By BeauHD from Slashdot's nothing-to-see-here department
Freshly Exhumed writes: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has revealed that senior White House advisor Jared Kushner's lawyer admitted in December that his client "continues to use" WhatsApp to conduct official White House business. The chairman also said that a lawyer for Ivanka Trump and Mr. Kushner told the committee late last year that they additionally used private email accounts for official White House business in a way that may have violated federal records laws. Mr Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell could not say whether his client used WhatsApp to share classified information. Regardless, Cummings says the communications raise questions about whether Kushner and other officials violated the Presidential Records Act, which requires the president and his staff "take all practical steps to file personal records separately from Presidential records." As for Ivanka's use of a personal email account to conduct official business, her lawyer says she sent the emails before she was briefed on the rules.
If you're not familiar with WhatsApp, here's what you should know about it: "As of January 2019, more than 1.5 billion users in over 180 countries use WhatsApp, created in 2009 as an alternative to text messaging," reports USA Today. "Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 to make a bigger play in the rapidly-growing messaging market, along with its own Messenger platform, which also boasts 1.5 billion users." The service features end-to-end encryption, meaning the sender and recipient are the only ones who can view the messages.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
Earlier this month, Microsoft made the source code for its Windows calculator available on GitHub. This has spurred developers to add new features to the app, like a new graphing mode that will make its way to the official Windows Calculator app. The "Graphing Mode" is one of 30+ suggestions that open-source contributors have proposed so far. The ZDNet reports: As its name implies, Graphing Mode will allow users to create graphs based on mathematical equations, in a similar way to Matlab's (way more advanced) Plotting Mode. The feature was proposed by Microsoft engineer Dave Grochocki, also a member of the Windows Calculator team. In a GitHub issue Grochocki submitted to support his proposal, he argued that a graphing mode would help students learn algebra easier.
"High school algebra is the gateway to mathematics and all other disciplines of STEM," Grochocki said. "However, algebra is the single most failed course in high school, as well as the most failed course in community college." By adding a Graphing Mode to Windows Calculator, an app included with all Windows 10 versions, the Microsoft engineer hopes to provide students and teachers with a free tool to help schools across the world. "Physical graphing calculators can be expensive, software solutions require licenses and configuration by school IT departments, and online solutions are not always an option," he added. "Graphing capabilities in their daily tools are essential for students who are beginning to explore linear algebra as early as 8th grade. [...] At present, Windows Calculator does not currently have the needed functionality to meet the demands of students." There's no timeline for when the new graphing mode will arrive, but it should arrive soon.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sneaky-bastard department
schwit1 writes: Evaldas Rimasauskas, a Lithuanian citizen, concocted a brazen scheme that allowed him to bilk Facebook and Google out of more than $100 million. The crime defrauded Google of $23 million and Facebook of $99 million. Rimasauskas committed the crimes between 2013 to 2015, an indictment was issued in 2017, and he was formally indicted Wednesday in New York after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and three counts of money laundering. "As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece U.S. companies out of over $100 million, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe," said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a DoJ press release. How did he do it? The indictment reveals that he simply billed the companies for the amounts and they paid the bills. Rimasauskas was able to trick company employees into wiring the money to multiple bank accounts that he controlled and had set up in institutions in Cyprus, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Latvia.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
The dream of the '90s was alive in Microsoft Teams this week when Microsoft's old office assistant, Clippy, showed up. From a report: If you used Microsoft Office between 1997 and 2001, you likely remember Clippy as the animated paperclip that popped up and offered tips for using the software. Microsoft did away with Clippy in 2001, so people were surprised to see Clippy stickers appear in Microsoft Teams this week. And they were even more surprised when, just a day later, Microsoft offed the little guy again. On Tuesday, Clippy appeared as an animated pack of stickers for Microsoft Teams. The stickers were released on the Office Developer GitHub page, but by the next day, they had vanished. Clippy was around just long enough to rally old fans, and there's now a user petition to bring Clippy back.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's needs-more-fine-tuning department
AmiMoJo shares a report from Ars Technica: The afternoon commute of Reddit user Beastpilot takes him past a stretch of Seattle-area freeway with a carpool lane exit on the left. Last year, in early April, the Tesla driver noticed that Autopilot on his Model X would sometimes pull to the left as the car approached the lane divider -- seemingly treating the space between the diverging lanes as a lane of its own. This was particularly alarming, because just days earlier, Tesla owner Walter Huang had died in a fiery crash after Autopilot steered his Model X into a concrete lane divider in a very similar junction in Mountain View, California. Beastpilot made several attempts to notify Tesla of the problem but says he never got a response. Weeks later, Tesla pushed out an update that seemed to fix the problem. Then in October, it happened again. Weeks later, the problem resolved itself. This week, he posted dashcam footage showing the same thing happening a third time -- this time with a recently acquired Model 3. "The behavior of the system changes dramatically between software updates," Beastpilot told Ars. "Human nature is, 'if something's worked 100 times before, it's gonna work the 101st time.'" That can lull people into a false sense of security, with potentially deadly consequences.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's importance-of-fiber department
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a new report calling for a "fiber for all" plan to combat the broadband access crisis in the United States. Government data and independent analysis show we are falling behind the rest of the developed world in this area, and "the U.S. is the only country that believes having no plan will solve this issue," writes Ernesto Falcon from the EFF. "We are the only country to completely abandon federal oversight of an uncompetitive, highly concentrated market that sells critical services to all people, yet we expect widely available, affordable, ultra-fast services. But if you live in a low-income neighborhood or in a rural market today, you know very well this is not working and the status quo is going to cement in your local broadband options to either one choice or no choice." From the report: Very small ISPs and local governments with limited budgets are at the frontline of deploying fiber to the home to fix these problems, but policymakers from the federal, state, and local level need to step up and lead. At least 19 states still have laws that prohibit local governments from deploying community broadband projects. Worst yet, both AT&T and Verizon are actively asking the FCC to make it even harder for small private ISPs to deploy fiber, so that the big incumbents can raise prices and suppress competition, a proposal EFF has urged the FCC to reject.
< article continued at Slashdot's importance-of-fiber department
>Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Devin Nunes, R-Calif., escalated the feud between conservatives and Twitter earlier this week with a lawsuit accusing the company of defamation and negligence -- two different allegations, one of which poses a more serious question for the social media platform and technology companies in general. Nunes is claiming that Twitter negligently violated its terms of service when it allowed people onto its online "premises" to say false or disparaging things about him. He is seeking $250 million in damages due to "pain, insult, embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress and mental suffering, and injury to [Nunes'] personal and professional reputations" brought on by what Twitter users said about him.
From a report: Defamation is an interesting legal matter to discuss, at least in theory, but suing for defamation is seldom profitable in reality. Negligence may not sound as exciting as defamation, but this theory of liability quietly drives most successful civil litigation. Relatively easy to prove, it generally requires that the defendant show conduct that came up short of what can be expected, and that this shortcoming caused the plaintiff's damages. [...] The primary reason that technology companies are not sued into oblivion is the existence of the Communications Decency Act, or CDA, and in particular Section 230, which states that providers of an interactive computer service shall not be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. Ordinarily, a lawsuit like this is properly filed against the Twitter user or account (like "Devin Nunes' Mom") and not Twitter itself.
< article continued at Slashdot's closer-look department
>Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's upon-further-reflection department
A group of researchers claims to have built a prototype for an "online polygraph" that uses machine learning to detect deception from text alone. But as a few machine learning academics point out, what these researchers have actually demonstrated is the inherent danger of overblown machine learning claims. From a report: When Wired showed the study to a few academics and machine learning experts, they responded with deep skepticism. Not only does the study not necessarily serve as the basis of any kind of reliable truth-telling algorithm, it makes potentially dangerous claims: A text-based "online polygraph" that's faulty, they warn, could have far worse social and ethical implications if adopted than leaving those determinations up to human judgment.
"It's an eye-catching result. But when we're dealing with humans, we have to be extra careful, especially when the implications of whether someone's lying could lead to conviction, censorship, the loss of a job," says Jevin West, a professor at the Information School at the University of Washington and a noted critic of machine learning hype. "When people think the technology has these abilities, the implications are bigger than a study."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road department
Intel will not develop new Compute Cards, the company said this week. From a report: Compute Cards were Intel's vision of modular computing that would allow customers to continually update point of sale systems, all-in-one desktops, laptops and other devices. Pull out one card, replace it with another, and you have a new CPU, plus RAM and storage. "We continue to believe modular computing is a market where there are many opportunities for innovation," an Intel spokesperson told Tom's Hardware. "However, as we look at the best way to address this opportunity, we've made the decision that we will not develop new Compute Card products moving forward. We will continue to sell and support the current Compute Card products through 2019 to ensure our customers receive the support they need with their current solutions, and we are thankful for their partnership on this change."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-trends department
Microsoft's programming language TypeScript has become one of the most popular languages among developers, at least according to a report published by the analyst firm RedMonk this week. Wired: TypeScript jumped from number 16 to number 12, just behind Apple's programming language Swift in RedMonk's semiannual rankings, which were last published in August. Microsoft unveiled TypeScript in 2012, and while it hasn't grown as quickly as Swift -- which has grown faster than any other language, ever since RedMonk started compiling the rankings in 2011 -- TypeScript's own ascendance is impressive, given the sheer number of available programming languages.
More and more applications these days use TypeScript. Google's programming framework Angular, the second most popular tool of its type according to data released last year by the startup NPM, is written in TypeScript. So is Vue, an increasingly popular framework finding a home both among smaller companies and tech giants like Alibaba. But RedMonk doesn't look at how many jobs are available for people skilled in a particular language, nor how many companies actually use the language. Instead, the firm tries to spot trends in developer interest by looking at how many projects on GitHub use certain languages, and how many questions are asked about those languages on the programmer Q&A site Stack Overflow. The idea is to get a sense of where the software development profession is heading.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-frustration department
An anonymous reader writes: Deciding which streaming outlet you want to subscribe to can be just as hard as finding a show itself. With options from big players like Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Showtime, Amazon and YouTube Premium -- and looming new platforms from the likes of Disney, Apple, AT&T and NBCUniversal -- consumers are already starting to grow frustrated with the crowded streaming marketplace as "subscription fatigue" sets in, according to Deloitte's 13th edition of its Digital Media Trends survey.
Viewers are taking advantage of these options: the average video consumer subscribes to three video streaming services, said Deloitte. But they're growing frustrated over just how many options they have. Nearly half of those surveyed, at 47 percent, said they are frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services to watch their shows. And this audience grows attached to the content: 57 percent of consumers said it frustrates them when shows and movies disappear from their streaming libraries.Read Replies (0)