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Twitter To Get Even Harsher On Trolls
Posted by News Fetcher on March 01 '17 at 08:15 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department:
Twitter is cracking down even harder against trolls, including temporarily barring accounts that are harassing other users. From a report: In a blog posted Wednesday, Twitter's vice president of engineering, Ed Ho, announced more safety measures to stop abuse on its platform. One of the methods includes using the company's internal algorithms to identify problematic accounts and limiting certain account functions -- such as only allowing the aggressor to see their followers -- for a set period of time if they engaged in troublesome behavior. Twitter said it was also open to further action if the harassment continued. Other anti-trolling tools include new filters to let users see what kinds of content they want to view from certain accounts and well as allowing people to "mute" tweets based on keywords, phrases or entire conversations.

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NSA Risks Talent Exodus Amid Morale Slump, Trump Fears
Posted by News Fetcher on March 01 '17 at 06:58 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Dustin Volz and Warren Strobel, writing for Reuters: The National Security Agency risks a brain-drain of hackers and cyber spies due to a tumultuous reorganization and worries about the acrimonious relationship between the intelligence community and President Donald Trump, according to current and former NSA officials and cybersecurity industry sources. Half-a-dozen cybersecurity executives told Reuters they had witnessed a marked increase in the number of U.S. intelligence officers and government contractors seeking employment in the private sector since Trump took office on Jan. 20. One of the executives, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, said he was stunned by the caliber of the would-be recruits. They are coming from a variety of government intelligence and law enforcement agencies, multiple executives said, and their interest stems in part from concerns about the direction of U.S intelligence agencies under Trump. Retaining and recruiting talented technical personnel has become a top national security priority in recent years as Russia, China, Iran and other nation states and criminal groups have sharpened their cyber offensive abilities. NSA and other intelligence agencies have long struggled to deter some of their best employees from leaving for higher-paying jobs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

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Mobile Search Engine Baidu Goes Dark For Nearly 20 Minutes
Posted by News Fetcher on March 01 '17 at 06:58 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's outage-report department:
Zoey Chong, writing for CNET: Baidu is China's equivalent of Google, but hundreds of millions of questions went unanswered when the mobile version of the search engine broke down for 18 minutes last night, reports SCMP. Almost two hours after service was resumed, the company behind China's largest internet search engine apologised (for the third time) on its official Weibo account. "We missed more than hundreds of millions of search requests because our mobile search service broke down tonight, and we're very sorry," the post read.

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AOL Is Cutting Off Third-Party App Access To AIM
Posted by News Fetcher on March 01 '17 at 05:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sign-of-the-times department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from 9to5Mac: AOL announced today that it is starting to cut off third-party app access to its Instant Messenger service. As first noticed by ArsTechnica, AOL began notifying users of at least one third-party app, Adium, that it would become obsolete starting on March 28th. At this point, it's unclear whether or not all third-party applications will be rendered useless come March 28th, but the message presented to Adium users seemed to strongly imply that: "Hello. Effective 3/28, we will no longer support connections to the AIM network via this method. If you wish to use the free consumer AIM product, we invite you to visit http://www.aim.com/ for more information." What this likely means is that AOL is shutting down the OSCAR chat protocol that is used to handle AIM messages. The service will, however, continue to be available via AOL's own chat app that is supported on macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.

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Congressional Candidate Brianna Wu Claims Moon-Colonizing Companies Could Destroy Cities By Dropping Rocks
Posted by News Fetcher on March 01 '17 at 02:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's death-from-above department:
Applehu Akbar quotes a report from Washington Times: A transgender-issues activist and Democratic candidate for Congress says the advent of the space tourism industry could give private corporations a "frightening amount of power" to destroy the Earth with rocks because of the Moon's military importance. Brianna Wu, a prominent "social justice warrior" in the "Gamergate" controversy who now is running for the House seat in Massachusetts' 8th District, suggested in a since-deleted tweet that companies could drop rocks from the Moon. "The moon is probably the most tactically valuable military ground for earth," the tweet said. "Rocks dropped from there have power of 100s of nuclear bombs." After users on social media questioned her scientific literacy, the congressional candidate clarified that the tweet was "talking about dropping [rocks] into our gravity well." Small space rocks can indeed do nuclear-weapons-scale damage if hitting the Earth at orbital speeds. But launching one from the moon, even setting aside issues of aiming, would still require escaping the satellite's gravitational field, a task that requires the power and thrust contained in a huge rocket.

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NVIDIA Unveils Its $700 Top of the Line GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Card
Posted by News Fetcher on March 01 '17 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's top-of-the-line department:
MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: NVIDIA just lifted the veil on its latest monster graphics card for gamers -- the long-rumored GeForce GTX 1080 Ti -- at an event this evening in San Francisco during the Game Developers Conference (GDC). The card will sit at the top of NVIDIA's GeForce offering with the Titan X and GeForce GTX 1080 in NVIDIA's Pascal-powered product stack, promising significant performance gains over the GTX 1080 and faster than Titan X performance, for a much lower price of $699. The 12 billion NVIDIA GP102 transistor on the card has 3,584 CUDA cores, which is actually the same as NVIDIA's Titan X. However, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti will have fewer ROP units at 88, versus 96 in the Titan X. The 1080 Ti will also, however, come equipped with 11GB of premium GDDR5X memory from Micron clocked at 11,000 MHz for an effective 11Gbps data rate. Peak compute throughput of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is slightly higher than the Titan X due to the Ti's higher boost clock. Memory bandwidth over its narrower 352-bit GDDR5 memory interface is 484GB/s, which is also slightly higher than a Titan X as well. NVIDIA also noted that peak overclocks on the core should hit 2GHz or higher with minimal coaxing. As a result, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti will be faster than the Titan X out of the box, faster still when overclocked.

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Americans Have Fewer TVs On Average Than They Did In 2009
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's parlor-walls department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Americans went from having an average of 2.6 TVs per household in 2009 to having 2.3 TVs in 2015, according to survey data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA). The data comes from the agency's Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), which has been conducted periodically since the 1970s to understand American energy use. The 2015 survey included 5,600 respondents who were contacted in person and then given an option to follow up by mail or online. A fine-detail report on the survey results is due to be released in April 2017. The latest data shows that in 2015, 2.6 percent of households had no TV at all, a jump from the previous four surveys in 2009, 2005, 2001, and 1997 in which a steady 1.2 to 1.3 percent of households didn't own a TV. The 2015 data also showed that the number of people with three TVs or more dropped in 2015. That year, 39 percent of households had more than three TVs, whereas 44 percent had more than three TVs in 2009. Interestingly, the number of households with one or two TVs increased in 2015 to 58 percent, from 54 percent in 2009.

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A New Video Shows Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Arguing With a Driver Over Fares
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's agree-to-disagree department:
A new video published by Bloomberg shows Uber CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver over fares. It all started when one of Kalanick's "companions" appears to say that she's heard that Uber is having a hard year. Bloomberg reports: That pleasant conversation between Kalanick and his friends in the back of an Uber Black? It devolved into a heated argument over Uber's fares between the CEO and his driver, Fawzi Kamel, who then turned over a dashboard recording of the conversation to Bloomberg. Kamel, 37, has been driving for Uber since 2011 and wants to draw attention to the plight of Uber drivers. The video shows off Kalanick's pugnacious personality and short temper, which may cause some investors to question whether he has the disposition to lead a $69 billion company with a footprint that spans the globe. Uber declined to comment on the video. Here's part of the conversation:
Travis Kalanick: "So we are reducing the number of black cars in the next few months."
Fawzi Kamel: "It's good."
Kalanick: "You probably saw some email."
Kamel: "I saw the email [says] it starts in May. But you're raising the standards and dropping the prices."
Kalanick: "We're not dropping the prices on black."
Kamel: "But in general."
Kalanick: "In general but we have competitors. Otherwise we'd be out of business."
Kamel: "Competitors? You had the business model in your hands you could have the prices you want but you choose to buy everybody a ride."

You can read the transcript of the conversation here via Recode.

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Why Your Boss Will Crush Your Innovative Ideas
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's keeping-up-with-the-Joneses department:
dryriver writes: BBC Capital explores why good ideas people have in the workplace almost never reach the top decision-makers in a company. From the report: "Surely you've heard the plea from on high at your company: we want more innovation, from everyone at every level. Your boss might even agree with the sentiment -- because, of course, who doesn't like innovation? It's good for everyone, right? Yet when it comes to innovating at your job it might be better to lower your expectations -- and then some. Your idea is far more likely to die on your boss's desk than it is to reach the CEO. It's not that top managers don't want new ideas. Rather, it's the people around you -- your colleagues, your manager -- who are unlikely to bend toward change. Today, big companies that don't innovate face extinction. 'Companies are almost forced to say that they are changing these days,' says Lynn Isabella, professor of organizational behavior at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in the U.S. But, 'it's not organizations that resist change; people resist,' says Isabella. 'The people have to see what's in it for them.'" As mentioned in the report, some of the key questions that the people whom you pitch your ideas to will ask themselves include, what does this innovation mean for me personally -- will it be more challenging or will it lead to more career opportunities, and what will it mean for my job -- will I get fired or will it be (or was it) worth it? Many times the answers to these questions don't stack up in favor of the innovation, Isabella says. As a result, the people who need to buy in don't push for change.

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Severe SQL Injection Flaw Discovered In WordPress Plugin With Over 1 Million Installs
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's easy-as-one-two-three department:
According to BleepingComputer, "A WordPress plugin installed on over one million sites has just fixed a severe SQL injection vulnerability that can allow attackers to steal data from a website's database." The plugin's name is NextGEN Gallery, which has its own set of plugins due to how successful it is. From the report: According to web security firm Sucuri, who discovered the NextGEN Gallery security issues, the first attack scenario can happen if a WordPress site owner activates the NextGEN Basic TagCloud Gallery option on his site. This feature allows site owners to display image galleries that users can navigate via tags. Clicking one of these tags alters the site's URL as the user navigates through photos. Sucuri says that an attack can modify link parameters and insert SQL queries that will be executed by the plugin when the attacker loads the malformed URL. This happens due to improper input sanitization in the URL parameters, a common problem with many WordPress and non-WordPress web applications. The second exploitation scenario can happen if website owners open their site for blog post submissions. Because attackers can create accounts on the site and submit a blog post/article for review, they can also insert malformed NextGEN Gallery shortcodes. Sucuri says the plugin's authors fixed this flaw in NextGEN Gallery 2.1.79.

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Google Pulls the Plug On Its Pixel Laptops
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's back-to-the-basics department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Although its new flagship phones have been doing brisk sales, Google's high-end, $1,299 Pixel-branded Chromebooks won't be seeing much love from the search giant in the near future. According to TechCrunch, reporting from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, Google's SVP of hardware Rick Osterloh has announced the second version of the Pixel laptop will be the last of its kind. As TechCrunch notes, Google is trimming down the Pixel line to just the smartphones and the Pixel C tablet for now. Although there may be other devices carrying the name in the future, Osterloh said it was unlikely that its own laptops would be one of them.

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Samsung Chief Charged With Bribery and Embezzlement
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's actions-have-consequences department:
After a three-month investigation, the acting head of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, has been charged with bribery and embezzlement in connection with the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of South Korea's president Park Geun-hye. NPR reports: NPR's Elise Hu reported from Seoul that prosecutors announced the indictment after a three-month investigation: "Samsung acting head Lee Jae-Yong got ensnared after documents showed Samsung funneled some $36 million to the president's close confidant. Prosecutors say the money was paid to win government support of a controversial 2015 company merger. The merger did go through, after a vote of support from the government. In a statement, Samsung says it has not paid bribes or made improper requests to the government. Lee is currently in jail awaiting further proceedings in his case." Lee was arrested on Feb. 17, two months after President Park Geun-hye was impeached over allegations of corruption, influence-peddling and cult ties, as we reported. Those corruption allegations were directly tied to the charges brought against Lee, who also goes by the name Jay Y. Lee.

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Moto, Huawei Are Replacing the Android Keys With a Touchpad
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report written by Vlad Savov via The Verge: Huawei and Moto have both moved to a new type of home button, which isn't really a button but rather just a touch-sensitive surface. So far, so familiar, but the novelty is that they're now combining gestures and taps to turn the trio of Android shortcuts -- Back, Home, and Recent Apps -- into a one-button user interface. Huawei's approach is one tap to go back, long press to go home, and a swipe to bring up the multitasking menu. Of course, this wouldn't be Android without fragmentation, so Moto's method is slightly different (swipe left to go back, right for multitasking, and a tap to go home), but having tried both of them, I can say that they're improvements on the status quo and I'm glad the change is happening. For Android purists, this may all seem like an unnecessary distraction. Give me my familiar Android trio, it might be said, and leave me in peace. Which is fine and dandy, since both of the new phones, Huawei's P10 and Moto's G5, offer the option to bring the familiar software interface back.

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DNA Test Shows Subway's 'Chicken' Only Contains 50 Percent Chicken
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sugar-spice-and-everything-nice department:
According to an investigation by Canadian media outlet, CBC, the chicken in Subway Restaurants' chicken sandwiches may only contain around 50 percent chicken -- the rest of it is soy, spices and preservatives. The investigation involved DNA testing chicken sandwiches collected from five popular fast food restaurants. While the rest of the sandwiches contained mostly chicken, Subway's oven-roasted chicken and the chicken strips in its Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich clocked in with just 53.6 percent and 42.8 percent chicken, respectively. Ars Technica reports: Among all the chicken sampled, there was a total of about 50 ingredients other than chicken identified. The chicken samples had an average of 16 ingredients. Some of the ingredients are expected, such as salt and other seasonings. But many were commercial preservatives and fillers. One commonality was that they all had high levels of salt. Subway responded to the CBC in a statement: "SUBWAY Canada cannot confirm the veracity of the results of the lab testing you had conducted. However, we are concerned by the alleged findings you had conducted." You can read the full statement here.

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YouTube Unveils YouTube TV, Its Live TV Streaming Service
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's entertainment-industry-domination department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: After a year of rumors, YouTube is finally drawing back the curtain on its latest play for entertainment industry domination -- a live TV service. Distinct from YouTube Red, the new service YouTube TV, which has been in the works for years at Google's internet video behemoth, has quietly been inking contracts with media companies to distribute their content on its TV service. The service is fairly low-cost, with a family of six accounts available for $35 per month, and no long-term contract required. Earlier reports from the Wall Street Journal set pricing for the service somewhere between $25 and $40 per month. However, it will only launch in markets where it can offer full, live local broadcast feeds. That's planned for the months ahead, but YouTube didn't offer an exact date. "We decided to create an offering that would give them all of these can't miss live moments," said YouTube exec Robert Kinsel of YouTube TV's offering. He explained that YouTube has partnered with all of the broadcast networks, in order to offer "comprehensive national coverage with ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox all included." In addition, the service is getting USA, FX, FreeForm, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and Fox Business. ShowTime is available for an additional fee. Missing, however, is HBO. For sports fans, the service includes national coverage from ESPN, FoxSports, and NBC SportsNet. Also offered are regional sports networks from Fox and Comcast, SEC Network, Big Ten and ESPNU. Fox Soccer Plus is available as an add-on. In addition, YouTube TV includes YouTube Red's 28 original series. Some other features of the service include a DVR that will never run out of space and that's cable of simultaneous recordings, a visual TV guide, search feature, and voice support integration via Google Home.

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PayPal's Donation Tools Stiff Some Charities, New Class Action Lawsuit Alleges
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 02:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's sounds-fishy department:
Charitable donations made through PayPal's Giving Fund platform may never reach their intended recipients, a federal class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chicago has alleged. From a report on CNBC: When charitable accounts are not set up correctly, PayPal continues to accept donations on their behalf, the suit alleges. Instead of notifying donors and nonprofits of the error, PayPal takes the money after six months and redirects it to another charity "without regard to the intention, beliefs, or desires of the donor," the lawsuit claims. The class action status of the suit still needs to be certified by a judge.

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Radio Is the Worst Place To Listen To Music, Says Jay Z
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-ol'-days department:
An anonymous reader shares a Quartz report: In a candid interview between Frank Ocean and Jay Z that aired on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio station last week, the latter spent a good portion mourning the golden days of radio, where he got his own start in the 1990s as a hip-hop artist. Said Jay, about modern radio: "It's pretty much an advertisement model. You take these pop stations, they're reaching 18-34 young, white females. So they're playing music based on those tastes. And then they're taking those numbers and they're going to advertising agencies and people are paying numbers based on the audience that they have. So these places are not even based on music. Their playlist isn't based on music... A person like Bob Marley right now probably wouldn't play on a pop station. Which is crazy. It's not even about the DJ discovering what music is best. You know, music is music. The line's just been separated so much that we're lost at this point in time."

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Microsoft Is Killing Off Skype WiFi Service
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 01:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's killing-things department:
Mark Wilson, writing for BetaNews: Microsoft has announced that it will discontinue its Skype WiFi service as of March 31. The global retirement of the service is to allow the company to focus on "core Skype features." Skype WiFi allows for paid Internet access through hotspots around the world, and is something that proved quite popular with travelers looking to minimize data roaming charges. After the cut-off date, Skype WiFi will no longer be available, and the various mobile apps will no longer act as a hotspot finder.

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Amazon's Cloud Service Has Outage, Disrupting Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's outage-report department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on USA Today: Portions of Amazon Web Services, the nation's largest cloud computing company, went offline Tuesday afternoon, affected multiple companies across the United States but especially on the east coast. The outage appeared to have begun around 12:45 pm ET. It was centered in AWS' S3 storage system on the east coast. Many of the services that firms use AWS are for back-end processes, and therefore not immediately visible to consumers, though the outage could disrupt customer-facing activities like logins and payments. At least some websites that appear to be affected are: Airbnb, Down Detector, Freshdesk, Pinterest, SendGrid, Snapchat's Bitmoji, Time, Buffer, Business Insider, Chef, Citrix, CNBC, Codecademy, Coursera, Cracked, Docker, Expedia, Expensify, Giphy, Heroku, Home Chef, iFixit, IFTTT, isitdownrightnow.com, Lonely Planet, Mailchimp, Medium, Microsoft's HockeyApp, News Corp, Quora, Razer, Slack, Sprout Social, Travis CI, Trello, Twilio, Unbounce, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Zendesk.

The dashboard of Amazon Web Services, which tracks the status of the service, is unable to change color, Amazon said. It is because the status dashboard also runs on the service that is down.

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Female Engineer Sues Tesla, Describing a Culture Of 'Pervasive Harassment'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 28 '17 at 11:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
A female engineer has spoken out about a discrimination lawsuit against Tesla that she filed last year. AJ Vandermeyden, 33, has accused Tesla of ignoring her claims of "pervasive harassment" and says she has suffered "mental distress" and "humiliation." From a report on The Guardian: Vandermeyden, 33, shared her story with the Guardian at a time when Silicon Valley is reeling from the explosive allegations of former Uber engineer Susan Fowler. Offering a rare public account of discrimination from a tech worker who remains employed at her company, Vandermeyden said her dedication to Tesla motivated her to advocate for fair treatment and reforms -- despite the serious risks she knows she faces for going public. "Until somebody stands up, nothing is going to change," she said in a recent interview, her first comments about a discrimination lawsuit she filed last year. "I'm an advocate of Tesla. I really do believe they are doing great things. That said, I can't turn a blind eye if there's something fundamentally wrong going on." Vandermeyden began at Tesla in 2013 and was eventually promoted to a manufacturing engineering position in the general assembly department, which consisted mostly of men and where she was paid less than male engineers whose work she directly took over, according to her complaint.

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