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Everything New In the Android 8.1 Oreo Developer Preview
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 03:04 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what's-new department:
On Wednesday, Google launched the Android 8.1 Developer Preview. The new version of Android is available for Pixel and Nexus devices, and features a number of under-the-hood changes. The new version tests another change to notifications in which apps can only make a notification sound alert once per second. It also contains an Easter egg: the Android Oreo logo now looks like an actual cookie. The Verge reports that 8.1 is eventually supposed to activate the hidden Pixel Visual Core system-on-a-chip, which aims to make image processing smoother and HDR+ available to third-party developers.

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Alphabet's Waymo Will Test Self-Driving Cars In Snowy Detroit
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 01:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's well-weathered department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Alphabet's Waymo, the vehicle arm of Google's parent, announced on Thursday that it will start testing its autonomous Chrysler minivans on roads in the greater Detroit area. Michigan will be the sixth state where Waymo has run its vehicles on public roads. But the region is the first with a winter dominated by snow and ice, the kind of inclement conditions that pose hurdles for vehicle sensors. "Having lived through fourteen Michigan winters, I'm confident that there are few better places that will prepare our self-driving cars for winter conditions," John Krafcik, Waymo's chief executive officer and a former Ford executive, said in a statement. Waymo opened a testing facility in suburban Detroit last year. The hometown automakers are already there. Ford has tested self-driving cars in the state (including some for pizza delivery). General Motors' Cruise Automation is experimenting there as well.

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Time To Move on from DevOps and Continuous Delivery, Says Google Advocate
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 01:43 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's perspective department:
A reader shares a report: Continuous improvement and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and DevOps may be on many peoples' minds these days, but there's nothing particularly new about the concept -- software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago. Instead, technology leaders should be now worrying about the futures of their businesses. That's the view of Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, who says too many IT leaders are debating how to manage IT operations and workflows, when their businesses are being hit with unprecedented disruption. "CI/CD is a done deal -- like 10 years ago it was a done deal," he said in a recent podcast with CTO Advisor's Keith Townsend. "There is nothing to figure out in that domain. A lot of people talk about DevOps, and there may be some culture changes, in number of people who can do it or are allowed to do it. For me, that is the table stakes. CI/CD, DevOps; we have to say, listen, figure it out, or go work with another team outside this company to figure it out."

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Kaspersky CEO Says Hack Claims Cutting US Cyber Security Sales
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 12:23 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's repercussion department:
Eugene Kaspersky told news agency Reuters on Friday that his cyber security firm that bears his name would see a 'single digit' drop in U.S. sales this year as a result of suspicions about his company's ties to the Russian government, but global revenue should still increase. From a report: By turns frustrated and defiant in an 80-minute interview in his Moscow office, the founder and head of the embattled antivirus software maker denounced what he called an "information war" against his company, repeatedly asserting that "we've done nothing wrong." Anton Shingarev, Kaspersky Lab's vice president of public affairs, also told Reuters during the interview the company had abandoned efforts to sell its services to the U.S. government and that it would wind down its Washington-area subsidiary, KGSS. Kaspersky Lab has become a lightning rod in recent months as it has faced allegations by the U.S. government that its antivirus products can be used by Russian spies to conduct cyber espionage. Office Depot, Staples and Best Buy have stopped selling Kaspersky's security suite in their stores.

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British Company Adds the Word 'Blockchain' to Its Name, Sees Its Shares Surge 394%
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 12:23 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's not-the-onion department:
On-Line PLC, a British provider of stock market data, today saw its shares climb nearly 400% after changing its name to On-Line Blockchain PLC. From a report: "Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are a new and exciting area we have been working on for some time," the Essex-based company said in a statement on Thursday. "We feel the time is right to re-name the company to reflect these developments, where we believe the future growth will be in our sector." The shares pared gains after the company published a follow-up release on Friday, cautioning investors that the development of its blockchain product is still at an early stage. Still, the 238 percent rise as of 2:36 p.m. in London leaves the company's market value of 4.4 million pounds ($5.8 million) at its highest since 2005.

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If You Type 1+2+3 Into Your iPhone's Calculator on iOS 11, You Probably Won't Get 6
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 11:03 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's great-software department:
A reader shares a report: If you've upgraded your iPhone's operating system to iOS 11, try this: Go to the calculator app and quickly type 1+2+3. You likely won't get 6. You might get 23, or 24, or 16, or 32, or something else, depending on what buttons you tap and in what order, and, obviously, none of which is the right answer. It seems to be because of a new animation in the calculator app, where a button briefly fades to white when you press it. The result is that if you press an operator button (i.e., the plus sign) before the short animation finishes, the app ignores it. So, 1 + 2 + 3 accidentally gets read as 1 + 23.

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Facebook Exec: 'Just Not True' That We Listen To Your Phone's Mic
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 11:03 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-the-truth department:
Adrianne Jeffries, writing for The Outline: Facebook executive stepped outside of official channels of communication last night by tweeting about a negative rumor that seems to keep resurfacing no matter how many times the company denies it. "I run ads product at Facebook. We don't - and have never - used your microphone for ads. Just not true," tweeted Rob Goldman, vice president of ads products at Facebook. That includes Facebook-owned Instagram, he said. Goldman was responding to a tweet from PJ Vogt, one of the co-hosts of the tech podcast Reply All, which is producing a segment about the persistent belief that Facebook spies on users through the microphone. Vogt had asked people to call in to share their stories of why they think Facebook may be using the microphone to collect information for advertisers.

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Catalonia Declares Independence; Spain Approves Central Takeover Of Region
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 09:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's big-day department:
Readers share a report: Lawmakers in Catalonia have declared independence from Spain in a historic vote that prompted protests and celebration. The government in Madrid, vowing to halt any would-be secession, has authorized the Spanish prime minister to take over direct rule of the previously semi-autonomous region. The vote in the Catalan Parliament comes nearly a month after the region held a referendum on independence, over Spain's objections. The regional president then declared his support for separation from Spain but also called for talks with Madrid, in an ambiguous speech. Spain's central government, promising to crack down harshly if the declaration was real, told the region's leaders to make up their mind: Yes or no? Independence or not? Now it's final: Independence, Catalonia said.

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Einstein's Note On Happiness, Given To Bellboy In 1922, Fetches $1.6 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 09:44 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's dispatch department:
A note that Albert Einstein gave to a courier in Tokyo briefly describing his theory on happy living has sold at auction in Jerusalem for $1.56m, according to auctioneers. From a report: The winning bid for the note far exceeded the pre-auction estimate of between $5,000 and $8,000, according to Winner's auctions. "It was an all-time record for an auction of a document in Israel," said Winner's spokesman Meni Chadad, adding that the buyer was a European who wished to remain anonymous. The note, on Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationery, says in German that "a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest." "I am really happy that there are people out there who are still interested in science and history and timeless deliveries in a world which is developing so fast," the seller said on condition of anonymity after the sale.

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Bug in Mobile App Lets Hackers Take Control of LG Smart Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 08:24 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's smart,-connected-things department:
A reader shares a BleepingComputer report: LG Electronics has avoided a security disaster this summer after it worked with security researchers to patch a vulnerability in the mobile app that customers are using to control a breadth of LG smart home devices. The vulnerability affects the LG SmartThinQ app used to control all of LG's "smart" home appliances, a list that includes devices such as smart ovens, vacuums, dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, and more. The flaw was discovered by security researchers from Israeli firm Check Point, who reported the problem to LG technicians. According to researchers, an attacker would have been able to hijack the authentication process that occurs between the SmartThinQ app and LG's servers. The attacker could have been able to take over a user's account and control devices in the user's home, and paired with the user's profile. For example, attackers could have overheated ovens, altered a home's temperature via AC units in a Mr.Robot-style hack, or spied on users via camera-enabled devices.

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India Overtakes the US To Become the World's Second Largest Smartphone Market
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 08:24 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's changing-dynamics department:
A reader shares a report: Move over America, India is now the world's second largest smartphone market. That's according to a new report from Canalys which claims smartphone shipments in India crossed the 40 million mark for the first time in Q3 2017 courtesy of 23 percent annual growth. That means that India has overtaken the U.S. on sales with only China ahead of it. Given the huge gulf in populations -- India's stands at over 1.3 billion while the U.S. is around 320 million -- the move had been expected for some time, but recent developments, including demonetization in late 2016, set progress back during recent quarters. "This growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. Doubts about India's market potential are clearly dispelled by this result," Canalys analyst Ishan Dutt said in a statement.

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UK's NHS Could Have Avoided WannaCry Hack With 'Basic IT Security', Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 07:03 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's calling-out department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The NHS could have avoided the crippling effects of the "relatively unsophisticated" WannaCry ransomware outbreak in May with "basic IT security," according to an independent investigation into the cyber-attack. The National Audit Office (NAO) said that 19,500 medical appointments were cancelled, computers at 600 GP surgeries were locked and five hospitals had to divert ambulances elsewhere. "The WannaCry cyber-attack had potentially serious implications for the NHS and its ability to provide care to patients," said Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO. "It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice. There are more sophisticated cyber-threats out there than WannaCry so the Department and the NHS need to get their act together to ensure the NHS is better protected against future attacks."

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Amazon Tops 540K Employees After Swallowing Whole Foods in $13.7B Deal
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 07:03 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's sky-is-the-limit department:
A reader shares a report: Amazon added a whopping 159,500 employees in the last quarter, pushing its total employment to 541,900 people worldwide, according to new numbers from the tech giant released today. Amazon's headcount grew 77 percent over this time last year, and a big reason for that is the completion of Amazon's blockbuster deal to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion and the acquisition of e-commerce company Souq. The Whole Foods deal includes 87,000 people who worked at the grocery chain, making up a big chunk of the employment growth this quarter. Even factoring out the acquisitions of Whole Foods and Souq, Amazon's headcount climbed 47 percent over this time last year. "Certainly hiring continues to remain strong, especially in the tech areas and sales force, particularly in AWS," Amazon's CFO Brian Olsavsky said on a call with reporters.

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Google Addresses Pixel 2 XL Display Issues, Pixel 2 Clicking Sounds With Software Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 05:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's over-the-air department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PhoneDog: Google explains that it's been investigating reports about the Pixel 2 XL's display and that this has given it "confidence that [its] displays are as great as [it] hoped they would be". Still, Google will be taking steps to respond to consumer complaints about the screen. Google plans to issue a software update that'll add a "saturated" color mode that will make the colors more saturated and vibrant, but less accurate. This way, consumers that feel the Pixel 2 XL's screen is too muted can punch up the color saturation themselves.

When it comes to burn-in, Google says that its investigations of the Pixel 2 XL's display found that its "decay characteristics are comparable to OLED panels used in other premium smartphones." Google does plan to take further steps to fight burn-in, though, and it's testing an update that'll add a new fade-out of the navigation bar buttons after a short period of inactivity. Google is also working with more apps to use a light navigation bar to match the app's color scheme. Additionally, the update will reduce the maximum brightness of the Pixel 2 XL's screen by 50 nits, which Google says will be "virtually imperceptible". This will reduce load on the display with very little change on its observed brightness. This update will roll out to the Pixel 2 XL "in the next few weeks." Google also touched on the reports that some Pixel 2 phones are emitting some clicking sounds. The company plans to release an update in the coming weeks to address the issue, but until then, it says that Pixel 2 owners can turn off NFC by going into Settings > Connected Devices > NFC.

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First Extrasolar Object Observed Racing Through Our Solar System
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 02:54 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department:
Enigma2175 writes: For the first time, scientists have observed an object they believe came from outside our solar system. The object is in a hyperbolic orbit that will send it back into interstellar space. From Space.com: "The object, known as A/2017 U1, was detected last week by researchers using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. 'It's long been theorized that such objects exist -- asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system -- but this is the first such detection,' Chodas added. 'So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it.' It's unclear what exactly this thing is. When A/2017 U1 was first spotted, it was thought to be a comet (and was therefore given the moniker C/2017 U1). But further observations have revealed no evidence of a coma -- the fuzzy cloud of gas and dust surrounding a comet's core -- so the object's name was amended to its current asteroidal designation."

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Microsoft Is Working On a Foldable Device With a Focus On Pen and Digital Ink
Posted by News Fetcher on October 27 '17 at 12:14 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pen-and-paper department:
Microsoft is reportedly working on a foldable device with an emphasis on pen and digital-ink functionality that runs Windows 10, and it could be here as soon as next year. The company is looking to create a new category-defining mobile device that's aimed at an entirely new demographic, and that puts pen and digital inking at the forefront of the experience. Windows Central reports: At Windows Central, we've been covering two ongoing internal projects within Microsoft: CShell and Windows Core OS. Both of these projects play an important part in Microsoft's next rumored mobile device, which appears to be commonly referred to as "Andromeda" on the web. According to our sources, the Andromeda device is prototype hardware; a foldable tablet that runs Windows 10 built with Windows Core OS, along with CShell to take advantage of its foldable display. I imagine CShell plays an important roll in the foldable aspect of this device. Considering it's foldable, being a tablet doesn't mean much, and I'm told it's designed to be pocketable when folded, kind of like a phone. I make the comparison to a phone because I'm also hearing that it also has telephony capabilities, meaning you could replace your actual smartphone with it and still be able to take calls and texts. My sources make it clear, however, that this is not supposed to be a smartphone replacement but rather a device similar to the canceled "Microsoft Courier." In short, Andromeda is a digital pocket notebook.

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Reddit Conducts Wide-Ranging Purge of Offensive Subreddits
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '17 at 08:14 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's gone-with-the-wind department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Wednesday, [Reddit] announced a new policy clarifying its rules against content that incites violence. "We will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people," Reddit administrator landoflobsters wrote. Promoting harm to animals is also against the rules. Within minutes, moderators started to ban a long list of controversial subreddits, including /r/Nazi, /r/DylannRoofInnocent, /r/SexWithDogs, /r/WhitesAreCriminals, and /r/PicsOfDeadKids. The bounds of propriety remain fairly wide at Reddit, however. Commenters pointed out that /r/WatchPeopleDie -- which is exactly what it sounds like -- is still around. Landoflobsters said that site administrators have "no plans to remove it for now." The self-explanatory -- and horrifying -- /r/CuteFemaleCorpses is also still active. Evidently, merely depicting violence is fine as long as people in a subreddit don't glorify violence. In practice, of course, the line between these things is pretty thin. A subreddit devoted to merely discussing violent acts is naturally going to attract people who like to promote violent acts -- especially after bans of related subreddits where those people previously hung out. Reddit's new policy seems like the basis for an endless game of Whac-A-Mole as the Internet's creeps search for new places to exchange disturbing content.

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Critical Flaws In Maritime Communications System Could Endanger Entire Ships
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '17 at 06:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's critical-vulnerabilities department:
Orome1 shares a report from Help Net Security: IOActive security consultant Mario Ballano has discovered two critical cybersecurity vulnerabilities affecting Stratos Global's AmosConnect communication shipboard platform. The platform works in conjunction with the ships' satellite equipment, and integrates vessel and shore-based office applications, as well as provides services like Internet access for the crew, email, IM, position reporting, etc. The first vulnerability is a blind SQL injection in a login form. Attackers that successfully exploit it can retrieve credentials to log into the service and access sensitive information stored in it. The second one is a built-in backdoor account with full system privileges. "Among other things, this vulnerability allows attackers to execute commands with SYSTEM privileges on the remote system by abusing AmosConnect Task Manager," Bellano shared. The found flaws can be exploited only by an attacker that has access to the ship's IT systems network, he noted, but on some ships the various networks might not be segmented, or AmosConnect might be exposed to one or more of them. The vulnerabilities were found in AmosConnect 8.4.0, and Stratos Global was notified a year ago. But Inmarsat won't fix them, and has discontinued the 8.0 version of the platform in June 2017.

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Scientists Find a Better Way To Wash Pesticides Off Your Apples
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '17 at 05:36 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's household-hacker department:
According to a new study, the best way to reduce pesticides from your supermarket apple is to use a baking soda solution. The discovery was made by a team of scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. They compared the effectiveness of plain tap water, a commercial bleach solution and a baking soda/water mix in removing pesticides from apples. CNET reports: The scientists started with organic Gala apples and applied the fungicide thiabendazole and the insecticide phosmet before testing the different washing liquids. "The baking soda solution was the most effective at reducing pesticide," a release on the study notes. "After 12 and 15 minutes, 80 percent of the thiabendazole was removed, and 96 percent of the phosmet was removed, respectively." The researchers say the industry-standard approach of washing fruit in a bleach solution for two minutes after harvest is not an effective way to completely remove pesticides. They also found the fungicide thiabendazole penetrated into the apple peel much more than the insecticide. Apple lovers would need to remove the peel to also get rid of the pesticide that wasn't washed off with the baking soda solution. The researchers published the findings this week in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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US Voting Server At Heart of Russian Hack Probe Mysteriously Wiped
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '17 at 05:36 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nothing-to-see-here-move-along department:
A computer at the center of a lawsuit digging into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election has been wiped. "The server in question is based in Georgia -- a state that narrowly backed Donald Trump, giving him 16 electoral votes -- and stored the results of the state's vote-management system," reports The Register. "The deletion of its filesystem data makes analysis of whether the system was compromised impossible to ascertain." From the report: There is good reason to believe that the computer may have been tampered with: it is 15 years old, and could be harboring all sorts of exploitable software and hardware vulnerabilities. No hard copies of the votes are kept, making the electronic copy the only official record. While investigating the Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which oversees Georgia's voting system, last year, security researcher Logan Lamb found its system was misconfigured, exposing the state's entire voter registration records, multiple PDFs with instructions and passwords for election workers, and the software systems used to tally votes cast. Despite Lamb letting the election center knows of his findings, the security holes were left unpatched for seven months. He later went public after the U.S. security services announced there had been a determined effort by the Russian government to sway the presidential elections, including looking at compromising electronic voting machines.

< article continued at Slashdot's nothing-to-see-here-move-along department >

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