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How NASA beams Pluto images 3 billion miles to Earth

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NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is delivering amazing images of Pluto, but receiving them from 3 billion miles (4.8 billion kilometers) away is no easy feat.

The strength of the radio signals, the time it takes the signal to travel back and forth and the speed of the data flow all present challenges, but it’s all in a day’s work for NASA’s Deep Space Network. Think of it as the long-distance phone company for the solar system and beyond.

The DSN consists of a network of huge satellite dishes spread across three sites—near Barstow in California; near Madrid in Spain; and near Canberra in Australia. Those locations are about 120 degrees in longitude apart to give wide coverage of the skies, so before a spacecraft is lost by one antenna, another one can pick it up.

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Oculus founder responds to flack over ‘exclusive’ games

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Oculus VR came under fire last week after its CEO said the company will fund development of about two dozen “Oculus-exclusive” games for its virtual reality headset. The company has now responded to the complaints, saying some of those games may eventually come to other VR platforms.

The spat started after Brendan Iribe, CEO of Facebook-owned Oculus, told a gaming magazine last week that the company’s Oculus Studios division has been funding games that will be exclusive to Oculus, such as Incomniac’s “Edge of Nowhere.”

That led to complaints that Oculus is building a closed ecosystem for its headset that could fragment the VR industry before it gets off the ground.

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With fresh cash in hand, HackerRank wants to be the ‘default resume’ for coders

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Good programmers are notoriously hard to find, but HackerRank thinks it has the answer. A fresh cash infusion suggests it may be on to something.

Employers looking for programming talent begin by sponsoring coding “challenges” on HackerRank’s merit-based hiring platform—contests that force applicants to use the skills the company needs. For example, a company seeking a junior developer might sponsor a challenge from HackerRank’s library that says, “Given a list of points in the 2D plane, sort them in ascending order of their polar angle.” Alternatively, it could create its own and have HackerRank host and score it.

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Most Google de-listing requests are from everyday folk, leaked data shows

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Newly leaked figures reveal that the vast majority of people who exercised their right to be “forgotten” by Google’s services in Europe are everyday members of the public, with just 5 percent of requests coming from criminals, politicians and high-profile public figures.

Europe’s highest court affirmed last year that people have the right to ask Google to remove certain results from its search engine, on the grounds that the information might be outdated or otherwise unfairly cast them in a negative light.

Google has protested the decision, arguing that removing links requires “difficult value judgments” and can go against the public interest. It has pointed to “former politicians wanting posts removed that criticize their policies in office; serious, violent criminals asking for articles about their crimes to be deleted; bad reviews for professionals like architects and teachers; comments that people have written themselves (and now regret).”

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Vietnamese man gets 13 years for massive ID theft scheme

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A Vietnamese man linked to a data breach of 200 million personal records at a subsidiary of credit monitoring firm Experian has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said.Hieu Minh Ngo, 25, was sentenced Tuesday on cha…

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Google opens its cloud to Microsoft workloads

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Google today expanded support for Windows workloads running on its cloud, a move that the company hopes will better position its Google Cloud Platform to court enterprise customers.
Google is looking to catch up with Amazon Web Services and Microso…

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Nadella: Microsoft isn’t killing Windows Phone and will go it alone if it has to

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Windows Phone isn’t going away.

You might think it was doomed, following Microsoft’s reorganization of its phone business just days ago, especially after Microsoft wrote down the value of the business. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put those fears to rest, however, in an interview with ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.

Nadella has emphasized, time and again, that his goal is for Microsoft to establish new product categories that partners can build upon. In the phone business, however, partners haven’t followed Microsoft’s lead.

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Nadella: Microsoft isn’t killing Windows Phone and will go it alone if it has to

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Windows Phone isn’t going away.

You might think it was doomed, following Microsoft’s reorganization of its phone business just days ago, especially after Microsoft wrote down the value of the business. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put those fears to rest, however, in an interview with ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.

Nadella has emphasized, time and again, that his goal is for Microsoft to establish new product categories that partners can build upon. In the phone business, however, partners haven’t followed Microsoft’s lead.

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Salesforce erects Shield for better enterprise-app security

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Security has been an increasingly dominant theme in the enterprise software chorus in recent months, and on Tuesday Salesforce added a new voice to the mix with Shield, a set of platform services designed to help companies build secure apps.

Designed as part of the Salesforce1 platform, Shield offers four security-minded components intended to make it easier for companies with regulatory, compliance or governance requirements to build cloud apps with built-in auditing, encryption, archiving and monitoring functions.

A platform encryption feature, for instance, means that companies can easily designate sensitive data to be encrypted while preserving key business capabilities and workflow. A health insurance company, say, could manage personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) without compromising its agents’ ability to perform key functions using that data, such as searching claims, determining coverage eligibility and approving payments.

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GE, Pitney Bowes team up on predictive and prescriptive analytics

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GE and Pitney Bowes are going to bring the power of predictive and prescriptive analytics to mail production mail.The two companies today sealed an alliance around GE’s Predix software platform for the Industrial Internet, under which they will deve…

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