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Amazon Will Change Its Ebook Contracts With Publishers as EU Ends Antitrust Probe
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '17 at 07:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's case-closed department:
The EU has reached an agreement with Amazon following an antitrust investigation into the company's ebook business. From a report: In 2015, the European Commission began a probe into the licensing deals Amazon was making with publishers, suggesting that the US giant was forcing them into unfair contracts that stifled competition in Europe's 1 billion Euro ($1.09 billion) ebook market. In January, Amazon suggested a number of changes it would make to its contracts, and the EU now says it's happy to accept them, bringing a close to the investigation. The parts of the contract the EU objected to were a number of "most-favored-nation" clauses. These required any publishers doing a deal with Amazon to reveal the terms of the contracts they made with rival distributers. Amazon could then demand that it got the same deal (or better) on things like ebook prices, agency commissions, promotion campaigns, and release dates.

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The Parts of America Most Susceptible To Automation
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '17 at 06:00 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-what-you-were-expecting department:
Alana Semuels writes via The Atlantic about the parts of America most susceptible to automation: Much of the focus regarding automation has been on the Rust Belt. There, many workers have been replaced by machines, and the number of factory jobs has slipped as more production is offshored. While a lot of the rhetoric about job loss in the Rust Belt has centered on such outsourcing, one study from Ball State University found that only 13 percent of manufacturing job losses are attributable to trade, and the rest to automation. A new analysis suggests that the places that are going to be hardest-hit by automation in the coming decades are in fact outside of the Rust Belt. It predicts that areas with high concentrations of jobs in food preparation, office or administrative support, and/or sales will be most affectedâ"places such as Las Vegas and the Riverside-San Bernardino area may be the most vulnerable to automation in upcoming years, with 65 percent of jobs in Las Vegas and 63 percent of jobs in Riverside predicted to be automatable by 2025. Other areas especially vulnerable to automation are El Paso, Orlando, and Louisville. Still, the authors estimate that almost all large American metropolitan areas may lose more than 55 percent of their current jobs because of automation in the next two decades.

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'First Pirated Ultra HD Blu-Ray Disk' Appears Online
Posted by News Fetcher on May 04 '17 at 02:00 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department:
Has AACS 2.0 encryption used to protect UHD Blu-ray discs been cracked? While the details are scarce, a cracked copy of a UHD Blu-ray disc surfaced on the HD-focused BitTorrent tracker UltraHDclub. TorrentFreak reports: The torrent in question is a copy of the Smurfs 2 film and is tagged "The Smurfs 2 (2013) 2160p UHD Blu-ray HEVC Atmos 7.1-THRONE." This suggests that AACS 2.0 may have been "cracked" although there are no further technical details provided at this point. UltraHDclub is proud of the release, though, and boasts of having the "First Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc in the NET!" Those who want to get their hands on a copy of the file have to be patient though. Provided that they have access to the private tracker, it will take a while to download the entire 53.30 GB disk. TorrentFreak reached out to both the uploader of the torrent and an admin at the site hoping to find out more, but thus far we have yet to hear back. From the details provided, the copy appears to be the real deal although not everyone agrees.

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'Exercise-In-A-Pill' Boosts Athletic Endurance By 70 Percent, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 10:00 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's one-step-closer-to-reality department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Science Daily: Salk Institute scientists, building on earlier work that identified a gene pathway triggered by running, have discovered how to fully activate that pathway in sedentary mice with a chemical compound, mimicking the beneficial effects of exercise, including increased fat burning and stamina. The study, which appears in Cell Metabolism on May 2, 2017, not only deepens our understanding of aerobic endurance, but also offers people with heart conditions, pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes or other health limitations the hope of achieving those benefits pharmacologically. Previous work by the Evans lab into a gene called PPAR delta (PPARD) offered intriguing clues: mice genetically engineered to have permanently activated PPARD became long-distance runners who were resistant to weight gain and highly responsive to insulin -- all qualities associated with physical fitness. The team found that a chemical compound called GW1516 (GW) similarly activated PPARD, replicating the weight control and insulin responsiveness in normal mice that had been seen in the engineered ones. However, GW did not affect endurance (how long the mice could run) unless coupled with daily exercise, which defeated the purpose of using it to replace exercise. In the current study, the Salk team gave normal mice a higher dose of GW, for a longer period of time (8 weeks instead of 4). Both the mice that received the compound and mice that did not were typically sedentary, but all were subjected to treadmill tests to see how long they could run until exhausted. Mice in the control group could run about 160 minutes before exhaustion. Mice on the drug, however, could run about 270 minutes -- about 70 percent longer. For both groups, exhaustion set in when blood sugar (glucose) dropped to around 70 mg/dl, suggesting that low glucose levels (hypoglycemia) are responsible for fatigue.

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Apple Pledges $1 Billion Toward Creating Manufacturing Jobs In US
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 07:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
Apple announced today plans to create a $1 billion fund to promote creation of advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Cook told CNBC in an interview that Apple will announce the first investment later in May. CNBC reports: "By doing that, we can be the ripple in the pond. Because if we can create many manufacturing jobs around, those manufacturing jobs create more jobs around them because you have a service industry that builds up around them," the CEO said. Apple has already created two million jobs in the United States, and Cook showed no signs of shrinking the tech giant's reach. "A lot of people ask me, 'Do you think it's a company's job to create jobs?' and my response is [that] a company should have values because a company is a collection of people. And people should have values, so by extension, a company should. And one of the things you do is give back," Cook said. "So how do you give back? We give back through our work in the environment, in running the company on renewable energy. We give back in job creation."

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Qualcomm Is Seeking US Import Ban For iPhones
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 06:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hurt-feelings department:
Qualcomm is seeking to block the sale of iPhones in the U.S. after Apple decided to stop paying them billions of dollars in licensing fees for smartphone chips. Bloomberg reports: Qualcomm is preparing to ask the International Trade Commission to stop the iPhone, which is built in Asia, from entering the country, threatening to block Apple's iconic product from the American market in advance of its anticipated new model this fall, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The ITC is a quasi-judicial agency in Washington that has the power to block the import of goods into the U.S. and processes cases more quickly than federal district courts -- the venue in which the companies are accusing each other of lying, making threats and trying to create an illegal monopoly. The escalating legal dispute revolves around patents Qualcomm holds that let it to charge a percentage of the price of every modern high-speed data-capable smartphone, regardless of whether the devices use its chips. Apple argues the system is unfair and Qualcomm has used licensing leverage to illegally help its semiconductor unit.

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Samsung May Overtake Intel As World's Largest Chip Maker In 2017
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-a-new-sheriff-in-town department:
According to U.S. semiconductor market research firm IC Insights, Samsung is likely to overtake Intel as the world's largest chip maker later this year. Bill McClean, president of IC Insights, explained that "If money market prices continue to hold or increase through the second quarter and the balance of this year, Samsung could charge into the top spot and displace Intel." PC Magazine reports: Intel first became the world's largest chipmaker back in 1993 and has held the title ever since. But as the mobile market has exploded, so did the need for the chips that make them work. Unlike on PC where Intel dominates, mobile is a different matter entirely, and Samsung is on hand to provide the DRAM and NAND chips they require. Intel first became the world's largest chipmaker back in 1993 and has held the title ever since. But as the mobile market has exploded, so did the need for the chips that make them work. Unlike on PC where Intel dominates, mobile is a different matter entirely, and Samsung is on hand to provide the DRAM and NAND chips they require.

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Court Rules In 'Sextortion' Case That Phone PINs Are Not Protected By Fifth Amendment
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's slippery-slope department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: Can authorities access potentially incriminating information on your phone by compelling you to reveal your passcode? Or is access to your phone's secrets protected under the Constitution? The answer, at least in an extortion case involving bikini-clad models, social media celebrities and racy images, is that phone passcodes are not protected, a judge ruled Wednesday. The case stems from the arrest of Hencha Voigt, 29, and her then-boyfriend, Wesley Victor, 34, last July on charges of extortion. Voigt and Victor threatened to release sexually explicit videos and photos of social media star "YesJulz," whose real name is Julienna Goddard, unless she paid them off, according to a Miami Police Department report. Both Voigt and "YesJulz" are big names on social media. Voigt is a fitness model and Instagram celebrity who starred last fall on "WAGS Miami," an E! reality TV show about the wives and girlfriends of sports figures in South Beach. As part of the ongoing investigation into the case, prosecutors have sought to search Voigt's and Victor's phones and asked a judge to order the two to give up their phone passcodes. Prosecutors have obtained the text messages sent to Goddard, but they have been unable to bypass the passcodes on the suspects' phones -- Voigt's iPhone and Victor's BlackBerry -- to search for more evidence. As such, prosecutors filed a motion asking a circuit court judge to compel the defendants to give their passwords to authorities. A judge on Wednesday ruled on behalf of prosecutors and ordered Voigt and Victor to give up their phone passwords, according to Bozanic, Victor's attorney.

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IT Contractors In Australia Are Not Being Paid Due To Dispute With Payroll Service
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-explanation-needed department:
New submitter evolutionary writes: Plutus Payroll, an Australian payroll company, is refusing to pay contractors due to a dispute with companies using their services. Around 1,000 IT workers are unable to receive payment for services rendered. One may ask, "Where are the companies who actually hired the IT workers?" The Register reports: "This story starts with Australia's employment laws, which see lots of contractors officially employed by recruitment companies or payroll companies. The company at which the contractor works likes this arrangement as it means they don't have to put such people on their books. Recruitment companies and payroll companies charge for the service. Contractors generally like the convenience of having one employer even though they hop from gig to gig. The system requires fluid payments. Companies who hire contractors pay the recruiter, which either pays contractors direct or pays the payroll company contractors prefer. If the cash stops flowing, contractors get crunched. That's what's happened to around 1,000 contractors who elected to use Plutus as their paymasters: the company says it is in the midst of a completely unexplained 'dispute' that leaves it unable to pay contractors, or receive money from recruitment companies, but is still solvent. The Register has checked with the bank that Plutus clients say sends them their money -- the bank says it is aware of no dispute. One possible reason for the mess is that Plutus did not charge for its services. How it made money is therefore a mystery. Another scenario concerns the company's recent acquisition: perhaps its new owners are being denied access to some service Plutus could access as a standalone company. Plutus is saying nothing of substance about the situation. A spokesperson tells us the company deeply regrets the situation but won't divulge anything about the dispute and has offered no details about when contractors can expect resolution."

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China Makes Quantum Leap In Developing Quantum Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's testing-testing-1-2-3 department:
hackingbear writes: Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China created a quantum device, called a boson sampling machine, that can now carry out calculations for five photons, but at a speed 24,000 times faster than previous experiments. Pan Jianwei, the lead scientist on the project, said that though their device was already (only) 10 to 11 times faster at carrying out the calculations than the first electronic digital computer, ENIAC, and the first transistor computer, TRADIC, in running the classical algorithm, their machine would eclipse all of the world's supercomputers in a few years. "Our architecture is feasible to be scaled up to a larger number of photons and with a higher rate to race against increasingly advanced classical computers," they said in the research paper published in Nature Photonics. This device is said to be the first quantum computer beating a real electronic classical computer in practice. Scientists estimate that the current faster supercomputers would struggle to estimate the behavior of 20 photons.

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WhatsApp Users Are Reporting Outages Worldwide
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's commence-panic department:
sombragris writes: WhatsApp, a proprietary instant messaging platform owned by Facebook and used by millions of users, is currently down according to user reports from various parts of the world. There's no official word yet on the cause but I'm among the many affected by the outages.

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Hulu Launches Its Live TV Streaming Service
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's get-a-piece-of-the-action department:
Hulu has officially unveiled its $40-a-month live-television streaming service to help it better compete against larger rivals like Netflix. Fortune reports: On Wednesday morning, Hulu announced the launch of the public beta version of Hulu with Live TV, which starts at $39.99 and allows users to stream live and on-demand programming from more than 50 TV channels running the gamut of live news, entertainment, and sports. The cost of the new service also includes access to Hulu's existing $7.99 premium streaming subscription and access to the company's library of archived content, which includes more than 3,500 film and TV titles. Subscribers to the new live service also get 50 hours of storage for recording programming, the ability to create up to six separate Hulu viewer profiles, and two simultaneous streams per account. The launch comes days after Hulu announced that it secured the final major piece in its live-television puzzle in the form of an agreement with Comcast's NBCUniversal to add several NBC- and Telemundo-owned channels to the Live TV lineup. That deal gave Hulu access to all four major broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. The new live service also includes popular cable networks such as CNN, ESPN, FX, Fox News, TBS, TNT, and the Disney Channel. The only premium cable network currently available on the new live service is Showtime, which costs an additional $8.99 per month. Cable networks such as HBO, AMC Networks, Viacom's Comedy Central and MTV are among those not currently included in Hulu's new service, though the company said on Wednesday that additional premium network add-ons will be available soon.

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Gmail, Google Docs Users Hit By Massive Email Phishing Scam
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's be-on-the-look-out department:
New submitter reyahtbor warns of a "massive" phishing attack sweeping the web: Multiple media sources are now reporting on a massive Gmail/Google Docs phishing attack. The Independent is among the top publications reporting about it: "Huge numbers of people may have been compromised by the phishing scam that allows hackers to take over people's email accounts. It's not clear who is running the quickly spreading scam or why. But it gives people access to people's most personal details and information, and so the damage may be massive. The scam works by sending users an innocent looking Google Doc link, which appears to have come from someone you might know. But if it's clicked then it will give over access to your Gmail account -- and turn it into a tool for spreading the hack further. As such, experts have advised people to only click on Google Doc links they are absolutely sure about. If you have already clicked on such a link, or may have done, inform your workplace IT staff as the account may have been compromised. The hack doesn't only appear to be affecting Gmail accounts but a range of corporate and business ones that use Google's email service too. If you think you may have clicked on it, you should head to Google's My Account page. Head to the permissions option and remove the 'Google Doc' app, which appears the same as any other."

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Waymo: Uber Plotted With Former Exec Before He Left Google
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 12:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
Ina Fried, writing for Axios: Lawyers for Google's former self-driving car unit showed internal Uber emails Wednesday that it says bolster its case that former executive Anthony Levandowski was conspiring to steal trade secrets before he left Waymo. The parties are in court Wednesday trying to convince a federal judge to halt Uber's work on self-driving cars. In arguing for an injunction, Waymo lawyers argued that Uber and Levandowski devised a plan to come up with a company for Uber to later buy. Uber did later purchase Otto, a self-driving truck company where Levandowski was a founder. "Clandestine plan": "Secretly Levandowski and Uber were planning while he was still at waymo and negotiating a deal," Waymo outside attorney Charles Verhoeven said, siting internal Uber e-mails, including some from former Uber executive Brian McClendon, a former Google Maps head who ran some of Uber's advanced technology operations before leaving the company in March. "There was this clandestine plan all along that Uber and Levandowski had a deal."

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Facebook Hiring 3,000 To Monitor Videos After Murders, Violence Shown Live
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 11:22 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's going-forward department:
Facebook will add 3,000 more people to its community team to review videos on the social network, says CEO Mark Zuckerberg, after several surfaced in recent weeks including a father livestreaming the killing of his daughter. From a report: In a statement published to Facebook on Wednesday, Zuckerberg says it is "heartbreaking" to see videos streamed or posted to the platform showing users "hurting themselves or others." He says 4,500 employees currently work on the community team reviewing reports on videos, and will add 3,000 over the next year. "If we're going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly," said Zuckerberg. "We're working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner -- whether that's responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down." Will Oremus, reporter at Slate said, "I asked Facebook whether the 3,000 new content-moderation jobs will be employees or contractors. The company declined to comment."

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Interns at Facebook, Google Out-Earn the Average American
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 10:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Alayna Treene, writing for Axios: Long gone are the days of unpaid internships, at least at these 25 companies who are paying interns more than what the average American earns. Tech and finance interns in particular -- including at Google, Bloomberg, BlackRock, and Facebook -- earn more per month than the average American, according to data released by Glassdoor Tuesday.

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Microsoft's Nadella Says Company Will Make More Phones, But They Won't Look Like Today's Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 10:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's not-giving-up department:
As he told the Make Me Smart podcast, Microsoft is looking for something far more transformative, like an entirely new category of smartphone that's so original and appealing that OEMs won't be able to resist tagging along. From a report: "At this point we're making sure that all of our software is available on iOS and Android and it's first class and we're looking for what's the next change in form and function," he said when asked whether Microsoft would make another phone. Nadella doesn't discuss what form these mobile devices could take, though Microsoft does have some candidates, like its HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headgear. No doubt he's keeping close tabs on Google's early progress with its Tango phone AR experiments.

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IBM Admits It Sent Malware-infected USB Sticks To Customers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 08:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
IBM accidentally shipped USB drives infected with malware to some customers, the company noted in a support advisory post. The drives contained an initialization tool for some of its Storwize systems, the post stated. From a report: IBM customers who received a USB flash drive with the part number 01AC585 should either destroy the drive so that it cannot be reused, the post said, or follow the steps listed in the post to repair the drive. Affected drives were shipped with the following Storwize systems: IBM Storwize V3500 - 2071 models 02A and 10A, IBM Storwize V3700 - 2072 models 12C, 24C, and 2DC, IBM Storwize V5000 - 2077 models 12C and 24C, IBM Storwize V5000 - 2078 models 12C and 24C.

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Google To Auto-Migrate Some Users To 64-bit Chrome
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 07:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's hmm department:
Google says it will automatically upgrade the version of Chrome that some Windows users are running, in what it describes as a bet to improve stability, performance, and security. From a report on ZDNet: In a blog post on Tuesday, the search engine giant explained that Chrome users running 64-bit Windows with 4GB or more of memory will be automatically migrated to the 64-bit version of Chrome if they are running the 32-bit version.

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Surface Laptop Can Be Switched To Windows 10 Pro For Free Until 2018
Posted by News Fetcher on May 03 '17 at 07:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's good-call department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Don't let the new Windows 10 S operating system stop you from buying a Surface Laptop this year. The streamlined OS limits you to using applications that are in Microsoft's Windows Store. But, as noted in the tech specs for Microsoft's new ultraportable, if you'd rather run non-Store apps, you can switch to Windows 10 Pro for free until December 31, 2017. Once 2018 hits, the switch to Pro will cost $49. But be warned: Once you upgrade your license key, you can't go back.

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