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Media

Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC 250

Posted by timothy
from the upgrades-always-welcome dept.
jones_supa writes Windows Media Player is going to become a more useful media player for those who want to play geeky file formats. Microsoft has earlier confirmed that Windows 10 will come with native support for Matroska Video, but the company now talks about also adding FLAC support. Microsoft's Gabriel Aul posted a teaser screenshot in Twitter showing support for this particular format. It can be expected to arrive in a future update for people running the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Not many GUI changes seem to be happening around Media Player, but work is done under the hood.
Wikipedia

Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the playing-favorites dept.
HughPickens.com writes Brian Fung writes in the Washington Post that Wikipedia has been a little hesitant to weigh in on net neutrality, the idea that all Web traffic should be treated equally by Internet service providers such as Comcast or Time Warner Cable. That's because the folks behind Wikipedia actually see a non-neutral Internet as one way to spread information cheaply to users in developing countries. With Wikipedia Zero, users in places like Pakistan and Malaysia can browse the site without it counting against the data caps on their cellphones or tablets. This preferential treatment for Wikipedia's site helps those who can't afford to pay for pricey data — but it sets the precedent for deals that cut against the net neutrality principle. "We believe in net neutrality in America," says Gayle Karen Young, adding that Wikipedia Zero requires a different perspective elsewhere. "Partnering with telecom companies in the near term, it blurs the net neutrality line in those areas. It fulfills our overall mission, though, which is providing free knowledge."

Facebook and Google also operate programs internationally that are exempted from users' data caps — a tactic known somewhat cryptically as "zero rating". Facebook in particular has made "Facebook Zero" not just a sales pitch in developing markets but also part of an Internet.org initiative to expand access "to the two thirds of the world's population that doesn't have it." But a surprising decision in Chile shows what happens when policies of neutrality are applied without nuance. Chile recently put an end to the practice, widespread in developing countries, of big companies "zero-rating" access to their services. "That might seem perverse," says Glyn Moody, "since it means that Chilean mobile users must now pay to access those services, but it is nonetheless exactly what governments that have mandated net neutrality need to do."
Australia

Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the still-looking dept.
hcs_$reboot writes Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on Saturday, 8 March 2014, while flying from Malaysia to Beijing with 239 people on board. And 8 months later, after millions of dollars invested in a gigantic search operation, there is still no sign of the aircraft. Now, Australia is developing a new model to predict where the debris of the missing MH370 could wash up. Authorities had initially predicted that the plane's wreckage could drift and come ashore on Indonesia's West Sumatra island after about 4 months of Flight MH370's disappearance. "We are currently working... to see if we can get an updated drift model for a much wider area where there might be possibilities of debris washing ashore," search co-ordinator Peter Foley told reporters in Perth.
Education

UK Announces Hybrid Work/Study Undergraduate Program To Fill Digital Gap 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-a-job dept.
An anonymous reader writes The UK's Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey today revealed a new scheme where undergraduates will be able to avoid student fees and student loans by working for companies for three years whilst simultaneously undertaking academic studies with participating universities, resulting in a degree at the end of their successful involvement in the scheme. The British government will fund two-thirds of the cost of tuition and the host employer the remainder. The "Digital Apprenticeship" scheme will remunerate students at an unspecified level of pay, and though details are currently sketchy, is reported to obviate the need for student loans. The initiative is targeting the skills gap in the digital sector, particularly in the field of web-development and technical analysis.
Piracy

BT Blocking Private Torrent Sites? 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-site-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes This weekend both BT and Sky implemented the new changes, making it harder for their subscribers to reach these sites. Interestingly, however, BT appears to have gone above and beyond the court order, limiting access to various other sites as well. Over the past several days TorrentFreak has received reports from several users of private torrent sites who get an 'error blocked' message instead of their favorite sites. These include the popular IPTorrents.com and TorrentDay.com trackers, as well as scene release site Scnsrc.me. IPTorrents and Torrentday are significant targets. Although both sites require prospective users to obtain an invite from a current member (or from the site itself in exchange for cash), they have over a hundred thousand active users. The error displayed when BT subscribers try to access the above URLs is similar to that returned when users to try access sites covered by High Court injunctions.
Data Storage

Consortium Roadmap Shows 100TB Hard Drives Possible By 2025 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-the-future dept.
Lucas123 writes An industry consortium made up by leading hard disk drive manufacturers shows they expect the areal density of platters to reach 10 terabits per square inch by 2025, which is more than 10 times what it is today. At that density, hard disk drives could conceivably hold up to 100TB of data. Key to achieving greater bit density is Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) and Bit Patterned Media Recording (BPMR). While both HAMR and BPMR will increase density, the combination of both technologies in 2021 will drive it to the 10Tbpsi level, according to the Advanced Storage Technology Consortium (ASTC).
Medicine

Health Advisor: Ebola Still Spreading, Worst Outbreak We've Ever Seen 208

Posted by samzenpus
from the like-wildfire dept.
Lasrick writes After four decades of confining Ebola outbreaks to small areas, experts acknowledged in an October 9 New England Journal of Medicine article that "we were wrong" about the scope of the current situation. At the present transmission rate, the number of Ebola cases in West Africa doubles every two to three weeks. Early diagnosis is the key to controlling the epidemic, but that's far easier said than done: "And there are several complicating factors. For one thing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 60 percent of all Ebola patients remain undiagnosed in their communities." A transmission rate below 1 is necessary to keep the outbreak under control (instead of the current rate of 1.5 to 2), and the authors detail what's in the works to help achieve early detection, which is crucial to reducing the current transmission rate.
Security

Ask Slashdot: Best Biometric Authentication System? 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the eyes-have-it dept.
kwelch007 writes I run a network for a company that does manufacturing primarily in a clean-room. We have many systems in place that track countless aspects of every step. However, we do not have systems in place to identify the specific user performing the step. I could do this easily, but asking users to input their AD login every time they perform a task is a time-waster (we have "shared" workstations throughout.) My question is, what technologies are people actually using successfully for rapid authentication? I've thought about fingerprint scanners, but they don't work because in the CR we have to wear gloves. So, I'm thinking either face-recognition or retinal scans...but am open to other ideas if they are commercially viable.
Technology

Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the our-bad dept.
An anonymous reader writes A malfunction in electronic voting machines in Saline County, Kansas, left over 5,000 votes uncounted. That's roughly one-third of the votes cast. Counting those 5,207 votes didn't change any outcomes in this case however. “That’s a huge difference,” county Chairman Randy Duncan said when notified by the Journal of the error. “That’s scary. That makes me wonder about voting machines. Should we go back to paper ballots?”
Bitcoin

Bitcoin Is Not Anonymous After All 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the pulling-back-the-curtain dept.
Taco Cowboy points out a new study that shows it is possible to figure out the IP address of someone who pays for transactions anonymously online using bitcoins. "The Bitcoin system is not managed by a central authority, but relies on a peer-to-peer network on the Internet. Anyone can join the network as a user or provide computing capacity to process the transactions. In the network, the user's identity is hidden behind a cryptographic pseudonym, which can be changed as often as is wanted. Transactions are signed with this pseudonym and broadcast to the public network to verify their authenticity and attribute the Bitcoins to the new owner. In their new study, researchers at the Laboratory of Algorithmics, Cryptology and Security of the University of Luxembourg have shown that Bitcoin does not protect user's IP address and that it can be linked to the user's transactions in real-time. To find this out, a hacker would need only a few computers and about €1500 per month for server and traffic costs. Moreover, the popular anonymization network "Tor" can do little to guarantee Bitcoin user's anonymity, since it can be blocked easily."
Blackberry

BlackBerry Will Buy Your iPhone For $550 118

Posted by samzenpus
from the please-buy-our-phone dept.
mpicpp points out that BlackBerry is hoping to get iPhone owners to switch to Passport smartphones by promising up to $550 to trade in their phones. "The promotion, which starts Monday, promises as much as $550 to iPhone owners who trade in their handsets in favor of BlackBerry's Passport. The actual trade-in value depends on the iPhone, with the iPhone 4S worth up to $90 and the iPhone 6 worth up to $400. (The iPhone 6 Plus is not eligible.) BlackBerry then sweetens the deal by kicking in an additional $150 as a topper for each iPhone. The deal will run through February 13, but it's good only in North America. Customers must buy the $599 to $699 unlocked Passport phone through either BlackBerry's website or Amazon. The trade-in amount comes in the form of a Visa prepaid card."
Power

Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the super-solar-cop dept.
wbr1 writes Apparently the pit pattern on a blu-ray disk is great at helping trap photons, rather than reflecting them. Applying this pattern to the glass in a solar panel can boost efficiency by 22%. Researchers at Northwestern tested this system with Jackie Chan discs. From the article: "To increase the efficiency of a solar panel by 22%, the researchers at Northwestern bought a copy of Police Story 3: Supercop on Blu-ray; removed the top plastic layer, exposing the recording medium beneath; cast a mold of the quasi-random pattern; and then used the mold to create a photovoltaic cell with the same pattern....The end result is a solar panel that has a quantum efficiency of around 40% — up about 22% from the non-patterned solar panel."
Build

Fly With the Brooklyn Aerodrome (Video) 19

Posted by Roblimo
from the it's-not-a-drone-it's-just-a-model-plane dept.
A bit of housing insulation material, a battery, a motor and propellor, a radio receiver and transmitter, and servos to control the motor and a pair of ailerons, and you're ready to fly the Brooklyn Aerodrome way. This isn't a tiny radio-controlled paper airplane, but a big bruiser with a 1:1 power to weight ratio (which means it can climb like a bat out of hell) and enough guts to fly in reasonably windy conditions while carrying a camera -- except we'd better not mention cameras, since Brooklyn Aerodrome creations, whether kits or plans, are obviously intended tohelp you build model airplanes, not drones. Timothy ran into project proponent Breck Baldwin at a maker faire near Atlanta, surrounded by a squadron of junior pilots who may someday become astronauts on the Moon - Mars run -- or at least delivery drone controllers for Amazon. (Alternate Video Link)
BSD

DragonFly BSD 4.0 Released 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes From the release page: Version 4 of DragonFly brings Haswell graphics support, 3D acceleration, and improved performance in extremely high-traffic networks. DragonFly now supports up to 256 CPUs, Haswell graphics (i915), concurrent pf operation, and a variety of other devices.
The Almighty Buck

Was Microsoft Forced To Pay $136M In Back Taxes In China? 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
itwbennett writes China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency said on Sunday that an unnamed international company was forced to pay 840 million yuan ($136 million) in back taxes, as part of a Chinese government crackdown on tax evasion. The Xinhua article simply referred to it as the "M company," describing it as a top 500 global firm headquartered in the U.S. that in 1995 set up a wholly owned foreign subsidiary in Beijing. The details match Microsoft's own background, and no other company obviously fits the bill. Xinhua added, that despite the company's strengths, its subsidiary in China had not been not making a profit, and posted a loss of over $2 billion during a six-year period.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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