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Stats

Linux Grabs More Than 2% of Desktop Market Share (w3counter.com) 249

LichtSpektren writes: W3Counter's stats for June 2016 are in, and Linux desktop accounts for 2.48% of all web visits from tracked websites... (Android is counted separately from "Linux desktop.")
Meanwhile, NetMarketShare shows Linux with a 2.02% share of the desktop market. And StatCounter shows a more detailed breakdown of the top 7 operating systems, with Windows 7 at 42.02%, Windows 10 at 21.88%, OSX at 9.94%, Windows 8.1 at 8.66%, Windows XP at 6.5%, and another 4.06% for "Unknown" (which is roughly tied with "Other") -- beating Windows 8.0 at 3.52%. In May they also reported another thought-provoking statistic: that Firefox's browser usage had surpassed that of IE and Edge combined for the first time.
Security

Crypto Ransomware Attacks Have Jumped 500% In The Last Year (onthewire.io) 36

Kaspersky Lab is reporting that the last year saw a 500% increase in the number of users who encountered crypto ransomware. Trailrunner7 shares an article from On The Wire: Data compiled by Kaspersky researchers from the company's cloud network shows that from April 2015 to March 2016, the volume of crypto ransomware encountered by users leapt from 131,111 to 718,536. That's a massive increase, especially considering the fact that ransomware is a somewhat mature threat. It didn't just burst onto the scene a couple of years ago. Kaspersky's researchers said the spike in crypto ransomware can be attributed to a small group of variants. "Looking at the malware groups that were active in the period covered by this report, it appears that a rather short list of suspects is responsible for most of the trouble caused by crypto-ransomware..."

It's difficult to overstate how much of an effect the emergence of ransomware has had on consumers, enterprises, and the security industry itself. The FBI has been warning users about crypto ransomware for some time now, and has consistently advised victims not to pay any ransoms. Security researchers have been publishing decryption tools for specific ransomware variants and law enforcement agencies have had some success in taking down ransomware gangs.

Enterprise targets now account for 13% of ransomware attacks, with attackers typically charging tens of thousands of dollars, the article reports, and "Recent attacks on networks at the University of Calgary and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center have demonstrated the brutal effectiveness of this strategy."
The Internet

Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends Report: Messaging Apps Could Rival Home Screen (techcrunch.com) 32

Mary Meeker, a former Morgan Stanley internet analyst and now partner at venture-capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, has delivered her annual report that offers critical stats and trends about how technology is evolving. TechCrunch has highlighted the takeaways from the report: 1) The global internet adoption rate was flat year-over-year at 9%, reaching 3 billion users or 42% of the world's population.
2) Smartphone adoption's growth is slowing, while Android increases marketshare despite a shrinking average selling price.
3) Video viewership is exploding, with Snapchat and Facebook Live showing the way, though video ads aren't always effective.
4) Messaging is dominated by Facebook and WeChat, it's growing rapidly, and evolving from simple text communication to become our new home screen with options for vivid self-expression and commerce.
5) US advertising is growing, with Google and Facebook controlling 76% of the market and rising, but advertisers still spend too much on legacy media rather than new media where the audience has shifted.
6) Meeker predicts the rise of voice interfaces because they're fast, easy, personalized, hands-free, and cheap, with Google on Android now seeing 20% of searches from voice, and Amazon Echo sales growing as iPhone sales slow.

AI

Study Indicates Americans Don't Trust AI (digitaltrends.com) 151

Taco Cowboy writes: It may be brilliant, but it's not all that trustworthy. That appears to be the opinion Americans hold when it comes to Artificial Intelligence systems... And while we may be interacting with AI systems more frequently than we realize (hi, Siri), a new study from Time etc suggests that Americans don't believe the AI revolution is quite here yet, with 54 percent claiming to have never interacted with such a system

The more interesting finding reveals that 26 percent of respondents said they would not trust an AI with any personal or professional task. Sure, sending a text message or making a phone call is fine, but 51 percent said they'd be uncomfortable sharing personal data with an AI system. Moreover, 23 percent of Americans who say they have interacted with an AI reported being dissatisfied with the experience.

I thought it was interesting that 66% of the respondents said they'd be uncomfortable sharing financial data with an AI, while 53% said they'd be uncomfortable sharing professional data.
Cloud

Ubuntu Linux Continues To Dominate OpenStack and Other Clouds (zdnet.com) 23

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: One reason Ubuntu is increasing its lead is that Jujo, Canonical's application modeling and deployment DevOps tool, has been gaining in popularity. In the latest OpenStack user survey, we see that OpenStack is finally gaining real momentum in private clouds. We also see that Ubuntu Linux is continuing to dominate OpenStack. As Canonical cloud marketing manager Bill Bauman said, "Ubuntu OpenStack continues to dominate the majority of deployments with 55 percent of production OpenStack clouds. The previous survey showed Ubuntu OpenStack at 33 percent of production clouds. Ubuntu has seen almost 67 percent growth in an area where Ubuntu was already the market leader. These numbers are a huge testament to the community support Ubuntu OpenStack receives every day." The Cloud Market's latest analysis of operating systems on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) shows Ubuntu with just over 215,000 instances. Ubuntu is followed by Amazon's own Amazon Linux Amazon Machine Image (AMI), with 86,000 instances. Further back, you'll find Windows with 26,000 instances. In fourth and fifth place, respectively, you'll find Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with 16,500 instances and then CentOS with 12,500 instances.
Communications

The Guardian Publishes Comment Abuse Stats, Invites Debate On Moderation (theguardian.com) 303

AmiMoJo writes: British newspaper The Guardian has published some stats on its popular comment sections attached to each story. So far the Guardian's site has received 70 million comments, of which around 2% were removed for violation of community standards. Articles written by women tended to get the most blocked comments, especially if they were in male-writer dominated sections like sports and technology, while fashion was one of the few areas where men got more abuse. Further down the article the reader is invited to moderate some sample comments and see how their actions compared to those of the paper's staff. You can leave suggestions for improvement here.
IOS

More Devs Now Use OS X Than Linux, Says Survey (9to5mac.com) 532

An anonymous reader writes from an article on 9to5Mac: Stack Overflow reports that more developers now use OS X than Linux as their primary OS, and that if the trend continues, fewer than half of all developers will be using Windows next year. The site says it carried out "the most comprehensive developer survey ever conducted," with more than 56,000 coders across 173 countries taking part.
The survey also mentioned more were still developing for Android than iOS -- 61.9% versus 47.5%. However, almost a third of developers are using Swift, which was also the second most loved language after Rust.
Government

Study Finds 3 Laws Could Reduce Firearm Deaths By 90% (meta.com) 819

An anonymous reader writes: The study, published in The Lancet, used a cross-sectional, state-level dataset relating to a host of topics associated with firearm mortality including gun ownership and even unemployment from across the U.S. to examine the relationship between recorded gun deaths and gun-control legislation. The study found that some laws, such as those that restrict gun access to children through locks and age restrictions, were simply ineffective while others, such as the stand-your-ground law that allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense, actually increase gun-related deaths significantly. According to the study's model, a federal law expanding background checks for all gun purchases could reduce the national gun death rate by 57%, lowering it from 10.35 to 4.46 per 100,000 people while background checks for all ammunition purchases could lower the rate by 81% to 1.99 per 100,000 and firearm identification could reduce it by 83% to 1.81 per 100,000. If the federal government implemented all three laws, the scholars predict that the overall national rate of firearm deaths would drop by over 90% to 0.16 per 100,000.
United States

This Was America's Warmest Winter On Record (slate.com) 446

hondo77 writes: On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its official assessment of December, January, and February's temperatures across the United States, and the results are striking: Not a single state in the U.S. had a cooler than average winter. (NOAA treats Alaska and Hawaii separately, due to shorter weather data records there -- though both states were significantly warmer than normal this winter. Weather records for the contiguous United States go back to 1895.) NOAA blames the recent warm weather on a record-strength El Nino "and other climate patterns," most notably, global warming. As a whole, this winter in the lower 48 was about 4.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average: a sharp contrast to the previous back-to-back frigid polar vortex winters, especially in the Northeast.
Stats

Many Surveys, About One In Five, May Contain Fraudulent Data (sciencemag.org) 115

sciencehabit writes: How often do people conducting surveys simply fabricate some or all of the data? Several high-profile cases of fraud over the past few years have shone a spotlight on that question, but the full scope of the problem has remained unknown. [Tuesday], at a meeting in Washington, D.C., a pair of well-known researchers presented a statistical test for detecting fabricated data in survey answers. When they applied it to more than 1000 public data sets from international surveys, a worrying picture emerged: About one in five of the surveys failed, indicating a high likelihood of fabricated data.
Microsoft

Microsoft Telemetry Collection, Explained (theregister.co.uk) 213

New submitter Poohsticks writes: There's a nice breakdown of the updated information from Microsoft about what they are doing with the telemetry data that Windows 10 is collecting (original Technet article here) by Chris Williams at The Register. Interesting finds that better explain what's happening with that data (and how to control it).
Security

Airport Experiment Shows That People Recklessly Connect To Any Free Wi-Fi Spot (softpedia.com) 197

An anonymous reader writes: Avast carried out a curious experiment at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress. They've set up 3 public Wi-Fi spots at the local airport and waited to see how many users would connect. In just 4 hours, more than 2,000 users used the free hotspots, despite the fact that they knew nothing about the WiFi network, if it was safe, or who was running it. Researchers randomly logged some traffic stats just to prove a point about how easy is to hack users on a public WiFi network. They also recommended using a mobile VPN app when navigating the Web via public WiFi.
Security

IRS Warns Of 400% Flood In Phishing and Malware This Tax Year Alone (networkworld.com) 42

coondoggie writes: There has been a 400% surge in phishing and malware incidents in this tax season alone, the Internal Revenue Service warned this week. According to the IRS, there have been thousands of phony emails aimed at fooling taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including from many tax software companies.
Data Storage

Backblaze Dishes On Drive Reliability In their 50k+ Disk Data Center 145

Online backup provider Backblaze runs hard drives from several manufacturers in its data center (56,224, they say, by the end of 2015), and as you'd expect, the company keeps its eye on how well they work. Yesterday they published a stats-heavy look at the performance, and especially the reliability, of all those drives, which makes fun reading, even if you're only running a drive or ten at home. One upshot: they buy a lot of Seagate drives. Why? A relevant observation from our Operations team on the Seagate drives is that they generally signal their impending failure via their SMART stats. Since we monitor several SMART stats, we are often warned of trouble before a pending failure and can take appropriate action. Drive failures from the other manufacturers appear to be less predictable via SMART stats.
Earth

Last January Was the Hottest Global Temperature Anomaly In Recorded History 393

merbs writes: NASA has released its global temperature data for January 2016, and, once again, the record for the hottest month in recorded history has been shattered. At a time when these kinds of records are broken with some regularity, it takes a particularly scorching month to raise eyebrows in the climate science community. It has to be the hottest hottest month by a pretty hot margin. Sure enough, last January did the trick: It was 1.13 C warmer than the global average of 1951-1980 (the benchmark NASA uses to measure warming trends)—in other words, a full 2F warmer than pre-1980 levels.
Stats

Video Gamers From the '90s Have Turned Out Mostly OK (arstechnica.com) 239

A study reported on by Ars Technica indicates that video games, much ballyhooed (alleged) source of mental, physical and psycho-social ills for the kids who spent a lot of time playing them, don't seem to have had quite as big a negative effect on those kids as the moral panic of the past few decades would have you believe. Instead, There didn't seem to be an association between the number of games the children reported owning and an increase in risk for conduct disorder. When examining depression among shoot-em-up players, there was evidence for increased risk before the researchers controlled for all the confounding factors, but not afterwards. Of course, there's a lot of data to go around in the several studies referred to here, and the upshot seems to both less exciting and less simple than "Video games are good, not bad!"
Social Networks

Facebook Knocks "Six Degrees of Separation" Down a Few Notches (i-programmer.info) 89

mikejuk writes: Six degrees of separation is the, already well established, idea that any individual is connected to any other via six network nodes. New research has discovered that the average between Facebook users is just three and a half: "We know that people are more connected today than ever before. Over the past five years, the global Facebook community has more than doubled in size. Today we're announcing that during that same time period, the degrees of separation between a typical pair of Facebook users has continued to decrease to 3.57 degrees, down from 3.74 degrees in 2011. This is a significant reflection of how closely connected the world has become." This may all be true and Facebook makes us better connected, but it leaves the question of the quality of the connections open. Are Facebook friends anything like real friends?
Windows

Windows 10 Passes Windows XP In Market Share 315

An anonymous reader writes: Six months after its release, Windows 10 has finally passed 10 percent market share. Not only that, but the latest and greatest version from Microsoft has also overtaken Windows 8.1 and Windows XP, according to the latest figures from Net Applications. Windows 10 had 9.96 percent market share in December, and gained 1.89 percentage points to hit 11.85 percent in January. Maybe it will jump even faster soon, but not necessarily for the best of reasons.
Data Storage

Triple M.2 NVMe RAID-0 Testing Proves Latency Reductions 73

Vigile writes: The gang over at PC Perspective just posted a story that looks at a set of three M.2 form factor Samsung 950 Pro NVMe PCIe SSDs in a RAID-0 array, courtesy of a new motherboard from Gigabyte that included three M.2 slots. The pure bandwidth available in this configuration is amazing, breaching 3.3 GB/s on reads and 3.0 GB/s on writes. But what is more interesting is a new testing methodology that allows for individual storage IO latency capturing, giving us a look at performance of SSDs in all configurations. What PC Perspective proved here is that users often claiming that RAIDs "feel faster" despite a lack of bandwidth result to prove it, are likely correct. Measurements now show that the latency of IO operations improves dramatically as you add drives to an array, giving a feeling of "snappiness" to a system beyond even what a single SSD can offer. PC Perspective's new testing demonstrates the triple RAID-0 array having just 1/6th of the latency of a single drive.
Stats

Math Says Conspiracies Are Prone To Unravel (bbc.com) 303

An anonymous reader writes: Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory? Well, I don't — they're usually annoying daydreams from annoying people. Fortunately, an Oxford mathematician seems to feel the same way. Dr. David Grimes just published research in PLOS One establishing a formula for determining the likelihood of a failed conspiracy — in other words, how likely some of its participants are to spill the beans. There are three main factors: number of conspirators, the amount of time passed since it started, and how often we can expect conspiracies to intrinsically fail (a value he derived by studying actual conspiracies that were exposed). From the article: "He then applied his equation to four famous conspiracy theories: The belief that the Moon landing was faked, the belief that climate change is a fraud, the belief that vaccines cause autism, and the belief that pharmaceutical companies have suppressed a cure for cancer. Dr. Grimes's analysis suggests that if these four conspiracies were real, most are very likely to have been revealed as such by now. Specifically, the Moon landing 'hoax' would have been revealed in 3.7 years, the climate change 'fraud' in 3.7 to 26.8 years, the vaccine-autism 'conspiracy' in 3.2 to 34.8 years, and the cancer 'conspiracy' in 3.2 years."

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