An anonymous reader writes: This month Twitter is closing down the JSON endpoint API which thousands of third-party software and plugin developers have depended upon for years. The alternative Rest API offers data which is aggregated or limited in other ways, whilst the full-featured share data offered by Gnip (purchased last year by Twitter) can cost developers thousands per month to access — in one case up to £20,000 a month. The general objective seems to be to either drive users back to the core Twitter interface where they can be monetized via the social network's advertising, or to regain lost advertising by converting open source data — currently utilized a lot in scientific research — into premium information, offering the possibility for well-funded organizations to gain reputations as Twitter barometers without ever needing to expose the expensive, accurate share figures. The company also announced today that co-founder Jack Dorsey would be the new CEO.
The Australian reports that a trio of scientists (hailing from from Japan, China, and Ireland) has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in treating parasitic diseases. Irish scientist William Campbell (currently research fellow emeritus at New Jersey's Drew University), and Japanese biochemist Satoshi Omura, were awarded half of the monetary award for their work in defeating roundworm infections; the drug they developed as a result, Avermectin, has helped drastically lower two devastating diseases -- river blindness and lymphatic filariasis -- and has shown promise in treating other ailments as well. The other half of the prize has been awarded to Chinese researcher Youyou Tu, who discovered a novel antimalarial drug based on her research into traditional herbal medicines. (Also at The Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, and elsewhere. The awards were live-blogged by The Guardian.)
An anonymous reader writes: It appears a large number of customers of Telstra (one of Australia's largest telcos) have been suffering crippling speeds while attempting to connect to any Apple Service for the better part of four days. Reports indicate this is affecting Apple Music, Apple App Stores (on both iOS and OSX) and are stopping many Telstra customers from getting access to app updates and the much anticipated El Capitan release of OS X. Mobile phone customers as well as home broadband customers seem to be affected at this stage with a large number of posts both on Twitter and the Whirlpool Broadband Forum. It appears one Twitter user has also fully summarised all the issues in a single post including many of the Twitter posts as well.
Jerry Irvine, who is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Cybersecurity Leadership Council and CIO of Chicago-based Prescient Solutions. More security theater? It sounds that way when Jerry starts reeling off the kinds of attacks the new cards will do nothing to prevent. Even so, October 1 is the date after which merchants are supposed to be liable for fraudulent purchases made with old-style cards, and are supposed to have point of sale terminals that accept "chip and PIN" cards.
wiredmikey writes: Edward Snowden joined Twitter Tuesday, picking up more than a quarter of a million followers on the social network in just over two hours. Snowden followed a single Twitter account: the U.S. National Security Agency, from which he stole electronic documents revealing the agency's secret surveillance programs. "Can you hear me now?" he asked in his first tweet, which was quickly resent by Twitter users tens of thousands of times. In his second, Snowden noted the recent news about the planet Mars and then quipped about the difficulty he had finding asylum after the U.S. government fingered him as the source of the NSA leaks. "And now we have water on Mars!" he wrote. "Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend."
theodp writes: Responding to New York City's much-ballyhooed $81 million initiative to require all of the city's public schools to offer CS to all students, Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood has penned a guest column for the NY Daily News which cautions that learning to code isn't all it's cracked up to be. Atwood begins, "Mayor de Blasio is winning widespread praise for his recent promise that, within 10 years, all of New York City's public schoolchildren will take computer science classes. But as a career programmer who founded two successful software startups, I am deeply skeptical about teaching all kids to code." Why? "If someone tells you 'coding is the new literacy' because 'computers are everywhere today,' ask them how fuel injection works. By teaching low-level coding, I worry that we are effectively teaching our children the art of automobile repair. A valuable skill — but if automobile manufacturers and engineers are doing their jobs correctly, one that shouldn't be much concern for average people, who happily use their cars as tools to get things done without ever needing to worry about rebuilding the transmission or even change the oil." Atwood adds, "There's nothing wrong with basic exposure to computer science. But it should not come at the expense of fundamental skills such as reading, writing and mathematics...I've known so many programmers who would have been much more successful in their careers if they had only been better writers, better critical thinkers, better back-of-the-envelope estimators, better communicators. And aside from success in careers, we have to ask the broader question: What kinds of people do we want children to grow up to be?"
An anonymous reader writes: Computer scientists at a group of UK universities are developing a system to detect malicious code in shortened URLs on Twitter. The intelligent system will be stress-tested during the European Football Championships next summer, on the basis that attackers typically disguise links to malicious servers in a tweet about an exciting part of an event to take advantage of the hype.
New submitter MikeTechDude writes: Estimates have always been an integral part of the software development process. In recent years, however, developers, including Woody Zuill and Vasco Duarte, have begun to question the efficacy, and even the purpose, of using estimates to predict a project's cost and time line. A fierce debate has sprung up on Twitter, between those calling for an end to estimates and those who continue to champion their use in a professional setting. On the surface, it would appear that the debate is black and white. Proponents of the #NoEstimates Twitter hashtag are promoting a hard stop to all estimates industry-wide, and critics of the movement are insisting on a conservative approach that leaves little room for innovation. However, the reality of the debate has unfolded in far more complex, nuanced shades of gray. HP's Malcolm Isaacs digs deep and pinpoints where the debate started, where it now stands, and what its implications are for the future of software development. Meanwhile, Martin Heller offers his less unbiased approach with his post, #NoEstimates? Not so fast.
jfruh writes: IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer Watson is now suite of cloud-based services that developers can use to add cognitive capabilities to applications, and one of its powers is visual analysis. Visual Insights analyzes images and videos posted to services like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then looks for patterns and trends in what people have been posting. Watson turns what it gleans into structured data, making it easier to load into a database and act upon — which is clearly appealing to marketers and just as clearly carries disturbing privacy implications.
An anonymous reader writes: Details were scant when Apple confirmed the XcodeGhost malware had infiltrated the iOS App Store. The company didn't say which specific iOS vulnerabilities were exposed and didn't indicate how its iPhone users were affected. However, a Palo Alto Networks security analyst is reporting that XcodeGhost had been used to phish for iCloud passwords, and more specific details are emerging. According to the Networkworld article: "URLs can be sent to the iOS device and opened. This isn't limited to HTTP and FTP URLs, but includes local URLs, such as itunes:// and twitter:// that iOS can be used for inter-app communications. For example, this could be used to force automatic phone calls to premium phone numbers, which can charge up to $1 per minute in some cases. Some iOS password manager apps use the system clipboard to paste passwords into the login dialog. As another example, the XcodeGhost malware can read and write data in the user's clipboard, which would allow it to snatch a password."
New submitter graphicore writes to point out an experimental "unhosted" app that challenges the concept of the URL. By putting the post data after the # mark, the URL is (mis-)used as the data storage. You can store your data within your bookmarks list, host it via a URL-shortener(!) like here: http://goo.gl/DYxr5m or attach it directly to a tweet I also attached the full-url to this slashdot post :-) This raises the question about who is hosting the content and it will probably break the internet. This is a quote from Google's shortener policy: "Please remember that goo.gl directs you to content that is already in existence on the internet. This is not content hosted by Google." It could also become a storage strategy for any other web app. The app is GPL v3, no strings attached. And there's always DNS, too.
Tekla Perry writes: "Engineering productivity is hard to measure," said Peter Seibel, the tech lead of Twitter's engineering effectiveness group. "But we certainly can harm it." Seibel spoke this week at the @Scale conference in San Jose, hosted by Facebook. He says in large companies one third of software engineers shouldn't be working on the company's products, but should be dedicated to making other engineers more effective. "As an industry we know how to scale up software," he said. "We also know how to scale up organizations, to put in management that lets thousands of people work together. But we don't have a handle on how to scale up that intersection between engineering and human organization. And maybe we don't understand the importance of that. We massively underinvest in this kind of work."
The Grim Reefer writes: In a followup to this morning's story about the arrest of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school that was mistaken for a bomb, President Obama has invited the teen to the White House via Twitter. The President tweeted: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great." The Irving Independent School District in Irving, Texas sent an email to parents about the incident asking students to: "immediately report any suspicious items and / or suspicious behavior."
JustAnotherOldGuy writes: Twittter is facing a new possible class action suit that accuses the company of violating user privacy. The lawsuit states that the company has been "systematically intercepting, reading, and altering" direct messages, most likely a reference to Twitter's long-standing practice of automatically shortening and redirecting any in-message links. The practice could be used to monitor or redirect any URLs included in a direct message, although it's generally seen as a benign extension of the company's broader link-shortening systems. In a statement to USA Today, Twitter, to nobody's surprise, insisted that the allegations are "meritless."
An anonymous reader writes: The UK's Labour Party is currently led by Jeremy Corbyn, who has shown support for homeopathy in the past. So has Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. (So-called 'shadow' posts in the UK government essentially comprise an alternative Cabinet with positions held by party members in opposition to the party in power.) Now, homeopathy seems to have additional support from the newly-appointed shadow health minister, Heidi Alexander. "I know lots of people who know about benefits of homeopathy. Whether it's the right use of public money is another thing altogether. I'm open to hearing the argument as to why people may think it appropriate."
An anonymous reader writes: Akamai is detailing the activities of DD4BC, a cyber-extortionist group that has launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against numerous organizations and demanded Bitcoin payments to stop the attacks. The group is sending ransom emails requiring payments of 25 to 100 Bitcoin, which is about $6,000 — $24,000 (€5,350 — €21,400). Social media shaming is also part of the deal, threatening to expose the DDOS on Twitter if payment is not made.
Bennett Haselton writes: The comedy world crucified Josh "Fat Jew" Ostrovsky for building his career on re-tweeting other people's jokes without attribution. But Twitter, or whichever company rises as their successor, could easily implement an algorithm that could stop plagiarists from building a following, while still rewarding joke writers who come up with original content. Read on for Bennett's take on how such a system could work.
An anonymous reader writes: As tweeted by Jacob Appelbaum, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority today listed .onion as a special-use domain, and the IETF approved a Draft RFC for the domain describing its intended uses. As described on the Facebook Over Tor page, "Jointly, these actions enable '.onion' as special-use, top-level domain name for which SSL certificates may be issued in accordance with the Certificate-Authority & Browser Forum 'Ballot 144' — which was passed in February this year. ... Together, this assures the validity and future availability of SSL certificates in order to assert and protect the ownership of Onion sites throughout the whole of the Tor network."
An anonymous reader writes: Fusion has an op-ed where Ryan Calo, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Washington, argues Google, Apple, and Microsoft pushing back against government surveillance may be our only real hope for privacy. He writes: "Both Google and Yahoo have announced that they are working on end-to-end encryption in email. Facebook established its service on a Tor hidden services site, so that users can access the social network without being monitored by those with access to network traffic. Outside of product design, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft have sent their formidable legal teams to court to block or narrow requests for user information. Encryption tools have traditionally been unwieldy and difficult to use; massive companies turning their attention to better and simpler design, and use by default, could be a game changer. Privacy will no longer be accessible only to tech-savvy users, and it will mean that those who do use encryption will no longer stick out like sore thumbs, their rare use of hard-to-use tools making them a target."