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Aegir Dispatch: Re-positioning Ægir

Drupal Planet -

Last week, Colan and I attended SaasNorth, a conference for Software-as-a-Service founders and investors, with a strong focus on marketing, finance and growth. To be honest, we were a little skeptical at the near total absence of technical content. However, we were pleasantly surprised by some of the truly excellent speakers we heard. The one that had the most impact on us was April Dunford’s OBVIOUSLY AWESOME – Using context to move your customers from “What?

'Face Reality! We Need Net Neutrality!' Crowd Chants Across the Country

Slashdot -

ArsTechnica staff took to the streets in Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco to capture rallies in support for net neutrality, a week before the FCC is scheduled to take a historic vote rolling back network neutrality regulations. From their report: Protestors say those regulations, which were enacted by the Obama FCC in 2015, are crucial for protecting an open Internet. Organizers chose to hold most of the protests outside of Verizon cell phone stores. Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman who is leading the agency's charge to repeal network neutrality, is a former Verizon lawyer, and Verizon has been a critic of the Obama network neutrality rules. The protest that got the most attention from FCC decision makers took place on Thursday evening in Washington DC. The FCC was holding a dinner event at the Hilton on Connecticut Avenue, just north of the city's Dupont Circle area. Protestors gathered on the street corner outside the hotel, waving pro-net neutrality posters to traffic, blaring chants, projecting pro-net neutrality messages on a building across the street, and telling personal stories about what net neutrality meant to them via a megaphone. The FCC's two Democratic commissioners also joined the demonstration, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel. They both gave brief speeches to the protestors, rallying for the cause and discussing the importance of a neutral Internet.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Security updates for Friday

LWN Headlines -

Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and vlc), Debian (erlang), Mageia (ffmpeg, tor, and wireshark), openSUSE (chromium, opensaml, openssh, openvswitch, and php7), Oracle (postgresql), Red Hat (chromium-browser, postgresql, rh-postgresql94-postgresql, rh-postgresql95-postgresql, and rh-postgresql96-postgresql), SUSE (firefox, java-1_6_0-ibm, opensaml, and xen), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-raspi2, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-hwe, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and rsync).

Nvidia Announces 'Nvidia Titan V' Video Card: GV100 for $3000

Slashdot -

Nvidia has announced the Titan V, the "world's most powerful PC GPU." It's based on Nvidia's Volta, the same architecture as the Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs behind Amazon Web Service's recently launched top-end P3 instances, which are dedicated to artificial-intelligence applications. From a report: A mere 7 months after Volta was announced with the Tesla V100 accelerator and the GV100 GPU inside it, Nvidia continues its breakneck pace by releasing the GV100-powered Titan V, available for sale today. Aimed at a decidedly more compute-oriented market than ever before, the 815 mm2 behemoth die that is GV100 is now available to the broader public. [...] The Titan V, by extension, sees the Titan lineup finally switch loyalties and start using Nvidia's high-end compute-focused GPUs, in this case the Volta architecture based V100. The end result is that rather than being Nvidia's top prosumer card, the Titan V is decidedly more focused on compute, particularly due to the combination of the price tag and the unique feature set that comes from using the GV100 GPU. Which isn't to say that you can't do graphics on the card -- this is still very much a video card, outputs and all -- but Nvidia is first and foremost promoting it as a workstation-level AI compute card, and by extension focusing on the GV100 GPU's unique tensor cores and the massive neural networking performance advantages they offer over earlier Nvidia cards.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Colan Schwartz: Ægir Turns 10!

Drupal Planet -

Topics:  This blog post has been re-published from Aegir's blog and edited with permission from its author, Christopher Gervais.

My tenure with the Ægir Project only dates back about 7 or 8 years. I can’t speak first-hand about its inception and those early days. So, I’ll leave that to some of the previous core team members, many of whom are publishing blog posts of their own.

New look for www.aegirproject.org

As part of the run-up to Ægir’s 10-year anniversary, we built a new site for the project, which we released today. It will hopefully do more justice to Ægir’s capabilities. In addition to the re-vamped design, we added a blog section, to make it easier for the core team to communicate with the community. So keep an eye on this space for more news in the coming weeks.

Ægir has come a long way in 10 years

When I first tried to use Ægir (way back at version 0.3), I couldn’t even get all the way through the installation. Luckily, I happened to live in Montréal, not too far from Koumbit, which, at the time, was a hub of Ægir development. I dropped in and introduced myself to Antoine Beaupré; then one of Ægir’s lead developers.

One of his first questions was how far into the installation process I’d reached. As it turns out, he frequently asked this question when approached about Ægir. It helped him gauge how serious poeple were about running it. Back then, you pretty much needed to be a sysadmin to effectively operate it.

A few months, Antoine had wrapped the installation scripts in Debian packaging, making installation a breeze. By that point I was hooked.

Free Software is a core value

Fast forward a couple years to DrupalCon Chicago. This was a time of upheaval in the Drupal community, as Drupal 7.0 was on the cusp of release, and Development Seed had announced their intention to leave the Drupal community altogether. This had far-reaching consequences for Ægir, since Development Seed had been the primary company sponsoring development, and employing project founder and lead developer Adrian Rossouw.

While in Chicago I met with Eric Gundersen, CEO of DevSeed, to talk about the future of Ægir. Whereas DevSeed had sold their flagship Drupal product, OpenAtrium, to another company, Eric was very clear that they wanted to pass on stewardship of Ægir to Koumbit, due in large part to our dedication to Free Software, and deep systems-level knowledge.

Community contributions are key

Since then Ægir has grown a lot. Here is one of the more interesting insights from OpenHub’s Ægir page:

Very large, active development team Over the past twelve months, 35 developers contributed new code to Aegir Hosting System. This is one of the largest open-source teams in the world, and is in the top 2% of all project teams on Open Hub.

To help visualize all these contributions, we produced a video using Gource. It represents the efforts of no less than 136 developers over the past 10 years. It spans the various components of Aegir Core, along with “Golden” contrib and other major sub-systems.

Of course, many other community members have contributed in other ways over the year. These include (but aren’t limited to) filing bug reports and testing patches, improving our documentation, answering other users’ questions on IRC, and giving presentations at local meetups.

The Future

The core team has been discussing options for re-architecting Ægir to modernize the codebase and address some structural issues. In the past few months, this activity has heated up. In order to simultaneously ensure ongoing maintenance of our stable product, and to simplify innovation of future ones, the core team decided to divide responsibilities across 3 branch maintainers.

Herman van Rink (helmo) has taken up maintenance of our stable 3.x branch. He’s handled the majority of release engineering for the project for the past couple years, so we can be very confident in the ongoing stability and quality of Ægir 3.

Jon Pugh, on the other hand, has adopted the 4.x branch, with the primary goal of de-coupling Ægir from Drush. This is driven largely by upstream decisions (in both Drupal and Drush) that would make continuing with our current approach increasingly difficult. He has made significant progress on porting Provision (Ægir’s back-end) to Symfony. Keep an eye out for further news on that front.

For my part, I’m pursuing a more radical departure from our current architecture, re-writing Ægir from scratch atop Drupal 8 and Ansible with a full-featured (Celery/RabbitMQ) task queue in between. This promises to make Ægir significantly more flexible, which is being borne out in recent progress on the new system. While Ægir 5 will be a completely new code-base, the most of the workflows, security model and default interface will be familiar. Once it has proven itself, we can start pursuing other exciting options, like Kubernetes and OpenStack support.

So, with 10 years behind us, the future certainly looks Bryght*.




* Bryght was the company where Adrian Rossouw began work on “hostmaster” that would eventually become the Ægir Hosting System.

Amazee Labs: Amazee Agile Agency Survey Results - Part 5

Drupal Planet -

Amazee Agile Agency Survey Results - Part 5

Welcome to part five of our series, processing the results of the Amazee Agile Agency Survey. Previously I wrote about forming discovery and planning. This time let’s focus on team communication and process.

Josef Dabernig Fri, 12/08/2017 - 15:51 Team Communication

When it comes to ways how to communicate, the ones that got selected with the highest rating of “mostly practised” where “Written communication in tickets”, “Written communication via (i.e. Slack)” as well as “Group meetings for the entire team”. The options that most often got selected as “Not practised” where “Written communication in blog or wiki” and “Written communication in pull requests”.

For us at Amazee Labs Zurich, a variety of communication channels is essential. Regular 1-on-1 meetings between managers and their employees allow us to continuously talk about what’s important to either side and work on improvements. We communicate a lot via Slack where we have various team channels, channels together with clients related to projects, channels for work-related topics or just channels to talk about fun stuff. Each morning, we start with a short team stand-up for the entire company where we check in with each other, and that’s followed by a more in-depth standup for the Scrum teams where we talk about “What has been done, What will be done and What’s blocking us”. Written communication happens between the team and customers in Jira tickets. As part of our 4-eyes-principle peer review process, we also give feedback on code within pull requests that are used to ensure the quality of the code and train each other.

Process

We talked about iteration length in part 1 of this series. Now let’s look into how much time we spend on which things.

According to the survey, the majority of standups take 15 minutes, followed by 5 minutes and 10 minutes with a few ones taking up to 30 minutes.

This also reflects ours: we take 10 minutes for the company-wide stand up amongst 24 team members and another 15 minutes for the Scrum Team specific stand-ups.

For the review-phase, teams equally often selected 2 hours and 1 hour as the top-rated option followed closely by 30 minutes. 4 hours has been chosen by a few other teams, and the last one would be one day. For the retrospectives, the top-rated option was 30 minutes, followed by 1 hour. Much fewer teams take 2 hours or even up to 4 hours for the retrospective. For planning, we saw the most significant gap regarding top rated options: 30 minutes is followed by 4 hours and then 2 hours and 1 hours were selected.

In the teams I work with, we usually spend half a day doing sprint review, retrospective and planning altogether. Our reviews typically take 45 minutes, the retrospective about 1.5 hours and the planning another 30 minutes. We currently don’t do these meetings together with customers because the Scrum teams are stable teams that usually work for multiple customers. Instead, we do demos along with the clients individually outside of these meetings. Also, our plannings are quite fast because the team split up stories already in part of grooming sessions beforehand and we only estimate smaller tasks that don’t get split up later on as usually done in sprint planning 2.

When looking at how much time is being spent on Client work (billable, unbillable) and Internal work we got a good variety of results. The top-rated option for “Client work (billable)” was 50-75%, “Client work (unbillable)” was usually rated below 10% and “Internal work” defaulted to 10-25%. Our internal statistics match these options that have been voted by the industry most often.

I also asked about what is most important to you and your team when it comes to scheduling time? Providing value while keeping our tech debt in a reasonable place has been mentioned which is also true for us. Over the last year, we started introducing our global maintenance team which puts a dedicated focus on maintaining existing sites and keeping customer satisfaction high. By using a Kanban-approach there, we can prioritise timely critical bugs fixes when they are needed and work on maintenance-related tasks such as module updates in a coordinated way. We found it particularly helpful that the Scrum-teams are well connected with the maintenance-team to provide know-how transfer and domain-knowledge where needed.

Another one mentioned, “We still need a good time tracker.” At Amazee we bill by the hour that we work so accurate time tracking is a must. We do so by using Tempo Timesheets for Jira combined with the Toggl app.

How do you communicate and what processes do you follow? Please leave us a comment below. If you are interested in Agile Scrum training, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Stay tuned for the next post where we’ll look at defining work.

   

About 40 Percent of Bitcoin Is Held By 1,000 Users. If a Few of Them Want To Sell, That Could Tank Values

Slashdot -

On Nov. 12, someone moved almost 25,000 bitcoins, worth about $159 million at the time, to an online exchange. The news soon rippled through online forums, with bitcoin traders arguing about whether it meant the owner was about to sell the digital currency. From a report on Bloomberg: Holders of large amounts of bitcoin are often known as whales. And they're becoming a worry for investors. They can send prices plummeting by selling even a portion of their holdings. And those sales are more probable now that the cryptocurrency is up nearly twelvefold from the beginning of the year. About 40 percent of bitcoin is held by perhaps 1,000 users; at current prices, each may want to sell about half of his or her holdings, says Aaron Brown, former managing director and head of financial markets research at AQR Capital Management. What's more, the whales can coordinate their moves or preview them to a select few. Many of the large owners have known one another for years and stuck by bitcoin through the early days when it was derided, and they can potentially band together to tank or prop up the market.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

November Jobs Report: Economy Adds 228,000 Jobs; Unemployment Steady

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader shares an NPR report: The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1 percent, unchanged from October. "Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 187,000 in 2016," the agency's Acting Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski said of the report. The number of unemployed people was "essentially unchanged at 6.6 million," the bureau said. Of that number, 1.6 million are considered to be long-term unemployed -- workers who have not had jobs for 27 weeks or more. "Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers increased to 15.9 percent in November," the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Other groups saw little change from the previous month. As for wages, the agency says, "In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $26.55. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 64 cents, or 2.5 percent."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Agaric Collective: A blooming community - Lakes and Volcanoes DrupalCamp 2017 Recap

Drupal Planet -

Over 8 years have passed since there was a DrupalCamp in tropical Nicaragua. With the help of a diverse group of volunteers, sponsors, and university faculty staff, we held our second one. DrupalCamp Lagos y Volcanes ("Lakes & Volcanoes") was a great success with over 100 people attending in 2 days. It was a big undertaking so we followed giants' footsteps to prepare for our event. Lots of the ideas were taken from some of the organizers' experience while attending Drupal events. Others came from local free software communities who have organized events before us. Let me share what we did, how we did it, and what the results were.

Diversity

In line with DrupalCon, we used the "Big Eight" social identifiers to define diversity and encourage everyone to have a chance to present. Among other statistics, we are pleased that 15% of the sessions and 33% of the trainings were presented by women. We would have liked higher percentages, but it was a good first step. Another related fact is that no speaker presented more than one session. We had the opportunity to learn from people with different backgrounds and expertise.

https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/931566029771329536
https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/931550669953294339

Ticket cost

BADCamp, Drupal's largest event outside of DrupalCons, is truly an inspiration when it comes to making affordable events. They are free! We got close. For $1 attendees had access to all the sessions and trainings, lunch both days, a t-shirt, and unlimited swag while supplies lasted. Of course, they also had the networking opportunities that are always present at Drupal events. Even though the camp was almost free, we wanted to give all interested people a chance to come and learn so we provided scholarships to many attendees.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1iYKwlLZIlieqVHrwUzOBuEU11MQIaMI3

Scholarships

The camp offered four types of scholarships:

  • Ticket cost: we would waive the $1 entry fee.
  • Transportation: we would cover any expense for someone to come from any part of the country.
  • Lodging: we would provide a room for people to stay overnight if they would come from afar.
  • Food: we would pay for meals during the two days of the camp.

About 40% of the people who attended did not pay the entry fee. We also had people traveling from differents parts of the country. Some stayed over. Others travelled back and forth each day. Everyone who requested a scholarship received it. It felt good to provide this type of opportunities and recipients were grateful for it.

https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/931940088522698752
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1uILaPOJOs7oIE1kjkm0aVhlSQMyqBkfo

Sponsors

As you can imagine, events like these need funding and we are extremely grateful to our sponsors:

These are people who attended from afar. Some were scholarship recipients. Others got educational memberships.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=16hVraHW2uVq_IBR_z78sdHp9gAayT1zp

Session recordings

Although we worked hard to make it possible for interested people to attend, we knew that some would not be able to make it. In fact, having sessions recorded would make it possible for anyone who understands Spanish to benefit from what was presented at the camp.

We used Kevin Thull’s recommended kit to record sessions. My colleague Micky Metts donated the equipment and I did the recording. I had the opportunity to be at some camps that Kevin recorded this year and he was very kind in teaching me how to use the equipment. Unfortunately, the audio is not clear in some sessions and I completely lost one. I have learned from the mistakes and next time it should be better. Check out the camp playlist in Drupal Nicaragua’s YouTube channel for the recordings.

Thank you Kevin. It was through session recordings that I improved my skills when I could not afford to travel to events. I’m sure I am not the only one. Your contributions to the Drupal community are invaluable!

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cepjh_WJbTTnwSrlYbp2vXjG9Xdqc8jw
https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/932000997387526144

Sprints and live commit!

Lucas Hedding lead a sprint on Saturday morning. Most sprinters were people who had never worked with Drupal before the camp. They learned how to contribute to Drupal and worked on a few patches. One pleasant surprise was when Lucas went on stage with one of the sprinters and proceeded with the live commit ceremony. I was overjoyed that even with a short sprint an attendee’s contribution was committed. Congrats to Jorge Morales for getting a patch committed on his first sprint! And thanks to Holger Lopez, Edys Meza, and Lucas Hedding for mentoring and working on the patch.

https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/931968505406218240

Swag

Northern Lights DrupalCamp decided to change the (physical) swag for experiences. What we lived was epic! For our camp, we went for a low cost swag. The only thing we had to pay for was t-shirts. Other local communities recommended us to have them and so we did. The rest was a buffet of the things I have collected since my first DrupalCon, Austin 2014: stickers, pins, temporary tattoos. It was funny trying to explain where I had collected each item. I could not remember them all, but it was nice to bring back those memories. We also had hand sanitizer and notebooks provided by local communities. Can you spot your organization/camp/module/theme logo on our swag table?

https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/931555663972634624
https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/931893854311239680
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hx8bFDO79gN8Y2IKxdyrUpKXx-H0TsDN

Free software communities

We were very lucky to have the support of different local communities. We learned a lot from their experiences organizing events. They also sent an army of volunteers and took the microphone to present on different subjects. A special thank you to the WordPress Nicaragua community who helped us immensely before, during, and after the event. It showed that when communities work together, we make a bigger impact.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1C3jLFblkPwcQ8ZQwgU-edS7Q2DArLw51
https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/932025833207861248

Keeping momentum

Two weeks after the camp, we held two Global Training Days workshops. More than 20 people attended. I felt honored when some attendees shared that they had travelled from distant places to participate. One person travelled almost 8 hours. But more than distance, it was their enthusiasm and engagement during the workshops that inspired us. The last month has been very exhausting, but the local community is thrilled with the result.

https://twitter.com/lucashedding/status/937693447804383232
https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/937034655718666241

A blooming community

The community has come a long way since I got involved in 2011. We have had highs and lows. Since Lucas and myself kickstarted the Global Training Days workshops in 2014 we have seen more interest in Drupal. By the way, this edition marked our third anniversary facilitating the workshop! But despite all efforts, people would not stay engaged for long after initially interacting with the community. Things have changed.

In the last year interest in Drupal has increased. We have organized more events and more people have attended. Universities and other organizations are approaching us requesting trainings. And what makes me smile most… the number of volunteers is at its all-time peak. In the last month alone, the number of volunteers have almost doubled. The DrupalCamp and the Global Training Days workshops contributed a lot to this.

We recognize that the job is far from complete and we already have plans for 2018. One of the things that we need to do is find job opportunities. Even if people enjoy working with Drupal they need to make a living. If you are an organization looking for talent consider Nicaragua. We have very great developers. Feel free to contact me to put you in contact with them.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1yukr-xzALMowbeJlFOdwPGiO5MC5YWMm
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1kSPBMDNSIrGRb5BeLXKVE2xxrfOUJphA
https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/931958170259468289

A personal thank you

I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to Felix Delattre. He started the Drupal community in Nicaragua almost a decade ago. He was my mentor. He gave me my first Drupal gig. At a time when there was virtually no demand for Drupal talent in my country, that project helped me realize that I could make a living working with Drupal. But most importantly, Felix taught me the value of participating in the community. I remember creating my drupal.org account after he suggested it in a local meetup.

His efforts had a profound effect on the lives of many, even beyond the borders of my country or those of a single project. Felix was instrumental in the development of local communities across Central and South America. He also started the OpenStreetMap (OSM) community in Nicaragua. I still find it impressive how OSM Nicaragua have mapped so many places and routes. In some cities, their maps are more accurate and complete than those of large Internet corporations. Thank you Felix for all you did for us!

We hope to have you in 2018!

The land of lakes and volcanoes awaits you next year. Nicaragua has a lot to offer and a DrupalCamp can be the perfect excuse to visit. ;-) Active volcanoes, beaches to surf, forests rich in flora and fauna are some of the charms of this tropical paradise.

Let’s focus on volcanoes for a moment. Check out this website for a sneak peek into one of our active volcanoes. That is Masaya, where you can walk to the border of the crater and see the flow of lava. Active volcanoes, dormant volcanoes, volcanoes around a lake, volcanoes in the middle of a lake, lagoons on top of volcanoes, volcanoes where you can “surf” down the slope... you name it, we have it.

We would love to have you in 2018!

https://twitter.com/drupalni/status/932024521674063872

In this album there will be more photos of the event.

Almost All Bronze Age Artifacts Were Made From Meteorite Iron

Slashdot -

dryriver shares a report from Science Alert: According to a new study, it's possible that all iron-based weapons and tools of the Bronze Age were forged using metal salvaged from meteorites. The finding has given experts a better insight into how these tools were created before humans worked out how to produce iron from its ore. While previous studies had found specific Bronze Age objects to be made from meteoric metal -- like one of the daggers buried with King Tutankhamun -- this latest research answers the question of just how widespread the practice was. Albert Jambon, from the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, studied museum artifacts from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and China, analyzing them using an X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer to discover they all shared the same off-world origins. "The present results complementing high quality analyses from the literature suggest that most or all irons from the Bronze Age are derived from meteoritic iron," writes Jambon in his published paper. "The next step will be to determine where and when terrestrial iron smelting appeared for the first time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Error'd: PIck an Object, Any Object

The Daily WTF -

"Who would have guessed Microsoft would have a hard time developing web apps?" writes Sam B.

 

Jerry O. writes, "So, if I eat my phone, I might get acid indigestion? That sounds reasonable."

 

"Got this when I typed into a SwaggerHub session I'd left open overnight and tried to save it," wrote Rupert, "The 'newer' draft was not, in fact, the newer version."

 

Antonio write, "It's nice to buy software from another planet, especially if year there is much longer."

 

"Either Meteorologist (http://heat-meteo.sourceforge.net/) is having some trouble with OpenWeatherMap data, or we're having an unusually hot November in Canada," writes Chris H.

 

"This is possibly one case where a Windows crash can result in a REAL crash," writes Ruben.

 

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GE Cuts 12,000 Jobs In Response To Falling Demand For Fossil Fuel Energy

Slashdot -

In response to the drop in demand for fossil fuel energy, General Electric -- the world's largest maker of gas turbines -- announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs. Quartz reports: Those cuts will mostly come from GE's power division, which makes energy-generation technologies. The reduction will account for 18% of the division's workforce and affect both professional and production employees, the company said in a statement. The majority of job losses will occur outside the U.S., Bloomberg reports. In a statement, Russell Stokes, the division's president and CEO, said disruptions to the power market were "driving significantly lower volumes in products and services." Demand for GE's power-generation equipment has stalled in part because of renewable energy growth, says Robert McCarthy, an analyst at Stifel Financial. The move is part of a larger restructuring effort under GE's new chief executive John Flannery, who has faced immense pressure to regain the company's footing since taking the helm in June of this year. GE's stock price plunged 44% this year, the worst performer on the Dow, according to Bloomberg. The company aims to cut $3.5 billion of expenses across its divisions by the end of 2018, including a $1 billion cut from the power division.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Agiledrop.com Blog: AGILEDROP: Meet Marko, our managing director

Drupal Planet -

When did you start working at AGILEDROP and what were your initial responsibilities? I am one of three founders of the company. In the beginning, I was doing Drupal theming and site building. But it wasn’t long before we needed a full-time manager, so I took on the role of managing director. What are your responsibilities as managing director? At AGILEDROP, we only have great people – all of them experts in their own fields. So, my job is to make sure they do what they do best and then leave them to unleash their potential. I also give them some help with self-improve, organizing mentors,… READ MORE

Boeing CEO Says Boeing Will Beat SpaceX To Mars

Slashdot -

Boeing's CEO says the megarocket his company is helping to build for NASA will deliver astronauts to the Red Planet before billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX. Space.com reports: According to Fortune, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg was speaking on CNBC today when host Jim Cramer asked whether Boeing or SpaceX would "get a man on Mars first." "Eventually we're going to go to Mars, and I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket," Muilenburg said, according to Fortune. Boeing is the main contractor for the first stage of NASA's giant Space Launch System , which is designed to launch astronauts on deep-space missions using the space agency's new Orion spacecraft. (United Launch Alliance, Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne are also SLS contractors.) NASA hopes to build a "Deep Space Gateway" near the moon before using SLS and Orion vehicles to send explorers to Mars. The first test launch is scheduled for 2019.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The US Is Testing a Microwave Weapon To Stop North Korea's Missiles

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Vox: According to an NBC News report, the weapon -- which is still under development -- could be put on a cruise missile and shot at an enemy country from a B-52 bomber. It's designed to use microwaves to target enemy military facilities and destroy electronic systems, like computers, that control their missiles. The weapon itself wouldn't damage the buildings or cause casualties. Air Force developers have been working with Boeing on the system since 2009. They're hoping to receive up to $200 million for more prototyping and testing in the latest defense bill. There's just one problem. It's not clear that the weapon is entirely ready for use -- and it's not clear that it would be any more effective than the powerful weapons the U.S. already possesses. The weapon, which has the gloriously military-style name of Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, isn't quite ready for action, but it could be soon. Two unnamed Air Force officials told NBC that the weapon could be ready for use in just a few days.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

ISP Disclosures About Data Caps and Fees Eliminated By Net Neutrality Repeal

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In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission forced ISPs to be more transparent with customers about hidden fees and the consequences of exceeding data caps. Since the requirements were part of the net neutrality rules, they will be eliminated when the FCC votes to repeal the rules next week. Ars Technica reports: While FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing to keep some of the commission's existing disclosure rules and to impose some new disclosure requirements, ISPs won't have to tell consumers exactly what everything will cost when they sign up for service. There have been two major versions of the FCC's transparency requirements: one created in 2010 with the first net neutrality rules, and an expanded version created in 2015. Both sets of transparency rules survived court challenges from the broadband industry. The 2010 requirement had ISPs disclose pricing, including "monthly prices, usage-based fees, and fees for early termination or additional network services." That somewhat vague requirement will survive Pai's net neutrality repeal. But Pai is proposing to eliminate the enhanced disclosure requirements that have been in place since 2015. Here are the disclosures that ISPs currently have to make -- but won't have to after the repeal: -Price: the full monthly service charge. Any promotional rates should be clearly noted as such, specify the duration of the promotional period and the full monthly service charge the consumer will incur after the expiration of the promotional period. -Other Fees: all additional one time and/or recurring fees and/or surcharges the consumer may incur either to initiate, maintain, or discontinue service, including the name, definition, and cost of each additional fee. These may include modem rental fees, installation fees, service charges, and early termination fees, among others. -Data Caps and Allowances: any data caps or allowances that are a part of the plan the consumer is purchasing, as well as the consequences of exceeding the cap or allowance (e.g., additional charges, loss of service for the remainder of the billing cycle). Pai's proposed net neutrality repeal says those requirements and others adopted in 2015 are too onerous for ISPs.

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Android 8.0 Oreo For Android Wear Released

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According to a Google developer, Android 8.0 Oreo is rolling out to Android Wear devices starting today. The developer said "timing is determined by each watch's manufacturer." 9to5Google notes that there are "no major redesigns with Oreo for the wearable platform," but there are some useful tweaks. From the report: There is a new option to disable touch-to-wake called "Touch lock" in Settings that Google positions as being useful in wet conditions. Google has added the ability to control the strength of vibrations for incoming notifications. Referred to as the "Vibration pattern," options include Normal, Long, and Double. Meanwhile, there is now a toggle to manually enable the "Battery saver," instead of having to wait until the device hits a low charge. This mode disables Vibration, Location services, Wi-Fi & mobile usage, Data & app updates, and the Always-on display. Meanwhile, the update includes notification channels for apps that should provide more granular user control. Google also shared that Wear is now available in seven new countries and languages: Belgium (Dutch), Czech Republic (Czech), El Salvador (Spanish), Honduras (Spanish), Nigeria (English), Paraguay (Spanish), and Portugal (Portuguese).

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What It Looks Like When You Fry Your Eye In An Eclipse

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: Doctors in New York say a woman in her 20s came in three days after looking at the Aug. 21 eclipse without protective glasses. She had peeked several times, for about six seconds, when the sun was only partially covered by the moon. Four hours later, she started experiencing blurred and distorted vision and saw a central black spot in her left eye. The doctors studied her eyes with several different imaging technologies, described in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, and were able to observe the damage at the cellular level. "We were very surprised at how precisely concordant the imaged damage was with the crescent shape of the eclipse itself," noted Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, in an email to NPR. He says this was the most severely injured patient they saw after the eclipse. All in all, 22 people came to their urgent care clinic with concerns about possible eclipse-related damage, and most of them complained of blurred vision. Of those, only three showed some degree of abnormality in the retina. Two of them had only mild changes, however, and their symptoms have gone away. The young woman described in this case report, at last check, still has not recovered normal vision. For your viewing pleasure, The Verge has embedded several images of the woman's retinas in their report.

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Bank of America Wins Patent For Crypto Exchange System

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New submitter psnyder shares a report from CoinDesk: [The patent] outlined a potential cryptocurrency exchange system that would convert one digital currency into another. Further, this system would be automated, establishing the exchange rate between the two currencies based on external data feeds. The patent describes a potential three-part system, where the first part would be a customer's account and the other two would be accounts owned by the business running the system. The user would store their chosen cryptocurrency through the customer account. The second account, referred to as a "float account," would act as a holding area for the cryptocurrency the customer is selling, while the third account, also a float account, would contain the equivalent amount of the cryptocurrency the customer is converting their funds to. That third account would then deposit the converted funds back into the original customer account for withdrawal. The proposed system would collect data from external information sources on cryptocurrency exchange rates, and use this data to establish its own optimal rate. The patent notes this service would be for enterprise-level customers, meaning that if the bank pursues this project, it would be offered to businesses.

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