Technology News

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Acquires and Will Free Up Science Search Engine Meta

(57 minutes ago)
tomhath quotes a report from TechCrunch: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's $45 billion philanthropy organization is making its first acquisition in order to make it easier for scientists to search, read and tie together more than 26 million science research papers. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is acquiring Meta, an AI-powered research search engine startup, and will make its tool free to all in a few months after enhancing the product. Meta's AI recognizes authors and citations between papers so it can surface the most important research instead of just what has the best SEO. It also provides free full-text access to 18,000 journals and literature sources. Meta co-founder and CEO Sam Molyneux writes that "Going forward, our intent is not to profit from Meta's data and capabilities; instead we aim to ensure they get to those who need them most, across sectors and as quickly as possible, for the benefit of the world." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China Unseats US As Global Investment Leader In Financial Technology: Report

(3 hours ago)
Paul Fernhout writes: China has unseated North America as the global investment leader in financial technology, or "fintech," according to Citigroup's latest report on "digital disruption." The researchers attribute the power shift to the rise of what they term "Chinese dragons," an industry term for the biggest upstarts in Asia. Think of Ant Financial, the payments spinout of Alibaba, as well as Lu.com, JD Finance, and Qufenqi, emerging eastern juggernauts that are generally less familiar to consumers in the west. China accounted for more than half of all fintech investments globally in the first nine months of last year, the report said. Specifically in terms of venture capital, the country more than doubled its worldwide share of the investment category, rising to 46% of the global total versus just 19% the same period in 2015. The U.S., meanwhile, sunk to 41% of the global total from 56% during the same period in 2015, putting it behind China. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sources: IBM is firing thousands of US employees and sending many of jobs overseas even as it pledges to hire 25K workers over four years (Jing Cao/Bloomberg)

(4 hours ago)
Jing Cao / Bloomberg:Sources: IBM is firing thousands of US employees and sending many of jobs overseas even as it pledges to hire 25K workers over four years  —  Big Blue pledged to hire 25,000 workers over four years.  It wasn't long before employees were accusing the company's CEO of hypocrisy.  —  by  —  Jing Cao

Verizon laid off 155 employees from its mobile streaming service Go90; sources say Vessel team, acquired in October, will rebuild the service (Janko Roettgers/Variety)

(7 hours ago)
Janko Roettgers / Variety:Verizon laid off 155 employees from its mobile streaming service Go90; sources say Vessel team, acquired in October, will rebuild the service  —  Team from acquisition Vessel charged with app rebuild  —  Verizon's mobile streaming service Go90 is about to get a hard reset …

Cervical Cancer Just Got Much Deadlier -- Because Scientists Fixed a Math Error

(7 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Cervical cancer is 77 percent more deadly for black women and 44 percent more deadly for white women than previously thought, researchers report today in the journal Cancer. But the lethal boosts aren't from more women actually dying than before -- they're from scientists correcting their own calculation error. In the past, their estimates didn't account for women who had undergone hysterectomies -- which almost always removes the cervix, and with it the risk of getting cervical cancer. We don't include men in our calculation because they are not at risk for cervical cancer and by the same measure, we shouldn't include women who don't have a cervix," Anne F. Rositch, the study's lead author and an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins told The New York Times. For the study, the researchers looked at national cervical cancer mortality data collected between 2000 to 2012. They also looked into national survey data on the prevalence of hysterectomies. Then, they used those figures to adjust the number of women at risk of dying of cervical cancer. The researchers found that black women have a mortality rate of 10.1 per 100,000. For white women, the rate is 4.7 per 100,000. Past estimates had those rates at 5.7 and 3.2, respectively. The new death rate for black women in the US is on par with that of developing countries. Though the new study wasn't designed to address racial disparities, experts speculate that the large difference[..]

Android Instant Apps starts initial live testing, with apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, others (Aurash Mahbod/Android Developers Blog)

(8 hours ago)
Aurash Mahbod / Android Developers Blog:Android Instant Apps starts initial live testing, with apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, others  —  Posted by Aurash Mahbod, Software Engineer, Google Play  —  Android Instant Apps was previewed at Google I/O last year as a new way to run Android apps without requiring installation.

South Korea Developing 'Near-Supersonic' Train Similar To Hyperloop

(9 hours ago)
The South Korean government plans to unveil a high-speed train that can travel at near-supersonic speeds capable of cutting a five hour journey to just 30 minutes. It's reminiscent of the Hyperloop, a proposed mode of passenger and freight transportation that propels a pod-like vehicle through a near-vacuum tube at more than airline speed. Huffington Post UK reports: According to the Korea Railroad Research Institute, it plans to unveil a "hyper tube" format train in the "not too distant" future. Speaking to the South China Morning Post, the government-owned organization said: "We hope to create an ultra-fast train, which will travel inside a state-of-the-art low-pressure tube at lightning speeds, in the not-too-distant future. To that end, we will cooperate with associated institutes as well as Hanyang University to check the viability of various related technologies called the hyper-tube format over the next three years." While this sounds very similar to the low-pressure concept designed initially by Tesla founder Elon Musk it seems as though the KRRI wants to go even further and create a system that will leave Hyperloop looking like a Hornby set. By throwing all their resources at the project, South Korea is hoping to skip past maglev, a still-new propulsion system that uses electromagnets to actually levitate trains above the air. While this removes some of the friction that comes with using conventional wheels, it still doesn't remove the brick wall of friction that is[..]

Two-Thirds of Americans Give Priority To Developing Alternative Energy Over Fossil Fuels

(9 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Pew Research Center: A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65% of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy sources, compared with 27% who would emphasize expanded production of fossil fuel sources. Support for concentrating on alternative energy is up slightly since December 2014. At that time, 60% said developing alternative energy sources was the more important priority. There continue to be wide political differences on energy priorities. While a 2016 Pew Research Center survey found large majorities of Democrats and Republicans supported expanding both wind and solar energy, the new survey shows that Democrats remain far more likely than Republicans to stress that developing alternative energy should take priority over developing fossil fuel sources. About eight-in-ten (81%) Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party favor developing alternative sources instead of expanding production from fossil fuel sources. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are closely divided: 45% say the more important priority should be developing alternative sources, while 44% say expanding production of oil, coal and natural gas should be given more priority. There also are differences in public priorities about energy by age. Americans under the age of 50 are especially likely to support alternative energy sources over expanding fossil fuels. About seven-in-ten (73%) of those ages 18 to 49 say[..]

Yahoo Sale To Verizon Delayed After Hack Disclosures

(10 hours ago)
wiredmikey quotes a report from SecurityWeek: Yahoo said Monday that the closing of a $4.8 billion deal to sell its core internet assets to U.S. telecom titan Verizon has been delayed several months. A close originally set for this quarter has been pushed into next quarter, and has been thrown into doubt following disclosures of two huge data breaches. Yahoo announced in September that hackers in 2014 stole personal data from more than 500 million of its user accounts. It admitted another cyberattack in December, this one dating from 2013, affecting over a billion users. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into whether Yahoo should have informed investors sooner about the two major data breaches. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China tightens Great Firewall, declaring Chinese VPN services need prior government approval; large VPN-provider Vypr says it's "working on ways around this" (Josh Ye/South China Morning Post)

(10 hours ago)
Josh Ye / South China Morning Post:China tightens Great Firewall, declaring Chinese VPN services need prior government approval; large VPN-provider Vypr says it's “working on ways around this”  —  Move means all cable and VPN services need prior government approval and comes as Beijing steps up censorship before power-reshuffle party congress

Samsung Elec fourth-quarter profit jumps as record chip earnings mask Note 7 failure

(10 hours ago)
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Tuesday said fourth-quarter operating profit jumped 50 percent to its highest in over three years, as record earnings in its chips business masked the negative impact of its failed Note 7 phones.

Samsung Elec fourth-quarter profit jumps as record chip earnings mask Note 7 failure

(10 hours ago)
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Tuesday said fourth-quarter operating profit jumped 50 percent to its highest in over three years, as record earnings in its chips business masked the negative impact of its failed Note 7 phones.

Apple Investigating Issue With AirPods Randomly Disconnecting During Calls

(10 hours ago)
According to MacRumors, Apple is investigating multiple reports from iPhone owners of AirPods randomly disconnecting and reconnecting during calls. While the issue doesn't appear to be widespread, it appears to be a big enough problem to attract Apple's attention. One of the main reasons why the AirPods were so late to the market was because Apple needed more time to ensure the earpieces had reliable connectivity. Specifically, they were delayed to ensure both earpieces receive audio at the same time. MacRumors reports: A MacRumors forum thread and a long thread on Apple's Support Communities website have been generated by AirPods users who are regularly experiencing Bluetooth connection dropouts during phone calls, despite the fact that the wireless earphones almost never lose their connection when used to listen to music or anything else. MacRumors forum member protobiont wrote: "I've had this happen on two phone calls today. I am talking and suddenly the audio switches to the phone, I hear the Airpod connect tones and the audio switches back. This will repeat itself a few times, which is quite distracting during a phone call." At present, the issue appears to be limited to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus devices, with several users reporting no such problems after upgrading to an iPhone 7. MacRumors was also unable to replicate the problem on Apple's latest handset. Initial reports suggested the dropout issue only occurs if users also have an Apple Watch paired to their[..]

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative acquires science search engine Meta and will make its tool free in a few months, after enhancing the product (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)

(11 hours ago)
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:Chan Zuckerberg Initiative acquires science search engine Meta and will make its tool free in a few months, after enhancing the product  —  Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's $45 billion philanthropy organization is making its first acquisition in order to make it easier for scientists to search …

Ransomware Infects All St Louis Public Library Computers

(11 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Libraries in St Louis have been bought to a standstill after computers in all the city's libraries were infected with ransomware, a particularly virulent form of computer virus used to extort money from victims. Hackers are demanding $35,000 (£28,000) to restore the system after the cyberattack, which affected 700 computers across the Missouri city's 16 public libraries. The hackers demanded the money in electronic currency bitcoin, but, as CNN reports, the authority has refused to pay for a code that would unlock the machines. As a result, the library authority has said it will wipe its entire computer system and rebuild it from scratch, a solution that may take weeks. On Friday, St Louis public library announced it had managed to regain control of its servers, with tech staff continuing to work to restore borrowing services. The 16 libraries have all remained open, but computers continue to be off limits to the public. Spokeswoman Jen Hatton told CNN that the attack had hit the city's schoolchildren and its poor worst, as many do not have access to the internet at home. "For many [...] we're their only access to the internet," she said. "Some of them have a smartphone, but they don't have a data plan. They come in and use the wifi." As well as causing the loans system to seize up, preventing borrowers from checking out or returning books, the attack froze all computers, leaving no one able to access the four[..]

Saudi Arabia warns on cyber defense as Shamoon resurfaces

(11 hours ago)
KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Monday warned organizations in the kingdom to be on the alert for the Shamoon virus, which cripples computers by wiping their disks, as the labor ministry said it had been attacked and a chemicals firm reported a network disruption.

Lloyds a victim of cyber attack that hit banking services

(11 hours ago)
LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group is working with law enforcement agencies to trace who may be behind a cyber attack that caused intermittent outages for customers of its personal banking websites almost two weeks ago, according to a source familiar with the incident.

Yahoo Faces SEC Probe Over Data Breaches

(12 hours ago)
New submitter Linorgese quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal (Warning: paywalled; alternate source): U.S. authorities are investigating whether Yahoo Inc.'s two massive data breaches should have been reported sooner to investors, according to people familiar with the matter, in what could prove to be a major test in defining when a company is required to disclose a hack. Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had begun an investigation into a 2013 data breach that involved more than 1 billion users' accounts. That followed Yahoo's disclosure that a 2014 intrusion involved about 500 million accounts. As part of its investigation, the SEC last month requested documents from Yahoo, the Journal said, citing persons familiar with the situation. The agency has been seeking a model case for cybersecurity rules it issued in 2011, legal experts told the Journal. In a November 2016 SEC filing, Yahoo noted that it was cooperating with the SEC, Federal Trade Commission and other federal, state, and foreign governmental officials and agencies including "a number of State Attorneys General, and the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York." When Yahoo reported the 2014 breach it said that evidence linked it to a state-sponsored attacker. It has not announced a suspected responsibility for the larger 2013 intrusion, but the company has said it does not believe the two breaches are linked.[..]

After working on health tech at Apple, Yoky Matsuoka returns to Nest as CTO to oversee long-term product roadmap (Mark Bergen/Bloomberg)

(12 hours ago)
Mark Bergen / Bloomberg:After working on health tech at Apple, Yoky Matsuoka returns to Nest as CTO to oversee long-term product roadmap  —  Alphabet Inc. re-hired Yoky Matsuoka to oversee technology at its Nest Labs Inc. smart home unit, snapping up the robotics and artificial intelligence expert after she recently left Apple Inc.

President Trump designates net neutrality opponent Ajit Pai as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (Jacob Kastrenakes/The Verge)

(12 hours ago)
Jacob Kastrenakes / The Verge:President Trump designates net neutrality opponent Ajit Pai as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission  —  Donald Trump has elevated Ajit Pai to chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, giving control over the agency to a reliable conservative who's been opposed to pretty …

FBI Is Probing Sundance Cyberattack That Forced Box Office To Close

(12 hours ago)
Over the weekend, the Sundance Film Festival was hacked. "Sundance Film Festival has been subject to a cyberattack, causing network outages that have shut down our box office," said a spokesperson for the festival. "No further information about the attack is available at this time, but our team is working hard to get our system back up and running as soon as possible. All screenings will still take place as planned." According to The Hollywood Reporter, the FBI is now investigating the hack and is working with Sundance officials to identify the culprit. From their report: Although the festival was able to get its ticketing systems back online within an hour of the Saturday breach, multiple other denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Sundance's IT infrastructure followed. A DDoS attack works by flooding the bandwidth or resources of a targeted server. A Sundance Film Festival rep offers the following statement: "The FBI is reviewing the case. At this point, we do not have any reason to believe the cyberattack was targeted towards a specific film. No artist or customer information was compromised." At the time of the hack, the festival offered little in the way of explanation of what happened, but hinted that filmmakers at the annual celebration of independent cinema may have been the target. One producer of a Sundance documentary critical of the Russian government believes his film could have played a role in the attack. "There's been speculation that our film may have sparked[..]

Yahoo results beat; sees Verizon deal closing later than expected

(13 hours ago)
(Reuters) - Yahoo Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly adjusted profit and revenue, and said it expected the sale of its core internet business to Verizon Communications Inc to complete in the second quarter from the first.

'Resident Evil' goes back to survival horror roots for new game

(13 hours ago)
LONDON (Reuters) - Videogame series 'Resident Evil' goes back to its 'survival horror' roots for its new installment with players experiencing the new game from a first person perspective for the first time, according to Japanese videogame maker Capcom.

Beyond Pokemon Go: augmented reality catches Jon Hamm at Sundance

(13 hours ago)
PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Attendees at the Sundance Film Festival can use augmented reality (AR) to hang out with "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm or assemble a human brain, as makers of the new immersive technology seek to engage independent filmmakers.

Saudi Arabia warns on cyber defense as Shamoon resurfaces

(13 hours ago)
KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Monday warned organizations in the kingdom to be on the alert for the Shamoon virus, which cripples computers by wiping their disks, as the labor ministry said it had been attacked and a chemicals firm reported a network disruption.

Foxconn Considers $7 Billion Screen Factory In US, Which Could Create Up To 50,000 Jobs

(13 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturing company best known for its partnership with Apple, has said that it is mulling a $7 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing that could create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. According to The Wall Street Journal, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou says the company is talking with the state of Pennsylvania among others about getting the land and electricity subsidies it would need to build a factory. "If U.S. state governments are willing to provide these terms, and we calculate and it is cheaper than shipping from China or Japan, then why wouldn't Sharp build a factory in the U.S.?" said Gou. The factory would build flat-panel screens under the Sharp name -- Foxconn bought Sharp around this time last year for $5.1 billion. Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu hinted in October of 2016 that U.S. manufacturing could be a possibility for Sharp, and he also indicated that Apple could begin using OLED display panels in future iPhones. Apple currently uses OLED in the Apple Watch and in the new MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, but otherwise it hasn't pushed to adopt the technology as some Android phone manufacturers have. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom and Head of Product Kevin Weil explain the bevy of new features launched in 2016, many of which were inspired by Snapchat (Kurt Wagner/Recode)

(14 hours ago)
Kurt Wagner / Recode:Instagram founder Kevin Systrom and Head of Product Kevin Weil explain the bevy of new features launched in 2016, many of which were inspired by Snapchat  —  How Kevin Systrom got over minimalism and snapped into building mode.  —  Toward the tail end of 2015, Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram …

AT&T Offering Day Pass For International Travelers

(14 hours ago)
Starting Friday, AT&T customers who travel abroad can sign up for a new International Day Pass plan. Instead of paying by the minute, message or megabyte, the plan lets you pay a $10-a-day flat free so you can talk and text "all you want" and also access your data plan as though you're in the states. From a report: AT&T said the new plan is available for customers traveling to more than 100 countries listed here. To use the new plan, customers just need to add it once and it will automatically kick in each time they travel to a supported country, until it's removed. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Voice Receives First Update in Five Years

(14 hours ago)
Google Voice hasn't seen a lot of love or attention since it launched with some fanfare in 2009, but surprisingly Google wants people to know that it still cares about the communication app. In a new sprawling release -- the first of its kind in years -- Google has revamped all versions of its Voice app and site with a clean, modern look, new features, and, perhaps the best news of all, the promise of regular updates. From a report: Google is finally adding two features Google Voice users have long missed out on: MMS support for photo messaging and group chats. Previously workarounds were required to send and receive picture messages, and group chats were flat out not possible. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alexa and Google Assistant Have a Problem: People Aren't Sticking With Voice Apps They Try

(15 hours ago)
Amazon Echo and Google Home were the breakaway hits of the holiday shopping season. But both devices -- and the voice technologies that power them -- have some major hurdles to overcome if they want to keep both consumers and software developers engaged. From a report on Recode: That's one of the big takeaways from a new report that an industry startup, VoiceLabs, released on Monday. For starters, 69 percent of the 7,000-plus Alexa "Skills" -- voice apps, if you will -- have zero or one customer review, signaling low usage. What's more, when developers for Alexa and its competitor, Google Assistant, do get someone to enable a voice app, there's only a 3 percent chance, on average, that the person will be an active user by week 2, according to the report. (There are outliers that have week 2 retention rates of more than 20 percent.) For comparison's sake, Android and iOS apps have average retention rates of 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively, one week after first use. "There are lots of [voice] apps out there, but they are zombie apps," VoiceLabs co-founder Adam Marchick said in an interview. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China Cracks Down On International VPN Usage

(16 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: China's government has announced a 14-month crackdown on the use of unauthorised Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), commonly used by visitors and native activists, amongst others, to communicate with the world beyond the Great Firewall of China. Sunday's announcement [Chinese] from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology reiterated regulations first outlined in 2002, but which have since been subject to sparse, selective or lenient enforcement. The new announcement promises a 'clean up' regarding the VPN situation in China, beginning immediately and running until March of 2018. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Voice rolls out revamped design to Android, iOS, and web, adds support for MMS photos, more (Chris Welch/The Verge)

(16 hours ago)
Chris Welch / The Verge:Google Voice rolls out revamped design to Android, iOS, and web, adds support for MMS photos, more  —  Will Google follow through on its commitment to regular updates?  —  Google just announced the new and improved Google Voice that the company teased a few weeks ago.

Samsung is sticking with the Note branding for Note7's successor, despite the ongoing negative publicity from battery explosions (Roger Cheng/CNET)

(16 hours ago)
Roger Cheng / CNET:Samsung is sticking with the Note branding for Note7's successor, despite the ongoing negative publicity from battery explosions  —  Despite the enormous baggage that comes with the Note name, Samsung believes loyal customers will flock back to a new Note.  —  Josh Miller

When Their Shifts End, Uber Drivers Set Up Camp in Parking Lots Across the US

(16 hours ago)
A feature report on Bloomberg today illustrates the lives of several Uber drivers, who find shelter in car parking at nights when it's too pricey and tiring to go home. An excerpt from the story: In Chicago, Walter Laquian Howard sleeps most nights at the "Uber Terminal." "I left my job thinking this would work, and it's getting harder and harder," Howard said. "They have to understand that some of us have decided to make this a full-time career." Howard has been parking and sleeping at the 7-Eleven four to five nights a week since March 2015, when he began leasing a car from Uber and needed to work more hours to make his minimum payments. Now that it's gotten cold, he wakes up every three hours to turn on the heater. He's rarely alone. Most nights, two to three other ride-hailing drivers sleep in cars parked next to his. It's safe, he said, and the employees let the drivers use the restroom. Howard has gotten to know the convenience store's staff -- Daddy-O and Uncle Mike -- over the past two years while driving for this global ride-hailing gargantuan, valued at $69 billion. "These guys have become my extended family," said Howard, 53. "It's my second home. We have this joke that I'm the resident. I keep asking them: 'Hey, did my mail come in yet?'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Snapchat updates rules to restrict publishers from posting explicit or misleading images, and links to potentially fake news, says all content must be accurate (Katie Benner/New York Times)

(17 hours ago)
Katie Benner / New York Times:Snapchat updates rules to restrict publishers from posting explicit or misleading images, and links to potentially fake news, says all content must be accurate  —  SAN FRANCISCO — On Snapchat last week, MTV published an article with the headline “Is this the thirstiest person on earth?”

Oracle Lays Off More Than 1,000 Employees

(17 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: According to the Mercury News, Oracle is laying off approximately 450 employees in its Santa Clara hardware systems division. Reports at The Layoff, a discussion board for technology business firings, claim about 1,800 employees company-wide are being pink-slipped. Oracle claims the company isn't closing the Santa Clara facility with this reduction in force. Instead, "Oracle is refocusing its Hardware Systems business, and for that reason, has decided to lay off certain of its employees in the Hardware Systems Division." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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