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Top Stories for the Week of April 5, 2017

  • Episode 498
  • April 5, 2017

Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday April 5, 2017

CodePlex is shutting down.

Microsoft announced Friday that CodePlex, the company's open source project-hosting service, will be closed down.

Started in 2006, the service offered an alternative to SourceForge. It was based initially on Microsoft's Team Foundation Server source control and later added options to use Subversion, Mercurial, and Git.

At the time, there weren't a tremendous number of good options for hosting projects. SourceForge was the big one, but it always seemed light on feature development and heavy on advertising. CodePlex on the Web was much more attractive and less cluttered. The use of TFS for source control meant it also had strong integration in Visual Studio.

But these days, GitHub is the default choice for most open source projects. This applies to Microsoft, too; the company is using GitHub to host projects such as .NET and its Chakra JavaScript engine. Activity on CodePlex has declined, with fewer than 350 projects seeing code commits over the last 30 days.

Accordingly, Microsoft has decided to stop running the service. Effective immediately, new projects can no longer be created. In October, all projects will be set to read-only. On December 15, CodePlex will be shut down completely, and the website will be replaced with a static archive.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

AT&T has won the contract to build FirstNet.

AT&T has won a lucrative contract to build and manage a nationwide public safety network for America's police, firefighters, and emergency medical services.

First responders currently use the same commercial networks used by consumers and businesses for mobile Internet service. AT&T says, "That can be an issue when a significant public safety crisis happens and commercial networks quickly become congested. It makes it difficult for first responders to communicate, coordinate and do their jobs."

The First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, was authorized by the federal government in 2012 and operates as an independent authority within the US Department of Commerce. AT&T has just been selected by FirstNet to build the wireless network and said that construction will begin later this year.

FirstNet's spectrum is located in the 700MHz band often used for consumer LTE networks.

AT&T's contract with FirstNet is 25 years long. AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Terrible news for LastPass users as the company scrambles to fix an architectural problem that lets malicious web sites steal your passwords.

Developers of the widely used LastPass password manager are scrambling to fix a serious vulnerability that makes it possible for malicious websites to steal user passcodes and in some cases execute malicious code on computers running the program.

The flaw, which affects the latest version of the LastPass browser extension, was briefly described on Saturday by Tavis Ormandy, a researcher with Google's Project Zero vulnerability reporting team. When people have the LastPass binary running, the vulnerability allows malicious websites to execute code of their choice. Even when the binary isn't present, the flaw can be exploited in a way that lets malicious sites steal passwords from the protected LastPass vault. Ormandy said he developed a proof-of-concept exploit and sent it to LastPass officials. Developers now have three months to patch the hole before Project Zero discloses technical details.

LastPass officials thanked Ormandy for alerting them to the bug and said a fix was on the way. In the meantime, they said LastPass users should protect themselves by entering stored passwords into websites using the LastPass vault as a launch pad for opening websites and entering passwords and enabling two-factor authentication on sites that offer it.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Connecting computers to the human brain is next on Elon Musk's to-do list.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has launched Neuralink, a start-up which aims to develop technology that connects our brains to computers.

A report from the Wall Street Journal, later confirmed in a tweet by Mr Musk, said the company was in its very early stages and registered as a “medical research” firm.

The company will develop so-called “neural lace” technology which would implant tiny electrodes into the brain.

The technique could be used to improve memory or give humans added artificial intelligence.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

The inventor of the Internet has been awarded computing's equivalent of the Nobel Prize

Most people who search on Google, share on Facebook and shop on Amazon have never heard of Sir Tim-Berners-Lee. But they might not be doing any of those things had he not invented the World Wide Web.

Berners-Lee, 61, is this year’s recipient of the A.M. Turing Award, computing’s version of the Nobel Prize.

The award, announced yesterday by the Association for Computing Machinery, marks another pinnacle for the British native, who has already been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and named as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th Century by Time magazine.


Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson



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