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[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:74 | Votes:211

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 26, @05:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the bad-things-happening-to-bad-characters dept.

For many years, various publishers in the Americas and Europe have had their books printed in China as a cost-saving measure (including many in the RPG field). Often the primary downside of this has simply been the time taken for the books to arrive, but it appears there can also be another problem, as the publishers of The Sassoon Files (a Cthulhu-based RPG supplement) have announced that all print copies of their book have been destroyed by the Chinese Government – for unspecified reasons.

Julio writes, "Sons of the Singularity is a small RPG publisher. Last year, they kickstarted The Sassoon Files, a sourcebook for the popular Call of Cthulhu RPG and Trail of Cthulhu RPG. As a lot of publishers, theydid[sic] the printing in China. The same day that the print was finished, a Chinese Government decided that it was "problematic", so they burned the entire print run. Targeting foreign publications is a first, specially when it seems there wasn't anything problematic (the supplement was based on Shanghai but was respetful and documented carefully).

We have suffered an unfortunate and unexpected setback with the off-set print run. On March 20th, the Chinese government ordered the destruction of our books. Although the printer returned our deposit, we need to find another printer and this will result in a delay in fulfillment. We are committed to completing the print run and fulfillment.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 26, @03:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the yes-thats-a-real-thing dept.

I discovered today that there is a CDC website on Zombie Preparedness.

The government helping with all your Zombie Apocalypse Preparation needs.

Who knew? I checked, and it's not April 1 yet.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday March 26, @02:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the reining-in-the-cloud dept.

Oracle Swings axe on Cloud Infrastructure Corps Amid Possible Bloodbath at Big Red:

0.4 to 10% of corporate wage slaves could be up for the chop

Oracle has laid off about 40 people in its Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) group in Seattle – and on Friday began notifying about 250 workers at its Redwood City facility and about 100 at its Santa Clara location, both in California, that they will be let go in May.

These US-based layoffs are part of a broad round of job cuts around the globe this month, said to range from 500 to 14,000 at the database giant. The biz employs about 140,000 worldwide.

The Register spoke with an individual affected by the layoff who confirmed that about 40 people in Oracle's cloud group have been let go. The insider, who asked not to be named, recounted being summoned to an office last week with other team members, and being told to leave that afternoon.

The dismissal includes people who now face concerns over whether they can remain in the US because they're no longer employed and are here in the States on work visas. Some will have very little time to find work before having to leave the US.

[...]Despite Oracle's representations that its cloud business is booming, the recent departure of two cloud execs and an aggressive stock buyback plan have raised concerns the database giant is trying to keep its share price high while having mixed cloud results.

Magic 8-Ball says "Outlook Cloudy".

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday March 26, @12:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the too-busy-shitposting-to-go-outside dept.

Human Contact Is Now a Luxury Good:

Screens used to be for the elite. Now avoiding them is a status symbol.

[...] Life for anyone but the very rich — the physical experience of learning, living and dying — is increasingly mediated by screens.

Not only are screens themselves cheap to make, but they also make things cheaper. Any place that can fit a screen in (classrooms, hospitals, airports, restaurants) can cut costs. And any activity that can happen on a screen becomes cheaper. The texture of life, the tactile experience, is becoming smooth glass.

The rich do not live like this. The rich have grown afraid of screens. They want their children to play with blocks, and tech-free private schools are booming. Humans are more expensive, and rich people are willing and able to pay for them. Conspicuous human interaction — living without a phone for a day, quitting social networks and not answering email — has become a status symbol.

All of this has led to a curious new reality: Human contact is becoming a luxury good.

As more screens appear in the lives of the poor, screens are disappearing from the lives of the rich. The richer you are, the more you spend to be offscreen.

I remember when the tag line for AT&T was Reach out and touch someone and it was portrayed as a good thing.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 26, @11:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-get-excited dept.

Local leaders cooling to Boring Company tunnel promises

Virginia state transit officials are telling The Boring Company "thanks but no thanks," at least for now. The Virginia Mercury reported yesterday that the state's chief of rail transportation, Michael McLaughlin, was not sufficiently impressed by his recent visit to Elon Musk's test tunnel in California to recommend that the state work with the startup.

"It's a car in a very small tunnel," McLaughlin reportedly told the state's Transportation Board public transit subcommittee this week. "If one day we decide it's feasible, we'll obviously come back to you," he added.

[...] In February, Musk tweeted that the company was working on improving its test tunnel. "Focus right now is getting to high speed, tight follow distance in test tunnel," the CEO tweeted. He said that "Line-Storm," The Boring Company's second-generation boring machine, would start getting updates "in a month or so."

But even as The Boring Company says it's trying to improve on tunneling efficiency and design, Chicago may be looking to take a step back from the express line that Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged to build with the company. The mayor's office announced in June 2018 that it would work with The Boring Company to build a long-awaited express line between O'Hare International Airport and the Windy City's downtown area.

Previously: Elon Musk Claims to Have "Verbal Approval" to Build New York to Washington, D.C. Hyperloop
Elon Musk's Boring Tunnel Near Los Angeles
Washington, D.C. Granted Elon Musk's Boring Company an Excavation Permit for Possible Hyperloop
Elon Musk's Boring Company Wins Chicago O'Hare International Airport Transportation Contract
Elon Musk's Boring Bricks
The Boring Company Announces Dec. 10 Debut for First Los Angeles Tunnel
The Boring Company Won't Pursue Los Angeles Tunnel Under 405 Freeway
Elon Musk Startup Picked to Build Las Vegas 'People Mover'

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 26, @09:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the remember-DIP-switches-and-jumpers? dept.

Like with our Librem laptops, our Librem 5 smartphone will also feature kill switches; but unlike the laptops it will have three kill switches, not just two:

        cameras and microphone
        WiFi and Bluetooth
        cellular baseband

Later in this post I’m going to describe an exciting new feature for our Librem 5 phone we are calling “Lockdown Mode” that extends our normal kill switches to provide even more security and privacy

[...]One big challenge when protecting your privacy on a phone is that, unlike an average laptop, a phone is full of more sensors and other hardware that could be used for tracking and spying. A lot of security research over the past decade has demonstrated just how much information can be derived by seemingly harmless sensors that are included on a phone.

[...]While we could add kill switches for every individual piece of hardware, having three kill switches already pushes the limits with respect to space on the phone, the complexity of the hardware and the overall user experience. So if you set the upper limit on kill switches to three, there are a number of different ways you can address the problem with these extra sensors including:

        Only disable those sensors with software
        Group sensors with one or more existing kill switches
        Lockdown Mode

We have thought through all of these different options, among others, and we decided that it was better to offer the option for extra security to those who really need it. We have selected a solution we are calling Lockdown Mode, that gives people who need this extra level of protection the option to turn all sensors off easily, without imposing extra complexity on an average user.

[...]To trigger Lockdown Mode, just switch all three kill switches off. When in Lockdown Mode, in addition to powering off the cameras, microphone, WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular baseband we also cut power to GNSS, IMU, and ambient light and proximity sensors. Lockdown Mode leaves you with a perfectly usable portable computer, just with all tracking sensors and other hardware disabled.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 26, @07:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the progress++ dept.

Version 0.5 of Redox OS was released yesterday, which includes a new C library written in Rust and images based on new bootloaders for both coreboot and EFI.

It's taken a while since the previous release of Redox OS as they have been focusing their attention on Relibc, a C library implementation written within the Rust programming language. Relibc is now used as the operating system's default C library.

Redox OS 0.5 also includes improvements to its event system, Pthreads support was completed, better support for LLVM and LLVM-using projects like Mesa/LLVMpipe, improvements to EFI, and more.

Some new Rust-written packages for Redox OS include OpenGL wrappers, an audio library, and other additions. Outside of the Rust scope, Redox OS 0.5 adds in SDL2 packages, Cairo, FFmpeg, and many other important software options.

You can find the Redox OS 0.5 release notes here, and can find the 0.5.0 images here.

Previously: Redox OS Exploring Coreboot Payload
Microkernel, Rust-Programmed Redox OS's Devs Slam Linux, Unix, GPL

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday March 26, @06:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the dept.

A million or so Asus personal computers may have downloaded spyware from the computer maker's update servers and installed it, Kaspersky Lab claims.

Someone was able to modify a copy of the Asus Live Update Utility, hosted on the Taiwanese manufacturer's backend systems, and sign it using the company's security certificate, even keeping the file length the same as the legit version, to make everything seem above board. The update utility ships with every machine, and routinely upgrades the motherboard firmware and related software with any available updates from Asus.

When it checked in with Asus's servers for the latest updates, the utility would fetch and install a backdoored version of the Asus Live Update Utility, we're told. The dodgy version was offered between June and November 2018, according to Kaspersky.

That infected build of the utility was designed to spy on roughly 600 machines, identified by their network MAC addresses. So, roughly a million Asus-built computers may have been running a trojanized update utility, with a few hundred actively spied on via the backdoor.

Kaspersky Labs has named it ShadowHammer.

How promptly do you install software updates?

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday March 26, @04:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the News dept.

Mike Crawford Is Dead, Contributed to Mac System 7.5.X and Activist

Some of you might know him on the west coast. He worked for Apple fixing/debugging System 7.5.X and attended Cal Tech. He was an activist for the mentally ill and homeless. He was openly bisexual and open about his schizoaffective disorder. His Facebook page.

I had helped him with his project Soggy Jobs which is unfinished. It was his project he needed a business model for.

He was on CNN about the taking away of tax credit from software engineers.

His website is here.

He was a member here at Hacker News.

He had serious physical illnesses that made him suffer and he took his own life.

I was an online friend of his, and I too suffer from schizoaffective disorder.

His wish was not to be forgotten to be remembered through his works. To at least have a Wikipedia article written on him or some other Wiki. Wikipedia named him non-notable about ten years ago. But if you met him, he'd always show you respect and even if he disagreed with you he was nice about it.

takyon: Here is MDC's last post on Warp Life, and Last Will And Testament. User page. Twitter.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday March 26, @03:03AM   Printer-friendly

Reports: Uber Set To Buy Careem For $3.1B

Uber Technologies' long-rumored purchase of Dubai-based rival Careem could close this week, according to reports citing "people with knowledge of the matter."

The fact that Uber may buy Careem isn't surprising. Crunchbase News reported last September that the deal between the ride-hailing competitors might take place. What is a little unexpected is the currently-expected purchase price.

In September, a buyout was said to value Careem at $2 billion to $2.5 billion. But now, per Bloomberg, Uber is expected to pay $3.1 billion for the company with a mix of cash ($1.4 billion) and convertible notes ($1.7 billion). The notes will be convertible into Uber shares at a price equal to $55 per share, according to the term sheet seen by Bloomberg.

[...] The Careem deal, if consummated, could help Uber's short-term growth rate. As we've reported recently, Uber has seen its growth rate, as measured in percentage terms, decline. While the company remains stiffly unprofitable, slowing growth could prove difficult to square with the valuation it covets.


Also at Reuters and Engadget.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday March 26, @01:33AM   Printer-friendly

Massive Ebola Outbreak Continues to Rage; Case Count Surpasses 1,000:

The tally of deadly Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ticked above 1,000 this weekend as health responders continue to struggle to thwart the disease amid violent conflict.

The outbreak has been raging since August in the country’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which sit on the eastern side of the country, bordering South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda. The World Health Organization reported 1,009 cases (944 confirmed, 65 probable), including 629 deaths (564 confirmed, 65 probable) on Saturday, March 23.

The outbreak is the second largest of all time, surpassed only by the 2014 West African outbreak, which involved more than 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths.

Violent attacks and lingering distrust have hampered medical responses throughout the outbreak. Earlier this month, militants attacked a treatment center in the city of Butembo in North Kivu, killing a police officer and injuring health workers. Last month, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) suspended medical responses after two other attacks on treatment centers. In both attacks, unidentified assailants partially burnt down facilities.

If the disease won't kill them, the violence could get them, instead. Or their family. What can they do? Leave? Where do they go? And what if they cannot afford to leave?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday March 25, @11:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-comment© dept.

The EU votes on a confusing new copyright law Tuesday

On Tuesday, the European Parliament will vote on an overhaul of the EU's copyright system. The body will vote on a compromise announced last month that has received the backing of key European governments. An earlier version of the proposal was approved by the European Parliament last September.

The legislation is controversial, with two provisions receiving the bulk of the criticism. Article 11 aims to help news organizations collect more licensing fees from news aggregators like Facebook and Google News. Article 13 aims to help copyright holders to collect licensing fees from user-generated content platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Both provisions are maddeningly vague—laying out broad goals without providing much detail about how those goals can be achieved. This is partly because the EU's lawmaking system occurs in two stages. First, EU-wide institutions pass a broad directive indicating how the law should be changed. Then each of the EU's member nations translates the directive into specific laws. This process leaves EU-wide legislators significant latitude to declare general policy goals and leave the details to individual countries.

Still, if the legislation's goals are incoherent or contradictory, then something is going to have to give. And critics warn that the package could wind up damaging the Internet's openness by forcing the adoption of upload filters and new limits on linking to news stories.

See also: Tomorrow's copyright vote explained (Julia Reda)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday March 25, @10:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the take-a-look-at-that dept.

School security system to give police access to camera feeds

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio K-12 school scheduled to open in the fall will include a security system that would allow police to tap into school cameras.

[...]The school in suburban Dayton would have blue pull-alarms throughout the building, similar to red fire alarms, which teachers or students could pull in an emergency. If an alarm is pulled, the system would alert first responders to the location and nature of the emergency via pendants worn by staff.

The system’s software also would also allow the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office access to the school’s video-camera feed so authorities can view the area.

[...]Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said that group’s members want an increased focus on addressing student behavioral issues, not on fortifying schools.

Does this sound like good idea?

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Monday March 25, @08:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the open-access dept.

Motherboard reports Education and Science Giant Elsevier Left Users' Passwords Exposed Online:

Due a to a misconfigured server, a researcher found a constant stream of Elsevier users' passwords.

Elsevier, the company behind scientific journals such as The Lancet, left a server open to the public internet, exposing user email addresses and passwords. The impacted users include people from universities and educational institutions from across the world.

It's not entirely clear how long the server was exposed or how many accounts were impacted, but it provided a rolling list of passwords as well as password reset links when a user requested to change their login credentials.

"Most users are .edu [educational institute] accounts, either students or teachers," Mossab Hussein, chief security officer at cybersecurity company SpiderSilk who found the issue, told Motherboard in an online chat. "They could be using the same password for their emails, iCloud, etc."

Hidden in plain sight.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Monday March 25, @06:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-so-fast dept.

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

Speeding the development of fusion power to create unlimited energy on Earth

Can tokamak fusion facilities, the most widely used devices for harvesting on Earth the fusion reactions that power the sun and stars, be developed more quickly to produce safe, clean, and virtually limitless energy for generating electricity? Physicist Jon Menard of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has examined that question in a detailed look at the concept of a compact tokamak equipped with high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets. Such magnets can produce higher magnetic fields – necessary to produce and sustain fusion reactions – than would otherwise be possible in a compact facility.

Menard first presented the paper [open, DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2017.0440] [DX], now published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, to a Royal Society workshop in London that explored accelerating the development of tokamak-produced fusion power with compact tokamaks. "This is the first paper that quantitatively documents how the new superconductors can interplay with the high pressure that compact tokamaks produce to influence how tokamaks are optimized in the future," Menard said. "What we tried to develop were some simple models that capture important aspects of an integrated design."

The findings are "very significant," said Steve Cowley, director of PPPL. Cowley noted that "Jon's arguments in this and the previous paper have been very influential in the recent National Academies of Sciences report," which calls for a U.S. program to develop a compact fusion pilot plant to generate electricity at the lowest possible cost. "Jon has really outlined the technical aspects for much smaller tokamaks using high-temperature magnets," Cowley said.

Original Submission