Google lancia una sorta di ultimatum agli editori francesi

Autore: IlSoftware.it

Alcuni editori francesi avevano spinto il Parlamento d’Oltralpe all’approvazione di una legge che impedisse ai motori di ricerca di trarre profitto economico dalla ripubblicazione di contenuti apparsi su altri siti. Secondo la tesi dei promotori della normativa, un’azienda come Google non avrebbe il diritto di pubblicare inserzioni pubblicitarie a lato di quei testi che sono stati ripresi da testate online e da magazine pubblicati in Rete dai vari editori.
Google ha sempre rimarcato come la legge che si vorrebbe far passare in Francia potrebbe rappresentare una grave minaccia per la Rete. La normativa, secondo Mountain View, avrebbe un effetto dirompente: un servizio come Google News non potrebbe essere più usato come cassa di risonanza per diffondere gli articoli apparsi sui giornali online. Ciò andrebbe a svantaggio degli utenti, che non verrebbero più informati sulle tematiche di proprio interesse, e degli stessi editori che non fruirebbero più di traffico aggiuntivo derivante dalla visibilità offerta gratuitamente da Google.

Se, da un lato, il Ministro della Cultura francese Aurelie Filippetti ha pubblicamente espresso il suo parere favorevole alla proposta di legge, Google ha quest’oggi assunto una posizione dura nei confronti del punto di vista parigino.
I siti di proprietà degli editori francesi saranno rimossi dagli indici mantenuti da Google qualora la normativa dovesse essere approvata. Così hanno tuonato i responsabili di Google France. Il motore di ricerca ideato da Larry Page e Sergey Brin veicolerebbe qualcosa come 4 miliardi di visite al mese verso le pagine web amministrate dagli editori francesi: l’eliminazione dei contenuti dall’indice di Google rappresenterebbe un danno per gli interessi degli editori d’Oltralpe.

Il punto di vista di Google è chiaro: la società, attraverso i suoi servizi, genera traffico verso i siti web degli editori. Quest’attività non costa nulla agli editori ma è di fondamentale importanza per fare business. Google, quindi, non è disposta a pagare un centesimo per i contenuti che riproduce su Google News o sugli altri servizi.

La Filippetti si è detta stupita per la risposta ricevuta da Google parlando di toni aggressivi e minacciosi. “Non si tratta con un governo eletto democraticamente utilizzando l’arma della minaccia“, ha dichiarato il ministro francese.

Ciò che probabilmente i legislatori francesi non prendono in considerazione è che gli editori non interessati ad apparire su Google possono utilizzare un semplice strumento. Il file robots.txt, memorizzabile nella cartella radice del sito web, consente di stabilire quali pagine non debbono mai essere indicizzate da Google così come dagli altri motori di ricerca.

Built to last: Computer systems that simply cannot fail

Autore: ExtremeTech

Space shuttle Endeavour's flight deck

A failing computer system can be a problem in some settings, but it’s catastrophic in others. No one likes when their computer crashes out while in the middle of an overnight render, but the cost of that delay is nothing compared to a failure in a mission-critical environment, such as in a hospital, on a satellite, or, in the case of Curiosity, on another planet entirely. These extraordinary settings have led to the creation of specialized computer systems that are designed to work in high-demand situations, often for years on end. They are, not surprisingly, some of the most interesting computer systems out there.

Healthcare

Hospital equipment, first and foremost, must be immune to fluctuations on mains power. Static transfer switches can switch power to backup batteries within a single cycle of a 60Hz mains power failure, and provide seamless emergency power for the few seconds it takes for the generators to be started. Inductive spikes from switching compressor motors need to be filtered or blocked with isolation transformers as well. But these devices do not protect against glitches occurring at more localized levels, which can reset instruments, often freezing or restarting them in an unpredictable state.

Operating Room -- lots of computers!

Precision robots which assist surgeons during operations are large integrated systems often having several computers managing high speed FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) and DSPs (digital signal processors). The Da Vinci surgical system has 7 degrees of freedom and at least as many servo controllers. As a result of many subsystems having different supply requirements, the overall system ends up being designed with tight voltage supply specs and therefore needs sufficient buffering against fluctuations that exceed a few percent.

An even more insidious threat to healthcare/medical tablet computers and Windows PC-based computer systems found in hospital equipment, is infection with conventional malware. Due to strict regulations, manufacturers frequently cannot allow OS security patches or updates leaving many computers vulnerable, with the result that many infected instruments run slower, and many others are shelved altogether.

The RAD750 radiation hardened computer, as found in Curiosity and other spacecraft

In space

Computers in spacecraft have their own unique set of challenges. In addition to requiring real-time low latency control for maneuvering and communication, spacecraft also need to be hardened against the effects of cosmic rays and other forms of radiation. Shielding is simple and effective but is prohibitive because of its weight. Therefore efforts have been focused on making the chips themselves resistant to radiation.

FPGAs are frequently found in spacecraft due to their speed and computational efficiency in performing tasks like fast Fourier transforms and beam-forming in communications. They do not require code like a microcontroller, instead they write a particular computation directly into their logic gates. FPGAs based on SRAM can be reconfigured at will, however the same technology which makes them possible also makes them vulnerable to radiation. A charge deposited on a control structure like a transistor can induce it to momentarily change state. If it is part of a persistent circuit like a flip-flop or RAM cell the change can be permanent. One-time programmable FPGAs based on anti-fuse technology are much more resistant but can be over ten times the initial cost.

Mars Exploration Rover Curiosity

The microprocessors and memory in spacecraft also need to be able to withstand radiation. The RAD750 PowerPC in Curiosity’s flight computer was designed to survive for 15 years before intervention is required from Earth. These chips are slower than some newer systems but NASA has been using them successfully for some time and likes to stay with what works. Curiosity’s computers run a real-time operating system, VxWorks, which it has used on two previous rovers. The VxWorks microkernel is reportedly better optimized for minimal interrupt and thread switching latency than the the monolithic RTLinux kernel, although it is not as fast overall.

A final consideration for failure resistant computers in spacecraft would be that if they do encounter significant trouble, they should have provision either to be remotely rebooted or some mechanism to be rebooted on-board. With proper consideration to input power fluctuations, interrupt latency (or jitter, variation over time), and external insults such as radiation, computer systems can be designed to be arbitrarily robust.

DARPA's Crusher autonomous vehicle, powered by QNX

The examples above represent but a small portion of the range of mission critical systems in service everyday. Other real-time operating systems like QNX, now owned by RIM, can be found in drones and military vehicles like the Crusher tank (pictured above). Recently the security of the Boeing 747 engine control system running Solaris was questioned; engineers on the ground apparently could access control systems for re-tuning en-route. In this case, secure protocols like SSH were not compatible with the parts of the existing software, and insecure Telnet was still being used.

As the tentacles of internet more intimately weave into military and civilian infrastructures, new concerns will present themselves, and increasing vigilance will be required to keep computer systems fail-safe.

Now read: Inside NASA’s Curiosity: It’s an Apple Airport Extreme… with wheels

[Image credit]

Red Dawn II Extreme Thank You & Intel 330 Series 120GB SSD GIVEAWAY!

Autore: Uploads by motherboardsorg

Red Dawn II Extreme Thank You & Intel 330 Series 120GB SSD GIVEAWAY!

As a thank you for all the fantastic support you guys showed on my Red Dawn Extreme II video, I wanted to give back and giveaway a brand new Intel 330 series SSD! All you have to do is go back to the Red Dawn II video, like the video and leave a comment telling us which your favorite part in the build was. Video is linked below!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_kLZiEyCOA

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Twitter bans German neo-nazis

Autore: Welcome to Fudzilla

Twitter has blocked access to a neo-Nazi account at the request of the German government.

While the rest of the world will be able to see them, Germans will not. It is the first time the social networking site has implemented its local censorship policy, which came into force in January.

It allows it to block content in specific countries if tweets violate local laws. In Germany you are not allowed to push neo-nazi material on account of a bad experience the nation had when it allowed that sort of thing. Announcing the decision, Twitter’s general counsel Alex Macgillivray said: “Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly and transparently.”

The site belonged to the organisation Besseres Hannover, (Better Hannover), a right-wing extremist group from Lower Saxony. The group has been officially disbanded, its assets are seized and all its accounts in social networks have to be closed immediately. Twitter said that it works with anti-Nazi organisations and would encourage anyone who finds content like this to report it to Facebook.

Members of the group have been charged with inciting racial hatred and creating a criminal organisation. It is also accused of issuing threats against immigrants and distributing racist pamphlets at schools in Lower Saxony.
Lately it sent a threatening video to the state’s social affairs minister Aygul Ozkan, a German-born conservative politician whose family comes from Turkey.

Mac OS X: Apple disabilita il plugin Java per i browser

Autore: IlSoftware.it

Apple non vuole più che versioni non aggiornate del plugin Java possano essere utilizzate come testa di ponte per installare malware o sferrare attacchi di vario genere. Ciò che è accaduto nel caso di Flashback (vedere questi articoli) non deve più accadere.
Per questo, i tecnici di Apple hanno scelto di disattivare il plugin di Java dal browser Safari, nella versione aggiornata dagli sviluppatori della Mela. La società guidata da Tim Cook aveva dapprima fatto in modo che il pacchetto Java non venisse più preinstallato in Mac OS X “Lion” 10.7. Sia “Lion” che “Mountain Lion” (10.8) offrono comunque la possibilità di installare il prodotto nel momento in cui ciò si rendesse necessario.
Sucessivamente, con l’obiettivo di ridurre al minimo i rischi durante la navigazione sul web, Apple ha provveduto a rilasciare un aggiornamento per il sistema operativo che si fa carico di disattivare completamente Java nel caso in cui l’utente non lo utilizzasse più.
Nell’ultimo aggiornamento destinato agli utenti di Mac OS X, appena messo a disposizione, Apple ha iniziato a tenere un comportamento più “aggressivo”: la versione del pacchetto Java sino ad oggi mantenuta dai tecnici della Mela non soltanto viene rimpiazzata con quella di Oracle ma il plugin per il browser viene completamente sradicato.
Così, dopo l’installazione dell’ultimo aggiornamento preparato per gli utenti di Mac OS X, gli utenti non saranno più in grado di eseguire applet Java dal browser web. Un nuovo messaggio offrirà il link per l’installazione del plugin qualora ne risultasse davvero necessario l’impiego.
L’unico problema, in questo caso, è che sul sistema conviveranno due versioni del pacchetto Java: l’ultima release di Java SE 6, sviluppata dai tecnici Apple e sprovvista del plugin per il browser, e la più recente Java SE 7 di Oracle (con plugin per il browser accluso).