By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
In a poll of 20,000 European workers released Monday, Microsoft, which became one of the world's most profitable companies by marketing office productivity software, acknowledges new digital technology can, in some circumstances, make businesses less productive. From a report: Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft joins a growing number of prominent Silicon Valley companies and entrepreneurs that are starting to question the social benefits of the technology they once championed. Facebook warned in December that its social network might, in some cases, cause psychological harm. Microsoft identifies a number of possible reasons for this negative impact, including: workers who are too distracted by a constant influx of e-mails, Slack messages, Trello notifications, texts, Tweets -- not to mention viral cat videos -- to concentrate for sustained periods; workers who aren't properly trained to use the new technology effectively; tech that isn't adequately supported by the business, forcing workers to lose time because "the computers are down;" and workers who suffer burnout because, with mobile devices and at-home-working, they feel tethered to the job around-the-clock.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's future-of-things department
Chipmaker Intel is eyeing the smart glasses market, too. The Verge was invited to the company's lab where it got to play with Vaunt, a prototype of the company's smart glasses. The Vaunt looks very much like a normal pair of glasses, and uses retinal projection to put a display in your eyeball. The Verge: The most important parts of Intel's new Vaunt smart glasses are the pieces that were left out. There is no camera to creep people out, no button to push, no gesture area to swipe, no glowing LCD screen, no weird arm floating in front of the lens, no speaker, and no microphone (for now). From the outside, the Vaunt glasses look just like eyeglasses. When you're wearing them, you see a stream of information on what looks like a screen -- but it's actually being projected onto your retina.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's stimuli-vs-stigma department
An anonymous reader quotes Quartz:
A new alliance made up of former Silicon Valley cronies has aseembled to challenge the technological Frankenstein they've collectively created. The Center for Humane Technology is a group comprising former employees and pals of Google, Facebook, and Mozilla. The nonprofit launches today (Feb. 4) in the hopes that it can raise awareness about the societal tolls of technology, which its members believe are inherently addictive. The group will lobby for a bill to research the effects of technology on children's health... On Feb. 7, the group's members will participate in a conference focused on digital health for kids, hosted by the nonprofit Common Sense.
The group also plans an anti-tech addiction ad campaign at 55,000 schools across America, and has another $50 million in media airtime donated by partners which include Comcast and DirecTV.
The group's co-founder, a former Google design ethicist, told Quartz that tech companies "profit by drilling into our brains to pull the attention out of it, by using persuasion techniques to keep [us] hooked." And the group's web page argues that "What began as a race to monetize our attention is now eroding the pillars of our society: mental health, democracy, social relationships, and our children."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's two-minute-waning department
NBC's coverage of Super Bowl LII briefly went dark for nearly 30 seconds on Sunday night. NBC released a brief statement attributing the outage to an equipment failure... "We had a brief equipment failure that we quickly resolved," the statement read. "No game action or commercial time were missed." The outage happened during a commercial pause in the action between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
And anonymous reader shared another story from The Verge:
Hulu's live TV subscription service cut off the end of tonight's Super Bowl in some markets during the climactic final moments of the Eagles/Patriots game. Tom Brady was making a last-ditch push down the field in hopes of tying the 41-33 contest when Hulu customers lost all video and audio from NBC and U.S. Bank Stadium. Not everyone experienced the abrupt cutoff, which occurred at approximately 10:00PM ET. But those who did received an error screen before the game's conclusion. Error messages ranged from "no content available" to one that said the game couldn't be shown due to rights restrictions. Complaints immediately surged on Twitter and Reddit... In a tweet, the company said there had been "a technical issue" and said users could restart their Hulu app to restore the game feed.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's the-wow-stops-now department
alaskana98 shares an article called "What Really Happened with Vista: An Insider's Retrospective." Ben Fathi, formerly a manager of various teams at Microsoft responsible for storage, file systems, high availability/clustering, file level network protocols, distributed file systems, and related technologies and later security, writes:
Imagine supporting that same OS for a dozen years or more for a population of billions of customers, millions of companies, thousands of partners, hundreds of scenarios, and dozens of form factors -- and you'll begin to have an inkling of the support and compatibility nightmare. In hindsight, Linux has been more successful in this respect. The open source community and approach to software development is undoubtedly part of the solution. The modular and pluggable architecture of Unix/Linux is also a big architectural improvement in this respect. An organization, sooner or later, ships its org chart as its product; the Windows organization was no different. Open source doesn't have that problem...
I personally spent many years explaining to antivirus vendors why we would no longer allow them to "patch" kernel instructions and data structures in memory, why this was a security risk, and why they needed to use approved APIs going forward, that we would no longer support their legacy apps with deep hooks in the Windows kernel -- the same ones that hackers were using to attack consumer systems. Our "friends", the antivirus vendors, turned around and sued us, claiming we were blocking their livelihood and abusing our monopoly power! With friends like that, who needs enemies?
I like how the essay ends. "Was it an incredibly complex product with an amazingly huge ecosystem (the largest in the world at that time)? Yup, that it was. Could we have done better? Yup, you bet... Hindsight is 20/20."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's on-the-grid department
Long-time Slashdot readers denbesten, haruchai, and Kant all submitted this story. CleanTechnica reports:
Tesla and the government of South Australia have announced a stunning new project that could change how electricity is generated not only in Australia but in every country in the world. They plan to install rooftop solar system on 50,000 homes in the next four years and link them them together with grid storage facilities to create the largest virtual solar power plant in history. And here's the kicker: The rooftop solar systems will be free. The cost of the project will be recouped over time by selling the electricity generated to those who consume it.
"We will use people's homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefiting with significant savings in their energy bills," says South Australia's premier Jay Weatherill. "More renewable energy means cheaper power for all South Australians..." Price predicts utility bills for participating households will be slashed by 30%.
Electrek reports that the project will result in at least 650 MWh of additional energy storage capacity, and Tesla points out that "At key moments, the virtual power plant could provide as much capacity as a large gas turbine or coal power plant."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's monitoring-with-modules department
An anonymous reader quotes BleepingComputer:
Members of the open source community are working on a new security-focused project for the Linux kernel. Named Linux Kernel Runtime Guard (LKRG), this is a loadable kernel module that will perform runtime integrity checking of the Linux kernel. Its purpose is to detect exploitation attempts for known security vulnerabilities against the Linux kernel and attempt to block attacks. LKRG will also detect privilege escalation for running processes, and kill the running process before the exploit code runs.
Since the project is in such early development, current versions of LKRG will only report kernel integrity violations via kernel messages, but a full exploit mitigation system will be deployed as the system matures... While LKRG will remain an open source project, LKRG maintainers also have plans for an LKRG Pro version that will include distro-specific LKRG builds and support for the detection of specific exploits, such as container escapes. The team plans to use the funds from LKRG Pro to fund the rest of the project.
The first public version of LKRG -- LKRG v0.0 -- is now live and available for download on this page. A wiki is also available here, and a Patreon page for supporting the project has also been set up. LKRG kernel modules are currently available for main Linux distros such as RHEL7, OpenVZ 7, Virtuozzo 7, and Ubuntu 16.04 to latest mainlines.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's no-compete-clauses department
An anonymous reader quotes the Mercury News:
The rabble can't be trusted with self-driving cars, and only companies operating fleets of them should be able to use them in dense urban areas. So say Uber and Lyft, as signatories to a new list of transportation goals developed by a group of international non-governmental organizations and titled "Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities"... According to Principle No. 10, "Shared fleets can provide more affordable access to all, maximize public safety and emissions benefits, ensure that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals..."
It's stated reason is to "actualize the promise of reductions in vehicles, parking, and congestion, in line with broader policy trends to reduce the use of personal cars in dense urban areas." But others remain suspicious.
Gizmodo complains that the proposal "doesn't exactly sound like the freedom-filled future sci-fi writers have been promising, now does it?" and concludes that Uber and Lyft "have a hot new idea for screwing over city-dwellers."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wisdom-of-crowds department
"Free/libre and 100% community backed version of XenServer," promises a new Kickstarter page, adding that "Our first prototype (and proof of concept) is already functional."
Currently, XenServer is a turnkey virtualization platform, distributed as a distribution (based on CentOS). It comes with a feature rich toolstack, called XAPI. The vast majority of XenServer code is Open Source.
But since XenServer 7.3, Citrix removed a lot of features from it. The goal of XCP-ng is to make a fully community backed version of XenServer, without any feature restrictions. We also aim to create a real ecosystem, not depending on one company only. Simple equation: the more we are, the healthier is the environment.
The campaign reached its fundraising goal within a few hours, reports long-time Slashdot reader NoOnesMessiah, and within three days they'd already raised four times the needed amount and began unlocking their stretch goals.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's big-fizzles department
An anonymous reader writes:
Flat earther "Mad" Mike Hughes, who also bills himself as "the last great daredevil," promised Super Bowl-sized ratings for an event Saturday where he'd blast himself nearly half a mile into the sky on a homemade rocket. "We had 20 cameras on site today, ready for a full segment," explained the video-on-demand site Noize TV on their Facebook page. One newspaper described it as also being "an event which he hopes will get people to investigate the ideology which holds the earth is flat." But judging from online reactions, the event was just another disappointment.
Noize TV's Facebook post titled "The Launch!!! Finally" shows a picture of Mike standing beside his rocket -- but it's followed by a commenters saying things like "There was no launch. I doubt there will be," and the official Noize TV account saying "We thought he would press that button... He did not. And won't be doing so we are pretty certain."
And this morning Noize TV posted that "we will no longer cover non launches, only launches... It turns out non launches are not as funny as we anticipated."
One woman even posted that "I was there for awhile...police were there. Ambulance was there. 100 people that weren't supposed to be there was there..." And while there's rumors Mike might still try again another day, her ultimate verdict about the limo-driver-turned-daredevil was cynical. "He's all about getting seen rather than getting launched... My husband gave him $100 cash the last time he was going to launch...live and learn."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's side-channel-hustles department
wiredmikey quotes SecurityWeek: Researchers have discovered more than 130 malware samples designed to exploit the recently disclosed Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities. While a majority of the samples appear to be in the testing phase, we could soon start seeing attacks... On Wednesday, antivirus testing firm AV-TEST told SecurityWeek that it has obtained 139 samples from various sources, including researchers, testers and antivirus companies... Fortinet, which also analyzed many of the samples, confirmed that a majority of them were based on available proof of concept code. Andreas Marx, CEO of AV-TEST, believes different groups are working on the PoC exploits to determine if they can be used for some purpose. "Most likely, malicious purposes at some point," he said.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's developing-negatives department
An anonymous reader shares an article from the security editor of ZDNet:
A year after photojournalists and filmmakers sent a critical letter to camera makers for failing to add a basic security feature to protect their work from searches and hacking, little progress has been made. The letter, sent in late 2016, called on camera makers to build encryption into their cameras after photojournalists said they face "a variety of threats..." Even when they're out in the field, collecting footage and documenting evidence, reporters have long argued that without encryption, police, the military, and border agents in countries where they work can examine and search their devices. "The consequences can be dire," the letter added.
Although iPhones and Android phones, computers, and instant messengers all come with encryption, camera makers have fallen behind. Not only does encryption protect reported work from prying eyes, it also protects sources -- many of whom put their lives at risk to expose corruption or wrongdoing... The lack of encryption means high-end camera makers are forcing their customers to choose between putting their sources at risk, or relying on encrypted, but less-capable devices, like iPhones.
We asked the same camera manufacturers if they plan to add encryption to their cameras -- and if not, why. The short answer: don't expect much any time soon.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's recruiters-most-wanted department
Slashdot reader snydeq shared an article from CIO:
The IT talent gap is driving up demand for skilled IT pros, but for certain roles and skillsets, finding -- and signing -- the right candidate can feel a bit like trying to capture a unicorn... AI and data science jobs are at the top of the list, in part because they're relatively young technologies, and they're being introduced in all sorts of companies going through their digital transformation. At the same time, there are some surprises... The experts we talked with name-checked a laundry list of desirable skills and needed experience with emerging areas like cognitive computing, machine learning, data analytics, IoT and blockchain. But the true unicorns are candidates who can not only deepen their bench of tech skills but keep an eye on the bottom line.
The article also cites high demand for data privacy experts, penetration testers with a scientific mind-set, and adaptable developers (including DevOps engineers), as well as experts in robotics and cryptology. But everyone's experiencing the job market differently, so the original submission ends with a question for Slashdot readers.
"What hires are you having the most difficulty making these days?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's stores-vs-storage-media department
An anonymous reader quotes Complex magazine:
The future of physical music isn't looking good. According to Billboard, consumer electronics company Best Buy will no longer carry physical CDs and Target may be following suit in the near future. Best Buy notified music suppliers that they will cease selling CDs at stores beginning July 1. The move is sure to hurt the already declining sales of CDs as consumers are switching to streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal in large numbers. CD sales have already dropped by a sizable 18.5 percent in the past year, Billboard reports.
Billboard also reports Target has given an "ultimatum" to music and video suppliers. "Currently, Target takes the inventory risk by agreeing to pay for any goods it is shipped within 60 days, and must pay to ship back unsold CDs for credit... Target has demanded to music suppliers that it wants CDs to be sold on what amounts to a consignment basis..."
"If the majors don't play ball and give in to the new sale terms, it could considerably hasten the phase down of the CD format."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 20th-birthday department
Coining the term "Open Source" was only the beginning. "That same month, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded as a general educational and advocacy organization to raise awareness and adoption for the superiority of an open development process." That's the word from their newly-re-designed site OpenSource.net, which is now commemorating the 20th anniversary of the open source movement with an interactive timeline of milestones -- and announcements about much more.
"Celebrations will be held worldwide, in conjunction with the leading open source conferences, as well as standalone community-led events... Our anniversary website will support volunteer organizers to host events in their own cities. The OSI will provide small grants to these community-led events and promote them to the broader community." (There are already several t-shirt designs...)
A "Share Your Story" section explains that "As part of our mission, we want to promote the success stories of companies like yours that are investing in open source software and community in order to increase adoption and development even more broadly... We'll be sharing your stories with the community throughout the 2018 celebration. We'll also connect you with media outlets to share your story and participate in interviews."
And going forward, OpenSource.Net "will serve both as a community of practice and a mentorship program. The goal is to further promote adoption of open source software over the next twenty years as issues shift from open source's viability/value to issues around implementation and authentic participation. OpenSource.Net connects those that "get it" and "did it" with a global network of highly qualified peers across industries. Your experiences as an exemplar in the community will help others address common (or unique) issue.
< article continued at Slashdot's 20th-birthday department
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