By timothy from Slashdot's gift-for-one's-enemies department
Just a day after it made headlines for announcing that it would remove encryption from its line of FireOS devices, reports Ars Technica, the company has reverted the change, and says that encryption will again be a user-selectable option, with an update to come sometime this Spring. Judging from comments here on Slashdot, that ought to please a lot of people. However, encryption isn't the Fire's only problem; Ricki Jennings at ComputerWorld has collected some of the user reaction to the change, and says that anemic hardware means that even with this small course correction, the Fire tablets themselves "still suck." I'm not so sure; I bought one of the low-end Fire tablets and returned it, disappointed not in the hardware (seemed not bad at all for $50, with a decent screen, snappy video, and sound that was better than reviews had led me to expect) but rather by the intentional limitations of the OS itself.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's who-will-watch-the-foremen? department
An anonymous reader writes with this story from the New York Times, excerpting "After three years of planning, an immigrant rights group in Jackson Heights is set to start a smartphone app for day laborers, a new digital tool with many uses: Workers will be able to rate employers (think Yelp or Uber), log their hours and wages, take pictures of job sites and help identify, down to the color and make of a car, employers with a history of withholding wages. They will also be able to send instant alerts to other workers. The advocacy group will safeguard the information and work with lawyers to negotiate payment."
Adds the submitter: "Although I completely support the app, personally, I see this encountering some significant legal challenges. Hope they've lawyered up." Though the use case is different, this is similar in spirit to "cop watch" apps, like Cell411 and the ACLU's Mobile Justice. (And of course there's Periscope.)Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's this-stuff-cuts-more-than-one-way department
An anonymous reader writes: Ted Cruz pitches himself as an overcomer, an underdog, an outsider who beats the odds. While the Republic candidate has won four states in this nomination race so far, a neurologist says he still faces a big obstacle with voters: his own face. In an interview with Quartz, George Washington University's Richard E. Cytowic said the unusual movements of Cruz's face may make him seem less sincere to the human brain than other candidates. "The normal way a face moves is what's called the Duchenne smile, named after the 19th century French neurologist. So the mouth goes up, the eyes narrow and the eyes crinkle at the outside, forming crows feet," said Cytowic, a professor of neurology.
"Cruz doesn't give a Duchenne smile. His mouth goes in a tight line across or else it curves down in an anti-Duchenne smile. So he doesn't come across as sincere at all."
Visceral reactions probably drive a lot more of politics than anyone likes to admit; seeming trustworthy isn't the same as being trustworthy, but it sure helps win people over.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's gps-was-bad-enough department
itwbennett writes: Cerber, a new file-encrypting ransom ware, has a couple of interesting features. First, according to cyber intelligence outfit SenseCy, it is available for sale 'as a service' on a private Russian-language forum, which makes it 'available to low-level criminals who might not have the coding skills or resources to create their own ransom ware,' writes Lucian Constantin. Second, one of the 3 files it drops on a victim's desktop is a VBS (Visual Basic Scripting) file containing text-to-speech code that converts text into an audio message. 'When the above script is executed, your computer will speak a message stating that your computer's files were encrypted and will repeat itself numerous times,' said Lawrence Abrams, administrator of the technical support forum BleepingComputer.com, in a blog post.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's listen-carefully-to-the-following-menu-option department
HughPickens.com writes: Ann Carrns reports at the NYT that despite a push by financial institutions to switch customers to digital statements from paper, the traditional hard-copy version may work better for some people, in particuar particular, older, less educated and lower-income consumers who may lack fast Internet connections at home. According to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center, even consumers who know the Internet may simply prefer paper, because statement notifications can easily be overlooked in a deluge of email. Also unlike paper statements, which can be neatly collected and filed away, going paperless on multiple accounts will mean having that information scattered under different user names and passwords. You may also be surprised to learn you have to pay for copies of some older statements. "If you have a system for organizing your paper statements, you should think about how that's going to translate online," says Jim Bruene. Finally you may not be able to go back as far with paperless statements. At Verizon, cellphone customers get up to 12 months of past statements. Customers can also request older statements dating back seven years for $5 per copy.
Under federal law, banks must obtain consent from consumers to deliver statements electronically. But banks are sometimes aggressive in encouraging customers to opt out of receiving paper statements. Last summer, holders of some Chase credit cards received pop-up ads when they logged into their accounts online, asking them to switch to electronic statements. The notice said "Action Required," even though no action was necessary if cardholders simply wanted to continue receiving paper statements. The screen showed buttons for "accept" and "manage my preferences," but not for "decline."Read Replies (0)