By msmash from Slashdot's growing-competition department
Nearly 30 years after Microsoft Office came on the scene, it's in the DNA of just about every productivity app. Even if you use Google's G Suite or Apple's iWork, you're still following the Microsoft model. But that way of thinking about work has gotten a little dusty, and new apps offering a different approach to getting things done are popping up by the day. GeekWire:
There's a new war on over the way we work, and the old "office suite" is being reinvented around rapid-fire discussion threads, quick sharing and light, simple interfaces where all the work happens inside a single window. In recent years, the buzzwords in tech have been "AI" and "mobile." Today, you can add "collaboration" to that list -- these days, everybody wants to build Slack-like communication into their apps.
For notes and docs, there's Quip, Notejoy, Slite, Zenkit, Notion and Agenda. For spreadsheets, there's Bellevue, Wash.-based Smartsheet, as well as Airtable, Coda and, although it's a very different take on the spreadsheet, Trello. The list goes on seemingly ad infinitum, largely thanks to the relative ease with which developers can launch software in the cloud. "Work has totally changed," said Aaron Levie, the co-founder and CEO of Box, the online storage company that is building its strategy around unifying data and messaging from a dizzying mix of cloud apps. "Employees were lucky to have two, three, five modern applications in the 90s. Now they have almost unlimited ways of being productive."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's spoiler-alert department
Ammalgam writes from a report via Business Insider: A credible business school professor who correctly predicted that Amazon would buy Whole Foods now says an AWS spinoff is inevitable. Marketing guru Scott Galloway said Monday at Business Insider's IGNITION conference. The move will also help the company placate regulators who are starting to scrutinize its anticompetitive practices, said Scott Galloway, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. After the e-commerce giant spins it off, Amazon Web Services (AWS) "will be one of 10 most valuable companies in the world," he said. "The question then becomes, what happens to the old retail-side of Amazon," Galloway added.
Amazon will decide to split off AWS, because it makes a lot of sense and market forces will dictate it, Galloway said. Cloud computing is one of the most important trends taking place in the technology industry, but there's no simple way for investors to profit off it. The three biggest cloud services -- AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud -- are all part of much bigger companies whose results only partially reflect their cloud businesses. As the biggest of the bunch, AWS would be a natural to become its own standalone business, he said. And it could be a huge windfall for Amazon shareholders. Depending on how it would be valued and the multiple to earnings that the market would assign to it, AWS by itself could be see a valuation of anywhere from $70 billion to $600 billion, he said. What do you think? Is this possible?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's poor-responses department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Last Friday, Marriott sent out millions of emails warning of a massive data breach -- some 500 million guest reservations had been stolen from its Starwood database. One problem: the email sender's domain didn't look like it came from Marriott at all. Marriott sent its notification email from "email-marriott.com," which is registered to a third party firm, CSC, on behalf of the hotel chain giant. But there was little else to suggest the email was at all legitimate -- the domain doesn't load or have an identifying HTTPS certificate. In fact, there's no easy way to check that the domain is real, except a buried note on Marriott's data breach notification site that confirms the domain as legitimate. But what makes matters worse is that the email is easily spoofable. Many others have sounded the alarm on Marriott's lackluster data breach response. Security expert Troy Hunt, who founded data breach notification site Have I Been Pwned, posted a long tweet thread on the hotel chain giant's use of the problematic domain. As it happens, the domain dates back at least to the start of this year when Marriott used the domain to ask its users to update their passwords. Williams isn't the only one who's resorted to defending Marriott customers from cybercriminals. Nick Carr, who works at security giant FireEye, registered the similarly named "email-mariott.com" on the day of the Marriott breach. "Please watch where you click," he wrote on the site. "Hopefully this is one less site used to confuse victims." Had Marriott just sent the email from its own domain, it wouldn't be an issue.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's medical-progress department
Google's DeepMind is using an AI program, called AlphaFold, to predict the 3D shapes of proteins, the fundamental molecules of life. "DeepMind set its sights on protein folding after its AlphaGo program famously beat Lee Sedol, a champion Go player, in 2016," reports The Guardian. The company says "It's never been about cracking Go or Atari, it's about developing algorithms for problems exactly like protein folding." From the report: DeepMind entered AlphaFold into the Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction (CASP) competition, a biannual protein-folding olympics that attracts research groups from around the world. The aim of the competition is to predict the structures of proteins from lists of their amino acids which are sent to teams every few days over several months. The structures of these proteins have recently been cracked by laborious and costly traditional methods, but not made public. The team that submits the most accurate predictions wins. On its first foray into the competition, AlphaFold topped a table of 98 entrants, predicting the most accurate structure for 25 out of 43 proteins, compared with three out of 43 for the second placed team in the same category.
To build AlphaFold, DeepMind trained a neural network on thousands of known proteins until it could predict 3D structures from amino acids alone. Given a new protein to work on, AlphaFold uses the neural network to predict the distances between pairs of amino acids, and the angles between the chemical bonds that connect them. In a second step, AlphaFold tweaks the draft structure to find the most energy-efficient arrangement. The program took a fortnight to predict its first protein structures, but now rattles them out in a couple of hours.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rough-year department
UK academic publisher Springer Nature has filed a complaint against Sci-Hub, a site that provides open access to scientific research papers. "The Moscow City Court was told that Sci-Hub is infringing the company's copyrights and should, therefore, be subjected to blocking," reports TorrentFreak. "Listing 'bulletproof' hosting company Quasi Networks and U.S.-based CloudFlare as facilitating access to the site, Springer Nature complained that three specific works were being made available illegally by Sci-Hub." From the report: As the above table obtained from the Court shows, the research papers cover topics of interest to the medical community in the spheres of heart and brain health -- Effect of glucose-lowering therapies on heart failure, Nitric oxide signaling in cardiovascular health and disease, and Lactate in the brain: from metabolic end-product to signaling molecule. These would ordinarily sit behind paywalls but thanks to Sci-Hub, their contents are available for everyone to absorb for free. It's a situation that's unacceptable to Springer Nature and the Moscow City Court was sympathetic to the company's complaints. As a result, several Sci-Hub and Library Genesis domains (gen.lib.rus.ec, www.libgen.io, scihub.unblocked.gdn, lgmag.org, libgen.unblocked.gdn, sci-hub.tw and libgen.io) are now being rendered inaccessible by Russian Internet Service Providers.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
Microsoft is throwing in the towel with Edge and is building a new web browser for Windows 10, this time powered by Chromium, news blog Windows Central reported Monday. From the report: Microsoft's Edge web browser has seen little success since its debut on Windows 10 back in 2015. Built from the ground up with a new rendering engine known as EdgeHTML, Microsoft Edge was designed to be fast, lightweight, and secure, but launched with a plethora of issues which resulted in users rejecting it early on. Edge has since struggled to gain any traction, thanks to its continued instability and lack of mindshare, from users and web developers.
Because of this, I'm told that Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML and is instead building a new web browser powered by Chromium, a rendering engine first popularized by Google's Chrome browser. Codenamed Anaheim, this new web browser for Windows 10 will replace Edge as the default browser on the platform. It's unknown at this time if Anaheim will use the Edge brand or a new brand, or if the user interface between Edge and Anaheim is different. One thing is for sure, however; EdgeHTML in Windows 10's default browser is dead.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Last Friday, Madrid's tough new vehicle emissions controls went into effect, resulting in a drop in traffic by nearly 32 percent in some parts of the city, reports El Pais. The new rules impose strict restrictions on which vehicles can enter an area of just under two square miles in the city's downtown. The plan, known as Madrid Central, is an attempt to lower the city's nitrogen dioxide levels, which have exceeded European limits since 2010 and are thought to cause around 3,000 premature deaths per year, according to one study.
The exact drop in traffic varied between different areas in the zone. One area, San Bernardo, saw a modest reduction of just over 5 percent, while Gran Via saw the highest reduction of 31.8 percent. Although Reuters reports that traffic continues to be heavy around the perimeter of the zone, El Pais claims that even there, traffic levels were down by between 1 and 2 percent. The lack of congestion also had benefits for public transport, with bus speeds on one highway increasing by 14 percent. "Petrol and diesel cars registered before 2000 and 2006, respectively, will be restricted, while hybrid vehicles will be allowed to enter the area and park for a maximum of two hours," reports The Verge. "However, residents living in the controlled areas will not be affected by the ban. Petrol and diesel taxis will continued to be allowed in the area until 2022. Electric cars, which produce no emissions, driven by non-residents will also be allowed to freely enter the area."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sneaky-bastards department
secwatcher shares a report from Threatpost: Two apps that were posing as fitness-tracking tools were actually using Apple's Touch ID feature to loot money from unassuming iOS victims. The two impacted apps were the "Fitness Balance App" and "Calories Tracker App." Both apps looked normal, and served functions like calculating BMI, tracking daily calorie intake or reminding users to drink water; and both received good reviews on the iOS store. However, according to Reddit users and researchers with ESET, the apps steal money -- almost $120 from each victim -- thanks to a sneaky popup trick involving the Apple Touch ID feature.
According to heated victims who took to Reddit to air their complaints, after a user launches one of the apps, it requests a fingerprint scan prompting users to "view their personalized calorie tracker and diet recommendations." After the users use Touch ID, the app then shows a pop-up confirming a payment of $119.99. The pop-up is only visible for a second, according to users. "However, if the user has a credit or debit card directly connected to their Apple account, the transaction is considered verified and money is wired to the operator behind these scams," said Lukas Stefanko, malware analyst with ESET security, in a Monday post on the scam.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-neural-net department
Over the weekend, Elon Musk alluded to impending software updates that would make Teslas even safer than they already are. In response to a story about a DUI where a Tesla autopilot may have been involved, Musk said Autopilot may soon be able to recognize emergency response vehicles and react accordingly. Inverse reports: "Default Autopilot behavior, if there's no driver input, is to slow gradually to a stop & turn on hazard lights," Musk explained in the replies. "Tesla service then contacts the owner." That naturally got people wondering whether or not Tesla's autopilot was capable of differentiating between emergency response vehicles and everyone else. Presumably, someday soon autonomous vehicles are going to be able to recognize sirens (or their futuristic software equivalent.) If an ambulance pulls up behind an autonomous car on a single-lane road, it will need some mechanism to know it's supposed to get out of the way. In the meanwhile, Musk said that Tesla is already working on the first half of that problem, by teaching neural net to be able to recognize police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. On Twitter, he said that this capability would be added to the neural net "in the coming months."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's frustrating-changes department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: The telecom giant has announced the end of its prorated credits for some subscribers who cancel a service in the middle of a billing period. AT&T bills service for DirecTV, U-verse TV, AT&T Phone, AT&T Internet, and Fixed Wireless Internet in advance. It previously offered the option to receive a credit for any unused days in a month when a subscriber canceled before the next billing period, but it will now force many customers to ride out the month with nothing in return. The change goes into effect on January 14, 2019, in most states, so if you're considering a change, it's time to plan ahead. If you're even one day into your billing month, you'll presumably have to pay for the full period, according to the company's new policy. You get to keep the service you don't want for that period of time, but, of course, you're canceling because you don't want it. The change will not apply to customers in California, Illinois, New York and, in some instances, Michigan.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's automated-tasks department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The world's largest retailer is rolling out 360 autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in some of its stores in the U.S. by the end of the January, it said in a joint statement with Brain Corp., which makes the machines. The autonomous janitors can clean floors on their own even when customers are around, according to the San Diego-based startup. Brain's robots are equipped with an array of sensors that let them gather and upload data.
Brain doesn't make its own hardware, focusing instead on developing software -- BrainOS -- that endows machines with autonomy in closed environments. At first, the machines were need to be operated by humans, who "teach" the layout of the space that needs cleaning. After that the robots can perform the task autonomously. The robots, which look like a cross between a miniature Zamboni and a motorized wheel chair, already scrub floors at airports in Seattle, San Diego, Boston and Miami, Brain Chief Executive Office Eugene Izhikevich said. Brain last month unveiled a smaller version of the machine developed jointly with SoftBank's robotics arm and aimed at the Japanese market.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's assuming-responsibility department
DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, offers a variety of useful features such as instant answers and bangs. The latter are particularly useful for people who want to use DuckDuckGo to search directly on other sites. Typing '!yt keyword', for instance, will do a direct search on YouTube, while '!w keyword' goes to Wikipedia. This library of bangs has been around for a long time and has grown to more than 10,000 over the years.
From a report: However, a few days ago, roughly 2,000 of these were removed. Interestingly, this included many bangs that link to torrent sites, such as The Pirate Bay, 1337x and RARBG. Similarly, bangs for OpenSubtitles, Sci-Hub and LibGen are gone too. Initially, it was unclear what had happened, but after people started asking questions on Reddit, DuckDuckGo staff explained that this was part of a larger cleanup operation. DuckDuckGo went through its bangs library and removed all non-working versions, as well as verbose ones that were not actively used. In addition, many pirate site bangs were deleted as these are no longer"permitted."
"Bangs had been neglected for some time, and there were tons of broken ones. As part of the bang clean-up, we also removed some that were pointing to primarily illegal content," DuckDuckGo staffer Tagawa explains. The search engine still indexes the sites in question but it feels that offering curated search shortcuts for these sites in their service might cause problems. "It may not seem like so at first blush, but it is very different legally if it is a bang vs. in the search results because the bangs are added to the product by us explicitly, and can be interpreted legally as an editorial decision that is actively facilitating that site and its content," the staff wrote.Read Replies (0)