Technology News

How Apple Music Can Disrupt Users' iTunes Libraries

(38 minutes ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Early adopters of Apple Music are warning others they could get more than they bargained for if they intend to download tracks for offline listening. Since Apple Music is primarily a streaming service, this functionality necessitates turning on iCloud Music for syncing purposes. The way Apple syncs files is to scan your library for known music files, and if it finds one, the service gives your account access to Apple's canonical copy. Unfortunately, this wipes out any custom edits you made to the file's metadata. For those who have put a lot of time into customizing their library, this can do a lot of damage to their organizational system. Apple's efforts to simplify and streamline the process have once again left advanced users with a difficult decision to make. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Yamaha's motorcycle design team made this 360-degree drum kit sphere

(38 minutes ago)
Like some kind of corporate Freaky Friday, Yahama tasked its motorcycle design team with making some instrument concepts -- and asked the opposite of its instrument design team. With no constraints like (well) commercial viability, designers were abl...

Hamas reopens office of Gaza's only mobile phone provider

(One hour ago)
GAZA (Reuters) - The Hamas-appointed attorney general in the Gaza Strip reopened the offices of the territory's only mobile phone provider on Sunday, five days after he ordered them closed over alleged non-payment of taxes.

22 Towns in Massachusetts Are Building Their Own Gigabit Fiber Network (Jason Koebler/Motherboard)

(2 hours ago)
Jason Koebler / Motherboard:22 Towns in Massachusetts Are Building Their Own Gigabit Fiber Network  —  Large swaths of rural Western Massachusetts are about to get gigabit fiber internet after residents in 22 separate towns decided to join a government cooperative designed to bring high speed broadband to places …

Army exoskeleton prototype helps soldiers learn to shoot

(3 hours ago)
Foot soldiers thrive on their shooting skills, but learning expert marksmanship can take a long, long time. US Army researchers could soon have a robotic shortcut to improving those skills, however. They're working on MAXFAS, an arm exoskeleton that ...

Scientists Look For Patterns In North Carolina Shark Attacks

(3 hours ago)
HughPickens.com writes: The Washington Post reports that there have been seven recent shark attacks in North Carolina. Scientists are looking for what might be luring the usually shy sharks so close to shore and among the swimmers they usually avoid. It's an unusual number of attacks for a state that recorded 25 attacks between 2005 and 2014. Even with the recent incidents, researchers emphasize that sharks are a very low-level threat to humans, compared with other forms of wildlife. Bees, for example, are much more dangerous. And swimming itself is hazardous even without sharks around. George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History, speculates that several environmental factors could be pushing sharks to congregate in the Outer Banks. It is a warm year, and the water has a higher level of salinity because of a low-level drought in the area. Also, a common species of forage fish — menhaden — has been abundant this year and might have attracted more sharks to the area. Burgess also says some fishermen put bait in the water near piers, which could lure the predators closer to shore; two of the encounters took place within 100 yards of a pier. "That's a formula for shark attacks," Burgess says of these conditions, taken together. "Now, does that explain seven attacks in three weeks? No, it doesn't."[..]

Theresa May Named UK's Internet Villain of the Year

(6 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes with news that Theresa May, the UK's Secretary of State for the Home Department, has been named the UK internet industry's villain of the year. She won this dubious honor for pushing the UK's controversial "snooper's charter" legislation, which would require ISPs to retain massive amounts of data regarding their subscribers for no less than a year. May championed the legislation without consulting the internet industry. Conversely, "The MPs Tom Watson and David Davis were jointly named internet hero for their legal action against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act. 'Surveillance has dominated both the hero and villain shortlists for number of years, and it was felt Davis and Watson were some of the best informed politicians on the subject,' the ISPA said." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Squid skin could help make color-changing gadgets

(6 hours ago)
Not happy with the color of your clothes and devices? Eventually, you might get to change those hues on a whim. UC Santa Barbara researchers have discovered that the color-changing California market squid (aka opalescent inshore squid) manages its op...

Netflix and Amazon seek to hook viewers early with high-quality content for kids (Greg Nichols/The California Sunday ...)

(7 hours ago)
Greg Nichols / The California Sunday Magazine:Netflix and Amazon seek to hook viewers early with high-quality content for kids  —  Why Netflix and Amazon want your kids … Luke Matheny keeps getting pulled away.  We are on a rented soundstage on the outskirts of Los Angeles's Koreatown, sitting in director's chairs in front of a television monitor.

Bitcoin Snafu Causes Miners To Generate Invalid Blocks

(9 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: A notice at bitcoin.org warns users of the cryptocurrency that many miners are currently generating invalid blocks. The cause seems to be out-of-date software, and software that assumed blocks were valid instead of checking them. They explain further "For several months, an increasing amount of mining hash rate has been signaling its intent to begin enforcing BIP66 strict DER signatures. As part of the BIP66 rules, once 950 of the last 1,000 blocks were version 3 (v3) blocks, all upgraded miners would reject version 2 (v2) blocks. Early morning UTC on 4 July 2015, the 950/1000 (95%) threshold was reached. Shortly thereafter, a small miner (part of the non-upgraded 5%) mined an invalid block--as was an expected occurrence. Unfortunately, it turned out that roughly half the network hash rate was mining without fully validating blocks (called SPV mining), and built new blocks on top of that invalid block. Note that the roughly 50% of the network that was SPV mining had explicitly indicated that they would enforce the BIP66 rules. By not doing so, several large miners have lost over $50,000 dollars worth of mining income so far." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Zealand makes cyberbullying a crime

(9 hours ago)
New Zealand has passed a law that criminalizes one of the least desirable facets of the internet: cyberbullying. The legislation effectively prohibits sending messages to people that are racist, sexist, critical of their religion, sexuality or disabi...

How the NSA's XKEYSCORE system for collecting and searching Internet data works (The Intercept)

(10 hours ago)
The Intercept:How the NSA's XKEYSCORE system for collecting and searching Internet data works  —  A Look at the Inner Workings of NSA's XKEYSCORE  —  Second in a series.  Part 1 here.  —  The sheer quantity of communications that XKEYSCORE processes, filters and queries is stunning.

New documents show XKEYSCORE, NSA's Google-like tool, collects more data than previously reported including web searches and router configuration information (The Intercept)

(10 hours ago)
The Intercept:New documents show XKEYSCORE, NSA's Google-like tool, collects more data than previously reported including web searches and router configuration information  —  XKEYSCORE: NSA's Google for the World's Private Communications  —  Illustrations by Blue Delliquanti and David Axe for The Intercept

Bitcoin miners create invalid currency after a botched upgrade

(11 hours ago)
Digital currencies are only as reliable as their software, and some Bitcoin users are learning this the hard way. Thanks to a "problem" with an upgrade that applies a new rule, some Bitcoin mining pools (namely, those that don't usually wait to valid...

Rubbing along with robots tackles Abe's double dilemma

(11 hours ago)
TOKYO (Reuters) - Factory worker Satomi Iwata has new co-workers, a troupe of humanoid automata that are helping to address two of Japan's most pressing concerns - a shortage of labor and a need for growth.

Brain-Inspired 'Memcomputer' Constructed

(12 hours ago)
New submitter DorkFest writes: "Inspired by the human brain, UC San Diego scientists have constructed a new kind of computer that stores information and processes it in the same place. This prototype 'memcomputer' solves a problem involving a large dataset more quickly than conventional computers, while using far less energy. ... Such memcomputers could equal or surpass the potential of quantum computers, they say, but because they don't rely on exotic quantum effects are far more easily constructed." The team, led by UC San Diego physicist Massimiliano Di Ventra published their results in the journal Science Advances. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China nails Samsung and Oppo over smartphone bloatware

(13 hours ago)
A minor Chinese consumer protection group has filed lawsuits against Samsung and Oppo to contest the pair's use of bloatware on their smartphones. The Shanghai Consumer Council believes that the two companies install far too many additional apps on t...

Microsoft Edge, HTML5, and DRM

(13 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is building its new browser, Edge, with the intention of avoiding many of the flaws that plagued Internet Explorer over its long and tumultuous life. Part of this involves moving away from plug-ins, and Edge will not support ActiveX. Instead, they're focusing on interoperable media, and that means non-plug-in video players that meet HTML5 specs. Of course, not all video players want to disseminate their content for free, which means: DRM. Microsoft's Edge team has published a new post explaining how they'll be handling support for DRM and "premium media" in the new browser. They say, "Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge support DASH, MSE, EME and CENC natively, and other major browsers ship implementations of MSE and CENC compliant EME. This support allows developers to build plug-in free web video apps that runs across a huge range of platforms and devices, with each MSE/EME implementation built on top of a different media pipeline and DRM provider. In the days when DRM systems used proprietary file formats and encryption methods, this variation in DRM providers by browser would have presented a significant issue. With the development and use of Common Encryption (CENC), the problem is substantially reduced because the files are compressed in standard formats and encrypted using global industry standards. The service provider issues the keys and licenses necessary to consume the content in a given browser, but the website code, content and[..]

Nearly all major subreddits are set to public again after going private in protes (Dante D'Orazio/The Verge)

(14 hours ago)
Dante D'Orazio / The Verge:Nearly all major subreddits are set to public again after going private in protes  —  Nearly all major subreddits are back online following Reddit protests  —  Just a day after a massive revolt tore down parts of Reddit, the site now appears to be mostly back to normal.

BMW has a hydrogen-powered 5 Series

(15 hours ago)
Battery-powered EVs are in the spotlight right now, but that doesn't mean car manufacturers aren't looking at alternative fuel sources. At its "Innovation Day" in France, BMW unveiled a prototype 5 Series GT that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to power it...

Researcher Who Reported E-voting Vulnerability Targeted By Police Raid in Argentina

(15 hours ago)
TrixX writes: Police have raided the home of an Argentinian security professional who discovered and reported several vulnerabilities in the electronic ballot system (Google translation of Spanish original) to be used next week for elections in the city of Buenos Aires. The vulnerabilities (exposed SSL keys and ways to forge ballots with multiple votes) had been reported to the manufacturer of the voting machines, the media, and the public about a week ago. There has been no arrest, but his computers and electronics devices have been impounded (Spanish original). Meanwhile, the information security community in Argentina is trying to get the media to report this notorious attempt to "kill the messenger." Another source (Spanish original). Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple Pay expected to go live in the U.K. on July 14th, £20+ transactions starting this fall (Mark Gurman/9to5Mac)

(16 hours ago)
Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac:Apple Pay expected to go live in the U.K. on July 14th, £20+ transactions starting this fall  —  Apple appears to be planning to enable its Apple Pay iPhone mobile payments service in the United Kingdom on July 14th, according to sources at multiple retailers.

Russian phone maker Yota says its next devices will run Jolla's Sailfish instead of Android (Yahoo! News)

(16 hours ago)
Yahoo! News:Russian phone maker Yota says its next devices will run Jolla's Sailfish instead of Android  —  Yotaphone says bye-bye to Android  —  Russian manufacturer Yota, well known for its Yotaphone dual screen phones, has announced that its next devices will no longer operate using Android but Sailfish …

Minecraft celebrities draw record crowd to gaming

(16 hours ago)
LONDON (Reuters) - For hours, the dedicated queued on Saturday to carry off a prized autograph or to pose for a selfie with some of the biggest celebrities of a new generation.

Frank Herbert's Dune, 50 Years On

(16 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: This October will be the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's massively popular and influential sci-fi novel Dune. The Guardian has written a piece examining its effects on the world at large, and how the book remains relevant even now. Quoting: 'Books read differently as the world reforms itself around them, and the Dune of 2015 has geopolitical echoes that it didn't in 1965, before the oil crisis and 9/11. ... As Paul's destiny becomes clear to him, he begins to have visions 'of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad'Dib.' If Paul accepts this future, he will be responsible for 'the jihad's bloody swords,' unleashing a nomad war machine that will up-end the corrupt and oppressive rule of the emperor Shaddam IV (good) but will kill untold billions (not so good) in the process. In 2015, the story of a white prophet leading a blue-eyed brown-skinned horde of jihadis against a ruler called Shaddam produces a weird funhouse mirror effect, as if someone has jumbled up recent history and stuck the pieces back together in a different order." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Uber evades a ban in Canada's largest city

(17 hours ago)
Uber might be facing its worst nightmare in Europe, but it just got a big break in Canada. A Toronto judge has tossed out the city's attempt to ban Uber (and by extension, other ridesharing services) on the grounds that it's operating without a taxi ...

When Nerds Do BBQ

(18 hours ago)
Rick Zeman writes: On this 4th of July, the day when Americans flock to their grills and smokers, Wired has a fascinating article on a computerized smoker designed by Harvard engineering students. They say, "In prototype form, the smoker looks like a combination of a giant pepper mill, a tandoori oven, and V.I.N.CENT from The Black Hole. It weighs 300 pounds. It has a refueling chute built into the side of it. And it uses a proportional-integral-derivative controller, a Raspberry Pi, and fans to regulate its own temperature, automatically producing an ideal slow-and-low burn." After cooking >200 lbs of brisket while fine-tuning the design, the students concluded, "Old-school pitmasters are like, 'I cook mine in a garbage can,' and there's a point of pride in that. A lot of the cutting edge is when you take an art form and drag it back onto scientific turf and turn it into an algorithm. I don't think we've diluted the artistic component with this." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Shenmue 3' Kickstarter will offer PS4 copies on disc

(18 hours ago)
It's safe to say people are excited about Shenmue 3: Just 48 hours after legendary developer Yu Suzuki launched a crowdfunding campaign, the game smashed its $2 million fundraising goal, pulling in more than $4 million, and setting a couple Kickstart...

Minecraft for Windows 10 beta launching July 29 for $10; Minecraft for PC owners get it for free (Tom Warren/The Verge)

(19 hours ago)
Tom Warren / The Verge:Minecraft for Windows 10 beta launching July 29 for $10; Minecraft for PC owners get it for free  —  Minecraft for Windows 10 beta arrives on July 29th launch day  —  Microsoft is bringing a “whole new version” of Minecraft to Windows 10 later this month.

Ask Slashdot: How Much Did Your Biggest Tech Mistake Cost?

(19 hours ago)
NotQuiteReal writes: What is the most expensive piece of hardware you broke (I fried a $2500 disk drive once, back when 400MB was $2500) or what software bug did you let slip that caused damage? (No comment on the details — but about $20K cost to a client.) Did you lose your job over it? If you worked on the Mars probe that crashed, please try not to be the First Post, that would scare off too many people! Read more of this story at Slashdot.

iTunes 12.2: New version a missed opportunity for Apple Music

(20 hours ago)
Apple released a new version 12.2 of iTunes for OS X and Windows this week as part of the launch of its Apple Music service. The initial reactions from users are anything but positive. But aside from obvious bugs, there's a bigger problem: iTunes nee...

Why Electric Vehicles Aren't More Popular

(21 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Ars takes a look at a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences into the reasons why more people aren't driving electric vehicles. Of course infrastructure issues are a part of it — until charging stations are ubiquitous, the convenience factor for using a gas-powered car will weigh heavily on consumers's minds. (This despite the prevalence of outlets at home and work, where the vast majority of charging will be done even with better infrastructure.) But other reasons are much more tractable. Simply giving somebody experience with an EV tends to make the fog of mystery surrounding them dissipate, and the design of the car counts for a lot, too. It turns out car buyers don't want their EVs to look different from regular cars. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

More ingenious hacks for problems you didn't know you had

(21 hours ago)
It's the Fourth of July and while that light show in the sky honors US independence, why not shine a little light on our DIY perseverance? To help celebrate this holiday, we've put together a collection of (even more) ingenious hacks that incorporate...

Solar Impulse 2 Completes Record-Breaking Flight

(22 hours ago)
An anonymous reader writes: Solar Impulse 2, the airplane powered only by the sun's light, has completed its flight from Japan to Hawaii. The distance sets the record for manned, solar-powered flight, both by distance (7,200 km, according to the BBC) and by time spent aloft (118 hours). This was one leg in a longer journey to fly around the world, and by far the longest they've attempted. Their next leg will send them across the rest of the Pacific Ocean, landing in Phoenix, Arizona. Then they'll stop off at New York before crossing the Atlantic Ocean on their way back to the journey's starting point, Abu Dhabi. Pilot Andre Borschberg was in good shape, despite spending almost five consecutive days in command of the aircraft. He was only allowed to sleep for up to 20 minutes at a time, so he took about a dozen naps every day. He did this at an altitude of 9,000 meters, and while taking medication to prevent thrombosis. Borschberg's partner, Bertrand Piccard, will fly the aircraft during the next leg to Phoenix. This will happen as soon as the plane is checked out and meteorologists think the weather will be placid enough for a safe crossing. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

After moderators protested dismissal of a key employee by taking down popular subreddits, Reddit CEO Ellen Pao apologizes for how the transition was handled (Mike Isaac/New York Times)

(22 hours ago)
Mike Isaac / New York Times:After moderators protested dismissal of a key employee by taking down popular subreddits, Reddit CEO Ellen Pao apologizes for how the transition was handled  —  Reddit Moderators Shut Down Parts of Site Over Employee's Dismissal  —  Hundreds of sections of Reddit, the popular online message board …

'Minecraft' beta for Windows 10 will pit you against mobile friends

(22 hours ago)
Microsoft and Mojang don't just have a story-based Minecraft game to show at Minecon 2015 -- they're also revealing a beta version of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition. This release will ditch the less than ideal Java code of desktop versions in favor of...

Recommended Reading: The influence of the 'Super Mario Bros.' soundtrack

(23 hours ago)
Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.How Video Games Influence...

Reddit apologises after staff sacking

(23 hours ago)
Ellen Pao, CEO at Reddit, says sorry over way "we handled the transition" after community complains about the sacking of a popular employee.

VIDEO: ZX Spectrum remake nears completion

(23 hours ago)
The team recreating the ZX Spectrum's spongy keyboard tells the BBC it has received what is likely to be the final product.

Mastercard tests 'pay by selfie' app

(23 hours ago)
Mastercard tests a smartphone app that uses facial recognition to verify online purchases.

Lawsuit over Samsung phone software

(23 hours ago)
Samsung is being taken to court in China over "unwanted" apps and other software it loads on its handsets.

EE fined £1m for complaints handling

(23 hours ago)
EE, the UK's largest mobile phone operator, is fined £1m by the regulator Ofcom for breaching rules on handling customer complaints.

Rise in nuisance call complaints

(23 hours ago)
The UK's Information Commissioner's Office receives a record number of complaints about nuisance calls.

VIDEO: Controlling a 'cyborg' cockroach

(23 hours ago)
Researchers hope cockroaches could access disaster zones which humans cannot reach

VIDEO: Inventors propose giant robot duel

(23 hours ago)
BBC Click's Marc Cieslak looks at some of the best of the week's technology news.
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