By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-shiny department
Asus has unveiled a spec-heavy gaming phone called the ROG Phone II. When it launches later this year, it'll be one of the only phones to feature Qualcomm's new gaming-focused Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, a 120Hz AMOLED display, and massive 6,000mAh battery. PhoneDog reports: The ROG Phone II features a 6.59-inch 2340x1080 AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and it's the first phone to include Qualcomm's gaming-focused Snapdragon 855 Plus processor. Both the CPU and GPU in the SD855 Plus are clocked higher than in the standard SD855, helping you get better performance. ASUS has crammed 12GB of RAM inside the ROG Phone II's body, too. Another gaming-centric feature of the ROG Phone II are its AirTrigger buttons. Located on the side of the device, they give you extra buttons for your games and an improved software algorithm over the first ROG Phone that lets you rest your fingers on the AirTriggers, meaning you can react more quickly since you're not having to move your fingers to reach for the buttons.
Other notable features of the ROG Phone II include a 48MP main camera with Sony IMX586 sensor, a 13MP ultra wide rear camera with a 125-degree field of view, and a 24MP front camera. There's up to 512GB of built-in storage available, an in-display fingerprint reader, dual front-facing speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Powering the whole package is a whopping 6000mAh battery. There are two USB-C ports on the ROG Phone II, with one in a traditional place on the bottom of the device and the other on the side of the phone so that it doesn't get in your way when you're gaming and charging. Both ports support Quick Charge 3.0, but the side port can charge more quickly with QuickCharge 4.0 support. It also includes support for 4K video output using DisplayPort 1.4. We don't have an official price or release date yet, but it's likely to start shipping later this year at around $899, which was the cost of the original ROG Phone.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's good-for-a-laugh department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: In research that will ensure the sitcoms of the future are as painful as those broadcast today, scientists have found that canned laughter makes bad jokes seem funnier. The impact of overlaid laughter emerged from a study with autistic and "neurotypical" people, all of whom agreed to endure 40 jokes that were read aloud with recorded laughter following the punchline. All of the volunteers found the jokes funnier when they were accompanied by the sound of others laughing, with the biggest gains produced by recordings of spontaneous laughter rather than more deliberate and controlled laughing, the study found.
For the study, PhD student Qing Cai and others trawled the internet for what they describe as "weak" jokes and compiled a list for the comedian Ben van der Velde to read out to those taking part in the study. To get a baseline score for how funny the jokes were, each was assessed without any backing laughter by 20 students who rated them on a scale from one (not funny) to seven (hilarious). The scores ranged from 1.5 to 3.75. Armed with the list and their baseline funny ratings, the scientists asked 72 adults, of whom 24 had an autism diagnosis, to rate the jokes on the same seven-point scale. This time, the jokes were told with either posed or spontaneous canned laughter following the punchline. Writing in the journal Current Biology, the researchers described how any kind of canned laughter had boosted the average scores the jokes had received. Both neurotypical and autistic people reacted more to spontaneous laughter than controlled laughter. And while canned laughter appeared to improve some jokes more than others, controlled laughter raised ratings by an average of about 10%, compared with 15% to 20% for spontaneous laughter.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's stranger-danger department
A design flaw in Facebook's Messenger Kids app allowed children to enter group chats with unapproved strangers. "For the past week, Facebook has been quietly closing down those group chats and alerting users, but has not made any public statements disclosing the issue," reports The Verge.
The alert reads as follows: "Hi [PARENT],
We found a technical error that allowed [CHILD]'s friend [FRIEND] to create a group chat with [CHILD] and one or more of [FRIEND]'s parent-approved friends. We want you to know that we've turned off this group chat and are making sure that group chats like this won't be allowed in the future. If you have questions about Messenger Kids and online safety, please visit our Help Center and Messenger Kids parental controls. We'd also appreciate your feedback." From the report: The bug arose from the way Messenger Kids' unique permissions were applied in group chats. In a standard one-on-one chat, children can only initiate conversations with users who have been approved by the child's parents. But those permissions became more complex when applied to a group chat because of the multiple users involved. Whoever launched the group could invite any user who was authorized to chat with them, even if that user wasn't authorized to chat with the other children in the group. As a result, thousands of children were left in chats with unauthorized users, a violation of the core promise of Messenger Kids. It's unclear how long the bug was present in the app, which launched with group features in December 2017.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sneaky-bastard department
Former Siemens contractor David Tinley faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, for planting logic bombs inside spreadsheets he created for the company. The logic bomb would crash spreadsheets after a certain date, resulting in Siemens hiring the contractor to fix the latest bugs. ZDNet reports: According to court documents, Tinley provided software services for Siemens' Monroeville, PA offices for nearly ten years. Among the work he was asked to perform was the creation of spreadsheets that the company was using to manage equipment orders. The spreadshees included custom scripts that would update the content of the file based on current orders stored in other, remote documents, allowing the company to automate inventory and order management.
But while Tinley's files worked for years, they started malfunctioning around 2014. According to court documents, Tinley planted so-called "logic bombs" that would trigger after a certain date, and crash the files. Every time the scripts would crash, Siemens would call Tinley, who'd fix the files for a fee. The scheme lasted for two years, until May 2016, when Tinley's trickery was unraveled by Siemens employees. According to a report from Law360, the scheme fell apart when Tinley was out of town, and had to hand over an administrative password for the spreadsheets to Siemens' IT staff, so they could fix the buggy scripts and fill in an urgent order. Siemens IT employees found the logic bomb, and it all went downhill from there. Tinley was charged this May, and pled guilty last week, on July 19. The contractor's sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 8.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's predatory-practices-of-tipped-wages department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: When you order food through an app and tip the worker who delivers it, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the money you give goes directly to that person. But in reality, some delivery apps use your tip to make up the worker's base pay -- essentially stealing the money you're trying to give someone to maximize their profits. This isn't a new practice by any means, but a recent report from The New York Times highlights how DoorDash, the most popular food delivery app in the U.S., enforces it.
Here's Times reporter Andy Newman: "DoorDash offers a guaranteed minimum for each job. For my first order, the guarantee was $6.85 and the customer, a woman in Boerum Hill who answered the door in a colorful bathrobe, tipped $3 via the app. But I still received only $6.85. Here's how it works: If the woman in the bathrobe had tipped zero, DoorDash would have paid me the whole $6.85. Because she tipped $3, DoorDash kicked in only $3.85. She was saving DoorDash $3, not tipping me." "DoorDash's policy is the equivalent of a 'tipped wage,' a common practice in America where employers pay workers less than the minimum wage and rely on tips to make up the payments they owe," the report adds. "Apps like DoorDash are essentially just extending established bad labor practices into the world of tech."
Amazon Flex also uses tips to make up pay, even after being heavily criticized for it. Instacart was the same way, but it scrapped the policy and promised to retroactively compensate workers following outcry. Postmades, Grubhub, Seamless, and Uber Eats all confirmed to The Verge that customer tips are not used to subsidize workers' pay.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's change-in-power department
Melissa Di Donato, SAP's former COO, has been named SUSE's new CEO. ZDNet reports: London-based Di Donato is a well-known technology leader. In particular, she has a proven track record in sales and business operations. Besides being SAP's COO, she was also the company's chief revenue officer. In SAP's latest quarter, SAP saw an increase of 11% year-over-year revenues. Much of that came from the cloud -- where SAP saw 40% year-over-year growth. SAP's cloud is built on SUSE's Linux servers and OpenStack cloud.
Di Donato succeeds Nils Brauckmann. While officially Brauckmann is retiring, there seems to be more to the story. On LinkedIn, Brauckmann wrote: "I care very deeply for the SUSE business and its employees, and this difficult decision is based entirely on personal reasons. I am pleased to be handing over the reins to such a talented and accomplished leader as Melissa Di Donato." In his SUSE statement, Brauckman added: "She is a proven and dynamic change agent, and many of her achievements have occurred in subscription businesses that exist in high-growth cloud environments." In April, then-CEO Nils Brauchmann said his company would soon be the largest independent Linux company. This comes after Brauckmann delivered eight years of continuous expansion during his tenure, including record-breaking revenues in FY18, reports ZDNet.
"Under Di Donato's leadership, SUSE will continue to focus on growth and expansion. What that means is she's expected to advance SUSE's core business and emerging technologies, both organically and through add-on acquisitions."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's in-the-works department
According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is in advanced talks to buy Intel's smartphone-modem chip business (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source), "a move that would jump-start the iPhone maker's push to take control of developing the critical components powering its devices." From the report: A deal, covering a portfolio of patents and staff valued at $1 billion or more, could be reached in the next week, the people said -- assuming the talks don't fall apart. Though the purchase price is a rounding error for companies valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars, the transaction would be important strategically and financially. It would give Apple access to engineering work and talent behind Intel's yearslong push to develop modem chips for the crucial next generation of wireless technology known as 5G, potentially saving years of development work.
For Intel's part, a deal would allow the company to shed a business that had been weighing on its bottom line: The smartphone operation had been losing about $1 billion annually, a person familiar with its performance has said, and has generally failed to live up to expectations. Though it would exit the smartphone business, Intel plans to continue to work on 5G technology for other connected devices. Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple began discussing plans to acquire parts of Intel's smartphone modem chip business last summer, around the time former Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich resigned. "Mr. Krzanich championed the modem business and touted 5G technology as a big future revenue stream," reports The Wall Street Journal. "When Bob Swan was named to that job in January, analysts said the odds of a deal rose because his focus on cleaning up Intel would require addressing the losses in the modem business."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's thanks-for-all-the-fish department
Tinder has joined a growing backlash against app store taxes by bypassing Google Play in a move that could shake up the billion-dollar industry dominated by Google and Apple. From a report: The online dating site launched a new default payment process that skips Google Play and forces users to enter their credit card details straight into Tinder's app, according to new research by Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter. Once a user has entered their payment information, the app not only remembers it, but also removes the choice to swap back to Google Play for future purchases, he wrote. "This is a huge difference," Schachter said in an interview. "It's an incredibly high-margin business for Google bringing in billions of dollars," he said.
Apple and Google launched their app stores in 2008, and they soon grew into powerful marketplaces that matched the creations of millions of independent developers with billions of smartphone users. In exchange, the companies take as much as 30% of revenue. The app economy is expected to grow to $157 billion in 2022, according to App Annie projections. As the market expands, a growing revolt has been gaining steam over the past year. Spotify Technology filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission earlier this year, claiming the cut Apple takes amounts to a tax on competitors. Netflix has recently stopped letting Apple users subscribe via the App Store and Epic Games said last year it wouldn't distribute Fortnite, one of the world's most popular video games, through Google Play.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Women are far more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car crash. From a report: The danger divide was first quantified in a 2011 study out of the University of Virginia, which found that for men and women who wore seatbelts, women were nearly 50 percent more likely to be seriously or fatally injured in a crash. And now it's been confirmed by another paper from another University of Virginia research team, published this month, which found that the odds of serious injury or death for female car-crash victims is 73 percent higher than for males. The latest study, which analyzed crashes involving more than 31,000 individuals between 1998 and 2015, reveals some good news, too: All riders are now more than half as likely to sustain serious injuries in newer models (those manufactured in 2009 and later) than in older cars.
[...] It's partly because of this lack of information -- and lack of dedicated research into the question -- that the same safety science that's been making cars less dangerous for all riders hasn't been able to shrink the gap between male and female auto safety. "Historically, we have used male-type crash test dummies," said Becky Mueller, a senior research engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). "Those dummies, despite being an average male, have done a good job at providing improvements for all different kinds of people." Since the early 2000s, "female" crash test dummies have been deployed, but they tend to simulate smaller women, says Forman, with heights of 5 feet and weights of 110 pounds. "There is some logic behind the use of those: It is necessary to evaluate and protect for the extreme ends of the population," he said. It's also a big limitation of the model.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's change-of-heart department
Speaking of Dropbox, the online storage cloud service has enabled support for ZFS and XFS on 64-bit Linux systems, and eCryptFS and Btrfs on all Linux systems. The move comes after it recently pulled support for all file storage systems on Linux except Ext4. From a report: Dropbox stopped supporting folder syncing to drives with filesystems it deemed "uncommon", which on Linux meant anything but Ext4, upsetting quite a few users. The reason cited for this was that "a supported file system is required as Dropbox relies on extended attributes (X-attrs) to identify files in the Dropbox folder and keep them in sync", which doesn't really make sense since there are many filesystems that support xattr (extended attributes) on Linux. After this change was announced, various workarounds started to appear online, including one that I posted on Linux Uprising. There was even a new unofficial, open source Dropbox client developed for this reason (which is also much lighter than the official client by the way). But this didn't last long though, as last week, the Dropbox 77.3.127 beta changelog says that Dropbox has added back support for ZFS (on 64-bit systems only), XFS (on 64bit systems only), Btrfs and eCryptFS.Read Replies (0)