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United Kingdom

UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure 44

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".
United States

Laying the Groundwork For Data-Driven Science 20

Posted by samzenpus
from the collecting-the-numbers dept.
aarondubrow writes The ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data is transforming science, industry and everyday life. But what we've seen so far is likely just the tip of the iceberg. As part of an effort to improve the nation's capacity in data science, NSF today announced $31 million in new funding to support 17 innovative projects under the Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) program, including data infrastructure for education, ecology and geophysics. "Each project tests a critical component in a future data ecosystem in conjunction with a research community of users," said said Irene Qualters, division director for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure at NSF. "This assures that solutions will be applied and use-inspired."
Verizon

Verizon Wireless Caves To FCC Pressure, Says It Won't Throttle 4G Users 26

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-throttle-me-bro dept.
MetalliQaZ writes Verizon Wireless was scheduled to begin throttling certain LTE users today as part of an expanded "network optimization" program, but has decided not to follow through with the controversial plan after criticism from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. All major carriers throttle certain users when cell sites get too congested, but Wheeler and consumer advocates objected to how carriers choose which customers to throttle. The fact that Verizon was throttling only unlimited data users showed that it was trying to boost its profits rather than implementing a reasonable network management strategy, Wheeler said.
Crime

DARPA Technology Could Uncover Counterfeit Microchips 24

Posted by samzenpus
from the go-ahead-and-scan dept.
coondoggie writes The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said this week one of its contractors, working on one of the agency's anti-counterfeit projects has developed and deployed what it calls an Advanced Scanning Optical Microscope that can scan integrated circuits by using an extremely narrow infrared laser beam, to probe microelectronic circuits at nanometer levels, revealing information about chip construction as well as the function of circuits at the transistor level.
Microsoft

Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay? 405

Posted by samzenpus
from the dying-slowly dept.
colinneagle (2544914) writes The real question on my mind is whether Windows 10 will finally address a problem that has plagued pretty much every Windows OS since at least 95: the decay of the system over time. As you add and remove apps, as Windows writes more and more temporary and junk files, over time, a system just slows down. I'm sure many of you have had the experience of taking a five-year-old PC, wiping it clean, putting the exact same OS on as it had before, and the PC is reborn, running several times faster than it did before the wipe. It's the same hardware, same OS, but yet it's so fast. This slow degeneration is caused by daily use, apps, device drive congestion (one of the tell-tale signs of a device driver problem is a PC that takes forever to shut down) and also hardware failure. If a disk develops bad sectors, it has to work around them. Even if you try aggressively to maintain your system, eventually it will slow, and very few people aggressively maintain their system. So I wonder if Microsoft has found a solution to this. Windows 8 was supposed to have some good features for maintaining the OS and preventing slowdown. I wouldn't know; like most people, I avoided Windows 8 like the plague. It would be the most welcomed feature of Windows 10 if I never had to do another backup, disk wipe, and reinstall."
Transportation

Boeing Told To Replace Cockpit Screens Affected By Wi-Fi 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the cracking-the-screen dept.
Rambo Tribble writes The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Boeing to replace Honeywell-built cockpit screens that could be affected by wi-fi transmissions. Additionally, the FAA has expressed concerns that other frequencies, such as used by air surveillance and weather radar, could disrupt the displays. The systems involved report airspeed, altitude, heading and pitch and roll to the crew, and the agency stated that a failure could cause a crash. Meanwhile, the order is said to affect over 1,300 aircraft, and some airlines are balking, since the problem has never been seen in operation, that the order presents "a high, and unnecessary, financial burden on operators".
Security

Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics 466

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-us-in dept.
mi writes Attorney General Eric Holder called it is "worrisome" that tech companies are providing default encryption on consumer electronics, adding that locking authorities out of being able to access the contents of devices puts children at risk. “It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said at a conference on child sexual abuse, according to a text of his prepared remarks. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.”
Japan

Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Trains Celebrate 50th Anniversary 101

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-lightning dept.
AmiMoJo writes Japan's Shinkansen bullet-train has marked its 50th anniversary. The first Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka debuted on October 1st, 1964, ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Since then, the Shinkansen has run about 2 billion kilometers, or the equivalent of 50,000 times around the earth. It has carried about 5.6 billion passengers. The latest series to enter operation, the E5, operates at 320km/h.
Communications

Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records 225

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.
Transportation

Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets? 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-'84-buick-lesabre-is-probably-not-getting-you-into-trouble dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Have you ever been pulled over for a traffic stop and wondered if your sporty car was what caught the officer's attention? Ever had an officer pass up your clunker to snag a flashier vehicle? Well, there's now some data showing which vehicles accumulate the most tickets. According to a study by Insurance.com, drivers of the Subaru WRX, Pontiac GTO, and Scion FR-S get a higher percentage of tickets than drivers of any other cars. At the bottom of the list, we see vehicles such as the Ford Ecosport, the Land Rover LR4, and Chevy Sportvan. They have a widget that will let you see data on your own make/model, if you're curious.
Hardware Hacking

Arducorder, Next Open Source Science Tricorder-like Device, Nears Completion 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the scanning-for-life-forms dept.
upontheturtlesback writes: The Arducorder Mini, an Arduino-compatible pocket-sized handheld sensing tool and the next in line of open source science tricorder-like devices designed by Dr. Peter Jansen, is nearing completion. Where the previous models have included about a dozen sensors spanning atmospheric, electromagnetic, and spatial readings, an exciting video of the new prototype shows this model includes sensors for spectroscopy, low-resolution thermal imaging, and radiation sensing. The development is open with the project build logs and most recent source schematics, board layouts, and firmware available on github. This project is an entry in the Hack a Day Prize for a trip to space.
Communications

Hong Kong Protesters Use Mesh Networks To Organize 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-stop-the-signal dept.
wabrandsma sends this article from New Scientist: Hong Kong's mass protest is networked. Activists are relying on a free app that can send messages without any cellphone connection. Since the pro-democracy protests turned ugly over the weekend, many worry that the Chinese government would block local phone networks. In response, activists have turned to the FireChat app to send supportive messages and share the latest news. On Sunday alone, the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times in Hong Kong, its developers said. FireChat relies on "mesh networking," a technique that allows data to zip directly from one phone to another via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Ordinarily, if two people want to communicate this way, they need to be fairly close together. But as more people join in, the network grows and messages can travel further. Mesh networks can be useful for people who are caught in natural disasters or, like those in Hong Kong, protesting under tricky conditions. FireChat came in handy for protesters in Taiwan and Iraq this year."
The Military

Four Charged With Stealing Army Helicopter Training Software 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-what-hacker-doesn't-have-a-helicopter-laying-around dept.
itwbennett writes: Four alleged members of an international computer hacking ring face charges in the U.S. of breaking into the computer networks of the U.S. Army and several tech companies and stealing several software packages, including programs used to train Army helicopter pilots, as well as software and data related to the Xbox One gaming console, the Xbox Live online gaming service and popular games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3.
Music

Grooveshark Found Guilty of Massive Copyright Infringement 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the surprising-nobody dept.
An anonymous reader writes: If you're a Grooveshark user, you should probably start backing up your collection. In a decision (PDF) released Monday, the United States District Court in Manhattan has found Grooveshark guilty of massive copyright infringement based on a preponderance of internal emails, statements from former top executives, direct evidence from internal logs, and willfully deleted files and source code. An email from Grooveshark's CTO in 2007 read, "Please share as much music as possible from outside the office, and leave your computers on whenever you can. This initial content is what will help to get our network started—it’s very important that we all help out! ... Download as many MP3’s as possible, and add them to the folders you’re sharing on Grooveshark. Some of us are setting up special 'seed points' to house tens or even hundreds of thousands of files, but we can’t do this alone." He also threatened employees who didn't contribute.
Windows

Microsoft Announces Windows 10 637

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-7-8-9 dept.
Today at a press conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the new version of their flagship operating system, called Windows 10. (Yes, t-e-n. I don't know.) With the new version of the operating system, they'll be unifying the application platform for all devices: desktops, laptops, consoles, tablets, and phones. As early leaks showed, the Start Menu is back — it's a hybrid of old and new, combining a list of applications with a small group of resizable tiles that can include widgets. Metro-style apps can now each operate inside their own window (video). There's a new, multiple-desktop feature, which power users have been demanding for years, and also a feature that lets users easily grab objects from one desktop and transfer it to another. The command line is even getting some love. The Technical Preview builds for desktops and laptops will be available tomorrow through the Windows Insider Program. They're requesting feedback from customers. Windows 10 will launch in late 2015.
Businesses

eBay To Spin Off PayPal 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the watch-out-for-the-chargeback dept.
In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion in stock. Nowadays, PayPal's yearly revenues exceed $7 billion, and investors are worried that eBay and PayPal together are too big to compete effectively. (They're also too big to be acquired, which is on their minds after the ludicrously successful Alibaba IPO.) To solve that problem, eBay today announced it will be spinning off PayPal in 2015, creating two separate publicly traded companies. eBay's current CEO is stepping down, and each of the companies will have a new CEO. "As part of the separation, eBay and PayPal will sign arm’s length commercial operating agreements to work together, with payments on both sides for various referrals and services. That’s no surprise since about 30 percent of PayPal’s business is still on eBay, although that is down from 50 percent only a few years ago."
HP

HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet 181

Posted by timothy
from the race-to-bottom dept.
jfruh writes While Windows-based tablets haven't exactly set the world on fire, Microsoft hasn't given up on them, and its hardware partners haven't either. HP has announced a series of Windows tablets, with the 7-inch low-end model, the Stream 7, priced at $99. The Stream brand is also being used for low-priced laptops intended to compete with Chromebooks (which HP also sells). All are running Intel chips and full Windows, not Windows RT.
Media

Matchstick and Mozilla Take On Google's Chromecast With $25 Firefox OS Dongle 102

Posted by timothy
from the what-can-it-slurp dept.
An anonymous reader writes Matchstick and Mozilla today announced their open-source take on the Chromecast: a $25 Firefox OS-powered HDMI dongle. The streaming Internet and media stick will be available first through Kickstarter, in the hopes to drive down the price tag. Jack Chang, Matchstick General Manager in the US, described the device to me as "essentially an open Chromecast." He explained that while the MSRP is $25 (Google's Chromecast retails for $35), the Kickstarter campaign is offering a regular price of $18, and an early bird price of $12.
Facebook

Interview With Facebook's Head of Open Source 29

Posted by timothy
from the complete-transparency dept.
Czech37 writes Facebook may be among the world's most well-known tech companies, but it's not renowned for being at the forefront of open source. In reality, they have over 200 open source projects on GitHub and they've recently partnered with Google, Dropbox, and Twitter (among others) to create the TODO group, an organization committed to furthering the open source cause. In an interview with Opensource.com, Facebook's James Pearce talks about the progress the company has made in rebooting their open source approach and what's on the horizon for the social media network.
Graphics

Adobe Photoshop Is Coming To Linux, Through Chromebooks 193

Posted by timothy
from the scared-of-a-little-gimp-action-eh dept.
sfcrazy writes Adobe is bringing the king of all photo editing software, Photoshop, to Linux-based Chrome OS. Chrome OS-powered devices, such as Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, already have a decent line-up of 'applications' that can work offline and eliminate the need of a traditional desktop computer. So far it sounds like great news. The bad news is that the offering is in its beta stage and is available only to the customers of the Creative Cloud Education program residing in the U.S. I have a full subscription of Creative Cloud for Photographers, and LightRoom, but even I can't join the program at the moment.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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