Bumblebee Movie Merchandise At Cinemark
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 01:40 PM
By Black Convoy from TFW2005:
<img width="600" height="450" src="http://news.tfw2005.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/12/Bumblebee-Movie-Merchandising-At-Cinemark-01.jpeg" alt="" />

Thanks to 2005 Boards member Rookbartley for giving us the heads up of some new Bumblebee Merchandise available At Cinemark. If you watch Bumblebee at a Cinemark theater, you may find T-shirts and blankets available for purchase. You can also grab your Bumblebee popcorn tub and cup. If you didn’t know already, the Bumblebee movie opens on December 21st, so get ready to join the buzz!  

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Alibaba Already Has a Voice Assistant Way Better Than Google's
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 01:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Like Google's Duplex, Chinese internet giant Alibaba has its own humanlike voice assistant capable of making restaurant reservations and salon appointments. But unlike Google, which has rolled out the feature to select audience, Alibaba's offering already has a wider reach. And it's smart, too. From a report: On December 2 at the 2018 Neural Information Processing Systems conference, one of the largest annual gatherings for AI research, Alibaba demoed the AI customer service agent for its logistics company Cainiao. Jin Rong, the dean of Alibaba's Machine Intelligence and Technology Lab, said the agent is already servicing millions of customer requests a day. The pre-recorded demo call involved the agent asking a customer where he wanted his package delivered. In the back-and-forth exchange, the agent successfully navigated several conversational elements that demonstrated the breadth of its natural-language capabilities.

Take this exchange at the beginning of the call, translated from Mandarin: Agent: Hello, I am Cainiao's voice assistant. I am -- Customer: Hello.
A: Yes, hi, you have package scheduled for morning delivery to 588 Culture West Road. Is it convenient for you to receive? C: Who are you? A: I am Cainiao's voice assistant. I'd like to confirm your morning delivery to 588 Culture West Road. Does that work for you? C: I'm not home in the morning. A: Then do you have another address that you'd like to use?

Within 30 seconds, the agent has smoothly handled three common, and tricky, conversational ingredients: interruption, nonlinear conversation, and implicit intent. Interruption is self-explanatory: the agent can respond to the customer's interruption and continue relaying relevant information without starting over or skipping a beat.

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Game Theory: Super Smash Bros Ultimate Ending EXPLAINED | World of Light True Ending
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 01:10 PM
By The Game Theorists from The Game Theory:

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New Bumblebee Movie Energon Ignitors Toys Revealed – Blitzwing, Dropkick, & Cliffjumper
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 12:20 PM
By Matty from TFW2005:
<img width="450" height="600" src="http://news.tfw2005.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/12/Bumblebee02.jpg" alt="" />

The “buzz” of the early screenings of the Bumblebee movie are in full flight among the fandom and Hasbro seems to be getting in on the excitement. Earlier today Hasbro tweeted images of Bumblebee merchandise including our first look at some toy reveals. In the images three figures standout: Speed Series Cliffjumper Nitro Series Blitzwing Nitro Series Dropkick These are our first look at these toys so we fully expect to see more images trickle in over the coming days. What do you think of the reveals? Since Bumblebee is not officially released until December 21st in most » Continue Reading.

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Can the US Stop China From Controlling the Next Internet Age?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 12:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Tech executives worry China will turn to tit-for-tat arrests of Americans in response to the detention of Meng Wanzhou. And the worries don't stop there. Kara Swisher, writing at The New York Times: Imagine, if you will (and you should), a big American tech executive being detained over unspecified charges while on a trip to Beijing. That is exactly what a number of Silicon Valley executives told me they are concerned about after the arrest this week of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom company Huawei, in Canada at the behest of United States officials. "It's worrisome, because it's an escalation we did not need," one executive said, referring to the already tense trade talks between the two countries. "What China will do, given all the existing tensions, is anyone's guess."

No one I spoke to would talk on the record, out of fear of antagonizing either side and also because no one knows exactly what is happening. But many expressed worry about the possibility of tit-for-tat arrests. While everyone focuses on the drama of the arrest -- Ms. Meng was grabbed while changing planes at the airport -- and its effect on the trade talks and stock prices, to my mind there is a much more important fight brewing, and it is about tech hegemony. Specifically, who will control the next internet age, and by whose rules will it be run?

Until recently, that answer was clearly the United States, from which the Internet sprang, wiring the world together and, in the process, resulting in the greatest creation of power and wealth in history. While China has always had a strong technology sector, in recent years it has significantly escalated its investment, expertise and innovation, with major support from the government. That hand-in-glove relationship creates obvious issues, and the Trump administration is right to stop pretending that China does not present a threat both from security and innovation perspectives.

< article continued at Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department >

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Google Just Can't Get the Message
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 12:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's everlasting-quest department:
It's been a rough week or so to be invested in a Google messaging service, hell it's been a rough decade to be invested in a Google messaging service. Phandroid: The latest victims are Allo, which will be going away in March of 2019, and "Hangouts Classic" which has a more nebulous end of life forecast. These products join the host of other Google messaging casualties over the years, Google Wave, Google+ Huddles, Google+ Hangouts, Google Spaces, to name a few. Now if this left us with an entirely clear picture of Google's messaging strategy going forward that would be something, but the reality is that the company still has 5 such apps with at least some overlapping functionality.

The 5 survivors are Duo (Video), Messages (Text), Hangouts Chat (Enterprise Text), Hangouts Meet (Enterprise Video), and Google Voice (Voice and Text). Why am I including two enterprise-focused products in a discussion about consumer messaging? Because the head of those products, Scott Johnston, indicated that "Hangouts (Classic) users will be migrated to Chat and Meet." This was corroborated by an official blog post from Google's VP of Consumer Communications Products, Matt Klainer, who similarly put no definite timeline on this migration.

This is a problem that Google themselves seemed ready to settle once and for all almost exactly 2 and a half years ago when they announced Allo and Duo at Google I/O 2016, this was going to be the two-pronged answer to messaging on Android. But it became clear reasonably quickly that Allo wasn't going to hold up its end of the bargain, it saw limited adoption and within two years of launch, Google has now admitted that it shifted resources away from Allo and instead was focused on bringing the relevant features into Messages.

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Film Theory: What is Disney's Body Count?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 11:33 AM
By The Film Theorists from The Film Theory:

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As We Forge the Web of Tomorrow, We Need a Set of Guiding Principles That Can Define the Kind of Web We Want, Says Tim Berners-Lee
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's fixing-things department:
Tim Berners-Lee, writing for The New York Times: All technologies come with risks. We drive cars despite the possibility of serious accidents. We take prescription drugs despite the danger of abuse and addiction. We build safeguards into new innovations so we can manage the risks while benefiting from the opportunities. The web is a global platform -- its challenges stretch across borders and cultures. Just as the web was built by millions of people collaborating around the world, its future relies on our collective ability to make it a better tool for everyone.

As we forge the web of tomorrow, we need a set of guiding principles that can define the kind of web we want. Identifying these will not be easy -- any agreement that covers a diverse group of countries, cultures and interests will never be. But I believe it's possible to develop a set of basic ideals that we can all agree on, and that will make the web work better for everyone, including the 50 percent of the world's population that has yet to come online.

Governments, companies and individuals all have unique roles to play. The World Wide Web Foundation, an organization I founded in 2009 to protect the web as a public good, has drawn up a set of core principles outlining the responsibilities that each party has to protect a web that serves all of humanity. We're asking everyone to sign on to these principles and join us as we create a formal Contract for the Web in 2019. The principles specify that governments are responsible for connecting their citizens to an open web that respects their rights.

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Transformers: Bumblebee Receives A 100% Positive Debut Score At Rotten Tomatoes
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 09:41 AM
By Silver Optimus from TFW2005:
<img width="600" height="257" src="http://news.tfw2005.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/12/Transformers-Bumblebee-100-Positive-Debut-Score-Rotten-Tomatoes.jpg" alt="" />

Transformers: Bumblebee has achieved an impressive 100% Positive Debut Score at the Rotten Tomatoes. To put things into perspective, Avengers: Infinity War only managed to grab a 90% score at the same stage. Even though the final score can go down, it can be safely assumed that the movie will at least achieve 75% to 85% positive (Certified Fresh) score; judging by the outstandingly positive critic and fan reactions. Rotten Tomatoes score list for all Transformers movies (as of 12/09/2018): Transformers: Bumblebee – 100% Transformers 2007 – 58% Transformers: The Movie – 57% Transformers: Dark Of The Moon – 35% » Continue Reading.

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The Friendship That Made Google Huge
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 09:33 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Coding together at the same computer, Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat changed the course of the company -- and the Internet. An anonymous reader writes: The New Yorker has profiled Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat, two of Google's most storied developers and to date, the company's only Senior Fellows, the highest level Google awards to engineers. The article dives into some of Dean and Ghemawat's successes at Google but focuses on their deep and collaborative friendship -- particularly exploring the power of programming with a partner. "I don't know why more people don't do it," Ghemawat explains. As Dean points out, all you need to do is "find someone that you're gonna pair-program with who's compatible with your way of thinking, so that the two of you together are a complementary force."

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Transformers: Cyberverse Episode 14 Available on Hasbro’s YouTube
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 08:20 AM
By AzT from TFW2005:
<img width="600" height="262" src="http://news.tfw2005.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/12/Cyberverse-14-004.jpg" alt="" />

Transformers: Cyberverse drops right on its usual schedule with Episode 14, penned by Mairghread Scott, available right now on Hasbro’s official YouTube channel: The Seekers attempt to extract the location of the Ark from Windblade’s memories. Remember to check out previous installments and then share your impressions of the series so far on the 2005 boards! (Note: as these may be region-blocked, your viewing mileage will vary). Episode 1 “Fractured” Episode 2 “Memory” Episode 3 “Allspark” Episode 4 “The Journey” Episode 5: “Whiteout” Episode 6: “Megatron is My Hero” Episode 7: “Cube” » Continue Reading.

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Freshwater is Getting Saltier, Threatening People and Wildlife
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-concern department:
Salts that de-ice roads, parking lots and sidewalks keep people safe in winter. But new research shows they are contributing to a sharp and widely rising problem across the U.S. From a report: At least a third of the rivers and streams in the country have gotten saltier in the past 25 years. And by 2100, more than half of them may contain at least 50 percent more salt than they used to. Increasing salinity will not just affect freshwater plants and animals but human lives as well -- notably, by affecting drinking water. Sujay Kaushal, a biogeochemist at the University of Maryland, College Park, recounts an experience he had when visiting relatives in New Jersey. When getting a drink from the tap, "I saw a white film on the glass." After trying to scrub it off, he found, "it turned out to be a thin layer of salt crusting the glass."

When Kaushal, who studies how salt invades freshwater sources, sampled the local water supply he found not just an elevated level of the sodium chloride, widely used in winter to de-ice outdoor surfaces, but plenty of other salts such as sodium bicarbonate and magnesium chloride. He also found similar concentrations of these chemicals in most rivers along the east coast, including the Potomac, which provides drinking water for Washington, D.C. Where did all of it come from? De-icing salts, Kaushal determined, are part of the problem, slowly corroding our infrastructure.

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The Future of Television? Binge-Watching is Only the Beginning
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
With providers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, and more creative risks, network leaders are placing bets on how audience experience will evolve [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. From a report: "What might we see coming down the road?" says Beau Willimon, creator of The First, Hulu's sci-fi drama starring Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone. "Perhaps like [the characters] in my new show, we're all wearing augmented reality glasses, and we're experiencing television shows in a more intimate way -- a way that feels much more experiential than simply watching it on a rectangle."

[...] Television, as most people have known it for most of their lives, is no more. "At some point you'll get to a place where thinking about television from a linear standpoint will be like dial-up internet," says Hulu CEO Randy Freer. "It's a great time for content; not a great time for cable networks. I think what will happen is: Cable networks that have been able to create brands for themselves will have an opportunity to expand and figure out how they present to consumers."

Cable networks with a clear identity have a critical advantage in a subscription-based world, while networks with less-defined name recognition -- those that have been just another channel in the cable lineup -- will likely find it hard to entice the growing ranks of broadband-only consumers to buy an a la carte monthly subscription service. HBO is moving into the new era. "In the domestic market of the United States, where there is a surfeit of content more than ever, I personally think that brands matter more than ever," says HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler.

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Electron and the Decline of Native Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 06:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
SwiftOnSecurity, regarding Microsoft's switch to Chromium as Windows's built-in rendering engine: This isn't about Chrome. This is about ElectronJS. Microsoft thinks EdgeHTML cannot get to drop-in feature-parity with Chromium to replace it in Electron apps, whose duplication is becoming a significant performance drain. They want to single-instance Electron with their own fork. Electron is a cancer murdering both macOS and Windows as it proliferates. Microsoft must offer a drop-in version with native optimizations to improve performance and resource utilization. This is the end of desktop applications. There's nowhere but JavaScript.

John Gruber of DaringFireball: I don't share the depth of their pessimism regarding native apps, but Electron is without question a scourge. I think the Mac will prove more resilient than Windows, because the Mac is the platform that attracts people who care. But I worry. In some ways, the worst thing that ever happened to the Mac is that it got so much more popular a decade ago. In theory, that should have been nothing but good news for the platform -- more users means more attention from developers. The more Mac users there are, the more Mac apps we should see.

The problem is, the users who really care about good native apps -- users who know HIG violations when they see them, who care about performance, who care about Mac apps being right -- were mostly already on the Mac. A lot of newer Mac users either don't know or don't care about what makes for a good Mac app.

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Linux.org's DNS Got Hijacked
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 05:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's content-mismanagement-systems department:
Linux.org reports:
Wednesday afternoon around 5pm EST someone was able to get into the registrar account for our domain and point DNS to another server -- as well as lock us out from changing it. They pointed the domain name to a pretty rude page for most of the evening until Cloudflare stepped in and blocked the domain for us.
After a lot of back and forth with our registrar, we were able to get things back under our control. I'd like to point out that our server environment was not touched so there are no worries about your data. We've gone over security protocols and are tightening things up that may have slipped through in the past. Thanks for your support!

Linux.org apparently pointed to a page exclaiming "G3T 0WNED L1NUX N3RDZ", which also included a NSFW picture, some abusive language, a shout-out to recently-deceased programmer Terry Davis, and a link to an article about Linus Torvalds' controversial apology for "his hostile behavior towards others in the community."
Long-time Slashdot reader Grady Martin says he also saw the page pointing to "presumably doxed info" about the creator of Linux's code of conduct, a fact confirmed by a report in the Register. "As for how it was hacked, [Linux.org owner Mike] McLagan blames the public Whois displaying his partner's email address -- presumably the hacker worked their way into the Yahoo email account listed as the admin of the site and from there requested a password change in her Network Solutions account to gain access to the domain."

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Half of All Tech Workers Surveyed Think Their Workplace Is 'Unhealthy'
Posted by News Fetcher on December 09 '18 at 01:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's TGIF department:
"Half of tech employees think their work culture is toxic," reports one Texas news site, citing a new survey by Blind:
Blind, an anonymous work talk app, asked more than 12,000 tech staffers to respond to the statement: "I consider my current workplace a healthy working environment." Slightly more than half, 52 percent, said the survey statement was "false," versus nearly 48 percent who responded with "true."
Intel was named the tech company with the least healthy work environment, by 48.5 percent of its employees, followed by Amazon at 46.5 percent, and eBay at 44.5 percent. Employees who consider their workplaces healthier work at LinkedIn, where 17.3 percent responded true, followed by Google, at 23.7 percent, and Uber, at 29.7 percent.

It depends on how you define "unhealthy," of course -- but it'd be interesting to hear how Slashdot's readers respond to the same question. So leave your own thoughts and reactions in the comments.
Is your work environment unhealthy?

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Apple Store Employees Aren't Allowed To Say 'Crash', 'Bug', or 'Problem'
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '18 at 09:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's barring-geniuses department:
Long-time Slashdot reader mspohr shares a Guardian article which argues that Apple Store employees "are underpaid, overhyped and characters in a well-managed fiction story" who "use emotional guile to sell products":
When customers run into trouble with their products, geniuses are encouraged to sympathize, but only by apologizing that customers feel bad, lest they implicate Apple's products as the source of the trouble. In this gas-lit performance of a "problem free" brand philosophy, many words are actually verboten for staff. Do not use words like crash, hang, bug, or problem, employees are told. Instead say does not respond, stops responding, condition, issue, or situation. Avoid saying incompatible; instead use does not work with. Staff have reported the absurdist dialogues that can result, like when they are not allowed to tell customers that they cannot help even in the most hopeless cases, leading customers into circular conversations with employees able neither to help nor to refuse to do so....

[I]n a move so ridiculous it's almost certain to be a hit, the Genius Bar has been rebranded the "Genius Grove". Windows are opened to blur the distinction between inside and outside, and the stores are promoted as quasi-public spaces. "We actually don't call them stores any more," the new head of retail at Apple, former Burberry executive Angela Ahrendts (2017 salary: $24,216,072), recently told the press. "We call them town squares."

The article argues that since there launch in 2001, Apple Stores "have raked in more money -- in total and per square foot -- than any other retailer on the planet, transforming Apple into the world's richest company in the process."

But it also complains that Apple's wealth "flows from the privatization of publicly funded research, mixed with the ability to command the low-wage labor of our Chinese peers, sold by empathetic retailers forbidden from saying 'crash'."

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Can Democrats In Congress Restore America's Net Neutrality Rules?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '18 at 06:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's elections-have-consequences department:
"Democrats are expected to use their upcoming control of the House to push for strong net neutrality rules," reports NBC News:
"The FCC's repeal sparked an unprecedented political backlash, and we've channeled that internet outrage into real political power," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights-focused non-profit organization. "As we head into 2019, net neutrality supporters in the House of Representatives will be in a much stronger position to engage in FCC oversight...." Gigi Sohn, a former lawyer at the FCC who is now a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology, Law and Policy, said she expects Democrats to use their new power to push for the restoration of strong net neutrality rules -- and for the topic to be on the lips of presidential hopefuls. "I have no doubt that bills to restore the 2015 rules will be introduced in both the Senate and the House relatively early on," Sohn said....
Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner who has been a vocal supporter of net neutrality, noted that it has become a national issue -- and one that has broad approval from Americans. She pointed to a University of Maryland study that found 83 percent of people surveyed were against the FCC's move to undo the rules around net neutrality... Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation...said he is "extraordinarily confident" that proponents of net neutrality will win. "It really just boils down to how one side of the polling is in this space," Falcon said.

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Elon Musk: Tesla 'Would Be Interested' in Taking Over GM's Closed Factories
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '18 at 05:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's meeting-the-new-boss department:
An anonymous reader quotes CNN:
Elon Musk wants electric vehicles to be successful -- even if Tesla goes under trying. In an interview for CBS' "60 Minutes," the Tesla CEO and Silicon Valley billionaire was asked about competition from General Motors (GM), which announced last month it's laying off thousands of workers as the century-old company shifts focus to self-driving and electric vehicles. Musk appeared unconcerned. "If somebody comes and makes a better electric car than Tesla, and it's so much better than ours that we can't sell our cars and we go bankrupt, I still think that's a good thing for the world," Musk told Leslie Stahl during the interview.... "The whole point of Tesla is to accelerate the advent of electric vehicles and sustainable transport," he said. "We're trying to help the environment, we think it's the most serious problem that humanity faces...."
In his 60 Minutes interview, Musk also floated the possibility that Tesla may expand its footprint in the United States. He said Tesla "would be interested" in taking over some of the factory space GM said it will abandon during its restructuring.
The article also cites estimates from Navigant Research that Teslas now account for 20% of all fully-electric vehicles on the road today.

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US Senator Attacks Failure To Crack Down On Google's Ad Fraud Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on December 08 '18 at 04:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-being-evil department:
Democrat Senator Mark Warner "says Google is profiting off advertising fraud and has no interest in addressing it," reports ZDNet -- and he's laying part of the blame on America's trade commissioners.
Warner is just as mad about the FTC as he is about Google, claiming the FTC has failed to take action against the Mountain View-based company for more than two years since he and New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer first wrote the agency about Google's ad fraud problem. "The FTC's failure to act has had the effect of allowing Google to structure its own market," said Sen. Warner in a letter sent to the FTC... "While the company controls each link in the supply chain and therefore maintains the power to monitor activity in the digital advertising market from start to finish, it has continued to be caught flat-footed in identifying and addressing digital ad fraud."
Sen. Warner also called out Google for proving unwilling to address misuse of its advertising platform for the "rampant proliferation of online disinformation" -- referring to how various foreign entities have used Google ads to push political agendas, both in the US and other countries of the world. "As long as Google stands to profit from the sale of additional advertisements, the financial incentive for it to voluntarily root out and address fraud remains minimal," Sen. Warner added.

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