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How to Succeed in Venture Capital the John Doerr Way

Wired - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 03:53

Famed investor John Doerr’s testimony in a high-profile bias trial offered a glimpse into the tension between venture capital's gender problem and its faith in meritocracy.

The post How to Succeed in Venture Capital the John Doerr Way appeared first on WIRED.

Steam Controller, SteamVR, Steam Machines: Valve’s hardware push in photos

Ars Technica - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 03:22

The "final" version of the Steam Controller.

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SAN FRANCISCO—Enough press releases, enough GDC teases. On Wednesday, Valve Software finally unveiled a full range of Steam Machines, along with the "final" Steam Controller, the Steam Link streaming box, and even the SteamVR hardware. We'll soon talk at length about our half-hour demo with SteamVR, composed of six distinct, interactive demos, but for now, we'll recap our impressions of the rest of Valve's hardware spread.

Valve Software confirmed that we tested the "final" version of the Steam Controller, which received a November 2015 release window in an announcement yesterday. That final design includes two touchpads (with the left one having a d-pad shape etched onto it), a back panel that can be clicked down with middle fingers on both sides, a single joystick—finally—and an Xbox-style spread of face buttons and shoulder buttons. The above gallery has captions with some thoughts on the controller's features, including the new GameCube-like triggers.

SteamOS includes a few Steam Controller tweaking pages.

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We demoed three games, all of which launched with WASD-and-mouse control schemes on PC: The Talos Principle, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and the new, in-development version of Unreal Tournament. In all three, Kyle and I still struggled to feel competent with the right-hand touchpad as a mouse replacement. We played against easiest-difficulty bots in the latter two games and could barely line up solid gunshots most of the time. It's one thing to say we'll "get used to it" after more time with the controller—the increased speed and "momentum roll" of swiping the touchpad seem like features that will really pay off for people who get used to the Steam Controller—but the bots we faced practically stood still most of the time, and we're not that bad at first-person shooters.

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[$] LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 5, 2015

LWN.net - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 02:55
The LWN.net Weekly Edition for March 5, 2015 is available.

Ferguson cops “routinely” block public from filming them, DOJ says

Ars Technica - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 02:25

The Department of Justice issued a scathing report Wednesday concerning Missouri's Ferguson Police Department, the agency that was cleared in this summer's shooting death of an 18-year-old African-American boy named Michael Brown. The DOJ investigation in the aftermath of the shooting found systematic excessive force and racism—but it also discovered that the police department took a constitutionally suspect hard line against people trying to film officers in the field—all in the name of "officer safety."

One man in a wheelchair filming a protest was arrested, the DOJ report said. Attorney General Eric Holder labeled the DOJ report "searing."

"FPD officers also routinely infringe on the public's First Amendment rights by preventing people from recording their activities," the report said.

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Uber’s epic DB blunder is hardly an exception. GitHub is awash in passwords

Ars Technica - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 01:50

Recent revelations that Uber stored a sensitive database key on a publicly accessible GitHub page generated its share of amazement and outrage. Some Ars readers called for the immediate termination of the employees responsible or for the enactment of new legal penalties for similar blunders in the future.

Left out of the discussion was a point Ars first tried to drive home more than two years ago. To wit, GitHub and other public code repositories are awash with personal credentials posted by tens of thousands, or possibly even millions, of people, some of whom work for extremely sensitive organizations. A case in point are GitHub entries that appear to include everything needed to log into many Secure File Transfer Protocol accounts. One GitHub search revealed almost 269,000 entries like the one pictured above, showing the domain name or IP address, username, and password needed to log in to each account. Similar searches generated almost two million entries for WordPress accounts.

A quick scan of the results shows that many of them represent no security threat at all, since the password fields are blank or the credentials belong to non-existent accounts or accounts that are accessible only to users already connected to the local network. But a mind-numbingly large percentage of the results appear to provide credentials for accounts on production servers. Whether percentage is 33, 25, or even 10, it's way too high. It wouldn't be surprising if many of the credentials offered shell accounts that ran with highly privileged administrator rights. To protect the careless, this post won't reveal the specific search terms used, even though they are extremely easy for readers figure out on their own or to find on Twitter, in blog posts, or in other venues.

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EA closes SimCity studio Maxis Emeryville

Ars Technica - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 01:10

Electronic Arts is closing the Maxis office in Emeryville, California. While other Maxis studios around the world will remain open, the Emeryville location was the studio's headquarters, and was home to the principals behind the poorly-received and poorly-conceived 2013 reboot of the legendary SimCity franchise.

News of the closure was initially made public by the now former staff on Twitter. Lead gameplay scripter and designer on SimCity, Guillaume Pierre, tweeted that everybody at the site had lost their jobs.

EA subsequently confirmed the closure in a statement saying that development effort is now being "consolidated" to the other Maxis offices in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki, and Melbourne. It has subsequently been reported by Polygon that there have been some job losses at the Redwood Shores location.

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Steam Gauge: Measuring the most popular Steam games of 2014

Ars Technica - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 01:00

(Update March 5: A few graphs have seen minor adjustments—2013 release Call of Duty: Ghosts was removed from the "most played" graph, and free-to-play title Dead Island: Epidemic was removed from the pay-to-own graph. The "Top 400" list has also been corrected to fix occasional row mismatches between games and developers/publishers. We regret the errors)

When we first unveiled the Steam Gauge project last April, we were tracking just over 2,700 games released on Steam to that point. Since then, the library of games on Steam has ballooned to include more than 4,400 games by our count. That's incredible acceleration for a service that until recently was satisfied to grow slowly. For context, the last 18 months have seen as many new games added to Steam as the service's first 10 years combined.

All of that is to say, we're long overdue to see what Steam users have been buying and playing from that new crop of games. And that means diving back into our random sampling of public Steam data to estimate sales for all the Steam games released in 2014. We'll be slicing that data a number of ways in this piece and even providing a good deal of raw data for you to slice it up yourselves at the end if you wish.

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“HBO Now” coming this spring for $15 per month, with Apple as launch partner

Ars Technica - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 00:49

A source speaking to the International Business Times said that HBO will launch its standalone streaming service, called HBO Now, for $15 per month this spring with the premier of Game of Thrones. The company is also working with Apple to make Apple TV one of the launch partners for the service, the sources said.

HBO’s standalone streaming service has been greatly anticipated. For a monthly fee, viewers will be able to get HBO content without having to pay for an entire cable package. HBO’s long-standing relationship with pay-TV packages has prevented it from capturing key audiences, including younger people who may have never paid for TV service before and watch most of their entertainment online. HBO currently has a streaming service called HBO Go, but a bundled TV package is required for access.

HBO will serve up its content with the help of Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media platform, a decision that was made after the network decided to throw out its homemade streaming platform in late December. HBO's Chief Technology Officer Otto Berkes also resigned at that time.

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EFF Joins Civil Society and Computer Security Experts to Call for Rejection of Flawed Cybersecurity Legislation

EFF Breaking News - Thu, 05/03/2015 - 00:00

EFF has joined 26 civil society organizations and 22 computer security experts in a letter that calls on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to reject the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA).

CISA, currently only available in draft form, is yet another iteration of the infamous Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), first introduced in 2011. These pieces of legislation have all been introduced under the auspices of increased computer and network security. But instead of providing increased funding for security research, providing funding for security training for federal government employees, or any of the other ways computer and network security could be made better, they have focused on information sharing, without addressing the privacy and civil liberties implications that entails.

CISA is no different. It would grant companies more power to obtain “cyber threat indicators" and to disclose that data to the government without a warrant—hence its reputation as a “cyber-surveillance” bill. In fact, as the letter points out, CISA “requires real time dissemination to military and intelligence agencies, including the NSA.” In other words, cyberthreats shared with any agency would be automatically shared with the NSA.

Under CISA, all of this would happen without real privacy protections for Internet users. As the letter emphasizes:

CISA does not effectively require private entities to strip out information that identifies a specific person prior to sharing cyber threat indicators with the government, a fundamental and important privacy protection.

But CISA allows the shared information to be used for purposes that have nothing to do with cybersecurity, including “a wide range of crimes involving any level of physical force, including those that involve no threat of death or significant bodily harm,”  compounding the potential negative privacy impact.

CISA would also authorize companies to launch countermeasures against potentially innocent users—without requiring that companies are responsible for any harm they cause to innocent users:

countermeasures must be “operated on” one’s own information systems, but may have off-networks effects – including harmful effects to external systems – so long as the countermeasures do not “intentionally” destroy other entities’ systems. . . CISA permits companies to recklessly deploy countermeasures that damage networks belonging to innocent bystanders, such as a hospital or emergency responders that attackers use as proxies to hide behind, so long as the deploying company does not intend that the countermeasure result in harm.

To compound this provision, like its previous iterations, CISA contains overbroad immunity from lawsuits for corporations that share information or deploy countermeasures—effectively ensuring that they have little incentive to minimize these activities.

You can read the full text of the letter and see the signatories here. The SSCI is expected to mark up CISA soon. And while we’re hopeful that it will be defeated, CISA’s past iterations have faced several veto threats from President Obama, a petition with over 800,000 signatures, and a widespread online campaign dubbed "Stop Cyber Spying Week." That means we need your voice to defeat this version, too. Take action today: tell your Senator to oppose reintroduction of a bill that invades the privacy and civil liberties of everyday Internet users while failing to truly make the Internet safer.

Related Issues: PrivacyCyber Security Legislation
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Why Clinton’s Private Email Server Was Such a Security Fail

Wired - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 23:32

Hillary Clinton's homebrew email solution potentially left the communications of the top US foreign affairs official vulnerable to state-sponsored hackers.

The post Why Clinton’s Private Email Server Was Such a Security Fail appeared first on WIRED.

Instagram Debuts Slideshows, But Only for Advertisers

Wired - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 23:24

Advertisers can now pay to post entire slideshows to Instagram with links to outside websites in Facebook's latest attempt to get brands to pay up.

The post Instagram Debuts Slideshows, But Only for Advertisers appeared first on WIRED.

Imaging a supernova with neutrinos

Ars Technica - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 23:20

There are lots of ways to describe how rarely neutrinos interact with normal matter. Duke's Kate Scholberg, who works on them, provided yet another. A 10 Mega-electron Volt gamma ray will, on average, go through 20 centimeters of carbon before it's absorbed; a 10 MeV neutrino will go a light year. "It's called the weak interaction for a reason," she quipped, referring to the weak-force-generated processes that produce and absorb these particles.

But there's one type of event that produces so many of these elusive particles that we can't miss it: a core-collapse supernova, which occurs when a star can no longer produce enough energy to counteract the pull of gravity. We typically spot these through the copious amounts of light they produce, but in energetic terms, that's just a rounding error: Scholberg said that 99 percent of the gravitational energy of the supernova goes into producing neutrinos.

Within instants of the start of the collapse, gravity forces electrons and protons to fuse, producing neutrons and releasing neutrinos. While the energy that goes into producing light gets held up by complicated interactions with the outer shells of the collapsing star, neutrinos pass right through any intervening matter. Most of them do, at least; there are so many produced that their rare interactions collectively matter, though our supernova models haven't quite settled on how yet.

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Phil Hands: The future arrived, again!

Planet Debian - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 23:04

I am reminded by Gunnar's wonderful news that I have been very remiss in publishing my own.

Mathilda Sophie Hands, our second daughter, was delivered on the 9th of January.

Her arrival was a little more interesting than we'd have preferred (with Gunde being suddenly diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome), but all has turned out well, with Gunde bouncing back to health surprisingly quickly, and Mathilda going from very skinny to positively chubby in a few short weeks, so no harm done.

Today Mathilda produced her first on-camera smile.

It's lovely when they start smiling. It seems to signal that there's a proper little person beginning to take shape.

EA shuts down SimCity developer Maxis

OS news - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:57
EA has shut down Maxis Emeryville, the main Maxis studio and longrunning developer behind SimCity and Spore, among other games. Though the Maxis brand will carry on, the studio that most people knew as "Maxis" is no more. I played so much SimCity 2000 as a kid. Sad news.

Netflix opposes data cap exemptions, except when it benefits from them

Ars Technica - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:55

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in 2012 accused Comcast of "no longer following net neutrality principles" by exempting its own online video service from data caps. "Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all," Hastings argued.

But now Netflix has a chance to benefit from such differential treatment, and it's not turning the opportunity down. Netflix is launching its streaming video service in Australia on March 24, and its content will not count against data caps enforced by iiNet, a large Internet service provider there.

Customers "will have access to as much Netflix content as they like, without it counting against their monthly quota," iiNet announced yesterday.

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Nvidia announces the new Shield, a 4K Android TV console

OS news - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:53
Speaking of TV boxes for gaming: Tonight at a press conference scheduled to coincide with GDC 2015, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang annouced the latest addition to its Shield line of products. Called simply "Shield," Nvidia's new device is a set-top box powered by Nvidia's Tegra X1 processor, using Google's Android OS and the search giant's new TV platform, Android TV. Shield supports 4K content encoded with H.265, and can stream local content from Nvidia-powered PCs at 1080p60. Shield also supports the company's game-streaming initiative, Grid.

Valve unveils Steam Link, final Steam controller, Source 2

OS news - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:51
The Steam controller is a big part of what makes a Steam Machine a Steam Machine; we were told that running SteamOS and being packaged with the controller were two of the main things that need to be included to use that branding. The controller itself has gone through a number of revisions, but we were able to use what Valve is calling the final version during GDC. We've been using pretty much the same controller setup for a while now, so I'm glad Valve is trying to see if things can be improved. I have no idea if this will be it - a hands-on is required - but I'm open to try. In addition to the final Steam controller and the announcement that Steam Machines will hit the shelves later this year (sure, Valve, sure), the company also unveiled a new streaming box for gaming. Valve will release a new product called Steam Link later this year that will "extend your Steam experience to any room in the house," according to an announcement from the company. Steam Link will work with PCs - including Valve's Steam Machines and Windows, Mac and Linux computers - to stream content from Steam to the device, as long as they're on the same home network. Steam Link will support 1080p resolution at 60 Hz "with low latency," Valve says. The device will be available this November and will retail for $49.99. I'm definitely buying the Steam Link, as it seems like a great way to play PC games on my living room TV without having to hook a full PC up to it. Of course, a lot will depend on the latency, and I'm sure using a wired network is preferable (which I do). The last and final Valve announcement: the Source 2 engine. It's not yet available, but it will be free for developers. The Source engine powers a number of classic titles - Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and so on - and it's hard not to assume that a release of the Source 2 engine also means Hal... No.

Oculus Will Officially Go Consumer With Mobile VR In 2015

Wired - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:48

Oculus will make its first big push to get mainstream consumers to buy and play its VR technology with Samsung phones later in 2015, CTO John Carmack said at GDC.

The post Oculus Will Officially Go Consumer With Mobile VR In 2015 appeared first on WIRED.

Probable Broadwell MacBook Air shows up in screenshots

Ars Technica - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:40

This "MacBook Air 7,2" looks like a Broadwell refresh of the current model, not a new Retina version.

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We're drawing near to Apple's next product event, which means that leaks are starting to show up. Today, 9to5Mac posted screenshots from a Chinese forum that appear to confirm refreshed 2015 MacBook Airs. According to these screenshots, the "MacBook Air 7,2" is a 13.3-inch laptop that adds an Intel Broadwell processor and a slightly larger 7422 mAh battery, but it's otherwise mostly identical to the current 13.3-inch model. It's a fair bet that there's an 11-inch MacBook Air 7,1 that has been upgraded in similar ways.

While the source of these images can't really be verified and it's certainly possible to spoof these system information windows, the images themselves have all the details right. If they aren't the real thing, they're very good-looking fakes.

Let's run down the evidence in favor of them being real: first, the specs. This Mac is using a 15W Core i5-5250U processor with the HD Graphics 6000 GPU, which occupies the same space in Intel's lineup as the outgoing i5-4250U/4260U and their HD Graphics 5000 GPU. The Boot ROM version and SMC version values increase just a little from the 2013 model's, which is normal (the 2013 MacBook Air's are MBA61.0099.B18 and 2.13f15, respectively). Most convincingly, the build number of OS X 10.10.2 that the laptop is running is 14C2043. The standard build number on current Macs is 14C109. Because new Macs require new drivers and other tweaks, they usually come with specialized builds of whatever the current OS X version is when they're first released. Those drivers are then rolled into the standard OS X releases in a future update.

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Hands-on with Mark Shuttleworth's Ubuntu phone

OS news - Wed, 04/03/2015 - 22:34
At the Canonical booth at Mobile World Congress, I had a chance meeting with Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and spiritual leader of Ubuntu. I was actually at the booth to try out the new Ubuntu Edition of the Meizu MX4, a mid- to high-end smartphone, but all of the untethered devices had run out of battery - every phone, that is, except for Shuttleworth's. Ubuntu Phone looks good on this device. The Verge has an additional story.
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