Nerval's Lobster writes "Netflix has released Hystrix, a library designed for managing interactions between distributed systems, complete with 'fallback' options for when those systems inevitably fail. The code for Hystrix—which Netflix tested on its own systems—can be downloaded at Github, with documentation available here, in addition to a getting-started guide and operations examples, among others. Hystrix evolved out of Netflix's need to manage an increasing rate of calls to its APIs, and resulted in (according to the company) a 'dramatic improvement in uptime and resilience has been achieved through its use.' The Netflix API receives more than 1 billion incoming calls per day, which translates into several billion outgoing calls (averaging a ratio of 1:6) to dozens of underlying systems, with peaks of over 100,000 dependency requests per second. That's according to Netflix engineer Ben Christensen, who described the incredible loads on the company's infrastructure in a February blog posting. The vast majority of those calls serve the discovery user interfaces (UIs) of the more than 800 different devices supported by Netflix."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday there was a rumor doing the rounds that Nintendo was set to release a brand new version of the Wii console called the Wii Mini. The new machine would be significantly smaller than the current Wii, is expected to ship with a Wii Remote Plus, Nunchuk, and Sensor Bar, and hopefully carries a much lower (sub-$100) price. Well, it looks as though this wasn't just a rumor. Best Buy Canada has it listed with an image on its front page and a December 7 release date." Also at PC Mag.
New submitter alexanderb writes "While DOOM 3 BFG Edition might not have blown most gamers' minds, it sure blew some hackers' minds by supporting the Oculus Rift head-mounted display. Now, id Software have put up the source code of the BFG Edition under the GPL in good time for the tentative Oculus Rift release date, 12/12/12."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "You may remember a vulnerability in four million keycard locks presented at the Black Hat conference in July. Hacker Cody Brocious showed he could insert a device he built for less than $50 into the port at the bottom of the common hotel lock, read a key out of its memory, and open it in seconds. Two months later, it turns out at least one burglar was already making use of that technique to rob a series of hotel rooms in Texas. The Hyatt House Galleria in Houston has revealed that in at least three September cases of theft from its rooms, the thief used that Onity vulnerability to effortlessly open rooms and steal valuables like laptops. Petra Risk Solutions, an insurance firm focus the hospitality industry also reports that at least two other hotels in Texas were hit with the attack. Onity has been criticized for its less-than-stellar response to a glaring vulnerability in its devices. The Hyatt says Onity didn't provide a fix until after its break-ins, forcing the hotel to plug its locks' ports with epoxy. And even now, Onity is asking its hotel customers to pay for the full fix, which involves replacing the locks' circuit boards."
alphadogg writes "Dr. Joseph E. Murray, the Nobel laureate who conducted the world's first successful organ transplant, died Monday at the Boston hospital where the pioneering surgery was performed. He was 93. On Dec. 23, 1954, in Operating Room 2 of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Dr. Murray took the healthy kidney of Ronald Herrick and sutured it into the donor's dying identical twin, Richard. With that 5½-hour operation, Dr. Murray and his team saved a life, sparked an ethical debate that still echoes today, and opened medicine to a new frontier. Murray, who focused on plastic and reconstructive surgery for most of his career, was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1990."
concealment writes "It's widely believed that Google search results are produced entirely by computer algorithms — in large part because Google would like this to be widely believed. But in fact a little-known group of home-worker humans plays a large part in the Google process. The way these raters go about their work has always been a mystery. Now, The Register has seen a copy of the guidelines Google issues to them."
ananyo writes "It is permanently covered by a massive cap of ice up to 27 metres thick, is six times saltier than normal sea water, and at 13 C is one of the coldest aquatic environments on Earth — yet Lake Vida in Antarctica teems with life. Scientists drilling into the lake have found abundant and diverse bacteria, including at least one new phylum (full paper (PDF)). The find increases the chances that life may exist (or have once existed) on planets such as Mars and moons such as Jupiter's Europa."
Dupple writes "When a cellphone is reported stolen in New York, the Police Department routinely subpoenas the phone's call records, from the day of the theft onward. The logic is simple: If a thief uses the phone, a list of incoming and outgoing calls could lead to the suspect. But in the process, the Police Department has quietly amassed a trove of telephone logs, all obtained without a court order, that could conceivably be used for any investigative purpose. The call records from the stolen cellphones are integrated into a database known as the Enterprise Case Management System, according to Police Department documents from the detective bureau. Each phone number is hyperlinked, enabling detectives to cross-reference it against phone numbers in other files."
Hugh Pickens writes "Charles Q. Choi reports that hairspray could one day serve as the sign that aliens have reshaped distant worlds because one group of gases that might be key to terraforming planets are CFCs. 'Our hypothesis is that evidence of intelligent life might be evident in a planetary atmosphere,' says astrobiologist Mark Claire at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. CFCs are entirely artificial, with no known natural process capable of creating them in atmospheres. Detecting signs of these gases on far-off worlds with telescopes might serve as potent evidence that intelligent alien civilizations were the cause, either intentionally as part of terraforming or accidentally via industrial pollution. 'An industrialized civilization will be one that will use its planetary resources for fabrication, the soon-to-be-detectable-from-Earth atmospheric byproducts of which could be a tell-tale sign of their activity,' says astrobiologist Sanjoy Som. CFCs can be easily recognized in planetary atmospheres because their atmospheric 'fingerprint' (i.e. chemical spectra) is very different from natural elements, and are a tell-tale sign that life on the surface has advanced industrial capabilities. Using state-of-the-art computer models of atmospheric chemistry and climate, researchers plan to discover what visible signs CFCs and other artificial byproducts of alien terraforming or industry might have on exoplanet atmospheres. 'We are about a decade away of being able to measure detailed compositions of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets,' says Som."
theodp writes "A little birdie told me which Windows 8 machines would sell out fast. 'Cheep' ones! While no official sales figures have emerged, anecdotal evidence suggests that cheap Windows 8 laptops were a big hit with Black Friday shoppers, leaving some Walmart and Best Buy bargain hunters disappointed at missing out on the sub-$250 deals. So, was the Doctor-Desktop-and-Mister-Metro dual nature of Windows 8 and lack of a touchscreen no big deal to these bargain basement 'Laptop Hunters', or did they not realize what they were buying? Or, as a GeekWire commenter suggests, perhaps they were really just looking to score an ultra-cheap Linux laptop!"
coondoggie writes "Sandia National Laboratories physicist Willis Whitfield, 92, passed away earlier this month and left a technological legacy that continues to reverberate today: The legendary clean room. The original laminar-flow 10 x 6 clean room developed 50 years ago by Whitfield was more than 1,000 times cleaner than any cleanrooms used at the time and ultimately revolutionized microelectronics, healthcare and manufacturing development. According to Sandia, with slight modifications, it is still the clean room standard today."
1sockchuck writes "During SuperStorm Sandy, few data centers faced a bigger challenge than the Datagram facility in lower Manhattan. The storm surge from Sandy flooded its basement, disabling critical pumps. 'It was apocalyptic,' said CEO Alex Reppen. 'It was like a tidal wave over lower Manhattan.' While companies like CoreSite dealt primarily with the loss of ConEd power, the Datagram team sought to recover operations in an active flood zone. Why was mission-critical equipment in the basement? Because city officials restrict placing fuel tanks on rooftops and upper floors, citing concerns about diesel emerging from the 9-11 attacks."
jfruh writes "Windows 8's Metro UI presents a clean and spiffy new interface for Microsoft's latest OS. But one of the operating system's oldest and most hated problems — crapware — still lurks below the surface. For instance, the Acer Aspire 7600U is an all-in-one that, at $1,900, is hardly a bargain-basement PC. And yet as shipped it includes over 50 pieces of OEM and third-party software pre-installed, much of which simply offer trials for paid services."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm one of the original founders of an open source company which offers a popular open source product (millions of downloads) targeted primarily to small businesses. We have been doing this for 10 years now and we fund the development of the open source product with the usual paid support services, custom development and addons, but over the last few years, we've noticed a troubling trend. Companies that have downloaded our product from one of the many free download sites have a question they want answered, so they call our support line. Once we politely explain the situation and that telephone support has a reasonable fee associated with it, more and more of them are becoming seriously irate, to the point of yelling, accusing us of fraud and/or scamming them. For some reason, they think a free product should have free telephone support as well, and if we don't offer free telephone support then it's not really a free product. These same people are then resorting to social media in an attempt to 'spread the word' with the same false accusations, which is starting to take its toll on our reviews, ratings, and in turn our bottom line. Does the Slashdot community have any suggestions on how we can reverse this trend? How do other open source companies handle similar situations?"