By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department
An anonymous reader shares an article from Bloomberg: In early November, Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs stood on a stage in the heart of Silicon Valley and vowed to break Intel's stranglehold on the world's most lucrative chip business. The mobile internet and cloud computing were booming and the data centers running this digital economy had an insatiable thirst for computer servers -- and especially the powerful, expensive server chips that Intel churns out by the million. Qualcomm had spent five years and hundreds of millions of dollars designing competing processors, trying to expand beyond its mobile business. Jacobs was leading a coming-out party featuring tech giants like Microsoft and HP, which had committed to try the new gear. "That's an industry that's been very slow moving, very complacent," Jacobs said on stage. "We're going to change that."
Less than a year later, this once-promising business is in tatters, according to people familiar with the situation. Most of the key engineers are gone. Big customers are looking elsewhere or going back to Intel for the data center chips they need. Efforts to sell the operation -- including a proposed management buyout backed by SoftBank -- have failed, the people said. Jacobs, chief backer of the plan and the son of Qualcomm's founder, is out, too. The demise is a story of debt-fueled dealmaking and executive cost-cutting pledges in the face of restless investors seeking quick returns -- exactly the wrong environment for the painstaking and expensive task of building a new semiconductor business from scratch. It leaves Qualcomm more reliant on a smartphone market that's plateaued. And Intel's server chip boss is happy.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department
In a study published in Science Advances, researchers in Drexel's College of Engineering describe a method for spraying invisibly thin antennas, made from a type of two-dimensional, metallic material called MXene, that perform as well as those being used in mobile devices, wireless routers and portable transducers. Phys.Org reports: The researchers, from the College's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, report that the MXene titanium carbide can be dissolved in water to create an ink or paint. The exceptional conductivity of the material enables it to transmit and direct radio waves, even when it's applied in a very thin coating. Preserving transmission quality in a form this thin is significant because it would allow antennas to easily be embedded -- literally, sprayed on -- in a wide variety of objects and surfaces without adding additional weight or circuitry or requiring a certain level of rigidity.
Initial testing of the sprayed antennas suggest that they can perform with the same range of quality as current antennas, which are made from familiar metals, like gold, silver, copper and aluminum, but are much thicker than MXene antennas. Making antennas smaller and lighter has long been a goal of materials scientists and electrical engineers, so this discovery is a sizable step forward both in terms of reducing their footprint as well as broadening their application.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's de-anonymized department
Cal Jeffrey reporting for TechSpot: Back in May, several studios started targeting movie-pirating sites and services. Dallas Buyers Club, Cobbler Nevada, Bodyguard Productions, and several other copyright owners filed a lawsuit against ShowBox, a movie-streaming app for mobile devices. The companies tried pressuring CDN and DDoS protection provider Cloudflare into releasing information on the operators of some of these platforms. However, Cloudflare told them if they wanted such information they would have to get it the right way -- through legal action. The plaintiffs did just that. A subpoena was issued in the case from a federal court in Hawaii. The documents were not made public, but TorrentFreak was able to obtain a portion of the subpoena from a source. The court order demands the details of the operators behind the Showboxbuzz website, Showbox.software, website Rawapk, Popcorn Time, and others. Cloudflare has not filed a motion to quash, so it appears likely that the company will hand over the requested data.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's burger-bandit department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Illinois against fast food restaurant chain Wendy's accusing the company of breaking state laws in regards to the way it stores and handles employee fingerprints. The complaint is centered around Wendy's practice of using biometric clocks that scan employees' fingerprints when they arrive at work, when they leave, and when they use the Point-Of-Sale and cash register systems. Plaintiffs, represented by former Wendy's employees Martinique Owens and Amelia Garcia, claim that Wendy's breaks state law -- the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) -- because the company does not make employees aware of how it handles their data. More specifically, the lawsuit claims that Wendy's does not inform employees in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which their fingerprints were being collected, stored, and used, as required by the BIPA, and nor does it obtain a written release from employees with explicit consent to obtain and handle the fingerprints in the first place. Wendy's also doesn't provide a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying employees' fingerprints after they leave the company, plaintiffs said. [The plaintiffs also claim that Wendy's sends this data to a third-party without their consent.]Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-about-time department
PlayStation revealed in a blog post that PS Now subscribers will be able to download most PS4 and PS2 games currently in the PS Now Library and play them locally, offline. "Almost all PS4 games in the service, including Bloodborne, God of War 3 Remastered, NBA 2K16, and Until Dawn, will be available for download, in addition to the PS Now lineup of classic PS2 games remastered for PS4," the announcement reads. "This feature will be gradually rolled out to PS Now subscribers over the next couple of days, so if you don't see the feature on your PS Now today, make sure to check back again soon." Kotaku reports: While being connected to the internet isn't required to play PS Now games once they've been downloaded, the support page says your system will have to go online "every few days" in order to validate the PS Now subscription. In the past, PS Now had been exclusively for streaming games to your PS4. When it was announced in 2014, it was building off of Sony's 2012 acquisition of the Gaikai video game streaming service. While it offered a way for people to play older games on the newer console (since, unlike Xbox One, the PS4 isn't backwards compatible), it was hardly ideal due to problems with latency and its reliance on a consistently strong internet connection. Honestly, the only surprise here is that Sony didn't make this move sooner.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's win-win department
MIT has developed a new type of battery that could be made partly from carbon dioxide captured from power plants. "Rather than attempting to convert carbon dioxide to specialized chemicals using metal catalysts, which is currently highly challenging, this battery could continuously convert carbon dioxide into a solid mineral carbonate as it discharges," reports SciTechDaily. From the report: While still based on early-stage research and far from commercial deployment, the new battery formulation could open up new avenues for tailoring electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion reactions, which may ultimately help reduce the emission of the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. The battery is made from lithium metal, carbon, and an electrolyte that the researchers designed. The findings are described today in the journal Joule, in a paper by assistant professor of mechanical engineering Betar Gallant, doctoral student Aliza Khurram, and postdoc Mingfu He. [...] Gallant and her co-workers, whose expertise has to do with nonaqueous (not water-based) electrochemical reactions such as those that underlie lithium-based batteries, looked into whether carbon-dioxide-capture chemistry could be put to use to make carbon-dioxide-loaded electrolytes -- one of the three essential parts of a battery -- where the captured gas could then be used during the discharge of the battery to provide a power output.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's crime-of-the-century department
"These devices kind of look like cell phone chargers, so they probably thought they had some kind of street value," said the co-founder of Roambee, a shipping-monitoring services company, in a classic story shared by Iwastheone:
[He's] talking about the hundred or so GPS tracking devices that were stolen recently from the company's Dela Cruz Avenue labs. "The moment we realized they had a box of trackers, we went into recovery mode," Subramanian said. "We notified the police and equipped them to track the devices, and in about 5 or 6 hours, it was done...." It wasn't long before the police were using Roambee's software to locate the devices and the thieves. "We were able to pinpoint the location of these trackers to a warehouse in Union City and two of the devices had gone mobile, and the thieves were driving around with them in the East Bay," Subramanian said. The two men were arrested in Alameda.
Before stealing 100 battery-powered GPS-tracking devices, one of the thieves also grabbed a beer out of the office refrigerator -- and cut themselves -- leaving behind both fingerprints and an actual blood sample.
The company is now using this 2017 episode as an instructive case study. "Roambee wirelessly synced with all 100 devices and remotely set them to stealth mode (so there's no blinking LEDs to alert the thieves) and then switched the location reporting intervals from once every hour to once every minute."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's safety-.NET department
An anonymous Slashdot reader summarizes an article by a senior security researcher at Forecepoint Security Labs:
Among cyber criminals, there has been a trend in recent years for using more so called 'fileless' attacks. The driver for this is to avoid detection by anti-virus. PowerShell is often used in these attacks. Part of the strategy behind fileless attacks is related to the concept of 'living off the land', meaning that to blend in and avoid detection, attackers strive for only using the tools that are natively available on the target system, and preferably avoiding dropping executable files on the file system. Recently, C# has received some attention in the security community, since it has some features that may make it more appealing to criminals than PowerShell. [Both C# and Powershell use the .NET runtime.] A Forcepoint researcher has summarized the evolvement of attack techniques in recent years, particularly looking at a recent security issue related to C# in a .NET utility in terms of fileless attacks.
From the article:
A recent example of C# being used for offensive purposes is the PowerShell/C# 'combo attack' noted by Xavier Mertens earlier this month in which a malware sample used PowerShell to compile C# code on the fly. Also, a collection of adversary tools implemented in C# was released. Further, an improved way was published for injecting shellcode (.NET assembly) into memory via a C# application.... Given recent trends it seems likely that we'll start to see an increased number of attacks that utilize C# -- or combinations of C# and PowerShell such as that featured in Xavier Mertens' SANS blog -- in the coming months.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's time-on-our-hands department
Long-time Slashdot reader kwelch007 writes:
I finally gave in, after years of Android loyalty, because the iPhone and Apple Watch just worked, so I was told (and it is true). I changed from my Motorola Maxx for an iPhone 7, because I wanted the Apple Watch. Shortly after, I purchased a second-hand Apple Watch Series 1. I have never looked back...and I'm happy with it.
Last week, I was able to buy an Apple Watch Series 4 with the exact specs I wanted... Wow! The screen is a ton bigger than my Series 1. I noticed right away when it asked me to set my passcode...the buttons were WAY bigger! It truly has the "side-to-side" screen...it's noticable... "Walkie Talkie" is super convenient (used with my associate who told me that it was in stock at Best Buy...)
1) It's big, but not much bigger on your wrist than the 42mm versions previous...rather, the screen is bigger, brighter, and more usable.
2) The speakers and mics are far and away better than previous versions of the Apple Watch.
But they don't yet have access to "the highly-touted 'ECG' capability". (Fortune reports it was only approved by America's FDA the day before the launch event -- and isn't yet available for "international" customers.) And the software also isn't ready yet for "Fall Protection," a feature which calls emergency responders if it detects that you've fallen to the ground and you don't respond to prompts for the next 60 seconds. ("The feature is automatic with Watch owners who identify themselves as 65 and up," USA Today reported last week.)
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's busing-in-Boston department
"Computers can solve your problem. You may not like the answer," writes the Boston Globe. Slashdot reader sandbagger explains:
"Boston Public Schools asked MIT graduate students Sebastien Martin and Arthur Delarue to build an algorithm that could do the enormously complicated work of changing start times at dozens of schools -- and re-routing the hundreds of buses that serve them. In theory this would also help with student alertness...." MIT also reported that "Approximately 50 superfluous routes could be eliminated using the new method, saving the school district between $3 million and $5 million annually."
The Globe reports:
They took to the new project with gusto, working 14- and 15-hour days to meet a tight deadline -- and occasionally waking up in the middle of the night to feed new information to a sprawling MIT data center. The machine they constructed was a marvel. Sorting through 1 novemtrigintillion options -- that's 1 followed by 120 zeroes -- the algorithm landed on a plan that would trim the district's $100 million-plus transportation budget while shifting the overwhelming majority of high school students into later start times.... But no one anticipated the crush of opposition that followed. Angry parents signed an online petition and filled the school committee chamber, turning the plan into one of the biggest crises of Mayor Marty Walsh's tenure. The city summarily dropped it. The failure would eventually play a role in the superintendent's resignation...
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department
"The National Security Agency's 2018 Codebreaker Challenge kicked off on Friday, 9/21, and runs through 12/31," writes Slashdot reader eatvegetables. Each year's challenge -- which is open to U.S. students -- comes with its own (fictitious) backstory which the organizers say is "meant for providing realistic context."
This year's story?
A new strain of ransomware has managed to penetrate several critical government networks and NSA has been called upon to assist in remediating the infection to prevent massive data losses. For each infected machine, an encrypted copy of the key needed to decrypt the ransomed files has been stored in a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain* and is set to only be unlocked upon receipt of the ransom payment. Your mission is to ultimately (1) find a way to unlock the ransomware without giving in to the attacker's demands and (2) figure out a way to recover all of the funds already paid by other victims.
* For the purposes of this challenge, a private blockchain has been created with no real monetary value associated with the Ether.
"The first half focuses on network protocol analysis and binary reverse-engineering," writes eatvegetables, while "The second half is all about attempting to exploit the blockchain."
An email address from "a recognized U.S. school or university" is required, and the original submission notes that America's college students "are already hard at work trying to push their school to the top of the leaderboard."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's game-of-monopolies department
The Bay Area Newsgroup reports:
Political momentum for a crackdown on Silicon Valley's social media giants got a boost this week when a state attorney general said he would tell U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions next week that Google, Facebook and Twitter should be broken up. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wants the federal government to do to the social media firms what it did to Standard Oil in 1911, according to a Louisiana newspaper report Tuesday... "This can't be fixed legislatively," Landry told the paper. "We need to go to court with an antitrust suit." He or another high official from his office will next week present the break-up proposal to Sessions... Landry, president of the National Association of Attorneys General, had spent months with his colleagues probing what they described as anti-competitive practices by Facebook, Google and Twitter, according to the paper.
On Friday, Bloomberg reported it had obtained a draft of a potential White House executive order that asks certain government agencies to recommend actions that would "protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias." The order, reportedly in its preliminary stages, asks US antitrust authorities to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws."Read Replies (0)