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Many Looking Past iPhone 7 to Next Year's iPhone 8
Posted by News Fetcher on September 07 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's I-will-wait department:
Reuters reports: The iPhone 7 is expected to make its global debut on Wednesday, but many consumers and investors are already setting their sights on Apple's 2017 version of the popular gadget, hoping for more significant advances. At its annual product launch in San Francisco on Wednesday, the world's most valuable publicly traded company is expected to reveal an iPhone without a headphone jack, paving the way for wireless headphones, a touch-sensitive home button that vibrates, double-lens cameras for the larger Plus edition and other incremental improvements. Apple typically gives its main product, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, a big makeover every other year and the last major redesign was the iPhone 6, in 2014. The modest updates suggest that this cycle will be three years.

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Sony Wins Battle Over Preinstalled Windows in Europe's Top Court
Posted by News Fetcher on September 07 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's bloatware department:
An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: The sale of a computer equipped with pre-installed software isn't an unfair commercial practice because most customers prefer to buy a laptop they can use straight away, Europe's top court has ruled in a victory for Sony. "Failure to indicate the price of each item of pre-installed software" isn't misleading, the Court of Justice of the European Union added in its ruling on Wednesday. The CJEU was asked to intervene after French citizen Vincent Deroo-Blanquart took Sony to court for failing to reimburse the cost of pre-installed software -- Windows Vista Home Premium operating system -- that he did not wish to use on a laptop. Sony refused and instead offered to cancel the sale altogether.

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Google Uses Surface Books To Show Off Chrome Battery Improvements
Posted by News Fetcher on September 07 '16 at 05:33 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's speeding-ticket department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Windows Central: Google has posted a new video showing how much it has improved battery life while using Chrome on Windows. It demonstrated those changes in a video that featured the web browser on Microsoft's Surface Book notebooks. The video test was based on running a Vimeo video on Chrome 46, which was released in 2015, and the same video running on Chrome 53, which was released last week. The Surface Book with Chrome 46 ran out of battery power after 8 hours and 27 minutes, while the same notebook running Chrome 53 shut down in 10 hours and 39 minutes, or over 2 hours later. Chrome 53 also features Material Design, a user interface that "makes more liberal use of grid-based layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows." You can force the update to Chrome 53 by navigating to the about section of Chrome.

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Star Trek's LCARS Could Become Your Virtual Assistant
Posted by News Fetcher on September 07 '16 at 02:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's beam-me-up-Scotty department:
H_Fisher writes: It has arguably inspired many other technological innovations in the fifty years since its premiere, and now another Star Trek-inspired touch could be coming to your device: the voice of Majel Barrett from the Star Trek universe's LCARS computer system. CNET reports: "The voice of LCARS was provided by Majel Barrett, who was married to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Although Barrett sadly passed away in 2008, she took several roles on the show over the years, including nurse Christine Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series and Betazoid ambassador Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. According to a tweet by the official Roddenberry account yesterday, this has provided enough phonetic data to perhaps get Barrett's voice appearing in upcoming new 2017 TV series Star Trek: Discovery -- and maybe even a Siri-like virtual assistant."

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Apple To Unveil 'AirPods' That Use Custom Bluetooth Chip
Posted by News Fetcher on September 07 '16 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
It's no secret that Apple is planning to remove the headphone jack in its upcoming flagship smartphones. A new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which confirms rumors that Apple will indeed remove the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 to improve the device's water resistance, suggests that Apple is developing earbuds called "AirPods" that will employ its own Bluetooth-like communication chip. Mac Rumors reports: "First and foremost, as has been rumored, Kuo suggests Apple is working on its own Bluetooth-like communication chip and its own Bluetooth headphones. Previous information suggests the Bluetooth chip will improve battery performance for longer battery life. The chip may be included in the wireless earbuds Apple has in development, which are said to be Bragi Dash-style wireless Bluetooth earbuds that are entirely wire free. The earbuds will be called "AirPods," based on trademark filings that have been discovered, and the product could be unveiled as early as September 7 alongside the iPhone 7. According to Kuo, Apple will sell its Apple-branded Bluetooth headphones alongside its Beats line of headphones, targeting the high-end market with the "AirPods" and the mid-range market with the Beats headphones. Kuo does not believe the company will package Bluetooth headphones with the iPhone 7. Instead, Apple is likely to ship the iPhone 7 with Lightning-based EarPods that feature a Lightning connector instead of a 3.5mm headphone jack."

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Why Intel Kaby Lake and AMD Zen Will Only Be Optimized On Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 07:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's does-it-blend department:
MojoKid writes: There was quite a stir caused recently when it was determined that Microsoft would only be fully supporting Intel's Kaby Lake and AMD's Zen next-generation processor microarchitectures with Windows 10. It's easy to dismiss the decision as pure marketing move, but there's more to consider and a distinction to be made between support and compatibility. The decision means future updates and optimizations that take advantage of the latest architectural enhancements in these new processors won't be made for older OS versions. Both of these microarchitectures have new features that require significant updates to Windows 10 to optimally function. Kaby Lake has updates to Intel's Speed Shift technology that make it possible to change power states more quickly than Skylake, for example. Then there's Intel's Turbo Boost 3.0, which is only baked natively into Windows 10 Redstone 1. For an operating system to optimally support AMD's Zen-based processors, major updates are likely necessary as well. Zen has fine-grained clock gating with multi-level regions throughout the chip, in addition to newer Simultaneous Multi-Threading technology for AMD chips. To properly leverage the tech in Zen, Microsoft will likely have to make updates to the Windows kernel and system scheduler, which is more involved than a driver update. Of course, older versions of Windows and alternative operating systems will still install and run on Kaby Lake and Zen. They are x86 processors, after all.

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LG Introduces The V20, The First Android Nougat Smartphone
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 06:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mobile-phones department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via VentureBeat: LG has unveiled its V20 flagship smartphone, the successor to the V10 that LG introduced last year, and the first smartphone to run Google's Android Nougat OS out of the box. It's also the first phone to get In Apps, a new homescreen shortcut in Android that makes it easy to search through content on all installed apps. There's a customizable "second screen" at the top, the fingerprint scanner/power button on the rear, and a removable smooth aluminum alloy back cover that can allow you to remove the battery. There's no longer two front facing camera sensors, just one 5-megapixel wide-angle camera. There are however two rear-facing camera sensors similar to the G5. There's an 8-megapixel 135-degree wide-angle camera sensor and 16-megapixel 75-degree camera sensor. The new phone features a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with support for up to 2TB of storage via microSD, a 3200 mAh battery, and a 5.7-inch QHD display. It measures 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm and weighs 174g. The USB-C adapter supports fast charging. The phone will be available in titan, silver, and pink, although pink won't be coming to the U.S. market. LG has yet to disclose the price, the release date, or carrier availability for the phone. It's also the first smartphone to feature a 32-bit hi-fi quad DAC.

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Pokemon-Themed Umbreon Rootkit Targets Linux Systems On ARM and x86
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 05:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's gotta-catch-em-all department:
New submitter Kinwolf writes: Security researchers have identified a new family of Linux rootkits that, despite running from user mode, can be hard to detect and remove. Called Umbreon, after a Pokemon character that hides in the darkness, the rootkit has been in development since early 2015 and is now being sold on the underground markets. [It targets Linux-based systems on the x86, x86-64 and ARM architectures, including many embedded devices such as routers.] According to malware researchers from antivirus firm Trend Micro, Umbreon is a so-called ring 3 rootkit, meaning that it runs from user mode and doesn't need kernel privileges. Despite this apparent limitation, it is quite capable of hiding itself and persisting on the system. The reports adds: "The rootkit uses a trick to hijack the standard C library (libc) functions without actually installing any kernel objects. Umbreon hijacks these functions and forces other Linux executables to use its own libc-like library. This puts the rootkit in a man-in-the-middle position, capable of modifying system calls made by other programs and altering their output. The rootkit also creates a hidden Linux account that can be accessed via any authentication method supported by Linux, including SSH (Secure Shell). This account does not appear in files like /etc/passwd because the rootkit can modify the output of such files when read, the Trend Micro researchers said in a blog post. Umbreon also has a backdoor component called Espereon, named after another Pokemon character, that can establish a reverse shell to an attacker's machine when a TCP packet with special field values are received on the monitored Ethernet interface of an affected device."

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Ask Slashdot: What Are Anonymous Ways To Pay For Goods and Services?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 05:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's anonymous-coward department:
Long-time Slashdot reader mspohr submitted a report a couple of days ago from Richard Stallman via The Guardian, which argues that we should be able to pay for news anonymously. "Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust... What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay." In response to that report, an anonymous Slashdot reader writes: There was a recent article posted here on Slashdot about Richard Stallman and his attempt to make paying for online content anonymous. The corollary to that question is: What are the remaining ways to pay for stuff -- in the "real" world and online -- that are truly anonymous? Even cash can be tracked, but what about other methods? Have we completely given up on anonymous payments? No more anonymous/numbered bank accounts, no more pre-paid/virtual bank cards in Europe (just happened recently), for that matter no more prepaid phone numbers (you have to register the number in Europe)? What is left after we had let the politicos run rampant with forced registrations of all payment services?

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T-Mobile To Boost Its LTE Speeds To 400 Mbps
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 03:54 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's theory-of-relativity department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Next Web: T-Mobile plans to boost its LTE speeds to up to 400 Mbps in the very near future. The Next Web reports: "The company is getting ready to boost its maximum theoretical internet speeds to become the faster carrier in the U.S. by a wide margin. The network will soon support theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps -- nearly half the speed of Google Fiber. There's a two-pronged approach to the upgrade. First is incorporating 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology, which will supposedly double the speed from the current 7-40 Mbps customers tend to experience with T-Mobile (about the same as Verizon with LTE-A). This upgrade is available now in 319 cities, although it's a moot point because only the S7 and S7 Edge will be able to use the tech via a software update "later this month." In October, the company will roll out 256 QAM support to the S7 and S7 Edge (and again, more phones later), which increases the amount of bits per transmission. T-Mobile says this will lead to theoretical maximum speeds of 400 Mbps." The Next Web followed-up with T-Mobile to ask about what the real-world speeds would be after the upgrade. The company says "customers can expect to see real world peak speeds of 190 Mbps," which is over four times current peaks speeds, but also far below the theoretical 400 Mbps.

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New Snowden Leaks Reveal More About NSA Satellite Eavesdropping
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 03:54 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-more-where-that-came-from department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Newly published documents from Edward Snowden have shed more light on American surveillance operations in the UK. The Intercept details how the NSA and GCHQ used information gathered by Menwith Hill Station, a massive but tightly sealed facility that intercepts satellite data transmissions worldwide. Among other things, the files appear to include evidence that links UK-based surveillance to American anti-terrorism campaigns outside official combat zones. While many surveillance efforts focus on the internet's connective "backbone" cables, Menwith Hill intercepts wireless signals, using an array of antennae and U.S. government satellites to capture up to 335 million pieces of metadata in a 12-hour period. Previous reports -- including an earlier Snowden leak -- have already revealed some of its capabilities. But The Intercept includes more details, particularly about the UK's involvement in "capture-kill" operations against suspected terrorists. It describes how the GHOSTHUNTER program traced the location of targets "when they log onto the internet," often in internet cafes. A different program called GHOSTWOLF, which let the NSA and GCHQ monitor traffic from Yemeni internet cafes, is part of a plan to "capture or eliminate key nodes in terrorist networks" by tracking their locations. This leak fuels existing suspicions that the UK's role in American covert drone strikes is greater than it admits -- potentially implicating it in the civilian deaths that have resulted. GCHQ told The Intercept that all its work "is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework," and "is entirely compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights."

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Yelp Launches Public Bug Bounty Program
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's now-hiring department:
Yet another company has launched a public bug bounty program to lure in hackers in an effort to find and eradicate vulnerabilities. Yelp is the latest company to do such a thing. Specifically, they are inviting hackers to dissect its websites and mobile application and look for vulnerabilities that could affect reviewers and businesses. In return, they will pay "researchers" who find vulnerabilities, starting at $100 and maxing out at $15,000 "for more complex and critical exploits." TechCrunch reports: "The program, which Yelp is coordinating through the bug bounty platform HackerOne, is a public extension of a bug bounty system that Yelp has privately run for two years. The private version was open to dozens of researchers, who uncovered more than 100 vulnerabilities for Yelp and earned $65,160 in total, and focused primarily on Yelp's main website. Now, Yelp is inviting everyone to test Yelp sites and products. Yelp, which averages 73 million unique visitors to its desktop site and 63 million unique visitors on mobile each month, is asking hackers to cover broad ground -- the bug bounty program includes the company's main website, yelp.com, as well as its business-owners website, apps, reservation platform, corporate blogs, support center, and API."

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Huawei Is Building A Successor To The Google Nexus 7, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 02:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's size-matters department:
According to reliable product leaker Evan Blass, Google is working with Huawei to produce the successor to the wildly popular Google Nexus 7. Evan Blass tweeted yesterday: "Google's Huawei-built 7-inch tablet, with 4GB RAM, on track for release before the end of the year." Ars Technica reports: "Of course 'Nexus' probably won't be the name of this device. Google is undergoing the Great Hardware Unification of 2016, and according to a report from Android Police, the Nexus line is going away to make way for a unified 'Pixel' line. The two upcoming Google phones are reportedly going to be branded 'Pixel' and 'Pixel XL.' If that report holds true, this device would probably be branded a 'Pixel,' too. We last saw a 7-inch Google tablet in 2013, when the Nexus 7 was released as a follow-up to the original 2012 version. Both of these were built by Asus and were well-received thanks to their novel (at the time) 7-inch, 16:9 form factor and low price (~$230)."

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Moto G Play Joins Amazon's Ad-subsidized Prime Exclusive Phones Program For $99
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 01:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's ad-supported-phones department:
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon continues to leverage advertisements with its 'Prime Exclusive Phones' program. This allows consumers to get a discounted Android phone in exchange for seeing ads on the lock screen. It is a great way for shoppers to save money, while Amazon makes money from the ads -- win/win. Today, a new phone joins the program for a mere $99 -- the Moto G Play. It even works on all four of the major USA carriers, including Verizon!The company announced the first phone in this series in June. The company had offered a $50 off on each Blu Phone and the Moto G.

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China Plans To Build A Deep-Sea 'Space Station' In South China Sea
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 01:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's deep-sea department:
China is ramping up its space efforts, it appears. A Chinese company named KuangChi Science plans to launch balloons from Hangzhou, in eastern China. HuffingtonPost reports: China is stepping up efforts to build a deep-sea underwater 'space station' in the South China Sea. If the plans go ahead, the station would be located 3000 metres below the surface, inhabited by humans, and would be used to hunt for minerals. There are also concerns that it would be used for military purposes in territories that are hotly contested between China and other nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. The news comes from a Science Ministry presentation that revealed China's current five-year economic plan (till 2020). Despite no further details or blueprints being made public, the presentation ranked this project as second in a list of 100 science and technology priorities according to Bloomberg.

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Microsoft Working On Skype Teams, Its Slack Competitor
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 01:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's chat-app department:
Earlier this year, we heard rumors that Microsoft was interested in purchasing the popular team-chat app Slack for as much as $8 billion. The deal never happened, so naturally, Microsoft has decided to make a Slack-like app. Microsoft-centric news blog MSPowerUser reports: Meet Skype Teams. Skype Teams is going to be Microsoft's take on messaging apps for teams. Skype Teams will include a lot of similar features which you'll find on Slack. For example, Skype Teams will allow you to chat in different groups within a team, also known as "channels". Additionally, users will be able to talk to each other via Direct Messages on Skype Teams. Skype Teams will also feature Threaded Conversations, which is a major feature that's lacking on Slack. With Threaded Conversations, you can simply reply to a message on a channel by clicking on the reply button and anyone else can join the thread whenever they want -- just like Facebook Comments, or Disqus Comments. Microsoft, of course, isn't leaving out some of the core features of Skype on Skype Teams. Similar to Skype itself, teams will be able to make video calls in a channel or privately. To take this even further, the company is adding the ability to schedule online meetings, which can be quite useful for large teams.

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Instagram Is Killing Photo Maps
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 11:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's re-focusing department:
Instagram is dropping the Photo Map feature from its service. The feature allowed one to see where a person took a photo. The company began removing the feature, it confirmed to Mashable. The social networking service added that it is currently focusing on removing maps on profiles of other people, but soon you (that is, if you use the service), will lose access to your own photo map as well. The company said: Photo Map was not widely used, so we've decided to remove the feature and focus on other priorities.

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An Algorithm May Soon Cover Your Local Sports Team
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 11:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's future-news-coverage department:
Sam Edwards, writing for Motherboard: A Spanish startup is promising to revolutionize readers' access to often unreported news. The unreported news in question, however, is not overlooked disasters or under-reported tragedies in far-flung countries, but minor league sporting events. David Llorente, co-founder of Narrativa, said was inspired to develop an AI-powered content generation system after he tried fruitlessly to find coverage of minor league soccer games from other countries in his native Spanish. "There are people interested in these things, in these leagues, in these kind of sports," he told Motherboard. "The idea was to focus on regional sports. I wanted to write about football, but about Japanese football in Spanish, to cover this niche." Sevilla won with a resounding 20 against Athletic in Nervion, where the sum up eight straight wins at home. Gameiro scored the first one for the locals and closed the scoreboard by converting a penalty kick after Kychowiak was fouled. Athletic was unlucky despite controlling ball possession and wasn't able to finish any of the numerous chances that they had. -- Narrativa game summary. Narrativa is part of the booming automatic content generation industry which uses algorithms to convert data sets into narratives. Related: How a robot wrote for Engadget.

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More Passwords, Please: 98 Million Leaked From 2012 Breach Of 'Russia's Yahoo'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 10:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Sean Gallagher, writing for ArsTechnica: Another major site breach from four years ago has resurfaced. Today, LeakedSource revealed that it had received a copy of a February 2012 dump of the user database of Rambler.ru, a Russian search, news, and e-mail portal site that closely mirrors the functionality of Yahoo. The dump included usernames, passwords, and ICQ instant messaging accounts for over 98 million users. And while previous breaches uncovered by LeakedSource this year had at least some encryption of passwords, the Rambler.ru database stored user passwords in plain text -- meaning that whoever breached the database instantly had access to the e-mail accounts of all of Rambler.ru's users. The breach is the latest in a series of "mega-breaches" that LeakedSource says it is processing for release. Rambler isn't the only Russian site that has been caught storing unencrpyted passwords by hackers. In June, a hacker offered for sale the entire user database of the Russian-language social networking site VK.com (formerly VKontakte) from a breach that took place in late 2012 or early 2013; that database also included unencrypted user passwords, as ZDNet's Zach Whittaker reported.

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Apple Accidentally Lists iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Ahead of Its Wednesday Event
Posted by News Fetcher on September 06 '16 at 10:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's new-iPhones department:
From a BGR report: Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, and it looks like the web team responsible for updating one of Apple's websites accidentally pushed an update live early this morning. Reddit user "Jaspergreenham" says he was browsing the accessories page on Apple's Hong Kong website when he stumbled across the two new phones. Notice anything wrong with that screen capture? The left-hand column on the site allows users to drill down based on device model, but there are two devices listed there that don't actually exist yet: The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.Apple doesn't usually misses out on these things.

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