A new study published in the journal Social Neuroscience finds through functional MRI scans that religious and spiritual experiences can trigger reward systems like love and drugs. "These are areas of the brain that seem like they should be involved in religious and spiritual experience. But yet, religious neuroscience is such a young field -- and there are very few studies -- and ours was the first study that showed activation of the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain that processes reward," said Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, a neuroradiologist at the University of Utah and lead author of the study. CNN reports: For the study, 19 devout young adult Mormons had their brains scanned in fMRI machines while they completed various tasks. The tasks included resting for six minutes, watching a six-minute church announcement about membership and financial reports, reading quotations from religious leaders for eight minutes, engaging in prayer for six minutes, reading scripture for eight minutes, and watching videos of religious speeches, renderings of biblical scenes and church member testimonials. During the tasks, participants were asked to indicate when they were experiencing spiritual feelings. As the researchers analyzed the fMRI scans taken of the participants, they took a close look at the degree of spiritual feelings each person reported and then which brain regions were simultaneously activated. The researchers found that certain brain regions consistently lit up when the[..]
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: Windows security expert and infrastructure trainer Sami Laiho says that by holding SHIFT + F10 while a Windows 10 computer is installing a new OS build, an attacker can open a command-line interface with SYSTEM privileges. This CLI debugging interface also grants the attacker full access to the computer's hard drive data, despite the presence of BitLocker. The CLI debugging interface is present when updating to new Windows 10 and Windows 10 Insiders builds. The most obvious exploitation scenario is when a user leaves his computer unattended during the update procedure. A malicious insider can open the CLI debugger and perform malicious operations under a root user, despite BitLocker's presence. But there are other scenarios where Laiho's SHIFT + F10 trick can come in handy. For example when police have seized computers from users who deployed BitLocker or when someone steals your laptop. Windows 10 defaults help police/thieves in this case because these defaults forcibly update computers, even if the user hasn't logged on for weeks or months. This CLI debugging interface grants the attacker full access to the computer's hard drive, despite the presence of BitLocker. The reason is that during the Windows 10 update procedure, the OS disables BitLocker while the Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) installs a new image of the main Windows 10 operating system. "This [update procedure] has a feature for[..]
Facebook is launching Instant Games, "a new HTML5 cross-platform gaming experience" that is available on Messenger and Facebook News Feed for both mobile and web users. Since they're built on the HTML5 mobile web standard, the games load in seconds and don't need to be downloaded. Instant Games is available in 30 countries and launches with 17 games "from classic developers like Bandai Namco, Konami, and Taito as well as newer studios like Zynga and King," writes Josh Constine via TechCrunch: The biggest draw of Instant Games is how quick you can start playing. You tap the game controller icon in one of your message threads, choose a game from the list, it loads in seconds, you play a short round, and your high score gets automatically posted to the private or group chat thread. You can even share a stylized high score screenshot that you can Doodle on top of like Snapchat to trash talk your opponents. And if you share a game to the News Feed, friends can jump right into the action from Facebook's app or website. For now, the platform is in closed beta, but developers can apply to build Instant Games here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft Surface Studio teardown: base is easy to open and hard drives can be replaced without disassembling the display; RAM, CPU, and GPU cannot be replaced (iFixit)(5 days ago)
iFixit:Microsoft Surface Studio teardown: base is easy to open and hard drives can be replaced without disassembling the display; RAM, CPU, and GPU cannot be replaced — Tools Featured in this Teardown — Introduction — Good news, everyone! Microsoft made their first desktop ever.
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Congress has passed a law protecting the right of U.S. consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies. The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate yesterday, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said. The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama's signature. The Consumer Review Fairness Act -- full text available here -- voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews. The legislation empowers the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the new law and impose penalties when necessary. The bill also protects reviews that aren't available via the Internet. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
BrianFagioli writes from a report via BetaNews: Diabetic eye disease is caused by retinopathy. Affected diabetics can have small tears inside the eye, causing bleeding. Over time, they can lose vision, and ultimately, they can go blind. Luckily, Google has been trying to use machine learning to detect diabetic retinopathy. Guess what? The search giant has seen much success. Not only are the computers able to detect the disease at the same level as ophthalmologists, but Google is actually slightly better! "A few years ago, a Google research team began studying whether machine learning could be used to screen for diabetic retinopathy (DR). Today, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, we've published our results: a deep learning algorithm capable of interpreting signs of DR in retinal photographs, potentially helping doctors screen more patients, especially in underserved communities with limited resources," says Lily Peng, MD Ph.D., Product Manger at Google. She goes on to say "our algorithm performs on par with the ophthalmologists, achieving both high sensitivity and specificity. [...] For example, on the validation set described in Figure 2, the algorithm has a F-score of 0.95, which is slightly better than the median. F-score of the 8 ophthalmologists we consulted (measured at 0.91)." Read[..]
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford, and Volkswagen have entered into a partnership to create a network of high-speed charging stations for electric vehicles across Europe. The new chargers will be capable of doling out up to 350 kW of power -- which would make them almost three times as powerful as Tesla's Supercharging stations. The result will be "the highest-powered charging network in Europe," according to a statement released by the manufacturers. The automakers say that construction will begin in 2017 with "about 400 sites" being targeted, and that the network will have "thousands of high-powered charging points" available by 2020. Those four major conglomerates will be "equal partners" in the joint venture, but according to the statement they are encouraging other manufacturers to "participate in the network." One of the reasons for bothering to call on other automakers to hook into this system is because there's a standards war happening with fast charging networks. The charging network announced today will use the Combined Charging System (CCS) technology, which is what that most major automakers already use for their EVs. But Nissan, Toyota, and Honda are notable holdouts from CCS, because many of their EVs and plug-in hybrids use a competing standard known as CHAdeMO.[..]
Intel announces a dedicated self-driving tech unit, Automated Driving Group, in a reorganization as it partners with Mobileye and Delphi (Darrell Etherington/TechCrunch)(5 days ago)
Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:Intel announces a dedicated self-driving tech unit, Automated Driving Group, in a reorganization as it partners with Mobileye and Delphi — Intel is following up on news early Tuesday about its partnership with Mobileye and Delphi on self-driving tech with more autonomous vehicle news …
Tim Hardwick / MacRumors:Google Releases ‘Featured Photos’ Screensaver for Mac — Google has released a free Mac screensaver that showcases popular high-quality photos shared and liked by Google+ users. — The company regularly showcases Google+ photography on idle Pixel phone screens as well as on TVs …
Lyft's upfront price estimation tool now available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, with more cities in "coming months" (Ken Yeung/VentureBeat)(5 days ago)
Ken Yeung / VentureBeat:Lyft's upfront price estimation tool now available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Dallas/Fort Worth, Phoenix, with more cities in “coming months” — Starting today in select cities, Lyft is launching its upfront price estimation tool for all of its ride types.
Microsoft today said that it has enhanced certain versions of its PowerPoint presentation-building program with real-time collaborative editing. VentureBeat adds: This feature came to Word on desktop last year. And before that it was available through Office Online. Microsoft said last year that real-time coauthoring would come to all of its desktop apps, and now Microsoft is executing on that commitment. Just like in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, this feature lets you "see what others are typing as it happens on a given slide," Microsoft Office corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer wrote in a blog post. The feature is live now in PowerPoint on Windows for people who subscribe to Office 365 and belong to the Office Insider program. In addition, it's now available to everyone in PowerPoint Mobile on Windows tablets, Koenigsbauer wrote. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Amazon Web Services announces new partner programs, including VMware and Alexa programs (Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch)(5 days ago)
Frederic Lardinois / TechCrunch:Amazon Web Services announces new partner programs, including VMware and Alexa programs — Amazon's AWS cloud computing division is hosting its annual re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas this week. Ahead of the main part of the event, the company today hosted a keynote …
The future for one of the few remaining alternative mobile OS platforms, Jolla's Sailfish OS, looks to be taking clearer shape. Today the Finnish company which develops and maintains the core code, with the aim of licensing it to others, announced Sailfish has achieved domestic certification in Russia for government and corporate use. TechCrunch adds:In recent years the Russian government has made moves to encourage the development of alternatives to the duopoly of US-dominated smartphone platforms, Android and Apple's iOS -- flagging Sailfish as one possibility, along with Tizen. Although Sailfish looks to have won out as the preferred Android alternative for Russia at this point. The government has said it wants to radically reduce its reliance on foreign mobile OSes -- to 50 per cent by 2025 vs the 95 per cent of the market garnered by Android and iOS in 2015. Sailfish's local certification in Russia also follows an announcement earlier this year that a new Russian company, Open Mobile Platform (OMP), had licensed the OS with the intention of developing a custom version of the platform for use in the domestic market. So, in other words, a Russian, strategic 'Android alternative' is currently being built on Sailfish. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Internet Archive, a digital library nonprofit that preserves billions of webpages for the historical record, is building a backup archive in Canada after the election of Donald Trump. The Verge adds: Today, it began collecting donations for the Internet Archive of Canada, intended to create a copy of the archive outside the United States. "On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change," writes founder Brewster Kahle. "It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change. For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a web that may face greater restrictions. It means serving patrons in a world in which government surveillance is not going away; indeed it looks like it will increase." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Twitter brings ranked conversations to mobile devices, so replies with higher engagement and from accounts you follow will show up first (Casey Newton/The Verge)(5 days ago)
Casey Newton / The Verge:Twitter brings ranked conversations to mobile devices, so replies with higher engagement and from accounts you follow will show up first — Seeing popular replies first — Twitter introduced a new design for replies today that ranks conversations in your timeline according …
Jolla's Sailfish OS now certified as Russian government's first 'Android alternative' (Natasha Lomas/TechCrunch)(5 days ago)
Natasha Lomas / TechCrunch:Jolla's Sailfish OS now certified as Russian government's first ‘Android alternative’ — The future for one of the few remaining alternative mobile OS platforms, Jolla's Sailfish OS, looks to be taking clearer shape. Today the Finnish company which develops and maintains the core code …
Marco Chacon's website is RealTrueNews.org is yet another example of fake news making real news headlines.
An anonymous reader writes:One of the things an Apple Mac can do that Windows 10 machines can't do -- at least easily and completely legally -- is run both Windows and MacOS. Interestingly, it's Apple's Boot Camp utility that makes this feat possible, which essentially enables Macs of all flavors to boot directly to Windows 10 and use the Mac as if it were a Windows machine. Usually, this is a fairly straightforward process that works well, with the resulting Boot Camp configuration doing fairly well at mimicking a Windows 10 machine with a few hardware limitations. As of the 2016 MacBook Pro machines, however, it appears that Boot Camp might be causing some serious and uncharacteristic audio issues. It appears that the new speakers running on the refreshed MacBook Pro line aren't working so well with the obsolete drivers provided in the current version of MacOS Sierra Boot Camp. Users are reporting the issue on all models of the 2016 MacBook Pro, and they are not experiencing the issue in MacOS. Virtual machines using Parallels or other software are also not experiencing the issue, providing more support of a bad audio driver causing the problem in Boot Camp. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
SwiftKey for Android updated with clipboard, shortcuts for phrases, and incognito mode (SwiftKey Blog)(5 days ago)
SwiftKey Blog:SwiftKey for Android updated with clipboard, shortcuts for phrases, and incognito mode — We've got some exciting new updates to SwiftKey Keyboard for Android today, including a refresh to the SwiftKey Hub that makes it easier than ever to type your most commonly used phrases.
A massive shelter has finally been installed over the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, one of the most ambitious engineering projects in the world
(Reuters) - For users hooked on to Facebook's Messenger app, it's game on.
(Reuters) - For users hooked on to Facebook's Messenger app, it's game on.
From a report on Motherboard: On Tuesday, the UK is due to pass its controversial new surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, according to the Home Office. The Act, which has received overwhelming support in both the House of Commons and Lords, formally legalizes a number of mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. It also introduces a new power which will force internet service providers to store browsing data on all customers for 12 months. Civil liberties campaigners have described the Act as one of the most extreme surveillance laws in any democracy, while law enforcement agencies believe that the collection of browsing data is vital in an age of ubiquitous internet communications. "The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 will ensure that law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need in a digital age to disrupt terrorist attacks, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight," a statement from the Home Office reads. Much of the Act gives stronger legal footing to the UK's various bulk powers, including "bulk interception," which is, in general terms, the collection of internet and phone communications en masse. In June 2013, using documents provided by Edward Snowden, The Guardian revealed that the GCHQ taps fibre-optic undersea cables in order to intercept emails, internet histories, calls, and a wealth of other data. Update: "Snooper's charter" bill has become the law. The home secretary[..]
Tech giant Samsung Electronics, under pressure from shareholders to improve investor returns, said on Tuesday it will consider creating a holding company in what would be the biggest shake-up in its 47-year history. Reuters reports: The move and a plan to raise dividends come after U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management in October called for the South Korean firm to split itself into a holding vehicle and an operating company. However, the world's top maker of smartphones, memory chips and televisions, said it was "absolutely neutral" about whether to proceed and provided little detail on the potential restructuring, underwhelming investors. "The review does not indicate the management or the board's intention one way or another," the company said in a statement, adding it had hired external advisers for a review expected to take at least six months. Shares in Samsung, worth $224 billion combined, finished unchanged on the day at 1.677 million won ($1,434) each. The 2016 dividend boost fell short of some expectations, while uncertainty over the restructuring kept investors at bay, analysts said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
New submitter petersike writes: If you're using iCloud to sync your calendar across your devices, chances are you just received a bunch of spammy invites over the last few days. Many users are reporting fake events about Black Friday 'deals' coming from Chinese users. If you're looking for cheap Ray-Ban or Louis Vuitton knockoffs, you might find these invites useful. Otherwise, you might be wondering: why is this a thing? If you use your calendar for work, you already rely on calendar invites to invite other people to meetings and events. All major calendar backends support this feature -- Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange and Apple's iCloud. And it's quite a convenient feature as you only need to enter an email address to send these invitations. You don't need to be in the same company or even in your recipient's address book. But it's also yet another inbox -- and like every inbox out there, it can get abused. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Sky is entering the mobile phone market, with a package that offers free calls to existing TV customers.
Facebook launches Messenger-based platform for HTML5 games, played in message threads; 17 games available at launch, including Pac-Man, Space Invaders (Josh Constine/TechCrunch)(5 days ago)
Josh Constine / TechCrunch:Facebook launches Messenger-based platform for HTML5 games, played in message threads; 17 games available at launch, including Pac-Man, Space Invaders — Bored while you wait for friends to text back? Now you can challenge friends for high scores on Facebook Messenger's new Instant Games …
From a report on the Moscow Times: This year, for the first time in history, Russia has fallen behind the United States and China as the world's leading launcher of space rockets. Russia will finish 2016 with just 18 launches, according to open source data, compared to China's 19 and America's 20 launches. Alexander Ivanov, deputy chief of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, said on Nov. 29 that the launch rate has decreased because Moscow's space strategy has changed. Currently, it's top priority is reviving existing and aging satellite groupings. But there are other reasons Russia's launch rate may be falling behind. Since the 1957 launch of Sputnik, the world's first satellite, Russia has been the undisputed leader in annual launch rates -- a figure that spoke to the general health of its space program and aerospace industry. At the peak of the Soviet space program, Russia often launched around 100 rockets a year. Since 1957, Russia has launched over 3,000 rockets -- roughly twice as many as the U.S. But with the Russian economy in crisis, space budgets have plummeted. Funding for the next decade of Russian space activity stands at just 1.4 trillion rubles ($21.5 billion), a figure that was only finalized after three rounds of cuts to proposed funding, which began at 3.4 trillion rubles ($52.3 billion). The U.S. space agency, NASA, received a budget of $19.3 billion in 2016 alone. To make matters worse, Russian rockets are becoming uncharacteristically undependable.[..]
Facebook is adding the option to play games with your contacts on Messenger
UK's Investigatory Powers bill becomes law, mandates everyone's browsing histories be stored and available to police, as well as several government agencies (Alan Travis/The Guardian)(5 days ago)
Alan Travis / The Guardian:UK's Investigatory Powers bill becomes law, mandates everyone's browsing histories be stored and available to police, as well as several government agencies — Home secretary hails ‘world-leading’ laws, which include forcing web and phone companies to collect browsing histories
(Reuters) - Shoppers spent $3.45 billion on Cyber Monday on Samsung 4K TVs, PlayStation 4s and Barbie dolls among other products, marking the largest online sales day in U.S. history.
Uber drivers will join forces with fast food, home care and airport workers in a nationwide protest on Tuesday. Their demand: higher pay. From a report on CNET: Calling it the "Day of Disruption," drivers for the ride-hailing company in two dozen cities, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, will march at airports and in shopping areas carrying signs that read, "Your Uber Driver is Arriving Striking." The protest underscores the dilemma Uber faces as it balances the needs of its drivers with its business. Valued at $68 billion, Uber is the highest-valued venture-backed company worldwide. But as it has cut the cost of rides to compete with traditional taxi services, Uber reportedly has experienced trouble turning a profit. Unlike many other workers involved in Tuesday's protests, Uber drivers are not members of a union. In fact, Uber doesn't even classify its drivers as employees. Instead the company considers drivers independent contractors. This classification means the company isn't responsible for many costs, including health insurance, paid sick days, gas, car maintenance and much more. However, Uber still sets drivers' rates and the commission it pays itself, which ranges between 20 percent and 30 percent. "I'd like a fair day's pay for my hard work," Adam Shahim, a 40-year-old driver from Pittsburgh, California, said in a statement. "So I'm joining with the fast-food, airport, home care, child care and higher education workers who are leading the[..]
The size of a large Alaska caribou herd has dropped by more than 50 percent over the last three years and government researchers are trying to understand why
Cyber Monday is likely to have been the biggest online shopping day in history, according to an analysis of visits to US retail websites. Online spending in the US yesterday hit a new record with $3.39bn spent online, a 10.2 percent increase year-over-year -- ahead even of Black Friday, when $3.34bn was spent. ZDNet adds:Cyber Monday is expected to generate slightly less mobile revenue than Black Friday at $1.19bn, but that's still a 48 percent increase on last year, according to the analysis by Adobe. Consumers have spent a total of $39.9bn online so far this month, it said, up 7.4 percent on last November, with 27 out of 28 days seeing online sales of over $1bn. The five best-selling toys in terms of quantity sold on Cyber Monday were Lego, Shopkins, Nerf, Barbie, and Little Live Pets. The five best-selling electronic products were Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox, Samsung 4K TVs, Apple iPads, and Amazon Fire tablets, the company said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Canada begins testing self-driving cars in Ontario with partners BlackBerry QNX, University of Waterloo, and Erwin Hymer Group (Susan Noakes/CBC News)(5 days ago)
Susan Noakes / CBC News:Canada begins testing self-driving cars in Ontario with partners BlackBerry QNX, University of Waterloo, and Erwin Hymer Group — Erwin Hymer Group, University of Waterloo, BlackBerry part of 1st pilot — Ontario has achieved an important first by putting automated cars on the road for the first time …
Uber defends its business model as a digital platform, not a transportation service, in landmark case in EU's highest court (Mark Scott/New York Times)(5 days ago)
Mark Scott / New York Times:Uber defends its business model as a digital platform, not a transportation service, in landmark case in EU's highest court — LUXEMBOURG — Uber asserted on Tuesday that it was helping to bolster Europe's digital economy as part of its defense in a long-awaited hearing to decide …
An anonymous reader writes: An Amazon employee was injured when he leaped off a building at the company's Seattle headquarters in what police characterized as a suicide attempt. The man, who wasn't identified by authorities, sent an e-mail visible to hundreds of co-workers, including Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, before the incident occurred, according to a report on Bloomberg. The man survived the fall from Amazon's 12-story Apollo building at about 8:45 a.m. local time Monday and was taken to a Seattle hospital, police said. The man had recently put in a request to transfer to a different department, but was placed on an employee improvement plan, a step that can lead to termination if performance isn't improved, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing company personnel matters. More than 20,000 people work in multiple buildings at Amazon's headquarters. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday she had no information on where a cyber attack on Deutsche Telekom, which hit its network on Sunday and Monday, came from.
BEIJING (Reuters) - The head of Ant Financial Services Group, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Holdings Ltd, apologized on Tuesday following backlash from Chinese netizens over a social feature in the company's payment app that critics say enabled a sexually explicit dating service.
(Reuters) - MTS Systems Corp, a maker of industrial sensors, said on Tuesday it was investigating apparent violations of its code of conduct involving some top executives in its China operations.
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Cyber attacks on Chinese companies have soared in the past two years, according to a survey, with new technologies that connect household items to the internet and allow them to receive and send data seen as particularly vulnerable.
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's telecoms regulator will go to the European Commission to try to force BT to legally separate Openreach, the division that supplies broadband to millions of homes and businesses, in a major reform aimed at spurring investment in the country's aging network.
Instagram will now inform users, just like Snapchat, when a screenshot of their private Instagram Direct message is taken (Ashley Carman/The Verge)(5 days ago)
Ashley Carman / The Verge:Instagram will now inform users, just like Snapchat, when a screenshot of their private Instagram Direct message is taken — People are deeply worried that Instagram is tattling on them whenever they take a screenshot. See this inflammatory tweet as an example:
From a report on Motherboard: On Tuesday, the UK is due to pass its controversial new surveillance law, the Investigatory Powers Act, according to the Home Office. The Act, which has received overwhelming support in both the House of Commons and Lords, formally legalizes a number of mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. It also introduces a new power which will force internet service providers to store browsing data on all customers for 12 months. Civil liberties campaigners have described the Act as one of the most extreme surveillance laws in any democracy, while law enforcement agencies believe that the collection of browsing data is vital in an age of ubiquitous internet communications. "The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 will ensure that law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies have the powers they need in a digital age to disrupt terrorist attacks, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight," a statement from the Home Office reads. Much of the Act gives stronger legal footing to the UK's various bulk powers, including "bulk interception," which is, in general terms, the collection of internet and phone communications en masse. In June 2013, using documents provided by Edward Snowden, The Guardian revealed that the GCHQ taps fibre-optic undersea cables in order to intercept emails, internet histories, calls, and a wealth of other data.[..]
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Uber [UBER.UL] defended its business model in Europe's highest court on Tuesday, saying its service had made it easier for people to get around and cut pollution as it fights a case which could leave app-based startups facing tougher regulation.
Report: Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in US history with $3.39B in sales, up 10.2% YoY; mobile revenue was 35% of sales, up 48% YoY at $1.19B (Steve Ranger/ZDNet)(5 days ago)
Steve Ranger / ZDNet:Report: Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in US history with $3.39B in sales, up 10.2% YoY; mobile revenue was 35% of sales, up 48% YoY at $1.19B — Online frenzy for Lego, iPads and Playstations saw $3.39bn spent: mobile spending grew fast and shoppers using iOS devices outspent Android users.
The websites of Nordstrom, Banana Republic and several other retailers couldn't keep up with record traffic on Cyber Monday.
Amazon's Echo speakers have garnered a lot of interest over the past few months. Many people believe that they like Amazon Echo because of how easy it's to operate -- there is no display, you talk with Alexa, Amazon's digital assistant, which is reasonably good at understanding your queries. But in what seems like a deviation from the idea that made Echos so popular, Amazon is reportedly working on an Echo-like speaker, only this time it is more premium and has a 7-inch display, too. From a report on Bloomberg: The new device will have a touchscreen measuring about seven inches, a major departure from Amazon's existing cylindrical home devices that are controlled and respond mostly through the company's voice-based Alexa digital assistant, according to two people familiar with the matter. This will make it easier to access content such as weather forecasts, calendar appointments, and news, the people said. The latest Amazon speaker will be larger and tilt upwards so the screen can be seen when it sits on a counter and the user is standing, one of the people said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
MPs ask how new rules to stop children seeing pornographic content will affect Twitter.
Sources: Amazon developing premium Echo-like speaker with a 7-inch touchscreen and high-grade speakers, to be announced as soon as Q1 2017 (Mark Gurman/Bloomberg)(5 days ago)
Mark Gurman / Bloomberg:Sources: Amazon developing premium Echo-like speaker with a 7-inch touchscreen and high-grade speakers, to be announced as soon as Q1 2017 — Company may release higher-end device early next year — New speaker targets kitchens; to cost more than Echo gadgets