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Wikipedia Is Basically a Corporate Bureaucracy, Says Study
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '16 at 06:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's curious-case-of-a-site-called-Wikipedia department:
Jennifer Ouellette, reporting for Gizmodo: Wikipedia is a voluntary organization dedicated to the noble goal of decentralized knowledge creation. But as the community has evolved over time, it has wandered further and further from its early egalitarian ideals, according to a new paper published in the journal Future Internet. In fact, such systems usually end up looking a lot like 20th-century bureaucracies. [...] This may seem surprising, since there is no policing authority on Wikipedia -- no established top-down means of control. The community is self-governing, relying primarily on social pressure to enforce the established core norms, according to co-author Simon DeDeo, a complexity scientist at Indiana University. [...] "You start with a decentralized democratic system, but over time you get the emergence of a leadership class with privileged access to information and social networks," DeDeo explained. "Their interests begin to diverge from the rest of the group. They no longer have the same needs and goals. So not only do they come to gain the most power within the system, but they may use it in ways that conflict with the needs of everybody else.""The Iron Law of Oligarchy, demonstrated by Wikipedia," wrote Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at Caltech. "Rebel all you want, ultimately you become The Establishment."

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Report: Comcast In Talks To Buy DreamWorks For $3 Billion
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '16 at 05:34 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fun-for-the-whole-family department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: Comcast is in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation in a multi-billion-dollar deal, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are reporting. The cost of the deal would be more than $3 billion, according to both news organizations, citing unnamed sources. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, has been searching for a buyer for the company, which has a current market value of $2.3 billion. DreamWorks is based in Glendale, Calif., and was founded in 1994 by Katzenberg, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and movie and music executive David Geffen. The animation unit was spun off in 2004. Philadelphia-based Comcast has two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast also owns Universal Parks and Resorts. Comcast already owns an animation studio, Illumination Entertainment, known for its work on the Despicable Me and Minions movies.

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A Complete Guide To The New 'Crypto Wars'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '16 at 02:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's series-of-unfortunate-events department:
blottsie writes: The latest debate over encryption did not begin with a court order demanding Apple help the FBI unlock a dead terrorist's iPhone. The new "Crypto Wars," chronicled in a comprehensive timeline by Eric Geller of the Daily Dot, dates back to at least 2003, with the introduction of "Patriot Act II." The battle over privacy and personal security versus crime-fighting and national security has, however, become a mainstream debate in recent months. The timeline covers a wide-range of incidents where the U.S. and other allied governments have tried to restrict citizens' access to strong encryption. The timeline ends with the director of national intelligence blaming NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for advancing the spread of user-friendly, widely available strong encryption.

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A Majority Of Millennials Now Reject Capitalism, Poll Shows
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '16 at 12:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's democratic-socialism department:
A new poll shows that a majority of young people do not support capitalism. The study was conducted by Harvard University, which polled young adults ages 18-29. It found that 51 percent of those polled rejected capitalism, that is to say, they did not support it. Only 42 percent said they support capitalism -- there was a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points. When asked what alternative system they would prefer, there wasn't a clear winner. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. When talking about politics or economics, it can get complicated and the poll does little to shed light on what parts of capitalism young people dislike or what parts of socialism young people like. It does appear to suggest young people are frustrated with the status quo and are more focused on the flaws of free markets.

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Millions Of Waze Users Can Have Their Movements Tracked By Hackers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's psycho-killer department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fusion: Researchers at the University of California-Santa Barbara recently discovered a Waze vulnerability that allowed them to create thousands of "ghost drivers" that can monitor the drivers around them -- an exploit that could be used to track Waze users in real-time. Here's how the exploit works. Waze's servers communicate with phones using an SSL encrypted connection, a security precaution meant to ensure that Waze's computers are really talking to a Waze app on someone's smartphone. Zhao and his graduate students discovered they could intercept that communication by getting the phone to accept their own computer as a go-between in the connection. Once in between the phone and the Waze servers, they could reverse-engineer the Waze protocol, learning the language that the Waze app uses to talk to Waze's back-end app servers. With that knowledge in hand, the team was able to write a program that issued commands directly to Waze servers, allowing the researchers to populate the Waze system with thousands of "ghost cars" -- cars that could cause a fake traffic jam or, because Waze is a social app where drivers broadcast their locations, monitor all the drivers around them. You can read the full paper detailing the researchers' findings here. Is there a solution to not being tracked? Yes. If you're a Waze user, you can set the app to invisible mode. However, Waze turns off invisible mode every time you restart the app so beware.

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2016 Hugo Awards Shortlist Dominated By Rightwing Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 06:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's riven-by-controversy department:
Dave Knott quotes a report from The Guardian: The annual Hugo awards for the best science fiction of the year have once again been riven by controversy, as a concerted campaign by a conservative lobby has dominated the ballot. The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies movements, which both separately campaign against a perceived bias towards liberal and leftwing science-fiction and fantasy authors, have managed to get the majority of their preferred nominations on to the final ballot, announced today. Since 2013, the Puppies factions have posted recommendations of works to combat the Hugo tendency to reward works that leaders of the movement deem "niche, academic, overtly to the left in ideology and flavor, and ultimately lacking what might best be called visceral, gut-level, swashbuckling fun." The Rabid Puppies has been successful in getting its nominations on the shortlist again this year; out of 80 recommendations, 62 have received sufficient votes to make the ballot. At MidAmeriCon II this year, it was announced that more than 4,000 nominating ballots were cast for the 2016 Hugo awards, almost double the previous record of 2,122 ballots. This news was initially greeted with cautious optimism, but the shortlist shows that the Puppies and their supporters have redoubled their efforts to "game" the awards. The shortlist will be voted upon and the winners revealed at the forthcoming Worldcon in Kansas in August.

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Zero Zero's Camera Drone Could Be A Robot Command Center In The Future
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's creepy-gadgets-and-gizmos department:
Tekla Perry writes: Zero Zero Robotics comes out of stealth today with the Hover Camera drone that uses face and body recognition to follow and photograph selected subjects. Company cofounder Meng Qiu Wang explains why he did the engineering in China (he built a team of 80 that worked two years on the project), and how this flying camera will evolve to be a navigation and control system for future home robots. According Zero Zero cofounder and CEO Meng Qiu Wang, "It has two cameras. The front viewing camera is a 13-megapixel camera that records video, but also has Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), an algorithm that allows it to determine where it is. It also has a down-facing video camera, running an algorithm called optical flow, that looks at ground at 60 frames per second, so the Hover knows when it moves and can correct itself. These visual sensors are giving inputs and actual position and speed, meanwhile, the accelerometer and gyroscope gives relative position. All these signals are fed into the flight control algorithm, so when I throw it up in the air, it can just hover there." With a price of less than $600, it should compete well against the expensive DJI Phantom 4, which is already available on the market for $1400 and features autonomous flying and tracking features.

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HTC Announces $100 Million Fund For Virtual Reality Startups
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 05:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's accelerated-growth department:
An anonymous reader writes: HTC today announced the Vive X accelerator program through which the company will invest from it's newly created $100 million VR fund. The fund aims to kickstart the VR ecosystem in support of the company's Vive VR headset. Applications for the accelerator program, which will open first in Beijing, Taipei, and San Francisco, are open today. The company says their aim is to "help cultivate, and grow the global VR ecosystem by supporting startups and providing them with expertise, special access to advanced VR technology, financial investment, mentorship and unmatched go-to-market support."

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Inside 'Emojigeddon': The Fight Over The Future Of The Unicode Consortium
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's swirling,-smiling-pile-of-poop department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report on Buzzfeed: There's trouble afoot inside the Emoji Council of Elders, or, at the very least, signs of a low-simmering schism that's being referred to by some of its participants -- perhaps with less humor than one might expect -- as "Emojigeddon." A series of frustrated emails show a deepening rift between those who adhere to the organization's original mission to code old and obscure and minority languages and those who are investing time and resources toward Unicode's newer and most popular character sets: emojis. From the article: "The correspondence offers a peek behind the scenes of the peculiar and little-known organization that's unexpectedly been tasked with building what some see as the first digital universal language." What are your thoughts of emojis? Have you embraced and intertwined them into your digital language or are you unconvinced of their ability to transcribe any kind of deep understanding?

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FBI Director Suggests iPhone Hacking Method May Remain Secret
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pick-and-choose department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: FBI Director James Comey said on Tuesday that his agency was still assessing whether a vulnerability used to unlock an iPhone linked to one of the San Bernardino killers would go through a government review to determine if it should be disclosed to Apple or the public. "We are in the midst of trying to sort that out," Comey said. "The threshold (for disclosure) is, are we aware of the vulnerability, or did we just buy a tool and don't have sufficient knowledge of the vulnerability to implicate the process?" The White House has a procedure for reviewing technology security flaws and deciding which ones should be made public. Although officials say the process leans toward disclosure, it is not set up to handle or reveal flaws that are discovered and owned by private companies, sources have told Reuters, raising questions about the effectiveness of the so-called Vulnerabilities Equities Process.

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Apple Has First Earnings Decline In More Than A Decade
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 02:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what-goes-up-must-come-down department:
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has announced its first-ever decline in revenue in the past 13 years as its iPhone sales have slowed down. Apple posted quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion. Last year, the company posted revenue of $58 billion and net income of $13.6 billion. The reason Apple has been so successful is because of the iPhone, which was first released in 2007. What goes up must come down -- and we're starting to see that now. The success of the iPhone is starting plateau and ultimately decrease now that consumers are finding less of a reason to upgrade to the latest and greatest smartphone. Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed to weakening currencies worldwide as one of the obstacles the company would face as iPhone sales were up less than 1 percent year-over-year last quarter. Gene Munster, managing director and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, told ABC News, "This has been anticipated for three months now. The reason is nothing [that] is wrong with the iPhone." Munster said this is not worrisome to Apple and that iPhone sales will likely increase by the end of the year when the next iPhone(s) is released.

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Node.js Version 6 Released With LTS
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 02:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
dmleonard618 writes: The JavaScript runtime Node.js has reached version 6.0, and unlike version 5.0 this version will receive Long Term Support (LTS). LTS is meant to provide the release with long-term stability, reliability, performance and security. The LTS will begin in October. The current LTS release will go into maintenance mode and will only receive bug, security and documentation updates. Version 5.0 of Node.js will continue to be maintained for a few more months. The latest version features improved module loading, 96% of ECMAScript 2015 features, as well as reliability and security enhancements. "The Node.js Project has done an incredible job of bringing this version to life in the timeline that we initially proposed in September 2015," said Mikeal Rogers, community manager for the Node.js Foundation. "It's important for us to continue to deliver new versions of Node.js equipped with all the cutting-edge JavaScript features to serve the needs of developers and to continue to improve the performance and stability enterprises rely on."

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YouTube To Roll Out 6-Second Ads That You Can't Skip
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 01:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's ads,-ads-everywhere department:
An anonymous reader writes: YouTube announced on Tuesday that it will be introducing an unskippable, 6-second bumper ads before certain videos. The video juggernaut says that these ads are largely aimed at mobile users. "We like to think of Bumper ads as little haikus of video ads -- and we're excited to see what the creative community will do with them," YouTube's Zach Lupei wrote in a blog post. The Verge reports, "The company justifies the short ads (which cannot be skipped, unlike longer spots) by pointing to research showing that 50 percent of 18 to 49-year-olds turn to mobile as their first option for consuming video -- and keep in mind a ton of that is music."

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Top Silicon Valley Execs and Others Urge Congress To Fund K-12 Computer Science Education
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 01:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's time-to-make-CS-mainstream department:
An anonymous reader shares a TechCrunch report:Some of the biggest names in tech and corporate America, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, have teamed up with governors and educators to ask Congress to provide $250 million in federal funding to school districts in order to give every single K-12 student in the nation an opportunity to learn how to code. On the legislative side, these tech CEOs are joined by governors from both sides, including California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R). Earlier this year, President Barack Obama called for more than $4 billion in funding for states, and $100 million for districts in order to bring computer science curricula to every single K-12 student in the country. What this group of CEOs, governors and educators is asking for today is different. They're saying that this issue can be addressed without growing the federal budget. The petition reads:Not only does computer science provide every student foundational knowledge, it also leads to the highest-paying, fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. economy. There are currently over 500,000 open computing jobs, in every sector, from manufacturing to banking, from agriculture to healthcare, but only 50,000 computer science graduates a year. Whether a student aspires to be a software engineer, or if she just wants a well-rounded education in today's changing world, access to computer science in school is an economic imperative for our nation to remain competitive. And with the growing threat of cyber warfare, this is even a critical matter of national security. Despite this growing need, targeted federal funding to carry out these efforts in classrooms is virtually non-existent. This bipartisan issue can be addressed without growing the federal budget.

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Spotify Denies User Details Hacked After Passwords Show Up Online
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 11:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's tuesday-security-woes department:
Not long ago a list of hundreds of Spotify subscribers was dumped on Pastebin. The list included email addresses, usernames, passwords, account type, and plenty of other details. Also, TechCrunch independently confirmed that some of the credentials listed were indeed legit. The music streaming service is now assuring users that there was no "large-scale" hack. Samantha Murphy Kelly, reporting for Mashable:It appears that some accounts were compromised in the past few days. According to the report, some Spotify users discovered their passwords and email addresses attached to accounts were recently changed without authorization. Others spotted new songs saved to playlists they didn't manually add. Despite users reporting shady activity, Spotify told Mashable it denies it is a part of a large-scale hack. "Spotify has not been hacked and our user records are secure. We monitor Pastebin and other sites regularly. When we find Spotify credentials, we first verify that they are authentic, and if they are, we immediately notify affected users to change their passwords."

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Apple Is Outdated, Says Chinese Conglomerate LeEco CEO
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 11:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's everyone-has-an-opinion-about-Apple department:
An anonymous reader shares an article on CNBC: Apple is "outdated" and losing momentum in China, billionaire entrepreneur Jia Yueting told CNBC in his first international television interview. "Apple only has individual apps. This was the right choice during the first generation of mobile net, when CPUs [central processing units] and the mobile network speeds were not fast enough," Jia said. "However now we're moving into the next era of mobile internet, these problems no longer exist. Moreover, having separate apps just means great obstacles in the user experience. We hope to break down these obstacles. One of the most important reasons [for slowing sales] is that Apple's innovation has become extremely slow," he said. "For example, a month ago Apple launched the iPhone SE. From an industry insider's perspective, this is a product with a very low level of technology... We think this is something they just shouldn't have done. [...] The Watch hasn't cut it. And they're looking at content on the services side, on the iTunes side. We'll see how that works out. But definitely they need something to drive the next leg of growth." In some other Apple news, the company is expected to announce its first quarterly year-over-year revenue decline since 2003 later today.

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Your Media Business Will Not Be Saved
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 10:24 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's state-of-media department:
Joshua Topolsky, co-founder of The Verge, and Vox Media, and formerly Editor-in-chief of Engadget, has published an article on Medium, wherein he analyzes the ongoing and long-term issues with digital media businesses and their increasingly growing thirst for more and more clicks. Topolsky says that the rate at which media outlets are adopting the new technologies and platforms (such as video, "bots, newsletters, a morning briefing app, a lean back iPad experience, Slack integration, a Snapchat channel, or a great partnership with Twitter") in an attempt to capture more audience -- and save its receding loyal reader base -- isn't going to fix the problem. Topolsky, who left Bloomberg news outlet last year amid his disagreement with Michael Bloomberg himself, writes: The Problem is that we used to have a really neat and tidy version of a media business where very large interests controlled vast swaths of the things we read, watched, and listened to. Because that system was built on the concept of scarcity and locality -- the limits of what was physically possible -- it was very easy to keep the gates and fill the coffers. Put simply, there were far fewer players in the game with far fewer outlets for their content, so audiences were easy to sell to and easy to come by. [...] The media industry now largely thinks its only working business model is to reach as many people as possible, and sell -- usually programmatically, but sometimes not -- as many advertisements against that audience as it can. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying. [...] The truth is that the best and most important things the media (let's say specifically the news media) has ever made were not made to reach the most people -- they were made to reach the right people. Because human beings exist, and we are not content consumption machines. What will save the media industry -- or at least the part worth saving -- is when we start making Real Things for people again, instead of programming for algorithms or New Things.

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Google, Ford, Volvo, Lyft and Uber Join Coalition To Further Self-Driving Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 10:24 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's to-a-driverless-car-future department:
Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber, and Lyft are forming a coalition to help speed self-driving cars to the market. Until now, these five companies have all been working on their own driverless car initiatives. According to a statement, the new effort, dubbed the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, "will work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles." David Strickland, a former top official of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is coalition's counsel and spokesman.

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Open365 Is An Open Source Alternative to Microsoft Office 365
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 09:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's foss-news-of-the-day department:
Martin Brinkmann, writing for Ghacks: Open365 is an open source Office 365 alternative that allows you to edit or create documents online, and to sync files with the cloud. The service is in beta currently but you can sign up for it already on the official website. You may use it using a web browser, download clients for Windows, Mac or Linux desktop machines, or for Android. An iOS client is in the making currently and will be made available as well soon. Open 365 offers two main features that you can make use of. First, it enables you to synchronize files between devices you use and the cloud. Second, it allows you to view, edit and create documents in the cloud using the technology provided by the Open Source Office suite LibreOffice Online for that.

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Mitsubishi: We've Been Cheating On Fuel Tests For 25 years
Posted by News Fetcher on April 26 '16 at 09:04 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's driving-bad-examples department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on CNN:The situation at Mitsubishi Motors just went from bad to much, much worse. The Japanese automaker admitted Tuesday that it had falsified fuel efficiency tests for the past quarter century (warning: annoying autoplay videos, alternate source), the latest revelation in a scandal that has rocked the company. The automaker said last week that it had used improper fuel economy tests on hundreds of thousands of vehicles, including some sold to Nissan. Cars with inflated fuel efficiency ratings were sold only in Japan. Mitsubishi said it would ask lawyers from outside the company to investigate the tests.

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