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Citigroup Sues AT&T For Saying 'Thanks' To Customers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 07:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's some-words-shouldn't-be-trademarked department:
An anonymous reader writes: Citigroup has a trademark on "THANKYOU" and is currently using it to sue ATT for using "Thanks." Ars Technica reports: "Who knew? Banking giant Citigroup has trademarked 'THANKYOU' and is now suing technology giant ATT for how it says thanks to its own loyal customers. This is 'unlawful conduct' amounting to wanton trademark infringement, Citigroup claims in its federal lawsuit." Citigroup doesn't appear to be gracious in its branding: Despite actual knowledge of Citigroup's substantial use of and exclusive rights in the THANKYOU Marks, Citigroup's use of the marks in connection with ATT co-branded credit cards, and Citigroup's concerns regarding ATT's proposed trademarks, ATT launched a customer loyalty program under the trademarks "thanks" and "ATT thanks" on or about June 2, 2016. ATT's use of the "thanks" and "ATT thanks" trademarks is likely to cause consumer confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition in violation of Citigroup's rights. Citigroup therefore seeks to enjoin ATT's infringing conduct and to recover damages based on the injury ATT's conduct has caused to Citigroup as well as ATT's unjust enrichment. In April, ATT applied to trademark "ATT THANKS." Citigroup wants that trademark to be rejected because it thinks that proposed trademark is "confusingly similar to Citigroup's "THANKYOU Marks," according to its lawsuit.

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Microsoft Open-Sources 'Checked C,' A Safer C Version
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 05:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's dot-your-I's-and-cross-your-T's department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: Microsoft has open-sourced Checked C, an extension to the C programming language that brings new features to address a series of security-related issues. As its name hints, Checked C will add checking to C, and more specifically pointer bounds checking. The company hopes to curb the high-number of security bugs such as buffer overruns, out-of-bounds memory accesses, and incorrect type casts, all which would be easier to catch in Checked C. Despite tangible benefits to security, the problem of porting code to Checked C still exists, just like it did when C# or Rust came out, both C alternatives.

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Rolls-Royce Unveils First Driverless Car Complete With Silk 'Throne'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 05:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's save-your-pennies department:
An anonymous reader writes: Rolls-Royce has unveiled its first driverless vehicle dubbed The Vision Next 100. It is an autonomous vehicle aimed at "the most discerning and powerful patrons in the world." There's no steering wheel but there is a silk "throne" where passengers can sit and stare out the window. Rolls-Royce said the zero-emission model, codenamed 103EX, showed the company "rejects the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility." The owner will be "encircled by the most modern handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood panelling" as they gaze at a "generous" high-definition television display. In addition to the "finest one-off deep-pile ivory wool carpet," the vehicle features a virtual assistant named Eleanor, inspired after the actor Eleanor Thornton. It will be able to remind users about meetings; it will even bring the car around to the front of the owner's house at the start of a journey. "As the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 gracefully comes to a halt, something magnificent occurs," the company said. The glass roof rises to allow the occupant to stand, while a step emerges from below the running board and a red light is projected, "carpet-like" to announce their arrival. Rolls-Royce did not say how the vehicle would be powered or how much it costs, but it did say it's due to hit the streets in the 2040s. You can watch a 360-degree video of the 103EX the company posted on YouTube.

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Twitter, Facebook and Google Sued For Facilitating Paris Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 04:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's flagged-for-offensive-content department:
An anonymous reader writes: Reynaldo Gonzalez is suing Twitter, Facebook and Google for facilitating the spread of "extremist propaganda" after alleging the three companies "knowingly permitted" ISIS to recruit, raise money and spread its message across each of the respective platforms. His daughter, Nohemi, was among the 130 killed when religious extremists attacked Paris last year. In the court documents, Gonzalez goes on to say that religious extremists would not have the infrastructure to get their message to the masses without the three companies and their social networks. While each company does have moderators that review content, The Next Web notes that it's a statistical impossibility to maintain that any company of such a size can review, or even find, all instances of offensive content. Google is also being faced with a lawsuit from the Space Data Corporation of Chandler, Arizona, which claims the tech giant stole the idea behind its Wi-Fi-emitting balloon network, Project Loon.

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Now Advertisers Are Watching Your Emojis On Twitter
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 04:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's ads,-ads-everywhere department:
Tweet a pizza emoji, and expect to see promoted tweets from Domino's and Pizza Hut on your feed. Twitter has announced that it would now let advertisers target users based on the emojis they post on the microblogging platform. Gizmodo reports: The social network, which hasn't made a profit despite a decade of trying, is trying to compete in a world where everyone is thirsty for those big advertising dollars. Just this week, Facebook said it would start using location services to track which stores you go into, something Google has been doing for years. Snapchat's thinking the same thing with new features that allow full-screen video ads between friends' stories.

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Google Accused of Stealing Balloon Network Tech Behind Project Loon
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 02:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's stolen-trade-secrets department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google's parent company Alphabet has found itself faced with a lawsuit, which claims that the tech giant stole the idea behind its Wi-Fi-emitting balloon network, Project Loon. The Space Data Corporation of Chandler, Arizona, filed the suit and is arguing that it currently holds patents for a balloon-based system which carries broadband antennae to create a wireless network to deliver data services to U.S. armed forces and across remote areas of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The organization is seeking damages for two counts of patent infringement, as well as two counts of misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of written contract. Space Data says in their complaint that they had med with as many as 10 Google representatives, including Larry Page and Sergey Brin, in 2007 and 2008 to discuss potential partnerships. They say Google did not agree with the collaboration, and chose to steal trade secrets and start developing their own balloon network in 2011 instead. "Project Loon improperly and unlawfully utilizes Space Data's confidential information and trade secrets which Space Delta disclosed to Defendant Google pursuant to a 2007 Mutual Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement," the complain states.

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GitHub Presses Big Red Password Reset Button After Third-Party Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 02:52 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
John Leyden, writing for The Register: GitHub has reset the passwords of users targeted in an attack this week that relied on using stolen credentials from a breach at a third-party site. The software repository itself has not suffered a breach. Hackers behind the assault were trying to break into the accounts of users who had inadvisedly used the same login credentials on an unnamed site that had suffered a breach, as a statement by GitHub explains. GitHub said it had reset the passwords on all affected accounts before beginning the process of notifying those affected. "We encourage all users to practise good password hygiene and enable two-factor authentication to protect your account," GitHub sensibly advised.

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CO2 Levels Likely To Stay Above 400PPM For The Rest of Our Lives, Study Shows
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 01:33 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rest-of-our-lives department:
An anonymous reader writes: A new study from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere are likely to remain above 400 parts per million (ppm) for many years. Specifically, scientists forecasted that levels would not dip below 400pm in "our lifetimes." The CO2 concentrations of "about 450ppm or lower are likely to maintain warming below 2 degrees Celsius over the 21st century relative to pre-industrial levels." However, lead author on the paper Richard Betts said we could pass that number in 20 years or less. In an article on The Guardian, he said even if we reduce emissions immediately, we might be able to delay reaching 450ppm but "it is still looking like a challenge to stay below 450ppm." El Nino has played a significant role in climbing carbon dioxide levels, but it's likely we'll see higher CO2 levels than the last large El Nino storm during 1997 and 1998 because "manmade emissions" have risen by 25 percent since that storm, according to The Guardian. Met Office experts predicted in November 2015 that in May 2016 "mean concentrations of atmospheric CO2" would hit 407.57ppm -- the actual figure was 407.7ppm. The NOAA reported during 2015 that the "annual growth rate" of CO2 in the atmosphere rose by 3.05ppm. NOAA lead scientist Pieter Tans said, "Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years. It's explosive compared to the natural processes."

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Microsoft is Working On Software For The Legal Marijuana Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 01:33 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's under-the-radar department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Verge: Microsoft has announced today that it will partner with Los Angeles-based startup Kind on a system for tracking the legal growing and sale of marijuana. Microsoft will work with the startup on software services for governments tracking legal weed, with Microsoft powering the software through its Azure cloud computing service. "The goal of this relationship is to leverage each company's resources to provide State, County, and Municipalities with purpose built solutions for track and trace ('seed to sale' in the cannabis industry) technology," Kind said in a statement. As reported in The New York Times, this is a pretty significant venture for a corporation publicly journeying into the controversial industry. Growing and selling marijuana is still illegal under the federal government.

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Cable Companies Pledge Industry-Wide Commitment But Want Control Over UI
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 12:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's meet-in-the-middle department:
The FCC proposed rules to force pay-TV providers to make video programming -- and the right to record video -- available to the makers of third-party apps and devices. Under this model, third-party app and equipment makers would be able to create their own interfaces through which cable TV subscribers could access their programming. On Thursday, cable companies noted that they still cannot fully comply with FCC's attempt to open up the set-top box market, but have resigned themselves to accepting some form of regulation. From an Ars Technica report: Cable companies still aren't giving up on the apps approach, but now they say they would agree to rules that make it mandatory for large operators to build apps providing access to all the video customers subscribe to on a wide range of devices. Pay-TV companies with at least 1 million subscribers would have to follow the mandate. Industry representatives told the FCC that they are open to the commission "enforcing an industry-wide commitment to develop and deploy video 'apps' that all large MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] would build to open HTML5 Web standards," they said in an ex parte filing released today. The filing describes meetings with FCC officials involving the cable industry's top lobbyist, National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) CEO Michael Powell, representatives of Comcast and AT&T/DirecTV, and reps from cable networks Vme TV, Revolt TV, and TV One.

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Volkswagen Bets Big On Electric Cars, Plans 30 Models By 2025
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 12:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's electric-cars-are-the-future department:
An anonymous reader writes: German automaker Volkswagen plans to deliver 30 electric plug-in models by 2025. The new plan comes in the wake of a devastating emissions scandal that cast doubt on the future of its once-beloved diesel cars. It also exposes the immense challenges that the company will face internally. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller suggested that Volkswagen Group, whose brands include Audi and Porsche, will "significantly" reduce the number of models it makes and will slash almost $9 billion in spending annually to bolster the bottom line.

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The Average Cost of a Data Breach Is Now $4 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 10:55 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-trend department:
Reader Orome1 writes: The average data breach cost has grown to $4 million, representing a 29 percent increase since 2013, according to a report by Ponemon Institute. Cybersecurity incidents continue to grow in both volume and sophistication, with 64 percent more security incidents reported in 2015 than in 2014. As these threats become more complex, the cost to companies continues to rise. In fact, companies lose $158 per compromised record. Breaches in highly regulated industries like healthcare were even more costly, reaching $355 per record -- a full $100 more than in 2013.

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Municipal Fiber Network Will Let Customers Switch ISPs In Seconds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 10:55 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's moving-forward department:
An anonymous reader shares an Ars Technica report: Most cities and towns that build their own broadband networks do so to solve a single problem: that residents and businesses aren't being adequately served by private cable companies and telcos. But there's more than one way to create a network and offer service, and the city of Ammon, Idaho, is deploying a model that's worth examining. Ammon has built an open access network that lets multiple private ISPs offer service to customers over city-owned fiber. The wholesale model in itself isn't unprecedented, but Ammon has also built a system in which residents will be able to sign up for an ISP -- or switch ISPs if they are dissatisfied -- almost instantly, just by visiting a city-operated website and without changing any equipment. Ammon has completed a pilot project involving 12 homes and is getting ready for construction to another 200 homes. Eventually, the city wants to wire up all of its 4,500 homes and apartment buildings, city Technology Director Bruce Patterson told Ars. Ammon has already deployed fiber to businesses in the city, and it did so without raising everybody's taxes.

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38 Community Colleges Launch Entire Degree Programs With Open Educational Resources
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 09:33 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fixing-the-system department:
Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, writing for The Washington Post: A community college reform group has selected a handful of schools in Virginia and Maryland to develop degree programs using open-source materials in place of textbooks, an initiative that could save students as much as $1,300 a year (could be paywalled; alternate source). Such open educational resources -- created using open licenses that let students download or print materials for free -- have gained popularity as the price of print textbooks have skyrocketed, but courses that use the materials remain a novelty in higher education. Achieving the Dream, an education advocacy groups based in Silver Spring, Md., aims to change that by offering $9.8 million in grants to support the development of open-source degree programs at 38 colleges in 13 states.

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Coursera Commits 'Cultural Vandalism' As Old Platform Shuts
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 09:33 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's sad-news department:
Reader mikejuk writes: Coursera has announced that 30 June is the date when it will shut down the servers hosting courses that were the first, free, offerings on its platform. The new model isn't just a revised interface, it is also a new monetization model, and presumably the decision to throw out all the original free content, by shutting the platform, is motivated by greedy commercialism. You could say that the golden age of the MOOC (a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people) is over with the early enthusiastic pioneers doing it because they were passionate about their subject and teaching it being replaced by a bunch of "lets teach a course because it's good for my career and ego" with subjects being selected by what will sell.Closing down the old platform is an unnecessary destruction of irreplaceable content. Coursera needs to rethink this policy that goes against everything it originally stood for. The courses affected are from the early days of the MOOC that are likely to be important in the history of their subject. The most relevant for us, but far from the only one, is Geoffrey Hinton's Neural Networks for Machine Learning which gave a "deep" insight into the way he thinks and how neural networks work. Something has to be done to preserve this important record -- they don't have to turn off the servers just because they have a new platform.Dhawal Shah, founder of Class Central has written about ways one can download Coursera's courses before they're gone.

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Pirate Bay Co-Founder Must Pay Record Labels $395,000
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 08:13 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's payback-time department:
Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde has run into another setback. The Helsinki District Court has ordered him to pay $395,000 to record labels including Sony, Universal, Warner and EMI, after the music of 60 of their artists has been shared illegally through The Pirate Bay. From a TorrentFreak report:Sunde did not appear in Helsinki to defend himself so the Court handed down a default judgment. He is now ordered to pay the full amount plus costs of around $62,000 (55,000 euros) to the local branch of IFPI. He also faces a fine of one million euros if the content continues to be shared via The Pirate Bay but how he is supposed to do anything about that isn't clear. Sunde and Pirate Bay co-founders Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm owe large sums of money to copyright holders following adverse decisions in cases dating back years. None of those judgments have been satisfied and there's no reason to believe this one will be any different.

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Facebook Will Track What Physical Stores You Go Into
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 08:13 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's our-big-brother-Facebook department:
Facebook will soon roll out a feature that will allow advertisers to see which brick and mortar stores you've physically walked into. These details are collected from anyone who has the location services feature turned on, Facebook says. The will allow advertisers to see in real time which Facebook ads are turning into actual sales. Popular Science reports: Using the location services on your phone, Facebook will keep a tally of who goes to what stores, and show the anonymized numbers to advertisers, as evidence that buying ads on Facebook is getting people to visit brick-and-mortar businesses. It's a great thing for Facebook, which will now have excellent data to prove (or disprove) on a user-to-user basis what a store is getting for its advertising dollar. But it's a pretty frightening idea that a company will have information not unlike your credit card statement all from location services data.

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Microsoft Boosts Its Chatbot Future By Acquiring Wand Labs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 06:54 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's thing-Microsoft-buys department:
Harry McCracken, reporting for Fast Company: On Monday, Microsoft made headlines by plunking down $26 billion for LinkedIn. Now it's announcing its second acquisition of the week: For an undisclosed sum, the company has bought Wand Labs, a Silicon Valley-based startup that declares its mission is "to tear down app walls, integrate your services in chat, and make them work together so you can do more with less taps." Founded in 2013, Wand is tiny -- it has just seven employees -- and, though no longer in stealth mode, is hardly a household name. The iOS and Android apps it built haven't yet reached general availability, and now they never will, as their creators put them aside and contribute to the greater Microsoftian effort.Wand Labs' purchase marks Microsoft's 197th acquisition of another company.

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Facebook Is Wrong, Text Is Deathless
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 06:54 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's future-is-here department:
Facebook is seeming shifting its attention to video -- first by allowing people and publishers alike to upload videos on the social network, and then by Facebook Live, with which people are able to broadcast themselves to their friends and followers. Recently, an executive with the company said that Facebook will be probably all video in five years. "The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video," Nicola Mendelsohn, who heads up Facebook's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa said. "It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information." Tim Carmody, a reporter whose work has appeared on Wired, and The Verge among others, makes a strong case for texts, and why it is always going to be here. He writes: Text is surprisingly resilient. It's cheap, it's flexible, it's discreet. Human brains process it absurdly well considering there's nothing really built-in for it. Plenty of people can deal with text better than they can spoken language, whether as a matter of preference or necessity. And it's endlessly computable -- you can search it, code it. You can use text to make it do other things. In short, all of the same technological advances that enable more and more video, audio, and immersive VR entertainment also enable more and more text. We will see more of all of them as the technological bottlenecks open up. And text itself will get weirder, its properties less distinct, as it reflects new assumptions and possibilities borrowed from other tech and media. It already has! Text can be real-time, text can be ephemeral -- text has taken on almost all of the attributes we always used to distinguish speech, but it's still remained text. It's still visual characters registered by the eye standing in for (and shaping its own) language.

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Samsung Buys US Cloud Services Firm Joyent
Posted by News Fetcher on June 16 '16 at 05:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's partly-cloudy-with-a-chance-of-rain department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via VentureBeat: Samsung has announced Thursday that it has acquired Joyent, a company with public cloud infrastructure and private cloud software, to help beef-up its software and services around its smartphone business. While terms of the deal weren't disclosed, Samsung did say Joyent will continue to operate as a standalone company. "Until now, we lacked one thing. We lacked the scale required to compete effectively in the large, rapidly growing and fiercely competitive cloud computing market. Now, that changes," Joyent chief executive Scott Hammond wrote in a blog post. With Samsung's brand name and money to invest, Joyent may become more popular and challenge some of the top cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform. Joyent was the original steward of server-side JavaScript framework Node.js and helped to establish the Node.js Foundation in 2015.

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