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Stats

Older Workers Are Better At Adapting To New Technology, Study Finds (cio.com) 219

"Don't let the millennial buzz fool you. Older workers handle and adapt to new systems better than younger people," writes CIO magazine. Slashdot reader itwbennett writes: A survey by London-based market research firm Ipsos Mori, sponsored by Dropbox, found that older workers are less likely to find using technology in the workplace stressful and experience less trouble working with multiple devices than the younger cohort.
Millennials "are used to using tech in their personal lives that's pretty darn good," suggests one Dropbox executive, "and that raises the expectations of what tech can be in their professional lives... So younger people will feel frustration at tools that are not up to snuff." Out of 4,000 information workers who were surveyed in the U.S. and Europe, 37% of the 18-34-year-old group reported trouble with multiple devices, compared to just 13% of respondents over 55.
Data Storage

8TB Drives Are Highly Reliable, Says Backblaze (yahoo.com) 209

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Yahoo News: Cloud backup and storage provider Backblaze has published its hard drive stats for Q2 2016. Yahoo News reports: "The report is based on data drives, not boot drives, that are deployed across the company's data centers in quantities of 45 or more. According to the report, the company saw an annualized failure rate of 19.81 percent with the Seagate ST4000DX000 4TB drive in a quantity of 197 units working 18,428 days. The next in line was the WD WD40EFRX 4TB drive in a quantity of 46 units working 4,186 days. This model had an annualized failure rate of 8.72 percent for that quarter. The company's report also notes that it finally introduced 8TB hard drives into its fold: first with a mere 45 8TB HGST units and then over 2,700 units from Seagate crammed into the company's Blackblaze Vaults, which include 20 Storage Pods containing 45 drives each. The company moved to 8TB drives to optimize storage density. According to a chart provided in the report, the 8TB drives are highly reliable. The HGST HDS5C8080ALE600 worked for 22,858 days and only saw two failures, generating an annualized failure rate of 3.20 percent. The Seagate ST8000DM002 worked for 44,000 days and only saw four failures, generating an annual failure rate of 3.30 percent." For comparison, Backblaze's reliability report for Q1 2016 can be found here.

UPDATE 8/2/16: Corrected Seagate Model "DT8000DM002" to "ST8000DM002."
The Almighty Buck

Dark Patterns Across the Web Are Designed To Trick You 128

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Harry Brignell has posted a 30-minute video documenting dark patterns, deliberately confusing or deceptive user interfaces (not exclusive to the internet) that trick users into setting up recurring payments, purchasing items added to a shopping cart, or spamming all contacts through pre-checked forms on Facebook games for example. Basically, they're tactics used by online services to get users to do things they wouldn't normally do. Yael Grauer has written an in-depth report on Ars Technica about dark patterns, where he discusses Brignull's work with UX designers and business executives: "Klein [Principal at Users Known and author of UX for Lean Startups] believes many of the worst dark patterns are pushed by businesses, not by designers. 'It's often pro-business at the expense of the users, and the designers often see themselves as the defender or advocate of the user,' she explained. And although Brignull has never been explicitly asked to design dark patterns himself, he said he has been in situations where using them would be an easy solution -- like when a client or boss says they really need a large list of people who have opted in to marketing e-mails. 'The first and easiest trick to have an opt-in is to have a pre-ticked checkbox, but then you can just get rid of that entirely and hide it in the terms of conditions and say that by registering you're going to be opted in to our e-mails,' Brignull said. 'Then you have a 100-percent sign-up rate and you've exceeded your goals. I kind of understand why people do it. If you're only thinking about the numbers and you're just trying to juice the stats, then it's not surprising in the slightest.' 'There's this logical positivist mindset that the only things that have value are those things that can be measured and can empirically be shown to be true, and while that has its merits it also takes us down a pretty dark place,' said digital product designer Cennydd Bowles, who is researching ethical design. 'We start to look at ethics as pure utilitarianism, whatever benefits the most people. Yikes, it has problems.'" Brignull's website has a number of examples of deliberately confusing or deceptive user interfaces.
Stats

Linux Grabs More Than 2% of Desktop Market Share (w3counter.com) 249

LichtSpektren writes: W3Counter's stats for June 2016 are in, and Linux desktop accounts for 2.48% of all web visits from tracked websites... (Android is counted separately from "Linux desktop.")
Meanwhile, NetMarketShare shows Linux with a 2.02% share of the desktop market. And StatCounter shows a more detailed breakdown of the top 7 operating systems, with Windows 7 at 42.02%, Windows 10 at 21.88%, OSX at 9.94%, Windows 8.1 at 8.66%, Windows XP at 6.5%, and another 4.06% for "Unknown" (which is roughly tied with "Other") -- beating Windows 8.0 at 3.52%. In May they also reported another thought-provoking statistic: that Firefox's browser usage had surpassed that of IE and Edge combined for the first time.
Security

Crypto Ransomware Attacks Have Jumped 500% In The Last Year (onthewire.io) 36

Kaspersky Lab is reporting that the last year saw a 500% increase in the number of users who encountered crypto ransomware. Trailrunner7 shares an article from On The Wire: Data compiled by Kaspersky researchers from the company's cloud network shows that from April 2015 to March 2016, the volume of crypto ransomware encountered by users leapt from 131,111 to 718,536. That's a massive increase, especially considering the fact that ransomware is a somewhat mature threat. It didn't just burst onto the scene a couple of years ago. Kaspersky's researchers said the spike in crypto ransomware can be attributed to a small group of variants. "Looking at the malware groups that were active in the period covered by this report, it appears that a rather short list of suspects is responsible for most of the trouble caused by crypto-ransomware..."

It's difficult to overstate how much of an effect the emergence of ransomware has had on consumers, enterprises, and the security industry itself. The FBI has been warning users about crypto ransomware for some time now, and has consistently advised victims not to pay any ransoms. Security researchers have been publishing decryption tools for specific ransomware variants and law enforcement agencies have had some success in taking down ransomware gangs.

Enterprise targets now account for 13% of ransomware attacks, with attackers typically charging tens of thousands of dollars, the article reports, and "Recent attacks on networks at the University of Calgary and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center have demonstrated the brutal effectiveness of this strategy."
The Internet

Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends Report: Messaging Apps Could Rival Home Screen (techcrunch.com) 32

Mary Meeker, a former Morgan Stanley internet analyst and now partner at venture-capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, has delivered her annual report that offers critical stats and trends about how technology is evolving. TechCrunch has highlighted the takeaways from the report: 1) The global internet adoption rate was flat year-over-year at 9%, reaching 3 billion users or 42% of the world's population.
2) Smartphone adoption's growth is slowing, while Android increases marketshare despite a shrinking average selling price.
3) Video viewership is exploding, with Snapchat and Facebook Live showing the way, though video ads aren't always effective.
4) Messaging is dominated by Facebook and WeChat, it's growing rapidly, and evolving from simple text communication to become our new home screen with options for vivid self-expression and commerce.
5) US advertising is growing, with Google and Facebook controlling 76% of the market and rising, but advertisers still spend too much on legacy media rather than new media where the audience has shifted.
6) Meeker predicts the rise of voice interfaces because they're fast, easy, personalized, hands-free, and cheap, with Google on Android now seeing 20% of searches from voice, and Amazon Echo sales growing as iPhone sales slow.

AI

Study Indicates Americans Don't Trust AI (digitaltrends.com) 151

Taco Cowboy writes: It may be brilliant, but it's not all that trustworthy. That appears to be the opinion Americans hold when it comes to Artificial Intelligence systems... And while we may be interacting with AI systems more frequently than we realize (hi, Siri), a new study from Time etc suggests that Americans don't believe the AI revolution is quite here yet, with 54 percent claiming to have never interacted with such a system

The more interesting finding reveals that 26 percent of respondents said they would not trust an AI with any personal or professional task. Sure, sending a text message or making a phone call is fine, but 51 percent said they'd be uncomfortable sharing personal data with an AI system. Moreover, 23 percent of Americans who say they have interacted with an AI reported being dissatisfied with the experience.

I thought it was interesting that 66% of the respondents said they'd be uncomfortable sharing financial data with an AI, while 53% said they'd be uncomfortable sharing professional data.
Cloud

Ubuntu Linux Continues To Dominate OpenStack and Other Clouds (zdnet.com) 23

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: One reason Ubuntu is increasing its lead is that Jujo, Canonical's application modeling and deployment DevOps tool, has been gaining in popularity. In the latest OpenStack user survey, we see that OpenStack is finally gaining real momentum in private clouds. We also see that Ubuntu Linux is continuing to dominate OpenStack. As Canonical cloud marketing manager Bill Bauman said, "Ubuntu OpenStack continues to dominate the majority of deployments with 55 percent of production OpenStack clouds. The previous survey showed Ubuntu OpenStack at 33 percent of production clouds. Ubuntu has seen almost 67 percent growth in an area where Ubuntu was already the market leader. These numbers are a huge testament to the community support Ubuntu OpenStack receives every day." The Cloud Market's latest analysis of operating systems on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) shows Ubuntu with just over 215,000 instances. Ubuntu is followed by Amazon's own Amazon Linux Amazon Machine Image (AMI), with 86,000 instances. Further back, you'll find Windows with 26,000 instances. In fourth and fifth place, respectively, you'll find Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with 16,500 instances and then CentOS with 12,500 instances.
Communications

The Guardian Publishes Comment Abuse Stats, Invites Debate On Moderation (theguardian.com) 303

AmiMoJo writes: British newspaper The Guardian has published some stats on its popular comment sections attached to each story. So far the Guardian's site has received 70 million comments, of which around 2% were removed for violation of community standards. Articles written by women tended to get the most blocked comments, especially if they were in male-writer dominated sections like sports and technology, while fashion was one of the few areas where men got more abuse. Further down the article the reader is invited to moderate some sample comments and see how their actions compared to those of the paper's staff. You can leave suggestions for improvement here.
IOS

More Devs Now Use OS X Than Linux, Says Survey (9to5mac.com) 532

An anonymous reader writes from an article on 9to5Mac: Stack Overflow reports that more developers now use OS X than Linux as their primary OS, and that if the trend continues, fewer than half of all developers will be using Windows next year. The site says it carried out "the most comprehensive developer survey ever conducted," with more than 56,000 coders across 173 countries taking part.
The survey also mentioned more were still developing for Android than iOS -- 61.9% versus 47.5%. However, almost a third of developers are using Swift, which was also the second most loved language after Rust.
Government

Study Finds 3 Laws Could Reduce Firearm Deaths By 90% (meta.com) 819

An anonymous reader writes: The study, published in The Lancet, used a cross-sectional, state-level dataset relating to a host of topics associated with firearm mortality including gun ownership and even unemployment from across the U.S. to examine the relationship between recorded gun deaths and gun-control legislation. The study found that some laws, such as those that restrict gun access to children through locks and age restrictions, were simply ineffective while others, such as the stand-your-ground law that allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, actually increase gun-related deaths significantly. According to the study's model, a federal law expanding background checks for all gun purchases could reduce the national gun death rate by 57%, lowering it from 10.35 to 4.46 per 100,000 people while background checks for all ammunition purchases could lower the rate by 81% to 1.99 per 100,000 and firearm identification could reduce it by 83% to 1.81 per 100,000. If the federal government implemented all three laws, the scholars predict that the overall national rate of firearm deaths would drop by over 90% to 0.16 per 100,000.
United States

This Was America's Warmest Winter On Record (slate.com) 446

hondo77 writes: On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its official assessment of December, January, and February's temperatures across the United States, and the results are striking: Not a single state in the U.S. had a cooler than average winter. (NOAA treats Alaska and Hawaii separately, due to shorter weather data records there -- though both states were significantly warmer than normal this winter. Weather records for the contiguous United States go back to 1895.) NOAA blames the recent warm weather on a record-strength El Nino "and other climate patterns," most notably, global warming. As a whole, this winter in the lower 48 was about 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average: a sharp contrast to the previous back-to-back frigid polar vortex winters, especially in the Northeast.
Stats

Many Surveys, About One In Five, May Contain Fraudulent Data (sciencemag.org) 115

sciencehabit writes: How often do people conducting surveys simply fabricate some or all of the data? Several high-profile cases of fraud over the past few years have shone a spotlight on that question, but the full scope of the problem has remained unknown. [Tuesday], at a meeting in Washington, D.C., a pair of well-known researchers presented a statistical test for detecting fabricated data in survey answers. When they applied it to more than 1000 public data sets from international surveys, a worrying picture emerged: About one in five of the surveys failed, indicating a high likelihood of fabricated data.
Microsoft

Microsoft Telemetry Collection, Explained (theregister.co.uk) 213

New submitter Poohsticks writes: There's a nice breakdown of the updated information from Microsoft about what they are doing with the telemetry data that Windows 10 is collecting (original Technet article here) by Chris Williams at The Register. Interesting finds that better explain what's happening with that data (and how to control it).
Security

Airport Experiment Shows That People Recklessly Connect To Any Free Wi-Fi Spot (softpedia.com) 197

An anonymous reader writes: Avast carried out a curious experiment at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress. They've set up 3 public Wi-Fi spots at the local airport and waited to see how many users would connect. In just 4 hours, more than 2,000 users used the free hotspots, despite the fact that they knew nothing about the WiFi network, if it was safe, or who was running it. Researchers randomly logged some traffic stats just to prove a point about how easy is to hack users on a public WiFi network. They also recommended using a mobile VPN app when navigating the Web via public WiFi.
Security

IRS Warns Of 400% Flood In Phishing and Malware This Tax Year Alone (networkworld.com) 42

coondoggie writes: There has been a 400% surge in phishing and malware incidents in this tax season alone, the Internal Revenue Service warned this week. According to the IRS, there have been thousands of phony emails aimed at fooling taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including from many tax software companies.
Data Storage

Backblaze Dishes On Drive Reliability In their 50k+ Disk Data Center 145

Online backup provider Backblaze runs hard drives from several manufacturers in its data center (56,224, they say, by the end of 2015), and as you'd expect, the company keeps its eye on how well they work. Yesterday they published a stats-heavy look at the performance, and especially the reliability, of all those drives, which makes fun reading, even if you're only running a drive or ten at home. One upshot: they buy a lot of Seagate drives. Why? A relevant observation from our Operations team on the Seagate drives is that they generally signal their impending failure via their SMART stats. Since we monitor several SMART stats, we are often warned of trouble before a pending failure and can take appropriate action. Drive failures from the other manufacturers appear to be less predictable via SMART stats.
Earth

Last January Was the Hottest Global Temperature Anomaly In Recorded History 393

merbs writes: NASA has released its global temperature data for January 2016, and, once again, the record for the hottest month in recorded history has been shattered. At a time when these kinds of records are broken with some regularity, it takes a particularly scorching month to raise eyebrows in the climate science community. It has to be the hottest hottest month by a pretty hot margin. Sure enough, last January did the trick: It was 1.13 C warmer than the global average of 1951-1980 (the benchmark NASA uses to measure warming trends)—in other words, a full 2F warmer than pre-1980 levels.
Stats

Video Gamers From the '90s Have Turned Out Mostly OK (arstechnica.com) 239

A study reported on by Ars Technica indicates that video games, much ballyhooed (alleged) source of mental, physical and psycho-social ills for the kids who spent a lot of time playing them, don't seem to have had quite as big a negative effect on those kids as the moral panic of the past few decades would have you believe. Instead, There didn't seem to be an association between the number of games the children reported owning and an increase in risk for conduct disorder. When examining depression among shoot-em-up players, there was evidence for increased risk before the researchers controlled for all the confounding factors, but not afterwards. Of course, there's a lot of data to go around in the several studies referred to here, and the upshot seems to both less exciting and less simple than "Video games are good, not bad!"
Social Networks

Facebook Knocks "Six Degrees of Separation" Down a Few Notches (i-programmer.info) 89

mikejuk writes: Six degrees of separation is the, already well established, idea that any individual is connected to any other via six network nodes. New research has discovered that the average between Facebook users is just three and a half: "We know that people are more connected today than ever before. Over the past five years, the global Facebook community has more than doubled in size. Today we're announcing that during that same time period, the degrees of separation between a typical pair of Facebook users has continued to decrease to 3.57 degrees, down from 3.74 degrees in 2011. This is a significant reflection of how closely connected the world has become." This may all be true and Facebook makes us better connected, but it leaves the question of the quality of the connections open. Are Facebook friends anything like real friends?

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