Firefox 39 Released, Bringing Security Improvements and Social Sharing

Here we go, the usual slashdot moan-fest when there’s any Firefox news.

You know what, guys? Get over it.

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FBI Wants Pirate Bay Logs For Criminal Investigation Into Copyright Trolls

Does that mean those upload are now legal since they actually uploaded them? Or are they still illegal due to some loophole? Or, as I recall, is it that Prenda didn’t have the rights in the first place so they actually committed copyright infringement too in uploading them?

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Turing Near Ready To Ship World’s First Liquid Metal Android Smartphone

This product doesn’t appear to be outside of the realm of the possible; bulk metallic glasses are a real thing (and apparently not excessively expensive for consumer electronics, a number of Sandisk’s adequate-but-cheap-and-wholly-unexciting MP3 players used them as chassis materials); and the rest of the specs are on the high side; but available.

However, there appears to be almost nothing about this ‘Turing Robotic Industries’ except a couple of sites with the same 3d renders and vague puffery. Is ‘cryptic

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Japanese Court Orders Google To Delete Past Reports Of Man’s Molestation Arrest

Why do arrest records have to be public?

Would you like them to be not public?

“No, we have no idea where your hubby Joe Smith is. We haven’t arrested him”
‘But he was seen in the back of your patrol car!’
“Nope, sorry lady”

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In Response to Open Letter, France Rejects Asylum For Julian Assange

Several outlets report that Julian Assange has requested, but been denied, political asylum in France, by means of an open letter published by Le Monde.

From The Globe and Mail’s coverage, linked above: Less than an hour after his letter was published by Le Monde’s website, Hollande’s office issued a statement saying the asylum request was rejected.

“France has received the letter from Mr. Assange. An in-depth review shows that in view of the legal and material elements of Mr Assange’s situation, France cannot grant his request,” the statement said.

“The situation of Mr. Assange does not present any immediate danger. He is also the target of a European arrest warrant,” it noted.

Assange wrote in the letter that his youngest child is French, and so is the child’s mother. “I haven’t been able to see them in five years, since the political persecution against me started,” he said.

Worth noting: Assange’s legal team says that Assange’s letter has been mischaracterized, and that it is in fact not a request for asylum per se; instead, they assert, the letter merely expresses Assange’s “willingness ‘to be hosted in France if and only if an initiative was taken by the competent authorities.’”

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How To Design Robot Overlords For "Robot Overlords"

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Machine Learning System Detects Emotions and Suicidal Behavior

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It’s not for everyone, but hyperconvergence is still a valuable solution

Comment I love the concept of hyperconvergence. Who doesn’t? An IT infrastructure built out of relatively balanced (and small) nodes, all contributing together to a large pool of computing and storage resources, which can linearly scale just by adding more nodes.

This kind of infrastructure, thanks to the latest advancements in software, has become very easy to manage and could be the answer to many different types of workloads… but, as I’ve written in the past, not all of them. Sometimes, due to particular compute or storage needs, it just doesn’t work out.

Market leaders – like Nutanix, for example – are aware of this issue and will have specialised products in the future.

In this case it will be a scale-out storage solution based on the same technology at the base of their distributed storage layer but optimised for larger capacities.

‘On average’ workloads are well served

The number of solutions out there is impressive, and new hyper-converged players are popping up on a weekly basis. Fortunately, from the end-user point of view, most of them are already positioned in specific market segments.

It’s not only pricing; product positioning is often determined by specific functionalities and the most common discriminator is hypervisor support. For example, KVM-only solutions are usually targeted at the low-end market, while VMware-only or multiple hypervisor support is much more common in higher-end products. And the higher you go, the more you get – in fact, support for OpenStack is quickly becoming another must-have feature for the large enterprise.

But still, even the most powerful and feature-rich solution targets traditional enterprise workloads, leaving out the very-high-end needs and verticals, like HPC or Big Data analytics.

When ‘on average’ is not enough

Last week, DDN launched its WolfCreek appliance. It’s a beast capable of a tremendous amount of IOPS and throughput. The solution will be targeting enterprise HPC, Big Data workloads and classic VM workloads, too.

Let me say that I’m skeptical about the potential success in the last category, as much as I’m very sure that in the first two DDN has huge potential.

DDN is positioning itself in the very-high-end enterprise segment, which is clearly within its comfort zone and also where it has only one competitor today (HDS with HSP and HCP platforms).

I’m not saying that others (EMC, for example) don’t have something to say – but, at the moment, these are the only two having pre-packaged, end-to-end solutions.

The differentiator

These appliances show massive horsepower and they can easily handle Big Data and other data-intensive workloads. Thanks to OpenStack support, they can also become a great tool to quickly provision resources to different departments, manage load peaks, and scale very quickly when needed.

Furthermore, it won’t be a difficult task for OpenStack APIs to be developed for specific applications, while integration with respective object storage environments becomes easier. This will help the appliance cost-effectively manage vast amounts of data in a tiered fashion.

Closing the circle

DDN has done a great job with WolfCreek and its multi-tier storage strategy. This small, but really successful, storage company has come up with a great product line-up and is moving very quickly from being a niche player (in HPC) to a much more mature and large/hyper-scale enterprise vendor.

At the moment, DDN and HDS have the most interesting vision when it comes to this kind of problem. Hard to compare at times, but both of them have the culture, consulting services and really compelling integrated hyperconverged solutions to solve major high-end needs for specific verticals (especially Big Data).

If it is true that hyperconvergence has a role in the process of simplifying traditional infrastructures, it can be even more true for enterprise HPC/Big Data deployments.

Two vendors have announced solutions in this space in a three-month timeframe – I’m pretty sure we will see a few more before the year is up. ®

Hyper-scale data management

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Vectone Mobile gone for the week, don’t know when it’ll be back

MVNO Vectone Mobile’s service has been down for days, with the company offering no indication as to when it might resume, or any public statement acknowledging the depth of the problem.

To the fury of customers who believe they have received inadequate support and information, the MVNO issued a “sincere” apology to “customers who may have experienced intermittent signal problems during the past couple of days”.

A Vectone customer who has been in contact with The Register denied they had received intermittent service, but actually that “Vectone’s Austrian service has been down the entire week”.

“We have been upgrading our system to ensure a better service for the future,” the MVNO claims. “Therefore, we are really sorry for those customers who had difficulties using our network during this time.” It added that:

All customers experiencing network problems are advised to re-configure their network settings. Even if you have already tried this, we recommend doing this one more time.

El Reg‘s contact complained that the customer support they had received was “staggeringly poor”. Writing to Vectone earlier this week, our source explained that they’ve had no phone access at all since 29 June, and that:

I’ve done all the sensible things (rebooted, removed SIM, reset settings etc) but this doesn’t appear to be a problem at my end. I am again trying to juggle missing phone service with sick children, this is incredibly awkward. Can anything be done about this? Is this the result of “Data centre upgrades” or were you referring to the broken web portal only?

An initial reply to his complaint featured a packaged statement about how much company appreciates its customers feedback, followed by a representative’s explanation:

I am sorry that you have had no service today; unfortunately this is due to data centre upgrades which are being performed across the company.

A particular tweet on Monday sparked fury amongst its other service-starved customers:

The Register did not receive an answer when it rang the company, and, at the time of publication, no reply has been received regarding our other inquiries. ®

VersaStack for data center with direct attached storage

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Biologists gasp at lemur’s improbably colossal bollocks

Scientists are marvelling at a lemur with testicles so large that were a human chap to carry equivalent plums in his trouser department, they’d be the size of a couple of grapefruit.

The average male northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza) tips the scales at just 280g, but has “an average testes volume of 15.48 cubic centimetres”, the BBC explains.

Accordingly, “5.5 per cent of the male lemurs’ bodies were testes” by weight, shaming blokes who can boast just 0.05 per cent of their mass dangling between their legs.

This shock revelation is courtesy of Dr Johanna Rode-Margono and Professor Anna Nekaris of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group at Blighty’s Oxford Brookes University. Along with Professor Peter Kappeler from the German Primate Center, in Germany’s Göttingen and Dr Christoph Schwitzer of the Bristol Zoological Society at Bristol Zoo Gardens, they ventured forth into northwestern Madagascar’s Ankarafa Forest, grabbed seven male northern giant mouse lemurs and whipped out the tape measure.

The boffins described the discovery as “especially surprising”, and speculate that “strong sperm competition and polygynandrous mating” may be the explanation. A polygynandrous system, the Beeb notes, is “where two or more males mate with two or more females”.

The northern giant mouse lemur – uncommonly among lemur species – mates all year round, meaning it doesn’t really need improbably large testicles to compete with other males, which would be the case during a shortened mating season.

However, during their field trip, the scientists found “up to three males sharing a nest with a single female”. This lends weight to the idea that “males compete for access to females and may require outsized testicles to give themselves the best chance to fertilise their partner”.

In the end, there’s still plenty more work to be done before biologists have the complete cobblers picture. Dr Rode-Margono explained to the BBC: “There are still debates whether large testicles are because of a higher amount of sperm, or because of a higher mating frequency.”

The full results of the team’s enlightening investigation can be found in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (subscription required). ®

VersaStack for data center with direct attached storage

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