By msmash from Slashdot's market-share department
From a report by long time Microsoft watcher Brad Sams on Petri.com: With 2016 now behind us, we can take a look at how far Windows 10 has come thanks to usage-share with statistics from Net Marketshare. At the end of December for 2016, Windows 10 is installed on roughly 24.5% of devices whereas, at the end of 2015, the OS was only installed on around 10% of machines. During the same period, Windows 7 declined from 55.68% to 48.34%, Windows 8.1 usage dropped from 10.3% to 6.9% and XP dropped slightly from 11% to about 9%. Also, released alongside Windows 10, is the company's new browser, Edge. While the market share of the desktop OS has grown steadily, Edge has not performed as well. At the end of 2015, Edge obtained a market share of 2.79% and at the end of 2016, it has climbed to 5.33%. But, Chrome, which had a market share of 32.33% at the end of 2015 now commands 56.43% of the market. During the same period, Internet Explorer dropped from 46.32% in 2015 to 20.84% in 2016.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's twisted-cases department
In a strange twist, Coindesk reports that the IRS has, somewhat indirectly, removed one target from its broad request for data about U.S. users of the Bitcoin exchange Coinbase. It no longer wants data about Jeffrey Berns, a lawyer who also happens to be fighting the IRS's "John Doe" request in court. From a report on Fortune: Berns originally filed a motion on December 13th asking the U.S. District Court for Northern California to stop the IRS' subpoena of Coinbase records. The IRS believes that its request, filed in November, is justified because Bitcoin owners "may fail, or may have failed, to comply with one or more provisions of the internal revenue laws." Berns is represented by his own law firm, Berns Weiss, whose motion argues that the IRS data search is "an abuse of process" and "overbroad." Berns has said his motion is intended to defend not only himself, but all targeted users. But according to a December 28th court filing by the IRS, Berns is no longer a target of its records request because he identified himself in his own filing, and the request is only for unidentified users. Therefore, the IRS argues, Berns is not a party to proceedings and his request to block the data grab should be thrown out of court. In response, Berns Weiss had its own spin, telling Coindesk that "The IRS's willingness to withdraw the summons as to Mr. Berns only because it is now aware of his identity," and without the additional information they're seeking about many other Coinbase users, "Makes it clear that the IRS does not have a legitimate purpose in seeking substantial personal and financial information concerning approximately 3 million Americans."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's new-laptops department
Ahead of CES 2016, which officially kicks off Tuesday, Dell has announced a convertible version of its popular XPS 13 laptop. The machine is powered by a seventh-generation Kaby Lake Intel Core i chip (i5 and i7 options are available), Intel HD Graphics 615 integrated GPU, 4 to 16GB LPDDR3 RAM, a 128GB-1TB solid-state drive (SSD), a 720p webcam on the bottom of the display with support for Windows Hello, a fingerprint scanner, a 46 watt-hour battery, and a 13.3-inch touchscreen, available in QHD+ or FHD configurations. From a report on VentureBeat: The bezel is very narrow, in keeping with the XPS style. The fanless PC offers an SD card slot and two USB-C ports, and a USB-A to USB-C adapter comes in the box. The laptop is 0.32-0.54 inch thick, which is thinner than Dell's 2016 XPS. But the keyboard hasn't been squished down -- the keys have 1.3mm travel, or just a tad bit (0.1mm) more than you get on the XPS laptop -- which is impressive. The laptop weighs 2.7 pounds. The question is whether people will want the convertible option when the laptop is fine as is. The convertible XPS 13 starts at $1000, which is $200 more than the XPS 13 laptop.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's they-are-here department
Most of the attention around automation focuses on how factory robots and self-driving cars may fundamentally change our workforce, potentially eliminating millions of jobs. But AI that can handle knowledge-based, white-collar work is also becoming increasingly competent. From a report on Quartz: One Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, is reportedly replacing 34 human insurance claim workers with "IBM Watson Explorer," starting by this month. The AI will scan hospital records and other documents to determine insurance payouts, according to a company press release, factoring injuries, patient medical histories, and procedures administered. Automation of these research and data gathering tasks will help the remaining human workers process the final payout faster, the release says.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's new-heights department
The price of digital currency bitcoin has hit the $1,000 mark for the first time in three years. From a report on CNBC: The cryptocurrency was trading at $1,021 at the time of publication, according to CoinDesk data, at level not seen since November 2013, with its market capitalization exceeding $16 billion. Bitcoin has been on a steady march higher for the past few months, driven by a number of factors such as the devaluation of the yuan, geopolitical uncertainty and an increase in professional investors taking an interest in the asset class. "We are seeing the aftermath of zero interest rates run amok. So bitcoin is a healthy reminder that we don't have to hold on to dollars or renminbi, which is subject to capital controls and loss of purchasing power. Rather it's a new asset class," Bobby Lee, chief executive of BTC China, one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges, told CNBC by phone.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Disney-domination department
Slashdot reader rudy_wayne writes: Despite constant claims of losing billions of dollars to "piracy", the North American box office closed out 2016 with $11.4 billion in ticket sales. That marks a new record for the industry, bypassing the previous record of $11.1 billion that was established in 2015. Disney had four of the top five highest-grossing films, including "Finding Dory," the year's top film with $486.3 million. "When holdovers are taken into account, Disney had six of the year's ten highest-grossing releases, a group that includes Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which debuted in 2015," reports Variety. Other top films include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($408.2 million), Captain America: Civil War ($408.1 million), The Secret Life of Pets ($368.4 million), and The Jungle Book ($364 million).
Disney "controlled more than a quarter of the domestic market share despite releasing fewer films than any of the major studios," according to the article, which notes that the record was achieved despite the absence of big releases in several major movie franchises partly through higher ticket prices (and possibly also inflation).Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's view-history department
Slashdot reader westand writes, "Wikipedia's 5000 most-visited articles of 2016 have been released, and Donald Trump leads the pack." (Though the site's second-most popular article was about a porn site.)
The top 5000 pages account for 21.6 billion views, with 42% of those being mobile traffic... After artificial traffic is discounted, election and celebrity deaths feature prominently.
Wikipedia's article about the U.S. presidential election of 2016 also came in at #11, while their articles about Melania Trump and Hillary Clinton came in at #16 and #19, respectively. Other top-20 articles covered deaths in 2016, as well as "Prince (musician)" and David Bowie, with four more articles that covered 2016 superhero movies also reaching the top 20. (Along with "List of Bollywood films of 2016".) The eighth most-popular article was about web scraping, while Wikipedia's 404.php page was actually more popular than any article on the site.
The original submission also points out that 323 million views were covered by The Wikipedia Zero project, in which mobile operators in the Global South ""'zero-rate' access to Wikimedia sites in their billing system, so their subscribers will not incur data charges while accessing Wikipedia and the sister projects on the mobile web or apps." And Wikipedia adds that their list is generated by Andrew G. West, a senior research scientist at Verisign Labs who "is particularly interested in academic collaboration regarding this English Wikipedia dataset."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's power-play department
Those anonymous U.S. officials who reported Russian hacking code had been found "within the system" of a Vermont power utility must've been surprised to learn the code was on a laptop that wasn't actually connected to the grid. The Washington Post has updated their original story, which now reports that "authorities" say there's no indication that Russian hackers have penetrated the U.S. electric grid.
The Post's newly-edited version appears below (with their original, now-deleted text preseved inside brackets).
A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials. While the Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a security matter, the discovery underscores the vulnerabilities of the nation's electrical grid... [Was "the penetration of the nation's electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability."]
American officials, including one senior administration official, said they are not yet sure what the intentions of the Russians might have been. The incursion [was "penetration"] may have been designed to disrupt the utility's operations or as a test by the Russians to see whether they could penetrate a portion of the grid... According to the report by the FBI and DHS, the hackers involved in the Russian operation used fraudulent emails that tricked their recipients into revealing passwords.
The Vermont utility does report that they'd "detected suspicious Internet traffic" on the laptop, but they believe subsequent news coverage got the story wrong. "It's unfortunate that an official or officials improperly shared inaccurate information with one media outlet, leading to multiple inaccurate reports around the country."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's games-of-yesteryear department
An anonymous reader quotes PC Gamer:
In a surprise announcement today to kick off 2017, Valve has revealed the 100 best-selling Steam games of 2016... Although the "Top Sellers" section of Steam gives a constant sense of what's selling now, Valve hasn't previously compiled an annual list of which Steam games earned the most money... Rather than ranked in order from 1-100, the list is separated into tiers, from Platinum to Bronze, based on revenue (as opposed to copies sold)... Doom didn't crack the top 12, but it may have gotten close: it's ranked somewhere between 13th and 24th
That second-place Gold tier included more modern throwbacks to classic games, including Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20-Year Celebration. Meanwhile, No Man's Sky, which got off to a rocky start this summer before its massive November update, still turned up in the top "Platinum" tier for revenue earned in 2016. (And it's now discounted 40%.)
In fact, "As an extension of the Winter Sale, all but six of these games are on sale," reports PC Gamer. The other top-earning Steam games were Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Grand Theft Auto V, Civilization VI, and DOTA 2 (which is free to play), as well as Rocket League, XCOM 2, Dark Souls III, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fallout 4, Total War: Warhammer, and Tom Clancy's The Division.Read Replies (0)