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Source for technology related news with a heavy slant towards Linux and Open Source issues.



Walmart's Amazon Prime Competitor Will Launch This Month  

Amazon may have a 15-year head start, but Walmart is close to finally unveiling its own membership program that it hopes will eventually become an alternative to Amazon Prime. From a report: Walmart plans to launch a new subscription service later this month called Walmart+ that will cost $98 a year. It will include perks like same-day delivery of groceries and general merchandise, discounts on fuel at Walmart gas stations, and early access to product deals, multiple sources told Recode. Walmart

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2020-07-07 19:25:00



Why Time Feels So Weird in 2020  

Some days seem to pass very slowly while some weeks, and even months, fly by. A set of simple perception tests illustrate some factors that can distort our sense of time. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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2020-07-07 18:45:00



Billionaire-Backed Code.org Received $1-2 Million Federal PPP Loan  

theodp writes: Code.org's $10+ million "Diamond" supporters include Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Infosys. Its $3+ million "Platinum" supporters include Google, the Gates Foundation, and the Ballmer Group. And its $1+ million "Gold" supporters include Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, the world's two richest men. So, it was somewhat surprising to see the nonprofit -- which is dedicated to pushing CS into K-12 classrooms -- pop up on the list of Seattle-area tech companies that received a PPP loan fr

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2020-07-07 18:05:00



US is 'Looking at' Banning TikTok and Chinese Social Media Apps, Pompeo Says  

The U.S. is "looking at" banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News. From a report: His comments come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China and as scrutiny on TikTok and Chinese technology firms continues to grow. When asked in a Fox News interview if the U.S. should be looking at banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, Pompeo said: "We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it. We have worked on thi

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2020-07-07 17:28:00



Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro Tests Positive for Covid-19 After Months of Dismissing the Seriousness of the Virus  

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19, following months of downplaying the virus. From a report: Bolsonaro himself announced the result, speaking on Brazilian TV channels Tuesday. "Everyone knew that it would reach a considerable part of the population sooner or later. It was positive for me," he said, referring to the Covid-19 test he took Monday. "On Sunday, I wasn't feeling very well. On Monday, it got worse when I started feeling tired and some muscle pain. I al

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2020-07-07 16:46:00



Microsoft Seizes Six Domains Used in COVID-19 Phishing Operations  

Microsoft has obtained a court order this month allowing the company to seize control of six domains that were used in phishing operations against Office 365 customers, including in campaigns that leveraged COVID-19 lures. From a report: According to court documents obtained by ZDNet, Microsoft has targeted a two-person phishing operation that has been targeting the company's customers since December 2019. The duo operated by sending emails to companies that hosted email servers and enterprise i

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2020-07-07 16:07:00



Microsoft Exec Peggy Johnson Joins Troubled Augmented Reality Startup Magic Leap as CEO  

Microsoft executive Peggy Johnson will join Magic Leap as CEO in August, the startup announced Tuesday. From a report: Johnson joins the augmented reality start-up after leading Microsoft's M&A strategy and launching its venture fund as executive vice president of business development. She was hired by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in 2014 after a 24-year career at Qualcomm, where she worked in several roles, including running the internet services unit. At Microsoft, Johnson was a member of t

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2020-07-07 15:33:00



Alphabet's Loon Launches Its Balloon-Powered Kenyan Internet Service  

Alphabet's Loon has officially begun operating its commercial internet service in Kenya. This is the first large-scale commercial offering that makes use of Loon's high-altitude balloons, which essentially work as cell service towers that drift on currents in the Earth's upper atmosphere. From a report: Loon's Kenyan service is offered in partnership with local telecom provider Telkom Kenya, and provides cellular service through their network to an area covering roughly 50,000 square kilometres

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2020-07-07 14:43:00



Big Tech Faceoff With China Risks Sparking Exodus From Hong Kong  

Facebook, Google and Twitter -- all of which are blocked in the mainland -- are now headed toward a showdown with China that could end up making Hong Kong feel more like Beijing. From a report: Hours after Hong Kong announced sweeping new powers to police the internet on Monday night, those companies plus the likes of Microsoft and Zoom all suspended requests for data from the Hong Kong government. ByteDance's TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from the

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2020-07-07 14:03:00



US Online Grocery Sales Hit Record $7.2 Billion In June  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Despite the slow reopening of the U.S. economy over the past several weeks, online grocery shopping is continuing to reach ever-higher numbers as Americans seem to be in no rush to return to the store. According to new research released today by Brick Meets Click and Mercatus, U.S. online grocery sales hit a record $7.2 billion in June, up 9% over May, as 45.6 million households turned to online grocery pickup and delivery services for a large

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2020-07-07 13:00:00



Hackers Are Exploiting a 5-Alarm Bug In Networking Equipment  

Andy Greenberg writes via Wired: Late last week, government agencies, including the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team and Cyber Command, sounded the alarm about a particularly nasty vulnerability in a line of BIG-IP products sold by F5. The agencies recommended security professionals immediately implement a patch to protect the devices from hacking techniques that could fully take control of the networking equipment, offering access to all the traffic they touch and a foothold for

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2020-07-07 10:00:00



Moon's Metal-Rich Craters Challenge Popular Theories About Its Origin  

schwit1 shares a report from UPI: The most popular theory of the moon's origins contends the satellite was formed when a Mars-sized object collided with Earth, vaporizing large portions of Earth's upper crust. While Earth's upper crust is poor in metals, new research -- published Wednesday in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters -- suggests the moon's subsurface is surprisingly metal-rich, undermining the satellite's proposed origin story. Authors of the new study suggest planetary sc

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2020-07-07 07:00:00



Giant Flywheel Project In Scotland Could Prevent UK Blackouts  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A giant flywheel in north-east Scotland could soon help to prevent blackouts across Britain by mimicking the effect of a power station but without using fossil fuels. The trailblazing project near Keith in Moray, thought to cost about 25 million British pounds, will not generate electricity or produce carbon emissions -- but it could help keep the lights on by stabilizing the energy grid's electrical frequency. The Norwegian energy company S

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2020-07-07 03:30:00



Microsoft's Next Xbox Series X Game Showcase Coming July 23  

Microsoft will be holding its next Xbox Games Showcase on July 23, the company announced today. Ars Technica reports: Unlike Microsoft's May promotional event, which focused on third-party launch titles for the upcoming console, the July 23 event is expected to discuss first-party exclusives from Microsoft's own Xbox Game Studios. That likely includes new footage of Halo Infinite, which saw a new teaser trailer a few weeks ago. That lineup of first-party studios now includes Psychonauts 2 develo

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2020-07-07 01:30:00



New H.266 VCC Codec Up To 50% More Efficient Than Previous Standard  

The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute on Tuesday announced the H.266 Versatile Video Coding codec, which will power more data-efficient video capture and transmission on future iPhones. AppleInsider reports: Apple adopted the predecessor to the new codec, H.265/HEVC, in iOS 11. The updated video codec, which was developed after years of research and standardization, will bring a number of tangible benefits to future iPhone users. In its announcement, the Fraunhofer HHI said that H.266 will red

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2020-07-07 00:50:00



Microsoft Is Interested In Acquiring Warner Bros. Gaming Unit  

According to a new report from The Information, Microsoft is interested in bidding on Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which is currently a division of AT&T. From a report: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, or WB Games, is known for publishing the "Batman: Arkham" series, "Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor," many "Lego" and "Harry Potter" games, "Mortal Kombat," and "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt." The unit consists of game-development studios in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. AT&T a

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2020-07-07 00:30:00



How Google Docs Became the Social Media of the Resistance  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: In just the last week, Google Docs has emerged as a way to share everything from lists of books on racism to templates for letters to family members and representatives to lists of funds and resources that are accepting donations. Shared Google Docs that anyone can view and anyone can edit, anonymously, have become a valuable tool for grassroots organizing during both the coronavirus pandemic and the police brutality protests sweepi

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2020-07-07 00:10:00



Foreign Students Must Leave the US If Their Universities Transition To Online-Only Learning  

ugen shares a report from Reuters: Foreign students must leave the United States if their school's classes this fall will be taught completely online or transfer to another school with in-person instruction, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced on Monday. It was not immediately clear how many student visa holders would be affected by the move, but foreign students are a key source of revenue for many U.S. universities as they often pay full tuition. ICE said it wou

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2020-07-06 23:34:00



PlayStation's Secret Weapon: A Nearly All-Automated Factory  

According to Nikkei Asian Review, much of the PlayStation's success can be attributed to an unassuming factory in Japan that is almost entirely operated by robots. From the report: On the outskirts of Kisarazu, a large, white building towers over an otherwise suburban landscape. Once inside, visitors are greeted by the whirring of motors as dozens of robots seamlessly churn out PlayStation 4 consoles. Just a few humans were present to deal with a handful of tasks -- two to feed bare motherboards

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2020-07-06 22:50:00



Fujitsu Announces Permanent Work-From-Home Plan  

Technology firm Fujitsu announced a new "Work Life Shift" program that will offer unprecedented flexibility to its 80,000 workers in Japan. "Staff will be able to work flexible hours, and working from home will be standard wherever possible," reports the BBC. From the report: In a statement sent to the BBC, Fujitsu said it "will introduce a new way of working that promises a more empowering, productive, and creative experience for employees that will boost innovation and deliver new value to its

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2020-07-06 22:10:00



Supreme Court Upholds Cellphone Robocall Ban  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Associated Press: The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a 1991 law that bars robocalls to cellphones. The case, argued by telephone in May because of the coronavirus pandemic, only arose after Congress in 2015 created an exception in the law that allowed the automated calls for collection of government debt. Political consultants and pollsters were among those who asked the Supreme Court to strike down the entire 1991 law that bars them from making roboc

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2020-07-06 21:30:00



Broadband's Underused Lifeline For Low-income Users  

The federal government's main program to keep lower income people connected is only serving one-fifth of the people it could help, even during a pandemic that has forced school and work online. From a report: Millions of Americans still lack access to the high-speed internet service that's become vital as people remain stuck at home and reopenings reverse. The Lifeline program, administered by the Federal Communications Commission, provides a $9.25 monthly subsidy (more on tribal lands) to compa

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2020-07-06 20:50:00



Facial-Recognition Firm Ends Operations in Canada, Watchdog Says  

Canada's privacy watchdog said facial recognition software provider Clearview AI will no longer offer its services in the country, suspending a contract with its last remaining client, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. From a report: The move comes almost five months after privacy authorities at the federal level and in three provinces launched an investigation into the New York-based firm over allegations it collected personal information without consent and provided data to law enforcement. T

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2020-07-06 20:21:00



China Confirms Case of Bubonic Plague In Inner Mongolia  

China has confirmed one case of bubonic plague in northern province Inner Mongolia, according to a statement on the local health authority's website. From a report: The patient is now under treatment at a hospital and is in a stable condition, the Bayannur health commission said in a late Sunday night statement. It also issued a level-three alert, warning of the risks of human-to-human infection and urging citizens to report dead animals, suspected plague cases and patients running a fever for u

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2020-07-06 20:12:00



DNA Inherited From Neanderthals May Increase Risk of Covid-19  

A stretch of DNA linked to Covid-19 was passed down from Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, according to a new study. From a report: Scientists don't yet know why this particular segment increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. But the new findings, which were posted online on Friday and have not yet been published in a scientific journal, show how some clues to modern health stem from ancient history. "This interbreeding effect that happened 60,000 years ago is still having an imp

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2020-07-06 19:35:00



Harvard Will Allow Some Students on Campus This Fall So Long as They Take Coronavirus Tests Every 3 Days  

Harvard University is welcoming freshmen and some other students back to campus this fall semester, but students will have to take coronavirus tests every three days, classes will still be taught online and it won't discount tuition, the school announced Monday. From a report: Upperclassmen will be able to petition to return if they don't have sufficient technology at home or have challenging family circumstances. The total percentage of undergraduates living on campus would be limited to around

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2020-07-06 18:44:00



Hong Kong Government Tells Schools To Remove Books Breaching Security Law  

Hong Kong's government on Monday ordered schools to review and remove any books that might breach a sweeping new security law that Beijing imposed last week on the restless city. From a report: "In accordance with the four types of offences clearly stipulated in the law, the school management and teachers should review teaching and learning materials in a timely manner, including books," the Education Bureau said. "If they find outdated content or content that may concern the four aforementioned

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2020-07-06 18:05:00



US Secret Service Reports an Increase in Hacked Managed Service Providers  

The US Secret Service sent out a security alert last month to the US private sector and government organizations warning about an increase in hacks of managed service providers (MSPs). From a report: MSPs provide remote management software for companies. MSPs can be simple services like file-sharing systems to complete solutions that manage a customer's entire computer fleet. Most MSP services are built around a server-client software architecture. The server part can be remotely hosted with the

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2020-07-06 17:27:00



US Tech Giants Halt Reviews of Hong Kong Demands For User Data  

Facebook and Twitter have confirmed they have suspended processing demands for user data from Hong Kong authorities following the introduction of a new Beijing-imposed national security law. From a report: A spokesperson for Facebook told TechCrunch it will "pause" the processing of data demands until it can better understand the new national security law, "including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts." The spokesperson added: "We believe freedom of exp

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2020-07-06 16:45:00



The Stunning Second Life of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'  

A fifteen-year-old cartoon is an unlikely contender for most-watched show in America. And yet when "Avatar: The Last Airbender" arrived on Netflix, in May, it rose through the ranks to become the platform's No. 1 offering, and even now it remains a fixture in the Top Ten for the U.S. From a report: The series first ran from 2005 to 2008 on Nickelodeon, and swiftly made a name for itself as a politically resonant, emotionally sophisticated work -- one with a sprawling but meticulously plotted myt

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2020-07-06 16:22:00



Next-gen Games May Cost $70. It's Overdue, But Also Worrisome.  

For years, it was long believed that $60 is the only price that the U.S. games market could bear (and they're often more expensive in international markets). But industry leaders and journalists have questioned the stubborn stickiness of the sticker price in recent years. And the last three years saw an explosion of varying price tiers, anywhere from free (like "Fortnite") to monthly subscription services, like Apple Arcade and Xbox Game Pass. And much of the industry's total game sales are digi

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2020-07-06 15:21:00



BMW is Going All-in On In-car Microtransactions  

BMW has detailed an overhaul to the digital systems that power its luxury vehicles, including a new map and navigation system, a revamped digital assistant, a "digital key" (first shown off at Apple's annual developer conference last month), and wireless Android Auto. But the most interesting thing BMW shared about the changes is that the company is going all-in on in-car microtransactions. From a report: Cars are more full of computers and software than ever before, which has made it possible f

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2020-07-06 14:40:00



Uber Agrees To Buy Food-Delivery Service Postmates for $2.65 Billion in Stock  

Uber has bought food-delivery service Postmates for $2.65 billion in stock, the companies announced Monday. From a report: The deal brings together the fourth-largest U.S. food delivery service with Uber Eats, which trails only DoorDash in market share, according to Second Measure and Edison Trends. The companies said Uber intends to keep the Postmates app running separately, "supported by a more efficient, combined merchant and delivery network." Uber previously was in the running to buy rival

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2020-07-06 14:00:00



Venture Capitalists' Critiques of Journalism Secretly Leaked to Journalists  

A confrontation between venture capitalists and journalists has been slowly playing out on Twitter — and in an incendiary article on VICE US. It started when... A luggage startup's co-CEO complained on Instagram about young reporters who "forgo their personal ethics." A New York Times reporter called the posts "incoherent" and "disappointing." Angel investor Balaji S. Srinivasa (also the former CTO of Coinbase) later said the reporter "attacked" the co-CEO, who he then needed to de

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2020-07-06 10:34:00



Political Protests Are Now Happening in Videogames  

Business Insider reports that some players are adapting their avatars in the game world of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the real world: In "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," players are creating customized signs and clothing for their game characters that say "BLM" and depict symbols of "No justice, no peace...." Anyone with access to a Nintendo Online account can host an online protest in the game; one such virtual protest was held on

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2020-07-06 07:34:00



Tesla to Make Molecule Printers for Gates-Backed Vaccine Developer  

Tesla is building mobile molecule printers to produce a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed in Germany by CureVac, reports Reuters: CureVac, an unlisted German company, has said it is developing portable, automated mRNA production units that it calls printers and which Musk described as "RNA microfactories". They are being designed to be shipped to remote locations, where they can churn out its vaccine candidate and other mRNA-based therapies depending on the recipe fed into the machin

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2020-07-06 04:04:00



Why Apple Stopped Updating Over 15,000 Games in China's App Store  

Apple "has faced mounting pressure from the Chinese government in recent weeks to comply with local regulations, including that all games show proof of a government granted license," writes Engadget. And now it's finally come to a head, CNBC reports: Apple has blocked updates on tens of thousands of revenue-generating iPhone games on its App Store in China amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, according to a report from The Financial Times... There are currently around 60,0

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2020-07-06 01:34:00



Amazon Stops Selling 'Active Content' Games in Kindle Reader's Store  

Once upon a time, you could play Scrabble on your black-and-white Kindle readers. Or chess or sudoko, or even solve New York Times Crossword Puzzles. Amazon's Kindle Store had included 500 slick Java-based "Active Content" downloads... Electronic Arts even produced Kindle-specific versions of Monopoly, Yahtzee, and Battleship, while Amazon created original games with titles like Every Word and Pirate Stash — and even a choose-your-own-adventure game named Dusk World. Amazon soon move

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2020-07-05 23:30:00



Hundreds of Armed US Counter-Protesters Fall for 'Apparent Hoax'  

Yesterday as America celebrated its Independence Day, the Washington Post reports something unusual happened at the historic Civil War battefield at Gettysburg: For weeks, a mysterious figure on social media talked up plans for antifa protesters to converge on this historical site on Independence Day to burn American flags, an event that seemed at times to border on the farcical... There would be antifa face paint, the person wrote, and organizers would "be giving away free small flags to ch

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2020-07-05 22:00:00



Woman Who Harassed Starbucks Barista Now Wants Half the Money He Raised  

destinyland writes: Amber Lynn Gilles walked into a Starbucks without a mask, later complaining on Facebook about the server who'd asked her to wear one. ("Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption!") She says she's surprised by the attention "my little review" attracted. A GoFundMe campaign supporting the Starbucks barista who had to deal with her has now raised $105,450. So she now says she wants at least half of that money, "because they're using me to get it." She compla

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2020-07-05 21:03:00



Chrome Experimental Feature Will Throttle Javascript-Timer Wakeups on Backgrounded Tabs  

Slashdot reader techtsp writes: Starting with October's release of Chrome 86, the web browser will offer a way to limit JavaScript timer wake ups in background web pages to one wake up per minute, restricting the execution of certain background tasks — for example, checking if the scroll position changed, reporting logs, and analyzing interactions with ads. Google plans to achieve this courtesy of a new experimental feature called "Throttle Javascript timers in background." Google rece

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2020-07-05 19:54:00



How Crowdfunding Transformed Tabletop Board Games  

The board game Frosthaven has become Kickstarter's "most-funded board game on the site ever, with nearly $13 million pledged toward funding the game's development," reports NPR. "Only two projects have ever crowdsourced more funding on the site." NPR sees a larger trend: Frosthaven's success seemed to exemplify a shift that has been happening in the tabletop gaming community for years: toward games that are not only focused on strategy and adventure, but also a new type of funding model whe

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2020-07-05 18:43:00



Is Slashdot the Answer to Facebook's Fake News Problem?  

David Collier-Brown led the Sun Microsystems Canada team specializing in performance and capacity planning. He later becoming a consulting systems programmer and performance engineer, as well as an O'Reilly author (co-authoring the 2003 book Using Samba). He's also davecb, Slashdot reader #6,526, and today submitted a story headlined "Slashdot is the answer to Facebook's 'fake news' problem." "OK, not the whole answer, but I argue that /. is part of a defense in depth against the propagation o

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2020-07-05 17:34:00



Linus Torvalds Likes His New AMD Threadripper System  

This week Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel re-created their keynote conversation for a special all-virtual edition of the Open Source Summit and Embedded Linux Conference North America. ZDNet reports: While COVID-19 has slowed down many technologies, while speeding up other tech developments, it hasn't affected Linux development much at all. "None of my co-developers have been hugely impacted either. I was worried for a while because one of our developers was offline for a month or two.... [But,

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2020-07-05 16:34:00



200 Scientists Say WHO Ignores the Risk That Coronavirus 'Aerosols' Float in the Air  

"Six months into a pandemic that has killed over half a million people, more than 200 scientists from around the world are challenging the official view of how the coronavirus spreads," reports the Los Angeles Times: The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain that you have to worry about only two types of transmission: inhaling respiratory droplets from an infected person in your immediate vicinity or — less common — touching a c

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2020-07-05 15:34:00



Ask Slashdot: Could We Not Use DNS For a Certificate Revocation Mechanism?  

Long-time Slashdot reader dhammabum writes: As reported in the recent slashdot story, starting in September we system admins will be forced into annually updating TLS certificates because of a decision by Apple, abetted by Google and Mozilla. Supposedly this measure somewhat rectifies the current ineffective certificate revocation list system by limiting the use of compromised certificates to one year... But in an attempt to prevent this pathetic measure, could we instead use DNS to replace t

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2020-07-05 14:34:00



Body Cam with Military Police Footage Sold on Ebay  

"A security researcher was able to access files on a Axon body-worn camera he purchased from eBay that had video files of Fort Huachuca Military Police officers conducting investigations and filling out paperwork," reports the Arizona Mirror: The files were able to be extracted after the researcher, who goes by KF on Twitter, was able to remove a microSD card from the body-worn camera. KF was then able to extract the un-encrypted files, which were not protected by a password, using a tool cal

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2020-07-05 13:34:00



The WHO Announces End of Its Testing of Hydroxychloroquine  

"The World Health Organization announced Saturday that it discontinued its trial on hydroxychloroquine's effect on COVID-19 patients in hospitals," reports UPI: WHO said in a statement that it accepted a recommendation from the Solidarity Trial's International Steering Committee that it stop the testing of the drug. The decision to cease the trial came after interim trial results showed that the anti-malaria drug had little or no reduction in mortality of patients hospitalized for the novel c

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2020-07-05 11:15:00



Study Finds Hydroxychloroquine May Have Boosted Survival. Other Researchers Have Doubts  

"A surprising new study found the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine helped patients better survive in the hospital," reports CNN. "But the findings, like the federal government's use of the drug itself, were disputed." A team at Henry Ford Health System in southeast Michigan said Thursday their study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that those given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die. Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health

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2020-07-05 09:04:00



Rocket Lab Loses Seven Satellites After 'Something Went Wrong'  

An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica: On Sunday morning, local time in New Zealand, Rocket Lab launched its 13th mission. The booster's first stage performed normally, but just as the second stage neared an altitude of 200km, something went wrong and the vehicle was lost... "We lost the flight late into the mission," said Peter Beck, the company's founder and chief executive, on Twitter. "I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today. Rest assured we will

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2020-07-05 05:49:00



Starting Soon: A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse  

"If your family's Fourth of July fireworks plans are up in smoke because of the pandemic, watch the sky for a lunar eclipse instead," reports CNN. It begins in just 5 minutes -- and then lasts for two hours and 45 minutes: On July 4, just after 11 p.m. ET, the moon will begin its temporary new look. For exactly two hours and 45 minutes, the moon will pass through the feathered outer shadow cast from Earth, creating a partial penumbral lunar eclipse. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs wh

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2020-07-05 03:02:00



Stanford Economist Predicts Working-From-Home Continues, City Centers Decline  

The new "working-from-home economy" will likely continue after the pandemic, predicts Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, in an article shared by Slashdot reader schwit1. Bloom cites results from several nationwide surveys he's conducted: We see an incredible 42 percent of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time. About another 33 percent are not working — a testament to the savage impact of the lockdown recession. And the remaining 26 percent — mostly essential servi

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2020-07-05 01:04:00



US Senate Amends EARN IT Act -- To Let States Restrict Encryption  

Long-time Slashdot reader stikves reminded us that a committee in the U.S. Senate passed an amended version of the "EARN IT" act on Thursday. And this new version could do more than just end personal end-to-end encryption, warns Engadget: The other major concern opponents of the EARN IT Act raise has to do with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says that companies are not liable for much of the content that users post. Originally, the EARN IT Act proposed requiring that com

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2020-07-04 23:04:00



Microsoft Released an Emergency Security Update to Fix Two Bugs in Windows Codecs  

Tuesday Microsoft published two out-of-band security updates to patch two vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows Codecs Library, reports ZDNet: Tracked as CVE-2020-1425 & CVE-2020-1457, the two bugs only impact Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 distributions... Microsoft said the two security flaws can be exploited with the help of a specially crafted image file. If the malformed images are opened inside apps that utilize the built-in Windows Codecs Library to handle multimedia content,

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2020-07-04 21:34:00



Divers Find Evidence of Prehistoric Mining Operation in North America  

Iwastheone shared this article from CBS News: Experts and cave divers in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula have found ocher mines that are some of the oldest on the continent. Ancient skeletons were found in the narrow, twisting labyrinths of now-submerged sinkhole caves... The discovery of remains of human-set fires, stacked mining debris, simple stone tools, navigational aids and digging sites suggest humans went into the caves around 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, seeking iron-rich red ocher, which ea

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2020-07-04 20:34:00



Halfway Through ISS Mission, NASA Astronauts Anticipate Their Ride Back to Earth  

"They've been up there about a month now, floating around on the International Space Station, keeping tabs on their ride home," reports the Washington Post: "Certainly, the highlight for both Doug and I was the initial arrival at space station, coming through the hatch again and being on board after several years of working on a new spacecraft," Behnken said in an interview from the station this week. Since then, he has performed two spacewalks with Cassidy, successfully replacing batteries on

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2020-07-04 19:34:00



Is Our Technology Literally Changing Our Brains?  

Nicholas Carr authored The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains back in 2010. This week he offered an up-to-date assessment in his newest interview with Vox co-founder Ezra Klein. "The point of this conversation is not that the internet is bad, nor that it is good," Klein writes. "It's that it is changing us, just as every medium before it has. We need to see those changes clearly in order to take control of them ourselves..." But the conversation soon turns to neuroplasticity,

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2020-07-04 18:34:00



Former Yahoo Engineer Who Infiltrated 6,000 Accounts Avoids Jail  

This week finally saw the federal sentencing of a former Yahoo software engineer who "admitted to using his access through his work at the company to hack into about 6,000 Yahoo accounts" back in 2018, according to America's Department of Justice: Ruiz admitted to targeting accounts belonging to younger women, including his personal friends and work colleagues. He made copies of images and videos that he found in the personal accounts without permission, and stored the data at his home. Once he

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2020-07-04 17:34:00



Moderate Drinking May Improve Cognitive Health for Older Adults, Study Says  

"A new study found low to moderate drinking may improve cognitive function for White middle-aged or older adults," reports CNN: The findings support prior research which found that, generally, one standard drink a day for women and two a day for men -- which is the US guidance -- appears to offer some cognitive benefits... "There is now a lot of observational evidence showing that light to moderate alcohol drinking is associated with better cognitive function and a lower risk of dementia comp

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2020-07-04 16:34:00



Does Success in Life Depend on Understanding Both Technology and Constitutional Law?  

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: In 2019's The Two Codes Your Kids Need to Know, the New York Times' Thomas Friedman reported that of all the skills and knowledge the College Board tested young people for, it determined that mastering "two codes" — computer science and the U.S. Constitution — were the most correlated to success in college and in life. On Wednesday, Rhode Island announced it's teaming with the College Board to ensure schoolkids study the "Two Codes"...

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2020-07-04 15:34:00



Americans Lag Behind Other Countries -- and Pay More for Their Cellphone Service  

"American consumers pay significantly more for cellphone service than people in many other countries," reports the New York Times. It's in an article headlined "The U.S. Is Lagging Behind Many Rich Countries. These Charts Show Why." Although executives' salaries have risen in most countries, relative to those of workers, in recent decades, the trend is more extreme in the U.S... The minimum wage is higher in other countries than it is in much of the United States... In addition to minimum w

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2020-07-04 14:34:00



Facebook, Twitter, Google Face Free-Speech Test in Hong Kong  

U.S. technology titans face a looming test of their free-speech credentials in Hong Kong as China's new national-security law for the city demands local authorities take measures to supervise and regulate its uncensored internet. From a report: Facebook and its Instagram service, Twitter and YouTube, a unit of Alphabet's Google, operate freely in the city even as they have been shut out or opted out of the mainland's tightly controlled internet, which uses the "Great Firewall" to censor informat

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2020-07-04 13:00:00



Ubisoft CEO Lays Out a Plan To Change the Company's Toxic Culture  

A week after launching investigations into many claims of harassment and misconduct, Ubisoft's CEO gave an update on what the company is doing to change things. From a report: In a letter posted on its website and emailed to employees, Yves Guillemot said "the types of inappropriate behavior we have recently learned about cannot and will not be tolerated." That's sharply in contrast to reports from employees and statements posted internally, citing complaints made to HR in the past that they sai

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2020-07-04 12:00:00



Chrome for Android is Finally Going 64-bit, Giving it a Speed Boost in Benchmarks  

An anonymous reader shares a report: The first Android version to support 64-bit architecture was Android 5.0 Lollipop, introduced back in November 2014. Since then, more and more 64-bit processors shipped, and today, virtually all Android devices are capable of running 64-bit software (excluding one or two or more oddballs). However, Google Chrome has never made the jump and is only available in a 32-bit flavor, potentially leading to some unnecessary security and performance degradations. That

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2020-07-04 10:01:00



Germany is First Major Economy To Phase Out Coal and Nuclear  

German lawmakers have finalized the country's long-awaited phase-out of coal as an energy source, backing a plan that environmental groups say isn't ambitious enough and free marketeers criticize as a waste of taxpayers' money. From a report: Bills approved by both houses of parliament Friday envision shutting down the last coal-fired power plant by 2038 and spending some $45 billion to help affected regions cope with the transition. The plan is part of Germany's 'energy transition' -- an effort

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2020-07-04 08:00:00



Sprint 5G is No More, as T-Mobile Focuses On its Own Network  

A day after formally completing the sale of Boost, Virgin and other Sprint prepaid networks to Dish, T-Mobile is pulling the plug on Sprint 5G. From a report: The move is one in a long list of issues that need sorting out in the wake of April's $26.5 billion merger. And like a number of other moves, it's set to leave some customers in the lurch. The end of Sprint's 2.5 GHz 5G comes as T-Mobile opts to focus on its own network. T-Mobile already started the process in New York City, a few weeks af

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2020-07-04 06:00:00



Fresh Calls For Guarantees on Digital Taxation in Future UK-US Trade Deal  

One of America's largest internet advocacy groups has published a six-point wish list for a future UK-US trade deal, including calls for no unilateral digital taxes. From a report: The Internet Association's new white paper calls for a future trade deal to include provisions to ensure the free flow of information between the two countries, a guarantee to not unilaterally impose taxes on digital services companies and a guarantee that "measures do not undermine the intermediary liability protecti

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2020-07-04 04:00:00



WHO Sees First Results From COVID Drug Trials Within Two Weeks  

The World Health Organization (WHO) should soon get results from clinical trials it is conducting of drugs that might be effective in treating COVID-19 patients, its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday. From a report: "Nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries have so far been recruited into the Solidarity trial," he told a news briefing, referring to clinical studies the U.N. agency is conducting. "We expect interim results within the next two weeks." The Solidarity Trial sta

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2020-07-04 03:00:00



Walmart is Converting Its Parking Lots Into Pop-up Drive-in Theaters For the Summer  

Walmart said this week that it was converting some of its parking lots into drive-in theaters for the summer as the movie industry struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic. From a report: The retail behemoth is converting 160 of its parking lots across the US into drive-ins. These theaters will open in early August and remain open through October. The Walmart Drive-In will feature movies programmed by Tribeca Enterprises, the company behind the Tribeca Film Festival, which recently launched a sum

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2020-07-04 02:00:00



New Apple macOS Big Sur Feature To Hamper Adware Operations  

With macOS 11, also known as Big Sur, Apple has removed the ability to install macOS profile configurations from the command-line. ZDNet reports: This ability was previously a core feature of macOS' enterprise package, which allows system administrators to deploy new configurations company-wide via automated scripts. However, the ability to deploy a new profile config via the command-line has also been abused by malware gangs or adware strains, who used it because it was silent and didn't requir

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2020-07-04 01:00:00



Twitter Engineers Replacing Racially Loaded Tech Terms Like 'Master,' 'Slave'  

For Regynald Augustin, a Black programmer at Twitter, the impetus for change arrived in an email last year with the phrase "automatic slave rekick." The words were just part of an engineering discussion about restarting a secondary process, but they prompted Augustin to start trying to change Twitter's use of words with racist connections. Augustin was used to seeing the term "slave" in technical contexts. "But with 'rekick' -- I was madder than I ever thought I'd be in the workplace," he said.

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2020-07-04 00:07:00



Linus Torvalds: 'I Do No Coding Any More'  

The Linux Foundation recently uploaded its video from the Open Source Summit and Embedded Linux Conference: Europe. And there was a poignant moment when Linus Torvalds did his traditional keynote conversation with Dirk Hohndel, VMware's vice president and chief open source officer. Honndel had asked Linus — his hair now uncharacteristically long — what he spends his time on as a kernel maintainer. What's his workflow? "What do you do?" Linus Torvalds: Um, I read email. [Hohndel

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2020-07-03 22:09:00



Mysterious Explosion and Fire Damage Iranian Nuclear Enrichment Facility  

A fire ripped through a building at Iran's main nuclear-fuel production site early Thursday, causing extensive damage to what appeared to be a factory where the country has boasted of producing a new generation of centrifuges. The United States has repeatedly warned that such machinery could speed Tehran's path to building nuclear weapons. schwit1 shares a report: The Atomic Energy Agency of Iran acknowledged an "incident" at the desert site, but did not term it sabotage. It released a photograp

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2020-07-03 18:02:00



Who Is the Mystery Shopper Leaving Behind Thousands of Online Shopping Carts?  

A Google crawler has been adding products to e-commerce site shopping carts, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. From a write-up: Sellers have been complaining about a serial cart abandoner named, John Smith. Turns out John is a Google bot. A Google spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that it built systems to ensure the pricing seen on the product pages is reflected when a user adds a product to the cart. GoogleBot shopping. Google told Search Engine Land in a statement, "We use au

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2020-07-03 17:01:00



Google-backed Groups Criticize Apple's New Warnings on User Tracking  

A group of European digital advertising associations on Friday criticized Apple's plans to require apps to seek additional permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites. From a report: Apple last week disclosed features in its forthcoming operating system for iPhones and iPads that will require apps to show a pop-up screen before they enable a form of tracking commonly needed to show personalized ads. Sixteen marketing associations, some of which are backed by Faceboo

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2020-07-03 16:00:00



LinkedIn Says iOS Clipboard Snooping After Every Key Press is a Bug, Will Fix  

A LinkedIn spokesperson told ZDNet this week that a bug in the company's iOS app was responsible for a seemingly privacy-intrusive behavior spotted by one of its users on Thursday. From a report: The issue was discovered using the new beta version of iOS 14. For iOS 14, set to be officially released in the fall, Apple has added a new privacy feature that shows a quick popup that lets users know when an app has read content from their clipboard. Using this new mechanism, users spotted last week h

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2020-07-03 15:01:00



Mozilla Common Voice Updates Will Help Train the 'Hey Firefox' Wakeword For Voice-Based Web Browsing  

Mozilla today released the latest version of Common Voice, its open source collection of transcribed voice data for startups, researchers, and hobbyists to build voice-enabled apps, services, and devices. Common Voice now contains over 7,226 total hours of contributed voice data in 54 different languages, up from 1,400 hours across 18 languages in February 2019. From a report: Common Voice consists not only of voice snippets, but of voluntarily contributed metadata useful for training speech eng

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2020-07-03 14:01:00



Nuclear 'Power Balls' May Make Meltdowns a Thing of the Past  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: A new generation of reactors coming online in the next few years aims to make nuclear meltdowns a thing of the past. Not only will these reactors be smaller and more efficient than current nuclear power plants, but their designers claim they'll be virtually meltdown-proof. Their secret? Millions of submillimeter-size grains of uranium individually wrapped in protective shells. It's called triso fuel, and it's like a radioactive gobstopper. Triso --

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2020-07-03 13:00:00



Microsoft Announces New Windows 10 Start Menu Design, Updated Alt-Tab  

Microsoft is testing a number of Windows 10 upgrades to a small number of testers, including changes to the Alt-Tab function and a new Start menu design. The Verge reports: "We are freshening up the Start menu with a more streamlined design that removes the solid color backplates behind the logos in the apps list and applies a uniform, partially transparent background to the tiles," explains Microsoft in a blog post. Essentially, the reduction in the color of the blocky tiled interface on the St

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2020-07-03 10:00:00



Core of a Gas Planet Seen For the First Time  

A team of astronomers has discovered what they think are the rocky innards of a giant planet that's missing its thick atmosphere. Their findings have been published in the journal Nature. The BBC reports: Its radius is about three-and-a-half times larger than Earth's but the planet is around 39 times more massive. In this size range, the planet would be expected to have a significant component that's gas. Yet it has a density similar to Earth, appearing to be mostly rocky. The object, called TOI

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2020-07-03 07:00:00



Inside the Plot To Kill the Open Technology Fund  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VICE News: [The Open Technology Fund is a U.S. government-funded nonprofit, which is part of the umbrella group called the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which also controls Radio Free Asia and Voice of America.] OTF's goal is to help oppressed communities across the globe by building the digital tools they need and offering training and support to use those tools. Its work has saved countless lives, and every single day millions of people use OTF-

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2020-07-03 03:30:00



Facebook Is Shutting Down TikTok Clone Lasso and Pinterest Rival Hobbi  

Facebook confirmed that it's shutting down two of its little-known social media apps shortly after their launch. TikTok rival Lasso and Pinterest rival Hobbi will both be terminated on July 10. CNBC reports: Lasso, the more popular of the two, allowed people to record videos up to 15 seconds long and overlay music on top. It was launched a year-and-a-half ago. Lasso issued a push alert to users on Wednesday telling them that it will be shutting down. In order to try to compete with ByteDance's T

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2020-07-03 02:00:00



JPMorgan Drops Terms 'Master,' 'Slave' From Internal Tech Code and Materials  

JPMorgan Chase is eliminating terms like "blacklist," "master" and "slave" from its internal technology materials and code as it seeks to address racism within the company, said two sources with knowledge of the move. Reuters reports: The terms had appeared in some of the bank's technology policies, standards and control procedures, as well in the programming code that runs some of its processes, one of the sources said. The phrases "master" and "slave" code or drive are used in some programming

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2020-07-03 01:25:00



Next-Gen Console Games Will Be $10 More Expensive  

If NBA 2K21 is any indication, the price of $59.99 new console games is about to be over: "NBA 2K21 will cost $69.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, an increase of $10 compared to the recommended price for the current generation's AAA titles," reports TheGamer. From the report: NBA 2K21, which will be released across both generations, will cost $69.99 on PS5 and Series X. That's $10 more than the game will cost on PS4 and Xbox One. $59.99 is and has been the standard for AAA titles throughout the cour

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2020-07-03 00:45:00



BMW Wants To Sell Car Features On Demand  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: BMW is planning to move some features of its new cars to a subscription model, something it announced on Wednesday during a briefing for the press on the company's digital plans. BMW says that owners can "benefit in advance from the opportunity to try out the products for a trial period of one month, after which they can book the respective service for one or three years." The company also says that it could allow the second owner of a BMW t

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2020-07-03 00:02:00



India's Richest Man Takes On Zoom  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: India's Reliance Jio Platforms, which recently concluded a $15.2 billion fundraise run, is ready to enter a new business: Video conferencing. On Thursday evening, the firm -- backed by Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man -- formally launched JioMeet, its video-conference service that looks uncannily like Zoom. Like Zoom and Google Meet, JioMeet offers unlimited number of free calls in high definition (720p) to users and supports as many as 100

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2020-07-02 23:20:00



New Free Speech Site Gets in a Tangle Over  

The social network bills itself as a 'no censorship' bastion -- but it's already had to remind users what is and isn't allowed. From a report: In recent weeks, Donald Trump has started having his tweets factchecked and published with disclaimers when they contain misleading information. Katie Hopkins, the woman who once compared migrants to cockroaches and called for a "final solution" in relation to Muslims, has been banned from Twitter. And a subreddit called r/The_Donald has been banned after

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2020-07-02 22:41:00



'Fallout' TV Series From 'Westworld' Creators In the Works At Amazon  

According to Hollywood Reporter, "Amazon Studios has licensed the rights to the best-selling video game franchise Fallout, with married writers and showrunners Joy and Nolan attached to oversee the potential TV series." From the report: The project is currently in development but has a series commitment penalty attached. That means that if Amazon execs like the script, Fallout would bypass the traditional pilot stage and go directly to series (or if it is passed over, all involved would be paid

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2020-07-02 22:00:00



Microsoft Will Ban Forza Players Who Add the Confederate Flag To Their Digital Cars  

Microsoft has just announced it will ban players who use the controversial confederate flag in Forza Horizon and Forza Motorsport, which both allow users to personalize their cars with custom designs. The Verge reports: In a statement posted on Twitter last Friday, Microsoft updated its enforcement guidelines to have a zero-tolerance policy for any player using the confederate flag or other symbols that represent "notorious iconography," including Nazi imagery and the rising sun, which can be a

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2020-07-02 21:22:00



Microsoft is Force-Feeding Edge To Windows Users With a Spyware-like Install  

Sean Hollister, writing for The Verge: If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I'd never installed or asked for -- it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch -- you'd probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no? But the insanely intrusive app I'm talking about isn't a piece of ransomware. It's Microsoft's new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding us

what do you think?

2020-07-02 20:45:00



Google's Fitbit Takeover Probed by EU Regulators  

The EU is questioning whether Google's proposed takeover of Fitbit will harm competition, or give it access to too much personal data. From a report: Fitbit makes fitness-tracking watches that monitor the wearer's heart rate and activity levels. A group of 20 consumer groups and privacy advocates have called for Google's takeover to be blocked. Google said it would not use Fitbit data to target advertising and would be "transparent" about the data gathered. It announced it was buying loss-making

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2020-07-02 20:04:00



Boeing Quietly Pulls Plug on the 747, Closing Era of Jumbo Jets  

Boeing hasn't told employees, but the company is pulling the plug on its hulking 747 jumbo jet, ending a half-century run for the twin-aisle pioneer. From a report: The last 747-8 will roll out of a Seattle-area factory in about two years, a decision that hasn't been reported but can be teased out from subtle wording changes in financial statements, people familiar with the matter said. It's a moment that aviation enthusiasts long have dreaded, signaling the end of the double-decker, four-engine

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2020-07-02 19:24:00



World's Pile of Electronic Waste Grows Ever Higher: Study  

The world's mountain of discarded flat-screen TVs, cellphones and other electronic goods grew to a record high last year, according to an annual report released Thursday. New submitter Splyncryth writes: The U.N.-backed study estimated the amount of e-waste that piled up globally in 2019 at 53.6 million metric tonnes (59.1 million tons) - almost 2 million metric tons more than the previous year. The authors of the study calculated the combined weight of all dumped devices with a battery or a plu

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2020-07-02 18:44:00



Advertisers Will Be Back To Facebook 'Soon Enough', Zuckerberg Assures Employees  

As the ads boycott grows, Mark Zuckerberg shows no sign of backing down. From a report: "My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough" the Facebook chief executive has said. Campaigners accuse the tech firm of being too slow and reluctant to remove some hateful content. But Zuckerberg added: "We're not going to change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue." The comments were made to Facebook staff at a privat

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2020-07-02 18:13:00



Facebook Says 5,000 App Developers Got User Data After Cutoff Date  

Social media giant Facebook disclosed on Wednesday a new user privacy incident. The company said that it continued sharing user data with approximately 5,000 developers even after their application's access expired. From a report: The incident is related to a security control that Facebook added to its systems following the Cambridge Analytica scandal of early 2018. Responding to criticism that it allowed app developers too much access to user information, Facebook added at the time a new mechan

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2020-07-02 17:39:00



One Out of Every 142 Passwords is '123456'  

In one of the biggest password re-use studies of its kind, an analysis of more than one billion leaked credentials has discovered that one out of every 142 passwords is the classic "123456" string. From a report: The study, carried out last month by computer engineering student Ata Hakcil, analyzed username and password combinations that leaked online after data breaches at various companies. These "data dumps" have been around for more than half a decade, and have been piling up as new companie

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2020-07-02 16:48:00



Apple and Google Block Dozens of Chinese Apps in India  

Two days after India blocked 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, Google and Apple have started to comply with New Delhi's order and are preventing users in the world's second largest internet market from accessing those apps. From a report: UC Browser, Shareit, and Club Factory and other apps that India has blocked are no longer listed on Apple's App Store and Google Play Store. In a statement, a Google spokesperson said that the company had "temporarily blocked access to the apps" on Google Pla

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2020-07-02 16:08:00



WeWork Founder Warned Staff in 2016: 'You Do Not Get a Chance Like This Again'  

To many of its employees, WeWork was much more than a job. Adam Neumann, the co-founder and former chief executive officer, kept workers motivated by invoking a higher calling to community-building and promising a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From a report: "None of us want to look back and say, 'I could have done more,'" Neumann said in a 2016 staff meeting, captured in hours of tape obtained by Bloomberg. "That's not acceptable. You do not get a chance like this again." In this episode of F

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2020-07-02 15:33:00



How Police Secretly Took Over a Global Phone Network for Organized Crime  

Police monitored a hundred million encrypted messages sent through Encrochat, a network used by career criminals to discuss drug deals, murders, and extortion plots. From a report: Something wasn't right. Starting earlier this year, police kept arresting associates of Mark, a UK-based alleged drug dealer. Mark took the security of his operation seriously, with the gang using code names to discuss business on custom, encrypted phones made by a company called Encrochat. For legal reasons, Motherbo

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2020-07-02 14:48:00



The Sci-Hub Effect: Sci-Hub Downloads Lead To More Article Citations  

Excerpt of a paper on Arxiv [PDF]: Citations are often used as a metric of the impact of scientific publications. Here, we examine how the number of downloads from Sci-hub as well as various characteristics of publications and their authors predicts future citations. Using data from 12 leading journals in economics, consumer research, neuroscience, and multidisciplinary research, we found that articles downloaded from Sci-hub were cited 1.72 times more than papers not downloaded from Sci-hub and

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2020-07-02 14:08:00






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