Wireless Networking

Ask Slashdot: How Can You Avoid Routers With Locked Firmware? 314

thejynxed writes: Awhile ago the FCC in the USA implemented a rule that required manufacturers to restrict end-users from tampering with the radio outputs on wi-fi routers. It was predicted that manufacturers would take the lazy way out by locking down the firmware/bootloaders of the routers entirely instead of partitioning off access to the radio transmit power and channel ranges. This has apparently proven to be the case, as even now routers that were previously marketed as "Open Source Ready" or "DD-WRT Compatible" are coming with locked firmware.

In my case, having noticed this trend, I purchased three routers from Belkin, Buffalo, and Netgear in Canada, the UK, and Germany respectively, instead of the USA, and the results: All three routers had locked firmware/bootloaders, with no downgrade rights and no way to install Tomato, DD-WRT, OpenWRT, etc. It seems the FCC rule is an example of the wide-reaching effect of US law on the products sold in other nations, etc. So, does anyone know a good source of unlocked routers or other technical information on how to bypass this ridiculous outcome of FCC over-reach and manufacturer laziness?

The FCC later specified that they were not trying to block Open Source firmware modifications -- so leave your best suggestions in the comments. How can you avoid routers with locked firmware?
Businesses

Dark Web Marketplace AlphaBay Shuts For Good After Police Raids (theregister.co.uk) 112

Dark web marketplace AlphaBay's closure last week followed an international law enforcement operation and multiple raids, it has emerged. It has also been reported that a key suspect who was arrested in the raids has died in custody. From a report: The world's biggest online drug bazaar dropped offline on 5 July, sparking fears that its administrators had disappeared taking a swag bag of digital currency with them, pulling an "exit scam" like other dark web marketplace kingpins before them. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Canadian suspected of running AlphaBay was arrested in Thailand on 5 July following an international police operation involving authorities in the US and Canada as well as Thailand. Alexandre Cazes, the 26-year-old who had been accused of being the site's admin, was found dead in a Thai jail cell on Wednesday, the WSJ adds. The Bangkok Post reported that Cazes had been resident in Thailand for about eight years and had a Thai wife. Thai authorities said they'd seized four Lamborghini cars and three upmarket residences with a combined value of $11.7m (400 million Thai Baht). US authorities had apparently been seeking to extradite Cazes at the time of his death.
The Internet

Reddit Is Testing Country-Specific Home Pages That Highlight 'Geo Popular' Content (ndtv.com) 49

Reader joshtops writes: Reddit is exploring a new way to make its front page more relevant to its readers. The social aggregation and discussion website is testing tailored home pages based on a reader's location in select places, Gadgets 360 spotted. The company has confirmed to us that it is indeed testing "geo popular" home pages. As part of the test, readers in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and United Kingdom could see a banner when they visit Reddit.com informing them of the new home page. It's unclear if registered and signed in users are also a part of the experiment. Testing from India, in one case we found several stories from r/India and r/cricket (no surprise given the sport's popularity in the country) subreddits populate the home page. Reddit is also letting people switch the home page to any of the aforementioned country's home pages. Users also have the option to switch to the global -- universal -- home page. In a statement, a Reddit spokesperson told Gadgets 360, "We've been testing new geo-based popular feeds as a way to surface more relevant content to users based on their location," reserving any timeframe for when -- and if -- Reddit plans to roll-out this feature to all its users. "We'll be adjusting as we receive feedback from users," the spokesperson added, reaffirming that users will be "able to toggle locations to see popular posts in other geographical areas or globally."
Businesses

Amazon Prime Is a Blessing and a Curse For Remote Towns (vice.com) 314

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: If access to Prime is reduced, or in some cases, cut off, it can leave many remote towns in the lurch. One dozen five-gallon barrels of hydraulic oil. A 2x4x8 of lumber. A pallet's worth of 10-ply, heavy-duty truck tires. These are just a few of the heavy, cumbersome orders one Redditor on the Alaska subreddit claimed to have ordered from Amazon Prime, with free shipping, before users started to notice difficulty finding eligible products. For many remote and rural communities in the U.S. and Canada, the arrival of Amazon Prime, with its low prices and free, expedient shipping was a boon. Hard-to-get or expensive products were now accessible, and reasonably priced to boot. For the cost of a membership (which now runs $99 per year), residents were able to get deals on everything from food to diapers to truck tires. But sometimes when something seems too good to be true, it is. Prime has proven to be a bit of a double-edged sword for many of these communities. Residents become dependent on Prime as local retailers struggle to compete. If access to Prime is reduced, or in some cases, cut off, it can leave many remote towns in the lurch.
Canada

Former Astronaut Julie Payette To Be Canada's Next Governor General (www.cbc.ca) 109

MightyMartian shares a report from CBC.ca: Former astronaut Julie Payette will be the Queen's new representative in Canada, CBC News has confirmed. The 53-year-old Montrealer, who speaks six languages, will be named the 29th governor general, a position that comes with a $290,660 annual salary and an official residence at Rideau Hall. Payette, who is also an accomplished athlete, pianist and choral singer, will succeed outgoing Gov. Gen. David Johnston. A computer engineer with a commercial pilot license, Payette was picked from among 5,330 applicants in 1992 to be one of four new astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). She participated in two space flights to the International Space Station and served as the CSA's chief astronaut between 2000 and 2007.

MightyMartian adds: "I defy anyone else to find a head of state who is an astronaut!"

Canada

Canada's Play For Immigrant Tech Talent (axios.com) 257

An anonymous reader shares an Axios report: When it comes to high-skilled immigration, the U.S.'s loss could be Canada's gain. Canada recently launched a Global Skills Strategy visa program to make it easier for its companies to bring in foreign workers with specific technology or business skills. The program allows firms to have a position pre-approved and get visas within two weeks -- a stark contrast to the months-long U.S. visa process. Why it matters: The Trump administration has moved to restrict the number of immigrants coming into the U.S. on work visas, which worries big tech and consulting firms that use the H-1B visa program to fill technical and specialized jobs. Canada's government is seizing the moment to provide an option for engineers, executives and other tech talent who may no longer qualify for an H-1B visa or who simply don't feel comfortable staying in the U.S. Open for business: Navdeep Bains, Canada's Minister of Innovation, told Axios that Canada wants to be open to ideas, open to trade, and "more importantly, we want to be open to people" in order for companies to grow. Bains stopped short of framing the program as a way to poach talent from Silicon Valley, instead saying that the government is "open to whatever region has talent."
Canada

Customer's 20-Year-Old Email Account Shut Down Over Unusual Address (www.cbc.ca) 365

A Halifax man is facing the daunting task of going through almost two decades of email messages after his email provider served notice it was deactivating his account in 30 days because of his email address: noreply@eastlink.ca. From a report: "I had it since the late '90s, probably 1998 when I really started getting online," Steve Morshead told CBC News. "I asked for it, it was available and they gave it to me without hesitation." He said he picked the handle "noreply" because he wanted an unusual address -- and back in the '90s, it was. Morshead never expected to lose his email address, which he uses for communicating with everyone from friends to banks to lawyers. He is in the process of selling his home and says this couldn't come at a worse time. "My email address is a personal identifier for banks, eBay, Kijiji, and hundreds of other places I've logged into -- so many I can't count," Morshead said. He said he wouldn't be in this situation if Eastlink had addressed the issue when he applied for the email. "Now, after all these years, 20 years almost, I find it reprehensible they want to pop out of bushes and just give me 30 days to go through 20 years worth of emails and decide what I want to keep," he said. Morshead said he was given 30 days notice on June 7 that he would lose access to his email address and all of his emails.
Google

Google Must Delete Search Results Worldwide, Supreme Court of Canada Rules (fortune.com) 271

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Google on Wednesday in a closely-watched intellectual property case over whether judges can apply their own country's laws to all of the internet. From a report: In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed a British Columbia judge had the power to issue an injunction forcing Google to scrub search results about pirated products not just in Canada, but everywhere else in the world too. Those siding with Google, including civil liberties groups, had warned that allowing the injunction would harm free speech, setting a precedent to let any judge anywhere order a global ban on what appears on search engines. The Canadian Supreme Court, however, downplayed this objection and called Google's fears "theoretical." "This is not an order to remove speech that, on its face, engages freedom of expression values, it is an order to de-index websites that are in violation of several court orders. We have not, to date, accepted that freedom of expression requires the facilitation of the unlawful sale of goods," wrote Judge Rosalie Abella.
Canada

China, Canada Vow Not To Conduct Cyberattacks On Private Sector (reuters.com) 52

New submitter tychoS writes from a report via Reuters: China and Canada have signed an agreement vowing not to conduct state-sponsored cyberattacks against each other aimed at stealing trade secrets or other confidential business information. The new agreement was reached during talks between Canada's national security and intelligence adviser, Daniel Jean, and senior communist party official Wang Yongqing, a statement dated June 22 on the Canadian government's website showed. "This is something that three or four years ago (Beijing) would not even have entertained in the conversation," an unnamed Canadian government official told the Globe and Mail, which first reported the agreement. The new agreement only covers economic cyber-espionage, which includes hacking corporate secrets and proprietary technology, but does not deal with state-sponsored cyber spying for intelligence gathering.
Cloud

Should Your Company Switch To Microservices? (cio.com) 118

Walmart Canada claims that it was microservices that allowed them to replace hardware with virtual servers, reducing costs by somewhere between 20 and 50 percent. Now Slashdot reader snydeq shares an article by a senior systems automation engineer arguing that a microservices approach "offers increased modularity, making applications easier to develop, test, deploy, and, more importantly, change and maintain."

The article touts things like cost savings and flexibility for multiple device types, suggesting microservices offer increased resilience and improved scalabiity (not to mention easier debugging and a faster time to market with an incremental development model). But it also warns that organizations need the resources to deploy the new microservices quicky (and the necessary server) -- along with the ability to test and monitor them for database errors, network latency, caching issues and ongoing availability. "You must embrace devops culture," argues the article, adding that "designing for failure is essential... In a traditional setting, developers are focused on features and functionalities, and the operations team is on the hook for production challenges. In devops, everyone is responsible for service provisioning -- and failure."

The original submission ends with a question for Slashdot reader. "What cautions do you have to offer for folks considering tapping microservices for their next application?"
Canada

Arctic Climate Change Study Canceled Due to Climate Change (livescience.com) 155

A Canadian expedition to study climate change in the Arctic has been canceled due to climate change. Specifically, the icebreaker CCGS Amundsen had to be cancelled "due to complications associated with the southward motion of hazardous Arctic sea ice," reports University of Manitoba. From the report: This regrettably postpones the much-anticipated Hudson Bay System Study (BaySys) involving 40 scientists from five universities across Canada. Timing was key for this $17 million, four-year, University of Manitoba-led project. The need to deal with extreme ice conditions in the south meant the ship would arrive too late on site to meet research objectives. This year the Expedition Logistics and Science Teams accelerated the mobilization of the 2017 Arctic Expedition to permit departure of the Amundsen six days ahead of schedule. This would allow CCG to carry out critical marine safety and security operations in the unusually severe ice conditions in the Strait of Belle Isle and along the northeast coast of Newfoundland before beginning the Science Mission. Unfortunately, the conditions required much more extended support than anticipated. Fleet management issues and inadequate alternative ships forced the cancellation of the science program due to significant safety concerns. This decision to cancel the BaySys 2017 program was not made lightly. Although the cancellation was due to circumstances beyond control of the Expedition Team, every effort was made to develop a viable option to allow this valuable work to proceed.
Canada

CRTC Bans Locked Phones and Carrier Unlocking Fees (mobilesyrup.com) 94

An anonymous reader shares a report: Canada's telecom regulator has announced that as of December 1st, 2017, all individual and small business wireless consumers will have the right to have their mobile devices unlocked free of charge upon request, while all newly purchased devices must be provided unlocked from that day forward. The decision came following the February 2017 review of the Wireless Code, where unlocking fees took center stage, with some parties (like Freedom Mobile) advocating for the abolishing of those fees altogether, some arguing they should remain as an important theft deterrent and the CRTC suggesting the fee should be far under the current $50 CAD standard. "The Wireless Code has helped make the wireless market more dynamic to the benefit of Canadians. While they appreciate the Code, they told us loudly and clearly that it could be more effective," said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the CRTC, in a press release.
Government

Congressman Steve Scalise Among 5 Shot at Baseball Field (nytimes.com) 1197

From a New York Times report: A lone gunman opened fire on Republican members of the congressional baseball team at a practice field in a Washington suburb Wednesday, using a rifle to shower the field with bullets that struck five people, including Steve Scalise, the majority whip of the House of Representatives. Two members of Mr. Scalise's protective police detail were wounded as they exchanged gunfire with the shooter in what other lawmakers described as a chaotic, terror-filled ten minutes that turned the baseball practice into an early-morning nightmare. Police said a total of five people were shot, two critically. Standing at second base, Mr. Scalise was struck, in the hip, according to witnesses, and collapsed as the shots rang out, one after another, from behind a chain-link fence near the third-base dugout. Witnesses said Mr. Scalise, of Louisiana, "army crawled" his way toward taller grass as the shooting continued. Alternative source: NBC News, CNN, BBC, NPR, WashingtonPost, and WSJ.

Update: 06/14 15:40 GMT: In remarks at the White House, President Trump said the Alexandria shooting suspect has died from injuries.
Businesses

Airbnb Announces Its Plan To House 100,000 People In Need (backchannel.com) 139

New submitter mirandakatz writes: Airbnb has just unveiled its Open Homes Platform, a home-sharing site for hosts motivated by goodwill instead of profits -- and for guests motivated by need rather than wanderlust. Specifically, Airbnb is going to begin by connecting refugees with hosts in Canada, France, Greece, and the United States. Ultimately, refugees will be just one group that the site aims to help: Site visitors can also nominate other groups of people for temporary placements, and the platform will expand to include them eventually. At Backchannel, Jessi Hempel dives into the home-sharing platform's latest effort, and places it in the context of the company's broader business strategy.
Government

Trump Nominates Lawyer To Lead FBI (bbc.com) 368

President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he has chosen a new FBI director. Trump says he's nominating Christopher A. Wray for the position. He described Wray as "a man of impeccable credentials." From a report: Donald Trump says he is nominating lawyer Christopher A Wray who served under George W Bush. Wray more recently represented the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, during the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case, in which two of Christie's former aides were convicted of plotting to close lanes of the bridge to punish a Democratic mayor who wouldn't endorse the governor. Christie, who has informally advised the president, was not charged in the case.

Wray would succeed James Comey, whom Trump fired last month amid mounting scrutiny of ties between his campaign and Russia. The announcement comes a day ahead of Comey's scheduled appearance before the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday where he is expected to touch on his firing and claims that Trump asked him to soft-pedal the investigation into former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Government

Trump Is Pulling US Out of Paris Climate Deal: Sources (axios.com) 737

An anonymous reader shares a report: President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Details on how the withdrawal will be executed are being worked out by a small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. They're deciding on whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal -- which could take 3 years -- or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty, which would be faster but more extreme. Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could do to unravel Obama's climate legacy. It sends a combative signal to the rest of the world that America doesn't prioritize climate change and threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal. News agency Reuters has corroborated the report with its own source. Further reading on Politico (which has also corroborated the news) and BBC. Update: Trump Announces US Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.
Government

Silicon Valley Continues To Explore Universal Basic Incomes (siliconvalley.com) 382

A Silicon Valley Congressman "is pushing for a plan that has been described as a first step toward universal basic income...a long-shot $1 trillion expansion to the earned income tax credit that is already available to low-income families." An anonymous reader quotes the Mecury News: Stanford University also has created a Basic Income Lab to study the idea, and the San Francisco city treasurer's office has said it's designing pilot tests -- though the department told this news organization it has no updates on the status of that project... The problem is that giving all Americans a $10,000 annual income would cost upwards of $3 trillion a year -- more than three-fourths of the federal budget, said Bob Greenstein, president of Washington, D.C.-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Some proponents advocate funding the move by cutting programs like food stamps and Medicaid. But that approach would take money set aside for low-income families and redistribute it upward, exacerbating poverty and inequality, Greenstein said... Jennifer Lin, deputy director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, is skeptical that basic income can do much lasting good in Oakland. What the city needs is more high-paying jobs and affordable housing, she said... The idea, [Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator] said at the Commonwealth Club, tackles the question not enough people are asking: "What do we as the tech industry do to solve the problem that we're helping to create?"
This summer Y Combinator is expected to announce a larger Universal Basic Income program, though the article also describes "small pilot studies" in the 1960s and 1970s in Canada and in several U.S. states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Iowa and Indiana, where "Some studies showed improvements in participants' physical and mental health, and found children performed better in school or stayed in school longer. But some also showed that people receiving a basic income were inclined to spend fewer hours working."
AI

How AI Can Infer Human Emotions (oreilly.com) 25

An anonymous reader quotes OReilly.com's interview with the CEO of Affectiva, an emotion-measurement technology company that grew out of MIT's Media Lab. We can mine Twitter, for example, on text sentiment, but that only gets us so far. About 35-40% is conveyed in tone of voice -- how you say something -- and the remaining 50-60% is read through facial expressions and gestures you make. Technology that reads your emotional state, for example by combining facial and voice expressions, represents the emotion AI space. They are the subconscious, natural way we communicate emotion, which is nonverbal and which complements our language... Facial expressions and speech actually deal more with the subconscious, and are more unbiased and unfiltered expressions of emotion...

Rather than encoding specific rules that depict when a person is making a specific expression, we instead focus our attention on building intelligent algorithms that can be trained to recognize expressions. Through our partnerships across the globe, we have amassed an enormous emotional database from people driving cars, watching media content, etc. A portion of the data is then passed on to our labeling team, who are certified in the Facial Action Coding System...we have gathered 5,313,751 face videos, for a total of 38,944 hours of data, representing nearly two billion facial frames analyzed.

They got their start testing advertisements, and now are already working with a third of all Fortune 500 companies. ("We've seen that pet care and baby ads in the U.S. elicit more enjoyment than cereal ads -- which see the most enjoyment in Canada.") One company even combined their technology with Google Glass to help autistic children learn to recognize emotional cues.
Medicine

Researchers Create a T-Shirt That Monitors the Wearer's Breathing Rate In Real Time (sciencedaily.com) 38

"Researchers at Universite Laval's Faculty of Science and Engineering and its Center for Optics, Photonics, and Lasers have created a smart T-shirt that monitors the wearer's respiratory rate in real time," reports Science Daily. The details have been published in the latest edition of Sensors. From the report: Unlike other methods of measuring respiratory rate, the smart T shirt works without any wires, electrodes, or sensors attached to the user's body, explains Younes Messaddeq, the professor who led the team that developed the technology. "The T shirt is really comfortable and doesn't inhibit the subject's natural movements. Our tests show that the data captured by the shirt is reliable, whether the user is lying down, sitting, standing, or moving around." The key to the smart T shirt is an antenna sewn in at chest level that's made of a hollow optical fiber coated with a thin layer of silver on its inner surface. The fiber's exterior surface is covered in a polymer that protects it against the environment. "The antenna does double duty, sensing and transmitting the signals created by respiratory movements," adds Professor Messaddeq, who also holds the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Photonic Innovations. "The data can be sent to the user's smartphone or a nearby computer." As the wearer breathes in, the smart fiber senses the increase in both thorax circumference and the volume of air in the lungs, explains Messaddeq. "These changes modify some of the resonant frequency of the antenna. That's why the T shirt doesn't need to be tight or in direct contact with the wearer's skin. The oscillations that occur with each breath are enough for the fiber to sense the user's respiratory rate."
Google

Google Home Gets Notifications, Hands-Free Calling, a TV Interface and More (theverge.com) 37

Google has announced several news features for Google Home to help it better compete against the Amazon Echo. The six new features coming to Google Home include: notifications, free calling to phones in the U.S. and Canada, calendar and reminders, more streaming services, a TV interface, and new locations. The Verge details each feature in its report: Notifications: Google calls this feature "proactive assistance." Essentially, Google Home will do its best to alert owners to things they need to know, like reminders, traffic alerts, or flight delays.
Free Calling To Phones In U.S. and Canada: Google is one-upping Amazon by letting the Home dial out to actual landline and mobile phones. Whenever this feature rolls out, you'll be able to ask the Home to call anyone on your contacts list, and it'll dial out to them on a private number.
Calendar and Reminders: You can finally set reminders and calendar entries. Finally.
More Streaming Services: Google Home has already been able to control a handful of music and video services, but it's about to get a bunch of major missing names. For music, that includes Spotify's free tier, Deezer, and SoundCloud. For video, it includes HBO Now and Hulu. On top of that, Home is also getting the ability to stream anything over Bluetooth.
A TV Interface: Sometimes you actually want to see what's going on, so Google's making a TV interface for the Google Home. You'll soon be able to ask the Home to send information to your TV, from basics like the weather and your calendar, to information it's looking up like nearby restaurants or YouTube videos you might want to watch.
New Locations: The Home is going to expand to five new countries this summer: Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan.

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