An anonymous reader writes "In April, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced that the Nissan NV200 minivan had won a citywide competition to replace the current cab model, the Ford Crown Victoria, in a phased-in period of five years. Cab owners sued, pointing out that New York City law requires that hybrid electric models be available for immediate use for cab medallion owners; that excludes the current Nissan NV200, with its 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder engine rated at a combined 24 mpg. The NV200 also has poor accessibility for wheelchair users. After a state judge blocked the mayor's plan, Bloomberg allegedly told the CEO of Taxi Club Management at a private club, 'Come January 1st, when I am out of office, I am going to destroy your f--king industry.' Tim Fernholz of Quartz speculates that Bloomberg (a billionaire) may be planning to launch a cab-hailing service like Uber, which was just allowed back onto the streets of New York, with significant limitations."
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davecb writes "Paul E. McKenney, one of the Linux RCU implementors, addresses the problem of synchronization using structured deferral on, what else, Mr Schrödinger's famous cat. Courtesy of deferral/procrastination, the cat can be both alive and dead at the same time. 'In this example, Schrödinger would like to construct an in-memory database to keep track of the animals in his zoo. Births would of course result in insertions into this database, while deaths would result in deletions. The database is also queried by those interested in the health and welfare of Schrödinger's animals. Schrödinger has numerous short-lived animals such as mice, resulting in high update rates. In addition, there is a surprising level of interest in the health of Schrödinger's cat, so much so that Schrödinger sometimes wonders whether his mice are responsible for most of these queries. Regardless of their source, the database must handle the large volume of cat-related queries without suffering from excessive levels of contention. Both accesses and updates are typically quite short, involving accessing or mutating an in-memory data structure, and therefore synchronization overhead cannot be ignored.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Twilio's Jon Gottfried has written an article about the lessons he's learned after six months of developing software for Google Glass. He has some insightful points: 'I expected it to be very similar to building mobile applications for Android. In fact, I began learning to build Android applications in preparation. My efforts were for naught, because the Mirror API is a RESTful web service. This means that developing applications for Glass is actually more similar to building a website than it is to building an Android application.' He also talks about how this fits in with the future of technology: 'I would argue that Google took the only option available to them. The only truly scalable products of the future will be developer platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Twilio, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Arduino – all of these products have been successful in large part by embracing and empowering their developer communities. No company is omniscient enough to imagine every potential use of their products. This gives developers an immense amount of power to define the success or failure of an entire product line.'"
An anonymous reader writes "As we in the U.S. settle in for Memorial Day weekend, this article points out how our cultural addiction to technology is making it less of a vacation than it used to be. 'The average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes. Meanwhile, government data from 2011 says 35 percent of us work on weekends, and those who do average five hours of labor, often without compensation — or even a thank you. The other 65 percent were probably too busy to answer surveyors' questions.' Even for those of us who don't have any work to do over the weekend, we'll probably end up reading all of our work-related emails as they roll in, and take time out of our day to think about what's going on — to the detriment of our weekend activities: 'A study at the University of California, San Francisco, found that new experiences fail to become long-term memories unless brains have downtime for review.' I imagine it's even worse for your average Slashdotter, who's likely plugged in to more technology at home and at work. How can we make our employers understand that downtime needs to remain downtime? 'It took labor unions 100 years to fight for nights and weekends off, some say, while smartphones took them away in about three years.'"
New submitter home-electro.com writes "In the era of total CAD and CAM, is it even possible to come up with a fundamentally flawed design ? Turns out, yes. This a fascinating engineering SNAFU. Spain's newly built submarine is 100 tons too heavy, which means it is unable to float. 'Unfortunately for the Spainards, Quartz reports that they have already sunk the equivalent of $680 million into the Isaac Peral, and a total of $3 billion into the entire quartet of S-80 class submarines. If Spain hopes to salvage its submarines, it must either find some weight that can be trimmed from the current design or lengthen the ship to accommodate the excess weight, The Local notes. Though the latter option is more feasible, it is expected to cost Spain an extra $9.7 million per meter.'"
00_NOP writes "'Universal Credit' — the plan to consolidate all Britain's welfare payments into one — is the world's biggest 'agile' software development project. It is now close to collapse, the British government admitted yesterday. The failure, if and when it comes, could cost billions and have dire social consequences. 'Some steps have been taken to try to rescue the project. The back end – the benefits calculation – has reportedly been shifted to a "waterfall" development process – which offers some assurances that the government at least takes its fiduciary duties seriously as it should mean no code will be deployed that has not been finished. The front end – the bit used by humans – is still meant to be “agile” – which makes some sense, but where is the testing? Agile is supposed to be about openness between developer and client and we – the taxpayers – are the clients: why can’t we see what our money is paying for?'"
An anonymous reader writes "Google has sent letters to app developers registered in Argentina saying they won't be able to accept payments on developers' behalf after June 27th. 'The change applies to both paid apps and apps that use in-app purchases. The move appears to be related to new, restrictive regulations the Argentine government has imposed on currency exchanges.' According to the Telegraph, 'The new regulations required anyone wanting to change Argentine pesos into another currency to submit an online request for permission to AFIP, the Argentine equivalent of HM Revenue & Customs. To submit the request, however, you first needed to get a PIN from AFIP, either online or in person. Having finally obtained your number, submitted your online request and printed out your permission slip, you could then present it at the bank or official cambio and buy your dollars. Well, that was the theory. In practice, the result was chaos. ... damming the flood has come at a huge cost to the economy, especially since the currency restrictions were coupled with another set of regulations that effectively imposed a near-total ban on any imported goods.'"
stry_cat writes "You may remember the story of Brandon Raub, who was detained without due process over some Facebook posts he made. Now with the help of the Rutherford Institute, he is suing his captors. According to his complaint [PDF], his detention was part of a federal government program code-named 'Operation Vigilant Eagle,' which monitors military veterans with certain political views."
An anonymous reader writes "When it comes to spotting malware, signature-based detection, heuristics and cloud-based recognition and information sharing used by many antivirus solutions today work well up a certain point, but the polymorphic malware still gives them a run for their money. At the annual AusCert conference held this week in Australia a doctorate candidate from Deakin University in Melbourne has presented the result of his research and work that just might be the solution to this problem. Security researcher Silvio Cesare had noticed that malware code consists of small "structures" that remain the same even after moderate changes to its code. He created Simseer, a free online service that performs automated analysis on submitted malware samples and tells and shows you just how similar they are to other submitted specimens. It scores the similarity between malware (any kind of software, really), and it charts the results and visualizes program relationships as an evolutionary tree."
DeviceGuru writes "BeagleBoard.org has begun shipping its faster, cheaper BeagleBone Black SBC with a new Linux 3.8 kernel, supporting Device Tree technology for more streamlined ARM development. The $45 BeagleBone Black runs Linux or Android on a 1GHz TI Sitara AM3359 SOC, doubles the RAM to 512MB of its predecessor, and adds a micro-HDMI port. The updated kernel gives the BeagleBone Black access to a new Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) display driver architecture, as well as full support for the Device Tree data structure introduced to streamline ARM development in Linux 3.7. The project was hesitant to move up to such a recent kernel, but decided it was time to bite the bullet and support the Device Tree. By doing the hard work of switching to Device Tree now, BeagleBoard.org and its developer community can save a lot of configuration and maintenance headaches down the line, says BeagleBoard.org co-founder Jason Kridner. Fortunately, a modified 3.2 kernel 'coming soon' should provide the necessary bridge from the old cape driver architecture to the new one."
Krystalo writes "In a nod towards the modding community and hackers in general, Google has released the first factory system image and rooted bootloader for the latest version, XE5, of Google Glass. Nevertheless, the company is at the same time warning that using these downloads will result in a voided warranty for the experimental device."
kgeiger writes "The next billion customers have to come from somewhere. The Wall Street Journal today reports that Google will fund, deploy, and manage wireless networks in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. From the article: 'The Silicon Valley company is deep in the throes of a multipronged effort to fund, build and help run wireless networks in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, said people familiar with the strategy. The wireless networks would be available to dwellers outside of major cities where wired Internet connections aren't available and could be used to improve Internet speeds in urban centers, these people said.'"
gadzook33 writes "I had an interesting experience at work recently. A colleague suggested during a meeting that we were building something that would make it far too easy for the customer to perform a certain task; a task that my colleague felt was deleterious. Without going into specifics, I believe an apt analogy would be giving everyone in the country a flying car. While this would no doubt be enjoyable, without proper training and regulation it would also be tremendously dangerous (also assume training and regulating is not practical in this case). I retorted that ours is not to reason why, and that we had the responsibility to develop the best possible solution, end of story. However, in the following days I have begun to doubt my position and wonder if we don't have some responsibility to artificially 'cripple' the solution and in doing so protect the user from themselves (build a car that stays on the ground). I do not for a second imagine that I am playing the part of Oppenheimer; this is a much more practical issue and less of an ethical one. But is there something to this?"
phrackthat writes "A UC Berkeley group, in a bid to drive down the costs of 3-D printing, has been focusing on more natural materials such as salt, wood, ceramics and concrete (the last two, while not naturally occurring, are made of naturally occurring components). The use of these materials create new avenues for architecture, such as printing buildings. Professor Ronald Rael, the head of the project, stated that these materials and the designs they enable will require new IP protections — 'This is going to require some IP protection for designs, so if you design architecture in the computer, you're protected, just as music and movies are.' I wonder if he's ever heard of design patents?"
An anonymous reader writes "A California user of Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic internet service put his unlimited data plan to the test. Over the month of March, he totaled over 77 terabytes of internet traffic, which finally prompted a call from a Verizon employee to see what he was doing. The user had switched to a 300Mbps/65Mbps plan in January, and averaged 50 terabytes of traffic per month afterward. 'An IT professional who manages a test lab for an Internet storage company, [the user] has been providing friends and family a personal VPN, video streaming, and peer-to-peer file service—running a rack of seven servers with 209TB of raw storage in his house.' The Verizon employee who contacted him said he was violating the service agreement. "Basically he said that my bandwidth usage was excessive (like 30,000 percent higher than their average customer)," [the user] said. '[He] wanted to know WTF I was doing. I told him I have a full rack and run servers, and then he said, "Well, that's against our ToS." And he said I would need to switch to the business service or I would be disconnected in July. It wasn't a super long call.'"
Falc0n writes "Many of us don't have to look too far back to recall the impact of a natural disaster: Sandy, Chelyabinsk, Lushan, and now Oklahoma. When they occur there is typically no shortage of assistance available, but coordination is always a major challenge. In a very open source way, about 60 open source developers, designers, and sys admins came together to build a scalable tool to help those affected by the tornado. If you're interested in helping the effort, join us in irc.freenode.net #drupal4ok"
jfruh writes "Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have long hoped that the information they've gathered about you will help them create better targeted and more lucrative advertising, even though advertisers never see your personal data directly. But now Twitter is upping the ante, creating a new kind of card that encourages you to give your contact information directly to people who want to sell you things. For instance, Priceline has a new card with a 'sign up and save' button that saves you 10% on a hotel — and, though it isn't made explicit, adds your Twitter handle and contact information to a Priceline mailing list. There's nothing to stop Twitter from handing this info — including your phone number, if you've registered it with the service — to salesmen."
judgecorp writes "BT has demonstrated an 800Gbps 'superchannel' on a 410km fiber in its core network, which was not able to carry 10Gbps channels using older technology. The superchannel is an advanced dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) technique, created by combining multiple coherent optical signals into one channel, which had previously been shown in laboratory tests. BT ran the test on a fiber with optical characteristics (high polarization mode dispersion) that made it unsuitable for 10GBps using current techniques. That's a good result for BT, because it means its existing core fiber network can be upgraded to handle more data. It's also a good customer story for Ciena, which makes the optical switches used in the test."
lukehopewell1 writes "'Untraceable, undetectable, cheap and freely available.' That's how Australian police have described the 3D-printable gun known as The Liberator today as they announce that they will be seeking to make the download, construction and possession of these weapons illegal. In their tests, Police printed the 15 parts required to assemble The Liberator in 27 hours and assembled it within 60 seconds with a firing pin fashioned out of a steel nail. The two guns were test fired into a block of resin designed to simulate human muscle, and the first bullet penetrated the resin block up to 17 centimeters. NSW Police Ballistics division confirm that it would be a fatal wound if pointed at someone."
coondoggie writes "When to comes to offering warm yet visually efficient lighting, LEDs have a long way to go. But scientists with the University of Georgia and Oak Ridge and Argonne national laboratories are looking at new family of crystals they say glow different colors and hold the key for letting white LED light shine in homes and offices as well as natural sunlight."