By msmash from Slashdot's great-timing department
A day after the European Commission fined Google over Android, more details about Fuchsia, a new operating system the company has been working on for several years has emerged. From the report: But members of the Fuchsia team have discussed a grander plan that is being reported here for the first time: Creating a single operating system capable of running all the company's in-house gadgets, like Pixel phones and smart speakers, as well as third-party devices that now rely on Android and another system called Chrome OS, according to people familiar with the conversations. According to one of the people, engineers have said they want to embed Fuchsia on connected home devices, such as voice-controlled speakers, within three years, then move on to larger machines such as laptops. Ultimately the team aspires to swap in their system for Android, the software that powers more than three quarters of the world's smartphones, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The aim is for this to happen in the next half decade, one person said. But Pichai and Hiroshi Lockheimer, his deputy who runs Android and Chrome, have yet to sign off on any road map for Fuchsia, these people said. The executives have to move gingerly on any plan to overhaul Android because the software supports dozens of hardware partners, thousands of developers -- and billions of mobile-ad dollars. [...] Still, Fuchsia is more than a basement skunkworks effort. Pichai has voiced his support for the project internally, said people familiar with the effort. Fuchsia now has more than 100 people working on it, including venerated software staff such as Matias Duarte, a design executive who led several pioneering projects at Google and elsewhere. Duarte is only working part-time on the project, said one person familiar with the company.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's we'll-see-who-will-get-the-last-laugh department
schwit1 shares a report from Behind The Black: At a science workshop in Europe this week, Chinese space officials made it clear that they found the concept of NASA Lunar Orbiting Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) to be unimpressive and uninteresting. Moreover, they said that while it appears we will be delaying our landings on the Moon for at least a decade because of LOP-G, they will be focused on getting and building a research station on the surface, right off the bat.
[From a report via Ars Technica:] "Overall, [Pei Zhaoyu, who is deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration], does not appear to be a fan of NASA's plan to build a deep space gateway, formally known as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, at a near-rectilinear halo orbit. Whereas NASA will focus its activities on this gateway away from the Moon, Pei said China will focus on a 'lunar scientific research station.' Another slide from Pei offered some thoughts on the gateway concept, which NASA intends to build out during the 2020s, delaying a human landing on the Moon until the end of the decade at the earliest. Pei does not appear to be certain about the scientific objectives of such a station, and the deputy director concludes that, from a cost-benefit standpoint, the gateway would have 'lost cost-effectiveness.'"Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's treasure-hunt department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Popular Mechanics: A salvage company has located the remains of a Russian warship lost during the the Russo-Japanese War. The battle-damaged cruiser Dmitrii Donskoi was scuttled off the coast of Korea in 1905, reportedly carrying a cargo of gold worth an estimated $130 billion in today's dollars. An international consortium of companies plans to salvage the gold.
According to the Telegraph, the Donskoi was found less than a mile off the coast of Ulleung island, at a depth of 1,423 feet in the Sea of Japan. A submersible descended to the wreck and captured an image of the ship's name on the stern in the Cyrillic alphabet. The South Korean Shinil Group, which discovered the wreck, plans to recover the gold sometime later this year with help from companies in China, Canada, and the U.K. At the time of her sinking Donskoi was reportedly carrying 5,500 boxes of gold bars and 200 tons of gold coins with a street value today of $130 billion. That's more than twice Russia's 2017 defense budget, which was $61 billion. If the treasure does materialize, the Russian government will receive half of the recovered amount. The money that's not going to Russia will reportedly be invested in a railroad line linking North Korea, South Korea, and Russia. A small percentage (10%) will also be invested in tourism projects on Ulleungdo Island, including a museum dedicated to the vessel.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-in-the-public department
Facebook has repeatedly referenced to lawmakers a "threshold" that must be reached before the platform decides to ban a particular page for violating the site's policies, but it hasn't discussed its guidelines publicly. Motherboard has obtained internal Facebook documents laying out what this threshold is for multiple types of different content, including some instances of hate speech. From the report: One Facebook moderator training document for hate speech says that for Pages -- Facebook's feature for sections dedicated to, say, a band, organization, public figure, or business -- the Page admin has to receive 5 "strikes" within 90 days for the Page itself to be deleted. Alternatively, Facebook moderators are told to remove a Page if at least 30 percent of the content posted by other people within 90 days violates Facebook's community standards. A similar 30 percent-or-over policy exists for Facebook Groups, according to the document.
In a similar vein, another hate speech document says that a profile should be taken down if there are 5 or more pieces of content from the user which indicate hate propaganda, photos of the user present with another identifiable leader, or other related violations. Although the documents obtained by Motherboard were created recently, Facebook's policies change regularly, so whether these exact parameters remain in force is unclear. Of course this still depends on moderators identifying and labeling posts as violating to reach that threshold. [...] Another document focused on sexual content says moderators should unpublish Pages and Groups under the basis of sexual solicitation if there are over 2 "elements," such as the Page description, title, photo, or pinned post, that include either explicit solicitation of nude imagery, or, if the page is more subtle, includes either a method of contact or a location. This slide again reiterates the over 30 percent and 5 admin posts rules found in the hate speech document.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-on-my-watch department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Yesterday, during the Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the Future of Life Institute announced that more than 2,400 individuals and 160 companies and organizations have signed a pledge, declaring that they will "neither participate in nor support the development, manufacture, trade or use of lethal autonomous weapons." The signatories, representing 90 countries, also call on governments to pass laws against such weapons. Google DeepMind and the Xprize Foundation are among the groups who've signed on while Elon Musk and DeepMind co-founders Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman have made the pledge as well.
"Thousands of AI researchers agree that by removing the risk, attributability and difficulty of taking human lives, lethal autonomous weapons could become powerful instruments of violence and oppression, especially when linked to surveillance and data systems," says the pledge. It adds that those who sign agree that "the decision to take a human life should never be delegated to a machine." "I'm excited to see AI leaders shifting from talk to action, implementing a policy that politicians have thus far failed to put into effect," Future of Life Institute President Max Tegmark said in a statement. "AI has huge potential to help the world -- if we stigmatize and prevent its abuse. AI weapons that autonomously decide to kill people are as disgusting and destabilizing as bioweapons, and should be dealt with in the same way."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's big-business-for-hackers department
Hackers account for 90% of of e-commerce sites' global login traffic, according to a report by cyber security firm Shape Security. They reportedly use programs to apply stolen data acquired on the dark web -- all in an effort to login to websites and grab something of value like cash, airline points, or merchandise. Quartz reports: These attacks are successful as often as 3% of the time, and the costs quickly add up for businesses, Shape says. This type of fraud costs the e-commerce sector about $6 billion a year, while the consumer banking industry loses out on about $1.7 billion annually. The hotel and airline businesses are also major targets -- the theft of loyalty points is a thing -- costing a combined $700 million every year.
The process starts when hackers break into databases and steal login information. Some of the best known "data spills" took place at Equifax and Yahoo, but they happen fairly regularly -- there were 51 reported breaches last year, compromising 2.3 billion credentials, according to Shape. Taking over bank accounts is one way to monetize stolen login information -- in the US, community banks are attacked far more than any other industry group. According to Shape's data, that sector is attacked more than 200 million times each day. Shape says the number of reported credential breaches was roughly stable at 51 last year, compared with 52 in 2016. The best way consumers can minimize these attacks is by changing their passwords.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's umm-okay department
Mark Zuckerberg isn't planning to fire himself. At least, not at the moment. From a report: During an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher published Wednesday, the Facebook CEO touched on Russians interfering with US elections, misinformation, data breaches, the company's business model and more. When asked by Swisher who's to blame for the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related data misuse, Zuckerberg said he "designed the platform, so if someone's going to get fired for this, it should be me." Swisher followed up by asking if he was going to fire himself. "Not on this podcast right now," he said. Zuckerberg also defended the social media platform's decision not to kick off conspiracy theory-peddling websites like the far-right InfoWars. From a report: Zuckerberg said that instead of banning websites outright, the company removes individual posts that violate Facebook's terms of service. Posts promoting violence are particularly likely to be taken down, he added. Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, said even Holocaust deniers have a place on the platform as long as they genuinely believe the content they share. "I find that deeply offensive," he said. "But at the end of the day, I don't believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don't think that they're intentionally getting it wrong."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's carefully-balanced department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The EU's decision to force Google to unbundle its Chrome and search apps from Android may have some implications for the future of Android's free business model. In a blog post defending Google's decision to bundle search and Chrome apps on Android, Google CEO Sundar Pichai outlines the company's response to the EU's $5 billion fine. Pichai highlights the fact a typical Android user will "install around 50 apps themselves" and can easily remove preinstalled apps. But if Google is prevented from bundling its own apps, that will upset the Android ecosystem.
"If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn't include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem," explains Pichai, carefully avoiding the fact that phone makers will no longer be forced to bundle these apps but can still choose to do so. Pichai then hints that the free Android business model has relied on this app bundling. "So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven't had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model," says Pichai. "But we are concerned that today's decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms." While it may be a bluff to court popular opinion, Google is threatening to license Android to phone makers. "[I]f phone makers can bundle their own browsers instead of Chrome and point search queries toward rivals, then that could have implications for Google's mobile ad revenue, which constitutes more than 50 percent of the company's net digital ad revenue," reports The Verge.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Mehedi Hassan, writing for Thurrott: Microsoft is bringing support for leap seconds -- yes, that one extra second -- to Windows, starting with Windows 10 Redstone 5 and Windows Server 2019. With the upcoming updates for Windows 10, Microsoft's operating system now deals with leap seconds in a way that is incredibly accurate, UTC-compliant, and traceable. Leap seconds typically occur every 18 months, resulting in one extra second. The extra leap second occurs to adjust with the earth's slowed down rotation, and an extra second is added to UTC in order to keep it in-sync with mean solar time. To deal with the extra second more appropriately, Windows 10 will now display that extra second, instead of directly jumping to the next one. H/T Perfycat who adds: The new move makes Windows Server the first OS to have full support of the rare but valid timestamp of: 23:59:60. Linus Torvalds has long maintained that users needs to chill out about leap seconds. Further reading: Microsoft's blog post 1, and blog post 2.Read Replies (0)