By EditorDavid from Slashdot's softening-software-markets department
An anonymous reader writes:
Microsoft is having trouble selling $7-a-month subscriptions to Office 365. In the last three months of 2016, Microsoft added just 900,000 new subscriptions -- and throughout all of 2016, subscriptions increased by just 4.3 million. In fact, a chart at IT World shows that new subscriptions actually peaked in a year ago, with a steady decline in new subscribers ever since. "In each of the last three quarters, Office 365 grew by about 900,000 subscribers, the smallest quarterly increase since early 2014," they write. "Prior to the nine-month stretch of 2016, subscribers were accumulating at rates two to three times larger per quarter."
This explains why Microsoft announced 97 new markets for the software nine weeks ago. So far after four years, Microsoft's found just 25 million subscribers for Office 365 -- and it's not clear how many of those came from their $100 five-user packages. (Although those figures suggest that Office 365 subscriptions are still earning Microsoft at least half a billion dollars a year.)Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Rocket-Road department
SpaceX is livestreaming a competition between hyperloop pods from outside their headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and at least one Los Angeles newspaper is also covering the event live on Facebook.
"This competition is the first of its kind anywhere in the world," SpaceX writes, noting that 27 teams put their pods through a "litany" of pre-qualifying tests hoping to qualify for a run on the track on "Rocket Road".
An anonymous reader writes:
The mile-long track is "roughly half the width of a full-scale Hyperloop system," according to Fortune -- but it's still a near-total vacuum inside, making it possible for the magnetically-levitated pods to attain extremely high speeds. "The winning team will be the one that hits the highest top speed -- then stops before hitting the end of the tube. 'There'll be a bit of tension," Elon Musk mused. 'Will it brake in time?'"
Sunday's event "will mark the first time anyone gets to see the Hyperloop pods in action," according to Business Insider, which has photos and descriptions of the 27 pods -- including the MIT Hyperloop and the crowdfunded non-profit rLoop, which crowdsourced their open source development effort on Reddit.
SpaceX will also host a second competition will be held this summer focused on one criterion: speed.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's sharing-your-posts department
An anonymous reader quotes CNET:
Border patrol agents are checking the Facebook accounts of people who are being held in limbo for approval to enter the U.S., according to a Saturday tweet by immigration lawyer Mana Yegani that was spotted by The Independent... Yegani, who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told CNET that checking phones has been reported by other lawyers as part of the vetting process. "[G]oing through passengers phones from the seven banned countries happens when the individual is interrogated (put under extreme vetting)," Yegani said.
Yegani told The Independent that she and other lawyers have been fielding calls from people who are already cleared to live in America, but are getting stuck at the border regardless. "These are people that are coming in legally. They have jobs here and they have vehicles here," Yegani said in the report.
The EFF warns that "Fourth Amendment protection is not as strong at the border as it is in your home or office. This means that law enforcement can inspect your computer or electronic equipment, even if they have no reason to suspect there is anything illegal on it. An international airport, even if many miles from the actual border, is considered the functional equivalent of a border."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's flash-in-the-pan department
Lucas123 writes: Toshiba, which invented NAND flash, plans to sell off an as-of-yet undisclosed portion of its memory business, including its solid-state drive unit, to Western Digital. Toshiba is spinning the business off to WD, a business ally, because it hopes in the long run the Toshiba-WD alliance will enable an expansion in NAND flash production capacity and increased efficiency in storage product development... Currently, Toshiba and WD together represent 35% of global NAND flash production; Samsung leads that market with 36% of production. "Toshiba wants to put its memory business in a more stable financial position," said Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange. "Facing mounting operational and competitive pressure, the spun-off entity will be more effective in raising cash to stay afloat or expand"... Toshiba's solvency and fundraising ability are also in trouble because of a $1.9 billion accounting scandal and a multi-billion dollar loss related to a nuclear plant purchase. Last week, Toshiba announced its share price had tumbled 13% after reports that its nuclear power business had lost $4.4 billion.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's searching-for-certs department
"Google Chrome users have been contacting me wondering why they no longer could access the detailed status of Chrome https: connections, or view the organization and other data associated with SSL certificates for those connections," writes Slashdot reader Lauren Weinstein, adding "Google took a simple click in an intuitive place and replaced it with a bunch of clicks scattered around."
Up to now for the stable version of Chrome, you simply clicked the little green padlock icon on an https: connection, clicked on the "Details" link that appeared, and a panel then opened that gave you that status, along with an obvious button to click for viewing the actual certificate data such as Organization, issuance and expiration dates, etc. Suddenly, that "Details" link no longer is present...
The full certificate data is available from the "Developers tools" panel under the "Security" label. In fact, that's where this info has been for quite some time, but since the now missing "Details" link took you directly to that panel, most users probably didn't even realize that they were deep in the Developers tools section of the browser.
On some systems you can just press F12, but the alternate route is to click on the three vertical dots in the upper right, then select "More Tools", and then "Developer Tools". (And if you don't then see "Security", click on the ">>".)Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's six-strikes-and-you-get-a-lecture department
"Major internet providers are ending a four-year-old system in which consumers received 'copyright alerts' when they viewed peer-to-peer pirated content," reports Variety.
An anonymous reader quotes Engadget's update on the Copyright Alert System.
It was supposed to spook pirates by having their internet providers send violation notices, with the threat of penalties like throttling. However, it hasn't exactly panned out. ISPs and media groups have dropped the alert system with an admission that it isn't up to the job. While the program was supposedly successful in "educating" the public on legal music and video options, the MPAA states that it just couldn't handle the "hard-core repeat infringer problem" -- there wasn't much to deter bootleggers. The organizations, which include the RIAA, haven't devised an alternative.
"Surprise: it's hard to stop copyright violators just by asking them," reads their article's tagline, which attributes the failure of the system to naive optimism. "It assumed that most pirates didn't even realize they were violating copyright, and just needed to be shown the error of their ways."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's please-do-not-turn-off-your-computer department
schwit1 shares this angry commentary from a CNET senior editor:
Maybe you're delivering a presentation to a huge audience. Maybe you're taking an online test. Maybe you just need to get some work done on a tight deadline.
Windows doesn't care.
Windows will take control of your computer, force-feed it updates, and flip the reset switch automatically — and there's not a damn thing you can do about it, once it gets started. If you haven't saved your work, it's gone. Your browser tabs are toast. And don't expect to use your computer again soon; depending on the speed of your drive and the size of the update, it could be anywhere from 10 minutes to well over an hour before your PC is ready for work. As far as I'm concerned, it's the single worst thing about Windows. It's only gotten worse in Windows 10. And when I poked around Microsoft, the overarching message I received was that Microsoft has no interest in fixing it.
The editor recalls rebooting his Windows laptop while listening to a speech by Steve Jobs in 2010. (The reboot locked his computer for 20 minutes while updates were installed, "the first of three occasions that a forced Windows update would totally destroy my workflow at a critical moment.") He shares stories from other frustrated Windows users, urges readers to send him more anecdotes, and argues that Microsoft has even begun "actively getting rid of ways to keep users from disabling automatic updates."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's zero-downtime department
In 1993 a Stratus server was booted up by an IT application architect -- and it's still running.
An anonymous reader writes:
"It never shut down on its own because of a fault it couldn't handle," says Phil Hogan, who's maintained the server for 24 years. That's what happens when you include redundant components. "Over the years, disk drives, power supplies and some other components have been replaced but Hogan estimates that close to 80% of the system is original," according to Computerworld.
There's no service contract -- he maintains the server with third-party vendors rather than going back to the manufacturer, who says they "probably" still have the parts in stock. And while he believes the server's proprietary operating system hasn't been updated in 15 years, Hogan says "It's been extremely stable."
The server will finally be retired in April, and while the manufacturer says there's some more Stratus servers that have been running for at least 20 years -- this one seems to be the oldest.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's who-do-you-sue department
Here's the problem. "You could download Comma.ai's new open-source Python code from Github, grab the necessary hardware, and follow the company's instructions to add semi-autonomous capabilities to specific Acura and Honda model cars (with more vehicles to follow)," writes IEEE Spectrum. But then who's legally responsible if there's an accident?
Long-time Slashdot reader Registered Coward v2 writes:
While many legal experts agree OSS is "buyer beware" and that Comma.ai and its CEO Georg Hotz would not be liable, it's a gray area in the law. The software is release under the MIT OSS license and the Read Me contains the disclaimer "This is alpha-quality software for research purposes only... You are responsible for complying with local laws and regulatons." The U.S. Supreme Court, in a series of court cases in the 1990s, ruled open source code as free speech protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The question is does that release the author(s) from liability. The EU has no EU wide rules on liability in such cases. One open question is even if the person who used the software could not sue, a third party injured by it might be able to since they are not a party to the license agreement.
An EFF attorney told HotHardware "Prosecutors and plaintiffs often urge courts to disregard traditional First Amendment protections in the case of software." But not everyone agrees. "Most legal experts that spoke with IEEE Spectrum -- and Hotz himself -- believe that if you use the company's code and something goes wrong, then it isn't liable for damages. You are."Read Replies (0)