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Apple Removed Headphone Jack From New iPhones Because It Owns Largest Bluetooth Headphone Company
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 04:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's that-explains-it department:
Apple's new iPhones -- the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus -- don't have the headphone jack. The company's SVP Phil Schiller said the move signifies "courage" from the company to put a 100-year-old audio standard to bed. But there could be one more reason for this transition to a Bluetooth/Wireless headphones future: it owns the largest Bluetooth headphones company -- Beats. The Verge reports: More likely is that the lack of a headphone jack on the iPhone -- and increasingly, on Android phones as well -- will lead to an uptick in sales of Bluetooth headphones. And it just so happens that Apple owns the number one Bluetooth headphone company, Beats. Beats brings in more revenue from Bluetooth headphones than LG, Bose, or Jaybird, according to NPD figures released in July. In terms of unit sales, it controls over a quarter of the Bluetooth headphone market. Bluetooth headphones are also disproportionately profitable among headphones. NPD has them accounting for 54 percent of all dollars spent in the market, despite representing only 17 percent of units sold in the U.S.. These headphones sell at high prices with high margins, and Apple's company is making the best of it so far. Sales of Bluetooth headphones are already growing, with units up 64 percent year over year according to NPD's US figures. And Apple's removal of the headphone jack is likely to give them another boost.

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Smartphones Can Steal 3D Printing Plans By Listening To The Printer
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-listening department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from FedScoop: Smartphones equipped with special programming can become a sophisticated spy sensor capable of stealing designs from a 3D printer -- just by measuring the noise and electromagnetic radiation the printer emits. Researchers from the University of Buffalo recently discovered how a smartphone on a bench about 8 inches away from a 3D printer could allow someone to reconstruct a simple object being printed with 94 percent accuracy. Complex objects can be copied with 90 percent accuracy. The attack basically reverse-engineers the printing blueprint by reconstructing the movement of the nozzle from the electromagnetic and acoustic energy it generates while working. Most information came from electromagnetic waves, which accounted for about 80 percent of the useful data. The remaining 20 percent came from acoustic waves. Wenyao Xu, assistant professor in the University of Buffalo's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the lead author of the study, "My Smartphone Knows What You Print: Exploring Smartphone-Based Side-Channel Attacks Against 3D Printers," which will be presented at the Association for Computing Machinery's 23rd annual Conference on Computer and Communications Security next month in Austria.

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Facebook Features 9/11 Conspiracy Theory as 'Trending'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 02:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's bring-back-humans department:
Facebook is having a tough time with stories that trend on the social network. The company has been accused of gaming what it shows as "trending" on the site, and sometimes favoring things it showed to people. Not long ago, it fired the human editors who took care of it, but then earlier this month, a fake story about Megyn Kelly. It apologized for the slip, but it has happened again. The Hill reports: Facebook is taking heat yet again for its Trending Topics section after featuring a story from a British tabloid pushing a conspiracy theory that the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, because of a "controlled demolition." Facebook users who clicked on the "September 11th Anniversary" trending topic Friday were presented an article titled "September 11: The footage that 'proves bombs were planted in Twin Towers.'"

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Google's DeepMind Develops New Speech Synthesis AI Algorithm Called WaveNet
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 01:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's all-strung-out department:
Artem Tashkinov writes: Researchers behind Google's DeepMind company have been creating AI algorithms which could hardly be applied in real life aside from pure entertainment purposes -- the Go game being the most recent example. However, their most recent development, a speech synthesis AI algorithm called WaveNet, beats the two existing methods of generating human speech by a long shot -- at least 50% by Google's own estimates. The only problem with this new approach is that it's very computationally expensive. The results are even more impressive considering the fact that WaveNet can easily learn different voices and generate artificial breaths, mouth movements, intonation and other features of human speech. It can also be easily trained to generate any voice using a very small sample database. Quartz has a voice demo of Google's current method in its report, which uses recurrent neural networks, and WaveNet's method, which "uses convolutional neural networks, where previously generated data is considered when producing the next bit of information." The report adds, "Researchers also found that if they fed the algorithm classical music instead of speech, the algorithm would compose its own songs."

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The USB Kill Stick, Priced at $56, Is Designed To Destroy Laptops, PCs, TVs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 01:31 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's device-killer department:
There's a new USB Kill device in the market today which can destroy any device it touches. ZDNet reports: For just a few bucks, you can pick up a USB stick that destroys almost anything that it's plugged into. Laptops, PCs, televisions, photo booths -- you name it. Once a proof-of-concept, the pocket-sized USB stick now fits in any security tester's repertoire of tools and hacks, says the Hong Kong-based company that developed it. It works like this: when the USB Kill stick is plugged in, it rapidly charges its capacitors from the USB power supply, and then discharges -- all in a matter of seconds. On unprotected equipment, the device's makers say it will "instantly and permanently disable unprotected hardware." You might be forgiven for thinking, "Well, why exactly?" The lesson here is simple enough. If a device has an exposed USB port -- such as a copy machine or even an airline entertainment system -- it can be used and abused, not just by a hacker or malicious actor, but also electrical attacks.

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Data Entry Blunders Force Air Asia Pilots To Land in Melbourne Instead of Malaysia
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 12:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's cheap-data-entry-jobs department:
A flight from Sydney to Malaysia ended up in Melbourne after the captain incorrectly entered the plane's location in its navigation system just before take-off, according to a safety investigation, whose conclusion was published this week. Mashable reports:The Air Asia pilots made several errors in entering data into the aircraft's navigation system, which caused them to follow an incorrect flight path out of Sydney, according to Australian transportation officials. While troubleshooting the incorrect flight path, the pilots were unable to fix the issue, and may have compounded it. The aircraft's systems would not allow the plane to be flown in instrument conditions and the weather also had deteriorated in Sydney by the time the pilots decided to turn back. They were directed via radar to a visual approach in Melbourne where they could land safely. The pilots did not believe the airport was located in Malaysia.

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Linux Mint 18 KDE Now Available
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 12:11 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-linux department:
Clement Lefebvre, otherwise known as the man behind Linux Mint, announced on Friday the release and immediate availability of the final version of Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" KDE Edition OS. Sarah KDE has been available in beta for a few months now, but you can get the Live ISO images from the company's website. The new version is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) distro, Lefebvre said. The new version comes with Plasma 5.6 desktop environment and associated apps. BrianFagioli writes: If you have at least 2GB of RAM, the Linux-based operating system could bring your aging computer into 2016 and beyond. Plasma offers plenty of options to 'make it yours', but it can sometimes be confusing -- there can be such a thing as too much choice. If after installing it you find it overwhelming, I would suggest going with the tried and true Cinnamon desktop environment instead. That seems to be the major focus of the Linux Mint team too. The Mint team is also including the Kubuntu backports ppa, which it promises will provide newer updates to KDE Plasma. Fans of the desktop environment should enjoy this immensely.

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Volkswagen Engineer Pleads Guilty in US Diesel Emissions Probe
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 10:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's guilty-as-charged department:
A Volkswagen AG engineer on Friday pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the Justice Department's probe into the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal -- the first person charged by U.S. authorities in the environmental probe, reports Reuters. From the report:James Liang, who has worked for VW VLKPF since 1983 and was part of a team of engineers who developed a diesel engine, was charged in an indictment made public on Friday with conspiring to commit wire fraud and violating U.S. clean air laws. The 62-year-old engineer from Newbury Park, Calif., appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday and entered into a plea agreement that includes his cooperation with the government in its investigation. The indictment says Liang conspired with current and former VW employees to mislead U.S. regulators about the software that allowed the automaker to evade American emissions standards.

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Who Is Getting Left Behind In the Internet Revolution?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 10:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's patterns department:
Reader sciencehabit writes: The internet is often hailed as a liberating technology. No matter who you are or what kind of country you live in, your voice can be amplified online and heard around the world. But that assumes that people can get on the internet in the first place. Research has shown that poverty and remoteness can prevent people from getting online, but a new study out today also shows that just belonging to a politically marginalized group can translate to poorer access. The study, published online today in Science, provides the first global map of the people being left behind by the internet revolution. Mapping the internet is hard. Although it is true that every computer with a connection has a real-world location, no one actually knows where they all are. Rather than being organized top-down, the world's computers are connected to each other by a bushy, redundant network of servers. Each country builds and maintains its own infrastructure for connecting citizens to the wider internet. The decision to expand and maintain the infrastructure in one region and not another is up to those in power. And therein lies the problem: Ethnic and religious minorities who are excluded from their country's political process may also be systematically excluded from the global internet.

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University of California's Outsourcing Is Wrong, Says US Lawmaker
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 09:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's big-questions department:
Earlier this week, University of California hired India-based IT company HCL to outsource some of its work offshore. As part of the announcement, it announced that it was laying off 17 percent of UCSF's total IT staff. The U.S. lawmaker, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) and the IEEE-USA find the outsouring job "wrong." dcblogs writes: A decision by the University of California to lay off IT employees and send their jobs overseas is under fire from U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif) and the IEEE-USA. "How are they [the university] going to tell students to go into STEM fields when they are doing as much as they can to do a number on the engineers in their employment?" said U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif). Peter Eckstein, the president of the IEEE-USA, said what the university is doing "is just one more sad example of corporations, a major university system in this case, importing non-Americans to eliminate American IT jobs." The university recently informed about 80 IT workers at its San Francisco campus, including contract employees and vendor contractors, that it hired India-based HCL, under a $50 million contract, to manage infrastructure and networking-related services. The affected employees will leave their jobs in February, after they train their contractor replacements.

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Cisco's Network Bugs Are Front and Center in Bankruptcy Fight
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 09:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's buggy-bugs department:
Reader Dharkfiber writes: Bloomberg is covering a story today about a hosting business that is now filing chapter 11 due to bugs in a switch. Good, bad, or ugly, is it time to admit that business really can't continue without IT? When will IT training become formal curriculum in schools?An excerpt from the Bloomberg report: There's buggy code in virtually every electronic system. But few companies ever talk about the cost of dealing with bugs, for fear of being associated with error-prone products. The trial, along with Peak Web's bankruptcy filings, promises a rare look at just how much or how little control a company may have over its own operations, depending on the software that undergirds it. Think of the corporate computers around the world rendered useless by a faulty update from McAfee in 2010, or of investment company Knight Capital, which lost $458 million in 30 minutes in 2012 -- and had to be sold months later -- after new software made erratic, automated stock market trades.
Peak Web, founded in 2001, had worked with companies including MySpace, JDate, EHarmony, and Uber. Under its $4 million-a-month contract with Machine Zone, which began on April 1, 2015, it had to keep Game of War running with fewer than 27 minutes of outages a year, court filings show. According to Machine Zone, the hosting service couldn't make it a month without an outage lasting almost an hour. Another in August of that year was traced to faulty cables and cooling fans, according to the publisher.

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AAPS Doctors Run Survey On Hillary Clinton's Health
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 09:22 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's turn-your-head-and-cough department:
schwit1 PR Newswire: Concerns about Hillary Clinton's health are "serious -- could be disqualifying for the position of President of the U.S.," say nearly 71% of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). About 20% said concerns were "likely overblown, but should be addressed as by full release of medical records." Only 2.7% responded that they were "just a political attack; I have confidence in the letter from her physician and see no cause for concern." While more than 81% were aware of her history of a concussion, only 59% were aware of the cerebral sinus thrombosis, and 52% of the history of deep venous thrombosis. More than 78% said the health concerns had received "not enough emphasis" in the media, and only 2.7% that there had been "too much emphasis." Nearly two-thirds said that a physician who had a concern about a candidate's fitness to serve for health reasons should "make the concerns known to the public." Only 11% said a physician should "keep silent unless he had personally examined the patient," and 10% that the candidate's health was "off limits for public discussion." A poll of 833 randomly selected registered voters by Gravis Marketing showed that nearly half (49%) were not aware of the "well documented major health issues that Hillary Clinton has." Nearly three-fourths (74%) were unaware of Bill Clinton's statement that Hillary suffered a "terrible" concussion requiring "six months of very serious work to get over." The majority (57%) thought that candidates should release their medical records.

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Facebook Co-Founder Commits $20 Million To Help Defeat Trump
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 08:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's my-money,-my-rules department:
Mat Honan reports: Dustin Moskovitz, the billionaire co-founder of Facebook and Asana, announced on Thursday that he intends to give $20 million to a "number of organizations" to help Democrats, and Hillary Clinton, win in 2016. Moskovitz published a fiercely-worded Medium post arguing that Republican nominee Donald Trump is "running on a zero-sum vision" and that his attempts to woo economically disenfranchised voters "are quite possibly a deliberate con, an attempt to rally energy and support without the ability or intention to deliver." He also wrote that while he and his wife, Cari Tuna, have previously voted for Democrats in presidential elections, this is the first time they endorsed a candidate and donated. The move represents a sharp break with Asana and Facebook board member, Peter Thiel, a Trump delegate who spoke at the Republican National Convention and earlier this week published an op-ed in the Washington Post in support of the Republican nominee.

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Uber Performs U-turn on Macau Exit Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 08:01 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's u-turn department:
Reuters reports:Global ride-hailing company Uber Technologies has aborted plans to pull out of Macau, citing support from residents in the Chinese-ruled gambling hub. Uber launched in Macau less than a year ago but announced at the end of August that it would withdraw from the former Portuguese colony because its drivers faced total fines of 10 million patacas ($1.25 million). The Macau government has taken a firm stance against Uber, with Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak stating that the service violated local laws. "After much deliberation, Uber will continue to serve the riders and drivers of Macau, the company said in a statement on its website. "The unprecedented amount of support we received over the past few weeks has been overwhelming."

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Norway's Largest Newspaper Accuses Mark Zuckerberg of Abusing Power After Facebook Deletes 'Napalm Girl' Post
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 06:41 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's powerful-editor department:
An anonymous shares a report on The Guardian:Norway's largest newspaper has published a front-page open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, lambasting the company's decision to censor a historic photograph of the Vietnam war and calling on Zuckerberg to recognize and live up to his role as "the world's most powerful editor." Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief and CEO of Aftenposten, accused Zuckerberg of thoughtlessly "abusing your power" over the social media site that has become a lynchpin of the distribution of news and information around the world, writing, "I am upset, disappointed -- well, in fact even afraid -- of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society. I am worried that the world's most important medium is limiting freedom instead of trying to extend it, and that this occasionally happens in an authoritarian way," he said. The controversy stems from Facebook's decision to delete a post by Norwegian writer Tom Egeland that featured The Terror of War, a Pulitzer prize-winning photograph by Nick Ut that showed children -- including the naked 9-year-old Kim Phuc -- running away from a napalm attack during the Vietnam war. Egeland's post discussed "seven photographs that changed the history of warfare" -- a group to which the "napalm girl" image certainly belongs.

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Hillary's Health Concerns Serious, Say Most Doctors Polled By AAPS
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 05:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's turn-your-head-and-cough department:
schwit1 PR Newswire: Concerns about Hillary Clinton's health are "serious -- could be disqualifying for the position of President of the U.S.," say nearly 71% of 250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). About 20% said concerns were "likely overblown, but should be addressed as by full release of medical records." Only 2.7% responded that they were "just a political attack; I have confidence in the letter from her physician and see no cause for concern." While more than 81% were aware of her history of a concussion, only 59% were aware of the cerebral sinus thrombosis, and 52% of the history of deep venous thrombosis. More than 78% said the health concerns had received "not enough emphasis" in the media, and only 2.7% that there had been "too much emphasis." Nearly two-thirds said that a physician who had a concern about a candidate's fitness to serve for health reasons should "make the concerns known to the public." Only 11% said a physician should "keep silent unless he had personally examined the patient," and 10% that the candidate's health was "off limits for public discussion." A poll of 833 randomly selected registered voters by Gravis Marketing showed that nearly half (49%) were not aware of the "well documented major health issues that Hillary Clinton has." Nearly three-fourths (74%) were unaware of Bill Clinton's statement that Hillary suffered a "terrible" concussion requiring "six months of very serious work to get over." The majority (57%) thought that candidates should release their medical records.

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Israeli DDoS Provider 'vDOS' Earned $600,000 In Two Years
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 04:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's great-power-comes-great-responsibility department:
pdclarry writes: Brian Krebs writes that he has obtained the hacked database of an Israeli company that is responsible for most of the large-scale DDoS attacks over the past (at least) 4 years. The vDOS database, obtained by KrebsOnSecurity.com at the end of July 2016, points to two young men in Israel as the principle owners and masterminds of the attack service, with support services coming from several young hackers in the United States. Records before 2012 were not in the dump, but Krebs believes that the service has actually been operating for decades. The report starts by saying, "vDos -- a so-called 'booter' service has earned in excess of $600,000 over the past two years helping customers coordinate more than 150,000 so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks designed to knock websites offline -- has been massively hacked, spilling secrets about tens of thousands of paying customers and their targets." In regard to how long the service has been operating, Krebs believes the service has been operating for decades "because the data leaked in the hack of vDOS suggests that the proprietors erased all digital records of attacks that customers launched between Sept. 2012 (when the service first came online) and the end of March 2016."

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Amazon Launches Updated Fire HD 8 Tablet Now With Alexa Voice Services
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 01:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fire-sale department:
MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: For the first time, Amazon's Alexa voice service is headed to a tablet. It's one of the standout features of Amazon's new Fire HD 8, a budget slate built to offer users all-day battery life, faster performance, and double the onboard storage of previous versions Fire HD tablets -- all for a low $90 price tag. The Fire HD 8 tablet's 8-inch HD (1280x800) IPS display is driven by a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM, and a capacious 4,750 mAh battery that is claimed to deliver up to 12 hours of mixed-use battery life. In addition, Alexa voice services works on the Fire HD 8 just as it does on other supported products, only here the voice assistant is conjured up by long pressing the home button. You can then task Alexa with reading the news, giving weather reports, playing songs, and so forth. The new Fire HD 8 32GB model is available to pre-order now for $90 with special offers (ads) or $105 without.

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North Korea Conducts Fifth Nuclear Test -- The Largest One Yet
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '16 at 11:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's man-made-earthquake department:
TMB writes: As reported by CNN, North Korea has conducted its 5th nuclear test, the largest yet at 10 kilotons.

Before the test was reported, Slashdot reader hcs_$reboot reported: A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has been detected in North Korea, amid reports the country had been preparing for its fifth nuclear test. South Korea's Yonhap news agency said it had been an "artificial quake." The U.S. Geological Survey said the tremor had been detected in the north-east of North Korea, close to a known nuclear test site. The earthquake occurred close to the surface, the USGS said. The shallow depth and precise timing of the quake suggests it was man-made. North Korea says it has tested a nuclear warhead and that the test showed the warhead "has been standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets."

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Today Marks The 50th Anniversary of 'Star Trek'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '16 at 08:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's happy-birthday department:
Dave Knott writes: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first television broadcast of Star Trek. The first episode of the science fiction series was aired on September 8, 1966. From its humble beginnings, Star Trek has gone on to become one of the best-loved and most successful television concepts of all time, an enduring pop culture touchstone that changed science fiction forever and spawned multiple series and movies that continue to this day. What does Star Trek mean to you? Are you a trekkie/trekker? What are your best memories of the series, and how has it affected your life?

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