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FACE/OFF: Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission bins NEC-built biometrics project

TheRegister - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 19:01
Meanwhile there's 15 other $10m-plus IT projects wobbling down Canberra way

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has unplugged a biometric identification project.…

openSUSE Tumbleweed Is Now Powered by Linux Kernel 4.17, KDE Plasma 5.13 Landed

LXer - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:52
As of today, the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling operating system is now powered by the latest and most advanced Linux 4.17 kernel series, which landed in the most recent snapshot released earlier.

Google cloud VMs given same IP addresses ... and down they went

TheRegister - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:23
Yikes! And the fix is to delete and rebuild the VM.

Google gave some of its cloud customers a rotten weekend by breaking a bunch of virtual machines.…

Fake Earthquake Detected In Mexico City After Player's Goal In World Cup Match

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 17:20
According to officials in Mexico, an artificial earthquake was reported in Mexico City that was possibly caused by "massive jumps during the goal from the Mexico national soccer team" on Sunday. KABC reports: Hirving Lozano scored the lone goal in the 35th minute, picking up Javier Hernandez's pass inside the penalty area and beating Mesut Ozil before shooting past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from 10 yards. The goal decided the match -- a match Germany didn't expect to lose. Mexico upset Germany, the defending champion, 1-0. The loss meant Germany became the third defending champion in the last 16 years to lose its opening match at the World Cup. "Two monitoring stations in Mexico City picked up the temblor the same time Lozano scored, 35 minutes into the match," reports USA Today. "Seismologists in Chile also said that their instruments detected an artificial temblor at the same time."

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Do NetAdmins like snacks? Asking cos here's a dish of tasty network news nibbles

TheRegister - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 16:41
Juniper's new routers emerge, Google QUIC-ens gets load balancing for HTTPS and more

Roundup Be nimble, be QUIC: Google's added secured load balancing support to its QUIC protocol.…

Endless OS Launches New Major Version For Users Who Have Less Internet Access

LXer - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 15:24
The developers of Endless OS have just announced the release of version 3.4 of the distribution, it is a major update and it focuses mainly on helping users to take advantage of their Internet connection when they have it.

Gmail Proves That Some People Hate Smart Suggestions

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 15:20
Citing a number of complaints following Google's Gmail makeover, TechCrunch's Romain Dillet makes the case for why some users don't want smart suggestions in the email service: There's a reason why Gmail lets you disable all the smart features. Some users don't want smart categories, important emails first and smart reply suggestions. Arguably, the only smart feature everyone needs is the spam filter. A pure chronological feed of your email messages is incredibly valuable as well. That's why many Instagram users are still asking for a chronological feed. Sure, algorithmic feeds can lead to more engagement and improved productivity. Maybe Google conducted some tests and concluded that you end up answering more emails if you let Gmail do its thing. But you may want to judge the value of each email without an algorithmic ranking. VCs could spot the next big thing without any bias. Journalists could pay attention to young and scrappy startups as much as the new electric scooter startup in San Francisco. Universities could give a grant to students with unconventional applications. The HR department of your company could look at all applications without following Google's order.

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Diversity At Google Hasn't Changed Much Over the Last Year

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 14:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Not much changed at Google over the last year when it came to the diversity of the tech giant's workforce. Google released its annual diversity report on Thursday detailing the composition of its workforce. The percentage of female employees rose by .1 percent to 30.9 percent. The percentage of Asian employees grew by 1.6 percent to 36.3 percent. The number of black and Latino employees grew by .1 percent to 2.5 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. "Google's workforce data demonstrates that if we want a better outcome, we need to evolve our approach," said Danielle Brown, chief diversity and inclusion officer at Google, in the report. "That's why from now on ownership for diversity and inclusion will be shared between Google's leadership team, People Operations and Googlers. Our strategy doesn't provide all the answers, but we believe it will help us find them."

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Venmo Is Going All In On Mobile Payments

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:19
Venmo, the PayPal-owned, peer-to-peer payments app, is ending web support for its service. When the changes are all rolled out, users will only be able to make payments and charge users via the iOS or Android app. TechCrunch reports: The message to users was quietly shared in the body of Venmo's monthly transaction history email. It reads as follows: "NOTICE: Venmo has decided to phase out some of the functionality on the Venmo.com website over the coming months. We are beginning to discontinue the ability to pay and charge someone on the Venmo.com website, and over time, you may see less functionality on the website -- this is just the start. We therefore have updated our user agreement to reflect that the use of Venmo on the Venmo.com website may be limited." The decision represents a notable shift in product direction for Venmo. Though best known as a mobile payments app, the service has also been available online, similar to PayPal, for many years.

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Sony's PlayStation 5 Will Launch In 2020 Powered By An AMD Navi GPU, Says Report

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:18
According to a new report from WCCFtech, citing "sources familiar with the entire situation," Sony's PlayStation 5 (PS5 for short) will launch in 2020 and be powered by AMD's Navi GPU chip. "While it was previously reported that the much-anticipated console will be using AMD's Ryzen CPU tech, it looks like the chip maker will have some involvement in the PS5's graphics chip, too," reports The Inquirer. From the report: The report also suggests this is the reason behind AMD not announcing a new GPU at Computex this year, because it has found custom-applications for consoles a much more financially attractive space. "Here is a fun fact: Vega was designed primarily for Apple and Navi is being designed for Sony - the PS5 to be precise," the report states, right before going on to explain AMD's roadmap for Navi and how it's dependent on Sony. "This meant that the graphics department had to be tied directly to the roadmap that these semi-custom applications followed. Since Sony needed the Navi GPU to be ready by the time the PS5 would launch (expectedly around 2020) that is the deadline they needed to work on." It's anyone's guess as to when the successor to the PlayStation 4 will be launched. While the source for this report is seen as reputable in the games industry, last month the head of PlayStation business said the next console is three years off.

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Studies Find Evidence That Meditation Is Demotivating

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 11:17
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report written by behavioral scientists Kathleen D. Vohs and Andrew C. Hafenbrack: The practical payoff of mindfulness [meditation] is backed by dozens of studies linking it to job satisfaction, rational thinking and emotional resilience. But on the face of it, mindfulness might seem counterproductive in a workplace setting. To test this hunch, we recently conducted five studies, involving hundreds of people, to see whether there was a tension between mindfulness and motivation. As we report in a forthcoming article in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, we found strong evidence that meditation is demotivating. Some of the participants in our studies were trained in a few of the most common mindfulness meditation techniques. They were instructed by a professional meditation coach to focus on their breathing or mentally scan their bodies for physical sensations, being gently reminded throughout that there was no right or wrong way to do the exercise. Other participants were led through a different exercise. Some were encouraged to let their thoughts wander; some were instructed to read the news or write about recent activities they had done. Then we gave everyone a task to do. Among those who had meditated, motivation levels were lower on average. Those people didn't feel as much like working on the assignments, nor did they want to spend as much time or effort to complete them. Meditation was correlated with reduced thoughts about the future and greater feelings of calm and serenity -- states seemingly not conducive to wanting to tackle a work project. The studies also found that meditation "neither benefited nor detracted from a participant's quality of work." Furthermore, Vohs and Hafenbrack found that a financial bonus for outstanding performance did not overcome the demotivating effect of mindfulness. "While the promise of material rewards will always be a useful tool for motivating employees, it is no substitute for internal motivation," the report reads.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux Kernel 4.18, First RC Is Out Now

LXer - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 11:15
A day early than expected, Linus Torvalds kicked off the development cycle of the next kernel series, Linux 4.18, with the release of the first RC (Release Candidate) milestone.

Was the Stanford Prison Experiment a Sham?

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:16
Frosty Piss writes: The Stanford Prison Experiment was conducted in 1971 by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo using college students to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power by focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers. In the study, volunteers were randomly assigned to be either "guards" or "prisoners" in a mock prison, with Zimbardo serving as the superintendent. The results seemed to show that the students quickly embraced their assigned roles, with some guards enforcing authoritarian measures and ultimately subjecting some prisoners to psychological torture, while many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, by the officers' request, actively harassed other prisoners who tried to stop it. After Berkeley graduate Douglas Korpi appeared to have a nervous breakdown while playing the role of an inmate, the experiment was shut down. There's just one problem: Korpi's breakdown was a sham. Dr. Ben Blum took to Medium to publish his claims. "Blum's expose -- based on previously unpublished recordings of Zimbardo, a Stanford psychology professor, and interviews with the participants -- offers evidence that the 'guards' were coached to be cruel," reports New York Post. "One of the men who acted as an inmate told Blum he enjoyed the experiment because he knew the guards couldn't actually hurt him." "There were no repercussions. We knew [the guards] couldn't hurt us, they couldn't hit us. They were white college kids just like us, so it was a very safe situation," said Douglas Korpi, who was 22-years-old when he acted as an inmate in the study. The Berkeley grad now admits the whole thing was fake. Zimbardo also "admitted that he was an active participant in the study, meaning he had influence over the results," reports New York Post. According to an audio recording from the Stanford archive, you can hear Zimbardo encouraging the guards to act "tough."

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US Government Finds New Malware From North Korea

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 09:15
Days after the historic North Korea-United States summit, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report on Thursday warning of a new variant of North Korean malware to look out for. Called Typeframe, the malware is able to download and install additional malware, proxies and trojans; modify firewalls; and connect to servers for additional instructions. Engadget reports: Since last May, the DHS has issued a slew of alerts and reports about North Korea's malicious cyber activity. The department also pointed out that North Korea has been hacking countries around the world since 2009. And of course, don't forget that the U.S. also labeled that country as the source of Wannacry cyberattack, which notably held data from the UK's National Health Service hostage, and wreaked havoc across Russia and Ukraine. CNN was first to report the news.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft is Still 'Cybermobbing' Its Competition Using Patent Trolls Such as Finjan

LXer - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 08:46
In the "cybersecurity" space, a sub-domain where many software patents have been granted by the US patent office, the patent extortion by Microsoft-connected trolls (and Microsoft's 'protection' racket) seems to carry on; but Microsoft continues to insist that it has changed its ways

Machine Figures Out Rubik's Cube Without Human Assistance

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 08:14
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: [Stephen McAleer and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine] have pioneered a new kind of deep-learning technique, called "autodidactic iteration," that can teach itself to solve a Rubik's Cube with no human assistance. The trick that McAleer and co have mastered is to find a way for the machine to create its own system of rewards. Here's how it works. Given an unsolved cube, the machine must decide whether a specific move is an improvement on the existing configuration. To do this, it must be able to evaluate the move. Autodidactic iteration does this by starting with the finished cube and working backwards to find a configuration that is similar to the proposed move. This process is not perfect, but deep learning helps the system figure out which moves are generally better than others. Having been trained, the network then uses a standard search tree to hunt for suggested moves for each configuration. The result is an algorithm that performs remarkably well. "Our algorithm is able to solve 100% of randomly scrambled cubes while achieving a median solve length of 30 moves -- less than or equal to solvers that employ human domain knowledge," say McAleer and co. That's interesting because it has implications for a variety of other tasks that deep learning has struggled with, including puzzles like Sokoban, games like Montezuma's Revenge, and problems like prime number factorization. The paper on the algorithm -- called DeepCube -- is available on Arxiv.

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Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" Artwork Proposals Call Welcomes Talented Artists

LXer - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 06:17
Debian Project's Jonathan Carter announced on Friday that artwork proposals are now officially open for the forthcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" operating system series.

NASA's Most Experienced Astronaut Retires, Spent 665 Days In Space

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 05:34
An anonymous reader quotes UPI: After nearly four decades with NASA, including 22 years as an astronaut, Peggy Whitson is leaving the space agency. Her retirement is effective Friday, NASA announced... Whitson ends her career with multiple records to her name, including most time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut -- 665 days... The 57-year-old Whitson was a scientist before she was an astronaut, earning graduate degrees in biochemistry from Rice University in Houston before coming to conduct research at NASA's Johnson Space Center in 1989. The NASA scientist began training as an astronaut in 1996. She made her first trip to the International Space Station in 2008. During her time in space, including three long-duration stints aboard International Space Station, she helped carry out 21 science investigation and became the agency's first space station science officer... Whitson took a second turn as commander during Expedition 51, part of her most recent -- and last -- stay on the space station, which spanned from November 2016 to September 2017.

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Google Launches VR180 Creator For Streamlined VR Video Editing

LXer - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 03:49
To help folks who are supporting Google's VR180 format along, the company has just released a tool for macOS and Linux... that allows users to plug their VR180 raw content in, then convert it for use in Adobe's Premiere Pro, or Apple's Final Cut Pro. Here's the tool in Linux...

Personal Flying Machine Contest Gets 600 Entries

Slashdot - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 01:34
"A giant egg equipped with rotors and 'Transformers'-style robots are among some of the creative designs submitted in a $2 million dollar contest to dream up new ways of flying," reports CNN. "GoFly, a $2 million competition to design personal flying machines backed by Boeing, has announced its first round of most promising designs out of 600 entries from around the world," writes harrymcc . "Proposed vehicles need to fly for at least 20 miles, at 35 miles an hour; many of the ideas look a bit like airborne motorcycles." Fast Company reports: "There's been a convergence of all of these breakthrough technologies that makes this the first moment in time where we have the ability to make people fly," says Gwen Lighter, who dreamed up the GoFly prize, recruited Boeing to bankroll it, and now serves as CEO. Many of the advances come from the world of drones -- "high-efficiency motors, high-capacity batteries, and cheap navigation and stabilizing technologies that keep even newbies on course and out of danger.... Their prototypes have to achieve vertical takeoff and landing (called VTOL), eliminating the need for an airport runway... The craft have to be small enough to fit within an 8.5-foot circle, and they have to be safe and manageable for anyone to operate -- "not just engineers or daredevils... GoFly's Lighter emphasizes that safety is a key requirement in judging. She says that whatever wins will be well on the way to meeting requirements of the FAA -- and regulatory bodies in other countries -- for mainstream operation. FAA staffers (in a non-official capacity) are even among GoFly's expert advisors. Best of all, every participant -- even those who win the prize money -- "are free to take their innovations anywhere. They retain all intellectual property rights."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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