Technology News

A Quarter of Major CMSs Use Outdated MD5 as the Default Password Hashing Scheme

(33 minutes ago)
Over a quarter of all the major content management systems (CMSs) use the old and outdated MD5 hashing scheme as the default for securing and storing user passwords. From a report: Some of the projects that use MD5 as the default method for storing user passwords include WordPress, osCommerce, SuiteCRM, Simple Machines Forum, miniBB, MyBB, SugarCRM, CMS Made Simple, MantisBT, Phorum, Observium, X3cms, and Composr. The MD5 algorithm has been cracked for years now, meaning all passwords stored in this format can be reversed back to their plaintext version. This means that unless website owners changed these default settings by modifying the CMS source code, most websites built on top of these CMSs puts user passwords at risk in the case a hacker steals the site's database. This revelation is just one of the many observations that came out of an extensive academic research project at the University of Piraeus, in Greece. Academics examined 49 commonly used CMSs and 47 popular web application frameworks and looked at their default password storage mechanism, namely their password hashing schemes.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A 53-Year-Old Network Coloring Conjecture Is Disproved

(One hour ago)
In just three pages, a Russian mathematician has presented a better way to color certain types of networks than many experts thought possible. From a report:A paper posted online last month has disproved a 53-year-old conjecture about the best way to assign colors to the nodes of a network. The paper shows, in a mere three pages, that there are better ways to color certain networks than many mathematicians had supposed possible. Network coloring problems, which were inspired by the question of how to color maps so that adjoining countries are different colors, have been a focus of study among mathematicians for nearly 200 years. The goal is to figure out how to color the nodes of some network (or graph, as mathematicians call them) so that no two connected nodes share the same color. Depending on the context, such a coloring can provide an effective way to seat guests at a wedding, schedule factory tasks for different time slots, or even solve a sudoku puzzle. Graph coloring problems tend to be simple to state, but they are often enormously hard to solve. Even the question that launched the field -- Do four colors suffice to color any map? -- took more than a century to answer (the answer is yes, in case you were wondering). The problem tackled in the new paper seemed, until now, to be no exception to this rule. Unsolved for more than 50 years, it concerns tensor products -- graphs made by combining two different graphs (call them G and H) in a specific way. The tensor[..]

Tech Companies Need To Take Responsibility For the 'Chaos' They Create, Tim Cook Says

(One hour ago)
Apple CEO Tim Cook said Sunday in a commencement address at Stanford University that technology companies need to take responsibility for the "chaos" they create. From a report: He did not name specific companies in his speech, but referenced several reasons that tech firms, particularly social media platforms, have come under scrutiny in recent months. He also made an apparent reference to embattled health startup Theranos. "Lately it seems this industry is becoming better known for a less noble innovation -- the belief you can claim credit without accepting responsibility," Cook said, according to videos posted online of his speech. "We see it every day now with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech, fake news poisoning out national conversation, the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood," he added. "Too many seem to think that good intentions excuse away harmful outcomes, but whether you like it or not, what you build and what you create define who you are. It feels a bit crazy that anyone should have to say this, but if you built a chaos factory, you can't dodge responsibility for the chaos."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What Really Happened To Malaysia's Missing Airplane

(2 hours ago)
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370's disappearance in March 2014 instantly become a global news phenomenon, as multiple countries joined the search for the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew. But the mystery is still swirling five years on. The Atlantic's July cover story looks at all of the known evidence about how MH370 vanished into the Indian Ocean to deliver the clearest picture to date of what happened: that in all likelihood the plane was intentionally crashed by the pilot. From the report: In truth, a lot can now be known with certainty about the fate of MH 370. First, the disappearance was an intentional act. It is inconceivable that the known flight path, accompanied by radio and electronic silence, was caused by any combination of system failure and human error. The story also tracked down Blaine Gibson, an American who has taken it upon himself to recover pieces of MH370 wreckage. Gibson has collected more plane fragments than any other person or entity -- and on beaches hundreds of miles apart. What Gibson's discovery of so many pieces of debris has confirmed is that the signals analysis was correct. The airplane flew for six hours until the flight came suddenly to an end. There was no effort by someone at the controls to bring the plane down gently. It shattered. Amid the bizarre conspiracy theories that continue to surround the disappearance of MH370, Gibson has become a target of threats and abuse. Yet his work to recover pieces of MH370 continues.Read more[..]

Russia thwarts U.S. cyber attacks on its infrastructure: news agencies

(2 hours ago)
Russia has uncovered and thwarted attempts by the United States to carry out cyber attacks on the control systems of Russian infrastructure, Russian news agencies cited an unnamed security source as saying on Monday.

Huawei Says US Ban Hurting More Than Expected, To Wipe $30 Billion Off Revenue

(3 hours ago)
China's Huawei has taken a harder-than-expected hit from a U.S. ban, the company's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said, and slashed revenue expectations for the year. From a report: Ren's downbeat assessment that the ban will hit revenue by $30 billion, the first time Huawei has quantified the impact of the U.S. action, comes as a surprise after weeks of defiant comments from company executives who maintained Huawei was technologically self-sufficient. [...] Huawei had not expected that U.S. determination to "crack" the company would be "so strong and so pervasive," Ren said, speaking at the company's Shenzhen headquarters on Monday. Two U.S. tech experts, George Gilder and Nicholas Negroponte, also joined the session. "We did not expect they would attack us on so many aspects," Ren said, adding he expects a revival in business in 2021.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung TVs should be regularly virus-checked, the company says

(3 hours ago)
The technology company tweeted its QLED-branded sets should be scanned once every few weeks.

Samsung Recommends Scanning QLED TVs For Viruses

(3 hours ago)
Samsung has reminded owners of its smart TVs that they should be regularly scanning for malware using its built-in virus scanning software. From a report: In a tweet, Samsung US support account shared a video Sunday outlining how users can scan their smart TVs for viruses. It is unclear what prompted the tweet or why the process seems to be opt-in as opposed to the operating system automatically scanning for viruses in the background. "Scanning your computer for malware viruses is important to keep it running smoothly. This also is true for your QLED TV if it's connected to Wi-Fi! Prevent malicious software attacks on your TV by scanning for viruses on your TV every few weeks," the company said in the tweet. It has since deleted the tweet.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Iran says it dismantled a U.S. cyber espionage network

(4 hours ago)
Iran said on Monday it had exposed a large cyber espionage network it alleged was run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and that several U.S. spies had been arrested in different countries as the result of this action.

Yahoo Japan Is Under Fire for Its China-Like Rating System

(4 hours ago)
Some users of Yahoo Japan are rising up against Japan's biggest web portal after the rollout of a new rating system that's being compared with a social-scoring initiative in China. From a report: The 48 million people with a Yahoo! Japan ID will have to opt-out within a privacy settings webpage if they don't want to be rated. The score is based on a variety of factors and is calculated based on inputs such as payment history, shopping reviews, whether a user canceled bookings and the amount of identifiable personal information. Unless users opt out, their ratings may be accessible to freelance jobs site Crowdworks, Yahoo's bike-sharing service and other businesses. Makoto Niida, a longtime Yahoo user, opted out of the rating system when he learned about it. "It's a big deal that the service was enabled by default," Niida said. "The way they created services that benefit businesses without clear explanations to their users reminds me of Chinaâ(TM)s surveillance society." Yahoo's new credit-score program follows efforts by Mizuho Financial Group, NTT Docomo and other companies to use algorithms to assign ratings to consumers. Japan doesn't have a system similar to FICO in the U.S., so businesses in the world's third-largest economy have come up with their own solutions to determine financial trustworthiness.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

France warns new European drone must be competitive on price

(4 hours ago)
A next-generation drone being developed by several European nations must be price competitive or the project designed to project European unity and strength in an increasingly uncertain world will flounder, France's defense minister warned on Monday.

Tesla's Elon Musk becomes 'Daddy DotCom' on Twitter

(4 hours ago)
Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1140481957341495296 late on Sunday that he had "just deleted" his Twitter account, while also changing his Twitter display name to "Daddy DotCom".

Tesla's Elon Musk becomes 'Daddy DotCom' on Twitter

(4 hours ago)
Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1140481957341495296 late on Sunday that he had "just deleted" his Twitter account, while also changing his Twitter display name to "Daddy DotCom".

Collective Health secures $205 million in funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund

(6 hours ago)
Collective Health, which makes software for companies to pay workers' health costs directly, said on Monday it had raised $205 million in new funding led by SoftBank Group Corp's Vision Fund.

U.S. chipmakers quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban

(7 hours ago)
Huawei's American chip suppliers, including Qualcomm and Intel, are quietly pressing the U.S. government to ease its ban on sales to the Chinese tech giant, even as Huawei itself avoids typical government lobbying, people familiar with the situation said.

Porn trolling lawyer jailed for 14 years

(7 hours ago)
A US lawyer who tricked people into paying for films he helped pirate gets a 14-year jail sentence.

Kremlin says report on alleged U.S. power grid incursion is worrying

(7 hours ago)
The Kremlin said on Monday that a report in the New York Times newspaper citing sources as saying the United States had inserted potentially disruptive implants into Russia's power grid showed a cyber war was, in theory, possible.

7,000 Developers Report Their Top Languages: Java, JavaScript, and Python

(8 hours ago)
"JetBrains released its State of Developer Ecosystem 2019 report, which found while Java is still the most popular primary language and JavaScript is the most used overall, Python is gaining speed," reports SD Times:The report surveyed about 7,000 developers worldwide, and revealed Python is the most studied programming language, the most loved language, and the third top primary programming language developers are using... The top use cases developers are using Python for include data analysis, web development, machine learning and writing automation scripts, according to the JetBrains report. More developers are also beginning to move over to Python 3, with 9 out of 10 developers using the current version. The JetBrains report also found while Go is still a young language, it is the most promising programming language. "Go started out with a share of 8% in 2017 and now it has reached 18%. In addition, the biggest number of developers (13%) chose Go as a language they would like to adopt or migrate to," the report stated... Seventy-three percent of JavaScript developers use TypeScript, which is up from 17 percent last year. Seventy-one percent of Kotlin developers use Kotlin for work. Java 8 is still the most popular programming language, but developers are beginning to migrate to Java 10 and 11. JetBrains (which designed Kotlin in 2011) also said that 60% of their survey's respondents identified themselves as professional web back-end developers (while 46% said they did[..]

Palestinian contractors poised for riches from Israeli tech firm's takeover

(9 hours ago)
Palestinian engineers working for Israeli chip designer Mellanox Technologies are poised to share a $3.5 million payout when the company's takeover by U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp is completed.

Huawei CEO says underestimated impact of U.S. ban, sees revenue dip

(9 hours ago)
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said the impact of a U.S. ban on the Chinese company was more severe than expected and warned that revenue would dip to around $100 billion this year and the next.

Slashdot Asks: Does Anyone Still Like Godzilla?

(11 hours ago)
There's now a new $175 million remake of Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I loved it, Msmash walked out of it, and BeauHD didn't bother to go see it. The movie performed poorly at the box office, but I'm not the only person who still likes Godzilla. There's also a new anime version on Netflix. And critic Matt Zoller Seitz (once a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism) is calling the new film "a frequently astounding movie... its imperfections are compensated by magnificence." For all its crash-and-bash action, this is a real science fiction movie that goes to the trouble of not merely creating a world, but thinking about the implications of its images and predicaments. It cares what the people in it must feel and think about their situation, and how it might weigh on them every day even when they aren't talking about it amongst themselves. It's also suffused with a spiritual or theological awareness, and takes it all as seriously as recent DC films took their comparisons of caped wonders to figures from the Old Testament and ancient mythology... [A]t the level of image, sound and music, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" is a frequently brilliant film that earnestly grapples with the material it presents... It deploys state-of-the-art moviemaking tools to try to return audiences to a stage of childlike terror and delight. Arthur C. Clarke famously observed that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. This movie is magic. No expense was[..]

Nvidia to work with Arm chips, deepening push into supercomputers

(11 hours ago)
Nvidia Corp on Monday said it will make its chips work with processors from Arm Holdings Inc to build supercomputers, deepening Nvidia's push into systems that are used for modeling both climate change predictions and nuclear weapons.

Huawei CEO expects sales to drop to $100 billion in 2019, 2020

(11 hours ago)
China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd expects sales to drop to around $100 billion this year and the next, CEO Ren Zhengfei said on Monday, as its business comes under pressure due to U.S. sanctions.

Alibaba proposes one-to-eight stock split for July 15 AGM vote

(12 hours ago)
Alibaba Group Holding has proposed a one-to-eight stock split for a vote at the upcoming annual general meeting of shareholders in Hong Kong on July 15, it said in a statement.

Why New York's Subway Still Uses OS/2

(14 hours ago)
Every day 5.7 million people ride the subway in New York City -- and are subjected to both "the whims of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the unheard-of reliability of a marginally successful operating system from the early 1990s." martiniturbide shared this report from Tedium:OS/2 and MTA consultant Neil Waldhauer said in an email, "For a few years, you could bet your career on OS/2." To understand why, you need to understand the timing. Waldhauer continues, "The design is from a time before either Linux or Windows was around. OS/2 would have seemed like a secure choice for the future." So for a lack of options, the MTA went with its best one. And it's worked out for decades, as one of the key software components of a quite complex system... Despite the failure of OS/2 in the consumer market, it was hilariously robust, leading to a long life in industrial and enterprise systems -- with one other famous example being ATMs. Waldhauer said, "Thinking about all the operating systems in use [in the MTA], I'd have to say that OS/2 is probably the most robust part of the system, except for the mainframe." It's still in use in the NYC subway system in 2019. IBM had long given up on it, even allowing another company to maintain the software in 2001. (These days, a firm named Arca Noae sells an officially supported version of OS/2, ArcaOS, though most of its users are in similar situations to the MTA.)Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google appoints Stanley Chen to head Greater China sales, operations

(14 hours ago)
Alphabet Inc's Google has appointed Stanley Chen as its managing director of Greater China sales and operations, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Target says payments vendor faces glitch; registers back online

(16 hours ago)
Target Corp on Sunday said it was unable to process select card payments at some stores for nearly 90 minutes due to a vendor-related issue – the second consecutive outage faced by the retailer in a week.

Upgrade Your Memory With A Surgically Implanted Brain Chip

(16 hours ago)
Bloomberg reports on a five-year, $77 million project by America's Department of Defense to create an implantable brain device that restores memory-generation capacity for people with traumatic brain injuries. A device has now been developed by Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and the medical technology company Medtronic Plc, and successfully tested with funding from America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).Connected to the left temporal cortex, it monitors the brain's electrical activity and forecasts whether a lasting memory will be created. "Just like meteorologists predict the weather by putting sensors in the environment that measure humidity and wind speed and temperature, we put sensors in the brain and measure electrical signals," Kahana says. If brain activity is suboptimal, the device provides a small zap, undetectable to the patient, to strengthen the signal and increase the chance of memory formation. In two separate studies, researchers found the prototype consistently boosted memory 15 per cent to 18 per cent. The second group performing human testing, a team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., aided by colleagues at the University of Southern California, has a more finely tuned method. In a study published last year, their patients showed memory retention improvement of as much as 37 per cent. "We're looking at questions like, 'Where are my keys? Where did I park the[..]

Twitch Sues Troll Streamers Who Flooded Site With Violent Videos and Pornography

(18 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg:Twitch Interactive, the livestreaming platform owned by Amazon.com, has sued anonymous trolls who flooded the site last month with pornography, violent content and copyrighted movies and television shows... Twitch says it works to remove offensive posts and ban the accounts of the users who post them, but that the videos quickly reappear, apparently posted by bots, while other bots work to drive users to the impermissible content. Twitch temporarily suspended new creators from streaming after a May 25 attack by trolls. The company said that if it learns the identities of the anonymous streamers who have abused its terms of service -- named in the lawsuit as "John and Jane Does 1-100" -- it will ask the court to prohibit their using the platform and order them to pay restitution and damages.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

U.S. chipmakers quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban: sources

(19 hours ago)
Huawei's American chip suppliers, including Qualcomm and Intel, are quietly pressing the U.S. government to ease its ban on sales to the Chinese tech giant, even as Huawei itself avoids typical government lobbying, people familiar with the situation said.

A New Hidden Way of Web Browser Profiling, Identification and Tracking

(19 hours ago)
Researchers from Austria's Graz University of Technology "have devised an automated system for browser profiling using two new side channel attacks that can help expose information about software and hardware," reports The Register. The researchers recently presented a paper titled "JavaScript Template Attacks: Automatically Inferring Host Information for Targeted Exploits," which The Register says "calls into question the effectiveness of anonymized browsing and browser privacy extensions... " Long-time Slashdot reader Artem S. Tashkinov shared their report:One of the side-channel attacks developed for JavaScript Template Attacks involve measuring runtime differences between two code snippets to infer the underlying instruction set architecture through variations in JIT compiler behavior. The other involves measuring timing differences in the memory allocator to infer the allocated size of a memory region. The boffins' exploration of the JavaScript environment reveals not only the ability to fingerprint via browser version, installed privacy extension, privacy mode, operating system, device microarchitecture, and virtual machine, but also the properties of JavaScript objects. And their research shows there are far more of these than are covered in official documentation. This means browser fingerprints have the potential to be far more detailed -- have more data points -- than they are now. The Mozilla Developer Network documentation for Firefox, for example, covers 2,247[..]

Researcher Publishers 7 Million (Still Public) Venmo Transactions on GitHub

(20 hours ago)
Remember the outrage last year when a researcher discovered that for Venmo's 40 million users, all transactions are "public" by default and broadcast on Venmo's API? More than a year later, computer science student Dan Salmon has demonstrated that it's still incredibly easy to download millions of transactions through Venmo's developer API without obtaining user permissions (without even using the Venmo app). He proved this by downloading 7 million of them," TechCrunch reports:Dan Salmon said he scraped the transactions during a cumulative six months to raise awareness and warn users to set their Venmo payments to private... Using that data, anyone can look at an entire user's public transaction history, who they shared money with, when, and in some cases for what reason -- including illicit goods and substances. "There's truly no reason to have this API open to unauthenticated requests," he told TechCrunch. "The API only exists to provide like a scrolling feed of public transactions for the home page of the app, but if that's your goal then you should require a token with each request to verify that the user is logged in." He published the scraped data on his GitHub page.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UK PM front-runner Johnson pledges to 'end the digital divide' by 2025

(21 hours ago)
Boris Johnson, the front-runner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, pledged on Sunday to "end the digital divide" in Britain with the rollout of full fiber broadband by 2025.

UK PM front-runner Johnson pledges to 'end the digital divide' by 2025

(21 hours ago)
Boris Johnson, the front-runner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, pledged on Sunday to "end the digital divide" in Britain with the rollout of full fiber broadband by 2025.

'Genius' Site Said It Used Morse Code To Catch Google Stealing Song Lyrics

(21 hours ago)
"Genius.com says its traffic is dropping because, for the past several years, Google has been publishing lyrics on its own platform, with some of them lifted directly from the music site," reports the Wall Street Journal:Google denies doing anything nefarious. Still, Genius's complaints offer a window into the challenges small tech companies can face when the unit of Alphabet Inc. starts offering competing services on its platform... Genius said it notified Google as far back as 2017, and again in an April letter, that copied transcriptions appear on Google's website. The April letter, a copy of which was viewed by the Journal, warned that reuse of Genius's transcriptions breaks the Genius.com terms of service and violates antitrust law. "Over the last two years, we've shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius," said Ben Gross, Genius's chief strategy officer, in an email message.... Genius said it found more than 100 examples of songs on Google that came from its site. Starting around 2016, Genius made a subtle change to some of the songs on its website, alternating the lyrics' apostrophes between straight and curly single-quote marks in exactly the same sequence for every song. When the two types of apostrophes were converted to the dots and dashes used in Morse code, they spelled out the words "Red Handed." Genius is a privately held company, and its investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Emagen Investment Group[..]

Google's Login Chief: Apple's Sign-In Button Is Better Than Using Passwords

(23 hours ago)
After Apple announced a single sign-on tool last week, The Verge interviewed Google product management director Mark Risher. Though Google offers its own single sign-on tool, The Verge found him "surprisingly sunny about having a new button to compete with. While the login buttons are relatively simple, they're much more resistant to common attacks like phishing, making them much stronger than the average password -- provided you trust the network offering them."RISHER: I honestly do think this technology will be better for the internet and will make people much, much safer. Even if they're clicking our competitor's button when they're logging into sites, that's still way better than typing in a bespoke username and password, or more commonly, a recycled username and password... Usually with passwords they recommend the capital letters and symbols and all of that, which the majority of the planet believes is the best thing that they should do to improve their security. But it actually has no bearing on phishing, no bearing on password breaches, no bearing on password reuse. We think that it's much more important to reduce the total number of passwords out there... People often push back against the federated model, saying we're putting all our eggs into one basket. It sort of rolls off the tongue, but I think it's the wrong metaphor. A better metaphor might be a bank. There are two ways to store your hundred dollars: you could spread it around the house, putting one dollar[..]

Michigan Town Approves Fiber Internet Despite Intense Lobbying

(2 days ago)
Long-time Slashdot reader Proudrooster writes: Fiber Internet is coming to Traverse City, Michigan in the hopes of attracting high tech startups and helping the city become a high-tech hub. Even in the face of intense lobbying by [commercial high-speed internet provider] Charter, The Mackinaw Center for Public Policy, and a barrage of pop up ads opposing it, the project is moving ahead into phase one. It was more than apparent that Charter did everything it could to try and sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt to try and kill this project as other incumbent providers have done across the USA. [Citation needed -- though Traverse City officials did report high-powered anonymous lobbying.] Kudos to the board of Traverse City Light and Power and the residents of Traverse City for being brave and making this investment in their community. Even though the decision is not finalized, the network may be an open network, allowing customers to purchase from a variety of providers. This project will undoubtedly be watched nationwide and possibly serve as a new model for other community fiber builds.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

America Planted Malware In Russia's Power Grid, Says NYT

(2 days ago)
"The U.S. military's Cyber Command has gotten more aggressive than ever against Russia in the past year, placing 'potentially crippling malware' in systems that control the country's electrical grid," according to CNET, citing a report in the New York Times:Made possible by little-noticed legal authority granted last summer by Congress, Cyber Command's strategy shift from a defensive to offensive posture is meant in part as a warning shot, but it's also designed to enable paralysing cyberattacks in the event of a conflict, The New York Times said Saturday, quoting unnamed officials... [T]he recent moves appear to have taken place under a military authorization bill Congress passed in 2018 that gives the go-ahead for "clandestine military activity" in cyberspace to "deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States...." The Times said Cyber Command is concerned Russia could trigger selective power outages in key states during the 2020 election and that it needs a way to discourage such attacks. But the agency and the U.S. have to consider their moves carefully in this international game of cyberchess. "The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia," the Times report says. "While it parallels Cold War nuclear strategy, it also enshrines power grids as a legitimate target...." In related news, Bloomberg reported Friday that a Russia-linked hacking group[..]

Intel launches project to help Israeli tech start-ups

(2 days ago)
Intel Corp launched a project on Sunday to help start-ups in Israel develop technologies in artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems, and said it planned to bring the scheme to other countries as well.

Why 'Ambient Computing' Is Just A Marketing Buzzword -- For Now

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes Computerworld columnist Mike Elgan: Ambient computing is real. It's the next megatrend in computing.... To interact in an "ambient computing" context means to not care and not even necessarily know where exactly the devices are that you're interacting with. When IoT devices and sensors are all around us, and artificial intelligence can understand human contexts for what's happening and act accordingly and in our interests, then ambient computing will have arrived... As with many technology revolutions, including augmented reality and AI, the buzzword ambient will precede the actual technology by many years. In fact, the marketing buzzword is suddenly here in full force. The actual technologies? Not so much. Instead, we're on the brink of a revolution in what you might call "semi-ambient computing...." Rumors are circulating that Google's next smartphones, the Pixel 4 line, may come with Soli built in. I told you in January about Google's Project Soli, which may be called the "Aware" sensor or feature in the Pixel 4 -- again, according to unconfirmed rumors. Soli or Aware capability means the Pixel 4 may accept in-the-air hand gestures, such as "skip" and "silence" during music playback. The new Google "wave" is a hand gesture. The ability to wave away music with a hand gesture brings the smartphone into the semi-ambient computing era. It basically adds natural hand gestures to natural-language processing.... Google also briefly talked last year[..]

Intel launches tech accelerator in Israel, plans for more

(2 days ago)
Intel Corp on Sunday launched an accelerator in Israel to develop technologies in artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, and said it plans to bring the project to other countries as well.

Massive Electrical Failure Cuts Power To Nearly All Of Argentina On Election Day -- and Uruguay

(2 days ago)
Iwastheone quotes the BBC:A massive electrical failure has left almost all of Argentina and Uruguay without power, according to a major Argentine electricity provider. Authorities say the cause of the blackout is still unclear. Argentine media said the power cut occurred shortly after 07:00 [03:00 PST, 11:00 BST], causing trains to be halted and failures with traffic signalling. It came as people in parts of Argentina were preparing to go to the polls for local elections. "A massive failure in the electrical interconnection system left all of Argentina and Uruguay without power," electricity supply company Edesur said in a tweet. Alejandra Martinez, a spokeswoman for the company, described the power cut as unprecedented. "This is the first time something like this has happened across the entire country." Argentina's energy secretary, Gustavo Lopetegui, said the cause of the power failure had not yet been determined. The Ministry of Civil Protection estimated that parts of the service could be restored in about seven or eight hours. Edesur said that power had been restored over 75,00 clients in parts of Buenos Aires and local media reported that two airports were operating on generators in the capital. Uruguay's energy company, UTE, said in a series of tweets that power had been restored to coastal areas and to areas north of Rio Negro. The combined population of Argentina and Uruguay is about 48 million people.... Tierra del Fuego in the far south is the only area that[..]

Facebook's Photorealistic Simulator For AI Runs At 10,000 FPS

(2 days ago)
malachiorion writes:Facebook just open sourced a simulator for testing and training embodied AI systems -- like virtual robots. They worked with AR/VR researchers to release the simulator along with what they say are the most photorealistic 3D reconstructions of real world places available. [Facebook Reality Labs have named this "the Replica data set".] The crazy part: Because more frames are always better for training computer vision in simulators, it can run at 10,000 FPS! The simulator's ability to hit 10K frames per second prompted an interesting follow-up on the original submission. "It's a totally useless framerate for humans -- just absolute overkill for our brains/eyeballs -- but it's apparently a benefit for AI systems." "As more researchers adopt the platform, we can collectively develop embodied AI techniques more quickly," explains Facebook's blog post, "as well as realize the larger benefits of replacing yesterday's training data sets with active environments that better reflect the world we're preparing machine assistants to operate in." And if you're worried about privacy, Facebook assures readers that "The data used to generate Replica scans was anonymized to remove any personal details (such as family photos) that could identify an individual. The overall reconstruction process was meticulous, with researchers manually filling in the small holes that are inevitably missed during scanning and using a 3D paint tool to apply annotations directly onto[..]
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