Technology News

Virgin Media urges password change over hacking risk

(2 days ago)
The company tells 800,000 customers with Super Hub 2 routers to change their passwords immediately.

China tightens online video controls, jolting investors

(2 days ago)
Chinese censors have ordered three popular internet services to stop streaming video, prompting a sell-off in the U.S.-trade shares of Sina Corp. and its microblog service, Sina Weibo

'Superhero' 3D printed hands help kids dream in Argentina

(2 days ago)
Hundreds of Argentine kids like born without limbs are now able to write, play sports and make music thanks to low-cost prosthetic hands created using 3D printing by a 21-year-old inventor and entrepreneur

Sling TV expands access of its cloud DVR service to iOS and Windows 10 devices, priced at $5 per month for 50 hours of storage (Jeff Baumgartner/Multichannel News)

(2 days ago)
Jeff Baumgartner / Multichannel News:Sling TV expands access of its cloud DVR service to iOS and Windows 10 devices, priced at $5 per month for 50 hours of storage  —  AirTV also receives updates for the Sling TV user interface … Sling TV confirmed that it has expanded access of its Cloud DVR service to iOS devices, the new Dish AirTV Player, and on Windows 10.

Google starts removing "confidential, personal medical records of private people" from search results (Mark Bergen/Bloomberg)

(2 days ago)
Mark Bergen / Bloomberg:Google starts removing “confidential, personal medical records of private people” from search results  —  Google quietly added a new category of information Thursday  —  Health joins financial data, revenge porn as banned subjects  —  Alphabet Inc.'s Google has quietly decided …

Scientists Discover How To Stop Luggage From Toppling On the Race Through the Airport

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists have worked out why suitcases tend to to rock violently from one wheel to the other until they overturn on the race through the airport. This most pressing of modern mysteries was taken on by physicists in Paris, who devised a scale model of a two-wheeled suitcase rolling on a treadmill and backed up their observations with a pile of equations and references to holonomic restraints, finite perturbations and the morphing of bifurcation diagrams. Fortunately for non-physicists, the findings can be reduced to simpler terms. For the suitcase to rock it had to hit a bump or be struck in some other manner; the faster the suitcase was being pulled, the more minor the bump needed to set it off. So far, so obvious. But Sylvain Courrech du Pont wanted to know more. Why did a rocking suitcase swerve and make such violent movements that it might eventually topple over? After more treadmill tests and more equations, the answer popped up: because a suitcase's handle pulls from the middle and the wheels are at its sides, the suitcase swerves inwards whenever it tilts up on one wheel. If the rocking overcomes the dampening effect that happens when each wheel touches the ground again, the suitcase will keep on rocking or eventually flip over. In conclusion, the researchers discovered that "when a suitcase starts to rock out of control, the correct response is not to slow down but to pull it faster." The scientists have[..]

Waymo hires ex-Tesla director of hardware engineering, Satish Jeyachandran, to lead its hardware team (Dana Hull/Bloomberg)

(2 days ago)
Dana Hull / Bloomberg:Waymo hires ex-Tesla director of hardware engineering, Satish Jeyachandran, to lead its hardware team  —  Jeyanchandran was Tesla's director of hardware engineering  —  High-profile hire is latest in Silicon Valley talent war  —  Waymo has hired Satish Jeyachandran …

Home Improvement Chains Accused of False Advertising Over Lumber Dimensions

(2 days ago)
per unit analyzer writes: According to Consumerist, an attorney has filed a class-action lawsuit charging Home Depot (PDF) and Menards (PDF) with deceptive advertising practices by selling "lumber products that were falsely advertised and labeled as having product dimensions that were not the actual dimensions of the products sold." Now granted, this may be news to the novice DIYer, but overall most folks who are purchasing lumber at home improvement stores know that the so-called trade sizes don't match the actual dimensions of the lumber. Do retailers need to educate naive consumers about every aspect of the items they sell? (Especially industry quirks such as this...) Furthermore, as the article notes, it's hard to see how the plaintiffs have been damaged when these building materials are compatible with the construction of the purchaser's existing buildings. i.e., An "actual" 2x4 would not fit in a wall previously built with standard 2x4s -- selling the something as advertised would actually cause the purchaser more trouble in many cases. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

McDonald's Hits All-Time High As Wall Street Cheers Replacement of Cashiers With Kiosks

(2 days ago)
McDonald's is expected to increase its sales via new digital ordering kiosks that will replace cashiers in 2,500 restaurants. As a result, the company's shares hit an all-time high, rallying 26 percent this year through Monday. CNBC reports: Andrew Charles from Cowen cited plans for the restaurant chain to roll out mobile ordering across 14,000 U.S. locations by the end of 2017. The technology upgrades, part of what McDonald's calls "Experience of the Future," includes digital ordering kiosks that will be offered in 2,500 restaurants by the end of the year and table delivery. "MCD is cultivating a digital platform through mobile ordering and Experience of the Future (EOTF), an in-store technological overhaul most conspicuous through kiosk ordering and table delivery," Charles wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. "Our analysis suggests efforts should bear fruit in 2018 with a combined 130 bps [basis points] contribution to U.S. comps [comparable sales]." He raised his 2018 U.S. same store sales growth estimate for the fast-food chain to 3 percent from 2 percent. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google says current laws underpinning digital evidence gathering are outdated, proposes new legal framework for cross-border data handling (Kent Walker/Google)

(2 days ago)
Kent Walker / Google:Google says current laws underpinning digital evidence gathering are outdated, proposes new legal framework for cross-border data handling  —  Editor's note: This is an abbreviated version of a speech Kent delivered today at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

The US Government Wants To Permanently Legalize the Right To Repair

(2 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: In one of the biggest wins for the right to repair movement yet, the U.S. Copyright Office suggested Thursday that the U.S. government should take actions to make it legal to repair anything you own, forever -- even if it requires hacking into the product's software. Manufacturers -- including John Deere, Ford, various printer companies, and a host of consumer electronics companies -- have argued that it should be illegal to bypass the software locks that they put into their products, claiming that such circumvention violated copyright law. Thursday, the U.S. Copyright Office said it's tired of having to deal with the same issues every three years; it should be legal to repair the things you buy -- everything you buy -- forever. "The growing demand for relief under section 1201 has coincided with a general understanding that bona fide repair and maintenance activities are typically non infringing," the report stated. "Repair activities are often protected from infringement claims by multiple copyright law provisions." "The Office recommends against limiting an exemption to specific technologies or devices, such as motor vehicles, as any statutory language would likely be soon outpaced by technology," it continued. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ron Howard Steps In To Direct Han Solo Movie

(2 days ago)
Two days after directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were let go in the middle of shooting the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff movie, the spot has been filled. Ron Howard has been named the new direct of Lucasfilm and Disney's Han Solo movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter. From the report: Howard, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, will meet with the actors -- Alden Ehrenreich is playing the iconic smuggler, Donald Glover is playing Lando Calrissian, with Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Thandie Newton also on the roll call -- to soothe a rattled set and will pore over a rough edit to see what the project needs. Filming will resume on July 10. Howard, who directed 1995's Apollo 13 and won an Oscar for helming 2002's A Beautiful Mind, comes to the Han Solo film with several connections to George Lucas and the worlds of Lucasfilm. He appeared in Lucas' 1973 breakout film American Graffiti and helmed Lucas' 1988 pet fantasy project Willow. Howard also revealed on a podcast in 2015 that Lucas had approached him to direct 1999's Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace. Though his recent movies, including Inferno and In the Heart of the Sea, have been costly ventures that underperformed at the box office, Howard is considered to be a safe choice to complete the task, someone who will ably finish the movie while being a calming presence on set.[..]

Sources: Tesla talking to music labels about creating its own streaming service to be bundled with its cars, starting with a Pandora-like offering (Peter Kafka/Recode)

(3 days ago)
Peter Kafka / Recode:Sources: Tesla talking to music labels about creating its own streaming service to be bundled with its cars, starting with a Pandora-like offering  —  Why not work directly with Spotify, Apple and others?  Good question.  —  Put this one in the “You can do that, but why would you want to do that? …

Wireless and Drone Execs Praised President Trump as He Pledged To Cut Down Regulations

(3 days ago)
U.S. President Donald Trump offered support for emerging technologies including unmanned aerial vehicles and next-generation wireless networks in a meeting on Thursday with the chiefs of AT&T and General Electric and other business leaders. From a report: For the likes of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, the public audience with Trump offered an opportunity to continue nudging the U.S. government -- including in a scheduled, private session with the leader of the Federal Communications Commission earlier Thursday -- to cut back on restrictions that make it difficult for AT&T and other telecom giants to grow their footprint and deploy the new technologies, such as 5G wireless. Speaking with Recode later Thursday, Marcelo Claure, the chief executive of Sprint, said that he and others in his industry had emphasized to Trump that the government must help them deploy new tools like small cells -- essentially, mini cell towers that improve wireless connectivity. Trump, for his part, promised Thursday to cut down on "too many years of excessive government regulation" to enable innovators and investments to offer new cutting-edge tools in health care, science, medicine and communication. "We have had regulation that's been so bad, so out of line that it's really hurt our country," he said. Read more of[..]

Uber knew fired exec had info at center of Google theft case

(3 days ago)
Uber says former CEO Travis Kalanick knew a self-driving car expert accused of stealing trade secrets from Google possessed information that didn't belong to him before he joined Uber last year

FCC Proposes $120 Million Fine On Florida Robocall Scammer

(3 days ago)
The FCC on Thursday proposed a $120 million fine on a Florida resident alleged to have made almost 100 million spoofed robocalls to trick consumers with "exclusive" vacation deals from well-known travel and hospitality companies. Reuters reports: The man, identified as Adrian Abramovich, allegedly made 96 million robocalls during a three-month period by falsifying caller identification information that matched the local area code and the first three digits of recipient's phone number, the FCC said. The calls, which were in violation of the U.S. telecommunications laws, offered vacation deals from companies such as Marriott International Inc, Expedia Inc, Hilton Inc and TripAdvisor Inc. Consumers who answered the calls were transferred to foreign call centers that tried to sell vacation packages, often involving timeshares. These call centers were not related to the companies, the FCC said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alphabet Says Uber Knew About Stolen Self-Driving Car Files

(3 days ago)
In a Wednesday filing with a California court, Alphabet said a former self-driving executive Anthony Levandowski hatched a plan with Uber to steal more than 14,000 proprietary documents, including designs for the sensors that help the car see its surroundings. CNET reports: Alphabet says Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick, knew about the files but told Levandowski to destroy them. Uber has argued that it did not encourage or condone Levandowski taking any files from Waymo or bringing them to Uber, and has noted that his employment agreement affirmed he wouldn't do that. The litigation between Alphabet and Uber has been reported as a primary reason Kalanick was forced to resign as Uber's CEO Tuesday. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

CEO Zuckerberg tweaks Facebook mission to focus on groups

(3 days ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg revised the world's largest online social network's mission statement on Thursday to emphasize support for hobby clubs, civil society organizations and other community groups.

Trump meets wireless, drone executives on new technologies

(3 days ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump offered support for emerging technologies including unmanned aerial vehicles and next-generation wireless networks in a meeting on Thursday with the chiefs of AT&T Inc and General Electric Co and other business leaders.

Judge says San Francisco can subpoena Uber for driver information

(3 days ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California state judge said on Thursday that San Francisco can demand from Uber records containing the ride-hailing company's driver contact information, the city attorney said.

Lawsuit Accuses Comcast of Cutting Competitor's Wires To Put It Out of Business

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A tiny Internet service provider has sued Comcast, alleging that the cable giant and its hired contractors cut the smaller company's wires in order to take over its customer base. Telecom Cable LLC had "229 satisfied customers" in Weston Lakes and Corrigan, Texas when Comcast and its contractors sabotaged its network, the lawsuit filed last week in Harris County District Court said. Comcast had tried to buy Telecom Cable's Weston Lakes operations in 2013 "but refused to pay what they were worth," the complaint says. Starting in June 2015, Comcast and two contractors it hired "systematically destroyed Telecom's business by cutting its lines and running off its customers," the lawsuit says. Comcast destroyed or damaged the lines serving all Telecom Cable customers in Weston Lakes and never repaired them, the lawsuit claims. Telecom Cable owner Anthony Luna estimated the value of his business at about $1.8 million, which he is seeking to recover. He is also seeking other damages from Comcast and its contractors, including exemplary damages that under state statute could "amount to a maximum of twice the amount of economic damages, plus up to $750,000 of non-economic damages," the complaint says. CourtHouse News Service has a story about the lawsuit, and it posted a copy of the complaint.[..]

BBC Technical Glitch Leaves TV Presenter In Silence

(3 days ago)
Viewers of BBC's News at Ten were entranced last night when a glitch in its system produced over four minutes of surreal beauty. Two readers share a report: Huw Edwards was left sitting in silence for four minutes at the start of BBC News at Ten on Tuesday night after a technical fault delayed the start of the programme and bemused viewers. Viewers on some devices and channels were left watching the presenter sitting in silence as he waited for his cue to start. The BBC News Channel showed Edwards sitting mute for the entirety of the delay, while BBC1 put up a message apologising for the fault and played saxophone music. On BBC iPlayer an announcer apologised for the glitch and breaking news alerts also appeared during the delay. When the programme started at 22:04, Edwards apologised for what he described as a "few technical problems." The presenter said on Wednesday that nobody had told him he was on air until two minutes into the delay. However, Edwards told Radio 4's The Media Show that he "sensed I might be on" so took "the most conservative approach possible" and sat at his desk reading his notes before the bulletin started. BBC hasn't shared more about those "technical glitches." You can watch the clip here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google announces new VR180 video standard, showing half a 360-degree view, and partners with Yi, Lenovo, and LG for new cameras (Adi Robertson/The Verge)

(3 days ago)
Adi Robertson / The Verge:Google announces new VR180 video standard, showing half a 360-degree view, and partners with Yi, Lenovo, and LG for new cameras  —  Google is launching a new, more limited cinematic VR format that it hopes will be almost as accessible as regular YouTube videos.

How Golan Ben-Oni, CIO of US telecom firm IDT Corporation, discovered and is drawing attention to NSA-made DoublePulsar, a more potent sister tool to WannaCry (Nicole Perlroth/New York Times)

(3 days ago)
Nicole Perlroth / New York Times:How Golan Ben-Oni, CIO of US telecom firm IDT Corporation, discovered and is drawing attention to NSA-made DoublePulsar, a more potent sister tool to WannaCry  —  NEWARK — There have been times over the last two months when Golan Ben-Oni has felt like a voice in the wilderness.

Fireball Browser Hijack Impact Revised After Microsoft Analysis

(3 days ago)
Sean Michael Kerner, writing for eWeek: A browser hijacking operation initially reported to have 250 million victims by security firm Check Point isn't quite that large, according to a new analysis by Microsoft. On June 1, security firm Check Point reported that a browser hijacking operation called "Fireball" had already claimed 250 million victims. According to a Microsoft analysis published June 22, Check Point's estimate of the number of victims was "overblown" and the attack is not nearly as widespread as initially reported. The Fireball attack is a browser hijacking that is potentially able to download malware onto victims' systems, as well as manipulate pageviews and redirect search requests. Check Point's initial analysis claimed that Fireball was being bundled as part of free software downloads to unsuspecting users. "Indeed, we have been working with Microsoft on their analysis, feeding them with some additional data," Maya Horowitz, group manager of threat intelligence at Check Point, said in a statement sent to eWEEK. "We tried to reassess the number of infections, and from recent data we know for sure that numbers are at least 40 million, but could be much more." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sources: Uber hires law firm O'Melveny & Myers to investigate handling of Indian rape victim medical records, with partial focus on whether bribes were involved (Reuters)

(3 days ago)
Reuters:Sources: Uber hires law firm O'Melveny & Myers to investigate handling of Indian rape victim medical records, with partial focus on whether bribes were involved  —  Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] has hired a law firm to investigate how it obtained the medical records of an Indian woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014.

Filing: Sean Parker and Klaus Hommels leave Spotify board as ex-Disney COO Thomas Staggs, ex-YouTube exec Shishir Mehrotra, others join ahead of rumored IPO (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

(3 days ago)
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:Filing: Sean Parker and Klaus Hommels leave Spotify board as ex-Disney COO Thomas Staggs, ex-YouTube exec Shishir Mehrotra, others join ahead of rumored IPO  —  As Spotify inches its way to a public listing, the streaming music company — which now has 140 million users — has made some significant changes to its board of directors.

Chrome and Firefox Headless Modes May Spur New Adware & Clickfraud Tactics

(3 days ago)
From a report: During the past month, both Google and Mozilla developers have added support in their respective browsers for "headless mode," a mechanism that allows browsers to run silently in the OS background and with no visible GUI. [...] While this feature sounds very useful for developers and very uninteresting for day-to-day users, it is excellent news for malware authors, and especially for the ones dabbling with adware. In the future, adware or clickfraud bots could boot-up Chrome or Firefox in headless mode (no visible GUI), load pages, and click on ads without the user's knowledge. The adware won't need to include or download any extra tools and could use locally installed software to perform most of its malicious actions. In the past, there have been quite a few adware families that used headless browsers to perform clickfraud. Martijn Grooten, an editor at Virus Bulletin, also pointed Bleeping Computer to a report where miscreants had abused PhantomJS, a headless browser, to post forum spam. The addition of headless mode in Chrome and Firefox will most likely provide adware devs with a new method of performing surreptitious ad clicks. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Exclusive: Amazon to charge $2.8 million for NFL ad packages - sources

(3 days ago)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc is looking to charge advertisers $2.8 million for packages that include 30-second spots during the Thursday night National Football League games it will stream live to its Prime customers this coming season, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Stripe expands into Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg (Paul Sawers/VentureBeat)

(3 days ago)
Paul Sawers / VentureBeat:Stripe expands into Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg  —  Stripe has announced a handful of tidbits that underscore the fast-growing fintech startup's aspirations in Europe.  —  Thus far, Stripe has only been fully available to businesses in the U.K. …

Tesla Is Talking To the Music Labels About Creating Its Own Streaming Service

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares a Recode report: Music industry sources say the carmaker has had talks with all of the major labels about licensing a proprietary music service that would come bundled with its cars, which already come equipped with a high-tech dashboard and internet connectivity. Label sources aren't clear about the full scope of Tesla's ambitions, but believe it is interested in offering multiple tiers of service, starting with a Pandora-like web radio offering. The bigger question: Why doesn't Tesla simply integrate existing services, like Spotify or Apple Music, into all of its cars from the start -- especially since Tesla already does a deal with Spotify for Teslas sold outside the U.S.? "We believe it's important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose," a Tesla spokesperson said. "Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Facebook Has a New Mission: Bring the World Closer Together

(3 days ago)
Facebook CEO believes the company's primary purpose is a social one -- the same it has had for year -- but he's ready to update this mission for the first time. From a report: "We used to have a sense that if we could just do those things, then that would make a lot of the things in the world better by themselves," Zuckerberg told CNN Tech. "But now we realize that we need to do more too. It's important to give people a voice, to get a diversity of opinions out there, but on top of that, you also need to do this work of building common ground so that way we can all move forward together." The company even has a new mission statement: "To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." This marks the first time the company has overhauled its mission, which had previously been "to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." Zuckerberg believes he has just the tool for the job: Facebook Groups, which are now used by a billion people. "A lot of what we can do is to help create a more civil and productive debate on some of the bigger issues as well," Zuckerberg told CNN Tech. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Trump meets wireless, drone executives on new technologies

(3 days ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump offered support for emerging technologies including unmanned aerial vehicles and next-generation wireless networks in a meeting on Thursday with the chiefs of AT&T Inc and General Electric Co and other business leaders.

Jerry Nelson, astronomer who built advanced telescopes, dies

(3 days ago)
Jerry Nelson, an astronomer who designed advanced telescopes that help scientists glimpse far reaches of the universe, has died in California

Facebook to keep wraps on political ads data despite researchers' demands

(3 days ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook said it would not disclose information about political campaign advertising or related data such as how many users click on ads and if advertising messages are consistent across demographics, despite arguments from political scientists who want the data for research.

Stephen Hawking Says He Is Convinced That Humans Need To Leave Earth

(3 days ago)
Reader dryriver writes: Back in May, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking made yet another doomsday prediction. He said that humanity has 100 years left on Earth, which knocked 900 years off the prediction he made in November 2016, which had given humanity 1,000 years left. With his new estimate, Hawking suggested the only way to prolong humanity's existence is for us to find a new home, on another planet (alternative source). Speaking at the Starmus Festival in Trondheim, Norway on Tuesday, Hawking reiterated his point: "If humanity is to continue for another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before," he explained, according to the BBC. Specifically, Hawking said that we should aim for another Moon landing by 2020, and work to build a lunar base in the next 30 years -- projects that could help prepare us to send human beings to Mars by 2025. "We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth," Hawking added. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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