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Patch Out For 'Ridiculous' Trend Micro Command Execution Vulnerability
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 10:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's why-do-we-fall,-mr-wayne? department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register: A bug in its software meant that Trend Micro accidentally left a remote debugging server running on customer machines. The flaw, discovered by Google's Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy, opened the door to command execution of vulnerable systems (running either Trend Micro Maximum Security, Trend Micro Premium Security or Trend Micro Password Manager). Ormandy -- who previously discovered a somewhat similar flaw in Trend Micro's technology -- described the latest flaw as 'ridiculous'. Trend Micro issued a patch for the flaw, a little over a week after Ormandy reported the bug to it on 22 March. The patch is not complete but does address the most critical issues at hand, according to the security firm.

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Zaha Hadid, Groundbreaking Architect, Dies at 65
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 10:51 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article on The New York Times about the death of Zaha Hadid: Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-British architect whose curving, elongated structures left a mark on skylines around the world, and who was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize, her profession's highest honor, died on Thursday in Miami. She was 65. Ms. Hadid "contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital," her office, Zaha Hadid Architects in London, said in a statement. [...] She was also a role model and inspiration for generations of young architects, men and women, who wanted to become Ms. Hadid: an architect of boundless ambition, a celebrity, and an artist with big ideas who won commissions for some of the world's big, flashiest projects by the sheer force of her intelligence, creativity and personality. Ms. Hadid epitomized an era when architects became global brands. Her brand promised buildings of extravagant sculptural invention, spectacles of curving, swooping, unprecedented forms. She represented the epitome of the art of so-called parametric design, by which architects, aided by sophisticated computer programs, could animate buildings into new shapes. You will want to read her profile on The Guardian.

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Study Says People Who Continually Point Out Typos Are 'Jerks'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 09:40 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's to-each-his-own department:
HughPickens.com writes: Sophie Kleeman writes at Gizmodo that according to a study at the University of Michigan people who are more sensitive to written typos and grammatical errors are indeed the kinds of 'Type A assholes' everyone already suspects them to be. Researchers gathered 83 people and had them read emails that either contained typos ("mkae" or "abuot"), grammar errors (to/too, it's/its or your/you're), or no spelling mistakes at all. Participants were asked at the end of the experiment whether or not they'd spotted any grammatical errors or typos in the emails, and, if so, how much it had bothered them. The researchers then asked the participants to complete a Big Five personality assessment -- which rates where they are on a scale of openness, agreeableness, extraversion/introversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness -- as well as answer questions about their age, background, and attitude towards language. People who tested as being more conscientious but less open were more sensitive to typos, while those with less agreeable personalities got more upset by grammatical errors. "Less agreeable participants showed more sensitivity to 'grammos' than participants high in agreeability," the researchers said, "perhaps because less agreeable people are less tolerant of deviations from convention."

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Microsoft Makes Xamarin Free In Visual Studio, Will Open Source Core Xamarin Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 09:40 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's 'developers-developers-developers' department:
An anonymous reader cites a report on VentureBeat: Microsoft today announced that Xamarin is now available for free for every Visual Studio user. This includes all editions of Visual Studio, including the free Visual Studio Community Edition, Visual Studio Professional, and Visual Studio Enterprise. Furthermore, Xamarin Studio for OS X is being made available for free as a community edition and Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers will get access to Xamarin's enterprise capabilities at no additional cost. The company also promised to open source Xamarin's SDK, including its runtime, libraries, and command line tools, as part of the .NET Foundation 'in the coming months.' Plenty of developers will find this announcement exciting. Xamarin being free is a big deal.

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California's $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage May Spur Automation
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 08:15 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's ripe-for-tech-change department:
An anonymous readers links to an article on ComputerWorld: For many California business groups, the state's decision to gradually raise its minimum wage to $15 by 2022 is a terrible thing. But for its technology industry, it may be a plus. Higher wages, says the California Restaurant Association, will force businesses to face "undesirable" options, including cutting staff, raising prices and adopting automation. But a higher minimum wage will "signal to tech companies and entrepreneurs" to look at the restaurant industry, said Darren Tristano, president of Technomic, a research group focused on the restaurant industry. The state's governor and legislators reached an agreement Monday to raise the wages. "I think there are a lot of tech companies that are looking at the restaurant industry to accelerate their growth," said Tristano. The restaurant industry is primed for change, said Tristano, "Many of the routines that take place in restaurants are not very different from 30 to 40 years ago," he said.

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Netflix's Original Content Library Is Growing By 185% Each Year
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 08:15 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's Netflix-vs-Hollywood-studios department:
An anonymous reader writes: From Q1 of 2012 to Q1 of 2016, Netflix has added an incredible 111 original series and films. The numbers translate to an average quarterly growth rate of 34.22% and an average annual growth rate of 185.41%. And there is reason to believe that future growth rates could be even higher -- with competition coming from all sides, Netflix is likely to keep pushing more and more cash into original content. Those wondering why Netflix has grown increasingly interested in owning the shows it airs, you have to realize that not long ago the streaming company was struggling to snap any good TV show from cable channels. The New York Times' profile of House of Cards' Beau Willimon, from 2014, sheds more light into this : Around three years ago, Netflix realized it had a problem: It was paying large sums to license other people's content -- TV shows and movies produced by other companies -- in order to then show them to you, the Netflix subscriber, at home. This initially proved successful, but there were two troubling aspects to this model: 1) It left Netflix very vulnerable to competition, since the shows and movies it licensed could, theoretically, be licensed by anyone willing to outbid them, and 2) the most popular TV shows, episodic dramas like "CSI" and sitcoms like "The Big Bang Theory," were already being sold for huge deals into syndication at basic cable channels like TBS and USA. What was left to Netflix were the kind of serialized shows that don't typically play well in syndication, like "Lost" and "Breaking Bad," which have complicated story arcs that compel a viewer to watch all the episodes in order. Traditionally, while these kinds of serialized shows could be big hits in their initial broadcast runs, they proved tough sells to aftermarkets, precisely because of the demands they placed on the audience.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal Endorsed by Major Tech Group
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 06:54 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's putting-my-skeptical-hat-on department:
An anonymous reader shares a report on SiliconBeat: An industry group representing major tech firms including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Twitter, Uber and eBay has endorsed the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact plan "The TPP recognizes the Internet as an essential American export," Internet Association CEO Michael Beckerman said in a statement. "Historically, pro-Internet policies have been absent from trade agreements, which is why the TPP is an important step forward for the Internet sector that accounts for 6 percent of the GDP and nearly 3 million American jobs. "It will be critical that the TPP is implemented in a way that supports the Internet economy." While President Barack Obama backs the trade deal, it has met with strong opposition from critics including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who attacked secrecy around the pact's drafting and has said the deal could weaken U.S. regulations that are good for Americans but might threaten foreign companies' profits.Brier Dudley, Seattle Times Columnist, tweeted, "TPP "taken a 180" since TPA, when there was confidence of passage, Rep @davereichert says. Issues incl. biologic protections, tobacco lobby."

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CloudFlare Wants Tor To Change Or Risk CAPTCHA Blockades
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 06:54 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's offering-helping-hand department:
An anonymous reader writes: CloudFlare's co-founder Matthew Prince has publicly appealed to work with the Tor Project on implementing a solution that will stop the high incidence of Tor users being challenged by CAPTCHAs whilst browsing. Prince proposes the implementation of a Tor plugin that would communicate with CloudFlare servers to provide temporary, anonymous identification to bypass the CAPTCHAs, and has presented the code on GitHub. Other possibilities mooted include the adoption of higher-level encryption, which would be likely to adversely influence a network which already has native (and inevitable) latency issues. CloudFlare's public post on the matter comes after five turbulent weeks of comments-section debate between CloudFlare and Tor, and seems to be an appeal for public arbitration on the matter.

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Chinese Scammers Take Mattel To the Bank, Phishing Them For $3 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 05:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sign-of-the-times department:
itwbennett quotes a report from The Associated Press: Mattel, the popular toy maker behind Barbie and Hot Wheels, was the victim of a phishing attack last year that nearly cost them $3 million. On April 30, 2015, a Mattel finance executive got a note from the new CEO, Christopher Sinclair, requesting a new vendor payment to China. Transfers required approval from two high-ranking managers; the finance exec qualified and so did the CEO. The transfer was made. The only thing preventing a total loss was the fact that the following day was a bank holiday. Details of the attack against Mattel come from a report by the Associated Press, investigating money laundering and other financial crime in Wenzhou, China.

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13-Year-Old Linux Dispute Returns As SCO Files New Appeal
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '16 at 02:42 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's never-ending-dispute department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from THE INQUIRER: Now-defunct Unix vendor, which claimed that Linux infringed its intellectual property and sought as much as $5 billion in compensation from IBM, has filed notice of yet another appeal in the 13-year-old dispute. The appeal comes after a ruling at the end of February when SCO's arguments claiming intellectual property ownership over parts of Unix were rejected by a U.S. district court. That judgment noted that SCO had minimal resources to defend counter-claims filed by IBM due to SCO's bankruptcy.
"It is ordered and adjudged that pursuant to the orders of the court entered on July 10, 2013, February 5, 2016, and February 8, 2016, judgement is entered in favor of the defendant and plaintiff's causes of action are dismissed with prejudice," stated the document. Now, though, SCO has filed yet again to appeal that judgement, although the precise grounds it is claiming haven't yet been disclosed.

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Using Adblock Plus to Block Ads is Legal, Rules German Court -- For the Fifth Time
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 10:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's constitutional-rights department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Using Adblock Plus to block ads on websites is legal, a German regional court has ruled. The suit, brought by the company behind the leading German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, is the fifth such case to be decided in favor of the makers of the software, who are based in Germany. The court in Munich also ruled that the "Acceptable Ads initiative," a scheme that requires larger companies to pay for their ads to be whitelisted by Adblock Plus, is acceptable under German law. "To the contrary, said the court, users have the right to block those or any ads, because no such contract exists," Adblock Plus's Ben Williams writes. "Additionally, the judge ruled that by offering publishers a way to serve ads that ad-blocking users will accept, the Acceptable Ad initiative provides them an avenue to monetize their content, and therefore is favorable, not disadvantageous, to them."

Previously, Adblock Plus's parent company Eyeo has won court cases against the German publishing giant Axel Springer, Germany television companies Pro 7/Sat 1 and RTL Interactive, and against the companies operating the Zeit Online and Handelsblatt websites.

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Microsoft Extends Its Windows Hello Login Security Features To Apps and the Web
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 08:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's the-new-standard department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch regarding the beloved Windows Hello login security features: Microsoft is bringing to Windows apps (and even the web) some of the convenience and security of being able to use the same tech it uses to keep enterprise laptops safe. The idea here is to let you use the same technology that powers "Windows Hello" -- the login security feature of Windows 10 that supports fingerprint scanners, facial recognition and even iris scanners -- to log into other services, as well. This feature probably wouldn't be all that interesting if it only worked for Windows apps, but the company is also extending it to web apps. For now, this feature apparently only works with Microsoft's own Edge browser, but the company says it is compatible with the FIDO 2.0 standard and can theoretically work with any browser.

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TSA's Precheck Registration Program Causing Longer Security Lines
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 06:43 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's so-much-for-that-idea department:
McGruber writes: The Associated Press is reporting that TSA's PreCheck program is causing maddening long security lines at U.S. airports. TSA's PreCheck security lanes can screen 300 passengers an hour, twice that of its standard security lanes. Based on that and other increased efficiencies, the TSA's front-line screeners were cut from 47,147 three years ago to 42,525 currently. At the same time, the number of annual fliers passing through checkpoints has grown from 643 million to more than 700 million. The TSA told Congress its goal was to have 25 million fliers enrolled in the PreCheck registration program, but as of March 1, only 9.3 million people had registered for PreCheck. TSA first tried to make up for that shortfall by randomly placing passengers into the express Precheck lanes, but scaled back that effort for fear dangerous passengers were being let through. That's when the regular security lines started growing -- up to 90 minutes in some cases. The TSA is now shifting some resources to tackle lines at the nation's biggest airports, but it claims there is no easy solution to the problem with a record number of fliers expected this summer. To enroll in TSA's Precheck registration program, travelers must pay $85 to $100 every five years, then submit to a background check, in-person interview at an airport, and to being fingerprinted. Unsurprisingly, getting once-a-year fliers to spend the time or the money to register has been a challenge. While 250,000 to 300,000 people are registering for Precheck every month, it will take more than four years at that pace to reach the TSA's target enrollment.

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Microsoft Launches Cognitive Services Based On Project Oxford and Bing
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's machine-learning-tools department:
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has announced updates to its portfolio of machine learning tools at its Build conference in San Francisco. Previously, they had fallen under the Project Oxford name, but now they are being rebranded to Microsoft Cognitive Services. According to Microsoft senior program manager Cornelia Carapcea, there are now 22 APIs available in Cognitive Services. There are also prices for the new services, along with APIs made available from Microsoft's Bing search division. Developers can try out these services for free.

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Feds Used 1789 Law To Force Apple, Google To Unlock Phones 63 Times
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 05:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-can-play-that-game department:
An anonymous reader writes: The FBI has been citing a 1789 law, the All Writs Act, to compel Apple to assist the authorities in unlocking the iPhone 5c belonging to San Bernardino killer, Syed Farook. The law allows for judges to issue orders for people or companies to do something despite Congress not passing laws to cover specific instances. According to the Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. government has cited the All Writs Act in 63 cases since 2008 to compel Apple or Google to assist in accessing data stored on an iPhone or Android device. Most of the orders involved Apple. "To the extent we know about the underlying facts, these cases predominantly arise out of investigations into drug crimes," said Eliza Sweren-Becker, an ACLU attorney.

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Skype is Getting Cortana and Crazy Bot Messaging
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's personal-voice-assistant department:
An anonymous reader writes: During its Build conference, Microsoft demoed how Skype users would be able to book trips, shop, and plan their schedule, just by chatting with Cortana. "Cortana is brokering the conversation with a third-party bot," says Lilian Rincon, Skype's program manager. Essentially, Skype will know which company or service you want to talk to, bring a new bot into your chat to help out, and then get rid of the bot when you're done. Video bots may also be in the works as Rincon mentioned, "We will also be bringing intelligence into real-time video."

The new features are very similar to Facebook's "Messenger Bot Store," which the company announced at F8. Facebook's AI-powered assistant, called M, would enable Messenger users to make purchases, restaurant reservations, and travel bookings within the messaging interface, similar to Cortana but with more human input.

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Slashdot Asks: Should FBI Reveal to Apple How to Unlock Terrorist's iPhone?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 04:02 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-ethical-dilemma department:
After reports that the FBI managed to unlock an iPhone 5c belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters without the help of Apple, Apple is now the one that needs the FBI's assistance. "The responsible thing for the government to do is privately disclose the vulnerability to Apple so they can continue hardening security on their devices," said Justin Olsson, product counsel at security software maker AVG Technologies. However, many experts in the field believe that the government isn't legally obligated to provide the information to Apple. As mentioned in Los Angeles Times, this creates a new ethical dilemma: Should tech companies be made aware of flaws in their products, or should law enforcement be able to deploy those bugs as crime-fighting tools?

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Microsoft Launches HoloLens Emulator, No Headset Required
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 02:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's developer-perks department:
An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Microsoft started shipping its $3,000 HoloLens development kits today. In addition to sharing that bots are coming to the new platform, the company also released a HoloLens emulator, which lets developers test holographic apps on their PC without the need for a physical HoloLens. You can download the emulator now directly from here.
Thinking about building a holographic app? HoloToolkit on GitHub is a collection of scripts and components that may help accelerate your development.

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AT&T Looks To Sell Cyanogen-Powered ZTE Phone To Snub Google
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 02:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's best-of-luck-to-you department:
An anonymous reader writes: According to a report out of The Information, the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier, ATT, is looking into partnering with Cyanogen because it thinks it could make a compelling Android-alternative smartphone for its customers. In other words, ATT wants to use Cyanogen to help it load more bloatware on phones to help sell their other services, like DirecTV. The Information's report suggests that ATT is "snubbing" Google by partnering with Cyanogen, because if the phone were to sell, it could put a damper on Google's continued attempts at making an Apple-like "consistent experience across all Android." Apparently, ATT is looking to partner with ZTE to manufacture the phone, though the U.S. government issued trade sanctions on them just this month, with allegations that they had tried to "illicitly re-export controlled items to Iran in violation of US export control laws."

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Microsoft Unlocks the Ability To Turn Xbox One Consoles Into 'Development Kits'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '16 at 01:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-in-one department:
Dave Knott writes: Today, Microsoft made good on a nearly three-year-old promise, unlocking the ability for all retail Xbox One consoles to become development kits. This mode will allow anyone to build, test and experiment with Universal Windows Program (UWP) development. Converting a console to Dev Mode requires no special equipment or fees, though to fully access the abilities, a user will need to create a Dev Center account. After setting up Dev Mode, a user simply pairs their Xbox One with Visual Studio, which sees the console as a Windows 10 machine to which it can deploy content directly through a wired connection. While this feature eases self-publishing on Xbox One, a developer will still have to go through Microsoft's concept approval, which usually takes about two weeks, before the game is eligible to be published on Xbox One. The big change here is that while traditionally Microsoft had to give a hopeful developer a dev kit, now a developer can just switch over their own retail console.

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