By msmash from Slashdot's can't-beat-em',-buy-'em department
Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch:Here's fuel to the fire for those who believe that Facebook will buy anything that looks, smells or moves like Snapchat. The U.S. social networking giant this summer made an unsuccessful bid to acquire Snow, a Snapchat-like service from Naver, the $25 billion-valued Korean firm behind chat app Line, a source close to the company told TechCrunch. Snow currently has around 80 million downloads, and it is adding around 10 million more each month, according to the source. That growth has also encouraged acquisition interest from Tencent -- the maker of blockbuster chat app WeChat -- Alibaba and others, TechCrunch understands. "It's true that Snow is receiving love calls from various companies," a representative from Naver told us in a statement. Despite acknowledging outside interest, Naver did not name Snow's would-be suitors.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's experience-vs-wisdom department
brown.dragon is an older programmer moving to Australia. He writes:
I want to start an online solution that other programmers find helpful, and right now I'm wondering if I should go with "learning new technologies" or "getting really good at the basics". Both are targeted towards giving a career boost to older programmers...
Would you like to keep in touch with the latest technologies because that's what makes it easy to get jobs? Or would you like to be really good at answering (Google/Facebook/Amazon) algorithmic interview questions?
He asks programmers looking for an online educational tool, "which of these (if any), would interest you?" So leave your answers in the comments. What training do you think would help older programmers most?Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's game-over department
An anonymous reader writes: "In compliance with US embargoes and sanctions laws, Origin is not available in Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine (Crimea region)," a community manager from EA posted in September. Engadget calls it "a reminder of the risks you take when buying copy-protected game downloads... Even if you started your account elsewhere, you aren't allowed to either visit the Origin store or use any of your purchased games."
Sunday an employee at EA's Origin game store commented "This isn't an EA-specific issue -- it's an issue that impacts all companies offering services that are covered by trade embargoes." But since the U.S. lifted sanctions on Myanmar in September, EA "is internally reviewing the situation... It's unclear to me whether we can do anything for residents of other countries that are still similarly embargoed, but I'll bring the topic up for discussion internally."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's taking-license-with-GPL department
An anonymous reader writes:
"Wow, dude I did not even know we were fighting," Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami posted on the company's blog Saturday -- responding to Wordpress creator Matt Mullenweg, who on Friday accused Wix of stealing their code. "The claim is that the Wix mobile apps distribute GPL code and aren't themselves GPL, so they violate the license," Mullenweg wrote.
Abrahami argued that "Everything we improved there or modified, we submitted back as open source," adding "we will release the app you saw as well... " Mullenweg responded "It appears you and [lead engineer] Tal might share a misunderstanding of how the GPL works," ultimately adding "software licensing can be tricky and many people make honest mistakes."
Wix had also argued they're giving back to the open source community by listing 224 public projects on their GitHub page. "Thank you for the offer to use them," Mullenweg responded. "If we do, we'll make sure to follow the license you've put on the code very carefully."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-America-tweet-again department
An anonymous reader writes:
During the first U.S. presidential debate, "automated accounts were tweeting messages with hashtags associated with the candidates. For example, #makeamericagreatagain or #draintheswamp for Trump; #imwithher for Clinton," according to TechNewsWorld. They cite researchers at PoliticalBots.org, who "found that one-third of all tweets using pro-Trump hashtags were created by bots and one-fifth of all Clinton hashtags were generated by automated accounts."
In addition, "Political actors and governments worldwide have begun using bots to manipulate public opinion, choke off debate, and muddy political issues... We know for a fact that Russia, as a state, has sponsored the use of bots for attacking transnational targets... We've had cases in Mexico, Turkey, South Korea and Australia. The problem is that a lot of people don't know bots exist, and that trends on social media or even online polls can be gamed by bots very easily."
After the second presidential debate, "Pro-Clinton bots 'fought back'," reported the BBC, adding that they were still outnumbered by the Trump bots.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's talk-like-a-politician-day department
The BBC reports that Iceland's Pirate Party "has tripled its seats in the 63-seat parliament, election results show. It is in joint second place with the Left-Greens -- with 10 seats each."
An anonymous reader quotes USA Today:
Iceland's hacker-led, upstart Pirate Party failed to make the nation's powerful Independence Party walk the plank after all. The Pirate Party -- led by a former WikiLeaks collaborator -- rode the populist movement sweeping Europe to make big gains in Saturday's election, but returns on Sunday gave the largest bloc of seats to the center-right Independence Party...
Pirate Party co-founder Birgitta Jonsdottir, who became involved with WikiLeaks in 2010 after its leader Julian Assange visited Iceland, said she was satisfied with the Pirate plunder at the polls. "Our internal predictions showed 10 to 15%, so this is at the top of the range."
Iceland's prime minister was forced to resign in April after the Panama Papers suggested his family had sheltered its personal wealth outside the country.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hear-hear department
An anonymous reader writes:
"High-frequency audio 'beacons' are embedded into TV commercials or browser ads," reports New Scientist. "These sounds, which are inaudible to the human ear, can be picked up by any nearby device that has a microphone and can then activate certain functions on that device...Some shopping reward apps, such as Shopkick, already use it to let retailers push department or aisle-specific ads and promotions to customers' phones as they shop."
But now Fortune reports that some apps "often actively listen for ultrasound signals, even when the app itself is closed, creating a new and relatively poorly-understood pathway for hacking." In addition, security researchers "have already found ways to mine cloaked IP addresses. Speaking to New Scientist, team member Vasilios Mavroudis suggests that an app's always-on microphone access could be leveraged to monitor conversations (and, if you're not paranoid already, to decipher what you're typing). The 'beacons' that transmit ultrasound data can also be spoofed to manipulate apps' user data."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's bad-news-batteries department
Three weeks after unboxing a hoverboard, it burst into flames. But is Amazon partly to blame?
tripleevenfall quotes The Tennessean:
A Nashville family whose $1 million home was destroyed earlier this year in a fire caused by a hoverboard toy is suing Amazon saying the retail giant knowingly sold a dangerous product...
The lawsuit says the seller of the hoverboard listed online, "W-Deals," is a sham organization that is registered to an apartment in New York City that has not responded to requests from lawyers in the case. It alleges the family was sold a counterfeit product from China instead of a brand with a Samsung lithium ion battery they believed they were buying from Amazon . It says Tennessee product liability law holds a seller responsible if the manufacturer cannot be found.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's high-planes-drifting department
The A-10 aircraft "is just too effective to get rid of," wrote one defense blogger -- especially in light of ongoing issues with the F-35.
schwit1 quotes Jalopnik:
Strategists have feared that the jet will be axed in favor of funding the F-35, but the U.S. Air Force recently confirmed that it plans to keep the A-10 flying "indefinitely." While the Air Force is theoretically supposed to be diverting the A-10's operating expenses to feed the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the people in charge are now planning to keep the plane running...
Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski told AviationWeek in a interview, "Our command, anyway, is approaching this as another airplane that we are sustaining indefinitely." While the beancounters and product planners are trying to push the A-10 off the board, Materiel Command is going to keep on keeping the planes in peak condition, which will give the A-10 it's best chance of proving its worth over and over again. And it seems to be working -- the A-10 posted a 5% increase in its availability rate from 2014 to 2015, and the Air Force seems to keep postponing its demise.
In Congress one representative has even suggested an operational testing "fly-off" between the two aircraft -- a jet-vs-jet competition to determine whether any more A-10s get retired.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's canary-in-the-coal-mine? department
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes ComputerWorld:
In the next decade, the mining industry may lose more than half of its jobs to automation, according to a new report... This industry is adopting self-driving trucks, automated loaders and automated drilling and tunnel-boring systems. It is also testing fully autonomous long-distance trains, which carry materials from the mine to a port...
A broader question is whether mining is a bellwether for other industries. There's no clear answer, but what Aaron Cosbey, a development economist and a report author, can say is this: "Where you can find robotic replacements for human labor you tend to do it." Cosbey estimates that automation will replace 40% to 80% of the workers at a mine...
Driverless technology can increase output up to 20%, while decreasing fuel consumption up to 15%, according to the article. "This will increase demand for people with IT skills who can set up and operate the automation systems -- but at far smaller numbers than the people automation displaces."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's do-not-call-from department
This summer the FCC convened a "Robocall Task Force" to help consumers fight unwanted automated telemarketers, and Wednesday the coalition finally delivered a report recommending a "Do Not Originate" list so carriers could spot spoofed numbers which should be blocked.
A trial of the "DNO" list that's been running for the last few weeks on some IRS numbers has resulted in a 90 percent drop in the volume of IRS scam calls, officials from AT&T, which leads the strike force, said during the FCC meeting Wednesday. The carriers on the strike force, which include Sprint, Verizon, and many others, plan to continue testing the DNO list in the coming months, with the intent to fully implement it some time next year...
The strike force members also are working on a system to classify calls into categories, such as political or charity, as a way to give consumers more information before they answer calls from unknown numbers. And, the group said it has developed a working solution for authentication between VoIP applications and traditional landline networks as another way to defeat spoofing from callers in foreign countries.
Early next year they're planning larger tests -- and the strike force has also created a new site describing how to block and report robocalls.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's better-than-a-shotgun department
A new radio transmitter "seizes complete control of nearby drones as they're in mid-flight," reports Ars Technica:
From then on, the drones are under the full control of the person with the hijacking device. The remote control in the possession of the original operator experiences a loss of all functions, including steering, acceleration, and altitude... Besides hijacking a drone, the device provides a digital fingerprint that's unique to each craft. The fingerprint can be used to identify trusted drones from unfriendly ones and potentially to provide forensic evidence for use in criminal or civil court cases...
Hijacks could allow law-enforcement officers to safely seize control of vulnerable drones that are endangering or interfering with first responders. The hacks could also provide ordinary citizens with a less-draconian way of disabling a drone they believe is impinging on their property or privacy... A patchwork of federal and state laws makes it unclear if even local authorities have the legal authority to shoot or hack an aircraft out of the sky.
XKCD once proposed solving the problem with butterfly nets, but instead this new attack is exploiting unencrypted DSMx radio signals.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's P-is-for-Penguin department
OpenSource.com reports on a Minnesota school's 1:1 program -- one device per child -- where "Lots of the Windows laptops were in very poor condition and needed to be replaced."
An anonymous reader writes:
An Indiegogo campaign triggered extra money and donations of laptops, allowing the school's Linux club to equip much of the school with Linux laptops. "When you're using open source software you're free to use operating systems and application software without the hassle of license keys or license tracking inherent with proprietary software," says Stu Keroff, the school's technology coordinator. "This allows a school to experiment [and] gives them the freedom to make mistakes...
But there's also another benefit. "By empowering the students to be part of that process we were able to get more done, and to generate more excitement about the learning that the students were taking part in." There's now a waiting list for the school's Linux club, where they'd planned to cap membership at 35...until 62 students applied. Instead, they found themselves creating two Linux clubs, one for the sixth graders, and one for the 7th and 8th graders.
And to answer the obvious question -- they're using Ubuntu, with the Unity desktop.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's responding-to-warrants department
"Please know that Apple will continue its work with law enforcement," reads an email from Apple's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, who reports directly to CEO Tim Cook, according to new documents this week on WikiLeaks. An anonymous reader writes:
In the email the Apple executive writes "we work closely with authorities to comply with legal requests for data that have helped solve complex crimes. Thousands of times every month, we give governments information about Apple customers and devices, in response to warrants and other forms of legal process. We have a team that responds to those requests 24 hours a day." The email was addressed to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
But the context is missing, and could show a larger attempt to soften Hillary Clinton's position on encryption. While Jackson writes that at Apple, "We share law enforcement's concerns about the threat to citizens," she later writes "Strong encryption does not eliminate Apple's ability to give law enforcement meta-data or any of a number of other very useful categories of data."
The email also compliments Clinton for her "principled and nuanced stance" on encryption in a December debate against Bernie Sanders. Clinton had said "maybe the backdoor is the wrong door, and I understand what Apple and others are saying about that. But I also understand, when a law enforcement official charged with the responsibility of preventing attack...well, if we can't know what someone is planning, we are going to have to rely on the neighbor... I just think there's got to be a way, and I would hope that our tech companies would work with government to figure that out."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's looking-for-laptops department
Seems like a good time to revisit this question -- assuming anyone's still using a netbook. Long-time Slashdot reader Qbertino writes:
I'm looking for a cheap lightweight netbook that is Linux-friendly, i.e. lets me install Linux without any shoddy modern BIOS getting in my way... The Lenovo 100S-11 looks really neat, but I just read about installation problems... Are there any alternatives?
And if there aren't, what experience do you guys have running Linux on a Chromebook using Crouton -- the Linux-parallel-to-Chrome-OS hack? Is it a feasible alternative to dumping ChromeOS and installing a 100% lightweight Linux?
His budget is around $200, and he ends his submission with "Many thanks from a fellow Slashdotter." So leave your suggestions in the comments. What's the best cheap Linux-friendly netbook?Read Replies (0)