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Ask Slashdot: Should This Photographer Sue A Hotel For $2M? - Sat Apr 30 20:38:02 2016

Unhappy Windows User writes: An Austrian photographer was contracted by the luxury [hotel] Sofitel in Vienna to photograph the bar with an amazing view over the skyline. He was paid for his time (4200 euros) and arranged a three-year internal usage contract for the photos. After the contract expired, he still found his photos being used -- on external sites too. He is now suing for 2 million euros, based on each individual usage.

My question is: Is this the real market value of his work...? It seems like the largest economic contribution to the work was from Sofitel, who allowed access to the property and closed it to customers. I don't have any issue in a photographer wanting to be paid fairly for his work, and asking for perhaps double or treble the original price for the breach of contract to match what an unlimited license would have cost. [But] with this money they could have employed a professional for a month and automatically obtained full rights to the work...it seems like this guy is trying to take advantage of an oversight by a large corporation, never to have to work again.

Here's the original article in German and an English translation, and it's one of those rare cases where the copyright belongs to an individual instead of a massive entertainment conglomeration. But do you think the photographer should be suing for 2 million euros over this copyright beach?



Wireless Carriers To Adopt a New Real-Time Text Protocol To Help People With Disabilities - Sat Apr 30 19:34:16 2016

The FCC, an independent agency of the United States government, says it is ready to adopt a proposal which would help people with disabilities communicate more efficiently and conveniently (PDF). Dubbed real-time text, the protocol is designed to supersede the aging teletypewriter devices that facilitate text conversations over traditional phone lines. FCC said that wireless phone networks would be required to support the aforementioned protocol starting in December 2017. "As communications networks migrate to IP-based environments, this technology would allow Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled or deaf-blind to use the same wireless communications devices as their friends, relatives and colleagues, and more seamlessly integrate into tomorrow's communications networks," FCC wrote. Engadget reports: The big differentiator for RTT over current, commonly used text-based messaging systems is that RTT messages are sent immediately as they're typed. The RTT technology will let text users communicate with people on voice-based phones and vice versa; it can also work easily on your standard smartphone, eliminating the need for specialized equipment.



Neil Gaiman Celebrates Independent Bookstore Day - Sat Apr 30 18:51:39 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Today is "Independent Bookstore Day," a national event promoting local bookstores which will feature exclusive bookstore-only offerings, including a Neil Gaiman coloring book with 20 black-and-white illustrations by Gaiman illustrator Chris Riddell and quotes from Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Fortunately, the Milk. "Independent bookstores are not just stores, they're community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers," reads the event's web site, saying independent bookstores "are not just stores, they are solutions. They hold the key to your love life, your career, and your passions."
There's actually more independent bookstores this year than there were last year, according to the site, which argues that "In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand."



Neil Gaiman Celebrates Independent Bookstore Day - Sat Apr 30 18:40:27 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Today is "Independent Bookstore Day," a national event promoting local bookstores which will feature exclusive bookstore-only offerings, including a Neil Gaiman coloring book with 20 black-and-white illustrations by Gaiman illustrator Chris Riddell and quotes from Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Fortunately, the Milk. "Independent bookstores are not just stores, theyâ(TM)re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers," reads the event's web site, saying independent bookstores "are not just stores, they are solutions. They hold the key to your love life, your career, and your passions."
There's actually more independent bookstores this year than there were last year, according to the site, which argues that "In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand."



Humble Bundle Announces "Hacker" Pay-What-You-Want Sale - Sat Apr 30 17:35:39 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Humble Bundle announced a special "pay what you want" sale for four ebooks from No Starch Press, with proceeds going to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (or to the charity of your choice). This "hacker edition" sale includes two relatively new titles from 2015 -- "Automate the Boring Stuff with Python" and Violet Blue's "Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy," as well as "Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering" by Andrew "bunnie" Huang, and "The Linux Command Line".

Hackers who are willing to pay "more than the average" -- currently $14.87 -- can also unlock a set of five more books, which includes "The Maker's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse: Defend Your Base with Simple Circuits, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi". (This level also includes "Bitcoin for the Befuddled" and "Designing BSD Rootkits: An Introduction to Kernel Hacking".) And at the $15 level -- just 13 cents more -- four additional books are unlocked. "Practical Malware Analysis: The Hands-On Guide to Dissecting Malicious Software" is available at this level, as well as "Hacking: The Art of Exploitation" and "Black Hat Python."

Nice to see they've already sold 28,506 bundles, which are DRM-free and available in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI format. (I still remember Slashdot's 2012 interview with Make magazine's Andrew "bunnie" Huang, who Samzenpus described as "one of the most famous hardware and software hackers in the world.")



Language Creation Society Says Klingon Language Isn't Covered By Copyright - Sat Apr 30 16:32:07 2016

Reader AmiMoJo writes: Earlier this year Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios filed a lawsuit against the makers of a Star Trek inspired fan film, accusing them of copyright infringement. In their amicus brief, which actually uses Klingon language, the Language Creation Society lists many examples of how Klingon has evolved, and it specifically disputes Paramount's earlier claims that there are no human beings who communicate using the Klingon language. "In fact, there are groups of people for whom Klingon is their only common language. There are friends who only speak Klingon to each other. In fact, at least one child was initially raised as a native speaker of Klingon." As such, Paramount should not be allowed to claim copyright over the entire Klingon language, both in written and spoken form. The language is a tool for people to communicate and express ideas, something people should be allowed to do freely under U.S. law, LCS argues.


Design, Hardware, Software Error Doomed Japanese Hitomi Spacecraft - Sat Apr 30 15:39:18 2016

Reader Required Snark writes: The Japanese space agency JAXA said its recently launched X-Ray observation satellite Hitomi has been destroyed. After a successful launch on February 17, contact with the satellite was lost on March 28. Off the 10-year expected life span, only three days of observations were collected. Preliminary inquiry points to multiple failures in design, hardware and software. After the launch it was discovered that the star tracker stabilization didn't work in a low magnetic flux area over the South Atlantic. When the backup gyroscopic spin stabilization took control, the spin increased instead of stopping. An internal magnetic limit feature in the gyroscope failed, causing the spin get worse. Finally, a thruster based control started, but because of a software failure the spin increased further. The solar panels broke off, leaving the satellite without a long-term power supply. It seems that untested software had been uploaded for thrust control just before the breakup. This is a major loss for astronomical research. Two previous attempts by Japan to launch a high-resolution X-ray calorimeter had also failed, and the next planned sensor of this type is not scheduled until 2028 by the ESA. Just building a replacement unit would take 3 to 5 years and cost $50 million, without the cost of a satellite or launch.



Yahoo's Marissa Mayer In Line For $55M Severance If Fired Within A Year Of Sale - Sat Apr 30 14:36:21 2016

whoever57 writes: A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing on Friday revealed that Yahoo's board has agreed to a $55 million severance package for Marissa Mayer if she loses her job within a year of a sale. That's a lot of money for a chief executive who hasn't been able to keep Yahoo's stock from falling. In 2015, the value of Yahoo's stock fell by 33%. Worth noting: most of the money from the severance package is composed of restricted stock units and options -- there's only $3 million in cold hard cash. Also, Yahoo revealed Mayer received a significant pay cut last year. Her "reported pay" was $36 million, but her "realized pay" is closer to $14 million.



Berkeley Researchers Examine Five Worst-Case Security Nightmares - Sat Apr 30 13:33:02 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Berkeley researchers have gamed out five worst-case security scenarios at their Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, calling it "a disciplined, imaginative approach to modeling what cybersecurity could mean in the future...to provoke a discussion about what the cybersecurity research and policy communities need to do now in order to be better positioned..." Two of the scenarios are set in 2020 -- one called "The New Normal" imagining a world were users assume their personal information can no longer be kept safe, and another involving the privacy and security implications in a world where hackers lurk undetected on a now-ubiquitous Internet of Things.

"Our goal is to identify emerging issues that will become more important..." they write in an executive summary, including "issues on the table today that may become less salient or critical; and new issues that researchers and decision-makers a few years from now will have wished people in the research and policy communities had noticed -- and begun to act on -- earlier.

Scenario #2 imagines a super-intelligent A.I. which can predict and even manipulate the behavior of individuals, and scenario #3 involves criminals exploiting valuable data sets -- and data scientists -- after an economic collapse.



Slack To Disable Thousands of Logins Leaked on GitHub - Sat Apr 30 12:39:25 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Thursday one technology site reported that thousands of developers building bots for the team-collaboration tool Slack were exposing their login credentials in public GitHub repositories and tickets. "The irony is that a lot of these bots are mostly fun 'weekend projects', reported Detectify. "We saw examples of fit bots, reminding you to stretch throughout the day, quote bots, quoting both Jurassic Park...and Don Quixote...."

Slack responded that they're now actively searching for publicly-posted login credentials, "and when we find any, we revoke the tokens and notify both the users who created them, as well as the owners of affected teams." Detectify notes the lapse in security had occurred at a wide variety of sites, including "Forbes 500 companies, payment providers, multiple internet service providers and health care providers... University classes at some of the world's best-known schools. Newspapers sharing their bots as part of stories. The list goes on and on..."




Bison To Become First National Mammal Of The US - Sat Apr 30 10:10:10 2016

mdsolar quotes a report from Washington Post: North America used to be teeming with bison. But in one century, their numbers plummeted from tens of millions to just a few dozen in the wild after hunters nearly wiped out the continent's largest mammals. Now, the bison is about to become the first national mammal of the United States. The National Bison Legacy Act, which designates the bison as the official mammal of the United States, passed the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Thursday. The legislation now heads to President Obama's desk to be signed into law. At a time of political gridlock and partisan bickering, lawmakers agree on an official national mammal. The bison, which will join the bald eagle as a national symbol, represents the country's first successful foray into wildlife conservation. Lobbying for the official mammal designation was a coalition of conservationists; ranchers, for whom bison are business; and tribal groups, such as the InterTribal Buffalo Council, which wants to "restore bison to Indian nations in a manner that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices."



Wireless Carriers To Adopt New Real-Time Text Protocol By December 2017 - Sat Apr 30 07:10:01 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: The FCC is ready to adopt a proposal that'll bring a new protocol to wireless networks to help people with disabilities communicate. It's called real-time text (RTT) and will be a replacement for the aging teletypewriter devices that let users transmit text conversations over traditional phone lines. According to the FCC's statement, RTT will "allow Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled or deaf-blind to use the same wireless communications devices as their friends, relatives and colleagues, and more seamlessly integrate into tomorrow's communications networks." The big differentiator for RTT over current, commonly-used text-based messaging systems is that RTT messages are sent immediately as they're typed. The RTT technology will let text users communicate with people on voice-based phones and vice versa; it can also work easily in your standard smartphone, eliminating the need for specialized equipment. The proposal calls for RTT to roll out over wireless networks run by "larger carriers" by December of 2017.



Developer Installs Windows 95 On An Apple Watch - Sat Apr 30 03:38:54 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Developer Nick Lee has successfully installed Windows 95 on his Apple Watch. It works, but it runs very slow. For example, it takes about an hour for the OS to boot up. In a blog post, Lee points out the Apple Watch features specs capable of running the old OS. To get Windows 95 running on the Apple Watch, Lee had to modify Apple's development software in "rather unorthodox ways" that allowed him to turn the OS into a Watch app, which also emulates an environment for the OS to run on, he tells The Verge. To deal with the fact that Apple Watch's screen is always turning itself off when not in use, he set up a motorized tube that constantly turns the Watch's crown, preventing it from falling asleep. In addition, Lee altered the Watch's software to let Windows 95 track a single fingertip, hence the constant swiping in his video.



White House Releases Report On How To Spur Smart-Gun Technology - Sat Apr 30 02:34:52 2016

Lucas123 writes: A report commissioned by the White House involving the Defense, Justice and Homeland Security Departments has begun a process to define, for the first time, the requirements that manufacturers would need to meet for federal, state, and municipal law enforcement agencies to consider purchasing firearms with "smart" safety technology. They've committed to completing that process by October, and will also identify agencies interested in taking part in a pilot program to develop the smart gun technology. The DoD will help manufacturers test smart guns under "real-world conditions" at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. Manufacturers would be eligible to win cash prizes through that program as well. In addition to spurring the adoption of smart gun technology, the report stated that the Social Security Administration has published a proposed rule that would require individuals prohibited from buying a gun due to mental health issues to be included in a background check system.



US Steel Says China Is Using Cyber Stealth To Steal Its Secrets - Sat Apr 30 01:50:54 2016

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. Steel Corp. filed a trade complaint with the International Trade Commission: "The Chinese industry has formed a cartel that sets purchase and sale prices, and controls production and export volumes to target export markets. The Chinese industry has used its government to steal U.S. Steel's closely guarded trade secrets and uses those trade secrets to produce advanced steel products it could not make on its own." The steelmaker based in Pittsburgh argues its Chinese rivals must be investigated and that they will "use every tool available to fight for fair trade." The ITC has 30 days to review the complaint and determine whether or not it's worth investigating. In the meantime, China's Commerce Ministry said the complaints "have no factual basis," urging the ITC to reject U.S. Steel's case. The investigation will likely take a while if the ITC decides to proceed with an investigation, as they'll be dealing with three separate issues: price fixing, false labeling to avoid duties, and theft of trade secrets.



Devuan Releases Beta of Systemd-Free 'Debian Fork' Base System - Sat Apr 30 01:06:45 2016

jaromil writes: Devuan beta is released today, following up the Debian fork declaration and progress made during the past two years. Devuan now provides an alternative upgrade path to Debian, and switching is easy from both Wheezy and Jessie. From The Register: "Devuan came into being after a rebellion by a self-described 'Veteran Unix Admin collective' argued that Debian had betrayed its roots and was becoming too desktop-oriented. The item to which they objected most vigorously was the inclusion of the systemd bootloader. The rebels therefore decided to fork Debian and 'preserve Init freedom.' The group renamed itself and its distribution 'Devuan' and got work, promising a fork that looked, felt, and quacked like Debian in all regards other than imposing systemd as the default Init option."



Billionaire Investor Carl Icahn Sells Entire Stake In Apple - Sat Apr 30 00:23:13 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said he has sold his entire stake in Apple, citing the risk of China's influence on the stock. The report comes after Apple announced its first earnings decline in more than a decade, where Apple's revenue is dropping 26% year-over-year. Icahn is concerned with the barriers to trade that China's authoritarian regime might put in place. Icahn said he wasn't concerned with interference so much with the country's "relationship" with Apple. "The thing that I'm worried about here in China doesn't affect the whole market. I'm not talking about China's economic status right now. I'm talking about, could the thing with Apple escalate a little bit? And if that does, what does that mean to Apple's profits during the interim?" Icahn acquired a stake in the company almost three years ago, calling the investment a "no brainer." What caused him to sell his 45.8 million Apple shares (priced at $240 a share) was China's economic slowdown and worries about how China could become more prohibitive in doing business.



Google Files Patent For Injecting a Device Directly Into Your Eyeball - Fri Apr 29 23:31:10 2016

An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret Google and their parent company Alphabet are interested in developing smart contact lenses for monitoring diabetes. Well, Google-parent Alphabet has filed a patent which takes their development to another level. The patent specifically covers a method for "injecting a fluid into a lens capsule of an eye, wherein a natural lens of the eye has been removed from the lens capsule." It's powered by "radio frequency energy" received by a small antenna inside. The gadget even has its own data storage. Forbes reports, it is designed to help the focusing of light onto the retina, resulting in the correction of poor vision. Samsung is one of the most recent companies to receive a patent for smart contact lenses. Their lenses are for experimenting with new methods of delivering augmented reality interfaces and data.



Cable Industry Threatens To Sue If FCC Tries To Bring Competition To Cable Set Top Boxes - Fri Apr 29 22:59:20 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Techdirt: Back in February the FCC voted on a new plan to open up the traditional cable box to competition. According to a fact sheet being circulated by the agency (pdf), under the FCC's plan you'd still pay your cable company for the exact same content, cable operators would simply have to design systems -- using standards and copy protection of their choice -- that delivered this content to third-party hardware. The FCC's goal is cheaper, better hardware and a shift away from the insular gatekeeper model the cable box has long protected. Given this would obliterate a $21 billion captive market in set top box rental fees -- and likely direct consumers to more third-party streaming services -- the cable industry has been engaged in an utterly adorable new hissy fit. And now, the industry is also threatening a lawsuit. Former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell is arguing that the FCC has once again overstepped its regulatory authority: "An agency of limited jurisdiction has to act properly within that jurisdiction," Powell said, making it abundantly clear the NCTA does not believe the FCC has not done so in this case. He said that the statute empowers the FCC to create competition in navigation devices, not new services. "Every problem does not empower an FCC-directed solution. The agency is not an agency with unbridled plenary power to roam around markets and decide to go fix inconveniences everywhere they find them irrespective of the bounds of their authority."



Rovi Acquires DVR Company TiVo For $1.1 Billion - Fri Apr 29 22:27:08 2016

Major Blud writes: TiVo, maker of one of the first consumer DVR's, has been purchased by IP powerhouse Rovi (formerly known as Macrovision) for $1.1 Billion. The combined company will go by the TiVo name. According to USA Today, "Shares of Rovi (ROVI) were up 3.7% to $17.99 in premarket trading. TiVo (TIVO) shares closed Thursday up 2% to $9.42." The combined company will reportedly hold more than 6,000 patents related to TV and video technology. Both Robi and TiVo represent a $3 billion entertainment technology company, with saving synergies of $100 million expected over the first year, the companies said.



Intel Cuts Atom Chips, Basically Giving Up On Smartphone and Tablet Market - Fri Apr 29 21:55:38 2016

Intel, the marquee PC chipmaker, has long struggled to get a foothold in the smartphone market. The company, which was late in joining the mobile platform, is still playing catchup with Qualcomm and MediaTek. And it appears it's finally giving up on this ambition. The company is "immediately canceling" Atom chips, code-named Sofia and Broxton, for mobile devices, reports PCWorld, citing a company's spokesperson. The publication reports:Intel's mobile chip roadmap now has a giant hole after the cancellation of the chips. Intel's existing smartphone and tablet-only chips are aging and due for upgrades, and no major replacements are in sight. Sofia is already shipping, and Broxton was due to ship this year but had been delayed. Intel is also discontinuing its Atom X5 line of tablet chips code-named Cherry Trail, which is being replaced by Pentium and Celeron chips code-named Apollo Lake, aimed more at hybrids than pure tablets. Many PC makers are already choosing Intel's Skylake Core M processors over Cherry Trail for hybrids and PC-like tablets.The announcement comes days after its CEO outlined the company's future vision, and a week after the chipmaker let go 12,000 people.



One US Oil Field a Key Culprit In Global Ethane Gas Increase - Fri Apr 29 21:13:26 2016

An anonymous reader writes: According to scientists, a single U.S. shale oil field is responsible for much of the past decade's increase in global atmospheric levels of ethane, a gas that can damage air quality and impact climate. The Bakken Formation, an oil and gas field in North Dakota and Montana is spewing nearly 2% of the globe's ethane. That translates to about 250,000 tons each year. "Two percent might not sound like a lot, but the emissions we observed in this single region are 10 to 100 times larger than reported in inventories. They directly impact air quality across North America. And they're sufficient to explain much of the global shift in ethane concentrations," said Eric Kort, U-M assistant professor of climate and space sciences and engineering.The Washington Post has more details (paywalled; alternatively you can read this Gizmodo report)


FBI Bought $1M iPhone 5C Hack, But Doesn't Know How It Works - Fri Apr 29 20:40:40 2016

An anonymous reader writes: The FBI has no idea how the hack used in unlocking the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5C works, but it paid a sum less than $1m for the mechanism, according to a report. Reuters, citing several U.S. government sources, note that the government intelligence agency didn't pay a value over $1.3m for purchasing the hack from professional hackers, as previously reported by many outlets. The technique can also be used as many times as needed without further payments, the report adds. The FBI director, James Comey, said last week that the agency paid more to get into the iPhone 5C than he will make in the remaining seven years and four months he has in his job, suggesting the hack cost more than $1.3m, based on his annual salary.



Slashdot Asks: What's Your View On Benchmark Apps? - Fri Apr 29 20:29:25 2016

There's no doubt that benchmark apps help you evaluate different aspects of a product, but do they paint a complete picture? Should we utterly rely on benchmark apps to assess the performance and quality of a product or service? Vlad Savov of The Verge makes an interesting point. He notes that DxOMark (a hugely popular benchmark app for testing a camera) rating of HTC 10's camera sensor is equal to that of Samsung's Galaxy S7, however, in real life shooting, the Galaxy S7's shooter offers a far superior result. "I've used both extensively and I can tell you that's simply not the case -- the S7 is outstanding whereas the 10 is merely good." He offers another example: If a laptop or a phone does well in a web-browsing battery benchmark, that only gives an indication that it would probably fare decently when handling bigger workloads too. But not always. My good friend Anand Shimpi, formerly of AnandTech, once articulated this very well by pointing out how the MacBook Pro had better battery life than the MacBook Air -- which was hailed as the endurance champ -- when the use changed to consistently heavy workloads. The Pro was more efficient in that scenario, but most battery tests aren't sophisticated or dynamic enough to account for that nuance. It takes a person running multiple tests, analyzing the data, and adding context and understanding to achieve the highest degree of certainty. The problem is -- more often than not -- gadget reviewers treat these values as the most important signal when judging a product, which in turn, also influences several readers' opinion. What's your take on this?


Slashdot Asks: What's Your View On Benchmark Tools? - Fri Apr 29 19:56:28 2016

There's no doubt that benchmark tools help you evaluate different aspects of a product, but do they paint a complete picture? Should we utterly rely on benchmark tools to assess the performance and quality of a product or service? Vlad Savov of The Verge makes an interesting point. He notes that DxOMark (a hugely popular benchmark tool for testing a camera) rating of HTC 10's camera sensor is equal to that of Samsung's Galaxy S7, however, in real life shooting, the Galaxy S7's shooter offers a far superior result. "I've used both extensively and I can tell you that's simply not the case -- the S7 is outstanding whereas the 10 is merely good." He offers another example: If a laptop or a phone does well in a web-browsing battery benchmark, that only gives an indication that it would probably fare decently when handling bigger workloads too. But not always. My good friend Anand Shimpi, formerly of AnandTech, once articulated this very well by pointing out how the MacBook Pro had better battery life than the MacBook Air -- which was hailed as the endurance champ -- when the use changed to consistently heavy workloads. The Pro was more efficient in that scenario, but most battery tests aren't sophisticated or dynamic enough to account for that nuance. It takes a person running multiple tests, analyzing the data, and adding context and understanding to achieve the highest degree of certainty. The problem is -- more often than not -- gadget reviewers treat these values as the most important signal when judging a product, which in turn, also influences several readers' opinion. What's your take on this?


Weasel Apparently Shuts Down World's Most Powerful Particle Collider - Fri Apr 29 19:13:15 2016

New reader mjnhbg1088 cites an article on NPR: A small mammal has sabotaged the world's most powerful scientific instrument. The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline overnight. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable. "We had electrical problems, and we are pretty sure this was caused by a small animal," says Arnaud Marsollier, head of press for CERN, the organization that runs the $7 billion particle collider in Switzerland. Although they had not conducted a thorough analysis of the remains, Marsollier says they believe the creature was "a weasel, probably." The shutdown comes as the LHC was preparing to collect new data on the Higgs Boson, a fundamental particle it discovered in 2012. The Higgs is believed to endow other particles with mass, and it is considered to be a cornerstone of the modern theory of particle physics. CERN says the creature may have been a marten.



GCHQ Has Disclosed Over 20 Vulnerabilities This Year - Fri Apr 29 18:41:48 2016

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: Earlier this week, it emerged that a section of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK's signal intelligence agency, had disclosed a serious vulnerability in Firefox to Mozilla. Now, GCHQ has said it helped fix nearly two dozen individual vulnerabilities in the past few months, including in highly popular pieces of software like iOS. "So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products," a GCHQ spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. CESG, or the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is the information security wing of GCHQ. Those issues include a kernel vulnerability in OS X El Captain v10.11.4, the latest version, that would allow arbitrary code execution, and two in iOS 9.3, one of which would have done largely the same thing, and the other could have let an application launch a denial of service attack.



Microsoft Flow -- An IFTTT Alternative -- Aims To Connect Your Online Apps - Fri Apr 29 18:19:39 2016

An anonymous user writes: Microsoft has unveiled a new product called Microsoft Flow, which is designed to better connect diverse services so that you could, if you were so inclined, put all your tweets into a spreadsheet or get an SMS alert when you receive an email. That example may be a solution in search of a problem, but there are other more useful possibilities. Flow could be set up so that any email from your boss triggers an SMS notification to your phone, for example. Or you could make sure any updated work documents get deposited in your team's SharePoint. To be sure, Microsoft is not first to this app-integration party. Many people already use If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier, which claims more than 500 app integrations, to knit their services together.Some IFTTT users must be breathing a sigh of relief.



Microsoft Flow -- An IFTTT Alternative -- Aims To Connect Your Online Apps - Fri Apr 29 18:07:34 2016

An anonymous user writes: Microsoft has unveiled a new product called Microsoft Flow, which is designed to better connect diverse services so that you could, if you were so inclined, put all your tweets into a spreadsheet or get an SMS alert when you receive an email. That example may be a solution in search of a problem, but there are other more useful possibilities. Flow could be set up so that any email from your boss triggers an SMS notification to your phone, for example. Or you could make sure any updated work documents get deposited in your teamâ(TM)s SharePoint. To be sure, Microsoft is not first to this app-integration party. Many people already use If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier, which claims more than 500 app integrations, to knit their services together.



US Calls Switzerland An Internet Piracy Haven - Fri Apr 29 17:24:54 2016

An anonymous reader writes: The Office of the United States Trade Representative has published its annual Special 301 Report calling out other nations for failing to live up to U.S. IP enforcement standards. This year European ally Switzerland has been placed on the Watch List for protecting file-sharers and playing host to many pirate sites. "Generally speaking, Switzerland broadly provides high-levels of IPR protection and enforcement in its territory. Switzerland makes important contributions to promoting such protection and enforcement internationally, including in bilateral and multilateral contexts, which are welcomed by the United States," the USTR writes in its assessment.



Freshly Minted Unicorns Now a Rare Sighting In Silicon Valley - Fri Apr 29 16:54:12 2016

An anonymous reader shares a Quartz report: Unicorns, once a rare sighting for investors, have frolicked across Silicon Valley of late. Now the market seems to be yanking on the reins. Venture capital research firm CB Insights reports the number of venture-backed startups achieving a $1 billion or more valuation ground to a halt over the last six months. In the first quarter of 2016, only five new unicorns arrived. That's compared to an average of about 20 per quarter last year. The number of startups worth at least $1 billion has doubled since 2015 to more than 160, says CB Insights. At the same time, the number of such companies accepting "down rounds" or exits with lower valuations is now up. That number exceeded the quantity of new unicorns being created starting in the last quarter of 2015.



Freshly Minted Unicorns Now a Rare Sighting In Silicon Valley - Fri Apr 29 16:43:49 2016

An anonymous reader shares a Quartz report:Unicorns, once a rare sighting for investors, have frolicked across Silicon Valley of late. Now the market seems to be yanking on the reins. Venture capital research firm CB Insights reports the number of venture-backed startups achieving a $1 billion or more valuation ground to a halt over the last six months. In the first quarter of 2016, only five new unicorns arrived. That's compared to an average of about 20 per quarter last year. The number of startups worth at least $1 billion has doubled since 2015 to more than 160, says CB Insights. At the same time, the number of such companies accepting "down rounds" or exits with lower valuations is now up. That number exceeded the quantity of new unicorns being created starting in the last quarter of 2015.



Google AI Has Access To 1.6M People's NHS Records - Fri Apr 29 16:21:28 2016

Hal Hodson, reporting for New Scientist:It's no secret that Google has broad ambitions in healthcare. But a document obtained by New Scientist reveals that the tech giant's collaboration with the UK's National Health Service goes far beyond what has been publicly announced. The document -- a data-sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust -- gives the clearest picture yet of what the company is doing and what sensitive data it now has access to. The agreement gives DeepMind access to a wide range of healthcare data on the 1.6 million patients who pass through three London hospitals run by the Royal Free NHS Trust -- Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free -- each year. This will include information about people who are HIV-positive, for instance, as well as details of drug overdoses and abortions. The agreement also includes access to patient data from the last five years. According to their original agreement, Google cannot use the data in any other part of its business.



Google AI Has Access To 1.6M People's NHS Records - Fri Apr 29 16:10:36 2016

Hal Hodson, reporting for New Scientist:It's no secret that Google has broad ambitions in healthcare. But a document obtained by New Scientist reveals that the tech giant's collaboration with the UK's National Health Service goes far beyond what has been publicly announced. The document -- a data-sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust -- gives the clearest picture yet of what the company is doing and what sensitive data it now has access to. The agreement gives DeepMind access to a wide range of healthcare data on the 1.6 million patients who pass through three London hospitals run by the Royal Free NHS Trust -- Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free -- each year. This will include information about people who are HIV-positive, for instance, as well as details of drug overdoses and abortions. The agreement also includes access to patient data from the last five years.



US Toy Maker Maisto's Website Pushes Ransomware - Fri Apr 29 15:27:43 2016

An anonymous reader shares a PCWorld article: Attackers are aggressively pushing a new file-encrypting ransomware program called CryptXXX by compromising websites, the latest victim being U.S. toy maker Maisto. Fortunately, there's a tool that can help users decrypt CryptXXX affected files for free. Security researchers from Malwarebytes reported Thursday that maisto.com was infected with malicious JavaScript that loaded the Angler exploit kit. This is a Web-based attack tool that installs malware on users' computers by exploiting vulnerabilities in their browser plug-ins. It also steals bitcoins from local wallets, a double hit to victims, because it then asks for the equivalent of $500 in bitcoins in order to decrypt their files. [...] Researchers from antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab recently updated their ransomware decryption toolto add support for CryptXXX affected files. The attack code exploits vulnerabilities in older versions of applications such as Flash, Java, Internet Explorer, and Silverlight. At this point, it isn't clear exactly how many users are affected.



Doctor Ready to Perform First Human Head Transplant - Fri Apr 29 15:16:41 2016

Ross Kenneth Urken, reporting for Newsweek (edited and condensed): Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero had his Dr. Strange moment when he announced he'd be able to do a human head transplant in a two-part procedure he dubs HEAVEN (paywalled, this alternate link could help) (head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the subsequent spinal cord fusion). [...] Canavero has a plan: It's a 36-hour, $20 million procedure involving at least 150 people, including doctors, nurses, technicians, psychologists and virtual reality engineers. In a specially equipped hospital suite, two surgical teams will work simultaneously -- one focused on Valery Spiridonov (patient) and the other on the donor's body, selected from a brain-dead patient and matched with the Spiridonov for height, build and immunotype. Both patients -- anesthetized and outfitted with breathing tubes -- will have their heads locked using metal pins and clamps, and electrodes will be attached to their bodies to monitor brain and heart activity. Next, Spiridonov's head will be nearly frozen, ultimately reaching 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, which will make him temporarily brain-dead.Shouldn't it be called a body transplant? Since a person is often defined by the brain. You can read the complete procedure here.



Doctor Ready to Perform First Human Head Transplant - Fri Apr 29 14:45:29 2016

Ross Kenneth Urken, reporting for Newsweek (edited and condensed): Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero had his Dr. Strange moment when he announced he'd be able to do a human head transplant in a two-part procedure he dubs HEAVEN (head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the subsequent spinal cord fusion). [...] Canavero has a plan: It's a 36-hour, $20 million procedure involving at least 150 people, including doctors, nurses, technicians, psychologists and virtual reality engineers. In a specially equipped hospital suite, two surgical teams will work simultaneously -- one focused on Valery Spiridonov (patient) and the other on the donor's body, selected from a brain-dead patient and matched with the Spiridonov for height, build and immunotype. Both patients -- anesthetized and outfitted with breathing tubes -- will have their heads locked using metal pins and clamps, and electrodes will be attached to their bodies to monitor brain and heart activity. Next, Spiridonov's head will be nearly frozen, ultimately reaching 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, which will make him temporarily brain-dead.Shouldn't it be called a body transplant? Since a person is often defined by the brain. You can read the complete procedure here.



Supreme Court Gives FBI More Hacking Power - Fri Apr 29 14:03:40 2016

An anonymous reader cites an article on The Intercept (edited and condensed): The Supreme Court on Thursday approved changes that would make it easier for the FBI to hack into computers, many of them belonging to victims of cybercrime. The changes, which will take immediate effect in December unless Congress adopts competing legislation, would allow the FBI go hunting for anyone browsing the Internet anonymously in the U.S. with a single warrant. Previously, under the federal rules on criminal procedures, a magistrate judge couldn't approve a warrant request to search a computer remotely if the investigator didn't know where the computer was -- because it might be outside his or her jurisdiction. The rule change would allow a magistrate judge to issue a warrant to search or seize an electronic device if the target is using anonymity software like Tor."Unbelievable," said Edward Snowden. "FBI sneaks radical expansion of power through courts, avoiding public debate." Ahmed Ghappour, a visiting professor at University of California Hastings Law School, has described it as "possibly the broadest expansion of extraterritorial surveillance power since the FBI's inception."



The Critical Hole At the Heart Of Our Cell Phone Networks - Fri Apr 29 13:11:39 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Kim Zetter from WIRED writes an intriguing report about a vulnerability at the heart of our cell phone networks. It centers around Signaling System No. 7 (SS7), which refers to a data network -- and the protocols or rules that govern how information gets exchanged over it. Zetter writes, "It was designed in the 1970s to track and connect landline calls across different carrier networks, but is now commonly used to calculate cellular billing and send text messages, in addition to routing mobile and landline calls between carriers and regional switching centers. SS7 is part of the telecommunications backbone but is not the network your voice calls go through; it's a separate administrative network with a different function." According to WIRED, the problem is that SS7 is based on trust -- any request a telecom receives is considered legitimate. In addition to telecoms, government agencies, commercial companies and criminal groups can gain access to the network. Most attacks can be defended with readily available technologies, but more involved attacks take longer to defend against. T-Mobile and ATT have vulnerabilities with fixes that have yet to be implemented for example.



Obesity 'Explosion' In Young Rural Chinese A Result Of Socioeconomic Changes, Study Warns - Fri Apr 29 10:12:36 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BBC: Obesity has rapidly increased in young rural Chinese, a study has warned, because of socioeconomic changes. Researchers found 17% of boys and 9% of girls under the age of 19 were obese in 2014, up from 1% for each in 1985. The 29-year study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, involved nearly 28,000 students in Shandong province. The study said China's rapid socioeconomic and nutritional transition has led to an increase in energy intake and a decrease in physical activity. The data was taken from six government surveys of rural school children in Shandong aged between seven and 18. The percentage of overweight children has also grown from 0.7% to 16.4% for boys and from 1.5% to nearly 14% for girls, the study said. "It is the worst explosion of childhood and adolescent obesity that I have ever seen," Joep Perk from the European Society of Cardiology told AFP news agency.



In Internet Age, Pirate Radio Arises As Surprising Challenge - Fri Apr 29 07:02:48 2016

K7DAN writes: Just as the demise of terrestrial radio has been greatly exaggerated, so has the assumed parallel death of pirate radio. Due to the failure of licensed stations to meet the needs of many niche communities, pirate radio continues to increase in popularity. Helping facilitate this growth is the weakening power of the FCC to stop it, reports the Associated Press. Rogue stations can cover up to several square miles thanks largely in part to cheaper technology. The appeal? "The DJs sound like you and they talk about things that you're interested in," said Jay Blessed, an online DJ who has listened to various unlicensed stations since she moved from Trinidad to Brooklyn more than a decade ago. "You call them up and say, 'I want to hear this song,' and they play it for you," Blessed said. "It's interactive. It's engaging. It's communal." It's upsetting many congressional members who are urging the FCC to do more about the "unprecedented growth of pirate radio operations." They're accusing said pirates of undermining licensed minority stations while ignoring consumer protection laws that guard against indecency and false advertising.



All Belgians To Be Given Iodine Pills In Case Of Nuclear Accident - Fri Apr 29 03:54:52 2016

mdsolar quotes a report from Phys.Org: Belgium is to provide iodine pills to its entire population of around 11 million people to protect against radioactivity in case of a nuclear accident, the health minister was quoted as saying Thursday. The move comes as Belgium faces growing pressure from neighboring Germany to shutter two ageing nuclear power plants near their border due to concerns over their safety. Iodine pills, which help reduce radiation build-up in the human thyroid gland, had previously only been given to people living within 20 kilometres (14 miles) of the Tihange and Doel nuclear plants. Health Minister Maggie De Block was quoted by La Libre Belgique newspaper as telling parliament that the range had now been expanded to 100 kilometers, effectively covering the whole country. The health ministry did not immediately respond to AFP when asked to comment. The head of Belgium's French-speaking Green party, Jean-Marc Nollet, backed the measures but added that "just because everyone will get these pills doesn't mean there is no longer any nuclear risk," La Libre reported. Belgium's creaking nuclear plants have been causing safety concerns for some time after a series of problems ranging from leaks to cracks and an unsolved sabotage incident. Yesterday, a nuclear plant in Germany was reportedly infected with a computer virus.



Dissension Grows Inside Anonymous Because Of Political Propaganda - Fri Apr 29 02:18:01 2016

An anonymous reader writes from a report on Softpedia: Political tensions relating to the U.S. presidential race are creating turmoil inside the Anonymous hacker collective, muddling waters even more in a group that's known for its lack of leadership and a common goal. The most recent Anonymous infighting relates to the actions of the group's most famous news portal known as AnonHQ, who's been showing downright public support for Bernie Sanders, while being extremely busy at bashing Trump, Cruz, and more recently issuing video threats against Clinton. Ever since Anonymous' official news source has started showing public support for Sanders, many of the group's divisions have publicly disavowed it and have even gone so far as launching constant waves of DDoS attacks at what once used to be the hacker's official news portal. Last month, when a former Anonymous member decided to dox himself, he said in interviews that the group had been infiltrated by government agents.



Google's OnHub Is First WiFi Router To Support IFTTT - Fri Apr 29 01:34:45 2016

An anonymous reader writes: The first router to feature IFTTT support is Google OnHub. IFTTT is an abbreviation of "If This Then That," a free web-based service that can allow users to create "recipes," which are triggered based on changes to other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, etc. OnHub's smart features can now connect to the 300-plus programs and apps supported by IFTTT. Google provides some examples in its blog post. For example, you can automatically prioritize Wi-Fi to your Chromecast when it connects to your OnHub network after you plug it in to start binge watching your favorite TV show, or to your Nest Cam when it senses motion or sound after you've exhausted yourself from said binge watching and passed-out on your couch. There's a friendly little video Google put together to explain the feature in detail.



Who's Downloading Pirated Scientifc Papers? Everyone - Fri Apr 29 00:52:20 2016

sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: In increasing numbers, researchers around the world are turning to Sci-Hub, the controversial website that hosts 50 million pirated papers and counting. Now, with server log data from Alexandra Elbakyan, the neuroscientist who created Sci-Hub in 2011 as a 22-year-old graduate student in Kazakhstan, Science addresses some basic questions: Who are Sci-Hub's users, where are they, and what are they reading? The Sci-Hub data provide the first detailed view of what is becoming the world's de facto open-access research library. Among the revelations that may surprise both fans and foes alike: Sci-Hub users are not limited to the developing world. Some critics of Sci-Hub have complained that many users can access the same papers through their libraries but turn to Sci-Hub instead -- for convenience rather than necessity. The data provide some support for that claim. Over the 6 months leading up to March, Sci-Hub served up 28 million documents, with Iran, China, India, Russia, and the United States the leading requestors.



Microsoft Limits Cortana Search Box In Windows 10 To Bing and Edge Only - Fri Apr 29 00:06:49 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Microsoft has announced a big change for how the Cortana search box in Windows 10 will work going forward: all searches will be powered by Bing and all links will open with the Edge browser. This is a server-side change going into effect today. Once it takes effect on your Windows 10 computer, Cortana will no longer be able to serve up results from third-party search providers, like Google or Yahoo, nor take you to a third-party browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana, said in a Windows blog post announcing the change, "Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can't depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing -- all designed to do more for you."



Top Security Experts Say Anti-Encryption Bill Authors Are 'Woefully Ignorant' - Thu Apr 28 23:25:11 2016

blottsie writes from a report on the Daily Dot: In a Wall Street Journal editorial titled "Encryption Without Tears," Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein pushed back on widespread condemnation of their Compliance with Court Orders Act, which would require tech companies to provide authorities with user data in an "intelligible" format if served with a warrant. But security experts Bruce Schneir, Matthew Green, and others say the lawmakers entirely misunderstand the issue. "On a weekly basis we see gigabytes of that information dumped to the Internet," Green told the Daily Dot. "This is the whole problem that encryption is intended to solve." He added: "You can't hold out the current flaws in the Internet as a justification for why the Internet shouldn't be made secure." "These criticisms of Burr and Feinstein's analogy emphasize an important point about digital security: The differences between the levels of encryption protecting certain types of data -- purchase records on Amazon's servers versus photos on an iPhone, for example -- lead to different levels of risk," writes Eric Geller of the Daily Dot.



North Korea Launches Two Midrange Missiles, Both Tests Fail - Thu Apr 28 22:41:56 2016

An anonymous reader writes: According to South Korean Defense Ministry officials, North Korea fired two midrange Musudan missiles Thursday, and both missiles appear to have failed. The military cannot confirm exactly when the missile exploded but said it "crashed shortly after it was launched," a Defense Ministry official said. U.S. military officials said the missiles traveled an estimated 200 meters from the launchpad. This past weekend, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine off the east cost of the Korean peninsula. It only traveled about 30 km, well short of the 300 km range that would be considered a successful test. A little more than a week prior to that launch, North Korea failed to launch an intermediate-range missile on the 104th anniversary of the birthday of the country's 'eternal president,' Kim II Sung.



India Installs 'Laser Walls' At Border With Pakistan - Thu Apr 28 22:10:06 2016

schwit1 writes: After experimenting with barbed wire, surveillance cameras and even cowbells and camels, India has now reportedly introduced "laser walls" at its border with archenemy Pakistan. Both New Delhi and Islamabad deploy more than half of their 1 million and 600,000-strong armies, respectively, on the border. India is setting up the laser walls to "plug the porous riverine and treacherous terrain and keep an effective vigil against intruders and terrorists" in Punjab state, the state-run Press Trust of India reported. According to the PTI report, around 45 laser walls will be installed in Punjab state. Lasers beamed over rivers and hills will set off an alarm and alert the Indian Border Security Force if someone attempts to pass by, it added.



Nvidia GPU-Powered Autonomous Car Teaches Itself To See And Steer - Thu Apr 28 21:38:01 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World discussing Nvidia's project called DAVE2, where their engineering team built a self-driving car with one camera, one Drive-PX embedded computer and only 72 hours of training data: Neural networks and image recognition applications such as self-driving cars have exploded recently for two reasons. First, Graphical Processing Units (GPU) used to render graphics in mobile phones became powerful and inexpensive. GPUs densely packed onto board-level supercomputers are very good at solving massively parallel neural network problems and are inexpensive enough for every AI researcher and software developer to buy. Second, large, labeled image datasets have become available to train massively parallel neural networks implemented on GPUs to see and perceive the world of objects captured by cameras. The Nvidia team trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) to map raw pixels from a single front-facing camera directly to steering commands. Nvidia's breakthrough is the autonomous vehicle automatically taught itself by watching how a human drove, the internal representations of the processing steps of seeing the road ahead and steering the autonomous vehicle without explicitly training it to detect features such as roads and lanes.



Manufacturing Jobs On Decline Around the World - Thu Apr 28 20:54:56 2016

Reader Koreantoast writes: The New York Times posted an interesting thought piece (paywalled, this link could help) on the changing nature of manufacturing globally and the impact it has on modern politics and economic development. Although manufacturing productivity has jumped tremendously over the last several decades, the overall global pool of manufacturing jobs is shrinking as automation and new industrial technologies has increased the production and supply of manufactured goods with fewer people at a rate faster than global demand can absorb. The analogy is the agricultural revolution of the last several centuries where greater amounts of food are being produced by fewer and fewer farmers, displacing many of them. How will industrialized nations manage the growing number of displaced, blue collar labor? Bigger impact globally is that the shrinking pool of manufacturing jobs globally is closing the traditional route of export-oriented manufacturing economy that many nations, particularly in East Asia, were able to use to lift their nations out of poverty. What happens to those nations that missed the boat?"The likelihood that we will get a manufacturing recovery is close to nil," Professor Stiglitz said. "We are more likely to have a smaller share of a shrinking pie."



Bernie Sanders' Second Life Headquarters Besieged by Trump-Supporting Swastikas - Thu Apr 28 20:23:21 2016

Wagner James Au, writing for Motherboard (edited and condensed):As Donald Trump continues to ride roughshod over much of the United States, there are multiple reports that Trumps' virtual fans are riding roughshod on Bernie Sanders' unofficial headquarters in Second Life as well. Sanders' spot is in the sim (Second Life region) of Caspoli, with a Bernie 2016 banner that can be seen from satellite. It's a Roman-themed hangout space in a peaceful meadow, where Bernie supporters often gather to share news of their favorite candidate. But lately, the place has been besieged by pro-Trump griefers. [...] During a Bernie rally in Second Life, Sanders support group member Macaria Wind goes on, Trump-supporting demons flew around Bernie's rally, endlessly typing "TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP!" into text chat.



Almost Two-Third of Software Companies Contributing To Open Source, Says Survey - Thu Apr 28 19:51:17 2016

Reader alphadogg writes: Open source's march toward preeminence in business software continued over the past year, according to a survey released by open source management provider Black Duck Software and venture capital firm North Bridge. Roughly two-thirds of respondents to the survey -- which was administered online and drew 1,300 respondents -- said that their companies encouraged developers to contribute to open-source projects, and a similar proportion said that they were actively engaged in doing so already. That's a 5% increase from the previous year's survey.



Google CEO Predicts AI-Fueled Future - Thu Apr 28 19:09:22 2016

Google CEO Sundar Pichai says the next big evolution for technology is AI. "Looking to the future, the next big step will be for the very concept of the 'device' to fade away," Pichai wrote in Google's annual founders' letter. USA Today writes: His vision: Over time, computers, whatever shape they take, a mobile device in your hand or a mini computer on your wrist, "will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day." This marks the first time anyone other than founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have penned the annual letter outlining Google's mission. "For us, technology is not about the devices or the products we build. Those aren't the end-goals," Pichai wrote in the letter posted Thursday. "Technology is a democratizing force, empowering people through information. Google is an information company. It was when it was founded, and it is today."



Office 365 Flaw Allowed Anyone To Log In To Almost Any Business Account - Thu Apr 28 18:26:47 2016

Reader msm1267 writes: A severe vulnerability in the way Microsoft Office 365 handles federated identities via SAML put an attacker in a position to have access to any account and data, including emails and files stored in the cloud-based service. Microsoft pushed through a mitigation to the service on Jan. 5, seven hours after being notified by researchers Yiannis Kakavas and Klemen Bratec. "The attack surface was quite big (Outlook Online, OneDrive, Skype for Business, OneNote -- depending on what the company has paid for in terms of licensing)," Kakavas and Bratec told Threatpost via email. "And a malicious user exploiting this vulnerability could have gained access to very sensitive private and company information (emails, internal documents etc. )." Office 365 users who had configured domains as federated were affected. The list includes British Airways, Microsoft, Vodafone, Verizon and many others, as mentioned in a report published late Wednesday.



iTunes Turns 13 Today -- Continues To Be 'Awful' - Thu Apr 28 17:44:45 2016

An anonymous reader points us to a link on Quartz: On April 28, 2003, Apple started up a revolution. Enter the iTunes Music Store, unveiled with a proud flourish by a beaming Steve Jobs. It was a digital jukebox, a music distribution game-changer, a record store to end all record stores -- and it did, in fact, kill off a great number of those. [...] For 13 years -- 15 if you count the two years the program was just a file-storing service -- users have grumbled loudly about iTunes' unwieldy interface, its bloated features, its inability to simply get better. [...] Instead of trying to streamline the service over the years, Apple has opted to stuff an overwhelming number of new features -- movies, television shows, podcasts, mobile apps, and most recently, Apple Music -- into it.The report mentions the following issues with iTunes: space-sucking size, slowness, ugliness, bloatware, lack of online or social integration, a wonky back-end, music isn't even its priority. Marco Arment, who is best known for co-founding Tumblr, and creating Instapaper app, noted some development-end issues with iTunes in 2015. He wrote: [...] The iTunes Store back-end is a toxic hellstew of unreliability. Everything that touches the iTunes Store has a spotty record for me and almost every Mac owner I know. And the iTunes app itself is the toxic hellstew. iTunes has an impossible combination of tasks on its plate that cannot be done well. iTunes is the definition of cruft and technical debt. It was an early version of iTunes that demonstrated the first software bugs to Grace Hopper in 1946. Probably not coincidentally, some of iTunes' least reliable features are reliant on the iTunes Store back-end, including Genius from forever ago, iTunes Match more recently, and now, Apple Music.



Steam Computer Gaming Network Now Accepting Bitcoin - Thu Apr 28 17:12:44 2016

An anonymous reader shares an article on Fortune Magazine: The popular Steam computer game network has started accepting bitcoin in a move aimed at making it easier for players in countries like Brazil and China to make payments. Bitcoin transactions will be integrated into game shopping from Steam, which is owned by Valve Software and claims over 100 million users worldwide. Users will be able to use any bitcoin wallet to scan and pay for games or other items without revealing sensitive financial information via software from Bitpay.



Atari Co-Founder: Mobile Games Make Me Want To Throw My Phone - Thu Apr 28 16:40:39 2016

Will Freeman, reporting for The Guardian (condensed): One industry veteran sees arcades and mobile gaming as almost indistinct. He is Nolan Bushnell, co-founder of Atari. Often referred to as the godfather of video games (a phrase he dislikes), he is just about to make his debut in mobile game development, having established a partnership with Dutch publisher Spil, where he will help deliver at least three as-yet-unnamed titles. "When you look at mobile and arcade gaming, they're identical," Bushnell says. "Mobile has some of the same game constraints for the player, and that 'easy to learn, and difficult to master' metric." [...] "Generally, a tremendous number of mobile games are poorly designed," he says. "They can be so focused on graphics that they forget they have to get the timing right, and they have to have proper scoring constructs. I have been so pissed off with some mobile games I've wanted to throw my phone, even if I'm only going to hurt my phone there, and not the game."



Volvo Engineer Calls Out Tesla For Dangerous 'Wannabe' Autopilot System - Thu Apr 28 15:47:15 2016

An anonymous reader shares an article on Jalopnik: Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot system has been impressing everyone from consumers to journalists, and even other industry experts and executives. But now a Volvo engineer has called Tesla's system out, claiming it's a dangerous "wannabe" autonomous technology. Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance for Volvo, had quite a few choice words to say about Tesla's Autopilot system in a recent interview with The Verge, claiming the electric automaker was touting what is essentially a rudimentary semi-autonomous technology as being far more capable than it actually is. Victor fears that Autopilot "gives you the impression that it's doing more than it is." He went on to call Tesla's system an "unsupervised wannabe."



Microsoft's Windows 10 Upgrade Screen Interrupts Meteorologist's Live Forecast - Thu Apr 28 15:16:21 2016

Reader MojoKid writes: If you're a Windows 7 or Windows 8 user who hasn't yet upgraded to Windows 10, you've probably been bombarded at some point by Microsoft to upgrade, and not always at the most convenient times. Such was also the case with one meteorologist who saw a Windows 10 upgrade prompt show up during a very inopportune time -- right in the middle of a live forecast. Metinka Slater, a meteorologist with Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI 8, was going about her business, giving viewers a rundown of the 12-hour rainfall totals in the area when a nagging Windows 10 upgrade screen popped up, just like it has for thousands of everyday Windows users. But rather than get flustered or give into Microsoft's demands, Slater laughed off the annoyance. "Ahh, Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10. What should I do?" Slater joked. "Don't you love when that pops up?"From the looks of it, either the concerned computer is running Windows 98, or is using classic theme.



HP Announces All-Metal Chromebook 13: Thinner Than MacBook Pro, Costs $800 Less - Thu Apr 28 14:42:01 2016

On Thursday, HP unveiled a new Chromebook 13. Designed in collaboration with Google, the Chromebook 13 sports an all-metal body and is merely 13mm thick while weighing 1.29kg. It sports a 13-inch display with 3200x1800 pixels resolution and is powered by Intel's sixth-gen Core M processor, which comes coupled with up to 16GB of RAM. There's a USB Type-C port as well, and the company is also promising up to 11.5 hours of battery life on a single charge. The retail price of the HP Chromebook starts at $499, and will launch in the US later this month.


Cisco Finds Backdoor Installed On 12 Million PCs - Thu Apr 28 14:09:29 2016

Reader wiredmikey writes: Security researchers at Cisco have come across a piece of software that installed backdoors on 12 million computers around the world. Researchers determined that the application, installed with administrator rights, was capable not only of downloading and installing other tools, such as a known scareware called System Healer, but also of harvesting personal information. The software, which exhibits adware and spyware capabilities, was developed by a French online advertising company called Tuto4PC. The "features" have led Cisco Talos to classify the Tuto4PC software as a "full backdoor capable of a multitude of undesirable functions on the victim machine." Tuto4PC said its network consisted of nearly 12 million PCs in 2014, which could explain why Cisco's systems detected the backdoor on 12 million devices. An analysis of a sample set revealed infections in the United States, Australia, Japan, Spain, the UK, France and New Zealand.Tuto4PC has received flak from many over the years, including French regulators.



American Samoa Domain Registry Was Exposing Client Data Since the Mid-1990s - Thu Apr 28 13:05:39 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: A British security researcher that goes online only by the name of InfoSec Guy revealed today that American Samoa domain registry ASNIC was using an outdated domain name management system that contained a bug allowing anyone to view the personal details of any .as domain owner. The researcher also claims that anyone knowing of this bug would have been able to edit and delete any .as domain, just by altering the ASNIC domain info URL. Some of the big brands that own .as domains include Opera, Flickr, Twitter, McDonald's, British Gas, Bose, Adidas, the University of Texas, and many link shortening services. This flawed system has been online since the mid-1990s. The researcher contacted ASNIC after discovering the flaw at the end of January 2016, but email exchanges with the domain registry were scarce and confusing, with the registry issuing a statement today denying the incident and calling the allegations "inaccurate, misleading and sexed-up to the max," after previously acknowledging and fixing the security flaws.



Intel Wants To Eliminate The Headphone Jack And Replace It With USB-C - Thu Apr 28 10:06:36 2016

An anonymous reader writes: With rumors circulating about how Apple may do away with the 3.5 mm headphone jack on its upcoming iPhone 7, Intel has shared a similar desire, citing "industry singling a strong desire to move from analog to digital." Intel believes USB-C is the future audio jack. They believe USB-C has more potential than the 3.5mm audio jack as it allows users to add additional smart features to headphones in the future. For instance, a future pair of headphones could monitor one's pulse or inner-ear temperature for fitness tracking, something that could only be possible if the headphones were connected to a smartphone via a USB-C cable. What's also worth mentioning [quoted from 9to5Mac]: USB-C already supports analog audio transfer through sideband pins simplifying the engineering steps necessary to swap 3.5mm with USB-C in device designs. In the second quarter, Intel should have a finalized USB-C standard for digital audio transfer. Intel does note that the transition from analog to digital will be expensive as the headphones have to include amplifiers and DACs, but scale will offset the early costs over time.



Child Porn Suspect Jailed Indefinitely For Refusing To Decrypt Hard Drives - Thu Apr 28 07:06:06 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A Philadelphia man suspected of possessing child pornography has been in jail for seven months and counting after being found in contempt of a court order demanding that he decrypt two password-protected hard drives. The suspect, a former Philadelphia Police Department sergeant, has not been charged with any child porn crimes. Instead, he remains indefinitely imprisoned in Philadelphia's Federal Detention Center for refusing to unlock two drives encrypted with Apple's FileVault software in a case that once again highlights the extent to which the authorities are going to crack encrypted devices. The man is to remain jailed "until such time that he fully complies" with the decryption order. The government successfully cited a 1789 law known as the All Writs Act to compel (PDF) the suspect to decrypt two hard drives it believes contain child pornography. The All Writs Act was the same law the Justice Department asserted in its legal battle with Apple.



Dyson Launches New 'Supersonic' Hair Dryer To Revolutionize Hair Care - Thu Apr 28 03:22:48 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Dyson has a launched a hair dryer with a design language similar to that of its bladeless fans. The $399 hair dryer is four years in the making, involving 103 engineers, over 1,000 miles of test hair, and a $71 million investment -- the Dyson Supersonic is being touted as "the hairdryer rethought" by its inventor Sir James Dyson. "We realized that hair dryers can cause extreme heat damage to hair," said Dyson in a press release. "So I challenged Dyson engineers to really understand the science of hair and develop our version of a hair dryer, which we think solves these problems." The hair dryer can be reserved online and will be sold exclusively at Sephora for $399 this fall.



With Carly Fiorina As Running Mate, Cruz's H-1B Stance Now In Question - Thu Apr 28 01:50:22 2016

dcblogs quotes a report from Computerworld: In 2013, Sen. Ted Cruz emerged as one of the Senate's top H-1B visa supporters, and argued for a 500% visa cap increase. But during his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Cruz had a conversion. Cruz's presidential platform proposed a $110,000 minimum wage for visa workers, among other restrictions, as a way of ending their use as low-cost labor. The move marked a complete turnabout on the H-1B issue. Cruz's decision Wednesday to add former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate if he wins the nomination, may make his newly found H-1B beliefs a hard sell. At HP, Fiorina was a prominent supporter of the offshore outsourcing model, said Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at Howard University. "To pump up profits, she was an early adopter of the practice, which given HP's status as a leading Silicon Valley firm, pushed other firms to adopt offshoring," said Hira. As offshoring gained, Fiorina played a leading role in defending globalization. To make her point, in 2004, Fiorina said: "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore," reported the San Francisco Chronicle.



Microsoft Buys Into DNA Data Storage - Thu Apr 28 01:06:27 2016

the_newsbeagle writes: More than 2.5 exabytes of data is created every day, and some experts estimate that 90% of all data in the world today was created in the last two years. Clearly, storing all this data is becoming an issue. One idea is DNA data storage, in which digital files are converted into the genetic code of four nucleotides (As, Cs, Gs, and Ts). Microsoft just announced that it's testing out this idea, getting synthetic bio company Twist Bioscience to produce 10 million strands of DNA that encode some mystery file the company provided. Using DNA for long-term data storage is attractive because it's durable and efficient. For example, scientists can read the genome from a woolly mammoth hair dating from 20,000 years ago.



Comcast Is Raising Its Data Caps From 300GB To 1TB - Thu Apr 28 00:23:01 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Comcast has announced today it will be raising its monthly data cap of 300GB to 1TB beginning June 1st. They will however charge more to customers who want unlimited data. After June 1st, less people will need to buy unlimited data from the company. Previously, users were charged an extra $30 to $35 a month for unlimited data but now they will have to pay an additional $50 for unlimited data. "All of the data plans in our trial markets will move from a 300 gigabyte data plan to a terabyte by June 1st, regardless of the speed," Comcast's announcement today said. The reason for the change? Customers are exceeding the 300GB cap. In late 2013, Comcast said only 2 percent of its customers used more than 300GB of data a month. That number was up to 8 percent in late 2015.



House Passes Email Privacy Act, Requiring Warrants For Obtaining Emails - Wed Apr 27 23:36:00 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, sending it on to the Senate and from there, hopefully anyhow, to the President. The yeas were swift and unanimous. The bill, which was introduced in the House early last year and quickly found bipartisan support, updates the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, closing a loophole that allowed emails and other communications to be obtained without a warrant. It's actually a good law, even if it is arriving a couple of decades late. "Under current law, there are more protections for a letter in a filing cabinet than an email on a server," said Congresswoman Suzan Delbene during the debate period. An earlier version of the bill also required that authorities disclose that warrant to the person it affected within 10 days, or 3 if the warrant related to a government entity. That clause was taken out in committee -- something trade groups and some of the Representatives objected to as an unpleasant compromise.



Former Tor Developer Created Malware To Hack Tor Users For The FBI - Wed Apr 27 22:53:43 2016

Patrick O'Neill writes: Matt Edman is a cybersecurity expert who worked as a part-time employee at Tor Project, the nonprofit that builds Tor software and maintains the network, almost a decade ago. Since then, he's developed potent malware used by law enforcement to unmask Tor users. It's been wielded in multiple investigations by federal law-enforcement and U.S. intelligence agencies in several high-profile cases. The Tor Project has confirmed this report in a statement after being contacted by the Daily Dot, "It has come to out attention that Matt Edman, who worked with the Tor Project until 2009, subsequently was employed by a defense contractor working for the FBI to develop anti-Tor malware." Maybe Tor users will now be less likely to anonymously check Facebook each month...



There Will Be a Huge New 'Panama Papers' Data Dump - Wed Apr 27 22:10:18 2016

An anonymous reader writes: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said in an email that on May 9 it would "publish what will likely be the largest-ever release of information about secret offshore companies and the people behind them," based on data from the Panama Papers investigation. "The searchable database will include information about more than 200,000 companies, trusts, foundations, and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States." The ICIJ said in the email, "The impact of Panama Papers has been epic." The investigation has caused Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to resign following revelations about his personal finances. It has caused Putin to point fingers at the West, accusing the U.S. of trying to weaken Russia. It has even created drama in the UK with calls for Prime Minister David Cameron to resign after his connections to offshore companies became evident. In addition, the ICIJ said, "[The Panama Papers investigation] sparked a new sense of urgency among lawmakers and regulators to close loopholes and make information about the owners of shell companies public."



Half Of Americans Think Presidential Nominating System 'Rigged' - Wed Apr 27 21:28:50 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Huffington Post: More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is "rigged" and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed. The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties -- a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair. The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway. Just the other day, a poll was conducted by Harvard University showing a majority of young people do not support capitalism. Are the times they are a changin' or are people starting to wake up?



Uber's New Policy Fines Riders Who Are Two Minutes Late - Wed Apr 27 20:45:58 2016

Uber says it has revised some of its policies to better compensate its drivers. As part of which, the company is testing charging customers a fee if they make a driver wait for more than two minutes (current waiting time is five minutes). Furthermore, the taxi aggregator says it is changing the ride cancellation grace period from five minutes to two minutes, adding that the fees can range from $5 to $10, depending on your city. Our very own Logan Abbott aka Whipslash faced this issue today. Though he tells us that the company refunded his money after he emailed and filed a complaint. The Verge reports:The feature was built in response to drivers' complaints about waiting for passengers, Uber said. In a statement released to The Verge and TechCrunch, Uber noted that these updated terms would ensure that "the whole system runs more smoothly and the Uber experience improves for everyone." Reduced wait times and the ability to charge for idle time, as well as compensation if riders cancel after two minutes, obviously benefit drivers, earning them a few extra dollars and allowing them to move onto the next fare sooner. But how this will make the passenger experience smoother is unclear. Traffic, wrong turns, and faulty GPS all contribute to making pick-up times unreliable. This can leave passengers out in the cold, waiting for drivers to arrive. Uber explained that if a driver is more than five minutes late for an estimated arrival, users can cancel the ride with no penalty.


Intel Declares Independence From PC, Prioritizes Cloud, IoT and 5G Efforts - Wed Apr 27 20:13:53 2016

A week after announcing 12,000 job cuts, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has shared vision for the company, hinting a shift in its prime focus away from PC business. In a blog post, Krzanich said that the company will be actively growing its data center business. The chip maker also plans to focus on chips and technologies for IoT devices. "The biggest opportunity in the Internet of Things is that it encompasses just about everything in our lives today-- it's ubiquitous," Krzanich said. The company also plans to boost its memory chips business and make a push towards utilizing them in data centers and various cloud services. Intel said that it has made several investments in this field, noting the $16 billion acquisition of Altera last year. The company says it will be playing a big role in the move to 5G connectivity. "Connectivity is fundamental to every one of the cloud-to-thing segments we will drive," he writes.

Over the years, Intel has failed to keep up with Moore's Law, an axiom that semiconductor density will double about every two years. The company previously extended the timeframe to 2.5 years, but Krzanich assures customers that the they are working to make further advances in order to meet the goal. "Moore's Law is fundamentally a law of economics, and Intel will confidently continue to harness its value," Krzanich said. PCWorld has extensively reported on this.


Intel Declares Independence From PC, Prioritizes Cloud, IoT and 5G Efforts - Wed Apr 27 20:03:01 2016

A week after announcing 12,000 job cuts, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has shared vision for the company, hinting a shift in its prime focus away from PC business. In a blog post, Krzanich said that the company will be actively growing its data center business. The chip maker also plans to focus on chips and technologies for IoT devices. "The biggest opportunity in the Internet of Things is that it encompasses just about everything in our lives today-- it's ubiquitous," Krzanich said. The company also plans to boost its memory chips business and make a push towards utilizing them in data centers and various cloud services. Intel said that it has made several investments in this field, noting the $16 billion acquisition of Altera last year. The company says it will be playing a big role in the move to 5G connectivity. "Connectivity is fundamental to every one of the cloud-to-thing segments we will drive," he writes.

Over the years, Intel has failed to keep up with Moore's Law, an axiom that semiconductor density will double about every two years. The company previously extended the timeframe to 2.5 years, but Krzanich assures customers that the they are working to make further advance in order to meet the goal. "Moore's Law is fundamentally a law of economics, and Intel will confidently continue to harness its value," Krzanich said. PCWorld has extensively reported on this.


German Nuclear Plant Infected With Computer Virus - Wed Apr 27 19:21:11 2016

archatheist shares a Reuters report: A nuclear power plant in Germany has been found to be infected with computer viruses, but they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility's operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station's operator said on Tuesday. The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE. The viruses, which include "W32.Ramnit" and "Conficker", were discovered at Gundremmingen's B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualization software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.



Smartphone Shipments Flat For the First Time, Says IDC - Wed Apr 27 18:49:33 2016

An anonymous reader writes: Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 334.9 million smartphones worldwide last quarter. This figure is up just 0.2 percent from the 334.3 million units in Q1 2015, marking the smallest year-over-year growth on record. We saw hints of this in yesterday's Apple earnings report, when the company reported an iPhone sales drop for the first time. Despite the poor state of the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung continues to dominate. In Q1 2016, the South Korean company once again shipped more smartphones than any other vendor.


India Makes It Compulsory For Phones To Have a 'Panic Button' - Wed Apr 27 18:06:36 2016

Reader itwbennett writes: Starting in January 2017, all feature phones sold in India will need to have a panic button that will alert "police, designated friends and relatives, for immediate response in case of distress or security related issues," said Minister of Communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Twitter late Tuesday. The measure is one of many responses by the Indian government to the growing women safety issues in the country. Furthermore, starting in January 2018, mobile phones will also be required to have GPS systems to help pinpoint the location of the affected person in the event of harassment or distress, said Prasad.Mashable has more details.



SpaceX Intends To Send a Red Dragon To Mars As Early As 2018 - Wed Apr 27 17:33:01 2016

Reader MarkWhittington writes: SpaceX has announced that it intends to send a version of its Dragon spacecraft, called "Red Dragon," to Mars as early as 2018. The mission, to be launched on top of a Falcon Heavy rocket, would be the first to another planet conducted by a commercial enterprise. The flight of the Red Dragon would be the beginning of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's long-term dream of building a settlement on Mars.Ars Technica reports: According to the company, these initial test missions will help demonstrate the technologies needed to land large payloads propulsively on Mars. This series of missions, to be launched on the company's not-yet-completed Falcon Heavy rocket, will provide key data for SpaceX as the company develops an overall plan to send humans to the Red Planet to colonize Mars. One of the biggest challenges in landing on Mars is the fact that its atmosphere is so thin it provides little braking capacity. To land the 900kg Curiosity rover on Mars, NASA had to devise the complicated sky crane system that led to its "Seven Minutes of Terror." A Dragon would weigh much more, perhaps about 6,000kg. To solve this problem, SpaceX plans to use an upgraded spacecraft, a Dragon2 powered by eight SuperDraco engines, to land using propulsion.



Chinese Security Robot Draws Dalek, Terminator Comparisons - Wed Apr 27 16:50:25 2016

An anonymous reader writes: China's first "intelligent security robot," which reportedly includes an "electrically charged riot control tool" and an SOS button for people to notify police, has been compared to the killer Dalek from Doctor Who after being shown off at a tech fair. Intelligence agency whistleblower Edward Snowden shared the news on Twitter with the caption: "Surely this will end well." The robot, unveiled at the 12th Chongqing Hi-Tech Fair, is 1.49 metres tall, weighs 78 kilograms, has a claimed top speed of 18 kilometres per hour and an operating duration of eight hours between charges, according to a report by People's Daily Online. Dubbed AnBot, it was built by the National Defence University in China and has "sensors that mimic the human brain, eyes and ears." The report said AnBot represented breakthroughs in "key technologies including low-cost autonomous navigation and intelligent video analysis" and would play an important role in anti-terrorism and anti-riot operations. AnBot has an SOS button for people to use to notify police of a problem, but it is unclear what criteria AnBot uses to assess threats autonomously.



Federal Judge Rules Amazon Must Refund Parents Duped By In-App Purchases - Wed Apr 27 16:07:01 2016

An anonymous reader shares a Gizmodo report: A federal judge has ruled Amazon is liable for billing unwitting parents after their children made unauthorized charges in apps. The court will decide exactly how much money Amazon owes customers in the coming months. The federal judge's decision asserts that Amazon received several complaints from customers about in-app purchases that they were unaware of, mostly incurred by children. The decision points out that Amazon promoted apps as free but failed to inform parents about in-app charges that could be incurred.



Nintendo's Mysterious 'NX' Gaming Platform To Be Launched In March 2017 - Wed Apr 27 15:35:57 2016

Nintendo has announced that its next gaming platform -- codenamed NX -- will launch worldwide on March 2017. "For our dedicated video game platform, Nintendo is currently developing a gaming platform codenamed 'NX' with a brand-new concept," the gaming console company said while announcing its annual results. PCWorld reports:Nintendo is placing big bets on NX. The company will continue to offer games for smartphone devices, a strategy it has started executing on, but its core business focus will be on what it describes as its "software-led hardware-software integrated business." [...] For the fiscal year ended March 31, the company sold 6.8 million units of the portable Nintendo 3DS hardware and over 48.5 million units of 3DS software. Global sales of the Wii U hardware and software were 3.26 million and 27.4 million units respectively.



After Netflix Crackdown On Border-Hopping, Canadians Ready To Return To Piracy - Wed Apr 27 14:53:01 2016

An anonymous reader shares an article on CBCNews: Many Canadians are enraged by Netflix's declared war on cross-border watchers, who skirt the company's rules by sneaking across virtual borders to stream Netflix shows and movies restricted to other countries. Sometimes it's hard to be satisfied with Netflix Canada's library when our American neighbours have, it's estimated, access to almost double the content. But this big and bold clampdown may backfire -- at least in Canada. Turns out, Canadians are big pirates at heart. Apparently, we feel somewhat entitled to download illegal content when we don't have cheap and easy access. Instead of shelling out $10 for a Netflix subscription, some people now may opt to pay nothing at all to get what they want.



Wikipedia Is Basically a Corporate Bureaucracy, Says Study - Wed Apr 27 14:09:16 2016

Jennifer Ouellette, reporting for Gizmodo: Wikipedia is a voluntary organization dedicated to the noble goal of decentralized knowledge creation. But as the community has evolved over time, it has wandered further and further from its early egalitarian ideals, according to a new paper published in the journal Future Internet. In fact, such systems usually end up looking a lot like 20th-century bureaucracies. [...] This may seem surprising, since there is no policing authority on Wikipedia -- no established top-down means of control. The community is self-governing, relying primarily on social pressure to enforce the established core norms, according to co-author Simon DeDeo, a complexity scientist at Indiana University. [...] "You start with a decentralized democratic system, but over time you get the emergence of a leadership class with privileged access to information and social networks," DeDeo explained. "Their interests begin to diverge from the rest of the group. They no longer have the same needs and goals. So not only do they come to gain the most power within the system, but they may use it in ways that conflict with the needs of everybody else.""The Iron Law of Oligarchy, demonstrated by Wikipedia," wrote Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at Caltech. "Rebel all you want, ultimately you become The Establishment."



Report: Comcast In Talks To Buy DreamWorks For $3 Billion - Wed Apr 27 13:15:45 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: Comcast is in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation in a multi-billion-dollar deal, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are reporting. The cost of the deal would be more than $3 billion, according to both news organizations, citing unnamed sources. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, has been searching for a buyer for the company, which has a current market value of $2.3 billion. DreamWorks is based in Glendale, Calif., and was founded in 1994 by Katzenberg, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and movie and music executive David Geffen. The animation unit was spun off in 2004. Philadelphia-based Comcast has two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast also owns Universal Parks and Resorts. Comcast already owns an animation studio, Illumination Entertainment, known for its work on the Despicable Me and Minions movies.



A Complete Guide To The New 'Crypto Wars' - Wed Apr 27 10:11:53 2016

blottsie writes: The latest debate over encryption did not begin with a court order demanding Apple help the FBI unlock a dead terrorist's iPhone. The new "Crypto Wars," chronicled in a comprehensive timeline by Eric Geller of the Daily Dot, dates back to at least 2003, with the introduction of "Patriot Act II." The battle over privacy and personal security versus crime-fighting and national security has, however, become a mainstream debate in recent months. The timeline covers a wide-range of incidents where the U.S. and other allied governments have tried to restrict citizens' access to strong encryption. The timeline ends with the director of national intelligence blaming NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for advancing the spread of user-friendly, widely available strong encryption.



A Majority Of Millennials Now Reject Capitalism, Poll Shows - Wed Apr 27 07:02:31 2016

A new poll shows that a majority of young people do not support capitalism. The study was conducted by Harvard University, which polled young adults ages 18-29. It found that 51 percent of those polled rejected capitalism, that is to say, they did not support it. Only 42 percent said they support capitalism -- there was a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points. When asked what alternative system they would prefer, there wasn't a clear winner. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. When talking about politics or economics, it can get complicated and the poll does little to shed light on what parts of capitalism young people dislike or what parts of socialism young people like. It does appear to suggest young people are frustrated with the status quo and are more focused on the flaws of free markets.



Millions Of Waze Users Can Have Their Movements Tracked By Hackers - Wed Apr 27 03:20:09 2016

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fusion: Researchers at the University of California-Santa Barbara recently discovered a Waze vulnerability that allowed them to create thousands of "ghost drivers" that can monitor the drivers around them -- an exploit that could be used to track Waze users in real-time. Here's how the exploit works. Waze's servers communicate with phones using an SSL encrypted connection, a security precaution meant to ensure that Waze's computers are really talking to a Waze app on someone's smartphone. Zhao and his graduate students discovered they could intercept that communication by getting the phone to accept their own computer as a go-between in the connection. Once in between the phone and the Waze servers, they could reverse-engineer the Waze protocol, learning the language that the Waze app uses to talk to Waze's back-end app servers. With that knowledge in hand, the team was able to write a program that issued commands directly to Waze servers, allowing the researchers to populate the Waze system with thousands of "ghost cars" -- cars that could cause a fake traffic jam or, because Waze is a social app where drivers broadcast their locations, monitor all the drivers around them. You can read the full paper detailing the researchers' findings here. Is there a solution to not being tracked? Yes. If you're a Waze user, you can set the app to invisible mode. However, Waze turns off invisible mode every time you restart the app so beware.