By msmash from Slashdot's ask-away department
As you may have noticed, Facebook is not cool anymore. The social juggernaut has been mired in controversies -- infamous privacy scandals or company's ruthless "grow fast and break things" approach to gain users, to name a few. Luckily enough, some people are trying to build new social networks and are coming up with interesting original ideas. Minds.com is one such social network.
The open source social network, which has been operational since 2012, works on a point-earning/exchange system to give users full control over the reach of their posts. One of the complaints people have with Facebook and Twitter is that they feel their posts are not being seen by all of their friends. Minds.com lets users earn points and then trade those points to boost their posts on the platform. Users earn tokens by being active on the platform and engaging in uploading, voting, commenting and other similar activities. They can then use these tokens, which can be exchanged within the platform, to boost the reach of their posts. The company last year launched a cryptocurrency reward program based on the ethereum blockchain for all users on the platform. Minds says it does not determine what should be censored. Users are free to post whatever they want. (You can follow us on Minds.)
We are excited to announced that Minds founder and chief executive Bill Ottman has agreed to do an interview with us. If you have a question about Minds.com for him or his take on the current social networking space, feel free to ask it in the comments section below.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's yay-or-nay department
Slashdot reader Drakster writes: Hollywood producer and writer James Cameron, who is best known for his first two Terminator films, Titanic, Avatar, and Aliens, has released his most recent film this week, Alita: Battle Angel, to mostly mixed to positive reviews. First announced in 2003, based on Yukito Kishiro's Gunnm manga series, it was stuck in development for several years, finally starting production in 2008. Slashdot last discussed this fifteen years ago, so now that it's finally here. For those who have seen it, what did you think? Met or surpassed your expectations, or not worth the wait?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's vision-of-the-future department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: In a not-too-distant future, renewable energy becomes the world's biggest source of power generation. A quarter of the distances that humans travel by vehicle will be in electric cars. U.S. dominance in the oil market begins to wane, and OPEC's influence is resurgent, as crude demand finally peaks. That is the vision laid out by British oil and gas giant BP on Thursday in its latest Annual Energy Outlook. The closely followed report lays out a vision through 2040 for Earth's energy future, provided government policy, technology and consumer preferences evolve in line with recent trends. BP forecasts that the world's energy demand will grow by a third through 2040, driven by rising consumption in China, India and other parts of Asia. About 75 percent of that increase will come from the need to power industry and buildings. At the same time, energy demand will continue to grow in the transportation sector, but that growth will slow sharply as vehicles become more efficient and more consumers opt for electric cars. But despite the increase in supply, BP thinks two-thirds of the world's population will still live in places with relatively low energy consumption per head. The takeaway: The world will need to generate more energy. The report says natural gas consumption will grow by 50 percent over the next 20 years, increasing in virtually every corner of the globe. "Throughout most of that time, the world will continue to consume more oil year after year, until demand ultimately peaks around 108 million barrels per day in the 2030s," reports CNBC. "This year, OPEC expects global oil demand to reach 100 million bpd."
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's future-operating-systems department
dryriver writes: For many older people, you use Windows, macOS, or Linux on the desktop, and Android or iOS on mobile devices. Nobody is screaming for an Android desktop PC or an iOS 17.3-inch laptop computer. But what about younger generations growing up, from a very young age, glued to devices with these two mobile operating systems running on it? Will they want to use Windows, macOS, or Linux just like us old farts when they grow older, or will they want their favorite mobile operating systems running -- in a beefed up and more robust form -- on desktop and laptop computers which they use for school, college, and/or work as well? Since we are on this topic -- could Android or iOS one day become reasonably usable desktop operating systems from an architectural standpoint? And could Google and Apple already be planning for an "Android and iOS on the desktop" computing future, without telling anyone about it publicly?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's upward-trends department
New research from The NPD Group reveals that the smartwatch market overall is growing at an impressive rate and that the Apple Watch remains the best-selling wearable on the market. "Specifically, year-over-year smartwatch unit sales in the U.S. jumped by 61% while revenue jumped by 51%," reports BGR. "As for specific revenue figures, the report relays that smartwatch revenue from November of 2017 through November of 2018 checked in at $5 billion. One particularly interesting data point is that 88% of all smartwatch sales can be attributed to Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit." From the report: "Over the last 18 months smartwatch sales gained strong momentum, proving the naysayers, who didn't think the category could achieve mainstream acceptance, had potentially judged too soon," NPD analyst Weston Henderek said in a press release. "The ability to be truly connected via built-in LTE without the need to have a smartphone nearby proved to be a tipping point for consumers, as they now recognize the value in being able to complete a wide range of tasks on the device including receiving notifications, messaging, accessing smart home controls, and more."
Indeed, Apple executives have pointed to the inclusion of LTE connectivity on the Apple Watch Series 3 as a huge selling point. Notably, Apple Watch sales during the 2017 holiday quarter were record-breaking. More recently, Tim Cook said that revenue from Apple wearables line jumped by 50% "thanks to strong sales of both Apple Watch and AirPods."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's similar-or-equal department
Opera has unveiled a major redesign for its browser that's expected to ship in version 59. As Peter Bright writes via Ars Technica, "the new appearance adopts the same square edges and clean lines that we've seen in other browsers, giving the browser a passing similarity to both Firefox and Edge." From the report: The principles of the new design? "We put Web content at center stage," the Opera team writes on its blog. The design is pared down so that you can browse "unhindered by unnecessary distractions." Borders and dividing lines have been removed, flattening out parts of the browser's interface and making them look more uniform and less eye-catching. The new design comes with the requisite dark and light modes, a welcome trend that we're glad to see is being widely adopted.
Being Web-centric is not a bad principle for an application such as a browser, where the bulk of the functionality and interest comes from the pages we're viewing rather than the browser itself. At first blush, I think that Opera has come up with something that looks good, but it does feel like an awfully familiar design rationale. [...] Opera plans to ship the R3 release in March, and a developer preview can be downloaded today to give the new appearance a spin. The new design isn't the only notable feature of R3; it also integrates a crypto wallet for Ethereum transactions. In conjunction with Opera on your phone, this feature can be used to securely make online payments to sites using Coinbase Commerce for their payment processing.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-more-where-that-came-from department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: A hacker who stole close to 620 million user records from 16 websites has stolen another 127 million records from eight more websites, TechCrunch has learned. The hacker, whose listing was the previously disclosed data for about $20,000 in bitcoin on a dark web marketplace, stole the data last year from several major sites -- some that had already been disclosed, like more than 151 million records from MyFitnessPal and 25 million records from Animoto. But several other hacked sites on the marketplace listing didn't know or hadn't disclosed yet -- such as 500px and Coffee Meets Bagel. The Register, which first reported the story, said the data included names, email addresses and scrambled passwords, and in some cases other login and account data -- though no financial data was included. Now the same hacker has eight additional marketplace entries after their original listings were pulled offline, including:
- 18 million records from travel booking site Ixigo
- Live-video streaming site YouNow had 40 million records stolen
- Houzz, which recently disclosed a data breach, is listed with 57 million records stolen
- Ge.tt had 1.8 million accounts stolen
- 450,000 records from cryptocurrency site Coinmama.
- Roll20, a gaming site, had 4 million records listed
- Stronghold Kingdoms, a multiplayer online game, had 5 million records listed
- 1 million records from pet care delivery service PetFlowRead Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
An anonymous reader shares a report: The creators of a revolutionary AI system that can write news stories and works of fiction -- dubbed "deepfakes for text" -- have taken the unusual step of not releasing their research publicly, for fear of potential misuse. OpenAI, an nonprofit research company backed by Elon Musk, says its new AI model, called GPT2 is so good and the risk of malicious use so high that it is breaking from its normal practice of releasing the full research to the public in order to allow more time to discuss the ramifications of the technological breakthrough. At its core, GPT2 is a text generator. The AI system is fed text, anything from a few words to a whole page, and asked to write the next few sentences based on its predictions of what should come next. The system is pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible, both in terms of the quality of the output, and the wide variety of potential uses.
When used to simply generate new text, GPT2 is capable of writing plausible passages that match what it is given in both style and subject. It rarely shows any of the quirks that mark out previous AI systems, such as forgetting what it is writing about midway through a paragraph, or mangling the syntax of long sentences. Feed it the opening line of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four -- "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" -- and the system recognizes the vaguely futuristic tone and the novelistic style, and continues with: "I was in my car on my way to a new job in Seattle. I put the gas in, put the key in, and then I let it run. I just imagined what the day would be like. A hundred years from now. In 2045, I was a teacher in some school in a poor part of rural China. I started with Chinese history and history of science."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's upon-closer-inspection department
A new study from the Oxford Internet Institute claims to have found no link between time spent playing violent video games, and increased aggressive behavior teen teenagers. From a report: Published in Royal Society Open Science, the study is "one of the most definitive to date" according to the University of Oxford. While many studies have previously made similar and contrary claims, lead researcher professor Andrew Przybylski said the "idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn't tested very well over time". According to the university, this study is set apart from previous work by preregistration, where researchers publish their hypothesis, methods and analysis technique before beginning research.
"Part of the problem in technology research is that there are many ways to analyze the same data, which will produce different results," said Przybylski. "A cherry-picked result can add undue weight to the moral panic surrounding video games. The registered study approach is a safeguard against this." This was supported by co-author Dr Netta Weinstein from Cardiff University who said: "Our findings suggest that researcher biases might have influenced previous studies on this topic, and have distorted our understanding of the effects of video games."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: In early 2018, a Facebook user made a public threat on the social network against one of the company's offices in Europe. Facebook picked up the threat, pulled the user's data and determined he was in the same country as the office he was targeting. The company informed the authorities about the threat and directed its security officers to be on the lookout for the user. "He made a veiled threat that 'Tomorrow everyone is going to pay' or something to that effect," a former Facebook security employee told CNBC. The incident is representative of the steps Facebook takes to keep its offices, executives and employees protected, according to nine former Facebook employees who spoke with CNBC.
The company mines its social network for threatening comments, and in some cases uses its products to track the location of people it believes present a credible threat. Several of the former employees questioned the ethics of Facebook's security strategies, with one of them calling the tactics "very Big Brother-esque." Other former employees argue these security measures are justified by Facebook's reach and the intense emotions it can inspire. The company has 2.7 billion users across its services. That means that if just 0.01 percent of users make a threat, Facebook is still dealing with 270,000 potential security risks.
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By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
After years of fighting the idea, Sony announced last September it is finally bringing "cross-platform gameplay, progression, and commerce" to the PlayStation Network, with Fortnite as the first example. Months later, the company's efforts have yet to gain wide traction and now we may have identified the bottleneck: Sony. Several major third-party developers have accused the company of standing in the way of letting the PS4 versions of their games play nicely with other platforms. ArsTechnica reports: "We just launched Wargroove with crossplay between PC, Switch, and Xbox," Chucklefish CEO Finn "Tiy" Brice wrote on the ResetEra forums. "We made many requests for crossplay (both through our [Sony] account manager and directly with higher-ups) all the way up until release month. We were told in no uncertain terms that it was not going to happen." Brice's comments came days after new Hi-Rez Studios CEO Stew Chisam tweeted at Sony that the studio was "ready to go when you are" for cross-play on Smite, Paladins, and Realm Royale. "It's time to stop playing favorites and tear down the crossplay/progression wall for everyone," he said.
In a follow-up tweet, Chisam explained that Xbox/Switch cross-play has led to a direct improvement in the Paladins online user experience, including reduced wait times, more balanced matchmaking, and fewer "bad" matches overall. Brice's comments in particular come in direct response (and contradiction) to a recent Game Informer interview in which Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden said that cross-play was open to pretty much any PS4 developer that wants it.Read Replies (0)