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Should Banks Let Ancient Programming Language COBOL Die?

Slashdot.org - 13 hours 28 min ago
COBOL is a programming language invented by Hopper from 1959 to 1961, and while it is several decades old, it's still largely used by the financial sector, major corporations and part of the federal government. Mar Masson Maack from The Next Web interviews Daniel Doderlein, CEO of Auka, who explains why banks don't have to actively kill COBOL and how they can modernize and "minimize the new platforms' connections to the old systems so that COBOL can be switched out in a safe and cheap manner." From the report: According to [Doderlein], COBOL-based systems still function properly but they're faced with a more human problem: "This extremely critical part of the economic infrastructure of the planet is run on a very old piece of technology -- which in itself is fine -- if it weren't for the fact that the people servicing that technology are a dying race." And Doderlein literally means dying. Despite the fact that three trillion dollars run through COBOL systems every single day they are mostly maintained by retired programming veterans. There are almost no new COBOL programmers available so as retirees start passing away, then so does the maintenance for software written in the ancient programming language. Doderlein says that banks have three options when it comes to deciding how to deal with this emerging crisis. First off, they can simply ignore the problem and hope for the best. Software written in COBOL is still good for some functions, but ignoring the problem won't fix how impractical it is for making new consumer-centric products. Option number two is replacing everything, creating completely new core banking platforms written in more recent programming languages. The downside is that it can cost hundreds of millions and it's highly risky changing the entire system all at once. The third option, however, is the cheapest and probably easiest. Instead of trying to completely revamp the entire system, Doderlein suggests that banks take a closer look at the current consumer problems. Basically, Doderlein suggests making light-weight add-ons in more current programming languages that only rely on COBOL for the core feature of the old systems.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Over 800 Startups Tell FCC's Ajit Pai Not To Kill Net Neutrality

Techdirt - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:40

As we noted yesterday, FCC Chair Ajit Pai has officially kicked off his plan to kill net neutrality -- and unfortunately did so by spouting debunked myths and fantasies about how much damage net neutrality was causing for investment. As we pointed out that, that's complete hogwash. If you actually looked at what telcos and ISPs were spending it showed no impact from the open internet rules. And, really, why should it have changed investment plans? As we've noted, the rules had basically no impact on ISPs unless those ISPs were looking to screw over consumers. And if it harmed those ISPs' investment plans, that doesn't seem like a very big loss. Otherwise, the open internet rules just provided clear "rules of the road" for ISPs to treat internet data fairly and to not screw over end users.

Either way, that's not the only "investment" that Pai should be looking at. Because one of the other key aspects of having an open internet is the massive amount of investment that has resulted for companies that operate on the internet. Pai seems (bizarrely) exclusively focused on investment in the infrastructure (which, again, has not dropped despite his claims) and totally ignores all the investment layers above (which also helps funds the infrastructure). So, just as Pai is (wrongly) whining that net neutrality harmed investment, over 800 startups, from all 50 states, sent him a letter urging him not to get rid of the open internet rules (and, yes, we were among those who signed onto the letter).

This is important. Pai is making all sorts of misleading to nonsensical claims about the impact on the economy of the net neutrality rules, but in doing so he's trying to ignore all of the business that's created because the internet is kept open and free and the giant incumbent access providers are unable to favor their own services or throttle and stifle innovative upstarts. Pai talks a good game about how he wants the "democratization of entrepreneurship" thanks to a fast internet. That's great. But if he kills off net neutrality we lose that. We get a system where each startup has to go begging and pleading to each access provider for a deal they probably can't get or couldn't afford even if they were able to. We've seen that world. It's the world that existed on mobile phones in the early 2000s when the providers got to control (i.e., charge ridiculous sums for) who had access to their customers. That was not a good world to live in and it vastly limited the economic opportunities of the mobile world. It was only when smartphones broke away from the carriers' control that things changed.

We shouldn't move back towards that kind of world, yet that appears to be the clear end result of the plans that Pai is pushing. This is a mistake and over 800 startups are letting him know that. Pai may think he can ignore them all, but he should note that each of those companies has a lot of users, and it's not difficult to ask them to speak up too. Pai is playing with fire if he thinks that the public won't speak out about his attempts to kill off net neutrality and to harm the most innovative companies out there, in favor for the slow, lumbering duopolists who control the pipes.



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Auktion in Wien: Bild von Kaiserin Sisi für mehr als 1,5 Millionen Euro versteigert

Spiegel Online - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:31
Experten hatten den Wert des Verlobungsgemäldes von Kaiserin Sisi auf 350.000 Euro geschätzt. Nun wechselt das Bild den Besitzer - für ein Vielfaches.

Cloudflare's incredible solution for IoT security: Use our services

The Register - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:27
And, oh for $DEITY's sake, yet ANOTHER best-practices standards organization?

Traffic bouncer Cloudflare has outlined what it claims is the solution to the perennial internet-of-things security problem: pay it.…

Überwachung von Gefährdern: Bundestag beschließt elektronische Fußfessel

Spiegel Online - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:25
Der Bundestag hat die Bestimmungen zur Überwachung von Extremisten verschärft. Künftig können Gefährder zum Tragen einer Fußfessel gezwungen werden.

Apple Is In Talks To Launch Its Own Venmo

Slashdot.org - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: The company has recently held discussions with payments industry partners about introducing its own Venmo competitor, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks. The service would allow iPhone owners to send money digitally to other iPhone owners, these people said. One source familiar with the plans told Recode they expect the company to announce the new service later this year. Another cautioned that an announcement and launch date may not yet be set. The new Apple product would compete with offerings from big U.S. banks as well as PayPal, its millennial-popular subsidiary Venmo, as well as Square Cash in the increasingly competitive world of digital money-transfers. Apple has also recently held discussions with Visa about creating its own pre-paid cards that would run on the Visa debit network and which would be tied to the new peer-to-peer service, sources told Recode. People would be able to use the Apple cards to spend money sent to them through the new service, without having to wait for it to clear to their bank account.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Premier League: Manchester-Derby endet unentschieden

Spiegel Online - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:19
Das Spiel war temporeich, doch am Ende konnte weder Mourinho noch Guardiola jubeln: Das Derby zwischen Manchester City und Manchester United blieb torlos.

Google Loses Top Hardware Executive

Slashdot.org - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 23:00
randomErr writes: David Foster, who joined Alphabet Inc.'s Google in October as part of its aggressive hardware effort, has left the company. As the vice president of hardware product development he worked on the launch of the Pixel smartphone and Home speaker. Both of which are competitors to the Amazon Echo, Foster's previous employer. Google will not comment on why he is leaving.

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Chrome Will Start Marking HTTP Sites In Incognito Mode As Non-Secure In October

Slashdot.org - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:40
Reader Krystalo writes: Google today announced the second step in its plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure in Chrome. Starting in October 2017, Chrome will mark HTTP sites with entered data and HTTP sites in Incognito mode as non-secure. With the release of Chrome 56 in January 2017, Google's browser started marking HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as "Not Secure" in the address bar. Since then, Google has seen a 23 percent reduction in the fraction of navigations to HTTP pages with password or credit card forms on Chrome for desktop. Chrome 62 (we're currently on Chrome 58) will take this to the next level.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Republicans want IT bloke to take fall for Clinton email brouhaha

The Register - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:39
Not quite 'lock her up,' but they'll take what they can get – like formal criminal charges

US House Republicans are demanding prosecutors bring charges against the IT chap who hosted Hillary Clinton's private email service.…

A very false narrative: Microsoft Surface vs Apple iPad, Mac

AppleInsider - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:36


It's hard to escape the media pronouncements that iPhones are now boring again after Samsung unveiled its latest Galaxy S8, Apple's Mac business is being overshadowed by more exciting Surface Windows PCs from Microsoft and that Apple Watch is a disappointing dud. But they're all wrong, here's why.
Categories: Apple Mac, Computer

Brexit-Kosten: EU-Agentur in London hat Mietvertrag bis 2039

Spiegel Online - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:31
Das kann teuer werden: Die EU-Arzneimittelagentur bereitet sich darauf vor, London nach dem Brexit zu verlassen. Der Mietvertrag läuft jedoch noch bis 2039 - und hat keine Ausstiegsklausel.

Apple Watch NikeLab ab jetzt verfügbar

MacTechNews.de - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:24
Eine Woche nach der Ankündigung durch Nike ist heute termingerecht die Apple Watch NikeLab in den Verkauf gegangen. Dabei handelt es sich um eine dritte Variante der Apple Watch Nike+, die in Zusammenarbeit zwischen Apple und dem Sportartikelhersteller Nike entstanden ist. Variante der Nike+ Die NikeLab unterscheidet sich nur durch ihre Gehäuse-Armband-Kombination von den anderen beiden Mode...
Categories: Apple Mac

Mazedonien: Demonstranten stürmen Parlament und verletzen Abgeordnete

Spiegel Online - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:15
In Mazedonien sind Demonstranten in das Parlamentsgebäude eingedrungen und haben mehrere Abgeordnete angegriffen. Sie protestieren gegen die Wahl eines neuen Parlamentspräsidenten.

Techdirt Podcast Episode 119: Does Pharma Really Need Patents?

Techdirt - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:15

It doesn't take many stories of people suffering due to unaffordable medicine to make you question the state of pharmaceutical patents, but the arguments in their defense are loud and frequent. Most are variations on the same theme: without the promise of a monopoly, important drugs would never be researched and developed. But does this argument truly hold up? It's come up as a tangent in previous episodes of the podcast, but this week we're dedicating a full episode to questioning the popular defenses of pharma patents and looking for a better way forward.

Follow the Techdirt Podcast on Soundcloud, subscribe via iTunes or Google Play, or grab the RSS feed. You can also keep up with all the latest episodes right here on Techdirt.



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Facebook decides fake news isn't crazy after all. It's now a real problem

The Register - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:12
Once dismissed by Zuck, misinformation now merits revised security strategy

Analysis Last November at the Techonomy Conference in Half Moon Bay, California, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the notion that disinformation had affected the US presidential election as lunacy.…

Schadensbegrenzung: United Airlines schließt Vergleich mit rausgeworfenem Passagier

Spiegel Online - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:04
United Airlines hat sich nach eigenen Angaben mit dem rausgeworfenen Passagier in den USA gütlich geeinigt. Auch andere Reisende profitieren von dem peinlichen Zwischenfall.

Facebook Pledges To Crack Down on Government-led Misinformation Campaigns

Slashdot.org - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 22:00
Facebook is pressing its enforcement against what it calls "information operations" -- bad actors who use the platform to spread fake news and false propaganda. From a report: The company, which published a report on the subject today, defines these operations as government-led campaigns -- or those from organized "non-state actors" -- to promote lies, sow confusion and chaos among opposing political groups, and destabilize movements in other countries. The goal of these operations, the report says, is to manipulate public opinion and serve geopolitical ends. The actions go beyond the posting of fake news stories. The 13-page report specifies that fake news can be motivated by a number of incentives, but that it becomes part of a larger information operation when its coupled with other tactics and end goals. Facebook says these include friend requests sent under false names to glean more information about the personal networks of spying targets and hacking targets, the boosting of false or misleading stories through mass "liking" campaigns, and the creation propaganda groups. The company defines these actions as "targeted data collection," "false amplification," and "content creation." Facebook plans to target these accounts by monitoring for suspicious activity, like bursts of automated actions on the site, to enact mass banning of accounts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NASA's Cassini snaps pic inside Saturn's ring – peace among the stars

The Register - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 21:33
Probe plunges deep into dark cosmic hole

Photo NASA's Cassini probe has made its first dive inside Saturn's rings, skimming about 1,900 miles (3,000KM) over the surface of the gas giant's stormy atmosphere.…

Kontenmissbrauch: Facebook will stärker gegen Fake News vorgehen

Spiegel Online - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 21:32
Mithilfe intelligenter Software will Facebook gefälschte Konten erkennen und löschen. Vor der ersten Runde der französischen Präsidentenwahl wurden 30.000 verdächtige Nutzerprofile gesperrt.
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