealed to the world by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, savvy businesses across the globe realized there were plenty of countries that might not be able to afford to develop such sophisticated technology in-house but still had money to burn."

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Microsoft Files a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit For Activating Pirated Software
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's official-copy-only department:
First time accepted submitter Esra Erimez writes Microsoft has filed a complaint at a federal court in Washington accusing person(s) behind an AT&T subscription of activating various pirated copies of Windows 7 and Office 10. The account was identified by Microsoft's in-house cyberforensics team based on suspicious "activation patterns." Despite being one of the most pirated software vendors in the world, Microsoft doesn't have a long track record of cracking down on individual pirates. From the descriptions used in the complaint it seems likely that the target is not an average user, but someone who sells computers containing pirated software.

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Linux 3.18 Released, Lockup Bug Still Present
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
jones_supa writes As anticipated, Linus Torvalds officially released Linux 3.18. The new version is now out there, though that nasty lockup issue has still yet to be resolved. Dave Jones is nearing the end of bisecting the issue, but since it also affects Linux 3.17 and not too many people seem to get hit by the lockups, Linus Torvalds decided to go ahead and do the 3.18 release on schedule. Linus was also concerned that dragging out the 3.18 release would then complicate the Linux 3.19 merge window due to the holidays later this month. Now the Linux 3.19 kernel merge window is open for two weeks of exciting changes.

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FISA Court Extends Section 215 Bulk Surveillance For 90 Days
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-hear-you-with department:
Trailrunner7 notes that the bulk telephone collection program was just extended another 90 days. "The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has authorized a 90-day extension to the Section 215 bulk telephone collection program used by the National Security Agency, giving the agency through the end of February to run the program in the absence of legislation establishing a new authority.

On Monday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed that the administration had applied for a 90-day extension to the existing Section 215 authority, and that the FISC had approved the request, extending the authority through Feb. 27.

'The Administration welcomes the opportunity to work with the new Congress to implement the changes the President has called for. Given that legislation has not yet been enacted, and given the importance of maintaining the capabilities of the telephony metadata program, the government has sought a 90-day reauthorization of the existing program, as modified by the changes the President directed in January,' a statement from the Office of the DNI and the Office of the Attorney General said."


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Book Review: Spam Nation
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke writes There are really two stories within Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door. The first is how Brian Krebs uncovered the Russian cybergangs that sent trillions of spam emails for years. As interesting and compelling as that part of the story is; the second storyline is much more surprising and fascinating. Brian Krebs is one of the premier cybersecurity journalists. From 1995 to 2009, he was a reporter for The Washington Post, where he covered Internet security, technology policy, cybercrime and privacy issues. When Krebs presented the Post with his story about the Russian spammers, rather than run with it, the Post lawyers got in the way and were terrified of being sued for libel by the Russians. Many of the stories Krebs ran took months to get approval and many were rejected. It was the extreme reticence by the Post to deal with the issue that ultimately led Krebs to leave the paper. Before Krebs wrote this interesting book and did his groundbreaking research, it was clear that there were bad guys abroad spamming American's with countless emails for pharmaceuticals which led to a global spam problem. Read below for the rest of Ben's review. Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door
author Brian Krebs
pages 256
publisher Sourcebooks
rating 10/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-1402295614
summary Excellent expose on why cybercrime pays and what you can do about it

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Curiosity's Mars Crater Was Once a Vast Lake
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how's-the-fishing? department:
astroengine writes The mountain that NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is exploring appears to have once been a lake, scientists said Monday. Mount Sharp, a three-mile-high mound of layered debris rising from the floor of Gale Crater, is believed to have formed billions of years ago, images posted on NASA's website ahead of conference call with reporters shows. Sediments to create the mountain likely originated from the crater rim highlands and transported toward the center of the crater in alluvial fans, deltas, and wind-blown drifts, scientists said. "During wet periods, water pooled in lakes where sediments settled out in the center of crater," NASA said. "Even during dry periods in the crater center, groundwater would have existed beneath the surface. Then, during the next wet period it would resurface to form the next lake. This alternation of lakes, rivers and deserts could have represented a long-lasting habitable environment."

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Interviews: Rachel Sussman Answers Your Questions
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's here-they-are department:
Back in November you had a chance to ask Rachel Sussman about photography and her work. Her most famous project may be the Oldest Living Things in the World, a collection of organisms that are 2,000 years old and older from around the world. Below you'll find her answers to your questions.

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Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's looking-at-the-numbers department:
MojoKid writes Samsung just took the wraps off a new family of mainstream solid state drives, targeting the market segment previously occupied by its popular SSD 840 EVO series. The new Samsung SSD 850 EVO series is the follow-up to the company's current flagship SSD 850 PRO, but the new EVO is Samsung's first to pack 32layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash memory. The move to 32layer 3D VNAND 3-bit MLC flash brings pricing down to the .50 to .60 per GiB range, but doesn't adversely affect endurance because the cell structure doesn't suffer from the same inherent limitations of planar NAND, since the cells are stacked vertically with the 3D VNAND. The new 850 EVO drive performs well with large sequential transfers and also offered very low access times. The compressibility of the data being transferred across the Samsung SSD 850 EVO had no impact on performance and small file transfers at high queue depth were fast. Small file transfers with low queues depths, which is what you'd expect to see with most client workloads, were also very good. The Samsung SSD 850 EVO drives also put up excellent numbers in trace-based tests like PCMark 7.

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French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watch-our-ads-or-else department:
HughPickens.com writes Frédéric Filloux reports at Monday Note that two groups of French publishers, the GESTE and the French Internet Advertising Bureau, are considering a lawsuit against AdBlockPlus creator Eyeo GmbH on grounds that it represents a major economic threat to their business. According to LesEchos.fr, EYEO, which publishes Adblock Plus, has developed a business model where they offer not to block publishers' advertisements for remuneration as long as the ads are judged non-intrusive (Google Translate, Original here). "Several criteria must be met as well: advertisements must be identified as such, be static and therefore not contain animation, no sound, and should not interfere with the content. A position that some media have likened to extortion."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Civil Case Uses Fitbit Data To Disprove Insurance Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-the-watch-saw department:
Lucas123 writes In what could herald in an era of data from wearables being used in civil and criminal litigation cases, a Canadian attorney is using data collected by a Fitbit activity tracking wrist band to prove his client is not scamming an insurance company. The defendant's attorney normalized the data using an analytics platform that compares activity data with other wearables, offering a way to benchmark his client's health against a larger group of wearable owners. Legal and privacy experts say it's only a matter of time before wearable data will be used in criminal cases, as well, and the vendors will have little choice but to hand it over. "I do think that's coming down the pike. It's just a matter of time," said Neda Shakoori, an eDiscovery expert with the law firm of McManis Faulkner. Health privacy laws, such as HIPAA, don't cover wearables and those companies can be subpoenaed — just as Google and Microsoft have been for years.

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Economist: US Congress Should Hack Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-bought-it-you-rebuild-it department:
retroworks writes This week's print edition of The Economist has an essay on the Right to Tinker with hardware. From the story: "Exactly why copyright law should be involved in something that ought to be a simple matter of consumer rights is hard to fathom. Any rational interpretation would suggest that when people buy or pay off the loan on a piece of equipment—whether a car, a refrigerator or a mobile phone—they own it, and should be free to do what they want with it. Least of all should they have to seek permission from the manufacturer or the government."

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Sony Hacks Continue: PlayStation Hit By Lizard Squad Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hits-keep-coming department:
An anonymous reader writes Hacker group, Lizard Squad, has claimed responsibility for shutting down the PlayStation Network, the second large scale cyber-attack on the Sony system in recent weeks. Although apparently unrelated, the outage comes just weeks after the much larger cyber-attack to the tech giant's film studios Sony Pictures, which leaked confidential corporate information and unreleased movies.The group claiming to have taken down PSN today, Lizard Squad, first appeared earlier this year with another high-profile DDOS, or distributed denial of service attack, on Xbox Live and World of Warcraft in August. The hacker collective claimed that this attack was just a taster and a 'small dose' of what was to come over the Christmas period.

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Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's nobody-spoke-for-me department:
dcblogs writes A major problem with the H-1B debate is the absence of displaced IT workers in news media accounts. Much of the reporting is one-sided — and there's a reason for this. An IT worker who is fired because he or she has been replaced by a foreign, visa-holding employee of an offshore outsourcing firm will sign a severance agreement. This severance agreement will likely include a non-disparagement clause that will make the fired worker extremely cautious about what they say on Facebook, let alone to the media. On-the-record interviews with displaced workers are difficult to get. While a restrictive severance package may be one handcuff, some are simply fearful of jeopardizing future job prospects by talking to reporters. Now silenced, displaced IT workers become invisible and easy to ignore. This situation has a major impact on how the news media covers the H-1B issue and offshore outsourcing issues generally.

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Uber Banned In Delhi After Taxi Driver Accused of Rape
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's shutting-it-down department:
RockDoctor writes BBC News is reporting that a 26-year old Indian woman is alleging rape against a driver for the embattled Uber transport-managing company. In a post on the Uber blog, one "Saad Ahmed" implicitly admits that the driver was a Uber driver, the the lift was arranged through Uber's service, and that the full range of Uber's safety mechanisms had been applied to his employment, and by implication, that Uber accepts some culpability for putting this (alleged) rapist into contact with his (alleged) victim. "Our initial investigations have revealed shortcomings of the private cab company which didn't have GPS installed in its cabs and the staff wasn't verified," Delhi Special Commissioner Deepak Mishra said. But Uber says safety was paramount, and added it had GPS traces of all journeys. "We work with licensed driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing [estimated time of arrival] to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform," its statement added.

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Ralph H. Baer, a Father of Video Gaming, Dies At 92
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
SternisheFan writes with news that Ralph H Baer, the father of video games and the inventor of the Magnavox Odyssey, has passed away at 92. "At the dawn of the television age in 1951, a young engineer named Ralph Baer approached executives at an electronics firm and suggested the radical idea of offering games on the bulky TV boxes. 'And of course,' he said, 'I got the regular reaction: "Who needs this?" And nothing happened.' It took another 15 years before Mr. Baer, who died Dec. 6 at 92, developed a prototype that would make him the widely acknowledged father of video games. His design helped lay the groundwork for an industry that transformed the role of the television set and generated tens of billions of dollars last year. Mr. Baer 'saw that there was this interesting device sitting in millions of American homes — but it was a one-way instrument,' said Arthur P. Molella, director of the Smithsonian Institution's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. 'He said, "Maybe there's some way we can interact with this thing."'"

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Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's close-call department:
An anonymous reader writes with news about a near miss between a drone and a plane near Heathrow. "An unidentified drone came close to hitting a plane as it landed at Heathrow, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed. An Airbus A320 pilot reported seeing a helicopter-style drone as the jet was 700 feet off the ground on its approach to the runway at 1416 GMT on 22 July. The CAA has not identified the airline or how close the drone came to the plane, which can carry 180 people. It gave the incident an 'A' rating, meaning a 'serious risk of collision'. This is the highest incident rating the CAA can give. Investigators were unable to identify the drone, which did not appear on air traffic control radar and disappeared after the encounter."

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