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Thanks, Google

The Daily WTF - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:30

"Dealing with real customers is a hard job," Katya declared from the safety of the employee breakroom. "Dealing with big companies is even harder!"

"I know what you mean," her coworker Rick replied, sipping his tiny paper cup of water. "Enterprise security requirements, arcane contract requirements, and then they're likely to have all that Oracle junk to integrate with ..."

"Huh? Well, that too, but I'm talking about Google."

"Google? What'd they do?" Rick raised an eyebrow, leaning against the wall by the cooler, as Katya began her story.

As the lead architect, Katya was responsible for keeping their customers happy—no matter what. The product was a Java application, a server that stood between legacy backends and mobile apps to push out notifications when things happened that the customer cared about. So when one of their biggest customers reported that 30% of the Google Cloud messages weren't being delivered to their devices in production, it was all hands on deck, with Katya at the helm.

"So I of course popped open the log right off," she said, her voice dropping lower for effect. "And what do you think I saw? CertPathValidatorExceptions."

"A bad SSL certificate?" Rick asked. "From Google? Can't be."

"You've done this before," Katya pouted, jokingly. "But it only happened sporadically. We even tried two concurrent calls, and got one failure, one success."

"How does that even work?" Rick wondered.

"I know, right? So we cURL'd it, verbose, and got the certificate chain," Katya said. "There was a wildcard cert, signed by an intermediate, signed by a root. I checked the root myself, it was definitely part of the global truststore. So I tried again and again until I got a second cert chain. But it was the same thing: cert, intermediate, trusted root."

"So what was the problem?" Rick asked.

"Get this: the newer cert's root CA was only added in Java 7 and 8, back in 2016. We were still bundling an older version of Java 7, before the update."

"Ouch," sympathized Rick. "So you pushed out an updated runtime to all the customers?"

"What? No way!" Katya said. "They'd have each had to do a full integration test cycle. No, we delivered a shell script that added the root CA to the bundled cacerts."

"Shouldn't they be worried about security updates?" wondered Rick

"Sure, but are they actually going to upgrade to Java 8 on our say-so? You wanna die on that hill?

"It just pissed me right off. Why didn't Google announce the change? How come they whipped through them all in two days—no canary testing or anything? I tell you, it's almost enough to make a girl quit and start an alpaca farm upstate."

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Categories: Fun/Other

Samsung Develops 'Graphene Ball' Battery With 5x Faster Charging Speed

Slashdot - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 11:00
Heart44 writes: A number of outlets are reporting a Samsung laboratory breakthrough allowing smaller and faster charging lithium-ion batteries using three-dimensional graphene. Digital Trends reports: "Scientists created a 'graphene ball' coating for use inside a regular li-ion cell, which has the effect of increasing the overall capacity by up to 45 percent and speeding up charging by five times. If your phone charges up in 90 minutes now, that number will tumble to just 18 minutes if the cell inside has been given a graphene ball boost. What's more, this doesn't seem to affect the cell's lifespan, with the team claiming that after 500 cycles, the enhanced battery still had a 78 percent charge retention. The graphene coating improves the stability and conductivity of the battery's cathode and electrode, so it's able to take the rigors of fast charging with fewer downsides." The technical paper describing how the graphene ball works and how it's produced is published in the journal Nature.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News

Amazon Will Let Alexa Developers Use Voice Recognition To Personalize Apps

Slashdot - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 08:00
Amazon today announced that third-party developers will be able to make use of the Alexa assistant's voice recognition feature to personalize apps for its line of Echo speakers. The news builds on the company's announcement in October that Alexa can now identify individual users' voices to personalize responses. The Verge reports: Until today, that recognition feature only worked for Amazon-built services like shopping lists, flash briefing news updates, and Amazon Music, among other built-in skills. Starting some time in early 2018, however, developers will be able to tap into those voice-based profiles to make apps more personalized to various members of a household. This yet again puts Amazon ahead of rival Google in the smart home and digital assistant fields. In addition to announcing voice recognition for third-party apps, Amazon also revealed today at its re:Invent conference that it's bringing Alexa notifications on Echo speakers to a wider pool of developers starting today.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Tech/Science News


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