By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department
At a TED conference, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the social media company needs to rethink how they incentivize user behavior to combat abuse and misinformation. "He suggested that the service works best as an 'interest-based network,' where you log in and see content relevant to your interests, no matter who posted it -- rather than a network where everyone feels like they need to follow a bunch of other accounts, and then grow their follower numbers in turn," reports TechCrunch. From the report: Dorsey recalled that when the team was first building the service, it decided to make follower count "big and bold," which naturally made people focus on it. "Was that the right decision at the time? Probably not," he said. "If I had to start the service again, I would not emphasize the follower count as much ... I don't think I would create 'likes' in the first place." Since he isn't starting from scratch, Dorsey suggested that he's trying to find ways to redesign Twitter to shift the "bias" away from accounts and toward interests.
And while Dorsey said he's less interested in maximizing time spent on Twitter and more in maximizing "what people take away from it and what they want to learn from it," TED's Chris Anderson suggested that Twitter may struggle with that goal since it's a public company, with a business model based on advertising. Would Dorsey really be willing to see time spent on the service decrease, even if that means improving the conversation? "More relevance means less time on the service, and that's perfectly fine," Dorsey said, adding that Twitter can still serve ads against relevant content. In terms of how the company is currently measuring its success, Dorsey said it focuses primarily on daily active users, and secondly on "conversation chains -- we want to incentivize healthy contributions back to the network."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's all-about-jobs department
Volkswagen will use Chinese software developers to help design a global autonomous vehicle architecture thanks to the prevalence of qualified programmers which carmakers are struggling to hire elsewhere, senior executives said on Monday. Reuters reports: As carmakers scramble to develop advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions, carmakers are struggling to find qualified engineers to build the software algorithms needed to teach cars the right reflexes. Volkswagen has 4,000 engineers in China, with an average age of 29, spread over five research and development sites and a rapidly growing number of software engineers. "In a short period from now they will be able to do 15 to 20 million lines of programming code on an annual basis," Volkswagen China's passenger cars chief Stephan Woellenstein said in Shanghai on Monday.
The prevalence of software engineers, combined with the country's willingness to roll out the infrastructure for connected and self-driving cars, will make China one of the first markets in which autonomous cars gain widespread acceptance, VW managers said. As a result, Chinese suppliers will help Volkswagen Group to design a global autonomous vehicle architecture, he said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's gaining-ground department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Electric vehicles, still a small percentage of the total automotive market in the U.S., are beginning to gain ground, according to analysis by IHS Markit. There were 208,000 new registrations for electric vehicles in the U.S. last year, more than double the number filed in 2017, IHS said Monday. That growth in EVs was heavily concentrated in California as well as nine other states that have adopted the Zero Emission Vehicle program. California was the first to launch the ZEV program a state regulation that requires automakers to sell electric cars and trucks there. Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont are also ZEV states.
California accounted for nearly 46 percent, or 95,000, of new EV registrations in 2018, IHS said. California has 59 percent of market share of registered electric vehicles in the U.S. More than 350,000 new EVs will be sold in the US in 2020. Those figures will give EVs a still tiny 2 percent share of the total U.S. fleet. By 2025, that figure is expected to rise to more than1.1 million vehicles sold or a 7 percent share, according to recent IHS Markit. The Tesla's Model 3 is the top selling all-electric in the U.S. so far this year, followed by the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model S and the Nissan Leaf, according to estimates by Inside EVs.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's experiment-in-progress department
Last year, NBA superstar LeBron James opened an experimental school that focuses on teaching a STEM curriculum to students who have a higher probability of failing academically or dropping out of school. The New York Times is now reporting that "the inaugural classes of third and fourth graders at [the I PROMISE School] posted extraordinary results in their first set of district assessments. Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source), outpacing their peers across the district." From the report: The students' scores reflect their performance on the Measures of Academic Progress assessment, a nationally recognized test administered by NWEA, an evaluation association. In reading, where both classes had scored in the lowest, or first, percentile, third graders moved to the ninth percentile, and fourth graders to the 16th. In math, third graders jumped from the lowest percentile to the 18th, while fourth graders moved from the second percentile to the 30th.
The 90 percent of I Promise students who met their goals exceeded the 70 percent of students districtwide, and scored in the 99th growth percentile of the evaluation association's school norms, which the district said showed that students' test scores increased at a higher rate than 99 out of 100 schools nationally. The students have a long way to go to even join the middle of the pack. And time will tell whether the gains are sustainable and how they stack up against rigorous state standardized tests at the end of the year. To some extent, the excitement surrounding the students' progress illustrates a somber reality in urban education, where big hopes hinge on small victories.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cyber-push department
On Tuesday, former Maryland representative and 2020 presidential candidate John Delaney announced a plan to create a Department of Cybersecurity that "would be led by a cabinet-level secretary who would be in charge of implementing the United States' cybersecurity strategy," reports The Verge. "The proposal is the first major cybersecurity push from any presidential candidate so far this cycle." From the report: In a press release, Delaney argued that the U.S.'s cyber authorities are spread too thin across too many agencies. This new agency would work to streamline the country's current approach. "Securing our cyber-infrastructure is not only a national security priority, it is an economic one as well," Delaney said. "In light of the many recent and continued cyberattacks on our country, we need to establish a cabinet-level agency to focus on protecting our cyberspace."
Currently, the cybersecurity responsibility is scattered across a number of agencies, with Homeland Security handling threats to civilian agencies, US Cyber Command dealing with military cyberattacks, the FBI prosecuting federal and international cybercrime, and a string of ISACs coordinating private sector actors alongside government agencies. In the past, the White House has appointed a cybersecurity coordinator, or "czar," to work across those agencies, but President Trump eliminated the position in May 2018, leaving no single person or agency in charge of leading the country's cybersecurity efforts.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's everybody-else-is-doing-it department
According to a report by Brad Sams at Thurrott, Microsoft is going to expand its range of audio hardware with the introduction of a set of wireless earbuds. They will accompany the Surface Headphones, a premium-priced pair of wireless headphones that Microsoft released last year. Ars Technica reports: Microsoft has shipped earbuds before: the Zune media player came with earbuds with a feature that sounds simple but is actually ingenious: the earbuds were magnetic and would stick together back to back. The result? Much less cable tangling when you put them in your pocket or bag. Surface Headphones seem to be competitive with other noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones: their wireless range is great, the noise cancelling is solid, and their volume and noise-cancelling dials are a joy to use, but their battery life and Bluetooth audio standard support are both weak. As such, Microsoft is not totally without experience in this area and has shown that it can engineer thoughtful, compelling designs. How the putative earbuds will stand out from the crowd remains to be seen, of course.
The existing Surface Headphones were codenamed Joplin, raising the question: Janis or Scott? The earbuds make the answer to that question clear; they're apparently codenamed Morrison, as in Jim, meaning that the over-the-ear headphones are clearly named for Janis. Sams says that "Surface Buds" has been mooted as their retail name, with a possible launch in 2019.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-in-India department
Google has pulled popular video app TikTok from the Play Store in India following a local court's direction, stoking fear among some activists that this could set a dangerous precedent. From a report: TikTok, which has amassed over 120 million monthly active users in India, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. TikTok, operated by Chinese conglomerate Bytedance, has come under hot water in India in recent weeks after some users complained about inappropriate content, including pornography, on the video service. A high court in Southern state of Tamil Nadu urged the central government to ban the download of TikTok in India earlier this month, alleging that TikTok "encouraged pornography" and risked spoiling the "future of the youngsters and mindset of the children."
Bytedance challenged the state court's order in India's apex Supreme Court last week, asserting that such a move would undermine freedom of speech in the nation. The Supreme Court referred the case back to the state court on Tuesday, thereby rejecting Bytedance's appeal to call off the ban. The government sent a notice to Google and Apple earlier today to pull the app from their respective app stores, preventing any more downloads, as first reported by The Economic Times. Google's Android mobile operating system runs on more than 95% of smartphones in India, according to estimates from research firm Counterpoint. Notably, users who already have TikTok app installed on their Android smartphone can continue to use the service.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department
HP today announced its latest Elitebook 800 G6 line of business notebooks, boasting additional privacy options and a security software agent that HP says will make them more capable against zero-day attacks. From a report: HP's new models -- the EliteBook 830 G6, HP EliteBook 840 G6, and HP EliteBook 850 G6, plus the HP EliteBook x360 830 G6 -- offer up to 18 hours of battery life, a behind-the-glass privacy shutter, and options for a 1,000-nit screen that can be used outdoors. HP said it will ship most of the models in May, while the x360 model is expected to ship in June. Prices have not been announced. According to specifications provided to PCWorld, all four notebooks will share common Core i5-8265U and Core i7-8565 Whiskey Lake processors from Intel, while the Elitebook 830 G6 and EliteBook x360 830 G6 will offer a Core i3-8145U option as well. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 also appear for the first time in this generation, HP said.
The members of the EliteBook lineup differ by screen size. The EliteBook 830 G6 and x360 830 G6 offer 13.3-inch displays. The 840 G6 is a 14-inch laptop, and the 850 G6 is a 15-inch machine. As many business notebooks do, HP has innovated on two axes: improving the hardware, as well as building in additional software and services. The company seems especially proud of the latter, specifically what it calls Sure Sense. The technology will be included on all of the newly announced EliteBook PCs. With Sure Sense, the company believes the lightweight software agent can react in real time to unknown threats, intelligently deciding whether they represent a risk to the system. The idea, HP said, is to provide an additional layer of security against so-called "zero-day" attacks that may come out of the blue and install ransomware or worse on corporate machines.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
On April 6, something known as the GPS rollover, a cousin to the dreaded Y2K bug, mostly came and went, as businesses and government agencies around the world heeded warnings and made software or hardware updates in advance. But in New York, something went wrong -- and city officials seem to not want anyone to know. [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source] New submitter RAYinNYC shares a report: At 7:59 p.m. E.D.T. on Saturday, the New York City Wireless Network, or NYCWiN, went dark, waylaying numerous city tasks and functions, including the collection and transmission of information from some Police Department license plate readers. The shutdown also interrupted the ability of the Department of Transportation to program traffic lights, and prevented agencies such as the sanitation and parks departments from staying connected with far-flung offices and work sites. The culprit was a long-anticipated calendar reset of the centralized Global Positioning System, which connects to devices and computer networks around the world. There has been no public disclosure that NYCWiN, a $500 million network built for the city by Northrop Grumman, was offline and remains so, even as workers are trying to restore it.
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By msmash from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once considered making deals with third-party developers just to help him find out how much users' data is worth, NBC News reported on Tuesday. The report, which cites 4,000 leaked pages of internal documents, shines a light on the way senior company executives viewed attaching a dollar sign to sensitive user data, despite Facebook's public commitment to protect such information.
From the report: In the same week, Zuckerberg floated the idea of pursuing 100 deals with developers "as a path to figuring out the real market value" of Facebook user data and then "setting a public rate" for developers. "The goal here wouldn't be the deals themselves, but that through the process of negotiating with them we'd learn what developers would actually pay (which might be different from what they'd say if we just asked them about the value), and then we'd be better informed on our path to set a public rate," Zuckerberg wrote in a chat. Facebook told NBC News that it was exploring ways to build a sustainable business, but ultimately decided not to go forward with these plans.
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