Windows 10 hits 500 million devices, growing by two-thirds in a year

SEATTLE—At its Build developer conference, Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 has now passed 500 million monthly active devices. Little over a year ago, the company said that the operating system had reached 300 million systems . As the operating system nears the end of its second full year on the market, it's clear that it's going to fall a long way short of the company's original estimates. At launch, the ambition was to reach 1 billion devices over the first two to three years of availability, but this estimate assumed that Windows 10 Mobile would be a going concern, selling something of the order of 50 million or more devices a year. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Full-Duplex Radio Integrated Circuit Could Double Radio Frequency Data Capacity

Zothecula writes Full-duplex radio communication usually involves transmitters and receivers operating at different frequencies. Simultaneous transmission and reception on the same frequency is the Holy Grail for researchers, but has proved difficult to achieve. Those that have been built have proven complex and bulky, but to be commercially useful in the ever-shrinking world of communications technology, miniaturization is key. To this end, engineers at Columbia University (CU) claim to have created a world-first, full-duplex radio transceiver, all on one miniature integrated circuit. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A single autonomous car could greatly reduce man-made traffic

Traffic. We all hate it, but what can honestly be done to significantly reduce it? Well, according to an experiment conducted by the university of Illinois, simply introducing a few self-driving cars to roads could be the answer. Conducting experiments in Tucson, Arizona the team discovered that even adding a single autonomous vehicle to the roads can massively reduce traffic. They programmed a self-driving car to loop a track continuously and then added 20 other human-driven cars to the mix. While humans somehow naturally create stop-and-go traffic even without lane changes or other disruptions, thanks to the robotic racer, both traffic and fuel consumption were reduced by 40 percent. This isn't the first example of modern tech helping to reduce congestion. With fixed traffic sensors widely swapped for navigation systems using GPS data, Professor Daniel B. Work believes that automated cars could be the next step -- replacing the traffic-reducing variable speed limits. The next stage of the experiment is to test autonomous cars in situations where both human and AI drivers have to change lanes. From our experience with freeways, we already feel bad for the robot cars. Still, this isn't the only way that drivers can use automation to reduce traffic. With the margin of human error being so high, the same study suggests that even existing tech like adaptive cruise control has the power to greatly reduce the amount of traffic on our roads. With many people understandably wary at the prospect of roads completely ruled by automated cars, the idea of mixing a few with regular vehicles seems like a good way to pilot the risky tech. Via: Phys.org Source: Cornell University Library

Only 36 Percent of Indian Engineers Can Write Compilable Code, Says Study

New submitter troublemaker_23 quotes a report from ITWire: Only 36% of software engineers in India can write compilable code based on measurements by an automated tool that is used across the world, the Indian skills assessment company Aspiring Minds says in a report. The report is based on a sample of 36, 800 from more than 500 colleges across India. Aspiring Minds said it used the automated tool Automata which is a 60-minute test taken in a compiler integrated environment and rates candidates on programming ability, programming practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage. It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills. "We find that out of the two problems given per candidate, only 14% engineers are able to write compilable codes for both and only 22% write compilable code for exactly one problem, " the study said. It further found that of the test subjects only 14.67% were employable by an IT services company. When it came to writing fully functional code using the best practices for efficiency and writing, only 2.21% of the engineers studied made the grade. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NSA collecting 5 billion cellphone location records per day

Hey everyone, the government's tracking you. Quelle surprise. In what has to be one of the least shocking pieces of news to come from the Edward Snowden leaks, The Washington Post is reporting that the National Security Agency has been gathering surveillance data on foreign cellphone users' whereabouts globally, with some Americans potentially caught in the net. The database, which collects about 5 billion records per day, is so vast that not even the NSA has the proper tools to sift through it all. That's not to say the agency hasn't been able to make "good" use of it with analytics programs, though. One such program, ominously labeled Co-Traveler, allows the NSA to determine "behaviorally relevant relationships" based on data from signals intelligence activity designators (or sigads for short) located around the world, including one codenamed "Stormbrew." That's a lot of jargon for what are essentially data hubs that collect geolocation information down to the cell tower level. Co-Traveler can locate targets of interest based on cellphone users moving in tandem, even if they're unknown threats -- frequent meetups with an existing suspect could reveal a close associate, for instance. As we've come to expect by now, both the NSA and the Office of the Director for National Intelligence argue that this location-based surveillance is legal. Agency representatives tell the Post that the collection system doesn't purposefully track Americans. However, the NSA also says it can't determine how many US residents get swept up in these location scans; there are concerns that it's following targets protected by Fourth Amendment search rights. Joseph Volpe contributed to this report. Filed under: Cellphones , Internet , Mobile Comments Source: Washington Post

This Sensor Will Give Your Phone a 1080p, 60fps Front Camera

Most front-facing phone cameras suck. It's not their fault, though: they have to be squeezed in to a tiny gap, which puts obvious limits on their geometry. Fortunately, this new Omnivision sensor squeezes a lot more performance into that minuscule frame. Read more...        

Only 36 Percent of Indian Engineers Can Write Compilable Code, Says Study

New submitter troublemaker_23 quotes a report from ITWire: Only 36% of software engineers in India can write compilable code based on measurements by an automated tool that is used across the world, the Indian skills assessment company Aspiring Minds says in a report. The report is based on a sample of 36, 800 from more than 500 colleges across India. Aspiring Minds said it used the automated tool Automata which is a 60-minute test taken in a compiler integrated environment and rates candidates on programming ability, programming practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage. It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills. "We find that out of the two problems given per candidate, only 14% engineers are able to write compilable codes for both and only 22% write compilable code for exactly one problem, " the study said. It further found that of the test subjects only 14.67% were employable by an IT services company. When it came to writing fully functional code using the best practices for efficiency and writing, only 2.21% of the engineers studied made the grade. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Trump Signs Executive Order On Cybersecurity

President Trump on Thursday signed a long-delayed executive order on cybersecurity that "makes clear that agency heads will be held accountable for protecting their networks, and calls on government and industry to reduce the threat from automated attacks on the internet, " reports The Washington Post. From the report: Picking up on themes advanced by the Obama administration, Trump's order also requires agency heads to use Commerce Department guidelines to manage risk to their systems. It commissions reports to assess the country's ability to withstand an attack on the electric grid and to spell out the strategic options for deterring adversaries in cyberspace. [Thomas Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser] said the order was not, however, prompted by Russia's targeting of electoral systems last year. In fact, the order is silent on addressing the security of electoral systems or cyber-enabled operations to influence elections, which became a significant area of concern during last year's presidential campaign. The Department of Homeland Security in January declared election systems "critical infrastructure." The executive order also does not address offensive cyber operations, which are generally classified. This is an area in which the Trump administration is expected to be more forward-leaning than its predecessor. Nor does it spell out what type of cyberattack would constitute an "act of war" or what response the attack would invite. "We're not going to draw a red line, " Bossert said, adding that the White House does not "want to telegraph our punches." The order places the defense secretary and the head of the intelligence community in charge of protecting "national security" systems that operate classified and military networks. But the secretary of homeland security will continue to be at the center of the national plan for protecting critical infrastructure, such as the electric grid and financial sector. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Biggest amateur-built sub sinks—owner is suspected of killing passenger [Updated]

Enlarge / The UV3 Nautilus in early sea trials in 2008. (credit: Frumperino ) Believe it or not, there's a crowdsourced, open source non-profit attempting to build a sea-launched suborbital rocket. Called Copenhagen Suborbitals, it even had access to a submarine. A club associated with the venture completed the sub in 2008, designed by Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor who is co-founder of the group. That submarine is now at the bottom of the sea, and Madsen is being held by Danish authorities on suspicion of "unlawful killing"—a precursor charge to manslaughter or murder. The UC3 Nautilus was the third and largest submarine effort by the club, costing $200,000 to construct. It served as a workhorse for Copenhagen Suborbitals, helping push the group's Sputnik rocket launch platform into position on a number of occasions. Nautilus is—or was—powered by two diesel engines above the surface and by batteries underwater. While it could hold a crew of four underwater, all of its controls could be managed by a single person from its control room. By 2011, the sub needed an overhaul. But the repairs required more than Copenhagen Suborbitals could afford to sink into the Nautilus. So in 2013, the group launched an Indiegogo campaign to get it back in the water. In a video, Madsen described the sub and the inspiration behind it. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

NIST’s Draft To Remove Periodic Password Change Requirements Gets Vendors’ Approval

An anonymous reader writes: A recently released draft of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's digital identity guidelines has met with approval by vendors. The draft guidelines revise password security recommendations and altering many of the standards and best practices security professionals use when forming policies for their companies. The new framework recommends, among other things: "Remove periodic password change requirements." There have been multiple studies that have shown requiring frequent password changes to actually be counterproductive to good password security, said Mike Wilson, founder of PasswordPing. NIST said this guideline was suggested because passwords should be changed when a user wants to change it or if there is indication of breach. Read more of this story at Slashdot.