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Contractors argue umbrella companies need improved regulation, not outright ban

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 14:01
Trades Union Congress proposals miss the point, say campaigners

Contractors have described a UK union's call to ban umbrella companies as unworkable, leading to a greater void in the under-regulated market and making outsourced workers vulnerable.…

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IBM's AI Can Predict How Parkinson's Disease May Progress In Individuals

Slashdot - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 14:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: [R]esearchers from IBM and Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) say they've developed a program that can predict how the symptoms of a Parkinson's disease patient will progress in terms of both timing and severity. In The Lancet Digital Health journal, they claim the software could transform how doctors help patients manage their symptoms by allowing them to better predict how the disease will progress. The breakthrough wouldn't have been possible without the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative, a study the Michael J. Fox Foundation sponsored. IBM describes the dataset, which includes information on more than 1,400 individuals, as the "largest and most robust volume of longitudinal Parkinson's patient data to date" and says it allowed its AI model to map out complex symptom and progression patterns.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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On this most auspicious of days, we ask: How many sysadmins does it take to change a lightbulb?

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 13:15
Protip: Don't treat the IT department like this if you value your life

Today is System Administrator Appreciation Day so enjoy this Reg reader's story of just what these brave individuals have to put up with.…

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London class-action sueball against Google is a lot like Epic's case except fandroids might win enough for a pint

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 12:30
Hundreds of millions in damages, Play Store in the sights etc. etc.

Yet another anti-Big Tech group litigation lawsuit has been launched in London. This time it's targeting Google, claims to be on behalf of 19 million Android users, seeks up to £920m in damages, and pretty much mirrors Epic Games' lawsuit against the Chocolate Factory over app store charges.…

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Ordinary salaried Brits: Sweet! Payday! Banking giant HSBC: Oh no it isn't

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 11:50
Customers hacked off as online and mobile service wobbles

HSBC has confirmed it is experiencing problems with its online and mobile banking operations after customers took to social media to complain about the lack of service.…

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What to do with our leftover Saturn V Lego? Why, build another rocket, of course

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 11:01
This time the Saturn 1B

We ventured back into the world of plastic bricks this week with the building of a Saturn 1B to add to our growing rocket garden.…

Categories: Technology

TSMC Will Start Making 2nm Chips As Intel Tries To Catch Up

Slashdot - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 11:00
Kekke writes: "Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s new foundry will produce 2-nanometer chips," reports Gizmodo. "Construction on the plant in Hsinchu, southwest from Taiwan's capital of Taipei, is expected to start as soon as early 2022. TSMC's 3nm tech is reportedly expected to be put into production in late 2022 -- meanwhile, Intel will be rolling out 7nm chips toward the end of 2022 and into 2023." Will Intel have a genie in the bottle or a rabbit in a hat? Doesn't seem so to me. On Tuesday, Intel unveiled a comeback plan designed to help it reclaim processor manufacturing leadership within four years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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You MUST present your official ID (but only the one that's really easy to fake)

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 10:15
I can show you my Three Widths swimming certificate if it helps

Something for the Weekend, Sir?  As I leave the premises face-first, my ears ring with those oh-so-familiar parting words: "…and never darken our doors again!"…

Categories: Technology

Intel scoops out five flavours of Ice Lake Xeons for workstations

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 08:59
They're good for stuff like supporting 4TB of RAM and PCIe 4.0

Intel's ten-nanometre Ice Lake architecture has landed in Xeon processors for workstations.…

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Malware and Trojans, but there's only one horse the boss man wants to hear about

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 08:30
The company's IT might be on fire, but my needs trump those of the many

On Call  A call from the executive floor is rarely a harbinger of happiness, especially when one is wading knee-deep through the molasses of malware. Welcome to one Register reader's experience in On Call.…

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YouTuber Won $10,000 Bet With a Physicist Over Wind-Powered Vehicle

Slashdot - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 08:00
Derek Muller, creator of the science-themed YouTube channel Veritasium, won a $10,000 bet with UCLA physics professor Alexander Kusenko, who claimed that Muller's wind-driven land yacht couldn't travel faster than the wind without any additional power sources. After recruiting science stars Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye to help settle the debate, the professor eventually conceded that it was in fact possible. Insider reports: Created by Rick Cavallaro, a former aerospace engineer, Blackbird is unique because it can move directly downwind faster than the wind itself for a sustained period. Any sailor worth their salt can tell you that a boat can travel faster than the wind by cutting zigzag patterns; that's called tacking. But the idea that a vehicle can beat the breeze traveling straight downwind, no tacking involved, is controversial. "I knew this was a counterintuitive problem. To be perfectly honest with you, when I went out to pilot the craft, I didn't understand how it worked," Muller told Insider. Blackbird is so counterintuitive, in fact, that less than a week after Muller released his video (below), Alexander Kusenko, a professor of physics at UCLA, emailed to inform him that it had to be wrong. A vehicle like that would break the laws of physics, Kusenko said. "I said, 'Look, if you don't believe this, let's put some money on this,'" Muller said. He suggested a wager of $10,000, never imagining Kusenko would take it. But Kusenko agreed, and in the weeks that followed, they exchanged data and argued about Blackbird. They even brought in several of science's biggest names, including Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, to help decide who was right. In the end, Muller emerged victorious.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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AWS growing so fast its revenue makes it bigger than Cisco or HP

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 07:58
Nobody wants to run their own data centers anymore, says CFO

Amazon.com has released its Q2 2021 earnings, and revealed that revenue from its cloud business Amazon Web Services has jumped 37 per cent to an annualized rate of $59 billion – a figure that takes it past Cisco's annual revenue and puts it within striking distance of Lenovo.…

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We can't believe people use browsers to manage their passwords, says maker of password management tools

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 07:27
You just save it in Chrome or Firefox? Ugh. And then it autofills when you need it again? Oh the horror

It seems some of us are, in the year of our lord 2021, still reusing the same password for multiple sites, plugging personal gear into work networks, and perhaps overly relying on browser-managed passwords, judging from this poll.…

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Giant Tesla battery providing explosion in renewable energy – not as intended

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 05:47
Toxic smoke from fire forces Australian residents indoors just two days after COVID lockdown lifted

Tesla's battery technology is extremely hot in Australia right now – but not in a good way. A 300-megawatt lithium-ion battery built in the state of Victoria using Tesla tech is literally on fire.…

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<i>The Register</i> just found 300-odd Itanium CPUs on eBay

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 05:07
We mention this because Intel stopped shipping them yesterday, ending a strange story

Intel has stopped shipping the Itanium CPU.…

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Entire Buildings Can Be Wrapped In Jackets To Save Energy

Slashdot - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 04:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: On a normally peaceful residential road outside The Hague, the Dutch city that serves as seat of government, the whine of a hoisting crane and welding tools heralds a not-so-quiet housing revolution. Four workers standing above me on a scissor lift next to an apartment complex guide a thermally insulated facade 40 feet wide and one story tall into place against the existing wall. Its brickwork pattern of muted brown, grey and beige, and the triple glazed windows, perfectly fit the building's existing frame and openings. The original windows and the very old brick walls had allowed cold drafts inside, and warm interior air to escape, wasting much of the energy used to heat the building. The new facade is primarily fire-resistant expanded polystyrene -- essentially, hollow spheres that trap air to create a thick insulation layer -- faced with hardened clay and sculpted into hundreds of very thin rectangles known as "brick slips." This new building skin, prebuilt in a factory, was one of a dozen such facades to be attached to local buildings when I visited the suburb on a rainy day in early summer, each structure measured to millimeter precision. The installation is part of a concerted effort to transform energy-inefficient public housing into a set of ultralow-emission homes -- without having to open a wall or remake an attic. The building was being wrapped in the equivalent of a winter jacket -- or summer beer koozie -- avoiding the need to insert insulation inside dozens of walls, lofts and attics. A similarly premade, lightweight, highly insulating material, complete with solar panels, would be installed on the roof, too. The report notes that the average cost to retrofit a family home in the Netherlands is "about $94,000," but it's "comparable to the cost of other routine renovations that deliver no energy savings." "In one neighborhood in the city of Utrecht, more than a dozen houses and some 250 separate apartments retrofitted in 2019 saw their energy requirements fall from 225 kilowatt-hours per square meter to just 50 kilowatt-hours per square meter, on average. The remaining demand for energy was met with solar power."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Communism never looked so good: China cracks down on pop-up ads

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 02:58
Developers accused of ignoring regulations and adding adware where it's not allowed

China has cracked down on big tech again, this time telling some of its biggest players to get rid of pop-up ads in apps.…

Categories: Technology

Estonia Says a Hacker Downloaded 286,000 ID Photos From Government Database

Slashdot - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 02:40
Estonian officials said they arrested last week a local suspect who used a vulnerability to gain access to a government database and downloaded government ID photos for 286,438 Estonians. From a report: The attack took place earlier this month, and the suspect was arrested last week on July 23, Estonian police said in a press conference yesterday, July 28. The identity of the attacker was not disclosed, and he was only identified as a Tallinn-based male. Officials said the suspect discovered a vulnerability in a database managed by the Information System Authority (RIA), the Estonian government agency which manages the country's IT systems.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Mexico Says Officials Spent $61 Million On Pegasus Spyware

Slashdot - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 02:00
Mexico's top security official said Wednesday that two previous administrations spent $61 million to buy Pegasus spyware that has been implicated in government surveillance of opponents and journalists around the world. PBS reports: Public Safety Secretary Rosa Icela Rodriguez said records had been found of 31 contracts signed during the administrations of President Felipe Calderon in 2006-2012 and President Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012-18. Some contracts may have been disguised as purchases of other equipment. The government said many of the contracts with the Israeli spyware firm NSO Group were signed with front companies, which are often used in Mexico to facilitate kickbacks or avoid taxes. Last week, the government's top anti-money laundering investigator said officials from the two previous administrations had spent about $300 million in government money to purchase spyware. But that figure may reflect all spyware and surveillance purchases, or may include yet-unidentified contracts. Santiago Nieto, the head of Mexico's Financial Intelligence Unit, said the bills for programs like the Pegasus spyware appear to have included excess payments that may have been channeled back to government officials as kickbacks. Nieto said the amounts paid, and the way they were paid, suggested government corruption in an already questionable telephone tapping program that targeted journalists, activists and opposition figures, who at the time included now President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his inner circle. The report notes that Mexico "had the largest list -- about 700 phone numbers -- among the thousands reportedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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International Space Station stabilizes after just-docked Russian module suddenly fires thrusters

The Register - Fri, 30/07/2021 - 01:44
Crew not in danger, NASA insists

The International Space Station tilted 45 degrees today after Nauka, a just-docked Russian module, suddenly and unexpectedly fired its thrusters.…

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