Technology News

DJI drone owners told to update or be grounded

(23 minutes ago)
Spark drone owners have until 1 September to apply the update or their aircraft will no longer fly, DJI warns.

The Windows Store has dozens of pirate streaming apps, some of which have pre-roll ads using Microsoft's Ad Monetization platform (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)

(One hour ago)
Ernesto / TorrentFreak:The Windows Store has dozens of pirate streaming apps, some of which have pre-roll ads using Microsoft's Ad Monetization platform  —  In recent years streaming piracy has become a popular pastime for millions of people.  A lot of this takes place through ‘rogue’ websites or dedicated pirate devices …

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(2 hours ago)

Facebook Makes Safety Check a Permanent Feature

(2 hours ago)
Facebook announced today that its "Safety Check" feature will be permanent in its app and on the desktop. The feature lets you check to see whether friends and family are safe following a crisis. TechCrunch reports: The change comes following new terrorist attacks, including one in Barcelona, where a vehicle was driven into a crowd, as well as the attack in Charlottesville, here in the U.S. According to Facebook, the dedicated button is gradually rolling out to users starting today, and will complete over the upcoming weeks. That means you may not see the option right away, but likely will soon. When Safety Check is accessed by way of the new button, you'll be able to view a feed of disasters, updates from friends who marked themselves as safe and offers of help. An "around the world" section will display where Safety Check has been recently enabled, too. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China Relaunches World's Fastest Train

(5 hours ago)
China has decided to relaunch the world's fastest train service following a fatal crash in 2011, where the high speed train service reduced its upper limit from its then-record holding 350 km/h (217 miles/hour) to 250-300 km/h (155-186 miles/hour). Fortune reports: Government-controlled website Thepaper.cn reported that seven pairs of bullet trains will be operating under the name "Fuxing," meaning rejuvenation, according to the South China Morning Post. The trains will once again run at 350 km/h, with a maximum speed of 400 km/h (248 mph). It is reported that the train service will boast a monitoring system that will automatically slow the trains in case of emergency. The Beijing-Shanghai line will begin operating on 21 September and will shorten the nearly 820 mile journey by an hour, to four hours thirty minutes. Nearly 600 million people use this route each year, providing a reported $1 billion in profits . Other routes include Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, which will begin operation today. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google to serve next version of Android as 'Oreo"

(6 hours ago)
An upcoming update to Google's Android software finally has a name: Oreo

Where's the kelp? Warm ocean takes toll on undersea forests

(6 hours ago)
Kelp forests are critical to the fishing industry but are disappearing around the world

TD Ameritrade launches Facebook chatbot

(8 hours ago)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - TD Ameritrade has launched a "chatbot", an automated program that can communicate with the brokerage's customers on Facebook Inc's messaging application, to give them information about markets and their accounts.

iPhone 8's 3D Face Scanner Will Work In 'Millionths of a Second'

(9 hours ago)
According to a report by the Korea Herald, Apple's upcoming iPhone 8 will ditch the fingerprint identification in favor of 3D face recognition, which will work "in the millionths of a second." PhoneArena reports: The Samsung Galaxy series were among the first mainstream devices to feature iris recognition, but the speed and accuracy of the current technology leave a lot to be desired, and maybe that is why current phones ship with an eye scanner AND a fingerprint reader. The iPhone 8, on the other hand, is expected to make a full dive into 3D scanning. Both Samsung and Apple are rumored to have tried to implement a fingerprint scanner under the display glass, but failed as the technology was not sufficiently advanced. The new iPhone will also introduce 3D sensors on both its front and back for Apple's new augmented reality (AR) platform. This latest report also reveals that Apple will not use curved edges for its iPhone 8 screen, but will instead use a flat AMOLED panel. The big benefit of using AMOLED for Apple thus is not the curve, but its thinner profile compared to an LCD screen. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hackers hijack cell phone numbers to drain cryptocurrency wallets, pointing to security weaknesses at both carriers and wallet services (Nathaniel Popper/New York Times)

(10 hours ago)
Nathaniel Popper / New York Times:Hackers hijack cell phone numbers to drain cryptocurrency wallets, pointing to security weaknesses at both carriers and wallet services  —  Hackers have discovered that one of the most central elements of online security — the mobile phone number — is also one of the easiest to steal.

DJI Spark Owners Must Update Firmware By September, Or Their Machines Will Be Bricked

(11 hours ago)
garymortimer shares a report from sUAS News: News has arrived of a mandatory firmware update from DJI. Owners of DJI's latest and smallest quadcopter must update their firmware by September the 1st or their machines will automatically ground themselves. The Firmware update apparently is to stop in flight shutdowns that have been occurring. So no bad thing to fix, a safety issue. Perhaps questionable is DJI's ability to brick other peoples property if required. The "Kill Switch" option is already causing consternation in user groups. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Third Party Trackers On Web Shops Can Identify Users Behind Bitcoin Transactions

(12 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Help Net Security: More and more shopping websites accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment, but users should be aware that these transactions can be used to deanonymize them -- even if they are using blockchain anonymity techniques such as CoinJoin. Independent researcher Dillon Reisman and Steven Goldfeder, Harry Kalodner and Arvind Narayanan from Princeton University have demonstrated that third-party online tracking provides enough information to identify a transaction on the blockchain, link it to the user's cookie and, ultimately, to the user's real identity. "Based on tracking cookies, the transaction can be linked to the user's activities across the web. And based on well-known Bitcoin address clustering techniques, it can be linked to their other Bitcoin transactions," they noted. "We show that a small amount of additional information, namely that two (or more) transactions were made by the same entity, is sufficient to undo the effect of mixing. While such auxiliary information is available to many potential entities -- merchants, other counterparties such as websites that accept donations, intermediaries such as payment processors, and potentially network eavesdroppers -- web trackers are in the ideal position to carry out this attack," they pointed out.[..]

Eclipse watchers: 'Really, really, really awesome'

(12 hours ago)
Eclipse watchers: 'Really, really, really awesome'

Eclipse science: From galloping giraffes to solar wisps

(12 hours ago)
From zoo visitors to professional astronomers, people across the United States gathered science from total solar eclipse

Disney Will Price Streaming Service At $5 Per Month, Analyst Says

(12 hours ago)
Earlier this month, Disney announced it would end its distribution deal with Netflix and launch its own streaming service in 2019. Now, according to MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson, we have learned that Disney's new streaming service will be priced around $5 per month in order to drive wider adoption. FierceCable reports: Nathanson said that the new Disney streaming service and the upcoming ESPN streaming service need a clear distinction. The ESPN service will likely test different prices as it prepares ESPN to be ready to go fully over-the-top, according to the report, but the Disney service is about building asset value instead of taking licensing money from SVOD deals. At $5 per month in ARPU, Nathanson sees revenues from the Disney streaming service ranging from $34 million to $38 million in the first year and more than $230 million by year three. But with the loss of Netflix licensing revenues and accelerated marketing costs for launching the new service, Nathanson predicted Disney's losses will increase by about $200 million to $425 million per year. If Disney's new streaming service does end up costing around $5 per month, could you justify paying for it? Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UK's Crown Prosecution Service says it will pursue online hate crime as diligently as offline offenses, expects rise in prosecutions for social media attacks (Ashley Cowburn/The Independent)

(13 hours ago)
Ashley Cowburn / The Independent:UK's Crown Prosecution Service says it will pursue online hate crime as diligently as offline offenses, expects rise in prosecutions for social media attacks  —  Changes 'will remind the trolling brigade that there are real consequences for hitting the button' and will ‘undoubtedly lead to an increase in prosecutions’

Energy Firm Slapped With $65,000 Fine For Making 1.5 Million Nuisance Calls

(13 hours ago)
A UK firm offering people energy-saving solutions has been fined after making almost 1.5 million unsolicited calls without checking if the numbers were registered on the UK's opt-out database. From a report: Southampton-based Home Logic used a dialler system to screen the telephone numbers that it planned to call against the Telephone Preference Service register, which allows people to opt out of receiving marketing calls. This system was unavailable for at least 90 days out of the 220 between April 2015 and March 2016 due to technical issues -- but that didn't stop Home Logic from continuing to make phone calls. Some 1,475,969 were made in that time. And, as a result, Blighty's data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office received 133 complaints about the firm from people who had registered with the TPS and did not expect to be picking up the phone to marketeers. It ruled that the biz had breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations and duly fined it 50,000 pound ($64,500). Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Scientists Create Smart Labels To Tell You When To Throw Away Expired Food and Makeup

(13 hours ago)
At the 254th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, researchers are presenting a low-cost, portable, paper-based sensor that can let you know when to toss food and cosmetics. The sensor can detect antioxidants in tea and wine, and be used to explore remote locations, such as the Amazon rainforest, in search of natural sources of antioxidants. "I've always been interested in developing technologies that are accessible to both industry and the general population," Silvana Andreescu, Ph.D., says. "My lab has built a versatile sensing platform that incorporates all the needed reagents for detection in a piece of paper. At the same time, it is adaptable to different targets, including food contaminants, antioxidants and free radicals that indicate spoilage." Phys.Org reports: What sets Andreescu's sensors apart from others, she says, are the nanostructures they use to catch and bind to compounds they're looking for. "Most people working on similar sensors use solutions that migrate on channels," Andreescu says. "We use stable, inorganic particles that are redox active. When they interact with the substances we want to detect, they change color, and the intensity of the change tells us how concentrated the analyte is." Additionally, because all of the reagents needed to operate the device are incorporated in the paper, users don't need to add anything other than the sample being tested. The American Chemical Society has published a video detailing the[..]

Leading Chinese Bitcoin Miner Wants To Cash In On AI

(14 hours ago)
hackingbear writes: Bitmain, the most influential company in the bitcoin economy by the sheer amount of processing power, or hash rate, that it controls, plans to unleash its bitcoin mining ASIC technology to AI applications. The company designed a new deep learning processor Sophon, named after a alien-made, proton-sized supercomputer in China's seminal science-fiction novel, The Three-Body Problem . The idea is to etch in silicon in some of the most common deep learning algorithms, thus greatly boosting efficiency. Users will be able to apply their own datasets and build their own models on these ASICs, allowing the resulting neural networks to generate results and learn from those results at a far quicker pace. The company hopes that thousands of Bitmain Sophon units soon could be training neural networks in vast data centers around the world. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook launches a dedicated tab for Safety Check, where it lists crises from around world, rolling out over the coming weeks (Jacob Kastrenakes/The Verge)

(14 hours ago)
Jacob Kastrenakes / The Verge:Facebook launches a dedicated tab for Safety Check, where it lists crises from around world, rolling out over the coming weeks  —  Facebook has made a permanent page for Safety Check, its feature for letting others know that you're safe during an emergency.  —  The results are pretty eerie.

Microsoft Outlines the Upgrade Procedures For Xbox One X

(15 hours ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The easiest way to get all your games to the new system, as outlined by Microsoft Vice President Mike Ybarra, will be to just put them on an external USB hard drive and then plug that drive into the new console. "All your games are ready to play" immediately after this external hard drive move, he said, and user-specific settings can also be copied via external hard drive in the same way. If you don't have an external drive handy, "we're going to let you copy games and apps off your home network instead of having to manually move them or redownload them off the Internet," Ybarra said. It's unclear right now if Microsoft will mirror the PS4 Pro and allow this kind of system-to-system transfer using an Ethernet cable plugged directly into both consoles. For those who want to see as many pixels as possible as quickly as possible when they get their Xbox One X, Ybarra says you'll be able to download 4K updates for supported games before the Xbox One X is even available, then use those updates immediately after the system transfer. Microsoft also released a list of 118 current and upcoming games that will be optimized for the Xbox One X via updates, a big increase from the few dozens announced back at E3. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

WhatsApp adds colorful text status updates, just like Facebook (Khari Johnson/VentureBeat)

(15 hours ago)
Khari Johnson / VentureBeat:WhatsApp adds colorful text status updates, just like Facebook  —  WhatsApp today began to roll out Status updates you can make by writing text on a colorful image background, a company spokesperson has informed VentureBeat.  To share your Status with the new feature, you choose a background color or a font.

Source: Google plans to launch a new Pixel-branded Chromebook and a mini version of the Google Home alongside new phones this fall (David Ruddock/Android Police)

(15 hours ago)
David Ruddock / Android Police:Source: Google plans to launch a new Pixel-branded Chromebook and a mini version of the Google Home alongside new phones this fall  —  According to a source familiar with the company's plans, Google will launch not just two new Google Pixel phones at a hardware event this fall …

Android O Is Now Officially Android Oreo

(15 hours ago)
Android O is now officially going by the name of Android Oreo. The operating system is available today via Google's Android Open Source Project. OTA rollout is expected to arrive first to Pixel and Nexus devices, with builds currently in carrier testing. The Verge reports: The use of an existing brand makes sense for Google here -- there aren't a ton of good "O" dessert foods out there, and Oreos are pretty much as universally beloved as a cookie can be. There's also precedent for the partnership, as Google had previously teamed up with Nestle and Hershey's to call Android 4.4 KitKat. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Americans stake out prime viewing spots to see sun go dark

(16 hours ago)
The moon is blotting the sun from the sky in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century

WATCH: Amazon issues refunds for potentially phony eclipse glasses

(16 hours ago)
Also, out of precaution, Amazon has removed a few listings for glasses on its website.

AP Sources: GE's Immelt among finalists in Uber CEO search

(16 hours ago)
Former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt is among the finalists being considered to run ride-hailing company Uber, but there's no clear consensus on Uber's board about a front-runner, two people briefed on the search said Monday

Does the World Need Polymaths?

(16 hours ago)
Two hundred years ago, it was still possible for one person to be a leader in several different fields of inquiry. Today that is no longer the case. So is there a role in today's world for the polymath -- someone who knows a lot about a lot of things? From a report: Bobby Seagull's fist-pumping and natty dressing, and Eric Monkman's furrowed brow, flashing teeth, contorted facial expressions and vocal delivery -- like a fog horn with a hangover -- made these two young men the stars of the last University Challenge competition. [...] They're still recognised in the street. "People often ask me, do you intimidate people with your knowledge," says Monkman. "But the opposite is the case. I have wide knowledge but no deep expertise. I am intimidated by experts." Seagull, like Monkman, feels an intense pressure to specialise. They regard themselves as Jacks-of-all-Trades, without being master of one. "When I was young what I really wanted to do was know a lot about a lot," says Monkman. "Now I feel that if I want to make a novel contribution to society I need to know a great deal about one tiny thing." The belief that researchers need to specialise goes back at least two centuries. From the beginning of the 19th Century, research has primarily been the preserve of universities. Ever since, says Stefan Collini, Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at Cambridge University, researchers have labels attached to them. "They're professor of this or that, and you get a[..]

Meeting and Hotel Booking Provider's Data Found in Public Amazon S3 Bucket

(17 hours ago)
Leaks of personal and business information from unsecured Amazon S3 buckets are piling up. From a report: The latest belongs to Groupize, a Boston-area business that sells tools to manage small group meetings as well as a booking engine that handles hotel room-block reservations. Researchers at Kromtech Security found a publicly accessible bucket containing business and personal data, including contracts and agreements between hotels, customers and Groupize, Kromtech said. The data included some credit card payment authorization forms that contained full payment card information including expiration data and CVV code. The researchers said the database stored in S3 contained numerous folders, below; one called "documents" held close to 3,000 scanned contracts and agreements, while another called all_leads had more than 3,100 spreadsheets containing critical Groupize business data including earnings. There were 37 other folders in the bucket containing tens of thousands of files, most of them storing much more benign data. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google reveals Android O is named Oreo, begins rollout to Nexus and Pixel devices (Emil Protalinski/VentureBeat)

(17 hours ago)
Emil Protalinski / VentureBeat:Google reveals Android O is named Oreo, begins rollout to Nexus and Pixel devices  —  Android O stands for Android Oreo.  The next version of Google's mobile operating system and the successor to Android Nougat not only got its name today, but Google also pushed the latest source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

After wave of neo-Nazi bans, tech firms' censorship policies were shown again to be arbitrary, not derived from moral awakening or newfound sense of civic duty (John Herrman/New York Times)

(17 hours ago)
John Herrman / New York Times:After wave of neo-Nazi bans, tech firms' censorship policies were shown again to be arbitrary, not derived from moral awakening or newfound sense of civic duty  —  White supremacist marchers had not yet lit their torches when the deletions began.  The “Unite the Right” Facebook page …

Cord-Cutting Still Doesn't Beat the Cable Bundle

(17 hours ago)
I'd like to cut the cord, writes Brian Barrett for Wired, then, the very instant I allow myself to picture what life looks like after that figurative snip, my reverie comes crashing down. From an article: Cutting the cord is absolutely right for some people. Lots of people, maybe. But it's not that cheap, and it's not that easy, and there's not much hope of improvement on either front any time soon. Not to turn this into a math experiment, but let's consider cost. Assuming you're looking for a cord replacement, not abandoning live television altogether, you're going to need a service that bundles together a handful of channels and blips them to your house over the internet. The cheapest way you can accomplish this is to pay Sling TV $20 per month, for which you get 29 channels. That sounds not so bad, and certainly less than your cable bill. But! Sling Orange limits you to a single stream. If you're in a household with others, you'll probably want Sling Blue, which offers multiple streams and 43 channels for $25 per month. But! Sling Orange and Sling Blue have different channel lineups (ESPN is on Orange, not Blue, while Orange lacks FX, Bravo and any locals). For full coverage, you can subscribe to both for $40. But! Have kids? You'll want the Kids Extra package for another $5 per month. Love ESPNU? Grab that $5 per month sports package. HBO? $15 per month, please. Presto, you're up to $65 per month. But! Don't forget the extra $5 for a cloud-based DVR. Plus the high-speed[..]

The Latest: Eclipse a hit even where sun not totally blocked

(18 hours ago)
Northwest cities not quite in the path of totality also enjoyed the solar eclipse

Driverless Cars Need a Lot More Than Software, Ford CTO Says

(18 hours ago)
In an interview, Ken Washington, Ford's Chief Technical Officer, shared company's views on how autonomy will change car design. From an article: The biggest influence will be how the cars are bought, sold and used: "You would design those vehicles differently depending on what business model (is being used). We're working through that business model question right now," he said. The biggest misconceptions about autonomous capabilities is that it's only about software: "People are imagining that the act of doing software for autonomy is all you need to do and then you can just bolt it to the car," he said. "I don't think it's possible to describe what an autonomous vehicle is going to look like," he added. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Supreme Court Asked To Nullify the Google Trademark

(19 hours ago)
Is the term "google" too generic and therefore unworthy of its trademark protection? That's the question before the US Supreme Court. From a report: What's before the Supreme Court is a trademark lawsuit that Google already defeated in a lower court. The lawsuit claims that Google should no longer be trademarked because the word "google" is synonymous to the public with the term "search the Internet." "There is no single word other than google that conveys the action of searching the Internet using any search engine," according to the petition to the Supreme Court. It's perhaps one of the most consequential trademark case before the justices since they ruled in June that offensive trademarks must be allowed. The Google trademark dispute dates to 2012 when a man named Chris Gillespie registered 763 domain names that combined "google" with other words and phrase, including "googledonaldtrump.com." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sources: Spotify's plan to skip a traditional IPO and list directly on NYSE draws scrutiny from the SEC, as NYSE's direct listing rule-change is still pending (Lucas Shaw/Bloomberg)

(19 hours ago)
Lucas Shaw / Bloomberg:Sources: Spotify's plan to skip a traditional IPO and list directly on NYSE draws scrutiny from the SEC, as NYSE's direct listing rule-change is still pending  —  Direct-listing plan is said to draw scrutiny from regulators  —  New York Stock Exchange rule-change proposal still pending

Intel Launches 8th Generation Core CPUs

(19 hours ago)
Reader joshtops writes: Today Intel is launching its new 8th Generation family of processors, starting with four CPUs for the 15W mobile family. There are two elements that make the launch of these 8th Gen processors different. First is that the 8th Gen is at a high enough level, running basically the same microarchitecture as the 7th Gen. But the key element is that, at the same price and power where a user would get a dual core i5-U or i7-U in their laptop, Intel will now be bumping those product lines up to quad-cores with hyperthreading. This gives a 100% gain in cores and 100% gain in threads. Obviously nothing is for free, so despite Intel stating that they've made minor tweaks to the microarchitecture and manufacturing to get better performing silicon, the base frequencies are down slightly. Turbo modes are still high, ensuring a similar user experience in most computing tasks. Memory support is similar -- DDR4 and LPDDR3 are supported, but not LPDDR4 -- although DDR4 moves up to DDR4-2400 from DDR4-2133. Another change from 7th Gen to 8th Gen will be in the graphics. Intel is upgrading the nomenclature of the integrated graphics from HD 620 to UHD 620, indicating that the silicon is suited for 4K playback and processing. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UK.gov To Treat Online Abuse as Seriously as Hate Crime in Real Life

(20 hours ago)
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service has pledged to tackle online abuse with the same seriousness as it does hate crimes committed in the flesh. From a report: Following public concern about the increasing amount of racist, anti-religious, homophobic and transphobic attacks on social media, the CPS has today published a new set of policy documents on hate crime. This includes revised legal guidance for prosecutors on how they should make decisions on criminal charges and handle cases in court. The rules officially put online abuse on the same level as offline hate crimes -- defined as an action motivated by hostility or prejudice -- like shouting abuse at someone face-to-face. They commit the CPS to prosecuting complaints about online material "with the same robust and proactive approach used with online offending." Prosecutors are told to consider the effect on the wider community and whether to identify both the originators and the "amplifiers or disseminators." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cisco buys hyperconvergence software startup Springpath for $320M to bolster its data center infrastructure portfolio (Natalie Gagliordi/ZDNet)

(20 hours ago)
Natalie Gagliordi / ZDNet:Cisco buys hyperconvergence software startup Springpath for $320M to bolster its data center infrastructure portfolio  —  Springpath has been around since 2012 and the networking giant led its Series C funding round two years ago.  —  Cisco on Monday announced that it plans to buy Sunnyvale …
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