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Deutsche Telekom Says 900,000 Fixed-Line Customers Suffer Outages
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '16 at 06:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's network-outages department:
About 900,000 Deutsche Telekom fixed-line customers have been hit by network outages, the carries said on Monday, and it could not rule out "targeted external factors" as the reason. From a Reuters report: Fixed-line customers have had problems connecting to Deutsche Telekom's network since Sunday afternoon, the company said. "Based on the pattern of errors, it can not be ruled out that the router has been targeted externally, with the result that it can no longer log on to the network," Deutsche Telekom, which has 20 million fixed-line customers, said in a statement on it website.

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iOS 10.1.1 Is Causing Battery Issues For Many iPhone Users
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '16 at 06:52 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's draining-batteries department:
An anonymous reader writes: A recent iOS update to 10.1.1 fix Apple's Health application has had unintended consequences for many users -- shutdown at 30% battery remaining and lack of audio using Apple Earpods. Users on an Apple forum report that the battery indicator jumps from 30% to 1% (dubbed the 30% bug) and a reboot is required where the phone then runs for a few more hours. Some have taken the iPhone back to receive a replacement only to find the same thing happens. Apple has not responded to the 11 pages of forum complaints but apparently, Genius Bar staff have identified unusual discharging of the battery -- which does not make sense if a reboot temporarily fixes the issue and returns the battery indicator to 30%. It also appears to affect all versions of iPhone that support iOS 10.x.

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Newest Skype For Linux Enables SMS Text Messages From The Desktop
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '16 at 05:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's delivered-from-desktops department:
BrianFagioli writes: Microsoft has delivered an incredible feature to Linux-based desktop operating systems by way of the latest Alpha version of its Skype client... The newly-released Skype for Linux 1.13 allows users to send SMS test messages from the operating system! True, web-based solutions such as Google Voice have long allowed the sending of text messages, but needing to use a web browser can be a chore. There is convenience and elegance in using the Skype for Linux client.

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48 Organizations Now Have Access To Every Brit's Browsing Hstory
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '16 at 01:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's new-Number-Two department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Zero Hedge on Great Britain's newly-enacted "snoopers' charter":
For those who missed our original reports, here is the new law in a nutshell: it requires telecom companies to keep records of all users' web activity for a year, creating databases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers. Civil liberties groups say the law establishes mass surveillance of British citizens, following innocent internet users from the office to the living room and the bedroom. They are right. Which government agencies have access to the internet history of any British citizen? Here is the answer courtesy of blogger Chris Yuo, who has compiled the list
Click through to the comments to read the entire list.

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Ask Slashdot: Has Your Team Ever Succumbed To Hype Driven Development?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 08:37 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's TDD-vs-HDD department:
marekkirejczyk, the VP of Engineering at development shop Daftcode, shares a warning about hype-driven development:
Someone reads a blog post, it's trending on Twitter, and we just came back from a conference where there was a great talk about it. Soon after, the team starts using this new shiny technology (or software architecture design paradigm), but instead of going faster (as promised) and building a better product, they get into trouble. They slow down, get demotivated, have problems delivering the next working version to production.

Describing behind-schedule teams that "just need a few more days to sort it all out," he blames all the hype surrounding React.js, microservices, NoSQL, and that "Test-Driven Development Is Dead" blog post by Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson. ("The list goes on and on... The root of all evil seems to be social media.") Does all this sound familiar to any Slashdot readers? Has your team ever succumbed to hype-driven development?

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Ron Glass, Firefly's Shepherd Book, Has Died
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 07:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's how-you-get-there-is-the-worthier-part department:
Slashdot reader tiqui tells us that Emmy-nominated actor Ron Glass has died.

The actor was 71 and the family has not released more details of his death, but Firefly/Serenity fans can follow this link to the Hollywood Reporter for more information.

Firefly creator Joss Whedon posted on Twitter that Glass "got there with grace, humor and enormous heart. He was, among so many other things, my Shepherd. Raise, appropriately, a glass. Rest, Ron." And Nathan Fillion, who played Captain Reynolds on Firefly, posted an appropriate quote on Instagram. ("Shepard, don't move." "Won't go far...") The actor's Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor came in 1974, for his role on the TV series Barney Miller. Interestingly, one of Glass's co-stars on that show was Abe Vigoda, who also died earlier this year at age 94 -- a full 34 years after his death was mistakenly reported by People magazine.

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Online Pranksters Mock Trump's $149 Christmas Ornament, Rename Trump Tower on Google Maps
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 05:47 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-Google-Maps-wrong-again department:
An anonymous reader quotes a Digital Trends story about a suspicious malfunction on Google Maps:
At some point yesterday, Donald Trump's Fifth Avenue home was given a rather unceremonious rechristening, and a search for "Trump Tower" revealed a pin for "Dump Tower" instead. It was rather tricky to find for some, and required zooming in on the building itself at just the right angle (which is perhaps how the culprit got away with the stunt in the first place). At a separate angle, someone else (or perhaps the same person) transliterated the skyscraper's name in Russian Cyrillic, perhaps meant to be a jab at Trump's alleged ties to President Vladimir Putin and company... While the team [at Google Maps] managed to put out this first fire, another quickly arose to take its place (as is often the case on the internet), and later in the day on Saturday, Trump International Hotel and Tower in Columbus Circle was renamed Dump International Hotel and Tower.

Meanwhile, another anonymous reader writes:
Earlier this week Donald Trump emailed his supporters selling a $149 collectible "Make America Great Again" Christmas ornament finished with 14k gold, to raise money for both his campaign and the Republican party. But Yahoo News reports that it's now getting some suspicious negative (and politically-charged) reviews on its page on Amazon. ("One Star. "It tried to put my nativity figures into an internment camp.") And another reviewer even wrote a satirical story about how their family decided on the ornament for the tree. "During our family meeting we overwhelmingly chose the other ornament but somehow we still ended up with this one. We're not sure what happened."

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Julian Assange Could Be Time's 'Person Of The Year', And Is Also Still Not Dead
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 04:26 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's watching-WikiLeaks department:
Long-time Slashdot reader cstacy noticed Saturday that Julian Assange hadn't made any communications or public appearances in six weeks. But today an anonymous reader writes:
Julian Assange is still not dead, reports The Inquisitr, noting "the WikiLeaks founder made his first appearance in weeks, speaking with an interviewer for a conference in Beirut" including comments about the recent death of Fidel Castro.

Assange is also in the running to be chosen as "Person of the Year" in Time magazine's annual online reader's poll, and last Monday even moved briefly into first place, inching past Donald Trump. "It's worth noting that the poll presents people alphabetically," Time reported, "so Assange is the first option participants consider and Trump comes near the end of the poll."

I think the poll's being hacked by state actors, since Vladimir Putin now leads with 38%, followed by Theresa May (16%) and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un (13%), and Donald Trump is locked in a tie for fourth place with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 9%. Time worked with Opentopic and IBM's Watson to assemble the initial list for reader's votes, which also included Apple CEO Tim Cook and FBI director James Comey. Surprisingly, a few celebrities also turned up on the list too, including comedian Samantha Bee, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.

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You Can Now Rent A Mirai Botnet Of 400,000 Bots
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 02:42 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's telnetting-for-dollars department:
An anonymous reader writes: Two hackers are renting access to a massive Mirai botnet, which they claim has more than 400,000 infected bots, ready to carry out DDoS attacks at anyone's behest. The hackers have quite a reputation on the hacking underground and have previously been linked to the GovRAT malware, which was used to steal data from several US companies. Renting around 50,000 bots costs between $3,000-$4,000 for 2 weeks, meaning renting the whole thing costs between $20,000-$30,000. After the Mirai source code leaked, there are countless smaller Mirai botnets around, but this one is [believed to be the one] accounting for more than half of all infected IoT devices...that supposedly shut down Internet access in Liberia. The original Mirai botnet was limited to only 200,000 bots because there were only 200,000 IoT devices connected online that had their Telnet ports open. The botnet that's up for rent now has received improvements and can also spread to IoT devices via SSH, hence the 400,000 bots total.

Interestingly, the article claims the botnet's creators had access to the Mirai source code "long before it went public."

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Self-Driving Trucks Begin Real-World Tests on Ohio's Highways
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 02:42 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's trucking-up-to-Buffalo department:
An anonymous reader writes:

"A vehicle from self-driving truck maker Otto will travel a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 on Monday in central Ohio..." reports the Associated Press. The truck "will travel in regular traffic, and a driver in the truck will be positioned to intervene should anything go awry, Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said Friday, adding that 'safety is obviously No. 1.'"

Ohio sees this route as "a corridor where new technologies can be safely tested in real-life traffic, aided by a fiber-optic cable network and sensor systems slated for installation next year" -- although next week the truck will also start driving on the Ohio Turnpike.

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Sugar-Free Products Might Actually Stop Us From Getting Slimmer
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 01:23 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sugar-coating-the-truth department:
Nutritionists suspected that artificial sweeteners weren't really helping people lose weight, according to a new article submitted by schwit1. Now there's hints of proof in a new aspartame study by the Massachusetts General Hospital.

"We found that aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase," explains Professor Hodin. IAP is produced in the small intestine. "We previously showed [this enzyme] can prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome [a disease characterized by a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, a metabolic disorder and insulin resistance]. So, we think that aspartame might not work because, even as it is substituting for sugar, it blocks the beneficial aspects of IAP...."

The researchers confirmed their suspicions via a variety of tests on mice. In one case, they fed IAP directly to mice, who were also on a high-fat diet. It turned out that the IAP could effectively prevent the emergence of the metabolic syndrome. It also helped relieve symptoms in animals that were already suffering from the obesity-related illness.

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Researchers Successfully Achieve Suspended Animation With Mouse Embryos
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 12:02 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's achievement-unlocked department:
"It was completely surprising. We were standing around in the tissue culture room, scratching our heads, and saying 'Wow, what do we make of this?'" An anonymous reader quotes Engadget's report on new research with "huge implications":

A team of scientists from the University of California, San Francisco only wanted to slow down mice embryos' cell growth in the lab. Instead, they managed to completely pause their development, putting the blastocysts (very early embryos) in suspended animation for a month. What's more, they found that the process can put stem cells derived from the blastocysts in suspended animation as well, [and] the researchers were able to prove that the embryos can develop normally even after a pause in their growth. Team member Ramalho-Santos from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research said... "To put it in perspective, mouse pregnancies only last about 20 days, so the 30-day-old 'paused' embryos we were seeing would have been pups approaching weaning already if they'd been allowed to develop normally."

The new research could lead to better treatments for damaged organs and even aging, according to the article. (Besides, of course, its science fiction-y implications for long-distance space travel...)

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Ransomware Compromises San Francisco's Mass Transit System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 10:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's conquering-the-cable-cars department:
Buses and light rail cars make San Francisco's "Muni" fleet the seventh largest mass transit system in America. But yesterday its arrival-time screens just displayed the message "You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted" -- and all the rides were free, according to a local CBS report shared by RAYinNYC:

Inside sources say the system has been hacked for days. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has officially confirmed the hack, but says it has not affected any service... The hack affects employees, as well. According to sources, SFMTA workers are not sure if they will get paid this week. Cyber attackers also hit Muni's email systems.

Though the article claims "The transit agency has no idea who is behind it, or what the hackers are demanding in return," Business Insider reports "The attack seems to be an example of ransomware, where a computer system is taken over and the users are locked out until a certain amount of money is sent to the attacker." In addition, they're reporting the attack "reportedly included an email address where Muni officials could ask for the key to unlock its systems." One San Francisco local told CBS, "I think it is terrifying. I really do I think if they can start doing this here, we're not safe anywhere."

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'No Man's Sky' Releases Huge New 'Foundation' Update
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 10:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's shades-of-Isaac-Asimov department:
"No Man's Sky changed a great deal this morning, getting new modes and a ton of gameplay tweaks thanks to update 1.1, the largest one yet," reports Kotaku. Calling it "the first of many free updates," the game's developers introduced a new Minecraft-style Creative Mode which "allows players to explore the universe without limits, and build a huge base," plus a tougher Survival Mode, "creating a much more challenging endurance experience." The Next Web calls it "features that really should have been in the game from Day One."
Now, when you stumble upon a desolate outpost, you can build your own base on it, which can be upgraded with new housing, hydroponics, research, and storage buildings. If all goes well, you'll start to attract alien settlers who bring their own skills to your new society. As your stockpiles of resources begin to swell, you'll want to schlep them across the galaxy to other bases and trade terminals. Which is where freighters come in... Oh, and did I mention you can now stack items five times per inventory slot, meaning you can carry more stuff? Handy.

"The discussion around No Man's Sky since release has been intense and dramatic," Hello Games announced Friday, describing update 1.1 as "putting in place a foundation for things to come... the first small step in a longer journey." Hello Games founder Sean Murray tweeted "We're getting better as quickly as we can for the players who invested in us," adding "Thank you for sticking with us." At 2 a.m. this morning, he tweeted "If you could have lived our lives over the last months, you'd know how meaningful this is," adding "Here's the update..."

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Will Trump Protect America's IT Workers From H-1B Visa Abuses?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 09:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-campaign-promises-great-again department:
Monday president-elect Donald Trump sent "the strongest signal yet that the H-1B visa program is going get real scrutiny once he takes office," according to CIO.

Slashdot reader OverTheGeicoE summarizes their report:

President-elect Donald Trump released a video message outlining his policy plans for his first 100 days in office. At 1 minute, 56 seconds into the message, he states that he will direct the Department of Labor to investigate "all abuses of the visa programs that undercut the American worker." During his presidential campaign, Trump was critical of the H-1B visa program that has been widely criticized for displacing U.S. high-technology workers. "Companies are importing low-wage workers on H-1B visas to take jobs from young college-trained Americans," said Trump at an Ohio rally. At other rallies, Trump invited former IT workers from Disney who had been forced to train their H-1B replacements to speak.
"What he didn't say was that he was going to close the door to skilled immigrants," one tech entrepreneur told CNN Money -- although Trump's selection for attorney general has called the shortage of qualified American tech workers "a hoax".

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Brain Cancer Patients Live Longer By Sending Electric Fields Through Their Heads
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 07:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's singing-the-body-electric department:
IEEE Spectrum reports on a "radical new weapon" against brain tumors -- only available since 2015. They profile a typical patient who "wears electrodes on her head all day and night to send an electric field through her brain, trying to prevent any leftover tumor cells from multiplying [and] goes about her business with a shaved head plastered with electrodes, which are connected by wires to a bulky generator she carries in a shoulder bag."
the_newsbeagle writes:
The Optune system, which bathes the brain tumor in an AC electric field, is the first new treatment to come along that seems to extend some patients' lives. New data on survival rates from a major clinical trial showed that 43% of patients who used Optune were still alive at the 2-year mark, compared to 30% of patients on the standard treatment regimen. At the 4-year mark, the survival rates were 17% for Optune patients and 10% for the others.
Patients have to re-shave their heads every few days and re-apply all the electrodes, but that's never been a problem, according to one patient. "If you have a condition which has no cure, it's a great motivator."

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Samsung Places A Big Bet on Quantum-Dot TV, Acquires QD Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 07:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hope-they-don't-catch-on-fire department:
Quantum-dot televisions promise "better picture quality and are also cheaper to manufacture than organic light-emitting diode sets," ZDNet reports. And now Samsung has confirmed their acquisition of Massachusetts-based QD Vision for $70 million, according to this article shared by Dthief:

QD Vision, previously known as Color IQ, is a specialist in quantum dot display technology. Developed for displays including PC monitors and television sets, quantum-dot technology uses semiconductor nanoparticles to change the properties of quantum dots, improving color definition and sharpness... QD Vision will become part of Samsung's research and development unit in the hope of creating quantum-dot LED displays suitable for the consumer market which could, in turn, become a strong competitor against OLED displays... The agreement follows Samsung's pledge earlier this year to launch a total of 14 SUHD television models this year, all of which use quantum dot technology.

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New 'Doom 3' Mod Successfully Ports It Into Virtual Reality
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 05:00 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's virtual-frags department:
When it comes to VR ports of popular games, "Doom 3's fluid weapon handling, interactivity, and general creepiness put it in a different class entirely," writes Motherboard. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Using the graphically enhanced "BFG" version of 2004's Doom 3, the mod from "Codes4Fun" skillfully ports to game to the HTC Vive, generally making it look as though it was designed for the platform all along. Swedish YouTuber SweViver recently posted a video showing off his first spin with it... SweViver walks and runs about naturally using only the Vive controller's touchpad...the video shows him jumping and using the mod's impressive hand-tracking to handle his gun and flashlight separately as they float before him in place of the controllers in his hands. At one point, he even whips out virtual fists that let him pummel things with the controllers' left and right triggers.
His conclusion? "This is probably the first AAA game that actually works on the Vive."

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Crowdsourced Volunteers Search For Solutions To Fake News
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 02:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's help-me-hive-mind department:
Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser is leading a group of online volunteers hunting for ways to respond to the spread of fake news. An anonymous reader quotes Wired UK:
Inside a Google Doc, volunteers are gathering ideas and approaches to get a grip on the untruthful news stories. It is part analysis, part brainstorming, with those involved being encouraged to read widely around the topic before contributing. "This is a massive endeavour but well worth it," they say...

At present, the group is coming up with a list of potential solutions and approaches. Possible methods the group is looking at include: more human editors, fingerprinting viral stories then training algorithms on confirmed fakes, domain checking, the blockchain, a reliability algorithm, sentiment analysis, a Wikipedia for news sources, and more.
The article also suggests this effort may one day spawn fake news-fighting tech startups.

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Scientists Believe There's Finally A Cure For The Common Cold
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 08:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's nothing-to-sneeze-at department:
schwit1 writes:
After decades of research, the fabled cure for the common cold could be on its way in the form of a nasal spray called SynGEM, the brainchild of a Dutch biotechnology company. After successful tests on mice and rats (yes, they get colds too), 36 human volunteers at London's Imperial College are now trying out the spray.
While colds can be caused by hundreds of different viruses, just three viruses are responsible for 80% of them -- and yet colds are responsible for 40% of the sick days taken in the U.S., according to another article, as well as 75 million doctor visits (costing $7.7 billion) every year, plus another $2.9 billion for cold medications. One experimental medicine professor at London's Imperial College London has spent the last 30 years researching colds and flu, and though a cure has never been found, he now tells the Daily Mail, "I think we are on the verge of it. I really do."

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