Technology News

iOS's 'Activation Lock' For Stolen iPads And iPhones Can Be Easily Bypassed

(One hour ago)
An anonymous reader quotes ComputerWorld:Two researchers claim to have found a way to bypass the activation lock feature in iOS that's supposed to prevent anyone from using an iPhone or iPad marked as lost by its owner... One of the few things allowed from the activation lock screen is connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network, including manually configuring one. [Security researcher] Hemanth had the idea of trying to crash the service that enforces the lock screen by entering very long strings of characters in the WPA2-Enterprise username and password fields. The researcher claims that, after awhile, the screen froze, and he used the iPad smart cover sold by Apple to put the tablet to sleep and then reopen it... "After 20-25 seconds the Add Wifi Connection screen crashed to the iPad home screen, thereby bypassing the so-called Find My iPhone Activation Lock," he said in a blog post. There's also a five-minute video on YouTube which purports to show a newer version of the same attack. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jake Beckman, the creator of @SavedYouAClick, a Twitter account with 230K+ followers that aims to combat clickbait, creates @SavedYouATrick to oust fake news (April Siese/The Daily Dot)

(3 hours ago)
April Siese / The Daily Dot:Jake Beckman, the creator of @SavedYouAClick, a Twitter account with 230K+ followers that aims to combat clickbait, creates @SavedYouATrick to oust fake news  —  For over two and a half years, Jake Beckman has been waging a war against clickbait.  The flashy headlines peppered with teasers …

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Linux Laptop?

(3 hours ago)
Long-Time Slashdot reader sconeu is finally replacing his 10-year-old Toshiba Satellite laptop, and needs suggestions on the best current laptops for running Linux.I'm looking to run some flavor of Linux (probably KDE-based UI, but not mandatory) while using a VM to run Windows 7 (for stuff needed for work). For me personally, battery life and weight are more important than raw power. I'm not going to be running games on this.I've been considering an XPS 13 Developer Edition, or something from System76, ZaReason or Emperor Linux. What laptop do you use? Do you have any suggestions? It's your chance to share useful information, recommendations, and your own experiences with various brands of laptop. So leave your best answers in the comments. What's the best Linux Laptop? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The US Government Funds A War On Online Fake News

(4 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post:Congressional negotiators on Wednesday approved an initiative to track and combat foreign propaganda amid growing concerns that Russian efforts to spread "fake news" and disinformation threaten U.S. national security. The measure, part of the National Defense Authorization Act approved by a conference committee, calls on the State Department to lead government-wide efforts to identify propaganda and counter its effects. The authorization is for $160 million over two years... The Senate Intelligence Committee, meanwhile, has approved language in the fiscal year 2017 intelligence authorization bill calling for new executive branch efforts to combat what it characterized as "active measures" by Russia to manipulate people and governments through front groups, covert broadcasting or "media manipulation." "There is definitely bipartisan concern about the Russian government engaging in covert influence activities of this nature," Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. "If you read section 501 of this year's intelligence authorization bill, it directs the President to set up an interagency committee to 'counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence over peoples and governments.'" Several senators on the intelligence committee also asked President Obama to declassify any information relating to the Russian government and the U.S. election.[..]

Our Brains Use Binary Logic, Say Neuroscientists

(5 hours ago)
"The brain's basic computational algorithm is organized by power-of-two-based logic," reports Sci-News, citing a neuroscientist at Augusta University's Medical College.hackingbear writes:He and his colleagues from the U.S. and China have documented the algorithm at work in seven different brain regions involved with basics like food and fear in mice and hamsters. "Intelligence is really about dealing with uncertainty and infinite possibilities," he said. "It appears to be enabled when a group of similar neurons form a variety of cliques to handle each basic like recognizing food, shelter, friends and foes. Groups of cliques then cluster into functional connectivity motifs to handle every possibility in each of these basics. The more complex the thought, the more cliques join in." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple says faulty battery causes unexpected shutdowns on "a small number of iPhone 6s devices", offers free battery replacement (Kif Leswing/Business Insider)

(6 hours ago)
Kif Leswing / Business Insider:Apple says faulty battery causes unexpected shutdowns on “a small number of iPhone 6s devices”, offers free battery replacement  —  Apple customers have been reporting recently that certain iPhones seem to be randomly shutting off when their batteries say they are about 30% charged.

It Will Soon Be Illegal To Punish US Customers Who Criticize Businesses Online

(6 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Congress has passed a law protecting the right of U.S. consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies. The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the US Senate, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said. The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama's signature. The Consumer Review Fairness Act -- full text available here -- voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sirius reapproaches Pandora for a takeover: source

(6 hours ago)
(Reuters) - Satellite radio company Sirius XM Holdings Inc's Chairman Greg Maffei recently made a fresh approach to internet radio provider Pandora Media Inc and expressed interest about a potential takeover, according to a source familiar with the matter.

VM-Neutral Node.js API Unveiled, As NodeSource Collaborates With Microsoft, Mozilla, Intel and IBM

(7 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes:This week saw the first proof of concept for Node.js API (or NAPI for short), "making module maintainers' lives easier by defining a stable module API that is independent from changes in [Google's JavaScript engine] V8 and allowing modules to run against newer versions of Node.js without recompilation." Their announcement cites both the efforts of the Node.js API working group and of ChakraCore, the core part of the Chakra Javascript engine that powers Microsoft Edge. And there was also a second announcement -- that the Node.js build system "will start producing nightly node-chakracore builds, enabling Node.js to be used with the ChakraCore JavaScript engine. "These initial efforts are stepping stones to make Node.js VM-neutral, which would allow more opportunities for Node.js in IoT and mobile use cases as well as a variety of different systems." One IBM runtime developer called it "a concrete step toward the strategic end goal of VM neutrality," and the Node.js Foundation believes that the API will ultimately result in "more modules to choose from, and more stability with modules without the need to continually upgrade." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Drupal Event Apologizes For Giving Out Copies Of Playboy

(8 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes:The organization team for a regional Drupal event apologized Thursday for distributing copies of Playboy to attendees. The magazines were distributed in welcome bags, according to a statement from the organizers of DrupalCamp Munich, and "were provided by Burda, a major German publisher, who also provided other technical magazines as part of their sponsorship. These magazines were approved for inclusion by the camp organizers. "At the time, we thought it would be a good idea, as playboy.de was one of the first major Drupal 8 websites ever released. Upon reflection, this wasn't the best idea, and the magazines have been removed... It was a decision made in poor taste, and we regret it. The inclusion of the magazine had attracted criticism on Twitter from both male and female developers, with one writing sarcastically, "Dunno about you, but I only read playboy.de for the Drupal code." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China's New 'Social Credit Score' Law Means Full Access To Customer Data

(9 hours ago)
AnonymousCube shares this quote about China's new 'Social Credit Score' law from an insurance industry magazine:"Companies are also required to give government investigators complete access to their data if there is suspected wrong-doing, and Internet operators must cooperate in any national security or crime-related investigation." Note that China has an extremely flexible definition of "national security".Additionally computer equipment will need to undergo mandatory certification, that could involve giving up source code, encryption keys, or even proprietary intellectual data, as Microsoft has been doing for some time. The article suggests businesses like insurers "will likely see the cost of complying with this new action as a disincentive to conducting business in China." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Chrome 55 Now Blocks Flash, Uses HTML5 By Default

(10 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes Bleeping Computer: Chrome 55, released earlier this week, now blocks all Adobe Flash content by default, according to a plan set in motion by Google engineers earlier this year... While some of the initial implementation details of the "HTML5 By Default" plan changed since then, Flash has been phased out in favor of HTML5 as the primary technology for playing multimedia content in Chrome. Google's plan is to turn off Flash and use HTML5 for all sites. Where HTML5 isn't supported, Chrome will prompt users and ask them if they want to run Flash to view multimedia content. The user's option would be remembered for subsequent visits, but there's also an option in the browser's settings section, under Settings > Content Settings > Flash > Manage Exceptions, where users can add the websites they want to allow Flash to run by default. Exceptions will also be made automatically for your more frequently-visited sites -- which, for many users, will include YouTube. And Chrome will continue to ship with Flash -- as well as an option to re-enable Flash on all sites. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple shows ambition to get into self-driving car race

(10 hours ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc is wading in to the debate over regulation of self-driving cars, declaring it is excited about the potential for automated transportation and calling on U.S. regulators not to restrict testing of such vehicles.

Encryption Backdoor Sneaks Into UK Law

(11 hours ago)
Coisiche found a disturbing article from The Register about the U.K.'s new "Snoopers' Charter" law that has implications for tech companies around the world:Among the many unpleasant things in the Investigatory Powers Act that was officially signed into law this week, one that has not gained as much attention is the apparent ability for the U.K. government to undermine encryption and demand surveillance backdoors... As per the final wording of the law, comms providers on the receiving end of a "technical capacity notice" will be obliged to do various things on demand for government snoops -- such as disclosing details of any system upgrades and removing "electronic protection" on encrypted communications. Thus, by "technical capability," the government really means backdoors and deliberate security weaknesses so citizens' encrypted online activities can be intercepted, deciphered and monitored... At the end of the day, will the U.K. security services be able to read your email, your messages, your posts and private tweets, and your communications if they believe you pose a threat to national security? Yes, they will. The bill added the Secretaries of State as a required signatory to the "technical capacity" notices, which "introduces a minor choke-point and a degree of accountability." But the article argues the law ultimately anticipates the breaking of encryption, and without customer notification. "The U.K. government can certainly insist that a company not based in the[..]

BLU phone update prevents rogue application from sending user data to China; all new phones will use Google's OTA update utility in its place (Sascha Segan/PC Magazine)

(12 hours ago)
Sascha Segan / PC Magazine:BLU phone update prevents rogue application from sending user data to China; all new phones will use Google's OTA update utility in its place  —  It ain't easy being Blu right now.  The Miami-based, low-cost Android phone maker has rocketed to success by selling unlocked smartphones at rock-bottom prices …

Perl Advent Calendar Enters Its 17th Year

(12 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes:Thursday brought this year's first new posts on the Perl Advent Calendar, a geeky tradition first started back in 2000. Friday's post described Santa's need for fast, efficient code, and the day that a Christmas miracle occurred during Santa's annual code review (involving the is_hashref subroutine from Perl's reference utility library). And for the last five years, the calendar has also had its own Twitter feed. But in another corner of the North Pole, you can also unwrap the Perl 6 Advent Calendar, which this year celebrates the one-year anniversary of the official launch of Perl 6. Friday's post was by brian d foy, a writer on the classic Perl textbooks Learning Perl and Intermediate Perl (who's now also crowdfunding his next O'Reilly book, Learning Perl 6). foy's post talked about Perl 6's object hashes, while the calendar kicked off its new season Thursday with a discussion about creating Docker images using webhooks triggered by GitHub commits as an example of Perl 6's "whipupitude". Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Of 8 Tech Companies, Only Twitter Says It Would Refuse To Help Build Muslim Registry For Trump

(14 hours ago)
On the campaign trail last year, President-elect Donald Trump said he would consider requiring Muslim-Americans to register with a government database. While he has back-stepped on a number of campaign promises after being elected president, Trump and his transition team have recently resurfaced the idea to create a national Muslim registry. In response, The Intercept contacted nine of the "most prominent" technology companies in the United States "to ask if they would sell their services to help create a national Muslim registry." Twitter was the only company that responded with "No." The Intercept reports: Even on a purely hypothetical basis, such a project would provide American technology companies an easy line to draw in the sand -- pushing back against any effort to track individuals purely (or essentially) on the basis of their religious beliefs doesn't take much in the way of courage or conviction, even by the thin standards of corporate America. We'd also be remiss in assuming no company would ever tie itself to such a nakedly evil undertaking: IBM famously helped Nazi Germany computerize the Holocaust. (IBM has downplayed its logistical role in the Holocaust, claiming in a 2001 statement that "most [relevant] documents were destroyed or lost during the war.") With all this in mind, we contacted nine different American firms in the business of technology, broadly defined, with the following question: "Would [name of company], if solicited by the Trump[..]

Mirai-based botnet tried to hijack Deutsche Telekom, UK's TalkTalk and Post Office customer routers, disrupting internet access for over 1M customers (Matthew Reynolds/WIRED UK)

(15 hours ago)
Matthew Reynolds / WIRED UK:Mirai-based botnet tried to hijack Deutsche Telekom, UK's TalkTalk and Post Office customer routers, disrupting internet access for over 1M customers  —  The Mirai worm also hit the broadband, internet and TV networks of 900,000 Deutsche Telekom customers  —  Around 100,000 Post Office …

Survey Says: Elon Musk Is Most Admired Tech Leader, Topping Bezos and Zuckerberg

(17 hours ago)
First Round Capital conducted a poll of 700 tech company founders and found Elon Musk to be the most admired leader in the technology industry. Elon Musk received 23 percent of the votes; 10 percent said Amazon's Jeff Bezos, 6 percent said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and 5 percent wrote in Steve Jobs. First Round writes: "We launched State of Startups to capture what it means to be an entrepreneur. We asked the leaders of venture-backed companies about everything from the fundraising environment to their working relationships with their co-founders to their office's price per square foot. [...] Once again, we asked founders to write in which current tech leader they admire the most and we tallied 125 names. The Tesla and SpaceX leader held firm at the top spot (23%)..." Teslarati reports: While the survey did not ask respondents to explain their choice, it is safe to assume that Elon's propensity for setting lofty and visionary goals, and then being able to execute on them, is one trait admired most by tech founders. Most recently, Musk moved the scheduled start of production for the upcoming Model 3 midsize sedan forward by a full two years. Tesla also recently celebrated a record-setting third quarter and has been moving aggressively to close the second half of this year with 50,000 cars delivered. The company has announced a series of sweeteners to motivate people to order and take delivery of new vehicles before the end of the year. Unlimited Supercharger[..]

Alien Life Could Thrive In the Clouds of Failed Stars

(20 hours ago)
sciencehabit writes: There's an abundant new swath of cosmic real estate that life could call home -- and the views would be spectacular. Floating out by themselves in the Milky Way galaxy are perhaps a billion cold brown dwarfs, objects many times as massive as Jupiter but not big enough to ignite as a star. According to a new study, layers of their upper atmospheres sit at temperatures and pressures resembling those on Earth, and could host microbes that surf on thermal updrafts. The idea expands the concept of a habitable zone to include a vast population of worlds that had previously gone unconsidered. "You don't necessarily need to have a terrestrial planet with a surface," says Jack Yates, a planetary scientist at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, who led the study. Atmospheric life isn't just for the birds. For decades, biologists have known about microbes that drift in the winds high above Earth's surface. And in 1976, Carl Sagan envisioned the kind of ecosystem that could evolve in the upper layers of Jupiter, fueled by sunlight. You could have sky plankton: small organisms he called "sinkers." Other organisms could be balloonlike "floaters," which would rise and fall in the atmosphere by manipulating their body pressure. In the years since, astronomers have also considered the prospects of microbes in the carbon dioxide atmosphere above Venus's inhospitable surface. Yates and his colleagues set out to update Sagan's calculations and to identify the[..]

Chrome 55 for desktop starts rolling out, blocking Flash even further by defaulting to HTML5; sites that only support Flash and top 10 sites are exempted (Abner Li/9to5Google)

(22 hours ago)
Abner Li / 9to5Google:Chrome 55 for desktop starts rolling out, blocking Flash even further by defaulting to HTML5; sites that only support Flash and top 10 sites are exempted  —  Over the past year, Google Chrome has been implementing a multi-phase plan to de-emphasize Adobe Flash.

Paris, Madrid, Athens, Mexico City Will Ban Diesel Vehicles By 2025

(2 days ago)
The mayors of four major global cities -- Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens -- announced plans to stop the use of all diesel-powered cars and trucks by 2025. The leaders made their commitments in Mexico at a biennial meeting of city leaders. BBC reports: At the C40 meeting of urban leaders in Mexico, the four mayors declared that they would ban all diesel vehicles by 2025 and "commit to doing everything in their power to incentivize the use of electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles." "It is no secret that in Mexico City, we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic," said the city's mayor, Miguel Angel Mancera. "By expanding alternative transportation options like our Bus Rapid Transport and subway systems, while also investing in cycling infrastructure, we are working to ease congestion in our roadways and our lungs." Paris has already taken a series of steps to cut the impact of diesel cars and trucks. Vehicles registered before 1997 have already been banned from entering the city, with restrictions increasing each year until 2020. The use of diesel in transport has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, as concerns about its impact on air quality have grown. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that around three million deaths every year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Diesel engines contribute to the problem in two key ways -- through the production of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Very fine soot PM[..]

Nikola Motor Company Reveals Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck With Range of 1,200 Miles

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ValueWalk: Nikola Motor Company just unveiled a huge class 8 truck which will run on hydrogen fuel cells. Nikola claimed that the truck's operational range will be as much as 1,200 miles (1,900 km), and it will be released in 2020. Nikola designed the Nikola One for long-haul transport across a large landmass. The truck will deliver over 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 foot-pounds of torque. Provided these claims are true, the vehicle will provide nearly double the power of the current-gen diesel-powered semis/articulated lorries, notes Ars Technica. The leasing cost of the trucks will include the fuel price, servicing costs and warranty, but exactly how the lease will work is not known now, notes Ars Technica. The company says it has already accepted nearly $3 billion in future orders. A fully-electric drivetrain which gets power from high-density lithium batteries runs the vehicle, and a hydrogen fuel cell charges the batteries on the go. Its reach is presently limited, as hydrogen fueling stations currently exist in only small numbers. This made Nikola decide to construct a network of 364 hydrogen fueling stations across the U.S. and Canada, just like Tesla with its network of Superchargers. Milton claims it will come with a smart dashboard which has the capability of picking the most cost-efficient route for drivers. Also one or two full-size beds will be included inside the vehicle's enormous cab. It will have other luxuries and[..]

Source: Zenefits searching for a possible replacement for CEO, less than a year after David Sacks took the position (Tom Dotan/The Information)

(2 days ago)
Tom Dotan / The Information:Source: Zenefits searching for a possible replacement for CEO, less than a year after David Sacks took the position  —  Zenefits is trying to recruit senior managers who could replace CEO David Sacks, less than a year after he took over from embattled co-founder Parker Conrad, according to a person close to the company.

Hackers Steal $31 Million at Russia's Central Bank

(2 days ago)
The Bank of Russia has confirmed Friday that hackers have stolen 2 billion rubles ($31 million) from correspondent accounts at the Russian central bank. Central bank security executive Artiom Sychev said it could've been much worse as hackers tried to steal 5 billion rubles, but the central banking authority managed to stop them. CNNMoney reports: Hackers also targeted the private banks and stole cash from their clients, the central bank reported. The central bank did not say when the heist occurred or how hackers moved the funds. But so far, the attack bears some similarity to a recent string of heists that has targeted the worldwide financial system. Researchers at the cybersecurity firm Symantec have concluded that the global banking system has been under sustained attack from a sophisticated group -- dubbed "Lazarus" -- that has been linked to North Korea. But it's unclear who has attacked Russian banks this time around. Earlier Friday, the Russian government claimed it had foiled an attempt to erode public confidence in its financial system. Russian's top law enforcement agency, the FSB, said hackers were planning to use a collection of computer servers in the Netherlands to attack Russian banks. Typically, hackers use this kind of infrastructure to launch a "denial of service" attack, which disrupts websites and business operations by flooding a target with data. The FSB said hackers also planned to spread fake news about Russian banks, sending mass text messages and[..]

The 'USB Killer' Has Been Mass Produced -- Available Online For About $50

(2 days ago)
New submitter npslider writes: The "USB Killer," a USB stick that fries almost everything that it is plugged into, has been mass produced -- available online for about $50. Ars Technica first wrote about this diabolical device that looks like a fairly humdrum memory stick a year ago. From the report: "The USB Killer is shockingly simple in its operation. As soon as you plug it in, a DC-to-DC converter starts drawing power from the host system and storing electricity in its bank of capacitors (the square-shaped components). When the capacitors reach a potential of -220V, the device dumps all of that electricity into the USB data lines, most likely frying whatever is on the other end. If the host doesn't just roll over and die, the USB stick does the charge-discharge process again and again until it sizzles. Since the USB Killer has gone on sale, it has been used to fry laptops (including an old ThinkPad and a brand new MacBook Pro), an Xbox One, the new Google Pixel phone, and some cars (infotainment units, rather than whole cars... for now). Notably, some devices fare better than others, and there's a range of possible outcomes -- the USB Killer doesn't just nuke everything completely." You can watch a video of EverythingApplePro using the USB Killer to fry a variety of electronic devices. It looks like the only real defense from the USB Killer is physically capping your ports.[..]

Sources: Microsoft developing Home Hub software feature for Windows 10 to compete with Google Home and Amazon Echo (Zac Bowden/Windows Central)

(2 days ago)
Zac Bowden / Windows Central:Sources: Microsoft developing Home Hub software feature for Windows 10 to compete with Google Home and Amazon Echo  —  Microsoft's connected home ambitions with Home Hub lay far beyond just competing with Amazon and Google.  —  Rumors regarding a new Windows 10 feature called “Home Hub” …

Hackers Steal $31 Million From at Russia's Central Bank

(2 days ago)
The Bank of Russia has confirmed Friday that hackers have stolen 2 billion rubles ($31 million) from correspondent accounts at the Russian central bank. Central bank security executive Artiom Sychev said it could've been much worse as hackers tried to steal 5 billion rubles, but the central banking authority managed to stop them. CNNMoney reports: Hackers also targeted the private banks and stole cash from their clients, the central bank reported. The central bank did not say when the heist occurred or how hackers moved the funds. But so far, the attack bears some similarity to a recent string of heists that has targeted the worldwide financial system. Researchers at the cybersecurity firm Symantec have concluded that the global banking system has been under sustained attack from a sophisticated group -- dubbed "Lazarus" -- that has been linked to North Korea. But it's unclear who has attacked Russian banks this time around. Earlier Friday, the Russian government claimed it had foiled an attempt to erode public confidence in its financial system. Russian's top law enforcement agency, the FSB, said hackers were planning to use a collection of computer servers in the Netherlands to attack Russian banks. Typically, hackers use this kind of infrastructure to launch a "denial of service" attack, which disrupts websites and business operations by flooding a target with data. The FSB said hackers also planned to spread fake news about Russian banks, sending mass text messages and[..]

Mercedes Unveils Digital Headlights That Project Street Signs, Markings Onto the Road Ahead

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from New Atlas: Mercedes has just announced a conceptual new set of lamps that can not only adapt their light distribution to cater to the environment, but can project high-res visual aids onto the road ahead, such as makeshift zebra crossings for nearby pedestrians. The new system is dubbed Digital Light and features two million pixels that, with the help of algorithms and sensors that analyze the vehicle's surroundings, can each adjust their individual brightness depending on the scenario. An example of this might be a partial dimming to avoid blinding a cyclist. We have seen this kind of adaptive lighting technology before in systems developed by Fraunhofer and indeed Mercedes itself, although tuning it to control millions of pixels individually does appear to be new territory. But where the Digital Light system gets quite interesting is with the ability to project different objects onto the road. Imagine you are rolling up to an intersection in a foreign city with unfamiliar streets signs and the car, having collected the necessary information, projects a stop sign onto the road out ahead. Perhaps just as practical is the ability to shoot out strips of light that represent the precise width of the car, which could be pretty hand just as you try to squeeze through that extremely narrow gap. For what it's worth, Mercedes says it has already fitted it to a number of demo vehicles and reckons it will be on the road "in the near future."[..]

Obama prohibits German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron to sell its US based business to a Chinese investment fund, citing national security risks (Diane Bartz/Reuters)

(2 days ago)
Diane Bartz / Reuters:Obama prohibits German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron to sell its US based business to a Chinese investment fund, citing national security risks  —  President Barack Obama issued an executive order which prohibits China's Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund from acquiring the U.S. business …

Reuters Built An Algorithm That Can Identify Real News On Twitter

(2 days ago)
Reuters has built an algorithm called News Tracer that flags and verifies breaking news on Twitter. The algorithm weeds through all 500 million tweets that are posted on a daily basis to "sort real news from spam, nonsense, ads, and noise," writes Corinne Iozzio via Popular Science: In development since 2014, reports the Columbia Journalism Review, News Tracer's work starts by identifying clusters of tweets that are topically similar. Politics goes with politics; sports with sports; and so on. The system then uses language-processing to produce a coherent summary of each cluster. What differentiates News Tracer from other popular monitoring tools, is that it was built to think like a reporter. That virtual mindset takes 40 factors into account, according to Harvard's NiemanLab. It uses information like the location and status of the original poster (e.g. is she verified?) and how the news is spreading to establish a "credibility" rating for the news item in question. The system also does a kind of cross-check against sources that reporters have identified as reliable, and uses that initial network to identify other potentially reliable sources. News Tracer can also tell the difference between a trending hashtag and real news. The mix of data points News Tracer takes into account means it works best with actual, physical events -- crashes, protests, bombings -- as opposed to the he-said-she-said that can dominate news cycles.[..]

Foxconn Employee Faces 10-Year Prison Sentence For Stealing 5,700 iPhones Worth $1.5 Million

(2 days ago)
A Taiwanese Foxconn manager faces a stiff prison sentence after he stole 5,700 iPhones from his employer, and went to sell them for $1.56 million. The Next Web reports: Foxconn is a tech manufacturing giant. It makes a lot of things, including laptops for HP, phones for Apple, games consoles for Sony, and its workers so depressed it has to install suicide nets. The Taiwanese manager at the center of this crime -- known only by his family name, Tsai -- worked in the testing department at Foxconn's factory in Shenzhen, mainland China. According to Taiwanese prosecutors, Tsai ordered eight of his subordinates to smuggle out thousands of iPhones which were used by the company for testing and quality assurance purposes. These were destined to be scrapped after use. The stolen iPhones (mostly iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s models) made their way to stores in Shenzhen, and went on to make Tsai and his accomplices nearly $1.56 million USD (Tw$50 million). Tsai has since been charged with breach of trust and, if found guilty, he faces a maximum 10-year jail term. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Obama bars China's Fujian from buying Aixtron's U.S. business

(2 days ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama issued an executive order which prohibits China's Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund from acquiring the U.S. business of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron , the Treasury Department said on Friday.

Russian central bank loses $31 million in cyber attack

(2 days ago)
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Hackers stole more than 2 billion rubles ($31 million) from correspondent accounts at the Russian central bank, the bank said on Friday, the latest example of an escalation of cyber attacks on financial institutions around the globe.

U.S. regulator clears way for online lenders to have national charter

(2 days ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Online credit companies and paperless lenders would be able to get federal charters to do business nationwide under a plan outlined on Friday by a U.S. banking regulator.

Fiber upgrade cost traps Britain in cyber slow lane

(2 days ago)
LONDON (Reuters) - Britons desperate for faster broadband are unlikely to get it from a plan to separate the country's biggest network from BT unless the industry tackles how to pay up to 25 billion pounds ($76 billion) to upgrade to fiber-optic cables.

EU ministers back caps on wholesale mobile phone roaming fees

(2 days ago)
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union ministers on Friday backed lowering the caps for how much mobile telecoms operators can charge each other to keep their customers connected while abroad, although they are likely to be cut further in subsequent negotiations.

Shenzhen-HK stock link lets foreigners access China's booming tech firms

(2 days ago)
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A long-awaited link between China's booming Shenzhen stock market and neighboring Honk Kong goes live on Monday, allowing foreign investors first-time access to some of the fastest growing technology companies in the world's second biggest economy.

Stephen Hawking: Automation and AI Is Going To Decimate Middle Class Jobs

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: In a column in The Guardian, the world-famous physicist wrote that "the automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining." He adds his voice to a growing chorus of experts concerned about the effects that technology will have on workforce in the coming years and decades. The fear is that while artificial intelligence will bring radical increases in efficiency in industry, for ordinary people this will translate into unemployment and uncertainty, as their human jobs are replaced by machines. Automation will, "in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world," Hawking wrote. "The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive." He frames this economic anxiety as a reason for the rise in right-wing, populist politics in the West: "We are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might[..]

Lawyer Sues 20-Year-Old Student Who Gave a Bad Yelp Review, Loses Badly

(2 days ago)
20-year-old Lan Cai was in a car crash this summer, after she was plowed into by a drunk driver and broke two bones in her lower back. She didn't know how to navigate her car insurance and prove damages, so she reached out for legal help. Things didn't go as one would have liked, initially, as ArsTechnica documents:The help she got, Cai said, was less than satisfactory. Lawyers from the Tuan A. Khuu law firm ignored her contacts, and at one point they came into her bedroom while Cai was sleeping in her underwear. "Seriously, it's super unprofessional!" she wrote on Facebook. (The firm maintains it was invited in by Cai's mother.) She also took to Yelp to warn others about her bad experience. The posts led to a threatening e-mail from Tuan Khuu attorney Keith Nguyen. Nguyen and his associates went ahead and filed that lawsuit, demanding the young woman pay up between $100,000 and $200,000 -- more than 100 times what she had in her bank account. Nguyen said he didn't feel bad at all about suing Cai. Cai didn't remove her review, though. Instead she fought back against the Khuu firm, all thanks to attorney Michael Fleming, who took her case pro bono. Fleming filed a motion arguing that, first and foremost, Cai's social media complaints were true. Second, she couldn't do much to damage the reputation of a firm that already had multiple poor reviews. He argued the lawsuit was a clear SLAPP (strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Ultimately, the judge agreed with[..]

Steve Kondik leaves Cyanogen Inc., blames co-founder and CEO Kirt McMaster for company's troubles, ponders what's next for CyanogenMod (David Ruddock/Android Police)

(2 days ago)
David Ruddock / Android Police:Steve Kondik leaves Cyanogen Inc., blames co-founder and CEO Kirt McMaster for company's troubles, ponders what's next for CyanogenMod  —  Steve Kondik has left a statement about the rather troubling news coming out of Cyanogen Inc. this week on the [private] official CyanogenMod developer Google+ community …
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