Broadband Firms in UK Must Ditch ‘Misleading’ Speed Ads

An anonymous reader shares a report: Broadband firms will no longer be able to advertise their fast net services based on the speeds just a few customers get, from May next year. Currently ISPs are allowed to use headline speeds that only 10% of customers will actually receive. In future, adverts must be based on what is available to at least half of customers at peak times. It follows research that suggested broadband advertising can be misleading for consumers. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) looked into consumers' understanding of broadband speed claims and found that many were confused by headline speeds that they would never actually get in their own homes. The concerns were passed on to the Committees of Advertising Practice (Cap) which consulted with ISPs, consumer groups and Ofcom to find a better way to advertise fast net services. Most argued that the fairest and clearest way would be to use the average speeds achieved at peak time by 50% of customers.

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More Than Half of GitHub Is Duplicate Code, Researchers Find

Richard Chirgwin, writing for The Register: Given that code sharing is a big part of the GitHub mission, it should come at no surprise that the platform stores a lot of duplicated code: 70 per cent, a study has found. An international team of eight researchers didn't set out to measure GitHub duplication. Their original aim was to try and define the "granularity" of copying -- that is, how much files changed between different clones -- but along the way, they turned up a "staggering rate of file-level duplication" that made them change direction. Presented at this year's OOPSLA (part of the late-October Association of Computing Machinery) SPLASH conference in Vancouver, the University of California at Irvine-led research found that out of 428 million files on GitHub, only 85 million are unique. Before readers say "so what?", the reason for this study was to improve other researchers' work. Anybody studying software using GitHub probably seeks random samples, and the authors of this study argued duplication needs to be taken into account.

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Ajit Pai and the FCC Want It To Be Legal for Comcast To Block BitTorrent

Nilay Patel, reporting for The Verge: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released his proposal to kill net neutrality this week, and while there's a lot to be unhappy with, it's hard not to be taken with the brazenness of his argument. Pai thinks it was a mistake for the FCC to try and stop Comcast from blocking BitTorrent in 2008, thinks all of the regulatory actions the FCC took after that to give itself the authority to prevent blocking were wrong, and wants to go back to the legal framework that allowed Comcast to block BitTorrent.

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The Moto Z’s Alexa Smart Speaker is mostly useless

 The Moto Z is a phone built around a strong gimmick, but it’s a gimmick nonetheless. A little over a year after release, the company has added some interesting Mods to its selection, but none have offered an entirely compelling justification for the phone’s modular system. That certainly applies to the new Alexa Smart Speaker. Read More

Devs Working To Stop Go Math Error Bugging Crypto Software

Richard Chirgwin, writing for The Register: Consider this an item for the watch-list, rather than a reason to hit the panic button: a math error in the Go language could potentially affect cryptographic libraries. Security researcher Guido Vranken (who earlier this year fuzzed up some bugs in OpenVPN) found an exponentiation error in the Go math/big package. Big numbers -- particularly big primes -- are the foundation of cryptography. Vranken posted to the oss-sec mailing list that he found the potential issue during testing of a fuzzer he wrote that "compares the results of mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, ...) across multiple bignum libraries." Vranken and Go developer Russ Cox agreed that the bug needs specific conditions to be manifest: "it only affects the case e = 1 with m != nil and a pre-allocated non-zero receiver."

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Why Do Left-Handers Excel at Certain Elite Sports But Not Others?

Nicola Davis, writing for The Guardian: From cricketer Wasim Akram to baseball pitcher Clayton Kershaw and table tennis star Ding Ning, the world of sport has no shortage of left-handed players. But now researchers say they've worked out why lefties are overrepresented in some elite sports but not others. The study, published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests that being left-handed is a particular advantage in interactive sports where time pressures are particularly severe, such as table tennis and cricket -- possibly because their moves are less familiar to their mostly right-handed opponents, who do not have time to adjust. "The data suggests that the heavier the time constraints are operating in a sport, the larger the proportion of left-handers," said the study's author, Dr Florian Loffing of the University of Oldenburg in Germany. "We are less used to playing lefties, and [so] might end up in not developing the optimal strategies to compete with them." While it is thought that about 10-13 percent of the population is left-handed, it has long been noted that in certain interactive sports there is often a surprisingly high proportion of left-handers playing at elite levels.

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Thanksgiving, 1993: The Admiral Theater

To the best of my recollection, this was Thanksgiving 1993.

I was 21 and living in Chicago. I'd moved there a few months earlier, under the promise of a job at the Second City, a famed comedy club, that evaporated before I'd ever set foot in the door. Being young and refusing to give up, I stayed for the adventure. My apartment was incredibly cheap, and I was performing a lot more than I had been in LA. I thought I'd make this my new home.

My two roommates had left town to visit family. Greg, a fellow improvisational comedian who'd suffered the same retracted job offer as I, was off to Massachusetts. Marko, a 6'6" pre-frontally lobotomized hoarder who suffered from homophobia, anti-semitism, and only experienced joy while performing as a children's party clown, was someplace I did not care.

My friend Kevin came into town from Los Angeles, we didn't even think about dinner. Mostly, we liked to drink. We were 21 and it was cold.

It was Thursday, everything was closed and we were hungry. We realized it was Thanksgiving. I am absolutely certain this very-good-idea-were-we-not-broke-as-fuck was Kevin's and not mine: we would go to the Chicago Ritz-Carlton and join their Thanksgiving dinner.

We decided that appearances would matter and that we should look nice if we intended to have dinner with rich and fancy people at a rich and fancy place. We put on our very nicest clothes. We still looked like shit.

Moments after arriving at the Ritz, while I marveled at the lovely reception area, Kevin asked the Concierge for directions to the Thanksgiving Dinner. There is no finer magician than a five-star hotel's Concierge. He had a better idea! If we'd give him just a moment the hotel limousine would deliver us to a theater for dinner and a show! The tickets were going to go to waste, he'd feel great if we used them!

The driver was super friendly and happy to give us a ride as well. People at the Ritz-Carlton were very cool. We couldn't believe our good fortune and hopped in the black stretch. We were bound for a theater neither of us had heard of, about 15 minutes away, called The Admiral.

Not all theaters have the same sort of show. Once, when serving as the COO of an advertising start-up, one of my finance folk brought and expense to my attention. It was a large charge on a salesperson's company credit card to the "O'Farrell Theater" in San Francisco. Due to my Thanksgiving experience at The Admiral Theater, I knew immediately why this accountant was concerned. Salespeople shouldn't expense strip clubs.

After presenting our tickets, and clearing a brief weapons check, we entered a room full of smoke, enlisted Navy guys, strippers and a full Thanksgiving buffet dinner. We each had two complimentary drink tickets. Tips were not included.

The turkey was like cardboard. The gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes were as one. The cranberry sauce was strangely made from fresh whole cranberries, and the headlining dancer was billed as "Sacajawea the Apache Princess of Fire."

I knew this was culturally inappropriate long before I thought of things as culturally inappropriate. It was just wrong. I was mildly horrified. It was free dinner. I was 21.

Sacajawea ate fire and juggled fire with her boobs out. We ate cardboard turkey. The Navy guys were thrilled. I paid the $20 for a Polaroid with Sacajawea. I regret having lost it.

We did not finish our two drinks. The night ended at the Old Town Ale House. Every night in Chicago should.

Thanksgiving e-commerce sales up 18% year-on-year, average order value $114

 Black Friday, the day after a quiet Thanksgiving Thursday, traditionally has been thought of as the start of the holiday sales season, but the rise of e-commerce in the last few years has changed all that, and the action is already kicking off today. Early numbers from Adobe and IBM, two of the companies that track traffic to a vast swathe of e-commerce properties, show that numbers are up… Read More