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VPN Blockade Backlash Doesn't Hurt Us, Says Netflix
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 02:01 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's pull-the-blockade-entirely-then department:
Ernesto Van der Sar, writing for TorrentFreak: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that the recent crackdown on VPN and proxy users hasn't hurt the company's results. The VPN blockade only affects a small but vocal minority, according to Hastings, and there are no signs that hordes of subscribers are abandoning ship. Earlier this year Netflix announced that it would increase its efforts to block customers who circumvent geo-blockades. As a result, it has become harder to use VPN services and proxies to access Netflix content from other countries, something various movie studios have repeatedly called for. When asked about the impact of the VPN changes on the results, Hastings brushed the issue aside as a minor detail that doesn't impact the bigger picture in any way. "It's a very small but quite vocal minority. So it's really inconsequential to us, as you could see in the Q1 results." Earlier this year, Hastings also admitted that a VPN-blocking policy might be impossible to enforce.

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Volkswagen 'Dieselgate' Software Developed At Audi In 1999, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's alright-then department:
An anonymous reader cites a report on Reuters: German carmaker Audi created so-called defeat devices which cut emissions in 1999, years before parent company Volkswagen used them to cheat diesel emissions tests, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday. VW, Europe's largest automaker, admitted in September it had manipulated the engines of around 11 million diesel cars, including its VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat brands. Engineers at Audi developed software capable of turning off certain engine functions in 1999, but it was never used by the VW luxury division, the newspaper said in an advance release of an article due to be published on Wednesday, which cited industry and company sources. Six years later, when VW engineers at the firm's Wolfsburg headquarters were unable to bring nitrogen oxide emissions below legal thresholds, they started to install the software developed by Audi, Handelsblatt said.

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Google Scans 6B Apps, 400M Devices Each Day; Says 30% of Android Devices Don't Get Regular Patches
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 12:41 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's state-of-Android department:
Reader Trailrunner7 writes: As part of the enhancements to Android security, Google scans more than 6 billion installed applications per day on users' devices. The company also scans more than 400 million devices each day, it announced on Tuesday. Google last year also began releasing monthly security updates for devices running modern versions of Android, which includes devices on version 4.4.4 (KitKat) and later. "70.8% of all active Android devices are on a version that we support with patches," the Android report says. However, that still leaves hundreds of millions of Android devices without regular updates. There were roughly 1.4 billion Android devices active in September, according to Google, so that would leave about 420 million Android devices without patches. In the Android ecosystem, carriers are also responsible for pushing security patches to users, so while Google pushes security updates each month, not all carriers and device manufacturers release them to all users regularly.In its report, Google also says that fewer than 0.15% of devices, that only get apps from Google Play, had potentially harmful apps installed on them.

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Apple Refused China Request For Source Code In Last Two Years: Lawyer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 11:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's curiosity-killed-the-cat department:
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: Apple has been asked by Chinese authorities within the last two years to hand over its source code but refused to do so, the company's top lawyer told U.S. lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday. Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell made the statement in response to a line of attack from law enforcement officials who have attempted to portray Apple as complicit in handing over information to Chinese authorities for business reasons while refusing to cooperate with U.S. requests for access to private data in criminal investigations. Apple and the FBI returned to Washington to testify before lawmakers about their heated disagreement over law enforcement access to encrypted devices, highlighted in the case of a locked iPhone linked to a gunman in last December's Islamist militant-inspired shootings in San Bernardino, California. Earlier in the hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Captain Charles Cohen, commander in the Indiana State Police, repeated the suggestion that Apple has quietly cooperated with Beijing. But when pressed by Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, for the source of that claim, Cohen only cited news reports. "That takes my breath away," a visibly frustrated Eshoo said. "That is a huge allegation."In some other Apple news, the Cupertino-based company complied with 80% of U.S. law enforcement requests in the second half of 2015, its just released transparency report shows. U.S. law enforcement asked Apple for information 4,000 times, covering 16,112 devices in the second half of 2015.

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Solar Is Now Cheaper Than Coal, Says India Energy Minister
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 11:11 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's to-a-brighter-future department:
An anonymous reader cites a report on Climate Change News: India is on track to soar past a goal to deploy more than 100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022, the country's energy minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday. Speaking at the release of a 15-point action plan for the country's renewable sector, Goyal said he was now considering looking at "something more" for the fast-growing solar sector. "I think a new coal plant would give you costlier power than a solar plant," he said. "Of course there are challenges of 24/7 power. We accept all of that -- but we have been able to come up with a solar-based long term vision that is not subsidy based." In the past financial year, nearly 20GW of solar capacity has been approved by the government, with a further 14GW planned through 2016 according to the Union Budget.More details here. "I met this man in Meghalaya, who has a solar set-up for his homestay. He mentioned that only the initial setting up costs you much," Deepika Gumaste, a travel writer told Slashdot. "But once you have set it up, the operating costs are not much and more importantly, the environmental costs also go down. Good on your pockets too in the long run." It is worth pointing out that India is currently among the handful of nations that is increasing its coal consumption, according to a Guardian report from late last year. Also see: India aims to become 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030.

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Researchers Can Identify You By Your Brain Waves With 100% Accuracy
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 09:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's fingerprint-is-yesterday's-technology department:
An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have developed a new system that can identify people using their brain waves or 'brainprint' with 100% accuracy, an advance that may be useful in high-security applications. Researchers at Binghamton University in U.S. recorded the brain activity of 50 people wearing an electroencephalogram (EEG) headset while they looked at a series of 500 images designed specifically to elicit unique responses from person to person -- e.g., a slice of pizza, a boat, or the word "conundrum." They found that participants' brains reacted differently to each image, enough that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer's 'brainprint' with 100% accuracy. "When you take hundreds of these images, where every person is going to feel differently about each individual one, then you can be really accurate in identifying which person it was who looked at them just by their brain activity," said Assistant Professor Sarah Laszlo. One thing the paper doesn't talk about is the effect of time on the accuracy of the system. People may perceive different things when looking at the same picture a year later, for instance.

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Human Limbs Evolved From Shark Fins Thanks To Sonic Hedgehog Gene
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 09:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's how-it-all-began department:
An anonymous reader shares a report at Mirror: Scientists believe human limbs evolved from the gills of sharks -- thanks to a gene named after Sonic the Hedgehog. The discovery comes from analysis of skate, a cartilaginous fish which has much in common with sharks. Limbs, like gills, grow thanks to a vital protein known as the 'Sonic hedgehog gene' -- named after the video game character. The new discovery backs up a theory suggested 138 years ago that legs and arms evolved from prehistoric fish gills. Gizmodo has more details on this.

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Popular Dark Web Market Disappears, Users Migrate In Panic
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 08:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's watching-the-dark-place-burn department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on Motherboard: Like the changing of the seasons, a natural stage in the dark web marketplace life cycle has once again manifested. Nucleus market, which primarily sold illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and cannabis, has disappeared: The site is unresponsive, and the market administrators have not made any announcements about planned downtime. This has forced vendors to migrate to other sites and panicked users to figure out where to go next, all amidst a whirlwind of rumours and speculation of where Nucleus -- and its cash -- has gone. 'Nucleus is an awesome market. One of the best. Hope all the admins are ok and nothing serious happened,' someone identifying themselves as a vendor wrote in a comment on the news site Deep Dot Web. At the moment, it's not totally clear why Nucleus' website is unresponsive. It could be an exit scam -- a scam where site administrators stop allowing users to withdraw their funds and then disappear with the stockpile of bitcoins.

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Kindle Unlimited Scammers Gaming the System At the Expense of Real Authors
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 08:21 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's gaming-the-system department:
Reader saccade writes: Kindle Unlimited is Amazon's book service that lets customers "check out" any book from a large selection without paying for individual titles. Like most things on the Internet, it's fallen prey to scammers. The system is designed to pay authors out of a single pool of money based on how many pages of their books are actually read. However, scammers have figured out how to rig the system by posting large, fake books, then hiring click farms to "read" them. This doesn't affect people using the service to read books (other than the nuisance of occasionally stumbling over bogus titles), but legitimate authors are getting squeezed as more of the KU payment pool goes to thieves and their bogus books.

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Americans Abandoning Wired Home Internet, Shows Study
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 07:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's get-those-wires-out-of-my-face department:
An anonymous reader writes: Americans as a whole are growing less likely than before to have residential broadband, according to new data on a sample of 53,000 Americans. In plain English, they're abandoning their wired Internet for a mobile-data-only diet -- and if the trend continues, it could reflect a huge shift in the way we experience the Web. The study, conducted for the Commerce Department by the U.S. Census Bureau, partly upholds what we already knew. Low-income Americans are still one of the biggest demographics to rely solely on their phones to get online. Today nearly a third of households earning less than $25,000 a year exclusively use mobile Internet to browse the Web. That's up from 16 percent in 2013. They're often cited as evidence of a digital divide; families with little money to afford a home Internet subscription must resort to free Wi-Fi at libraries and even McDonald's to do homework, look for jobs and find information. But people with higher incomes are ditching their wired Internet access at similar or even faster rates. In 2013, 8 percent of households making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year were mobile-only. Fast-forward a couple of years, and that figure is 18 percent. Seventeen percent of households making between $75,000 and $100,000 are mobile-only now, compared with 8 percent two years ago. And 15âpercent of households earning more than $100,000 are mobile-only, versus 6 percent in 2013.

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Apple Launches MacBook 2016 With Intel Skylake Processor, Longer Battery Life
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 07:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's shiny,-fancy,-pixel-packing-MacBook department:
Apple, on Tuesday, announced a refresh for its 12-inch MacBook laptop. The 2016 MacBook comes with an Intel Skylake processor -- sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M model, offering up to 1.3 GHz clock speed with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.1 GHz, faster 1866 MHz memory, and a 'rose gold' color variant. Apple assures 10 hours of wireless Web browsing time, or 11 hours of movie playback on a single charge. The new model will hit retail stores on Wednesday. It starts at $1,299 for the 256GB SSD and 8GB (up from 4GB) version, and goes all the way up to $1,599 for the top-of-the-line model which offers 512GB SSD. A couple of points: the first-generation MacBook didn't fare well with reviewers and plenty of users alike. Second, today's announcement also hints that the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lineups won't be getting the Intel Skylake upgrade for at least a few more months -- which is really sad, because, at present, they come equipped with almost three-year-old processor and graphics chips. No wonder, Oculus executive made fun of Apple's computers.

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NASA Feed 'Goes Down As Horseshoe UFO Appears On ISS Live Cam'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 05:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unidentified-flying-object department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Mirror Online: NASA has been accused of an alien cover up after a live International Space Station feed appearing to show a horseshoe UFO suddenly went down. Conspiracy theorists are having a field day over the sighting of the strange U-shaped object hovering on the horizon of the the ISS. They claim NASA 'cut the live feed' after the glowing blue object flew too close to the space station. Some have even gone as far to say NASA's funding should be cut over their 'great alien deception.' Scott Waring of UFO Sightings Daily first discovered the UFO. He passed the footage on to Tyler Glockner who uploaded the video to his YouTube channel secureteam10. What do you think: is it an alien spaceship or something more likely such as a reflection from a station window?

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Mysterious Gamma-Ray Burst May Be Linked To Gravitational Wave Find
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 02:52 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's mystery-machine department:
mdsolar quotes a report from Los Angeles Times: After a decades-long search, scientists announced early this year that they had detected gravitational waves probably coming from the merger of two black holes back in September. Now, a team of scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope say they spotted a brief flash of gamma rays that occurred less than half a second after that long-sought gravitational wave signal. The gamma-ray outburst, described at the American Physical Society's April meeting in Salt Lake City, has not been definitively linked to that first gravitational wave signal, and scientists weren't able to pinpoint its exact origin -- just that they came from the same general area. But if other astronomers begin to find a similar pattern, the results do raise the intriguing possibility that such high-energy events might not be quite as 'invisible' as we thought. The first gravitational wave signal rolled through the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory on Sept. 14, hitting the Louisiana detector first and then the one in Washington state seven milliseconds later, telling researchers that the signal must have come from the southern hemisphere.

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Verizon and Hearst Team Up To Buy Complex Media
Posted by News Fetcher on April 19 '16 at 12:02 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's 50/50 department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Verizon Wireless and Hearst Corp. are set to jointly acquire Complex Media. The "video-first" lifestyle site, focused on pop-culture trends and general entertainment, will continue to operate independently, albeit with Verizon and Hearst now each owning 50 percent stakes in the company. Complex CEO and co-founder Rich Antoniello will continue to lead the company. The WSJ reports that the deal values Complex Media between $250 million and $300 million. "The decision to acquire Complex is certainly a continuation of our media strategy, which is focused on disruption that is occurring in digital media and content distribution, and involves building a portfolio of the emerging digital brands of the future for the millennial and Gen-Z audience," said Brian Angiolet, Verizon's senior vice president of consumer product and marketing.

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NASA: Top 10 Space Junk Missions
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '16 at 07:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's space-pollution department:
coondoggie writes: NASA' s Orbital Debris Program Office said that by far the source of the greatest amount of orbital debris remains the Fengyun-1C spacecraft, which was the target of a People's Republic of China anti-satellite test in January 2007. Much more debris is now floating around Earth's atmosphere since the six years NASA last looked at the top 10 space junk missions. The space agency says that 10 missions out of the 5,160 space missions that have launched since 1957 account for approximately one-third of all cataloged objects now in Earth orbit. NASA said that the second and fourth most significant satellite breakups are Cosmos 2251 and Iridium 33 spacecraft, which were involved in the first ever accidental satellite collision February 2009.

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Rogue Source Code Repos Can Compromise Mac Security Due To Old Git Version
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '16 at 06:31 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's deign-unto-thee department:
An anonymous reader writes: Recent Mac versions come bundled with a very old version of Git (2.6.4) that is vulnerable to two security flaws that allow attackers to execute code on the device when the user forks a Git repo holding "malicious" code. The problem is that users can't upgrade this Git repo, they can't change its runtime permissions, nor can they remove it because Apple blocks even root users from twiddling with some system-level programs. "If you rely on machines like this, I am truly sorry. I feel for you," the researcher wrote on her blog. "I wrote this post in an attempt to goad them [Apple] into action because this is affecting lots of people who are important to me. They are basically screwed until Apple deigns to deliver a patched git unto them."

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Slashdot Asks: Do You Prefer To Handwrite or Type Notes?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's double-edged-sword department:
A study published by Psychological Science and transcribed on NPR explores the science behind note-taking. As technology becomes smaller, cheaper and more functional than ever before, it's not uncommon to see people taking notes on their laptop or tablet, especially in a school or work-related environment. In fact, it may be even more common to see people taking notes with an electronic device than with a pen and paper. The study shows that the process of taking notes by hand is slower, thus allowing the information being written to better soak into your brain. However, it's a double-edged sword. While using something like a laptop to type notes may be faster and allow for people to better transcribe what they're hearing, writing longhand generally allows people to better process the information they are writing, but at the expense of length. That is to say, writing longhand doesn't provide people with as much to look back on since the process is slower. Now everyone is different and everyone has their own formula and routine that works for them, so we thought we'd ask the question: Do you prefer to handwrite notes or type notes on a computer? Does one form of note-taking work better than the other or is it a combination of the two that is best?

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Smart Mattress With Lover Detection System Will Track Your Partner's Infidelities
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '16 at 05:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rat-out-cheaters department:
MojoKid quotes a report from HotHardware: Do you worry that your significant other is having mid-day romps in your bedroom while you're stuck at work banging out TPS reports? There's an app for that, and a smart mattress with built-in sensors to detect when between-the-sheet activities are taking place, with or without your participation. It's part of what a mattress company in Spain is calling its "lover detection system." You can't make this stuff up. Or maybe you can. You might seriously question whether or not the so-called Smarttress from Durmet is a real thing or an attempt at a viral marketing stunt. By all accounts, it certainly looks real. There are two dozen ultrasonic sensors embedded in the springs of the mattress. These tell-all sensors detect the speed and intensity of motion, how long the mattress has been active, and the history of encounters. That data is used to create a 3D map in real time, which you can view on your mobile device with an app for either iOS or Android devices.

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Blackmail: Obama Under Pressure To Declassify Secret 9/11 Report
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '16 at 03:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blackmail department:
An anonymous reader writes: Families of Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack victims are pressuring Obama to support legislation allowing them to sue the Saudi government. A recent "60 Minutes" investigation has stirred up some controversy by looking at possible links between Saudi officials and the 9/11 hijackers, which revealed that new information may be hiding in a classified section of a Congressional report. The Saudis said in a report in the New York Times that they might sell "up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States" if the bill passes. The bill in question is being considered by Congress and it would permit lawsuits against countries that "contribute material support or resources" for "acts of terrorism." Van Auken, who is among those convinced that the 9/11 hijackers were helped by Saudi agents, said, "It feels like blackmail. The government, the president is siding with Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 families. If someone you loved was murdered and the person was just able to go away Scott free, would you be okay with that? I don't think anybody would." Last week the royal embassy of Saudi Arabia said, "The 9/11 commission confirmed that there is no evidence that the government of Saudi Arabia supported or funded Al Qaeda."

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Amazon Splits Prime Video Service To Compete Directly With Netflix
Posted by News Fetcher on April 18 '16 at 03:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's everything-is-a-competition department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Starting today, non-Prime members can subscribe to Amazon Prime Video for $8.99 per month. You can cancel any time, you don't have to subscribe to a year upfront. With an Amazon Prime Video subscription, you only get access to Amazon's video library -- no expedited shipping, no music library. When it comes to Amazon Prime, it still costs $99 per year. And yes, it still includes Prime Video. You can also choose to subscribe to Prime for $10.99 per month. You get access to expedited shipping, Prime video, Prime Music, and the Kindle Lending Library. The move is to help the service compete directly against Netflix, Hulu, and other video streaming services. TechCrunch reinforces Amazon's latest move as being in-line with the subscription launchpad they have going with Amazon Prime: "The company can try out new services and see if they work. From day one, these new services will have millions of subscribers. And Amazon certainly spends a lot of time tracking what its users do with these new services."

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