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eBay Is Dumping PayPal For Dutch Rival Adyen
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 03:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
schwit1 shares a report from CNN: EBay, one of the world's biggest online marketplaces, announced Wednesday that it's dropping PayPal as its main partner for processing payments in favor of Dutch company Adyen. In 2002, eBay paid $1.5 billion to buy PayPal, an online payments company whose founders include Silicon Valley heavyweights Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. It proved to be a very successful investment. When eBay spun off PayPal in 2015 -- something investors and analysts had urged it to do -- the payments company's market value was close to $50 billion. It's now above $100 billion. Based in Amsterdam, Adyen already works with other big tech companies including Uber and Netflix. It says it handles more than 200 different payment methods and over 150 currencies. The shift will start gradually in North America later this year and eBay expects most marketplace customers around the world to be using the new system in 2021.

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Equifax Releases Credit Locking App That Doesn't Work
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 02:34 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bad-reputation department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Wednesday, the beleaguered credit reporting agency Equifax launched a new service to protect people from the risks of identity theft that the company vastly magnified with a breach of over 145 million people's credit records last year. The service, called Lock & Alert, is fronted by a mobile application and a Web application. It is intended to allow individuals to control access to their credit report on demand. "Lock & Alert allows You to lock and unlock your EIS credit report ('Equifax credit report')," the services' terms of service agreement states. "Locking or unlocking your Equifax credit report usually takes less than a minute." Except when it doesn't.

As Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Lieber of the New York Times reported, the new service -- which is different from a "freeze" in some ways that are not clear from a legal and regulatory standpoint -- has not been working for some (and possibly all) mobile app users. The idea of the "lock" is that it can be undone in an instant with a swipe of the screen, without incurring a charge to freeze or unfreeze the report or having to provide a PIN number. But attempts by Siegel Bernard to lock her husband's credit report resulted in application timeouts.

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GTA Online Is Full Of Abandoned Modes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 02:34 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: GTA Online just had its most active month ever. It is consistently one of the top-selling games on Steam, Xbox and Playstation. It is always in the top 10 of the best selling games each year. The community is huge. Yet players looking to play a wide variety of modes modes will have trouble finding anybody to play with or against. The problem, paradoxically enough, is an overabundance of content. GTA Online has a huge variety of things to do, including missions, races, heists, and deathmatches. When the game first launched, this variety was great. But the game has only gotten bigger. Now, after four years and dozens of updates, GTA Online almost feels too big and empty. The player base has spread out across too many jobs and events, making it hard to play anything but the latest new thing.

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This Chinese Math Problem Has No Answer. Perhaps, It Has a Lot of Them.
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 01:16 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-in-China department:
Fifth-graders in China's Shunqing district were recently asked to answer this question: "If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats on board, how old is the ship's captain?" The Washington Post: The apparently unsolvable question sparked a debate over the merits of the Chinese education system and the value it places on the memorization of information over the importance of developing critical thinking skills. "Some surveys show that primary school students in our country lack a sense of critical awareness in regard to mathematics," a statement by the Shunqing Education Department posted Jan. 26 reportedly said. One student offered a pragmatic law-abiding answer: "The captain is at least 18 because he has to be an adult to drive the ship." Meanwhile on Twitter, some have gone with 42, a reference to the science fiction novel "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," by Douglas Adams, in which 42 is the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything." BBC: "If a school had 26 teachers, 10 of which weren't thinking, how old is the principal?" another asked. Some however, defended the school -- which has not been named -- saying the question promoted critical thinking. "The whole point of it is to make the students think. It's done that," one person commented. "This question forces children to explain their thinking and gives them space to be creative. We should have more questions like this," another said.

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Insect Die-off: Even Common Species Are Becoming Rare
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 01:16 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Scientists at Senckenberg Nature Research Society and Technical University of Munich (TUM) have been able to show that currently widespread insects are threatened with a serious decline in species diversity in the near future. From the report: The research team lists the fragmentation of habitats and the intensification of agriculture as reasons for the decline of these "generalists." According to the study, published today in the scientific journal Biological Conservation, the genetic diversity among the examined butterfly species is also expected to decline sharply in the future -- as a result, the insects will become more sensitive to environmental changes.

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Microsoft Office 2019 Will Only Work on Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 11:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Microsoft on Thursday provided an update on Office 2019, in which it revealed that the apps will only run on Windows 10. From a report: In a support article for service and support of Windows and Office, Microsoft has revealed you'll need to upgrade to Windows 10 if you want the latest version of Office without subscribing to the company's Office 365 service. It's a move that's clearly designed to push businesses that are holding off on Office 365 into subscriptions, as the standalone Office 2019 software will only be supported on Windows 10 and not Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 machines. Microsoft is also altering the support lifecycle for Office 2019, so it will receive 5 years of mainstream support and then "approximately 2 years of extended support."

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Windows Defender Will Soon Start Removing Applications With Coercive Messaging: Cleaners and Optimizers Put on Notice
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 11:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's your-time-is-up department:
Microsoft is stepping up its efforts to protect Windows users from programs that use fear to convince people to buy or upgrade products. From a report: The Redmond company is taking aim at all software that use scary messaging to convince people to upgrade to a paid product that purportedly fixes a problem detected by a free version. Specifically it is targeting registry cleaners and optimizers, which Microsoft previously didn't endorse but also didn't blacklist them as unwanted programs or malware. That's changing on March 1. "We find this practice problematic because it can pressure customers into making unnecessary purchase decisions," said Barak Shein, a member of the Windows Defender security research team. From March 1 Microsoft's Windows Defender and other security products will "classify programs that display coercive messages as unwanted software, which will be detected and removed," Shein said.

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Backblaze Hard Drive Stats for 2017
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 10:35 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's pit-against-each-another department:
BackBlaze is back with its hard drive reliability report. From the blog post: Beginning in April 2013, Backblaze has recorded and saved daily hard drive statistics from the drives in our data centers. Each entry consists of the date, manufacturer, model, serial number, status (operational or failed), and all of the SMART attributes reported by that drive. As of the end of 2017, there are about 88 million entries totaling 23 GB of data. At the end of 2017 we had 93,240 spinning hard drives. Of that number, there were 1,935 boot drives and 91,305 data drives. This post looks at the hard drive statistics of the data drives we monitor. We'll review the stats for Q4 2017, all of 2017, and the lifetime statistics for all of the drives Backblaze has used in our cloud storage data centers since we started keeping track.

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Slashdot Asks: What Are Some Sci-Fi Books, Movies, and TV Shows You're Looking Forward To?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 10:35 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's time-to-take-notes department:
Even as Hollywood studios report fewer footfalls in theaters, the last few years have arguably been impressive if you're a sci-fi admirer. Last year, we finally got to watch the Blade Runner 2049, and the The Last Jedi and Logan also found plenty of backers. In 2016, Arrival was a home run for many. Star Trek: Discovery, and Stranger Things TV shows continue to receive positive feedback from critics, and the The X-Files is also quickly winning its loyal fans back. "Artemis" by Andy Weir and "New York 2140" by Kim Stanley have found their ways among best selling books. "Borne" by Jeff VanderMeer, and "Walkaway" by BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow have also been widely loved by the readers. On that note, what are some movies, TV shows, and books on sci-fi that you are waiting to explore in the next two to three years?

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Microsoft Releases Skype As a Snap For Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 09:14 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's bridging-the-gap department:
BrianFagioli writes: While Microsoft has long been viewed as an enemy of the Linux community -- and it still is by some -- the company has actually transformed into an open source champion. One of Microsoft's biggest Linux contributions, however, is Skype -- the wildly popular communication software. By offering that program to desktop Linux users, Microsoft enables them to easily communicate with friends and family that aren't on Linux, thanks to its cross-platform support. Today, Microsoft further embraces Linux by releasing Skype as a Snap. This comes after two other very popular apps became available in Snap form -- Spotify and Slack. "Skype is used by millions of users globally to make free video and voice calls, send files, video and instant messages and to share both special occasions and everyday moments with the people who matter most. Skype has turned to snaps to ensure its users on Linux, are automatically delivered to its latest versionupon release. And with snaps' roll-back feature, whereby applications can revert back to the previous working version in the event of a bug, Skype's developers can ensure a seamless user experience," says Canonical.

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Surpassing Windows 7's Market Share For the First Time, Windows 10 Now the Most Popular Desktop OS From Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 09:14 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's where-we-are department:
Two and a half years after the company made it available to the general public, Windows 10 is now the most popular operating system from Microsoft, according to analytics firm StatCounter. From a report: Every month, StatCounter reports on the state of the desktop operating system market. Since October last year, the analyst company's figures have shown the gap between Windows 10 and Windows 7 narrowing. It looked as if the newer OS would overtake the older one in November, but that didn't happen, and it didn't happen in December either. However, in January, according to StatCounter, Windows 10 finally claimed the top spot. The latest figures show Windows 10 on 42.78 percent, up from 41.69 percent in December 2017. That's an increase of 1.09 percentage points.

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Hoping That Sucking CO2 From the Air Will Fix the Climate? Good Luck
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 07:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
From a study published on Thursday by scientists on the European Academies Science Advisory Council: Senior scientists from across Europe have evaluated the potential contribution of negative emission technologies (NETs) to allow humanity to meet the Paris Agreement's targets of avoiding dangerous climate change. They find that NETs have "limited realistic potential" to halt increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at the scale envisioned in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios. This new report finds that none of the NETs has the potential to deliver carbon removals at the gigaton (Gt) scale and at the rate of deployment envisaged by the IPCC, including reforestation, afforestation, carbon-friendly agriculture, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCs), enhanced weathering, ocean fertilisation, or direct air capture and carbon storage (DACCs).

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Messaging App Telegram Pulled From Apple's App Store Due To 'Inappropriate Content'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 07:54 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple has removed Telegram's official app from its iOS App Store. The app disappeared yesterday, shortly after Telegram launched a rewritten Telegram X app for Android. Telegram X is currently in testing on iOS, and it was also removed from the App Store. "We were alerted by Apple that inappropriate content was made available to our users and both apps were taken off the App Store," says Telegram CEO Pavel Durov. "Once we have protections in place we expect the apps to be back on the App Store."

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India Vows To Eliminate Use of Cryptocurrencies in the Country
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 06:37 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-luck department:
India will move to stamp out use of cryptocurrencies, which it considers illegal, country's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, launching a no-holds-barred attack on virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. From a report: Governments around the world are grappling with how to regulate cryptocurrency trading, and policymakers are expected to discuss the matter at a G20 summit in Argentina in March. "The government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these cryptoassets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system," Jaitley told parliament in his annual budget speech. However, the minister said, the government would explore use of block chain technology proactively to speed the move toward a digital economy. Jaitley's announcement could trigger "panic selling" in cryptocurrencies in India, said Amit Maheshwari, partner at tax consultants Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP.

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Twitter Notifies 1.4 Million Users of Interaction With Russian Accounts
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 05:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's heads-up department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: At least 1.4 million people on Twitter engaged with content created by Russian trolls during the 2016 presidential election, the company revealed on Wednesday. That's more than double the amount that Twitter initially identified -- and perhaps still just a fraction of the full universe of users who may have witnessed Kremlin propaganda over that period. In announcing the new data in a blog post, Twitter also said it had notified all 1.4 million affected users that they saw election disinformation. That fulfilled a pledge that the company previously made to members of Congress who are investigating Russia's tactics on social media. Notified users included those that followed one of the roughly 3,000 accounts belonging to the Internet Research Agency, the troll army tied to the Russian government, as well as users who retweeted, replied, liked or mentioned those IRA accounts in their tweets. But Twitter did not alert users who merely saw Russian troll tweets in their feeds but did not interact with the content. Nor did it reach out to users who saw tweets from the roughly 50,000 Russian bots that tweeted election-related content around November 2016.

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Microsoft's Cloud Bet Continues To Pay Off In Latest Earnings
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '18 at 02:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's slow-and-steady department:
In its 2018 financial results, Microsoft reported revenue of $28.9 billion and net income of $7.5 billion. "Revenue has jumped 12 percent year-over-year during the holiday quarter, and the trend of Microsoft's success with the cloud has continued," reports The Verge. "This time around, Azure revenue has increased by a massive 98 percent." From the report: Overall server and cloud services revenue grew 18 percent year-over-year, alongside the massive 98 percent jump in Azure revenue. It's clear Microsoft's future growth and revenue opportunities are with the cloud, so it's no surprise to see the company continually investing there to be competitive with Amazon. Microsoft's Office 365 subscription bet for consumers is also paying off. 29.2 million people are now using Office 365 on the consumer side, with revenue increasing 12 percent year-over-year for Office consumer and cloud. On the commercial side, Office revenue is also up at a 10 percent increase since the same period last year.

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NASA Poised To Topple a Planet-Finding Barrier
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 11:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department:
schwit1 shares a report from NextBigFuture.com: Babak Saif and Lee Feinberg at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, have shown for the first time that they can dynamically detect subatomic- or picometer-sized distortions -- changes that are far smaller than an atom -- across a five-foot segmented telescope mirror and its support structure. Collaborating with Perry Greenfield at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the team now plans to use a next-generation tool and thermal test chamber to further refine their measurements. The measurement feat is good news to scientists studying future missions for finding and characterizing extrasolar Earth-like planets that potentially could support life. To find life, these observatories would have to gather and focus enough light to distinguish the planet's light from that of its much brighter parent star and then be able to dissect that light to discern different atmospheric chemical signatures, such as oxygen and methane. This would require a super-stable observatory whose optical components move or distort no more than 12 picometers, a measurement that is about one-tenth the size of a hydrogen atom.

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Tinder Must Stop Charging Its Older Users More For 'Plus' Features, Court Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 07:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's swipe-left-and-reverse department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The online dating service Tinder must change one of its key monetization strategies. A Los Angeles appellate court reversed a lower court's decision on Monday and told Tinder to stop charging older users more money per month for its "Tinder Plus" service. The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed by Tinder user Allan Candelore in February 2016, alleged that Tinder engaged in illegal age discrimination by charging its 30-and-older users $19.99 per month for Tinder Plus while offering younger users either $9.99 or $14.99 monthly subscription rates for the same services. Tinder Plus includes app perks such as additional "super-likes" which are more likely to attract a dater's response. In an initial trial, Tinder's defense argued that the pricing was based on market testing that showed a market-driven reason to offer lower prices to "budget constrained" users.

"Nothing in the [original] complaint suggests there is a strong public policy that justifies the alleged discriminatory pricing," Judge Brian Currey wrote in the appeal court's 3-0 ruling. "Accordingly, we swipe left" -- a joke based on the app's popular "swipe to reject" gesture -- and reverse." That reversal hinges largely on California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which was passed in 1959 and protects "equal access to public accommodations and prohibits discrimination by business establishments." The ruling noted that some business-led discrimination is allowed by California state law, but it agreed with Candelore's argument that Tinder's age-targeted pricing is not.

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Google Fiber's Wireless Internet Service Is Leaving Boston
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 06:35 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bad-connection department:
Webpass, the wireless home broadband company that Google Fiber acquired in 2016, is exiting the Boston market. The Verge received a reader tip on the situation and a quick look around revealed that Boston is no longer listed as a current Webpass market on the company's website. From the report: "As with any acquisition, we've spent some time evaluating the Webpass business. As a result of our analysis, we've made the decision to wind down Webpass operations in Boston," an Access spokesperson said by email. "We'll work with customers and partners to minimize disruption, and there will be no immediate impacts to their Webpass service. We continue to see strong subscriber response across the rest of the Webpass portfolio, including successful launches in Denver and Seattle in 2017."

Before this move, Boston was one of 8 cities served by Webpass, which delivers up-to-gigabit internet speeds for residential and commercial buildings by using point to point wireless. That number has dropped to 7, and old Google search results for Webpass service in Massachusetts now redirect to the main homepage. Webpass internet service is available exclusively in apartment units and condo buildings. It originally came to Boston in 2015 and the company has (or at least had) an office in the city.

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Nintendo Switch Outsells Wii U In 10 Months
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '18 at 05:14 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's selling-like-hotcakes department:
In less than a year, the Nintendo Switch has earned the designation of the fastest-selling U.S. console of all time. It has outsold the company's previous flagship Wii U just 10 months after its introduction. "Altogether, Nintendo has sold more than 14.86 million Switch units since its debut in March of 2017," reports Variety. "The company sold around 12.5 million Wii U's between 2012 and 2017." From the report: For Nintendo, this is a remarkable turn-around reminiscent of the introduction of the original Wii back in 2006. In fact, earlier this month, news broke that the Switch had become the fastest-selling game console in the U.S. to date, handily outselling original Wii with 4.8 million vs. 4 million units moved over a ten-month span after each device's introduction to U.S. consumers. Nintendo sold 7.23 million Switch units during the holiday quarter alone. The company adjusted its financial guidance for Q1 in light of continued demand for the device upwards by 33%, and now expects to bring in an operating profit of 160 billion yen ($1.47 billion), as well as revenue of around 1 trillion yen ($9.38 billion).

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