Iran gives foreign messaging apps a year to move all data and activity linked to Iranian users onto servers inside the country (Reuters)(1 minute ago)
Reuters:Iran gives foreign messaging apps a year to move all data and activity linked to Iranian users onto servers inside the country — May 29 Iran has given foreign messaging apps a year to move data they hold about Iranian users onto servers inside the country, prompting privacy and security concerns on social media.
Three cryptocurrency experts published a scientific paper Friday detailing seven attacks that could influence how the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) allocates its Ether funds. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes, "Coincidentally or not, they released their work with one day before funding for the DAO closed, and not surprisingly, Ether's price went down, devaluing the DAO from $150 million to $132 million." From Softpedia: DAO is a crowdfunded project that works on the Ethereum network, a new crypto-currency network that deals with crypto-currency named Ether, which many experts say is better than Bitcoin's blockchain... Investors can submit funding proposals, on which the DAO users vote by submitting some of their tokens and a YES/NO vote. In the end, based on the tokens and YES/NO votes, the DAO's computer program decides on the outcome. Softpedia reports that the paper released Friday also suggests a series of mitigations to a design they say will "incentivize investors to behave strategically; that is, at odds with truthful voting on their preferences." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Inside Verizon's efforts to build a multi-billion dollar media business that can challenge new media giants like Netflix, and why it is vying to buy Yahoo (Ainsley O'Connell/Fast Company)(3 hours ago)
Ainsley O'Connell / Fast Company:Inside Verizon's efforts to build a multi-billion dollar media business that can challenge new media giants like Netflix, and why it is vying to buy Yahoo — The telecom giant, which is in talks to acquire Yahoo, wants a piece of the digital content revolution.
Google's search engine for academic research materials is blocking many users with a malfunctioning captcha screen, according to complaints on a Google help forum. "I'm a doctoral student and a professor, which means I use this extensively. Now I'm blocked from using it at all, even after answering all of the stupid image questions (3 times)," reads a typical complaint. Heart44 writes: A lot of researchers when using Google Scholar are being asked to prove they are not a robot. You have to find all the rivers (but not the sea or lakes) or all street numbers (but not other numbers) or all the store fronts from nine poor quality images, sometimes more than once and, surprise, you will fail more than two thirds of the time and then just get an error 400 "Malformed request, that's all we know". You are offered an audio challenge but clicking on that simply loads more pictures... Is that the best they can do distinguishing between man and machine? One post ended by stating succinctly "I'm not a robot, I'm an academic professional, and this process is wasting nontrivial amounts of my time. How do I stop it?" Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Vox is strongly criticizing coverage of a supposed link between cellphones and cancer suggested by a new study, calling it "a breathtaking example of irresponsible science hype." An anonymous reader writes:A professor and research monitoring administrator at an American medical school reported that to get their results, the researchers "exposed pregnant rats to whole body CDMA- and GSM-modulated radiofrequency radiation, for 9 hours a day, 7 days a week," and the results were seen only with CDMA (but not GSM-modulated) radiofrequency. "[F]alse positives are very likely. The cancer difference was only seen in females, not males. The incidence of brain cancer in the exposed groups was well within the historical range. There's no clear dose response..." An emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University in Britain also called the study "statistically underpowered..." according to Vox. "Not enough animals were used to allow the researchers to have a good chance of detecting a risk from radiofrequency radiation of the size one might plausibly expect." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
New submitter nautsch writes: systemd changed a default value in logind.conf to "yes", which will kill all your processes, when you log out... There is already a bug-report over at debian: Debian bug tracker. The new change means "user sessions will be properly cleaned up after," according to the changelog, "but additional steps are necessary to allow intentionally long-running processes to survive logout. To effectively allow users to run long-term tasks even if they are logged out, lingering must be enabled for them." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Anti-abortion groups use smartphone geo-fencing to target ads directly at women in clinics (Sharona Coutts/Rewire)(6 hours ago)
Sharona Coutts / Rewire:Anti-abortion groups use smartphone geo-fencing to target ads directly at women in clinics — Women who have visited almost any abortion clinic in the United States have seen anti-choice protesters outside, wielding placards and chanting abuse. A Boston advertiser's technology …
Some Windows users are now disabling critical updates on their systems rather than face the prospect of mistakenly upgrading to Windows 10. An anonymous reader writes:"By pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack," writes PC World's senior editor. He adds that "Over the past week, I've received more contact from readers about this issue than I have about everything else I've written over the rest of my career combined." Now even China's official news agency is reporting that users are angry about stealthy Windows 10 upgrades, saying over 1.2 million complaints appeared on one microblogging site. It quotes a legal advisor with the Internet Society of China, who says Microsoft "has abused its dominant market position and broken the market order for fair play," saying that lawsuits would be justified over Microsoft's action. "Yang Shuo, a worker at a Beijing-based public relations company, told Xinhua that the sudden update interrupted his drafting of a business plan and led to a meeting cancellation for a deal worth 3 million yuan ($457,735). 'Just because I didn't see the pop-up reminder does not mean I agreed.'" In a possibly-unrelated development, the Chinese military plans to send nuclear submarines into the Pacific Ocean.[..]
Scoop raises $5.1M seed for enterprise carpooling service led by Signia Venture Partners, joined by Index Ventures, BMW i Ventures, Workday Corporate Ventures (Megan Rose Dickey/TechCrunch)(7 hours ago)
Megan Rose Dickey / TechCrunch:Scoop raises $5.1M seed for enterprise carpooling service led by Signia Venture Partners, joined by Index Ventures, BMW i Ventures, Workday Corporate Ventures — Scoop, a corporate carpooling service that works with companies like Tesla, Twitter and Cisco, has raised a $5.1 million round …
French finance minister rules out Google tax deal, more firms could be targeted (Ingrid Melander/Reuters)(7 hours ago)
Ingrid Melander / Reuters:French finance minister rules out Google tax deal, more firms could be targeted — France will “go all the way” to ensure that multinationals operating on its soil pay their taxes and more cases could follow after Google and McDonald's were targeted by tax raids, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said.
ZTE plans to open 20 flagship stores in China and one each in Germany, Russia, and Mexico to drive sales of its smartphones and other consumer devices (Bloomberg)(7 hours ago)
Bloomberg:ZTE plans to open 20 flagship stores in China and one each in Germany, Russia, and Mexico to drive sales of its smartphones and other consumer devices — ZTE Corp., China's second-largest maker of networking gear, plans to open 23 flagship stores by the end of this year to drive sales of its smartphones and consumer devices.
An anonymous reader writes: David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, is applauding talk of an after-work e-mail ban, writing that "the ever-expanding expectations for when someone is available have gotten out of hand... Work emails are ticking in at all sorts of odd hours and plenty of businesses are dysfunctional enough to believe they have a right to have those answered, whatever the hour. That's unhealthy, possibly even exploitative... Same goes for forcing everyone to work in an open office. The research is mounting on all the ills that come from persistent noise and interruptions from that arrangement." While acknowledging that his firm's project management tool Basecamp has a "perfect storm" of features that can send emails and texts after hours, Hansson points out that at least version 3 (released in 2015) shipped with a scheduling feature that will hold notifications during weekends and other specified off-work periods. "What we need before we can even dream of having something like the French response is a change in attitudes. Less celebration of workaholism, more #WorkCanWait. More recognition that stress from unrealistic and unhealthy expectations and work habits is actually a real hazard to health and sanity." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader quotes an article from The Verge.Inventor Ray Kurzweil made his name as a pioneer in technology that helped machines understand human language, both written and spoken. In a video from a recent Singularity conference Kurzweil says he and his team at Google are building a chatbot, and that it will be released sometime later this year... "My team, among other things, is working on chatbots. We expect to release some chatbots you can talk to later this year." One of the bots will be named Danielle, and according to Kurzweil, it will draw on dialog from a character named Danielle, who appears in a novel he wrote -- a book titled, what else, Danielle... He said that anyone will be able to create their own unique chatbot by feeding it a large sample of your writing, for example by letting it ingest your blog. This would allow the bot to adopt your "style, personality, and ideas." Kurzweil also predicted that we won't see AIs with full "human-level" language abilities until 2029, "But you'll be able to have interesting conversations before that." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader write: "The spread of the tech industry outside Silicon Valley has helped make Denver the fastest-growing large city in the U.S.," reports the New Yorker, saying it's now growing faster than Austin and Seattle, becoming one of America's 20 most populous cities. Cost-conscious investors and tech executives now are opening offices in cheaper "secondary cities" outside of Silicon Valley, like Salt Lake City, and the good universities near Denver mean a well-educated workforce, coupled with a low cost of living. "Though the city isn't the headquarters for any big tech companies -- like Dell in the Austin area or Microsoft and Amazon in Seattle -- several of them, including IBM and Oracle, have offices here. The presence of those offices, and of the universities, has also helped create a vibrant startup scene: people get educated here or come here for jobs, and then they graduate or leave those jobs and become entrepreneurs." Last year venture capitalists invested $800 million in Demver's tech, energy, food, and marijuana companies, and in 2014 Oracle paid over a billion dollars to acquire Denver-based Datalogix. Anyone else live in a burgeoning "secondary" tech city? Scott McNealy said he co-founded his data-analysis startup in Denver because in California "The prices of everything have skyrocketed. The regulations. The pension deficit. The traffic. It's just not a fun place to go start."[..]
Two days after Fiverr, a marketplace for digital services, removed user listings from its website that advertised DDoS-for-hire services, the company's website suffered a six-hour long DDOS attack. Softpedia reports: The incident took place on the morning of May 27 (European timezones), and the service admitted its problems on its Twitter account. At the time of writing, Fiverr has been back up and functioning normally for more than two hours. Fiverr's problems stem from an Incapsula probe that found DDoS-for-hire ads on its marketplace, available for $5. Incapsula reported the suspicious listings to Fiverr, who investigated the issue and removed the ads. Fiverr first removed all listings advertising blatantly illegal DDoS services, but later also removed the ads offering to "test" a website for DDoS "protection" measures. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BGR: In a somewhat bizarre story which proves that truth is often stranger than fiction, a serial mugger in England was arrested after one of his victims spotted him under Facebook's 'People you may know' section.Originally reported by the BBC, 21-year old Omar Famuyide had a long history of theft, muggings and armed robberies to his name. Not too long ago, Famuyide brandished a knife and stole a car. Flash forward a bit, and the victim of said car robbery was recently shocked to see Famuyide's face pop up as a suggested friend he might want to add on Facebook. The victim promptly called the police who quickly managed to tie him to a large number of other violent crimes. By the time the dust settled and the full extent of Famuyide's criminal rampage was revealed, Famuyide was sentenced to 17 years in prison. His Facebook profile ultimately led to charges of robbery, attempted robbery, and possessing a firearm. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
68-year-old science fiction author William Gibson just released a complicated new science fiction comic book, and this weekend Ars Technica proclaimed that "the results are grand". An anonymous reader shares their report:A father and son occupy the new White House as President and Vice President. We never meet dad, but his son -- an evil jerk by the name of Junior Henderson -- has been surgically altered to resemble his grandfather, because Junior is about travel to an alternate Earth in 1945 to take grandpa's place, with the intent of remaking that world more to his liking (and, presumably, to prevent whatever it was that laid waste to the one we start off in)...The world is in ruins. The White House relocated to the ominous-sounding National Emergency Federal District in Montana. They have technology that far outstrips our own... "It's an alternate-history/cross-worlds story," Gibson writes... "And I wouldn't want to spoil too much of the frame, because that's an inherent part of our narrative. But I will say that one of the first verbal tags we had for the material was 'Band Of Brothers vs. Blackwater.'" On his Twitter feed, Gibson is also applauding the news that Marvel and DC comics abandoned a two and a half year legal battle to enforce their trademark on the word "superhero" against a publisher in the U.K.[..]
PARIS (Reuters) - Analysis of data seized by investigators in last week's raid of Google's Paris headquarters could possibly take years, French financial prosecutor Eliane Houlette said on Sunday.
"Get ready for some big changes in the 'silicon' of Silicon Valley," writes tech CEO Narbeh Derhacobian who argues that the need to build tens of billions of connected sensor devices will change the way computers get built. "Just like smartphone owners like to pick and choose which apps they want, IoT manufacturers may want to shop for components individually without being locked into a single fab." An anonymous reader summarizes his article on TechCrunch: Thousands of different hardware devices, each selling around one million units, "would suggest the need for a much greater diversity of chip configurations than we've seen to date." Currently smartphones are engineered using a "System on a Chip" design where all the components are "locked into a single manufacturing process," but Derhacobian predicts chip manufacturers will continue a trend of moving towards a "System in a Package" approach -- "packing components closely together, without the complete, end-to-end integration... In a smart, connected world, sensor requirements could vary greatly from factory to factory, not to mention between industries as varied as agriculture, urban planning and automotive." "In some ways, the great trends of the PC and smartphone eras were toward standardization of devices. Apple's great vision was understanding that people prefer a beautiful, integrated package, and don't need many choices in hardware. But in software it's generally the opposite. People have different needs, and want to[..]
Taco Cowboy writes: It may be brilliant, but it's not all that trustworthy. That appears to be the opinion Americans hold when it comes to Artificial Intelligence systems... And while we may be interacting with AI systems more frequently than we realize (hi, Siri), a new study from Time etc suggests that Americans don't believe the AI revolution is quite here yet, with 54 percent claiming to have never interacted with such a system The more interesting finding reveals that 26 percent of respondents said they would not trust an AI with any personal or professional task. Sure, sending a text message or making a phone call is fine, but 51 percent said they'd be uncomfortable sharing personal data with an AI system. Moreover, 23 percent of Americans who say they have interacted with an AI reported being dissatisfied with the experience. I thought it was interesting that 66% of the respondents said they'd be uncomfortable sharing financial data with an AI, while 53% said they'd be uncomfortable sharing professional data. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
PARIS (Reuters) - Analysis of data seized by investigators in last week's raid of Google's Paris headquarters could possibly take years, French financial prosecutor Eliane Houlette said on Sunday.
Researchers say crowdfunded VC fund The DAO project is flawed, cryptocurrency in it could be frozen or stolen by hackers (Nathaniel Popper/New York Times)(18 hours ago)
Nathaniel Popper / New York Times:Researchers say crowdfunded VC fund The DAO project is flawed, cryptocurrency in it could be frozen or stolen by hackers — A group of computer scientists released a paper on Friday describing a number of security vulnerabilities in a novel cryptocurrency crowdfunding project that has raised more than $100 million.
At the annual convention of OS/2 users, Arca Noae announced their new OS/2-OEM distribution will be released in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the project, codenamed "Blue Lion", will officially be called ArcaOS 5.0. "The significance of the version number relates to IBM OS/2 4.52 -- the last maintenance release of the platform released by IBM in 2001," reports TechRepublic. martiniturbide writes: The article discusses the features of ArcaOS like USB bootable installer, USB (1.1 and 2) , ACPI, AHCI, and network card drivers, new OS installer, etc. It will be sold in two editions: ArcaOS Commercial Edition [with 12 months of priority support and updates] and ArcaOS Personal Edition... Anyone have fond members of OS/2? Are there any Slashdot readers who are still using it? Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Remember yesterday's story about an off-the-shelf Facebook clone in North Korea? Within a few hours that site was hacked by an 18-year-old college student in Scotland.An anonymous reader writes: Using the default credentials, Andrew McKean posted "Uh, I didn't create this site just found the login" in the site's box for Sponsored links. "McKean was able to become an admin for the site just by clicking on the 'Admin' link at the bottom of the site and guessing the username and password," writes Motherboard, which adds that the password was "password". McKean says the breach "was easy enough," and granted him the ability to "delete and suspend users, change the site's name, censor certain words and manage the eventual ads, and see everyone's emails." The teenager said he had "no plans" for the compromised site -- except possibly redirecting it to an anti-North Korean page. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
FBI raids home of security researcher who discovered unencrypted sensitive health data of 22K dental patients on an unsecured public FTP server (Dissent Doe/The Daily Dot)(2 days ago)
Dissent Doe / The Daily Dot:FBI raids home of security researcher who discovered unencrypted sensitive health data of 22K dental patients on an unsecured public FTP server — Someone alerts you to exposed, unencrypted patient information on your FTP server. Is the correct response to thank them profusely or try to have them charged as a criminal hacker?
Reddit partners with VigLink to rewrite links to merchants on Reddit into affiliate links starting June 3 (Jillian D'Onfro/Business Insider)(2 days ago)
Jillian D'Onfro / Business Insider:Reddit partners with VigLink to rewrite links to merchants on Reddit into affiliate links starting June 3 — Reddit is launching a new way to make money. — Starting on June 3, the site is going to use a popular strategy called affiliate linking to get a small cut of purchases that happen …
Musical.ly, with 10M DAUs and 70M registered users, is adding a streaming service called live.ly, is rumored to be raising $100M (Biz Carson/Business Insider)(2 days ago)
Biz Carson / Business Insider:Musical.ly, with 10M DAUs and 70M registered users, is adding a streaming service called live.ly, is rumored to be raising $100M — Unless you live with a teenager, you've probably never heard of Musical.ly. — If you do, then you've probably already appeared in one of your kid's music videos.
Sources: the Feinstein-Burr encryption bill has lost support in Congress, likely won't be introduced this year (Reuters)(2 days ago)
Reuters:Sources: the Feinstein-Burr encryption bill has lost support in Congress, likely won't be introduced this year — After a rampage that left 14 people dead in San Bernardino, key U.S. lawmakers pledged to seek a law requiring technology companies to give law enforcement agencies a “back door” …
An anonymous reader writes: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is "vague, draconian, and notoriously out of touch with how we use computers today," warns the EFF. But instead of reforming it, two U.S. Senators "are on a mission to make things worse..." The senators' proposed Botnet Prevention Act of 2016 "could make criminals of paid researchers who test access in order to identify, disclose, and fix vulnerabilities," according to the EFF. And the bill would also make it a felony to damage "critical infrastructure," which may include software companies and ISPs (since they're apparently using the Department of Homeland Security's definition). The harsher penalties would ultimately give prosecutors much more leverage for plea deals. But worst of all, the proposed bill even "empowers government officials to obtain court orders to force companies to hack computer users for a wide range of activity completely unrelated to botnets. What's worse is that the bill allows the government to do this without any requirement of notice to non-suspect or innocent customers or companies, including botnet victims... These changes would only increase -- not alleviate -- the CFAA's harshness, overbreadth, and confusion." The CFAA was originally written in 1986, and was partly inspired by the 1983 movie "WarGames". Read more[..]
The Department of Defense has promised to finally stop managing the U.S. nuclear arsenal with floppy disks "by the end of 2017". But an anonymous reader shares Softpedia's report about another startling revelation this week from the Government Accountability Office: Another agency that plans to upgrade is the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which uses COBOL, a programming language from the '50s to manage a system for employee time and attendance. Unfortunately for the VA, there were funds only to upgrade that COBOL system, because the agency still uses the antiquated programming language to run another system that tracks claims filed by veterans for benefits, eligibility, and dates of death. This latter system won't be updated this year. Another serious COBOL user is the Department of Homeland Security, who employs it to track hiring operations, alongside a 2008 IBM z10 mainframe and a Web component that uses a Windows 2012 server running Java. Personnel files are serious business. A 2015 leak of the secret service's confidential personnel files for a Utah Congressman (who was leading a probe into high-profile security breaches and other missteps) led the Department of Homeland Security to discipline 41 secret service agents. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
More people in the United States are now turning to social media instead of traditional media for news. According to Pew Research Center, which surveyed over 4,500 people with various backgrounds, an increasingly number of Americans -- 62% to be exact -- are getting their news from social media platforms such as Facebook, and Instagram. Of the 62% people, 66% of them get their news from Facebook, 23% from Instagram, 21% from YouTube, and 19% from LinkedIn. From a Huffington Post article: It's easy to believe you're getting diverse perspectives when you see stories on Facebook. You're connected not just to many of your friends, but also to friends of friends, interesting celebrities and publications you "like." But Facebook shows you what it thinks you'll be interested in. The social network pays attention to what you interact with, what your friends share and comment on, and overall reactions to a piece of content, lumping all of these factors into an algorithm that serves you items you're likely to engage with. It's a simple matter of business: Facebook wants you coming back, so it wants to show you things you'll enjoy. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
"The NSA has a well-earned reputation for being one of the tougher agencies to get records out of, making those rare FOIA wins all the sweeter..." according to Muckrock.com, and "the fact that the records in question just so happen to be absolutely insane are just icing on the cake...." v3rgEz writes: In 2007, two NSA employees put together "Untangling the Web," the agency's official guide to scouring the World Wide Web. The 651-page guide cites Borges, Freud, and Ovid -- and that's just in the preface. MuckRock obtained a copy of the guide under an NSA Freedom of Information request, and has a write up of all the guide's amazing best parts. They're calling it "the weirdest thing you'll read today". Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard (edited for clarity): A controversial surveillance company called Blue Coat Systems -- whose products have been detected in Iran and Sudan -- was recently issued a powerful encryption certificate by Symantec. The certificate, and the authority that comes with it, could allow Blue Coat Systems to more easily snoop on encrypted traffic. But Symantec downplayed concern from the security community. Blue Coat, which sells web-monitoring software, was granted the power in September last year, but it was only widely noticed this week. The company's devices are used by both government and commercial customers for keeping tabs on networks or conducting surveillance. In Syria, the technology has been used to censor web sites and monitor the communications of dissidents, activists and journalists.Blue Coat assures that it is not going to utilize the certificates to snoop on us. The Register reports: We asked Blue Coat how it planned to use its new powers -- and we were assured that its intermediate certificate was only used for internal testing and that the certificate is no longer in use. "Symantec has reviewed the intermediate CA issued to Blue Coat and determined it was used appropriately," the two firms said in a statement. "Consistent with their protocols, Symantec maintained full control of the private key and Blue Coat never had access to it. Blue Coat has confirmed it was used for internal testing and has since been discontinued. Therefore,[..]
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is the "dictator" of "the biggest nation in the world," says Peter Sunde, co-founder of the controversial website The Pirate Bay. Sunde, who appeared at The Next Web conference on Friday, added that there is "no democracy" online. From a CNBC report: "People in the tech industry have a lot of responsibilities but they never really discuss these things... Facebook is the biggest nation in the world and we have a dictator, if you look at it from a democracy standpoint, Mark Zuckerberg is a dictator. I did not elect him. He sets the rules," Sunde said. "And really you can't opt out of Facebook. I'm not on Facebook but there are a lot of drawbacks in my offline world. No party invitations, no updates from my friends, people stop talking to you, because you're not on Facebook. So it has real life implications." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: The 28 shootings along a 10-mile stretch of San Francisco-area highway over the past six months have led mayors of the adjacent cities to declare that these "murderous activities" have reached "crisis proportions." Four people have been killed and dozens injured. These five mayors want California Gov. Jerry Brown to fund surveillance cameras along all the on and off ramps of Interstate 80 and Highway 4 along the cities of El Cerrito, Hercules, Richmond, San Pablo, and Pinole. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
New submitter fisted writes: The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 7.0.1, the first security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 7.0 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons... For more details, please see the release notes at netbsd.org/releases. Complete source and binaries for NetBSD are available for download at many sites around the world. A list of download sites providing FTP, AnonCVS, SUP, and other services may be found at netbsd.org/mirrors/ This release addresses three security advisories, and includes six more security fixes -- all courtesy of a non-profit organization with no commercial backing. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Earlier this month Bill Gates released his summer reading list, which included Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson and mathematician Jordan Ellenberg's book How Not to be Wrong. Now an anonymous Slashdot reader asks for your book recommendations. I've been trying to learn more about coding, but I need a break sometimes from technical documentation and O'Reilly books. Are there any good books that can provide some good general context and maybe teach me about our place in the history of technology or the state of the programming profession today? In the U.S., Memorial Day is considered the "unofficial" first weekend of summer -- so what should be on this geek's summer reading list? Cracking the Coding Interview? Godel, Escher, Bach? This year's Nebula award winners? George Takei's The Internet Strikes Back? Leave your suggestions in the comments. What books should an aspiring coder be reading? Read more of this story at Slashdot.
"You know something's up when politicians bring up a bill out of nowhere, and then try to ram it through over Memorial Day weekend," writes Fortune. "That's what's happening in Illinois, where state lawmakers -- allegedly at the behest of Facebook and Google -- are poised to gut a law that limits the use of facial recognition technology."An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this month a judge refused to throw out a class action complaint against Facebook for using facial recognition software to identify people without their permission and then inviting their friends to "tag" them. Now that suit's lawyer says a so-called "Biometric Information Privacy Act" will actually swap in new definitions for "photograph" and "scan" that will apparently shield Facebook and Google from liability. The Center for Democracy and Technology called the bill "an unnecessary loss of privacy." Google didn't respond to Fortune's request for a comment, and Facebook said only "We appreciate Senator Link's effort to clarify the scope of the law he authored." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Annette Hurst, an attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe who represented Oracle in the recent Oracle v. Google trial, has written an opinion piece for Ars Technica in which he urges developers and creators to not celebrate Google's win in the hard-fought copyright case as the decision -- if remains intact -- is poised to make them "suffer" everywhere and also the free software movement itself "now faces substantial jeopardy." As you're aware, in a verdict earlier this week, a federal court announced that Google's Android operating system didn't infringe on Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use." Hurst writes: No business trying to commercialize software with any element of open software can afford to ignore this verdict. Dual licensing models are very common and have long depended upon a delicate balance between free use and commercial use. Royalties from licensed commercial exploitation fuel continued development and innovation of an open and free option. The balance depends upon adherence to the license restrictions in the open and free option. This jury's verdict suggests that such restrictions are now meaningless, since disregarding them is simply a matter of claiming "fair use." It is hard to see how GPL can survive such a result. In fact, it is hard to see how ownership of a copy of any software protected by copyright can survive this result. Software businesses now must accelerate their move to the[..]
This week Apple CEO Tim Cook argued at Startup Fest Europe that coding should be a 'second language' taught to all children. theodp shares two quotes from a YouTube video. "We fundamentally believe that coding is a language and that just like other languages are required in school, coding should be required in school," Cook stated. "I do think coding is as important-- if not more important -- as the second language that most people learn in today's world," Cook later added... "I would go in and make coding a requirement starting at the fourth or fifth grade, and I would build on that year after year after year...I think we're doing our kids a disservice if we're not teaching them and introducing them in that way." Meanwhile, The Hill reported this week that The Computer Science Education Coalition -- which includes Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and dozens of other companies -- hired a fourth "advocacy firm" that specializes in "mobilizing groups of people to influence outcomes...to help convince policymakers to provide money to computer science education for grades K-12," and they're seeking an initial investment of $250 million. I'd be curious to hear what Slashdot readers think about government funding of grade school coding classes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
jones_supa writes: Softpedia reports: "Microsoft has recently announced a new round of job layoffs at its Mobile unit in Finland, as it moves forward with its restructuring and reorganization plan following the acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services unit. The Finnish government has criticized Microsoft for turning to more job cuts in the country, pointing out that the company has a huge responsibility to help those who are being let go. Microsoft's latest job cut round included 1,850 people, 1,350 of which are said to be working in Finland. 'I am disappointed because of the (initial) promises made by Microsoft,' Finance Minister Alexander Stubb was quoted as saying by Reuters. 'One example is that the data center did not materialize despite the company's promise.'" He refers to Microsoft's promise in 2013 to invest $250 million in a data center located in Finland that was specifically meant to provide services to European customers. All of these worries are not unfounded as the employment situation in Finland is still quite terrible, and the decline of Nokia's former phone business certainly exacerbates the situation. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Pew: 62% of US adults get news on social media; 66% of Facebook, 23% of Instagram, 21% of YouTube, 19% of LinkedIn users get news there (Pew Research Center)(2 days ago)
Pew Research Center:Pew: 62% of US adults get news on social media; 66% of Facebook, 23% of Instagram, 21% of YouTube, 19% of LinkedIn users get news there — A majority of U.S. adults - 62% - get news on social media, and 18% do so often, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center …
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Researchers at the University of Michigan have created an app that makes any smartphone pressure-sensitive without additional hardware. The app, called ForcePhone, uses ultrasonic tones in the existing microphone and speaker hardware that respond to pressure for additional functionality for touchscreens. The app emits a high-frequency ultrasound tone from the device's existing microphone, which is inaudible to humans but can be picked up by the phone. That tone is calibrated to change depending on the pressure that the user gives on the screen or on the body of the phone. This gives users an additional way to interact with their device through the app alone. The additional functionality provided by ForcePhone can be used in a number of ways. Squeezing the body of the phone could take a user back a page, for example; or increased pressure on the touchscreen could act as a 'right-click' function, showing additional information on the app in use. Kan Shin, Professor at the University of Michigan, said, "You don't need a special screen or built-in sensors to do this. Now this functionality can be realized on any phone." He added, "We've augmented the user interface without requiring any special built-in sensors. ForcePhone increases the vocabulary between the phone and the user."[..]
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Qualcomm president Derek Aberle has suggested that the semiconductor giant is preparing to produce its own custom chips for the Chinese market. [A Wall Street Journal interview with] Aberle revealed that the American company had entered into a joint venture with the local government in Guizhou province to manufacture custom chips starting in the second half of 2016. According to Aberle, the Guizhou government owns 55% of the venture, while Qualcomm owns the remaining 45%. Aberle told the Wall Street Journal that he expects China's server demand to dwarf that of the U.S.. He said of the government-backed venture: "This is really going to be the primary vehicle from which we build our data center business in China. We are actually trying to create the company that is going to be able to win the market here as opposed to just licensing old technology." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Parker Thompson, Vinod Khosla, Jessica Livingston, and dozens of other Silicon Valley leaders express approval for Thiel's tactics against Gawker (New York Times)(2 days ago)
New York Times:Parker Thompson, Vinod Khosla, Jessica Livingston, and dozens of other Silicon Valley leaders express approval for Thiel's tactics against Gawker — SAN FRANCISCO — After the news that one of Silicon Valley's stars secretly funded a lawsuit to bring down a gossip site …
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Bloomberg: The Food and Drug Administration cleared the first implant in the U.S. to treat heroin and opioid painkiller addictions. The product, Probuphine, may be used to treat addicts continuously for six months with the drug buprenorphine, according to a statement from the agency on Thursday. Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and partner Braeburn Pharmaceuticals are the two companies behind the implant and plan to bring it to the market just as Congress passed a bill aimed at addressing the opioid crisis. Buprenorphine differs from methadone in that it doesn't require a treatment program. Doctors can prescribe the implant to patients after they take a four-hour training program. The FDA rejected the implant in 2013 because the original dose that the companies proposed was too low to provide effective treatment. The companies decided to maintain the lower dose and attempt to gain approval by restricting use to patients who already were stable on such amounts. Meanwhile, employers are struggling to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Kurt Wagner / Recode:Facebook plans to officially kill its video ad exchange LiveRail — The writing has been on the wall for some time. — Facebook plans to shutter LiveRail — the video ad exchange that it bought back in 2014 for a reported $400 million to $500 million — for good sometime in the very near future, according to sources.
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Reuters: After the San Bernardino terrorist attack, key U.S. lawmakers pledged to require technology companies to give law enforcement agencies a "back door" to encrypted communications and electronic devices. Now, the push for legislation is dead only months after the terrorist attack. In April, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein released the official version of their anti-encryption bill with hopes for it to pass through Congress. But with the lack of White House support for the legislation as well as the high-profile court case between Apple and the Justice Department, the legislation will likely not be introduced this year, and even if it were, it would stand no chance of advancing, said sources familiar with the matter. "The short life of the push for legislation illustrates the intractable nature of the debate over digital surveillance and encryption, which has been raging in one form or another since the 1990s," reports Reuters. Technology companies believe security would be undermined if it were to create a "back door" for law enforcement, while law enforcement agencies believe they need to monitor phone calls, emails, text messages and encrypted data in general for security purposes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Billionaire media owner Pierre Omidyar is backing news and entertainment web site Gawker Media in its lawsuit against wrestler Hulk Hogan, adding a new twist to a case pitting technology money against press freedom.
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: The Google iOS app for devices like the iPhone and iPad now supports the search giant's Accelerated Mobile Pages project, created to increase the loading times of news articles on the Internet. Now when users search for news from their Apple devices using the Google app, they should see streamlined news articles from media companies like The Washington Post that chose to participate in Google's web project. The AMP project is a Google-led initiative to standardize the software code behind each news article on the mobile web. AMP was designed to remove years of accumulated software code that has built up on online publishers' websites. As of Friday, iOS users should see a lightning bolt graphic and the letters "AMP" next to news articles from participating publishers in the "Top Stories" section of their search results in the Google app. Read more of this story at Slashdot.