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Gawker Founder Nick Denton Files For Bankruptcy
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 02:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pay-the-piper department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from New York Daily News: Gawker's founder Nick Denton filed for personal bankruptcy Monday after a Florida appeals court refused to give him an emergency order that would block wrestler Hulk Hogan from collecting on a $140 million jury verdict. The District Court of Appeal in Lakeland, Fla., denied a request by Gawker and Denton to stay a ruling by lower court judge Pamela Campbell -- who said Hogan could start collecting on his award immediately. But declaring bankruptcy will give Denton protection from collectors including Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea. In the filing, Denton says he has assets of $10 to $50 million and liabilities of $100 to $500 million. His debts includes $125 million that he owes to Hogan, an $11.5 million loan that he took out on June 10 from Silicon Valley Bank, a $50,000 loan he took from his 401(k) at Gawker and his Time Warner Cable bill for $120.88. The jury's March verdict was the result of Gawker's decision to publish a tape on the internet of Hogan having sex with a friend's wife. The former WWF star said it was an invasion of his privacy. Gawker filed for bankruptcy shortly after the jury's verdict, but Denton resisted, asking the bankruptcy court to protect him as part of the process. The federal court refused. Now that the Florida courts have opened the door for Hogan to start collecting from Denton, he is expected to follow Gawker into federal bankruptcy court in lower Manhattan.

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Washington State Sues Comcast For $100M Over 'Pattern of Deceptive Practices'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 12:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's illegal-deception department:
An anonymous reader writes: Washington State has filed a lawsuit against Comcast to the sum of $100 million, accusing Comcast of "engaging in a pattern of deceptive practices." It claims that Comcast's documents reveal a pattern of illegally deceiving its own customers for profit. KOMO News reports: "The lawsuit (PDF) alleges more than 1.8 million individual violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act. The Attorney General's Office says 500,000 Washington consumers were affected. The lawsuit also accuses Comcast of violating the Consumer Protection Act to all of its nearly 1.2 million Washington subscribers due to its deceptive 'Comcast Guarantee,' Ferguson said. The lawsuit accuses Comcast of misleading 500,000 Washington consumers and deceiving them into paying at least $73 million in subscription fees over the last five years for what the attorney general says is a a near-worthless protection plan. Customers who sign up for Comcast's Service Protection Plan pay a $4.99 monthly fee to avoid being charged if a Comcast technician visits their home. But the plan did not cover wiring inside a wall, the lawsuit says. The Attorney General Office says 75 percent of the time, customers who contacted Comcast were told the plan covered inside wiring. Customer service scripts, which the Attorney General's Office said it obtained during its investigation, told Comcast representatives to say that the plan covers calls 'related to inside wiring' and 'wiring inside your home.'" According to KOMO News, the lawsuit is seeking more than $73 million in restitution to pay back Service Protection Plan subscriber payments; full restitution for all service calls that applied an improper resolution code, estimated to be at least $1 million; removal of improper credit checks from the credit reports of more than 6,000 customers; up to $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act; and that Comcast clearly disclose the limitations of its Service Protection Plan in advertising and through its representatives, correct improper service codes that should not be chargeable and implement a compliance procedure for improper customer credit checks.

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FCC Requires TP-Link To Support Open Source Router Firmware
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's fixing-mistakes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Earlier today, the FCC reached a settlement with TP-Link over Wi-Fi router interference. Most of the agreement was routine, addressing compliance with radio emission rules. But the FCC also did something unprecedented. It required TP-Link to support open source firmware on its routers. You might recall that, last year, the FCC caused a ruckus when it mistakenly suggested it was banning open source router firmware. In fact, the FCC only required that router vendors implement protections for specific radio emission parameters. But the FCC didn't work with router vendors in advance to maintain open source compatibility, resulting in certain vendors (including TP-Link) trying to lock down their routers. The FCC eventually issued a clarification, but the damage was done. Only recently have a couple router vendors (Linksys and Asus) affirmed that they will continue to support open source firmware. Today's settlement is a milestone for the FCC. The agency is finally doing something, with deeds and not just words, to demonstrate its support for the open source community. It would be better if the agency hadn't created this mess, but they deserve serious credit for working so hard to fix it.

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Google Says 97% Of Connections To YouTube Are Now Encrypted
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 11:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's to-a-more-secure-world department:
Google said Monday that HTTPS now accounts for 97% of all connections to YouTube. In a blog post, the video portal made the announcement, also underscoring the challenges it faced making the site more secure. TechCrunch reports:Given its massive scale, YouTube obviously presents some extra challenges for Google. But the company argues that its Global Cache content delivery network is able to handle encrypted connections relatively easily, in large parts because hardware acceleration for AES, the algorithm at the core of the HTTPS protocol, is now ubiquitous. Google also argues that using HTTPS connections has improved the user experience on YouTube. "You watch YouTube videos on everything from flip phones to smart TVs," the team writes today. "We A/B tested HTTPS on every device to ensure that users would not be negatively impacted. We found that HTTPS improved quality of experience on most clients: by ensuring content integrity, we virtually eliminated many types of streaming errors."

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New York Governor Bars Sex Offenders From Playing Pokemon Go
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 11:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's taking-precaution department:
Adi Robertson, reporting for The Verge: At the direction of Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York's correctional department has made playing online games a violation of parole for sex offenders -- particularly Pokemon Go. In a statement, Cuomo said that people on the sex offender registry are now banned from "downloading, accessing, or otherwise engaging in any internet enabled gaming activities, including Pokemon Go." He also published a letter that he sent to game developer Niantic, asking for its cooperation in preventing registrants from signing up. The decision is based on a report from two New York state senators, released last week. Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino visited the locations of 100 registered sex offenders in New York City and found 57 pokemon and 59 pokestops and gyms within half a city block. They were particularly worried about the "lures" that draw pokemon -- and thus players, including children -- to a location. While criminals have used pokestops and lures to attract and rob players, there are no known cases of sexual predators using them so far. Nonetheless, Klein and Savino have crafted bills that would ban sex offenders from playing the game and require Niantic to remove any Pokemon Go-related items or locations from near their homes.

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Reported Top Nigerian Email Scammer Arrested
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 10:08 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's one-less-thing-to-worry-about department:
Reader retroworks writes: Interpol reports that a Nigerian behind thousands of online scams around the world has been arrested in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt. The 40-year-old man, known only as "Mike" is alleged to head a network of 40 individuals behind global scams worth more than $60 million. His operations involved using malware to take over systems to compromise emails, as well as romance scams. Nigeria's anti-fraud agency was also involved in the arrest. "In one case, a target was conned into paying out $15.4 million," Interpol said in a statement. "Mike" also allegedly ran a money laundering network in China, Europe and the US. The network compromised email accounts of small to medium-sized businesses around the world. They would then send fake messages to buyers with instructions to make a payment to a bank account under their control.

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Charter: City Giving Google Fiber Unfair Edge
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 10:08 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's who-is-at-fault department:
An anonymous reader writes: Louisville's largest cable and internet provider says the city is giving Google Fiber an unfair advantage, and it wants Mayor Greg Fischer to step in and ease key regulations in the coming weeks. In a July 28 letter, Charter Communications told Fischer the city's separate franchise agreements allow Google to operate under less burdensome rules despite the two companies offering local customers similar services. "There is no justification for different regulatory treatment," said Jason Keller, Charter's government liaison. The letter was addressed to Fischer, the 26-member Metro Council and more than five dozen other mayors representing smaller suburban cities. Charter representatives claim unlike Google, it is obligated to pay money to the city above and beyond the millions in tax proceeds Louisville receives; to provide free internet and cable television to dozens of city-owned buildings; and provide costly government channels, as well as a studio for public access channels. Kellie Watson, Fischer's general counsel, said in a statement that Charter "raised some interesting issues and ideas" but that the administration will need to consult with the county attorney's office given the franchise agreement involves federal regulations.

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PS Vita Jailbreak Finally Lets One Run Emulators and Homebrew Software
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 08:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's jailbreaking-ftw department:
Finally, someone has managed to hack PS Vita, allowing people to install emulators and homebrew software on the handheld gaming console. The jailbreak dubbed HENkaku works on the latest 3.60 Vita firmware. From an article on Geek.com: The exploit allowing full access to the Vita hardware has been created by Team Molecule and named HENkaku. The code injected into the handheld when visiting the website unlocks the hardware and removes the file system from its protective sandbox. It's then possible to access it and the Vita memory card using FTP. The super simple unlock opens up the Vita to homebrew developers who want to create their own games for the system without going through official channels. But it also allows full access to the hardware meaning the ability to overclock the processor, and for PlayStation TV owners it also means all games are whitelisted. That's great news as there are many blocked games known to work perfectly fine on the PSTV.

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Amazon Patents Noise-Canceling Headphones That Could Automatically Turn Off When It Detects Certain Sound Patterns
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 08:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's interesting-stuff department:
An anonymous reader shares a report via The Next Web: Noise-canceling headphones are great for tuning out the din around you when you just want to focus on listening to music or enjoy some peace and quiet. Unfortunately, they also mute sounds that you might need to hear -- like someone calling your name. Amazon has a pretty cool idea for solving that problem. It was recently granted a patent for headphones that not only cancel out noise, but also listen to specific sounds or phrases (like 'Hey Ben') and respond by automatically turning off the feature so the user can hear sound from their surroundings. That should make it safer for use in noisy environments where you might actually need to pay attention to the occasional alert, such as a construction site or an industrial facility. In addition, the headphones can also listen for phrases to turn noise canceling back on again, so the user can resume their listening experience hands-free.

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Microsoft's SwiftKey Suspends Sync After Keyboard Leaks Strangers' Contact Details
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 07:29 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-blues department:
Swiftkey has suspended its cloud-sync service and switched off email address predictions amid reports of Microsoft-owned keyboard app delivering suggestions for strangers' email addresses and phone numbers. ZDNet reports: The move followed reports a week ago that the app was offering up email addresses to people they've never met. According to The Telegraph, one user claimed to have been contacted by a stranger and told that their brand-new phone had suggested two of the user's email addresses, as well as contact phone numbers. Reports of the bug also cite some users receiving predictions in languages they'd never used previously. "I logged into SwiftKey with Google+ and now, I'm getting someone else's German predictions with only English (UK) pack installed. I have never typed German in my entire life," one Reddit user reported last week. SwiftKey on Friday suggested the leaked contact details are due to a glitch in this sync service, which normally backs up what the app learns about a user to SwiftKey servers and then syncs that data to the user's other devices.Microsoft acquired SwiftKey app earlier this year for an estimated sum of $250 million.

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Tesla Is Buying SolarCity for $2.6 Billion
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 07:29 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's big-business-day department:
Tesla Motors announced Monday that it has reached a deal to buy SolarCity (San Mateo-based provider of energy services), the next step in Elon Musk's plan to combine his electric-car and solar-energy companies. It's already a family affair: Musk, Tesla's chief executive, owns about 21% of SolarCity and serves as chairman. His cousins Lyndon R. Rive and Peter J. Rive are SolarCity's chief executive and chief technology officer, respectively. The independent members of both companies' boards approved the $2.6-billion all-stock deal, Tesla said. Tesla said it expects to have cost synergies of $150 million in the first year after the deal closes. Tesla said it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter, although the proposal must still be approved by a majority of the disinterested shareholders of Tesla and SolarCity and requires regulatory approval. It also contains a "go shop" provision that gives SolarCity 45 days to "solicit, discuss or negotiate alternative proposals from third parties."

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Uber and Didi Call a Truce In China With a $35 Billion Deal
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 07:29 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's big-shark-small-shark department:
Kara Swisher, reporting for Recode: Uber, which has been spending hugely in China over the last two years, has folded, striking a deal in which it will merge its Chinese operations with its main rival there, Didi Chuxing. Under terms of the deal, Uber China, the ride-hailing company's Chinese subsidiary, will be part of a larger Didi company valued at $35 billion. Uber gets a 20 percent stake in that -- Didi's previous valuation was $28 billion. That's a $7 billion value for upward of $2 billion that Uber has frittered away, um, spent there. In turn, Didi will invest in Uber at a valuation of almost $70 billion. That was about the value of Uber's last round. Now, everyone owns everyone everywhere.

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Can Blocking Blue Light Help Bipolar Disorder As Well as Sleep Issues?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 04:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's another-manic-Monday department:
A new experiment suggests sleeping with amber-tinted glasses can reduce the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder within three days. Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes a report from Science Alert:
The benefits of amber-tinted glasses are that they block blue light -- a major component of sunlight and the light beamed at us from our computer and phone screens. In the mornings, it's this blue light that helps reset our body clock each day. But a growing body of evidence is linking too much blue-light exposure in the evenings to problems including insomnia, obesity, depression, and other mental illnesses.
I wonder how many Slashdot readers are already trying to improve their sleep patterns by avoiding exposure to blue light?

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Britain's Scientists Are 'Freaking Out' Over Brexit
Posted by News Fetcher on August 01 '16 at 12:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's brexing-out department:
"To use a nonscientific term, the scientists in the country are freaking out," reports the Washington Post. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes their report:

The researchers worry that Britain will not replace funding it loses when it leaves the E.U., which has supplied about $1.2 billion a year to support British science, approximately 10 percent of the total spent by government-funded research councils. There is a whiff of panic in the labs.

Worse than a possible dip in funding is the research community's fear that collaborators abroad will slink away and the country's universities will find themselves isolated. British research today is networked, expensive, competitive and global. Being part of a pan-European consortium has helped put Britain in the top handful of countries, based on the frequency of citations of its scientific papers... Anecdotal evidence suggests that headhunters may already be circling.

Meanwhile, NPR reports that Britain's vote to leave the EU "has depressed the value of the British pound," prompting many Britons to vacation at home rather than abroad -- while "Americans will find their dollars go further in Britain these days." And an anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from CNBC that Ford "is considering closing plants in the UK and across Europe in response to Britain's vote to leave the EU, as it forecast a $1 billion hit to its business over the next two years."

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All Windows 10 Kernel Mode Drivers Must Be Digitally Signed By Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 08:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's serious-certification department:
"Last year, we announced that beginning with the release of Windows 10, all new Windows 10 kernel mode drivers must be submitted to the Windows Hardware Developer Center Dashboard portal to be digitally signed by Microsoft," reads a MSDN blog post. "However, due to technical and ecosystem readiness issues, this was not enforced by Windows Code Integrity and remained only a policy statement. Starting with new installations of Windows 10, version 1607, the previously defined driver signing rules will be enforced by the Operating System, and Windows 10, version 1607 will not load any new kernel mode drivers which are not signed by the Dev Portal."

Slashdot reader mikejuk quotes a report from i-programmer.info which argues "the control of what software users can run on their machines is becoming ever tighter," and compares Microsoft's proposal to an XKCD cartoon:

Before you start to panic about backward compatibility with existing drivers the lockdown is only going to be enforced on new installations of Windows 10. If you simply upgrade an existing system then the OS will take over the drivers that are already installed... Only new installations, i.e. installing all drivers from scratch, will enforce the new rules from Windows 10 version 1607... Be warned, if you need to do a fresh install of Windows 10 in the future you might find that your existing drivers are rejected.

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Chased Off of YouTube, Leaked 'No Man's Sky' Footage Runs to Pornhub
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 06:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's gaming-the-system department:
An anonymous reader quotes Vice:I always feel a little dirty when I look at leaked footage of any kind, but rarely so much as when I brought up Pornhub yesterday to check out a video featuring the hyped space exploration game No Man's Sky... I had to go to Pornhub, as this corner of the web was the only place I'd been able to find the footage after it'd been yanked off of DailyMotion, YouTube, and almost every other video hosting site...

The PornHub video shows 21 minutes of footage with awful resolution, and none of it's particularly exciting to watch (which may say something about the game)...

On July 7, when the game was ready to ship, No Man's Sky creator Sean Murray posted on Twitter "I'm so incredibly proud of this tiny team. 4 years of emotions," then addressed the leaked footage on Friday, tweeting "We've spent years filling No Man's Sky with surprises. You've spent years waiting. Please don't spoil it for yourself..." A later Twitter post added "Take a break from reading about it, and picking vids apart. You can experience for yourself so soon."

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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Keep Your Credit Card Secure?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 04:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's chip-vs-RFID department:
It's easy to pontificate about the best security practices -- but the real test is what we do with our own money. Long-time Slashdot reader Keybounce writes:

So, like most of you, I recently got a new credit card with a chip in it. I was not worried about that -- I know the chips are harder to copy and counterfeit. But I recently discovered that the card is also a radio card -- swiping it near the screen caused an message to show up on the reader. In this case, it told me to use the chip reader instead, but this means it has an active radio signal, and could be "hacked" -- stolen by someone with the right device.

How can I prevent this? Is there anything I can do that will disable the radio signal and still leave the chip functioning?
At least 200 million RFID credit cards were in circulation by 2012, even though their signals could be easily intercepted, prompting the introduction of RFID-blocking wallets and sleeves. But what's the alternative? A recent article in Quartz argued that America's transition to chip cards has been an utter disaster (since the banks dispensed with PIN numbers altogether and now validate with only an electronic signature). Is the answer to just use a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Android Pay -- or to always pay with cash?
So leave your own answer in the the comments. How are you keeping your own credit card secure?

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Mozilla To Remove Hello In Firefox 49
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 03:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's goodbye,-Hello department:
Firefox's voice and videoconferencing add-on was described as "the first global communications system built directly into a browser" -- but things change. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: An entry on Mozilla's issue tracker opened on July 17 reveals ongoing efforts from Mozilla engineers to remove the Hello system add-on from default Firefox installations starting with version 49, set for public release on September 13, 2016. Mozilla added Hello to Firefox in version 34, released on December 1, 2014, and from the beginning, it was part of the browser's core code, but was moved in December 2015 into a separate add-on, one that came pre-installed with Firefox, making Hello its first ever system add-on. Mozilla plans to remove Hello from the codebases of Firefox Beta 49, Firefox Developer Edition 50, and Firefox Nightly 51. Based on the currently available information, the deadline for the Hello code removal operations is for this Monday, August 1, after which the first Firefox builds with no Hello integration will be available for testing, and will ship out in the fall with the stable release.

The article suggests this may have been a space-saving measure, "since Mozilla is focused on rebuilding Firefox's code from scratch to keep up with speedier competitors like Chrome, Opera, and Vivaldi."

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C Isn't The Most Popular Programming Language, JavaScript Is
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's rewriting-the-rankings department:
An anonymous reader quotes Network World:
U.K.-based technology analyst firm RedMonk just released the latest version of its biannual rankings of programming languages, and once again JavaScript tops the list, followed by Java and PHP. Those are same three languages that topped RedMonk's list in January. In fact, the entire top 10 remains the same as it was it was six months ago...

Python ranked #4 on RedMonk's list, while the survey found a three-way tie for fifth place between Ruby, C#, and C++, with C coming in at #9 (ranking just below CSS). Network World argues that while change comes slowly, "if you go back deeper into RedMonk's rankings, you can see slow, ongoing ascents from languages such as Go, Swift and even TypeScript."

Interestingly, an earlier ranking by the IEEE declared C to be the top programming language of 2016, followed by Java, Python, C++, and R. But RedMonk's methodology involves studying the prevalence of each language on both Stack Overflow and GitHub, a correlation which "we believe to be predictive of future use, hence their value."

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Microsoft Brings ChakraCore to Linux and OS X
Posted by News Fetcher on July 31 '16 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Microsoft-loves-Linux department:
An anonymous reader quotes a columnist at CIO:
A few days ago I wrote about Microsoft's revival of Skype for Linux. I called it "a big deal" -- less because of Skype itself and more because it signified Microsoft's recognition that Linux is a platform worth supporting... Now the company has done it again. At Node Summit this week, Microsoft announced the availability of ChakraCore for Linux. ChakraCore is the core part of the Chakra JavaScript engine that powers Microsoft Edge and Universal Windows Platform. With this move, Microsoft is putting one of its core technologies on a competing platform. This, more than any other Linux-friendly move the company has made, is a clear departure from the Microsoft of Gates and Ballmer that used its technologies to lock users into Windows...
While Ubuntu is the primary Linux distribution that Microsoft is using to showcase its ChakraCore technologies, the company said that the support should easily translate to other modern Linux distributions.

Microsoft's blog post says the experimental implementation runs not only on x64 Linux but also on OS X.

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