Technology News

Sonova plays catch up with Danish rivals on hearing-aid tech

(2 days ago)
ZURICH (Reuters) - Sonova on Thursday launched a new hearing aid microchip capable of streaming audio directly from wireless mobile devices as the Swiss company aims to close the gap to Danish competitors that pioneered similar technology years ago.

NAFTA talks must include discussion on fintech: Mexican negotiator

(2 days ago)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) must include a discussion of new financial services, a Mexican negotiator said on Wednesday, singling out so-called fintech companies rapidly gaining ground in the region.

Netflix Plans To Spend $7 Billion On Content In 2018

(3 days ago)
According to the Streaming Observer, Netflix plans to increase its budget by $1 billion dollars over the next year and spend over $7 billion on content in 2018. Previously, the company paid $6 billion in 2017 and $5 billion in 2016. From the report: While the internet freaks out about Disney ending its streaming agreement with Netflix, the company continues to forge ahead signing high-profile talent and throwing an enormous budget at its original programming. Just days after the Disney turmoil, Netflix's visionary Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos stated that the streaming leader plans to increase its budget by $1 billion dollars over the next year. As of now, Netflix currently has $15.7 billion in outstanding obligations in deals for new series and films over the next few years. With such an astronomically-large budget, media analysts are already beginning to wonder if Netflix is "rescuing" or "ruining" Hollywood by creating such a singular creator-producer-distributor model. Sarandos counters those claims, however, stating that Netflix is merely on the forefront of what's already a growing trend throughout the media industries: "I would say that the relationship between studios and networks has always been that of a frenemy. Everyone is doing some version of it already. They just have to make a decision for their companies, their brands and their shareholders on how to best optimize the content. We started making original content five years ago, betting this would[..]

Deadly Drug-Resistant Fungus Sparks Outbreaks In UK

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: More than 200 patients in more than 55 UK hospitals were discovered by healthcare workers to be infected or colonized by the multi-drug resistant fungus Candida auris, a globally emerging yeast pathogen that has experts nervous. Three of the hospitals experienced large outbreaks, which as of Monday were all declared officially over by health authorities there. No deaths have been reported since the fungus was first detected in the country in 2013, but 27 affected patients have developed blood infections, which can be life-threatening. And about a quarter of the more than 200 cases were clinical infections. Officials in the UK aimed to assuage fear of the fungus and assure patients that hospitals were safe. "Our enhanced surveillance shows a low risk to patients in healthcare settings. Most cases detected have not shown symptoms or developed an infection as a result of the fungus," Dr Colin Brown, of Public Health England's national infection service, told the BBC. Yet, public health experts are uneasy about the rapid emergence and level of drug resistance the pathogen is showing. In a surveillance update in July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that C. auris "presents a serious global health threat." It was first identified in the ear of a patient in Japan in 2009. Since then, it has spread swiftly, showing up in more than a dozen countries, including the U.S., according to the CDC. So far,[..]

James Damore's memo made giant, unfounded logical leaps and ignored important evidence that didn't support his conclusion (Economist)

(3 days ago)
Economist:James Damore's memo made giant, unfounded logical leaps and ignored important evidence that didn't support his conclusion  —  Last week this newspaper said Alphabet's boss should write a “detailed, ringing rebuttal” of a viral anti-diversity memo sent at Google.  Here is how we imagine it

Why Does Hollywood Remain Out of Step With the Body-Positive Movement?

(3 days ago)
According to a report from The New York Times, Hollywood continues to praise average-sized actresses in knockout roles and then reduce them to bit parts about physical weight. Slashdot reader cdreimer shares an excerpt from the report: The first thing Danielle Macdonald did at the Cannes Film Festival in May was break into a cold sweat: The airline had lost her luggage. She was already nervous enough. Ms. Macdonald, 26, had been plucked from obscurity to play the lead role in "Patti Cake$," a drama about a rapper that was about to face the Cannes critics. Now she had to find something glamorous to wear -- pronto -- to the premiere. "As a bigger girl," Ms. Macdonald told me recently, "where was I meant to find something that would fit?" Her story then veered in an unexpected direction -- revealing her approach to Hollywood, which expects its lead actresses to be scarily skinny. "I gave myself a pep talk," she said. "This situation is what it is. Find a way to work around it." The red carpet crisis was resolved (another "Patti Cake$" star, Cathy Moriarty, lent her a black dress), but if the experiences of countless actresses before Ms. Macdonald are any indication, it will not be as easy to overcome the career obstacles that await her post-"Patti Cake$." For women -- less so for men -- weight is perhaps the most stubborn of the entertainment industry's many biases. Have an average-sized body? Call us when you've starved yourself. In particular, Ms. Macdonald must avoid a cycle[..]

Apple Pay and PayPal disable support for several sites that promote or sell items glorifying white supremacy (Ryan Mac/BuzzFeed)

(3 days ago)
Ryan Mac / BuzzFeed:Apple Pay and PayPal disable support for several sites that promote or sell items glorifying white supremacy  —  Apple and PayPal have started to disable payment support from websites selling white nationalist and Nazi apparel following this weekend's events in Charlottesville.

'Surkus' App Pays Users To Line Up Outside New Restaurants

(3 days ago)
A new app called Surkus allows restaurants to manufacture their ideal crowd and pay people to stand in place like extras on a movie set. The app reportedly uses "an algorithmic casting agent of sorts" to hand-pick people according to age, location, style and Facebook "likes." All of this is done to create the illusion that a restaurant is busy and worthy of your hard-earned money. Chicago Tribune reports: They may look excited, but that could also be part of the production. Acting disengaged while they idle in line could tarnish their "reputation score," an identifier that influences whether they'll be "cast" again. Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won't be paid -- their movements are being tracked with geolocation. Welcome to the new world of "crowdcasting." Surkus raises new questions about the future of advertising and promotion. At a time when it has become commonplace for individuals to broadcast polished versions of their lives on social media, does Surkus give businesses a formidable tool to do the same, renting beautiful people and blending them with advertising in a way that makes reality nearly indiscernible? Or have marketers found a new tool that offers them a far more efficient way to link brands with potential customers, allowing individuals to turn themselves into living extensions of the share economy using a structured, mutually beneficial transaction? The answer depends on whom you ask.[..]

Samsung, Foxconn to back cable-free phone tech

(3 days ago)
(Reuters) - A startup backed by Tony Fadell, one of the fathers of the Apple iPod, plans to announce Wednesday it is working with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd , Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd and others on a new way for mobile phones to transfer large amounts of data without using wires or WiFi connections.

New Nokia 8 phone targets surging demand for video-streaming

(3 days ago)
HELSINKI (Reuters) - HMD Global, the Finnish start-up looking to reinvigorate the Nokia phone brand, unveiled the Nokia 8 on Wednesday, hoping to cash in on rising consumer demand for high-quality audio and video features.

Essential Phone Will Ship Next Week, Shortly After Breaking $1 Billion Valuation

(3 days ago)
New submitter cloud.pt writes: Andy Rubin's Essential Phone will be released next week according to 9to5Google, just shy from its initial June mark. The company has been speculated to be worth around $1.2 billion, after giant Foxconn filed yesterday for a 0.25% acquisition at around $3 million -- clearing unicorn status as it hasn't shipped a single unit at the time. According to Engadget, future and existing pre-orders will have a chance to switch to the Pure White version of the slab, despite initial shipments being scheduled to be of the Black Moon variety. Essential's storefront orders will get the device unlocked, while the only parties offering the device will initially be Sprint. Rumor has it Amazon plans to sell the device as it invested in the company through its Alexa fund. No matter the contract attached, it will come with the full range of network capabilities unlocked. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Man sells entire video game collection for $20K

(3 days ago)
Amble's home is now lined with empty bookshelves instead of video games.

Neo-Nazi site sued for defamation, struggles to stay online

(3 days ago)
A federal lawsuit accuses the publisher of a notorious neo-Nazi website of defaming a Muslim-American radio host by falsely labeling him the "mastermind" behind a deadly bombing at a concert in England

Roku Gets Tough On Pirate Channels, Warns Users

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Earlier this year Roku was harshly confronted with this new piracy crackdown when a Mexican court ordered local retailers to take its media player off the shelves. While this legal battle isn't over yet, it was clear to Roku that misuse of its platform wasn't without consequences. While Roku never permitted any infringing content, it appears that the company has recently made some adjustments to better deal with the problem, or at least clarify its stance. Pirate content generally doesn't show up in the official Roku Channel Store but is directly loaded onto the device through third-party "private" channels. A few weeks ago, Roku renamed these "private" channels to "non-certified" channels, while making it very clear that copyright infringement is not allowed. A "WARNING!" message that pops up during the installation of these third-party channels stresses that Roku has no control over the content. In addition, the company notes that these channels may be removed if it links to copyright infringing content. "By continuing, you acknowledge you are accessing a non-certified channel that may include content that is offensive or inappropriate for some audiences," Roku's warning reads. "Moreover, if Roku determines that this channel violates copyright, contains illegal content, or otherwise violates Roku's terms and conditions, then ROKU MAY REMOVE THIS CHANNEL WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE."[..]

Google acquires AIMatter, a startup that has built a neural network-based AI platform and SDK to detect and process images on mobile devices (Ingrid Lunden/TechCrunch)

(3 days ago)
Ingrid Lunden / TechCrunch:Google acquires AIMatter, a startup that has built a neural network-based AI platform and SDK to detect and process images on mobile devices  —  Computer vision — the branch of artificial intelligence that lets computers “see” and process images like humans do (and, actually, often better than us) …

Australian Scientists Figure Out How Zinc-Air Batteries Can Replace Lithium-Ion Batteries

(3 days ago)
Researchers at the University of Sydney has figured out how to solve one of the biggest problems standing in the way for zinc-air batteries to replace lithium-ion batteries. The reason zinc batteries are so sought after is because they're powered by zinc metal -- the 24th most abundant element in Earth's crust. Not only are they cheaper to produce than lithium-ion batteries, they can theoretically store five times more energy, are much safer and environmentally friendly. The problem with zinc batteries stems around them being difficult to charge because of the lack of electrocatalysts needed to reduce and generate oxygen during the discharging and charging of a battery. labnet shares a report from Gizmodo: "Up until now, rechargeable zinc-air batteries have been made with expensive precious metal catalysts, such as platinum and iridium oxide. In contrast, our method produces a family of new high-performance and low-cost catalysts." These new catalysts are produced through the simultaneous control of the composition, size and crystallinity of metal oxides of earth-abundant elements like iron, cobalt and nickel. They can then be applied to build rechargeable zinc-air batteries. Researcher Dr Li Wei, also from the University's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, said trials of zinc-air batteries developed with the new catalysts had demonstrated "excellent rechargeability" -- including less than a 10 percent battery efficacy drop over 60 discharging/charging[..]

Cloudflare Stops Supporting Neo-Nazi Site The Daily Stormer

(3 days ago)
Timothy B. Lee reports via Ars Technica: All week, the infamous hate site Daily Stormer has been battling to stay online in the face of a concerted social media campaign to shut it down. The site lost its "dailystormer.com" domain on Monday after first GoDaddy and then Google Domains blacklisted it from their domain registration services. The site re-appeared online on Wednesday morning at a new domain name, dailystormer.ru. But within hours, the site had gone offline again after it was dropped by Cloudflare, an intermediary that defends customers against denial-of-service attacks. Daily Stormer's Andrew Anglin reported Cloudflare's decision to drop the site in a post on the social media site Gab. His post was first spotted by journalist Matthew Sheffield. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Prompted by Charlottesville reactions, Spotify says it has begun to remove white supremacist music flagged as "hate bands" (Billboard)

(3 days ago)
Billboard:Prompted by Charlottesville reactions, Spotify says it has begun to remove white supremacist music flagged as “hate bands”  —  Spotify says it has removed an array of white-supremacist acts from its streaming service that had been flagged as racist “hate bands” by the Southern Poverty Law Center three years ago.

YouTube Has An Illegal TV Streaming Problem

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mashable: Most people turn to Netflix to binge watch full seasons of a single TV show, but there could be a much cheaper way: YouTube. You might be surprised to learn that you can watch full episodes of popular TV shows on YouTube for free, thanks to a large number of rogue accounts that are hosting illegal live streams of shows. Perhaps the most shocking thing about these free (and very illegal) TV live streams might even make their way into your suggested video queue, if you watch enough "random shit" and Bobby Hill quote compilations on the site, as Mashable business editor Jason Abbruzzese recently experienced. He first noticed the surprisingly high number of illegal TV streaming accounts on his YouTube homepage, which has tailored recommended videos based on his viewing habits. Personalized recommendations aren't exactly new -- but the number of illegal live streams broadcasting copyrighted material on a loop was a shocker. When we looked deeper into the livestreams, the number we found was mindblowing. Many of these accounts appear to exist solely to give watchers an endless loop of their favorite shows and only have a few other posts related to the live streamed content. "YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and we've invested heavily in copyright and content management tools to give rights holders control of their content on YouTube," a YouTube spokesperson told Mashable in an email. "When copyright holders work[..]

Cisco narrowly beats Q4 estimates with $12.1B revenue, vs. $12.06B est., down 4% YoY, as service revenue rose 1% YoY to $3.1B (Jordan Novet/CNBC)

(3 days ago)
Jordan Novet / CNBC:Cisco narrowly beats Q4 estimates with $12.1B revenue, vs. $12.06B est., down 4% YoY, as service revenue rose 1% YoY to $3.1B  —  Cisco stock dropped 2 percent on Wednesday after the company released earnings for the fourth quarter of its 2017 fiscal year, which ended in July.

Email Provider ProtonMail Says It Hacked Back, Then Walks Claim Back

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: On Wednesday, encrypted email provider ProtonMail claimed it had hacked someone who was impersonating its service in phishing emails, and the company then swiftly deleted the tweet. Early Wednesday morning, the security researcher known as x0rz tweeted out a series of screenshots allegedly showing someone sending emails that directed targets to a fake ProtonMail login screen. "You have an overdue invoice," the message read. In response, ProtonMail said it had taken action. "We also hacked the phishing site so the link is down now," ProtonMail tweeted. Depending on the context and what exactly the retaliating organization did, hacking back can be illegal. Hacking could violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or perhaps even wiretapping legislation. A recently proposed bill would attempt to legalize the practice. ProtonMail swiftly deleted its tweet, but not before x0rz could grab and subsequently tweet a screenshot. x0rz then deleted his own tweet at the request of ProtonMail. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitter shutters accounts of U.S. white supremacy website

(3 days ago)
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter Inc on Wednesday suspended accounts linked to the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, keeping up pressure from Silicon Valley on white supremacists after weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Shipping Company Maersk Says June Cyberattack Could Cost It Up To $300 Million

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares an article: Container shipping company A.P. Moller Maersk on Tuesday said it expects that computer issues triggered by the NotPetya cyberattack will cost the company as much as $300 million in lost revenue. "In the last week of the [second] quarter we were hit by a cyber-attack, which mainly impacted Maersk Line, APM Terminals and Damco," Maersk CEO Soren Skou said in a statement. "Business volumes were negatively affected for a couple of weeks in July and as a consequence, our Q3 results will be impacted. We expect that the cyber-attack will impact results negatively by USD 200-300m." Maersk Line was able to take bookings from existing customers two days after the attack, and things gradually got back to normal over the following week, the company said. It said it did not lose third-party data as a result of the attack. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

After Losing Support, Trump's Business and Manufacturing Councils Are Shutting Down

(3 days ago)
Over a dozen anonymous readers share a similar report: Two White House advisory councils that once included tech leaders like Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick have dissolved, after several members resigned over President Donald Trump's weak condemnation of white supremacists. A member of the Strategic and Policy Forum told CNBC that it wanted to make a "more significant impact" by disbanding the entire group: "It makes a central point that it's not going to go forward. It's done." Soon after, Trump took credit for shutting down both that group and a separate Manufacturing Council, "rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople." The councils' members came from a range of industries, including several major Silicon Valley companies. Besides Musk and Kalanick, executives from Intel, IBM, and Dell had joined. It's been controversial from the start -- Musk and Kalanick both left months ago -- but a major exodus started this week, after Trump issued a vague statement blaming "many sides" for violence at a white supremacist rally that left one woman dead. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned on Monday, saying that politics had "sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America's manufacturing base." Axios has more details. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

AI seeks fantasy football challengers

(3 days ago)
The University of Southampton is challenging fantasy football fans to beat its AI at Premier League predictions.

Trump tweets cartoon of train hitting CNN reporter

(3 days ago)
The US president also apparently accidentally retweeted a post by someone calling him "a fascist".

HMD Global debuts Nokia 8, a $705 Android device with 5.3" display, Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, Zeiss optics, available early September in Europe (Tom Warren/The Verge)

(3 days ago)
Tom Warren / The Verge:HMD Global debuts Nokia 8, a $705 Android device with 5.3" display, Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, Zeiss optics, available early September in Europe  —  HMD Global, the Finnish company that licensed the rights to produce Nokia phones, is revealing the company's first Nokia-branded Android flagship phone today.

Shipping giant Maersk says the NotPetya cyberattack will likely cause $200M-$300M in lost Q3 revenue (Jordan Novet/CNBC)

(3 days ago)
Jordan Novet / CNBC:Shipping giant Maersk says the NotPetya cyberattack will likely cause $200M-$300M in lost Q3 revenue  —  Container shipping company A.P. Moller Maersk on Tuesday said it expects that computer issues triggered by the NotPetya cyberattack will cost the company as much as $300 million in lost revenue.

The Docx Games: Three Days At the Microsoft Office World Championship

(3 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: On a Sunday night two weeks back, in the Rose Court Garden of the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California, 150 antsy competitors between the ages of 13 and 22 milled around eating miniature whoopie pies by the light of the Moon, sizing up their global rivals in the efficient use of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. It was as if the Olympics opening ceremony was replaced by a networking event: teens were decked out in national T-shirts, while others handed out business cards specially made for the event. At one table off by the bar, two chaperones nudged their folding chairs closer together and taught each other how to say hello ("Yassas," "Ciao") in their respective mother tongues. In the distance, through the palms, the tiki torches of Trader Sam's, the hotel's poolside lounge, were flickering into the black sky. This marked the first night of the 16th Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship, in which teens and young 20-somethings compete for the title of World Champion in their chosen professional application. It's an event put on annually by Certiport, a Utah-based subsidiary of standardized testing giant Pearson VUE. It's also a marketing stunt, pure and simple, devised to promote Certiport's line of Microsoft Office certifications. This allows the certified to confirm the line on their resume that claims "proficiency in MS Office" is backed up by some solid knowledge of deep formatting and presentation design.[..]

Tiny Robots Crawl Through Mouse's Stomach To Release Antibiotics

(3 days ago)
Tiny robotic drug deliveries could soon be treating diseases inside your body. For the first time, micromotors -- autonomous vehicles the width of a human hair -- have cured bacterial infections in the stomachs of mice, using bubbles to power the transport of antibiotics. From a report: "The movement itself improves the retention of antibiotics on the stomach lining where the bacteria are concentrated," says Joseph Wang at the University of California San Diego, who led the research with Liangfang Zhang. In mice with bacterial stomach infections, the team used the micromotors to administer a dose of antibiotics daily for five days. At the end of the treatment, they found their approach was more effective than regular doses of medicine. The tiny vehicles consist of a spherical magnesium core coated with several different layers that offer protection, treatment, and the ability to stick to stomach walls. After they are swallowed, the magnesium cores react with gastric acid to produce a stream of hydrogen bubbles that propel the motors around. This process briefly reduces acidity in the stomach. The antibiotic layer of the micromotor is sensitive to the surrounding acidity, and when this is lowered, the antibiotics are released. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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