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The Register - Thu Oct 14 04:02

  • Indian government promises One Portal To Rule Them all in support of colossal infrastructure build

    What could possibly go wrong on a project with vast scope, many stakeholders with different agendas, and an assumption of prompt data sharing?

    India's government yesterday announced a massive new wave of infrastructure investment, and a portal it says will ensure co-ordination among multiple government departments so that new builds avoid overlap with other plans and contribute to a national modernisation drive.

    Launched yesterday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the new "GatiShakti" plan has noble aims.

    "Infrastructure creation in India had suffered for decades from multiple issues," opens the statement announcing the plan. "There was lack of coordination between different Departments. For example, once a road was constructed, other agencies dug up the constructed road again for activities like laying of underground cables, gas pipelines etc.

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  • Apple warns sideloading iOS apps will ruin everything

    Opening the iOS ecosystem to competition would harm security and privacy, company says

    Analysis Apple, besieged by regulators and rivals challenging its exclusive control over its iOS App Store, has published a 31-page defense of its ostensibly benevolent monopoly that warns of disastrous consequences if Cupertino is forced to allow competition.

    "[S]ome are demanding that Apple support the distribution of apps outside of the App Store, through direct downloads or third-party app stores, a process also referred to as 'sideloading,'" Apple says in its treatise, "Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Apps, A threat analysis of sideloading." [PDF]

    "Supporting sideloading through direct downloads and third-party app stores would cripple the privacy and security protections that have made iPhone so secure, and expose users to serious security risks."

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  • Former Intel AI boss Naveen Rao is now counting the cost of machine learning, literally

    MosaicMLdelving into the details

    Agam Shah Thu 14 Oct 2021 // 00:40 UTC

    A former head of artificial intelligence products at Intel has started a company to help companies cut overhead costs on AI systems.

    Naveen Rao, CEO and co-founder of MosaicML, previously led Nervana Systems, which was acquired by Intel for $350m. But like many Intel acquisitions, the marriage didn't pan out, and Intel killed the Nervana AI chip last year, after which Rao left the company.

    MosaicML's open source tools focus on implementing AI systems based on cost, training time, or speed-to-results. They do so by analyzing an AI problem relative to the neural net settings and hardware, which then paves an efficient path to generate optimal settings while reducing electric costs.

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  • Report: Apple short of 10 million iPhone 13s this year due to ongoing chip shortage

    Broadcomm,Texas Instruments, and more buckling under supply crisis

    Apple may be short of hitting its annual iPhone 13 handset production target by ten million units due to current global chip shortages.

    The initial plan was to build 90 million new smartphones over October to December, but the iGiant probably won’t be able to fulfill its goal as it scrambles to obtain vital components from its partners in time.

    Broadcom and Texas Instruments, suffering from the effects of the ongoing chip crunch, are struggling to deliver the hardware needed to make the iPhone 13, Bloomberg first reported.

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  • Amazon India accused of copying merchant products and juicing search results to sell its own knockoffs

    Report claims documents show employees abusing access

    When asked in July, 2020, by US Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) whether Amazon ever mined data from its third-party vendors to launch competing products, founder and then CEO Jeff Bezos said he couldn't answer "yes" or "no," but insisted Amazon had rules disallowing the practice.

    "What I can tell you is we have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private label business but I can’t guarantee that policy has never been violated," Bezos said.

    According to documents obtained by Reuters, Amazon's employees in India flouted that policy by copying the products of Amazon marketplace sellers for its in-house brands and then manipulating search results on Amazon's website to place its knockoffs at the top of search results lists.

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  • AlmaLinux Foundation chair says he stepped down to highlight value of community status

    Close ties with CloudLinux remain, including former chair as 'guest attendee' at board meetings

    Igor Seletskiy, the founder of the AlmaLinux distro created in December 2020 as an alternative to CentOS, has explained that he stepped down as chair of the AlmaLinux Foundation in an effort to strengthen its community status - though his company still dominates the board.

    AlmaLinux is one of several distros to have sprung up, or demanded renewed attention, in the aftermath of Red Hat's decision to make CentOS a late preview of what will become Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) rather than a binary-compatible rebuild. Other contenders include Rocky Linux, founded by an original co-founder of CentOS, and Oracle Linux. AlmaLinux originated as a project of CloudLinux, a company and commercial distro which already tracked RHEL, and of which Seletskiy is CEO.

    At the end of March an AlmaLinux Foundation was formed to own the trademarks and, in the words of its bylaws, "to develop and maintain a no registration, ad free, stable, open source Linux distribution for the benefit of and free use by the general public."

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  • Shatner breaks the age barrier, goes where no nonagenarian has gone before with Blue Origin rocket trip

    Gives classic monologue upon landing

    Four travelers successfully flew to the edge of space and back on Blue Origin’s second commercial spaceflight including William Shatner, making the 90-year-old Star Trek actor the oldest person to leave Earth yet.

    The nonagenarian was joined by Audrey Powers, VP of Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight operations, Dr Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Earth-monitoring startup Planet Labs, and Glen de Vries, vice-chair of life Sciences & Healthcare, at Dassault Systèmes.

    Blue Origin’s capsule atop the New Shepard rocket launched near Van Horn, Texas, on Wednesday at 1449 UTC. The four-person crew was taken to the Kármán line, 100 kilometers or 330,000 feet above Earth’s mean sea level, a region where space officially begins. By 1459 UTC, they returned safely back on solid ground again. All in all, the journey only took about 10 minutes and 17 seconds.

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  • Judge in UK rules Amazon Ring doorbell audio recordings breach data protection laws

    Relax, this isn't a binding precedent - but it puts down a marker

    A judge in England has ruled that an Amazon Ring doorbell's functions broke the Data Protection Act after a neighbour dispute, over claims of a gang of armed robbers trying to steal an Audi, ended up in court.

    Dr Mary Fairhurst took her neighbour Jon Woodard to court after alleging that his mass of CCTV cameras, including an Amazon Ring doorbell camera, amounted to harassment, a nuisance and a breach of the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018*.

    The case was sparked by audio-visual technician Woodard installing yet another camera on a neighbour's wall after falsely claiming an "armed criminal gang" tried to steal his car – putting a communal car park and its access road under full surveillance.

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  • Electric car makers ready to jump into battery recycling amid stuttering supply chains

    It's better to get lithium from used batteries than from the ground, says Elon Musk

    Car makers are electrifying fleets at such a pace that battery makers can't keep up. So Tesla, GM, Ford and others are investing in battery recycling to cut costs and mitigate risks posed by an erratic international supply chain.

    Batteries are basically high-grade ore and a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way for materials to be extracted and reused, said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, during a shareholder meeting last week.

    "It pays to do recycling of batteries," Musk said, adding: "You can either get your lithium and your nickel and various constituents from rocks, or from batteries. It's much better to get them from batteries."

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  • Lenovo Neptune makes weather supercomputers cool again

    KMA will generate over one million forecast maps each day

    Sponsored It is only natural the world’s top supercomputing sites in climate and weather modeling should be leading the charge for more efficient, sustainable, and green datacenter practices. With the right approaches, these centers can show that power and performance do not need to be a game of trade-offs and that systems can achieve radical performance with highly efficient cooling.

    While power and cooling are concerns at the facility level, the leading provider of supercomputers in the TOP500, Lenovo, and the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) are proving what server-level liquid cooling can do for cutting-edge HPC efficiency.

    KMA, South Korea’s national weather service, provides weather forecasting and issues warnings of adverse weather conditions across the region. The administration also conducts research on climate change to enable the Korean government to enact policies. To do this work, KMA operates the National Center for Metrological Supercomputer (NCMS), the largest supercomputer in Korea supporting vital weather and climate forecasting.

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  • James Webb Space Telescope completes its voyage to French Guiana

    Only a million or so miles to go

    The multinational James Webb Space Telescope – named after a former NASA administrator – has arrived in French Guiana, home to Europe's Spaceport, with launch finally in sight.

    An international collaboration (including contributions from NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency), the long-in-gestation and eye-wateringly overbudget observatory is due for launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket on 18 December, just squeaking into 2021, if all goes well.

    Aside from the 16-day, 5,800-mile trip at sea from California, it has been quite the journey for the space telescope, on which work began in 1996 ahead of a 2007 launch date. Back then the budget was around $500m. These days it's nearer $10bn after repeated delays and a redesign. To be fair, however, nothing quite like the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has ever been built before. Then again, that is still quite the overrun and delay.

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