Technology News

Web Hosting Sites Bluehost, DreamHost, Hostgator, OVH and iPage Were Vulnerable To Simple Account Takeover Hacks

(5 days ago)
A security researcher has found, reported and now disclosed a dozen bugs that made it easy to steal sensitive information or take over any customer's account from some of the largest web hosting companies on the internet. From a news report: In some cases, clicking on a simple link would have been enough for Paulos Yibelo, a well-known and respected bug hunter, to take over the accounts of anyone using five large hosting providers -- Bluehost, DreamHost, Hostgator, OVH and iPage. "All five had at least one serious vulnerability allowing a user account hijack," he told TechCrunch, with which he shared his findings before going public. The results of his vulnerability testing likely wouldn't fill customers with much confidence. The bugs, now fixed -- according to Yibelo's writeup -- represent cases of aging infrastructure, complicated and sprawling web-based back-end systems and companies each with a massive user base -- with the potential to go easily wrong. In all, the bugs could have been used to target any number of the collective two million domains under Endurance-owned Bluehost, Hostgator and iPage, DreamHost's one million domains and OVH's four million domains -- totaling some seven million domains.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GM electric vehicle strategy last chance for Cadillac's success: executive

(5 days ago)
General Motors Co's strategy to make its luxury Cadillac marque its lead electric vehicle brand is the automaker's final opportunity to turn the unit around and make it a success, a top executive said on Monday.

Feds Can't Force You To Unlock Your iPhone With Finger Or Face, Judge Rules

(5 days ago)
A California judge has ruled that American cops can't force people to unlock a mobile phone with their face or finger. The ruling goes further to protect people's private lives from government searches than any before and is being hailed as a potentially landmark decision. From a report: Previously, U.S. judges had ruled that police were allowed to force unlock devices like Apple's iPhone with biometrics, such as fingerprints, faces or irises. That was despite the fact feds weren't permitted to force a suspect to divulge a passcode. But according to a ruling uncovered by Forbes, all logins are equal. The order came from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the denial of a search warrant for an unspecified property in Oakland. The warrant was filed as part of an investigation into a Facebook extortion crime, in which a victim was asked to pay up or have an "embarassing" video of them publicly released. The cops had some suspects in mind and wanted to raid their property. In doing so, the feds also wanted to open up any phone on the premises via facial recognition, a fingerprint or an iris.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

U.S. initiative warns firms of hacking by China, other countries

(5 days ago)
The Trump administration on Monday launched a drive to push U.S. firms to better protect their trade secrets from foreign hackers, following a slew of cases accusing individuals and companies of economic espionage for China.

NBCUniversal to launch streaming service in 2020

(5 days ago)
NBCUniversal, a unit of U.S. cable group Comcast Corp, said on Monday it planned to launch a streaming service in early 2020, stepping into a market dominated by Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

NBCUniversal to launch streaming service in 2020

(5 days ago)
NBCUniversal, a unit of U.S. cable group Comcast Corp, said on Monday it planned to launch a streaming service in early 2020, stepping into a market dominated by Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc.

U.S. proposes to allow drone operation at night, over people

(5 days ago)
The Trump administration on Monday proposed rules that would allow drones to operate over populated areas and end a requirement for special permits for night use, long-awaited actions that are expected to help speed commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States.

The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding In the Holland Tunnel

(5 days ago)
Zorro shares a report: Commuters inching through rush-hour traffic in the Holland Tunnel between Lower Manhattan and New Jersey don't know it, but a technology likely to be the future of communication is being tested right outside their car windows. Running through the tunnel is a fiber-optic cable that harnesses the power of quantum mechanics to protect critical banking data from potential spies. The cable's trick is a technology called quantum key distribution, or QKD. Any half-decent intelligence agency can physically tap normal fiber optics and intercept whatever messages the networks are carrying: They bend the cable with a small clamp, then use a specialized piece of hardware to split the beam of light that carries digital ones and zeros through the line. The people communicating have no way of knowing someone is eavesdropping, because they're still getting their messages without any perceptible delay. QKD solves this problem by taking advantage of the quantum physics notion that light -- normally thought of as a wave -- can also behave like a particle. At each end of the fiber-optic line, QKD systems, which from the outside look like the generic black-box servers you might find in any data center, use lasers to fire data in weak pulses of light, each just a little bigger than a single photon. If any of the pulses' paths are interrupted and they don't arrive at the endpoint at the expected nanosecond, the sender and receiver know their communication has been[..]

Android Studio 3.3 Now Available To Download On Stable Channel, New Version Focuses On 'Refinement and Quality'

(5 days ago)
Android Studio 3.3 is now available to download through stable channel, Google said Monday. The top new features of Android Studio 3.3 include a navigation editor, profiler tracking options, improvements on the build system, and lazy task configuration. However, the big focus with the new version was on "refinement and quality," the company said. Further reading: VentureBeat.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Last of Manhattan's Original Video Arcades

(5 days ago)
Video arcades -- those recreational arenas of illuminated screens and 8-bit soundtracks -- have been fading from the cultural landscape since the end of the Donkey Kong '80s. The advent of home video game consoles, hand-held gaming devices and smartphones has all but rendered them relics of a Gen X childhood. Yet somehow, Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center lives on.From a report: The cramped downtown institution is among the last of the city's old-school arcades, often filled with gamers too young to remember Street Fighter IV a decade ago, let alone Missile Command in the Reagan years. "Chinatown Fair should have closed years ago, along with all the other arcades in the city, due to rising rent and the shift to online gaming," said Kurt Vincent, who directed "The Lost Arcade," a 2016 documentary about the arcade's enduring legacy in the city. "But it's still there on Mott Street after all these years because young people need a place to come together." Say this about Chinatown Fair: It has been defying the odds for decades. The place opened in the 1940s as an "amusement arcade" in an era when Skee-Ball represented the apex of arcade fun. As youth tastes changed in the ensuing years, so too did Chinatown Fair. The arcade survived the rise and fall of pinball, the rise and fall of Pac-Man, the rise and fall of Super Nintendo, and perhaps most unimaginably, the rise, and rise some more, of Manhattan real estate prices.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

U.S. proposes to allow expanded drones operation at night, over people

(5 days ago)
The Trump administration proposed on Monday rules that would allow drones to operate over populated areas and end a requirement for special permits for night use - long-awaited moves that are expected to help speed commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States.

GoDaddy is Injecting Site-Breaking JavaScript Into Customer Websites

(5 days ago)
Web hosting service GoDaddy is injecting JavaScript into customer websites that could impact the overall performance of the website or even render it inoperable, according to Australian programmer Igor Kromin. From a report: GoDaddy's analytics system is based on W3C Navigation Timing, but the company's practice of unilaterally opting in paying customers to an analytics service -- tracking the visitors to websites hosted on GoDaddy services -- without forewarning is deserving of criticism. GoDaddy claims the technology, which it calls "Real User Metrics" (RUM), "[allows] us to identify internal bottlenecks and optimization opportunities by inserting a small snippet of javascript code into customer websites," that will "measure and track the performance of your website, and collects information such as connection time and page load time," adding that the script does not collect user information. The script name "Real User Metrics" is somewhat at odds with that claim; likewise, GoDaddy provides no definition of "user information." GoDaddy claims "most customers won't experience issues when opted-in to RUM, but the JavaScript used may cause issues including slower site performance, or a broken/inoperable website," particularly for users of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and websites with pages containing multiple ending tags.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Shaw Communications profit beats on higher wireless subscriptions

(5 days ago)
Shaw Communications Inc on Monday topped analysts' estimates for quarterly profit as more subscribers signed up for the Canadian telecom company's postpaid wireless services, sending its shares up 3 percent.

Streaming TV May Never Again Be as Simple, or as Affordable, as It is Now

(5 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares a report: Disney and WarnerMedia are each launching their own streaming services in 2019 in a challenge to Netflix's dominance. Netflix viewers will no longer be able to watch hit movies such as "Black Panther" or "Moana," which will soon reside on Disney's subscription service. WarnerMedia, a unit of AT&T, will also soon have its own service to showcase its library of blockbuster films and HBO series. Families will have to decide between paying more each month or losing access to some of their favorite dramas, comedies, musicals and action flicks. "There's definitely a lot of change coming," said Paul Verna at eMarketer, a digital research company. "People will have more choices of what to stream, but at the same time the market is already fragmented and intimidating and it is only going to get more so." Media companies are seeking to capitalize on the popularity and profitability of streaming. But by fragmenting the market, they're also narrowing the once wide selection that fueled the rise of internet-based video. About 55 percent of U.S. households now subscribe to paid streaming video services, up from just 10 percent in 2009, according to research firm Deloitte. Just as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime tempted people to "cut the cord" by canceling traditional cable TV packages, the newer services are looking to dismember those more-inclusive options. [...]The cost of multiple streaming services could quickly approach the average cost of a[..]

HSBC settles forex deals worth $250 billion on blockchain in last year

(5 days ago)
HSBC has settled $250 billion worth of forex trades using blockchain in the last year, it said on Monday, suggesting the heavily hyped technology is gaining traction in a sector until now hesitant to embrace it.

A Guy Made a Computer Mouse That is Also a Functional Laptop

(5 days ago)
A YouTube user who goes by Electronic Grenade has designed a computer mouse that is also a functional laptop. From a report: As detailed in a video published on Sunday, the computer mouse computer consists of a 3d-printed mouse, a Raspberry Pi microcontroller, a small keyboard, and a handful of components that were taken from a normal computer mouse. "Even though the screen is attached to the mouse, the sensitivity of the mouse makes it not that hard to follow along with what is happening on the screen," Electronic Grenade said in the video. Nevertheless, the mouse does have its faults. According to Electronic Grenade, a few resource intensive applications will occasionally cause the mouse computer to crash.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Exclusive: Liberty Latin America in bid to acquire Millicom - sources

(5 days ago)
Liberty Latin America Ltd , a wireless and cable operator in South America and the Caribbean, has approached peer Millicom International Cellular SA with an acquisition bid, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

In CEO Search, Intel Still Hasn't Found What It's Looking For

(5 days ago)
Intel has been trying to fill the most prominent role in the $400-billion chip industry for more than six months. The company's board still hasn't found what it's looking for. From a report: Intel directors have ruled out some candidates for the vacant chief executive officer post, passed up obvious ones, been rejected by some and decided to go back and re-interview others, extending the search, according to people familiar with the process. Chairman Andy Bryant told some employees recently that the chipmaker may go with a "non-traditional" candidate, suggesting a CEO from outside the company is a possibility. Whoever is chosen will take the reins at a company that's churning out record results, but is facing rising competition. The new CEO will have to convince investors that Intel's loss of manufacturing leadership -- a cornerstone of its dominance -- won't cost it market share in the lucrative semiconductor market. He or she will also have to deliver on the company's promise to maintain growth by winning orders beyond personal computer and server chips. "The new CEO will have many difficult decisions to make in a short amount of time," said Kevin Cassidy, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. "The company can perform well in the near term due to good demand for PC and servers, but longer-term decisions and strategy need a CEO soon."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Top Android Phone Makers Are Killing Useful Background Processes and Breaking 3rd-Party Apps To 'Superficially Improve' Battery Life, Developers Allege

(5 days ago)
A team of developers has accused several popular smartphone vendors of compromising the functionality of third-party apps and other background processes on their phones in an attempt to "superficially improve" the battery life. The team, Urbandroid, further alleges that these vendors have not correctly implemented Doze mode feature that Google introduced with Android Marshmallow. They also say that Google appears to be doing nothing about it. Among the worst offenders are, per developers (in descending order): Nokia, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu, Sony, Samsung, and HTC.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

USB Type-C Headphones Were Nowhere in Sight at CES 2019

(5 days ago)
In a sea of 3D audio products and true-wireless earbuds, USB Type-C headphones were nowhere in sight at CES 2019. From a report: This absence isn't an accident, however. Rather, it's the deafening silence of an abandoned product category. While many looked to USB-C audio as the successor to the famed physical port, the available models aren't catching on, and they don't seem to be going anywhere. Their absence at CES 2019 doesn't paint a rosy picture of their future, either. In general, it takes new standards quite a while to catch on, however, USB-C was thrust into the limelight far before its time. When Apple and Google ditched their headphone jacks, it limited the pool of audio peripherals to Bluetooth, or the very young USB-C category. Perhaps with a little more time and backing from a few more serious partners this could have matured alongside its older brother the TRRS plug, but it just wasn't to be. [...] One of the biggest issues that companies need to navigate pertains to source and peripheral device compatibility. USB Type-C headphone cables can either be active or passive -- or manifest as a dongle adapter. This inconsistency, paired with the fact that Audio Accessory Mode has yet to be universally supported, results in a barrage of compatibility issues. Hence why many users are unable to operate playback controls or use a headset's integrated microphone.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Too Many Workers Are Trapped By Non-Competes

(5 days ago)
Why have wages been so slow to rise at a time when demand for workers has pushed the U.S. unemployment rate to its lowest point in nearly half a century? One answer: contracts that tie millions of unspecialized workers to their jobs. Bloomberg reports: In far too many cases, these so-called noncompetes are an unwarranted restriction on freedom to transact and a drag on growth. If Congress won't act to narrow their scope, states should take the lead. The desire to keep workers from defecting to rival employers is as old as employment itself. As far back as the 15th century, English masters, such as dyers or blacksmiths, made apprentices promise not to set up shop nearby. Courts often refused to uphold such agreements, viewing them as coercive. As a House of Lords decision put it in 1893, "There is obviously more freedom of contract between buyer and seller than between master and servant or between an employer and a person seeking employment." More than a century later, the idea is back in vogue, as companies exploit the power that comes with increasing size and market concentration. In the U.S., new employees are commonly required to sign contracts that forbid them to work in the same industry for a given period. The practice makes sense for highly paid jobs involving big investments in training, and for staff with valuable proprietary knowledge. But it isn't being limited to those kinds of employees. A 2014 survey found that about two in five workers were or had at some[..]

USB Type-C Headphones Were Nowhere in Sight at CES 2019

(5 days ago)
In a sea of 3D audio products and true-wireless earbuds, USB Type-C headphones were nowhere in sight at CES 2019. From a report: This absence isn't an accident, however. Rather, it's the deafening silence of an abandoned product category. While many looked to USB-C audio as the successor to the famed physical port, the available models aren't catching on, and they don't seem to be going anywhere. Their absence at CES 2019 doesn't paint a rosy picture of their future, either. In general, it takes new standards quite a while to catch on, however, USB-C was thrust into the limelight far before its time. When Apple and Google ditched their headphone jacks, it limited the pool of audio peripherals to Bluetooth, or the very young USB-C category. Perhaps with a little more time and backing from a few more serious partners this could have matured alongside its older brother the TRRS plug, but it just wasn't to be. [...] One of the biggest issues that companies need to navigate pertains to source and peripheral device compatibility. USB Type-C headphone cables can either be active or passive -- or manifest as a dongle adapter. This inconsistency, paired with the fact that Audio Accessory Mode has yet to be universally supported, results in a barrage of compatibility issues. Hence why many users are unable to operate playback controls or use a headsetâ(TM)s integrated microphone.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Shaw Communications profit jumps on higher wireless subscriptions

(5 days ago)
Canada's Shaw Communications Inc on Monday reported a 68.5 percent surge in quarterly profit, as more subscribers signed up for the telecom company's wireless services.

Google Reportedly Blacklists 'Ethereum' As a Google Ad Keyword, Startup Claims

(5 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Yahoo: Google has reportedly blacklisted keywords mentioning Ethereum (ETH) on its advertising platform Google Ads, smart contract auditing startup Decenter tweeted on Jan. 10. The official Google Ads account replied to the tweet stating that cryptocurrency exchanges targeting the United States and Japan can be advertised on the platform, and that targeting other countries could be the reason for the ad rejection. When Decenter explained that they are a group of developers doing smart contract security audits and that they were seeing the error message when trying to use the "ethereum development services" and "ethereum security audits" keywords, Google Ads' official account answered: "Although we wouldn't be able to preemptively confirm if your keyword is eligible to trigger ads, we'd recommend that you refer to the 'Cryptocurrencies' section of our policy on Financial products and services." When Decenter asked the Ethereum community on Reddit in an open query about the alleged Google Ads policy changes, the team specified that: "Any of the keywords that contain "ethereum" in our campaigns are no longer showing ads as of January 9th and are now reporting the following error." Decenter said they have tested keywords for "ethereum smart contract audits" and "eos smart contract audits" and found that only the EOS-referenced keyword showed ads. Google banned all cryptocurrency-related advertising of all types in June 2018. However,[..]

Apple supplier Dialog Semi weathers iPhone slump to hit revenue target

(5 days ago)
Chip designer Dialog Semiconductor said on Monday that it managed to hit its fourth-quarter revenue guidance despite a slump in iPhone sales at its main customer Apple.

World's Longest Aircraft Gets Full-Production Go-Ahead

(5 days ago)
The Airlander 10 -- the world's longest aircraft -- is set to go into full production with the model designed to take its first passengers. "It comes after the prototype Airlander 10 -- a combined plane and airship -- was formally retired following successful final testing," reports the BBC. "As a result, Bedford firm Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has been given Production Organization Approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)." From the report: An eyewitness said the aircraft appeared to "break in two" after breaking its moorings and deflating, in November that year, less than 24 hours after completing its sixth successful test flight. The firm was given Design Organization Approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) in October. Stephen McGlennan, HAV's chief executive, said 2018 had been very good, with Easa's backing a "huge highlight." He said the firm had changed its focus last year towards the production of Airlander 10 as a commercial aircraft for customers. "The prototype served its purpose as the world's first full-sized hybrid aircraft, providing us with the data we needed to move forward from prototype to production standard," he said. It is now hoped the full commercial model will take to the skies with its first paying passengers "in the early 2020s." Approval from the CAA and Easa now puts the firm in a "strong position to launch production."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Battlefield 5's Poor Sales Numbers Have Become a Disaster For Electronic Arts

(5 days ago)
dryriver writes: Electronic Arts has mismanaged the Battlefield franchise in the past -- BF3 and BF4 were not great from a gameplay perspective -- but with Battlefield 5, Electronic Arts is facing a real disaster that has sent its stock plummeting on the stock exchanges. First came the fierce cultural internet backlash from gamers to the Battlefield 5 reveal trailer -- EA tried to inject so much 21st Century gender diversity and Hollywood action-movie style fighting into what was supposed to be a reasonably historically accurate WWII shooter trailer, that many gamers felt the game would be "a seriously inauthentic portrayal of what WW2 warfare really was like." Then the game sold very poorly after a delayed launch date -- far less than the mildly successful WW1 shooter Battlefield 1 for example -- and is currently discounted by 33% to 50% at all major game retailers to try desperately to push sales numbers up. This was also a disaster for Nvidia, as Battlefield 5 was the tentpole title supposed to entice gamers into buying expensive new realtime ray-tracing Nvidia 2080 RTX GPUs. Electronic Arts had to revise its earnings estimates for 2019, some hedge funds sold off their EA stock, fearing low sales and stiff competition from popular Battle Royal games like Fortnite and PUBG, and EA stock is currently 45% down from its peak value in July 2018. EA had already become seriously unpopular with gamers because of annoying Battlefield franchise in-game mechanisms such as heaving to[..]

India's electric vehicle goals being realized on two wheels, not four

(5 days ago)
Hurt by high fuel prices, Vinod Gore, a farmer in Gove village in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, ditched his petrol scooter for an electric model, underlining how two-wheelers are driving the country's goal of electrification of its vehicles.

Fintech firms want to shake up banking, and that worries the Fed

(6 days ago)
The U.S. Federal Reserve is wary of giving "fintech" firms such as OnDeck Capital Inc or Kabbage Inc. access to the country's financial infrastructure, putting the central bank at odds with other regulators looking to bring them into the fold.

A Neural Network Can Learn To Recognize the World It Sees Into Concepts

(6 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: As good as they are at causing mischief, researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab realized GANs, or generative adversarial networks, are also a powerful tool: because they paint what they're "thinking," they could give humans insight into how neural networks learn and reason. [T]he researchers began probing a GAN's learning mechanics by feeding it various photos of scenery -- trees, grass, buildings, and sky. They wanted to see whether it would learn to organize the pixels into sensible groups without being explicitly told how. Stunningly, over time, it did. By turning "on" and "off" various "neurons" and asking the GAN to paint what it thought, the researchers found distinct neuron clusters that had learned to represent a tree, for example. Other clusters represented grass, while still others represented walls or doors. In other words, it had managed to group tree pixels with tree pixels and door pixels with door pixels regardless of how these objects changed color from photo to photo in the training set. Not only that, but the GAN seemed to know what kind of door to paint depending on the type of wall pictured in an image. It would paint a Georgian-style door on a brick building with Georgian architecture, or a stone door on a Gothic building. It also refused to paint any doors on a piece of sky. Without being told, the GAN had somehow grasped certain unspoken truths about the world. Being able to identify[..]

GNOME Internet Radio Locator 1.6.0 Released

(6 days ago)
Longtime Slashdot reader ole writes: GNOME Internet Radio Locator 1.6.0 is now freely available for GNOME systems. The 1.6.0 release is a stable release with Internet radio stations from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland, France and Belgium, as well as U.S.A., Canada, Mexico and Guatemala, mapped for GNOME Maps and city text search interface with auto-completion for 76 world cities that are featured in this release. You may download the 1.6.0 release of GNOME Internet Radio Locator here and download packages for Fedora 28 and 29 on x86_64 hereRead more of this story at Slashdot.

200 Million Chinese Resumes Leak In Huge Database Breach

(6 days ago)
According to a report from HackenProof, a database containing resumes of over 200 million job seekers in China was exposed last month. "The leaked info included not just the name and working experience of people, but also their mobile phone number, email, marriage status, children, politics, height, weight, driver license, and literacy level as well," reports The Next Web. From the report: Bob Diachenko, Director of Cyber Risk Research at Hacken.io and bug bounty platform HackenProof, found an unprotected instance of MongoDB containing these resumes on December 28. Diachenko found the resumes in the open database search engines Shodan and BinaryEdge. The 854GB database didn't have any password protection and was open to anyone to read. Diachenko wasn't able to identify who generated the database or who owned it, but a now-defunct GitHub code repository featured a code that used an identical data structure to the leaked database. The database contained scraped data from multiple Chinese classified websites like bj.58.com. However, in a blog post, the website's spokesperson denied the leak. Interestingly, the database was taken down as soon as Diachenko posted about the database on Twitter. Sadly, the MongoDB log showed at least a dozen IP addresses that read the instance before it went off the grid.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Arborists Are Bringing the 'Dinosaur of Trees' Back To Life

(6 days ago)
Arborists are cloning saplings from the stumps of the world's largest, strongest, and longest-lived trees -- felled for timber more than a century ago -- to create redwood "super groves" that can help fight climate change. "Using saplings made from the basal sprouts of these super trees to plant new groves in temperate countries around the world means the growths have a better chance than most to become giants themselves," reports Quartz. "Their ancestors grew up to 400 ft (122 m) tall and to 35 ft in diameter, after all, larger than the largest living redwood today, a giant sequoia in California's Sequoia National Park." From the report: Already, super saplings from the project are thriving in groves in Canada, England, Wales, France, New Zealand, and Australia. None of these locales are places where coastal redwoods grow naturally, but they all have cool temperatures and sufficient fog for the redwoods, which drink moisture from the air in summer rather than relying on rain. [David Milarch, founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a U.S. nonprofit that propagates the world's largest trees] calls this "assisted migration." Last month, his organization planted another such grove in the Presidio in San Francisco, California. The park lies along the U.S. west's redwood corridor, which runs from Oregon to California, home to the stumps the saplings were cloned from. But 95% of giant growths there were cut long ago. Many of the redwoods along the corridor now are young[..]

Apple's AirPower Wireless Charging Mat Is In Production

(6 days ago)
Apple's long-delayed AirPower wireless charging mat might finally be in production. According to a tweet from ChargerLAB, a "credible source" says that Apple has begun manufacturing the long-delayed wireless charging mat. The Verge reports: If true, it could mean that the long-overdue product could finally reach the hands of consumers before too much longer. Apple announced in September 2017, that it was introducing wireless charging capabilities in with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and gave a preview for its own wireless charging mat that would not only charge the iPhone, but its Apple Watch and AirPods. At the time, Apple didnâ(TM)t announce a price -- only that it was expected to be released sometime in 2018. That obviously didnâ(TM)t happen... If what ChargerLAB says is accurate, that could mean that weâ(TM)ll see more about them in the near future. The siteâ(TM)s tweet says that the devices are being manufactured at Luxshare Precision, which already manufactures Appleâ(TM)s AirPods and some cords. MacRumors translated a screenshot of ChargerLABâ(TM)s WeChat conversation, in which the siteâ(TM)s source expects the device be released soon. But given the chargerâ(TM)s history of delays and technical challenges, itâ(TM)s probably best not to get oneâ(TM)s hopes up just yet.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Aaron Swartz's Federal Judge Gives Anonymous Hacker 10 Years In Prison For DDoS Attacks On Children's Hospitals

(6 days ago)
Danngggg writes: Many will remember Martin Gottesfeld since he was arrested on a speedboat coming from Cuba. He volunteered at trial that he and his wife had just been denied political asylum by Castro. Gottesfeld has said he did it to defend the life of an innocent child named Justina Pelletier. On Thursday, the same judge that over saw the Aaron Swartz case sentenced the Anonymous hacktivist to 10 years in federal prison for a DDoS of Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and Wayside Youth and Family. The sentence included $440,000 in restitution, 3 years supervised release, and other conditions. The week before, Gottesfeld docketed a 690-page affidavit (including exhibits) documenting the judge's conflicts of interest and why he doesn't belong anywhere near the case. That's available on the FreeMartyG website. Local news spoke to his wife after the sentencing hearing as well.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Plants Can Hear Animals Using Their Flowers

(6 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via The Atlantic: The latest experiments in this niche but increasingly vocal field come from Lilach Hadany and Yossi Yovel at Tel Aviv University. In one set, they showed that some plants can hear the sounds of animal pollinators and react by rapidly sweetening their nectar. In a second set, they found that other plants make high-pitched noises that lie beyond the scope of human hearing but can nonetheless be detected some distance away. After the team released early copies of two papers describing their work, not yet published in a scientific journal, I ran them past several independent researchers. Some of these researchers have argued that plants are surprisingly communicative; others have doubted the idea. Their views on the new studies, however, didn't fall along obvious partisan lines. Almost unanimously, they loved the paper asserting that plants can hear and were skeptical about the one reporting that plants make noise. Those opposite responses to work done by the same team underscore how controversial this line of research still is, and how hard it is to study the sensory worlds of organisms that are so different from us. First, two team members, Marine Veits and Itzhak Khait, checked whether beach evening primroses could hear. In both lab experiments and outdoor trials, they found that the plants would react to recordings of a bee's wingbeats by increasing the concentration of sugar in their nectar by about 20[..]

Samsung to launch India-first smartphones to counter Chinese rivals

(6 days ago)
Samsung plans to launch a budget smartphone series in India ahead of a global release, aiming to regain ground ceded to Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi in the world's second-biggest mobile phone market.

Pedestrians, E-Scooters Are Clashing In the Struggle For Sidewalk Space

(6 days ago)
Slashdot reader mileshigh writes: Activists in California have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that parked scooters littering sidewalks interfere with sidewalk accessibility for people with multiple types of disabilities and violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many people have been wondering when this would happen since California courts are notoriously friendly to ADA complaints and lawsuits. Realistically, this type of lawsuit may well be the Achilles' heel of scooter-sharing services, especially if they're granted class-action status as this lawsuit is requesting. Will likely be the first of many. "Without full use of the sidewalk and curb ramps at street intersections, persons with mobility and/or visual impairments have significant barriers in crossing from a pedestrian walkway to a street," the suit alleges. "This is exacerbated when the sidewalk itself is full of obstructions and no longer able to be fully and freely used by people with disabilities." The suit accuses the city of not maintaining streets and sidewalks in a way that doesn't discriminate against the disabled and allowing "dockless scooters used primarily for recreational purposes to proliferate unchecked throughout San Diego and to block safe and equal access for people with disabilities." The lawsuit also alleges the scooter companies have been allowed to "appropriate the public commons for their own profit."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Elon Musk Offered Chinese Green Card

(6 days ago)
hackingbear writes: During Elon Musk's trip to China for the ground-breaking of Tesla's first overseas factory, which will allow it to sell vehicles directly in the world's largest market for electric vehicles, he was offered a Chinese green card when he met with Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday in Beijing, where they discussed Tesla's China ambitions. "I love China and want to come here more often," Musk was quoted as saying in the report. "If you do, we can issue you a Chinese green card," the premier replied. Getting a Chinese "green card" has been described as "one of the most difficult tasks in the world." By 2017, only about 10,000 foreigners had been granted permanent residency since the program was introduced in 2004, out of an estimated 1 million foreigners living in China; recipients include Dutch scientist Bernard Feringa, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in chemistry.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

GPU Accelerated Realtime Skin Smoothing Algorithms Make Actors Look Perfect

(6 days ago)
dryriver writes: A recent Guardian article about the need for actors and celebrities -- male and female -- to look their best in a high-definition media world ended on the note that several low-profile Los Angeles VFX outfits specialize in "beautifying actors" in movies, TV shows and video ads. They reportedly use a software named "Beauty Box," resulting in films and other motion content that are -- for lack of a better term -- "motion Photoshopped." After some investigating, it turns out that "Beauty Box" is a sophisticated CUDA and OpenGL accelerated skin-smoothing plugin for many popular video production software that not only smooths even terribly rough or wrinkly looking skin effectively, but also suppresses skin spots, blemishes, scars, acne or freckles in realtime, or near realtime, using the video processing capabilities of modern GPUs. The product's short demo reel is here with a few examples. Everybody knows about photoshopped celebrities in an Instagram world, and in the print magazine world that came long before it, but far fewer people seem to realize that the near-perfect actor, celebrity, or model skin you see in high-budget productions is often the result of "digital makeup" -- if you were to stand next to the person being filmed in real life, you'd see far more ordinary or aged skin from the near-perfection that is visible on the big screen or little screen. The fact that the algorithms are realtime capable also means that they may already be being used for[..]

Huawei Fires Employee Arrested In Poland Over Alleged Spying

(6 days ago)
Chinese tech giant Huawei has fired Weijing Wang, an employee recently arrested in Poland over spying allegations despite security officials saying the espionage wasn't directly tied to the company. The staffer brought the company into "disrepute," according to a statement. Police also arrested a Polish citizen in connection to the case. Engadget reports: The incident comes at a particularly bad time for Huawei. On top of general distrust sparked by Western governments and intelligence agencies, CFO Wangzhou Meng is facing extradition to the U.S. over accusations she helped avoid sanctions. People are already suspicious, and the arrest doesn't do the company any favors. Moreover, there are already potential consequences. Polish internal affairs minister Joachim Brudzinski has asked the European Union and NATO to coordinate any potential bans on Huawei gear. While Poland is still willing to work with China, the official wanted countries to clarify their stances. There's already been talk of reviewing Huawei's involvement in Poland's 5G network, and this might exacerbate the situation.Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The US Government Has Amassed Terabytes of Internal WikiLeaks Data

(6 days ago)
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a Gizmodo report, written by national security reporter and transparency activist Emma Best: Late last year, the U.S. government accidentally revealed that a sealed complaint had been filed against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Shortly before this was made public, the FBI reconfirmed its investigation of WikiLeaks was ongoing, and the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice was optimistic that it would be able to extradite Assange. Soon after, portions of sealed transcripts leaked that implicate WikiLeaks and Assange in directing hackers to target governments and corporations. The charges against Assange have not been officially revealed, though it's plausible that the offenses are related to Russian hacking and the DNC emails. The alleged offenses in the complaint notwithstanding, the government has an abundance of data to work with: over a dozen WikiLeaks' computers, hard drives, and email accounts, including those of the organization's current and former editors-in-chief, along with messages exchanged with alleged Russian hackers about DNC emails. Through a series of search warrants, subpoenas, equipment seizures, and cooperating witnesses, the federal government has collected internal WikiLeaks data covering the majority of the organization's period of operations, from 2009 at least through 2017. In some instances, the seized data has been returned and allegedly destroyed, such as in the case of[..]

Is Elon Musk Serious About Building A Flying Tesla?

(6 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes Inc:It's inevitable, really. Musk's two largest companies, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, make electric cars and rockets.... Musk tweeted about a "SpaceX option package" for the next Tesla Roadster in June of last year. The upgrade was described as including about "10 small rocket thrusters arranged seamlessly around car. These rocket engines dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering. Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly..." Musk then hinted even more strongly at the possibility of a flying Tesla this week when he retweeted a GIF of a flying DeLorean from "Back to the Future," saying: "The new Roadster will actually do something like this." He then went on to describe how small SpaceX air thrusters will be used to essentially turn a Tesla Roadster into a hovercraft or perhaps... something with an even higher vertical range. Two years ago Musk insisted flying cars were noisy and annoyed the people on the ground -- although you could argue this shows he'd been thinking about the mechanics of flying cars, and when it's an appropriate time to use rocket thrusters. Inc's headline? "Elon Musk Has Plans For a Tesla / SpaceX Flying Car (And He's Serious. Probably."Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Earth's Magnetic Field Is Acting Up and Geologists Don't Know Why

(6 days ago)
schwit1 quotes Nature:Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth's north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet's core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world's geomagnetism experts into a rare move. [T]hey are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the planet's magnetic field and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones. The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 -- but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. "The error is increasing all the time," says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Centers for Environmental Information.... By early 2018, the World Magnetic Model was in trouble. Researchers from NOAA and the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh had been doing their annual check of how well the model was capturing all the variations in Earth's magnetic field. They realized that it was so inaccurate that it was about to exceed the acceptable limit for navigational errors. Nature's article was updated on January 9th to inform readers that the release of the corrected World Magnetic Model, which should restore accuracy through the end of 2019, has now been postponed[..]
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