Technology News

Glassdoor Exposes 600,000 Email Addresses

(4 days ago)
A web site where users anonymously review their employer has exposed the e-mail addresses -- and in some cases the names -- of hundreds of thousands of users. An anonymous reader quotes an article from Silicon Beat: On Friday, the company sent out an email announcing that it had changed its terms of service. Instead of blindly copying email recipients on the message, the company pasted their addresses in the clear. Each message recipient was able to see the email addresses of 999 other Glassdoor users... Ultimately, the messages exposed the addresses of more than 2 percent of the company's users... Last month, the company said it had some 30 million monthly active users, meaning that more than 600,000 were affected by the exposure... Although the company didnâ(TM)t directly disclose the names of its users, many of their names could be intuited from their email addresses. Some appeared to be in the format of "first name.last name" or "first initial plus last name." A Glassdoor spokesperson said "We are extremely sorry for this error. We take the privacy of our users very seriously and we know this is not what is expected of us. It certainly isn't how we intend to operate." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Publishers are pouring more resources into the production of audiobooks after seeing sales grow 21% in the US and Canada in 2015 (Jennifer Maloney/Wall Street Journal)

(4 days ago)
Jennifer Maloney / Wall Street Journal:Publishers are pouring more resources into the production of audiobooks after seeing sales grow 21% in the US and Canada in 2015  —  Smartphones and multitasking have stoked an explosion in audiobooks.  Publishers, spotting a juggernaut, are expanding their offerings and enlisting star narrators.

Clinton Campaign: Russia Leaked Emails to Help Trump

(4 days ago)
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes the Washington Post: A top official with Hillary Clinton's campaign on Sunday accused the Russian government of orchestrating the release of damaging Democratic Party records in order to help the campaign of Republican Donald Trump -- and some cyber security experts in the U.S. and overseas agree. The extraordinary charge came as some national security officials have been growing increasingly concerned about possible efforts by Russia to meddle in the election, according to several individuals familiar with the situation. Late last week, hours before the records were released by the website Wikileaks, the White House convened a high-level security meeting to discuss reports that Russia had hacked into systems at the Democratic National Committee... Officials from various intelligence and defense agencies, including the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, attended the White House meeting Thursday, on the eve of the email release. Clinton's campaign manager told ABC News "some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump." Donald Trump's son later responded, "They'll say anything to be able to win this." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Linux Kernel 4.7 Officially Released

(4 days ago)
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: The Linux 4.7 kernel made its official debut today with Linus Torvalds announcing, "after a slight delay due to my travels, I'm back, and 4.7 is out. Despite it being two weeks since rc7, the final patch wasn't all that big, and much of it is trivial one- and few-liners." Linux 4.7 ships with open-source AMD Polaris (RX 480) support, Intel Kabylake graphics improvements, new ARM platform/board support, Xbox One Elite Controller support, and a variety of other new features. Slashdot reader prisoninmate quotes a report from Softpedia:The biggest new features of Linux kernel 4.7 are support for the recently announced Radeon RX 480 GPUs (Graphic Processing Units) from AMD, which, of course, has been implemented directly into the AMDGPU video driver, a brand-new security module, called LoadPin, that makes sure the modules loaded by the kernel all originate from the same file system, and support for generating virtual USB Device Controllers in USB/IP. Furthermore, Linux kernel 4.7 is the first one to ensure the production-ready status of the sync_file fencing mechanism used in the Android mobile operating system, allow Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) programs to attach to tracepoints, as well as to introduce the long-anticipated "schedutil" frequency governor to the cpufreq dynamic frequency scaling subsystem, which promises to be faster and more accurate than existing ones. Linus's announcement includes the shortlog, calling this release "fairly[..]

Yahoo Ordered to Show How It Recovered 'Deleted' Emails

(4 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PC Magazine:Just what kind of email retentions powers does Yahoo have? According to a policy guide from the company, Yahoo cannot recover emails that have been deleted from a user's account -- simple as that. If the email is in a user's account, it's fair game, and Yahoo can even give law enforcement the IP address of whatever computer is being used to send said email. Or, at least, that's what Yahoo has said. A magistrate judge from the Northern District of California has ordered Yahoo to produce documents, as well as a witness for deposition, related to the company's ability to recover seemingly deleted emails in a UK drug case... a UK defendant was convicted -- and is currently serving an extra 20-year prison sentence -- as part of a conspiracy to import drugs into the United Kingdom. He's currently appealing the conviction, in part because the means by which Yahoo recovered the emails in question allegedly violate British law. The drug smugglers apparently communicated by creating a draft of an email, which was then available to others who logged into that same account. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Programming Language Gurus Converge on 'Curry On' Conference

(4 days ago)
Videos are now online from this week's Curry On conference, which incuded talks by programming pioneers Larry Wall and Matthias Felleisen, as well as speakers from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Oracle. Dave Herman from Mozilla Research also talked about building an open source research lab, while Larry Wall's keynote was titled "It's the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine." Billing itself as a non-profit conference about programming languages and emerging computer-industry challenges, this year's installment included talks about Java, Rust, Scala, Perl, Racket, Clojure, Rascal, Go and Oden. Held in a different European city each year, the annual conference hopes to provoke an open conversation between academia and the larger technology industry. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Pokemon GO launches in Japan, bringing smash-hit game home

(4 days ago)
TOKYO (Reuters) - Eager Japanese rushed to their phones on Friday to start hunting as Pokemon GO, the hit Nintendo-backed smartphone game, finally launched in Japan, home of the colorful cartoon characters.

Exclusive: Chinese group in advanced talks to buy Caesars' interactive games unit - sources

(4 days ago)
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO(Reuters) - U.S. gaming holding company Caesars Acquisition Co (CAC) is in exclusive talks to sell the online games business of Caesars Interactive Entertainment Inc to a Chinese consortium that includes Giant Interactive Group Inc, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

China's WeChat takes on WhatsApp in Africa

(4 days ago)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Late to the party, WeChat, China's biggest Internet-based mobile messaging platform, is scrambling to get a piece of the action in the booming African market.

Transistors Will Stop Shrinking in 2021, Moore's Law Roadmap Predicts

(4 days ago)
Moore's Law, an empirical observation of the number of components that could be built on an integrated circuit and their corresponding cost, has largely held strong for more than 50 years, but its days are really numbered now. The prediction of the 2015 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, which was only officially made available this month, says that transistor could stop shrinking in just five years. From an article on IEEE: After 2021, the report forecasts, it will no longer be economically desirable for companies to continue to shrink the dimensions of transistors in microprocessors. Instead, chip manufacturers will turn to other means of boosting density, namely turning the transistor from a horizontal to a vertical geometry and building multiple layers of circuitry, one on top of another. These roadmapping shifts may seem like trivial administrative changes. But "this is a major disruption, or earthquake, in the industry," says analyst Dan Hutcheson, of the firm VLSI Research. U.S. semiconductor companies had reason to cooperate and identify common needs in the early 1990s, at the outset of the roadmapping effort that eventually led to the ITRS's creation in 1998. Suppliers had a hard time identifying what the semiconductor companies needed, he says, and it made sense for chip companies to collectively set priorities to make the most of limited R&D funding.It still might not be the end of Moore's remarkable observation, though. The report adds that[..]

Review of $50 Blu R1 HD smartphone subsidized by Amazon with lock screen ads: so-so performance, terrible camera, but works for basic tasks (Joanna Stern/Wall Street Journal)

(4 days ago)
Joanna Stern / Wall Street Journal:Review of $50 Blu R1 HD smartphone subsidized by Amazon with lock screen ads: so-so performance, terrible camera, but works for basic tasks  —  Lock screen ads and an inadequate camera aside, the Blu R1 HD sold by Amazon gets the job done  —  Have we been paying for too much smartphone?

7-Eleven Just Used a Drone To Deliver Slurpees and a Chicken Sandwich

(4 days ago)
An anonymous Slashdot reader write: A drone has autonomously delivered Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, doughnuts, hot coffee and candy from a Reno, Nevada 7-Eleven to a nearby home. The delivery was made "in a matter of minutes" to two busy working parents near their store in Reno, Nevada, and the drone hovered in place and gently lowered each package to the ground in the family's backyard. "To find customers willing to have their order handled by a flying robot, the companies surveyed households within a one-mile radius of the store from which they planned to deliver," reports Tech Crunch. 7-Eleven partnered with drone-delivery company Flirtey, which has also used its drones to perform a ship-to-shore delivery of medical supplies . They're calling this flight the first FAA-approved drone delivery to a home and a historic milestone in commercial deliveries, and both companies plan to continue working together in the future to perform more testing on drone deliveries. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

EU To Give Free Security Audits To Apache HTTP Server and Keepass

(4 days ago)
An anonymous reader writes: The European Commission announced on Wednesday that its IT engineers would provide a free security audit for the Apache HTTP Server and KeePass projects. The two projects were selected following a public survey that included several open-source projects deemed important for both the EU agencies and the wide public. The actual security audit will be carried out by employees of the IT departments at the European Commission and the European Parliament. This is only a test pilot program that's funded until the end of the year, but the EU said it would be looking for funding to continue it past its expiration date in December 2016. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Laser-Armed Martian Robot Now Vaporizing Targets of Its Own Free Will

(4 days ago)
Slashdot reader Rei writes: NASA -- having already populated the Red Planet with robots and armed a car-sized nuclear juggernaut with a laser -- have now decided to grant fire control of that laser over to a new AI system operating on the rover itself. Intended to increase the scientific data-gathering throughput on the sometimes glitching rover's journey, the improved AEGIS system eliminates the need for a series of back-and-forth communication sessions to select targets and aim the laser. Rei's original submission included a longer riff on The War of the Worlds, ending with a reminder to any future AI overlords that " I have a medical condition that renders me unfit to toil in any hypothetical subterranean lithium mines..." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Homeland Security Border Agents Can Seize Your Phone

(4 days ago)
Slashdot reader v3rgEz writes: A Wall Street Journal reporter has shared her experienced of having her phones forcefully taken at the border -- and how the Department of Homeland Security insists that your right to privacy does not exist when re-entering the United States. Indeed, she's not alone: Documents previously released under FOIA show that the DHS has a long-standing policy of warrantless (and even motiveless) seizures at the border, essentially removing any traveler's right to privacy. "The female officer returned 30 minutes later and said I was free to go," according to the Journal's reporter, adding. "I have no idea why they wanted my phones..." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

UK Cybersecurity Executives Plead Guilty To Hacking A Rival Firm

(4 days ago)
An anonymous reader writes: "Five employees from cybersecurity firm Quadsys have admitted to hacking into a rival company's servers to allegedly steal customer data and pricing information," ZDNet is reporting. After a series of hearings, five top-ranking employees "admitted to obtaining unauthorised access to computer materials to facilitate the commission of an offence," including the company's owner, managing director, and account manager. Now they're facing 12 months in prison or fines, as well as additional charges, at their sentencing hearing in September. The headline at ZDNet gloats, "Not only did the Quadsys staff reportedly break into servers, they were caught doing it." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Phineas Fisher, the hacker behind the Hacking Team and FinFisher breaches, talks about his motives and views of the hacking tool industry (Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai/Motherboard)

(4 days ago)
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai / Motherboard:Phineas Fisher, the hacker behind the Hacking Team and FinFisher breaches, talks about his motives and views of the hacking tool industry  —  A little bit over a year ago, the normally quiet Twitter account of Hacking Team, an Italian company that sells spying tools to governments all over the world, started acting weird.

Star Trek's 50th Anniversary Celebrated at Comic-Con

(4 days ago)
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Leonard Nimoy's 59-year-old son released a trailer for his upcoming documentary, For The Love Of Spock. CBS released a video teaser for their upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series. And Schmaltz brewery released a "Trouble With Tribbles" beer. It was all part of the festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of CBS's original Star Trek series at this year's Comic-Con festival in San Diego, which culminated with an all-star panel of actors from previous Star Trek TV series. William Shatner, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan, and Scott Bakula all reminisced on the phenomenon of the show's fan culture, with Dorn telling the audience that Apple's iPad was inspired by Star Trek technology. And Brent Spiner told the audience, "We're in a time now where identity is under attack... Politicians could learn from Star Trek." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Valve Threatens Counter Strike Gambling Sites

(4 days ago)
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from HNGN: Game maker Valve is threatening to shut down sites dedicated to gambling with add-ons to its popular Counter Strike game. On Thursday the company sent cease and desist letters to 23 sites, demanding that gambling operations be stopped, and that the sites had 10 days to comply. The row revolves around the software overlays that change the appearance of the characters people play in Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) and the weapons and other virtual items. Last week the company reiterated that its user agreements ban external sites from asking users to connect their Steam accounts in order to trade items for real money. The company added that it would use "all available remedies" against sites that did not stop players using virtual goods to gamble.Bloomberg reports that in June a class action lawsuit was filed against Valve "for its role in the multibillion-dollar gambling economy that has fueled the game's popularity" -- by a man who had been gambling on the site since 2014. This was followed in July by a second class action lawsuitby a mother on behalf of her son, reports ESPN. "The case alleges that the Valve knowingly allows and profits from teenagers participating in illegal, unregulated and underage gambling of in-game cosmetic weapon skins through third-party sites."[..]

Police asked this 3D printing lab to recreate a dead man's fingers to unlock his phone (Rose Eveleth/Fusion)

(4 days ago)
Rose Eveleth / Fusion:Police asked this 3D printing lab to recreate a dead man's fingers to unlock his phone  —  Last month, law enforcement officers showed up at the lab of Anil Jain, a professor at Michigan State University.  Jain wasn't in trouble; the officers wanted his help.

Can Iris-Scanning ID Systems Tell the Difference Between a Live and Dead Eye?

(4 days ago)
the_newsbeagle writes: Iris scanning is increasingly being used for biometric identification because it's fast, accurate, and relies on a body part that's protected and doesn't change over time. You may have seen such systems at a border crossing recently or at a high-security facility, and the Indian government is currently collecting iris scans from all its 1.2 billion citizens to enroll them in a national ID system. But such scanners can sometimes be spoofed by a high-quality paper printout or an image stuck on a contact lens. Now, new research has shown that post-mortem eyes can be used for biometric identification for hours or days after death, despite the decay that occurs. This means an eye could theoretically be plucked from someone's head and presented to an iris scanner. The same researcher who conducted that post-mortem study is also looking for solutions, and is working on iris scanners that can detect the "liveness" of an eye. His best method so far relies on the unique way each person's pupil responds to a flash of light, although he notes some problems with this approach. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Neil Young's Pono music store goes offline for several weeks as it switches from audio provider Omnifone to 7digital (Marc Schneider/Billboard)

(4 days ago)
Marc Schneider / Billboard:Neil Young's Pono music store goes offline for several weeks as it switches from audio provider Omnifone to 7digital  —  Neil Young's PonoMusic digital service is offline following the recent acquisition of Omnifone, up until now the company's sole provider of hi-resolution audio downloads.

Phones Without Headphone Jacks Are Here... and They're Extremely Annoying

(4 days ago)
A few weeks ago, we had an intense discussion on what would happen if Apple's next iPhone doesn't have a headphone port -- and what that means for the rest of the industry, as well as the pros and cons of ditching the legacy port. Over the past few months, we have seen many smartphone manufacturers launch new handsets that don't have a headphone jack. Mashable has a report today in which it says that it is already causing frustration among users. From the article: In the Android camp, phones like Lenovo's Moto Z and Moto Z Force and China's LeEco have already scrapped the 3.5mm headphone jack; to listen to music on the company's three latest phones, users need to plug in USB Type-C headphones, go wireless, or use a dongle. I'm all for letting go of old technologies to push forward, but what is happening is actually going to make things worse. The headphone jack has worked for 50 years and it can work for another 50 more because it's universal. Headphones I plug into my iPhone work in an Android phone, in a BlackBerry, in my computer, in my PS4 controller, in my tablet, in any speaker with audio-out, and so on. I can walk into any electronics store and pick up a pair of headphones and not have to worry about compatibility with any of my devices. I know it'll work. [...] With a universal headphone jack, I never have to worry whether or not the crappy pack-in iPhone EarPods I have will work with the Android phone I'm reviewing or not. I also never have to worry if I'll be able[..]

Apple weathers anti-U.S. demo in China, where patriotic protests snowball

(5 days ago)
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Apple Inc found itself on the receiving end of a small, short-lived anti-U.S. protest this week in China, the tech firm's biggest overseas market and a country where foreign firms have suffered damaging boycotts following international spats.

Do We Need The Moto Z Smartphones' New Add-On Modules?

(5 days ago)
This week saw the release of the Moto Z Droid and Force Droid, new Android smartphones from Motorola and Lenovo with snap-on modules. Slashdot reader MojoKid writes that the Z Force Droid "is sheathed behind Moto ShatterShield technology making it virtually indestructible." Motorola guarantees it not to crack or shatter if dropped... However, what's truly standout are Moto Mods, which are snap-on back-packs of sorts that add new features, like the JBL Speaker, Moto Insta-Projector and Incipio OffGrid Power Pack (2220 mAh) mods... Even the fairly complex projector mod fires up in seconds and works really well. But the Verge has called it "a good phone headed down the wrong path," adding "this company is competing in the global smartphone market, not a high school science fair, and its success will depend on presenting better value than the competition, not cleverer design. Without the benefit of the value-projecting fairy dust of brands like Apple and Beats, Lenovo will have an uphill climb trying to justify its Moto Mods pricing with functionality and looks, and our review has shown that none of the company's extras are essential." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Verizon and Yahoo set to announce exclusive $5 billion deal, as other bidders drop out (Kara Swisher/Recode)

(5 days ago)
Kara Swisher / Recode:Verizon and Yahoo set to announce exclusive $5 billion deal, as other bidders drop out  —  Verizon and Yahoo are set to announce that they are striking an acquisition deal, according to sources close to the situation.  The news is expected by Monday, although that could come earlier or later.

Turn Your Android Phone Into a Laptop For $99 With the Superbook

(5 days ago)
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: A company called Andromium is attempting to harness the processing power of your Android smartphone and turn it into a full fledged computer. The 'Superbook' consists of a 11.6-inch laptop shell, which you connect to your phone via a USB Micro-B or Type-C cable, and run the Andromium OS application (currently in beta, but available in the Play Store)... The leader of the project and Company co-founder Gordon Zheng, previously worked at Google and pitched the idea to them... They refused so he quit his job and founded Andromium Inc. In December 2014 the company had introduced their first product which was a dock which used the MHL standard to output to external monitor. That campaign failed, however their newest creation, the Superbook smashed their Kickstarter goal in just over 20 minutes. And within their first 38 hours, they'd crowdfunded $500,000. In an intriguing side note, Andromium "says it'll open its SDK so developers can tailor their apps for Andromium, too, though how much support that gets remains to be seen," reports Tech Insider. But more importantly, "Andromium says its prototypes are finished, and that it hopes to ship the Superbook to backers by February 2017." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Semiconductor Industry Association: transistors to stop shrinking in 2021, but processors can continue to fulfill Moore's Law with increased vertical density (Rachel Courtland/IEEE Spectrum)

(5 days ago)
Rachel Courtland / IEEE Spectrum:Semiconductor Industry Association: transistors to stop shrinking in 2021, but processors can continue to fulfill Moore's Law with increased vertical density  —  After more than 50 years of miniaturization, the transistor could stop shrinking in just five years.

'High-Risk Vulnerabilities' In Oracle File-Processing SDKs Affect Major Third-Party Products

(5 days ago)
itwbennett writes: "Seventeen high-risk vulnerabilities out of the 276 flaws fixed by Oracle Tuesday affect products from third-party software vendors," writes Lucian Constantin on CSOonline. The vulnerabilities, which were found by researchers from Cisco's Talos team, are in the Oracle Outside In Technology (OIT), a collection of SDKs that are used in third-party products, including Microsoft Exchange, Novell Groupwise, IBM WebSphere Portal, Google Search Appliance, Avira AntiVir for Exchange, Raytheon SureView, Guidance Encase and Veritas Enterprise Vault. "It's not clear how many of those products are also affected by the newly patched seventeen flaws, because some of them might not use all of the vulnerable SDKs or might include other limiting factors," writes Constantin. But the Cisco researchers confirmed that Microsoft Exchange servers (version 2013 and earlier) are affected if they have WebReady Document Viewing enabled. In a blog post the researchers describe how an attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities. TL;DR version: "Attackers can exploit the flaws to execute rogue code on systems by sending specifically crafted content to applications using the vulnerable OIT SDKs." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Salesforce CEO Told LinkedIn He Would Have Paid Much More Than Microsoft

(5 days ago)
Ina Fried, reporting for Recode: It was already known that LinkedIn chose a potentially lower all-cash acquisition offer from Microsoft rather than take on the uncertainties of a stock-and-cash deal from Salesforce. But now it has been revealed that Salesforce might have been willing to go "much higher" than Microsoft's $26.2 billion, or change other terms of its bid, had it been given the chance. In a filing with regulators on Friday, LinkedIn said a board committee met on July 7 to discuss an email from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. "The email indicated that Party A would have bid much higher and made changes to the stock/cash components of its offers, but it was acting without communications from LinkedIn," LinkedIn said in the updated filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Tests Ads That Load Faster and Use Less Power

(5 days ago)
Slashdot reader Big Hairy Ian quotes a report from the BBC: Google says it has found a way to make ads load faster on web pages viewed on smartphones and tablets. The company said the ads would also be less taxing on the handsets' processors, meaning their batteries should last longer. The technique is based on work it has already done to make news publishers' articles load more quickly. But it is still in development, and one expert said Google still had questions to answer. The California-based company's online advertising revenue totalled $67.4 billion last year... The technique limits the scope of JavaScript, and "provides its own activity measurement tools, which are said to be much more efficient," according to article. A Google software engineer explains that this technique "only animates things that are visible on the screen," and throttles animation to fewer frames per second for weaker devices -- or disables the animations altogether. "This ensures that every device gets the best experience it can deliver and makes sure that ads cannot have a negative impact on important aspects of the user experience such as scrolling." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Almost Half Of All TSA Employees Have Been Cited For Misconduct

(5 days ago)
Slashdot reader schwit1 writes: Almost half of all TSA employees have been cited for misconduct, and the citations have increased by almost 30 percent since 2013... It also appears that the TSA has been reducing the sanctions it has been giving out for this bad behavior. Throughout the U.S., the airport security group "has instead sought to treat the misconduct with 'more counseling and letters that explain why certain behaviors were not acceptable'," according to a report from the House Homeland Security Commission, titled "Misconduct at TSA Threatens the Security of the Flying Public". It found 1,206 instances of "neglect of duty", and also cited the case of an Oakland TSA officer who for two years helped smugglers slip more than 220 pounds of marijuana through airport security checkpoints, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The newspaper adds that "The misconduct ranges from salacious (federal air marshals spending government money on hotel rooms for romps with prostitutes) to downright dangerous (an officer in Orlando taking bribes to smuggle Brazilian nationals through a checkpoint without questioning)." Their conclusion? "The TSA's job is to make airline passengers feel safer and, not incidentally, actually make us safer. It's failing on both." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Pokemon GO blamed for illegal border crossing from Canada to U.S.

(5 days ago)
(Reuters) - Two youths unaware of their surroundings when they were playing Pokemon GO on their cell phones made an illegal border crossing this week from Canada into the United States in a remote part of Montana, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said.

Maximizing Economic Output With Linear Programming...and Communism

(5 days ago)
Slashdot reader mkwan writes: Economies are just a collection of processes that convert raw materials and labour into useful goods and services. By representing these processes as a series of equations and solving a humongous linear programming problem, it should be possible to maximize an economy's GDP. The catch? The economy needs to go communist. "[P]oorest members would receive a basic income that gradually increases as the economy becomes more efficient, plateauing at a level where they can afford everything they want to consume," argues the article, while "The middle classes wouldn't see much change. They would continue to work in a regular job for a regular -- but steadily increasing -- wage... Without the ability to own real-estate, companies, or intellectual property, it would be almost impossible to become rich, especially since the only legal source of income would be from a government job." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Avast Suckers GOP Delegates Into Connecting To Insecure Wi-Fi Hotspots

(5 days ago)
Avast conned more than 1,200 people into connecting to fake wi-fi hotspots set up near the Republican convention and the Cleveland airport, using common network names like "Google Starbucks" and "Xfinitywifi" as well as "I vote Trump! free Internet". An anonymous reader quotes this report from The Register: With mobile devices often set to connect to known SSIDs automatically, users can overlook the networks to which they are connecting... Some 68.3 percent of users' identities were exposed when they connected, and 44.5 per cent of Wi-Fi users checked their emails or chatted via messenger apps... In its day-long experiment Avast saw more than 1.6Gbps transferred from more than 1,200 users. Avast didn't store the data they collected, but they did report statistics on which sites were accessed most frequently. "5.1 percent played Pokemon Go, while 0.7 percent used dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, Match and Meetup, and 0.24 percent visited pornography sites like Pornhub." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Rewrites Wassenaar Arms Control Pact To Protect The Infosec Industry

(5 days ago)
The Wassenaar Arrangement "is threatening to choke the cyber-security industry, according to a consortium of cyber-security companies...supported by Microsoft among others," reports SC Magazine. "'Because the regulation is so overly broad, it would require cyber responders and security researchers to obtain an export license prior to exchanging essential information to remediate a newly identified network vulnerability, even when that vulnerability is capable of being exploited for purposes of surveillance,' wrote Alan Cohn from the CRC on a Microsoft blog." Reporter Darren Pauli contacted Slashdot with this report:If the Wassenaar Arrangement carries through under its current state, it will force Microsoft to submit some 3800 applications for arms export every year, company assistant general counsel Cristin Goodwin says... The Wassenaar Arrangement caught all corners of the security industry off guard, but its full potentially-devastating effects will only be realised in coming months and years... Goodwin and [Symantec director of government affairs] Fletcher are calling on the industry to lobby their agencies to overhaul the dual-use software definition of the Arrangement ahead of a closed-door meeting in September where changes can be proposed. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ask Slashdot: When Do You Include 'Unnecessary' Code?

(5 days ago)
"For more than 20 years I've been putting semicolons at the end of programming statements in SAS, C/C++, and Java/Javascript," writes Rick Wicklin, a researcher in computational statistics at SAS. "But lately I've been working in a computer language that does not require semicolons. Nevertheless... I catch myself typing unnecessary semicolons out of habit," he writes, while at other times "I include optional statements in my programs for clarity, readability, or to practice defensive programming." While Wicklin's post is geared towards SAS programming, Slashdot reader theodp writes that the question is a language-agnostic one:...when to include technically-unnecessary code -- e.g., variable declarations, superfluous punctuation, block constructs for single statements, values for optional parameters that are the defaults, debugging/validation statements, non-critical error handling, explicitly destroying objects that would otherwise be deleted on exit, labeled NEXT statements, full qualification of objects/methods, unneeded code from templates... He's wondering if other Slashdot readers have trouble tolerating their co-workers' unnecessary codes choices (which he demonstrates with a video clip from Silicon Valley).So leave your answers in the comments. When do you do include 'unnecessary' code in your programs -- and why?[..]

Tinder Scam Promises Account Verification, But Actually Sells Porn

(5 days ago)
itwbennett writes: Tinder users should be on the lookout for Tinder profiles asking them to get "verified" and then sending them a link to a site called "Tinder Safe Dating." The service asks for credit card information, saying this will verify the user's age. Once payment information has been captured, the user is then signed up for a free trial of porn, which will end up costing $118.76 per month unless the service is cancelled. In Tinder's safety guidelines, the company warns users to avoid messages that contain links to third-party websites or ask money for an address. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sega Announces Two New Sonic Games That Seek To Recapture The Glory Days

(5 days ago)
An anonymous reader writes: In celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th anniversary, Sega has announced two new Sonic games at Comic-Con in San Diego. The first game is called Sonic Mania and it's a 2D platformer that features visuals and gameplay reminiscent of the classic Genesis games. "It revamps zones and acts from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic and Knuckles, in addition to introducing new ones into the fold," writes Mat Paget from GameSpot. The second game has no title [besides "Project Sonic 2017"], but it does have a holiday 2017 release date for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo NX consoles. It reportedly features both classic and modern versions of Sonic, similar to 2011's Sonic Generations. Sega made two additional announcements. "Mobile game Sonic Dash has passed 200 million downloads and will receive a special in-game event that adds the Green Hill Zone and Classic Sonic as a playable character," reports GameSpot. "The event only lasts a week, but players can unlock both the classic level and character for use after the event." The second additional announcement is that the animated Sonic Boom series will be renewed for a second season. "Sonic Mania was born out of our fans' love of the classic Sonic 2D platform games,â said Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. "This type of collaboration is a first for Sega and we hope everyone will be both surprised and delighted by this title. Sonic Mania has been a passion[..]

CRISPR: Chinese Scientists To Pioneer Gene-Editing Trial On Humans

(5 days ago)
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A team of Chinese scientists will be the first in the world to apply the revolutionary gene-editing technique known as CRISPR on human subjects. Led by Lu You, an oncologist at Sichuan University's West China hospital in Chengdu, China, the team plan to start testing cells modified with CRISPR on patients with lung cancer in August, according to the journal Nature. CRISPR is a game-changer in bioscience; a groundbreaking technique which can find, cut out and replace specific parts of DNA using a specially programmed enzyme named Cas9. Its ramifications are next to endless, from changing the color of mouse fur to designing malaria-free mosquitoes and pest-resistant crops to correcting a wide swath of genetic diseases like sickle-cell anaemia in humans. The Sichuan University trial, it is important to note, does not edit the germ-line; its effects will not be hereditary. What the researchers plan to do is enroll patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, Nature reported, and for whom other treatment options -- including chemotherapy and radiotherapy -- have failed. They will then extract immune cells from the patients' blood and use CRISPR to add a new genetic sequence which will help the patient's immune system target and destroy the cancer. The cells will then be re-introduced into the patients' bloodstream. The Guardian does note that CRISPR was approved for human trials in the U.S., but if it begins on[..]

Airbnb hires ex-mayors of Houston, Philadelphia, Rome, and Adelaide, Australia to advise on local regulation issues (Ellen Huet/Bloomberg)

(5 days ago)
Ellen Huet / Bloomberg:Airbnb hires ex-mayors of Houston, Philadelphia, Rome, and Adelaide, Australia to advise on local regulation issues  —  The room-rental website creates an advisory board including former mayors of Philadelphia and Rome as it faces a coordinated effort from cities around the world.
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