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Chrome OS Is Almost Ready To Replace Android On Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 03:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
Several news features rolling out to Chromebooks paint a picture of the future of Chrome OS as the rightful replacement for Android tablet software. Those include a new split-screen feature for multitasking while in tablet mode, and a screenshot feature borrowed from Android. The Verge reports: As it stands now, Chrome OS is very close to taking up the mantle there, and features like this push it ever closer to becoming the hybrid OS for all types of Google-powered screens. This has been in the works for quite a while as Google's Chrome and Android teams have coordinated closely to ensure the influx of low-cost, hybrid computing devices like 2-in-1 Chromebooks get the best of both worlds. There is, of course, Android app compatibility on Chrome OS, an initiative that first arrived somewhat half-baked last year and has taken months to fully jell as Google worked out the kinks. For instance, just last month Google added the ability for Android apps on Chromebooks run in the background. In July of last year, Google also began embarking on a touch-focused redesign of Chrome OS to make the software more functional in tablet mode. We're likely not getting the full-blown merging of the two divisions and their respective platforms anytime soon, or perhaps ever, as Google has played with the idea for years without ever seeming to decide that one platform should supersede the other. In essence, however, Android remains Google's dominant mobile OS, while Chrome OS has been taking on more responsibility as Chromebooks have steadily become more capable and tablet-like.

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Microsoft Is Now Selling a Surface Laptop With An Intel Core m3 Processor For $799
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 02:34 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's entry-level department:
Microsoft has begun offering a lower specced Surface laptop running Windows 10 S and an Intel Core m3 processor. It's priced at $799, compared to the standard model's $999 price, and is only available in the platinum color configuration. Windows Central reports: The Intel Core m3 spec is paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB Storage. This is definitely not a high-end model of the Surface Laptop, but it's still a premium one, with the same Alcantara fabric and high-quality display found on other Surface Laptop SKUs. Microsoft offers an Intel Core m3 model of the Surface Pro priced at $799 also, however that SKU doesn't come bundled with a keyboard or pen. At least with the Surface Laptop, you're getting a keyboard and trackpad in the box, so perhaps the Intel Core m3 Laptop is going to be the better choice for many. If you're looking for a straight laptop by Microsoft, that is. Some other specs include a 2256 x 1504 resolution display, Intel HD graphics 615, 720p webcam with Windows Hello face-authentication, Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio Premium, one full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, headphone jack and Surface Connect port. The device measures in a 12.13 inches x 8.79 inches x 0.57 inches and weighs 2.76 pounds.

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YouTube Will Put Disclaimers On State-Funded Broadcasts To Fight Propaganda
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 02:34 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's heads-up department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: YouTube's latest strategy to fight the spread of misinformation involves putting a disclaimer on videos from certain news sources. The online video website announced it will start labeling videos posted by state-funded broadcasters to alert viewers that the content is, in some part, funded by a government source. YouTube will begin labeling videos today, and the policy extends to outlets including the US's Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Russian government broadcaster RT. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, PBS videos will now have the label "publicly funded American broadcaster," while RT will have this disclaimer: "RT is funded in whole or in part by the Russian government." The new policy is YouTube's way of informing viewers about where the content they're watching is coming from, a piece of information often hidden or left unsought by the viewers themselves. "The principle here is to provide more information to our users, and let our users make the judgment themselves, as opposed to us being in the business of providing any sort of editorial judgment on any of these things ourselves," YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan told the WSJ.

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Why Alexa Won't Light Up During Amazon's Super Bowl Ad
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 01:13 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Bloomberg: Amazon.com is advertising its Alexa-powered speakers in the big game on Sunday. It's an amusing 90 seconds that features celebrities like Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Anthony Hopkins, Cardi B and the world's wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos himself. The word "Alexa" is uttered 10 times during the Super Bowl spot, but thankfully, the Amazon Echo in your living room isn't going to perk up and try to respond. Bezos and company have evidently been thinking about this problem for a long time, before the Echo was even introduced. A September 2014 Amazon patent titled "Audible command filtering" describes techniques to prevent Alexa from waking up "as part of a broadcast watched by a large population (such as during a popular sporting event)," annoying customers and overloading Amazon's servers with millions of simultaneous requests. The patent broadly describes two techniques. The first calls for transmitting a snippet of a commercial to Echo devices before it airs. Then the Echo can compare live commands to the acoustic fingerprint of the snippet to determine whether the commands are authentic. The second tactic describes how a commercial itself could transmit an inaudible acoustic signal to tell Alexa to ignore its wake word.

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YouTube Warns of 'Consequences' For Creators Who Misbehave
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 01:13 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's enough-is-enough department:
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has announced that creators whose actions impact negatively on its community will face "consequences." From a report: Wojcicki said the video-sharing platform is developing new policies that "would lead to consequences" if a content creator "does something egregious" that reflects unfavorably on other YouTube creators. YouTube's CEO made the comments in a blog post that detailed a list of the Google-owned firm's priorities for creators in 2018. In January, one of the service's most popular content creators, Logan Paul, published a video that showed the dead body of a man hanging from a tree. Wojcicki did not refer to the Logan Paul incident directly, but said that the misbehavior of some creators could put the broader YouTube community in a negative light. "While these instances are rare, they can damage the reputation and revenue of your fellow creators, so we want to make sure we have policies in place that allow us to respond appropriately," she said.

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Working From Home: What if You Never Saw Your Colleagues in Person Again?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 11:53 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what-would-happen department:
Bryan Lufkin, writing for BBC: Throughout my career I've worked with people that I've never met in person. In theory, I could spend an entire day without meeting another human face-to-face. But could this kind of self-imposed isolation become standard working practice in the future? Studies show that in the US, the number of telecommuters rose 115% between 2005 and 2017. And in early 2015, around 500,000 people used Slack, the real-time chat room programme, daily. By last September, that number soared to over 6 million. In 2017 a Gallup poll revealed that 43% of 15,000 Americans say they spend at least some of their time working remotely, a 4% rise from 2012. And a 2015 YouGov study found that 30% of UK office workers say they feel more productive when they work outside their workplace. How would we feel if we never had to work with another person face-to-face again? Would we care? Have things gone so far that we might not even notice?

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Laser Scans Reveal Maya 'Megalopolis' Below Guatemalan Jungle
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 11:53 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's major-discovery department:
Laser-toting archaeologists have discovered an entire new city in the Central American jungle, the National Geographic reported this week. From the report: In what's being hailed as a "major breakthrough" in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala. Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for "Light Detection And Ranging"), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed. "The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated," said Thomas Garrison, an Ithaca College archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in using digital technology for archaeological research.

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GOP Memo Criticizing FBI Surveillance is Released
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 10:35 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's breaking-news department:
The controversial four-page memo created by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee alleging abuse of surveillance authority by the Justice Department and FBI has been released Friday after being declassified by the president. The memo is unredacted. (Alternative link for the memo.) The Washington Post: The four-page, newly declassified memo written by the Republican staffers for the House Intelligence Committee said the findings "raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain (Justice Department) and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) calling it "a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process." The memo accuses former officials who approved the surveillance applications -- a group that includes former FBI Director James B. Comey, his former deputy Andrew McCabe, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates and current Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein -- of signing off on court surveillance requests that omitted key facts about the political motivations of the person supplying some of the information, Christopher Steele, a former intelligence officer in Britain. The memo says Steele "was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations -- an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI." The FBI Agents Association on Friday said that agents "have not, and will not, allow partisan politics to distract us from our solemn commitment to our mission." The full statement: The men and women of the FBI put their lives on the line every day in the fight against terrorists and criminals because of their dedication to our country and the Constitution. The American people should know that they continue to be well-served by the world's preeminent law enforcement agency. FBI Special Agents have not, and will not, allow partisan politics to distract us from our solemn commitment to our mission.

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Surface Pro 4 Owners Are Putting Their Tablets in Freezers To Fix Screen Flickering Issues
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 10:35 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
Hundreds of Surface Pro 4 owners have been complaining about screen flickering issues on their tablets, and many are putting it in freezers to "fix" it. From a report: A thread over at Microsoft's support forums shows that the problems have been occurring for more than a year, and most devices affected are out of warranty. Dubbed "Flickergate," a website to report the issues claims at least 1,600 Surface Pro 4 owners have experienced the screen flickering problems. The flickering appears to be a hardware issue, which occurs after the device heats up during use. Some owners have even started freezing their tablets to stop the screen flickering temporarily. "I get about half an hour's use out of it after ten minutes in the freezer," says one owner. Another user posted a video showing how the flickering stops as soon as the Surface Pro 4 is placed in a freezer.

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Nearly Three-Quarters of Adults in US Believe AI Will Eliminate More Jobs Than It Will Create -- and They Want Companies To Pay For the Retraining
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 09:14 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Key findings from a Gallup poll: Nearly three-quarters of adults (73%) say an increased use of AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates (PDF). Results are consistent across most demographic groups. However, those with blue-collar jobs are particularly pessimistic, with 82% saying the transition will result in a net job loss, compared with 71% of those with white-collar jobs. Nearly half of Americans (49%) say "soft" skills, such as teamwork, communication, creativity and critical thinking, are the most important for U.S. workers to cultivate to avoid losing their jobs to AI. Alternatively, 51% say learning "hard" skills, including math, science, coding and the ability to work with data, are the most important to maintain a job in the face of new technology adoption. When asked to choose among seven options concerning who should pay for retraining, a clear majority of U.S. adults overall (61%) say employers should fund these programs. The federal government comes in second at 50%.

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A Search For Insomnia Genes Involving 1.3 Million People is the Largest Genetic Study Ever
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 09:14 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's unprecedented-scope department:
In a genetic study of unprecedented size, scientists have searched for inherited causes of insomnia in the DNA 1,310,010 people. From a report: They found 956 different genes linked to the sleep disorder, drawing closer to an explanation of what causes it and, perhaps, to new ways to treat it. The study appears to be the first gene search to involve DNA collected from more than one million people. "It's amazingly massive," says Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist involved with genetics research at the University of Edinburgh. On Twitter, scientists let loose with superlatives: "Holy cr*p," "mammoth," and "Wow!" The project involved crunching genetic and medical information collected from the UK Biobank and the consumer DNA testing company 23andMe. It was led by Danielle Posthuma, a neuroscientist specializing in statistical genetics at Vrije University, in Amsterdam.

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Firefox 59 Will Stop Websites Snooping on Where You've Just Been
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 07:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department:
Firefox 59 will reduce how much information websites pass on about visitors in an attempt to improve privacy for users of its private browsing mode. From a report: When you click a link in your browser to navigate to a new site, the site you go on to visit receives the address of the site you came from, via the so-called "referrer value." While this helps websites understand where visitors are coming from, it can also leak data about the individual browsing, because it tells the site the exact page you were looking at when you clicked the link, said Mozilla. Browsers also send a referrer value when requesting other details like ads, or other social media snippets integrated in a modern website, which means these embedded content features also know exactly what page you're visiting.

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Sony's PlayStation 4 Has Nearly Outsold the PlayStation 3
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 07:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Sony's PlayStation 3 sales stand at around 80 million -- which means its successor, the current gen PlayStation 4, will soon surpass it. From a report: The Japanese electronics giant sold 9 million PlayStation 4 consoles from October through December, it said on Friday in its latest quarterly earnings report. Sales for the console were at 67.5 million as of Sept. 30 2017, according to Sony's previous quarterly earnings report, bringing the total to 76.5 million. The PlayStation 2 remains Sony's best-selling console, with over 150 million units sold. These figures come days after Nintendo on Wednesday revealed the Switch, released last March, is up to 14.8 million in sales. Sales of Microsoft's Xbox One are estimated by VGChartz to be around 36 million.

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Bitcoin Plummets Below $8,000 For First Time Since November
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 06:34 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's free-fall department:
Bitcoin's value dipped $8,000 this morning -- the first time since November 24, according to CNBC -- just hours after the cryptocurrency made news after going under $9,000. From a report: After the news that Bitcoin had headed south of $9,000, CNBC branded the range of $9,000 to $10,000 as "a difficult one for bitcoin to break below" after its surge over $10,000 last year.

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DuckDuckGo CEO: 'Google and Facebook Are Watching Our Every Move Online. It's Time To Make Them Stop'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 05:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-watching department:
An anonymous reader shares a report from CNBC, written by Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo: You may know that hidden trackers lurk on most websites you visit, soaking up your personal information. What you may not realize, though, is 76 percent of websites now contain hidden Google trackers, and 24 percent have hidden Facebook trackers, according to the Princeton Web Transparency & Accountability Project. The next highest is Twitter with 12 percent. It is likely that Google or Facebook are watching you on many sites you visit, in addition to tracking you when using their products. As a result, these two companies have amassed huge data profiles on each person, which can include your interests, purchases, search, browsing and location history, and much more. They then make your sensitive data profile available for invasive targeted advertising that can follow you around the Internet.
[...]
< article continued at Slashdot's always-watching department >

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New Zero-Day Vulnerability Found In Adobe Flash Player
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '18 at 02:34 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-in-the-wild department:
GBHackers On Cyber Security and an anonymous Slashdot reader have shared a story about a new zero-day vulnerability found in Adobe's Flash Player. Bleeping Computer reports: South Korean authorities have issued a warning regarding a brand new Flash zero-day deployed in the wild. According to a security alert issued by the South Korean Computer Emergency Response Team (KR-CERT), the zero-day affects Flash Player installs 28.0.0.137 and earlier. Flash 28.0.0.137 is the current Flash version number.

"An attacker can persuade users to open Microsoft Office documents, web pages, spam e-mails, etc. that contain Flash files that distribute the malicious [Flash] code," KR-CERT said. The malicious code is believed to be a Flash SWF file embedded in MS Word documents. Simon Choi, a security researcher with Hauri Inc., a South Korean security firm, says the zero-day has been made and deployed by North Korean threat actors and used since mid-November 2017. Choi says attackers are trying to infect South Koreans researching North Korea. Adobe said it plans to patch this zero-day on Monday, February 5.

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LG Settles Bootloop Lawsuit With $425 Cash Or a $700 Rebate Toward a New LG Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 11:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-and-get-it department:
Early last year, a class-action lawsuit was filed against LG over bootloop issues affecting their G4 and V10 smartphones. Now, according to a settlement website set up by the law firm Girard Gibbs, members of the lawsuit have received a settlement offer. The only catch is that the settlement is only for plaintiffs of the initial case. Android Police reports: LG is offering plaintiffs either $425 as a cash settlement or a $700 rebate toward the purchase of a new LG phone. That's pretty generous, and it's clear that's going to help offset some of the anger LG's created with this whole incident. If you're one of the plaintiffs, you don't have to mail in your broken phone or anything, you just get the settlement offer, straight up. Members of the class will be contacted shortly with instructions on how to take advantage of the settlement. Payments will be distributed beginning in March.

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Ask Slashdot: Which Tech Company Do You Respect Most?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 10:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's with-respect-to department:
dryriver writes: On Slashdot, we often discuss the missteps and non consumer-friendly behavior of various tech companies. This company forced people into a subscription payment model. That tech company doesn't respect people's privacy. Yet another tech company failed to fix a dangerous exploit quickly, protect people's cloud data properly, or innovate and improve where innovation and improvement was badly needed.

Here's a question to the contrary: Of all the tech companies you know well and follow -- small, medium, or large -- which are the ones that you respect the most, and why? Which are the companies that still -- or newly -- create great tech in a landscape dotted with profiteers? Also, what is your personal criteria for judging whether a tech company is "good," "neutral," or "bad?"

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NFL Players With Long and Short Careers Have Similar Death Risk, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 07:54 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared 2,933 athletes who played in the National Football League for an average of five years to 879 "replacement players" who filled in for three games during a mid-1980s strike, finding no statistically significant difference in rates of death from all causes. Critics said the research had several flaws and pointed to a study released last year that found 99 percent of deceased former NFL players whose brains were analyzed post-mortem showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease linked to repeated hits to the head that can lead to aggression and dementia. The latest study found that the leading cause of death among the NFL career players was cardiometabolic disease, which entails greater risk of heart attack and stroke, followed by transportation injuries and unintentional injuries.

"This new study seems to support other previous studies that have not shown an increase in mortality among NFL players when compared to similar cohorts," an NFL spokeswoman said. "As with all new research on this topic, we will look at it closely to see what we can learn to better enhance the well-being of our current and former players," the spokeswoman said.

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How DIY Rebels Are Working To Replace Tech Giants
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 06:35 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department:
mspohr shares an excerpt from an "interesting article about groups working to make a safer internet": Balkan and Kalbag form one small part of a fragmented rebellion whose prime movers tend to be located a long way from Silicon Valley. These people often talk in withering terms about Big Tech titans such as Mark Zuckerberg, and pay glowing tribute to Edward Snowden. Their politics vary, but they all have a deep dislike of large concentrations of power and a belief in the kind of egalitarian, pluralistic ideas they say the internet initially embodied. What they are doing could be seen as the online world's equivalent of punk rock: a scattered revolt against an industry that many now think has grown greedy, intrusive and arrogant -- as well as governments whose surveillance programs have fueled the same anxieties. As concerns grow about an online realm dominated by a few huge corporations, everyone involved shares one common goal: a comprehensively decentralized internet. Balkan energetically travels the world, delivering TED-esque talks with such titles as "Free is a Lie" and "Avoiding Digital Feudalism."

< article continued at Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department >

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