By EditorDavid from Slashdot's E-for-Victory department
An anonymous reader quotes an article from the Washington Post:
Jane Fawcett, a British code-breaker during World War II who deciphered a key German message that led to the sinking of the battleship Bismarck -- one of Britain's greatest naval victories during the war -- died May 21 at her home in Oxford, England. She was 95... Fluent in German and driven by curiosity, Mrs. Fawcett -- then known by her maiden name, Jane Hughes -- found work at Britain's top-secret code-breaking facility at Bletchley Park, about 50 miles northwest of London. Of the 12,000 people who worked there, about 8,000 were women. Bletchley Park later became renowned as the place where mathematician Alan Turing and others solved the puzzle of the German military's "Enigma machine," depicted in the 2014 film "The Imitation Game"...
The sinking of the Bismarck marked the first time that British code-breakers had decrypted a message that led directly to a victory in battle... Mrs. Fawcett's work was not made public for decades. Along with everyone else at Bletchley Park, she agreed to comply with Britain's Official Secrets Act, which imposed a lifetime prohibition on revealing any code-breaking activities.
Meanwhile, volunteers from The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park finally tracked down an original keyboard from the Lorenz machine used to encode top-secret messages between Hitler and his general. It was selling on eBay for 10 pounds, advertised as an old machine for sending telegrams.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's virtual-money department
Three cryptocurrency experts published a scientific paper Friday detailing seven attacks that could influence how the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) allocates its Ether funds. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes, "Coincidentally or not, they released their work with one day before funding for the DAO closed, and not surprisingly, Ether's price went down, devaluing the DAO from $150 million to $132 million."
From Softpedia: DAO is a crowdfunded project that works on the Ethereum network, a new crypto-currency network that deals with crypto-currency named Ether, which many experts say is better than Bitcoin's blockchain... Investors can submit funding proposals, on which the DAO users vote by submitting some of their tokens and a YES/NO vote. In the end, based on the tokens and YES/NO votes, the DAO's computer program decides on the outcome. Softpedia reports that the paper released Friday also suggests a series of mitigations to a design they say will "incentivize investors to behave strategically; that is, at odds with truthful voting on their preferences."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's proving-you're-not-a-robot department
Google's search engine for academic research materials is blocking many users with a malfunctioning captcha screen, according to complaints on a Google help forum. "I'm a doctoral student and a professor, which means I use this extensively. Now I'm blocked from using it at all, even after answering all of the stupid image questions (3 times)," reads a typical complaint.
Heart44 writes: A lot of researchers when using Google Scholar are being asked to prove they are not a robot. You have to find all the rivers (but not the sea or lakes) or all street numbers (but not other numbers) or all the store fronts from nine poor quality images, sometimes more than once and, surprise, you will fail more than two thirds of the time and then just get an error 400 "Malformed request, that's all we know". You are offered an audio challenge but clicking on that simply loads more pictures... Is that the best they can do distinguishing between man and machine?
One post ended by stating succinctly "I'm not a robot, I'm an academic professional, and this process is wasting nontrivial amounts of my time. How do I stop it?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's critical-updates department
Some Windows users are now disabling critical updates on their systems rather than face the prospect of mistakenly upgrading to Windows 10. An anonymous reader writes:
"By pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack," writes PC World's senior editor. He adds that "Over the past week, I've received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I've written over the rest of my career combined."
Now even China's official news agency is reporting that users are angry about stealthy Windows 10 upgrades, saying over 1.2 million complaints appeared on one microblogging site. It quotes a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China, who says Microsoft "has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," saying that lawsuits would be justified over Microsoft's action. "Yang Shuo, a worker at a Beijing-based public relations company, told Xinhua that the sudden update interrupted his drafting of a business plan and led to a meeting cancellation for a deal worth 3 million yuan ($457,735). 'Just because I didn't see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed.'"
In a possibly-unrelated development, the Chinese military plans to send nuclear submarines into the Pacific Ocean.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's transitioning-transitors department
"Get ready for some big changes in the 'silicon' of Silicon Valley," writes tech CEO Narbeh Derhacobian who argues that the need to build tens of billions of connected sensor devices will change the way computers get built. "Just like smartphone owners like to pick and choose which apps they want, IoT manufacturers may want to shop for components individually without being locked into a single fab." An anonymous reader summarizes his article on TechCrunch:
Thousands of different hardware devices, each selling around one million units, "would suggest the need for a much greater diversity of chip configurations than we've seen to date." Currently smartphones are engineered using a "System on a Chip" design where all the components are "locked into a single manufacturing process," but Derhacobian predicts chip manufacturers will continue a trend of moving towards a "System in a Package" approach -- "packing components closely together, without the complete, end-to-end integration... In a smart, connected world, sensor requirements could vary greatly from factory to factory, not to mention between industries as varied as agriculture, urban planning and automotive."
"In some ways, the great trends of the PC and smartphone eras were toward standardization of devices. Apple's great vision was understanding that people prefer a beautiful, integrated package, and don't need many choices in hardware. But in software it's generally the opposite. People have different needs, and want to select the apps and programs that work best for them."Read Replies (0)
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)