Displays

Ask Slashdot: Best Wireless PC-to-TV Solution? 128 128

jez9999 writes: I have a slightly unusual requirement. I don't want to use some console like an Xbox, Steam Machine, etc. I just have a desktop PC which I use for most of the stuff I do (gaming, video, work, etc.), and it's upstairs. From time to time, I'd like to use it downstairs. Is there a wireless solution that will let me take control of the PC from downstairs, using the TV (HDMI) as the screen, and the TV's speakers to replace my desktop speakers? Ideally there would be a wireless transmitter in the PC, and a downstairs wireless receiver box into which I could plug the keyboard, mouse, and of course, the TV via an HDMI cable. Obviously Bluetooth wireless peripherals won't do for this as there's no line of sight between downstairs and the upstairs PC, and besides, I prefer wired peripherals anyway which I can actually plug in to something (no battery recharging needed).
Security

Research: Industrial Networks Are Vulnerable To Devastating Cyberattacks 71 71

Patrick O'Neill writes: New research into Industrial Ethernet Switches reveals a wide host of vulnerabilities that leave critical infrastructure facilities open to attackers. Many of the vulnerabilities reveal fundamental weaknesses: Widespread use of default passwords, hardcoded encryption keys, a lack of proper authentication for firmware updates, a lack of encrypted connections, and more. Combined with a lack of network monitoring, researchers say the situation showcases "a massive lack of security awareness in the industrial control systems community."
The Internet

Gigabit Internet Access Now Supported By 84 US ISPs 118 118

An anonymous reader writes: According to Michael Render, principal analyst at market researcher RVA LLC, 83 Internet access providers have joined Google to offer gigabit Internet access service (all priced in the $50-$150 per month range).Render's data shows that new subscribers are signing up at an annualized growth rate of 480 percent each year. That "annualized" is an important thing to note, though; this is early days, and adding a few households, relatively speaking, means an impressive percentage change.
Open Source

Video Meet OpenDaylight Project Executive Director Neela Jacques (Video) 14 14

The OpenDaylight Project works on Software Defined Networking. Their website says, "Software Defined Networking (SDN) separates the control plane from the data plane within the network, allowing the intelligence and state of the network to be managed centrally while abstracting the complexity of the underlying physical network." Another quote: it's the "largest software-defined networking Open Source project to date." The project started in 2013. It now has an impressive group of corporate networking heavyweights as sponsors and about 460 developers working on it. Their latest release, Lithium, came out earlier this month, and development efforts are accelerating, not slowing down, because as cloud use becomes more prevalent, so does SDN, which is an obvious "hand-in-glove" fit for virtualized computing.

Today's interview is with OpenDaylight Project Executive Director Nicolas "Neela" Jacques, who has held this position since the project was not much more than a gleam in (parent) Linux Foundation's eye. This is one of the more important Linux Foundation collaborative software projects, even if it's not as well known to the public as some of the foundation's other efforts, including -- of course -- GNU/Linux itself.
Networking

Video How Will IT Workers' Roles Change in the Next Five Years? (Video) 138 138

We asked Sarah Lahav this question. She's founder and CEO of service management and help desk software company SysAid, and a staunch supporter of Sysadmin Appreciation Day, so keeping an eye on the future of IT is essential for her company, her clients, and the friends she's made in her years as an IT person and -- later -- IT service company executive. As she says in the interview, "[Some] people say that the IT person will not exist because everything will go to the cloud. And the other half claims that people from the IT [department] will have new skills. It wouldn’t be the same IT person as we know him now, there will be focus more on firewalls than on fixing computers and stuff like that." Is she right? Is she wrong? Or will changes in IT people's roles be so different from company to company that there is no one right answer?
Google

Google To Provide Free Internet For Public Housing Residents To All Fiber Markets 84 84

VentureBeat, an anonymous reader notes, reports that Google has announced it will expand on an earlier move to provide free internet service to poor Austin residents. Now, rather than for 4300 residents of housing provided by the Housing Authority of Austin, the company "has promised to expand that offering to every other current and future Google Fiber market. The move is part of U.S. President Obama's ConnectHome program, launched by the White House and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the goal of bringing Internet connectivity to more school-aged children and families living in HUD-assisted housing in 27 communities across the country. ... Google promises the program will extend to all its Google Fiber cities."
Networking

Ask Slashdot: VPN Solution To Connect Mixed-Environment Households? 173 173

New submitter RavenLrD20k writes: I am a programmer by trade with a significant amount of training as a Network Administrator (AAS in Computer Networking). I have no problem with how to build three or four separate networks in each location and make them route over the internet. My weakness is in trying to setup a VPN for a secured two-way connection between location A and location B, both mixed OS environments, with the requirement that all of the internet traffic on B gets routed through A first. I've already looked at some boxed solutions, such as LogMeIn Hamachi, but there hasn't been much in the way of mixed environment support. This is a complicated one, so keep reading for more on what RavenLrD20k is trying to accomplish.
The Internet

Undersea Cable Break Disrupts Life In Northern Mariana Islands 102 102

An anonymous reader writes: The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands experienced a devastating undersea cable break on Wednesday, with phone, Internet, SMS, banking services, the National Weather Service office, and airliners all being affected. The US territory depends on a single undersea fiber optic connection with Guam for its connectivity to the outside world (except for a backup microwave link, which was itself damaged during a recent storm). While services are in the process of being restored, this may be a prime example of the need for reliable backup systems in our "always connected" mindset.
Security

Ask Slashdot: Giving Users Extra-Firewall Access For Sites Normally Blocked? 267 267

An anonymous reader writes: My boss and I were having a discussion about our users accessing the internet. He wants the users to be able to log in to the firewall to be able to access external websites that they are normally blocked from accessing. They would get a 45-minute window to do this, and then if they need more time, they need to re-login. (SonicWall does this). I told him that this type of procedure scares the crap out of me, as some users will just keep logging in and doing what we are trying to block them from doing, and they will also be able to access infected websites as well. I think it is in our (the IT staff's) best interest if we continue to allow access to users on a case-by-case basis -- and then turn it off when they have completed their task. I am just curious as to where others stand on this topic. If you are your workplace's BOFH, how much slack do you cut? If you're an employee with unreasonable restrictions, do you bother to get around them?
Networking

New Network Design Exploits Cheap, Power-Efficient Flash Memory 41 41

jan_jes writes: The researchers at MIT were able to make a network of flash-based servers competitive with a network of RAM-based servers by moving a little computational power off of the servers and onto the chips that control the flash drives. Each server connected to a FPGA and each FPGA, in turn, was connected to flash chips and to the two FPGAs nearest it in the server rack. As it is connected to each other, they created a very fast network that allowed any server to retrieve data from any flash drive. Finally, the FPGAs executed the algorithms that preprocessed the data stored on the flash drives.
Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: Measuring (and Constraining) Mobile Data Use? 129 129

An anonymous reader writes: I've carried a smart phone for several years, but for much of that time it's been (and I suspect this is true for anyone for whom money is an object) kept pretty dumb — at least for anything more data-intensive than Twitter and the occasional map checking. I've been using more of the smart features lately (Google Drive and Keep are seductive.) Since the data package can be expensive, though, and even though data is cheaper than it used to be, that means I don't check Facebook often, or upload pictures to friends by email, unless I'm in Wi-Fi zone (like home, or a coffee shop, etc). Even so, it seems I'm using more data than I realized, and I'd like to keep it under the 2GB allotment I'm paying for. I used to think half a gig was generous, but now I'm getting close to that 2GB I've paid for, most months.

This makes me a little paranoid, which leads to my first question: How accurate are carriers' own internal tools for measuring use, and do you recommend any third-party apps for keeping track of data use? Ideally, I'd like a detailed breakdown by app, over time: I don't think I'm at risk for data-stealing malware on my phone (the apps I use are either built-in, or plain-vanilla ones from Google's store, like Instagram, Twitter's official client, etc.), but of course really well-crafted malware would be tough to guard against or to spot. And even if they can be defeated, more and more sites (Facebook, for one) now play video just because I've rolled over a thumbnail.
Read on for second part of the question.
Open Source

What Goes Into a Decision To Take Software From Proprietary To Open Source 45 45

Lemeowski writes: It's not often that you get to glimpse behind the curtain and see what led a proprietary software company to open source its software. Last year, the networking software company Midokura made a strategic decision to open source its network virtualization platform MidoNet, to address fragmentation in the networking industry. In this interview, Midokura CEO and CTO Dan Mihai Dumitriu explains the company's decision to give away fours years of engineering to the open source community, how it changed the way its engineers worked, and the lessons learned along the way. Among the challenges was helping engineers overcome the culture change of broadcasting their work to a broader community.
Networking

Scientists Overcome One of the Biggest Limits In Fiber Optic Networks 62 62

Mark.JUK writes: Researchers at the University of California in San Diego have demonstrated a way of boosting transmissions over long distance fiber optic cables and removing crosstalk interference, which would mean no more need for expensive electronic regenerators (repeaters) to keep the signal stable. The result could be faster and cheaper networks, especially on long-distance international subsea cables. The feat was achieved by employing a frequency comb, which acts a bit like a concert conductor; the person responsible for tuning multiple instruments in an orchestra to the same pitch at the beginning of a concert. The comb was used to synchronize the frequency variations of the different streams of optical information (optical carriers) and thus compensate in advance for the crosstalk interference, which could also then be removed.

As a result the team were able to boost the power of their transmission some 20 fold and push data over a "record-breaking" 12,000km (7,400 miles) long fiber optic cable. The data was still intact at the other end and all of this was achieved without using repeaters and by only needing standard amplifiers.
Facebook

FB Reveals Woeful Diversity Numbers 256 256

theodp writes: There's more work to do," said Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams, who issued a straight-out-of-How-to-Lie-With-Statistics diversity update on Thursday that essentially consisted of a handful of bar charts labeled with only percentages for select measures of the social networking giant's current demographics. In search of real numbers, the Guardian turned to Facebook's most recent Equal Employment Opportunity report filing, which showed that the ranks of black employees swelled by a grand total of seven (7) (1 woman) in the year covered by the filing, during which time Facebook saw an overall headcount increase of 1,231. Comparing Facebook's new bar charts of US tech employees to those issued last year shows the proportion of Hispanic and Black employees remained flat at 3% and 1% respectively, while a decline in the proportion of white employees from 53% to 51% was offset by an increase in the proportion of Asian employees from 41% to 43%.
Networking

Huawei, Proximus Demo 1Tb/sec Optical Network Transmission 40 40

Amanda Parker writes: Proximus and Huawei have demonstrated speeds of 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) in an optical trial. The speed, which equates to the transmission of 33 HD films in a second, is the first outcome of the partnership between the two companies which was formed in January. The trial was conducted over a 1,040 kilometre fibre link using an advanced 'Flexgrid' infrastructure with Huawei's Optical Switch Node OSN 9800 platform.
Education

New Google and CMU Moonshot: the 'Teacherless Classroom' 89 89

theodp writes: At the behest of Google, Carnegie Mellon University will largely replace formal lectures in a popular introductory Data Structures and Algorithms course this fall with videos and a social networking tool to accommodate more students. The idea behind the multi-year research project sponsored by Google — CMU will receive $200,000 in the project's first year — is to find a way to leverage existing faculty to meet a growing demand for computer science courses, while also expanding the opportunities for underrepresented minorities, high school students and community college students, explained Jacobo Carrasquel, associate teaching professor of CS. "As we teach a wider diversity of students, with different backgrounds, we can no longer teach to 'the middle,'" Carrasquel said. "When you do that, you're not aiming at the 20 percent of the top students or the 20 percent at the bottom." The move to a "teacherless classroom" for CS students at CMU [tuition $48K] comes on the heels of another Google CS Capacity Award-inspired move at Stanford [tuition $45K], where Pair Programming was adopted in a popular introductory CS class to "reduce the increasingly demanding workload for section leaders due to high enrollment and also help students to develop important collaboration skills."
Networking

5G Network Speed Defined As 20 Gbps By the International Telecommunication Union 81 81

An anonymous reader writes with a report at Mobipicker (linking to a Korea Times story) that a 12-member committee from the International Telecommunication Union has hashed out a formal definition of the speed requirements for 5G mobile networking; the result has been designated IMT-2020, and it specifies that 5G networks should provide data speeds of up to 20Gbps -- 20 times faster than 4G. From the Korea Times story: The 5G network will also have a capacity to provide more than 100 megabits-per-second average data transmission to over one million Internet of Things devices within 1 square kilometer. Video content services, including ones that use holography technology, will also be available thanks to the expanded data transmit capacity, the ministry said. ... The union also decided to target commercializing the 5G network worldwide by 2020. To do so, it will start receiving applications for technology which can be candidates to become the standard for the new network. Consequently, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will be the world's first international event to showcase and demonstrate 5G technology.
Google

Google Pulling Back the Veil On Its Custom-Built Data Centers 47 47

jfruh writes: In the mid-'00s, as Google scaled up its data centers to meet increasing demand, "we could not buy, for any price, a data-center network that would meet the requirements of our distributed systems," says Amin Vahdat, the company's networking technical lead. So they had to build their own software-defined networks inside what were essentially vast warehouse-sized computers. And now the company is starting to tell the world how they did it.
Crime

FBI Investigating Series of Fiber Cuts In San Francisco Bay Area 168 168

jfruh writes: Ten times over four separate nights in the past year, telecom cables have been mysteriously cut in various locations around the San Francisco Bay Area. Now the FBI is investigating the incidents as potential sabotage. ITWorld reports: "In the past year, there were 10 instances on four separate nights when telecom cables were intentionally cut in Fremont, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Berkeley and San Jose, the agency said Monday. FBI Special Agent Greg Wuthrich said it's unclear if the incidents are unrelated or the work of a single person or group, but the FBI is keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious."
Networking

Cuba's Answer To the Internet Fits In Your Pocket and Moves By Bus 78 78

HughPickens.com writes: Susan Crawford reports on "El Paquete" (the package), Cuba's answer to the internet, an informal but extraordinarily lucrative distribution chain where anyone in Cuba who can pay can watch telenovelas, first-run Hollywood movies, and even search for a romantic partner. The so-called "weekly package," which is normally distributed from house to house contains the latest foreign films a week, shows, TV series, documentaries, games, information, music, and more. The thumb drives make their way across the island from hand to hand, by bus, and by 1957 Chevy, their contents copied and the drive handed on. "El Paquete plays to Cuban strengths and needs," writes Crawford because Cubans are great at sharing. "And being paid to be part of the thumb-drive supply chain is a respectable job in an economy that is desperately short on employment opportunities." Sunday the "weekly package" of 1 terabyte is priced at $ 10, then $2 on Monday or Tuesday and $1 for the rest of the week.

The sneakernet is still in use today in other parts of the world including Bhutan where a sneakernet distributes offline educational resources, including Kiwix and Khan Academy on a Stick to hundreds of schools and other educational institutions. Google once used a sneaknet to transport 120 TB of data from the Hubble Space Telescope. "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of magnetic tapes hurtling down the highway".