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Surpassing Windows 7's Market Share For the First Time, Windows 10 Now the Most Popular Desktop OS From Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 09:14 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's where-we-are department:
Two and a half years after the company made it available to the general public, Windows 10 is now the most popular operating system from Microsoft, according to analytics firm StatCounter. From a report: Every month, StatCounter reports on the state of the desktop operating system market. Since October last year, the analyst company's figures have shown the gap between Windows 10 and Windows 7 narrowing. It looked as if the newer OS would overtake the older one in November, but that didn't happen, and it didn't happen in December either. However, in January, according to StatCounter, Windows 10 finally claimed the top spot. The latest figures show Windows 10 on 42.78 percent, up from 41.69 percent in December 2017. That's an increase of 1.09 percentage points.

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Hoping That Sucking CO2 From the Air Will Fix the Climate? Good Luck
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 07:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
From a study published on Thursday by scientists on the European Academies Science Advisory Council: Senior scientists from across Europe have evaluated the potential contribution of negative emission technologies (NETs) to allow humanity to meet the Paris Agreement's targets of avoiding dangerous climate change. They find that NETs have "limited realistic potential" to halt increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at the scale envisioned in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios. This new report finds that none of the NETs has the potential to deliver carbon removals at the gigaton (Gt) scale and at the rate of deployment envisaged by the IPCC, including reforestation, afforestation, carbon-friendly agriculture, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCs), enhanced weathering, ocean fertilisation, or direct air capture and carbon storage (DACCs).

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Messaging App Telegram Pulled From Apple's App Store Due To 'Inappropriate Content'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 07:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple has removed Telegram's official app from its iOS App Store. The app disappeared yesterday, shortly after Telegram launched a rewritten Telegram X app for Android. Telegram X is currently in testing on iOS, and it was also removed from the App Store. "We were alerted by Apple that inappropriate content was made available to our users and both apps were taken off the App Store," says Telegram CEO Pavel Durov. "Once we have protections in place we expect the apps to be back on the App Store."

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India Vows To Eliminate Use of Cryptocurrencies in the Country
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 06:37 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-luck department:
India will move to stamp out use of cryptocurrencies, which it considers illegal, country's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, launching a no-holds-barred attack on virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. From a report: Governments around the world are grappling with how to regulate cryptocurrency trading, and policymakers are expected to discuss the matter at a G20 summit in Argentina in March. "The government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system," Jaitley told parliament in his annual budget speech. However, the minister said, the government would explore use of block chain technology proactively to speed the move toward a digital economy. Jaitley's announcement could trigger "panic selling" in cryptocurrencies in India, said Amit Maheshwari, partner at tax consultants Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP.

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Twitter Notifies 1.4 Million Users of Interaction With Russian Accounts
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 05:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's heads-up department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: At least 1.4 million people on Twitter engaged with content created by Russian trolls during the 2016 presidential election, the company revealed on Wednesday. That's more than double the amount that Twitter initially identified -- and perhaps still just a fraction of the full universe of users who may have witnessed Kremlin propaganda over that period. In announcing the new data in a blog post, Twitter also said it had notified all 1.4 million affected users that they saw election disinformation. That fulfilled a pledge that the company previously made to members of Congress who are investigating Russia's tactics on social media. Notified users included those that followed one of the roughly 3,000 accounts belonging to the Internet Research Agency, the troll army tied to the Russian government, as well as users who retweeted, replied, liked or mentioned those IRA accounts in their tweets. But Twitter did not alert users who merely saw Russian troll tweets in their feeds but did not interact with the content. Nor did it reach out to users who saw tweets from the roughly 50,000 Russian bots that tweeted election-related content around November 2016.

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Microsoft's Cloud Bet Continues To Pay Off In Latest Earnings
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 02:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's slow-and-steady department:
In its 2018 financial results, Microsoft reported revenue of $28.9 billion and net income of $7.5 billion. "Revenue has jumped 12 percent year-over-year during the holiday quarter, and the trend of Microsoft's success with the cloud has continued," reports The Verge. "This time around, Azure revenue has increased by a massive 98 percent." From the report: Overall server and cloud services revenue grew 18 percent year-over-year, alongside the massive 98 percent jump in Azure revenue. It's clear Microsoft's future growth and revenue opportunities are with the cloud, so it's no surprise to see the company continually investing there to be competitive with Amazon. Microsoft's Office 365 subscription bet for consumers is also paying off. 29.2 million people are now using Office 365 on the consumer side, with revenue increasing 12 percent year-over-year for Office consumer and cloud. On the commercial side, Office revenue is also up at a 10 percent increase since the same period last year.

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NASA Poised To Topple a Planet-Finding Barrier
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 11:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
schwit1 shares a report from NextBigFuture.com: Babak Saif and Lee Feinberg at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, have shown for the first time that they can dynamically detect subatomic- or picometer-sized distortions -- changes that are far smaller than an atom -- across a five-foot segmented telescope mirror and its support structure. Collaborating with Perry Greenfield at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the team now plans to use a next-generation tool and thermal test chamber to further refine their measurements. The measurement feat is good news to scientists studying future missions for finding and characterizing extrasolar Earth-like planets that potentially could support life. To find life, these observatories would have to gather and focus enough light to distinguish the planet's light from that of its much brighter parent star and then be able to dissect that light to discern different atmospheric chemical signatures, such as oxygen and methane. This would require a super-stable observatory whose optical components move or distort no more than 12 picometers, a measurement that is about one-tenth the size of a hydrogen atom.

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Tinder Must Stop Charging Its Older Users More For 'Plus' Features, Court Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 07:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's swipe-left-and-reverse department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The online dating service Tinder must change one of its key monetization strategies. A Los Angeles appellate court reversed a lower court's decision on Monday and told Tinder to stop charging older users more money per month for its "Tinder Plus" service. The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed by Tinder user Allan Candelore in February 2016, alleged that Tinder engaged in illegal age discrimination by charging its 30-and-older users $19.99 per month for Tinder Plus while offering younger users either $9.99 or $14.99 monthly subscription rates for the same services. Tinder Plus includes app perks such as additional "super-likes" which are more likely to attract a dater's response. In an initial trial, Tinder's defense argued that the pricing was based on market testing that showed a market-driven reason to offer lower prices to "budget constrained" users.

"Nothing in the [original] complaint suggests there is a strong public policy that justifies the alleged discriminatory pricing," Judge Brian Currey wrote in the appeal court's 3-0 ruling. "Accordingly, we swipe left" -- a joke based on the app's popular "swipe to reject" gesture -- and reverse." That reversal hinges largely on California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which was passed in 1959 and protects "equal access to public accommodations and prohibits discrimination by business establishments." The ruling noted that some business-led discrimination is allowed by California state law, but it agreed with Candelore's argument that Tinder's age-targeted pricing is not.

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Google Fiber's Wireless Internet Service Is Leaving Boston
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 06:35 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bad-connection department:
Webpass, the wireless home broadband company that Google Fiber acquired in 2016, is exiting the Boston market. The Verge received a reader tip on the situation and a quick look around revealed that Boston is no longer listed as a current Webpass market on the company's website. From the report: "As with any acquisition, we've spent some time evaluating the Webpass business. As a result of our analysis, we've made the decision to wind down Webpass operations in Boston," an Access spokesperson said by email. "We'll work with customers and partners to minimize disruption, and there will be no immediate impacts to their Webpass service. We continue to see strong subscriber response across the rest of the Webpass portfolio, including successful launches in Denver and Seattle in 2017."

Before this move, Boston was one of 8 cities served by Webpass, which delivers up-to-gigabit internet speeds for residential and commercial buildings by using point to point wireless. That number has dropped to 7, and old Google search results for Webpass service in Massachusetts now redirect to the main homepage. Webpass internet service is available exclusively in apartment units and condo buildings. It originally came to Boston in 2015 and the company has (or at least had) an office in the city.

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Nintendo Switch Outsells Wii U In 10 Months
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 05:14 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's selling-like-hotcakes department:
In less than a year, the Nintendo Switch has earned the designation of the fastest-selling U.S. console of all time. It has outsold the company's previous flagship Wii U just 10 months after its introduction. "Altogether, Nintendo has sold more than 14.86 million Switch units since its debut in March of 2017," reports Variety. "The company sold around 12.5 million Wii U's between 2012 and 2017." From the report: For Nintendo, this is a remarkable turn-around reminiscent of the introduction of the original Wii back in 2006. In fact, earlier this month, news broke that the Switch had become the fastest-selling game console in the U.S. to date, handily outselling original Wii with 4.8 million vs. 4 million units moved over a ten-month span after each device's introduction to U.S. consumers. Nintendo sold 7.23 million Switch units during the holiday quarter alone. The company adjusted its financial guidance for Q1 in light of continued demand for the device upwards by 33%, and now expects to bring in an operating profit of 160 billion yen ($1.47 billion), as well as revenue of around 1 trillion yen ($9.38 billion).

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Xerox Cedes Control To Fujifilm, Ending Its Independence
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 05:14 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
mikeebbbd writes: According to Bloomberg, "Xerox, a once-iconic American innovator that became synonymous with office copy machines, is ceding control to Japan's Fujifilm in a deal that creates an $18 billion company." Essentially, it's merging with Fujifilm; a former joint venture operating in the Asian-Pacific area essentially will become the parent company... So much for the company that actually invented the modern graphical user interface later popularized by Apple and Microsoft. "The agreement marks the end of independence for a U.S. company whose roots trace back to the start of the 20th century," reports Bloomberg. "The joint venture will cut 10,000 jobs in Asia as part of the restructuring as the Japanese company struggles with an 'increasingly severe' market environment." While the new company will have a combined revenue of $18 billion, Xerox was acquired by Fujifilm for $6.1 billion.

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White House Seeks 72 Percent Cut To Clean Energy Research
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 03:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's slice-and-dice department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: The Trump administration has made it very clear that it is pro fossil fuels and has little interest in pushing programs the promote renewable energy. Now, the Washington Post reports that the president's proposed 2019 budget slashes funds for Energy Department programs focused on energy efficiency. While the proposal is just a jumping off point, the fact that it seeks to cut such funding by 72 percent underscores where the administration's interests lie and in which direction its policies will continue to go. The draft budget documents viewed by Washington Post staff showed that the president is looking to cut the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) budget to $575.5 million, down from the current $2.04 billion level. Included in the budget cuts are funds for programs researching fuel efficient vehicles, bioenergy technologies, solar energy technology and electric car technologies. Additionally, the draft budget proposal seeks to cut jobs, dropping staff levels from 680 down to 450. One EERE employee told the Washington Post, "It shows that we've made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped." The report notes that the Energy Department had requested less extreme spending cuts, but the Office of Management and Budget pushed for the more substantial ones found in the draft proposal. It's also worth noting that the proposal could still be changed before being released in February.

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SpaceX Successfully Launches Satellite Into Orbit On a Used Falcon 9 Rocket
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 03:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's another-one-for-the-record-books department:
Darrell Etherington reports via TechCrunch: SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket loaded with a geocommunications satellite commissioned by the Government of Luxembourg. The satellite, created by Orbital STK and to be operated by SES, will support humanitarian and military operations for Luxembourg, among other communications functions. The rocket took off from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, a day after its initial planned launch. The original window wasn't viable due to weather, but the rocket launched as planned at the opening of its backup date with favorable weather conditions today. This launch today didn't include a recovery attempt of the Falcon 9 first stage booster used during the launch. The booster used was a reflown rocket, however, having been used May last year during a mission for a different client.

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GDC Rescinds Award For Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell After Criticisms of Sexually Inappropriate Behavior
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 03:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's present-tense department:
The organizers of the Game Developers Choice Awards announced today that they have rescinded the Pioneer Award for Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, and announced the award will not be given this year entirely. "The decision follows a day of outcry after GDC organizers announced that Bushnell, 74, had been tapped for the GDCA's lifetime achievement honor," reports Polygon. "News accounts and histories over the past several years have documented a history of workplace misconduct and sexist behavior toward women by Bushnell, during Atari's early days." From the report: In a statement this morning, GDC said its awards committee "made the decision not to give out a Pioneer Award for this year's event, following additional feedback from the community. They believe their picks should reflect the values of today's game industry and will dedicate this year's award to honor the pioneering and unheard voices of the past." The Pioneer Award is for "individuals who developed a breakthrough technology, game concept, or gameplay design at a crucial juncture in video game history," according to its official site. Nine have been conferred since 2008, none of them women. Bushnell founded Atari in 1972 and installed the first coin-operated video game, Pong, shortly thereafter. He presided over the company's rise to dominate the early generation of home console gaming before selling it off and founding what is today the Chuck E. Cheese line of restaurants. Bushnell issued a statement on Twitter: "I applaud the GDC for ensuring that their institution reflects what is right, specifically with regards to how people should be treated in the workplace. And if that means an award is the price I have to pay personally so the whole industry may be more aware and sensitive to these issues, I applaud that, too. If my personal actions or the actions of anyone who ever worked with me offended or caused pain to anyone at our companies, then I apologize without reservation."

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Ford Patents Driverless Police Car That Ambushes Lawbreakers Using AI
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 02:34 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's robo-cop department:
Ford has developed a patent for a police car that issues tickets without even pulling you over. The same car could also use artificial intelligence to find good hiding spots to catch traffic violators (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) and identify drivers by scanning license plates, tapping into surveillance cameras and wirelessly accessing government records. The Washington Post reports: The details may sound far-fetched, as if they belong in the science-fiction action flick "Demolition Man" or a new dystopian novel inspired by Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," but these scenarios are grounded in a potential reality. They come from a patent developed by Ford and being reviewed by the U.S. government to create autonomous police cars. Ford's patent application was published this month. Although experts claim autonomous vehicles will make driving safer and more rule-bound, Ford argues in its application that in the future, traffic violations will never disappear entirely. "While autonomous vehicles can and will be programmed to obey traffic laws, a human driver can override that programming to control and operate the vehicle at any time," the patent's application says. "When a vehicle is under the control of a human driver there is a possibility of violation of traffic laws. Thus, there will still be a need to police traffic."

< article continued at Slashdot's robo-cop department >

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Tesla Pushes Even More States To Upend Auto Dealer-Friendly Laws
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 02:34 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's under-pressure department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Tesla is now pressing ahead with lobbying efforts that would allow it to expand its direct dealerships in two more states: Nebraska and Wisconsin. For now, more than 20 states already allow the California automaker to sell its own vehicles, while others have set up a system that at least partially bans manufacturers from direct sales and effectively protects auto dealers. Those states include Texas, Michigan, West Virginia, and Utah, among others. Last year, court rulings and changes in the law in Arizona, Missouri, Indiana, and other states have paved the way for Tesla to sell directly to the public. In Nebraska, the new bill under consideration is known as LB 830. It has been met with opposition from existing dealers who are concerned that other manufacturers like GM or Ford will want a similar arrangement. Similarly, in Wisconsin, SB 605 would carve out an exception in state law for a "manufacturer [whose] motor vehicles... are propelled solely by electric power."

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Big Backing For 'Universal Stylus' Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 01:13 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's natural-progression department:
Google has backed an effort to standardise touch-screen styluses so they can be used on many devices. From a report: The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) was launched, in 2015, to encourage companies to produce styluses that work on rivals' products Dell, Intel, Lenovo, LG and graphics tablet-maker Wacom have all backed the project. However, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung have not. One expert suggested the big brands would keep their proprietary pens. Styluses designed to work with modern touch-screen devices and graphics tablets usually contain sensors to detect pressure, movement and orientation of the pen.

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Google Flights Will Now Predict Airline Delays -- Before the Airlines Do
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 01:13 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's pushing-the-limits department:
Google is rolling out a few new features to its Google Flights search engine to help travelers tackle some of the more frustrating aspects of air travel -- delays and the complexities of the cheaper, Basic Economy fares. From a report: With the regard to delays, Google Flights won't just be pulling in information from the airlines directly, however -- it will take advantage of its understanding of historical data and its machine learning algorithms to predict delays that haven't yet been flagged by airlines themselves. Explains Google, the combination of data and A.I. technologies means it can predict some delays in advance of any sort of official confirmation. Google says that it won't actually flag these in the app until it's at least 80 percent confident in the prediction, though.

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Facebook Really Wants You To Come Back
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 11:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's desperate-measures department:
An anonymous reader writes: The social network is getting aggressive with people who don't log in often, working to keep up its engagement numbers, Bloomberg reports. Sample this for instance: It's been about a year since Rishi Gorantala deleted the Facebook app from his phone, and the company has only gotten more aggressive in its emails to win him back. The social network started out by alerting him every few days about friends that had posted photos or made comments -- each time inviting him to click a link and view the activity on Facebook. He rarely did. Then, about once a week in September, he started to get prompts from a Facebook security customer-service address. "It looks like you're having trouble logging into Facebook," the emails would say. "Just click the button below and we'll log you in. If you weren't trying to log in, let us know." He wasn't trying. But he doesn't think anybody else was, either. "The content of mail they send is essentially trying to trick you," said Gorantala, 35, who lives in Chile. "Like someone tried to access my account so I should go and log in."

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'Hello!' Says the Human. 'Hello!' Pipes the Orca Right Back.
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 11:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's omg department:
A human greets an orca with a "Hello!" "Hello!" responds the orca. A new research shows, the orcas have been able to imitate human speech, in some cases at the first attempt, saying words such as "hello", "one, two," "Amy", and "bye bye." From a report: The study also shows that the creatures are able to copy unfamiliar sounds produced by other orcas -- including a sound similar to blowing a raspberry. Scientists say the discovery helps to shed light on how different pods of wild killer whales have ended up with distinct dialects, adding weight to the idea that they are the result of imitation between orcas. The creatures are already known for their ability to copy the movements of other orcas, with some reports suggesting they can also mimic the sounds of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions. [...] Wikie is not the first animal to have managed the feat of producing human sounds: dolphins, elephants, parrots, orangutans and even beluga whales have all been captured mimicking our utterances, although they use a range of physical mechanisms to us to do so.

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