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The Internet

Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide? 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-and-have-nots dept.
First time accepted submitter dkatana writes Having some type of fiber or high-speed cable connectivity is normal for many of us, but in most developing countries of the world and many areas of Europe, the US, and other developed countries, access to "super-fast" broadband networks is still a dream. This is creating another "digital divide." Not having the virtually unlimited bandwidth of all-fiber networks means that, for these populations, many activities are simply not possible. For example, broadband provided over all-fiber networks brings education, healthcare, and other social goods into the home through immersive, innovative applications and services that are impossible without it. Alternatives to fiber, such as cable (DOCSYS 3.0), are not enough, and they could be more expensive in the long run. The maximum speed a DOCSYS modem can achieve is 171/122 Mbit/s (using four channels), just a fraction the 273 Gbit/s (per channel) already reached on fiber.
Google

Google Leads $542m Funding Round For Augmented Reality Wearables Company 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After rumors broke last week, Magic Leap has officially closed the deal on a $542 million Series B investment led by Google. The company has been extremely tight-lipped about what they're working on, but some digging reveals it is most likely an augmented reality wearable that uses a lightfield display. "Using our Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal, imagine being able to generate images indistinguishable from real objects and then being able to place those images seamlessly into the real world," the company teases. Having closed an investment round, Magic Leap is now soliciting developers to create for their platform and hiring a huge swath of positions.
Communications

The Future of Stamps 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the post-postal-world dept.
New submitter Kkloe writes: Wired is running a profile of a gadget called Signet, which is trying to bring postage stamps into the age of high technology. Quoting: "At its core, it is a digital stamp and an app. If you want to send a parcel, you'd simply stamp it with a device that uses a laser to etch it with your name and a unique identifying pattern. After that, the USPS would pick up your package; from there, the app would prompt you to provide the name of the person you're trying to reach." I'm curious whether such a finely-detailed etching can even survive a journey. How far can you expect it to travel before all the handling and sorting make the mark unreadable to the sorting machines in the delivery office? Then you'd have to worry the post office would mark it as a fraudulent stamp (as someone has to pay for the shipping in some way) and either return it or throw it away.
Stats

Your Online TV Watching Can Now Be Tracked Across Devices 126

Posted by timothy
from the explodes-if-you-watch-minority-report dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes A partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe, announced today, will let broadcasters see (in aggregate and anonymized) how people interact with digital video between devices — for example if you begin watching a show on Netflix on your laptop, then switch to a Roku set-top box to finish it. The information learned will help broadcasters decide what to charge advertisers, and deliver targeted ads to viewers. Broadcasters can use the new Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, as they're called, beginning early next year. Early users include ESPN, Sony Pictures Television, Turner Broadcasting and Viacom.
Privacy

Technology Heats Up the Adultery Arms Race 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the trust-is-so-20th-century dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Michelle Cottle reports in The Atlantic that today, spouses have easy access to an array of sophisticated spy software that record every keystroke; compile detailed logs of calls, texts, and video chats; that track a phone's location in real time; recover deleted messages from all manner of devices (without having to touch said devices); and that turn phones into wiretapping equipment. One might assume that the proliferation of such spyware would have a chilling effect on extramarital activities. But according to Cottle, aspiring cheaters need not despair: software developers are also rolling out ever stealthier technology to help people conceal their affairs. Right or wrong, cheating apps tap into a potentially lucrative market and researchers regard the Internet as fertile ground for female infidelity in particular. "Men tend to cheat for physical reasons and women for emotional reasons," says Katherine Hertlein. "The Internet facilitates a lot of emotional disclosure and connections with someone else."

But virtual surveillance has its risks. Stumbling across an incriminating email your partner left open is one thing; premeditated spying can land you in court. A Minnesota man named Danny Lee Hormann, suspecting his wife of infidelity, installed a GPS tracker on her car and allegedly downloaded spyware onto her phone and the family computer. In March 2010, Hormann's wife had a mechanic search her car and found the tracker. She called the police, and Hormann spent a month in jail on stalking charges. "I always tell people two things: (1) do it legally, and (2) do it right," says John Paul Lucich, a computer-forensics expert and the author of Cyber Lies, a do-it-yourself guide for spouses looking to become virtual sleuths. Lucich has worked his share of ugly divorces, and he stresses that even the most damning digital evidence of infidelity will prove worthless in court — and potentially land you in trouble — if improperly gathered. His blanket advice: Get a really good lawyer.
Programming

Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-they're-consistent dept.
theodp writes: Having declared U.S. kids clueless about coding, Facebook and Microsoft are now turning their attention to Europe's young 'uns. "As stewards of Europe's future generations," begins the Open Letter to the European Union Ministers for Education signed by Facebook and Microsoft, "you will be all too aware that as early as the age of 7, children reach a critical juncture, when they are learning the core life skills of reading, writing and basic maths. However, to flourish in tomorrow's digital economy and society, they should also be learning to code. And many, sadly, are not." Released at the launch of the European Coding Initiative — aka All You Need is Code! (video) — in conjunction with the EU's Code Week, the letter closes, "As experts in our field, we owe it to Europe's youth to help equip them with the skills they will need to succeed — regardless of where life takes them."
EU

Will New European Commission Leaders Welcome Open Source and Open Standards? 21

Posted by timothy
from the who-are-you-people dept.
First time accepted submitter jenwike writes As Neelie Kroes leaves the office of the European Commission's VP of the Digital Agenda, we need to take a look the new, incoming leadership and ask where they stand on open source software and open standards. The Public Policy Director for Red Hat, Paul Brownell, gives thoughts on the two politicians that President-Elect Junker has named to lead on ICT for the new Commission: former Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has been named as Vice President for Digital Single Market; and incumbent European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger (a German politician and lawyer) has been named as Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.
Build

Liking Analog Meters Doesn't Make You a Luddite (Video) 155

Posted by Roblimo
from the let's-not-forget-nixie-tubes dept.
Chris Gordon works for a high-technology company, but he likes analog meters better than digital readouts. In this video, he shows off a bank of old-fashioned meters that display data acquired from digital sources. He says he's no Luddite; that he just prefers getting his data in analog form -- which gets a little harder every year because hardly any new analog meters are being manufactured. (Alternate Video Link)
The Internet

BitHammer, the BitTorrent Banhammer 429

Posted by Soulskill
from the taking-back-your-bandwidth dept.
michaelcole writes: Its name is BitHammer. It searches out and bans BitTorrent users on your local sub-net.

I'm a digital nomad. That means I travel and work, often using shared Wi-Fi. Over the last year, I've been plagued by rogue BitTorrent users who've crept onto these public hostpots either with a stolen/cracked password, or who lie right to my face (and the Wi-Fi owners) about it.

These users clog up the residential routers' connection tables, and make it impossible to use tools like SSH, or sometimes even web browsing. Stuck for a day, bullied from the Wi-Fi, I wrote BitHammer as a research project. It worked rather well. It's my first Python program. I hope you find it useful.
Privacy

Accessing One's Own Metadata 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the freedom-of-my-own-bloody-information-request dept.
skegg writes: Frustrated journalist Ben Grubb has documented his attempts at gaining access to his own metadata from his carrier. "After more than a year of phone calls and emails and a private mediation session, it still hasn't released the information or answered my one key question satisfactorily: the government can access my Telstra metadata, so why can't I?" Later, he says, "Telstra's one and only valid argument to date has been that identifying who calls me would be in breach of that person's privacy if they called from an unlisted number. I've agreed and said that in providing me with my metadata they should remove unlisted numbers. They argue this would be too difficult to do, which I think is baloney."
Input Devices

Axiom Open Source Camera Handily Tops 100,000 Euro Fundraising Goal 31

Posted by timothy
from the magic-lantern-on-board-now-too dept.
The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for an open-hardware cinema camera has closed far in the black, though the project continues to accept contributions. The Axiom's designers raised enough (€174,520, topping their €100,000 goal) to fund development of their stretch goals (remote control, active lens mount, active battery mount), and then some. If it actually gets built and catches on, it will be interesting to see what custom modules users come up with.
Cloud

Vax, PDP/11, HP3000 and Others Live On In the Cloud 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the cloud-of-the-living-dead dept.
judgecorp writes: Surprisingly, critical applications still rely on old platforms, although legacy hardware is on its last legs. Swiss emulation expert Stromasys is offering emulation in the cloud for old hardware using a tool cheekily named after Charon, the ferryman to the afterlife. Systems covered include the Vax and PDP/11 platforms from Digital Equipment (which was swallowed by Compaq and then HP) as well as Digital's Alpha RISC systems, and HP's HP3000. It also offers Sparc emulation, although Oracle might dispute the need for this.
Software

Brown Dog: a Search Engine For the Other 99 Percent (of Data) 23

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-it-fetches-data dept.
aarondubrow writes: We've all experienced the frustration of trying to access information on websites, only to find that the data is trapped in outdated, difficult-to-read file formats and that metadata — the critical data about the data, such as when and how and by whom it was produced — is nonexistent. Led by Kenton McHenry, a team at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications is working to change that. Recipients in 2013 of a $10 million, five-year award from the National Science Foundation, the team is developing software that allows researchers to manage and make sense of vast amounts of digital scientific data that is currently trapped in outdated file formats. The NCSA team recently demonstrated two publicly-available services to make the contents of uncurated data collections accessible.
Books

Adobe Spies On Users' eBook Libraries 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the digital-edition-is-the-worst-software dept.
New submitter stasike writes: Nate at the-digital-reader.com reports that Adobe is spying on any computer that runs Digital Editions 4, the newest version of Adobe's Epub app. They are collecting data about what users are reading, and they're also searching users' computers for e-book files and sending that information too. That includes books not indexed in DE4. All of the data is sent in clear text. This is just another example of DRM going south.
United Kingdom

Brits Must Trade Digital Freedoms For Safety, Says Crime Agency Boss 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the those-who-trade-liberty-for-security dept.
bestweasel writes: The Guardian has an interview with Keith Bristow, the head of the National Crime Agency, (sometimes called Britain's FBI, apparently) in which he says, "Britons must accept a greater loss of digital freedoms in return for greater safety from serious criminals and terrorists." He also mentions pedophiles, of course. The article seems to cover just the highlights of the interview, but in another quote he says that for "policing by consent," the consent is "expressed through legislation." While this might sound reassuring, it's coupled with the Home Secretary's call last week for greater mass surveillance powers. Presumably whoever wins power in the elections next year will claim that this gives them the required consent (that's democracy, folks!) and pass the laws.
AI

One In Three Jobs Will Be Taken By Software Or Robots By 2025, Says Gartner 405

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-took-our-jobs! dept.
dcblogs writes: "Gartner predicts one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025," said Peter Sondergaard, Gartner's research director at its big Orlando conference. "New digital businesses require less labor; machines will make sense of data faster than humans can," he said. Smart machines are an emerging "super class" of technologies that perform a wide variety of work, both the physical and the intellectual kind. Machines, for instance, have been grading multiple choice test for years, but now they are grading essays and unstructured text. This cognitive capability in software will extend to other areas, including financial analysis, medical diagnostics and data analytic jobs of all sorts, says Gartner. "Knowledge work will be automated."
Medicine

Professor Kevin Fu Answers Your Questions About Medical Device Security 21

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up dept.
Almost a year ago you had a chance to ask professor Kevin Fu about medical device security. A number of events (including the collapse of his house) conspired to delay the answering of those questions. Professor Fu has finally found respite from calamity, coincidentally at a time when the FDA has issued guidance on the security of medical devices. Below you'll find his answers to your old but not forgotten questions.
United Kingdom

UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the under-pressure dept.
An anonymous reader writes When you pay the tax on a road vehicle in the UK, you used to get a paper "tax disk" to affix to the inside of your car windshield. However the relevant records are documented electronically anyway, inspiring the government to replace the paper system with a purely online one. Unfortunately said system was still in beta when it launched today and predictably, it has broken under user demand. No alternative system is available. (The licensing agency actually ran out of the paper disks more than a month ago, and has been printing them out on normal office paper and asking vehicle owners to cut out the circle themselves.) The initiative is part of a larger "digital-first", restructuring of how the government provides services aimed at "meeting user needs".
Communications

Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the have-you-tried-paper-airplanes dept.
nbauman writes: Doctors with one medical records system can't exchange information with systems made by other vendors, including those at their own hospitals, according to the New York Times. One ophthalmologist spent half a million dollars on a system, but still needs to send faxes to get the information where it needs to go. The largest vendor is Epic Systems, Madison, WI, which holds almost half the medical records in the U.S. A report from RAND described Epic as a "closed" platform that made it "challenging and costly" for hospitals to interconnect.

The situation is bad for patients and costly for medical works: if doctors can't exchange records, they'll face a 1% Medicare penalty, and UC Davis alone has a staff of 22 dedicated to communication. On top of that, Epic charges a fee to send data to some non-Epic systems. Congress has held hearings on the matter, and Epic has hired a lobbyist. Epic's founder, billionaire computer science major Judith Faulkner, said that Epic was one of the first to establish code and standards for secure interchange, which included user authentication provisions and a legally binding contract. She said the federal government, which gave $24 billion in incentive payments to doctors for computerization, should have done that. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology said that it was a "top priority" and just recently wrote a 10-year vision statement and agenda for it.
Technology

Robotic Taster Will Judge 'Real Thai Food' 103

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-best-barbecue? dept.
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes The NYT reports that Thailand's former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra repeatedly encountered a distressing problem while traveling the world: bad Thai food. Too often, she found, the meals she sampled at Thai restaurants abroad were unworthy of the name, too bland to be called genuine Thai cooking. The problem bothered her enough to raise it at a cabinet meeting. Even though her political party has since been thrown out of office, in a May military coup, the Thai government is unveiling its project to standardize the art of Thai food using a robot. The government-financed Thai Delicious Committee, which oversaw the development of the machine, describes it as "an intelligent robot that measures smell and taste in food ingredients through sensor technology in order to measure taste like a food critic." Thailand's National Innovation Agency has spent about $100,000 to develop the e-delicious machine. The e-delicious machine has 10 sensors that measure smell and taste, generating a unique fingerprint (signature) for each sample of food that passes its digital maw. Generally with electronic tasting, there are electronic sensors that work just like the taste buds on your tongue, measuring the quantity of various taste-giving compounds, acidity, etc. While these electronic sensors can't actually tell you how something tastes — that's a very subjective, human thing — they are very good at comparing two foods scientifically. Meanwhile at a tiny food stall along one of Bangkok's traffic-clogged boulevards, Thaweekiat Nimmalairatana, questioned the necessity of a robatic taster. "I use my tongue to test if it's delicious or not," said Nimmalairatana. "I think the government should consider using a human to gauge authenticity."

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