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Netflix 'Would Lose 57 Percent of Their Subscribers If They Added Commercials'
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's commercial-breaks department:
According to new research from marketing technology firm Audience Project, the majority (57%) of UK customers would stop watching Netflix if commercials were introduced, and even lowering subscriptions would cause a significant drop off of 42%. Here are some of the other key findings: - In the UK, Netflix takes the lion's share of the streaming audience at 70%, followed by BBC iPlayer (61%). Interestingly, YouTube, ITV Player and All4, all of which host ads, saw a decline. - TV is still the preferred streaming device in the UK used by 42% of respondents. - Streaming is on the rise particularly amongst the young, with almost as many 15-25 year olds streaming/downloading (63%) as watching traditional TV (65%) "This is proof, if it were needed, that Netflix is right to focus on growing through its investment in content rather than considering hosting advertising any time soon," Netimperative reports. Martyn Bentley, Commercial Director UK at Audience Project, comments: "Our findings highlight the growing importance of targeting and relevance in advertising. As consumers have increasing choice over whether or not they see ads, both broadcasters and advertisers alike need to work hard to ensure that campaigns enhance experience, rather than detract -- plus it suggests that greater inroads need to be made with Connected TV as a means to help tailor advertising at a granular level."

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Wine 4.0 Released With Vulkan Support, Initial Direct3D 12 and Better HiDPI
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-and-get-it department:
Michael Larabel writes via Phoronix: Wine 4.0 is now officially available as the new annual stable release to Wine for running Windows programs and games on Linux and other operating systems. Following seven weekly release candidates, Wine 4.0 was ready to ship today as judged by Wine founder Alexandre Julliard. Wine 4.0 is a big release bringing initial Vulkan graphics API support, Direct3D CSMT is enabled by default, early Direct3D 12 support via VKD3D, continued HiDPI work, various OpenGL improvements, multi-sample D3D texture support, 64-bit improvements, continued Android support, and much more. The release announcement and notes can be read via WineHQ.org. The source can be downloaded here.

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Google Proposes Changes To Chromium Browser That Will Break Content-Blocking Extensions, Including Various Ad Blockers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 05:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department:
"Google engineers have proposed changes to the open-source Chromium browser that will break content-blocking extensions, including various ad blockers," reports The Register. "The drafted changes will also limit the capabilities available to extension developers, ostensibly for the sake of speed and safety. Chromium forms the central core of Google Chrome, and, soon, Microsoft Edge." From the report: In a note posted Tuesday to the Chromium bug tracker, Raymond Hill, the developer behind uBlock Origin and uMatrix, said the changes contemplated by the Manifest v3 proposal will ruin his ad and content blocking extensions, and take control of content away from users. Manifest v3 refers to the specification for browser extension manifest files, which enumerate the resources and capabilities available to browser extensions. Google's stated rationale for making the proposed changes is to improve security, privacy and performance, and supposedly to enhance user control.

But one way Google would like to achieve these goals involves replacing the webRequest API with a new one, declarativeNetRequest. The webRequest API allows extensions to intercept network requests, so they can be blocked, modified, or redirected. This can cause delays in web page loading because Chrome has to wait for the extension. In the future, webRequest will only be able to read network requests, not modify them. The declarativeNetRequest allows Chrome (rather than the extension itself) to decide how to handle network requests, thereby removing a possible source of bottlenecks and a potentially useful mechanism for changing browser behavior. The report notes that Adblock Plus "should still be available" since "Google and other internet advertising networks apparently pay Adblock Plus to whitelist their online adverts."

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Apple's Security Expert Joined the ACLU To Tackle 'Authoritarian Fever'
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's policy-making department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Apple security expert Jon Callas, who helped build protection for billions of computers and smartphones against criminal hackers and government surveillance, is now taking on government and corporate spying in the policy realm. Jon Callas is an elder statesman in the world of computer security and cryptography. He's been a vanguard in developing security for mobile communications and email as chief technology officer and co-founder of PGP Corporation -- which created Pretty Good Privacy, the first widely available commercial encryption software -- and serving the same roles at Silent Circle and Blackphone, touted as the world's most secure Android phone.

As a security architect and analyst for Apple computers -- he served three stints with the tech giant in 1995-1997, 2009-2011, and 2016-2018 -- he has played an integral role in helping to develop and assess security for the Mac and iOS operating systems and various components before their release to the public. His last stretch there as manager of a Red Team (red teams hack systems to expose and fix their vulnerabilities) began just after the FBI tried to force the tech giant to undermine security it had spent years developing for its phones to break into an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. But after realizing there's a limit to the privacy and surveillance issues technology companies can address, Callas decided to tackle the issues from the policy side, accepting a two-year position as senior technology fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union. Callas spoke to Motherboard about government backdoors, the need for tech expertise in policymaking, and what he considers the biggest challenge for the security industry.

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Slashdot Asks: Which Mobile Payment Service Is Best For You?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-fully-supported department:
Everyone has a smartphone these days, therefore everyone should have access to at least one mobile payment service -- Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. Personally, I've only used Apple Pay a handful of times because the vast majority of stores I visit don't support it. For me, the biggest problem with mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Google Pay isn't the potential security concerns or inconveniences (having to pull my phone out of my pocket or requiring the merchant to pull out an NFC reader while in a drive-thru) -- it's the lack of compatibility. I want to be able to leave my wallet at home and do all of my shopping with my phone, which is not possible due to the lack of support at most retailers. With that said, the support is improving. Today, Apple announced that Apple Pay is now available at 74 of the top 100 U.S. retailers. Quartz reports: Today (Jan. 22), Apple announced that it has also signed up Taco Bell and Target -- two years ago, Target said it had no plans to adopt Apple Pay -- meaning that 74 of the top 100 U.S. retailers by revenue now accept Apple's digital payment. The company added pharmacy chain CVS, along with 7-Eleven, late last year. They joined other major US retailers that include Best Buy, Starbucks, McDonald's, Walgreens, Costco, and Kohl's. (Some of the biggest holdouts: Walmart and Home Depot.) Do you use mobile payment services? Which service(s) do you use and why?

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Google Will Start Retiring Hangouts For G Suite Users In October
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mark-your-calendar department:
In a blog post, Google clarified the timeline of the transition from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet for its paying G Suite customers. "For them, the Hangouts retirement party will start in October of this year," reports TechCrunch. From the report: For consumers, the situation remains unclear, but Google says there will be free versions of Chat and Meet that will become available "following the transition of G Suite customers." As of now, there is no timeline, so for all we know, Hangouts will remain up and running into 2020. As for G Suite users, Google says it will start bringing more features from classic Hangouts to Chat between April and September. Those include integration with Gmail, the ability to talk to external users, improved video calling and making calls with Google Voice.

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US Will Seek Extradition of Huawei CFO From Canada
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's latest-development department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it will pursue the extradition of the chief financial officer of China's Huawei, arrested in Canada in December. The United States has accused Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou of misrepresenting the company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite U.S. sanctions. The arrest soured relations between Canada and China, with China subsequently detaining two Canadian citizens and sentencing a third to death. The United States must file a formal request for extradition by Jan. 30. Once a formal request is received, a Canadian court has 30 days to determine whether there is enough evidence to support extradition and the Canadian minister of justice must issue a formal order. Canada has not asked the United States to abandon its bid to have Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou extradited, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. "We will continue to pursue the extradition of defendant Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and will meet all deadlines set by the U.S./Canada Extradition Treaty," Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said in a statement. "We greatly appreciate Canada's continuing support of our mutual efforts to enforce the rule of law." Slashdot reader AmiMoJo shares a separate report from the BBC: The chairman of Chinese tech giant Huawei has warned his company could shift away from the U.S. and the U.K. if it continues to face restrictions. Huawei has been under scrutiny by Western governments, which fear its products could be used for spying. Speaking at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Mr Liang Hua said his firm might transfer technology to countries "where we are welcomed." Huawei makes smartphones but is also a world leader in telecoms infrastructure, in particular the next generation of mobile phone networks, known as 5G.

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'I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible.'
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Kashmir Hill, a reporter at Gizmodo, spent weeks trying to avoid and block Amazon -- and every service that is owned by Amazon or uses Amazon's web services (AWS). She went to great lengths such as getting her own custom-built VPN. Turns out, it is impossible to keep Amazon off your life. An excerpt from the report: Launched in 2006, AWS has taken over vast swaths of the internet. My VPN winds up blocking over 23 million IP addresses controlled by Amazon, resulting in various unexpected casualties, from Motherboard and Fortune to the U.S. Government Accountability Office's website. (Government agencies love AWS, which is likely why Amazon, soon to be a corporate Cerberus with three "headquarters," chose Arlington, Virginia, in the D.C. suburbs, as one of them.) Many of the smartphone apps I rely on also stop working during the block.

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Google Considering Pulling News Service From Europe
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Google is considering pulling its Google News service from Europe as regulators work toward a controversial copyright law. From a report: The European Union's Copyright Directive will give publishers the right to demand money from Alphabet, Facebook and other web platforms when fragments of their articles show up in news search results, or are shared by users. The law was supposed to be finalized this week but was delayed by disagreement among member states.

Google News might quit the continent in response to the directive, said Jennifer Bernal, Google's public policy manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The internet company has various options, and a decision to pull out would be based on a close reading of the rules and taken reluctantly, she said. "The council needs more time to reflect in order to reach a solid position" on the directive, said a representative of Romania, current head of the European Council, which represents the 28 member nations.

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Apple Releases macOS 10.14.3, iOS 12.1.3, watchOS 5.1.3, and tvOS 12.1.2
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
Apple today pushed software updates for a range of its computing platforms. They are all minor releases that simply offer a few bug fixes and security updates, with no new features -- and there are no new features in any of the beta releases for these versions of the operating systems, either. From a report: iOS 12.1.3 fixes a scrolling bug in Messages, an iPad Pro-specific audio bug, and a graphical error in some photos, and it addresses some CarPlay disconnects experienced by owners of the three new iPhone models released in late 2018. It also fixes two minor bugs related to the company's HomePod smart speaker.

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MasterCard Fined $648 Million for High EU Card Fees
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's functional-regulator department:
MasterCard was fined 570.6 million euros ($648 million) by the European Union for imposing rules that regulators said may have artificially raised the costs of card payments in the region. From a report: The European Commission said MasterCard unfairly prevented retailers from seeking cheaper rates from banks outside the EU country where they are based. MasterCard's curbs on cross-border acquiring ended when the EU introduced credit card legislation in 2015. The EU's probe started in 2013 and escalated with a statement of objections two years later. MasterCard last month set aside $650 million to cover the fine, less than a potential 1 billion euros it flagged as a possibility in 2017. The company got a 10 percent fine reduction for cooperating with the EU, regulators said.

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A Meteorite Hit the Moon During Total Lunar Eclipse
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 11:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Observers of Sunday's lunar eclipse were blessed with the first known sighting of a meteorite impact during such an event. From a report: The so-called "super wolf blood moon" was eagerly watched by millions of people around the world, mostly via live streaming video. During the eclipse, some people noticed a tiny flash, a brief yellow-white speck, popping up on the lunar surface during the online broadcasts. One Reddit user raised the possibility that this was a meteorite impact and others scoured eclipse footage for evidence of the event. A flash is visible in at least three different videos. Jose Maria Madiedo at the University of Huelva in Spain has confirmed that the impact is genuine. For years, he and his colleagues have been hoping to observe a meteorite impact on the moon during a lunar eclipse, but the brightness of these events can make that very difficult -- lunar meteorite impacts have been filmed before, but not during an eclipse. On this occasion, Madiedo doubled the number of telescopes trained on different parts of the moon -- from four to eight -- in the hope of seeing an impact. "I had a feeling, this time will be the time it will happen," says Madiedo.

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Microsoft Debuts New Low-Cost Laptops and 'Classroom Pen' For Schools
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 11:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's further-expansion department:
Microsoft is doubling down on the education market, a competitive arena for the world's largest tech giants, with a series of new low-cost laptops and tools to help students and teachers work together. From a report: At the BETT education conference in London Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled seven new laptops and two-in-one tablets made by partners like Lenovo, Dell and Acer and a new Microsoft Classroom Pen designed for the smaller hands of kids. Starting at $189, the low-cost devices are designed to stand up to tough treatment of being dragged around in a backpack everyday. The seven new devices showcased today are: Lenovo 100e -- priced from $189, Lenovo 300e (2-in-1) -- priced from $289, Lenovo 14w -- priced from $299, Acer TravelMate B1(B118-M) -- priced from $215, Acer TravelMate Spin B1 (B118-R/RN) -- priced from $299, Acer TravelMate B1-114 -- priced from $319, and Dell Latitude 3300 for Education -- priced from $299. The pen is priced at $40.

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How Companies Secretly Boost Their Glassdoor Ratings
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
From a report: Last summer, employees of Guaranteed Rate posted a stream of negative reviews about the mortgage broker on Glassdoor, a company-ratings website. The company's rating on Glassdoor, which is determined by employee feedback, fell to 2.6 stars out of 5. Concerned that negative reviews could hurt recruiting, Guaranteed Rate CEO Victor Ciardelli instructed his team to enlist employees likely to post positive reviews, said a person familiar with his instructions. In September and October these employees flooded Glassdoor with hundreds of five-star ratings. The company rating now sits at 4.1.

Glassdoor has become an important arbiter of employee sentiment in today's highly competitive job market. A Wall Street Journal investigation shows it can be manipulated by employers trying to sway opinion in their favor. An analysis of millions of anonymous reviews posted on Glassdoor's site identified more than 400 companies with unusually large single-month increases in reviews. During the vast majority of these surges, the ratings were disproportionately positive compared with the surrounding months, the Journal's analysis shows. Glassdoor's problem echoes the challenged faced by other online rating platforms, who are trying to ensure their rankings are real and maintain users' trust. Amazon.com, local-business site Yelp and hotel-and-restaurant site TripAdvisor have all had to fend off attempts to game reviews and ratings.

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Google Says Data is More Like Sunlight Than Oil
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 09:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Google wants to popularize a more upbeat way of describing data: It's more like sunlight than oil. From a report: Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday morning, Google's chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, said that "data is more like sunlight than oil," adding, "It is like sunshine -- we keep using it, and it keeps regenerating." It's a twist on the well-known phrase "data is the new oil," meaning the world's most valuable resource is information rather than petroleum. Like the oil barons who preceded them, Silicon Valley titans such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have risen quickly to profit from this new resource and even control its flow. And in another echo of history, regulators are eyeing the industry.

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MacBook Pro Stage Light Fault: Apple's Design Turns $6 Fix Into a $600 Nightmare
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Some MacBook Pro owners have complained of a 'stage light' effect, where they see uneven backlighting at the bottom of the display. For some, the symptom is only the first stage, with the backlight failing altogether. iFixit says that it has identified the cause -- and the way in which Apple changed the design of the Touch Bar generation for the MacBook Pro turns what would otherwise be a $6 fix into a $600 nightmare. The problem, says the company, is caused by Apple using much thinner ribbon cables instead of the thicker wires used in previous generation MacBook Pro models.

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Ubuntu Core 18 Released for IoT devices
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
Canonical today announced the release of Ubuntu Core 18 "for secure, reliable IoT devices." The Canonical blog notes that "Immutable, digitally signed snaps ensure that devices built with Ubuntu Core are resistant to corruption or tampering. Any component can be verified at any time." In addition, "The attack surface of Ubuntu Core has been minimized, with very few packages installed in the base OS, reducing the size and frequency of security updates and providing more storage for applications and data." Ubuntu Core also "enables a new class of app-centric things, which can inherit apps from the broader Ubuntu and Snapcraft ecosystems or build unique and exclusive applications that are specific to a brand or model." You can download it from here.

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Why Your New Heart Could Be Made in Space One Day
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Imagine a laboratory growing human hearts - and imagine that laboratory floating in space hundreds of miles above the surface of the Earth. That may sound like science fiction, but bizarre as it seems, it could bring new hope for transplant patients within the next decade. From a report: While about 7,600 heart transplants were carried out around the world in 2017, there's a desperate shortage of organs, with thousands of people on waiting lists dying every year. Efforts to grow human hearts in the lab are showing promise, but are hampered by the need for the organs to grow around a "scaffolding" to make sure they don't collapse during the process. Reliably removing the scaffolding once the heart is complete is proving to be a challenge.

Space tech company Techshot believes zero gravity could be the answer. The International Space Station (ISS) is in constant freefall around the planet, meaning that anything inside experiences effective weightlessness, known technically as microgravity. This means organs could be grown without the need for any scaffolding, believes Rich Boling, the firm's vice-president of corporate advancement. One day hearts could be grown commercially for transplant, Techshot believes. [...] Developed in partnership with Nasa, Techshot's BioFabrication Facility (BFF) is a microwave oven-sized device that uses 3D printing techniques to create patches for heart repairs using a patient's own stem cells.

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Facebook Appears To Be Quietly Building Laser Satellites For Global Communications
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
The snow-dusted peak of Mount Wilson in California has been home to many famous observatories. Until 1949, its 100-inch (2.5-meter) Hooker telescope was the largest aperture telescope in the world, and in 2004, its CHARA array became the world's largest optical interferometer. Now, two new observatories are being built there that, while not focused on the stars, might prove equally historic. They could house Facebook's first laser communications systems designed to connect to satellites in orbit. IEEE Spectrum reports: Construction permits issued by the County of Los Angeles show that a small company called PointView Tech is building two detached observatories on the mountain peak. PointView is the company that IEEE Spectrum revealed last year to be a previously unknown subsidiary of Facebook working on an experimental satellite called Athena. In April, PointView sought permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to test whether E-band radio signals could "be used for the provision of fixed and mobile broadband access in unserved and underserved areas."

< article continued at Slashdot's closer-look department >

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Android Q Will Include More Ways For Carriers To SIM Lock Your Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '19 at 05:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-not-all-rainbows-and-butterflies department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from 9to5Google: Over the weekend, four commits were posted to various parts of Android's Gerrit source code management, all entitled "Carrier restriction enhancements for Android Q." In them, we see that network carriers will have more fine-grained control over which networks devices will and will not work on. More specifically, it will be possible to designate a list of "allowed" and "excluded" carriers, essentially a whitelist and a blacklist of what will and won't work on a particular phone. This can be done with a fine-grained detail to even allow blocking virtual carrier networks that run on the same towers as your main carrier.

Restriction changes are also on the way for dual-SIM devices. At the moment, carriers can set individual restrictions for each SIM slot, but with Android Q, carriers will be able to lock out the second slot unless there's an approved SIM card in the first slot. This SIM lock restriction is applied immediately and will persist through restarting the phone, and even doing a factory reset. Thankfully, in both cases, emergency phone calls will still work as expected, regardless of any restrictions on the particular SIM cards in your phone.

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