By BeauHD from Slashdot's show-me-the-evidence department
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes from a report via Reuters: Despite persistent U.S. allegations of Chinese state spying, Britain said it is able to manage the security risks of using Huawei telecom equipments and has not seen any evidence of malicious activity by the company, a senior official said on Wednesday. Asked later whether Washington had presented Britain with any evidence to support its allegations, he told reporters: "I would be obliged to report if there was evidence of malevolence [...] by Huawei. And we're yet to have to do that. So I hope that covers it."
At the same time, German officials have told The Wall Street Journal that the country has made a "preliminary decision" to allow Huawei to bid on contracts for 5G networking. Catering to the surging populism, the U.S. has accused Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipments, along with European cars, as national security risks, even though the National Security Agency, American's cyber spying agency, was found to have wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel, conducted economic espionage against France, and hacked into Chinese networks. Earlier this week, beleaguered Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei described the continued investigations by the U.S. into the Chinese firm -- including the arrest of his daughter and company CFO, Meng Wanzhou -- as politically motivated.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fair-use department
An anonymous reader writes: In case you missed the latest drama to take place in the YouTube tech community, Ars Technica reports how Vox Media attempted to copyright strike two reaction videos that mocked The Verge's terrible PC build guide video that could have ruined a $2,000 system for a beginner PC builder. That effort failed when the tech community sounded the alarms; YouTube removed the copyright strikes and Vox Media had to retract their takedown notice. From the report: "Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized -- and heavily excerpted -- a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright 'strike.' It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three 'strikes' in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform. T.C. Sottek, the Verge's managing editor, blamed lawyers at the Verge's parent company, Vox Media, for the decision. 'The Verge's editorial structure was involved zero percent in the decision to issue a strike,' Sottek said in a direct message. 'Vox Media's legal team did this independently and informed us of it after the fact.' The move sparked an online backlash. Verge editor Nilay Patel (who, full disclosure, was briefly a colleague of mine at The Verge's sister publication Vox.com), says that when he learned about the decision, he asked that the strike be rescinded, leading to the videos being reinstated. Still, Patel defended the lawyers' legal reasoning, arguing that the videos 'crossed the line' into copyright infringement. It's hard to be sure if this is true since there are very few precedents in this area of the law. But the one legal precedent I was able to find suggests the opposite: that this kind of video is solidly within the bounds of copyright's fair use doctrine."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's best-of-both-worlds department
dryriver writes: A lot of people probably remember the 1990s palmtop computers made by Psion fondly. The clamshell-design palmtops were pocketable, black and white, but had a working stylus and a fantastic tactile foldout QWERTY keyboard that you could type pretty substantial documents on or even write code with. A different company -- Planet Computers -- has now produced a spiritual successor to the old Psion palmtops called the Gemini PDA that is much like an old Psion but with the latest Android smartphone hardware in it and a virtually identical tactile keyboard. It can also dual boot to Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish) alongside Android. The technical specs are a MediaTek deca-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (plus microSD slot), 4G, 802.11c Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, eSIM support, and 4,220mAh battery. The screen measures in at 5.99-inches with a 2,160 x 1,080 (403ppi) resolution. The only thing missing seems to be the stylus -- but perhaps that would have complicated manufacturing of this niche-device in its first production run.Read Replies (0)
Are We Ready For 5G Phones?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '19 at 03:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-or-not-here-it-comes department
Next-generation 5G networks are very much in their infancy right now, but that's not stopping smartphone manufacturers from teasing new 5G phones. At Samsung's Galaxy S10 launch event today, Samsung teased the Galaxy S10 5G, a top-tier model of the Galaxy S10 that offers 5G mobile data connectivity. "The device, which has a larger screen and battery than the S10 Plus, will temporarily be a Verizon Wireless exclusive before expanding to other carriers in the weeks after launch," reports The Verge. "It will go on sale sometime 'in the first half of 2019."
Late last year, LG confirmed that its first U.S. 5G phone would debut on Sprint "in the first half of 2019," just as Sprint launches its 5G network. At around the same time, Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z3, a phone that only connects to 5G with a MotoMod modular accessory. It too is expected to arrive early this year -- but there's no mention of how much it'll cost. OnePlus, Nokia, and Huawei are also working on 5G phones expected to arrive sometime this year. The question is: are we ready for 5G phones? Three of the four largest carriers in the U.S. have only just started offering 5G service in select cities. Sprint, the fourth largest U.S. telecommunications company, hasn't even reached this step. Just like the first 4G phones to hit the market, these first-of-their-kind 5G devices look to merely symbolize what the next decade of mobile computing has in store.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Disney is said to have pulled its advertising spending from YouTube, joining other companies including Nestle, after a blogger detailed how comments on Google's video site were being used to facilitate a "soft-core pedophilia ring." Some of the videos involved ran next to ads placed by Disney and Nestle. All Nestle companies in the U.S. have paused advertising on YouTube, a spokeswoman for the company said Wednesday in an email. Video game maker Epic Games and German packaged food giant Dr. August Oetker KG also said they had postponed YouTube spending after their ads were shown to play before the videos. Disney has also withheld its spending.
On Sunday, Matt Watson, a video blogger, posted a 20-minute clip detailing how comments on YouTube were used to identify certain videos in which young girls were in activities that could be construed as sexually suggestive, such as posing in front of a mirror and doing gymnastics. Watson's video demonstrated how, if users clicked on one of the videos, YouTube's algorithms recommended similar ones. By Wednesday, Watson's video had been viewed more than 1.7 million times. Total ad spending on the videos mentioned was less than $8,000 within the last 60 days, and YouTube plans refunds, the spokeswoman said. Two years ago, Verizon, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and other major companies pulled their ads from YouTube after learning that some of their ads surfaced next to extremist and violent content. Yesterday, YouTube released an updated policy about how it will handle content that "crosses the line" of appropriateness. "Any content -- including comments -- that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. We took immediate action by deleting accounts and channels, reporting illegal activity to authorities and disabling violative comments," a spokeswoman for YouTube said in an email.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's new-shiny-devices department
On the sidelines of the Galaxy Fold announcement, Samsung today also unveiled the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and Galaxy S10E -- the latest iteration of its flagship Android offering. The Samsung Galaxy S10 sports a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with Quad HD+ resolution in a 19:9 aspect ratio, whereas the Galaxy S10 Plus has a 6.4-inch display. Both the handsets are powered by Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 855, coupled with 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 128GB to 512GB (1TB on S10 Plus), expandable via microSD of storage. On the photography front, both the handsets have a wide angle 12-megapixel (77-degree), telephoto 12-megapixel (45-degree), and ultra wide 16-megapixel (123-degree) on the back; and 10 megapixels, 8-megapixel RGB depth camera (S10 Plus) upfront. The Galaxy S10 has 3,400mAh battery, whereas the Plus sibling houses a 4,100mAh battery. Both the handsets run Android 9 Pie with Samsung One UI, and support Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, LTE Cat.20, wireless charging. They both have USB-C ports, and a headphone jack.
Samsung Galaxy S10E is a lower-cost, smaller variant of the other two phones. It has a 5.8-inch "Dynamic AMOLED" display, Full HD+ resolution in a 19:9 aspect ratio. You can read more about it here. All three phones will be available for preorder starting tomorrow, February 21, and they will start shipping on March 8th. In addition to all four major US carriers, the S10 family will also be available unlocked from Samsung and other retailers, starting at $899.99 for the S10 and $999.99 for the S10 Plus. The S10E starts at $750.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
At an event today, Samsung unveiled its foldable smartphone. It's called the Galaxy Fold, and it sports dual screens: one that folds in half like a notebook, and another that works just like any other. From a report: The roughly 200-gram Galaxy Fold flips open in portrait orientation, and the inside is coated with a film that gives it a photopaper-like appearance. It's got a protective polymer consisting of a cover window, a shock-absorbent film, and a polarizer that's 45 percent slimmer than the company's previous thinnest, along with a flexible layer and backplane. Samsung says the tech -- dubbed Infinity Flex Display -- took seven years to develop. Thanks to a highly durable adhesive, the Fold's 7.3-inch primary screen and "sophisticated" hinge system with interlocking gears can undergo "hundreds of thousands" of flexes without sustaining damage, Samsung says. The 4.6-inch secondary screen doesn't bend, and that's by design -- it puts apps at your fingertips when the Fold's folded in half. [...] It's available in both an LTE and 5G version, starting at an eye-popping $1,980. April 26 is the launch date.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Elon Musk, who among other things, is a pioneer in the payments industry, has weighed in on one of the most divisive topics in finance today: Bitcoin. In a podcast with Cathie Wood of ARK Invest, Musk, the co-founder and chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, was asked to "go off topic" and offer up some thoughts on the most famous cryptocurrency. From a report: "I think the bitcoin structure is quite brilliant. But I'm not sure that it would be a good use of Tesla's resources to get involved in crypto," he told Wood. Musk, who founded PayPal, added that the days of paper money are numbered and digital currencies could offer a more efficient solution to shifting value. "Paper money is going away and crypto is a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper, that's for sure, but it has its pros and cons," he said.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department
Microsoft said today it had discovered hacking targeting democratic institutions, think tanks and non-profit organizations in Europe and plans to offer a cyber security service to several countries to close security gaps. From a report: The hacks occurred between September and December 2018, targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund, the company said. Microsoft said it found out about the hacks through the company's Threat Intelligence Center and Digital Crimes Unit, and the hacks targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia. Hackers in most cases create malicious weblinks and spoofed email addresses that look legitimate, aiming to gain access to employee credentials and deliver malware, the company said.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's surprise department
An anonymous reader shares a report: In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant. The problem: Nest users didn't know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with. The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, which is the alarm, keypad, and motion-sensor component in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device. On Tuesday, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider the company had made an "error." "The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs," the spokesperson said. "That was an error on our part."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's interesting-times department
It's now easier than ever in France to act out Star Wars fantasies. The country's fencing federation has officially recognized lightsaber dueling as a competitive sport, granting the weapon from George Lucas's space saga the same status as the foil, epee and sabre, the traditional blades used at the Olympics. From a report: Of course, the LED-lit, rigid polycarbonate replicas can't slice an opponent in half. But they look and sound remarkably like the blades that Yoda and other characters wield in the blockbuster movies. The physicality of lightsaber combat is part of the reason why the French Fencing Federation is now equipping fencing clubs with lightsabers and training would-be lightsaber instructors. Like virtuous Jedi knights, the federation sees itself as combatting a Dark Side: the sedentary habits of 21st-century life.
"With young people today, it's a real public health issue. They don't do any sport and only exercise with their thumbs," says Serge Aubailly, the federation's secretary general. "That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural." In the past, Zorro, Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers helped lure new practitioners to fencing. Now, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader are joining them. "Cape-and-sword movies have always had a big impact on our federation and its growth," Aubailly says. "Lightsaber films have the same impact. Young people want to give it a try."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg: Apple wants to make it easier for software coders to create tools, games and other applications for its main devices in one fell swoop -- an overhaul designed to encourage app development and, ultimately, boost revenue. The ultimate goal of the multistep initiative, code-named "Marzipan," is by 2021 to help developers build an app once and have it work on the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, said people familiar with the effort. That should spur the creation of new software, increasing the utility of the company's gadgets.
Later this year, Apple plans to let developers port their iPad apps to Mac computers via a new software development kit that the company will release as early as June at its annual developer conference. Developers will still need to submit separate versions of the app to Apple's iOS and Mac App Stores, but the new kit will mean they don't have to write the underlying software code twice, said the people familiar with the plan. In 2020, Apple plans to expand the kit so iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way. Further reading: Tim Cook, in April 2018: Users Don't Want iOS To Merge With MacOS.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's invasion-of-privacy department
technology_dude writes: One by one, thresholds are being crossed where the collection and storage of personal data is accepted as routine. Being recorded by cameras at business locations, in public transportation, in schools, churches, and every other place imaginable. Recent headlines include "Singapore Airlines having cameras built into the seat back of personal entertainment systems," and "Arizona considering a bill to force some public workers to give up DNA samples (and even pay for it)." It seems to be a daily occurrence where we have crossed another line in how far we will go to accept massive surveillance as normal. Do we even have a line the sand that we would defend? Do we even see anything wrong with it? Absolute power corrupts absolutely and we continue to give knowledge of our personal lives (power) to others. If we continue down the same path, I suppose we deserve what we get? I want to shout "Stop the train, I want off!" but I fear my plea would be ignored. So who out there is more optimistic than I and can recommend some reading that will give me hope? Bill 1475 was introduced by Republican State Senator David Livingston and would require teachers, police officers, child day care workers, and many others to submit their DNA samples along with fingerprints to be stored in a database maintained by the Department of Public Safety. "While the database would be prohibited from storing criminal or medical records alongside the DNA samples, it would require the samples be accompanied by the person's name, Social Security number, date of birth and last known address," reports Gizmodo. "The living will be required to pay [a $250 processing fee] for this invasion of their privacy, but any dead body that comes through a county medical examiner's office would also be fair game to be entered into the database."Read Replies (0)