By msmash from Slashdot's thinking-out-loud department
An anonymous reader shares a report: This is the first time FIFA, soccer's governing body, has allowed video replay to be used to make penalty calls in a World Cup. And while fans of basketball and American football are used to the referees stopping the game to consult video footage, soccer purists say it's ruining everything. The major complaint is that it's making the matches much longer than the typical 90-minute games. Martin Rogers, a sports columnist for USA Today, says Video Assistant Referee (or VAR) is "slow, clunky and unpredictable." Over the phone from Russia, where he's reporting on the World Cup, he jokes, "I remember back in the day, when if a game kicked off at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, you'd be all wrapped up by 4:45." Rogers says this type of technology works well for American football and basketball. "When you look at the calls that are used for replay, in basketball for example, it's normally factual. It's based on, 'Did a player get a shot off before the clock expired?' It's easy. You know. It's black and white." But soccer, Rogers says, is different. He's referring to one of the most hated and beloved qualities of the game: the endless drama. It's a thespian sport.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's next-billion-users department
As user growth slows in developed markets, Silicon Valley companies are increasingly looking at developing markets such as India for new customers. The playbook of many of these companies is similar: make services work on low-cost devices that are increasingly popular among new users in these nations. Facebook, Microsoft, Uber, Twitter, Google, and Amazon have all released "lite" apps (they usually have fewer features, but are comparatively less resource intensive) for these markets, with some also offering their services as progressive web app (that mimic app-esque behavior on a website, but don't require installation of any special app for access). But how do these apps fare on the low-cost devices? And what is it like to live on a low-cost smartphone? A reporter ditched his iPhone for a $60 Android handset to find out: The phone is, well, basic. It comes with a slow-as-molasses processor, so little memory that I kept having to remove and reinstall apps to keep the thing running, a camera that would have been at home on the first iPhone, a two-year-old version of Android, about a dozen pre-installed Google apps that take up hundreds of megabytes, and a single, measly gigabyte of usable storage. Imagine your favorite Android phone, except with a waaay crappier screen, cameras, storage, and battery to get an idea. What I bumped into immediately after turning on the Bharat 2 for the first time was the lack of storage, and this limitation entirely defined what I used my phone for. I had to start off by uninstalling the pre-installed bloatware before I actually installed any apps, because the first thing I got after switching on the phone was a low storage notification. Slack went out the window because it was too bloated; Outlook, my email app of choice, was too big to install; and pretty much everything else -- banking apps, shopping apps, games, and more -- was a luxury I'd live without. Even Google Maps Go, a lightweight browser version of Google Maps that the company said is "designed to run quickly and smoothly on devices with limited memory," was crippled, allowing me to look up a location only to prompt me to download the full version of Google Maps when I asked for turn-by-turn directions. So I boiled down to the essentials: staying in touch with people, catching up on news, ordering cabs, and watching videos (which went shockingly well, and supports the huge popularity of video here), pretty much the same as the Next Billion. Further reading: Shitphone: A Love Story (2015).Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's digital-death department
A German court ruled Thursday that Facebook content can be passed onto heirs like letters, books, or diaries. The ruling comes after the parents of a teenager who died in 2012 after being hit by a train argued Facebook should allow them to access her account, including her private messages, to determine whether she committed suicide. "This would also help determine whether the driver of the train should be entitled to compensation," notes Quartz. From the report: Currently, Facebook's policy is to "memorialize" an account when the site is informed of someone's death. If a user has a "legacy contact" (here are instructions on how to set one up), Facebook grants them limited access to the user's account, allowing them change the user's profile picture, accept friend requests, or pin posts to the top of the user's profile. They can also ask the platform to delete the account. Recently, Facebook told Quartz, the company revised its policy to allow parents or guardians of minors to become legacy contacts after their child has died. In rare cases, the company says, authorized people, like family members, can request information from a deceased person's account, if they have a court order. But there's no guarantee they will get what they need.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement the company disagreed with the German ruling: "These questions -- how to weigh the wishes of the relatives and protect the privacy of third parties -- are some of the toughest we've confronted. We empathize with the family. At the same time, Facebook accounts are used for a personal exchange between individuals which we have a duty to protect. While we respectfully disagree with today's decision by [the court], the lengthy process shows how complex the issue under discussion is. We will be analyzing the judgment to assess its full implications."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's eastern-arsenal department
hackingbear shares a report from Popular Science: China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC), China's foremost military electronics company, announced that its groundbreaking quantum radar has achieved capability of tracking high altitude objects, likely by increasing the coherence time entangled photons. CETC envisions that its quantum radar will be used in the stratosphere to track objects in "the upper atmosphere and beyond" (including space). Quantum can identify the position, radar cross section, speed, direction and even "observe" on the composition of the target such as differentiating between an actual nuclear warhead against inflatable decoys. [...] Importantly, attempts to spoof the quantum radar would be easily noticed since any attempt to alter or duplicate the entangled photons would be detected by the radar. The news is an important illustration of a larger trend of Chinese advancement in the new, crucial area of quantum research. Other notable projects in China's quantum technology include the Micius satellite, and advances by Alibaba and the Chinese University of Science and Technology in a world record of entangling 18 photons (a quantum supercomputer would require about 50 entangled photons), such that China arguably leads the world in quantum technologies.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's everybody-else-is-doing-it department
Sprint on Thursday unveiled a new, more complicated lineup of unlimited mobile data plans. Sprint goes from having one plan starting at $60 per month to four different options costing $50 to $70 a month. "The main price hike hits customers who want to watch streaming video at HD quality instead of being reduced to DVD quality," reports Fortune. From the report: A new "unlimited plus" plan most resembles the carrier's current one, with subscribers allowed to use up to 15 GB monthly before experiencing slowed download speeds, receiving HD-quality streaming video, and getting free Hulu and Tidal subscriptions. It costs $70 for one line, rising to $180 for four lines. But Sprint also added a "limited time" promotion that cuts the price to $50 to $100 per month for customers who buy a new phone or bring their own device. A cheaper "unlimited basic" plan, starting at $60 for one line and up to $140 for four lines, slows downloads to 3G speeds after just 500 MB, downgrades streaming to DVD-quality, and offers just a Hulu subscription, but no Tidal account.
Although consumers no longer get cut off or have to pay expensive overage charges when they run through a monthly data allowance, they face an increasing array of restrictions and conditions on all but the most expensive unlimited plans, including slowed download speeds. Sprint's four-page press release announcing the new plans included 11 footnotes, signaling just how complicated they are.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hands-where-I-can-see-them department
Mr.Intel writes from a report via Reuters: "Fliers may have a tough time recovering damages for invasive screenings at U.S. airport security checkpoints, after a federal appeals court on Wednesday said screeners are immune from claims under a federal law governing assaults, false arrests and other abuses," reports Reuters. In a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are shielded from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) because they do not function as "investigative or law enforcement officers." The decision, the first on the issue by a federal appeals court, was a defeat for Nadine Pellegrino, a business consultant from Boca Raton, Florida. "She and her husband had sued for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution over a July 2006 altercation at Philadelphia International Airport," reports Reuters. According to court papers, Pellegrino had been randomly selected for additional screening at the Philadelphia airport before boarding a U.S. Airways flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Pellegrino, then 57, objected to the invasiveness of the search, but conditions deteriorated and she was later jailed for about 18 hours, the papers show. Criminal charges were filed, and Pellegrino was acquitted at a March 2008 trial.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's highest-bidder department
The now-dormant news and gossip website Gawker.com was sold on Thursday to Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bustle and co-founder of Bleacher Report. According to CNN, the site sold for less than $1.5 million. From the report: Goldberg founded the sports website Bleacher Report along with three other people in 2005; in 2012, they sold it to Turner, which like CNN is owned by AT&T. He launched Bustle, a website focused on women's issues, in 2013. Goldberg addressed the Gawker sale in a Bustle internal email on Thursday, saying the site will be acquired "under a new holding company, separate from Bustle."
"You are probably wondering what happens next," he said in the email, which was obtained by CNN. "The short is this -- not much. We have no immediate plans to re-launch Gawker. For now, things will stay as they are. I'm very excited about the possibilities for the future of Gawker. I will share more in the months ahead." The sale includes an archive of hundreds of thousands of Gawker stories and social media accounts affiliated with the site. Gawker Media was sold to Univision in 2016 for $135 million and renamed Gizmodo Media Group after the company declared bankruptcy, "the result of a legal assault waged by the former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan that was secretly subsidized by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime Gawker adversary," reports CNN.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's trust-the-process department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: The information operatives who worked out of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg did not stop at posing as American social media users or spreading false information from purported news sources, according to new details. They also created a number of Twitter accounts that posed as sources for Americans' hometown headlines. NPR has reviewed information connected with the investigation and found 48 such accounts. They have names such as @ElPasoTopNews, @MilwaukeeVoice, @CamdenCityNews and @Seattle_Post. "A not-insignificant amount of those had some sort of variation on what appeared to be a homegrown local news site," said Bret Schafer, a social media analyst for the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which tracks Russian influence operations and first noticed this trend. Another example: The Internet Research Agency created an account that looks like it is the Chicago Daily News. That newspaper shuttered in 1978. The Internet Research Agency-linked account was created in May 2014, and for years, it just posted local headlines, accumulating some 19,000 followers by July 2016.
Another twist: These accounts apparently never spread misinformation. In fact, they posted real local news, serving as sleeper accounts building trust and readership for some future, unforeseen effort. "They set them up for a reason. And if at any given moment, they wanted to operationalize this network of what seemed to be local American news handles, they can significantly influence the narrative on a breaking news story," Schafer told NPR. "But now instead of just showing up online and flooding it with news sites, they have these accounts with two years of credible history."Read Replies (0)