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Is Australia Becoming A Cashless Society?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 07:20 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's money-down-under department:
Australia's Reserve Bank will roll out an instantaneous money-transferring technology later this year, "which will push Australia even further towards being a cashless society," according to ABC. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
In 2014, 12 financial institutions signed up to build the "New Payment Platform," partly as a way of bringing Australia up to speed with other countries that are ahead in the race to becoming completely cashless. Sweden is on track to become the world's first completely cashless economy, and just last November India got rid of its highest denomination bills, effectively eliminating 90 per cent of its paper money... The "New Payment Platform" will mean money can be transferred almost instantaneously, even when the payer and payee are members of different banks.

"It's estimated that somewhere between about $3.5 and $5 billion in Australia every year is lost in tax revenue due to the sort of cash economy," says an economics professor at the University of New South Wales, who predicts Australia could be cash-free by 2020. The Australian Payments Association reports that over 75% of the country's face-to-face payments are already tap-and-go, and ATM withdrawals have sunk to a 15-year low.

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New Release Of StarCraft In 4K Ultra High Definition Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 07:20 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's zooming-in-on-the-Zerg department:
The classic 90s-era videogames StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War will be re-released this summer -- remastered in 4K Ultra High Definition. An anonymous reader quotes The Verge:

It will also include a number of updates, such as remastered sound, new additional illustrations for the campaign missions, new matchmaking capabilities, the ability to connect to Blizzard App, the ability to save to the cloud, and more... Blizzard also announced that it was issuing a new update to StarCraft: Brood War this week, which will include some bug fixes and anti-cheat measures, but will also make StarCraft Anthology (which includes StarCraft and Brood War) available to download for free.

Kotaku reports that the news was announced at this weekend's I <3 StarCraft event in South Korea, "a mini-tournament between some of the game's best players being held to honor the game's legacy."

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Class Action Lawsuit Launched Over Forced Windows 10 Upgrades
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 04:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's click-X-for-yes department:
Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes The Register:
Three people in Illinois have filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming that its Windows 10 update destroyed their data and damaged their computers. The complaint, filed in Chicago's U.S. District Court on Thursday, charges that Microsoft Windows 10 [installer] is a defective product, and that its maker failed to provide adequate warning about the potential risks posed by Windows 10 installation -- specifically system stability and data loss... The attorneys representing the trio are seeking to have the case certified as a class action that includes every person in the U.S. who upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and suffered data loss or damage to software or hardware within 30 days of installation. They claim there are hundreds or thousands of affected individuals.

Microsoft responded that they'd offered free customer service and other support options for "the upgrade experience," adding "We believe the plaintiffs' claims are without merit." But the complaint argues Windows 10's installer "does not check the condition of the PC and whether or not the hard drive can withstand the stress of the Windows 10 installation," according to Courthouse News, which adds that the lead plaintiff "says her hard drive failed after Windows 10 installed without her express approval, and she had to buy a new computer."

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After 20 Years, OpenSSL Will Change To Apache License 2.0, Seeks Pasts Contributors
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 03:20 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's open-encryption department:
After nearly 20 years and 31,000 commits, OpenSSL wants to change to Apache License v2.0. They're now tracking down all 400 contributors to sign new license agreements, a process expected to take several months. Slashdot reader rich_salz shares links to OpenSSL's official announcement (and their agreement-collecting web site).

"This re-licensing activity will make OpenSSL, already the world's most widely-used FOSS encryption software, more convenient to incorporate in the widest possible range of free and open source software," said Mishi Choudhary, Legal Director of Software Freedom Law Center and counsel to OpenSSL. "OpenSSL's team has carefully prepared for this re-licensing, and their process will be an outstanding example of 'how to do it right.'"

Click through for some comments on the significance of this move from the Linux Foundation, Intel, and Oracle.

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Is Microsoft Building A Foldable 'Surface' Phone?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 02:01 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fun-with-folding department:
"This past week, Microsoft received a new patent for a foldable handset, and once again there are rumors that it is related to the long awaited, mythical Surface Phone," writes HardOCP, noting Samsung and LG are also rumored to be working on foldable phones.
An anonymous reader quotes Hot Hardware:
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made it clear that he doesn't want to kick out just another run-of-the-mill smartphone that looks and functions like every other device out there, but one that is unique in some aspect... This is not the first time Microsoft has filed a patent for what could be a folding Surface Phone. Just two months ago it was discovered that Microsoft filed a patent for a "Mobile Computing Device Having a Flexible Hinge Structure"...
Microsoft's patents include curved edges "intended to draw light away from the gaps, which would create an optical illusion of one continuous image," according to the article. "In this way, Microsoft could create a folding phone with multiple active displays appearing as a single, continuous image."

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London Terrorist Used WhatsApp, UK Calls For Backdoors
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 12:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's encryption-in-England department:
Wednesday 52-year-old Khalid Masood "drove a rented SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before smashing it into Parliament's gates and rushing onto the grounds, where he fatally stabbed a policeman and was shot by other officers," writes the Associated Press. An anonymous reader quotes their new report:
Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood sent a WhatsApp message that cannot be accessed because it was encrypted by the popular messaging service, a top British security official said Sunday. British press reports suggest Masood used the messaging service owned by Facebook just minutes before the Wednesday rampage that left three pedestrians and one police officer dead and dozens more wounded.... Home Secretary Amber Rudd used appearances on BBC and Sky News to urge WhatsApp and other encrypted services to make their platforms accessible to intelligence services and police trying to carrying out lawful eavesdropping. "We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp -- and there are plenty of others like that -- don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other," she said...
Rudd also urged technology companies to do a better job at preventing the publication of material that promotes extremism. She plans to meet with firms Thursday about setting up an industry board that would take steps to make the web less useful to extremists.

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New Release Of StarCraft In 4K Ultra High Definition Annouonced
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 12:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's zooming-in-on-the-Zerg department:
The classic 90s-era videogames StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War will be re-released this summer -- remastered in 4K Ultra High Definition. An anonymous reader quotes The Verge:

It will also include a number of updates, such as remastered sound, new additional illustrations for the campaign missions, new matchmaking capabilities, the ability to connect to Blizzard App, the ability to save to the cloud, and more... Blizzard also announced that it was issuing a new update to StarCraft: Brood War this week, which will include some bug fixes and anti-cheat measures, but will also make StarCraft Anthology (which includes StarCraft and Brood War) available to download for free.

Kotaku reports that the news was announced at this weekend's I <3 StarCraft event in South Korea, "a mini-tournament between some of the game's best players being held to honor the game's legacy."

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17-Year-Old Corrects NASA Mistake In Data From The ISS
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 11:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's extra-credit department:
"A British teenager has contacted scientists at NASA to point out an error in a set of their own data," writes the BBC. An anonymous reader quotes their report.

A-level student Miles Soloman found that radiation sensors on the International Space Station (ISS) were recording false data... The correction was said to be "appreciated" by NASA, which invited him to help analyse the problem... The research was part of the TimPix project from the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), which gives students across the UK the chance to work on data from the space station, looking for anomalies and patterns that might lead to further discoveries. What Miles had noticed was that when nothing hit the detector, a negative reading was being recorded. But you cannot get negative energy... It turned out that Miles had noticed something no-one else had -- including the NASA experts. NASA said it was aware of the error, but believed it was only happening once or twice a year. Miles had found it was actually happening multiple times a day.

There's a video of the student -- and his teacher -- describing the discovery, a story which Miles says his friends at high school listen to with "a mixture of jealousy and boredom"

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Aerospace Startup Will Build A Supersonic Mach 2.2 Aircraft
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 10:01 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's big-boom-theory department:
A new commercial aircraft will fly more than twice the speed of sound, traveling from New York to London in 3.4 hours. An anonymous reader quotes Fortune:
Colorado-based startup Boom Supersonic is one step closer to making such travel a reality after securing $33 million in investments to construct and fly its first supersonic jet, the XB-1 demonstration and testing craft, according to TechCrunch... With the new funding, Boom will be able to put that concept -- and the technology needed to power it -- to the test. "This funds our first airplane, all the way through flight tests," Boom founder and CEO Blake Scholl told TechCrunch. "Now we have all the pieces we need â" technology, suppliers and capital â" to go out and make some history and set some speed records."
They'll be testing a prototype that's one-third smaller than the commercial version within the next year.

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Theranos To Investors: Please Don't Sue! Here, Have Some More Shares
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 08:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fumbling-founders department:
Theranos "plans to give additional shares to investors who pledge not to sue," reports the Wall Street Journal. An anonymous reader quotes Silicon Beat:

The deal, which hasn't been disclosed publicly, was approved by the Palo Alto-based company's board last month, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous "people familiar with the matter." They said most investors have tentatively agreed to the deal. Those extra shares are coming from none other than founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes' personal cache, the Journal reported. That means the beleaguered founder, who has remained stubbornly at the helm of her struggling startup even though federal regulators have barred her from running a medical lab for two years, would give up her majority ownership in the company.

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Over 14K 'Let's Encrypt' SSL Certificates Issued To PayPal Phishing Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 08:41 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's then-let's-also-phish-PayPal department:
BleepingComputer reports:
During the past year, Let's Encrypt has issued a total of 15,270 SSL certificates that contained the word 'PayPal' in the domain name or the certificate identity. Of these, approximately 14,766 (96.7%) were issued for domains that hosted phishing sites, according to an analysis carried out on a small sample of 1,000 domains, by Vincent Lynch, encryption expert for The SSL Store... Lynch, who points out the abuse of Let's Encrypt's infrastructure, doesn't blame the Certificate Authority (CA), but nevertheless, points out that other CAs have issued a combined number of 461 SSL certificates containing the term "PayPal" in the certificate information, which were later used for phishing attacks... Phishers don't target these CAs because they're commercial services, but also because they know these organizations will refuse to issue certificates for certain hot terms, like "PayPal," for example. Back in 2015, Let's Encrypt made it clear in a blog post it doesn't intend to become the Internet's HTTPS watchdog.
Of course, some web browsers don't even check whether a certificate has been revoked. An anonymous reader writes:

Browser makers are also to blame, along with "security experts" who tell people HTTPS is "secure," when they should point out HTTPS means "encrypted communication channel," and not necessarily that the destination website is secure.

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A 21st-Century Version Of OS/2 Warp May Be Released Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 07:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's old-OS's department:
dryriver writes: A company named Arca Noae is working on a new release of the X86 OS/2 operating system code named "Blue Lion" and likely called ArcaOS 5 in its final release. Blue Lion wants to be a modern 21st Century OS/2 Warp, with support for the latest hardware and networking standards, a modern accelerated graphics driver, support for new cryptographic security standards, full backward compatibility with legacy OS/2, DOS and Windows 3.1 applications, suitability for use in mission-critical applications, and also, it appears, the ability to run "ported Linux applications". Blue Lion, which appears to be in closed beta with March 31st 2017 cited as the target release date, will come with up to date Firefox browser and Thunderbird mail client, Apache OpenOffice, other productivity tools, a new package manager, and software update and support subscription to ensure system stability. It is unclear from the information provided whether Blue Lion will be able to run modern Windows applications.

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UK Broadband Customers Set To Receive Millions In Compensation For Bad Service
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 06:01 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's payments-for-problems department:
An anonymous reader quotes The Stack: British telecoms regulator Ofcom has revealed new plans which would see consumers who experience poor service automatically compensated, in cash or credit, by their landline or broadband providers. As part of the scheme, customers who have had to put up with delayed repairs, missed installation or engineer appointments, will be paid up to £30 in compensation, depending on the issue. According to Ofcom, 6 million landline and broadband customers could receive a total of around £185 million (approximately $230 million) in compensatory payments each year as a result of the policy.
The regulator says every year U.K. repair technicians failed to show up for 250,000 repair appointments.

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US Workers Face A Higher Risk Of Being Replaced By Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 03:20 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fifteen-year-forecasts department:
There's a surprising prediction for the next 15 years from the world's second largest professional services firm. An anonymous reader quotes CNN:
Millions of workers around the world are at risk of losing their jobs to robots -- but Americans should be particularly worried. Thirty-eight percent of jobs in the U.S. are at high risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next 15 years, according to a new report by PwC. Meanwhile, only 30% of jobs in the U.K. are similarly endangered. The same level of risk applies to only 21% of positions in Japan.
61% of America's financial service jobs "are at a high risk of being replaced by robots," according to the article, vs. just 32% of the finance jobs in the U.K. (Those U.S. finance jobs tend to be "domestic retail operations" like small-town bank tellers, whereas U.K. finance jobs concentrate more in international finance and investment banking.) The firm's chief economist sees a world where new jobs are more likely to go to higher-skilled workers, and he ultimately predicts "a restructuring of the jobs market... The gap between rich and poor could get even wider."

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Terrifying Anti-Riot Vehicle Created To Quash Any Urban Disturbance
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '17 at 12:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's machines-for-mobs department:
"Are you an urban police force thinking about how to control your fellow humans?" jokes Cory Doctorow. "Look no farther! Your pals at Bozena have an all-new RIOT system, a crowd-control killdozer for all your protest-suppressing needs!" He's one of several web commentators marveling at the marketing copy for a Slovenian company's new anti-riot machinery, also spotted by Slashdot reader drunkdrone. Some quotes from the BOZENA RIOT SYSTEM site about the device's features:

Easy attachable bulldozer blade.
The [6,600 pound] shield comes equipped with launching ports designed for use of guns or other rubber projectiles launchers.
The trailer is capable of displacing the water/foam or its mixtures (available additives: pepper or painting substances) under the high pressure into the distance of several dozen meters.
Communication with rioters through the loudspeakers.
Designed to control riots in streets and urbanized areas...intended predominantly for the special military and police units responsible for the CROWD CONTROL during the violent political/social demonstrations, against football hooligans, etc.

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Still More Advertisers Pull Google Ads Over YouTube Hate Videos
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '17 at 10:00 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's watching-what-you-watch department:
"A week after Google apologized for running customers' advertisements alongside objectionable videos, triggering a change in policy, its YouTube site is still rife with examples that are angering more big advertisers and causing some to cut spending with the tech giant," reports the Dow Jones Newswire. Reporters from the Wall Street Journal spotted ads from Microsoft, Amazon, and Procter & Gamble appearing on hate videos -- and thus indirectly funding them. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Asked about the Journal's finding that their ads were still appearing with such content on YouTube as of Thursday night, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Dish Network Corp. said Friday they were suspending spending on all Google advertising except targeted search ads. Starbucks Corp. and General Motors Co. said they were pulling their ads from YouTube. FX Networks, part of 21st Century Fox Inc., said it was suspending all advertising spending on Google, including search ads and YouTube. Wal-Mart said: "The content with which we are being associated is appalling and completely against our company values."
An executive at one of the affected companies complained that Google "had assured us over the past few days that our brands were safe from this type of content. Despite their assurances, it's clear they couldn't give assurance."

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SAS Mocked For Recommending 60% Proprietary Software, 40% Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '17 at 05:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sassing-SAS department:
This week SAS wrote that open source technology "has its own, often unexpected costs," recommending organizations maintain a balance of 60% proprietary software to 40% open software. An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld:
How they arrived at this bizarre conclusion is hard to fathom, except that SAS sells more than $1 billion worth of proprietary software every year and presumably would like to continue, despite a clear trend toward open-source-powered analytics... In a Burtch Works survey of over 1,100 quant pros, 61.3% prefer open source R or Python to SAS, and only 38.6% opting for SAS, with that percentage growing for open source options every year.
Worse for SAS, a variety of open source data infrastructure and analytics tools threaten to encroach on its bastions in data management, business intelligence, and analytics... Nearly all innovation in data infrastructure is happening in open source, not proprietary software. That's a tide SAS can try to fight with white papers, but it would do better to join by embracing open source in its product suite.

"In the paper, SAS correctly argues that open source versus proprietary software is not an either/or decision..." writes InfoWorld, but they note that the report also "put the percentage of open source adopters at a mere 25%, which is pathetically wrong." The article suggests a hope that the report "is the product of a rogue field marketing team, and not the company's official position." Adobe's vice president of mobile commented on Twitter, "I just wonder who in their marketing dept thought this was a good idea."

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Comcast Launches New 24/7 Workplace Surveillance Service
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '17 at 04:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's I'll-be-seeing-you department:
America's largest ISP just rolled out a new service that allows small and medium-sized business owners "to oversee their organization" with continuous video surveillance footage that's stored in the cloud -- allowing them to "improve efficiency." An anonymous reader quotes the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Inventory is disappearing. Workplace productivity is off. He said/she said office politics are driving people crazy. Who you gonna call...? Comcast Business hopes it will be the one, with the "SmartOffice" surveillance offering formally launched this week in Philadelphia and across "70 percent of our national [internet] service footprint," said Christian Nascimento, executive director of premise services for the Comcast division. Putting a "Smart Cities" (rather than "Big Brother is watching you") spin on "the growing trend for...connected devices across the private and public sectors," the SmartOffice solution "can provide video surveillance to organizations that want to monitor their locations more closely," Nascimento said...

The surveillance cameras are equipped with zoom lenses, night-vision, motion detection, and wide-angle lenses, while an app allows remote access to the footage from smartphones and tablets (though the footage can also be downloaded, or stored online for up to a month). Last year Comcast was heavily involved in an effort to provide Detroit's police department with real-time video feeds from over 120 local businesses, which the mayor said wouldn't have been successful "Without the complete video technology system Comcast provides."

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Ubuntu Linux 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' Final Beta Now Available For Download
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '17 at 03:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's beta-Ubuntu department:
BrianFagioli writes: The final beta of Ubuntu 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' became available for download Thursday. While it is never a good idea to run pre-release software on production machines, Canonical is claiming that it should be largely bug free at this point. In other words, if you understand the risks, it should be a fairly safe. Home users aside, this is a good opportunity for administrators to conduct testing prior to the official release next month. "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the final beta release of the Ubuntu 17.04 Desktop, Server, and Cloud products. Codenamed 'Zesty Zapus', 17.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution," says Adam Conrad, Canonical. "The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs."

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Apache Hadoop Has Failed Us, Tech Experts Say
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '17 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's future-is-cloud-y department:
It was the first widely-adopted open source distributed computing platform. But some geeks running it are telling Datanami that Hadoop "is great if you're a data scientist who knows how to code in MapReduce or Pig...but as you go higher up the stack, the abstraction layers have mostly failed to deliver on the promise of enabling business analysts to get at the data." Slashdot reader atcclears shares their report:
"I can't find a happy Hadoop customer. It's sort of as simple as that," says Bob Muglia, CEO of Snowflake Computing, which develops and runs a cloud-based relational data warehouse offering. "It's very clear to me, technologically, that it's not the technology base the world will be built on going forward"... [T]hanks to better mousetraps like S3 (for storage) and Spark (for processing), Hadoop will be relegated to niche and legacy statuses going forward, Muglia says. "The number of customers who have actually successfully tamed Hadoop is probably less than 20 and it might be less than 10..."
One of the companies that supposedly tamed Hadoop is Facebook...but according to Bobby Johnson, who helped run Facebook's Hadoop cluster before co-founding behavioral analytics company Interana, the fact that Hadoop is still around is a "historical glitch. That may be a little strong," Johnson says. "But there's a bunch of things that people have been trying to do with it for a long time that it's just not well suited for." Hadoop's strengths lie in serving as a cheap storage repository and for processing ETL batch workloads, Johnson says. But it's ill-suited for running interactive, user-facing applications... "After years of banging our heads against it at Facebook, it was never great at it," he says. "It's really hard to dig into and actually get real answers from... You really have to understand how this thing works to get what you want."
< article continued at Slashdot's future-is-cloud-y department >

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