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Microsoft Declines To Make a 64-Bit Visual Studio
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '16 at 10:36 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's five-years-late department:
OhPlz writes: A request was made back in 2011 for Microsoft to provide a 64 bit version of Visual Studio to address out-of-memory issues. After sitting on the request for all that time, Microsoft is now declining it, stating that it would not be good for performance.
After almost five years, the request received 3,127 votes on the UserVoice forum for Visual Studio. Microsoft instead recommended the vsFunnel extension to optimize memory by filtering low-priority projects, adding "we highly value your feedback." They cited a December MSDN post that had argued "smaller is faster," and that no performance benefits would be realized for users whose code and data already fit into a 32-bit address space, while most other issues could be addressed with better data design.

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TeamViewer Denies Being Hacked, Blames Users, Introduces New Security Measures
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '16 at 10:36 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's remote-controls department:
Mark Wilson writes: In the last couple of weeks there have been a huge number of reports from TeamViewer users that their computers have been hijacked. In addition to this, users of the remote access tool have complained of funds being extracted from PayPal and bank accounts. But TeamViewer insists that there has not been a security breach, instead shifting the blame to users. The company says [users] are in the habit of reusing the same passwords for a number of apps and services. It suggests that recent high profile security breaches -- such as the password dumps from MySpace and LinkedIn -- have allowed cyber criminals to learn TeamViewer log in credentials.
"We are appalled by the behaviour of cyber criminals, and are disgusted by their actions towards TeamViewer users," reads the company's statement. But they will now notify users whenever a new device logs in to a TeamViewer account, and in the future will also require a new password whenever suspicious account activity is detected.

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Even In Remotest Africa, Windows 10 Nagware Ruins Your Day
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '16 at 09:19 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's windows-10-malware department:
Iain Thomson, writing for The Register: When you're stuck in the middle of the Central African Republic (CAR) trying to protect the wildlife from armed poachers and the Lord's Resistance Army, then life's pretty tough. And now Microsoft has made it tougher with Windows 10 upgrades. The Chinko Project manages roughly 17,600 square kilometres (6,795 square miles) of rainforest and savannah in the east of the CAR, near the border with South Sudan. Money is tight, and so is internet bandwidth. So the staff was more than a little displeased when one of the donated laptops the team uses began upgrading to Windows 10 automatically, pulling in gigabytes of data over a radio link. And it's not just bandwidth bills they have to worry about. "If a forced upgrade happened and crashed our PCs while in the middle of coordinating rangers under fire from armed militarized poachers, blood could literally be on Microsoft's hands," said one member of the team.This is not a one-off case. We're reading about similar incidents everyday. Automatic updates, accidental automatic update, and the humongous data that these updates eat are ruining user experience for many. These are real issues. It's been roughly a year since Windows 10 has been officially available to consumers, and Microsoft is yet to address the issue.

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Apple Offers No Explanation for 7-Hour Outage
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '16 at 09:19 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's missing-Mac-music department:
Apple services went offline for up to 7 hours Thursday -- and the company has yet to offer an explanation. An anonymous reader writes:
The outage affected the App Store, iTunes in the Cloud, Apple TV, Mail Drop, Find my iPhone, and Photos. During the outage, Apple responded to complaints on Twitter, "Thank you for the information. We're aware of this issue and are investigating,"

Tech Times reports that the iCloud Music Library had also experienced an outage on Wednesday, and that just weeks ago Apple released an operating system update which bricked several iPad Pros. And yesterday Amazon also experienced a service outage.

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Python/Unix Hybrid Demoed at PyCon
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '16 at 09:19 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's shell-games department:
A new shell "combines the Python language with features of Bash Unix and the fish and zsh shells," according to InfoWorld. An anonymous reader writes: Pronounced "conch," but spelled Xonsh, it runs on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X systems, bringing Python libraries to the command line -- for example, the ability to use regular expressions when globbing files. "The first thing you'll notice about Xonsh is that it's really meant to be used as a general-purpose shell," the lead developer explained in a presentation at PyCon. "But on the other hand, it really is Python, so you can do things like add two numbers together." They're describing it as "a Python-ish, BASHwards-looking shell language and command prompt...a superset of Python 3.4+ with additional support for the best parts of shells that you are used to, such as Bash, zsh, fish, and IPython...the superglue that bonds Python to a command-line interface and other shells."

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Wonder Boy Remake Finally On The Way
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '16 at 06:33 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blast-from-the-past department:
SlappingOysters writes: Sega has a number of fan favorite IP locked away in its vault, and one is about to be let out after a 27-year hiatus. Lizardcube has announced a remake of Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap for PC and consoles, which originally appeared on the Sega Master System in 1989. The game has a striking, modern visual style, but retains the classic story and gameplay. Lizardcube was founded by ex-developers of Media Molecule and Dreamworks, and the original game's creator, Ryuichi Nishizawa, is also on board. You can watch the reveal trailer here.

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Frontier Has No Plans For Data Caps As They're Not Necessary, Says CEO
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '16 at 02:33 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's overage-fees department:
An anonymous reader writes: Frontier's CEO Dan McCarthy has said at an investors conference that the company has no plans to institute data caps that squeeze overage fees from data-hungry customers, yet. "The nice part of technology and what has happened is that transport costs continue to decline," he explained. "We have not really started or have any intent about initiatives on usage based pricing," said McCarthy. "We want to make sure our products meet the needs of customers for what they want to do and it does not inhibit them or force them to make decisions on how they want to use the product." He did note that data caps could someday come into play: "There may be a time when usage-based pricing is the right solution for the market, but I really don't see that as a path the market is taking at this point in time." The gist of what McCarthy is saying as noted via Ars Technica is that data caps are a business decision, not a network necessity.

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UK Risks Over-Blocking Content Online, Warns Human Rights Watchdog
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 11:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's freedom-of-expression department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The UK is at serious risk of over-blocking web content, the Council of Europe has warned in a scathing report. "Governments have an obligation to combat the promotion of terrorism, child abuse material, hate speech and other illegal content online. However, I am concerned that some states are not clearly defining what constitutes illegal content. Decisions are often delegated to authorities who are given a wide margin for interpreting content, potentially to the detriment of freedom of expression," said CoE secretary general, Thorbjorn Jagland. The 32-page report also concluded that some British practices may be in breach of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and that the current framework seems more concerned with protecting ISPs from liability, than the general public's freedom of expression. The study singled out the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) whose job it is to police online child abuse material. The IWF has existed in some form since 1996, but is not a government body or law enforcement agency, but instead, a registered charity, funded by the European Union and the wider online industry, including big players such as Google and Microsoft. Although the report noted that "the IWF has taken a number of steps to better ensure that its operations are transparent and proportionate, in the absence of legal safeguards against over-blocking, the threshold for the kind of material which may be subjected to removal is therefore much lower than that which might otherwise be set out in law."

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Microsoft Wants To Power Self-Driving Cars With Software, Not Build One
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 07:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's behind-the-scenes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft's Peggy Johnson said at the Converge conference (Warning: WSJ source paywalled) in Hong Kong this week that the company is not interested in manufacturing its own self-driving cars, but instead is interested in building software for cars. "We won't be building our own autonomous vehicle but we would like to enable autonomous vehicles and assisted driving as well," said Johnson, head of business development at Microsoft. "We in different ways enabled a variety of different partners and you'll see us continuing to do that." Microsoft is open to partners requesting an operating system for cars. The company has partnered with Harman to integrate Microsoft Office 365 into its infotainment systems, bringing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to cars for the first time. "You're sitting in the car for many, many minutes a day. Can that be part of your new office, can it be your new desk, a place where you actually get work done?" asked Johnson. "We believe it can." Two years ago, Microsoft unveiled their "Windows in the car" initiative to compete against Apple's CarPlay.

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WordPress Sites Under Attack From New Zero-Day In WP Mobile Detector Plugin
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 06:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's man-your-battle-stations department:
An anonymous reader writes: A large number of websites have been infected with SEO spam thanks to a new zero-day in the WP Mobile Detector plugin that was installed on over 10,000 websites. The zero-day was used in real-world attacks since May 26, but only surfaced to light on May 29 when researchers notified the plugin's developer. Seeing that the developer was slow to react, security researchers informed Automattic, who had the plugin delisted from WordPress.org's Plugin Directory on May 31. In the meantime, security firm Sucuri says it detected numerous attacks with this zero-day, which was caused by a lack of input filtering in an image upload field that allowed attackers to upload PHP backdoors on the victim's servers with incredible ease and without any tricky workarounds. The backdoor's password is "dinamit," the Russian word for dynamite.

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FBI Developing Software To Track, Sort People By Their Tattoos
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 05:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's invasive-procedures department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) investigation, the FBI is working to create software with government researchers that will allow law enforcement to sort and identify people based off their tattoos. The advanced tattoo recognition technology aims to determine "affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology" and decipher tattoos that "contain intelligence, messages, meaning and motivation." Such research first originated at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2014, and used a database of prisoner's tattoos. The technology developed by NIST would "map connections between people with similarly themed tattoos or make inferences about people from their tattoos," the EFF reports. What some may view as even more unnerving is that the EFF investigation claims the researchers disregarded basic ethical government research standards, especially those relating specifically to prisoners. The obtained documents reveal NIST researchers sought permission from supervisors only after they had conducted their initial research. The EFF argues that a database that sorts citizens based on their tattoos may or may not reflect their religious or political beliefs, social affiliations, or interests.

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FTC Has Serious Concerns About IoT Security and Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 05:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's product-shelf-life department:
Trailrunner7 quotes a report from On The Wire: The Federal Trade Commission has sent comments to the Department of Commerce, outlining a list of concerns about the security and privacy of connected and embedded devices, saying that while many IoT devices have tangible benefits for consumers, "these devices also create new opportunities for unauthorized persons to exploit vulnerabilities." One of the key security problems that researchers have cited with IoT devices is the impracticality of updating them when vulnerabilities are discovered. Installing new firmware on light bulbs or refrigerators is not something most consumers are used to, and many manufacturers haven't contemplated those processes either. The FTC said the lack of available updates is a serious problem for consumers and businesses alike. "Although similar risks exist with traditional computers and computer networks, they may be heightened in the IoT, in part because many IoT chips are inexpensive and disposable, and many IoT devices are quickly replaceable with newer versions. As a result, businesses may not have an incentive to support software updates for the full useful life of these devices, potentially leaving consumers with vulnerable devices. Moreover, it may be difficult or impossible to apply updates to certain devices," the FTC comments say. In early May, the FTC issued a 10-page letter to eight leading players in the mobile communications arena requiring them to tell the agency how they issue security patches.

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Snapchat Secretly Acquires Seene, A Startup That Let's Mobile Users Make 3D Selfies
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 03:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's third-dimension department:
An anonymous reader writes: TechCrunch has learned of a secret acquisition by Snapchat of a computer vision startup company called Seene. TechCrunch reports: "Seene lets you capture 3D models from your phone with a simple smartphone camera. Snapchat could use Seene's format for a brand new category of selfie lenses, a new 3D photo format, and potentially for future virtual reality projects. Seene scans and reconstructs full 3D geometry on your phone. Unlike Project Tango or Microsoft's Kinect, Seene doesn't need special infrared sensors and multiple cameras. Similarly, Seene doesn't need a cloud backend to process 3D scans and recreate 3D objects -- everything happens on the phone. For instance, you can scan your face in a few seconds and create a 3D selfie. It would make a lot of sense to use Seene's technology to improve Snapchat's selfie lenses -- including for advertising purposes. (Snapchat debuted sponsored lenses in fall last year, and charges a pretty penny to advertisers wanting to get their brand on people's faces.) Also last year, Snapchat acquired Looksery to power its selfie lenses. Combining Looksery's technology with Seene's technology would allow Snapchat to create more complex lenses with a real sense of depth. Think ads that people want to touch." While on the subject of lenses, U.S. inventors claim their flat lens made of paint whitener on a sliver of glass could revolutionize optics.

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Electric Bikes Won Over China. Is the US Next?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 03:32 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's is-e-bike-the-future? department:
Sales of electric-bike is growing in many parts of the world. Asia-Pacific region, for instance, is estimated to see 32.8M of them sell this year, and 1.6m of e-bikes are expected to be sold in Western Europe by the end of this year. In China, in particular, the ban on motorcyle has lead to massive e-bike adoption. Over the years we've seen many companies such as BG and Pedego dish out models after models, offering bikes ranging from elegant folding versions to flat-tire variants. Despite all the growth elsewhere in the world, North America and Latin America are estimated to see less than 250,000 inventories move this year. But going forward, the number is likely to see a major growth. From a Bloomberg article: Electrics "finally have legs to be able to take off in the U.S.," because cyclists are feeling safer on the roads, battery and motor technology is improving, and retail prices are dropping, says Todd Grant, president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association. However, e-bikes have been banned in some U.S. cities because of safety concerns. [...] The U.S. market could develop "way faster" than Europe's did, says Claus Fleischer, who heads Bosch's e-bike division. The German multinational began selling motors and batteries for electric bikes in 2011 and now supplies more than 60 brands, primarily in Europe. It opened a subsidiary in Irvine, Calif., in 2014 and is sponsoring e-bike expos across the U.S., including one in Portland, Ore., that ran for three days in late May.

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Nest CEO Tony Fadell Steps Down After Tumultuous Two Years At Google
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 02:04 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Tony Fadell is stepping down as head of Nest Labs, just over two tumultuous years after selling the smart-home gadget maker to Google. Fadell will leave Nest immediately and be replaced by Marwan Fawaz, former executive vice president of Motorola Mobility where he served as CEO of Motorola Home, Nest said in a statement. Fadell will still advise Alphabet Inc. and Larry Page, the Google co-founder and chief executive officer of the holding company. Nest took longer than expected to release new products and a smoke and carbon monoxide detector was recalled due to software problems. When the company did release an updated product, the Nest Cam security camera in June 2015, Fadell admitted it had been a "grueling" year. In recent months, Nest employees complained publicly about Fadell's management, while claiming the business had missed sales targets, botched upgrades and delayed future products. Fadell said, "I don't know of any regrets that I have. To do what we do at the level we do it, no one's done it before. So you're bound to make mistakes."

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Wheelchair-Bound Stroke Victim Walks Again After 'Unprecedented' Stem Cell Trial At Stanford
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 02:04 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's medical-breakthrough department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Washington Post: Stanford researchers studying the effect of stem cells injected directly into the brains of stroke patients said Thursday that they were "stunned" by the extent to which the experimental treatment restored motor function in some of the patients. The results, published in the journal Stroke, could have implications for our understanding of an array of disorders including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and Alzheimer's if confirmed in larger-scale testing. The work involved patients who had passed the critical six-month mark when recoveries generally plateau and there are rarely further improvements. Each participant in the study had suffered a stroke beneath the brain's outermost layer and had significant impairments in moving their arms and-or legs. The one-time therapy involved surgeons drilling a hole into the study participants' skulls and injecting stem cells in several locations around the area damaged by the stroke. These stem cells were harvested from the bone marrow of adult donors. They suffered minimal adverse effects such as temporary headaches, nausea and vomiting. "Their recovery was not just a minimal recovery like someone who couldn't move a thumb now being able to wiggle it. It was much more meaningful. One 71-year-old wheelchair-bound patient was walking again," said Steinberg, the study's lead author and chair of neurosurgery at Stanford who personally performed most of the surgeries. Steinberg said that the study does not support the idea that the injected stem cells become neurons, as has been previously thought. Instead, it suggests that they seem to trigger some kind of biochemical process that enhances the brain's ability to repair itself. "Patients improved by several standard measures, and their improvement was not only statistically significant, but clinically meaningful," Steinberg said. "Their ability to move around has recovered visibly. That's unprecedented. At six months out from a stroke, you don't expect to see any further recovery."

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Flat Lens Promises Possible Revolution In Optics
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 02:04 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's advances-in-optics-world department:
An anonymous reader shares a BBC report: A flat lens made of paint whitener on a sliver of glass could revolutionize optics, according to its U.S. inventors. Just 2mm across and finer than a human hair, the tiny device can magnify nanoscale objects and gives a sharper focus than top-end microscope lenses. It is the latest example of the power of metamaterials, whose novel properties emerge from their structure. Shapes on the surface of this lens are smaller than the wavelength of light involved: a thousandth of a millimetre. "In my opinion, this technology will be game-changing," said Federico Capasso of Harvard University, the senior author of a report
on the new lens which appears in the journal Science. The lens is quite unlike the curved disks of glass familiar from cameras and binoculars. Instead, it is made of a thin layer of transparent quartz coated in millions of tiny pillars, each just tens of nanometres across and hundreds high.PetaPixel has more details.

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Olympic Athletes To Sport Visa's New Payment Ring In Rio
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 12:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sign-language department:
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Engadget: Visa is introducing a new ring at the Olympic Games in Rio that will let people pay for things by waving their hand -- no phone, wallet, or battery is needed. The ring, which has yet to be named, features a secure microchip from Gemalto, and an embedded antenna. It is crafted of black or white ceramic, as metal would interfere with the antenna. There will be 20 sizes available during its trial run where it will be available exclusively for employees and partners, as well as the 45 athletes sponsored by Visa. The athletes inspired the creation of the ring, as wallets and typical wearables can be an annoyance to them when they're constantly changing uniforms. The ring is even fit for Olympic swimmers, as it is water resistant up to 50 meters. It never needs to be charged since it draws a tiny amount of power from the payment terminal and transmits far less data than Apple Pay or Android Pay. As for security, the ring can be deactivated from a smartphone, and thanks to tokenization, sensitive data is replaced by a digital identifier that can be used to process payments, so thieves won't be able to use it. There has been some controversy surrounding the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Some doctors have warned that the games could spark a "full-blow public health disaster" with the spread of the Zika virus.

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Tech CEOs Declare This the Era of Artificial Intelligence
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 12:43 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
You will be hearing a lot about AI and machine learning in the coming years. At Recode's iconic conference this week, a number of top executives revealed -- and reiterated -- their increasingly growing efforts to capture the nascent technology category. From a Reuters report (condensed): Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet's Google, said he sees a "huge opportunity" in AI. Google first started applying the technology through "deep neural networks" to voice recognition software about three to four years ago and is ahead of rivals such as Amazon.com, Apple, and Microsoft in machine learning, Pichai said. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos predicted a profound impact on society over the next 20 years. "It's really early but I think we're on the edge of a golden era. It's going to be so exciting to see what happens," he said. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said the company has been working on artificial technology, which she calls a cognitive system, since 2005 when it started developing its Watson supercomputer. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant "neural laces" in their brains to keep up, Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told a crowd of tech leaders this week.Microsoft, which was absent from the event, is also working on bots and AI technologies. One company that is seemingly off the picture is Apple.

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Instagram's New Algorithm That Puts the Best Posts First Goes Live For All
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '16 at 11:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's they-know-what-you-like department:
Instagram announced on Friday that it is rolling out its algorithmic feed around the world. The idea is, Facebook-owned photo and video platform says, users will see photos that they are likely to enjoy -- as opposed to seeing what people they follow have posted in reverse-chronological order. The algorithm uses machine learning to create a more personalized feed based on what it thinks you will enjoy more. TechCrunch reports: If you think that sounds a lot like parent company Facebook's News Feed algorithm, you'd be right. As Facebook came to understand long ago, the posts people want to see aren't necessarily those that are the newest. They're those that matter to you, personally. But since most of us aren't on our phones 24/7 -- hey, even the busiest people sleep for a few hours per night! -- we tend to miss posts from our favorite people. This is especially true if you're trying to keep up with friends in other time zones.

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