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Canadian Man Invented a Wheel That Can Make Cars Move Sideways
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '16 at 04:56 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-parallel-parking department:
An anonymous reader writes: Canadian man William Liddiard invented a wheel that allows vehicles to move sideways. "True all-way drive for anything with wheels," Liddiard says in an online writeup for his successful prototype of "omni-directional" wheels. They consist of a specialized roller-equipped rim that can move horizontally and a tire that is rounded like a donut. "This is a world first bolt-on application for anything with wheels," wrote Liddiard. "Now you can drive in all directions, and turn on the spot, when needed." His demo video titled "you've never seen a car do this...," has received more than 1.1 million views since it was uploaded on May 10th. The wheels are a "proof of concept" prototype right now, but Liddiard says the design would allow them to be made as durable and safe as standard automotive wheels. Omni-directional wheels are nothing new, though they are typically only used in wheelchairs, robotics and other small-scale applications. Honda Motor Co. debuted an omni-directional wheel at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, but it wasn't for a full-sized car -- it was for a Segway-style mobility device. "My wheel can hold ten times more than the other [wheels], while maintaining speed," Liddiard told Postmedia in an interview earlier this year. He's currently trying to sell his invention to a major tire or automotive company.

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Amazon's Alexa Virtual Assistant Can Now Order Millions of Prime Products For You
Posted by News Fetcher on July 02 '16 at 12:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's voice-control department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: Amazon added a new skill for its voice assistant Alexa on Friday, and it could help the e-commerce giant add even more revenue to its already billions in yearly sales from selling everything from toilet paper to toothpaste. With today's update, now you can tell Alexa you want to buy any one of its tens of millions of items that are sold on Amazon. The one caveat is that the item must be a Prime product, meaning it is fulfilled by Amazon and can be shipped to shopper's doorsteps within two days or less. So if your daughter or son wants a Elsa doll from Disney's Frozen movie, you simply ask, "Alexa, please order the Elsa doll from Frozen," and Alexa will suggest a toy that fits that description. You then say "yes" to continue the transaction, and Alexa will take care of charging your credit card, and shipping the product to your home. Quartz posted a story in early June in which it documents several concerns from parents that Amazon Echo is conditioning the kids of this generation to be rude.

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DVD Player Found In Tesla Autopilot Crash, Says Florida Officials
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 08:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's Hogwarts-School-of-Witchcraft-and-Wizardry department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: A digital video disc player was found in the Tesla car that was on autopilot when its driver was killed in a collision with a truck in May, Florida Highway Patrol officials said on Friday. "There was a portable DVD player in the vehicle," said Sergeant Kim Montes of the FHP in a telephone interview. She said there was no camera found, mounted on the dash or of any kind, in the wreckage. A lawyer for a truck driver involved in the accident with the Tesla told Reuters his investigators had spoken to a witness who said the DVD player was playing a "Harry Potter" video after the accident, but the lawyer was unable to verify that beyond the witness account. Lawyers for the family of the victim, 40-year-old Joshua Brown, released a statement Friday saying the family is cooperating with the investigations "and hopes that information learned from this tragedy will trigger further innovation which enhances the safety of everyone on the roadways." Lawyers for the family of the victim, 40-year-old Joshua Brown, released a statement Friday saying the family is cooperating with the investigations "and hopes that information learned from this tragedy will trigger further innovation which enhances the safety of everyone on the roadways." Tesla said in a statement Friday, "Autopilot is by far the most advanced driver assistance system on the road, but it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle and does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility."

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Facebook Messenger Now Has 11,000 Bots
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 05:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's breaking-news department:
An anonymous reader writes: Three months after Facebook announced a platform for building bots that operate inside its Messenger app, Messenger chief David Marcus said in a blog post that more than 11,000 bots have been created. He also said 23,000 more developers have signed up to use tools provided by Wit.ai, a Facebook acquisition that automates conversational interactions between users and businesses. Facebook has yet to announce any numbers regarding how many users actually use the bots, but developers appear to be actively engaged. Facebook has said that bots will rapidly improve as more developers create them. Marcus did announce several new features for the platform. Bots can now respond with GIFs, audio, video, and other files "to help a brand's personality come across," Marcus said. They can now link Messenger profiles to customer accounts, such as a bank or online merchant. They're also getting some new UI elements: "quick replies" that suggest interactions for the user to help them set their expectations, and a "persistent menu" option for bots that displays available commands at all times so users don't have to remember them. A star system is now in place for users to rate bots and provide feedback directly to developers.

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Security Researcher Publishes How-To Guide To Crack Android Full Disk Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 05:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's security-flaw department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google first implemented Full Disk Encryption in Android by default with Android 5.0 Lollipop in an effort to prevent criminals or government agencies from gaining unauthorized access to one's data. What it does is it encodes all the data on a user's Android device before it's ever written to disk using a user's authentication code. Once it is encrypted, it can only be decrypted if the user enters his/her password. However, security researcher Gal Beniamini has discovered issues with the full disk encryption. He published a step-by-step guide on how one can break down the encryption protections on Android devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The source of the exploit is posted on GitHub. Android's disk encryption on devices with Qualcomm chips is based only on your password. However, Android uses your password to create a 2048-bit RSA key (KeyMaster) derived from it instead. Qualcomm specifically runs in the Snapdragon TrustZone to protect critical functions like encryption and biometric scanning, but Beniamini discovered that it's possible to exploit a security flaw and retrieve the keys from TrustZone. Qualcomm runs a small kernel in TrustZone to offer a Trusted Execution Environment known as Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment (QSEE), which allows small apps to run inside of QSEE away from the main Android OS. Beniamini has detailed a way for attackers to exploit an Android kernel security flaw to load their own QSEE app inside this secure environment, thereby exploiting privilege escalation flaw and hijacking of the complete QSEE space, including the keys generated for full disk encryption. The researcher also said Qualcomm or OEMs can comply with government or law enforcement agencies to break the FDE: "Since the key is available to TrustZone, Qualcomm and OEMs [Original Equipment Manufacturers] could simply create and sign a TrustZone image which extracts the KeyMaster keys and flash it to the target device," Beniamini wrote. "This would allow law enforcement to easily brute force the FDE password off the device using the leaked keys."

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Man Who Teaches People How To Repair Their MacBooks Alludes To Apple Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 05:53 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's under-attack department:
New submitter alzoron writes: After the failure of New York's Fair Repair Act, independent third-party unauthorized Apple repair shops seem to be under attack. Louis Rossmann, owner of Rossman Repair Group, INC has uploaded a somewhat vague video alluding to his Youtube site, where he posts videos about repairing out of warranty repairs, possibly being shut down. Several sources (Reddit, Mac Kung Fu, 9to5Mac) have been speculating about this and whether or not Apple is behind this. Game Revolution reported on the video (Link is to cache version of the site since the report has since been removed), breaking down each section of the video. 6:52: Louis informs viewers that they can download YouTube videos. 7:41: Louis mentions that YouTube channels have a "finite lifespan," often because a large corporation has the power and money to shut them down. 8:42: Louis shares that he's happy when he's lived a difficult life so that he can be strong for the immense challenge that is ahead. 10:06: Louis shares that he is going to have to fight from his point onward. 11:22: Louis states that all his videos may soon be gone. 11:32: Louis mentions that his business may disappear. Given what Louis has mentioned, it's apparent that Louis has been threatened by Apple likely for condemning its policies to a growing subscriber base, but also for showing users how to repair its hardware without going through Apple support.
UPDATE 7/1/16: The headline has been updated to clarify that the lawsuit is unconfirmed. We'll continue to update the story as it develops.

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Senate Staffers Will No Longer Be Issued BlackBerry Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
An anonymous reader writes: Senate staffers will no longer be issued BlackBerry devices. According to Politico, a note sent to staffers on Wednesday said the Senate had no choice after BlackBerry decided to discontinue devices running its own BlackBerry 10 software. "Once we have exhausted our current in-house stock, new device procurements will be limited, while supplies last, to warranty exchanges only," reads the Sergeant at Arms note. The 600 BlackBerry smartphones currently in the Senate's possession will be supported for the "foreseeable future." The news comes after a report that President Obama has ditched his BlackBerry handset in favor of a "hardened" version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that is supported by the Defense Information Systems Agency. It also follows a report that the Canadian smartphone maker lost $670 million in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year. During BlackBerry's first quarter, the company sold roughly 500,000 devices at an average price of $290 each. They will apparently need to sell about three million phones at an average of $300 each to break even.

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Slackware 14.2 Released, Still Systemd-Free
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 04:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's take-a-licking-and-keep-on-ticking department:
sombragris writes: Slackware, the oldest GNU/Linux distribution still in active maintenance, was released just minutes ago. Slackware is noted for being the most Unix-like of all Linux distributions. While sporting kernel 4.4.14 and GCC 5.3, other goodies include Perl 5.22.2, Python 2.7.11, Ruby 2.2.5, Subversion 1.9.4, git-2.9.0, mercurial-3.8.2, KDE 4.14.21 (KDE 4.14.3 with kdelibs-4.14.21) Xfce 4.12.1... and no systemd! According to the ChangeLog: "The long development cycle (the Linux community has lately been living in
"interesting times," as they say) is finally behind us, and we're proud to
announce the release of Slackware 14.2. The new release brings many updates
and modern tools, has switched from udev to eudev (no systemd), and adds
well over a hundred new packages to the system. Thanks to the team, the
upstream developers, the dedicated Slackware community, and everyone else
who pitched in to help make this release a reality." Grab the ISOs at a mirror near you. Enjoy! The torrents page can be found here.

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Microsoft Will Be Largest Infrastructure As A Service Vendor By 2019, Says Morgan Stanley Survey
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 03:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-sheriff-in-town department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via GeekWire: According to Morgan Stanley's 2016 CIO Survey of 100 CIOs (75 CIOs based in the U.S., and 25 based in Europe), Microsoft's Azure will overtake Amazon Web Services (AWS) by 2019 to become the largest Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The survey finds that roughly 31 percent of the CIOs will be using Azure for IaaS, compared to roughly 30 percent using AWS. Today, roughly 21 percent are using AWS and 12 percent are using Azure. According to the survey, Azure is already leading AWS in PaaS, used by about 18 percent of the respondents, versus AWS's 16 percent. Azure's lead will grow slightly by 2019, growing 9.8 percent versus 6.4 percent. Nearly 30 percent of all applications will be migrated to the public cloud by the end of 2017, up from 14 percent today, the survey said. On-premises apps will decline to 58 percent, from 71 percent today. Predictably, hardware vendors, including conventional and flash storage makers, will continue to suffer as their market is eaten by the cloud. Hardware spending growth is down this year to 3.2 percent, from 3.4 percent last year. Microsoft recently announced it will be entering the legal marijuana industry. It will partner with Los Angeles-based startup Kind on a system for tracking the legal growing and sale of marijuana, with Microsoft powering the software through its Azure cloud computing service.

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Apple Is Suing A Man That Teaches People To Repair Their MacBooks
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 03:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's under-attack department:
New submitter alzoron writes: After the failure of New York's Fair Repair Act, independent third-party unauthorized Apple repair shops seem to be under attack. Louis Rossmann, owner of Rossman Repair Group, INC has uploaded a somewhat vague video alluding to his Youtube site, where he posts videos about repairing out of warranty repairs, possibly being shut down. Several sources (Reddit, Mac Kung Fu, 9to5Mac) have been speculating about this and whether or not Apple is behind this. Game Revolution reported on the video (Link is to cache version of the site since the report has since been removed), breaking down each section of the video. 6:52: Louis informs viewers that they can download YouTube videos. 7:41: Louis mentions that YouTube channels have a "finite lifespan," often because a large corporation has the power and money to shut them down. 8:42: Louis shares that he's happy when he's lived a difficult life so that he can be strong for the immense challenge that is ahead. 10:06: Louis shares that he is going to have to fight from his point onward. 11:22: Louis states that all his videos may soon be gone. 11:32: Louis mentions that his business may disappear. Given what Louis has mentioned, it's apparent that Louis has been threatened by Apple likely for condemning its policies to a growing subscriber base, but also for showing users how to repair its hardware without going through Apple support.

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Frontier Teams With AT&T To Block Google Fiber Access To Utility Poles
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 01:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unforeseen-consequences department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Frontier submitted a court filing last week supporting ATT's efforts to sue local governments in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber and similar companies access to utility poles. They're concerned the ordinances will spread to other states. Frontier's filing said, "the issues raised by the case may have important implications for Frontier's business and may impact the development of law in jurisdictions throughout the country where Frontier operates." The ordinance in Louisville lets companies like Google Fiber install wires even if ATT doesn't respond to requests or rejects requests to attach lines. Companies don't have to notify ATT when they want to move ATT's wires to make room for their own wires, assuming the work won't cause customer outages. ATT claims that the ordinance lets competitors "seize ATT's property." Frontier is urging the court to consider the nationwide implications of upholding Louisville's ordinance, saying Louisville's rule "is unprecedented" because "it drastically expands the rights of third parties to use privately owned utility poles, giving non-owners unfettered access to [a] utility's property without the [...] utility in some cases even having knowledge that such third-party intrusion on its facilities is occurring." Frontier said companies should be required to negotiation access with the owners if they didn't pay to install the utility poles. They urged the court to deny Louisville Metro's motion to dismiss ATT's complaint.

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HP Rolls Out Device-as-a-Service for PCs, Printers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 01:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's interesting-moves department:
HP says it plans to provide companies with personal computers and other devices as part of a service. Corporate customers of HP's new initiative dubbed "device-as-a-service" will be able to pay a fixed monthly fee per employee for devices, eliminating the need to pay the retail cost upfront for hardware. From a report on eWeek:The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company unveiled a DaaS (device-as-a-service) initiative, one that has already been up and running with several of its clients for the last few months. As more and more millennials come into the work force, they expect to see light, fast, small, and up-to-date tools to use, because that's what they're used to, and their tools are like a badge of honor, HPI's Vice-President and General Manager of Support Services Bill Avey said. "Older employees might want bigger screen and keyboards. The point is, work tools need to fit the work force, and as workforces become more diverse, the tools must adjust fit the needs," Avey said. Otherwise, Avey said, employees will find workarounds in so-called shadow IT (using their own laptops, smartphones, tablets and applications) to get the job done -- which is always a nightmare for enterprise security professionals.

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Security Researcher Gets Threats Over Amazon Review
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 12:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's topsy-turvy-world department:
Kate Conger, reporting for TechCrunch:Amazon retailers sometimes go to extreme lengths to guarantee good reviews, as security developer Matthew Garrett recently discovered when he wrote a one-star review of an internet-connected electric socket. When Garrett politely pointed out that the socket in question was woefully insecure, he received emails from the manufacturer claiming that the review would get employees fired and that other reviewers were campaigning to get Garrett's review taken down. The socket in question is the AuYou Wi-Fi Switch, a $30 device that lets you turn the power from a wall outlet on and off using your phone. [...] But like so many Internet of Things devices, the AuYou switch seems to have a serious security flaw. As Garrett explains in his review, if your phone is connected to your home Wi-Fi, it sends the on/off command to the socket directly. But if you're not home, your phone sends the command to a server in China, which then passes the command along to the socket. "The command packets look like they're encrypted, but in reality there's no real cryptography here at all," Garrett explained in his review. [...] "Just now my boss has blamed me, and he said if I do not remove this bad review, he will quit me. Please help me," the representative wrote. "Could you please change your bad review into good?" Garrett responded that he would update the review if the manufacturer fixed the flaw. The AuYou representative insisted she would be fired if the review was not updated.

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Microsoft Prepares One Final, Full-Screen Get Windows 10 Nag
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 12:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's ghost-from-the-past department:
An anonymous reader shares a ZDNet report:Those persistent Get Windows 10 pop-ups are going away soon, after Microsoft's free upgrade offer for Windows 10 expires on July 29. During those final days and hours, anyone still running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 should brace for one last round of upgrade prods from Redmond, including a full-screen message, as the GWX program moves into its final phase. The details are in a new Knowledge Base article, "Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1 end of free upgrade offer notification," which includes a screenshot of the message as well as some helpful hints on how to avoid seeing it more than once. Two noteworthy additions are visible in the lower left corner of that screen. Instead of merely dismissing the reminder, you can ask to be notified up to three more times or specify that you've made your mind up and you don't want any more notifications.

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Oracle Ordered To Pay $3B Damages To HP
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 11:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's stand-by-your-words,-or-pay-billions department:
Oracle has been ordered to pay HP $3 billion in damages by a California jury over HP's claim that Oracle reneged on a deal to support HP computer servers running on Itanium chips from Intel. Oracle said it will appeal. BBC reports:The court battle over the contract was settled in 2012 but the damages HPE was due have only now been agreed. HP was split into two in 2015 with HPE taking over the running of its servers and services business. In court, HPE argued that although the 2012 legal judgement meant Oracle had resumed making software for the powerful chips, its business had suffered harm. It argued that Oracle took the decision in 2011 to stop supporting Itanium in a bid to get customers to move to hardware made by Sun -- a hardware firm owned by Oracle. Oracle said that its decision in 2011 was driven by a realisation that Itanium was coming to the end of its life. It also argued that the contract it signed never obliged it to keep producing software in perpetuity. Intel stopped making Itanium chips in late 2012 and many companies that used servers built around them have now moved to more powerful processors.

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Apple Slams Spotify For Asking For 'Preferential Treatment'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 11:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's you-don't-mess-with-big-guys department:
On Thursday, Spotify made major accusations against Apple of playing unfair to its music service. The Swedish-based music company said that Apple didn't approve a new version of Spotify's iOS app because "it didn't want competition for Apple Music." The Cupertino-based company has responded to the accusations. In a letter sent to Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez on Friday, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell rebutted the streaming music service's allegations, adding "we find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service," Sewell wrote. BuzzFeed News reports:"Our guidelines apply equally to all app developers, whether they are game developers, e-book sellers, video-streaming services or digital music distributors; and regardless of whether or not they compete against Apple. We did not alter our behavior or our rules when we introduced our own music streaming service or when Spotify became a competitor," Sewell explains. "Ironically, it is now Spotify that wants things to be different by asking for preferential treatment from Apple."
< article continued at Slashdot's you-don't-mess-with-big-guys department >

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The WRT54GL: A 54Mbps Router From 2005 Still Makes Millions For Linksys
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 09:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's if-ain't-broken,-keep-buying-it department:
Jon Brodkin, reporting for Ars Technica:In a time when consumers routinely replace gadgets with new models after just two or three years, some products stand out for being built to last. Witness the Linksys WRT54GL, the famous wireless router that came out in 2005 and is still for sale. At first glance, there seems to be little reason to buy the WRT54GL in the year 2016. It uses the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard, which has been surpassed by 802.11n and 802.11ac. It delivers data over the crowded 2.4GHz frequency band and is limited to speeds of 54Mbps. You can buy a new router -- for less money -- and get the benefit of modern standards, expansion into the 5GHz band, and data rates more than 20 times higher. Despite all that, people still buy the WRT54GL in large enough numbers that Linksys continues to earn millions of dollars per year selling an 11-year-old product without ever changing its specs or design.

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Mozilla Releases First Build of Servo, Its Next-Generation Browser Engine
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 09:52 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's to-a-better-browsing-experience department:
An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Mozilla has released the first Nightly build of Servo, its new browser engine. This is the first tech demo of Servo, which Jack Moffitt, Servo project lead at Mozilla, described to us a few months ago as "a next-generation browser engine focused on performance and robustness." Packages for macOS and Linux are available to download from here: Servo Developer Preview Downloads. Mozilla promises that Windows and Android packages will be available "soon." And because this is Mozilla, you can check out all the code yourself over on GitHub.

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Slashdot Asks: What's Your Preferred Note-Taking App?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 08:31 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's where-to-jot-down-your-ideas department:
Earlier this week, popular note-taking app Evernote announced major changes to its service. The company announced that free users on the app will now only be able to sync across two devices. The company also raised the prices of its paid tiers by 40%. This move, as you can imagine, has resulted in Evernote facing a backlash from many of its users. To give some perspective, Evernote paid plans ($36/ $70 a year) now costs as much as Office 365's $70 Personal yearly plan. With Office 365, obviously, you get more stuff -- including access to Microsoft productivity suite, and 1TB OneDrive storage. Microsoft was quick to release a free tool for Evernote users should they want to move their data to its note-taking service OneNote. OneNote is free to use and offers 15GB free storage to all users. Google's Keep is another good option with 15GB of free storage. Which note-taking app do you use? Anyone who still prefers taking notes on a notebook with a pen?

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Ruby On Rails 5.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on July 01 '16 at 08:31 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's trying-to-stay-on-track department:
steveb3210 writes: Today, Ruby On Rails released version 5.0.0 of the platform. Major new features include ActionCable which brings support for WebSockets and a slimmed-down API-only mode From the official blog post:After six months of polish, four betas, and two release candidates, Rails 5.0 is finally done! It's taken hundreds of contributors and thousands of commits to get here, but what a destination: Rails 5.0 is without a doubt the best, most complete version of Rails yet. It's incredible that this community is still going so strong after so long. Thanks to everyone who helped get us here. [...] Note: As per our maintenance policy, the release of Rails 5.0 will mean that bug fixes will only apply to 5.0.x, regular security issues to 5.0.x and 4.2.x, and severe security issues also to 5.0.x and 4.2.x (but when 5.1 drops, to 5.1.x, 5.0.x, and 4.2.x). This means 4.1.x and below will essentially be unsupported! Ruby 2.2.2+ is now also the only supported version of Rails 5.0+.

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