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South Africans in Cape Town and Johannesburg Pay Much More For Internet Usage Than New Yorkers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '18 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
South Africa may have some of the world's cheapest cities to live in, but using the internet in Cape Town and Johannesburg is surprisingly expensive by global standards. From a report: South Africans living in the country's two major cities spend more on their monthly internet costs than people living in New York, Tokyo, and even the perennially expensive Zurich, according to a report by Deutsche Bank. When comparing life in the global financial capitals, most other things, from rent to the cost of a cappuccino, were far cheaper in Johannesburg and Cape Town, making the cost of getting online even more of a shock to the pocket. Out of 50 cities surveyed, Joburgers spent the second most on monthly internet, beaten only by oil-rich Dubai. The amount shelled out by Capetonians ranked seventh behind Dublin, San Francisco, and Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand, according to the report, which compared daily prices and living standards of cities around the world.

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6 Fitbit Employees Charged With Stealing Trade Secrets From Jawbone
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '18 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's inside-baseball department:
Six current and former Fitbit employees were charged in a federal indictment Thursday filed in San Jose for allegedly being in possession of trade secrets stolen from competitor Jawbone, according to information from the Department of Justice. From a report: The indictment charges the six people -- Katherine Mogal, 52, of San Francisco; Rong Zhang, 45, of El Cerrito; Jing Qi Weiden, 39, of San Jose; Ana Rosario, 33, of Pacifica; Patrick Narron, 41, of Boulder Creek; and Patricio Romano, 37, of Calabasas -- with violating confidentiality agreements they had signed as former employees of Jawbone after they accepted employment with Fitbit, according to an announcement from Acting U.S. Attorney Alex G. Tse and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin. San Francisco-based companies Fitbit and Jawbone were competitors in making wearable fitness trackers until Jawbone, once valued at $3.2B, went out of business in 2017. Each of the defendants worked for Jawbone for at least one year between May 2011 and April 2015, and had signed a confidentiality agreement with the company, according to the Department of Justice.

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University of Chicago To Stop Requiring ACT and SAT Scores For Prospective Undergraduates
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '18 at 08:01 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: For years, a debate has simmered at the nation's universities and colleges over how much weight should be given to standardized tests as officials consider students for admission -- and whether they should be required at all. A growing number, including DePaul University, have opted to stop requiring the SAT and ACT in their admissions process, saying the tests place an unfair cost and burden on low-income and minority students, and ultimately hinder efforts to broaden diversity on campus. But the trend has escaped the nation's most selective universities. Until now. The University of Chicago announced Thursday that it would no longer require applicants for the undergraduate college to submit standardized test scores. While it will still allow applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores, university officials said they would let prospective undergraduates send transcripts on their own and submit video introductions and nontraditional materials to supplement their applications.

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Stephen Hawking's Voice Beamed Into Space as His Ashes Are Interred
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '18 at 06:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's remembering-Mr.-Hawking department:
The ashes of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking were interred at Westminster Abbey in London on Friday in a memorial ceremony attended by a mixture of celebrities and members of the public. From a report: Astronaut Tim Peake and British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and both gave readings, and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees paid tribute to the Hawking's work. Following the service, Hawking's words, set to an original score by composer Vangelis, will be beamed into space by the European Space Agency. Hawking died in March aged 76 after a lifetime of studying the science of space and time. His final resting place is situated between the remains of two other great scientists: Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. It is a rare honor to be interred at the Abbey, and one that has not been afforded to a scientist for almost 80 years. Before Hawking, the last scientists laid to rest at Westminster were atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford in 1937 and Joseph John Thomson in 1940.

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How the World Cup Plays Out Among Hackers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 15 '18 at 05:20 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's games-begin department:
The World Cup began today in Russia, and hackers were watching the games. From a report: In prior years, Cybersecurity firm Akamai has seen declines in cyberattacks while the World Cup games are in play -- "at least until games are out of reach," said Patrick Sullivan, Akamai director of security technology. Once games are well in hand, attacks from the losing team's nation spike well above normal. Often, said Sullivan, that takes the form of attacks designed to take down news stories in the victor's country that tout a home-team win. Sullivan notes activists frequently use various forms of cyber attacks during major sporting events to protest the host nation -- often targeting sponsors to get their point across. He points to protestors upset with the amount of money spent in the recent Brazillian World Cup as an example.

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A British Plumber May Show Uber the Future of Employment
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 10:40 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's setting-the-stage department:
A British plumber may show Uber the future of employment. From a report: The U.K.'s top judges ruled Wednesday that Pimlico Plumbers Ltd. should've treated one of its tradesman as a "worker," giving him the right to vacation pay and to sue the company in a decision that could have ramifications for other gig economy lawsuits. Supreme Court judges found that plumber Gary Smith, who worked for London-based Pimlico Plumbers between August 2005 and April 2011, wasn't self-employed or a client of the firm, giving him the right to sue the company under discrimination laws. "This is one of the most significant employment status decisions we have seen in the last five years," said James Murray, an employment lawyer at Kingsley Napley in London. Uber and other app-based firms will be watching the ruling with interest as they face similar legal challenges over the way they treat employees. Uber's appeal of a decision granting its drivers benefits including overtime and paid vacation is scheduled to be heard by another court October 30. Meanwhile Deliveroo, the food-delivery service, is currently battling the IWGB union over its riders' employment status and in May, taxi service Addison Lee lost an appeal over whether drivers were independent contractors or employees with rights to benefits.

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Chinese Ride-Sharing Giant Didi Chuxing Picks Its First English-Speaking Nation: To Enter Australia on June 25
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 06:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's aggressive-expansion department:
From a report: Ever since outperforming Uber in its home base of China, speculation has mounted that ride-hailer Didi Chuxing would eventually branch out to the rest of the world. Didi's first launch in an English-speaking country comes on June 25, it was announced Thursday, when it'll start operations in Melbourne, Australia. The company has already begun recruiting local drivers. While you might not have heard of it, Didi is China's most popular ride-hailing service, and in 2016 absorbed Uber China in a deal worth around $35 billion.

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AT&T Completes $85 Billion Time Warner Acquisition
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 05:22 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's done-deal department:
AT&T on Thursday evening said that it has completed its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, just two days after a judge ruled that the deal, originally announced two years ago, could proceed over objections from U.S. antitrust regulators. From a report: The Department of Justice did not file for an emergency stay of the judge's ruling, per the judge's request, but still reserves the right to appeal. In a statement, Randall Stephenson, chairman and chief executive of AT&T said moving forward his company will bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers. "The content and creative talent at Warner Bros., HBO and Turner are first-rate. Combine all that with AT&T's strengths in direct-to-consumer distribution, and we offer customers a differentiated, high-quality, mobile-first entertainment experience," he said.

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Self-Driving Cars Likely Won't Steal Your Job (Until 2040)
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 04:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
The self-driving robots are coming to transform your job. Kind of. Also, very slowly. From a report: That's the not-quite-exclamatory upshot of a new report from the Washington, DC-based Securing America's Future Energy. The group advocates for a countrywide pivot away from oil dependency, one it hopes will be aided by the speedy adoption of electric, self-driving vehicles. So it commissioned a wide-ranging study by a phalanx of labor economists to discover how that could happen, and whether America might transform into a Mad Max-like desert hell along the way. The news, mostly, is good. For one, self-driving vehicles probably won't wreck the labor market to the point where gig economy workers are hired out as mobile blood bags. In fact, they'll eventually feed the economy, accruing an estimated $800 billion in annual benefits by 2050, a number mostly in line with previous researchers' projections. Two, robo-cars won't disappear the jobs all at once. "We have a labor market characterized by churning -- continual job creation and destruction," says Erica Groshen, a visiting labor economist at Cornell University and former Commissioner of Labor Statistics, who worked on the report. "The challenge is to make the transition as smooth as possible."

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Windows 10 is Adding SwiftKey, Laying the Groundwork For Dual-Screen Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 04:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
Sean Hollister, writing for CNET: Microsoft-owned SwiftKey was one of the first virtual keyboards to offer intelligent, predictive swipe-typing on Android and iOS phones, and now Microsoft has announced that it will become the default keyboard for touchscreen-equipped Windows 10 computers as well. "SwiftKey will now power the typing experience on Windows when using the touch keyboard to write in English (United States), English (United Kingdom), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Spanish (Spain), Portuguese (Brazil), or Russian," reads a portion of Microsoft's blog post. Which could be pretty handy if the rumors are true: Microsoft is reportedly planning to ship several new Surface tablets this year, including a new low-cost Surface slate and the dual-screen "Andromeda." Dual screens were a theme among laptop manufacturers at Computex last week, too.

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Adobe is Reviving the Stunning Lost Fonts of the Bauhaus
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 02:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Even if you're not a designer, you've probably heard the phrase "form follows function." That's how influential the school that espoused it, the Bauhaus, has become since its heyday in 1920s and '30s Germany. Now, some of the movement's most compelling -- but largely unknown -- lettering has been recreated from archival material, like original typography sketches and letter fragments, and transformed into contemporary digital typefaces. The project is part of an Adobe initiative called Hidden Treasures that resurfaces design gems from the past in Adobe products -- previously, the company recreated the paintbrushes used by painter Edvard Munch for use in Photoshop. For the second iteration of the initiative, Adobe worked with the Bauhaus archives in Berlin, Germany, to bring in five design students to create five distinct typefaces, all under the guidance of expert typeface designer Erik Spiekermann. While each of the typefaces will eventually be available to all users of Adobe Typekit, two are now available online: one inspired by Joost Schmidt, a teacher at the Bauhaus who also created the famed poster for the 1923 Bauhaus Exhibition, and the other inspired by Xanti Schawinsky, who taught classes in set design at the school.

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Most Organizations Are Not Fully Embracing DevOps
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 02:41 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Although many businesses have begun moving to DevOps-style processes, eight out of 10 respondents to a new survey say they still have separate teams for managing infrastructure/operations and development. The study by managed cloud specialist 2nd Watch of more than 1,000 IT professionals indicates that a majority of companies have yet to fully commit to the DevOps process. 78 percent of respondents say that separate teams are still managing infrastructure/operations and application development. Some organizations surveyed are using infrastructure-as-code tools, automation or even CI/CD pipelines, but those techniques alone do not define DevOps.

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Kaspersky Halts Europol Partnership After Controversial EU Parliament Vote
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's more-roadblocks department:
An anonymous reader writes: Kaspersky Lab announced it was temporarily halting its cooperation with Europol following the voting of a controversial motion in the European Parliament. The Russian antivirus vendor will also stop working on the NoMoreRansom project that provided free ransomware decrypters for ransomware victims. The company's decision comes after the EU Parliament voted a controversial motion that specifically mentions Kaspersky as a "confirmed as malicious" software and urges EU states to ban it as part of a joint EU cyber defense strategy. The EU did not present any evidence for its assessment that Kaspersky is malicious, but even answered user questions claiming it has no evidence. The motion is just a EU policy and has no legislative power, put it is still an official document. Kaspersky software has been previously banned from Government systems in the US, UK, Netherlands, and Lithuania.

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Comey, Who Investigated Hillary Clinton For Using Personal Email For Official Business, Used His Personal Email For Official Business
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 01:21 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Former FBI Director James Comey, who led the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of personal email while secretary of state, also used his personal email to conduct official business, according to a report from the Justice Department on Thursday. The report also found that while Comey was "insubordinate" in his handling of the email investigation, political bias did not play a role in the FBI's decision to clear Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing. The report from the office of the inspector general "identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business." In three of the five examples, investigators said Comey sent drafts he had written from his FBI email to his personal account. In one instance, he sent a "proposed post-election message for all FBI employees that was entitled 'Midyear thoughts,'" the report states. In another instance, Comey again "sent multiple drafts of a proposed year-end message to FBI employees" from his FBI account to his personal email account.

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Cops Are Confident iPhone Hackers Have Found a Workaround to Apple's New Security Feature
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 12:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's not-so-soon department:
Joseph Cox, and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, reporting for Motherboard: Apple confirmed to The New York Times Wednesday it was going to introduce a new security feature, first reported by Motherboard. USB Restricted Mode, as the new feature is called, essentially turns the iPhone's lightning cable port into a charge-only interface if someone hasn't unlocked the device with its passcode within the last hour, meaning phone forensic tools shouldn't be able to unlock phones. Naturally, this feature has sent waves throughout the mobile phone forensics and law enforcement communities, as accessing iPhones may now be substantially harder, with investigators having to rush a seized phone to an unlocking device as quickly as possible. That includes GrayKey, a relatively new and increasingly popular iPhone cracking tool. But forensics experts suggest that Grayshift, the company behind the tech, is not giving up yet. "Grayshift has gone to great lengths to future proof their technology and stated that they have already defeated this security feature in the beta build. Additionally, the GrayKey has built in future capabilities that will begin to be leveraged as time goes on,' a June email from a forensic expert who planned to meet with Grayshift, and seen by Motherboard, reads, although it is unclear from the email itself how much of this may be marketing bluff. "They seem very confident in their staying power for the future right now," the email adds. A second person, responding to the first email, said that Grayshift addressed USB Restricted Mode in a webinar several weeks ago.

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Samsung Unveils Chromebook Plus V2
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 12:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's new-offerings department:
Brian Fagioli, writing for BetaNews: Samsung announces its latest such laptop -- the premium, yet affordable, Chromebook Plus (V2). This is a refresh of the first-gen "Plus" model. It can run Android apps and doubles as a convertible tablet, making it very versatile. Best of all, you won't have to wait long to get it -- it will go on sale very soon. "The Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2) puts productivity and entertainment at consumers' fingertips and at the tip of the built-in pen. At 2.91 pounds, its thin design makes it easy to slip into a bag and carry all day -- or use throughout the day with its extended battery life. Flipping its 12.2-inch FHD 1920x1080 resolution screen transforms it from notebook to tablet to sketchbook -- and back -- with two cameras for making it easier to stay connected with friends and sharing with the world. Plus, Chrome OS helps users get more done by providing access to millions of Android apps on Google Play," says Samsung. The Chromebook Plus, powered by Intel Celeron Processor 3965Y and 4GB of RAM, goes on sale later this month at $499.

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On The Sad State of Macintosh Hardware
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 10:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Quentin Carnicelli, the chief technology officer at Rogue Amoeba, a widely-reputed firm that produces several audio software for Apple's desktop operating system: With Apple recently releasing their first developer beta of MacOS 10.14 (Mojave), we've been installing it on various test machines to test our apps. The inevitable march of technology means Mojave won't install on all of our older hardware. There's no shock there, but the situation is rather distressing when it comes to spending money to purchase new equipment. Here is the situation, as reported by the wonderful MacRumor's Buyers Guide: At the time of the writing, with the exception of the $5,000 iMac Pro, no Macintosh has been updated at all in the past year. Here are the last updates to the entire line of Macs: iMac Pro: 182 days ago, iMac: 374 days ago, MacBook: 374 days ago, MacBook Air: 374 days ago, MacBook Pro: 374 days ago, Mac Pro: 436 days ago, and Mac Mini: 1337 days ago. Worse, most of these counts are misleading, with the machines not seeing a true update in quite a bit longer. The Mac Mini hasn't seen an update of any kind in almost 4 years (nor, for that matter, a price drop). The once-solid Mac Pro was replaced by the dead-end cylindrical version all the way back in 2012, which was then left to stagnate. I don't even want to get started on the MacBook Pro's questionable keyboard, or the MacBook's sole port (USB-C which must also be used to provide power). It's very difficult to recommend much from the current crop of Macs to customers, and that's deeply worrisome to us, as a Mac-based software company.

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The CIA 'Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny' It Has Documents on Satoshi Nakamoto
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 10:42 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's never-ending-mysteries department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Ever since this pseudonymous person or group unleashed Bitcoin on the world in 2008, Nakamoto's real identity has been one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. And based on a response to my recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, if the CIA knows anything, it's not talking. [...] In 2016, Alexander Muse, a blogger who mostly writes about entrepreneurship, wrote a blog post that claimed the NSA had identified the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto using stylometry, which uses a person's writing style as a unique fingerprint, and then searched emails collected under the PRISM surveillance program to identify the real Nakamoto. Muse said the identity was not shared with him by his source at the Department of Homeland Security. [...] I figured it couldn't hurt to ask some other three-letter agencies what they know about Nakamoto. [...] I received a terse reply that informed me that "the request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents."

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Antarctica Is Melting Three Times As Fast As a Decade Ago
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
An anonymous reader writes: Between 60 and 90 percent of the world's fresh water is frozen in the ice sheets of Antarctica, a continent roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined. If all that ice melted, it would be enough to raise the world's sea levels by roughly 200 feet. While that won't happen overnight, Antarctica is indeed melting, and a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature shows that the melting is speeding up. The rate at which Antarctica is losing ice has tripled since 2007, according to the latest available data. The continent is now melting so fast, scientists say, that it will contribute six inches (15 centimeters) to sea-level rise by 2100. That is at the upper end of what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated Antarctica alone could contribute to sea level rise this century. "Around Brooklyn you get flooding once a year or so, but if you raise sea level by 15 centimeters then that's going to happen 20 times a year," said Andrew Shepherd, a professor of earth observation at the University of Leeds and the lead author of the study. Even under ordinary conditions, Antarctica's landscape is perpetually changing as icebergs calve, snow falls and ice melts on the surface, forming glacial sinkholes known as moulins. But what concerns scientists is the balance of how much snow and ice accumulates in a given year versus the amount that is lost.

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Another Day, Another Intel CPU Security Hole: Lazy State
Posted by News Fetcher on June 14 '18 at 09:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's can't-catch-a-break department:
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, writing for ZDNet: The latest Intel revelation, Lazy FP state restore, can theoretically pull data from your programs, including encryption software, from your computer regardless of your operating system. Like its forebears, this is a speculative execution vulnerability. In an interview, Red Hat Computer Architect Jon Masters explained: "It affects Intel designs similar to variant 3-a of the previous stuff, but it's NOT Meltdown." Still, "it allows the floating point registers to be leaked from another process, but alas that means the same registers as used for crypto, etc." Lazy State does not affect AMD processors. This vulnerability exists because modern CPUs include many registers (internal memory) that represent the state of each running application. Saving and restoring this state when switching from one application to another takes time. As a performance optimization, this may be done "lazily" (i.e., when needed) and that is where the problem hides. This vulnerability exploits "lazy state restore" by allowing an attacker to obtain information about the activity of other applications, including encryption operations. Further reading: Twitter thread by FreeBSD's security officer Colin Percival, BleepingComputer, and HotHardware.

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