By manishs from Slashdot's own-your-stuff department
According to a report by The Telegraph, Google is working on its first Google-branded smartphone, and plans to release it by the end of 2016. Unlike the Nexus program, in which Google mandates the design and specifications of the phone, but leaves the manufacturing aspect to its handpicked OEM, the new supposed phone will be built from the scratch by Google. From the report:The technology giant is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone that will extend the company's move into hardware, sources familiar with the discussions told The Telegraph. [...] The new device, which will be released by the end of the year according to a senior source, will see Google take more control over design, manufacturing and software.NYMag questions company's reported move:It's an unsurprising rumor to hear: Google CEO Sundar Pichai has publicly commented on the company's emphasis on phones, and Motorola's Rick Osterloh was hired earlier this year to head up a new hardware division. And there's also the much discussed Google Ara, a modular phone which lets you swap out pieces like a camera or speakers and is slated for release in 2017. But Google is already working with hardware companies like LG and Huawei on the Nexus line of phones, which are made to the company's exact design specifications but are manufactured by third parties. It's hard to see how Google could take more control over design or software than it already does with Nexus, and while the company is likely eager to move into the manufacturing space, the timeline for Ara hasn't changed, and it seems unlikely that this new mystery Google phone is going to jump in front and actually become available to the public by year's end.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's chromebook-pro department
Google is currently surveying people about what a Chromebook Pro should be like. VentureBeat's report cites two people who recently shared the development on a forum. One user was asked the question, "How would you think a Chromebook Pro is different than a Chromebook?" whereas the other user was asked, "what a Chromebook Pro should be like in [his/her] opinion and what type of people would want to use it." From the report:The word "Pro" would imply a high-end laptop running Chrome OS, just like, say, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 4. But there are many other companies -- Asus, Dell, HP, and Samsung, among others -- that make Chromebooks, along with Google. It isn't clear from these survey questions if Google is thinking about making a Chromebook Pro itself, just as it has made high-end Chromebook Pixel laptops, or if Google is just wondering how consumers would perceive a Chromebook Pro made by a third party. Meanwhile, Google last month published a job posting entitled "Quality Engineer, Chromebook Pixel," suggesting that a third generation of that device could be on the way.Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular. They outsold Mac for the first time in the United States earlier this year. The majority of the Chromebooks available today, however, pack in entry-level specifications, giving users very limited choice. Though we have seen devices like Chromebook Pixel, a range of high-end Chromebooks could entice even more customers.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's stopping-the-Start-screen department
An anonymous reader shares this story from the Seattle Times:
A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein's computer started trying to download and install the new operating system. The update, which she says she didn't authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, California, travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time. "I had never heard of Windows 10," Goldstein said. "Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update."
When outreach to Microsoft's customer support didn't fix the issue, Goldstein took the software giant to court, seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer. She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company.
Microsoft denies any wrongdoing, and says they only halted their appeal to avoid the cost of further litigation.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's anti-social-media department
An anonymous reader quotes this article from The Verge:
The systems that automatically enforce copyright laws on the internet may be expanding to block unfavorable speech. Reuters reports that Facebook, Google, and other companies are exploring automated removal of extremist content, and could be repurposing copyright takedown methods to identify and suppress it. It's unclear where the lines have been drawn, but the systems are likely targeted at radical messages on social networks from enemies of European powers and the United States. Leaders in the US and Europe have increasingly decried radical extremism on the internet and have attempted to enlist internet companies in a fight to suppress it.
Many of those companies have been receptive to the idea and already have procedures to block violent and hateful content. Neither Facebook and Google would confirm automation of these efforts to Reuters, which relied on two anonymous sources who are "familiar with the process"... The secret identification and automated blocking of extremist speech would raise new, serious questions about the cooperation of private corporations with censorious governmental interests.
Reuters calls it "a major step forward for internet companies that are eager to eradicate violent propaganda from their sites and are under pressure to do so from governments around the world as attacks by extremists proliferate, from Syria to Belgium and the United States." They also report that the move follows pressure from an anti-extremism group "founded by, among others, Frances Townsend, who advised former president George W. Bush on homeland security, and Mark Wallace, who was deputy campaign manager for the Bush 2004 re-election campaign."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'll-be-seeing-you department
schwit1 quotes the MIT Technology Review: The FBI has access to nearly 412 million photos in its facial recognition system—perhaps including the one on your driver's license. But according to a new government watchdog report, the bureau doesn't know how error-prone the system is, or whether it enhances or hinders investigations.
Since 2011, the bureau has quietly been using this system to compare new images, such as those taken from surveillance cameras, against a large set of photos to look for a match. That set of existing images is not limited to the FBI's own database, which includes some 30 million photos. The bureau also has access to face recognition systems used by law enforcement agencies in 16 different states, and it can tap into databases from the Department of State and the Department of Defense. And it is in negotiations with 18 other states to be able to search their databases, too...
Adding to the privacy concerns is another finding in the GAO report: that the FBI has not properly determined how often its system makes errors and has not "taken steps to determine whether face recognition systems used by external partners, such as states and federal agencies, are sufficiently accurate" to support investigations.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's pick-a-card,-any-card department
An anonymous reader writes: Michael Larabel at Phoronix has combined their new results from intensive Linux/Windows performance testing for popular games on Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA graphics cards, and at different resolutions. "This makes it easy to see the Linux vs. Windows performance overall or for games where the Linux ports are simply rubbish and performing like crap compared to the native Windows game." The games tested included Xonotic, Tomb Raider, Grid Autosport, Dota 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, F1 2015, and Company of Heroes 2 -- and the results were surprising.
Xonotic v0.8 outperformed Windows with a NVIDIA card, but "The poor Xonotic performance on Linux with the Intel driver was one of the biggest surprises from yesterday's article. It's not anything we've seen with the other drivers." And while testing on the Source 2 engine revealed that Valve's Dota 2 "is a quality Linux port," most of the other results were disappointing -- regardless of the graphics card and driver. "Tomb Raider on Linux performs much worse than the Windows build regardless of your driver/graphics card... Shadow of Mordor's relative Linux performance is more decent than many other Linux games albeit still isn't running at the same speeds as the Windows games..."
The article concludes with a note of optimism. "Hopefully in due time with the next generation of games making use of Vulkan...we'll see better performance relative to Windows." Have Slashdot readers seen any performance issues while playing games on Linux?Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's times-they-are-a-changin' department
An article on The Atlantic this week takes a stroll down the memory lane. It talks about phone services that people could call for knowing the time. The service, according to the article, was quite popular in 1980s. But many of them don't exist now. For instance, Verizon discontinued the line -- as well as its telephone weather service -- in 2011. But what's fascinating is that some of these services still exist, and are getting more traction than many of us would've imagined. From the article:"We get 3 million calls per year!" said Demetrios Matsakis, the chief scientist for time services at the Naval Observatory. "And there's an interesting sociology to it. They don't call as much on the weekend, and the absolute minimum time they call is Christmas. On big holidays, people don't care about the time. But we get a big flood of calls when we switch to Daylight [saving] time and back." As it turns out, people have been telephoning the time for generations. In the beginning, a telephone-based time service must have seemed like a natural extension of telegraph-based timekeeping -- but it would have been radical in its own way, too, because it represented a key shift to an on-demand service. In the 19th century, big railroad companies had used the telegraph to transmit the time to major railway stations. By the early 20th century, people could simply pick up the telephone and ask a human operator for the time.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's billions-and-billions department
A seed-funded company named Axiom wants to build a private-sector outpost in orbit by launching a new module for the International Space Station, according to an article on Space News.
Once on the station, Axiom Space would use it for commercial purposes, ranging from research to tourism. [Former space station manager] Suffredini said that it would also be available for use by NASA when the company is not using it, helping the process of transitioning research done on the International Space Station to future private stations. Research hardware elsewhere in the station could eventually be moved to this module to allow its continued use after the station's retirement.
Slashdot reader MarkWhittington shares an article from Blasting News:
In the meantime, Nanoracks, a company that is already handling some of the logistics for the ISS, is proposing a commercial airlock for the ISS. The development of commercial space stations, as well as commercial spacecraft such as the SpaceX Dragon and the Boeing Starliner, constitutes NASA's long-term strategy of handing off low-Earth orbit to the private sector while it concentrates on deep space exploration.Read Replies (0)