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Sony To Source All Its Energy From Renewables By 2040
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '18 at 10:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's green-energy department:
Sony is the latest multinational conglomerate corporation to announce plans to have all its energy come from renewable sources by 2040. Nikkei Asian Review reports: The electronics company has 111 business sites around the world. Renewables will supply all power used not only in manufacturing televisions and cameras, but also in such content creation work as moviemaking. The goal will be achieved through such means as installing solar panels atop production facilities and purchasing green-certified power. Sony will gradually increase use of such energy, aiming first for a rate of 30% in 2030. Sony has already gone fully green in Europe. But 80% of the group's energy consumption is in Japan, mainly because of semiconductor manufacturing. Purchasing solar power facilities will likely be pursued as well.

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'Mindful People' Feel Less Pain, Study Finds
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '18 at 09:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's open-minded department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Medical Xpress: Ever wonder why some people seem to feel less pain than others? A study conducted at Wake Forest School of Medicine may have found one of the answers -- mindfulness. The researchers analyzed data obtained from a study published in 2015 that compared mindfulness meditation to placebo analgesia. In this follow-up study, Zeidan sought to determine if dispositional mindfulness, an individual's innate or natural level of mindfulness, was associated with lower pain sensitivity, and to identify what brain mechanisms were involved. In the study, 76 healthy volunteers who had never meditated first completed the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory, a reliable clinical measurement of mindfulness, to determine their baseline levels. Then, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging, they were administered painful heat stimulation.

Whole brain analyses revealed that higher dispositional mindfulness during painful heat was associated with greater deactivation of a brain region called the posterior cingulate cortex, a central neural node of the default mode network. Further, in those that reported higher pain, there was greater activation of this critically important brain region. The default mode network extends from the posterior cingulate cortex to the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. These two brain regions continuously feed information back and forth. This network is associated with processing feelings of self and mind wandering. The study provided novel neurobiological information that showed people with higher mindfulness ratings had less activation in the central nodes (posterior cingulate cortex) of the default network and experienced less pain. Those with lower mindfulness ratings had greater activation of this part of the brain and also felt more pain, Zeidan said.

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OxyContin Billionaire Patents Drug To Treat Opioid Addiction
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '18 at 09:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's corrupted-by-money department:
Richard Sackler, the billionaire businessman behind Purdue Pharma, has patented a new drug to help treat opioid addiction (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The news of the patented form of buprenorphine, a mild opioid that is used to ease withdrawal symptoms, comes as Colorado's attorney general is suing the OxyContin creator for profiting from opioid addictions. Some now believe that Sackler and his family, who owns Purdue Pharma, will be trying to profit from the antidote. The Washington Post reports: The lawsuit claims Purdue Pharma L.P. and Purdue Pharma Inc. deluded doctors and patients in Colorado about the potential for addiction with prescription opioids and continued to push the drugs. And it comes amid news that the company's former chairman and president, Richard Sackler, has patented a new drug to help wean addicts from opioids. "Purdue's habit-forming medications coupled with their reckless marketing have robbed children of their parents, families of their sons and daughters, and destroyed the lives of our friends, neighbors, and co-workers," Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said Thursday in a statement. "While no amount of money can bring back loved ones, it can compensate for the enormous costs brought about by Purdue's intentional misconduct."

< article continued at Slashdot's corrupted-by-money department >

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Trump Tells Apple To Make Products In the US To Avoid China Tariffs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '18 at 08:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's my-way-or-the-highway department:
hackingbear writes: President Trump acknowledged in a tweet that "Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China," but suggested the issue was not with the tariffs themselves. "There is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now," Trump wrote. The U.S. is threatening to impose 25% tariffs on all $500 billion worth of Chinese imports over issues such as intellectual property theft. While Apple et al are still making their products in China, Trump didn't offer Apple a place to find the millions of laborers needed to make their products, given that the official unemployment rate is at a historic low of 3.9%. Manufacturers also need to compete in the labor market with garbage companies who need to find American laborers willing to recycle their own trash -- a job once imposed upon China as a condition to enter the World Trade Organization and enjoy advantageous tariff rates. China is gracefully giving back those jobs as the U.S. is complaining of unfair trades.

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Two Lawmakers Urge FTC, CFPB To Keep Pressure On Equifax
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '18 at 06:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's can't-say-that-I'm-surprised department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch about the little fallout Equifax has faced for one of the worst data breaches in U.S. history: The credit rating giant, one of the largest in the world, was trusted with some of the most sensitive data used by banks and financiers to determine who can be lent money. But the company failed to patch a web server it knew was vulnerable for months, which let hackers crash the servers and steal data on 147 million consumers. Names, addresses, Social Security numbers and more -- and millions more driver license and credit card numbers were stolen in the breach. Millions of British and Canadian nationals were also affected, sparking a global response to the breach. Yet, a year on from following the devastating hack that left the company reeling from a breach of almost every American adult, the company has faced little to no action or repercussions.

< article continued at Slashdot's can't-say-that-I'm-surprised department >

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Amazon's Checkout-Free Stores Are Coming to Three More Cities
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '18 at 04:10 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's surveillance-as-a-service department:
Reuters reports:
Amazon said on Friday it plans to open its checkout-free 'Amazon Go' grocery store in New York, expanding beyond Seattle where it is headquartered. The Amazon Go store, which has no cashiers and allows shoppers to buy things with the help of a smartphone app, is widely seen as a concept that can alter brick-and-mortar retail... Customers have to scan a smartphone app to enter the store. Once inside, cameras and sensors track what they pick up from the shelves and what they put back. Amazon then bills shoppers' credit cards on file after they leave.

CNET adds:
The expansion comes after two Amazon Go stores opened in Seattle. The first one debuted in January 2018 and the second opened last month... Amazon confirmed in May that it'll open Amazon Go stores in San Francisco and Chicago, but it didn't say when.

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Windows 7 Will Get Updates for Four More Years -- If You Pay
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '18 at 01:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's feeling-SaaS-y department:
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet:
With the Windows 7 end-of-support clock slowly winding down to January 14, 2020, Microsoft is announcing it will offer, for a fee, continuing security updates for the product through January 2023. This isn't the first time Microsoft has done this for a version of Windows, but it may be the first time it has been so public about its plans to do so. The paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs) will be sold on a per-device basis, with the price increasing each year. These ESUs will be available to any Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise users with volume-licensing agreements, and those with Windows Software Assurance and/or Windows 10 Enterprise or Education subscriptions will get a discount. Office 365 ProPlus will continue to work on devices with Windows 7 Extended Security Updates through January 2023.

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Should Webmasters Resist Google's Push For AMP Pages?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 09:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's benevolent-dictators department:
"Have you heard of Google AMP? That stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it's a way of making webpages so that they load faster and display more efficiently on mobile devices. Oh, and it puts your website under Google's control."
That's Mac Observer co-founder Bryan Chaffin, linking to an "interesting reading" titled "Google AMP Can Go To Hell."

AMP allows Google to basically take over hosting the web as well. The Google AMP Cache will serve AMP pages instead of a website's own hosting environment, and also allow Google to perform their own optimisations to further enhance user experience. As a side benefit, it also allows Google full control over content monetisation. No more rogue ad networks, no more malicious ads, all monetisation approved and regulated by Google. If anything happens that falls outside of the AMP standard's restrictions, the page in question simply becomes AMP-invalid and is ejected from the AMP cache -- and subsequently from Google's results. At that point the page might as well not exist any more....
The easy thing to do is to simply obey. Do what Google says. Accept their proclamations and jump when they tell you to. Or you could fight back. You could tell them to stuff it, and find ways to undermine their dominance. Use a different search engine, and convince your friends and family to do the same. Write to your elected officials and ask them to investigate Google's monopoly. Stop using the Chrome browser. Ditch your Android phone. Turn off Google's tracking of your every move. And, for goodness sake, disable AMP on your website.
Don't feed the monster -- fight it.

Here's how web developer Macieg Ceeglowski put it in 2015. "Out of an abundance of love for the mobile web, Google has volunteered to run the infrastructure, especially the user tracking parts of it." But are these assessments too harsh? Leave your own thoughts in the comment.
Should webmasters resist Google's push for AMP pages?

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Despite 'Painful' Spectre Response, Linus Torvalds Says He Still Loves Speculative Execution
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 06:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Moore's-Law-work-arounds department:
At this year's Open Source Summit, Linus Torvalds sat for a wide-ranging "keynote" interview with Dirk Hohndel, chief open source officer at VMWare, which has been partially transcribed below. And Linus explained, among other things, why the last merge window was harder than others:
One of the issues we have is when we've had these hardware security issues, and they've kept happening now, the last year -- they're kept under wraps. So we knew about the issue for the last several months, but because it was secret and we weren't allowed to talk about it, we couldn't do our usual open development model. We do the best we can, and people really care deeply about getting a good product out, but when you have to do things in secret, and when you can't use all the nice infrastructure for development and for testing that we have for all the usual code, it just is way more painful than it should be. And then that just means that, especially when the information becomes public during what is otherwise a busy period anyway, it's just annoying...
I still love speculative execution. Don't get me wrong. I used to work for a CPU company. We did it in software, back when I worked there. I think a CPU has to do speculative execution. It's somewhat sad that then people didn't always think about or didn't always heed the warnings about what can go wrong when you take a few shortcuts in the name of making it slightly simpler for everybody, because you're going to throw away all that work anyway, so why bother to do it right. And that's when the security -- every single security problem we've had has been basically of that kind, where people knew that "Hey, this is speculative work. If something goes wrong we'll throw all the data away, so we don't need to be as careful as we would otherwise." I think it was a good lesson for the industry, but it was certainly not a fun lesson for us on the OS side, where we had to do a lot of extra work for problems that weren't our problems.
< article continued at Slashdot's Moore's-Law-work-arounds department >

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Are Software Developers Really More Valuable To Companies Than Money?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 05:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's human-resources department:
Recently the CFO of Stripe revealed a surprising statistic:

As our global economy increasingly comes to run on technology-enabled rails and every company becomes a tech company, demand for high-quality software engineers is at an all-time high. A recent study from Stripe and Harris Poll found that 61 percent of C-suite executives believe access to developer talent is a threat to the success of their business. Perhaps more surprisingly -- as we mark a decade after the financial crisis -- this threat was even ranked above capital constraints.
And yet, despite being many corporations' most precious resource, developer talents are all too often squandered. Collectively, companies today lose upward of $300 billion a year paying down "technical debt," as developers pour time into maintaining legacy systems or dealing with the ramifications of bad software... When deployed correctly, developers can be economic multipliers -- coefficients that dramatically ratchet up the output of the teams and companies of which they're a part.
His article even ends with tips for managers about how to get the most out of their developers.
Consider very carefully the current and potential allocation of developer time.Embrace the cloud, saving in-house developers to work on higher-impact projects. Hire leaders who have technical backgrounds, so they can make better hiring and strategic decisions, and offer better management of developers.
But first managers have to decide if they agree with his initial premise.
Are software developers more valuable to companies than money?

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Microsoft Research Touts Its 'Checked C' Extension For 'Making C Safe'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 04:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's making-C-safe-again department:
Microsoft Research has pre-published a new paper to be presented at the IEEE Cybersecurity Development Conference 2018 describing their progress on Checked C, "an extension to C designed to support spatial safety, implemented in Clang and LLVM."

From "Checked C: Making C Safe By Extension":
Checked C's design is distinguished by its focus on backward-compatibility, incremental conversion, developer control, and enabling highly performant code... Any part of a program may contain, and benefit from, checked pointers. Such pointers are binary-compatible with legacy, unchecked pointers but have explicitly annotated and enforced bounds. Code units annotated as checked regions provide guaranteed safety: The code within may not use unchecked pointers or unsafe casts that could result in spatial safety violations.

Checked C's bounds-safe interfaces provide checked types to unchecked code, which is useful for retrofitting third party and standard libraries. Together, these features permit incrementally adding safety to a legacy program, rather than making it an all-or-nothing proposition. Our implementation of Checked C as an LLVM extension enjoys good performance, with relatively low run-time and compilation overheads. It is freely available at https://github.com/Microsoft/checkedc and continues to be actively developed.
The extension is enabled as a flag passed to Clang -- the average run-time overhead introduced by adding dynamic checks was 8.6%, though in more than half of the benchmarks the overhead was less than 1%. They also note that from 2012 to 2018, buffer overruns were the leading single cause of CVEs.

Microsoft Research says they're now evaluating Checked C, formalizing a proof of its safety guarantee -- and developing a tool to semi-automatically rewrite legacy C programs.

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Are Software Developers More Valuable To Companies Than Money?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 02:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's human-resources department:
An anonymous reader quotes the CFO of Stripe:
As our global economy increasingly comes to run on technology-enabled rails and every company becomes a tech company, demand for high-quality software engineers is at an all-time high. A recent study from Stripe and Harris Poll found that 61 percent of C-suite executives believe access to developer talent is a threat to the success of their business. Perhaps more surprisingly -- as we mark a decade after the financial crisis -- this threat was even ranked above capital constraints.
And yet, despite being many corporations' most precious resource, developer talents are all too often squandered. Collectively, companies today lose upward of $300 billion a year paying down "technical debt," as developers pour time into maintaining legacy systems or dealing with the ramifications of bad software... When deployed correctly, developers can be economic multipliers -- coefficients that dramatically ratchet up the output of the teams and companies of which they're a part.
The article even ends with tips for managers about how to get the most out of their developers.
Consider very carefully the current and potential allocation of developer time.
Embrace the cloud, saving in-house developers to work on higher-impact projects.
Hire leaders who have technical backgrounds, so they can make better hiring and strategic decisions, and offer better management of developers.
But first managers have to decide if they agree with his initial premise.
Are software developers more valuable to companies than money?

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Instead of Bobbleheads, Baseball Stadium Tries Handing Out Crypto Tokens
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 02:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's take-me-out-with-the-cloud department:
The Los Angeles Dodgers will try a high-tech giveaway for their September 21st game: "Digital Bobblehead Night." DevNull127 quotes the digital editor for the Los Angeles Dodgers:
While supplies last at guest's point of entry, the first 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance will receive a card with a unique code and directions to a website where a digital bobblehead can be unlocked and added to their Ethereum wallet. The player Crypto token received will be randomly selected, with approximately an equal number of Kershaw, Turner and Jansen codes distributed at the stadium gates.
"We're excited for our first-ever Crypto giveaway, and to explore an entirely new marketplace with our fanbase," said Lon Rosen, Dodger Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. "We hope this piques the interest of Dodger fans, and will help launch a new age of digital collectibles and promotions."
That stadium already has another high-tech gimmick: Flippy the Burger-Flipping Robot, who reportedly was "called up to the Majors" to help feed hungry baseball fans by cooking up fried chicken tenders and tater tots.

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Beta Release Nears For BeOS-inspired Open Source OS Haiku
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 01:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's pure-poetry department:
angry tapir writes: Just over 17 years since the project launched, and more than 18 years since the last release of the operating system that inspired it, the open source Haiku OS is nearing a beta release.

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Python Displaces C++ In TIOBE Index Top 3
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 01:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's newer-kid-on-the-block department:
InfoWorld described the move as a "breakthrough":
As expected, Python has climbed into the Top 3 of the Tiobe index of language popularity, achieving that milestone for the first time ever in the September 2018 edition of the index. With a rating of 7.653 percent, Python placed third behind first-place Java, which had a rating of 17.436 percent, and second-place C, rated at 15.447. Python displaced C++, which finished third last month and took fourth place this month, with a rating of 7.394 percent...

Python also has been scoring high in two other language rankings:
- The PyPL Popularity of Programming Language index, where it ranked No. 1 this month, as it has done before, and has had the most growth in the past five years.
- The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings, where Python again placed third.

Tiobe notes that Python's arrival in the top 3 "really took a long time," since it first entered their chart at the beginning of the 1990s. But today, "It is already the first choice at universities (for all kinds of subjects for which programming is demanded) and is now also conquering the industrial world." In February Tiobe also added a new programming language to their index: SQL. (Since "SQL appears to be Turing complete.")
"Other interesting moves this month are: Rust jumps from #36 to #31, Groovy from #44 to #34 and Julia from #50 to #39."

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Wikipedia Seeks Photos of 20 Million Artifacts Lost in Brazil Museum Fire
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 12:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's commons-at-the-tragedy department:
On Sunday haruchai (Slashdot user #17,472) wrote that a 200-year-old museum in Brazil "is burning to the ground and it's likely the entire collection of some 20 million artifacts will be lost." Now CNET reports:
The items in the Museu Nacional in Rio may be gone, but Wikipedia doesn't want them to be forgotten... "Did you take a photo of any of them? Help us preserve the memories of as many as we can and add them to @wikicommons," Wikipedia tweeted Tuesday, with an explanation on how to do so...
"The fire at the National Museum of Brazil has led to the devastating loss of 200 years of memory," Katherine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement. "At Wikipedia, our community is hard at work every day curating a living record of our shared heritage," Maher said. "With this effort, we're asking people everywhere to join our global community and help the world recover from this collective tragedy."
Wikipedia's tweet included an image urging people to "Add your photo to the sum of all knowledge..."

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$11M Worth of Legally-Purchased Music Will Be Confiscated From Florida's Prisoners
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 10:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's right-to-remain-silent department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Tampa Bay Times:

In April last year, the Florida Department of Corrections struck a deal with JPay. The private company, spearheading a push to sell profit-driven multimedia tablets to incarcerated people across the country, would be allowed to bring the technology to every facility in the nation's third-largest prison system. But there was a catch. Inmates had already been purchasing electronic entertainment for the last seven years -- an MP3 player program run by a different company: Access Corrections. For around $100, Access sold various models of MP3 players that inmates could then use to download songs for $1.70 each, and keep them in their dorms.... More than 30,299 players were sold, and 6.7 million songs were downloaded over the life of the Access contract, according to the Department of Corrections. That's about $11.3 million worth of music.
Because of the tablets, inmates will have to return the players, and they can't transfer the music they already purchased onto their new devices... The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, has collected $1.4 million in commissions on each song downloaded and other related sales since July 2011... JPay already operates banking accounts and facilitates phone calls at the state-run prisons, charging inmates and their loved ones steep fees for the services. With the introduction of tablets, JPay will add a wide swath of new spending incentives for its incarcerated customers, offering purchases of music, emailing and other virtual fare.
As a compromise, prison officials offered to download the already-purchased music to a CD, and then mail that CD to someone outside the prison. For a $25 fee.

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'State of JavaScript 2018' Survey Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 10:50 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's interpreting-languages department:
"The JavaScript world could use a bit of classification," reads this year's announcement at StateofJS.com:
In 2017 this survey helped us do just that, by collecting data from over 20,000 developers to identify current and upcoming trends. This year, we're asking for your help once more to find out which libraries developers want to learn next, which have the best satisfaction ratings, and much more.

The survey launched in 2016 "mostly to scratch my own itch," its founder explained in a Medium essay. "I wanted to know what libraries were worth learning, and which ones were on the way out." Last year's survey discovered that React was the dominant framework, though the second most-popular framework was "none," with 9,493 JavaScript developers saying they didn't use one. Vue had increased in popularity while Angular lost steam, and developers collectively rating their overall happiness with front-end tools at 3.8 (on a scale up to five).
And more than 28% of the survey's respondent's said they'd used TypeScript, Microsoft's typed superset of JavaScript, and that they'd use it again.

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Study Finds 58% of Tech Employees Feel Like Frauds
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 09:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's imposter-syndromes department:
"Feeling like a hack is more common than you might think," writes CNET:
In fact, 58 percent of people with technology-focused careers suffer from Impostor Syndrome, according to a new informal study from workplace social media site Blind... Blind's user base includes 44,000 Microsoft employees, 29,000 from Amazon, 11,000 from Google, 8,000 from Uber, 7,000 from Facebook, and 6,000 from Apple, just to name a few. From Aug. 27, 2018 through Sept. 5, 2018, Blind asked its users one question in a survey -- "Do you suffer from Impostor Syndrome?" A total of 10,402 users on Blind responded.

Blind found that 57.55 percent surveyed experienced Impostor Syndrome. Seventy-two percent of Expedia employees say they experienced Impostor Syndrome, the highest among companies with at least 100 employee responses. On the lower end of the spectrum, only 44.45 percent of Apple employees experienced impostor syndrome.

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Google Slammed Over Chrome Change That Strips 'www' From Domain URLs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 08 '18 at 08:10 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's stripping-Chrome department:
An anonymous reader quotes ITWire:
Google's move to strip out the www in domains typed into the address bar, beginning with version 69 of its Chrome browser, has drawn an enormous amount of criticism from developers who see the move as a bid to cement the company's dominance of the Web. The criticism comes a few days after Chrome's engineering manager Adrienne Porter Felt told the American website Wired that URLs need to be got rid of altogether. The change in Chrome version 69 means that if one types in a domain such as www.itwire.com into the browser search bar, the www portion is stripped out in the address bar when the page is displayed.
When asked about this change in a long discussion thread on a mailing list, a Google staffer wrote: "www is now considered a 'trivial' subdomain, and hiding trivial subdomains can be disabled in flags (will also disable hiding the URL scheme)..." A Google staffer attempted to justify the change, writing: "The subdomains reappear when editing the URL so people type the correct one. They disappear in the steady-state display case because this isn't information that most users need to concern themselves with in most cases..." But this drew an angry response from a poster who questioned the statement "this isn't information that most users need to concern themselves with in most cases" and asked: "According to who? This is simply an opinion stated as a fact...."
< article continued at Slashdot's stripping-Chrome department >

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