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The State of Slashdot: Https, Poll Changes, Auto-Refresh, Videos, and More
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 11:51 AM
By whipslash from Slashdot's make-slashdot-great-again department:
As of yesterday, Slashdot now serves over https. In addition, the polls have been moved exclusively to the right rail, and will not show up with the other stories any longer. We've also disabled auto-refresh, and fixed various issues with search and other features. In the last few weeks, we've also discontinued videos, and removed the "Jobs" section of the site. You can follow all of the changes on the Slashdot blog.

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Once Pro-Microsoft, Here Maps Drops Support For Windows 10, Windows Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 10:34 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's feels department:
An anonymous reader points us to a blog post at Here website: Here Maps has announced that it will be pulling its mapping and navigation service from the Windows 10 store on March 29, 2016. The parent company, Here, also announced that it will limit the development of the apps for Windows Phone 8 to critical bug fixes. In a blog post, the company wrote, "We've been developing mobile maps applications for about 10 years, since the first smartphones came with GPS. As the market evolves, we keep in step by introducing our apps for new operating systems while stopping support for others. Back in 2014, Here was one of the few divisions at Nokia that Microsoft hadn't acquired in its multi-billion dollar deal. Since then, the mapping and navigation service has been aggressively expanding. Once exclusively available to Nokia and Microsoft-centric platforms, Here Maps is now available for Samsung's smartwatch, Android as well as iOS. "You cannot be delusional about this one. HERE Is a huge loss for the Windows Phone community," tweeted long-time Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott.

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Major Browsers Add Experimental Support For WebAssembly
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 10:34 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's exciting-browser-news department:
An anonymous reader writes: Four major web browsers have announced support for the near-native compiling technology WebAssembly, and collaborated to bring an initial common game demo of Angry Bots, running via Unity and WebAssembly, to experimental builds of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and, shortly, Safari. WebAssembly was launched last year in a joint project between Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and Google as a potentially more efficient route to assembly-level performance than asm.js, which is in itself a low-level subset of JavaScript.

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Peter Jackson and JJ Abrams 'Back' Sean Parker's Screening Room
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 09:13 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's one-less-reason-to-leave-home department:
An anonymous reader writes: Reports claim that Napster founder, Sean Parker, is working on a new service, called Screening Room, which would make major blockbusters available at home on the same day as they hit cinemas. The service would apparently charge users $50 per movie, and provide them with a 48-hour window to watch it. Now a new report claims that Hollywood titans Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams are among backers of Screening Room.

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Should All Research Papers Be Free?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 09:13 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's information-wants-to-be-free department:
An anonymous reader points us to an article at The New York Times: There's a battle raging over whether all academic research papers should be made free to all. These academic papers are typically locked behind paywalls, and only those who have access to the university network and pay a premium subscription fee get to read these papers. "Realistically only scientists at really big, well-funded universities in the developed world have full access to published research," said Michael Eisen, a professor of genetics, genomics and development at the University of California, Berkeley, and a longtime champion of open access. "The current system slows science by slowing communication of work, slows it by limiting the number of people who can access information and quashes the ability to do the kind of data analysis" that is possible when articles aren't "sitting on various siloed databases."

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Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC Vulnerability Could Compromise IoT Security
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 09:13 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's internet-of-vulnerable-things department:
Reader Mark Wilson writes: One of the greatest concerns surrounding the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is its security, and it seems that some people's worst fears have just been realized. Security experts at Trend Micro have discovered a vulnerability in Qualcomm Snapdragon-produced SoC (system on a chip) devices. In fact, it is the same vulnerability that cropped up earlier in the month, affecting Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P and Samsung Galaxy Edge Android handsets. This in itself is concerning as these are devices that are no longer in line for security updates, but more concerning is the fact that the same chips are used in IoT devices. The vulnerability makes it possible for an attacker to gain root access to the hardware, and this is worrying in a world of inter-connected devices. In the interests of trying to contain the problem, Trend Micro has not revealed full details of the vulnerability but is using the issue to highlight a serious problem not just for handset owners but also for adopters of the IoT.

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Mozilla's New Servo Browser Will Hit Alpha In June 2016
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 07:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-it's-in-negative-omega department:
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla has announced it is releasing the first alpha versions of its Servo browser this upcoming June. The project uses browser.html for the browser's UI and Rust for the browser's core. There's a similarity between how Microsoft launched Spartan (Edge) and how Mozilla is launching Servo now. While many might think Mozilla is sneakily working on a Firefox replacement, Mozilla has also invested quite a lot in Firefox these days, like WebExtensions and e10s, and it may be more plausible that Servo might slowly be integrated in Firefox to replace Gecko, rather than replace Firefox altogether, like Microsoft did with Edge to IE.

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Microsoft Still Accepts Bitcoin, Apologizes For 'Inaccurate Information'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 07:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-you-said department:
An anonymous reader writes: In December 2014, Microsoft added Bitcoin as a payment option, courtesy of Bitcoin processor BitPay, for a variety of its gaming and mobile content. On Saturday, a simple message titled "Microsoft Store doesn't accept Bitcoin" was spotted on Microsoft's website, and naturally some interpreted that as meaning support for the digital currency had ended. We asked Microsoft for clarification, but the company only got back to us [Monday] — with an explanation that it was all a mistake.

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Hack Chromebook In Guest Mode, Win $100,000
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 06:32 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's money-where-mouth-is department:
An anonymous reader writes: Google has once again upped the ante for bug hunters concentrating on Chrome, and is now offering $100,000 to anyone capable of achieving a compromise of a Chromebook or Chromebox (the desktop variant of the Chromebook laptop) with device persistence in guest mode (i.e. guest to guest persistence with interim reboot, delivered via a web page). From Google's Monday announcement: . Last year we introduced a $50,000 reward for the persistent compromise of a Chromebook in guest mode. Since we introduced the $50,000 reward, we havenâ(TM)t had a successful submission. That said, great research deserves great awards, so weâ(TM)re putting up a standing six-figure sum, available all year round with no quotas and no maximum reward pool.

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Study Finds That Humidity Has More Effect On Drive Failures Than Temperature
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 06:32 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's yeah-but-it's-a-non-dry-heat department:
AmiMoJo writes: A study by Rutgers University and Microsoft has found that hard drives are more prone to failure due to high levels of humidity [PDF] than high temperature. With a view to 'free cooling' data centres (using low external air temperature for cooling to save power), the paper notes that humidity related malfunctions of the driver controller / adapter are the dominant cause of drive failure. The good news is that while the researchers found that high relative humidity was a significant factor in drive failures, "[S]oftware
availability techniques can mask them and enable freecooled operation, resulting in significantly lower infrastructure and energy costs that far outweigh the cost of the extra component failures."

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Amazon Wants To Replace Passwords With Selfies and Videos
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 05:11 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-about-gestures? department:
An anonymous reader writes: Amazon has filed a patent application for a technology which would allow consumers to authenticate transactions via selfie or video. As part of the verification process, the computer or mobile device will prompt the user to 'perform certain actions, motions or gestures, such as to smile, blink, or tilt his or her head.' Amazon claims that the introduction of facial recognition technology will make transactions more user friendly and secure than conventional identification methods, such as passwords which can be stolen and hacked.

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AMD Announces 16 TFLOP Radeon Pro Duo
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 03:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's to-spend-more-time-with-family department:
MojoKid writes: Remember that Radeon R9 Fury X2 graphics card that AMD CEO Lisa Su showed off months ago? We were previously lead to believe that the dual-GPU graphics card would deliver performance of around 12 TFLOPs. However, the card will actually deliver in excess of 16 TFLOPs. AMD says that this is more than enough to allow developers to "Develop content more rapidly for tomorrow's killer VR experiences while at work, and playing the latest DirectX 12 experiences at maximum fidelity while off work." And the Radeon R9 Fury X2 name? That's dead and buried — the card is now known as the Radeon Pro Duo. Not much is known about the new card at this point but the Radeon Pro Duo will apparently be available during the second quarter with an estimated street price of $1,499.

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US Projected To Lead the World In New Solar Installations This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 03:51 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's jigawatts-soon department:
Lucas123 writes: The U.S. solar market is expected to grow 120% this year, with 16GW of new solar power, more than double the record-breaking 7.3GW installed in 2015. The total operating solar PV capacity in the U.S. is expected to reach 25.6 gigawatts (billion watts or GW) of direct current (DC) by the end of the year, according to GTM Research's U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review. When accounting for all projects (both distributed and centralized), solar accounted for 29.4% of new electric generating capacity installed in the U.S. in 2015, exceeding the total for natural gas for the first time and it will put the U.S. ahead of all other nations with regard to new solar installations for 2016.

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Google's AlphaGo AI Beats Lee Se-dol Again, Wins Go Series 4-1
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 02:31 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's damn-you-computer department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article at The Verge about Korean grandmaster's fifth and final game with Google's AlphaGo AI: After suffering its first defeat in the Google DeepMind Challenge Match on Sunday, the Go-playing AI AlphaGo has beaten world-class player Lee Se-dol for a fourth time to win the five-game series 4-1 overall. The final game proved to be a close one, with both sides fighting hard and going deep into overtime. The win came after a "bad mistake" made early in the game, according to DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis, leaving AlphaGo "trying hard to claw it back."

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Facebook Preps Its Infrastructure For a Virtual Reality Future
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '16 at 02:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's 56k-considered-harmful department:
1sockchuck writes: Facebook is building a new generation of open hardware, part of its vision for powerful data centers that will use artificial intelligence and virtual reality to deliver experiences over the Internet. At the Open Compute Summit, Facebook shared details of its work to integrate more SSDs, GPUs, NVM and a "Just a Bunch of Flash" storage sled to accelerate its infrastructure. The company's infrastructure ambitions are also powered by CEO Mark Zuckerberg's embrace of virtual reality, reflected in the $2 billion acquisition of VR pioneer Oculus. "Over the next decade, we're going to build experiences that rely more on technology like artificial intelligence and virtual reality," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "These will require a lot more computing power."

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Autonomous Cars? How About Autonomous Bikes?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '16 at 10:22 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's someone-page-dean-kamen department:
R3d M3rcury writes: So we've all heard about the brave new world of autonomous cars which will be at our beck-and-call. But how about an autonomous bike? The i-Bike (not to be confused with the iBike computer) is the winner of KPIT Sparkle 2016, the All India Science and Engineering Student Contest. It started off as a bicycle suitable for use by people with disabilities. If you could use a smartphone, you could ride a bike. But the developers realized that this could be part of a bike-sharing system. You could rent a bike at the train station, ride to work, and then have the bike automatically return to the train station for the next person. Of course, the obvious question is: Will the bike stop at stop signs?

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16 US Ships That Aided In Operation Tomodachi Still Contaminated With Radiation
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '16 at 07:32 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-clean-the-filter-a-lot department:
mdsolar writes: Sixteen U.S. ships that participated in relief efforts after Japan's nuclear disaster five years ago remain contaminated with low levels of radiation from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, top Navy officials told Stars and Stripes. In all, 25 ships took part in Operation Tomadachi, the name given for the U.S. humanitarian aid operations after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. The tsunami, whose waves reached runup heights of 130 feet, crippled the Fukushima plant, causing a nuclear meltdown. In the years since the crisis, the ships have undergone cleanup efforts, the Navy said, and 13 Navy and three Military Sealift Command vessels still have some signs of contamination, mostly to ventilation systems, main engines and generators. "The low levels of radioactivity that remain are in normally inaccessible areas that are controlled in accordance with stringent procedures," the Navy said in an email to Stars and Stripes. "Work in these areas occurs mainly during major maintenance availabilities and requires workers to follow strict safety procedures."

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Typosquatters Running<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.om Domain Scam To Push Mac Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '16 at 06:11 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's slash-dot-dot-om department:
msm1267 writes from an article on Threatpost: Typosquatters are targeting Apple computer users with malware in a recent campaign that snares clumsy web surfers who mistakenly type .om instead of .com when surfing the web. According to Endgame security researchers, the top level domain for Middle Eastern country Oman (.om) is being exploited by typosquatters who have registered more than 300 domain names with the .om suffix for U.S. companies and services such as Citibank, Dell, Macys and Gmail. Endgame made the discovery last week and reports that several groups are behind the typosquatter campaigns. Mac OS X users are being singled out in this typosquatting campaign with malware. According to Endgame, when a Mac user stumbles on one of the typosquatters' webpages, a fake Adobe Flash update pops up and attempts to trick users to install the advertising component called Genieo. Endgame suspects that typosquatters are exploiting a hole in Oman's domain name registration process. When Endgame tried to register a domain it was asked to verify that it had the authority to registrar a specific commercial domain. "It's unclear how typosquatters were able to register so many domains in such a short period of time," Endgame said.

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Xbox Live Now Supports Cross-Platform Multiplayer With PS4
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '16 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's together-and-it-feels-so-good department:
An anonymous reader writes from an article on TechCrunch: Microsoft just announced that game developers can now create cross-platform multiplayer modes that work with other consoles and operating systems. So it means that the next Call of Duty or FIFA could feature a multiplayer mode that works with both Xbox and Playstation gamers. It just depends on developers now. Microsoft has historically restricted cross-platform play as the Xbox Live was the first successful multiplayer network for consoles. And yet, Microsoft is now lagging behind the Playstation 4 with its Xbox One. By opening up cross-platform multiplayer, Microsoft could convince late adopters to buy an Xbox One even though their friends have a PlayStation 4. It's also a way to make sure that there are enough plays for less popular games. It's unclear how developers are supposed to deal with duplicated PlayStation Network and Xbox Live screen names.

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AT&T Defeats Class Action In Unlimited Data Throttling Case
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '16 at 04:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's limited-by-restrictions department:
An anonymous reader writes from an Ars Technica article: Customers who sued ATT over its practice of throttling unlimited data plans will not be able to pursue a class-action lawsuit against the company. ATT argued that the customers could not only have their complaints heard individually in arbitration, and Judge Edward Chen of US District Court in Northern California has sided with the cellular company. Chen accepted ATT's argument, noting that the Supreme Court previously upheld ATT's arbitration provision in a 2011 decision. In the 2011 case, ATT Mobility v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court found that the Federal Arbitration Act preempted a California state law that limited the power of companies to force customers into arbitration. [Chen's ruling granting ATT's motion to compel arbitration was issued on February 29 and highlighted in a MediaPost article Friday.] "Plaintiffs argue that the Concepcion Court never addressed the specific issues now raised -- i.e., that enforcement of the arbitration agreements would violate their rights as protected by the Petition Clause of the First Amendment," Chen wrote. "Because there is no state action in the instant case, Plaintiffs lack a viable First Amendment challenge to the arbitration agreements. As Plaintiffs have not challenged the arbitration agreements on any other bases, the Court grants ATT's motion to compel arbitration."

ATT is still being punished by the FCC and FTC. Ars Technica writes, "The FCC last year proposed a $100 million fine to punish ATT for throttling the wireless Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans without adequately notifying the customers about the reduced speeds. Separately, the FTC sued ATT in an attempt to gain millions of dollars worth of refunds for customers who paid for unlimited data and had their speeds throttled."

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