This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting

The team at NRKbeta attributes the civil tenor of its comments to a feature it introduced last month. On some stories, potential commenters are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment.

Source: This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting

The goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it.

J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots

Orbital Insight, a venture capital-funded satellite intelligence startup based in Palo Alto, tracks 250,000 parking lots for 96 retail chains across the U.S.

Source: J.C. Penney’s troubles are reflected in satellite images of its parking lots | The Outline

Orbital Insight’s parking lot figures track pretty closely with J.C. Penney’s stock price.

PC market shows signs of recovery

IDC expects PC vendors to ship a total of 258.2 million units this year, a figure which would be 6.4 percent lower than last year. The previous estimate was a 7.2 percent fall, which IDC announced in August. Growth will still be negative in 2017, but shipments are expected to decrease by just 2.6 percent compared to this year.

Source: PC market shows signs of recovery

How China Took Center Stage in Bitcoin’s Civil War

Yet despite the talk of a borderless currency, a handful of Chinese companies have effectively assumed majority control of the Bitcoin network. They have done so through canny investments and vast farms of computer servers dispersed around the country. The American delegation flew to Beijing because that was where much of the Bitcoin power was concentrated.

Source: How China Took Center Stage in Bitcoin’s Civil War – The New York Times

Mr. Ng, 36, said he had become an expert in finding cheap energy, often in places where a coal plant or hydroelectric dam was built to support some industrial project that never happened. The Bitcoin mining machines in his facilities use about 38 megawatts of electricity, he said, enough to power a small city.

Ethereum, a Virtual Currency, Enables Transactions That Rival Bitcoin’s

Beyond the price spike, Ethereum is also attracting attention from giants in finance and technology, like JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and IBM, which have described it as a sort of Bitcoin 2.0.

Source: Ethereum, a Virtual Currency, Enables Transactions That Rival Bitcoin’s – The New York Times

The system is complicated enough that even people who know it well have trouble describing it in plain English.

Online market ‘is turning drug dealers from goons to geeks’

Researchers argued that Silk Road and its successors, known as cryptomarkets or darknet markets, became successful after bringing together four technologies: the bitcoin virtual currency and encrypted internet protocols such as Tor, which allowed anonymity, as well as Escrow and customer feedback systems, which gave buyers and sellers confidence in their transactions.

Source: Online market ‘is turning drug dealers from goons to geeks’ | World news | The Guardian

“In the drug cryptomarket era, having good customer service and writing skills, and a good reputation, via feedback, as a vendor or buyer may be more important than muscles and face-to-face connections.”

Philips Hue Excludes 3rd Party Bulbs With Firmware Update

Philips just released firmware for the Philips Hue bridge that may permanently sever access to any “non-approved” ZigBee bulbs. We previously covered third party support in January 2015, when Philips indicated it was not blocked – and have since benefited.

Source: Philips Hue Excludes 3rd Party Bulbs With Firmware Update

Sometimes it’s better never to upgrade firmware.  Don’t fix what isn’t broke.  As a general rule firmware should never need upgrading.

Microsoft and Red Hat Team Up to Offer Linux on Azure Cloud

Jason Zander, Microsoft’s corporate VP and head of its Azure business, said since Microsoft began allowing Linux on its Azure cloud platform, about one in four customers are running one variant of Linux or another, and in China that figure rises to about one in two. “We have a lot of enterprise customers who want an enterprise version of Linux and who have a relationship with Red Hat already.”

Source: Microsoft and Red Hat Team Up to Offer Linux on Azure Cloud | Re/code