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Unattended maintenance windows

grahamsaa (1287732) writes | about half an hour ago

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grahamsaa (1287732) writes "Like many others in IT, I sometimes have to do server maintenance at unfortunate times. 6AM is the norm for us, but in some cases we're expected to do it as early as 2AM, which isn't exactly optimal. I understand that critical services can't be taken down during business hours, and most of our products are used 24 hours a day, but for some things it seems like it would be possible to automate maintenance (and downtime).

I have a maintenance window at about 5AM tomorrow. It's fairly simple — upgrade CentOS, remove a package, install a package, reboot. Downtime shouldn't be more than 5 minutes. While I don't think it would be wise to automate this window, I think with sufficient testing we might be able to automate future maintenance windows so I or someone else can sleep in. Aside from the benefit of getting a bit more sleep, automating this kind of thing means that it can be written, reviewed and tested well in advance. Of course, if something goes horribly wrong having a live body keeping watch is probably helpful. That said, we do have people on call 24/7 and they could probably respond capably in an emergency. Have any of you tried to do something like this? What's your experience been like?"

NNSA Reveals Supercomputer Set to Take Over China's Top System

Anonymous Coward writes | 1 hour ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The National Nuclear Security Administration just unleashed news that it's invested close to $200 million for a new system so powerful, it could topple the far-dominant Chinese supercomputer, called Tianhe-2. Powered by the next generation Haswell processors and the upcoming, still mysterious self-hosted Intel Knight's Landing chips, the machine might be capable of close to 100 petaflops, at least if my math is correct given the node and rack figures leaked here."
Link to Original Source

Start-up MindRDR developing a way to mind-control wearables such as Google Glass

loftarasa (1066016) writes | 1 hour ago

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loftarasa (1066016) writes "London-based startup MindRDR "is working on a way to control wearable devices like Google Glass with the power of thought", reports Discovery News. Many other companies in the past have announced similar technologies, but failed to live up to the hype. Meanwhile, MindRDR claims their prototype is currently operational, albeit limited to making Google Glass take pictures."
Link to Original Source

Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

blackbeak (1227080) writes | 1 hour ago

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blackbeak (1227080) writes "The Washington Post reports that the Journal of Vibration and Control's review system was hijacked by a ring of reviewers. 60 articles have been retracted as a result. If a relatively nonpolitical field like JVC covers is subject to this kind of nonsense, what might be lurking behind peer reviews in the pharmaceutical or petroleum fields? Maybe non peers should be partnered with peers to do the reviewing."

Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast to Make THC

meghan elizabeth (3689911) writes | 4 hours ago

1

meghan elizabeth (3689911) writes "How do you get weed without the weed? By genetically engineering yeast to produce THC, of course.
Once theorized in a stoner magazine column more than a decade ago, a biotech startup working in Ireland is actively trying to transplant the genetic information that codes for both THC and another cannabinoid called CBD into yeast so that "marijuana" can be grown in a lab—no plants necessary."

Report: Samsung to debut virtual reality headset at IFA

Anonymous Coward writes | 4 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "A report from Sammobile suggests that the Korean company will debut its head mounted display at IFA trade show in Berlin, come September. The product is being developed in partnership with Facebook-owned Oculus VR. Samsung's virtual reality headset , dubbed Gear VR, have space where a Galaxy handset can be docked in by way of a USB 3.0 to allow for a fully immersed virtual reality experience. -"
Link to Original Source

Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth The Investment?

MojoKid (1002251) writes | 5 hours ago

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MojoKid (1002251) writes "Back in the day (which is a scientific measurement for anyone who used to walk to school during snowstorms, uphill, both ways), integrated audio solutions had trouble earning respect. Many enthusiasts considered a sound card an essential piece to the PC building puzzle. It's been 25 years since the first Sound Blaster card was introduced, a pretty remarkable feat considering the diminished reliance on discrete audio in PCs, in general. These days, the Sound Blaster ZxR is Creative's flagship audio solution for PC power users. It boasts a signal-to-noise (SNR) of 124dB that Creative claims is 89.1 times better than your motherboard's integrated audio solution. It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies. While gaming there is no significant performance impact or benefit when going from onboard audio to the Sound Blaster ZxR. However, the Sound Blaster ZxR produced higher-quality in-game sound effects and it also produces noticeably superior audio in music and movies, provided your speakers can keep up."
Link to Original Source

Hints of Life's Start Found in a Giant Virus

Anonymous Coward writes | 5 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "In the world of microbes, viruses are small — notoriously small. Pithovirus is not. The largest virus ever discovered, pithovirus is more massive than even some bacteria. Most viruses copy themselves by hijacking their host’s molecular machinery. But pithovirus is much more independent, possessing some replication machinery of its own. Pithovirus’s relatively large number of genes also differentiated it from other viruses, which are often genetically simple — the smallest have a mere four genes. Pithovirus has around 500 genes, and some are used for complex tasks such as making proteins and repairing and replicating DNA. “It was so different from what we were taught about viruses,” Abergel said.

The stunning find, first revealed in March, isn’t just expanding scientists’ notions of what a virus can be. It is reframing the debate over the origins of life."

Link to Original Source

Arecibo radio telescope has confirmed the existence of fast radio pulses

schwit1 (797399) writes | 6 hours ago

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schwit1 (797399) writes "The Arecibo radio telescope has confirmed the existence of fast radio pulses.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are bright flashes of radio waves that last only a few thousandths of a second. Scientists using the Parkes Observatory in Australia have recorded such events for the first time, but the lack of any similar findings by other facilities led to speculation that the Australian instrument might have been picking up signals originating from sources on or near Earth. The discovery at Arecibo is the first detection of a fast radio burst using an instrument other than the Parkes radio telescope. The position of the radio burst is in the direction of the constellation Auriga in the Northern sky.

“Our result is important because it eliminates any doubt that these radio bursts are truly of cosmic origin,” continues Victoria Kaspi, an astrophysics professor at McGill University in Montreal and Principal Investigator for the pulsar-survey project that detected this fast radio burst. “The radio waves show every sign of having come from far outside our galaxy – a really exciting prospect.”

Exactly what may be causing such radio bursts represents a major new enigma for astrophysicists. Possibilities include a range of exotic astrophysical objects, such as evaporating black holes, mergers of neutron stars, or flares from magnetars — a type of neutron star with extremely powerful magnetic fields.

Be warned: All of the above theories could also be wrong. These fast radio flashes could just as easily turn out to be something entirely unpredicted."
Link to Original Source

SpaceX Wins FAA Permission to Build a Spaceport in Texas

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes | 6 hours ago

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Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "SpaceX just got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a 56.5-acre spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Mexico border—a huge step toward actually making the spaceport a reality.
Wednesday, the FAA, which handles all commercial space launch permitting in the United States, issued what's known as a "Record of Decision" that suggests the agency would allow the company to launch 10 Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets per year out of the spaceport, through at least 2025."

DARPA social media research stirs a murky, controversial pot

coondoggie (973519) writes | 6 hours ago

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coondoggie (973519) writes "DARPA’s two-year old program to better understand and perhaps ultimately influence social media has begun to bear fruit but some of that harvest is raising a stink. DARPA said when rolling out its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program was to develop a social networks science that will develop automated and semiautomated operator support tools and techniques for the systematic and methodical use of social media at data scale and in a timely fashion. But in building that science the agency says it has funded myriad social media/Twitter research (including a study that looked at Lady Gaga’s Twitter following—a model of social media popularity, DARPA stated) as well as a look into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit and Kickstarter."
Link to Original Source

World's Tallest Residential Tower Will Be Just a Foot Shorter Than One WTC

doclincoln (3741499) writes | 6 hours ago

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doclincoln (3741499) writes "The endless race to the top in the NYC skyscraper world continues with Extell‘s Nordstrom Tower, which will rise 1,479 feet, with a spire that reaches a height of 1,775 feet–just one foot shorter than One World Trade. It’s being designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill — the same firm that designed “the tallest building in the world,” Dubai’s Burj Khalifa."
Link to Original Source

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Employee Memo: "We Will Reinvent Productivity"

rjmarvin (3001897) writes | 7 hours ago

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rjmarvin (3001897) writes "Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent out a lengthy memo to employees http://sdt.bz/71478 laying out a proposed reorganization of the company, a renewed focus on devices and services and a call to action to “reinvent productivity.” The memo, entitled “Bold Ambition & Our Core,” http://www.microsoft.com/en-us... talks about transforming Microsoft from a self-described “devices and services” company to a “productivity and platform company.” Nadella also reaffirmed Microsoft’s commitment to the Xbox platform and touted CloudOS and its Enterprise Mobility Suite."

Microsoft Settles with No-IP After Malware Takedown

Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes | 8 hours ago

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Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "It’s been a weird couple of weeks for Microsoft. On June 30 the company announced its latest malware takedown operation, which included a civil law suit against Vitalwerks, a small Nevada hosting provider, and the seizure of nearly two dozen domains the company owned. Now, 10 days later, Microsoft has not only returned all of the seized domains but also has reached a settlement with Vitalwerks that resolves the legal action.

Some in the security research community criticized Microsoft harshly for what they saw as heavy handed tactics. Within a few days of the initial takedown and domain seizure Microsoft returned all of the domains to Vitalwerks, which does business as No-IP.com. On Wednesday, the software giant and the hosting provider released a joint statement saying that they had reached a settlement on the legal action.

“Microsoft has reviewed the evidence provided by Vitalwerks and enters into the settlement confident that Vitalwerks was not knowingly involved with the subdomains used to support malware. Those spreading the malware abused Vitalwerks’ services,” the companies said in a joint statement.

“Microsoft identified malware that had escaped Vitalwerks’ detection. Upon notification and review of the evidence, Vitalwerks took immediate corrective action allowing Microsoft to identify victims of this malware. The parties have agreed to permanently disable Vitalwerks subdomains used to control the malware.”"

Common Fuel Cell Myths Debunked

thejman78 (1330135) writes | 8 hours ago

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thejman78 (1330135) writes "Most fuel cell vehicle myths and misconceptions stem from a single seven year old article in The New Atlantis magazine. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and DOE, fuel cells will cost $30-$50 per kw-hr of output by 2017, depending on production volume. To put this number in perspective, Tesla battery packs are estimated to cost over $200 per kw-hr of output today and may fall to $140-175 per kw-hr by 2017. In all likelihood, fuel cell vehicles will cost less than battery electric vehicles by the end of the decade (barring some major decrease in battery costs, of course)."
Link to Original Source

Today in year-based computer errors: draft notices sent to men born in the 1800s

sandbagger (654585) writes | 8 hours ago

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sandbagger (654585) writes "The glitch originated with the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles during an automated data transfer of nearly 400,000 records. The records of males born between 1993 and 1997 were mixed with those of men born a century earlier. The federal agency didn't know it because the state uses a two-digit code to indicate birth year."
Link to Original Source

Alleged Hooker and Heroin Kill a Key Google exec on his Yacht in Santa Cruz

Anonymous Coward writes | 8 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Authorities allege model, makeup artist, and self-described "hustler" Alix Catherine Tichelman initially met 51-year-old Google executive Forrest Hayes of Santa Cruz and other Silicon Valley executives at SeekingArrangement.com for sexual encounters that fetched $1,000 or more. Last November 22, Tichelman met Hayes in-person on his white, 50-foot yacht, "Escape," in the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. She brought heroin and needles into the yacht's cabin where she injected Hayes, causing him to overdose, said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.

It has recently become known that a security camera in the cabin showed her pack drugs and syringes into her purse, clean off a table and draw a window blind. When she stepped over Hayes' lifeless body to drink from a glass of wine, she left behind a fingerprint on the glass, which helped investigators to identify her, Clark said. The yacht's captain found Hayes dead the next morning.

Santa Cruz police said they continued to probe Tichelman's possible involvement in another suspicious death out of state, but they declined to elaborate.

Hayes joined Apple in 2005 and worked there for several years, according to a brief profile on the business networking website LinkedIn. He started working for Mountain View-based Google about a year ago and joined its secretive "X" division, which is responsible for what the company likes to call "moon shot" projects including self-driving cars and the computer headset known as Glass.

"Seeking Arrangement," is a website that aims to connect "sugar daddies" and "sugar babies." suggesting, "Financial Stability: Unpaid bills no longer have to be a concern.""

Link to Original Source

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