Technology News

Europe Relies on American GPS as Its Own Galileo System Suffers Massive Outage

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: Europe's Galileo satellite network -- used by satnavs, financial institutions and more -- is in the throes of a huge outage. The system has been down since Friday meaning that travelers (and others) in Europe have instead had to fall back on the American Global Positioning System (GPS) -- or even Russia or Chinese systems. Galileo has been struck by what is being described as a "technical incident related to its ground infrastructure", and it's not clear when the situation will be remedied. The European GNSS Agency (Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, or GSA) says that the incident affects only the Galileo initial navigation and timing services. It stresses that "the SAR service -- used for locating and helping people in distress situations for example at sea or mountains -- is unaffected and remains operational".Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Huawei Reportedly Plans Massive US Layoffs

(3 days ago)
Huawei is planning major layoffs at its US research labs as it struggles under the weight of the Commerce Department blacklisting, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. From a report: The embattled Chinese telecom's Futurewei R&D subsidiary employs about 850 people in Texas, California and Washington state. The layoffs may number in the hundreds, according to the Journal, which cited anonymous sources. A few people apparently already know that they'll be dismissed, but further cuts are expected and some Chinese workers are being allowed to continue with Huawei if they return home.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Qualcomm's New Snapdragon 855 Plus is a Natural Fit For Tomorrow's Gaming Phones

(3 days ago)
Qualcomm has announced a mid-year refresh of its flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset. The new Snapdragon 855 Plus is further optimized for gaming, VR, AI, and 5G connectivity. From a report: It sticks to the same overall design and chip layout as the 855, but Qualcomm says the Plus's eight-core Kryo CPU runs at higher peak clock speeds of up to 2.96GHz. But more important to gamers is a 15 percent performance improvement from the Adreno 640 GPU. That will likely result in the 855 Plus making its way into the next wave of gaming-focused smartphones like those we've seen from Asus, Razer, and other companies. As for AI and VR improvements, Qualcomm is continuing to talk up its fourth-generation AI Engine that's capable of "more than 7 trillion operations per second." The Snapdragon 855 Plus will deliver "best-in-class cellular performance, superior coverage and all-day battery life in premium 5G devices," according to the company. It's still using two separate modems to get there, however, with both a Snapdragon X24 LTE 4G modem and Qualcomm's X50 5G modem on board. I guess we won't see a more efficient approach until the inevitable Snapdragon 865.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Symantec, Broadcom cease deal negotiations: CNBC

(3 days ago)
Cybersecurity company Symantec Corp and chipmaker Broadcom Inc have ceased deal negotiations, CNBC reported on Monday, citing sources.

Deutsche Telekom loses lawsuit over all-you-can-watch video product

(3 days ago)
Deutsche Telekom has lost a legal battle to continue offering an all-you-can-watch mobile video product after a court sided with the German regulator, saying it violated European rules on roaming and network neutrality.

Huawei to invest $3.1 billion in Italy but calls for fair policy on 5G: country CEO

(3 days ago)
China's Huawei Technologies said it will invest $3.1 billion in Italy over the next three years, as the Chinese telecoms giant called on Rome to ensure the "transparent, efficient and fair" use of its 'golden power' on 5G network development.

A Cell Tower In the Swiss Alps Is Struck By Lightning More Than 100 Times a Year

(4 days ago)
Wave723 quotes IEEE Spectrum: Atop a rocky peak in the Swiss Alps sits a telecommunications tower that gets struck by lightning more than 100 times a year, making it perhaps the world's most frequently struck object. Taking note of the remarkable consistency with which lightning hits this 124-meter structure, researchers have adorned it with instruments for a front-row view of these violent electric discharges... To anyone who has witnessed a lightning strike, everything seems to happen all at once. But [New Mexico Tech's Mark] Stanley's sensor captures several gigabytes of data about the many separate pulses that occur within each flash. Those data can be made into a video that replays, microsecond by microsecond, how "channels" of lightning form in the clouds.... [T]hey intend to use data gathered by the tower's many instruments (which include a collection of six antennas called a lightning mapping array, two Rogowski coils to measure current, two B-Dot sensors to measure the current time-derivative, broadband electric and magnetic field sensors, and a high-speed camera) to reconstruct the total path of strikes soon after they happen, tracing the electromagnetic radiation all the way back to its original source... The Santis team's work has held particular relevance for wind farm operators. That's because most strikes recorded at the tower are examples of upward lightning -- which travels from ground-to-cloud instead of cloud-to-ground. They hope to eventually help make[..]

Retailers cash in on Amazon's 'free marketing' on Prime Day

(4 days ago)
Amazon.com Inc's Prime Day is now a major marketing opportunity and shopping event in the annual calendar for other U.S. retail companies, rivaling the Thanksgiving holiday's Black Friday as a driver of sales.

Bitcoin drops more than 10% as scrutiny of cryptocurrencies grows

(4 days ago)
Bitcoin slumped more than 10% over the weekend to a two-week low as fears of a crackdown of cryptocurrencies grew on mounting scrutiny of Facebook's planned Libra digital coin.

Review: 'Solid State' by Jonathan Coulton

(4 days ago)
We're reviving an old Slashdot tradition -- the review. Whenever there's something especially geeky -- or relevant to our present moment -- we'll share some thoughts. And I'd like to start with Jonathan Coulton's amazing 2017 album Solid State, and its trippy accompanying graphic novel adaptation by Matt Fraction. I even tracked down Jonathan Coulton on Friday for his thoughts on how it applies to our current moment in internet time... "When I started work on Solid State, the only thing I could really think of that I wanted to say was something like, 'The internet sucks now'," Coulton said in 2017 in an epilogue to the graphic novel. "It's a little off-brand for me, so it was a scary place to start..." So what does he think today? And what did we think of his album...?Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Norway's Adevinta says new French digital tax may hit earnings

(4 days ago)
Online advertising group Adevinta said the newly introduced digital tax in France lacked clarity but would likely hit the Norwegian company's earnings as it posted second-quarter earnings roughly in line with expectations.

Norway's Adevinta says French digital tax to impact earnings

(4 days ago)
Online advertising group Adevinta said the newly introduced digital tax in France lacked clarity, but would likely impact the Norwegian company's earnings as it posted second-quarter earnings roughly in line with expectations.

China's Xiaomi continues chip strategy revamp with investment in semiconductor designer

(4 days ago)
China's Xiaomi Corp has taken a stake of roughly 6% in compatriot chip designer VeriSilicon Holdings Co Ltd, as the smartphone maker revamps its years-long pursuit of success in semiconductors which it sees as central to driving innovation.

How America's Tech Giants Are Helping Build China's Surveillance State

(4 days ago)
"An American organization founded by tech giants Google and IBM is working with a company that is helping China's authoritarian government conduct mass surveillance against its citizens," the Intercept reports. The OpenPower Foundation -- a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to "drive innovation" -- has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently. Shenzhen-based Semptian is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology it provides to human rights-abusing security agencies in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people... Semptian presents itself publicly as a "big data" analysis company that works with internet providers and educational institutes. However, a substantial portion of the Chinese firm's business is in fact generated through a front company named iNext, which sells the internet surveillance and censorship tools to governments. iNext operates out of the same offices in China as Semptian, with both companies on the eighth floor of a tower in Shenzhen's busy Nanshan District. Semptian and iNext also share the same 200 employees and the same founder, Chen Longsen. [The company's][..]

Exclusive: U.S. firms may get nod to restart Huawei sales in two-four weeks - official

(4 days ago)
The U.S. may approve licenses for companies to re-start new sales to Huawei in as little as two weeks, according to a senior U.S. official, in a sign President Donald Trump's recent effort to ease restrictions on the Chinese company could move forward quickly.

US Lawmakers Consider Ban On Big Tech Companies Launching Cryptocurrencies

(4 days ago)
PolygamousRanchKid quotes Reuters:A proposal to prevent big technology companies from functioning as financial institutions or issuing digital currencies has been circulated for discussion by the Democratic majority that leads the House Financial Services Committee, according to a copy of the draft legislation seen by Reuters. In a sign of widening scrutiny after Facebook Inc's (FB.O) proposed Libra digital coin aroused widespread objection, the bill proposes a fine of $1 million per day for violation of such rules.... Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Libra and other cryptocurrencies and demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to U.S. and global regulations if they wanted to "become a bank." His comments came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook's plan to build a digital currency called Libra could not move forward unless it addressed concerns over privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability. The article concedes this proposal "would likely spark opposition" in the House and Senate, but adds that "Nevertheless, the draft proposal sends a strong message to large tech firms increasingly eyeing the financial services space." The draft legislation's title? The "Keep Big Tech Out Of Finance Act."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Craigslist Founder: Most Online Outrage is Faked For Profit

(4 days ago)
The Guardian profiles 66-year-old Craigslist founder (and former IBM programmer) Craig Newmark, calling him "a survivor from the era of internet optimism." He's now investing "significant sums" to protect the future of the news industry -- "and rejects the idea his website helped cause journalism's financial crisis"[H]e firmly rejects any notion that all the philanthropy -- an estimated $50m in the past year including to New York Public Radio, new publication the Markup and local journalism efforts such as the American Journalism Project -- is an attempt to assuage guilt, a reach for atonement. "That takes an active imagination that I don't understand. I have very little imagination...." Newmark, by his own admission not a journalist, says: "I had great hopes for citizen journalism 10, 15 years ago. It hasn't worked out. One reason is that journalism is a profession. You have to know how to write well. You have to fact-check. You have to know how to develop sources, often over years. You have to have specialised knowledge on a beat like disinformation or crime or birds. Citizen journalists can complement what's going on and, sometimes, citizens come to journalism with skills... Now I think more: what are the practical problems of professional journalism? For example, we've seen a couple of cases where bad actors will try to really hurt a publication by engaging in lengthy, frivolous lawsuits. There is a great need for shared risk pool insurance, media insurance in the US,[..]

Exclusive: U.S. firms may get nod to restart Huawei sales in 2-4 weeks - official

(4 days ago)
The U.S. may approve licenses for companies to re-start new sales to Huawei in as little as two weeks, according to a senior U.S. official, in a sign President Donald Trump's recent effort to ease restrictions on the Chinese company could move forward quickly.

First E-Bikes, Then Flying Cars: a Do-Anything 3D Printing Tech

(4 days ago)
Tekla Perry shares an interesting story from the IEEE's "View from the Valley" blog:Arevo was aiming to get into the aircraft parts business when it started developing software and hardware to print 3D structures using a composite containing continuous carbon fibers. Its technology lays out the lines of the material in ways to maximize strength and minimize the amount of composite used. Printing out a bike frame? That was just going to be a demo for investors. Now the company is in the e-bike manufacturing business, but thinks the ultimate application of its technology will be flying cars. That's not a joke, the article explains:Bheda says the flying car market could turn out to be Arevo's sweet spot. "They will be manufactured in a larger volume than airplanes, the manufacturing technology being used for current aircraft won't scale to that, and they want to use thermoplastic. Our technology is at least three years ahead of any other thermoplastic technology, so we will be ready." They're now marketing their in-house printing capabilities as a service, "keeping the manufacture of any products in house."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

India Plans Historic Launch of a Rocket to the Moon

(4 days ago)
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is planning to launch a rocket to the moon. UPDATE: 2:28: The launch "has been called off for today," the ISRO posted on Twitter. But when the re-schedule launch happens, you can watch it live on two YouTube channels, on Twitter, Facebook, or webcast on the ISRO's web site. TechCrunch has also embedded a livestreaming video in their report:Chandrayaan-2 will carry lunar lander Vikram, which will deliver ISRO rover Pragyan to the surface at the pole, with a target landing zone of a plain that covers the ground between two of the Moon's craters, Simpelius N and Manzinus C. The rocket used for the launch is the GSLV Mk-III, India's most powerful launch vehicle ever, and the orbiter used for this mission will relay back information from the lander and rover to Earth via the Indian Deep Space Network, as well as make its own observations during its planned one-year mission lifespan. The mission will seek to take a number of measurements of the lunar surface, including topographic, mineral makeup, seismographic, chemical analytics and more, with an eye to shedding more light on the Moon's origins. If all goes to plan, the lunar orbiter will make its way to to Moon over the next couple of months and aim to soft land the Vikram at the South Pole target site on September 6, 2019. This is a historic mission for a few reasons, including being the first ever soft-landing attempt at the Moon's South Pole region, as well as being the first[..]

NASA Funds Company To 3D-Print Spacecraft Parts in Orbit

(4 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes Engadget:NASA is expanding its efforts to bring 3D printing to space. The agency has given Made In Space a $73.3 million contract to demonstrate the ability to 3D-print spacecraft parts in orbit using Archinaut One, a robotic manufacturing ship due to launch in 2022 or later. The vessel will fly aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket and 3D-print two 32-foot beams on each side, with each unfurling two solar arrays. The completed arrays could produce up to five times more power than the solar panels you normally find on spacecraft this size, NASA said... If successful, it could alter how NASA and others approach building and fixing spacecraft. This could lead to building spacecraft (albeit smaller ones at this stage) in orbit, of course, but it could also let space agencies launch small satellites that receive large power collectors once they're floating above Earth. It could also lead to fewer spacewalks by having robots build items that would otherwise require human involvement.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

U.S. proposes barring big tech companies from offering financial services, digital currencies

(4 days ago)
A proposal to prevent big technology companies from functioning as financial institutions or issuing digital currencies has been circulated for discussion by the Democratic majority that leads the House Financial Services Committee, according to a copy of the draft legislation seen by Reuters.

U.S. proposes barring big tech companies from offering financial services, digital currencies

(4 days ago)
A proposal to prevent big technology companies from functioning as financial institutions or issuing digital currencies has been circulated for discussion by the Democratic majority that leads the House Financial Services Committee, according to a copy of the draft legislation seen by Reuters.

Watch India Launch a Historic Rocket to the Moon

(4 days ago)
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is launching a rocket to the moon within the next hour. You can watch the launch live on two YouTube channels, on Twitter, Facebook, or webcast on the ISRO's web site. TechCrunch has also embedded a livestreaming video in their report:Chandrayaan-2 will carry lunar lander Vikram, which will deliver ISRO rover Pragyan to the surface at the pole, with a target landing zone of a plain that covers the ground between two of the Moon's craters, Simpelius N and Manzinus C. The rocket used for the launch is the GSLV Mk-III, India's most powerful launch vehicle ever, and the orbiter used for this mission will relay back information from the lander and rover to Earth via the Indian Deep Space Network, as well as make its own observations during its planned one-year mission lifespan. The mission will seek to take a number of measurements of the lunar surface, including topographic, mineral makeup, seismographic, chemical analytics and more, with an eye to shedding more light on the Moon's origins. If all goes to plan, the lunar orbiter will make its way to to Moon over the next couple of months and aim to soft land the Vikram at the South Pole target site on September 6, 2019. This is a historic mission for a few reasons, including being the first ever soft-landing attempt at the Moon's South Pole region, as well as being the first Indian mission to attempt a soft landing using all home-grown lander and rover technology. If successful,[..]

Google Tries Social Networking Again, Challenging Facebook Events

(4 days ago)
What's Google working on after shuttering Google+ ? An anonymous reader quotes The Verge:Google's in-house incubator, Area 120, is working on a new social networking app called Shoelace which is aimed at organizing local events and activities. You use it by listing your interests in the app, allowing it to recommend a series of "hand-picked" local activities which it calls "Loops." You can also organize your own events, and there's a map interface to view and RSVP to other people's Loops. Shoelace's soft-launch comes just months after Google shut down Google+, its most prominent attempt at building a social media platform. However, rather than trying to create a new all-encompassing social network to rival the likes of Facebook, Shoelace seems to have much more modest ambitions that take aim at Facebook's ubiquitous Events functionality... [I]t's also only available in New York City at the moment; the team says it's hoping to expand to more cities across the US soon.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

America's FBI Wants To Build a Social Media-Monitoring Tool

(4 days ago)
America's FBI "wants to gather more information from social media," reports Engadget.Friday, it issued a call for contracts for a new social media monitoring tool. According to a request-for-proposals (RFP), it's looking for an "early alerting tool" that would help it monitor terrorist groups, domestic threats, criminal activity and the like. The tool would provide the FBI with access to the full social media profiles of persons-of-interest. That could include information like user IDs, emails, IP addresses and telephone numbers. The tool would also allow the FBI to track people based on location, enable persistent keyword monitoring and provide access to personal social media history. According to the RFP, "The mission-critical exploitation of social media will enable the Bureau to detect, disrupt, and investigate an ever growing diverse range of threats to U.S. National interests." But a tool of this nature is likely to raise a few red flags, despite the FBI's call for "ensuring all privacy and civil liberties compliance requirements are met." Back in 2011 a video by The Onion jokingly described Facebook as "the massive online surveillance program run by the CIA." Looks like they had the right idea -- but the wrong government agency. On Twitter the ACLU's senior staff attorney highlighted some key phrases from the FBI's request for proposals -- including "constant monitoring of social media platforms." He added that "They're not beating around the bush in terms of how[..]

Should Local Governments Pay Ransomware Attackers?

(4 days ago)
At least 170 local or state government systems in America have been hit with ransomware, and the French Interior Ministry received reports of 560 incidents just in 2018, according to Phys.org. (Though the French ministry also notes that most incidents aren't reported.) But when a government system is hit by ransomware, do they have a responsibility to pay the ransomware to restore their data -- or to not pay it?"You have to do what's right for your organization," said Gregory Falco, a researcher at Stanford University specializing in municipal network security. "It's not the FBI's call. You might have criminal justice information, you could have decades of evidence. You have to weigh this for yourself." Josh Zelonis at Forrester Research offered a similar view, saying in a blog post that victims need to consider paying the ransom as a valid option, alongside other recovery efforts. But Randy Marchany, chief information security officer for Virginia Tech University, said the best answer is to take a hardline "don't pay" attitude. "I don't agree with any organization or city paying the ransom," Marchany said. "The victims will have to rebuild their infrastructure from scratch anyway. If you pay the ransom, the hackers give you the decryption key but you have no assurance the ransomware has been removed from all of your systems. So, you have to rebuild them anyway." Victims often fail to take preventive measures such as software updates and data backups that would limit the[..]

Doing Five Things Could Decrease Your Risk of Alzheimer's By 60%

(4 days ago)
"Light-to-moderate" alcohol consumption can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease. An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post:A study presented Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Los Angeles found that combining five lifestyle habits -- including eating healthier, exercising regularly and refraining from smoking -- can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 60 percent. A separate study showed that lifestyle choices can lower risk even for those who are genetically prelifestyle disposed to the disease... Over the last decade, studies have increasingly pointed to controllable lifestyle factors as critical compenents to reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Researchers say that, as with heart disease, combating dementia will probably require a "cocktail" approach combining drugs and lifestyle changes. And as recent efforts to develop a cure or more effective drug treatments for dementia have proven disappointing, the fact that people can exert some control in preventing the disease through their own choices is encouraging news, they say. While the new study's authors expected to see that leading a healther life decreases the chance of dementia, they were floored by the "magnitude of the effect," said Klodian Dhana, a Rush University professor and co-author. "This demonstrates the potential of lifestyle behaviors to reduce risk as we age," said Heather Snyder, senior director of medical and scientific operations at the Alzheimer's[..]

Minecraft Earth Begins Closed Beta In Two Weeks on iOS

(4 days ago)
The Minecraft team has released "a handy video to illustrate exactly what to expect from the Minecraft Earth beta" on the Minecraft blog. "We've even included actual moving images from said beta (with an impossibly upbeat, yet beautifully pedagogical voice-over by Stephen Scott of the Minecraft Earth Design Team, as a fun bonus!)"The closed beta will launch for iOS in the next two weeks, with the Android version following soon thereafter. As with most closed betas, the number of participants will be limited in numbers and locations. This is to make sure our servers are able to keep up with all the exploration, creation and, hopefully, surviving that is going on around the world... As is also common with beta versions, your progress will occasionally be reset as we test and develop various features of the game. If you are selected to participate in the closed beta (congratulations!), you will receive an invitation email to the email address you have associated with the Microsoft Account or Xbox Live account you submitted in your registration. If you are selected (congrats again!), you will need to play at least once every 7 days. If you don't, we'll give your spot to someone else, as space in the beta is very limited. You have to be 18 years or older to participate.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nomads Travel To America's Backroads and Walmarts -- to Stock Amazon's Shelves

(4 days ago)
The Verge recently profiled "a small group of merchants who travel the backroads of America searching clearance aisles and dying chains for goods to sell on Amazon. "Some live out of RVs and vans, moving from town to town, only stopping long enough to pick the stores clean and ship their wares to Amazon's fulfillment centers."The majority of goods sold on Amazon are not sold by Amazon itself, but by more than 2 million merchants who use the company's platform as their storefront and infrastructure. Some of these sellers make their own products, while others practice arbitrage, buying and reselling wares from other retailers. Amazon has made this easy to do, first by launching Fulfillment by Amazon, which allows sellers to send their goods to company warehouses and have Amazon handle storage and delivery, and then with an app that lets sellers scan goods to instantly check whether they'd be profitable to sell on the site. A few sellers, like [Chris] Anderson, have figured out that the best way to find lucrative products is to be mobile, scouring remote stores and chasing hot-selling items from coast to coast. "It's almost like I'm the front end of the business and Amazon is just an extension of my arm," says Sean-Patrick Iles, a nomad who spent weeks driving cross-country during Toys R Us' final days. It was a feeding frenzy Anderson and others also hit the road for... For Anderson, the holy grail is the Bounce Dryer Bar, a $5 plastic oblong you affix to the dryer rather than[..]

IQ Test Scores Increased For a Century. But Did it Help?

(4 days ago)
IQ test scores have been increasing for 100 years, reports a senior journalist at BBC Future. He also writes that there's evidence "that we may have already reached the end of this era -- with the rise in IQs stalling and even reversing." But this raises an even larger question: did a century of increasing scores on IQ tests bring benefits to society?You might assume that the more intelligent you are, the more rational you are, but it's not quite this simple... Consider the abundant literature on our cognitive biases. Something that is presented as "95% fat-free" sounds healthier than "5% fat", for instance -- a phenomenon known as the framing bias. It is now clear that a high IQ does little to help you avoid this kind of flaw, meaning that even the smartest people can be swayed by misleading messages. People with high IQs are also just as susceptible to the confirmation bias -- our tendency to only consider the information that supports our pre-existing opinions, while ignoring facts that might contradict our views. That's a serious issue when we start talking about things like politics. Nor can a high IQ protect you from the sunk cost bias -- the tendency to throw more resources into a failing project, even if it would be better to cut your losses -- a serious issue in any business. (This was, famously, the bias that led the British and French governments to continue funding Concorde planes, despite increasing evidence that it would be a commercial disaster.) Highly[..]

Israel holds 5G mobile network tender, aims for 2020 launch

(4 days ago)
Israel launched a tender for fifth-generation (5G) cellular frequencies on Sunday, hoping discounts to cash-strapped mobile phone operators battling fierce competition will entice bids.

Chess Grandmaster Caught Cheating in Tournament With Hidden Cellphone in Bathroom

(4 days ago)
"The World Chess Federation (FIDE) announced Saturday that it caught chess grandmaster Igors Rausis cheating during a tournament in France," writes Bleacher Report.According to ESPN.com, the FIDE noted that Rausis was "caught red-handed using his phone during a game." A cellphone was found in a toilet that Rausis had used during the competition, and Rausis later admitted to using it to cheat. Per Chess.com, Rausis said the following regarding the scandal: "I simply lost my mind yesterday. I confirmed the fact of using my phone during the game by written [statement]. What could I say more? ... At least what I committed yesterday is a good lesson, not for me -- I played my last game of chess already...." The 58-year-old Rausis was born in the Soviet Union and currently represents the Czech Republic after previously representing Latvia and Bangladesh. Rausis became a grandmaster in 1992, and he is the No. 53 ranked chess player in the world, according to the FIDE. It's not the first time this has happened. A Georgian national chess champion was also found to be cheating with an iPhone hidden in a toilet stall more than four years ago. But in this case, "The 58-year-old Latvian-Czech grandmaster had raised suspicions after he increased his rating in recent years to almost 2700," reports Chess.com. The director-general of the FIDE said they've now reported Rausis to the French police, and that they'd been suspicious of him for a long time."It is impossible to completely eliminate[..]

Is It Time To Get Rid Of The Caps Lock Key?

(5 days ago)
"At its worst, it's a waste of precious space, an annoyance, a solution to a problem that doesn't exist any more," complains Daniel Colin James, a writer, developer, product manager. In a recent Medium essay, he called the Caps Lops key "an unnecessary holdover from a time when typewriters were the bleeding edge of consumer technology" -- and even contacted the man who invented the Caps Lock key (Doug Kerr, who had been a Bell Labs telephone engineer in the 1960s):I reached out to Doug about his invention, and he responded that while he still uses Caps Lock regularly, "we don't often today have a reason to type addresses in all caps, which was the context in which the need for the key first manifested itself to me." I would go a step further, and say that most of us don't often have a reason to type anything in all caps today... [A] toggle with the same functionality could easily be activated in a number of different ways for those who really want to write things in all capital letters. (Say, for example, double tapping the Shift key, like how it already works on your phone.) Caps Lock is one of the largest keys on a modern keyboard, and it's in one of the best spots -- right next to the home row. It's taking up prime real estate, and it's not paying its rent any more. Have you ever been in the middle of typing something, and then you get the uneasy feeling thaT YOU FLEW TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN AND NOW YOU HAVE TO REWRITE YOUR WORDS? You're not alone. Accidentally activating[..]

Developer Requests Google Remove Their Logo From Re-Designed Golang Page

(5 days ago)
Slashdot reader DevNull127 writes: Another very minor kerfuffle has broken out in the community for the Go programming language. When its official Twitter account asked for feedback on the new look of its web site, one developer suggested that it had been a mistake to add the Google logo to the lower-right of the home page. "A lot of people associate it with a commercial Google product." Following the suggested procedure, he then created an issue on GitHub. ("Go is perceived by some as a pure Google project without community involvement. Adding a Google logo does not help in this discussion.") The issue received 61 upvotes (and 30 downvotes), eventually receiving a response from Google software engineer Andrew Bonventre, the engineering lead on the Go Team. "Thanks for the issue. We spent a long time talking about it and are sensitive to this concern. It's equally important to make it clear that Google supports Go, which was missing before (Much like typescriptlang.org). Google pays for and hosts the infrastructure that golang.org runs on and we hope the current very small logo is a decent compromise." He then closed the issue. The developer who created the issue then responded, "I get that you've discussed this internally. This is a great opportunity to discuss it with the community. I'm thankful to Google for financing the initial and ongoing development of Go but Google is not the only company investing [in] Go. I would like to move the Google logo into an separate[..]

They're Making a Movie Based On the 1978 Game 'Space Invaders'

(5 days ago)
The 1978 arcade game Space Invader will become a major motion picture, reports Engadget. "The writer behind the 'Mortal Kombat' reboot is involved." Deadline reports:It will take work fleshing this into a full-fledged alien-invasion movie, but the title is certainly a brand. In the game, a series of blocky aliens descended from the top of the screen to the bottom, and players basically blasted them until their thumbs cramped, or the invaders succeeded in overwhelming the slow-triggered defender of earth. "Nothing surprises me any more," adds the headline at Io9. Once, I would be surprised and bemused by the things Hollywood tries to turn into major franchises in 2019. I might observe how the truth now matches what we used to make up as parody. But, look, Battleship is a real movie and Rihanna was in it and that was seven years ago... Since the arcade game is entirely devoid of plot, except for the riveting narrative of shooting up until your thumbs cramp, it'll probably be some entirely original plot about alien invaders, maybe something Independence Day-esque, with some inevitable cute nods to the original thrown in... [W]e'll keep you posted as long as you keep putting quarters into the machine. Yahoo Movies UK calls the news "apparent proof that Hollywood will literally make a movie out of anything... Also in the pipeline is a live-action outing for Sonic the Hedgehog, which was delayed earlier this year so that Paramount could redesign the character following a fan[..]

Galileo Satellite Positioning Service Outage

(5 days ago)
Long-time Slashdot reader hyperfine transition writes: The Galileo satellite positioning service is currently unavailable, with all satellites marked as in outage . Galileo is the European-built and operated alternative to GPS. The outage is being attributed to problems at the Precise Timing Facility in Italy. The availability of multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and the relative newness of Galileo (the system is still under construction and only the newest GNSS receivers will track it) means that it is likely that few users will see an impact but the problem highlights our potential vulnerability to the loss of positioning and timing services available through GNSS.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Major Power Outage Hits Manhattan

(5 days ago)
"More than 40,000 in Manhattan don't have power," reports CNN:Of the 42,000 customers without power in New York, most are in Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side, the utility company said. The city's fire department is responding to numerous transformer fires, the first of which occurred in Manhattan on West 64th Street and West End Avenue, officials said. The outage is having a widespread effect, with the New York subway system also experiencing power outages in its stations, the agency managing the trains said. "We're working to identify causes and keep trains moving," the Metropolitan Transportation Authority tweeted... Photos from Times Square are showing some of the famous electronic billboards dark as dozens of people stand confused on the sidewalks. Updates from CNN report that subway trains "have been stopped for more than 45 minutes and they can't move back to stations. Some people have been forced to walk through train cars to evacuate."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Never Commit a Crime When Your Phone Is Connected to a Wi-Fi Network'

(5 days ago)
"Like many bad ideas, this one started with Bud Light," reports Slate.As four high school seniors sat around shooting the breeze before graduation, they decided to vandalize their school as a senior prank. Disguised with T-shirts over their faces to evade security cameras, the young men originally set out to spray-paint "Class of 2018," but in a moment one of the men describes to the Washington Post as "a blur," their graffiti fest took a turn toward swastikas, racial slurs attacking the school's principal, and other hateful symbols. Despite their covered faces, school officials had no problem finding who was responsible: The students' phones had automatically connected with the school's Wi-Fi using their unique logins. Their digital fingerprints tipped off administrators to who was on campus just before midnight, and, as the Post describes, they were held accountable for their crime. But the incident also showcases how little we know about what we're giving away with our digital footprints. These men had clearly given thought about how to stay anonymous -- they knew they needed masks to foil the cameras -- but they didn't think the devices in their pockets could give them away. The AP adds that the prison sentences for the four teenagers "ranged from eight to 18 weekends behind bars."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What Happens When Landlords Can Get Cheap Surveillance Software?

(5 days ago)
"Cheap surveillance software is changing how landlords manage their tenants and what laws police can enforce," reports Slate. For example, there's a private company contracting with property managers that says they now have 475 security cameras in place and can sometimes scan more than 1.5 million license plates in a week. (According to Clayton Burnett, Watchstore Security's director of "innovation and new technology".) Burnett's company regularly hands over location data to police, he says, as evidence for cases large and small. But that investigative firepower also comes in handy for more routine landlord-tenant affairs. They've investigated tree trimmers charging for a day of work they didn't do and caught people dumping trash on private property. Sometimes, he says, a tenant will claim her car was hit in the building's parking lot and ask for free rent. His company can search for her plate and see that one day, she left the lot with her bumper intact and then came back later with a dent in it. Probably once a week, Burnett says, Watchtower uses it to prove that a tenant has "a buddy crashing on their couch," violating their lease. "Normally, there's some limit to how long they can stay, like five days," he says, "and we can prove they're going over that." One search, and they have proof that that buddy has been coming over every night for a month. I was wondering how tenants felt about this, and I asked Burnett whether anyone had ever complained about the license plate[..]

Amazon's Alexa Will Deliver NHS Medical Advice in the UK

(5 days ago)
"The UK's National Health Service (NHS) has announced what it claims is a world first: a partnership with Amazon's Alexa to offer health advice from the NHS website." An anonymous reader quotes the Verge:Britons who ask Alexa basic health questions like "Alexa, how do I treat a migraine?" and "Alexa, what are the symptoms of flu?" will be given answers vetted by NHS health professionals and currently available on its website. At the moment, Alexa sources answers to such questions from a variety of places, including the Mayo Clinic and WebMD. The partnership does not add significantly to Alexa's skill-set, but it is an interesting step for the NHS. The UK's Department of Health (DoH) says it hopes the move will reduce the pressure on health professionals in the country, giving people a new way to access reliable medical advice. It will also benefit individuals with disabilities, like sight impairments, who may find it difficult to use computers or smartphones to find the same information.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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