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The Internet

Analyzing Silk Road 2.0 4

Posted by Soulskill
from the welcome-to-narcoanalytics dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After a recent article about breaking the CAPTCHA on the latest incarnation of Silk Road (the darknet-enabled drug market place), Darryl Lau decided to investigate exactly what narcotics people were buying and selling online. He found roughly 13,000 separate listings. Some sellers identify the country they're in, and the top six are the U.S., Australia, England, Germany, and the Netherlands, and Canada. The site also has a bunch of product reviews. If you assume that each review comes from a sale, and multiply that by the listed prices, reviewed items alone represent $20 million worth of business. Lau also has some interesting charts, graphs, and assorted stats. MDMA is the most listed and reviewed drug, and sellers are offering it in quantities of up to a kilogram at a time. The average price for the top 1000 items is $236. Prescription drugs represent a huge portion of the total listings, though no individual prescription drugs have high volume on their own.
Science

New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the some-amount-of-practice-makes-perfect dept.
First time accepted submitter Scroatzilla writes What makes someone rise to the top in music, games, sports, business, or science? This question is the subject of one of psychology's oldest debates. Malcolm Gladwell's '10,000 hours' rule probably isn't the answer. Recent research has demonstrated that deliberate practice, while undeniably important, is only one piece of the expertise puzzle—and not necessarily the biggest piece.
Microsoft

Microsoft Revives Its Hardware Conference 41

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-by-popular-demand dept.
jfruh writes Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, or WinHEC, was an annual staple of the '90s and '00s: every year, execs from Redmond would tell OEMs what to expect when it came to Windows servers and PCs. The conference was wrapped with software into Build in 2009, but now it's being revived to deal with not just computers but also the tablets and cell phone Microsoft has found itself in the business of selling and even making. It's also being moved from the U.S. to China, as an acknowledgment of where the heart of the tech hardware business is now.
Transportation

Former GM Product Czar: Tesla a "Fringe Brand" 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-a-haircut dept.
cartechboy writes There's been plenty of skepticism when it comes to Tesla. The Silicon Valley startup unveiled an all-electric car that stunned the world and had many other automakers rolling their eyes. Fast forward to 2014 and Tesla's preparing to launch its third model, the Model X. Production of the Model S sedan is humming along, and this new automaker continues to make headlines multiple times a week. Industry veteran Bob Lutz was the champion behind the Chevrolet Volt, and has been quite vocal about Tesla from the beginning. So what's his view on the company now? He said Tesla will remain a "fringe brand" until it launches its next generation of vehicles and the smaller, less expensive Model 3. Speaking Wednesday on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" finance show he said that Tesla's stock price was "kinda high" at the moment.
Google

Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices 331

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-rules dept.
schwit1 writes Google is looking to exert more pressure on device OEMs that wish to continue using the Android mobile operating system. Among the new requirements for many partners: increasing the number of Google apps that must be pre-installed on the device to as many as 20, placing more Google apps on the home screen or in a prominent icon folder and making Google Search more prominent. Earlier this year, Google laid its vision to reduce fragmentation by forcing OEMs to ship new devices with more recent version of Android. Those OEMs that choose not to comply lose access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) apps like Gmail, Google Play, and YouTube.
Open Source

How To Find the Right Open Source Project To Get Involved With 53

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-going dept.
An anonymous reader writes Writing on Opensource.com, Matt Micene shares his thoughts on getting started with an open source project. "I came back from OSCON this year with a new fire to contribute to an open source project. I've been involved in open source for years, but lately I've been more of an enthusiast-evangelist than a hands-on-contributor to an open source community. So, I started some thinking about what to do next. When I was involved in projects before, it was due to a clear progression from user to forum guru to contributor. It's a great path to take but what do you do if you just want to jump into something?" Matt goes on to lay out several steps to help new contributors get started.
IBM

Lenovo Set To Close $2.1 Billion Server Deal With IBM 48

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes Lenovo has announced that it will be closing the acquisition deal of IBM's x86 server business on October 1. The closing purchase price is lower than the $2.3 billion announced in January because of a change in the valuation of inventory and deferred revenue liability, Lenovo said. Roughly $1.8 billion will be paid in cash and the remainder in stock. Lenovo says it had "big plans" for the enterprise market. "We will compete vigorously across every sector, using our manufacturing scale, and operational excellence to repeat the success we have had with PCs," the company added.
Facebook

Facebook's Atlas: the Platform For Advertisers To Track Your Movements 68

Posted by samzenpus
from the like-a-puppy-nobody-wants dept.
An anonymous reader writes In its most direct challenge to Google yet, Facebook plans to sell ads targeted to its 1.3 billion users when they are elsewhere on the Web. The company is rolling out an updated version of Atlas that will direct ads to people on websites and mobile apps. From the article: "The company said Atlas has been rebuilt 'from the ground up' to cater for today's marketing needs, such as 'reaching people across devices and bridging the gap between online impressions and offline purchases.'"
Businesses

Apple Faces Large Penalties In EU Tax Probe 120

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
First time accepted submitter chasm22 writes EU Regulators are apparently set to accuse Apple and the Irish government of entering into several sweetheart deals that left Apple with lower taxes than what it legally owed. If the ruling is upheld, Apple could owe billions in back taxes. Interestingly, it seems that the Irish government would actually get the extra money and suffer little for its part in the scheme.
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Multimedia-Based Wiki For Learning and Business Procedures? 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-little-help-please dept.
kyle11 writes I'm scratching my head at how to develop a decent wiki for a large organization I work in. We support multiple technologies, across multiple locations, and have ways of doing things that become exponentially convoluted. I give IT training to many of these users for a particular technology, and other people do for other stuff as well. Now, I hate wikis because everyone who did one before failed and gave them a bad name. If it starts wrong, it is doomed to failure and irrelevance.

What I'm looking for would be something like a Wiki with YouTube built in — make a playlist of videos with embedded links for certain job based tasks. And reuse and recycle those videos in other playlists of other tasks as they may be applicable. It would go beyond the actual IT we work with and would include things like, "Welcome to working in this department. Here are 20 videos detailing stupid procedures you need to go through to request access to customers' systems/networks/databases to even think about doing your job." I tried MediaWiki and Xwiki, and maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I can't seem to find a way to tweak them to YouTube-level simplicity for anyone to contribute to without giving up on the thing because its' a pain in the butt.

My only real requirement is that it not be cloud-based because it will contain certain sensitive information and I'd like it all to live on one virtual machine if at all possible. I can't be the only one with this problem of enabling many people to contribute and sort their knowledge without knowing how an HTML tag works, or copying files into something more complicated than a web browser. What approaches have any of you out there taken to trying to solve a similar problem?
Businesses

Kano Ships 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-start dept.
drkim writes Kano Computing is a startup that plays in the learn-to-code space by adding a step-by-step, hand-holding layer atop the Raspberry Pi to make learning about computational thinking child's play. Kano has now shipped all the hardware kits in its first batch of crowdfunded orders and pre-orders. That's around 18,000 kits in all, co-founder Alex Klein confirmed to TechCrunch. The lion's share of the first batch of Kano kits — almost 13,000 kits — were ordered via its Kickstarter campaign last year, with a further 5,000 pre-orders taken via its website. The kits cost $99 (plus shipping) to crowdfunder backers, or around $160 (plus shipping) if pre-ordered on the Kano website. The company plans to focus on selling mainly via its own web channel from here on in, according to Alex.
United States

FCC To Rule On "Paid Prioritization" Deals By Internet Service Providers 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the highest-bidder dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After a record 3.7 million public comments on net neutrality, the FCC is deciding if the company that supplies your internet access should be allowed to make deals with online services to move their content faster. The FCC's chairman Tom Wheeler says financial arrangements between providers and content sites might be OK if the agreement is "commercially reasonable" and companies say publicly how they prioritize traffic. Many disagree, saying this sets up an internet for the highest bidder. "If Comcast and Time Warner – who already have a virtual monopoly on Internet service – have the ability to manage and manipulate Internet speeds and access to benefit their own bottom line, they will be able to filter content and alter the user experience," said Barbara Ann Luttrell, 26, of Atlanta, in a recent submission to the FCC."
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad? 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-show-them-or-not-to-show-them dept.
First time accepted submitter Mike Sheen writes I'm the lead developer for an Australian ERP software outfit. For the last 10 years or so we've been using Bugzilla as our issue tracking system. I made this publicly available to the degree than anyone could search and view bugs. Our software is designed to be extensible and as such we have a number of 3rd party developers making customization and integrating with our core product.

We've been pumping out builds and publishing them as "Development Stream (Experimental / Unstable" and "Release Stream (Stable)", and this is visible on our support site to all. We had been also providing a link next to each build with the text showing the number of bugs fixed and the number of enhancements introduced, and the URL would take them to the Bugzilla list of issues for that milestone which were of type bug or enhancement.

This had been appreciated by our support and developer community, as they can readily see what issues are addressed and what new features have been introduced. Prior to us exposing our Bugzilla database publicly we produced a sanitized list of changes — which was time consuming to produce and I decided was unnecessary given we could just expose the "truth" with simple links to the Bugzilla search related to that milestone.

The sales and marketing team didn't like this. Their argument is that competitors use this against us to paint us as producers of buggy software. I argue that transparency is good, and beneficial — and whilst our competitors don't publish such information — but if we were to follow our competitors practices we simply follow them in the race to the bottom in terms of software quality and opaqueness.

In my opinion, transparency of software issues provides:

Identification of which release or build a certain issue is fixed.
Recognition that we are actively developing the software.
Incentive to improve quality controls as our "dirty laundry" is on display.
Information critical to 3rd party developers.
A projection of integrity and honesty.

I've yielded to the sales and marketing demands such that we no longer display the links next to each build for fixes and enhancements, and now publish "Development Stream (Experimental / Unstable" as simply "Development Stream") but I know what is coming next — a request to no longer make our Bugzilla database publicly accessible. I still have the Bugzilla database publicly exposed, but there is now only no longer the "click this link to see what we did in this build".

A compromise may be to make the Bugzilla database only visible to vetted resellers and developers — but I'm resistant to making a closed "exclusive" culture. I value transparency and recognize the benefits. The sales team are insistent that exposing such detail is a bad thing for sales.

I know by posting in a community like Slashdot that I'm going to get a lot of support for my views, but I'm also interested in what people think about the viewpoint that such transparency could be bad thing.
Cellphones

Mobile Phone Use Soon To Be Allowed On European Flights 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-questionable-values-of-"soon" dept.
New submitter jchevali writes: The BBC reports that mobile phone use on European flights is soon to be allowed. This follows official safety agency findings that their use on the aircraft really poses no risk. Details on the implementation and the timeline for changes will depend on each individual airline.
Yahoo!

Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the 27-people-are-going-to-be-very-upset-to-hear-this dept.
An anonymous reader writes You may or may not remember this, but before the advent of reliable search engines, web listings used to be a popular way to organize the web. Yahoo had one of the more popular hierarchical website directories around. On Friday, as part of its on-going streamlining process, Yahoo announced that their 20-year-old web directory will be no more: "While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they're passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory."
Transportation

State of Iowa Tells Tesla To Cancel Its Scheduled Test Drives 324

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-reasons-and-whatnot dept.
puddingebola writes: Conflict continues between state governments and Tesla. From the article: "Iowa joined a growing list of states tussling with Tesla Motors' business model when it told the company to cut short three days of test drives earlier this month in West Des Moines. The Iowa Department of Transportation said the test drives were illegal for two reasons: Tesla isn't licensed as an auto dealer in Iowa and state law prohibits carmakers from selling directly to the public." While the article touches on the legal restrictions on selling cars in Iowa, it seems that Tesla was only providing test drives.
Businesses

Infinite Crisis' Superhero Origins Story 50

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-that-what-the-white-house-calls-it? dept.
An anonymous reader writes A new interview published this week looks at the creation of Infinite Crisis, one of the slew of Dota 2/League of Legends team multiplayer competitors currently under development. What makes this one stand out however is not only its use of DC Comics heroes like Batman and Wonder Woman, but the experience of the studio behind it, Turbine, in massively multiplayer online games and punishing abusive and toxic players, something League of Legends developer Riot has serious struggles with. Turbine was the studio behind the popular Asheron's Call, and is applying many of th same policing techniques it used in RPGs to the growing MOBA genre. Of course, they still have troubles with the inevitable: balancing Superman as a playable character. it's a challenge, Kerr admits, especially when you're having to nerf the Man of Steel as a result. "Yes, we redid Superman three times, because, and I know this is going to be a surprise, he was super overpowered," says Infinite Crisis creative director Cardell Kerr.
NASA

NASA Expands Commercial Space Program 24

Posted by Soulskill
from the powered-by-capitalism dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Just 10 days after NASA awarded multi-billion-dollar contracts to SpaceX and Boeing for future manned rocket launches, the agency announced today it is expanding its commercial space program to include contracts for delivery missions to the International Space Station. "Under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 RFP, NASA intends to award contracts with one or more companies for six or more flights per contract. As with current resupply flights, these missions would launch from U.S. spaceports, and the contracted services would include logistical and research cargo delivery and return to and from the space station through fiscal year 2020, with the option to purchase additional launches through 2024."
Businesses

How the NSA Profits Off of Its Surveillance Technology 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-guessing-ebay dept.
blottsie writes: The National Security Agency has been making money on the side by licensing its technology to private businesses for more than two decades. It's called the Technology Transfer Program, under which the NSA declassifies some of its technologies that it developed for previous operations, patents them, and, if they're swayed by an American company's business plan and nondisclosure agreements, rents them out. The products include tools to transcribe voice recordings in any language, a foolproof method to tell if someone's touched your phone's SIM card, or a version of email encryption that isn't available on the open market.
Businesses

The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy 585

Posted by Soulskill
from the less-than-bright-ideas dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Markus Krajewski reports that today, with many countries phasing out incandescent lighting in favor of more-efficient and pricier LEDs, it's worth revisiting the history of the Phoebus cartel — not simply as a quirky anecdote from the annals of technology, but as a cautionary tale about the strange and unexpected pitfalls that can arise when a new technology vanquishes an old one. Prior to the Phoebus cartel's formation in 1924, household light bulbs typically burned for a total of 1,500 to 2,500 hours; cartel members agreed to shorten that life span to a standard 1,000 hours.

Each factory regularly sent lightbulb samples to the cartel's central laboratory in Switzerland for verification. If any factory submitted bulbs lasting longer or shorter than the regulated life span for its type, the factory was obliged to pay a fine. Though long gone, the Phoebus cartel still casts a shadow today because it reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost twenty years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs. Will history repeat itself as the lighting industry is now going through its most tumultuous period of technological change since the invention of the incandescent bulb?

"Consumers are expected to pay more money for bulbs that are up to 10 times as efficient and that are touted to last a fantastically long time—up to 50,000 hours in the case of LED lights. In normal usage, these lamps will last so long that their owners will probably sell the house they're in before having to change the bulbs," writes Krajewski. "Whether or not these pricier bulbs will actually last that long is still an open question, and not one that the average consumer is likely to investigate." There are already reports of CFLs and LED lamps burning out long before their rated lifetimes are reached. "Such incidents may well have resulted from nothing more sinister than careless manufacturing. But there is no denying that these far more technologically sophisticated products offer tempting opportunities for the inclusion of purposefully engineered life-shortening defects.""

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