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Visual Studio 2015 C++ Compiler Secretly Inserts Telemetry Code Into Binaries
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '16 at 06:12 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's Microsoft-things department:
Reader edxwelch writes: Reddit user sammiesdog discovered recently that Visual Studio 2015 C++ compiler was inserting calls to a Microsoft telemetry function into binaries. "I compiled a simple program with only main(). When looking at the compiled binary in IDA, I see a call for telemetry_main_invoke_trigger and telemetry_main_return_trigger. I cannot find documentation for these calls, either on the web or in the options page," he wrote. Only after the discovery did Steve Carroll, the dev manager for Visual C++ admit to the "feature" and posted a workaround to remove it.A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the existence of this behavior to InfoQ, adding that the company wil bel removing it in a future preview build. For those who wish to get rid of it, the blog writes: Users who have a copy of VS2015 Update 2 and wish to turn off the telemetry functionality currently being compiled into their code should add notelemetry.obj to their linker command line.

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Woman Uses 'Hey Siri' To Call An Ambulance and Help Save Her Child's Life
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '16 at 06:12 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-listening department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Networkworld: When Apple released the iPhone 6s, it included a great new Siri feature which enables users to activate the intelligent assistant via voice. Dubbed 'Hey Siri,' the feature is particularly convenient because the iPhone 6s' M9 motion co-processor is 'always listening' and thereby lets users use 'Hey Siri' even when the device isn't connected to a power source. Recently, Stacey Gleeson of Australia used the 'Hey Siri' feature to successfully call an ambulance while she was tending to her daughter Giana who had stopped breathing. "I picked her up and sat down with her on the floor," Gleeson said in an interview. "And as I checked her airways, I looked over and remembered my phone." Thinking quick on her feet, Gleeson said, "Hey Siri, call the ambulance." Fortunately, Gleeson managed to resuscitate her daughter while the ambulance was in route. And while it's impossible to know for sure, it's entirely possible that the time Gleeson saved by not having to call an ambulance manually helped save her daughter's life. "Saving me the trouble of having to physically dial emergency services was a godsend," Gleeson said.

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British Startup Strip Mines Renters' Private Social Media For Landlords
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '16 at 03:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-vs-freedom department:
Rick Zeman writes: Creepy British startup Score Assured has brought the power of "big data" to plumb new depths. In order to rent from landlords who use their services, potential renters are "...required to grant it full access to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram profiles. From there, Tenant Assured scrapes your site activity, including entire conversation threads and private messages; runs it through natural language processing and other analytic software; and finally, spits out a report that catalogs everything from your personality to your 'financial stress level.'" This "stress level" is a deep dive to (allegedly) determine whether the potential renter will pay their bills using vague indicators like "online retail social logins and frequency of social logins used for leisure activities." To make it worse, the company turns over to the landlords' indicators that the landlords aren't legally allowed to consider (age, race, pregnancy status), counting on the landlords to "do the right thing." As if this isn't abusive enough, the candidates are not allowed to see nor challenge their report, unlike with credit reports. Landlords first, employers next...and then? As the co-founder says, "People will give up their privacy to get something they want" and, evidently, that includes a place to live and a job. In late May, an apartment building in Salt Lake City told tenants living in the complex to "like" its Facebook page or they will be in breach of their lease.

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US Agency Lines Up Broad Support For ICANN Transition
Posted by News Fetcher on June 10 '16 at 12:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's green-light department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: A U.S. agency has lined up broad support for its plan to end the government's oversight of the Internet's domain name system, despite opposition from some Republicans in Congress. The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Thursday released statements of support for a plan to end its oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Among supporters of a plan, developed by the ICANN community, to transition ICANN's domain name coordination functions to a multistakeholder governance model are Amazon.com, Google, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. NTIA on Thursday announced it had reviewed the community proposal and found it meets the agency's criteria for allowing the ICANN privatization plan to move forward. The community plan maintains the openness of the Internet and maintains the security and stability of the DNS, said NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling. It does not replace NTIA's oversight with another government organization, he said, although that's been a fear of some critics of the NTIA plan. On Wednesday, Ted Cruz proposed a bill, the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, that would prohibit the U.S. government from relinquishing its role with respect to overseeing the web's domain name system (DNS), unless explicitly authorized by Congress.

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Lenovo and Motorola Unveil PHAB2 Tango AR and Modular Moto Z Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 08:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-to-Tango department:
MojoKid quotes a report from HotHardware: Google has been teasing its Project Tango augmented reality (AR) platform for years but no OEMs have stepped up to the plate to deliver Tango-enabled hardware until now. Lenovo just came out with its PHAB2 Pro 6.4-inch phablet smartphone which packs a full-fledged AR experience. The PHAB2 Pro will be the first commercially available Lenovo smartphone in the U.S. and it leverages Tango AR technology in three ways. The smartphone's "eye" uses motion-tracking to determine its location in 3D. Area learning can also feed location information to the phone, and depth perception allows the phone to analyze the world around it. The PHAB2 Pro is also huge with a 6.4" QHD display covered in 2.5D curved glass. Powering the PHAB2 Pro is a Snapdragon 652 processor with 4GB of RAM, a generous 64GB of storage and a microSD slot. There's also a 16MP rear camera, 8MP front camera and a 4050 mAh battery. Lenovo's Motorola Mobility division also announced the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, which are next generation Android flagships. The Moto Z is the standard model and measures just 5.2mm thick and comes with a 5.5" QHD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. Its 13MP rear camera features optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, while its 5MP front camera with wide-angle lens takes care of selfies. Then there's the new Moto Z Force, which ups the ante with a 3500 mAh battery, a 21MP rear camera and a shatterproof screen. But what truly makes the Moto Z and Moto Z Force stand out are Moto Mods. These are modular accessories that attach to the back of the smartphones via four magnets and a 16-pin connector. It's much more elegant than what LG has employed with the G5 (which requires you to remove the bottom of the smartphone). Instead, Moto Z users can simply attach an accessory, like the JBL SoundBoost Mod which brings high-end sound, with a quick snap.

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Apple Creates Energy Company, Looks To Sell Excess Power Into The Grid
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 06:44 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's abundant-resources department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from 9to5Mac: Apple has quietly created an energy subsidiary, 'Apple Energy' LLC, registered in Delaware but run from its Cupertino headquarters. The company has seemingly formed to allow it to sell excess electricity generated by its solar farms in Cupertino and Nevada, with plans to sell electricity across the whole of the U.S. But a set of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filings suggests that Apple could have bigger ambitions in the power field. Currently, when private companies sell their excess power, they can only do so to energy companies -- and they often (varies by state) have to sell at wholesale rates. What Apple seemingly could to do, however, is sell directly to end-users at market rates. In other words, get paid retail prices for its excess power. Currently companies like Green Mountain Power can sell green renewable energy to homeowners all over the U.S. It wouldn't be a stretch to see Apple do this as a product in the future. Apple has told the FERC that it meets the legal criteria for selling electricity at market rates because it is not a major player in the energy business and thus has no power to influence electricity prices. It has requested permission begin within 60 days of its filing on 6th June.

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Internet Has Become 'World's Largest Surveillance Network'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 05:27 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shrouded-in-secrecy department:
An anonymous reader writes: Inventor of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee said in an interview with The New York Times that the internet has become the "world's largest surveillance network. [...] It controls what people see. It creates mechanisms for how people interact. It's been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing people's content, taking you to the wrong websites completely undermines the spirit of helping people create," he said. Berners-Lee thinks large corporations and governments are to blame. "The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging." At the Decentralized Web Summit, Berners-Lee met with a group of internet activists to discuss ways of "re-decentralizing" the internet, and giving individuals more control while ensuring more privacy and security. "The temptation to grab control of the internet by the government or by a company is always going to be there," he said. "They will wait until we're sleeping, because if you're a government or a company and you can control something, you'll want it. You want to control your citizens or exploit customers. The temptation is huge. Yes, we can have things enshrined in law, but even then it won't necessarily stop people."

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Movie Written By Algorithm Turns Out To Be Hilarious and Intense
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 05:27 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's non-fiction-science-fiction department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Ars is excited to be hosting this online debut of Sunspring, a short science fiction film that's not entirely what it seems. It's about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle. You know it's the future because H (played with neurotic gravity by Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch) is wearing a shiny gold jacket, H2 (Elisabeth Gray) is playing with computers, and C (Humphrey Ker) announces that he has to "go to the skull" before sticking his face into a bunch of green lights. It sounds like your typical sci-fi B-movie, complete with an incoherent plot. Except Sunspring isn't the product of Hollywood hacks -- it was written entirely by an AI. To be specific, it was authored by a recurrent neural network called long short-term memory, or LSTM for short. At least, that's what we'd call it. The AI named itself Benjamin. The report goes on to mention that the movie was made by Oscar Sharp for the annual film festival Sci-Fi London. You can watch the short film (~10 min) on The Scene here.

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Tesla Suspension Breakage: It's Not The Crime, It's The Coverup
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 05:27 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-investigators department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Daily Kanban: For several months now, reports have circulated in comment sections and forum threads about a possible defect in Tesla's vehicles that may cause suspension control arms to break. Many of those reports appeared to come from a single, highly-motivated and potentially unreliable source, a fact which led many to dismiss them as crankery. But as more reports of suspension failure in Teslas have come in, Daily Kanban has investigated the matter and can now report on this deeply troubling issue. Our investigation began in earnest upon reading a thread titled "Suspension Problem on Model S" in the Tesla Motors Club forum. The original poster (OP) in that thread described the suspension in his 2013 Model S (with 70,000 miles) failing at relatively low speed, saying the "left front hub assembly separated from the upper control arm." Images of the broken suspension components showed high levels of rust in the steel ball joint and the OP reported being told by Tesla service center employees that the "ball joint bolt was loose and caused the wear," which was "not normal." Because his Tesla was out of warranty, the repair was reportedly sent to Tesla management for consideration. According to a subsequent post by the OP, Tesla management refused to repair the broken suspension under warranty despite the "not normal" levels of wear reported by the service techs. Then, just days later, the OP reported that Tesla had offered to pay 50% of the $3,100 repair bill in exchange for his signature on a "Goodwill Agreement" which he subsequently posted here (a scan of the stock agreement can be found here). That agreement included the following passage: "The Goodwill is being provided to you without any admission of liability or wrongdoing or acceptance of any facts by Tesla, and shall not be treated as or considered evidence of Tesla's liability with respect to any claim or incidents. You agree to keep confidential our provision of the Goodwill, the terms of this agreement and the incidents or claims leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill. In accepting the Goodwill, you hereby release and discharge Tesla and related persons or entities from any and all claims or damages arising out of or in any way connected with any claims or incidents leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill. You further agree that you will not commence, participate or voluntarily aid in any action at law or in equity or any legal proceeding against Tesla or related persons or entities based upon facts related to the claims or incidents leading to or related to this Goodwill." [Emphasis added] This offer, to repair a defective part in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement, is unheard of in the auto industry. More troublingly, it represents a potential assault by Tesla Motors on the right of vehicle owners to report defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's complaint database, the auto safety regulators sole means of discovering defects independent of the automakers they regulate. Reuters also reports today that U.S. auto safety investigators are reviewing reports of suspension problems in Tesla Motors Inc's Model S cars.

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Uber Rolling Out Scheduled Rides In Seattle
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 05:27 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's more-convenient department:
Scheduled rides are coming to Uber. The ride-hailing announced on Thursday that users in Seattle can now schedule a pickup request as far out as 30 days in advance. GeekWire reports: The ride-sharing service said scheduling is a top-requested feature from business travelers and the company said priority access will be given to riders who have Business Profiles or are linked to their company's Uber account. Uber says it will bring it to other "major" cities soon.

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Microsoft Makes Minecraft Education Edition Available To Schools
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 05:27 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's learning-games department:
Mickeycaskill quotes a report from TechWeekEurope UK: Microsoft has bolstered its push into the education sector with the release of Minecraft: Education Edition for teachers around the world. The beta is an "early access" release, meaning it is free for testing purposes for schools. It comes after Microsoft last year launched a Minecraft site for educators to seek ideas on how the video game could be used as part of lessons. With the early access version of Minecraft: Education Edition now available, teachers have the chance to install and try an early version of the experience for free throughout the summer with classes of up to 30 students (without the need for a separate server). The complete version of Minecraft: Education Edition will be available in September. It will cost between $1 and $5 per user, per year depending on school size and volume licensing offers. Minecraft shows no sign of slowing down. It recently passed 100 million sales across all platforms and Microsoft, which acquired Mojang roughly two years ago, even has plans to bring Minecraft to China.

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China Plans Massive Sea Lab 10,000 Feet Underwater In the South China Sea
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pineapple-under-the-sea department:
An anonymous reader writes: In an effort to hunt for materials, China is planning to build a manned deep-sea platform in the South China Sea. The lab may also serve for military purposes in the disputed waters as well. The lab would be located as much as 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) below sea level, according to a recent Science Ministry presentation viewed by Bloomberg. Bloomberg writes: "The project was mentioned in China's current five-year economic plan released in March and ranked number two on a list of the top 100 science and technology priorities." There are few public details specifying the timeline of the project, any blueprints, costs or where exactly it will be located. China's President Xi Jinping considers more than 80 percent of the waters its sovereign territory. The country has even created several artificial islands in the South China Sea covering 3,200 acres. Last year, the NYT posted a fascinated piece showing clear satellite imagery of the new islands being built.

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Oklahoma State Troopers Use New Device To Seize Bank Accounts During Traffic Stops
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 02:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's it's-all-gone department:
mi writes from a report via news9.com KWTV: KWTV writes, "You may have heard of civil asset forfeiture. That's where police can seize your property and cash without first proving you committed a crime; without a warrant and without arresting you, as long as they suspect that your property is somehow tied to a crime. Now, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a device that also allows them to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money." But do not worry: "If you can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent.

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Parents Are Worried the Amazon Echo Is Conditioning Their Kids To Be Rude
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 02:43 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's social-graces-in-digital-world department:
Quartz has a story today in which it documents several concerns from parents that Amazon Echo (and perhaps other AI-powered devices) is conditioning the kids of this generation to be rude. "How?" You ask. For one, unlike a human parent who gets annoyed listening to the same question numerous times, Amazon Echo doesn't mind that. From the report: "I've found my kids pushing the virtual assistant further than they would push a human," says Avi Greengart, a tech analyst and father of five who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey. "[Alexa] never says 'That was rude' or 'I'm tired of you asking me the same question over and over again.'" Perhaps she should, he thinks. "One of the responsibilities of parents is to teach your kids social graces," says Greengart, "and this is a box you speak to as if it were a person who does not require social graces."

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A Solution To the Security Guidelines Proposed By FCC For Home Routers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 02:43 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's within-the-law department:
An anonymous reader writes: Back in March 2015, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a security document that included a series of provisions related to the use of wireless devices. In order to comply with these security guidelines, some manufacturers of home routers and other networking equipment decided to lock down the software powering these devices. This caused an outcry from the open source community who demanded that the FCC and manufacturers would not restrict the free use of the operating system and associated software running on their devices. Now Imagination Technologies is presenting a proof of concept demonstration that addresses the next-generation security requirements mandated by the FCC and other similar agencies. The demo makes use of a feature of MIPS Warrior CPUs called multi-domain, secure hardware virtualization. This technology allows developers to create system-wide, hardware-enforced trusted environments that are much secure compared to current solutions. The platform used for the demonstration runs three virtual machines (VMs) on a MIPS P-class CPU integrated in a router-type evaluation kit; this approach securely separates the OpenWrt operating system from the Wi-Fi driver, allowing them to co-exist in isolation and thus comply with the FCC guidelines.Ars Technica has more details.

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Pilot Test Of Storing Carbon Dioxide In Rocks Shows Impressive Outcome
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 02:43 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's plan-b department:
For years we have been trying to find different ways to limit carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuels. Some researchers believe that things would be very convenient if we could just deposit carbon dioxide in rocks. A pilot project around this idea has shown an impressive result. John Ross, reporting for the Australian: Scientists say they have demonstrated a foolproof way of sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide -- turning it into rock. An international team of researchers says it has demonstrated for the first time that CO2 can be permanently locked away from the atmosphere by injecting it into volcanic bedrock. The study, reported this morning in the journal Science, could overcome the leakage problems that have plagued attempts to bury CO2 gas underground. Lead author Juerg Matter said between 95 per cent and 98 per cent of the injected CO2 had been mineralised in less than two years, "which is amazingly fast.""Until now it was thought this process would take hundreds to thousands of years," University of Southampton, which led the new study, said in a statement. "The current study has demonstrated that it can take as little as two years."

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Microsoft Has Created Its Own FreeBSD
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 11:23 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's affinity-for-open-source department:
Simon Sharwood, writing for The Register: Microsoft has published its own distribution of FreeBSD 10.3 in order to make the OS available and supported in Azure. Jason Anderson, principal PM manager at Microsoft's Open Source Technology Center says Redmond "took on the work of building, testing, releasing and maintaining the image" so it could "ensure our customers have an enterprise SLA for their FreeBSD VMs running in Azure". Microsoft did so "to remove that burden" from the FreeBSD Foundation, which relies on community contributions. Redmond is not keeping its work on FreeBSD to itself: Anderson says "the majority of the investments we make at the kernel level to enable network and storage performance were up-streamed into the FreeBSD 10.3 release, so anyone who downloads a FreeBSD 10.3 image from the FreeBSD Foundation will get those investments from Microsoft built in to the OS."

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Google's Nearby Feature Recommends Apps and Websites Based On Your Location
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 11:23 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's yay-or-nay? department:
Google on Thursday announced Nearby, a new feature for Android devices that recommends apps and websites based on your physical location. The idea is simple: You're on the go and there is an app that might be useful to you but you don't know it exists. Nearby will let you know about such apps. The company writes in a blog post: To use Nearby, just turn on Bluetooth and Location, and we'll show you a notification if a nearby app or website is available. Once you've opted-in, tapping on a notification takes you straight into the intended experience. If you're not interested, just swipe it away to give us a clear signal.
Nearby has started rolling out to users as part of the upcoming Google Play Services release and will work on Android 4.4 (KitKat) and above.If you're a developer, Google has published another blog post to help you get started.

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Tinder Bans Most Teens
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 09:55 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's how-to-hookup-101 department:
Tinder says it will stop allowing users aged 13 to 17 to use its app starting next week. The dating app has allowed users in the aforementioned age range to match within their age group since 2012. Gizmodo reports: The change makes sense given Tinder's status as a hookup app, its features that make it easier to find orgies, and various age-of-consent laws that could potentially land the company in hot water if anything involving a minor goes wrong. It likely won't be too hard to get around the restriction, and might just involve changing your birthday on Facebook.

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Maru OS Exits Private Beta, Lets You Use an Android Phone As a Linux Desktop
Posted by News Fetcher on June 09 '16 at 09:55 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's rekindling-your-old-device department:
Maru OS has exited beta, and is now available to anyone who wants to give it a try. For those unaware, Maru OS offers a platform that runs Android as well as Debian Linux on a smartphone. When you connect a Maru OS-powered smartphone to an external display, you get "full-fledged Linux desktop environment." Maru OS was unveiled in February, and currently supports only one smartphone: Nexus 5. The developers behind it have also started to work on making the project open source. They hope that doing this will help them support other devices as well. Brad Linger, writes for Liliputing: Work has also begun on making Maru OS an open source project, which could allow additional developers to contribute to the project or port it to run on other phones, although the current version of the Maru OS does require phones that support HDMI via MHL or SlimPort, which means not all phones will be able to run the software unless wireless display support is added in the future.

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