Technology archive for 2017-01-27

Mark Zuckerberg Drops Lawsuits To Force Hundreds of Hawaiians To Sell Him Land

(2 years ago)
Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg filed a lawsuit to force owners of several small parcels of land to sell to the highest bidder since these property owners are surrounded by Zuckerberg's land holdings and therefore have lawful easement to cross his private property. Ever since the story broke, Zuckerberg has faced major backlash from people all over the world, especially those living on the Hawaiian islands. On Wednesday, said he was "reconsidering" the set of lawsuits; today he announced that he will drop the lawsuits altogether. The Guardian reports: "Upon reflection, I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead," Zuckerberg wrote. "Now that I understand the issues better, it's clear we made a mistake." The process is controversial in Hawaii, where many view it as a tool of dispossession first employed by sugar barons, but later adopted by the wealthy malihini (newcomers) seeking vacation homes. Hawaii state representative Kaniela Ing, who emerged as one of the key critics of the lawsuits, said that he was "happy" and "humbled" by Zuckerberg's announcement. "It's not everyday where you face off with one of the most influential billionaires, best PR professionals and best attorneys in the world and win," he said. "It's a victory for everyone who shared the story on social media, for native Hawaiians, and for people everywhere. The parcels at stake in the Zuckerberg case were kuleana -- land[..]

Mark Zuckerberg says he's "concerned" about President Trump's executive orders on immigration, affirms support for "Dreamers" (Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook)

(2 years ago)
Mark Zuckerberg / Facebook:Mark Zuckerberg says he's “concerned” about President Trump's executive orders on immigration, affirms support for “Dreamers”  —  My great grandparents came from Germany, Austria and Poland.  Priscilla's parents were refugees from China and Vietnam.

Apple Patents a Vaporizer

(2 years ago)
Apple's product lineup may extend beyond cars and the connected home. A patent filed last year and published January 26 reveals a concept for a vaporizer. From a report on CNN Money, shared by reader JoshTops: The details are a bit hazy -- that is, Apple's patent only describes "a substance that is to be vaporized or sublimated into a vapor," not what the substance might be. The patent, filed by Apple employee Tetsuya Ishikawa, outlines plans for a temperature-regulated plate inside a chamber that heats up a substance to form a vapor. Many people use vapes to inhale nicotine or marijuana, and they are sometimes used as a replacement for cigarettes. The FDA began regulating vaping last year, and set rules for the manufacturing and distribution of vapes and their components. Vaporizers are also used in industries like healthcare and agriculture, so it's possible Apple is thinking bigger than personal use. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft's Market Value Tops $500 Billion Again After 17 Years

(2 years ago)
Microsoft's market capitalization topped $500 billion for the first time since 2000 on Friday, after the technology giant's stock rose following another quarter of results that beat Wall Street's expectations. From a report: Shares of the world's biggest software company rose as much as 2.1 percent to $65.64, an all-time high, in early trading, valuing the company at $510.37 billion. The last time Microsoft was valued more was in March 2000, during the heyday of the dotcom era, when it had a market value of a little above $550 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. Despite the gains, Microsoft still lags Apple's market capitalization of about $642 billion and Google-parent Alphabet's market value of a little more than $570 billion. Microsoft reported second-quarter results on Thursday that beat analysts' average estimate for both revenue and profit, mainly due to its fast-growing cloud computing business. The company's profit and revenue have now topped Wall Street's expectations in seven of the last eight quarters. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Smart Baby-Trackers Mostly Unnecessary, Say US Doctors

(2 years ago)
A group of pediatricians has called for smart health-trackers, designed to monitor babies while they sleep, to be regulated by the same US body that oversees other medical equipment. An anonymous reader shares a BBC report: The monitors, which often take the form of sensors fitted to clothing or nappies, measure signs such as heart rate and breathing during sleep. The data is shared with a phone app. The doctors spoke out after seeing babies being brought to A&E after smart-monitor false alarms. The team from the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia said the devices should be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). One brand they mentioned was Owlet, which sells a $250 monitor that tracks sleeping babies' heart rates and oxygen levels via a sensor concealed inside his or her sock. It says on its website that it has already submitted a medical version to the FDA for approval. "For most healthy babies there is not a role for home monitoring at all," said neonatologist Dr Elizabeth Foglia, one of the authors of the opinion piece published by the American Medical Association journal Jamanet. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

LeakedSource, a site that sold access to a database of 3.1B+ compromised account passwords, taken offline after alleged police raid (Dan Goodin/Ars Technica)

(2 years ago)
Dan Goodin / Ars Technica:LeakedSource, a site that sold access to a database of 3.1B+ compromised account passwords, taken offline after alleged police raid  —  LeakedSource garnered criticism for actively cracking the passwords it sold.  —  LeakedSource, a legally and ethically questionable website that sold access …

PayPal Has Been Talking With Amazon on Payments, CEO Says

(2 years ago)
A new feature could be coming to your Amazon checkout process. It's called PayPal. Amazon and PayPal are in talks about the possibility of the online retail giant supporting PayPal payments at checkout, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in an interview. While Schulman didn't say when -- or even if -- a deal might happen between the companies, he did tell Bloomberg that the companies are trying to determine how they can "use one another's assets to the mutual benefit" of their customers. From the report:"We're closing in on 200 million users on our platform right now. At that scale, it's hard for any retailer to think about not accepting PayPal," Schulman said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Adobe Is Killing Contribute, Director, and Shockwave

(2 years ago)
Reader Krystalo writes: Adobe today announced Adobe Contribute and Adobe Director will no longer be for sale nor supported as of February 1, 2017. At the same time, Adobe is also stopping Shockwave for Mac updates and support on March 14, 2017 after the last release of the product. The reason Adobe gives for the death of Contribute and Director is simple: The company's customers are embracing "the new features and efficiencies offered by Creative Cloud." As for Shockwave, its content is made with Director, so the company is merely tying up loose ends. It's about time. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Seagate Says 16TB Hard Drive To Hit Market Within 18 Months

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: If you haven't shopped around for hard drives in a while, you may be surprised at what's out there. The largest 3.5-inch desktop hard drives currently available from Seagate, for example, offer a whopping 10TB of capacity for less than $500. In the event that 10TB isn't quite enough storage and a multi-drive setup isn't ideal, you'll be happy to hear that Seagate over the next 18 months plans to ship 14TB and 16TB drives. A 12TB HDD based on helium technology is currently undergoing testing and according to CEO Stephen Luczo, initial feedback is positive. Most enthusiasts and even some PC manufacturers are now using solid state drives as their primary drive due to the fact that they're much faster and more power-efficient. What's more, because they have no moving parts, SSDs generate no noise and are much more durable. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Translate Is About To Get a Lot Better, Thanks To Its Machine Learning Push

(2 years ago)
Google CEO Sundar Pichai is offering a big new update that should affect anyone who's ever used Google's translation services. From a report on CNBC: The new version will be rolling out in 2017 via Google Cloud, Pichai said. "We have improved our translation ability more in one single year than all our improvements over the last 10 years combined," Pichai told investors in a quarterly call, after parent company Alphabet reported mixed results. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Recode's Ina Fried joins Politico co-founder's Axios Media as chief tech correspondent (Matthew Lynley/TechCrunch)

(2 years ago)
Matthew Lynley / TechCrunch:Recode's Ina Fried joins Politico co-founder's Axios Media as chief tech correspondent  —  Axios Media — a new media venture founded by former Politico executives — is beefing up its tech team with the new hiring of longtime reporter Ina Fried as its senior tech correspondent in San Francisco.

Toshiba says it is looking to sell a minority stake in its memory chip business unit to offset an imminent multi-billion dollar writedown (Reuters)

(2 years ago)
Reuters:Toshiba says it is looking to sell a minority stake in its memory chip business unit to offset an imminent multi-billion dollar writedown  —  Toshiba Corp (6502.T) said it will sell a minority stake in its memory chip business as it urgently seeks funds to offset an imminent multi-billion dollar writedown …

Microsoft Says It Is Winning Its New War Against Macs

(2 years ago)
Windows PCs are starting to chip away at Apple's strong grip of the high-end computer market, Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said on an earnings call Thursday. From a report: Microsofts licensing business, which sells Windows to third-party PC makers, was up 5 percent last quarter, confirmed CFO Amy Hood during an earnings call on Thursday. The "non-pro" (consumer) market grew 5 percent, beating the overall decline of the PC industry. "Our partner ecosystem continued to see growth and share gains in the Windows premium device category," Hood continued. Those gains would have eaten into Apple's share of that market, which has been dominated by Macs until recently. There are other things that could have contributed to this, of course. Many long-time Mac users have been somewhat disappointed with Apple's most recent releases, which come with big changes that not everyone is willing to embrace. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alphabet's hardware growth adds to strength in core ad business

(2 years ago)
(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's core advertising business remained strong and its smartphone and home-automation products were gaining traction, analysts said a day after the company missed profit expectations, hurt by a higher tax rate.

Ford device to boost connectivity in its models without modems

(2 years ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said on Friday it would sell a plug-in device to enable features like remote start, security alerts, a Wifi hotspot and vehicle location assistance on 2010-2016 model year Ford and Lincoln cars.

Chinese Lunar New Year 'ticket snatching' apps raise hackles

(2 years ago)
BEIJING (Reuters) - As China gears up for Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of people head home, popular software charging extra to improve the odds of getting coveted rail tickets has been criticized by state media and some users as being akin to modern-day touting.

Bitcoin firm gets approval to operate in Switzerland

(2 years ago)
ZURICH (Reuters) - Bitcoin wallet provider Xapo said it has received conditional approval from Switzerland's financial market watchdog to operate in the country in a regulatory breakthrough for companies that provide safekeeping for the virtual currency.

Kenya's Safaricom shifts funding to catch up on fixed-data demand

(2 years ago)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's Safaricom is reallocating funds to build up its fixed-data network to connect homes to the Internet, as demand grows for online streaming services like Netflix, chief executive Bob Collymore told Reuters.

Hong Kong securities brokers hit by cyber attacks, may face more: regulator

(2 years ago)
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's securities regulator said brokers in the city had suffered cyber attacks and warned of possible further incidents across the industry.

Ask Slashdot: A Point of Contention - Modern User Interfaces

(2 years ago)
Reader Artem Tashkinov writes: Here are the staples of the modern user interface (in varying degree apply to modern web/and most operating systems such as Windows 10, iOS and even Android): Too much white space, huge margins, too little informationText is indistinguishable from controlsText in full-CAPSCertain controls cannot be easily understood (like on/off states for check boxes or elements like tabs)Everything presented in shades of gray or using a severely and artificially limited paletteOften awful fonts suitable only for HiDPI devices (Windows 10 modern apps are a prime example)Cannot be controlled by keyboardVery little customizability if anyHow would Slashdotters explain the proliferation and existance of such unusable user interfaces and design choices? And also, do you agree? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Japanese Government Requires Java and Internet Explorer 11 X86

(2 years ago)
Long time reader AmiMoJo writes: Japan has introduced "My Number", a social security number assigned to citizens and used to access government services. Unfortunately, the My Number management web portal requires the Java plug-in. Because this plug-in is deprecated in many browsers, only Internet Explorer 11 (32 bit) and Safari on Mac are supported. The explanation (translated) given for this is that in order to access My Number contactless card readers Java is the only option. Some browsers support IC card access but it seems that it is not mature enough to be viable. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft's market value tops $500B for the first time since 2000, after its Q2 earnings beat analyst expectations (Supantha Mukherjee/Reuters)

(2 years ago)
Supantha Mukherjee / Reuters:Microsoft's market value tops $500B for the first time since 2000, after its Q2 earnings beat analyst expectations  —  Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) market capitalization topped $500 billion for the first time since 2000 on Friday, after the technology giant's stock rose following another quarter …

You Don't Need an Antivirus (Except Microsoft's Built-in on Windows), Says Former Firefox Developer

(2 years ago)
Former Firefox developer Robert O'Callahan believes that antivirus software is not necessary, AV vendors are of little help, and that you should uninstall your antivirus software immediately. From a blog post: Users have been fooled into associating AV vendors with security and you don't want AV vendors bad-mouthing your product. AV software is broadly installed and when it breaks your product, you need the cooperation of AV vendors to fix it. (You can't tell users to turn off AV software because if anything bad were to happen that the AV software might have prevented, you'll catch the blame.) When your product crashes on startup due to AV interference, users blame your product, not AV. Worse still, if they make your product incredibly slow and bloated, users just think that's how your product is. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple joins Partnership on AI, the research group that includes Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft (Partnershipai/Partnership ...)

(2 years ago)
Partnershipai / Partnership on Artificial Intelligence …:Apple joins Partnership on AI, the research group that includes Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft  —  It has been rewarding and energizing to see all of the enthusiastic support about the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI) following our announcement in September.

Stock Research Moves Past PDFs as Customers Demand More for Their Money

(2 years ago)
With investment firms cutting costs and portfolio managers combating a barrage of information, financial research shops around the globe are looking for new ways to keep their product relevant. From a report: A raft of startups have launched to support that effort, offering tools that can use Google search data to get an edge on retail sales, deploy drones to examine oil supplies or allow investors to rank analysts and bid on their reports, like a Netflix or eBay of research. Whether these innovations will lead to smarter investments, or be used widely enough to prop up research budgets, is yet to be seen. But the startups are forming alliances with banks, brokerages and investors by the dozen. People who use and sell the tools say the trend is changing how research is financed, distributed and consumed for the first time in decades. "We are coming up on a very different age for equity research," said Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous Research. Investors now see research as a product that must stand on its own rather than a freebie offered as part of a broader relationship with an investment bank, Sokolin said. Technology can improve the quality and distribution of research, he said. [...] Perhaps most importantly, investors say they are sick of their inboxes piling up with run-of-the-mill reports each day. At a time when people share snippets of information through WhatsApp and Slack and a tweet can move a stock in seconds, sharing loads of PDF[..]

Microsoft Admits Sales of 'Expensive' HoloLens 'Not Huge', Says More Versions Are Planned

(2 years ago)
Microsoft is not giving away too much about the sales figures for HoloLens but goes as far as saying it is "in thousands, not hundreds of thousands". From a report: Speaking at educational technology event the Bett Show in London on Thursday, Roger Walkden, Senior Director and Commercial Lead of HoloLens, acknowledged that the price tag was partly responsible for the small number of sales. Interestingly, though, Microsoft is not bothered by what could be seen as disappointing sales, despite the fact that the company seems to be betting big on HoloLens by adding headset settings in recent Windows 10 Insider builds. [...] But for anyone who feels let down by what HoloLens has to offer, there is good news: "this is version one, and there will be future versions." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple strategy in 'smart home' race threatened by Amazon

(2 years ago)
SAN FRANCISCO - In less than a year, Amazon's combination of the Echo speaker system and the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant has come close to delivering on the elusive promise of easy-to-use technology that can control gadgets in the home with a few spoken words.

Tesla files suit against former Autopilot director, says he took proprietary information and tried to poach staff for his new self-driving car startup Aurora (Darrell Etherington/TechCrunch)

(2 years ago)
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:Tesla files suit against former Autopilot director, says he took proprietary information and tried to poach staff for his new self-driving car startup Aurora  —  Tesla has sued former employee Sterling Anderson, who acted as Director of its Autopilot Programs for just over a year, for breach of contract.

A Lack of Alternatives To Qualcomm Is Hurting the Ecosystem

(2 years ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Android Authority: Smartphone enthusiasts are probably eagerly awaiting the arrival of Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 835 SoC, which was unveiled back at the beginning of January. However, recent revelations suggest that consumers could be in for an unexpected wait, and we're unlikely to see an alternative manufacturer step in to fill the void given the current market conditions. The report claiming that LG G6 won't ship with the latest Snapdragon 835 flagship SoC is looking like bad luck for LG and a blow to consumers looking to spend their cash on the latest mobile technology. If true, this is also likely to have an impact on sales, as consumers hold out for better technology released in just a few months time. It's not only LG facing this prospect though, HTC, Sony, and all the other manufacturers that typically make announcements early in the year look to be facing a situation where they will be using the same processor as last year for early 2017 models. This scenario is unprecedented in modern Android history. The past few years have seen manufacturers kick start the year with flagship releases packing new processing technology. Unfortunately for these OEMs, there aren't any competing processors to use as a direct alternative to the delayed Snapdragon 835. The choice is then either to launch with an older technology or delay their product until the 835 is ready. While many will focus on performance stagnation, using the same[..]

Apple strategy in 'smart home' race threatened by Amazon

(2 years ago)
SAN FRANCISCO - In less than a year, Amazon's combination of the Echo speaker system and the Alexa voice-controlled digital assistant has come close to delivering on the elusive promise of easy-to-use technology that can control gadgets in the home with a few spoken words.

With supplies tight, memory chipmakers head into ultra-super-cycle

(2 years ago)
SEOUL (Reuters) - The global memory chip industry is heading into what's been dubbed an ultra-super-cycle, as the challenge of making chips smaller yet more efficient has created supply bottlenecks, while there is soaring demand for data storage - from smartphones and artificial intelligence to autonomous driving and the Internet of Things.

Scientists Move Doomsday Clock 30 Seconds Closer to Midnight

(2 years ago)
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says President Donald Trump's comments on nuclear weapons and climate change factored in to its decision to move the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight

The value of cryptocurrency Monero has risen from 50¢ to $12 over past one year, rising 2,760%; the collective value of all Monero has grown to close to $165M (Andy Greenberg/Wired)

(2 years ago)
Andy Greenberg / Wired:The value of cryptocurrency Monero has risen from 50¢ to $12 over past one year, rising 2,760%; the collective value of all Monero has grown to close to $165M  —  For the cryptocurrency community, 2016 was a very good year.  Bitcoin doubled in price.  The far-out Bitcoin alternative Ethereum shot up by a factor of 10.

Software Engineers Are the Heroes of New Computer History Museum Exhibit

(2 years ago)
Tekla Perry writes: The Computer History Museum set out to turn the spotlight on software engineers and show how they are the changing the world. But what projects to feature in the new, permanent exhibit [called "Make Software: Change the World!"] (that opens to the public this Saturday, January 28th)? The curators whittled a list of 100 technologies that owe their existence to breakthroughs in software down to seven: Photoshop, the MP3, the MRI, car crash simulation, Wikipedia, texting, and World of Warcraft. They expect these choices to be debated at length, in particular, World of Warcraft, but hope the exhibition elevates the prominence of software engineers and gets more than a few middle schoolers talking about targeting their career plans in that direction. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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