By msmash from Slashdot's well-that's-a-start department
Intel's channel organization is vowing increased communication and transparency with partners on issues such as the current CPU shortage, which has caused delays, price hikes and other challenges this year. From a report: In an exclusive interview with CRN, Todd Garrigues, director of partner sales programs at Intel, said better transparency about supply issues, new business opportunities and new technologies is one of the company's top priorities for partners heading into 2019. "We got some feedback -- some critical feedback if I'm honest -- from some partners through our advisory boards, and we're working hard to make sure we do better at that," he said. "The request, bluntly, was just to work harder at being transparent as close to real time as possible. And we took that to heart -- a lot of internal discussions on how we enable that."
One of the challenges, Garrigues said, has been engaging with Intel's broader base of partners that the company may not have one-on-one relationships with. To mitigate the issue, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is investing more in its relationships with distributors to boost Intel's signal. "One of the big priorities I've placed on this year is really working very close with our distribution partners who do serve that broad channel base more directly," said Jason Kimrey, Intel's U.S. channel chief. "I would tell you that we are having much more direct, open transparent dialogue with them to help them plan and help our mutual customers plan to roadmaps and plan around the supply."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department
The Federal Trade Commission is being asked to investigate how apps that may violate federal privacy laws that dictate the data that can be collected on children ended up in the family section of the Google Play store. From a report: A group of 22 consumer advocates, led by the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law School, filed a formal complaint against Google on Wednesday and asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the company misled parents by promoting children's apps that may violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Google's own policies. "The business model for the Play Store's Family section benefits advertisers, developers and Google at the expense of children and parents," Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement. "Google puts its seal of approval on apps that break the law, manipulate kids into watching ads and making purchases."
Among the examples cited in the complaint are a "Preschool Education Center" app and a "Top 28 Nursery Rhymes and Song" app that access location, according to an analysis by privacy research collective AppCensus. Other apps, including "Baby Panda's Carnival" and "Design It Girl -- Fashion Salon," were among those listed that sent device identification data to advertising technology companies, allowing them to build a profile of the user. The complaint also spotlights several apps that may not be age appropriate, including "Dentist Game for Kids," which lets the player give the virtual patient shots in the back of their throat.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-luck department
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Faraday Future is almost out of cash. From a report: At the tail end of 2017, the much-hyped EV startup was sliding toward financial oblivion. But then a crucial round of funding from a then-mysterious benefactor gave the team a lifeline. Faraday planned to finish its first car, the FF 91, and start production before 2019. Like Tesla, the company wanted to usher in a new wave of electric, autonomous and "seamlessly connected" vehicles. But unlike its closest rival, Faraday hasn't spent the past year building and shipping transformative cars. Instead, it's been fighting the investor that decided to bail it out.
The beleaguered EV maker was originally saved by a company called Season Smart, which agreed to invest $2 billion, starting with an $800 million payment, in exchange for a 45 percent stake in the company. In June 2018, Season Smart was acquired by Evergrande Health, a subsidiary of a giant property developer in China, for roughly $853 million. Evergrande took control of Season Smart's stake and agreed to pay the remaining $1.2 billion, split into two $600 million chunks, in 2019 and 2020. As part of the updated deal, it took control of Faraday's assets and intellectual property.
For a while, everything seemed OK. Faraday began constructing a long-overdue factory in Hanford, California, where a Pirelli tire factory once stood. The company hoped it could eventually match Tesla's enormous Gigafactory in splendor and efficiency. But there was a problem. By July Faraday had already burned through its initial $800 million payment. To survive, the startup needed more money -- and it couldn't wait until 2019 for another cash injection.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's fish-are-moving department
The catch is shifting northward as water temperatures rise, forcing crews to retool their boats and rework their businesses. From a report: Aboard the Stanley K and the Oracle, two 58-foot vessels, Buck Laukitis and his crews chase halibut across the Bering Sea worth $5 a pound at the docks. As sea temperatures rise, and Arctic ice retreats the fish appear to be avoiding warming waters, migrating northward where they cost more to reach, federal fisheries biologists say. Twice this past fall, the Oracle sailed 800 miles north from the seaport of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, before finding the halibut that a decade ago lived several hundred miles closer to home. Each voyage took twice as long and yielded half as many fish. "It keeps me up at night," he says. "I woke up at three in the morning. I couldn't sleep thinking about where the fish are going."
Across the continent from Mr. Laukitis in Rhode Island, black sea bass have moved in with the warming waters. The bulk once lived roughly 700 miles south off North Carolina. Now they are a staple catch in Point Judith, R.I., along with the summer flounder that also have begun appearing. [...] The impact of climate change has a price, and for fishing-boat owners in sea ports, that means following the catch. The northward movement of fish around the world is disrupting some fishing grounds and revitalizing others -- and fishing businesses are trying to adapt their operations.
< article continued at Slashdot's fish-are-moving department
>Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's flying-by-night department
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft passed Pluto in 2015. But now it's getting strange readings while approaching its next destination, the Ultima Thule asteroid.
Popular Mechanics reports:
Ultima Thule appears to not have a light curve, which is perplexing scientists... Asteroids like Ultima Thule reflect sunlight -- that's why they're bright spots instead of dark spots -- but the amount of light they reflect depends on how much of their surface is facing the Sun. The bigger their surface area, the brighter they become. Small asteroids like Ultima Thule aren't perfectly round, which means how much of their surface is facing the Sun changes as they rotate....
Ultima Thule isn't changing its brightness at all. New Horizons has been watching Ultima Thule for three months and hasn't spotted any brightness change, which is really odd. Ultima Thule is definitely not spherical -- astronomers determined that a year ago -- so why doesn't its brightness change?
One theory is that the New Horizon's probe is perfectly aligned with the asteroid's axis of rotation, so it's only seeing Ultima Thule's north (or south) pole. Another is that the asteroid is surrounded by dust clouds that "even out" its light curve. But that usually only happens when asteroids are near the sun and heating up, whereas Ultima Thule "is cold and dark and shouldn't have any dust...."
"Fortunately, we might not have to wait long for an answer to this problem. New Horizons will fly by Ultima Thule on January 1, and should give us high-resolution photos of the entire system," the article concludes. "With any luck, those photos will solve the mystery."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's knowing-when-you're-awake department
An anonymous reader quotes CBS News:
Parents are realizing that it's not just Santa who's keeping tabs on their kids. Many popular high-tech gadgets that may end up being given as holiday presents can actually track, monitor and record children. Because of that, there are some gifts Felicity and Alden Eute won't have under their Christmas tree. Their mother, Emily, has banned all tech gifts this season. "My husband and I both agree kids don't really need to be on technology or on social media," Emily said. "None of these extra gadgets that just expose you to things kids shouldn't be exposed to at their age."
While federal law requires a parent's permission to track and collect data on children under 13, a Federal Trade Commission complaint filed this week alleges widespread violations through apps that "send persistent identifiers to third parties without giving direct notice to parents." That means things like location data, phone numbers and contact information could be exposed, according to Serge Engleman of the International Computer Science Institute. The institute's surveillance system, under the direction of Engleman, collected evidence that is now before the Federal Trade Commission.... It's not only apps where there are potential violations. "Any kind of interconnected robot-type toys...interactive games that you may play online are collecting data," said Scott Pink, a privacy and cybersecurity specialist.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's players-known department
An anonymous reader quotes Newsweek:
The makers of PUBG sent down the banhammer Thursday afternoon in a ban wave believed to iimpact more than 30,000 fraudulent player accounts. What PUBG Corp likely didn't expect, however, was that its new security measures would also implicate several of the game's pro players.
Like ban waves in most popular online games, technology is at the center of it all. In this particular case, Radar Hacking was the main target. For those unaware of how the method works, Radar Hacks reveal detailed server information and send the collected data to an external device via a third-party VPN. In layman's terms, Radar Hacks allowed PUBG cheaters to see all player positions via a second monitor or smartphone application.... Given what we know now, it appears use of this unsanctioned assistive software was somewhat popular in PUBG's European and North American esports scenes. Over the last handful of hours, multiple apologies, suspensions and explanations have been posted on behalf of players and organizations alike.
Newsweek reports that on at least one team, "Suspicions rose when teammates were admonished for not following in-game calls that didn't align with the information available."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bad-advice department
An anonymous reader quotes the Guardian:
An Amazon customer got a grim message last year from Alexa, the virtual assistant in the company's smart speaker device: "Kill your foster parents." The user who heard the message from his Echo device wrote a harsh review on Amazon's website, Reuters reported -- calling Alexa's utterance "a whole new level of creepy". An investigation found the bot had quoted from the social media site Reddit, known for harsh and sometimes abusive messages, people familiar with the investigation told Reuters. The odd command is one of many hiccups that have happened as Amazon tries to train its machine to act something like a human, engaging in casual conversations in response to its owner's questions or comments.
And Alexa also can't tell a human voice from a parrot, according to a Huffington Post story shared by PolygamousRanchKid:
Rocco, an African grey, was caught using the virtual assistant to play his favorite music, tell jokes and even order snacks, The Times of London reports. Thankfully the device's parental lock system prevented the clever boy from actually purchasing any items which included strawberries, ice cream and even a kettle.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's friend-requests department
"The working poor are spilling into Bay Area streets for lack of safe, affordable shelter," report two Silicon Valley newspapers describing a "pop-up neighborhood" that's now banding together, "a small community of blue collar RV dwellers...fighting for the only place they can call home."
The beautifully-illustrated article begins with an interview with a grey-haired woman named Lisa Cosey-Steven:
[D]espite steady work and little debt, she trudges back and forth to the office every day from a dark RV trailer, packed floor to ceiling with bags of clothes, pet supplies for her seven dogs, thriller novels and food. Cosey-Stevens, 63, has been parked on the shoulder of Bay Road in East Palo Alto, just about two miles from Facebook headquarters and some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, since June. "No one knows how badly I want out of this," she said during an interview in her trailer. "It's depressing to live like this...."
She's part of an unplanned and impromptu RV park, about 80 people pushed out of apartments and into trailers and the edge of homelessness... Their neighborhood of about 50 RVs lines the eastern end of Bay Road and Tara Street, next to a stretch of salvage yards, warehouses and empty lots guarded by chain link fence. It's just off a thoroughfare for local tech employees and sits adjacent to the site of a new, multi-million dollar youth education center, Epacenter Arts. Several of the aging RVs have large banners draped over the sides, making pleas to the big employers in the area: "SOS -- Facebook, Sobrato, Amazon, Google."
< article continued at Slashdot's friend-requests department
>Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's prime-of-your-life department
chalsall (Slashdot reader #185), writes:
The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has discovered the largest known prime number, 2^82,589,933-1, having 24,862,048 digits. A computer volunteered by Patrick Laroche from Ocala, Florida made the find on December 7, 2018.
GIMPS has been on amazing lucky streak, finding triple the expected number of new Mersenne primes -- a dozen in the last fifteen years.
"This anomaly is not necessarily evidence that existing theories on the distribution of Mersenne primes is incorrect," notes GIMPSS. "However, if the trend continues it may be worth further investigation. " They also report that the newly-discovered prime number "is more than one and a half million digits larger than the previous record prime number" -- and it's one of just 51 known Mersenne prime numbers ever discovered. "GIMPS, founded in 1996, has discovered the last 17..."
Patrick Laroche is one of thousands of volunteers using GIMPS' free software to hunt for prime numbers -- and is now eligible for a $3,000 "research discovery award," the group writes at mersenne.org. "GIMPS' next major goal is to win the $150,000 award administered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation offered for finding a 100 million digit prime number" -- of which $50,000 will be awarded to the discoverer, with another $50,000 going to a 501(c)(3) mathematics-related charity selected by GIMPS, and $50,000 retained by GIMPS to cover expenses and fund other awards.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-in-Kansas-any-more department
An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press:
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer's administration is seeking a way to donate or sell at a steep discount as much as $10 million in unused computer equipment that has been stored in a state office building since 2016. The state still owes $2 million on the equipment, which it bought in 2016 as part of a failed plan to develop a centralized storage system, call Kansas GovCloud, for computer information. That idea was canceled by state IT officials who said it was too expensive. Instead, the state contracts with an outside company to store data on remote servers.
Attempts to sell the equipment failed to attract bidders, leading to discussions about finding someone to take the equipment before its value dropped to the level of scrap metal, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said the state allocated $17 million, including $10 million for the equipment, before dropping the storage idea. Selling it for pennies on the dollar or donating it to someone has merit, he said. "The point is, equipment after a while just becomes obsolete. If somebody can use it, great. If you can get some money out of it, fine," Holland said.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 23-and-you department
schwit1 shared an interesting article from Bloomberg:
Though genetic tests are frequently marketed as family-friendly entertainment, they sometimes wind up surfacing life-altering surprises. And when those surprises show up in someone's test results, the first move is often a call to customer service.... At 23andMe, those types of calls are so frequent that preparing for them is integrated into the company's months-long training program.... "We always try to steer the conversation toward the data, tell them that this is science," said Kent Hillyer, head of customer care for the genetic-testing firm 23andMe...
Lindsay Grove, a customer-care representative at 23andMe, still remembers one call in particular years later, a dad who took the test only to find out that his child was not, in fact, his child. At first, like most, he was just trying to figure out whether the results were accurate. So Grove explained the science behind the data. The customer then became somber and quiet. He questioned whether he should talk to his wife, and, if he did, how.... "That process of figuring out what to do next is very difficult for customers...."
Such emotional calls can take a toll on employees, too. That's perhaps inevitable when technology interfaces with such sensitive, personal information.... At 23andMe, Hillyer often encourages representatives to go for a walk after an intense call, or cracks open a bottle of wine to help them decompress. "We kind of do these internal therapy sessions,'' he said. "Here, maybe more so than most places, you have to be really supportive of each other."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department
Long-time Slashdot reader Mike Bouma shared Eurogamer's report about a rare Amiga 3000 auctioned on eBay:
Mike Clarke, who worked at legendary UK game company Psygnosis from 1992 to 1999 doing audio work, rescued this particular Amiga 3000 from destruction after it had been placed down in a corridor, ready to be thrown out. Over 20 years later, Clarke is selling it on eBay... According to Clarke, this Amiga 3000 was first used by artist Jeff Bramfitt, who scratched his initials in the top of the case in pen "just in case someone took it off his desk".
Bramfitt used the machine to work on the title screens for Carthage, Infestation, Shadow of the Beast 2 and more classic Amiga games, but its headline claim to fame is it was used to create the original Amiga Lemmings intro and logo. Lemmings, which came out for the Amiga in 1991, was developed by DMA Design (now Rockstar North) and published by Psygnosis before the latter was bought by Sony. Later, it was used for Microcosm (3DO, Mega-CD), Scavenger IV (aka Novastorm, Mega-CD, FM Towns), and unreleased games such as No Escape, a tie-in with the Ray Liotta film, aka Penal Colony for Mega-CD.
Files for all of these games and more remain on this Amiga 3000's hard drive. "I think the above games were all in 1993, which was a very busy year because we got bought by Sony and alongside working on games by third-party developers, Sony pushed all of these film licenses onto us and gave us almost no time to make them," Clarke said. This Amiga 3000 is not without its problems, however. The floppy drive doesn't work anymore and the hard drive is "temperamental", which means you might have issues booting the thing up.
After 16 bids, the Amiga sold for £1,850 -- about $2,300 USD -- plus another £170 ($215 USD) for shipping.
< article continued at Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department
>Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's you're-fired department
Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo shares this article from the Verge:
An autonomous food delivery robot burst into flames on a Berkeley, California walkway, as first reported by The Daily Californian. Kiwi, the startup that makes and manages the one hundred-strong fleet of robots, issued a statement to say that the fire was quickly extinguished by a passerby before the city's fire department arrived and doused the machine in foam.... It said that it believed the fire was caused by human error, when a faulty battery was manually inserted into the robot, eventually causing thermal runaway -- the same issue that resulted in the recall of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phones. Kiwi says that a new piece of software will "rigorously monitor the state of each battery" to prevent anything like this from happening again.
Kiwi said the incident resulted in "some smoke and minor flames." But video captured of the event shows the robot engulfed in the kind of fiercely burning fireball typically associated with battery fires.
Though no one was hurt, Kiwi's fleet of 100 delivery robots was still deactivated while the company investigated the fiery wreck.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's downs-and-ups department
A Bloomberg columnist asks whether this week's rise in bitcoin's price is a turning point -- or just a "dead cat bounce"?
After hitting a year's low of about $3,143, down about 80 percent from January highs, Bitcoin has risen 27 percent this week. Short-sellers are closing their positions, while fans smell fresh opportunity. Even more eye-watering market moves are happening elsewhere in the digital currency's ecosystem. Bitcoin Cash, a spin-off intended to be more usable as a payments mechanism, has almost tripled this week from about $80 to $225. That this is happening at the same time as a U.S. stock-market selloff will no doubt warm the hearts of crypto-evangelists, who believe their currencies offer genuine alternatives for where to put money in times of trouble....
A cursory glance at the price of Bitcoin Cash over the past year shows that it has fallen about 95 percent from its December 2017 record. So, anyone refusing to crystallize their losses this year has seen their 98-percent loss narrow over the past few days to, well, 95 percent. Celebrating now is like the Monty Python knight calling it a draw after losing all his limbs. It's not entirely clear either what kind of investor has the appetite, let alone the resources, to make meaningful bets on digital currencies today after a boom-and-bust cycle driven entirely by speculative hype rather than the adoption of Bitcoin in the real world. The long-awaited wave of money from Wall Street looks as far away as ever. So we're probably getting back to more natural territory for crypto: True believers and small-time gamblers.
Their conclusion? "One still can't rule out that these particular crypto-cats are dead."Read Replies (0)