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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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Hackers Find Bugs, Extort Ransom, Call It a Public Service
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 10:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's growing-security-trend department:
Reader msm1267 shares a report on ThreatPost about an ongoing security trend: Crooks breaking into enterprise networks are holding data they steal for ransom under the guise they are doing the company a favor by exposing a flaw. The criminal act is described as bug poaching and is becoming a growing new threat to businesses vulnerable to attacks.Hackers are extorting companies for as much as $30,000 in exchange for details on how hackers broke into their network and stole data. Researchers say once the intruders steal the data, there's no explicit threat that they will break in again or release data if companies don't pay. Instead, attackers release a simple statement demanding payment in exchange for details on how to fix the vulnerabilityTypical bug poaching incidents start with criminals breaking into a network and stealing as much sensitive data as they can. Next, they post the data to a third-party cloud storage service. Lastly, the attackers email the company links to the data as proof the information was stolen and ask for a wire transfer of money in exchange for how the data was stolen.During the attack, victims are not threatened with the public release of their data, instead attackers simply send a message that reads: "Please rest assured that the data is safe with me. It was extracted for proof only. Honestly, I do this job for a living, not for fun."

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Tor Browser 6.0: Ditches SHA-1 Support, Uses DuckDuckGo For Default Search Results
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 08:53 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's browse-like-nobody-is-watching department:
The version 6.0 of Tor Browser, a free software for enabling anonymous communication, is now available to download. The new version introduces several changes, including disabling SHA-1 support, and removing Mac Gatekeeper issue. Another big changes is that Tor now uses DuckDuckGo soft search results by default. The Tor Project, people behind Tor, add that the "updater is not relying on the signature alone, but is checking the hash of the downloaded update file as well before applying it." More details on NetworkWorld.

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Apple To Extend iPhone's Product Cycle; Shift To 32GB Internal Storage On Base Model: Reports
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 08:53 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's like-it-or-hate-it,-you-can't-ignore-it department:
According to Japanese outlet Nikkei, which has a good track record, Apple is planning to extend its iPhone's product cycle. The Cupertino, California-based company, which currently utilizes the same design language for two years, now plans to make major refreshes to its iconic smartphone every three years. The report claims that Apple is changing the refresh cycle as it struggles to innovate and provide new features and substantial improvements to its iPhone. For those planning to purchase the next iPhone, don't expect any design changes, the report adds. From the report: The new version slated for this autumn will look almost identical to the current iPhone 6. Functions such as the camera, water resistance and battery capacity will likely be improved, and the headphone jack will be removed. Also, a high-end version of the model will give users better-quality photo capabilities via correction functions. On the sidelines, the media is abuzz with reports that the next iPhone will have 32GB internal storage in its base model.

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Intel Launches Its First 10-Core Desktop CPU With Broadwell-E
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 08:53 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-cores department:
Two years since the release of Intel's Haswell-E platform, which popularized 8-core processor to users. On Tuesday, the chipmaker unveiled Broadwell-E family, which consists of an "Extreme Edition" of Core i7 chipset that has 10 cores and 20 threads. (Do note that Intel is intentionally not calling it deca-core.) Intel says the Extreme Edition is designed for games, content creators, and overclockers. From an NDTV report: The 7th generation Intel Core processors are built on the 14nm fabrication process, and are part of the 'semi-Tock' release -- neither in the Intel Tick or Tock cycle. and come with Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 for more efficient core allocation for single-threaded processes, giving up to 15 percent better performance compared to the previous Haswell-E generation. All four new Intel Core i7 Enthusiast processors, codenamed Broadwell-E, support 40 PCIe lanes, quad-channel memory, and bear a TDP of 140W. Give Intel $1,723 and the Extreme Edition pack is yours.

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Samsung To Roll Out In-TV Ads To Legacy Displays Via Software Update
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 07:26 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's the-best-TV-experience-includes-watching-ads department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to an insider at Samsung's growing advertising team in New York, the second-largest consumer tech manufacturer in the world is planning to retrofit older network-connected TVs to display tiled ads via a software update. The South Korean company, which has seen a 20.9% decline in television sales in Q1 of 2016 under fierce competition from China, has included 'baked' ads into the interface of its recent TV offerings, and also experimented with injecting ads into users' streamed video, transmitting voice commands to a third party -- and, ironically, battling Android over its own AdBlocking technology.

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YouTube Threatens Legal Action Against Video Downloader
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 07:26 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's YouTube,-and-Piracy department:
Embracing over a billion users, YouTube has become the go-to source of many for music and movies. But the scale of YouTube has also given rise to piracy and copyright infringement. To fix this, the Google-owned video portal has started to contact third-party services that allow users to make a copy of a YouTube video and is urging them to shut down their functionality. TorrentFreak is reporting about a similar instance, in which YouTube's legal team contacted a popular service called TubeNinja. From the report: "It appears from your website and other marketing materials that TubeNinja is designed to allow users to download content from YouTube," the email from YouTube's legal team reads. According to YouTube the video downloader violates the terms of service (ToS) of both the site and the API. Among other things, YouTube's ToS prohibits the downloading of any video that doesn't have a download link listed on the site. Later, Google's video service adds that if the site owner continues to operate the service this "may result in legal consequences." Despite the threatening language, TubeNinja owner Nathan doesn't plan to take the functionality offline. He informed YouTube that his service doesn't use YouTube's API and says that it's the responsibility of his users to ensure that they don't violate the ToS of YouTube and TubeNinja. "Our own ToS clearly states that the user is responsible for the legitimacy of the content they use our service for," Nathan tells us.

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Ubuntu Phones To Feature Wireless Display Support With OTA-11 Update
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 06:02 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cable-management department:
prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: The moment you've all been waiting for is almost here, as you will no longer need a cable to connect your Ubuntu Phone to your TV or a supported LCD monitor. Canonical will soon release the OTA-11 software update to supported Ubuntu Phone devices implementing the Aethercast (also known as Miracast or Display Casting) technology that provides Wireless display support to all devices, with the exception of Meizu PRO 5, which already comes with built-in wireless display functionality. Some other features of the OTA-11 update include: the adoption of the NetworkManager 1.2 network connection manager, an updated VPN feature with username and password authentication support, a pre-loaded Home Scope which will allow for a faster startup, multiple application windows, and subtitles in the header. In addition, the positioning in location service has been greatly improved, Dynamic Grid Unit (DGU) support is now available, and many bugs have been fixed (squashed). You can view a list of the devices that support the OTA-11 update here.

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Microsoft Will Stop Spamming Android Users With Office Ads In The Notification Tray
Posted by News Fetcher on May 31 '16 at 04:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's follow-the-rules department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via BetaNews: The notification tray in Android serves a very specific purpose. There's a clue in the name -- and it's nothing to do with advertising. Android user Thom Holwerda was upset this week when Microsoft Office for Android started to spam him with ads for apps he already had installed. There are many questions here, one of which is why is Microsoft ignoring Google's guidelines and using the notification tray to display ads? Thom, from the website OSnews, found that the copy of Word he had installed on his Nexus 6P was spamming him with ads for Excel and Powerpoint -- which he was already using. Mark Wilson from BetaNews contacted Microsoft and they said, "Our team is actively investigating the occurrences of these notifications." After pressing further into the issue, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "Microsoft is deeply committed to ensuring that we maintain the best possible experience for our customers in addition to complying with all applicable policies. We have taken the action to turn off these notifications. This update will be reflected in the coming days." In other semi-related news, users can now remove the 260-character path length limit in the Windows 10 build 14352.

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