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PSA: Comcast Doesn't Really Support Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's broken-promises department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Slate: Anyone who has ever paid a bill to or waited for customer service from Comcast knows why it is one of America's most detested companies, its recent efforts to improve its image notwithstanding. While Comcast says its customers will "enjoy strong net neutrality protections," it hasn't explicitly said it won't offer paid prioritization, which is how the company would most likely monetize its new ability to legally muck with internet traffic. In other words, Comcast might not choke or slow service to any website, but it could speed access to destinations that pay for the priority service. The company's promises should sound familiar. As Jon Brodkin pointed out in Ars Technica on Monday, back when the FCC was crafting the network neutrality rules in 2014, Comcast said it had no plans to enact paid prioritization, either. "We don't prioritize Internet traffic or have paid fast lanes, and have no plans to do so," a Comcast executive wrote in a blog post that year.

< article continued at Slashdot's broken-promises department >

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Tesla Owners Are Mining Bitcoins With Free Power From Charging Stations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's feasibility-study department:
dmoberhaus writes: Someone claimed to use their Tesla to power a cryptocurrency mine to take advantage of the free energy given to Tesla owners. But even with free energy, does this scheme make sense? Motherboard ran the numbers.

From the report: "...If we assume that each of the GPUs in this rig draws around 150 watts, then the 16 GPUs have a total power draw of 2.4 kilowatts per hour or 57.6 kilowatt hours per day if they ran for a full 24 hours. According to Green Car Reports, a Tesla Model S gets about 3 miles per kilowatt hour, meaning that running this mining rig for a full day is the equivalent of driving nearly 173 miles in the Tesla. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average American drives around 260 miles a week. In other words, running this cryptocurrency mine out of the trunk of a Tesla for a day and a half would use as much energy as driving that Tesla for a full week, on average. Moreover, drivers who are not a part of Tesla's unlimited free energy program are limited to 400 kilowatt hours of free electricity per year, meaning they could only run their rig for a little over 7 days on free energy.

< article continued at Slashdot's feasibility-study department >

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After Two Months of Quiet, North Korea Launches Another Ballistic Missile
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's here-we-go-again department:
South Korean and U.S. officials have confirmed that North Korea has launched another ballistic missile into the sea of Japan. The ballistic missile test -- launched just after 3am Wednesday local time from Sin-ni in South Pyongyang -- is the first since an intermediate-range missile test in September. Ars Technica reports: In a statement to the press, a spokesperson for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, "North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile early this morning from Pyongsong, South Pyongan [Province], to the east direction. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff is analyzing more details of the missile with the U.S. side." The U.S. Department of Defense and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) have made an initial assessment that the missile was an ICBM, according to Office of the Secretary of Defense spokesperson Col. Robert Manning. The missile traveled 1,000 kilometers, flew over Japan, and landed in the sea east of Japan within its exclusive economic zone.

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MacOS High Sierra Bug Allows Login As Root With No Password
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's trivial-to-exploit department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: A trivial-to-exploit flaw in macOS High Sierra, aka macOS 10.13, allows users to gain admin rights, or log in as root, without a password. The security bug is triggered via the authentication dialog box in Apple's operating system, which prompts you for an administrator's username and password when you need to do stuff like configure privacy and network settings. If you type in "root" as the username, leave the password box blank, hit "enter" and then click on unlock a few times, the prompt disappears and, congrats, you now have admin rights. You can do this from the user login screen. The vulnerability effectively allows someone with physical access to the machine to log in, cause extra mischief, install malware, and so on. You should not leave your vulnerable Mac unattended until you can fix the problem. And while obviously this situation is not the end of the world -- it's certainly far from a remote hole or a disk decryption technique -- it's just really, really sad to see megabucks Apple drop the ball like this. Developer Lemi Orhan Ergan was the first to alert the world to the flaw. The Register notes: "If you have a root account enabled and a password for it set, the black password trick will not work. So, keep the account enabled and set a root password right now..."

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Uber Trained Employees on How To 'Impede, Obstruct or Influence' Ongoing Legal Investigations, Ex-employee Says
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's oh-boy department:
From a report on CNBC: Uber faced fresh allegations on Tuesday that it deliberately took steps to keep " unlawful schemes from seeing the light of day." Hours of testimony on Tuesday centered around a letter from a former Uber security analyst's attorney to an Uber lawyer. The former analyst, Richard Jacobs, said in the letter there was a directive for Uber employees to use disappearing chat apps like Wickr, and that Uber sent employees to Pittsburgh (where it's developing its autonomous vehicles) to "educate" them on how to prevent "Uber's unlawful schemes from seeing the light of day." He reportedly made other bombshell allegations in the letter, including that employees at Uber were trained to "impede" ongoing investigations, multiple media outlets reported.

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'You Had to Be There': As Technologies Change Ever Faster, the Knowledge of Obsolete Things Becomes Ever Sweeter
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's man's-search-for-meaning department:
Alexis C. Madrigal, writing for The Atlantic: There's a question going around on Twitter, courtesy of the writer Matt Whitlock: "Without revealing your actual age, what's something you remember that if you told a younger person they wouldn't understand?" This simple query has received, at this date, 18,000 responses. Here is just a tiny selection: A/S/L, pagers, manual car windows, "be kind, please rewind", "Waiting by the radio for my song to come on so I could record it on a cassette tape", floppy disks, the smell of purple mimeograph ink, WordPerfect, busy signals, paper maps, Winamp, smoking in the hospital, the card catalogue. Our favorite response, "The remote to change the channel on the TV was attached to a box that was attached to the TV", which elicited a response, "What about the remote that was really a clicker... In that it clicked like a frog toy",

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Criticizes Companies That Oppose His Efforts To Repeal Net Neutrality Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 12:34 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
Tony Romm, writing for Recode: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai thinks everyone from Cher to Twitter has it wrong when they say that his efforts to roll back the U.S. government's existing net neutrality rules will spell the death of the web. Instead, Pai said during an event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday that tech giants could pose the greatest threat by discriminating against viewpoints on the internet. "They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest," he said, "but the real interest of these internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the internet economy." The surprising rebuke came as Pai forged ahead with his plan to end the net neutrality protections adopted by the Federal Communications Commission under former President Barack Obama. Those rules subject broadband providers like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon to utility-style regulation, all in a bid to stop them from blocking access to web pages, slowing down connections or prioritizing some content over others. [...] He didn't spare tech companies from that criticism, either. Companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter -- speaking through their main Washington, D.C.-based trade group, the Internet Association -- have urged Pai to stand down. In response, Pai sought to make an example of Twitter. He specifically raised the fact that the company at one point prevented a Republican congresswoman from promoting a tweet about abortion, only to change its mind amid a public backlash. "Now look: I love Twitter," Pai began. "But let's not kid ourselves; when it comes to a free and open Internet, Twitter is a part of the problem. The company has a viewpoint and uses that viewpoint to discriminate."

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Bitcoin Hits $10,000 Because Ceilings Are Just a Construct, Man
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 12:34 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what-in-the-world department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: On Tuesday, the trading price of the most prominent cryptocurrency hit $10,000 for the first time. And that nice round number will almost certainly have the kind of psychological effect that brings in new traders. Based on analysts' recent predictions, the $10,000 milestone could be the beginning of the end or just the beginning. Some thought that $2,000 would be the point at which we'd see a reversal of Bitcoin's ascent. Others predicted it would top out at $4,000. Then, $4,000 became the floor. These days, analysts with decent reputations have predicted the cryptocurrency's trading price could go as high as $50,000, $100,000, and even $1 million.

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New NSA Leak Exposes Red Disk, the Army's Failed Intelligence System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 11:15 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's so-nothing-new? department:
Zack Whittaker, reporting for ZDNet: The contents of a highly sensitive hard drive belonging to a division of the National Security Agency have been left online. The virtual disk image contains over 100 gigabytes of data from an Army intelligence project, codenamed "Red Disk." The disk image belongs to the US Army's Intelligence and Security Command, known as INSCOM, a division of both the Army and the NSA. The disk image was left on an unlisted but public Amazon Web Services storage server, without a password, open for anyone to download. Unprotected storage buckets have become a recurring theme in recent data leaks and exposures. In the past year alone, Accenture, Verizon, and Viacom, and several government departments, were all dinged by unsecured data.

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Microsoft Sees the Future of Windows 10 as Sets, Ditching Windows For a Tabbed App Interface
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 11:15 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Microsoft said Tuesday that it plans to overhaul Windows 10, with a browser-like, tabbed application view dubbed "Sets" that groups apps and files by project. From a report: Think of Sets as a mashup of existing and emerging Windows 10 technologies. Take Windows Explorer and the little-used Task View within Windows 10, mix in the newer "Pick up where you left off" and "Timeline" features, and wrap it all into a single-window experience. The idea is that every task requires a set of apps -- Mail, a browser, PowerPoint, even Win32 apps like Photoshop -- and those apps will be optionally organized as tabs along a single window. But that's not all. Microsoft knows that one of the most difficult things to remember isn't what you were working on a week or so ago -- browser histories help with that. It's remembering all of the associated apps and documents that went with it: a particular PowerPoint document, that budget spreadsheet, the context an Edge tab provided. The idea is that the delayed Timeline feature will eventually group and associate all of these into a Set, so that when you open one, Windows will suggest the others, too.

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Google Can Tell if Someone Is Looking at Your Phone Over Your Shoulder
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 09:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Dave Gershgorn, writing for Quartz: At the Neural Information Processing Systems conference in Long Beach, California, next week, Google researchers Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff will present a project they're calling an electronic screen protector, where a Google Pixel phone uses its front-facing camera and eye-detecting artificial intelligence to detect whether more than one person is looking at the screen. An unlisted, but public video by Ryu shows the software interrupting a Google messaging app to display a camera view, with the peeking perpetrator identified and given a Snapchat-esque vomit rainbow. Ryu and Schroff claim the system works with different lighting conditions and poses, and can recognize a person's gaze in 2 milliseconds. Ostensibly, this AI software is able to work so quickly because it's being run on the phone, rather than sent for processing on the company's powerful cloud servers.

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HP Quietly Installs System-Slowing Spyware On Its PCs, Users Say
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 09:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's something-fishy department:
It hasn't been long since Lenovo settled a massive $3.5 million fine for preinstalling adware on laptops without users' consent, and it appears HP is on to the same route already. According to numerous reports gathered by news outlet Computer World, the brand is deploying a telemetry client on customer computers without asking permission. The software, called "HP Touchpoint Analytics Service", appears to replace the self-managed HP Touchpoint Manager solution. To make matter worse, the suite seems to be slowing down PCs, users say. From the report: Dubbed "HP Touchpoint Analytics Service," HP says it "harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint's analytical services." Apparently, it's HP Touchpoint Analytics Client version 4.0.2.1435. There are dozens of reports of this new, ahem, service scattered all over the internet. According to Gunter Born, reports of the infection go all the way back to Nov. 15, when poster MML on BleepingComputer said: "After the latest batch of Windows updates, about a half hour after installing the last, I noticed that this had been installed on my computer because it showed up in the notes of my Kaspersky, and that it opened the Windows Dump File verifier and ran a disk check and battery test." According to Gartner, HP was the largest PC vendor in the quarter that ended in September this year.

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Researchers Identify 44 Trackers in More Than 300 Android Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 08:36 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department:
Catalin Cimpanu, reporting for BleepingComputer: A collaborative effort between the Yale Privacy Lab and Exodus Privacy has shed light on dozens of invasive trackers that are embedded within Android apps and record user activity, sometimes without user consent. The results of this study come to show that the practice of collecting user data via third-party tracking code has become rampant among Android app developers and is now on par with what's happening on most of today's popular websites. The two investigative teams found tracking scripts not only in lesser known Android applications, where one might expect app developers to use such practices to monetize their small userbases, but also inside highly popular apps -- such as Uber, Twitter, Tinder, Soundcloud, or Spotify. The Yale and Exodus investigation resulted in the creation of a dedicated website that now lists all apps using tracking code and a list of trackers, used by these apps. In total, researchers said they identified 44 trackers embedded in over 300 Android apps.

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Elon Musk Says He Is Not Bitcoin's Satoshi Nakamoto
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 08:36 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's mystery-solved department:
An anonymous reader writes: Not only does Elon Musk deny being the mysterious creator of bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto, but he's also forgotten where he keeps his cryptocurrency. Musk's assertions came in response to a blog post coursing through digital-currency sites that suggested the PayPal co-founder and Tesla chief executive officer himself is probably the bitcoin originator who used the alias Nakamoto. "Not true," Musk said Tuesday in a tweet. "A friend sent me part of a BTC a few years, but I don't know where it is."

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Firms Team Up On Hybrid Electric Plane Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 07:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are to develop hybrid electric engine plane technology as part of a push towards cleaner aviation. The E-Fan X programme will first put an electric engine with three jet engines on a BAe 146 aircraft. The firms want to fly a demonstrator version of the plane by 2020, with a commercial application by 2030. Firms are racing to develop electric engines for planes after pressure from the EU to cut aviation pollution. Each of the partners in the programme will be investing tens of millions of pounds, they said on a press call. The firms are developing hybrid technology because fully electric commercial flights are currently out of reach, a spokeswoman said.

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India's Telecom Regulator Backs Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 07:13 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's setting-an-example department:
From a report on Reuters: India's telecom regulator has made recommendations to ensure an open internet in the country and prevent any discrimination in internet access in a long-awaited report (PDF), after debating the issue of net neutrality for more than a year. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said it was not in favor of any "discriminatory treatment" with data, including blocking, slowing or offering preferential speeds or treatment to any content. The Indian regulator's support of net neutrality stands in contrast to the recent stance taken by the chair of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Last week, Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump in January, unveiled plans to rescind so-called net neutrality rules championed by former President Barack Obama that treated internet service providers like public utilities.

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Destiny 2 Misrepresented XP Gains To Its Players Until the Developers Got Caught
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 05:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hidden-figures department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Destiny 2, like its predecessor, depends largely on an open-ended "end game" system. Once you beat the game's primary "quest" content, you can return to previously covered ground to find remixed and upgraded battles, meant to be played ad nauseam alone or with friends. To encourage such replay, Bungie dangles a carrot of XP gain, which works more slowly than during the campaign stages. Players are awarded a "bright engram" every time they "level up" past the level cap; the engrams are essentially loot boxes that contain a random assortment of cosmetics and weapon mods. Everything you do in the game, from killing a weak bad guy to completing a major raid-related milestone, is supposed to reward you a fixed XP amount. As series fans gear up for the game's first expansion, slated to launch December 5 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, its eagle-eyed fans at r/DestinyTheGame began questioning whether those rewards were really as fixed as claimed. Some players began to suspect that they were actually getting less XP than advertised each time they repeated certain in-game missions and tasks, such as the game's "Public Events."

< article continued at Slashdot's hidden-figures department >

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Microsoft Office Now Available On All Chromebooks
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '17 at 03:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-and-get-it department:
Microsoft has reportedly finished testing out its Office apps on Chromebooks as a number of Chromebooks are now seeing the Office apps in the Google Play Store. Samsung's Chromebook Pro, Acer's Chromebook 15, and Acer's C771 have the Office apps available for download. The Verge reports: The apps are Android versions of Office which include the same features you'd find on an Android tablet running Office. Devices like Asus' Chromebook Flip (with a 10.1-inch display) will get free access to Office on Chrome OS, but larger devices will need a subscription. Microsoft has a rule across Windows, iOS, and Android hardware that means devices larger than 10.1 inches need an Office 365 subscription to unlock the ability to create, edit, or print documents.

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Tom Baker Returns To Finish Shelved Doctor Who Episodes Penned By Douglas Adams
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '17 at 11:15 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department:
Zorro shares a report from The Register: The fourth and finest Doctor, Tom Baker, has reprised the role to finish a Who serial scuppered in 1979 by strike action at the BBC. Shada, penned by Hitchhiker's Guide author Douglas Adams, was supposed to close Doctor Who's 17th season. Location filming in Cambridge and a studio session were completed but the strike nixed further work and the project was later shelved entirely for fear it might affect the Beeb's Christmas-time productions. The remaining parts have been filled in with animation and the voice of 83-year-old Baker, although he also filmed a scene. BBC Worldwide has now released the episodes, which interweave the 1979 footage with the new material to complete the story. "I loved doing Doctor Who, it was life to me," Baker told the BBC of his tenure as the much-loved Time Lord. "I used to dread the end of rehearsal because then real life would impinge on me. Doctor Who... when I was in full flight, then I was happy."

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Scientists Have Built Robot Muscles That Can Lift 1,000 Times Their Own Weight
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '17 at 08:24 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's origami-inspired department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute and MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) announced today (Nov. 27) that they've created robotic "muscles" that can lift up to 1,000 times their own weight. The simple objects are constructed out of metal or plastic "skeletons" that are covered in either a liquid or air, and then sealed in plastic or fabric "skins." The muscle pulls taught when a vacuum is created inside the skin, and goes slack when the vacuum is released. By folding the skeletons in different ways, the vacuum can pull the muscle in different directions. "Vacuum-based muscles have a lower risk of rupture, failure, and damage, and they don't expand when they're operating, so you can integrate them into closer-fitting robots on the human body," Daniel Vogt, a research engineer at the Wyss Institute, said in a release.

These new structures are also surprisingly cheap. As they don't require anything other than water or air to move them, the researchers told Harvard that a single muscle can be built in about 10 minutes, for less than $1. (Obviously, there'd still be a cost for the vacuum or whatever is being used to change the pressure of the muscles.)

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