By BeauHD from Slashdot's better-late-than-never department
The folks over at XDA Developers are reporting that Android may be getting a new feature that could help users identify how much battery life is remaining in their Bluetooth wireless headphones. The feature for "[retrieving] battery level information of [a] remote device" was discovered in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Android and Me reports: This hasn't made it to final release just yet, but when it does, it will make it easy for users to quickly ascertain how much battery life is remaining in the Bluetooth headphones that are connected to their device. It doesn't just mean support for Bluetooth headphones, either, as Bluetooth speakers and other accessories that run on battery power will be supported, too. Unfortunately there's no telling on when this feature will see the light of day for the public. There's no set timeframe between a feature that's part of the AOSP and rolling out in a final, public release of the mobile operating system. Some manufacturers have already built support for this feature into their phones, including OnePlus, Samsung, and LG. So while it might not be a completely brand new feature on Android, it would still be good for the Android platform as a whole to support the feature in the stock build.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-shiny department
MojoKid writes: AMD has officially lifted the veil on its new Radeon RX consumer graphics line-up, featuring the company's next-generation Vega GPU architecture. Initially, there are four cards in the Radeon RX Vega line-up, the standard air-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64, a Radeon RX Vega 64 Limited Edition with stylized metal fan shroud, the liquid-cooled Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid, and the lower-cost Radeon RX Vega 56. At the heart of all Radeon RX Vega series cards is the Vega 10 GPU which is comprised of roughly 12.5 billion transistors and is manufactured using a 14nm FinFET LPP process. Vega 10 can reliably reach the 1.7GHz range, whereas AMD's previous gen Fiji hovered around 1GHz. The base GPU clock speed of the air-cooled Vega 64 is 1,247MHz with a boost clock of 1,546MHz. There is 8GB of HBM2 memory on-board that offers up peak bandwidth of 484GB/s. All told, the Radeon RX Vega 64 is capable of 25.3 TFLOPs (half-precision) of compute performance. The Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid-Cooled Edition has the same GPU configuration, but with higher base and boost clocks -- 1,406MHz and 1,677MHz, respectively. The lower cost Radeon RX Vega 56 features the same Vega 10 GPU, but 8 of its CUs have been disabled and its clocks are somewhat lower. Although AMD touts a number of efficiency improvements, the Vega RX series requires some serious power. Vega 56 board power is in the 210 Watt range, while the top-end liquid-cooled card hits 345 Watts. AMD claims top-end Vega cards will be competitive with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080 series of cards. AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics cards are expected to ship on August 14th.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's undermining-security department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Democratic lawmakers have been exchanging letters about a May 8 incident in which the public comments website was disrupted while many people were trying to file comments on Pai's plan to dismantle net neutrality rules. The FCC says it was hit by DDoS attacks. The commission hasn't revealed much about what it's doing to prevent future attacks, but it said in a letter last month that it was researching "additional solutions" to protect the comment system. Democratic Leaders of the House Commerce and Oversight committees then asked Pai what those additional solutions are, but they didn't get much detail in return. "Given the ongoing nature of the threats to disrupt the Commission's electronic comment ling system, it would undermine our system's security to provide a specific roadmap of the additional solutions to which we have referred," the FCC chief information officer wrote. "However, we can state that the FCC's IT staff has worked with commercial cloud providers to implement Internetbased solutions to limit the amount of disruptive bot-related activity if another bot-driven event occurs." The CIO's answers to lawmakers' questions were sent along with a letter from Pai to Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Mike Doyle (D-Penn.), DeGette (D-Colo.), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), and Gerald Connolly (D-Va.). The letter is dated July 21, and it was posted to the FCC's website on July 28.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's biggest-fish-to-fry department
Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix -- along with their telecom industry foes -- have not committed to sending their chief executives to testify before the U.S. Congress in September on the future of net neutrality. From a report: Not a single one of those companies told the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is convening the hearing, that they would send their leaders to Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks, even at a time when the Trump administration is preparing to kill the open internet rules currently on the government's books. The panel initially asked those four tech giants, as well as AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon, to indicate their plans for attendance by July 31. Now, the committee is pushing back its deadline indefinitely, as it continues its quest to engage the countryâ(TM)s tech and telecom business leaders on net neutrality. "The committee has been engaging in productive conversations with all parties and will extend the deadline for response in order to allow for those discussions to continue," a spokesman said.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's my-data,-my-rules department
A small company called hiQ is locked in a high-stakes battle over web scraping with LinkedIn. It's a fight that could determine whether an anti-hacking law can be used to curtail the use of scraping tools across the web. From a report: HiQ scrapes data about thousands of employees from public LinkedIn profiles, then packages the data for sale to employers worried about their employees quitting. LinkedIn, which was acquired by Microsoft last year, sent hiQ a cease-and-desist letter warning that this scraping violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the controversial 1986 law that makes computer hacking a crime. HiQ sued, asking courts to rule that its activities did not, in fact, violate the CFAA. James Grimmelmann, a professor at Cornell Law School, told Ars that the stakes here go well beyond the fate of one little-known company. "Lots of businesses are built on connecting data from a lot of sources," Grimmelmann said. He argued that scraping is a key way that companies bootstrap themselves into "having the scale to do something interesting with that data." [...] But the law may be on the side of LinkedIn -- especially in Northern California, where the case is being heard. In a 2016 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over California, found that a startup called Power Ventures had violated the CFAA when it continued accessing Facebook's servers despite a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's why-Apple-why department
Last week, The Wall Street Journal had a big feature on Apple Campus, the big new beautiful office the company has spent north of $5 billion on. The profile, in which the reporter interviewed Apple's design chief Jony Ive, also mentioned about an open space where all the programmers would sit and work. Ever since the profile came out, several people have expressed their concerns about the work environment for the developers. American entrepreneur and technologist Anil Dash writes: [...] There have been countless academic studies confirming the same result: Workers in open plan offices are frustrated, distracted and generally unhappy. That's not to say there's no place for open plan in an offices -- there can be great opportunities to collaborate and connect. For teams like marketing or communications or sales, sharing a space might make a lot of sense. But for tasks that require being in a state of flow? The science is settled. The answer is clear. The door is closed on the subject. Or, well, it would be. If workers had a door to close. Now, when it comes to jobs or roles that need to be in a state of flow, programming may be the single best example of a task that benefits from not being interrupted. And Apple has some of the best coders in the world, so it's just common sense that they should be given a great environment. That's why it was particularly jarring to see this side note in the WSJ's glowing article about Apple's new headquarters: "Coders and programmers are concerned their work surroundings will be too noisy and distracting." Usually, companies justify putting programmers into an open office plan for budget reasons. It does cost more to make enough room for every coder to have an office with a door that closes. But given that Apple's already invested $5 billion into this new campus, complete with iPhone-influenced custom-built toilets for the space, it's hard to believe this decision was about penny-pinching. The other possible argument for skipping private offices would be if a company didn't know that's what its workers would prefer.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's never-say-never department
Kara Swisher, reporting for Recode: Warring factions within factions, conflicting back-channeling, intense media scrutiny, questionable foreign influences and a capricious leader whose jarring moves leave everyone in a state of perpetual uncertainly. The Trump administration, right? Well, yes, but also Uber, as it nears its much anticipated decision on who will be its next CEO. And, according to sources, that top leader is not going to be a woman, as the board of the car-hailing company struggles to move forward. To add to the drama: Some directors worry that its former CEO Travis Kalanick -- who was ousted -- is trying to game the outcome in his favor, after he told several people that he was "Steve Jobs-ing it." It is a reference to the late leader of Apple, who was fired from the company, only to later return in triumph.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's robot-sportsballing department
An anonymous reader quotes Phys.org:
With steely focus, player number 3 scored a stunning opening goal in the first few minutes of the high-stakes football match between a dominant Bordeaux and their plucky Chinese opponents. But as the crowds cheered, the pint-sized player, known as Arya, showed none of the customary swagger of triumphant strikers. In fact, robot number 3 and its teammates showed no emotion at all as they continued to exterminate their rivals' hopes of victory at RoboCup 2017 in Japan. The game, which Bordeaux won 4-0, was one of the gripping final matches in a four-day event that saw about 3,000 researchers and engineering students from 40 countries displaying the prowess of their latest robotic inventions on the football pitch.
Ranging in design from humanoids with human faces to more skeletal contraptions, the robots were programmed to be self-directed and played strategically without being given instructions. The robots "see" using a camera installed in their heads, while installed with artificial intelligence to recognise the spacing and objects in the sight... [A]bility to play as a team was the "winning factor" in Bordeaux University's triumph, according to associate professor Olivier Ly, who acted as coach and positioned his team's players. "We developed lots of features on the team play... The robots play together, try to do some passes," he said.
Robot teamwork "was a completely unresearched area for computer engineers" when the competition started 20 years ago, according to the president of the RoboCup Federation.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fund-request department
An anonymous reader quotes Diginomica:
A fresh initiative aimed at information sharing about election threats and dubbed Defending Digital Democracy has the financial support of Facebook and the academic muscle of Harvard behind it. Will the project succeed where similar initiatives have failed...? On 19 July and backed by a $500,000 initial grant from Facebook, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School launched a new, bipartisan initiative called the Defending Digital Democracy Project. The project will be co-led by Robby Mook, Democrat Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign manager, and Matt Rhoades, Republican Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign manager. The hope is that creating a unique and bipartisan team comprised of top-notch political operatives and leaders in the cyber and national security world, the project will be able to to identify and recommend strategies, tools, and technology to protect democratic processes and systems from cyber and information attacks.
The group will also assess new technologies (including blockchain) to secure elections, and wants to create an information sharing infrastructure modeled "on similar efforts within the tech industry to share tech intelligence." The article says Facebook's chief security officer "hopes that election officials who are wary of cooperating with the federal government will be more receptive to working with an independent group tied to Harvard and the tech industy," and the group also includes Google's director for Information Security and Privacy.
"Facebook plans to host state and local election officials at its D.C. office later this year to discuss the information sharing organization, and launch the organization in early 2018."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rocks-from-space department
Remember when NASA visited an asteroid with $10 quintillion worth of minerals? Now the lucrative asteroid-mining industry is being pursued by "the European banking hub with a population not much bigger than Albuquerque's," reports Bloomberg, as low-cost reconnaissance missions are already looking "increasingly feasible." An anonymous reader writes:
Last week Luxembourg's parliament unanimously passed an asteroid mining law (which goes into effect Tuesday) "that gives companies ownership of what they extract from the celestial bodies..." according to Engadget. "Luxembourg's law is pretty similar to the one President Obama signed back in 2015 in that it gives mining companies the right to keep their loot. Both of them also take advantage of a loophole in the UN's Outer Space Treaty, which states that nations can't claim and occupy the moon and other celestial bodies. They don't give companies ownership of asteroids, after all, only the minerals they extract.. Unlike the U.S. version, though, a company's major stakeholders don't need to be based in Luxembourg to enjoy its protection -- they only need to have an office in country."
Bloomberg reports that the law "could serve as a model for other small countries hoping to explore asteroids -- and to get a piece of the booming space business," since the tiny country is also offering to buy equity stakes in any companies which relocate to Luxembourg. "Luxembourg's success in attracting these companies should show other small countries that space isn't just for superpowers any more... Competition has made space achievable for many more companies, and for the countries that support them."
For the last few years Luxembourg has begun quietly investing in asteroid mining, including a joint venture with "Deep Space Industries" to build a spacecraft to test asteroid-mining technologies -- while another collaboration with Kleos Space is working on "in-space manufacturing technology."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's automating-larceny department
schwit1 shared an article from the BBC:
Using a cheap robot, a team of hackers has cracked open a leading-brand combination safe, live on stage in Las Vegas. The team from SparkFun Electronics was able to open a SentrySafe safe in around 30 minutes... After the robot discovered the combination was 51.36.93, the safe popped open -- to rapturous applause from the audience of several hundred... The robot, which cost around $200 to put together, makes use of 3D-printed parts that can be easily replaced to fit different brands of combination safe. It cannot crack a digital lock -- although vulnerabilities in those systems have been exposed by other hacking teams in the past.
Though the safe had a million possible combinations using three two-digit numbers, the last number had slightly larger indents on the dial -- reducing the possible combinations to just 10,000. And in addition, "the team also discovered that the safe's design allows for a margin of error to compensate for humans getting their combination slightly wrong" -- which meant that the robot only had to check every third number. "Using this method, they could cut down the number of possible combinations to around 1,000."
"Some SentrySafe models come with an additional lock and key, but the team was able to unlock it by using a Bic pen."Read Replies (0)