By EditorDavid from Slashdot's funerals-for-feeds department
"Feeds need to die because they distort our views and disconnect us from other human beings around us," argues TechCrunch's Romain Dillet:
At first, I thought I was missing out on some Very Important Content. I felt disconnected. I fought against my own FOMO. But now, I don't feel anything. What's going on on Instagram? I don't care. Facebook is now the worst internet forum you can find. Twitter is filled with horrible, abusive people. Instagram has become a tiny Facebook now that it has discouraged all the weird, funny accounts from posting with its broken algorithm. LinkedIn's feed is pure spam.
And here's what I realized after forgetting about all those "social" networks. First, they're tricking you and pushing the right buttons to make you check your feed just one more time. They all use thirsty notifications, promote contrarian posts that get a lot of engagement and play with your emotions. Posting has been gamified and you want to check one more time if you got more likes on your last Instagram photo. Everything is now a story so that you pay more attention to your phone and you get bored less quickly -- moving pictures with sound tend to attract your eyes... [F]inally, I realized that I was missing out by constantly checking all my feeds. By putting my phone on 'Do Not Disturb' for days, I discovered new places, started conversations and noticed tiny little things that made me smile.
He concludes that technology has improved the way we learn, communicate, and share information, "But it has gone too far...
"Forget about your phone for a minute, look around and talk with people next to you."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fire-and-ice department
schwit1 quotes UPI:
New research suggests volcanic eruptions can trigger periods of rapid ice sheet melting... "Over a time span of 1,000 years, we found that volcanic eruptions generally correspond with enhanced ice sheet melting within a year or so," Francesco Muschitiello, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a news release. The volcanoes of note weren't situated next-door, but thousands of miles from the ice sheet, a reminder of the unexpected global impacts of volcanic activity.
The new research -- detailed this week in the journal Nature Communications -- suggests ash ejected into the atmosphere by erupting volcanoes can be deposited thousands of miles away. When it's deposited on ice sheets, the dark particles cause the ice to absorb more thermal energy and accelerate melting... Some scientists have even suggested melting encouraged by volcanic eruptions could trigger even more eruptions, a positive feedback loop. As glaciers and ice sheets melt, pressure is relieved from the planet's crust, allowing magma to rise to the surface.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's AMT-away department
"San Francisco company Purism announced that they are now offering their Librem laptops with the Intel Management Engine disabled," writes Slashdot reader boudie2. Purism describes Management Engine as "a separate CPU that can run and control a computer even when powered off."
HardOCP reports that Management Engine "is widely despised by security professionals and privacy advocates because it relies on signed and secret Intel code, isn't easily alterable, isn't fully documented, and has been found to be vulnerable to exploitation... In short, it's a tiny potentially hackable computer in your computer that you cannot totally control, nor opt-out of, but it can totally control your system."
Disabling the Management Engine is no easy task, and it has taken security researchers years to find a way to properly and verifiably disable it. Purism, because it runs coreboot and maintains its own BIOS firmware update process, has been able to release and ship coreboot that disables the Management Engine from running, directly halting the ME CPU without the ability of recovery... "Disabling the Management Engine, long believed to be impossible, is now possible and available in all current Librem laptops. It is also available as a software update for previously shipped recent Librem laptops," says Todd Weaver, Founder & CEO of Purism.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's plane-truths department
"[N]early 200 F-35s might permanently remain unready for combat because the Pentagon would rather buy new aircraft than upgrade the ones the American people have already paid for," according to one defense news site. And now Bloomberg reports:
The Pentagon is accelerating production of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 jet even though the planes already delivered are facing "significantly longer repair times" than planned because maintenance facilities are six years behind schedule, according to a draft audit. The time to repair a part has averaged 172 days -- "twice the program's objective" -- the Government Accountability Office, Congress's watchdog agency, found. The shortages are "degrading readiness" because the fighter jets "were unable to fly about 22 percent of the time" from January through August for lack of needed parts.
The Pentagon has said soaring costs to develop and produce the F-35, the costliest U.S. weapons system, have been brought under control, with the price tag now projected at $406.5 billion. But the GAO report raises new doubts about the official estimate that maintaining and operating them will cost an additional $1.12 trillion over their 60-year lifetime.
Slashdot reader schwit1 writes, "This is akin to buying an exotic car you can barely afford, without also budgeting for insurance, repairs, and tuneups."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's still-talking-about-injections department
An anonymous reader quotes HPE Insights:
Software developers and testers must be sick of hearing security nuts rant, "Beware SQL injection! Monitor for cross-site scripting! Watch for hijacked session credentials!" I suspect the developers tune us out... The industry has generated newer tools, better testing suites, Agile methodologies, and other advances in writing and testing software. Despite all that, coders keep making the same dumb mistakes, peer reviews keep missing those mistakes, test tools fail to catch those mistakes, and hackers keep finding ways to exploit those mistakes. One way to see the repeat offenders is to look at the Open Web Application Security Project Top 10, a sometimes controversial ranking of the 10 primary vulnerabilities, published every three or four years by the Open Web Application Security Project... It boggles the mind that a majority of top 10 issues appear across the 2007, 2010, 2013, and draft 2017 OWASP lists...
It's sad that eight out of 10 of the issues from 2013 are still top security issues in 2017. In fact, if you consider that the draft 2017 list combined two of the 2013 items, it's actually nine out of 10. Ouch...
What can you do? Train everyone better, for starters. Look at coding and test tools that can help detect or prevent security vulnerabilities, but don't consider them silver bullets. Do dynamic application security testing, including penetration testing and fuzz testing. Ensure admins do their part to protect applications. And finally, make sure you establish a culture of security-aware programming and deployment.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 2600 department
Slashdot reader blottsie shares a new article about the legendary Captain Crunch -- which includes Steve Wozniak's memory that Steve Jobs "started avoiding Crunch...afraid that it would put us too close to getting arrested." The Daily Dot reports:
Wozniak and Jobs, of course, would go on to found the most successful tech company in the world. But Draper is far from being just an important footnote in Apple's history. He's the original hacking prankster, a purist driven by curiosity and craftsmanship, with a lifetime of exploits that have pushed technological and legal boundaries. And according to Jobs, in a rare 1994 interview, without him there wouldn't have been Apple. Now, for the first time, Draper is looking to publish his story with Beyond the Little Blue Box, an autobiography for which he's about to launch a Kickstarter campaign...
[H]e anonymously called in a national emergency directly to a furious President Richard Nixon on the Oval Office phone line, reporting that the West Coast had run out of toilet paper. He also claims he once bypassed the Iron Curtain to call Moscow in the Soviet Union. There's a playful mischief about him, but he's serious when it comes to his craft, relaying technical, intricate details about the systems he worked to hack... For many tinkering young coders and internet activists, Draper is still considered a folk hero, one whose apolitical infatuation with complex systems and compulsion to expose their limits made him a target -- especially where that curiosity crossed with corporate interests.
< article continued at Slashdot's 2600 department
>Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's expensive-grapes department
While Whole Foods "strategically marked down select items like avocados and almond milk, overall prices have dropped very slightly -- about 1 percent -- since Amazon ownership, according to an analysis by research firm Gordon Haskett." An anonymous reader quotes Bustle:
This hardly seems like big savings, and Gordon Haskett noted that since the initial price cuts in August, the cost of some items have been slowly ticking back up. "The price of frozen foods, for example, was 7 percent higher on Sept. 26 than on Aug. 28, when Amazon officially took over," Abha Bhattarai reported for the Post, which is owned by Amazon. "Snack items had risen 5.3 percent in that period, while dairy and yogurt were up 2 percent. (Among categories where prices are lower: Beverages, down about 2.8 percent; bread and bakery, down 6.8 percent; and produce, down 0.5 percent...)"
For shoppers like me who buy mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, it did feel like I was saving money. However, one industry insider said there is a strategy behind how prices are cut. "The whole game is that you want the 100 most recognizable things -- milk, apples, bananas -- to be cheaper," Jan Rogers Kniffen, an industry consultant and former department store executive, told the Post. "If you can do that, you can build a perception that the whole store is competitively priced."
From July through September, Whole Foods brought in $1.3 billion in sales for Amazon.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fitness-from-fermentation department
Long-time Slashdot reader Zorro was the first to spot this story. Scientific American reports:
Could there be a "liver-friendly" vodka? One company claims its proprietary blend of additives reduces stress on the body... The researchers concluded that consuming the alcohol with the additives -- glycyrrhizin, derived from licorice; D-mannitol, a sugar alcohol; and potassium sorbate, a preservative -- may support improved liver health compared with drinking alcohol alone. Marsha Bates, a distinguished research professor and director of the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University, said the study design "seemed appropriate." But, she added, study itself was small, with only 12 healthy men and women, and "doesn't really provide any information of what the long-term effects of consuming alcohol with this additive would be. It's a positive preliminary study but certainly does not provide a firm basis for speculating about long-term impact."
Functional or not, Harsha Chigurupati needs approval from federal regulators before he can tout curative powers on a label... Specifically, Chigurupati is seeking approval to make the claim that his blend, known as NTX for "No Tox," provides "antioxidant and inflammatory support" and "reduces the risk of alcohol-induced liver diseases," among other claims... Chigurupati said his goal is not to enable people to drink more, but to drink with less physical harm.
The claim "leaves some experts deeply skeptical," adds the article, while 33-year-old Chigurupati admits that an earlier formula "tasted terrible and it actually burned my mouth." But his company later developed a formula which he says tasted good and is easier on the liver. "I don't believe in abstinence," Chigurupati told the Wall Street Journal. "What I do believe in is using technology to make life better. I'm not going to stop drinking, so why not make it safer?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's international-space-stations department
schwit1 shares an article from UPI:
India will make its second mission to the moon in 2018, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced this week. The Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft consists of an orbiter, lander and rover configuration "to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface," the ISRO said... Several other countries, including China and Japan, are planning lunar expeditions in the coming years -- partly to better understand the moon's environmental conditions for the potential of human settlements...
According to Popular Mechanics, the ISRO is attempting to make the lunar landing on a budget of $93 million, which is about the same cost of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket that's scheduled for launch by the end of this year. The Falcon rocket, though, is only going into orbit -- and a $93 million price tag for a lunar landing could have impact on other countries' space plans.
India landed a spacecraft on the moon in 2008, and plans to complete this second lunar landing by March.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's come-along-and-share-the-data department
"In open source philosophy, you share source code. Why not share data?" writes Slashdot reader princelobga. Linux Insider reports on the Linux Foundation's new Community Data License Agreement, "a new framework for sharing large sets of data required for research, collaborative learning and other purposes."
CDLAs will allow both individuals and groups to share data sets in the same way they share open source software code, the foundation said. "As systems require data to learn and evolve, no one organization can build, maintain and source all data required," noted Mike Dolan, VP of strategic programs at The Linux Foundation. "Data communities are forming around artificial intelligence and machine learning use cases, autonomous systems, and connected civil infrastructure," he told LinuxInsider. "The CDLA license agreements enable sharing data openly, embodying best practices learned over decades of sharing source code."
A principal analyst at Pund-IT told the site that the new data license "reflects the growing importance of information as a resource for big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's squashing-a-bug department
An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld:
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's printing-APIs department
"MakerBot just announced a new Open Source initiative called 'MakerBot Labs'," writes Slashdot reader szczys. "It is a small move, centering around some new APIs and a new extruder which is listed as experimental and not covered by their normal warranty. Largely they missed the mark on making a meaningful move toward openness, but with a new CEO at the helm as of January this could be the first change of the rudder in a larger effort to turn the ship around."
Makerbot's history is "an example of how you absolutely should not operate an open source company," argues Hackaday, saying it's left them skeptical of Makerbot's latest move:
It reads like a company making a last ditch effort to win back the users they were so sure they didn't need just a few years ago... The wheels of progress turn slowly in any large organization, and perhaps doubly so in one that has gone through so much turmoil in a relatively short amount of time. It could be that it's taken Goshen these last nine months to start crafting a plan to get MakerBot back into the community's good graces.
From MakerBot's press release:
"After setting high industry standards for what makes a quality and reliable 3D printing experience, we're introducing this new, more open platform as a direct response to our advanced users calling for greater freedom with materials and software."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's transparent-attempts department
"Under pressure in advance of hearings on Russian election interference, Facebook is moving to increase transparency for everyone who sees and buys political advertising on its site," reports the Associated Press. Here's the official announcement from Facebook's "VP of ads" :
Starting next month, people will be able to click "View Ads" on a Page and view ads a Page is running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger -- whether or not the person viewing is in the intended target audience for the ad. All Pages will be part of this effort, and we will require that all ads be associated with a Page as part of the ad creation process... We know how important it is to our community that we get this feature just right -- and so we're first rolling it out in only one country. Testing in one market allows us to learn the various ways an entire population uses the feature at a scale that allows us to learn and iterate... We will start this test in Canada and roll it out to the U.S. by this summer, ahead of the U.S. midterm elections in November, as well as broadly to all other countries around the same time... During this initial test, we will only show active ads. However, when we expand to the U.S. we plan to begin building an archive of federal-election related ads so that we can show both current and historical federal-election related ads.
Facebook "will verify political ad buyers in federal elections, requiring them to reveal correct names and locations," adds the Associated Press, noting that the effort is "likely meant to head off bipartisan legislation in the Senate that would require social media companies to keep public files of election ads and try to ensure they are not purchased by foreigners."
In addition, Facebook insists that "For political advertisers that do not proactively disclose themselves, we are building machine learning tools that will help us find them and require them to verify their identity."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's the-new-number-two department
"Jeff Bezos has leapfrogged Bill Gates again for the title of world's richest billionaire..." announced CNN Money. An anonymous reader quotes their report.
Amazon stock jumped 13.5% on Friday after the company turned in another incredible earnings report -- more than a quarter-billion dollars in profit in three months. Bezos owned nearly 80 million shares in Amazon as of August, according to the most recent available data from FactSet. He made more than $10 billion from the one-day stock surge and is now worth well over $90 billion. At the end of trading on Thursday, Gates occupied the top spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $88 billion. Bezos had $83.5 billion, and his big day on Friday was more than enough to close the gap.
In July sales for Amazon's self-created holiday "Prime Day" were actually higher than they were on Black Friday. Amazon's sales for the quarter were $11 billion higher than they were a year ago -- increasing 29% even before an additional $1.3 billion from Whole Foods sales, for total sales over three months of $43.7 billion.
Amazon now also projects that their yearly revenue from AWS will be $2 billion higher.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-life department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Samsung is starting a new "Upcycling" initiative that is designed to turn old smartphones and turn them into something brand new. Behold, for example, this bitcoin mining rig, made out of 40 old Galaxy S5 devices, which runs on a new operating system Samsung has developed for its upcycling initiative. Samsung premiered this rig, and a bunch of other cool uses for old phones, at its recent developer's conference in San Francisco. Upcycling involves repurposing old devices instead of breaking them down for parts of reselling them. The people at Samsung's C-Lab -- an engineering team dedicated to creative projects -- showed off old Galaxy phones and assorted tablets stripped of Android software and repurposed into a variety of different objects. The team hooked 40 old Galaxy S5's together to make a bitcoin mining rig, repurposed an old Galaxy tablet into a ubuntu-powered laptop, used a Galaxy S3 to monitor a fishtank, and programed an old phone with facial recognition software to guard the entrance of a house in the form of an owl. Samsung declined to answer specific questions about the bitcoin mining rig, but an information sheet at the developer's conference noted that eight galaxy S5 devices can mine at a greater power efficiency than a standard desktop computer (not that too many people are mining bitcoin on their desktops these days).Read Replies (0)