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Researchers Develop Online Game That Teaches Players How To Spread Misinformation

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Cambridge researchers have built an online game, simply titled Bad News, in which players compete to become "a disinformation and fake news tycoon." By shedding light on the shady practices, they hope the game will "vaccinate" the public, and make people immune to the spread of untruths. Players of the fake news game must amass virtual Twitter followers by distorting the truth, planting falsehoods, dividing the united, and deflecting attention when rumbled. All the while, they must maintain credibility in the eyes of their audience. The game distills the art of undermining the truth into six key strategies. Once a player has demonstrated a knack for each, they are rewarded with a badge. In one round, players can opt to impersonate the president of the United States and fire off a tweet from a fake account. It declares war on North Korea complete with a #KimJongDone hashtag. At every step, players are asked if they are happy with their actions or feel, perhaps, the twinge of shame, an emotion that leads to the swift reminder that "if you want to become a master of disinformation, you've got to lose the goody two-shoes attitude." The work is due to be published in the Journal of Risk Research.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Agiledrop.com Blog: AGILEDROP: Top 6 Drupal websites released in 2017

Drupal Planet -

There have been many sites build in Drupal in the year 2017, so we have made a list of some example worth highlighting. Check them out.    First one on the list is a website of National Athletic Trainers' Association made by Skvare. You can read a case study here. NATA is the professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession.   We continue our list with a website of the University of Minnesota. The site was built by Palantir. They’ve written a case study, check it out here. The University of Minnesota has almost 70… READ MORE

Hovmöller: Moving a large and old codebase to Python3

LWN Headlines -

Anders Hovmöller has posted an account of migrating a large application to Python 3. There were multiple steps on the journey and plenty of lessons learned. "Our philosophy was always to go py2 →py2/py3 → py3 because we just could not realistically do a big bang in production, an intuition that was proven right in surprising ways. This meant that 2to3 was a non starter which I think is probably common. We tried a while to use 2to3 to detect Python 3 compatibility issues but quickly found that untenable too. Basically it suggests changes that will break your code in Python 2. No good. The conclusion was to use six, which is a library to make it easy to build a codebase that is valid in both in Python 2 and 3."

Judge Rules AT&T Can't See Trump White House Communications About Time Warner Merger

Slashdot -

The judge presiding over the Justice Department's attempt to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger has ruled that the White House's private communications on the merger will not be released. The Verge reports: When the department said in November that it would sue to block the mega-merger, thoughts immediately turned to the White House. President Trump has made no secret of his disdain for CNN, and some watchers questioned whether the White House's hand was present, guiding the Justice Department as a way to exact revenge on the Time Warner-owned property. The Justice Department has denied any wrongdoing, and said it is only looking to block the merger on the grounds that it is anti-competitive. But to prove the theory, AT&T and Time Warner requested communications between the Justice Department and White House that could have shown the department was engaging in "selective enforcement." In today's decision, the judge on the case said the companies had fallen "far short" of the legal bar required to receive the documents.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung To Cut OLED Production Due To Poor iPhone X Sales

Slashdot -

Samsung's panel-making division, Samsung Display, is reportedly reducing OLED panel production at its South Chungcheong plant due to lower than expected iPhone X sales. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Samsung now plans to cover 20 million or fewer iPhone X devices for the quarter ending in March, a large decrease from the expected 45 to 50 million units. CNET reports: Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones in the quarter ending in January, down by 1 percent on the previous year. The $1,000 price tag on the iPhone X was blamed for the volume shortfall -- but also contributed to the company making record-breaking profits. Samsung did not respond to CNET's request for comment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Venezuela Launches Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency

Slashdot -

Venezuela has launched a cryptocurrency backed by oil in an attempt to bypass tough economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. government. "The 'Petro' is intended to bolster the country's crumbling economy, which has been suffering from hyperinflation and devaluation for years," reports the BBC. "Venezuela claims it is the world's first sovereign cryptocurrency." From the report: Critics say the move is a desperate attempt by Caracas to raise cash at a time when Venezuela lacks the ability to repay its $150 billion of foreign debt. Opposition leaders said the sale constitutes an illegal issuing of debt, while the US Treasury Department warned it may violate sanctions imposed last year. The government says the currency aims to circumvent US sanctions on the economy. President Nicolas Maduro has said each tokens will be backed by a barrel of Venezuelan crude. The Latin American country has the world's largest proven oil reserves. A total of 100 million Petros will be sold, with an initial value set at $60, based on the price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude in mid-January. The official website published a guide to setting up a virtual wallet in which to hold the cryptocurrency, but did not provide a link for actually doing so on Tuesday.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Data Shows Netflix's Number of Movies Has Gone Down By Thousands of Titles Since 2010

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: If you thought Netflix's movie selection had been lacking lately, you're right. The streaming service's amount of movies has dipped by over 2,000 titles since 2010, while its number of TV shows has nearly tripled. Third-party Netflix search engine Flixable compiled data that shows a dramatic shift in Netflix's priorities in recent years. In 2010, Netflix had 530 TV shows compared to 6,755 movies. Now, in 2018, the amount of TV shows has nearly tripled to 1,569, and the amount of movies offered has decreased to 4,010. It's no secret that Netflix has focused more on TV shows and less on movies in recent years, but now we have a visual representation of just how significant that focus has become.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Slashdot Asks: Which Smart Speaker Do You Prefer?

Slashdot -

Every tech company wants to produce a smart speaker these days. Earlier this month, Apple finally launched the HomePod, a smart speaker that uses Siri to answer basic questions and play music via Apple Music. In December, Google released their premium Google Home Max speaker that uses the Google Assistant and Google's wealth of knowledge to play music, answer questions, set reminders, and so on. It may be the most advanced smart speaker on the market as it has the hardware capable of playing high fidelity audio, and a digital assistant that can perform over one million actions. There is, however, no denying the appeal of the Amazon Echo, which is powered by the Alexa digital assistant. Since it first made its debut in late 2014, it has had more time to develop its skill set. Amazon says Alexa controls "tens of millions of devices," including Windows 10 PCs. A new report from The Guardian, citing the industry site MusicAlly, says that Spotify is working on a line of "category defining" hardware products "akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles." The streaming music company has posted an ad for a senior product manager to "define the product requirements for internet connected hardware [and] the software that powers it." With Spotify looking to launch a smart speaker in the not-too-distant-future, the decision to purchase a smart speaker has become all the more difficult. Do you own a smart speaker? If so, which device do you own and why? Do you see a clear winner, or can they all satisfy your basic needs?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Drupal.org blog: What's new on Drupal.org? - January 2018

Drupal Planet -

Read our Roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community.

In January the Drupal Association kicked off the new year with our Winter Staff Retreat, where the whole organization came together to review the past 6 months and lay out our strategy for the new year. In addition to taking a big picture look at our upcoming priorities, we also made some great improvements this past month.

Before we dive into those, we'd like to welcome Dhanya Girish to the Drupal Association team. Her time has been generously sponsored by Zyxware and she joins us as a skilled engineer. Please welcome Dhanya!

Drupal.org Updates Celebrating Drupal's 17th Birthday

To celebrate the 17th birthday of Drupal, we've embedded a wonderful video on the home page, celebrating some of the incredible things that have been built with Drupal. Drupal has grown from being a dorm-room experiment to being the driver for some of the most powerful digital experiences on the web. We can't wait to see what the next 17 years bring.

Proposed new initiatives for collaboration with Core

The Drupal Association engineering team meets monthly with the Drupal Core committers to align our goals and ensure that we're on the same page about what the project needs moving forward. At the beginning of this year we outlined some new proposed initiatives that, in collaboration with Core, we believe could be a tremendous value to the project.

None of these initiatives can be accomplished quickly, nor can they be moved forward without the collaboration of key contributors and the core committers, but we strongly believe they will be important next steps for the future of Drupal.

Refresh of the Hosting Listings program

A major focus in January was the refresh of our hosting listings program. The new hosting listings now display all providers on the primary view, with a series of filters to help users find exactly the right hosting partner. This update also brings a much needed visual refresh to the listings. New filters and search facets will help end-users find the hosting partner that is right for their needs, industry, and budget, and will enable users to identify and support those platforms that support the project.

Promoting industry solutions in the marketplace

Over the last year, we've been focused on pushing a message about crafting the perfect solution for particular industries with Drupal. We link to this information off of the front page, but we've also added a contextual block in the sidebar that will appear whenever users filter the marketplace by the relevant industry.

These efforts are an ongoing part of better serving the various personas who come to Drupal.org. Look forward to hearing about even more changes on this front as we approach DrupalCon Nashville in April.

In-context issue tag explanations

One of the cornerstones of Drupal.org contribution and issue management is our issue tagging system. However, it's been difficult in the past to understand what each tag is used for, especially for tags that are carefully monitored and curated by project maintainers or the core committer team. We've enhanced the tagging system by providing in-context hover-states that describe what tags are used for.

Infrastructure Updates Implemented PerimeterX for increased protection from DDOS, crawlers, badbots etc.

Would you believe that Drupal.org is the target of a bad crawler or outright DDOS attack at least once every two months? The team does an incredible job reducing the impact on end users of Drupal.org, but to make that job easier, we've partnered with PerimeterX for bad bot protection integrated with our CDN. PerimeterX integrates closely with Fastly, our CDN, and so can provide intelligent logic and protection at the edge.

We're starting off using this system simply for greater introspection into the nature of traffic patterns and the attacks of bad actors. We're gradually enabling the protection as we tune the system for Drupal.org's unique needs. We want to thank PerimeterX for supporting the project, and for helping to make Drupal.org a better place for our community.

DrupalCI: Support for yarn-based core tests

We've added a yarn build-step plugin to DrupalCI, allowing us to support new testing types, including nightwatch javascript tests in core and contrib. We want to provide a special thanks to community contributors who helped: justafish, dawhener, and mile23.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who make it possible for us to work on these projects. In particular we want to thank:

  • PerimeterX - *NEW* Signature Technology Supporting Partner
  • publicplan - *NEW* Premium Supporting Partner
  • WebEnertia - *NEW* Premium Supporting Partner
  • Electric Citizen - *NEW* Classic Supporting Partner
  • Factorial - *NEW* Classic Supporting Partner
  • One Shoe - Renewing Classic Supporting Partner
  • DRUD - Renewing Classic Hosting Supporter

If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

The Swype Smartphone Keyboard Is Dead

Slashdot -

XDA Developers is reporting that one of the pioneers in swipe-gestures in mobile keyboard apps, Swype, is dead. Swype's owner, Nuance Communications, has confirmed that they are discontinuing Swype for Android and iOS. From the report: In a post made on Reddit earlier today, a user claims that they reached out to Nuance support with an issue and received the following message: "However, we are sad to announce that Swype+Dragon for Android has faced end of development. Here is a statement from Swype Product Team: 'Nuance will no longer be updating the Swype+Dragon keyboard for Android. We're sorry to leave the direct-to-consumer keyboard business, but this change is necessary to allow us to concentrate on developing our AI solutions for sale directly to businesses.' We hope you enjoyed using Swype, we sure enjoyed working with the Swype community." Curious, we went looking online and discovered a Zendesk article from Nuance that announced the iOS version of the app would be discontinued as well. In order to confirm this, we also reached out to Nuance PR and they confirmed that development of Swype+Dragon for Android has indeed been discontinued.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jeff Bezos Shares Video of 10,000-Year Clock Project

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos shared a video on Tuesday of his latest project: a giant clock designed to keep time for 10,000 years. Buried deep in a west Texas mountain, the project is in partnership with San Francisco-based group The Long Now Foundation, which grew out of an idea for a 10,000 year clock that co-founder Danny Hillis proposed back in the '90s. Now, the 500-foot tall mechanical wonder is finally undergoing installation. Bezos is fronting the cash for the $42 million project, saying on the project's website that the clock is "designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking." The clock is powered by a large weight hanging on a gear, built out of materials durable enough to keep time for 10 millennia. Bezos isn't the only noteworthy name on the clock project. Musician Brian Eno and writers Kevin Kelly and Stewart Brand are also involved in the clock's construction. The team has spent the last few years creating parts for the clock and drilling through the mountain to store the pieces. You can read Bezos's account of that and view photos of the progress here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung Starts Mass Producing an SSD With Monstrous 30.72TB Capacity

Slashdot -

Brian Fagioli, writing for BetaNews: Samsung says it is mass producing a solid state drive with monstrous capacity. The "PM1643," as it is called, offers an insane 30.72TB of storage space! This is achieved by using 32 x 1TB NAND flash. "Samsung reached the new capacity and performance enhancements through several technology progressions in the design of its controller, DRAM packaging and associated software. Included in these advancements is a highly efficient controller architecture that integrates nine controllers from the previous high-capacity SSD lineup into a single package, enabling a greater amount of space within the SSD to be used for storage. The PM1643 drive also applies Through Silicon Via (TSV) technology to interconnect 8Gb DDR4 chips, creating 10 4GB TSV DRAM packages, totaling 40GB of DRAM. This marks the first time that TSV-applied DRAM has been used in an SSD," says Samsung.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FCC Orders a Brooklyn Man To Turn Off His Bitcoin Miner Because It Was Interfering With T-Mobile's Wireless Network

Slashdot -

A New York City resident was ordered to turn off his bitcoin miner after the Federal Communications Commission discovered that it was interfering with T-Mobile's wireless network. From a report: After receiving a complaint from T-Mobile about interference to its 700MHz LTE network in Brooklyn, New York, FCC agents in November 2017 determined that radio emissions in the 700MHz band were coming from the residence of a man named Victor Rosario. "When the interfering device was turned off the interference ceased," the FCC's enforcement bureau told Rosario in a "Notification of Harmful Interference" yesterday. "You identified the device as an Antminer S5 Bitcoin Miner. The device was generating spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile's broadband network and causing harmful interference." The FCC told Rosario that continued interference with T-Mobile's network while operating the device would be a violation of federal laws "and could subject the operator to severe penalties, including, but not limited to, substantial monetary fines, in rem arrest action to seize the offending radio equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hackers Hijacked Tesla's Amazon Cloud Account To Mine Cryptocurrency

Slashdot -

An unidentified hacker or hackers broke into a Tesla-owned Amazon cloud account and used it to "mine" cryptocurrency, security researchers said. The breach also exposed proprietary data for the electric carmaker. From a report: The researchers, who worked for RedLock, a 3-year-old cybersecurity startup, said they discovered the intrusion last month while trying to determine which organization left credentials for an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account open to the public Internet. The owner of the account turned out to be Tesla, they said. "We weren't the first to get to it," Varun Badhwar, CEO and cofounder of RedLock, told Fortune on a call. "Clearly, someone else had launched instances that were already mining cryptocurrency in this particular Tesla environment." The incident is the latest in a string of so-called cryptojacking attacks, which involve thieves hijacking unsuspecting victims' computers to generate virtual currencies like Bitcoin. The schemes have seen a resurgence in popularity as cryptocurrency prices have soared over the past year. In a statement, Tesla said, "We maintain a bug bounty program to encourage this type of research, and we addressed this vulnerability within hours of learning about it. The impact seems to be limited to internally-used engineering test cars only, and our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Why Decentralization Matters

Slashdot -

Chris Dixon has an essay about the long-term promise of blockchain-based networks to upend web-based businesses such as Facebook and Twitter. He writes: When they hit the top of the S-curve, their relationships with network participants change from positive-sum to zero-sum. The easiest way to continue growing lies in extracting data from users and competing with complements over audiences and profits. Historical examples of this are Microsoft vs Netscape, Google vs Yelp, Facebook vs Zynga, and Twitter vs its 3rd-party clients. Operating systems like iOS and Android have behaved better, although still take a healthy 30% tax, reject apps for seemingly arbitrary reasons, and subsume the functionality of 3rd-party apps at will. For 3rd parties, this transition from cooperation to competition feels like a bait-and-switch. Over time, the best entrepreneurs, developers, and investors have become wary of building on top of centralized platforms. We now have decades of evidence that doing so will end in disappointment. In addition, users give up privacy, control of their data, and become vulnerable to security breaches. These problems with centralized platforms will likely become even more pronounced in the future.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Just Launched Another Answer To Apple Pay

Slashdot -

Google launched its latest answer to Apple Pay on Tuesday. It's called Google Pay and replaces Android Pay, a previous solution that let Android users buy goods with their smartphones. From a report: It's also Google's answer to Apple Pay and Apple Pay Cash. Google Pay follows several failed attempts by Google to launch a widespread payment platform. The company launched Google Wallet several years ago before folding it and launching Android Pay. Google Pay combines features from both, including the ability to pay at checkout counters with a smartphone, and even the option to scan into transit systems in cities such as Kiev, London and Portland, initially.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Security updates for Tuesday

LWN Headlines -

Security updates have been issued by Debian (libav), Gentoo (chromium, firefox, libreoffice, mysql, and ruby), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (bind9).

Mines Linked to Child Labor Are Thriving in Rush for Car Batteries

Slashdot -

Metal vital to many electric vehicles has tripled in 18 months. From a report: The appetite for electric cars is driving a boom in small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some mines have been found to be dangerous and employ child labor. Production from so-called artisanal mines probably rose by at least half last year, according to the estimates of officials at three of the biggest international suppliers of the metal, who asked not to be named because they're not authorized to speak on the matter. State-owned miner Gecamines estimates artisanal output accounted for as much as a quarter of the country's total production in 2017. That's a concern for carmakers from Volkswagen to Tesla, who are seeking to secure long-term supplies of the battery ingredient but don't want to be enmeshed in a scandal about unethical mining practices. Tech giants including Apple and Microsoft endured bad publicity after a 2016 Amnesty International report said children were being sent down some Congolese mines to dig for cobalt destined for their gadgets. Pit and tunnel collapses killed dozens of workers in 2015, the advocacy group said. Cobalt has tripled in value in the last 18 months as the rise of electric vehicles intensifies competition for scarce resources. Two-thirds of the world's supply comes from Congo, the second-poorest nation. The boom in the metal, currently trading above $80,000 a metric ton, has triggered more mining in the cobalt-rich Katanga region, where sprawling hand-dug mines dot the landscape, and searching for ore is as commonplace as farming.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

2bits: Drupal Performance and Scalability With Excessive I/O Load Or Memory Exhausion

Drupal Planet -

On many occasions, we see web site performance suffereing due to misconfiguration or oversight of system resources. Here is an example where RAM and Disk I/O severely impacted web site performance, and how we fixed them.

A recent project for a client who had bad site performance uncovered issues within the application itself, i.e. how the Drupal site was put together. However, overcoming those issues was not enough to achieve the required scalability with several hundred logged in users on the site at the same time.

First, regarding memory, the site configured too many PHP-FPM processes, and that left no room in memory for the filesystem buffers and cache, which help a lot with disk I/O load.

Here is a partial display from when we were monitoring the server before we fixed it:

As you can see, the buffers + cache + free memory all amount to less than 1 GB of total RAM, while the used RAM is over 7GB.

used buffers cache free 7112M 8892k 746M 119M 7087M 9204k 738M 151M 7081M 9256k 770M 125M 7076M 4436k 768M 136M 7087M 4556k 760M 133M

We did calculations on how much RAM is really needed by watching the main components on the server:

In this case the calculation was:

Memcache + MySQL + (Apache2 X number of instances) + (PHP-FPM X number of instances)

And then adjusting the PHP-FPM number of processes down to a reasonable number, for a total application RAM of no more than 70% of the total.

The result is as follows. As you can see, used memory is now 1.8GB instead of 7GB. Free memory will slowly be used by cache and buffers making I/O operations much faster.

used buffers cache free 1858M 50.9M 1793M 4283M 1880M 51.2M 1795M 4258M 1840M 52.1M 1815M 4278M 1813M 52.4M 1815M 4304M

Another issue with the server, partially caused by by the above lack of cache and buffers, but also by forgotten settings, caused a severe bottleneck in the Disk I/O performance. The disk was so tied up that everything had to wait. I/O Wait was 30%, as seen in top and htop. This is very very high, and should usually be no more than 1 or 2% maximum.

We also observed excessive disk reads and writes, as follows:

disk read disk write i/o read i/o write 5199k 1269k 196 59.9 1731k 1045k 80 50.7 7013k 1106k 286 55.2 23M 1168k 607 58.4 9121k 1369k 358 59.7

Upon investigating, we found that the rules_debug_log setting was on. The site had 130 enabled rules and the syslog module was enabled. We found a file under /var/log/ with over a GB per day and growing. This writing of rules debugging for every page load tied up the disk when a few hundred users were on the site.

After disabling the rules debug log settings, wait for I/O went down to 1.3%! A significant improvement.

Here is the disk I/O figures after the fix.

disk read disk write i/o read i/o write 192k 429k 10.1 27.7 292k 334k 16.0 26.3 2336k 429k 83.6 30.7 85k 742k 4.53 30.8 Now, the site has response times of 1 second or less instead of the 3-4 seconds. Contents: Tags: 

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