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Ask Slashdot: Should the Internet Be A Public Utility?

Mon, 2020-03-30 04:34
The pandemic has "proven conclusively that the internet should be a public utility," argues Quartz. "It's a basic necessity in the 21st century, like running water, gas, and electricity. Indeed, the United Nations in 2016 declared that internet access is a human right." Sure, you could theoretically survive without it, just as you might light your home with candles or warm it by fire. Just as you could arguably trek to the closest freshwater source and walk back with buckets of the life-sustaining stuff. But in wealthy societies, like the U.S., those are absurd notions. Living under such conditions is virtually impossible and endangers everyone... [T]hough we have a whole lot of social woes to contend with right now -- pressing medical and economic needs -- it's not too soon to recognize that internet service providers' profits are not the top priority and that lack of access exacerbates existing class divides.... Increasingly, towns, cities, and states are taking a close look at Chattanooga, Tennessee, which built its own high-speed fiber-optic internet network in 2009. A 2018 Consumer Reports survey found the city's broadband was rated best in the US. There are already more than 500 communities nationwide operating public networks or leveraging their massive contracts with broadband providers to ensure free wiring of schools, libraries, and other publicly-accessible wifi hotspots. This patchwork approach to public access is taking hold across the U.S. and there is a growing understanding that internet access is a social issue that has to be addressed by governments, not private companies operating with profit as their sole motivator. Perhaps after the pandemic panic gives way to a new state of normalcy, the people will demand inexpensive and reliable high-quality broadband, and maybe private internet service providers will have to sing a different tune. An anonymous reader asked how exactly this could be accomplished, and long-time Slashdot reader Futurepower(R) suggested towns and cities should own the fiber lines, and then rent it out "to as many Internet-providing companies as are interested." But the original submission also asks, "If you aren't convinced yet, why not?" So share your own opinions in the comments. Should the internet be a public utility?

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Was Magellan's Voyage Riskier Than Sending Humans to Mars?

Mon, 2020-03-30 01:44
A Portuguese historian argues that Magellan's famous trip around the world in 1522 was much harder than sending humans to Mars: Tens of guys died making this crossing; of 250 crew, only 18 returned, Henrique Leitao, a historian at the University of Lisbon, told me... [O]nce NASA or other space agencies or private entities actually launch humans on a six month trajectory to the Red planet, they will likely have mitigated the lion's share of risks to the crew. In contrast, Magellan's crew realized that at least a third of them would likely never survive their journey, says Leitao... Is there a comparison between the Age of Discovery and drivers for the exploration and commercialization of space? One could argue that minerals on asteroids could be seen as the present-day equivalent of the Age of Discovery's highly-prized Asian spices. And that actually getting these 16th century spices back to Europe was arguably just as arduous and seemingly difficult as any initiative to return exotic materials from a near-Earth asteroid... Risk is inherent in any off-world human voyage. But when it comes to safety, today's technology and current knowledge of in situ conditions on Mars itself will arguably give future explorers an inherent edge over Magellan's generation. The article also summarizes Leitao observation that one of the crew members who died on the trip was Magellan. "For 40 days Magellan walked around The Philippines; gets involved in a completely absurd fight with locals on a beach and is killed."

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America's FDA Eases Restrictions on Mask-Sterilizing Technology Amid Coronavirus Shortages

Sun, 2020-03-29 23:47
USA Today reports: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Sunday afternoon said federal officials have promised to ease restrictions on a technology to clean and reuse the masks deemed the safest for healthcare workers and first responders in the coronavirus outbreak.... Officials are scrambling for the N95 masks and other protective equipment for health care workers as the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to spike over the coming months. On Saturday, DeWine publicly pleaded with the FDA to approve an emergency-use permit for [Columbus-based research firm] Battelle's technology amid a shortage of personal protective equipment, including masks.... The U.S. death total has doubled in two days, climbing above 2,300 Sunday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been a leading voice in the effort to curb the outbreak, said 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die before the crisis is over. DeWine said those numbers make it urgent for the FDA to clean as many masks as it can... The Battelle process uses "vapor phase hydrogen peroxide" to sanitize the N95 masks, allowing them to be reused up to 20 times, the company said in a statement. Each of the company's Critical Care Decontamination Systems can sterilize 80,000 masks per day, Battelle said... DeWine on Sunday said the FDA authorized Battelle to sterilize just 10,000 surgical masks a day. "They're only approved a fraction of what we can do," DeWine said during the press conference. But DeWine said in his afternoon press conference that an FDA commissioner told him "this would be cleared up today."

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Black Hole Photo May Also Have Captured Light From Around the Universe

Sun, 2020-03-29 22:51
"When you point a telescope at a black hole, it turns out you don't just see the swirling sizzling doughnut of doom formed by matter falling in," reports the New York Times. "You can also see the whole universe." Light from an infinite array of distant stars and galaxies can wrap around the black hole like ribbons around a maypole, again and again before coming back to your eye, or your telescope. "The image of a black hole actually contains a nested series of rings," said Michael Johnson of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, not unlike the rings that form around your bathtub drain. Dr. Johnson was lead author of a study, describing the proposed method that would allow our telescopes to pry more secrets from the maw of any black hole, that was published in the March 18 edition of the journal Science Advances. He and other authors of the paper are also members of the team operating the Event Horizon Telescope, a globe-girding network of radio telescopes that made that first image of a black hole. Their telescope saw these rings, but it didn't have enough resolution to distinguish them, so they were blurred into a single feature.... Andrew Strominger, a Harvard theorist and co-author of the paper, said, "Understanding the intricate details of this historic experimental observation has forced theorists like myself to think about black holes in a new way..." As Peter Galison of Harvard, another E.H.T. collaborator said, "As we peer into these rings, we are looking at light from all over the visible universe, we are seeing farther and farther into the past, a movie, so to speak, of the history of the visible universe."

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Could Robots Help Us Fight Infectious Diseases?

Sun, 2020-03-29 21:49
In the journal Science Robotics, an international group of robotic experts wrote an editorial arguing COVID-19 "may drive further research in robotics to address risks of infectious diseases," and urging more funding. The Washington Post reports: Robots already have been enlisted in the fight against the virus. In Hong Kong, a fleet of miniature robots disinfects the city's subways; in China, an entire field hospital was staffed by robots designed to relieve overworked health-care workers. In the United States, robots played a role in the country's first known case of covid-19. One outfitted with a stethoscope and a microphone was used with a 35-year-old man in Everett, Washington, who was confined to an isolated unit after showing symptoms of the coronavirus. He later made a full recovery. "Already, we have seen robots being deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls," the researchers write. They identify plenty of other ways to use robots in the pandemic response. Robots could assist with testing and screening; already, researchers have created a device that can identify a suitable vein and perform a blood draw. Or they could take over hospital disinfection entirely, providing continuous sterilization of high-touch areas with UV light. The researchers hope covid-19 will catalyze robotics research for the sake of public health.

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Ambitious Project Seeks to Re-Create Every Structure on Earth in Minecraft

Sun, 2020-03-29 20:51
An anonymous reader quotes Rock, Paper, Shotgun: For as long as there's been Minecraft, there's been people who want to re-create the world in Minecraft. For one modder, though, it's not enough to have a to-scale replica of our pale blue dot recreated in Mojang's block-builder. A new project named Build The Earth is looking for talented builders with too much time on their hands, bringing them together to fully recreate every last man-made structure on Earth in Minecraft. YouTuber PippinFTS unveiled the project in a YouTube video earlier this week. It's awfully dramatic, but give the guy a break — he's only trying to go and build a planet. PippenFTS' project is building from Terra 1 to 1, a project headed up by modders orangeadam3 and shejan0. Using a few extra mods to get around the game's strict world limitations, Terra 1 to 1 uses public terrain datasets, street maps and forest databases to accurately map the earth's terrain, roads and woodland areas in Minecraft... [H]e wants to build a community that can collectively recreate thousands of years of human history by filling out every single man-made structure on Earth. His "Build The Earth" project hopes to crowdsource player-recreated cities, towns, stadiums, bridges and otherwise. PippenFTS himself will contribute with his own hometown. "Regardless," he writes, wistful in his obligation, "I will build Seattle. Super excited." The project already has a Patreon account -- plus 5,500 members in its subreddit.

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After 5 Years of Construction, 'Space Fence' Finally Declared Operational

Sun, 2020-03-29 19:59
An anonymous reader quotes Space News: The space surveillance radar site known as the Space Fence is ready for use after five years in construction, the U.S. Space Force announced March 27. The $1.5 billion Space Fence — located on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands — is a ground-based radar system that tracks satellites and space debris primarily in low Earth orbit... The Space Fence can track tiny objects as small as a marble. It also provides a search capability for objects at higher orbits. Data from the Space Fence will feed into the military's Space Surveillance Network. The Space Surveillance Network tracks about 26,000 objects. The addition of the Space Fence will increase the catalog size significantly over time, the Space Force said in a news release... "Space Fence is revolutionizing the way we view space by providing timely, precise orbital data on objects that threaten both manned and unmanned military and commercial space assets," said Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond.

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Is Uranus Losing Its Atmosphere?

Sun, 2020-03-29 18:59
Mars was once covered by oceans, but lost its atmosphere over time, according to Gina DiBraccio, a space physicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and project scientist for the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN mission. Is the same thing happening to Uranus? The magnetic bubble surrounding the giant gas planet may be siphoning its atmosphere off into space, reports Digital Trends: Uranus's atmospheric loss is driven by its strange magnetic field, the axis of which points at an angle compared to the axis on which the planet spins. That means its magnetosphere wobbles as it moves, which makes it very difficult to model. "The structure, the way that it moves," DiBraccio said, "Uranus is really on its own." Due to the wobbling of the magnetosphere, bits of the atmosphere are drained away in what are called plasmoids — bubbles of plasma which pinch off from the magnetic field as it is blown around by the Sun. Although these plasmoids have been seen on Earth and on some other planets, they had never been observed on Uranus before the recent analysis of old Voyager 2 data. Interestingly, the theory comes from a new analysis of 30-year-old data gathered by the Voyager 2 space probe -- long before it reached the edge of our solar system.

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Bay Area Group Pushes $1,000 Universal Basic Income For Everyone

Sun, 2020-03-29 17:34
"Gisele Huff is convinced universal basic income is finally having its moment," reports the Bay Area newsgroup, describing the 84-year-old president of a nonprofit promoting universal basic incomes to honor their recently-deceased son, a Tesla software engineer: While Huff's organization is only a few years old, it has already made its mark in the Bay Area. Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors is considering a pilot program that would provide youth exiting foster care with a basic $1,000 monthly income. If approved later this year, the program would likely be the first of its kind in the nation... Q: Different people have different ideas about what exactly UBI should look like. What's yours? A: It would be $1,000 a month and it runs like social security. It's an automatic system. All you need is a bank account. So UBI is a direct payment to your bank account on a monthly basis. It has no requirements. When you're 18 it starts and it goes on until you die. Q: And everyone would get the same amount? Including the wealthiest households? A: Yes. For the people who are wealthy, it will disappear because $1,000 doesn't mean anything. But it will mean the world for the people who are so marginalized now, like foster kids or abused women who can't leave a situation because they don't have a dime to their name. It is a huge incentive for people to move on, to do things, take risks that they would not do before. Q: Some critics of UBI say that it could incentivize people not to work, because no matter what they do they will get a monthly paycheck. What is your response? A: If you have a job, you're not going to stop working for $1,000 a month. What you're going to do is you're going to tell your boss: "No, I'm not doing this because it's not acceptable and I have $1,000 dollars that I can use for the next two months until I find a better job." So if you want that job done as a boss, you're going to have to improve the conditions or the pay...." Q: And your son was concerned about those same issues? How did he come to his perspective on UBI? A: Gerald was the software engineer for the Model 3 Tesla. So he has been a techie all of his life and what really spurred him on to look into this in a deeper way was his fear of technological unemployment. The robots are coming. And the potential of that technology is what Gerald was aware of — it's immense.

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Remote City Council Meeting Interrupted By Pornographic Videos

Sun, 2020-03-29 16:34
Friday's first-ever remote meeting for the Los Angeles City Council had to shut down for 20 minutes because of pranksters posting "pornographic videos". The Los Angeles Daily News has the story: Council President Nury Martinez called a recess about an hour into the meeting, which is centered around a Los Angeles-centric relief package for workers, renters and homeless people during the public health crisis. She said there were "inappropriate videos" being posted. Soon afterward, city officials' voices could be heard discussing turning peoples' video capabilities off on the channel. The reporter posted on Twitter that the meeting faced other challenges. "Councilman Joe Buscaino just yelled at his kids to be quiet." ("Maybe it's past Joe's bedtime," joked an assistant news editor.) The meeting ran on for nearly 11 hours, and by the end just six people remained in Zoom's meeting room. "Seven people on the 15-member City Council voted to ban all evictions in Los Angeles, with 6 against. But that was not enough to pass the ban. They needed 8 votes."

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Whatever Happened to Ashley Madison? Affairs in the Time of Coronavirus

Sun, 2020-03-29 15:34
An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat: Ashley Madison's tagline has taken on a new ring amid the COVID-19 pandemic — "Life's short. Have an affair." And the "married dating" site, used to conduct clandestine affairs, has found itself in the midst of a boom. Despite the fact that it's harder than ever to physically meet up with a fellow cheater, Ashley Madison is seeing a surge in users. Some are just looking to chat with someone other than a spouse, some are seeking emotional validation or the fantasy of pursuing a secret sex life... The company became a household name in July 2015, when hackers stole data on 32 million cheating spouses. The leak of sensitive data led to spouses discovering that their significant others were cheating. Divorces, breakups, and suicides ensued. The hackers also exposed that Ashley Madison used bots posing as attractive young women to lure men into engaging more with the site. The company says it has since beefed up its security and rid itself of the bots. And now it's more than double the size it was at the time of the hack, with over 65 million members last year. During 2019, the company added 15,500 new members a day. More recently, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been adding 17,000 new members a day. Its chief strategy officer tells them that after their massive data breach "we were signing up more than 100,000 people a day... [W]e also saw revenues jump during that small time frame." (And the site also acquired "a whole new security team...") Interestingly, he also says Facebook won't allow them to buy ads, which seems especially anticompetitive since Facebook runs its own dating site. "They block us but let other dating platforms advertise... We have had multiple conversations with them, and no, it's a fruitless conversation, unfortunately... This is part of the problem with Facebook, in general, in that they get to pick and choose which companies are going to advertise on the second-largest, if not the largest, digital advertising platform in the world. We question the validity of that."

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Zoom Removes Code That Sends Data to Facebook

Sun, 2020-03-29 14:41
An anonymous reader quotes Motherboard: On Friday video-conferencing software Zoom issued an update to its iOS app which stops it sending certain pieces of data to Facebook. The move comes after a Motherboard analysis of the app found it sent information such as when a user opened the app, their timezone, city, and device details to the social network giant. When Motherboard analyzed the app, Zoom's privacy policy did not make the data transfer to Facebook clear. "Zoom takes its users' privacy extremely seriously. We originally implemented the 'Login with Facebook' feature using the Facebook SDK in order to provide our users with another convenient way to access our platform. However, we were recently made aware that the Facebook SDK was collecting unnecessary device data," Zoom told Motherboard in a statement on Friday.... "We sincerely apologize for this oversight, and remain firmly committed to the protection of our users' data," Zoom's statement concluded.

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Astronomers Have Finally Found the Edge of the Milky Way

Sun, 2020-03-29 13:34
Iwastheone quotes Science News: Astronomers have long known that the brightest part of the Milky Way, the pancake-shaped disk of stars that houses the sun, is some 120,000 light-years across. Beyond this stellar disk is a disk of gas. A vast halo of dark matter, presumably full of invisible particles, engulfs both disks and stretches far beyond them. But because the dark halo emits no light, its diameter is hard to measure. Now, Alis Deason, an astrophysicist at Durham University in England, and her colleagues have used nearby galaxies to locate the Milky Way's edge... To find the Milky Way's edge, Deason's team conducted computer simulations of how giant galaxies like the Milky Way form. In particular, the scientists sought cases where two giant galaxies arose side by side, like the Milky Way and Andromeda, our nearest giant neighbor, because each galaxy's gravity tugs on the other. The simulations showed that just beyond the edge of a giant galaxy's dark halo, the velocities of small nearby galaxies drop sharply. Using existing telescope observations, Deason and her colleagues found a similar plunge in the speeds of small galaxies near the Milky Way. This occurred at a distance of about 950,000 light-years from the Milky Way's center, marking the galaxy's edge, the scientists say.

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US Officials Use Mobile Ad Location Data to Study How COVID-19 Spreads

Sun, 2020-03-29 10:34
An anonymous reader quotes the Wall Street Journal: Government officials across the U.S. are using location data from millions of cellphones in a bid to better understand the movements of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic and how they may be affecting the spread of the disease... The data comes from the mobile advertising industry rather than cellphone carriers. The aim is to create a portal for federal, state and local officials that contains geolocation data in what could be as many as 500 cities across the U.S., one of the people said, to help plan the epidemic response... It shows which retail establishments, parks and other public spaces are still drawing crowds that could risk accelerating the transmission of the virus, according to people familiar with the matter... The data can also reveal general levels of compliance with stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, according to experts inside and outside government, and help measure the pandemic's economic impact by revealing the drop-off in retail customers at stores, decreases in automobile miles driven and other economic metrics. The CDC has started to get analyses based on location data through through an ad hoc coalition of tech companies and data providers — all working in conjunction with the White House and others in government, people said. The CDC and the White House didn't respond to requests for comment. It's the cellphone carriers turning over pandemic-fighting data in Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, the U.K., according to the article, while Israel mapped infections using its intelligence agencies' antiterrorism phone-tracking. But so far in the U.S., "the data being used has largely been drawn from the advertising industry. "The mobile marketing industry has billions of geographic data points on hundreds of millions of U.S. cell mobile devices..."

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Should Students Still Be Graded In the Time of Covid-19?

Sun, 2020-03-29 07:34
theodp writes: The LA Times reports that controversies over grading are roiling universities and colleges, as the coronavirus outbreak prompted them to shift to online learning and send most students home to disparate circumstances. Some students and faculty believe that normal grading practices during these times are deeply unfair, while others feel students should be able to choose between a letter grade or pass/fail, arguing that earning high marks can distinguish them for jobs, scholarships or graduate school. At Harvard, all undergraduates will receive grades of either "Emergency Satisfactory" or "Emergency Unsatisfactory" in their spring classes. Faculty may supplement this terminology with a "qualitative assessment of student learning." The coronavirus situation has also prompted grading changes at the high school level. The College Board announced that all AP exams will be streamlined and only include questions on material covered thru early March. Students taking the AP Computer Science Principles course will not even be subjected to an AP exam in 2020 but can still earn college credit.

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NYT Investigates America's 'Lost Month' for Coronavirus Testing

Sun, 2020-03-29 04:41
The New York Times interviewed over 50 current and former U.S. health officials, senior scientists, company executives, and administration officials to investigate America's "lost month" without widespread coronavirus testing, "when the world's richest country — armed with some of the most highly trained scientists and infectious disease specialists — squandered its best chance of containing the virus's spread." With capacity so limited, the Center for Disease Control's criteria for who was tested remained extremely narrow for weeks to come: only people who had recently traveled to China or had been in contact with someone who had the virus. The lack of tests in the states also meant local public health officials could not use another essential epidemiological tool: surveillance testing. To see where the virus might be hiding, nasal swab samples from people screened for the common flu would also be checked for the coronavirus... Even though researchers around the country quickly began creating tests that could diagnose Covid-19, many said they were hindered by the Food and Drug Administration's approval process. The new tests sat unused at labs around the country. Stanford was one of them. Researchers at the world-renowned university had a working test by February, based on protocols published by the World Health Organization.... By early March, after federal officials finally announced changes to expand testing, it was too late. With the early lapses, containment was no longer an option. The tool kit of epidemiology would shift — lockdowns, social disruption, intensive medical treatment — in hopes of mitigating the harm. Now, the United States has more than 100,000 coronavirus cases, the most of any country in the world... And still, many Americans sickened by the virus cannot get tested... In tacit acknowledgment of the shortage, Mr. Trump asked South Korea's president on Monday to send as many test kits as possible from the 100,000 produced there daily, more than the country needs. Public health experts reacted positively to the increased capacity. But having the ability to diagnose the disease three months after it was first disclosed by China does little to address why the United States was unable to do so sooner, when it might have helped reduce the toll of the pandemic.

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One Woman Can Smell Parkinson's Disease Before Symptoms Manifest

Sun, 2020-03-29 01:46
"For most of her life, Joy Milne had a superpower that she was totally oblivious to," reports NPR. Long-time Slashdot reader doug141 explains what happened next: Milne's husband's natural odor changed when he was 31. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's at 45. When Joy walked into a Parkinson's support group, she smelled the same odor on everybody. A Parkinson's researcher tested her with blind samples from early stage patients, late-stage patients, and controls... NPR tells the story of that test, which took place at the University of Edinburgh with a Parkinson's researcher named Tilo Kunath: [O]ut of all the samples, Joy made only one mistake. She identified a man in the control group, the group without Parkinson's, as having the disease. But many months later, Kunath says, that man actually approached him at an event and said, "Tilo, you're going to have to put me in the Parkinson's pile because I've just been diagnosed." It was incontrovertible: Joy not only could smell Parkinson's but could smell it even in the absence of its typical medical presentation. Kunath and fellow scientists published their work in ACS Central Science in March 2019, listing Joy as a co-author. Their research identified certain specific compounds that may contribute to the smell that Joy noticed on her husband and other Parkinson's patients. Joy and her super smelling abilities have opened up a whole new realm of research, Kunath says... Joy's superpower is so unusual that researchers all over the world have started working with her and have discovered that she can identify several kinds of illnesses — tuberculosis, Alzheimer's disease, cancer and diabetes. Kunath says the ultimate goal is developing a new tool that can detect detect Parkinson's early. "Imagine a society where you could detect such a devastating condition before it's causing problems and then prevent the problems from even occurring."

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Cringely Predicts 2020 Will See 'the Death of IT'

Sat, 2020-03-28 23:51
Long-time technology pundit Robert Cringely writes: IT — Information Technology — grew out of something we called MIS — Management Information Systems — but both meant a kid in a white shirt who brought you a new keyboard when yours broke. Well, the kid is now gone, sent home with everyone else, and that kid isn't coming back... ever. IT is near death, fading by the day. But don't blame COVID-19 because the death of IT was inevitable. This novel coronavirus just made it happen a little quicker... Amazon has been replacing all of our keyboards for some time now, along with our mice and our failed cables, and even entire PCs. IT has been changing steadily from kids taking elevators up from the sub-basement to Amazon Prime trucks rolling-up to your mailbox. At the same time, our network providers have been working to limit their truck rolls entirely. Stop by the Comcast storefront to get your cable modem, because nobody is going to come to install it if you aren't the first person living there to have cable... Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) extends both the network and a security model end-to-end over any network including 4G or 5G wireless. Some folks will run their applications in their end device, whether it is a PC, phone, tablet, whatever, and some will run their applications in the same cloud as SASE, in which case everything will be that much faster and more secure. That's end end-game if there is one — everything in the cloud with your device strictly for input and output, painting screens compressed with HTML5. It's the end of IT because your device will no longer contain anything so it can be simply replaced via Amazon if it is damaged or lost, with the IT kid in the white shirt becoming an Uber driver. Since COVID-19 is trapping us in our homes it is forcing this transition to happen faster than it might have. But it was always going to happen.

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Working From Home Hasn't Broken the Internet

Sat, 2020-03-28 22:51
sixoh1 shared this story from the Wall Street Journal: Home internet and wireless connectivity in the U.S. have largely withstood unprecedented demands as more Americans work and learn remotely. Broadband and wireless service providers say traffic has jumped in residential areas at times of the day when families would typically head to offices and schools. Still, that surge in usage hasn't yet resulted in widespread outages or unusually long service disruptions, industry executives and analysts say. That is because the biggest increases in usage are happening during normally fallow periods. Some service providers have joked that internet usage during the pandemic doesn't compare to the Super Bowl or season finale of the popular HBO show "Game of Thrones" in terms of strain on their networks, Evan Swarztrauber, senior policy adviser to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said this week on a call hosted by consulting company Recon Analytics Inc.Broadband consumption during the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m . has risen by more than 50% since January, according to broadband data company OpenVault, which measured connections in more than one million homes. Usage during the peak early-evening hours increased 20% as of March 25. OpenVault estimates that average data consumption per household in March will reach nearly 400 gigabytes, a nearly 11% increase over the previous monthly record in January.... Some carriers that use cells on wheels and aerial network-support drones after hurricanes or tornadoes are now deploying those resources to neighborhoods with heavy wireless-service usage and places where health-care facilities need additional connectivity. Several wireless carriers including Verizon, T-Mobile US Inc. and AT&T Inc. have been given temporary access to fresh spectrum over the past week to bolster network capacity. While Netflix is lowering its video quality in Canada, the Journal reports Netflix isn't as worried about the EU: Netflix Vice President Dave Temkin, speaking on a videoconference hosted by the network analytics company Kentik, said his engineers took some upgrades originally planned for the holiday season near the end of 2020 and simply made them sooner. A European regulator earlier this month asked Netflix to shift all its videos to standard-definition to avoid taxing domestic networks. Mr. Temkin said Netflix managed to shave its bandwidth usage using less drastic measures. "None of it is actually melting down," he said. And the article also has stats from America's ISPs and cellphone providers: AT&T said cellular-data traffic was almost flat, with more customers using their home wi-fi networks instead -- but voice phone calls increased as much as 44%.Charter saw increases in daytime network activity, but in most markets "levels remain well below capacity and typical peak evening usage."Comcast says its peak traffic increased 20%, but they're still running at 40% capacity.

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Dark Web Hosting Site Suffers Cyberattack, 7,600 Sites Down

Sat, 2020-03-28 21:36
It's the largest free web hosting provider for dark web services. But remember back in 2018 when its 6,500 sites all went down after attackers accessed its database and deleted all its accounts? It happened again -- for the second time in 16 months. And this time, ZDNet reports, Daniel's Host won't be coming back online for several months: Almost 7,600 dark web portals have been taken offline following the hack, during which an attacker deleted the web hosting portal's entire database. This happened earlier this month, on March 10, at around 03:30 am UTC, according to a message posted on DH's now-defunct portal by Daniel Winzen, the German software developer behind the service. Winzen said that an attacker accessed the DH backend and deleted all hosting-related databases. The attacker then deleted Winzen's database account and created a new one to use for future operations. Winzen discovered the hack the next morning, at which time most of the data was already lost. The service doesn't keep backups by design. In an email to ZDNet today, Winzen said he has yet to find out how the hacker breached the DH backend. However, since the dark web hosting service was more of a hobby, Winzen didn't look too much into it. "I am currently very busy with my day-to-day life and other projects, I decided to not spend too much time investigating," he told ZDNet... Winzen said that users should consider the passwords for their DH accounts as "leaked" and change them if they used the same password for other accounts. Winzen told ZDNet he still hopes to relaunch the service "at a later time" with "new features and improvements." "Not having to administrate the services all the time will hopefully give me more time for actual development."

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