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Forbes Just Cut Its Estimate of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes's Net Worth From $4.5 Billion To Zero
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 12:43 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's what-goes-up-must-come-down department:
It wasn't long agon when Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of Theranos, was regarded as one of the U.S.'s most successful female entrepreneurs with Forbes estimating her net work to be $4.5 billion. Thanks to all the evidence that Theranos' technology is largely a gimmick and false advertising, the publication has revised that figure to essentially zero, reports Quartz. From the report: Last year, Forbes pegged its value at $9 billion, based on the sale of stakes to investors. Since that lofty estimate, Theranos has been battered by bad news (paywalled; alternate source), starting with reports in the Wall Street Journal in October that its tests were inaccurate. That triggered an inquiry from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which proposed banning Holmes from the industry. Forbes went back to its slide rule and, after talking to venture capitalists and industry experts, recalculated Theranos' value at $900 million, based on its intellectual property and money it has already raised. "At such a low valuation, Holmes' stake is essentially worth nothing," Matt Herper writes. That's because Theranos' other investors own preferred shares, and since Holmes owns common shares, they would get paid first if the company were forced to liquidate.

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Out-Of-the-Box Exploitation Possible On PCs From Top 5 OEMs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
According to a report published by two-factor authentication service Duo Security, third-party updating tools installed by Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus (the top five Windows PC OEMs) are exposing their devices to man-in-the-middle attacks. Dan Goodin, reports for Ars Technica: The updaters frequently expose their programming interfaces, making them easy to reverse engineer. Even worse, the updaters frequently fail to use transport layer security encryption properly, if at all. As a result, PCs from all five makers are vulnerable to exploits that allow attackers to install malware.Duo Security adds: Hacking in practice means taking the path of least resistance, and OEM software is often a weak link in the chain. All of the sexy exploit mitigations, desktop firewalls, and safe browsing enhancements can't protect you when an OEM vendor cripples them with pre-installed software.

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Ask Slashdot: Why Do You Want a 'Smart TV'?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's food-for-thought department:
Reader kheldan questions the need for a Smart TV (edited for clarity): Yesterday we read about how Samsung is planning on 'upgrading' the firmware in its smart TVs so that it could inject ads into your video streams. This raises the question yet again: Why do you even need a 'smart TV' in the first place? We live in an age where media-center computers and DVRs are ubiquitous, and all your TV really needs to be is a high-def monitor to connect to these devices. Even many smartphones have HDMI connectivity, and a Raspberry Pi is inexpensive and can play 1080 content at full framerate. None of these devices are terribly expensive anymore, and the price jump from a non-smart TV to a smart TV makes it difficult to justify the expense. Also, remember previous articles posted on the subject of surveillance many of these smart TVs have been found guilty of. So I put it to you, denizens of Slashdot: Why does anyone really want a 'smart TV'?

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BBC Micro:Bit Learn-To-Code Device Up For Public Pre-Order In UK
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's raspberry-pi-alternative department:
An anonymous reader writes from a TechCrunch report: A tiny programmable board designed as part of an educational initiative for UK kids to learn programming skills and originally distributed by the public service broadcaster, the BBC, to one million schoolchildren is now up for public pre-order. The micro:bit is available for public pre-order in the UK, via Element14's website, with delivery slated for July. Although at this point it's being sold in minimum quantities of 90 for resellers (such as Microsoft) to then sell on to individuals. So consumers will have a bit longer to wait to be able to buy a device just for themselves. Prices start at 12.99 Pound ($19) for a single BBC micro:bit; 14.99 Pound for a starter kit which includes a BBC micro:bit, mini USB, battery pack and four project ideas; and 140 Pound for a 'BBC micro:bit Club' pack, which includes 10 devices and "everything needed to get a coding club started". The intention with the micro:bit project -- part of the BBC's wider 'Make it Digital' initiative to inspire "a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology" -- was always to open up the distribution of the device after the initial giveaway.

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Samsung: Don't install Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 09:43 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's curious-case-of-Windows-10-updates department:
An anonymous reader shares an article on The Register: Samsung is advising customers against succumbing to Microsoft's nagging and installing Windows 10. The consumer electronics giant's support staff have admitted drivers for its PCs still don't work with Microsoft's newest operating system and told customers they should simply not make the upgrade. That's nearly a year after Microsoft released Windows 10 and with a month to go until its successor -- Windows 10 Anniversary Update -- lands. Samsung's customers have complained repeatedly during the last 12 months of being either unable to install Microsoft's operating system on their machines or Windows 10 not working properly with components if they do succeed. However, with the one-year anniversary fast approaching it seems neither of these tech giants have succeeded in solving these persistent problems.

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Windows Zero-Day Affecting All OS Versions On Sale For $90,000
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 05:33 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's going-once-going-twice-sold department:
An anonymous reader writes: "A hacker going by the handle BuggiCorp is selling a zero-day vulnerability affecting all Windows OS versions that can allow an attacker to elevate privileges for software processes to the highest level available in Windows, known as SYSTEM," writes Softpedia. The zero-day is up for sale on a Russian underground hacking forum, and is currently available for $90,000 -- after it was initially up for $95,000. The hacker is saying he'll sell the zero-day to one person only, who'll receive its source code and a working demo. Two videos are available, one showing the hacker exploit Windows 10 with the May 2016 security patch, and another one bypassing all EMET features. While security experts think the zero-day may be overpriced, they think the hacker will find a buyer regardless.

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Sirin Labs Launches Solarin, a $14,000 Privacy-Focused Smartphone
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 02:53 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's come-at-a-price department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via VentureBeat: Sirin Labs has launched its high-end Android smartphone called Solarin. The company's mission is to create the Rolls-Royce of smartphones -- an advanced device that combines "the highest privacy settings, operated faster than any other phone, [and is] built with the best materials from around the world." Solarin promises "the most advanced privacy technology, currently unavailable outside the agency world." It has partnered with KoolSpan to integrate chip-to-chip 256-bit AES encryption, which is similar to what the military uses to protect its communications. As for the specs, Solarin features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, with support for 24 bands of LTE, and "far superior" Wi-Fi connectivity than standard mobile phones. There's a 23.8-megapixel rear camera sensor and a 5.5" IPS LED 2K resolution display. The phone goes on sale June 1st for nearly $14,000 ($13,800 to be exact).

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Facebook Spares Humans By Fighting Offensive Photos With AI
Posted by News Fetcher on June 01 '16 at 12:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Draconian-laws department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: Facebook tells TechCrunch that its artificial intelligence systems now report more offensive photos than humans do. Typically when users upload content that is deemed offensive, it has to be seen and flagged by at least one human worker or user. Such posts that violate terms of service can include content that is hate speech, threatening or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence. The content that workers have to dig through is obviously not great, and may lead to various psychological illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder. AI is helping to eliminate such a terrible job as it can scan images that are uploaded before anyone ever sees them. Facebook's AI already "helps rank News Feed stories, read aloud the content of photos to the vision impaired and automatically write closed captions for video ads that increase view time by 12 percent," writes TechCrunch. Facebook's Director of Engineering for Applied Machine Learning Joaquin Candela tells TechCrunch, "One thing that is interesting is that today we have more offensive photos being reported by AI algorithms than by people. The higher we push that to 100 percent, the fewer offensive photos have actually been seen by a human." One risk of such an automated system is that it could censor art and free expression that may be productive or beautiful, yet controversial. The other more obvious risk is that such a system could take jobs away from those in need.

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Microsoft Sells 1,500 Patents To Xiaomi To Build 'Long-Term Partnership'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 08:04 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it-takes-two-to-tango department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Software maker Microsoft Corp is selling about 1,500 of its patents to Chinese device maker Xiaomi, a rare departure for the U.S. company and part of what the two companies say is the start of a long-term partnership. The deal, announced on Wednesday, also includes a patent cross-licensing arrangement and a commitment by Xiaomi to install copies of Microsoft software, including Office and Skype, on its phones and tablets. Wang said the acquisition of Microsoft patents, which included voice communications, multimedia and cloud computing, on top of some 3,700 patents the Chinese company filed last year, were "an important step forwards to support our expansion internationally." Florian Mueller, a patents expert who consulted for Microsoft in the past, said it was rare for Microsoft to actually sell its patents, adding "it's possible Microsoft found it easier to impose its Android patent tax on Xiaomi as part of a broader deal that also involved a transfer of patents."

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Atari Is Going To Build IoT Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department:
angry tapir quotes a report from Computerworld: The latest entrant in the Internet of Things is legendary gaming company Atari, which plans to make consumer devices that communicate over the SigFox low-power network. The devices will be for homes, pets, lifestyle, and safety. Atari has signed a deal with the communications service provider, Sigfox. "The initial product line will include categories such as home, pets, lifestyle and safety," the companies said in a statement. "By connecting to SigFox's global network, the products will benefit from its competitive advantages: a very long battery life and a simple solution that does not require local Internet connectivity and pairing. As soon as the battery is inserted in the object, it is immediately connected to the network."

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Internet, Web Enjoy One Final Day As Proper Nouns
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's grammar-Nazi department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Internet and Web will be downgraded to "internet" and "web" tomorrow with the new edition of the AP Stylebook. Therefore, today marks their last day as proper nouns. The AP Stylebook is a manual that many journalists follow, offering a comprehensive guide to the usage of words, style, spelling and punctuation. "The argument for lowercasing Internet is that is has become wholly generic, like electricity and the telephone. It never was trademarked and is not based on any proper noun," writes Tom Kent, AP Standards Editor. "The best reason for capitalizing it in the past may have been that the term was new. At one point, we understand, 'Phonograph' was capitalized." The two names will join the likes of website (formerly Web site) and email (formerly e-mail).

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Apartment In US Asks Tenants To 'Like' Facebook Page Or Face Action
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 04:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's do-it-or-face-the-consequences department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Business Standard: An apartment building in Salt Lake City has told tenants living in the complex to "like" its Facebook page or they will be in breach of their lease. Tenants of the City Park Apartments said they found a "Facebook addendum" taped to their doors last weekend, asking them to "like" the City Park Apartments Facebook page. The contract says that if tenants do not specifically "friend" City Park Apartments on Facebook within five days, they will be found in breach of the rental agreement. In addition, the contract includes a release allowing the business to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on the Facebook page. Currently, the apartment building has a 1.1 star rating on its Facebook page.

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Panasonic To Stop Making LCD Panels For TVs
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 04:03 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
AmiMoJo quotes a report from NHK WORLD: Japanese electronics maker Panasonic says it will stop making LCD panels for televisions, giving way to fierce price competition. The pullout from TV LCD manufacturing follows the company's withdrawal from plasma TV production 3 years ago. They say they will continue to manufacture LCD panels at the plant for products other than televisions, such as medical equipment and cars. They say the company will keep making Panasonic-brand televisions, using panels supplied by other manufacturers. After Panasonic pulls out, Sharp and its Taiwanese parent firm Hon Hai will be the only producer in Japan.

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US Court Says No Warrant Needed For Cellphone Location Data
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 02:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's what-happens-to-your-data department:
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: Police do not need a warrant to obtain a person's cellphone location data held by wireless carriers, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday, dealing a setback to privacy advocates. The full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, voted 12-3 that the government can get the information under a decades-old legal theory that it had already been disclosed to a third party, in this case a telephone company. The ruling overturns a divided 2015 opinion from the court's three-judge panel and reduces the likelihood that the Supreme Court would consider the issue. The decision arose from several armed robberies in Baltimore and Baltimore County, Maryland, in early 2011, leading to the convictions of Aaron Graham and Eric Jordan. The convictions were based in part on 221 days of cellphone data investigators obtained from wireless provider Sprint, which included about 29,000 location records for the defendants, according to the appeals court opinion.

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Samsung Starts Mass Producing New 512GB NVMe SSD That's Smaller Than a Stamp
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 02:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's industry's-first department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Samsung announced late Monday night that it has begun mass producing a new SSD that is tinier than a postage stamp. PCWorld reports: "The PM971-NVMe fits up to 512GB of NAND flash, a controller, and RAM into a single BGA chip measuring 20mm x 16mm x 1.5mm and weighing just one gram, the company said. Samsung says the PM971-NVMe will hit 1.5GBps read speeds and 800MBps write speeds. The PM971-NVMe is built using 20nm NAND chips and includes 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM as a cache. The NAND is triple-level cell but uses a portion as a write butter. The drive will come in 512GB, 256GB and 128GB capacities." While on the topic of hardware, Intel unveiled its Broadwell-E family, which consists of an "Extreme Edition" Core i7 chipset that has 10 cores and 20 threads.

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Nearly 1 In 4 People Abandon Mobile Apps After Only One Use
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 01:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's diminishing-returns department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: According to a new study on mobile app usage, nearly one in four mobile users only use an app once. TechCrunch reports: "Based on data from analytics firm Localytics, and its user base of 37,000 applications, user retention has seen a slight increase year-over-year from 34 percent in 2015 to 38 percent in 2016. However, just because this figure has recovered a bit, that doesn't mean the numbers are good. Instead, what this indicates is that 62 percent of users will use an app less than 11 times. These days, 23 percent launch an app only once -- an improvement over last year, but only slightly. For comparison's sake, only 20 percent of users were abandoning apps in 2014. On iOS, user retention saw some slight improvements. The percentage of those only opening apps once fell to 24 percent from 26 percent last year, and those who return to apps 11 times or more grew to 36 percent from 32 percent in 2015. In particular, apps in the middle stage of their growth (between 15,000 and 50,000 monthly active users), saw the strongest lift with retention and abandonment, the report also noted. This is attributed to these apps' use of push notifications, in-app messages, email, and remarking. While push notifications have always been cited as a way to retain users, in-app messages also have a notable impact -- these messages improve users retention to 46 percent, the study found. 17 percent will only use app once if they see an in-app message, but those not using messages see 26 percent of users abandoning the app after one session.

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PayPal To Suspend Business Operations In Turkey Following License Denial
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 01:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shown-the-door department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: PayPal has announced the suspension of its business operations in Turkey as of June 6, citing failure to obtain a new license for its service in the country. Turkey has made recent efforts to promote its own domestic tech sector, advancing censorship laws and other regulation to push large international companies out of the market. PayPal, as the latest victim on this trail, posted a statement on its local Turkish website today: "PayPal's priority has always been its customers. However, a local financial regulator has denied our Turkish payments license and we have had to regretfully comply with its instruction to discontinue our activities in Turkey." The denial of PayPal's license, by local financial regulator BDDK, comes following the introduction of new national rules in Turkey which require IT systems to be based within the country itself. PayPal runs its global business from a large portfolio of IT centers around the world. Turkey isn't the only country tightening its grip on the Internet. The Iranian government has given companies behind popular messaging apps one year to move their data onto servers in Iran.

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Instagram Announces New Business Tools: Contact Option, Deeper Analytics
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 11:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's doin'-business department:
Instagram on Tuesday announced it is adding more features for the business users. The platform, which has over 200,000 advertisers, is debuting three new features including business profiles. Businesses will also get a "contact" button on their profiles which they can use to interact with the customers via call, text, or email. Instagram is also giving businesses access to deeper analytics -- even if the post isn't an advertisement.

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Ask Slashdot: Would You Recommend Updating To Windows 10?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 11:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's thoughts-on-Windows-10 department:
Plenty of users are skeptical about upgrading to Windows 10. While they understand that Microsoft's newest desktop operating system comes with a range of interesting features, they are paranoid about the repeated update fiascos that have spoiled the experience for many users. Reader Quantus347 writes: Whenever I think of Windows 10 these days I, like so many others out there, immediately feel a swell of rage over the heavy-handed way the "upgrade" has been forced on me and so many others. I had to downgrade one of my computers that installed windows 10 over a weekend I was away, and as a result, I have been fending off the update ever since. I find myself wondering if Windows 10 is actually that bad. With the end of the "free" upgrade period quickly coming to an end, my fiscally conservative side is starting to overwhelm my fear and distrust of all things new, and I'm wondering if it's time to take the leap. I've been burned too many times for being an early adopter of something that proved to be an underdeveloped product, but Windows 10 has been around for long enough that I'm wondering if it might have it's kinks worked out. So I ask you, Slashdot, what are your experiences with Windows 10 itself, aside from the auto-upgrade nonsense? How does it measure up to its predecessors, and is it a worthwhile OS in its own right?

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Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube and Others Agree To Remove Hate Speech Across the EU
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 10:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's hate-speech-code department:
Tech giants in conjunction with European Union are taking a stand to fight hate speech. Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Facebook have launched "code of conduct" aimed at fighting racism and xenophobia across Europe. The companies aren't legally obligated, but have agreed to "public commitments" to review the "majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech" in less than 24 hours, and make it easier for law enforcement in Europe to notify the firms directly. From a TechCrunch report: Tech companies will have to find the right balance between freedom of expression and hateful content. Based on the code of conduct, they'll have dedicated teams reviewing flagged items (poor employees who will have to review awful things every day). Tech companies will also educate their users and tell them that it's forbidden to post hateful content. They'll cooperate with each other to share best practice. They'll encourage flagging of hateful content and they'll promote counter speech against hateful rhetoric. It's good to see that this issue got escalated and the European Commission was able to come up with a code of conduct quite quickly. Instead of making tech companies deal with every single European country, they can agree on rules for the EU as a whole."The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech," Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, wrote in the European Commission press release. "Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racist use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected."

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