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Ford Spent $200,000 To Dissect a Limited-Edition Tesla Model X
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's I-despise-you,-but-I-want-to-see-how-you-make-cars department:
An anonymous reader writes: Ford Motor paid a sum of $199,950 ($55,000 more than the retail price) to buy one of the first sport utility vehicles made by Tesla Motors, reports Bloomberg, citing vehicle registration documents. The white Model X is a Founders Series with a vehicle identification number indicating it was the 64th one made at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California. The vehicle, with Michigan plates, has been spotted recently in the Detroit area. Automakers often buy cars made by competitors for road testing and for 'tear-downs' to reveal components and materials and how they're put together. But it's unusual to pay such a high price -- almost $212,000 after Michigan sales tax and title -- for such an early model.Well, this $200,000 could shave off hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and development.

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Microsoft Stops Xbox 360 Production, Servers To Stay Online
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 09:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's it's-time-to-let-go department:
Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has stopped manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles. "Xbox 360 means a lot to everyone in Microsoft," wrote Phil Spencer, Xbox chief. "And while we've had an amazing run, the realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old are starting to creep up on us." The company says that it will, obviously, continue to sell the existing inventory of Xbox 360, a gaming console it launched on November 22, 2005. Xbox 360 game servers will also remain functional, the company said. Microsoft also assured that services such as Games with Gold and Deals with Gold will continue on Xbox 360, and if your console runs into a hardware issue, Xbox Support will take care of it. The Xbox 360 is currently available for purchase at $199.99, for a 500GB model with a copy of Forza Horizon 2. Microsoft added Xbox 360 backward compatibility to its current generation Xbox One console last year.

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Stephen Fry Urges Young To Flee 'Dystopian' Social Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 07:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's word-of-wisdom? department:
An anonymous reader writes: English writer, presenter and activist Stephen Fry has urged his fans to abandon social networks, comparing such platforms to 'dystopian' forms of government seen in 1970s sci-fi films such as Logan's Run and Soylent Green. In a 2,600-word essay, the comedian, who had over four million Twitter followers prior to deleting his account in February, also compared the 'surveilled conformity' of social media to the unreal state of society depicted in The Matrix. "Who most wants you to stay on the grid? The advertisers. Your boss. Human Resources. The advertisers. Your parents (irony of ironies -- once they distrusted it, now they need to tag you electronically, share your Facebook photos and message you to death). The advertisers. The government. Your local authority. Your school. Advertisers," he writes. "Well, if you're young and have an ounce of pride, doesn't that list say it all?"

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BT Funnels All Customers' Sent Emails Into One Guy's Inbox
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 07:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's poor-guy-Steve department:
Shaun Nichols, reporting for The Register: The UK's biggest broadband provider BT redirected its customers' outgoing emails to a single account for three hours on Tuesday. The telco said the flooded inbox was an internal account it uses for test purposes and not a random unlucky subscriber. While BT did not provide details on the reason for the disruption, it appears to be the result of testing or maintenance gone awry. "A small number of customers reported an issue sending emails earlier. Sorry about this, it's fixed now," BT said in a statement to El Reg. "The mailbox in the delivery failure notification was for internal/test use and appeared in error, sorry for any confusion that caused." The emails were going to an account which belonged to someone named Steve Webb. The Register reports that Steve Webb works for one of BT's contractors. For Webb, I fear, Tuesday wasn't a productive day.

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Data Center Management Darling Mesosphere Embraces Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 07:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's open-source-ftw department:
An anonymous reader writes: Cloud computing startup Mesosphere has opted to open-source its data center management platform. This move is backed by Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Cisco Systems and roughly 60 other tech partners. The three-year-old San Francisco company's datacenter operating system (DCOS) was built as an operating system for all services in a data center to function as one pool of resources. Capabilities include the quick, app store-like installation of more than 20 complex distributed systems, including HDFS, Apache Spark, Apache Kafka and Apache Cassandra, Mesosphere said in an announcement. Although some of the company's technologies were already available as open source, others were propriety until now. Mesosphere said it welcomes additional enterprises interested in partnering on this open source project.Wired has more details on this in its slightly enthusiastic report titled You want to build an empire like Google's? This is your OS.

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Europe Is Going After Google For Anti-Competitive Behavior With Android
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 06:31 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's windows-browser-war-all-over-again department:
Google now faces more competition charges in the European Union. The EU has accused Google of skewing the market against competitors with its Android mobile operating system. The 28-member state bloc's antitrust commissioner concluded in a preliminary decision that the search giant has abused its dominant position in the market by imposing restrictions on Android device makers. "What we found is that Google pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in internet search," said Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief. "The commission is concerned that Google's behaviour has harmed consumers by restricting competition and innovation," she added. "Rival search engines and mobile operating systems have not been able to compete on their merits. This is not good." Google has three months to respond to the aforementioned charges. The New York Times reports: Europe's antitrust charges might not necessarily lead to financial or other penalties against Google. If it is found to have broken the region's rules, though, the company may face fines of up to 10 percent of its global revenue, or roughly $7 billion, the maximum allowable amount. Google denies that it has broken European competition rules, saying that its dealings with cellphone manufacturers like Samsung and HTC, among others, are voluntary, and that rival mobile services are readily available on its Android software.According to EU, Google has breached antitrust rules by:1. requiring manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and Google's Chrome browser and requiring them to set Google Search as default search service on their devices, as a condition to license certain Google proprietary apps; 2. preventing manufacturers from selling smart mobile devices running on competing operating systems based on the Android open source code; 3. giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-install Google Search on their devices."The joke in Google's cafeteria today will be "let them use bing," said Andrew Parker, VC. "So disappointing that browser dominance on Android is the only thing that the EU can get worked up about," Blaine Cook, co-founder of Poetica noted. "The European Commission's statement of objections against Android lends further credibility to Oracle's $9B copyright claim," Florian Mueller, the founder of FOSS Patents blog wrote.

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Court Troubled By Surveillance Excesses At FBI, NSA
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 06:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's compliance-incidents department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Politico: In a just-released court opinion, a federal court judge overseeing government surveillance programs said he was "extremely concerned" about a series of incidents in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency deviated from court-approved limits on their snooping activities. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Thomas Hogan sharply criticized the two agencies over the episodes, referred to by intelligence gatherers as "compliance incidents." He also raised concerns that the government had taken years to bring the NSA-related issues to the court's attention and he said that delay might have run afoul of the government's duty of candor to the court. Yesterday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice to reveal whether or not they ever forced a company to provide technical surveillance assistance in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

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Utah Governor: 'Porn Is a Public Health Crisis'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 20 '16 at 02:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's public-health-crisis department:
An anonymous reader writes: Utah Governor Gary Herbert said on his Facebook page: "Pornography is a public health crisis. The problem is rampant, yet it thrives in secrecy and silence." He emitted this thought on signing a resolution which says porn is "a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms." In addition, it "perpetuates a sexually toxic environment." The resolution doesn't just stop there. It goes on to say "due to advances in technology and the universal availability of the Internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as hard core, but is now considered mainstream, pornography at an alarming rate." The resolution says pornography "equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with pleasure, which increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography." It requests "the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation." In the words of Gov. Gary Herbert, "Today's bills will start an open discussion." I couldn't agree more...

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Warmest March In Global Recordkeeping
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 11:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's weather-report department:
Layzej quotes a report from Weather Underground: March 2016 was by far the planet's warmest March since record keeping began in 1880. In the NOAA database, March 2016 came in a full 1.22C (2.20F) warmer than the 20th-century average for March, as well as 0.32C (0.58F) above the previous record for March, set in 2010. This is a huge margin for breaking a monthly global temperature record, as they are typically broken by just a few hundredths of a degree. Global satellite-measured temperatures also found this March to be the warmest -- the sixth consecutive monthly record in the UAH satellite data set. Gavin Schmidt, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has estimated that 2016 already has over a 99% chance of being the hottest year on record, based on the first three months alone.

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Google Admits That Google.com Is Partially Dangerous
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 08:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's irony-at-its-best department:
darthcamaro writes: For over a decade, Google's Safe Browsing technology has helped to alert users to dangerous sites, where malware and phishing exploits can be found. Apparently, one of those unsafe sites is none other than Google.com itself. According to eWeek, "Google's automatic spidering of the Web will catch some malicious sites, and by Google's own admission, there are sites in its index that will redirect users to locations that will attempt to install malware on their computers. Google also admits and warns that by way of Google.com (and the sites linked in its index), 'Attackers on this site might try to trick you to download software or steal your information (for example passwords, messages, or credit card information).'"

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Security Firm Discovers Secret Plan To Hack Numerous Websites and Forums
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 06:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's foiled-again department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to Softpedia, "Security researchers from SurfWatch Labs have shut down a secret plan to hack and infect hundreds or possibly thousands of forums and websites hosted on the infrastructure of Invision Power Services, makers of the IP.Board forum platform." The man behind this plan was a hacker known as AlphaLeon, maker of the Thanatos malware-as-a-service platform. AlphaLeon hacked IP.Board's customer hosting platform, and was planning to place an exploit kit that would infect the visitors to these websites with his Thanatos trojan, in order to grow his botnet. Some of the companies using IP.Board-hosted forums include Evernote, the NHL, the Warner Music Group, and Bethesda Softworks (Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Doom games).

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EFF Sues DOJ For Access To Secret Court Orders On Decryption
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 06:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's national-treasure department:
An anonymous reader writes: TechCrunch reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice to reveal documents that "show whether DOJ has ever forced a company like Google or Apple to provide technical surveillance assistance in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a federal court that issues secret surveillance warrants in national security cases and has been criticized for rubber-stamping NSA overreach." The EFF has been rejected in its attempt to gain access to the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. "Even setting aside the existence of technical assistance orders, there's no question that other, significant FISC opinions remain hidden from the public," EFF senior staff attorney Mark Rumold said in a statement regarding the lawsuit. "The government's narrow interpretation of its transparency obligations under USA FREEDOM is inconsistent with the language of the statute and Congress' intent. Congress wanted to bring an end to secret surveillance law, so it required that all significant FISC opinions be declassified and released. Our lawsuit seeks to hold DOJ accountable to the law." The full lawsuit can be read here.

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Animated Simulation Lets You Watch the Titanic Sink In Real Time
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's eerie-simulation department:
An anonymous reader writes: You can watch the Titanic sink in real time thanks to an animated simulation created with Unreal Engine 4 to promote the upcoming game "Titanic: Honor and Glory." The HuffingtonPost writes, "This simulation includes the iceberg strike, the ship coasting to a halt in the North Atlantic about 20 minutes later, lifeboats lowered into the water and even scenes of flooding in the interior corridors." The animation will even give you a play-by-play of what was happening aboard the ship at specific times. What some may find especially eerie about the simulation is the lack of people. Some 1,500 people died when the Titanic sunk, but the simulation shows no people. You can watch the video here.

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FBI Tells Congress It Needs Hackers To Keep Up With Tech Company Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 04:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's group-effort department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed: A high ranking technology official with the FBI told members of Congress Tuesday that the agency is incapable of cracking locked phones and devices on its own, even with additional resources. Amy Hess, the agency's executive assistant director for science and technology told a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that encrypted communications continue to pose a challenge to the American law enforcement, and to the safety of the American public. But when asked by lawmakers to provide a practical solution beyond the FBI's talking points, she said that the cooperation of technology companies would be necessary. According to the New York Times, "The FBI defended its hiring of a third-party company to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in last year's San Bernardino, Calif., mass shooting, telling some lawmakers on Tuesday that it needed to join with partners in the rarefied world of for-profit hackers as technology companies increasingly resist their demands for consumer information." They are stressing the importance of cooperation with tech companies and "third parties" to help fight terrorism, claiming they do not have the capabilities and resources available to crack encrypted devices. Congress is currently debating potential legislation on encryption.

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Viber Update Brings End-To-End Encryption and Hidden Chats
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-to-end-encryption department:
An anonymous reader writes: The new hip thing to do if you're a developer of a messaging app is to encrypt everyone's messages -- everyone's doing it! WhatsApp announced earlier this month all messages being sent through the service will now be end-to-end encrypted. Today, Viber has announcd it is doing something similar. All messages being sent through the latest version of the app will be end-to-end encrypted. To confirm messages are being encrypted, a padlock icon will appear in the chat UI. The latest version of the app is already available in the iOS App Store and Android Google Play Store. Viber is one of the largest messaging platforms with over 700 million users. Hidden chats can also be found in the new update. Users can hide select chats with people and access/display them with a PIN or Touch ID.

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Intel Confirms Major Layoff: 12,000 Worldwide, 11 Percent of Workforce
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 03:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's when-it-rains-it-pours department:
Tekla Perry writes: It's all about the cloud and the Internet of Things, says Intel explaining the planned layoffs, which will affect some 12,000 employees. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich promises in an email today to employees, that the "transition" will be handled with the "utmost dignity and respect." According to IEEE Spectrum, "Intel Corp. today announced that it would cut some 12,000 jobs -- that's 11 percent of its total workforce -- by mid-2017, with the majority of those affected getting the bad news within the next two months. In a press release, the company said the 'restructuring initiative' would 'accelerate its evolution from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and the billions of smart, connected computing devices,' and that the company would be increasing its investments in 'data center, IoT memory, and connectivity businesses.'"

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Cheaper Vizio 4K TVs With Built-in Google Cast Are Here
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 02:01 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's Xiaomi-range-prices department:
An anonymous reader cites a Mashable report: Cutting-edge technology always comes at a premium for early adopters, but it never stays premium for long. After launching its new P-Series 4K TVs with built-in Google Cast last month, Vizio is bringing the feature to its lower-priced TVs. The 2016 M-Series 4K TVs start at $849.99 for a 50-inch and rocket up to $3,999.99 for an 80-inch. They support high dynamic range (HDR) with Dolby Vision. The E-Series 4K TVs are much cheaper. They start at $469.99 for a 43-inch and go up to $1,699.99 for a 70-inch. Vizio's also selling non-4K full HD E-series TVs with SmartCast starting at $229.99 for a 32-inch and going up to $369.99 for a 43-inch.

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Up To 35,000 Gallons of Nuclear Waste Leak At Washington State Storage Site
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 02:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's leak-of-the-environmental-variety department:
An anonymous reader writes: Over the weekend, thousands of gallons of radioactive waste have leaked at a nuclear storage tank in Washington State. One worker called the leak "catastrophic." RT writes, "The Hanford Nuclear Reservation was originally constructed in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project." It produced plutonium for weapons, including the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The U.S. Department of Energy started removing what was left in the tank in March when workers discovered leaked waste had reached a depth of 8.4 inches. The Department of Energy calls the leak "anticipated," posing no threat to the public. Mike Geffre, the worker who discovered the leak, told King5 News, "This is catastrophic. This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history. The double shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors (to hold waste safely from people and the environment)." The double-wall storage tank AY-102 has been slowly leaking since 2011. It wasn't until March of this year that the U.S. Department of Energy began pumping the waste leftover in the tank.

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VPN Blockade Backlash Doesn't Hurt Us, Says Netflix
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 02:01 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's pull-the-blockade-entirely-then department:
Ernesto Van der Sar, writing for TorrentFreak: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that the recent crackdown on VPN and proxy users hasn't hurt the company's results. The VPN blockade only affects a small but vocal minority, according to Hastings, and there are no signs that hordes of subscribers are abandoning ship. Earlier this year Netflix announced that it would increase its efforts to block customers who circumvent geo-blockades. As a result, it has become harder to use VPN services and proxies to access Netflix content from other countries, something various movie studios have repeatedly called for. When asked about the impact of the VPN changes on the results, Hastings brushed the issue aside as a minor detail that doesn't impact the bigger picture in any way. "It's a very small but quite vocal minority. So it's really inconsequential to us, as you could see in the Q1 results." Earlier this year, Hastings also admitted that a VPN-blocking policy might be impossible to enforce.

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Volkswagen 'Dieselgate' Software Developed At Audi In 1999, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's alright-then department:
An anonymous reader cites a report on Reuters: German carmaker Audi created so-called defeat devices which cut emissions in 1999, years before parent company Volkswagen used them to cheat diesel emissions tests, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday. VW, Europe's largest automaker, admitted in September it had manipulated the engines of around 11 million diesel cars, including its VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat brands. Engineers at Audi developed software capable of turning off certain engine functions in 1999, but it was never used by the VW luxury division, the newspaper said in an advance release of an article due to be published on Wednesday, which cited industry and company sources. Six years later, when VW engineers at the firm's Wolfsburg headquarters were unable to bring nitrogen oxide emissions below legal thresholds, they started to install the software developed by Audi, Handelsblatt said.

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