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Abbott Addresses Life-Threatening Flaw In a Half-Million Pacemakers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 04:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's life-saver department:
lod123 shares a report from Threatpost: Nearly a half-million pacemakers are up for a firmware update to address potentially life-threatening vulnerabilities. Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical) has released another upgrade to the firmware installed on certain implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) devices -- a.k.a., pacemakers. About 465,000 patients are affected. The update will strengthen the devices' protection against unauthorized access, as the provider said in a statement on its website: "It is intended to prevent anyone other than your doctor from changing your device settings." The update comes after 2016 claims by researchers that the then-St. Jude's cardiac implant ecosystem was rife with cybersecurity flaws that could result in "catastrophic results."

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Criminals Used a Fleet of Drones To Disrupt an FBI Hostage Operation
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 03:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
Criminals have discovered another use for drones -- to distract and spy on law enforcement. From a report: They recently tried to thwart an FBI hostage rescue, Joe Mazel, chief of the FBI's operational technology law unit, said this week, according to a report by news site Defense One. Mazel, speaking at the AUVSI Xponential drone conference in Denver, said that criminals launched a swarm of drones at an FBI rescue team during an unspecified hostage situation near a large U.S. city, confusing law enforcement. The criminals flew the drones at high speed over the heads of FBI agents to drive them away while also shooting video that they then uploaded to YouTube as a way to alert other nearby criminal members about law enforcement's location.

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'Follow-Up To Vine' Gets Delayed For 'Indefinite Amount of Time'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's technical-difficulties department:
Late last year, Vine's co-founder, Dom Hofmann, said he was working on "a follow-up to Vine," after the six-second video social media app was shut down by Twitter in October. "I'm going to work on a follow-up to vine. i've been feeling it myself for some time and have seen a lot of tweets, dms, etc.," Hofmann tweeted at the time. Well, several months have passed and we have learned that Vine v2 will be postponed for an "indefinite amount of time" while Hofmann figures out funding and logistical hurdles. The Verge reports: The announcement, made on the v2 forums and reposted this morning by the official v2 Twitter handle, is a disappointing but understanding turn of events. Back in January, Hofmann suggested the app may launch as soon as this summer, which was an ambitious timetable. Now, Hofmann says that, despite the immense interest in his project, he has to take the time to make sure it doesn't fall apart before continuing. He cites a need for substantial venture funding to get v2 off the ground after initially thinking he may be able to self-fund it. "Long story short, in order to work, the v2 project needs to operate as a company with sizable external funding, probably from investors," Hofmann writes. "This is difficult because I already run an early-stage company (Innerspace VR, a creative immersive entertainment studio he founded after selling Vine to Twitter years ago) that is in the middle of development. Very few backers would be happy with the split attention, and I wouldn't be either. This is potentially solvable, but it's going to take time for the space and resources to become available."

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HTC Teases Its Next Flagship Smartphone. Too Bad, the Photo Shows Parts of an iPhone 6.
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's you-had-one-job department:
HTC has begun to ramp up marketing campaign for its next major smartphone release, teasing that they will be making a proper announcement on May 23rd. From a report: In an email sent to the press this morning and posted on their website, HTC posted a photo of neatly laid out phone components, with the text "Coming Soon... A phone that is more than the sum of its specs." The photo and the announcement give a May 23rd date for more details. AnandTech has added an update to the story, (Via DaringFireball ): As pointed out by a reader, these aren't new components. Or even components of an HTC phone. Rather they're a disassembled iPhone 6...

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NSA Collected 500 Million US Call Records In 2017, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's great-gatherings department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. National Security Agency collected more than 500 million phone call records of Americans last year, more than triple gathered in 2016, a U.S. intelligence agency report released on Friday said. The sharp increase to 534 million call records from 151 million occurred during the second full year of a new surveillance system established at the spy agency after U.S. lawmakers passed a law in 2015 that sought to limit its ability to collect such records in bulk. The reason for the spike was not immediately clear. The metadata records collected by the NSA include the numbers and time of a call, but not its content.

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Growing Petition Requests Apple Recall MacBook Pro With 'Defective Keyboard'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's you-owe-an-explanation,-Apple department:
Apple might have some explaining to do if a recent petition against its MacBook Pro continues to gain steam. From a report: A petition surfaced this week on Change.org that calls on Apple to recall MacBook Pro units released since late 2016 over what the petition author Matthew Taylor calls a "defective keyboard." The petition seeks 7,500 signatures and as of this writing, it's closing in on 6,200. Judging by the sheer number of signatures coming in each minute, it shouldn't take long for it to hit the goal. "Apple, it's time: recall every MacBook Pro released since late 2016, and replace the keyboards on all of them with new, redesigned keyboards that just work," the petition reads. It goes on to say that "every one of Apple's current-gen MacBook Pro models, 13-inch and 15-inch, is sold with a keyboard that can become defective at any moment due to a design failure."

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Christopher Nolan Returns Kubrick Sci-Fi Masterpiece '2001: A Space Odyssey' To Its Original Glory
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 12:31 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's beautiful department:
LA Times' Kenneth Turan traces Christopher Nolan's meticulous restoration of Kubrick's masterpiece to its 70-mm glory: Christopher Nolan wants to show me something interesting. Something beautiful and exceptional, something that changed his life when he was a boy. It's also something that Nolan, one of the most accomplished and successful of contemporary filmmakers, has persuaded Warner Bros. to share with the world both at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and then in theaters nationwide, but in a way that boldly deviates from standard practice. For what is being cued up in a small, hidden-away screening room in an unmarked building in Burbank is a brand new 70-mm reel of film of one of the most significant and influential motion pictures ever made, Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science-fiction epic "2001: A Space Odyssey." Yes, you read that right. Not a digital anything, an actual reel of film that was for all intents and purposes identical to the one Nolan saw as a child and Kubrick himself would have looked at when the film was new half a century ago.

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Google Broke Up a Vietnamese Con Scheme After an Employee Was Scammed Buying a Bluetooth Headset
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 11:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's wronged-the-wrong-guy department:
A Google executive found a high-end Bluetooth headset selling at a steep discount on Google Shopping website earlier this year. He placed the order, but much to his surprise, the headset never arrived at his doorstep. He tried calling the seller, but it turned out that the number listed on the website was disconnected, and the merchant wasn't based in the US, as the website had indicated. Instead of kicking the seller off the website, Google launched an investigation and it soon realized the problem ran too deep. From a report: But instead of simply banning the bad actor from listing new products, Google Shopping's trust and safety team initiated a global probe that ultimately tracked down 5,000 merchant accounts wrapped up in a sophisticated scheme to defraud users. "I think we caught them right at the tip of when they were trying to scale up," Saikat Mitra, Google Shopping's director of trust and safety, told CNBC. The story, which Mitra is sharing publicly for the first time, reflects Google's never-ending battle against scams, a fight that requires engineers and their increasingly sophisticated machine learning tools. It also illustrates the risks that consumers face as Google aggressively tries to win back product searches from Amazon and stay relevant in the future of e-commerce. Although Google Shopping may look like a marketplace, it really isn't. Amazon and eBay operate shopping platforms that connect sellers with buyers and offer protections like money-back guarantees. Google, by contrast, sends shoppers off its site after they click on an item, and thus has no visibility into what happens after the transaction.

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YouTube Gets 1.8 Billion Logged-in Viewers Monthly
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 11:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's skyrocketing-scale department:
On stage today at Radio City Music Hall, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki made a surprising revelation: the service gets 1.8 billion logged-in viewers every month. And that doesn't include people who aren't logged in -- which means the actual number of people watching YouTube is definitely much higher. From a report: Last June, the service had 1.5 billion logged-in watchers. On TVs alone, people are now watching 150 million hours of YouTube every day. The latest figures are yet another sign that YouTube's reach is staggering, something that Wojcicki wanted to make crystal clear for the audience of advertisers and potential partners at its annual BrandCast event.

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'Biology Will Be the Next Big Computing Platform'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 09:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's major-bet department:
An anonymous reader writes: "Amazon, but for Crispr." It's a notion that may sound far-fetched -- but it's exactly what Synthego, a Silicon Valley biotech startup, wants to be. Synthego's first product let scientists order a custom Crispr kit and have it delivered within a week; in the next few weeks, the startup will add custom Crispr'd human cell lines to its on-demand offerings, which will help scientists working on potentially life-saving medicines. Crispr, as this WIRED guide explains, "is a new class of molecular tools that scientists can use to precisely target and cut any kind of genetic material." It's revolutionizing biology -- but neither of Synthego's founders is a biologist. Turns out, in the ever-expanding industry around genome engineering, that's hardly a disqualifier. Across the country, companies are trying to snag a seat on the fast-moving Crispr train. There's Inscripta, which is gunning to be the Apple of gene-editing by building the biological equivalent of the personal computer. In theory, that hardware will make gene editing as easy as pushing a button. And then there's Twist Biosciences, which can print out a powerful Crispr guide (the tool that identifies the bits of genetic code a scientist is hoping to target) on a single semiconductor chip -- the Intel of genome engineering, if you will. As Megan Molteni writes, "all these analogies to the computing industry are more than just wordplay." Rather, they offer a language for understanding the complex world of Crispr. "Crispr is making biology more programmable than ever before," Molteni writes. "And the biotech execs staking their claims in Crispr's backend systems have read their Silicon Valley history. They're betting biology will be the next great computing platform, DNA will be the code that runs it, and Crispr will be the programming language."

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Cyberattack Crashes Tennessee County's Website on Election Night
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 09:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-on-election-ground department:
An apparent DDoS attack shut down the Knox County Election Commission's websites as polls closed Tuesday night. From a report: On Tuesday night, as polls were closing for Knox County's primary races for the mayoral election, the county's website displaying the results crashed. The page was down for about an hour starting around 8 p.m. local time before officials were able to restore it, according to the county's Election Commission. "Although the crash did not affect the vote tallies or the integrity of the election, this is not something that should happen," Mayor Tim Burchett said in a statement Wednesday. "I want to know what happened, and I think an independent review will help determine that so we can move forward and work to prevent similar issues in the future." The primary election continued, with the county announcing that Glenn Jacobs, also known as WWE wrestler Kane, won the GOP nomination by 17 votes. The crash didn't affect voting or vote tallies because the county's voting machines aren't connected online, an election official told WBIR.

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Free To Play, Expensive To Love: 'Fortnite' Changes Video Game Business
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's trending-now department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: To see the storm that online video game "Fortnite" has unleashed on the world, just visit Jett Sacher in Brooklyn. The 13-year-old spends an hour or two every day on the game with his friends and is not afraid to spend his pocket money on it - bit by bit. "So I bought one dance, two skins and the battle pass," Sacher told Reuters TV about recent gaming sessions. "So that's, I spent $20 on both skins so $40 ... and the dance was another $10 so $50, 60 bucks, something like that." Sacher's pay-as-you-go expenditure on dressing up his online avatar in the 'free-to-play' game helped "Fortnite" take in an estimated $223 million from in-game purchases in March, according to Joost Van Dreunen at research firm SuperData. "Fortnite," a sort of hybrid of "The Hunger Games" and "Minecraft," drops 100 people onto an island to fight each other for survival. It is a game-changer in the industry, analysts have said, because of the huge revenue it is making from "tween" and teenage boys purchasing outfits and other add-ons. Its publisher, Epic Games, is now worth $4.5 billion, according to an estimate. Further reading: Gamers are the new stars. Esports arenas are the new movie theaters (The New York Times).

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60-Year-Old Maths Problem Partly Solved By Amateur
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 08:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's unravelling-mysteries department:
An amateur mathematician has made the first breakthrough in more than 60 years towards solving a well-known maths problem. From a report: Aubrey de Grey, who is more widely known as a maverick biologist intent on extending the human lifespan, has taken the academic world by surprise after announcing a new solution to the so-called Hadwiger-Nelson problem. The problem sounds deceptively simple, but despite some professionals spending years trying to crack it, progress has stalled since shortly after the puzzle was first posed in 1950. "Literally, this is the first progress in more than 60 years," said Gil Kalai, a mathematician at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The problem is as follows. Imagine a collection of dots connected by lines. The dots can be arranged any way at all, the only rule is that all the connecting lines must be of equal length. For instance, in a square the diagonal would not be joined up, but the outer edges would be. Now, colour in all the dots so that no two connected points have the same colour. How many colours are required. For a square, the answer would be two. But the Hadwiger-Nelson problem asks what the minimum would be for any configuration â" even one that extends across a plane of infinite size.

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Can We Live Without Concrete?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's time-to-rethink department:
A combination of cement, water and ground rock or sand, on the surface concrete might seem crushingly mundane. Yet it has defined construction in recent centuries and with it, in part, modernity. From a report: But do we need to re-evaluate our concrete habit for our sakes and the planet's? Production of cement is disastrous for our biosphere, while the degradation of many concrete buildings has some construction experts predicting a colossal headache in the future. There are myriad proposed solutions, such as changing the way we make concrete, creating sustainable alternatives or doing away with it altogether. But would we want to live in a world without concrete? And what would that world look like? "We make more concrete than anything else, any other product, apart from clean water," says Paul Fennell, professor of clean energy at Imperial College London. One 2015 report estimates that each year approximately three tons of concrete are used for every person on Earth -- roughly, 22 billion tons. To put that in context, a recent study estimated that 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced, ever. Manufacturing cement, concrete's binding agent, is energy-intensive, Fennell says. Ordinary Portland cement -- the most common form in concrete -- is produced by baking lime in a kiln and emits approximately one ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of cement. Concrete production is responsible for approximately 5% of global man-made CO2 emissions, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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Vulnerabilities Affecting Over One Million Dasan GPON Routers Are Now Under Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 07:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's call-IT department:
Two vulnerabilities affecting over one million routers, and disclosed earlier this week, are now under attack by botnet herders, who are trying to gather the vulnerable devices under their control. From a report: Attacks started yesterday, Thursday, May 3, according to Netlab, the network security division of Chinese cyber-security vendor Qihoo 360. Exploitation of these two flaws started after on Monday, April 30, an anonymous researcher published details of the two vulnerabilities via the VPNMentor blog. His findings detail two flaws -- an authentication bypass (CVE-2018-10561) and a remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-10562). The most ludicrous of these two flaws is the first, which basically allows anyone to access the router's internal settings by appending the "?images" string to any URL, effectively giving anyone control over the router's configuration.

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NASA Successfully Tests New Nuclear Reactor For Future Space Travelers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 05:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tried-and-true department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy say they have successfully tested a new type of nuclear reactor that could one day provide juice to colonies on other worlds. The reactor can power several homes and appears able to operate in harsh environments. The new reactor uses more-conventional uranium fuel. Using a "core" about the size of a paper towel roll, the reactor can turn pistons that can run a generator. The generator can put out about 10 kilowatts of electrical power -- enough to run a few small homes. Scientists believe it could run continuously for a decade or so, making deep space travel a lot simpler. They also gave it a catchy acronym: KRUSTY, which stands for Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling TechnologY.

To see if it actually worked, scientists tested KRUSTY out in the Nevada desert on America's old nuclear test range. They put KRUSTY through its paces, culminating in a 28-hour test at full power. The team also simulated failures in KRUSTY's reactor components to show it wouldn't result in a meltdown on Mars. KRUSTY may find its way onto future space probes. Researchers say they might use an ensemble of four or five of the reactors to power colonies on the moon (which has 14-day nights, when the sun isn't available) or Mars.

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China's Bungled Drone Display Breaks World Record
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 03:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's flight-of-imagination department:
Chinese company EHang has broken the Guinness World Record for the most drones flown simultaneously, despite them failing to coordinate for a light show. The company programmed a fleet of 1,374 drones to fly in set patterns, "but failed to spell out the date and the record-setting number of drones," reports the BBC. From the report: The South China Morning Post called the event an "epic fail." The record was previously held by U.S. technology company Intel, which flew 1,218 aircraft at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in February. Intel's show was pre-recorded before being aired during the opening ceremony, due to "possible freezing weather and strong winds." According to the South China Morning Post, EHang was paid 10.5 million yuan ($1.65 million) for the Labor Day performance in the north-western city of Xi'an. You can watch a video of the drone display here.

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Windows 10 Is Finally Getting An Improved Screenshot Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '18 at 12:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-experiences department:
Today, Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17661 to insiders, which includes a new screenshot experience for the upcoming major update. The Verge reports: Screen Sketch, previously bundled with the Windows Ink feature of Windows 10, is now being made into a separate app that can take screenshots and provide options to annotate them. Microsoft has experimented with a variety of screen snipping tools over the years, but a new winkey + shift + S keyboard shortcut will now bring up an area select tool to snip a screenshot and share it instantly from the clipboard. The app will also trigger a notification so you can annotate the screenshot and share it. You can also replace the print screen button on a keyboard with this feature, making the button a lot more useful than today's winkey + printscreen combo.

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Walmart To Buy 73% of India's Flipkart For Up To $16B; Alphabet Might Put in $3B: FactorDaily
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '18 at 11:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Here's an interesting development about to take place in India. From a report: Walmart Inc. has decided to go all in on its deal to acquire Flipkart in a deal sealed on Thursday to buy 73% of the Indian ecommerce company in one of the biggest mergers and acquisitions in the country -- spending at least $14.6 billion in the cash-and-stock buyout. One source said Flipkart was valued at $20 billion, while two others said Walmart, the world's largest retailer, had put the target company's value at as much as $22 billion, a price at which it will spend more than $16 billion. Alphabet Inc., the parent company of search giant Google, is said to be participating in the deal with a $3 billion investment. Kalyan Krishnamurthy will stay on as chief executive of Flipkart.

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Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Erupts, Prompting Evacuation Orders
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '18 at 09:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's duck-and-cover department:
"Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted Thursday, releasing lava into a residential neighborhood and prompting mandatory evacuation orders for nearby homes," reports Chicago Tribune. The eruption comes after officials had been warning residents all week that an eruption was possible and that they should be prepared to evacuate. From the report: Hawaii County said steam and lava poured out of a crack in Leilani Estates, which is near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island. Leilani Estates has a population of about 1,500, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. But the evacuation order only covers a portion of the neighborhood. Nearby community centers have opened for shelter. The Puu Oo crater floor began to collapse Monday, triggering a series of earthquakes and pushing the lava into new underground chambers. The collapse caused magma to push more than 10 miles downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island.

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