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BitTorrent Live's 'Cable Killer' P2P Video App Finally Hits iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-late-than-never department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: BitTorrent has now done for live video what it did for file downloads: invented peer-to-peer technology that moves the burden of data transfer from a centralized source to the crowd. Instead of cables and satellites, BitTorrent piggybacks on the internet bandwidth of its users. Since P2P live streaming is so much cheaper than traditional ways to deliver live content, BitTorrent could pay channel owners more for distribution per viewer. And BitTorrent can offer that content to viewers for free or much cheaper than a cable subscription. The transfer technology and the app that aggregates these channels are both called BitTorrent Live. Now, almost a year after the protocol's debut on smart TVs, and six months after it was supposed to arrive on iPhone, the BitTorrent Live app quietly became available on iOS this week. Until now it's only existed on Mac, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV -- much less popular platforms. And that's after being in development since 2009. The app features 15 channels, including NASA TV, France One, QVC Home and TWiT (This Week In Tech) that you can watch live. The latency is roughly 10 seconds, which could be faster than terrestrial cable, as well as systems like Sling TV that can delay content more than a minute. The problem right now is that BitTorrent Live has a pretty lackluster channel selection. It's still working on striking deals with more name-brand channels. It could offer some for pay-per-view, but cheaper than the same content on traditional TV due to the reduced broadcasting costs.

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Dutch Market Regulator Bans T-Mobile's 'Free' Streaming Music Service
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department:
The Dutch Consumer and Markets regulator ordered T-Mobile to shut down its zero-rated music streaming service because it violates the country's net neutrality rules. T-Mobile launched the Music Freedom service in October, allowing customers to stream music on their mobile devices without it impacting their data plans. Reuters reports: The AFM said the practice, often called "zero rating" is a violation of Dutch net neutrality rules, because it puts rival services such as Spotify at a competitive disadvantage. Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile Netherlands, which had introduced the product on Oct. 10, must stop offering it or face penalty of 50,000 euros ($52,000) per day, the AFM said. Zero rating is shaping up as one of the major battlegrounds for European telecommunications companies as they seek ways to attract customers. The Dutch net neutrality law unambiguously forbids the practice, but European Union rules are less clear.

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Mozilla Will Support Firefox For XP and Vista Until At Least September 2017
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's expiration-date department:
Krystalo writes: Mozilla today announced that it will continue to support Firefox for Windows XP and Windows Vista until September 2017. In March 2017, XP and Vista users will automatically be moved to the Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) and in mid-2017 the company will reassess user numbers to announce a final support end date for the two operating systems. Firefox ESR is a version designed for schools, universities, businesses, and others who need help with mass deployments. Firefox ESR releases are maintained for one year. This means Mozilla will provide regular Firefox security patches for XP and Vista users for nine more months. After that, it may continue for a few more months, but eventually the browser won't get new versions on those operating systems. Mozilla correctly notes that "unsupported operating systems receive no security updates, have known exploits, and are dangerous for you to use." The company also tells enterprises that September 2017 should be considered the support end date for planning purposes and "strongly recommends" that all users "upgrade to a version of Windows that is supported by Microsoft."

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YouTube Views Are Down Across the Board, Analysis Says
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 03:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's downward-spiral department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Kotaku: For months, YouTubers have complained that their view counts are down. New data from the third-party stat tracker SocialBlade confirms what YouTubers fear: viewership is lower across the board. SocialBlade crunched some numbers for Kotaku and determined that, since the first half of the year, YouTube views are now 5-7% lower. Between July and September, that decrease was 10%. It's pretty significant. Why YouTube views have gone down is unclear, but some good theories are floating around. SocialBlade Community Manager Danny Fratella pointed to two potential causes: view audits and altered video-promoting algorithms. During view audits, YouTubers don't actually lose views. YouTube is removing botted or invalid playbacks from the view count. This happens all at once in a sort of purge -- something YouTube has explained publicly. But now that YouTubers have tools like SocialBlade to more rigorously moderate their data, they may be noticing these purges more, Fratella suggested. He added that SocialBlade doesn't see view counts purged as often as subscriber counts -- the main complaint going around YouTube communities. Although YouTubers have widely complained that fans are now randomly unsubscribed from their channels, YouTube and SocialBlade both told me that they've noticed nothing out of the ordinary in subscription data. YouTube's video-promoting algorithm may also play a role in an apparent decreased viewership. What videos the platform draws more eyes to reflects their philosophy on what videos should go viral.

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Nintendo Plans To Release 2 or 3 Mobile Games a Year After Super Mario Run's Success
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 03:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
In an interview with Japan-based Kyoto NP, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima revealed that Super Mario Run is just the start of a new strategy for mobile gaming. From an article on MacWorld: The company plans to release two or three new games next year, and continue that pattern beyond 2017, he said. Previously it was reported that popular titles Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing were on tap for a mobile release. Kimishima offered no information on whether future games will release simultaneously in the App Store and Play Store, but Nintendo has already said it is working on bringing Super Mario Run to Android phones. The iPhone-exclusive side-runner has amassed some 50 million downloads in its first week, making it the fastest-downloaded app in Apple's history. However, the game's $10 price tag and relatively simple formula has riled some users, and despite its popularity, it only has a 2-star rating in the App Store.

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US Government Begins Asking Foreign Travelers About Social Media
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's and-so-it-begins department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Politico: Since Tuesday, foreign travelers arriving in the United States on the visa waiver program have been presented with an "optional" request to "enter information associated with your online presence," a government official confirmed Thursday. The prompt includes a drop-down menu that lists platforms including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, as well as a space for users to input their account names on those sites. The new policy comes as Washington tries to improve its ability to spot and deny entry to individuals who have ties to terrorist groups like the Islamic State. But the government has faced a barrage of criticism since it first floated the idea last summer. The Internet Association, which represents companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter, at the time joined with consumer advocates to argue the draft policy threatened free expression and posed new privacy and security risks to foreigners. Now that it is final, those opponents are furious the Obama administration ignored their concerns. The question itself is included in what's known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, a process that certain foreign travelers must complete to come to the United States. ESTA and a related paper form specifically apply to those arriving here through the visa-waiver program, which allows citizens of 38 countries to travel and stay in the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. "There are very few rules about how that information is being collected, maintained [and] disseminated to other agencies, and there are no guidelines about limiting the government's use of that information," said Michael W. Macleod-Ball, chief of staff for the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office. "While the government certainly has a right to collect some information... It would be nice if they would focus on the privacy concerns some advocacy groups have long expressed."

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FBI Probes FDIC Hack Linked To China's Military: Reuters
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's trip-down-memory-lane department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The FBI is investigating how hackers infiltrated computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for several years beginning in 2010 in a breach senior FDIC officials believe was sponsored by China's military, people with knowledge of the matter said. The security breach, in which hackers gained access to dozens of computers including the workstation for former FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, has also been the target of a probe by a congressional committee. The FDIC is one of three federal agencies that regulate commercial banks in the United States. It oversees confidential plans for how big banks would handle bankruptcy and has access to records on millions of individual American deposits. Last month, the banking regulator allowed congressional staff to view internal communications between senior FDIC officials related to the hacking, two people who took part in the review said. In the exchanges, the officials referred to the attacks as having been carried out by Chinese military-sponsored hackers, they said. The staff was not allowed to keep copies of the exchanges, which did not explain why the FDIC officials believe the Chinese military was behind the breach. After FDIC staff discovered the hack in 2010, it persisted into the next year and possibly later, with staff working at least through 2012 to verify the hackers were expunged, according to a 2013 internal probe conducted by the FDIC's inspector general, an internal watchdog. The intrusion is part of series of cybersecurity lapses at the FDIC in recent years that continued even after the hack suspected to be linked to Beijing. This year, the FDIC has reported to Congress at least seven cybersecurity incidents it considered to be major which occurred in 2015 or 2016.

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NVIDIA Quadro P6000 and P5000 Pascal Pro Graphics Powerhouses Put To the Test
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's gpu-news department:
Reader MojoKid writes: NVIDIA's Pascal architecture has been wildly successful in the consumer space. The various GPUs that power the GeForce GTX 10 series are all highly competitive at their respective price points, and the higher-end variants are currently unmatched by any single competing GPU. NVIDIA has since retooled Pascal for the professional workstation market as well, with products that make even the GeForce GTX 1080 and TITAN X look quaint in comparison. NVIDIA's beastly Quadro P6000 and Quadro P5000 are Pascal powered behemoths, packing up to 24GB of GDDR5X memory and GPUs that are more capable than their consumer-targeted counterparts. Though it is built around the same GP102 GPU, the Quadro P6000 is particularly interesting, because it is outfitted with a fully-functional Pascal GPU with all of its SMs enabled, which results in 3,840 active cores, versus 3,584 on the TITAN X. The P5000 has the same GP104 GPU as the GTX 1080, but packs in twice the amount of memory -- 8GB vs 16GB. In the benchmarks, with cryptographic workloads and pro-workstation targeted graphics tests, the Quadro P6000 and Quadro P5000 are dominant across the board. The P6000 significantly outpaced the previous-generation Maxwell-based Quadro M6000 throughout testing, and the P5000 managed to outpace the M6000 on a few occasions as well. Of particular note is that the Quadro P6000 and P5000, while offering better performance than NVIDIA's previous-gen, high-end professional graphics cards, do it in much lower power envelopes, and they're quieter too. In a couple of quick gaming benchmarks, the P6000 may give us a hint at what NVIDIA has in store for the rumored GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, with all CUDA cores enabled in its GP102 GPU and performance over 10% faster than a Titan X.

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Russian Authorities Are Trying To Unlock iPhone 4S From Russian Ambassador's Killer
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's moral-dilemma department:
The off-duty police officer who killed the Russian ambassador in Turkey was shot by Turkish special forces minutes after the crime. He had an iPhone 4S on him, and now, Haberturk, Turkish authorities asked for Russia's help to unlock the iPhone. From a report: Given that it's an iPhone 4S and it has a 4-digit passcode, it should be quite easy to unlock the device. There are many solutions out there to do this and authorities don't even need to ask for Apple's help. The iPhone 4S is quite old now and it was a much less secure device. First, the iPhone 4S runs iOS 5 to iOS 9, but many iPhone 4S owners didn't update to recent iOS versions. If the device runs iOS 7 or earlier, getting the content of the device is a piece of cake. The content of the device isn't encrypted as Apple started encrypting all data with iOS 8. Authorities can access this data quite easily. Second, if the iPhone is running iOS 8, remember that the iPhone 4S didn't have a Secure Enclave and Touch ID sensor. The Secure Enclave is a coprocessor that utilizes a secure boot process to make sure that it's uncompromized. It has a secret unique ID not accessible by the rest of the phone, Apple or anyone -- it's like a private key. The phone generates ephemeral keys (think public keys) to talk with the Secure Enclave. They only work with the unique ID to encrypt and decrypt the data on the coprocessor.

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Ebola Vaccine Gives 100 Percent Protection, Could Be Readily Available By 2018
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's major-milestone department:
According to a study published in the Lancet medical journal on Thursday, an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus was found to be 100 percent effective. The results offer hope of better protection against the disease that ravaged West Africa in 2014, killing more than 11,000 people. From a report on BBC: A highly effective vaccine that guards against the deadly Ebola virus could be available by 2018, says the World Health Organization. Trials conducted in Guinea, one of the West African countries most affected by an outbreak of Ebola that ended this year, show it offers 100% protection. The vaccine is now being fast-tracked for regulatory approval. Manufacturer Merck has made 300,000 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine available for use should Ebola strike.
GAVI, the global vaccine alliance, provided $5m for the stockpile.
Results, published in The Lancet medical journal, show of nearly 6,000 people receiving the vaccine, all were free of the virus 10 days later. In a group of the same size not vaccinated, 23 later developed Ebola. Only one person who was vaccinated had a serious side effect that the researchers think was caused by the jab.

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IBM On Track To Get More Than 7,000 US Patents In 2016
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's patent-quest department:
IBM wants to put the patent war in perspective. Big Blue said that it is poised to get the most U.S. patents of any tech company for the 24th year in a row. From a report on VentureBeat: In 2015, IBM received more than 7,355 patents, down slightly from 7,534 in 2014. A spokesperson for IBM said the company is on track to receive well over 7,000 patents in 2016. In 2016, IBM is also hitting another interesting milestone, with more than 1,000 patents for artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. IBM has been at it for more than a century, and it is seeking patents in key strategic areas -- such as AI and cognitive computing. In fact, one-third of IBM's researchers are dedicated to cognitive computing. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said during the World of Watson conference in October that the company expects to reach more than 1 billion consumers via Watson by the end of 2017. (Watson is the supercomputer that beat the world's best Jeopardy player in 2011.)

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Google and Amazon Will Let You Rent a Movie for $0.99 During the Holiday
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 10:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's movie-time department:
Holidays are the time when many of us get some extra time to catch up on all the good movies and TV shows that our friends wanted us to watch, but we never did. To make things enticing for people, Amazon and Google are prepping for lowering the rent this holiday season. From a report on Fortune: Google and Amazon -- which have been jostling to compete with Netflix in video streaming -- have announced a new online promotion for the holidays. Google Play will allow viewers to select any movie available on the streaming service to rent for $0.99. Amazon Video will allow viewers the same using the promo code "MOVIE99." The catch: Users can only get one movie per account. Both services offer an extensive list of titles, including this year's Suicide Squad, Bridge Jones's Baby, and Finding Dory among others.

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Amazon Starts Flexing Muscle in New Space
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 10:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's expanding-horizon department:
A cargo plane emblazoned with "Prime Air" descended from an empty sky at Lehigh Valley International Airport on Tuesday, ninety minutes from the bustle of New York City, loaded with crates of goods during the peak holiday shopping season. From a report on Reuters: It's one of 40 jets leased by Amazon.com Inc for a new cargo service to meet delivery demand from the retail giant's customers. Exclusive payload data reviewed by Reuters and interviews with airport officials around the country show that Prime Air planes are flying nearly full, but with lightweight loads, taking away valued business from FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service Inc. Expanding into transportation, from trucks to planes, is one of Amazon's most important endeavors as it strives to lure new customers with fast shipping while keeping costs under control. The world's largest online retailer is sending more packages, more often, and later in the day to serve its estimated 35 million to more than 50 million U.S. members of Amazon Prime, a service that promises two-day shipping for $99 per year.

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Steam Is Down
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 10:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's outage-report department:
An anonymous reader writes: The entire Steam domain seems to be down for everyone. The websites and Steam clients won't connect. No word from Steam on Twitter or Reddit about the outage. The status page of Steam as well as third-party monitoring sites have confirmed the outage. A tweet from an unofficial Steam Status page says, "100% of #Steam connection manager servers are still down."

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US Government Targets Pirate Bay and Other 'Piracy Havens'
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 09:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's steering-clear department:
The US Government has listed some of the largest piracy websites and other copyright-infringing venues. The USTR calls on foreign countries to take action against popular piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay, which has important "symbolic value," according to the authorities. In addition, stream-ripping is mentioned as an emerging threat. TorrentFreak adds: The overview is largely based on input from industry groups including the RIAA and MPAA, who submitted their recommendations a few weeks ago. While the USTR admits that the list is not meant to reflect legal violations, the goal of the review is to motivate owners and foreign Governments to take appropriate action and reduce piracy. "The United States encourages all responsible authorities to intensify efforts to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and to use the information contained in the Notorious Markets List to pursue legal actions where appropriate," the USTR announced.

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Uber Lawsuit Alleges Employees Were Misled On Equity Compensation
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 09:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's seeking-clarification department:
An Uber employee has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of misleading employees about their equity compensation. Uber "devised a fraudulent scheme to recruit highly sought software engineers," according to the case. From a report on TechCrunch: The lawsuit claims that Uber promised a more tax favorable type of options at the time employees were hired and then later changed the plan. The case alleges that at least 100 others on the Uber staff may have been impacted and that these stock options can potentially be worth "hundreds of millions of dollars" to employees and also save Uber "millions of dollars of tax deductions." The plaintiff, Lenza McElrath, who was previously a lawyer and is now an engineer at Uber, says that he was under the impression that all his shares could be treated as ISOs, which do not require an upfront tax bill. He said he was later given a notice about a change to the exercisability schedule, that effectively turned most of his shares into NSOs, which are taxed at the time they are exercised. While many startups allow their shares to become exercisable over the course of a four-year vesting agreement, Uber has share agreements that become exercisable after just six months. In other words, Uber employees can buy the stock they are entitled to shortly after they gain employment.

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Microsoft Exec Admits They 'Went Too Far' With Aggressive Windows 10 Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's aggressive-updates department:
It's no secret that Microsoft has been aggressively pushing Windows 10 to users. Over the past year and a half, we have seen users complain about Windows 10 automatically getting downloaded to their computer, and in some cases, getting installed on its own as well. The automatic download irked many users who were on limited or slow data plans, or didn't want to spend gigabytes of data on Windows 10. A company executive has admitted for the first time that they may have went overboard with Windows 10 updates. From a report on Softpedia: Chris Capossela, Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, said in the latest edition of the Windows Weekly that this was the moment when the company indeed went too far, pointing out that the two weeks between the moment when users started complaining about the unexpected behavior and the one when a patch was released were "very painful." "We know we want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective, but finding the right balance where you're not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried and for a lot of the year I think we got it right, but there was one particular moment in particular where, you know, the red X in the dialog box which typically means you cancel didn't mean cancel," he said. "And within a couple of hours of that hitting the world, with the listening systems we have we knew that we had gone too far and then, of course, it takes some time to roll out the update that changes that behavior. And those two weeks were pretty painful and clearly a lowlight for us. We learned a lot from it obviously."

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Steam Fined $3 Million For Refusing Refunds
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's fine-time department:
Gaming company Valve Corporation has been hit with a $3 million fine after the Federal Court found its online games site Steam breached Australian Consumer Laws. From a report: The court imposed the maximum fine requested by Australia's competition regulator because of Valve's disregard for Australian law and lack of contrition. Valve's general counsel, Karl Quackenbush, told the court the company did not obtain legal advice when it set up in Australia, and did not check its obligations until the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission got involved in April 2014. It only provided staff verbal instructions. This lack of interest in Australian laws and lack of cooperation encouraged Justice James Edelman to impose a pentaly 12 times more than Valve Corporation suggested it pay.

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UK Hits Clean Energy Milestone: 50% of Electricity From Low Carbon Sources
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 06:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's super-milestones department:
Half of the UK's electricity came from wind turbines, solar panels, wood burning and nuclear reactors between July and September, in a milestone first. From a report on The Guardian: Official figures published on Thursday show low carbon power, which has been supported by the government to meet climate change targets, accounted for 50% of electricity generation in the UK in the third quarter, up from 45.3% the year before. The rise was largely driven by new windfarms and solar farms being connected to the grid, and several major coal power stations closing.

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Leaked Files Reveal Scope of Cellebrite's Smartphone-Cracking Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on December 23 '16 at 06:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Earlier this year, we were sent a series of large, encrypted files purportedly belonging to a U.S. police department as a result of a leak at a law firm, which was insecurely synchronizing its backup systems across the internet without a password. Among the files was a series of phone dumps created by the police department with specialist equipment, which was created by Cellebrite, an Israeli firm that provides phone-cracking technology. We obtained a number of these so-called extraction reports. One of the more interesting reports by far was from an iPhone 5 running iOS 8. The phone's owner didn't use a passcode, meaning the phone was entirely unencrypted. The phone was plugged into a Cellebrite UFED device, which in this case was a dedicated computer in the police department. The police officer carried out a logical extraction, which downloads what's in the phone's memory at the time. (Motherboard has more on how Cellebrite's extraction process works.) In some cases, it also contained data the user had recently deleted. To our knowledge, there are a few sample reports out there floating on the web, but it's rare to see a real-world example of how much data can be siphoned off from a fairly modern device. We're publishing some snippets from the report, with sensitive or identifiable information redacted.

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