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Operating Systems

Fedora 25 Alpha Linux Distro Now Available (betanews.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Today, Fedora 25 Alpha sees a release. While the pre-release distribution is not ready for end users, it does give testers an early start at poking around.
Keep in mind what an Alpha release is folks -- this is pre-Beta. In other words, it is littered with bugs, and you should definitely not run it on a production machine. There are already some show-stopping known issues -- a couple are related to dual-booting with Windows (scary). One bug can destroy OS X data when dual-booting on a Mac!

NASA

EmDrive: NASA Eagleworks' Peer-Reviwed Paper Is On Its Way (ibtimes.co.uk) 61

An anonymous reader quotes a report from International Business Times UK: An independent scientist has confirmed that the paper by scientists at the NASA Eagleworks Laboratories on achieving thrust using highly controversial space propulsion technology EmDrive has passed peer review, and will soon be published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Dr Jose Rodal posted on the NASA Spaceflight forum -- in a now-deleted comment -- that the new paper will be entitled "Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum" and is authored by "Harold White, Paul March, Lawrence, Vera, Sylvester, Brady and Bailey." Rodal also revealed that the paper will be published in the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, a prominent journal published by the AIAA, which is one of the world's largest technical societies dedicated to aerospace innovations. Although Eagleworks engineer Paul March has posted several updates on the ongoing research to the NASA Spaceflight forum showing that repeated tests conducted on the EmDrive in a vacuum successfully yielded thrust results that could not be explained by external interference, those in the international scientific community who doubt the feasibility of the technology have long believed real results of thrust by Eagleworks would never see the light of day.
Android

Google To Drop Nexus Brand Name, Move Away From Stock Android (theverge.com) 85

tripleevenfall quotes a report from The Verge: Google's newest smartphones won't be Nexus devices after all. According to Android Central, Google is dropping the Nexus branding with its two upcoming, HTC-made smartphones. Instead, the company is expected to market the devices under a different name and to lean heavily on the Google brand in the process. This shift is more than just symbolic. The report states Google will load the devices with a special version of Android Nougat, as opposed to the standard "vanilla" version of the operating system that's shipped on past and current Nexus devices. Android Police reported earlier this month that Google may remove the Nexus branding from its upcoming smartphones and replace it with a "G" logo. It's too early to tell which direction Google is taking with its upcoming Android Nougat smartphones. Google has spent years marketing the Nexus brand as a hardware entity, while Google has reserved its own name for software services.
Space

SpaceX Finds a Customer For Its First Reused Rocket (arstechnica.com) 45

What do you do after you successfully land a rocket on a floating barge in the Atlantic? You reuse it. SpaceX has been on the hunt for someone to reuse some of its first-stage Falcon boosters, and now SpaceX has finally found a customer. Ars Technica reports: "The Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES said Tuesday that it intends to launch a geostationary satellite, SES 10, on a reusable rocket in the fourth quarter of this year. SpaceX has not yet specified how much it will charge for launch services on one of its flown boosters, but industry officials anticipate about a 30 percent discount on SpaceX's regular price of $62 million for a Falcon 9 launch. The company has not shared how much it is spending to refurbish and reuse a Falcon 9 stage, nor has it offered much public information about the extent to which the vehicle's engines have had to be tested and prepared for a second flight." "Having been the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX back in 2013, we are excited to once again be the first customer on SpaceX's first ever mission using a flight-proven rocket," said Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer at SES. "We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management."
The Internet

Researchers Map Locations of 4,669 Servers In Netflix's Content Delivery Network (ieee.org) 27

Wave723 writes from a report via IEEE Spectrum: For the first time, a team of researchers has mapped the entire content delivery network that brings Netflix to the world, including the number and location of every server that the company uses to distribute its films. They also independently analyzed traffic volumes handled by each of those servers. Their work allows experts to compare Netflix's distribution approach to those of other content-rich companies such as Google, Akamai and Limelight. To do this, IEEE Spectrum reports that the group reverse-engineered Netflix's domain name system for the company's servers, and then created a crawler that used publicly available information to find every possible server name within its network through the common address nflxvideo.net. In doing so, they were able to determine the total number of servers the company uses, where those servers are located, and whether the servers were housed within internet exchange points or with internet service providers, revealing stark differences in Netflix's strategy between countries. One of their most interesting findings was that two Netflix servers appear to be deployed within Verizon's U.S. network, which one researcher speculates could indicate that the companies are pursuing an early pilot or trial.
The Courts

Revived Lawsuit Says Twitter DMs Are Like Handing ISIS a Satellite Phone (theverge.com) 126

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: A long-standing lawsuit holding Twitter responsible for the rise of ISIS got new life today, as plaintiffs filed a revised version of the complaint (PDF) that was struck down earlier this month. In the new complaint, the plaintiffs argue Twitter's Direct Message service is akin to providing ISIS with physical communications equipment like a radio or a satellite phone. The latest complaint is largely the same as the one filed in January, but a few crucial differences will be at the center of the court's response. The plaintiffs also offer new arguments for why Twitter might be held responsible for the attack. In the dismissal earlier this month (PDF), District Judge William Orrick faulted the plaintiffs for not articulating a case for why providing access to Twitter's services constituted material aid to ISIS. "Apart from the private nature of Direct Messaging, plaintiffs identify no other way in which their Direct Messaging theory seeks to treat Twitter as anything other than a publisher of information provided by another information content provider," the ruling reads. At the same time, the judge found that the privacy of those direct messages "does not remove the transmission of such messages from the scope of publishing activity." The new complaint includes some language that might address that concern, explicitly comparing Twitter to other material communication tools. "Giving ISIS the capability to send and receive Direct Messages in this manner is no different than handing it a satellite phone, walkie-talkies or the use of a mail drop," the new complaint reads, "all of which terrorists use for private communications in order to further their extremist agendas." The Safe Harbor clause has been used in the past to protect service providers from liability for hosting data on their network. However, "Brookings Institute scholar Benjamin Witters argued against protecting Twitter under the Safe Harbor clause, claiming that the current reasoning would also protect companies that actively offer services in support of terrorists."
Java

Slashdot Asks: What Are Your Favorite Java 8 Features? (infoworld.com) 264

New submitter liveedu shares with us a report from InfoWorld: When Java 8 was released two years ago, the community graciously accepted it, seeing it as a huge step toward making Java better. Its unique selling point is the attention paid to every aspect of the programming language, including JVM (Java Virtual Machine), the compiler, and other help-system improvements. Java is one of the most searched programming languages according to TIOBE index for July 2016, where Java ranks number one. Its popularity is also seen on LiveCoding, a social live coding platform for engineers around the world, where hundreds and thousands of Java projects are broadcasted live. InfoWorld highlights five Java 8 features for developers in their report: lambda expressions, JavaScript Nashorn, date/time APIs, Stream API and concurrent accumulators. But those features only scratch the surface. What makes Java 8 amazing in your opinion? What are your favorite Java 8 features that help you write high quality code? You can view the entire list of changes made to the programming language here.
Google

Google Login Bug Allows Credential Theft (onthewire.io) 36

Trailrunner7 writes from a report via On the Wire: Attackers can add an arbitrary page to the end of a Google login flow that can steal users' credentials, or alternatively, send users an arbitrary file any time a login form is submitted, due to a bug in the login process. A researcher in the UK identified the vulnerability recently and notified Google of it, but Google officials said they don't consider it a security issue. The bug results from the fact that the Google login page will take a specific, weak GET parameter. Using this bug, an attacker could add an extra step to the end of the login flow that could steal a user's credentials. For example, the page could mimic an incorrect password dialog and ask the user to re-enter the password. [Aidan Woods, the researcher who discovered the bug,] said an attacker also could send an arbitrary file to the target's browser any time the login form is submitted. In an email interview, Woods said exploiting the bug is a simple matter. "Attacker would not need to intercept traffic to exploit -- they only need to get the user to click a link that they have crafted to exploit the bug in the continue parameter," Woods said. Google told Woods they don't consider this a security issue.
PlayStation (Games)

PlayStation Now Streaming Service Available On Windows PCs (techcrunch.com) 46

Earlier this month, Sony announced PlayStation 3 games would be coming to Windows. Specifically, the company would be bringing its PlayStation Now game-streaming program to Windows PCs. Today, the service has officially launched and is available on Windows PCs. TechCrunch reports: "A 12-month subscription to PlayStation Now will run you $99.99 as part of a limited-time promotion to celebrate the PC launch. Normally, a PS Now subscription will run you more than double that. What does PlayStation Now actually provide? Access to a library of over 50 'Greatest Hits' games, which include popular titles like Mafia II, Tom Raider: GOTY edition, Borderlands and Heavy Rain. There's also over 100 console exclusives available to PC users for the first time, and a total library north of 400 games." If you're interested, you can download the app here. A USB adapter is set to go on sale September 6 that will allow you to use a DualShock 4 wireless controller with your PC.
Chrome

Google Integrates Cast Into Chrome, No Extension Required (venturebeat.com) 36

An anonymous reader writes from a report via VentureBeat: On Monday, Google announced Google Cast is now built right into Chrome, allowing anyone using the company's browser to cast content to supported devices without having to install or configure anything. The Google Cast extension for Chrome, which launched in July 2013, is no longer required for casting. The report adds: "Here's how it works. When you browse websites that are integrated with Cast, Chrome will now show you a Cast icon as long as you're on the same network as a Cast device. With a couple of clicks, you can view the website content on your TV, listen to music on your speakers, and so on. In fact, Google today also integrated Hangouts with Google Cast: Signed-in users on Chrome 52 or higher can now use the 'Cast...' menu item from Chrome to share the contents of a browser tab or their entire desktop into a Hangout." The support document details all the ways you you can use Google Cast with Chrome.
Encryption

FBI Director Says Prolific Default Encryption Hurting Government Spying Efforts (go.com) 289

SonicSpike quotes a report from ABC News: FBI Director James Comey warned again Tuesday about the bureau's inability to access digital devices because of encryption and said investigators were collecting information about the challenge in preparation for an "adult conversation" next year. Widespread encryption built into smartphones is "making more and more of the room that we are charged to investigate dark," Comey said in a cybersecurity symposium. The remarks reiterated points that Comey has made repeatedly in the last two years, before Congress and in other settings, about the growing collision between electronic privacy and national security. "The conversation we've been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that's fine," Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. "Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country." The American people, he said, have a reasonable expectation of privacy in private spaces -- including houses, cars and electronic devices. But that right is not absolute when law enforcement has probable cause to believe that there's evidence of a crime in one of those places, including a laptop or smartphone. "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," Comey said, adding that that "bargain" has been at the center of the country since its inception. He said it's not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves. "We need to understand in the FBI how is this exactly affecting our work, and then share that with folks," Comey said, conceding the American people might ultimately decide that its privacy was more important than "that portion of the room being dark." Comey made his remarks to the 2016 Symantec Government Symposium. The Daily Dot has another take on Comey's remarks, which you can read here.
Communications

Study: 33% of Facebook Users Want Less News In Their Feed (businessinsider.com) 81

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Business Insider: According to a survey of 526 random Facebook users conducted by Spot.IM, 33% of Facebook users in the U.S. want to see fewer news articles in their feeds. The survey comes at a time when Facebook is desperately trying to improve the quality of publisher articles that gain traction on its platform. Here are some important takeaways from the study: Older people are likelier to want less news in their Facebook feeds. While 33% of all respondents indicated there was too much news and shared links in their Facebook feeds, the majority of this group was individuals aged 30 or older. Those 30-44 (37%), 45-59 (36%), and 60+ (36%) said they want less news in their feeds. Young Facebook users enjoy consuming news on social media. While middle-aged and older Facebook users don't like seeing news in their feeds, those aged 18-29 were much more interested and excited to see even more news articles on Facebook. 32% of respondents in this group wanted to see more news, while just 21% wanted less. This is an encouraging sign for publishers who want to reach a new generation of news consumers. The majority of people don't care about how much news they see on Facebook. Overall, 51% of all surveyed said they simply don't care if more or less news shows up in their Facebook feeds. A study conducted in June by Columbia University says that 59% of people don't even read the articles they share.
Transportation

Google To Take On Uber With New Ride-Share Service (cnbc.com) 62

Finally, a major company is planning to compete with Uber in the ride-sharing service space. The Wall Street Journal reports today that Google is planning to debut its own ride-hailing service in San Francisco at "far cheaper rates." (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled, here's an alternate source.) The Mountain View-based company began a pilot program around its California headquarters in May, and enabled several thousand area workers at specific firms to use the Waze navigation app to connect with fellow commuters. Expect Google's service in the coming weeks, says the report. One key difference in Google's approach is that it aims to connect riders with drivers who are already headed in the same direction. The project is in compliance with Waze's aims to "make fares low enough to discourage drivers from operating as taxi drivers." From the report: Still, Google's push into ride-sharing could portend a clash with Uber, a seven-year-old firm valued at roughly $68 billion that largely invented the concept of summoning a car with a smartphone app. Google and Uber were once allies -- Google invested $258 million in Uber in 2013 -- but increasingly see each other as rivals. Alphabet executive David Drummond said Monday that he resigned from Uber's board because of the increasing competition between the companies. Uber, which has long used Google's mapping software for its ride-hailing service, recently began developing its own maps.Game on, Uber.
Software

Companies Are Developing More Apps With Fewer Developers (fortune.com) 148

Fortune reports that the "yawning gap in tech skills" has resulted in a surprising shift in supply and demand in the software industry. And in many companies now, a growing trend of developer jobs being given to non-developers can be seen. From the article: That's because a relatively new technology, known as low-code or no-code platforms, is now doing a big chunk of the work that high-priced human talent used to do. Low-code platforms are designed so that people with little or no coding or software engineering background -- known in the business as "citizen developers" -- can create apps, both for use in-house and for clients. Not surprisingly, the low-code platform industry, made up of about 40 small companies (so far), is growing like crazy. A recent Forrester Research report put its total revenues at about $1.7 billion in 2015, a figure that's projected to balloon to $15 billion in the next four years. Low-code-platform providers, notes Forrester, are typically seeing sales increases in excess of 50% a year.The report cites QuickBase, a company whose low-code platforms are used by half of the Fortune 500 companies, as an example. Its CEO Allison Mnookin says that almost any employee can now do most or all of the same work that developers used to do. Mnookin adds that there's a big advantage in this. "Opening an app's development to the non-techies who need the app removes misunderstandings between the IT department and other employees about what the end user needs."
EU

Europe's Net Neutrality Doesn't Ban BitTorrent Throttling (torrentfreak.com) 60

Millions of Europeans will have to do with throttling on BitTorrent. The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) published its guidelines for Europe's net neutrality rules on Tuesday in which it hasn't challenged the BitTorrent throttling practices by many ISPs. TorrentFreak reports:Today, BEREC presented its final guidelines on the implementation of Europe's net neutrality rules. Compared to earlier drafts it includes several positive changes for those who value net neutrality. For example, while zero-rating isn't banned outright, internet providers are not allowed to offer a "sub Internet" service, where access to only part of the Internet is offered for 'free.' However, not all traffic is necessarily "neutral." ISPs are still allowed to throttle specific categories for "reasonable" network management purposes.

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