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Google Categorically Refuses To Remove the Pirate Bay's Homepage
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 04:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-on-my-watch department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: This year alone, at least 15 separate takedown notices ask Google to remove ThePirateBay.org from its index. Most of these are sent by the reporting agency Digimarc, on behalf of book publishers such as Penguin Random House, Kensington Publishing, and Recorded Books. This year alone, at least 15 separate takedown notices ask Google to remove ThePirateBay.org from its index. Most of these are sent by the reporting agency Digimarc, on behalf of book publishers such as Penguin Random House, Kensington Publishing, and Recorded Books. Over the years, The Pirate Bay's homepage has been targeted more than 70 times. While there's no shortage of reports, TPB's homepage is still in Google's index.

Since TPB's homepage is not infringing, Google categorically refuses to remove it from its search results. While the site itself has been downranked, due to the high number of takedown requests Google receives for it, ThePirateBay.org remains listed. Google did remove The Pirate Bay's homepage in the past, by accident, but that was swiftly corrected. "Google received a (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take-down request that erroneously listed Thepiratebay.org, and as a result, this URL was accidentally removed from the Google search index," Google said at the time. "We are now correcting the removal, and you can expect to see Thepiratebay.org back in Google search results this afternoon," the company added.

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Tesla Is Adding Atari Games To the In-Car Display
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 04:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's gaming-while-driving department:
In the next software update for its vehicles, Tesla will include several playable Atari games as new Easter eggs. CEO Elon Musk said the update would be released in "about four weeks" and should include games like Pole Position, Tempest, and Missile Command. The Verge reports: Pole Position's controls will apparently be linked to the Tesla's actual steering wheel -- while the vehicle is stopped, Musk made clear. It goes without saying, but no one should be messing around with any of these when they're behind the wheel of a moving car. A much bigger deal for Tesla owners is that, according to Musk, software version 9.0 will begin to enable "full self-driving features" in eligible vehicles. The new update might be discussed further during Tesla's earnings call later today.

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Samsung's Tab S4 Is Both An Android Tablet and a Desktop Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-for-the-price-of-one department:
Today, Samsung unveiled the successor to the Galaxy Tab S3 from last year. The aptly named Galaxy Tab S4 features a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage (expandable via microSD card) and 13-megapixel f1.9 rear-facing camera. Unlike the Tab S3, it includes Samsung Dex software that lets users connect a Samsung mobile device to a monitor and then use the device as a pseudo-desktop. Ars Technica reports: The first Dex dock came out over a year ago and was designed to be used with Samsung smartphones. Users could plug their device into the dock, connect it to a monitor, pair a keyboard and a mouse, and use the setup as they would a full desktop PC. The system ran a version of Android that Samsung modified to better suit a desktop UI, which included a lock screen and a task bar area with app icons. Dex on the Galaxy Tab S4 works just like this, with a couple of extra features that leverage the power of a tablet. When connected to a monitor, both the big screen and the tablet's screen can be used simultaneously. In a short demo, Samsung showed how the device supports up to 20 open windows at once and how features like split screen and drag-and-drop can be used just as they would on a desktop PC. Users can launch Dex when not connected to a monitor as well, and that produces the same modified Android UI on the tablet's 10.5-inch, 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED display. When connected to a monitor, both the big screen and the tablet's screen can be used simultaneously. In a short demo, Samsung showed how the device supports up to 20 open windows at once and how features like split screen and drag-and-drop can be used just as they would on a desktop PC. Users can launch Dex when not connected to a monitor as well, and that produces the same modified Android UI on the tablet's 10.5-inch, 2560x1600 Super AMOLED display. The tablet carries a $649 price, but includes all the specs mentioned above, as well as support for signature Samsung features like Air Command, translate, and off-screen memos, and a redesigned S Pen.

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LeBron James Opens STEM-Based School For At-Risk Students In Ohio
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department:
NBA superstar LeBron James is opening a new school that many are calling a "game changer." It extends the length of a traditional school day and focuses on teaching a STEM curriculum to students who have a higher probability of failing academically or dropping out of school. An anonymous Slashdot reader shares a report from SB Nation: LeBron James' I Promise School opened Monday to serve low-income and at-risk students in his hometown, and the public school could be an agent of change in the eastern Ohio city. The institution is the intersection of James' philanthropic Family Foundation and the I Promise Network he helped kickstart. I Promise began as an Akron-based non-profit aimed at boosting achievement for younger students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Now the movement has the means to educate these students year-round. I Promise will feature longer school days, a non-traditional school year, and greater access to the school, its facilities, and its teachers during down time for students. That's a formula aimed at replicating some of the at-home support children may be missing when it comes to schoolwork. The school has also anchored its curriculum in math and science-based teaching, dipping into the STEM -- science, technology, engineering, and math -- curriculum that prepares students for the jobs of the future.

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Bacteria Becoming Resistant To Hospital Disinfectants, Warn Scientists
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 01:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's change-of-plans department:
Hospitals will need to use new strategies to tackle bacteria experts have warned, after finding a type of hospital superbug is becoming increasingly tolerant of alcohol -- the key component of current disinfectant hand rubs. From a report: Handwashes based on alcohols such as isopropanol have become commonplace as a method of infection control. But while the move has been linked to benefits, including a fall in rates of hospital infections of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), new research suggests it might also have had unexpected consequences. Scientists say they have discovered that superbugs known as vancomycin-resistant enterococci, or VRE, appear to be becoming more tolerant to alcohol.

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Earth Overshoot Day Came Early This Year. That's a Bad Thing.
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 01:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Earth's resources are limited. We only have so much water and food, let alone oil and gold. But humans are using more than Earth has to offer, and have been since 1970. In 2018, it's predicted we will use the equivalent of 1.7 Earths worth of resources -- which is, oh, almost a whole Earth more than we have. And the date at which we've consumed more than one Earth in a given year is called... Earth Overshoot Day. In the 1960s, our consumption was almost perfectly synched to the Earth's resources, with humanity consuming one year's worth of Earth's resources in one year. But by 1971, that number slid backward, and has been sliding ever since. This year, 2018, saw the earliest Earth Overshoot Day yet: one Earth's worth of resources gobbled up by Aug. 1. (Last year, it happened on Aug. 2.) This doesn't mean that we've run out of clean water or timber today, and will have to live on scraps until New Year; it's that by exceeding the Earth's resources in August, we're bankrupting our future by consuming materials that are better off preserved for days to come.

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Windows 10 Continues To Close in On Windows 7
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 12:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's aggressive-expansion department:
An anonymous reader writes: NetMarketShare reports on the state of the desktop operating system market on the first day of each month. [...] In July, [the market share of] Windows 10 went from 35.71 percent to 36.58 percent, an increase of 0.87 percentage points. That's down from the 0.97 percentage points it grew in June, but shows that the OS is still packing on share at a steady rate. In July, Windows 7 lost 0.51 percentage points and now sits on 41.23 percent, just 4.65 percentage points ahead of the newer OS.

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US Indicts Ukrainian Hackers Who Stole Millions of Credit and Debit Card Numbers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 12:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continiues department:
Three Ukrainians associated with the hacking group FIN7 have been arrested in Europe in connection with hacks of more than 100 U.S. companies that led to tens of millions of dollars in losses, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing U.S. officials and court documents. From the report: Fin7 has been linked to breaches affecting hotels bearing the name of U.S. President Donald Trump, Whole Foods, Chipotle, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, according to cyber security firm Trend Micro. The suspects, Fedir Hladyr, Dmytro Fedorov and Andrii Kolpakov, were arrested in Europe between January and June of this year, the Justice Department said on Wednesday. Hladyr is in U.S. custody and U.S. authorities are seeking extradition of the other two, the department said. The three were arrested in connection with computer hacks to steal customer payment card data and other information from more than 100 U.S. companies, the department said.

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Leaked Chats Show Alleged Russian Spy Seeking Hacking Tools
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
wiredmikey writes: The leak of an alleged Russian hacker's conversations with a security researcher shows more about the shadowy group of 12 Russian spies indicted by the FBI for targeting the 2016 U.S. election. The researcher, who gave her exchanges with the alleged hacker to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said she wasn't pleased to learn she had been corresponding with an alleged Russian spy. But she wasn't particularly surprised either.

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Senate Rejects New Money For Election Security
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
The Republican-controlled Senate has defeated a push by Democrats to set aside an additional $250 million for states to upgrade their voting systems to protect against hacking and other cyberattacks. From a report: An amendment offered by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy received 50 yes votes, 10 short of the 60 needed for approval. Leahy said securing U.S. elections and "safeguarding our democracy" is not a partisan issue. He said the Senate "must send a clear message to Russia and other foreign adversaries that tampering in our elections will not be tolerated. The president will not act. This duty has fallen to us." A similar effort was also rejected in the House.

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A Hacker Broke Into a Few of Reddit's Systems and Managed To Access Some User Data, Company Says
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 10:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
A hacker broke into a few of Reddit's systems and managed to access some user data, including some current email addresses and a 2007 database backup containing old salted and hashed passwords, Reddit said Wednesday. From the announcement: Since then we've been conducting a painstaking investigation to figure out just what was accessed, and to improve our systems and processes to prevent this from happening again. Reddit says the incident occurred between June 14 and June 18 when the hacker "compromised a few of our employees' accounts with our cloud and source code hosting providers." Interestingly, even as Reddit employees maintain 2FA on their accounts, the attacker managed to get access to their data. "We learned that SMS-based authentication is not nearly as secure as we would hope, and the main attack was via SMS intercept," the company said. The company says it has a reason to believe the attacker had access to the following data: All Reddit data from 2007 and before including account credentials and email addresses. What was accessed: A complete copy of an old database backup containing very early Reddit user data -- from the site's launch in 2005 through May 2007. In Reddit's first years it had many fewer features, so the most significant data contained in this backup are account credentials (username + salted hashed passwords), email addresses, and all content (mostly public, but also private messages) from way back then. How to tell if your information was included: We are sending a message to affected users and resetting passwords on accounts where the credentials might still be valid. If you signed up for Reddit after 2007, you're clear here.

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Facebook's New Message to WhatsApp: Make Money
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 09:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's your-time-has-come department:
Deepa Seetharaman, writing for WSJ: Four years after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion, it is formally starting the messaging app on a new mission: bringing in revenue. WhatsApp on Wednesday detailed plans to sell advertisements and charge big companies that want to reach their customers through its service [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled: alternative source], launching its first major revenue streams as growth at Facebook's main app is starting to decelerate. The measures are aimed at connecting businesses with WhatsApp's user base of roughly 1.5 billion accounts, WhatsApp executives said. The announcements follow disagreements between Facebook leaders and WhatsApp's co-founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, over how to monetize the popular, free service. Mr. Koum and Mr. Acton resisted efforts to put ads in WhatsApp, and over the past year both men have decided to leave Facebook and the messaging app they started in 2009 -- a breakup that was the subject of a Page One article in The Wall Street Journal in June. [...] Next year, WhatsApp plans to show ads in its Status feature, company officials told the Journal. Status allows users to post montages of text, photos and video that appear for 24 hours -- similar to an Instagram tool called Stories. About 450 million people use WhatsApp Status, compared with about 400 million who use Instagram Stories, which already shows ads.

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Alaskan Town Finds Solace in Typewriters Following Last Week's BitPaymer Ransomware Infection
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's whatever-works department:
Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for BleepingComputer: On Monday, officials from Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su), a borough part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area, said they are still recovering from a ransomware infection that took place last week, on July 24. The ransomware infection crippled the Borough's government networks and has led to the IT staff shutting down a large swath of affected IT systems. [...] Officials said they were planning to clean and reinstall 650 desktop computers and servers located on the parts of the Mat-Su network believed to be affected. [...] "Without computers and files, Borough employees acted resourcefully," said Mat-Su Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan last week. "They re-enlisted typewriters from closets, and wrote by hand receipts and lists of library book patrons and landfill fees at some of the 73 different buildings." Mat-Su IT Director Eric Wyatt identified the "virus" as the BitPaymer ransomware earlier this week, the report said.

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Call Me, Comrade: The Surprise Rise of North Korean Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 08:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Tia Han, reporting for NK News: 2018 marks the tenth year that cellphones have been legally available in North Korea. The number of users has been growing significantly since then, but overall use remains low: according to the country's state-run Sogwang outlet in January, more than 3.5 million -- out of a population of 25 million -- have mobile subscriptions. "We started providing the 3G service in December 2008, so this year marks the 10th year of the service," Han Jong Nye, from the Arirang Information and Technology Center in Future Scientist Street in Pyongyang, was quoted as having said in Sogwang in January. "The demand for mobile phones is growing larger and larger." [...] North Korean mobile users cannot access the worldwide internet, of course: use is limited to the country's state-run intranet. Reports suggest various kinds of applications are now accessible for mobile users -- from games to shopping -- several state-run North Korean outlets have reported on their recent technological development, often with a great deal of emphasis on their local origins. State media suggests that North Koreans are playing games, reading books, listening to music, doing karaoke, learning to cook, and even increasing crop output on their smartphones. [...] Since the majority of smartphone users do not have an access to the internet, according to one expert, users have to go to a technology service center where technicians install apps to their cell phone. "Most mobile users do not have data service even if they buy a smartphone, so they have to be happy with pre-loaded apps such as games and dictionaries," Yonho Kim, a non-resident fellow at Korea Economic Institute, told NK News.

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Microsoft Launches Pilot Program To Provide Cybersecurity Protection To Political Campaigns and Election Authorities
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 06:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tech-for-good department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Microsoft has launched a pilot program aimed at providing cybersecurity protection for political campaigns and election authorities. The pilot program -- named AccountGuard -- was launched at the end of July, Bleeping Computer has learned, and was set in motion for the 2018 US midterm elections. According to the pilot's website, AccountGuard "provides additional security and threat monitoring for Microsoft accounts belonging to participating US campaigns, political committees, campaign tech vendors, and their staff, who are likely to be at a higher risk in the lead up to elections." Microsoft is now running a website where participants in the 2018 US midterm elections can sign up for this increased protection. According to the portal, participation is offered on a non-partisan basis and is by invitation only. Users from the following organizations are eligible to participate: (1) US-based political campaigns (2) US-based political committees (3) Select campaign technology vendors (4) Select individuals may also participate, if invited by eligible campaigns and affiliated organizations Last month, Microsoft said they had detected and helped block hacking attempts -- the first known example of cyber interference in the midterm elections -- against three congressional candidates this year. On Tuesday, Facebook said it was blocking more than two dozen pages that it believed were part of an ongoing political influence campaign.

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Google Plans To Launch Censored Search Engine In China, Leaked Documents Reveal
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 06:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's don't-be-evil department:
Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept reported Wednesday, citing leaked documents and people familiar with the matter. From the report: The project -- code-named Dragonfly -- has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google's CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans. Teams of programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android app, different versions of which have been named "Maotai" and "Longfei." The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials. The planned move represents a dramatic shift in Google's policy on China and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the internet giant has operated its search engine in the country. Google's search service cannot currently be accessed by most internet users in China because it is blocked by the country's so-called Great Firewall. The app Google is building for China will comply with the country's strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping's Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.

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Huawei Passes Apple For Second Place In Smartphone Shipments
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 05:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-in-hot department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: For the first time in seven years, Samsung and Apple have not taken the top two positions in the worldwide smartphone market. All hail Huawei. Although Samsung held onto first place -- the South Korean giant typically dominates the first three quarters of the year, with the American company winning the fourth quarter -- Huawei passed Apple for second place this part quarter. The Q2 2018 figures come from IDC (though Canalys and Strategy Analytics both agree that Huawei passed Apple in the quarter).

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MoviePass Will Increase Price, Limit Availability of New Movies
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 02:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nickel-and-dime department:
After running out of money and shutting down for a night last week, the movie ticket subscription service MoviePass will increase its price to $14.95 a month within the next 30 days. Furthermore, "first-run movies will only be viewable on a limited basis during the first two weeks of release, unless the company has a promotional deal with a given film," reports The Verge. From the report: MoviePass' statement claims these changes are being made "to enhance discovery, and to drive attendance to smaller films and bolster the independent film community." In a widely reported all-hands meeting at the company, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe cited the upcoming Christopher Robin and The Meg specifically as films that would not be available to subscribers. More broadly, MoviePass hopes to make smarter decisions about potential partnerships with studios and brands in the hopes of turning a profit, though no specific details were shared at this time. This new price increase is in addition to the already-announced plan to implement surge pricing for popular movies.

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Ancient Public Library Discovered In Germany
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '18 at 12:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's lost-and-found department:
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of the oldest public library in Cologne, Germany, "a building erected almost two millennia ago that may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls," reports The Guardian. From the report: The walls were first uncovered in 2017, during an excavation on the grounds of a Protestant church in the centre of the city. Archaeologists knew they were of Roman origins, with Cologne being one of Germany's oldest cities, founded by the Romans in 50 AD under the name Colonia. But the discovery of niches in the walls, measuring approximately 80cm by 50cm, was, initially, mystifying.

"It took us some time to match up the parallels -- we could see the niches were too small to bear statues inside. But what they are are kind of cupboards for the scrolls," said Dr Dirk Schmitz from the Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne. "They are very particular to libraries -- you can see the same ones in the library at Ephesus." It is not clear how many scrolls the library would have held, but it would have been "quite huge -- maybe 20,000," said Schmitz.

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San Francisco Officials Are Planning To Ban Corporate Cafeterias, Force Tech Workers To Eat Out At Local Restaurants
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '18 at 08:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hangry department:
"According to The New York Times, San Francisco officials are planning to ban corporate cafeterias to force tech workers to eat out at local eateries," writes Slashdot reader The Original CDR. Here's an excerpt from the report: Two San Francisco supervisors introduced an ordinance last week that would forbid employee cafeterias in new corporate construction. It is not clear whether the measure will pass, but it is a direct attack on one of the modern tech industry's most entrenched traditions. The ordinance, which seeks to force tech workers out of their subsidized cafeterias and into neighborhood restaurants, is the latest attempt by San Francisco leaders to make the tech companies that are migrating north from Silicon Valley adapt to life in the city.

"These tech companies have decided to leave their suburban campuses because their employees want to be in the city, and yet the irony is, they come to the city and are creating isolated, walled-off campuses," said Aaron Peskin, a city supervisor who is co-sponsoring the bill with Ahsha Safai. "This is not against these folks, it's for them. It's to integrate them into the community." Mr. Peskin's ordinance is also aimed at getting more out of a tax deal given to tech companies that would agree to move into a troubled area called Mid-Market. In 2011, the companies were given tax breaks on payroll and stock options with the hope that they would bring jobs and investment to the neighborhood, just a short walk from San Francisco's City Hall. Within a few years, a number of companies like Twitter, Square and Uber moved into Mid-Market. But despite initial excitement over the opening of a number of restaurants and shops, the neighborhood has not yet flourished the way many had hoped. Further reading: San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle

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