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COBOL-coding volunteers sought as creaking mainframes slow New Jersey’s coronavirus response

The governor of New Jersey has asked COBOL-capable coders to volunteer their skills as the State’s mainframe computers have struggled to cope with a surge of requests for benefits to help citizens through the coronavirus crisis. In his daily press briefing on April 4th, governor Phil Murphy said: “In our list of volunteers not only do we need health care workers but given the legacy systems we should add…

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Watch: Rare Second World War footage of Bletchley Park-linked MI6 intelligence heroes emerges, shared online

A glimpse of life at Whaddon Hall Horace ‘Pidge’ Pidgeon … Source: Bletchley Park Trust video Vid An astonishingly rare film documenting British intelligence personnel, linked to the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, has been released by the park’s trust, offering a glimpse of unsung heroes who helped win the Second World War. The 11-minute silent film, a compilation of black-and-white and color clips from 1939 through 1945, depicts some…

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Not only is Zoom’s strong end-to-end encryption not actually end-to-end, its encryption isn’t even that strong

Updated Zoom has faced increased scrutiny and criticism as its usage soared from 10 million users a day to 200 million in a matter of months, all thanks to coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Cybersecurity research group Citizen Lab is among those turning the spotlight on the video-conferencing app maker, and on Friday, it published a damning dossier on the state of the software. The report questions the security of Zoom’s…

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NSO Group: Facebook tried to license our spyware to snoop on its own addicts – the same spyware it’s suing us over

NSO Group – sued by Facebook for developing Pegasus spyware that targeted WhatsApp users – this week claimed Facebook tried to license the very same surveillance software to snoop on its own social-media addicts. The Israeli spyware maker’s CEO Shalev Hulio alleged in a statement to a US federal district court that in 2017 he was approached by Facebook reps who wanted to use NSO’s Pegasus technology in…

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Oracle teases prospect of playing nicely with open-source Java in update to WebLogic application server

Oracle has chosen this week of all weeks to foist on the world an update of its application server WebLogic, festooned with new features addressing Java EE 8, Kubernetes and JSON. But the most eye-catching prospect is compatibility with the Eclipse Foundation’s fully open-source Java development environment, Jakarta EE 8. Back in Sepember when the Java EE specs were made public, Mark Little, Red Hat’s JBoss CTO, said: “Existing…

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Things that go crump in the night: Watch Musk’s mighty missile go foom

Video Yet another of SpaceX’s Starship prototypes, SN3, was left in pieces last night following tank testing. After the initial optimism of the Starhopper flights in 2019, SpaceX has struggled with its tanks. The Mk1 was destroyed in a pressure test, SN1 also failed, and now SN3 – the stage planned to demonstrate Raptor-powered low-altitude flights – has also wilted under testing. The collapse came a few short weeks…

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Microsoft brings Mixed Reality toys and other improvements to ‘citizen developers’ using low-code Power Apps platform

Microsoft has updated its “citizen developer” platform, Power Apps, adding Mixed Reality support, fixing a compatibility issue with the mobile app, and improving options for working with data in grids. The “Power Platform” is considered to be strategically important by Microsoft. Speaking to investors in January, CEO Satya Nadella claimed that “2.6 million citizen developers” use the platform, which combines the low-code Power Apps as well as Power BI…

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Where’s the best place to add Mentos to Diet Coke for the most foam? How big are the individual bubbles? Has science gone too far?

Did you know that the popular Diet Coke and Mentos soda geyser experiment works better at higher altitudes? Or that the average size of the bubbles formed on the scotch mints is about 6μm? Now you do, thanks to the wonders of science and those with a bubbling passion for it. A chemistry professor and a high school teacher climbed mountains and hiked across deserts in America to find…

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ESA missions back doing science after precautionary pandemic plug pull: We talk to space boffins about Mars Express emergency command line

ESA’s mission operations centre in Germany has got back to doing interplanetary science after a short stand-down due to COVID-19. A member of the agency’s mission control workforce was diagnosed with the virus but not before coming into contact with approximately 20 colleagues at the Darmstadt site over the course of two days. Those workers were swiftly quarantined, and the buildings scrubbed, but their sudden disappearance meant challenges for…

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Motorola casually trots out third UK release in as many months: This time it’s a ‘Lite’ take on the Moto G8 Power

Hello again, Moto. In the past month, the Lenovo-owned mobile maker has announced three new smartphones for the UK market. The latest is the Moto G8 Power Lite, which retails at £149.99, and offers a surprising amount of battery life for your buck. As the name implies, this handset is a somewhat pared-down version of the Moto G8 Power, which hit shelves earlier this year. It retains the generous…

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