By msmash from Slashdot's new-browser-updates department
An anonymous reader writes: Google this week released Chrome 75 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The release includes hint for low latency canvas contexts, files supported in the Web Share API, numeric separators, and more developer features. [...] Next, files are now supported by the Web Share API. For years, Google has been working to bring native sharing capabilities to the web. The Web Share API allows web apps to invoke the same share dialog box as a native app. The implementation brings a new method and a new shareData property. Numeric literals now allow underscores (_, U+005F) as separators to make them more readable. Underscores can only appear between digits, and consecutive underscores are not allowed. There is also a reader mode that is not enabled by default. From a report: The big feature included with Chrome 75 is the addition of a hidden Reader Mode, similar to the one included with Firefox. This new Reader Mode is not active by default and must be turned on using one of Google Chrome's experimental flags -- which until recently has only been available in the Chrome Canary distribution. To enable and test Chrome's new Reader Mode, users must visit the chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode section, and enable the Reader Mode option, as in the screenshot below. Chrome for Android includes these two features: 1. Generate strong and unique passwords with Chrome's built-in password manager. 2. Quickly look up your passwords by tapping any password field and using the new keyboard option.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what's-yours-is-mine department
McGruber shares a report from American City Business Journals: A retired Georgia Tech professor is suing ride-sharing giant Uber, claiming he invented the technology that "is absolutely core to the way in which Uber operates its business." In a complaint filed May 31 in federal court, Stephen Dickerson charges that Uber is infringing on a patent he won in 2004 for a "communications and computing based urban transit system." "The core of Uber's business and technical platforms for its rideshare, bikeshare, and scooter sharing services practice the transportation system of Professor Dickerson's invention; without that system, Uber literally cannot operate. Throughout its existence, Uber has egregiously infringed [Dickerson's] patent without paying any compensation for such use," Dickerson's lawsuit alleges. Last July, Dickerson sued Lyft in federal court in New York, making the same allegations he is making against Uber. In a court filing, Lyft denies it infringed on Dickerson's technology. The lawsuit is continuing. To clarify, Dickerson's company, RideApp, filed the suit because it "developed in 1999 the idea of bringing cell phones, the global positioning system and digital payments together to get people around congested Atlanta," reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The patent was apparently owned by Georgia Tech, but the college failed to act on it and reassigned the patent back to him in 2018.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's importance-of-correct-measurements department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: A group of researchers from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) has clarified a 2018 mystery in the field of extragalactic astrophysics: The supposed existence of a galaxy without dark matter. Galaxies with no dark matter are impossible to understand in the framework of the current theory of galaxy formation, because the role of dark matter is fundamental in causing the collapse of the gas to form stars. In 2018, a study published in Nature announced the discovery of a galaxy that apparently lacked dark matter. Now, according to an article published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) a group of researchers at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) has solved this mystery via a very complete set of observations of KKS2000]04 (NGC1052-DF2).
The researchers, perplexed because all the parameters that depended on the distance of the galaxy were anomalous, revised the available distance indicators. Using five independent methods to estimate the distance of the object, they found that all of them coincided in one conclusion: The galaxy is much nearer than the value presented in the previous research. The original article published in Nature stated that the galaxy is at a distance of some 64 million light years from the Earth. However, this new research has revealed that the real distance is much less, around 42 million light years. Thanks to these new results, the parameters of the galaxy inferred from its distance have become "normal," and fit the observed trends traced by galaxies with similar characteristics.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's let's-pretend-it-never-existed department
"Apple's Dashboard is getting quietly removed from the company's upcoming macOS Catalina update," reports The Verge, citing Appleosophy and MacRumors. "The Dashboard first launched seven years ago with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in 2005 and saw its final update in 2011 with the launch of OS X 10.7 Lion." From the report: The app first introduced the concept of widgets to Apple's desktop operating system and became a hallmark of OS X design for more than a decade. In particularly, Dashboard became well known for its desktop Sticky Note feature and its overall skeuomorphic approach best emphasized by the clock, stocks, and calculator widgets, a design philosophy that formed the foundation of the first version of iOS that launched a few years after OS X Tiger. It wasn't until iOS 7 in 2013 that Apple would abandon that aesthetic for a flatter, more modern one that eventual carried back over to its desktop approach.
Since 2011, Dashboard has been accessible in various forms, but it's had none of its widget design or UI updated, making it a bit of an anachronism existing behind the scenes on macOS. With OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple disabled the application by default, but still allowed users to access it either as a hotkey overlay or its own separate space within Mission Control. Now, in macOS Catalina, it appears Dashboard is going away for good. Appleosophy tried to disable and enable the Dashboard via Terminal only for the system to show it as missing even after a forced reboot. The Launchpad overlay also shows the Dashboard app icon as a question mark, the same as with the broken up and effectively killed off iTunes.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's planes-of-the-future department
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced that it will help fund the development of a V-shaped, fuel-efficient airplane design known as the Flying-V. CNN reports: Intended to improve the sustainability of air travel, the Flying-V was conceived by Justus Benad, then a student at the Technical University of Berlin, and developed by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, also known as TU Delft. Its futuristic design incorporates the passenger cabin, fuel tanks and cargo hold into the wings. It's claimed the plane will use 20% less fuel than the Airbus A350-900 while carrying a similar number of passengers -- the Flying-V will seat 314, while the Airbus A350 seats between 300 and 350. The design also mirrors the A350's 65-meter (213 feet) wingspan, enabling it to use existing airport infrastructure.
TU Delft project leader Roelof Vos said such innovation was needed as a stepping stone to greater efficiency while technology was still being developed to create large-scale electric airplanes. The plane's increased fuel efficiency is largely a result of its aerodynamic design, Vos explained, although its reduced weight also contributes. The researchers hope to fly a scale model this September, Vos said, while a mock-up of the new cabin design will be open to the public at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in October, as part of KLM's 100th anniversary celebrations. The completed plane is expected to enter service between 2040 and 2050.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cough-it-up department
Verizon has avoided paying local taxes on telecom equipment in many New Jersey municipalities over the past decade, but a proposed state law would force the company to pay back taxes for all the payments it didn't make. Ars Technica reports: The bill, filed on May 23 by Assemblyman John Burzichelli (Dâ"Paulsboro), "would force Verizon to pay local taxes on telephone poles, lines, land, and other equipment that the telecom giant has refused to fork over in an increasing number of New Jersey municipalities, starving them of tens of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue," The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. As of 2015, Verizon had reportedly stopped paying the tax in more than 150 of the 565 municipalities in New Jersey.
The tax Verizon has avoided ranges from $15,000 to more than $1 million a year for each municipality, taking revenue away from local budgets or forcing residents and other businesses to cover the shortfalls. Despite not paying tax in many cities and towns, local officials point out that Verizon "continues to benefit from the use of municipalities' poles, utility lines, and switching facilities even when it no longer pays taxes," a 2015 Inquirer article said. "The tax dispute centers on a 1997 amendment to state tax law that required 'business personal property' payments from landline phone companies that provide 'dial tone and access to 51 percent of a local telephone exchange,'" the report adds. Verizon said in 2008 that it would stop paying the tax because it said its market share had dropped below the 51 percent threshold. In reality, Verizon's share was closer to 90 percent.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's change-of-plans department
Microsoft is on the cusp of finally opening its flagship retail store in the UK next month, but all of the smaller Microsoft Specialty Stores have evidently been shuttered with many reportedly closing this past weekend. From a report: As of June 2019, Microsoft has just over 80 full-fledged Microsoft Stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia, but 17 of the smaller kiosks and so-called specialty stores have now been removed. Indeed, all the specialty stores are now gone implying a planned shift in retail strategy. In a statement, Microsoft said: After careful discussion and evaluation, we've made the decision to close our specialty store locations. We are focused on delivering great experiences throughout the customer journey. We will continue to connect with and empower our customers to achieve more and discover all that's possible with Microsoft through Microsoft Store across the globe online and in our physical stores in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, and coming soon to the U.K.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's privacy-first department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Apple's truly transforming into a privacy-as-a-service company, which shows in the way that it's implementing both the new single sign-on account service, as well as its camera and location services updates in iOS 13. The SSO play is especially clever, because it includes a mechanism that will allow developers to still have the relevant info they need to maintain a direct relationship with their users -- provided users willingly sign-up to have that relationship, but opting in to either or both name and email sharing.
Apple's work with camera providers is also unique -- providing actual on-device analysis of footage captured by third-party partners to deliver things that security device makers have typically offered as a value-add service themselves. That includes apparent identification of visitors to your home, for instance, and sending alerts when it detects people, as well as being able to differentiate that from other kinds of motion. That's going above and beyond simply protecting your data: It's replacing a potential privacy-risk feature with a privacy-minded one, at a service level across an entire category of devices. The new location services feature also makes it possible to provide single-use location permissions to apps, putting all the control with users instead of with service providers.
"Other new features, including HomeKit firewalling of specific services and devices, are similar in tone, and likely indicate what Apple intends to do more of in the future," the report adds. "Combined with its existing efforts, this begins to paint a picture of where Apple plans to play in offering a comprehensive consumer services product that is substantially differentiated from similar offerings by Google and others."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's privacy-woes department
JustAnotherOldGuy writes: A government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs -- including from driver's licenses, passports and mugshots -- that can be searched using facial recognition technology. The figure reflects how the technology is becoming an increasingly powerful law enforcement tool, but is also stirring fears about the potential for authorities to intrude on the lives of Americans. It was reported by the Government Accountability Office at a congressional hearing in which both Democrats and Republicans raised questions about the use of the technology.
The FBI maintains a database known as the Interstate Photo System of mugshots that can help federal, state and local law enforcement officials. It contains about 36 million photographs, according to Gretta Goodwin of the GAO. But taking into account the bureau contracts providing access to driver's licenses in 21 states, and its use of photos and other databases, the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs, Goodwin told lawmakers at the House oversight committee hearing. Kimberly Del Greco, a deputy assistant director at the FBI, said the bureau has strict policies for using facial recognition. She said it is used only when there is an active FBI investigation or an assessment, which can precede a formal investigation.Read Replies (0)