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Trump Administration Sees a 7-Degree Rise in Global Temperatures By 2100
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 09:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's oh-wow department:
Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees by the end of this century. From a report: A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe. But the administration did not offer this dire forecast as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet's fate is already sealed. The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump's decision to freeze federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020. While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket.

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Intel Addresses CPU Shortage: 'Supply Is Undoubtedly Tight'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 08:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-the-record department:
Intel interim CEO Bob Swan publicly addressed the company's CPU shortage issue for the first time since July, when he acknowledged that meeting additional demand would be Intel's "biggest challenge." From a report: In a message posted to Intel's website Friday, Swan said the "surprising return" to growth in the PC market "has put pressure on [the company's] factory network." He added, "We're prioritizing the production of Intel Xeon and Intel Core processors so that collectively we can serve the high-performance segments of the market. That said, supply is undoubtedly tight, particularly at the entry-level of the PC market." Intel partners and at least one distributor previously told CRN they were seeing a shortage of Intel's current generation, 14-nanometer CPUs, most notably in lower-end client processors.

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Researchers Refine a Device That Can Both Harvest and Store Solar Energy, and They Hope It Will One Day Bring Electricity To Rural and Underdeveloped Areas
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 08:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: The problem of energy storage has led to many creative solutions, like giant batteries. For a paper published today in the journal Chem, scientists trying to improve the solar cells themselves developed an integrated battery that works in three different ways. It can work like a normal solar cell by converting sunlight to electricity immediately, explains study author Song Jin, a chemist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It can store the solar energy, or it can simply be charged like a normal battery. It's a combination of two existing technologies: solar cells that harvest light, and a so-called flow battery. The most commonly used batteries, lithium-ion, store energy in solid materials, like various metals. Flow batteries, on the other hand, store energy in external liquid tanks. This means they are very easy to scale for large projects. Scaling up all the components of a lithium-ion battery might throw off the engineering, but for flow batteries, "you just make the tank bigger," says Timothy Cook, a University at Buffalo chemist and flow battery expert not involved in the study. "You really simplify how to make the battery grow in capacity," he adds. "We're not making flow batteries to power a cell phone, we're thinking about buildings or industrial sites.

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Green Bay Packers and Microsoft Win Domain Name Fight After Family Sought Cash, Tickets and Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 07:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tough-luck department:
theodp writes: Last fall, Microsoft and the Green Bay Packers announced a $10 million partnership to build TitletownTech, "an innovation center focused on developing and advancing scalable, technology-enabled ventures," which aims to bring an economic boost to the area near Lambeau Field (Microsoft President Brad Smith hails from the region). Unfortunately for them, they failed to secure their venture's namesake domain name ahead of time. GeekWire reports on the fate of a Wisconsin family that was sitting on the coveted titletowntech.com domain name and offered to give it up in exchange for $750,000 cash, 8 lifetime Packers season tickets, 2 parking passes, and 8 Microsoft Surface Pro tablets (with lifetime MS-Office licenses). The family said the admittedly-ridiculous demand wasn't meant to be taken seriously but was intended to send a message after they received a suspicious $5,000 buyout offer from an anonymous "service" that the Packers engaged to try to recover the fumbled domain. Not amused, Green Bay Packers, Inc. flexed its legal muscle, filing a domain dispute complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which ordered the disputed domain name to be transferred to the team shortly after the USPTO issued a Notice of Allowance to the NFL team for a trademark on TitletownTech, leaving the Wisconsin family with zilch. And so the old titletowntech.com ("TitleTown Tech Solutions") was just a bad memory by the time Microsoft returned to Green Bay last week to give an update on the joint venture, including the news that Microsoft will play a key role in the leadership team at TitletownTech, which will also house its TEALS program employees. [...] And as for the domain name, the NFL franchise with more titles than any other team ultimately did what it has done for years -- win.

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Hacker Proclaims He'll Live-Stream an Attempt To Delete Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Page This Sunday
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 07:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
An indie Taiwanese hacker has proclaimed he'll broadcast an attempt to wipe out Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page this Sunday -- live. From a report: Self-professed bug bounty-hunter Chang Chi-yuan, who ferrets out software flaws in return for cash, says he'll live-stream an endeavor to delete the billionaire's account at 6 p.m. local time from his own Facebook page. He didn't get into details or respond to an online query. "Broadcasting the deletion of FB founder Zuck's account," the lanky youngster, who turns 24 this year based on past interviews, told his 26,000-plus followers on Facebook this week. "Scheduled to go live." Cyber-enthusiasts from India to the U.S. routinely expose loopholes in corporate websites and software, earning small financial rewards. It's unusual however for so-called white-hat hackers to do so in real time. Chang, a minor celebrity at home who's gone on talk shows to discuss his exploits, was reportedly sued by a local bus operator after infiltrating their systems and buying a ticket for just NT$1 (3 cents). He's published a gamut of claims -- none of which could be independently verified -- including attacks on Apple and Tesla. And his Facebook account was listed among eight "special contributors" in Line's 2016 bug-hunters' hall of fame.

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Scientists Accidentally Blow Up Their Lab With Strongest Indoor Magnetic Field Ever
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 05:40 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's blown-away department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Tokyo accidentally created the strongest controllable magnetic field in history and blew the doors of their lab in the process. As detailed in a paper recently published in the Review of Scientific Instruments, the researchers produced the magnetic field to test the material properties of a new generator system. They were expecting to reach peak magnetic field intensities of around 700 Teslas, but the machine instead produced a peak of 1,200 Teslas. (For the sake of comparison, a refrigerator magnet has about 0.01 Tesla)

In both the Japanese and Russian experiments, the magnetic fields were generated using a technique called electromagnetic flux-compression. This technique causes a brief spike in the strength of the magnetic field by rapidly "squeezing" it to a smaller size. [...] Instead of using TNT to generate their magnetic field, the Japanese researchers dumped a massive amount of energy -- 3.2 megajoules -- into the generator to cause a weak magnetic field produced by a small coil to rapidly compress at a speed of about 20,000 miles per hour. This involves feeding 4 million amps of current through the generator, which is several thousand times more than a lightning bolt. When this coil is compressed as small as it will go, it bounces back. This produces a powerful shockwave that destroyed the coil and much of the generator. To protect themselves from the shockwave, the Japanese researchers built an iron cage for the generator. However they only built it to withstand about 700 Teslas, so the shockwave from the 1,200 Teslas ended up blowing out the door to the enclosure. While this is the strongest magnetic filed ever generated in a controlled, indoor environment, the strongest magnetic field produced in history belongs to some Russian researchers who created a 2,800 Tesla magnetic field in 2001.

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Delta's Fully Biometric Terminal Is the First In the US
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 03:01 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department:
In what Delta is calling the first "biometric terminal" in the country, they will reportedly use facial recognition at check-in, security and boarding inside the international terminal at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Engadget reports: Passengers that want to use facial recognition can approach a kiosk in the lobby and click "Look," or approach a camera at the ticket counter, TSA checkpoint or when boarding. Once a green check mark flashes on the screen, they can proceed. Delta -- which plans to introduce fingerprint scanning to fold, too -- says passengers can use this system instead of the passports to get through these checkpoints, but you'll still need your passport for use in other non-biometric-equipped airports (although maybe one day we'll do away with passports altogether). Privacy advocates are concerned about the security risks present in facial scans, especially as it's an opt-out process. Others, however, say it makes air travel a more streamlined process.

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Satellite Company Partners With Jeff Bezos' AWS To Bring Internet To 'Whole Planet'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '18 at 12:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-connected department:
Iridium Communications is partnering with Amazon Web Services to develop a satellite-based network called CloudConnect for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. "We're really covering the whole planet [...] with terrestrial networks today it's still only 10 percent or 20 percent" of the Earth, Iridium CEO Matt Desch told CNBC. "Everybody today can connect pretty easily with very little effort. Now that Amazon has put our language into the cloud platform, they can extend their applications to the satellite realm." From the report: CloudConnect, which the company expects to launch in 2019, makes Iridium "the first, and only, satellite provider now connected to" Amazon Web Services, Desch said. The CloudConnect network will focus on "where cellular technologies aren't," Desch said, bringing the rest of the world within reach of AWS. The company is nearly finished putting its Iridium NEXT constellation of 75 satellites into orbit. SpaceX is launching the $3 billion satellite network for Iridium, with the eighth and final launch happening later this year.

Once online, Iridium NEXT will offer services such as higher broadband communications speeds and global airplane tracking. Iridium describes the IoT aspect of the network as a "catalyst for strong subscriber growth." Desch said the network hosts "about half a million" active devices, growing at a rate of about 20 percent per year for the last three years. With AWS onboard, Desch gave a very bullish estimates for his IoT services: "Easily this could expand to tens of millions of devices."

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Scientists Can Now Peek Inside Mummies In a Whole New Way
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 08:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's proof-of-concept department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: A revved-up version of traditional CT scanning shows it's possible to acquire microscopic-scale images of ancient Egyptian mummies, revealing previously unseen features such as blood vessels and nerves. A new proof-of-concept study published this week in Radiology shows a modified version of CT scanning, called phase-contrast CT scanning, can be used to do microscopic-scale imaging of soft-tissue in human mummies. This imaging technique detects the absorption and phase shift (similar to how light changes direction when it passes through a lens) that happens when x-rays pass through a solid object. The resulting images feature a higher level of contrast than traditional x-ray images.

For the new study, Jenny Romell and her colleagues at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of using phase-contrast CT scanning on mummies. The researchers scanned a mummified human right hand from ancient Egypt. The hand was lent to them by the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities, and it dates back to around 400 BC. Rommel's team scanned the entire hand, followed by more detailed imaging of a finger tip. The system worked beautifully. The resolution got as good as an estimated 6 to 9 microns, which is slightly more than the width of a human blood cell. At such a small scale, the researchers could visualize the mummy's blood vessels, different layers of skin growth, adipose cells, blood vessels, and nerves. For archaeologists, this now introduces a new way of imaging ancient remains in an unobtrusive and highly detailed way.

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Carmack Compares Oculus Quest Hardware Power To Last-Gen Game Consoles
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 07:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's less-than-or-equal-to department:
During a talk at the Oculus Connect conference today, Oculus' CTO, John Carmack, compared the company's newly announced Oculus Quest headset to the Xbox 360 and PS3 in terms of power. Ars Technica reports: That doesn't mean the Quest, which is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, can generate VR scenes comparable to those seen in Xbox 360 or PS3 games, though. As Carmack pointed out, most games of that generation targeted a 1280x720 resolution at 30 frames per second. On Quest, the display target involves two 1280x1280 images per frame at 72fps. That's 8.5 times as many pixels per second, with additional high-end anti-aliasing effects needed for VR as well. "It is not possible to take a game that was done at a high-quality level [on the Xbox 360 or PS3] and expect it to look good in VR," Carmack said. Expecting Rift-level performance from a self-contained mobile headset like the quest isn't realistic, Carmack said, partly for simple electrical reasons. While a high-end gaming PC often draw up to 500 watts of power, Carmack said the Quest only uses about 5W, a tidbit that should be of benefit to the Quest's still unconfirmed battery-life statistics.

< article continued at Slashdot's less-than-or-equal-to department >

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Apple Watch ECG Feature Could Take Years To Be Approved In UK
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's feeling-left-out department:
One of the most appealing new features of the Apple Watch Series 4 is its electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor that measures the electrical activity of your heartbeat, providing you with a heart rhythm classification that can be shared with your doctor. While the feature will be available later this year in the United States, 9to5Mac reports that it could take years for it to be approved in the United Kingdom. From a report: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) explains that the process starts by examining Apple's documentation surrounding the ECG feature and performing an audit of the quality assurance system. While this step doesn't appear to be lengthy, the proceeding steps could make the process longer. MHRA says it would require Apple to perform a new clinical investigation to judge the effectiveness of the ECG on Apple Watch, but Apple would likely not be able to use any of the data from the studies it's already completed because MHRA requires companies to notify the regulator in advance of a study. Once the study is submitted, MHRA has 60 days to approve it (which may become longer if the regulators have further inquiries for Apple), and then Apple can begin the study. These last few steps are what the MHRA say "could potentially add years" onto the debut of the ECG in the UK. Despite the potential for years-long approval, Apple may find ways to expedite this process. While the United Kingdom remains part of the European Union, it's possible that Apple could receive approval from a broader regulatory body and sidestep the MHRA's processes.

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Face Scanning In US Airports Is Rife With Technical Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's technical-difficulties department:
Homeland Security's Inspector General has issued a report warning that its airport face scanning system is struggling with "technical and operational challenges." The report says that Customs and Border Protection "could only use the technology with 85 percent of passengers due to staff shortages, network problems and hastened boarding times during flight delays," reports Engadget. "The system did catch 1,300 people overstaying their allowed time in the U.S., but it might have caught more -- and there were problems 'consistently' matching people from specific age groups and countries." From the report: The watchdog also pointed out uncertainty about help from airlines, such as requiring them buy the cameras needed for taking passengers' photos. That represents a "significant point failure" for the face scanning system, the Inspector General said. As a result, the oversight body warned that Homeland Security might not make its target of having the face scanning system completely ready for use in the top 20 US airports by 2021.

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Consumer Reports Gives Its Recommendation Back To Microsoft's Surface Laptops
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 04:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's back-and-forth department:
After pulling its recommendation in August, Consumer Reports announced that it is once again recommending Microsoft's Surface laptops. "Microsoft's reliability is now on-par with most other laptop brands," says Martin Lachter, a senior research associate at Consumer Reports. The Verge reports: Consumer Reports originally revoked its recommendations after a survey of 90,000 laptop and tablet owners found that 25 percent of Surface users reported having problems by the end of their second year owning the device. Its latest survey concluded that that's no longer the case (although the recommendation site didn't disclose the exact numbers for this year's polling). The newly re-gained recommendation applies to most of Microsoft's Surface lineup, including the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Book 2. Notably missing is the recently released 10-inch Surface Go, although that isn't getting the recommendation badge due to poor performance in Consumer Reports' lab testing, not reliability concerns.

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Alphabet Launches VirusTotal Enterprise
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 04:22 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-back department:
Google launched today a new set of services for enterprise customers of VirusTotal, a website that lets users test suspicious files and URLs against an aggregate of multiple antivirus scanning engines at the same time. From a report: This collection of new tools is part of the new VirusTotal Enterprise service, which Google described as "the most significant upgrade in VirusTotal's 14-year history." As the name implies, this new service is specifically aimed at enterprise customers and is an expansion of VirusTotal's current Premium Services. Google says VirusTotal Enterprise consists of existing VirusTotal capabilities, but also new functionality, such as improved threat detection and a faster search system that uses a brand new interface that unifies capabilities in VirusTotal's free and paid sites. "VirusTotal Enterprise allows users to search for malware samples (using VT Intelligence), hunt for future malware samples (using VT Hunt with YARA), analyze malware relationships (using VT Graph), and automate all these tasks with our API," Google said.

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Apple's Device Enrollment Program Can Leak Sensitive Data About Devices, Owners
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 03:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's too-easy-to-access department:
Mark Wilson shares a report from BetaNews: Security researchers have discovered an issue with the Device Enrollment Program used by Apple to allow organizations to manage their MacBooks and iPhones. Duo Security says that using nothing more than a serial number, it is possible to gain access to sensitive data about enrolled devices and their owners. It is even possible to enroll new devices that can then access Wi-Fi passwords, VPN configurations and more. Apple was alerted to the issue way back in May, but has not done anything about it as the company does not regard it as a vulnerability. James Barclay from Duo Security, and Rich Smith from Duo Labs share their findings in a paper entitled MDM Me Maybe: Device Enrollment Program Security. They point out that while there are various easy ways to obtain devices' serial numbers, the researchers have been able to create a simple serial generator that can be used to search for information. In regard to the serial generator, Smith told CNET: "While we aren't releasing the code, I'm not going to pretend to be under the impression that this is something that can't be reproduced. It would not be difficult for someone to replicate the code that we've developed."

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Panasonic Completing 3 New Cell Production Lines At Tesla's Gigafactory
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 03:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's more-the-merrier department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In a Tuesday interview with Bloomberg, the head of Panasonic's Automotive Division said that the company was on track to complete an additional three battery-cell production lines at Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory before the end of this year. That puts the expansion ahead of schedule for completion. Panasonic is a joint owner of the Gigafactory. The company provides the "2170" battery cells that go into a Model 3 battery pack. Tesla packages those cells to complete the pack. In the interview, Panasonic automotive executive Yoshio Ito told Bloomberg that "the bottleneck for Model 3 production has been our batteries." Ito added, "they just want us to make as many as possible."

In short, more battery cells rolling off more lines at the Gigafactory are good for Model 3 production only if the manufacturing process gets smoother. There's evidence that this is happening, as the company was able to sell more than 28,000 Model 3s in the second quarter of 2018, albeit at the slight expense of Model S and Model X production. The three new Panasonic lines will bring the number of cell-producing lines up to 13, Bloomberg wrote. Ito told the news service that Tesla is currently using all of its Gigafactory capacity to produce vehicle batteries, despite initially planning to reserve 30 percent of its capacity to build stationary storage batteries like Powerwalls and Powerpacks. That has played out in long-delayed Powerwall installations.

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Microsoft Will End Support For Skype Classic In November
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 01:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-the-line department:
Support for Skype Classic 7.0 was slated to end this month, but has been delayed due to customer complaints. Now, according to an announcement today, Microsoft is going to officially end support in November. TechCrunch reports: The company is killing Skype 7 support on the desktop on November 1, following suit for mobile and tablets two weeks later on the 15th. The initial delay was motivated by vocal users unhappy by the changes brought on by Skype 8 in the name of simplification. One user went so far as to launch a Change.org petition asking Microsoft to "Keep the desktop version of Skype alive for professional users." The petition has since racked up in excess of 1,000 signatures, demanding the company keep enterprise features lost in the shuffle. "We're continuing to work on your most requested features," the company writes in an update to the original announcement. "Recently we launched call recording and have started to roll out the ability to search within a conversation. You'll soon be able to add phone numbers to existing contacts, have more control over your availability status, and more."

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SEC Charges Elon Musk With Fraud Over His Statements To Take Tesla Private
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 01:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's breaking-news department:
U.S. securities regulators have sued Elon Musk for allegedly making false statements related to his abandoned efforts to take Tesla Motors private. Bloomberg News broke the news Thursday, citing docket entry in Manhattan federal court. Last month, Musk had expressed his intentions to take Tesla private, and that he had secured the funding. Taking Tesla private, which would have helped the company avoid making short-term commitments and goals, would be the "best path forward," Musk had said at the time. Even as investors had shown agreement to Musk's move, a few days later, he announced that after further discussions, everyone believes that Tesla should remain public. Amid all of this, some argued that Musk made the "false" claim just to hurt short-sellers. From the lawsuit: This case involves a series of false and misleading statements made by Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer of Tesla, Inc. ("Tesla"), on August 7, 2018, regarding taking Tesla, a publicly traded company, private. Musk's statements, disseminated via Twitter, falsely indicated that, should he so choose, it was virtually certain that he could take Tesla private at a purchase price that reflected a substantial premium over Tesla stock's then-current share price, that funding for this multi-billion dollar transaction had been secured, and that the only contingency was a shareholder vote. In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source.

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Linux Now Dominates Azure
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 12:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's gaining-traction department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Three years ago, Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure, Microsoft's cloud program, said, "One in four [Azure] instances are Linux." Then, in 2017, it was 40 percent Azure virtual machines (VM) were Linux. Today, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, said in an interview, "Slightly over half of Azure VMs are Linux. That's right. Microsoft's prize cloud, Linux, not Windows Server, is now the most popular operating system. Windows Server isn't going to be making a come back. Every month, Linux goes up," Guthrie said. And it's not just Azure users who are turning to Linux. "Native Azure services are often running on Linux," Guthrie added. "Microsoft is building more of these services. For example, Azure's Software Defined Network (SDN) is based on Linux." It's not just on Azure that Microsoft is embracing Linux. "Look at our simultaneous release of SQL Server on Linux. All of our projects now run on Linux," Guthrie said.

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Mobile Websites Can Tap Into Your Phone's Sensors Without Asking
Posted by News Fetcher on September 27 '18 at 12:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department:
When apps wants to access data from your smartphone's motion or light sensors, they often make that capability clear. That keeps a fitness app, say, from counting your steps without your knowledge. But a team of researchers has discovered that the rules don't apply to websites loaded in mobile browsers, which can often access an array of device sensors without any notifications or permissions whatsoever. From a report: That mobile browsers offer developers access to sensors isn't necessarily problematic on its own. It's what helps those services automatically adjust their layout, for example, when you switch your phone's orientation. And the World Wide Web Consortium standards body has codified how web applications can access sensor data. But the researchers -- Anupam Das of North Carolina State University, Gunes Acar of Princeton University, Nikita Borisov of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Amogh Pradeep of Northeastern University -- found that the standards allow for unfettered access to certain sensors. And sites are using it. The researchers found that of the top 100,000 sites -- as ranked by Amazon-owned analytics company Alexa -- 3,695 incorporate scripts that tap into one or more of these accessible mobile sensors. That includes plenty of big names, including Wayfair, Priceline.com, and Kayak.

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