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Microsoft Removes the 'X' From Windows 10 Update Leaving No Way Out
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 03:44 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's lack-of-options department:
simpz writes: The Register reports that Microsoft has changed the Windows 10 update dialog and no longer shows the "X" close button. They say once agreed to there is no obvious back-out method and it is now out of step with Microsoft's own documentation on this. They have a screenshot of this. As noted above, the latest move is out of step with Microsoft's Knowledge Base documentation, which says you can re-schedule your upgrade.

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IT Layoffs At Insurance Firm Are A 'Never-Ending Funeral'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 03:44 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mass-layoffs department:
dcblogs quotes a report from Computerworld: The IT layoffs at MassMutual Financial Group will happen over a period of many months, and it's going to be painful for employees. Employees say they are training overseas workers via web conferencing sessions. There are contractors in the office as well, some of whom may be working on temporary H-1B visas. Employees say they notice more foreign workers in the hallways. Approximately 100 employees are affected. The employees are angry but can't show it. A loss of composure, anything other than quiet acquiescence, means risking two weeks of severance pay for each year on the job. But maintaining composure is hard to do. "I know a few people that are probably close to a breakdown," said one IT employee. [A second IT employee described the emotional impact of the layoffs on employees in this way: "It's like a never-ending funeral."] Intel also confirmed major layoffs in April, which will affect some 12,000 employees or 11 percent of its total workforce.

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At Least 33 US Cities Used Water Testing 'Cheats' Over Lead Concerns
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 02:18 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's GameShark department:
An anonymous reader writes: In an exclusive report via The Guardian, investigators found there to be at least 33 cities across 17 U.S. states that have used water testing "cheats" in an effort to cover up potentially dangerous levels of lead. The investigation was launched after the toxic water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and found that 21 of these cities used the same water testing methods that resulted in criminal charges against three government employees in Flint. Such cities include Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee. The Guardian reports: "The Guardian investigation concerned thousands of documents detailing water testing practices over the past decade. They include: Despite warnings of regulators and experts, water departments in at least 33 cities used testing methods over the past decade that could underestimate lead found in drinking water. Officials in two major cities -- Philadelphia and Chicago -- asked employees to test water safety in their own homes. Two states -- Michigan and New Hampshire -- advised water departments to give themselves extra time to complete tests so that if lead contamination exceeded federal limits, officials could re-sample and remove results with high lead levels. Some cities denied knowledge of the locations of lead pipes, failed to sample the required number of homes with lead plumbing of refused to release lead pipe maps, claiming it was a security risk."

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There's a Stuxnet Copycat, and We Have No Idea Where It Came From
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 02:18 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's digital-weapon-round-two department:
Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: After details emerged of Stuxnet, arguably the world's first digital weapon, there were concerns that other hackers would copy its techniques. Now, researchers have disclosed a piece of industrial control systems (ICS) malware inspired heavily by Stuxnet. Although the copycat malware -- dubbed IRONGATE by cybersecurity company FireEye -- only works in a simulated environment it, like Stuxnet, replaces certain types of files, and was seemingly written to target a specific control system configuration. [...] IRONGATE works within a simulated Siemens environment called PLCSIM, used for testing programs before they are pushed out into the field. Like Stuxnet, IRONGATE replaces a Dynamic Link Library (DLL), a small collection of code that can be used by different programs at the same time, with a malicious one of its own. IRONGATE's DLL records five seconds of traffic from the Siemens' system to the user interface, and replays it over again, potentially tricking whoever is monitoring the system into thinking everything is fine, while the malware might manipulate something else in the background.Dark Reading's coverage on this is also worth a read.

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How The FAA Shot Down 'Uber For Planes'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 02:18 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's take-to-the-skies department:
SonicSpike quotes a report from the Foundation for Economic Education that first appeared at Forbes: Imagine traveling from Boston to Martha's Vineyard in under an hour and for less than $70. Believe it or not, this option was available from Flytenow's website or app, by looking for a general aviation pilot who was making that trip, and then splitting the cost with that pilot and whoever else was sharing the flight. Entrepreneurs were bringing private air travel to the masses until Flytenow's leadership met with members of the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure that they were complying with all laws and regulations. Instead of embracing this service, the FAA used tortuous logic to ban Flytenow and other online flight-sharing websites because it considered these to be "common carriers" (such as Delta Airlines). Private pilots cannot possibly comply with the myriad regulations that apply to the large airlines. In what follows, Flytenow founders Alan Guichard and Matt Voska explain why the federal government should make the FAA allow flight sharing to get off the ground.

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Wal-Mart Says It Is 6-9 Months From Using Drones To Check Warehouse Inventory
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 12:47 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Multinational retail corporation Wal-mart announced on Thursday that it is six to nine months from starting to use drones to check warehouse inventories in the United States. The drones, which are capable of operating on autopilot, fly through the aisles snapping 30 images a second, and deliver real-time data to employees about whether the correct product is shelved in the proper place. From a Reuters report: Finding ways to more efficiently warehouse, transport and deliver goods to customers has taken on new importance for Wal-Mart as it deals with wages costs while seeking to beat back price competition and boost online sales. Wal-Mart said the camera and technology on top of the drones have been custom-built for the retailer.

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Startups Can't Explain What They Do Because They're Addicted To Meaningless Jargon
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 12:47 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's adjectives-for-dummies department:
Josh Horwitz of Quartz, who is attending RISE Conference, has an observation to share about the startups he is seeing at the event: As startup culture has gone global and transcended stereotypes, though, one of its defining traits has stuck around. Startup jargon is alive and well, and it seems to be getting worse. "Content." "Platforms." "Synergy." "End-to-end." "Solutions." It's nearly impossible to find a startup at the conference that doesn't resort to jargon when describing itself. These words sound technical and informed. But they mean nothing, and they make it difficult for ordinary people to understand what a company actually does. In an effort to either sound smart and attract investors, or to simply dress up an otherwise boring product, startups that rely too much on jargon end up alienating the users they want to attract.Also in the report, Horowitz talks about an app called Cubes, and how it was pitched to him. "We visually organize your email and cloud-based content for ultra fast access. It's visual storytelling with any type of content." The app essentially retrieves non-text attachments from one's email or Dropbox account, takes screenshots of those things and bundles them together in a standalone app.

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True Desktop Class Nvidia GTX 10-Series Cards Coming To Notebooks In Few Months
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 11:24 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-efficient-cards department:
If you're in the market for a new gaming notebook, you might want to consider waiting a few months. PCGamer blog, citing its sources, report that Nvidia plans to release its new 10-series chips for notebooks. From the report: The kick is, they won't be M versions of desktop GPUs. They will be the same chips used on the desktops, just operating at a lower TDP -- we're told there will be the same number of shader units, etc. We're also told that Nvidia will not go back to producing separate M versions of its desktop GPUs, which is good news for those looking for better gaming performance on the road or in a desktop replacement type notebook.

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Linux Kernel 4.6.1 Released; Some Users Report Boot Issue
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 11:24 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's new,-shiny,-and-brittle-code department:
Marius Nestor, reporting for Softpedia (condensed): Linux kernel 4.6.1 is already here, only two weeks after the official launch of the Linux 4.6 kernel series. For those not in the loop, Linux 4.6 branch is the latest and most advanced kernel branch available right now for GNU/Linux operating systems, but it looks like its adoption is a little slow at the moment. "I'm announcing the release of the 4.6.1 kernel. All users of the 4.6 kernel series must upgrade," says Greg Kroah-Hartman. "The updated 4.6.y git tree can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser." Some users are apparently facing boot failure issue on the latest version. An anonymous tipster tells Slashdot: Several folks on the web have reported a regression in the latest Linux kernels, starting with 4.6.1 and including the 4.7 beta that prevents booting and drops to busybox, at least the one supplied by the Ubuntu PPA. The boot sequence ends with "address family not supported by protocol: error getting socket" and then, "error initializing udev control socket" (screenshot here).

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Top Windows OEM Lenovo Urges Customers To Uninstall Accelerator Application
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 11:24 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Two-Factor Authentication service Duo Security reported earlier that third-party updating tools found on Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus (the top five Windows OEMs) are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attack. Hours later, Lenovo, the world's largest Windows OEM by shipment figure, has issued an advisory in which it urges users to uninstall Accelerator Application, which comes preinstalled on many of its laptops and desktops models. Fortune reports: Specifically, as Lenovo said in an advisory notice, the auto-update feature in its Accelerator Application software can be exploited by a "man-in-the-middle attack" -- someone could get in between the computer and the server pushing out the updated software, fooling the computer into installing a fake version of the update instead of the genuine article. Such attacks can allow anything from surreptitious malware installation to the insertion of surveillance capabilities, or even the hijacking of PCs.

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Top Windows OEM Lenovo Urges Customers To Uninstall Accelerator Application Application
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 09:38 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's security-woes department:
Two-Factor Authentication service Duo Security reported earlier that third-party updating tools found on Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Asus (the top five Windows OEMs) are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attack. Hours later, Lenovo, the world's largest Windows OEM by shipment figure, has issued an advisory in which it urges users to uninstall Accelerator Application, which comes preinstalled on many of its laptops and desktops models. Fortune reports: Specifically, as Lenovo said in an advisory notice, the auto-update feature in its Accelerator Application software can be exploited by a "man-in-the-middle attack" -- someone could get in between the computer and the server pushing out the updated software, fooling the computer into installing a fake version of the update instead of the genuine article. Such attacks can allow anything from surreptitious malware installation to the insertion of surveillance capabilities, or even the hijacking of PCs.

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UCLA Shooter Accused Victim Of Stealing His Computer Code
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 09:38 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's a-sad-state-of-affairs department:
The gunman who shot and killed a UCLA professor on Wednesday has been identified as Mainak Sarkar, said Los Angeles police. Sarkar, a former doctoral student accused the vicitim William Klug, 39, of stealing his computer code and giving it to someone else. According to reports, Sarkar used a 9mm semiautomatic pistol to shoot the professor, and then turned the gun on himself. A March 10 blog post by Sarkar, now archived reads: William Klug, UCLA professor is not the kind of person when you think of a professor. He is a very sick person. I urge every new student coming to UCLA to stay away from this guy. [...] My name is Mainak Sarkar. I was this guy's PhD student. We had personal differences. He cleverly stole all my code and gave it another student. He made me really sick. Your enemy is your enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm. Be careful about whom you trust.

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Predicts People On Mars In 9 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's block-the-date department:
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says his company should be able to land humans on Mars in nine years from now. "If things go according to plan, we should be able to -- we should be able to -- launch people in 2024, with arrival in 2025," Musk said. "That's the game plan," he added. CNN Money reports: Musk said he's planning to share an architectural plan for the colonization of Mars at a conference in September. The tech conference audience was enthralled by Musk's comments. He told interviewers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg that plotting travel throughout the Solar System, and "ultimately other star systems," provides the kind of inspiration that makes life worth living.

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Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It's Giving It Away for Free
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 08:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-solar-energy department:
An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: Chile's solar industry has expanded so quickly that it's giving electricity away for free. Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that's on track to beat last year's total of 192 days, according to Chile's central grid operator. While that may be good for consumers, it's bad news for companies that own power plants struggling to generate revenue and developers seeking financing for new facilities. The main culprit is the northern part of the country, in the Atacama desert. Chile's increasing energy demand, pushed by booming mine production and economic growth, helped spur the development of 29 solar farms, with another 15 planned, on the country's central power grid. Now the nation faces slowing demand for energy as copper production slows amid a global glut, and those power plants are oversupplying a region that lacks transmission lines to distribute the electricity elsewhere.

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Expect Substantial Slowdown In Smartphone Shipment: IDC
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 06:55 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's what-goes-up-usually-comes-down department:
Brittany A. Roston, writing for Slashgear: In 2014, smartphone shipments grew a massive 27.8-percent, and the next year, 2015, smartphone shipments grew by 10.5-percent. The International Data Corporation (IDC) expects that we'll see a substantial slowdown in shipments this year, with 2016 (possibly) ending up at around only 3.1-percent. According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, this year will probably see about 1.48 billion smartphone shipments, a number that is estimated to climb to 1.84 billion by 2020.According to IDC, Android will see a YoY (year-on-year) growth of 6.2%, whereas Apple's iOS will drop by 2% this year. Also this year, the average selling price of an Android handset will be $218, which IDC expects to fall below $200 in 2019.

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93% Of Phishing Emails Are Now Ransomware
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 06:55 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's growing-security-trend department:
According to the latest data from security firm PhishMe, 93% of all phishing emails as of the end of March contained encryption ransomware. The numbers underscore a growing trend in the security space as ransomware instances in phishing emails grew up by 56% since December last year. From a report: The anti-phishing vendor also counted the number of different variants of phishing emails that it saw. Ransomware accounted for 51 percent of all variants in March, up from just 29 percent in February and 15 percent in January. The skyrocketing growth is due to that fact that ransomware is getting easier and easier to send and that it offers a quick and easy return on investment. Other types of cyberattacks typically take more work to monetize. Stolen credit card numbers have to be sold and used before the cards are canceled, for example. Identity theft takes even more of a time commitment.

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Apple Releases First Preview of Swift 3.0
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 05:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's to-be-continued department:
DaGoatSpanka quotes a report from MacRumors: Apple yesterday released the first preview build of Swift 3.0, a major update to Apple's open source Swift programming language. Swift 3.0's official release is expected to come in late 2016 after proposed changes are finalized. The Swift 3.0 preview can be downloaded from the official Swift website. There are versions of Swift 3.0 available for Xcode 7.2, Ubuntu 14.04, and Ubuntu 15.10. [Swift 3.0 is not source compatible with Swift 2.2 as it introduces source-breaking changes, but going forward, the goal is to make Swift 3.0 source compatible with future Swift language updates.] Swift 3.0 will likely be shown at Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

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Twitter Ignites Censorship Debate After Removal Of Parody Putin Account
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 04:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's drawing-the-line department:
Twitter has suspended at least five popular anti-Kremlin Twitter accounts on its microblogging social network. The move has angered fans of the accounts and reignited the speculation on censorship on the platform. One such account parodied Russia President Vladimir Putin. The Next Web reports that some of the accounts have been brought back to function amid criticism from their respective fans. Parody accounts have resided in the gray area ever since the early days of Twitter. The social network's official ToS permits users to run a parody account of a celebrity provided they explicitly mention on their profile that it's a fake account. From the report: After their removal, social media users took two Twitter to voice their displeasure with the hashtag #NoGulagForDarthPutinKGB -- a reference to the repressive Soviet state -- and it's seemingly worked, as both accounts are back today. Of course, for how long, and why they were removed in the first place are questions that remain unanswered.

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Bill Gates: AI Is The 'Holy Grail'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 01:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Monty-Python department:
An anonymous reader writes: At the Code Conference on Wednesday, Bill Gates balanced his fears of artificial intelligence with praise. He talked about two of the challenges AI will pose: a loss of existing jobs, and making sure humans remain in control of super-intelligent machines. Gates, as well as many other experts in the field, predict there will be an excess of labor resources as robots and AI systems take over. He plans to talk with others about ideas to combat the threat of AI controlling humans, specifically noting work being done at Stanford. Even with such threats, Gates called AI the "holy grail" as he envisions a future "with machines that are capable and more capable than human intelligence." Gates said, "We've made more progress in the last five years than at any time in history. [...] The dream is finally arriving. This is what it was all leading up to."

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Sundar Pichai Says Google Will Be 'More Opinionated' About Nexus Design
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '16 at 12:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's dazzling-handsets,-stock-Android department:
Jacob Kastrenakes, reporting for The Verge: Google intends to take more control over the Nexus line going forward. During an interview at the Code Conference today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that his company would "be more opinionated about the design of the phones," particularly where Google sees a need to "push the devices forward." That sounds like he could be referring to Google's desire to highlight new technologies with its Nexus devices. [...] But what Pichai focused on during the interview was software. We're used to getting stock Android on Nexus phones, but Pichai says that could change. "You'll see us hopefully add more features on top of Android on Nexus phones," he said. "There's a lot of software innovation to be had."

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