By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road department
Back in 2015, Apple introduced pressure-sensitive iPhone screens alongside 3D Touch as a potentially major hardware-software innovation, but barely supported the feature, leading to informed speculation that all of 2019's iPhones would lose their pressure-sensing hardware. This week's release of the fourth iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 developer betas appears to put the final nail in 3D Touch's coffin, tightening up the responsiveness of its replacement: Context Menus. From a report: If you aren't already familiar with 3D Touch, the concept was simple: slight, medium, and heavy pressure on an iPhone's screen could be recognized differently, such that a light press would open an app while a firm press in the same spot would instead conjure up a contextual menu. Apple sometimes nested additional "peek and pop" features within iPhone apps using the same pressure sensitivity, giving users extra options if they pressed down more on the screen.
Over the last few beta releases of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple has been rolling out a replacement called Context Menus -- a change it set the stage for last year by releasing the iPhone XR without 3D Touch hardware. Back then, Apple said it was giving the XR an alternative called "Haptic Touch" that pulled up the same sort of contextual menus as earlier iPhones, but did so using two tricks: Instead of pressure, it sensed button press time, counting an extra split-second as a stronger button press, confirming the different intent with a "thump" from the phone's vibration feature. Now iPad users will get a version of Haptic Touch minus the haptics.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's PSA department
ZDNet: Slack published more details about a password reset operation that ZDNet reported earlier today. According to a statement the company published on its website, the password reset operation is related to the company's 2015 security breach. In March 2015, Slack said hackers gained access to some Slack infrastructure, including databases storing user credentials. Hackers stole hashed passwords, but they also planted code on the company's site to capture plaintext passwords that users entered when logging in. At the time, Slack reset passwords for users who it believed were impacted, and also added support for two-factor authentication for all accounts. But as ZDNet reported earlier today, the company recently received a batch of Slack users credentials, which prompted the company to start an investigation into its source and prepare a password reset procedure. "We immediately confirmed that a portion of the email addresses and password combinations were valid, reset those passwords, and explained our actions to the affected users," Slack said. In a message on its website, Slack said this batch of credentials came via its bug bounty program. The company said it initially believed the data came from users who had their PCs infected with malware, or users who reused passwords across different services.Read Replies (0)
Have We Hit Peak Podcast?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 18 '19 at 07:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
There are now upward of 700,000 podcasts, according to the podcast production and hosting service Blubrry, with between 2,000 and 3,000 new shows launching each month. From a report: The frequency with which podcasts start (and then end, or "podfade," as it's coming to be known in the trade) has produced a degree of cultural exhaustion. We're not necessarily sick of listening to interesting programs; but we're definitely tired of hearing from every friend, relative and co-worker who thinks they're just an iPhone recording away from creating the next "Serial." "Anyone can start one and so anyone who thinks they can start one will do it," said Nicholas Quah, who runs an industry newsletter called Hot Pod. "It's like the business of me." "Being a podcast host plays into people's self-importance," said Karen North, a clinical professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. And it projects that importance to others. Public speaking and consulting gigs now often go to "the person who's the expert and has the podcast," she said.
People use all kinds of metrics to tout the popularity of their shows, whether it's the number of iTunes reviews they get or the total downloads they receive per month. These metrics mean different things and don't necessarily connote success. And as recent social media scandals have shown, popularity can be purchased. But Dr. North said that having a big audience doesn't necessarily matter. "When people interview experts, even if nobody ever listens to the podcast, hosts get the benefit of learning from and networking with the guest," she said. "It's a great stunt." Call him cynical, but Jordan Harbinger, host of "The Jordan Harbinger Show" podcast, thinks there is a "podcast industrial complex." Hosts aren't starting shows "because it's a fun, niche hobby," he said. "They do it to make money or because it will make them an influencer."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's double-face department
Netflix said on Wednesday that it will roll out a cheaper subscription plan in India, one of the last great growth markets for global companies, as the streaming giant scrambles to find ways to accelerate its slowing growth worldwide. From a report: The company added 2.7 million new subscribers in the quarter that ended in June this year, it said today, far fewer than the 5 million figure it had forecasted earlier this year. The company said lowering its subscription plan, which starts at $9 in the U.S., would help it reach more users in India and expand its overall subscriber base. The new plan will be available in India in Q3. According to third-party research firms, Netflix has fewer than 2 million subscribers in India. Netflix started to test a lower-priced subscription plan in India and some other markets in Asia late last year. The plan restricts the usage of the service to one mobile device and offers only the standard definition viewing (~480p). During the period of testing, which was active as of two months ago, the company charged users as low as $4. [...] For Netflix, the decision to lower its pricing in India comes at a time when it has hiked the subscription cost in many parts of the world in recent quarters. In the U.S., for instance, Netflix said earlier this year that it would raise its subscription price by up to 18%.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-to-become-profitable department
Uber passengers in multiple cities were startled Wednesday when they were charged 100 times the advertised fare for short trips, a glitch that sparked jokes about surge pricing gone wild. From a report: Riders in cities including Washington and San Diego took to social media to post about the sky-high rates, a problem that Uber confirmed, although it declined to say how widespread the issue was. Some who ordered food for quick delivery said they were also overcharged. One social media user reported that Uber maxed out her husband's card with a charge of $1,905, when it was supposed to be $19.05. "Not cool, especially on his birthday," she added. Another woman posted to social media that she was charged $1,308 for a $13.08 trip. The charge was so high it triggered a fraud alert, according to a screen shot the rider posted on Twitter.
Uber said the glitch has been fixed. The company said the fare would be corrected so riders are charged only the amount for their actual trip, though they may temporarily see an inaccurate trip fare on their credit or debit cards. Passengers won't need to dispute the charges with their banks.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's best-deals-of-their-lives department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PetaPixel: Amazon discounted a wide range of camera gear for Prime Day this week, but some photographers scored what may be the best deals of their lives. Thanks to a pricing error, many people were able to purchase high-end camera gear bundles, some worth over $5,000, for just around $100. It all started when someone noticed that the $550 Sony a6000 and 16-50mm lens bundle was being listed at just $94.50 on Amazon, and the person shared the "deal" on Slickdeals, where it hit the front page.
Many users were able to see the same price and place orders, while other users reported still seeing the normal price of $550. And it wasn't 3rd-party sellers that the $94.50 price applied to -- the gear was being sold and shipped by Amazon. But then people noticed that other cameras and bundles were also being sold for $94.50, and that's when the real frenzy started. "Literally everything is $94.48," one member writes. "I have bought like 10k worth of stuff that was like 900 dollars total." "I got a $13,000 lens for $94," another member writes regarding their Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS order. "LOL waiting for the cancellation but thats like 99.3% off." Other members spoke to Amazon customer service about their order and were told that the order would indeed ship. Others also reported that they successfully price matched gear at retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's future-of-humanity department
In an interview with Norah O'Donnell of "CBS Evening News," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained why he's investing much of his Amazon fortune in the development of space technologies through his aerospace company Blue Origin. Why? "Because I think it's important," Bezos said. "I think it is important for this planet. I think it's important for the dynamism of future generations. It is something I care deeply about. And it is something I have been thinking about all my life." From the report: Bezos -- who says "you don't choose your passions, your passions choose you" -- became fascinated with space when he was a child watching astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong land on the moon, he tells O'Donnell. Further, developing space technologies is critical for human beings to have a long future, Bezos says. "We humans have to go to space if we are going to continue to have a thriving civilization," Bezos says. "We have become big as a population, as a species, and this planet is relatively small. We see it in things like climate change and pollution and heavy industry. We are in the process of destroying this planet. And we have sent robotic probes to every planet in the solar system -- this is the good one. So, we have to preserve this planet."
To do that will require being able to live and work in space, says Bezos. "We send things up into space, but they are all made on Earth. Eventually it will be much cheaper and simpler to make really complicated things, like microprocessors and everything, in space and then send those highly complex manufactured objects back down to earth, so that we don't have the big factories and pollution generating industries that make those things now on Earth," Bezos says. "And Earth can be zoned residential." It will be "multiple generations" and "hundreds of years" before this is a reality, Bezos said on CBS, but with Blue Origin he is working to develop the technology that will make it possible.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's too-hot-to-handle department
Author and programmer Jeff Geerling explains in a blog post why the new Raspberry Pi 4 needs a fan. Unlike previous Pis that didn't require a fan or heatsink to avoid CPU throttling, the Pi 4 is a different beast and "pretty much demands a fan," writes Geerling. "Not only does the CPU get appreciably hot even under normal load, there are a number of other parts of the board that heat up to the point they are uncomfortable to touch." After 5 minutes at idle, he recorded the CPU/System-on-a-Chip (SoC) was around 60C, and it climbed to the 60-70C range when using the USB ports.
"[I]magine if you're truly using the Pi 4 as a desktop replacement, with at least one external USB 3.0 hard drive attached, WiFi connected and transferring large amounts of data, a USB keyboard and mouse, a few browser windows open (the average website these days might as well be an AAA video game with how resource-intense it is), a text editor, and a music player," writes Geerling. "This amount of load is enough to cause the CPU to throttle in less than 10 minutes." So, Geerling did what any programmer and DIYer would do and decided to add a fan himself to the official case -- and in addition to the blog post describing the process, he made a 22-minute-long video showing you what he did. From the post: Without any ventilation, it's kind of a little plastic oven inside the Pi 4 case. A heat sink might help in some tiny way, but that heat has nowhere to go! So I decided to follow the lead of Redditor u/CarbyCarberson and put a fan in the top cover. [...] After installing the fan, I booted the Pi and ran "stress --cpu 4" and let it go for an hour. The entire time, the CPU's temperature stayed at or under 60C (140F), a full 20C lower than the throttling point.
< article continued at Slashdot's too-hot-to-handle department
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department
The California Energy Commission has awarded nearly $70 million to state schools to replace more than 200 diesel school buses with new, all-electric school buses. Electrek reports: The commission approved the funding this week. A total of $89.8 million has now been earmarked for new electric buses at schools in 26 California counties, as the commission's School Bus Replacement Program works toward this goal. A study published in Economics of Education Review last month showed diesel retrofits had positive results on both respiratory health and test scores. Eliminating emissions from these buses completely will do even more to protect children from dangerous emissions while cutting air pollution. The new buses will eliminate nearly 57,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and nearly 550 pounds of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions annually.
The exact number of buses going to California school districts is unclear -- the energy commission only says "more than 200." If the entirety of the $70 million went to just 200 buses, that'd be $350,000 per bus. But while the exact cost of each bus is unknown, the commission does estimate that "schools will save nearly $120,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per bus over 20 years." Some estimates have noted that electric school buses tend to cost about $120,000 more than diesel buses -- if that's the case here, the price will be equal in the end, with added health benefits. Funding for the electric buses is supplied by the voter-approved California Clean Energy Jobs Act, and the commission's Clean Transportation Program will provide the charging infrastructure to support the buses.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-in-line department
Oakland, California has followed San Francisco and Somerville, Massachusetts in banning the use of facial recognition in public spaces. Motherboard reports: A city ordinance passed Tuesday night which prohibits the city of Oakland from "acquiring, obtaining, retaining, requesting, or accessing" facial recognition technology, which it defines as "an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual based on an individual's face." The ordinance amends a 2018 law which requires any city staff member to get approval from the chair of Oakland's Privacy Advisory Commission before "seeking or soliciting funds" for surveillance technology. State and federal funding for surveillance technology must also be approved by the chair, per the ordinance. According to a public memo by Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Council President, the ban was instituted on the basis that facial recognition is often inaccurate, lacks established ethical standards, is invasive in nature, and has a high potential for government abuse.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pros-and-cons department
Zac Bowden from Windows Central makes the case for why Microsoft may want to make a Surface phone that runs Android. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report: While a Surface Phone running Android would never sell to the quantity that Samsung smartphones do (or at least not a first- or second-generation phone), Microsoft could utilize the Surface brand to showcase the best of Microsoft's Android efforts all in one place, just like it has done for Windows PCs. I'm picturing a Surface-branded, Microsoft-built smartphone that comes with Microsoft Launcher, Edge, Office, Your Phone phone-mirroring integration, and more, out of the box. In fact, that's one of four unique selling points that a Surface Phone running Android could have:
-- Showcase the best of Microsoft's efforts on Android. -- Seamless integration with Windows PCs using Your Phone. -- Provide the best security and update support on Android. -- Brand recognition that can rival Apple and Samsung.
That last point is more for Microsoft fans, but the first three are important. A Surface Phone running Android would be the only smartphone out there that's always guaranteed to work with all of Your Phone's features. I have a wide array of Android smartphones, yet 90 percent of them don't support all of Your Phone's features on Windows 10. Screen mirroring is only available on select devices, and while that may improve, there's no guarantee your smartphone will ever get it, or if it'll work well. Microsoft could also provide enhanced features, such as the ability to take cellular phone calls on your PC directly from your Surface Phone. It could also build out dedicated Phone and SMS apps that sync up with the Messages app on your PC, instead of having to relay it through the Your Phone app. There's so much more potential when you build your own Android phone.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's increasingly-crowded-market department
Netflix saw its first-ever decline in paid U.S. subscribers in the second quarter, losing 126,000 U.S. users when Wall Street was expecting 352,000 domestic adds. Barron's reports: The slight drop in Netflix's U.S. subscriber base, combined with fewer-than expected international adds in the second quarter, sent the company's stock tumbling over 10% in after-hours trading Wednesday. The streaming company still reported better-than-expected earnings, but investors tend to focus on its subscriber trends and not much else. The company said it sees a return to subscriber growth in the third quarter.
For the second quarter, Netflix reported 60 cents in earnings per share, versus the 56 cents analysts had been expecting. Revenue came in at $4.9 billion, about equal to the consensus estimate. That compares with 85 cents in earnings per share on $3.9 billion in sales in the same period last year. Second-quarter net income was $270.7 million. But Netflix's subscriber numbers tend to be the most important metric for investors, and Netflix fell short where it mattered. It added 2.8 million net new international subscribers but lost 126,000 U.S. users in the second quarter. Wall Street had been expecting 352,000 domestic and 4.8 million international adds, and Netflix had guided to a total of 5.0 million new subscribers. For the third quarter, Netflix "calls for $1.04 in EPS, $5.3 billion in revenue, and for user numbers to return to growth to the tune of 800,000 new domestic subscribers and 6.2 million international subscribers," the report says. "That compares with 89 cents in EPS on $4 billion in sales in the same period last year, when Netflix also added 1.1 million new domestic subscribers and 5.9 million international subscribers."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's illness-inducing-uniforms department
Rashes, blisters, and hair loss have all been reported. So has vomiting, migraines, and shortness of breath. All of these -- and more -- are symptoms reported by flight attendants after their airlines got new uniforms. But no one knows why. From a report: Delta is the latest airline to have flight attendants report health issues possibly related to their uniforms, and employees at the airline filed a lawsuit in May against the manufacturer, Lands' End. But flight attendants have been battling health issues that have appeared after an airline instituted new uniforms for years. And for years, airlines have said their uniforms are safe. Meanwhile, flight attendants and others are working to discover the cause of their symptoms and the identity and total number of chemicals present in their uniforms, all of which can be difficult to ascertain. Until the cause can be identified -- or until airlines start listening to employees and moving quickly after their complaints -- it's likely employees will continue to face symptoms. And it's likely that flight attendants will keep heading to court, where they've historically needed to go to get policy changed by their employers.
The problem was first reported after employees at Alaska Airlines got new uniforms toward the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011. Flight attendants began to report rashes and eye irritation, and documented hives, blisters, and scaly patches, according to a 2012 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report looking into the issue. In 2013, flight attendants at Alaska Airlines filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the uniforms, Twin Hill, and the airline recalled the uniforms in 2014. In October 2016, Twin Hill won the lawsuit, with the court claiming there was no reliable evidence the injuries were caused by the uniforms.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
The desert outside Tennant Creek, deep in the Northern Territory, is not the most obvious place to build and transmit Singapore's future electricity supply. Though few in the southern states are yet to take notice, a group of Australian developers are betting that will change. From a report: If they are right, it could have far-reaching consequences for Australia's energy industry and what the country sells to the world. Known as Sun Cable, it is promised to be the world's largest solar farm. If developed as planned, a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels will be spread across 15,000 hectares and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock. Overhead transmission lines will send electricity to Darwin and plug into the NT grid. But the bulk would be exported via a high-voltage direct-current submarine cable snaking through the Indonesian archipelago to Singapore. The developers say it will be able to provide one-fifth of the island city-state's electricity needs, replacing its increasingly expensive gas-fired power.
After 18 months in development, the $20bn Sun Cable development had a quiet coming out party in the Top End three weeks ago at a series of events held to highlight the NT's solar potential. The idea has been embraced by the NT government and attracted the attention of the software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, who is considering involvement through his Grok Ventures private investment firm. The NT plan follows a similarly ambitious proposal for the Pilbara, where another group of developers are working on an even bigger wind and solar hybrid plant to power local industry and develop a green hydrogen manufacturing hub. On Friday, project developer Andrew Dickson announced the scale of the proposed Asian Renewable Energy Hub had grown by more than a third, from 11GW to 15GW. "To our knowledge, it's the largest wind-solar hybrid in the world," he says.Read Replies (0)