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Updated: 1 week 4 days ago

Ontario Government Wants To Regulate the Internet

Mon, 08/09/2014 - 23:10
An anonymous reader writes This afternoon, the Ontario government appeared before the CRTC as part of its future of television hearing. Michael Geist reports that it issued a clear call for new regulation of so-called new media companies such as Netflix and Google. The government states: "In order to create a more level playing field, the ministry recommends decreasing this regulatory imbalance. The ministry believes the best way to accomplish this is to expand the regulation of new media TV, rather than by lightening the current regulation of traditional TV." What does the expansion of regulation involve? For the Ontario government, it includes regulating foreign online video services such as Google and Netflix, but exempting Canadian services.

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AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

Mon, 08/09/2014 - 22:26
An anonymous reader writes AT&T and Verizon have asked the FCC not to change the definition of broadband from 4Mbps to 10Mbps, contending that "10Mbps service exceeds what many Americans need today to enable basic, high-quality transmissions." From the article: "Individual cable companies did not submit comments to the FCC, but their representative, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), agrees with AT&T and Verizon. 'The Commission should not change the baseline broadband speed threshold from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream because a 4/1 Mbps connection is still sufficient to perform the primary functions identified in section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act]—high-quality voice, video, and data,' the NCTA wrote."

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Is It Time To Split Linux Distros In Two?

Mon, 08/09/2014 - 21:42
snydeq writes Desktop workloads and server workloads have different needs, and it's high time Linux consider a split to more adequately address them, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. You can take a Linux installation of nearly any distribution and turn it into a server, then back into a workstation by installing and uninstalling various packages. The OS core remains the same, and the stability and performance will be roughly the same, assuming you tune they system along the way. Those two workloads are very different, however, and as computing power continues to increase, the workloads are diverging even more. Maybe it's time Linux is split in two. I suggested this possibility last week when discussing systemd (or that FreeBSD could see higher server adoption), but it's more than systemd coming into play here. It's from the bootloader all the way up. The more we see Linux distributions trying to offer chimera-like operating systems that can be a server or a desktop at a whim, the more we tend to see the dilution of both. You can run stock Debian Jessie on your laptop or on a 64-way server. Does it not make sense to concentrate all efforts on one or the other?"

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The Five Nigerian Gangs Behind Most Craigslist Buyer Scams

Mon, 08/09/2014 - 16:43
itwbennett writes Five Nigerian criminal gangs are behind most scams targeting sellers on Craigslist, and they've taken new measures to make their swindles appear legitimate, according to a study by George Mason University researchers Damon McCoy and Jackie Jones. In a new innovation, they're using professional check-writing equipment plus U.S.-based accomplices to not raise suspicions among their victims. McCoy and Jones will present their paper on Sept. 24 at the IEEE eCrime Research Summit in Birmingham, Alabama.

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How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

Mon, 08/09/2014 - 16:00
nerdyalien writes From the article: "Fiction author Michael Crichton probably started the backlash against the idea of consensus in science. Crichton was rather notable for doubting the conclusions of climate scientists—he wrote an entire book in which they were the villains—so it's fair to say he wasn't thrilled when the field reached a consensus. Still, it's worth looking at what he said, if only because it's so painfully misguided: 'Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results.'" As a STEM major, I am somewhat biased toward "strong" evidence side of the argument. However, the more I read literature from other, somewhat-related fields (i.e. psychology, economics and climate science), the more I felt they have little opportunity to repeat experiments, similar to counterparts in traditional hard science fields. Their accepted theories are based on limited historical occurrences and consensus among the scholars. Given the situation, it's important to understand what "consensus" really means.

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GSOC Project Works To Emulate Systemd For OpenBSD

Mon, 08/09/2014 - 10:10
An anonymous reader writes Through a Google Summer of Code project this year was work to emulate systemd on OpenBSD. Upstream systemd remains uninterested in supporting non-Linux platforms so a student developer has taken to implementing the APIs of important systemd components so that they translate into native systemd calls. The work achieved this summer was developing replacements for the systemd-hostnamed, systemd-localed, systemd-timedated, and systemd-logind utilities. The hope is to allow for systemd-dependent components like more recent versions of GNOME to now run on OpenBSD.

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Ask Slashdot: Remote Server Support and Monitoring Solution?

Sat, 06/09/2014 - 17:46
New submitter Crizzam writes I have about 500 clients which have my servers installed in their data centers as a hosted solution for time & attendance (employee attendance / vacation / etc). I want to actively monitor all the client servers from my desktop, so know when a server failure has occurred. I am thinking I need to trap SNMP data and collect it in a dashboard. I'd also like to have each client connect to my server via HTTP tunnel using something like OpenVPN. In this way I maintain a site-site tunnel open so if I need to access my server remotely, I can. Any suggestions as to the technology stack I should put together to pull off this task? I was looking at Zabbix / Nagios for SNMP monitoring and OpenVPN for the other part. What else should I include? How does one put together a good remote monitoring / access solution that clients can live with and will still allow me to offer great proactive service to my servers located on-site?

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Scala Designer Martin Odersky On Next Steps

Sat, 06/09/2014 - 16:39
rfernand79 writes Infoworld has an interview with Martin Odersky, designer of Scala, in which they discuss the future of this popular language. Three versions are discussed as being part of the Scala roadmap: The first one (2.12) focuses on better integration with Java 8, and making use of the latest improvements in the JVM. The second one (Aida) focuses on cleaning up the Scala libraries. But the third one (Don Giovani) is about a fundamental rethink of Scala, with a strong focus on simplicity.

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Getting Into College the Old Fashioned Way: With Money

Sat, 06/09/2014 - 15:41
Businessweek (in a story spotted via Tyler Cowen's Marginal Revolution) profiles ThinkTank Learning, a college-admission consultancy founded by Steven Ma, and largely catering to ambitious Asian immigrants like Ma, and their offspring — kids who'd like to go to elite schools, and can afford to have Ma's firm help them navigate the path to getting in. It's a statistics driven system, and backed by a money-back guarantee, so long as the applicant meets certain requirements: ThinkTank will refund their tens of thousands of dollars in fees if they don't make it into the sort of school that the the ThinkTank algorithms say they will. Basically, they've reverse engineered the admissions policies at schools, particularly elite schools like MIT, Stanford, and the Ivies, and done so well enough to know which factors in a student's portfolio can be tweaked to increase their odds of getting into the big-name schools. A slice: [Ma's] proprietary algorithm assigns varying weights to different parameters, derived from his analysis of the successes and failures of thousands of students he’s coached over the years. Ma’s algorithm, for example, predicts that a U.S.-born high school senior with a 3.8 GPA, an SAT score of 2,000 (out of 2,400), moderate leadership credentials, and 800 hours of extracurricular activities, has a 20.4 percent chance of admission to New York University and a 28.1 percent shot at the University of Southern California. Those odds determine the fee ThinkTank charges that student for its guaranteed consulting package: $25,931 to apply to NYU and $18,826 for USC.

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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 23:52
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes When someone with an e-tattoo or an implanted biochip inevitably commits a crime, and evidence of that crime exists on that device within them, do they have a legal right to protect that evidence? Do cyborgs have the same rights as humans? "The more you take a thing with no rights and integrate it indelibly into a thing that we invest with rights, the more you inevitably confront the question: Do you give the thing with no rights rights, or do you take those rights away from the thing with rights?," Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who just released a paper exploring the subject, said.

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A New FOSS Conference Comes to Florida (Video)

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:46
Bryan Smith has worked with the organizers of several Linux and Open Source events and has spoken at more than a few, but he has always wanted to see more FOSS events in Florida, the state where he lives. There was a Florida Linux Show back in 2008 and 2009, but all that remains of it today is a "ghost" Web page. But that's the past. This year Bryan has put together FOSSETCON, which debuts this September 11 - 13 in Orlando. It's an ambitious undertaking -- but Bryan has rounded up a lot of solid sponsors, and that's often the key to holding a successful IT event. (Alternate Video Link)

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California Blue Whales Rebound From Whaling

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:56
vinces99 writes: The number of California blue whales has rebounded to near historical levels, according to new research (abstract) by the University of Washington, and while the number of blue whales struck by ships is likely above allowable U.S. limits, such strikes do not immediately threaten that recovery. This is the only population of blue whales known to have recovered from whaling – blue whales as a species having been hunted nearly to extinction. Blue whales – nearly 100 feet in length and weighing 190 tons as adults – are the largest animals on Earth and the heaviest ever, weighing more than twice as much as the largest known dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus. They are an icon of the conservation movement and many people want to minimize harm to them, according to Trevor Branch, UW assistant professor of aquatic and fishery sciences. California blue whales, most visible while feeding 20 to 30 miles off the California coast, range from the equator to the Gulf of Alaska. Today they number about 2,200, according to monitoring by other research groups, which is likely about 97 percent of the historical levels.

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Space Station's 'Cubesat Cannon' Has Gone Rogue

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:12
astroengine writes: Last night (Thursday), two more of Planet Lab's shoebox-sized Earth imaging satellites launched themselves from aboard the International Space Station, the latest in a series of technical mysteries involving a commercially owned CubeSat deployer located outside Japan's Kibo laboratory module. Station commander Steve Swanson was storing some blood samples in one of the station's freezers Friday morning when he noticed that the doors on NanoRack's cubesat deployer were open, said NASA mission commentator Pat Ryan. Flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston determined that two CubeSats had been inadvertently released. "No crew members or ground controllers saw the deployment. They reviewed all the camera footage and there was no views of it there either," Ryan said.

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Why Munich Will Stick With Linux

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:47
Jason Hibbets writes: "There are many solved problems in open source. Groupware is not one of them," Georg Greve, co-founder and CEO of Kolab System starts off his post highlighting recent features of the latest release of the Kolab groupware project. He calls out a few newly elected politicians that don't like the current set-up, but says that thousands of users don't have the same experience. "Until today, the city of Munich is using the same stand-alone calendaring and email systems it had used when it was still fully operating on Windows. Updating these systems had a lower priority than the migration to LiMux then. But an upgrade is underway now. And, the solution they chose is agnostic to the desktop platform and will service LiMux and Windows alike. The primary difference made by another migration would likely be due to the perils that come with any migration, such as additional costs and delays. In other words: The very problem used to criticize the LiMux desktop is already being solved."

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Dell Demos 5K Display

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:05
An anonymous reader writes: Even though 4k displays are just making their way into consumer affordability, manufacturers are already pushing beyond. Dell has previewed a computer monitor it calls a "5k" display. The resolution is 5120x2880, stuffing 14,745,600 pixels on a 27" screen. For comparison, that's more than seven times the amount of pixels in a 1920x1080 display. Pixel density is 218 PPI, roughly the same as a 15" Retina MacBook Pro. ExtremeTech suggests, "As far as we're aware, no one is actually making 5120×2880 panels, especially not at 27 inches diagonal – so what we're probably looking at is two 2560x2880 panels squished together as a 'tiled display.'" Unfortunately, it's pricy, expected to cost around $2,500. But hopefully it will help drive 4k display prices even further toward mainstream availability.

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Dirty Diapers Used To Grow Mushrooms

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 09:03
Zothecula writes While their contents might be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before they end up in landfill where they'll take centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms.

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Is There a Creativity Deficit In Science?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 05:34
nerdyalien writes with this story that explores the impact of reduced science funding on innovation in science. "There’s a current problem in biomedical research,” says American biochemist Robert Lefkowitz, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. “The emphasis is on doing things which are not risky. To have a grant proposal funded, you have to propose something and then present what is called preliminary data, which is basically evidence that you’ve already done what you’re proposing to do. If there’s any risk involved, then your proposal won’t be funded. So the entire system tends to encourage not particularly creative research, relatively descriptive and incremental changes which are incremental advances which you are certain to make but not change things very much."...There is no more important time for science to leverage its most creative minds in attempting to solve our global challenges. Although there have been massive increases in funding over the last few decades, the ideas and researchers that have been rewarded by the current peer-review system have tended to be safer, incremental, and established. If we want science to be its most innovative, it's not about finding brilliant, passionate creative scientists; it's about supporting the ones we already have.

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Twitpic Shutting Down Over Trademark Dispute

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 03:09
First time accepted submitter exiguus writes As of September 25th Twitpic will be no more. Twitter, allegedly, has threatened to deny them access to their API. Noah Everett said "Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic." Resources will be made available to users to download their videos and photos, but a date when that function will be available has not been made available. "We'll let everyone know when this feature is live in the next few days."

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Giant Dinosaur Unearthed In Argentina

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 01:30
sciencehabit writes Researchers working in Argentina have discovered the most complete skeleton of a titanosaur, a group of gigantic plant-eating dinosaurs that dominated the Southern Hemisphere beginning about 90 million years ago. The new dino, named Dreadnoughtus schrani, was 26 meters long and weighed about 59 metric tons—that is, twice as long as Tyrannosaurus rex and as heavy as a herd of elephants. That puts it on a par with other well-known giants such as Argentinosaurus (but it's four times as large as the perhaps better known Diplodocus). The researchers say that the beast was so big it would have had no fear of predators. And it was about to get bigger: A close examination of the fossils, especially its back and shoulder bones, indicates that the animal was still growing when it died.

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Google To Refund $19M In In-App Purchases Made By Kids

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 00:48
An anonymous reader writes "Google has agreed pay $19 million to refund customers unfairly charged for in-app purchases made by children without authorization from their parents. The company has agreed to change its billing practices to ensure that it obtains informed consent from customers before charging them for items sold within mobile apps, according to the FTC. "For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it's vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.""

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