By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 2600 department
Slashdot reader blottsie shares a new article about the legendary Captain Crunch -- which includes Steve Wozniak's memory that Steve Jobs "started avoiding Crunch...afraid that it would put us too close to getting arrested." The Daily Dot reports:
Wozniak and Jobs, of course, would go on to found the most successful tech company in the world. But Draper is far from being just an important footnote in Apple's history. He's the original hacking prankster, a purist driven by curiosity and craftsmanship, with a lifetime of exploits that have pushed technological and legal boundaries. And according to Jobs, in a rare 1994 interview, without him there wouldn't have been Apple. Now, for the first time, Draper is looking to publish his story with Beyond the Little Blue Box, an autobiography for which he's about to launch a Kickstarter campaign...
[H]e anonymously called in a national emergency directly to a furious President Richard Nixon on the Oval Office phone line, reporting that the West Coast had run out of toilet paper. He also claims he once bypassed the Iron Curtain to call Moscow in the Soviet Union. There's a playful mischief about him, but he's serious when it comes to his craft, relaying technical, intricate details about the systems he worked to hack... For many tinkering young coders and internet activists, Draper is still considered a folk hero, one whose apolitical infatuation with complex systems and compulsion to expose their limits made him a target -- especially where that curiosity crossed with corporate interests.
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's expensive-grapes department
While Whole Foods "strategically marked down select items like avocados and almond milk, overall prices have dropped very slightly -- about 1 percent -- since Amazon ownership, according to an analysis by research firm Gordon Haskett." An anonymous reader quotes Bustle:
This hardly seems like big savings, and Gordon Haskett noted that since the initial price cuts in August, the cost of some items have been slowly ticking back up. "The price of frozen foods, for example, was 7 percent higher on Sept. 26 than on Aug. 28, when Amazon officially took over," Abha Bhattarai reported for the Post, which is owned by Amazon. "Snack items had risen 5.3 percent in that period, while dairy and yogurt were up 2 percent. (Among categories where prices are lower: Beverages, down about 2.8 percent; bread and bakery, down 6.8 percent; and produce, down 0.5 percent...)"
For shoppers like me who buy mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, it did feel like I was saving money. However, one industry insider said there is a strategy behind how prices are cut. "The whole game is that you want the 100 most recognizable things -- milk, apples, bananas -- to be cheaper," Jan Rogers Kniffen, an industry consultant and former department store executive, told the Post. "If you can do that, you can build a perception that the whole store is competitively priced."
From July through September, Whole Foods brought in $1.3 billion in sales for Amazon.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fitness-from-fermentation department
Long-time Slashdot reader Zorro was the first to spot this story. Scientific American reports:
Could there be a "liver-friendly" vodka? One company claims its proprietary blend of additives reduces stress on the body... The researchers concluded that consuming the alcohol with the additives -- glycyrrhizin, derived from licorice; D-mannitol, a sugar alcohol; and potassium sorbate, a preservative -- may support improved liver health compared with drinking alcohol alone. Marsha Bates, a distinguished research professor and director of the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University, said the study design "seemed appropriate." But, she added, study itself was small, with only 12 healthy men and women, and "doesn't really provide any information of what the long-term effects of consuming alcohol with this additive would be. It's a positive preliminary study but certainly does not provide a firm basis for speculating about long-term impact."
Functional or not, Harsha Chigurupati needs approval from federal regulators before he can tout curative powers on a label... Specifically, Chigurupati is seeking approval to make the claim that his blend, known as NTX for "No Tox," provides "antioxidant and inflammatory support" and "reduces the risk of alcohol-induced liver diseases," among other claims... Chigurupati said his goal is not to enable people to drink more, but to drink with less physical harm.
The claim "leaves some experts deeply skeptical," adds the article, while 33-year-old Chigurupati admits that an earlier formula "tasted terrible and it actually burned my mouth." But his company later developed a formula which he says tasted good and is easier on the liver. "I don't believe in abstinence," Chigurupati told the Wall Street Journal. "What I do believe in is using technology to make life better. I'm not going to stop drinking, so why not make it safer?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's international-space-stations department
schwit1 shares an article from UPI:
India will make its second mission to the moon in 2018, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced this week. The Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft consists of an orbiter, lander and rover configuration "to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface," the ISRO said... Several other countries, including China and Japan, are planning lunar expeditions in the coming years -- partly to better understand the moon's environmental conditions for the potential of human settlements...
According to Popular Mechanics, the ISRO is attempting to make the lunar landing on a budget of $93 million, which is about the same cost of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket that's scheduled for launch by the end of this year. The Falcon rocket, though, is only going into orbit -- and a $93 million price tag for a lunar landing could have impact on other countries' space plans.
India landed a spacecraft on the moon in 2008, and plans to complete this second lunar landing by March.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's come-along-and-share-the-data department
"In open source philosophy, you share source code. Why not share data?" writes Slashdot reader princelobga. Linux Insider reports on the Linux Foundation's new Community Data License Agreement, "a new framework for sharing large sets of data required for research, collaborative learning and other purposes."
CDLAs will allow both individuals and groups to share data sets in the same way they share open source software code, the foundation said. "As systems require data to learn and evolve, no one organization can build, maintain and source all data required," noted Mike Dolan, VP of strategic programs at The Linux Foundation. "Data communities are forming around artificial intelligence and machine learning use cases, autonomous systems, and connected civil infrastructure," he told LinuxInsider. "The CDLA license agreements enable sharing data openly, embodying best practices learned over decades of sharing source code."
A principal analyst at Pund-IT told the site that the new data license "reflects the growing importance of information as a resource for big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's squashing-a-bug department
An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld:
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's printing-APIs department
"MakerBot just announced a new Open Source initiative called 'MakerBot Labs'," writes Slashdot reader szczys. "It is a small move, centering around some new APIs and a new extruder which is listed as experimental and not covered by their normal warranty. Largely they missed the mark on making a meaningful move toward openness, but with a new CEO at the helm as of January this could be the first change of the rudder in a larger effort to turn the ship around."
Makerbot's history is "an example of how you absolutely should not operate an open source company," argues Hackaday, saying it's left them skeptical of Makerbot's latest move:
It reads like a company making a last ditch effort to win back the users they were so sure they didn't need just a few years ago... The wheels of progress turn slowly in any large organization, and perhaps doubly so in one that has gone through so much turmoil in a relatively short amount of time. It could be that it's taken Goshen these last nine months to start crafting a plan to get MakerBot back into the community's good graces.
From MakerBot's press release:
"After setting high industry standards for what makes a quality and reliable 3D printing experience, we're introducing this new, more open platform as a direct response to our advanced users calling for greater freedom with materials and software."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's transparent-attempts department
"Under pressure in advance of hearings on Russian election interference, Facebook is moving to increase transparency for everyone who sees and buys political advertising on its site," reports the Associated Press. Here's the official announcement from Facebook's "VP of ads" :
Starting next month, people will be able to click "View Ads" on a Page and view ads a Page is running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger -- whether or not the person viewing is in the intended target audience for the ad. All Pages will be part of this effort, and we will require that all ads be associated with a Page as part of the ad creation process... We know how important it is to our community that we get this feature just right -- and so we're first rolling it out in only one country. Testing in one market allows us to learn the various ways an entire population uses the feature at a scale that allows us to learn and iterate... We will start this test in Canada and roll it out to the U.S. by this summer, ahead of the U.S. midterm elections in November, as well as broadly to all other countries around the same time... During this initial test, we will only show active ads. However, when we expand to the U.S. we plan to begin building an archive of federal-election related ads so that we can show both current and historical federal-election related ads.
Facebook "will verify political ad buyers in federal elections, requiring them to reveal correct names and locations," adds the Associated Press, noting that the effort is "likely meant to head off bipartisan legislation in the Senate that would require social media companies to keep public files of election ads and try to ensure they are not purchased by foreigners."
In addition, Facebook insists that "For political advertisers that do not proactively disclose themselves, we are building machine learning tools that will help us find them and require them to verify their identity."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's the-new-number-two department
"Jeff Bezos has leapfrogged Bill Gates again for the title of world's richest billionaire..." announced CNN Money. An anonymous reader quotes their report.
Amazon stock jumped 13.5% on Friday after the company turned in another incredible earnings report -- more than a quarter-billion dollars in profit in three months. Bezos owned nearly 80 million shares in Amazon as of August, according to the most recent available data from FactSet. He made more than $10 billion from the one-day stock surge and is now worth well over $90 billion. At the end of trading on Thursday, Gates occupied the top spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $88 billion. Bezos had $83.5 billion, and his big day on Friday was more than enough to close the gap.
In July sales for Amazon's self-created holiday "Prime Day" were actually higher than they were on Black Friday. Amazon's sales for the quarter were $11 billion higher than they were a year ago -- increasing 29% even before an additional $1.3 billion from Whole Foods sales, for total sales over three months of $43.7 billion.
Amazon now also projects that their yearly revenue from AWS will be $2 billion higher.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-life department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Samsung is starting a new "Upcycling" initiative that is designed to turn old smartphones and turn them into something brand new. Behold, for example, this bitcoin mining rig, made out of 40 old Galaxy S5 devices, which runs on a new operating system Samsung has developed for its upcycling initiative. Samsung premiered this rig, and a bunch of other cool uses for old phones, at its recent developer's conference in San Francisco. Upcycling involves repurposing old devices instead of breaking them down for parts of reselling them. The people at Samsung's C-Lab -- an engineering team dedicated to creative projects -- showed off old Galaxy phones and assorted tablets stripped of Android software and repurposed into a variety of different objects. The team hooked 40 old Galaxy S5's together to make a bitcoin mining rig, repurposed an old Galaxy tablet into a ubuntu-powered laptop, used a Galaxy S3 to monitor a fishtank, and programed an old phone with facial recognition software to guard the entrance of a house in the form of an owl. Samsung declined to answer specific questions about the bitcoin mining rig, but an information sheet at the developer's conference noted that eight galaxy S5 devices can mine at a greater power efficiency than a standard desktop computer (not that too many people are mining bitcoin on their desktops these days).Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's eye-on-the-prize department
SpaceX has managed to launch fifteen rockets this year as a result of its more efficient production flow over last year, a maturing Falcon 9 rocket, and an experienced workforce. On Monday, the company will go for its 16th launch of the year, doubling its previous record. It plans to launch its 19th rocket before year's end. Ars Technica reports: This year has seen a number of firsts for the company -- first reflight of a Falcon 9 booster, first reuse of a Dragon cargo spacecraft, first national security payload, and a remarkable dozen landings. But probably the biggest achievement has been finally delivering on the promise of a high flight rate. For years, competitors in the global launch industry have noted, with skepticism, that SpaceX has been unable to achieve higher flight rates and fly out its lengthy manifest. Those concerns appeared to have some merit, especially after SpaceX endured difficult financial years in 2015 and 2016, when the company lost two Falcon 9 rockets (one during launch and the other during a ground test) along with a payload. However, competitors worried, if SpaceX did ever figure things out, the company could become a "steamroller" with its lower cost flight opportunities. On Monday, weather permitting, SpaceX will attempt to launch the Koreasat 5A communications satellite for a South Korean company. The launch window for the Kennedy Space Center-based liftoff opens at 3:34pm ET. After this, it's likely that SpaceX will launch two or three (possibly more) missions in 2017, bringing the company's tally for the year to 19 missions. (That would be one shy of the company's total for 2014, 2015, and 2016 combined).Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's repeal-and-replace department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Research analysts are the most likely employees on Wall Street to find themselves working with -- or being replaced by -- robots, according to a survey by Greenwich Associates. By next year, some 75% of banks and financial firms will either explore or implement artificial intelligence technologies, harnessing a variety of digital services to extract insights from mountains of data. While AI is probably near the peak of its hype cycle, several factors have helped it gain traction in recent years, according to Greenwich. Billions of images and documents are now available online for training computers to spot patterns and other high-level tasks. Advances in graphical processing units, which are adept at the kind of data crunching required by AI, are making sifting through daunting datasets much easier. The cloud has also made it cheaper for researchers and startups to boost their computing power to service sophisticated AI-enabled systems. AI makes sense for financial research, as machines can crunch reams of data more quickly than human analysts and, with the right data, identify obscure correlations and patterns.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's overly-sensitive department
YouTube has rolled out a new algorithm that the company says will more accurately reflect YouTube's guidelines for ad-friendly material and result in fewer videos being flagged as advertiser-friendly. "It will supposedly reduce the number of demonetized listings by 30 percent, so 'millions more videos' will be able to make money off the full range of advertisements," reports The Verge. From the report: A YouTube manager writes that the new algorithm was trained by nearly three months' worth of human reviews, starting after YouTube added a manual appeals process for creators in August. Theoretically, this should narrow the range of false positives -- videos that were incorrectly flagged for promoting drug use, using excessive profanity, highlighting gratuitous violence, or otherwise featuring content that advertisers might find objectionable. It's being applied retroactively, so creators who didn't appeal could still get some old videos remonetized. Google also encourages people to keep appealing potentially incorrect flags, because "this updated system is an improvement, but it's not perfect."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Since 2014, a group of volunteers going by the name Revive Network have been working to keep online game servers running for Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142, and Battlefield Heroes. As of this week, the team is shutting down that effort thanks to a legal request from publisher Electronic Arts. "We will get right to the point: Electronic Arts Inc.' legal team has contacted us and nicely asked us to stop distributing and using their intellectual property," the Revive Network team writes in a note on their site. "As diehard fans of the franchise, we will respect these stipulations."
EA's older Battlefield titles were a victim of the 2014 GameSpy shutdown, which disabled the online infrastructure for plenty of classic PC and console games. To get around that, Revive was distributing modified versions of the older Battlefield titles along with a launcher that allowed access to its own, rewritten server infrastructure. The process started with Battlefield 2 in 2014 and expanded to Battlefield 2142 last year, and Battlefield Heroes a few month ago. It's the distribution of modified copies of these now-defunct games that seems to have drawn the ire of EA's legal department. Revive claimed over 900,000 registered accounts across its games, including nearly 175,000 players for the recently revived Battlefield Heroes.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nickel-and-dime department
We already know the iPhone X is expensive: it starts at $999 for the 64GB variant. But what about the cost of a screen replacement? If you don't have the extended warranty, a screen replacement will cost you $279, which is more than twice the price of an iPhone 6 screen replacement ($129) and about 65 percent higher than a new iPhone 8 screen ($169). MacRumors reports: In the United States, Apple will charge flat rates of $279 for iPhone X screen repairs and $549 for any other damage to the device, unless it is a manufacturing defect covered by Apple's standard one-year limited warranty. The fees vary in other countries, such as Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
-Australia: $419 for screen repairs, $819 for other damage
-Canada: $359 for screen repairs, $709 for other damage
-Germany: 321 Euros for screen repairs, and 611 Euros for other damage
-United Kingdom: 286 British Pounds for screen repairs, 556 British Pounds for other damage
-United States: $279 for screen repairs, $549 for other damage
These prices do not apply to customers who purchase AppleCare+ for the iPhone X, which costs $199 upfront in the United States. AppleCare+ is an optional warranty plan that extends an iPhone's coverage to two years from the original purchase date of the device. The plan adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a lower service fee of $29 for screen repairs, or $99 for any other damage.Read Replies (0)