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Android Always Beats the iPhone To New Features, Qualcomm Says
Posted by News Fetcher on September 12 '17 at 07:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Qualcomm has published a somewhat self-congratulatory blog post that lauds the company and its Android partners for achieving a series of industry firsts that include wireless charging, dual-camera systems, OLED smartphone screens, edge-to-edge displays, and more -- features that the upcoming iPhone is expected to have. Apple and Qualcomm are currently embroiled in what's turning into a vicious, global patent licensing dispute. So the timing of this adulation for Android -- hours before Apple's big September event -- doesn't really strike me as coincidental. It can't be. Qualcomm never mentions Apple by name; the closest the company ever comes is with this line: Inventions from Qualcomm lay the foundation for so many technologies and experiences we value in our smartphones today -- on Android and other platforms.

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Equifax's App Has Disappeared From Apple's App Store and Google Play
Posted by News Fetcher on September 12 '17 at 06:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's mystery-continues department:
From a report: Equifax's mobile app has been removed from both the iOS and Google Play app stores. According to data from AppAnnie, the app was taken down the same day Equifax announced its massive security breach (September 7). Now customers no longer have access to Equifax Mobile. For example, when iOS users attempt to access the app, they receive a pop-up requiring them to update the program. The pop-up directs users to the App Store -- where they are informed the Equifax app is no longer available. We don't know why the app came down, though Fast Company has confirmed Apple was not involved with the decision to remove Equifax from the App Store.

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Amazon's Whole Foods Price Cuts Brought 25 Percent Jump In Shoppers
Posted by News Fetcher on September 12 '17 at 06:21 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department:
According to Foursquare Labs, which compiled location information from shoppers' mobile devices during the first two days after Amazon completed its acquisition of Whole Foods and compared the data with the same period a week earlier, the electronic commerce company boosted customer traffic to Whole Foods by 25 percent. Bloomberg reports: Amazon acquired the upscale chain last month for $13.7 billion, a move that has brought turmoil to the supermarket industry and sent shares of grocery rivals tumbling. The same day it completed the acquisition, the e-commerce giant cut prices by as much as 43 percent on a range of items. Organic fuji apples were marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49 a pound, for instance. Organic avocados dropped to $1.99 each from $2.79. The traffic data is an optimistic sign that Amazon can succeed in the brick-and-mortar world. In some areas, the jump in customers was dramatic. At stores in Chicago, 35 percent more shoppers visited Whole Foods stores, Foursquare found. It's not surprising that curious shoppers visited the stores immediately after the takeover, particularly after a bevy of media coverage, according to Jennifer Bartashus, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. What's left to be seen is whether they will start consistently shopping more at Whole Foods stores.

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Chatbot Lets You Sue Equifax For Up To $25,000 Without a Lawyer
Posted by News Fetcher on September 12 '17 at 03:41 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's easy-as-1-2-3 department:
Shannon Liao reports via The Verge: If you're one of the millions affected by the Equifax breach, a chatbot can now help you sue Equifax in small claims court, potentially letting you avoid hiring a lawyer for advice. Even if you want to be part of the class action lawsuit against Equifax, you can still sue Equifax for negligence in small claims court using the DoNotPay bot and demand maximum damages. Maximum damages range between $2,500 in states like Rhode Island and Kentucky to $25,000 in Tennessee. The bot, which launched in all 50 states in July, is mainly known for helping with parking tickets. But with this new update, its creator, Joshua Browder, who was one of the 143 million affected by the breach, is tackling a much bigger target, with larger aspirations to match. He says, "I hope that my product will replace lawyers, and, with enough success, bankrupt Equifax." Not that the bot helps you do anything you can't already do yourself, which is filling out a bunch of forms -- you still have to serve them yourself. Unfortunately, the chatbot can't show up in court a few weeks later to argue your case for you either. To add to the headache, small claims court rules differ from state to state. For instance, in California, a person needs to demand payment from Equifax or explain why they haven't demanded payment before filing the form.

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Google Publicly Releases Internal Developer Documentation Style Guide
Posted by News Fetcher on September 12 '17 at 02:20 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's free-for-all department:
BrianFagioli shares a report from BetaNews: The documentation aspect of any project is very important, as it can help people to both understand it and track changes. Unfortunately, many developers aren't very interested in documentation aspect, so it often gets neglected. Luckily, if you want to maintain proper documentation and stay organized, today, Google is releasing its internal developer documentation style guide. This can quite literally guide your documentation, giving you a great starting point and keeping things consistent. Jed Hartman, Technical Writer, Google says, "For some years now, our technical writers at Google have used an internal-only editorial style guide for most of our developer documentation. In order to better support external contributors to our open source projects, such as Kubernetes, AMP, or Dart, and to allow for more consistency across developer documentation, we're now making that style guide public. If you contribute documentation to projects like those, you now have direct access to useful guidance about voice, tone, word choice, and other style considerations. It can be useful for general issues, like reminders to use second person, present tense, active voice, and the serial comma; it can also be great for checking very specific issues, like whether to write 'app' or 'application' when you want to be consistent with the Google Developers style." You can access Google's style guide here.

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Virginia Scraps Electronic Voting Machines Hackers Destroyed At DefCon
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 11:40 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's nick-of-time department:
Following the DefCon demonstration in July that showed how quickly Direct Recording Electronic voting equipment could be hacked, Virginia's State Board of Elections has decided it wants to replace their electronic voting machines in time for the gubernatorial election due on November 7th, 2017. According to The Register, "The decision was announced in the minutes of the Board's September 8th meeting: 'The Department of Elections officially recommends that the State Board of Elections decertify all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or touchscreen) voting equipment." From the report: With the DefCon bods showing some machines shared a single hard-coded password, Virginia directed the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA) to audit the machines in use in the state (the Accuvote TSX, the Patriot, and the AVC Advantage). None passed the test. VITA told the board "each device analyzed exhibited material risks to the integrity or availability of the election process," and the lack of a paper audit trail posed a significant risk of lost votes. Local outlet The News Leader notes that many precincts had either replaced their machines already, or are in the process of doing so. The election board's decision will force a change-over on the 140 precincts that haven't replaced their machines, covering 190,000 of Virginia's ~8.4m population.

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Moving Every Half Hour Could Help Limit Effects of Sedentary Lifestyle, Says Study
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 07:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's criss-cross-applesauce department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Moving your body at least every half an hour could help to limit the harmful effects of desk jobs and other sedentary lifestyles, research has revealed. The study found that both greater overall time spent inactive in a day, and longer periods of inactivity were linked to an increased risk of death. Writing in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, Diaz and colleagues from seven U.S. institutions describe how they kitted out nearly 8,000 individuals aged 45 or over from across the U.S. with activity trackers between 2009 and 2013. Each participant wore the fitness tracker for at least four days during a period of one week, with deaths of participants tracked until September 2015. The results reveal that, on average, participants were inactive for 12.3 hours of a 16 hour waking day, with each period of inactivity lasting an average of 11.4 minutes. After taking into account a host of factors including age, sex, education, smoking and high blood pressure, the team found that both the overall length of daily inactivity and the length of each bout of sedentary behavior were linked to changes in the risk of death from any cause. The associations held even among participants undertaking moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Those who were inactive for 13.2 hours a day had a risk of death 2.6 times that of those spending less than 11.5 hours a day inactive, while those whose bouts of inactivity lasted on average 12.4 minutes or more had a risk of death almost twice that of those who were inactive for an average of less than 7.7 minutes at a time. The team then looked at the interaction between the two measures of inactivity, finding the risk of death was greater for those who had both high overall levels of inactivity (12.5 hours a day or more) and long average bouts of sedentary behavior (10 minutes or more), than for those who had high levels of just one of the measures.

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Google Details Plan To Distrust Symantec Certificates
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 06:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's plan-of-action department:
After deciding to distrust Symantec's certificates in March, Google has decided to release a more detailed plan for how that process will go. Tom's Hardware reports: Starting with Chrome 66 (we're now at version 61), the browser will remove trust in Symantec-issued certificates issued prior to June 1, 2016. Website operators that use Symantec certificates issued before that date should be looking to replace their certificates by April 2018, when Chrome 66 is expected to come out. Starting with Chrome 62 (next version), the built-in DevTools will also warn operators of Symantec certificates that will be distrusted in Chrome 66. After December 1, the new infrastructure managed by DigiCert will go into effect, and any new certificates issued by the old Symantec infrastructure will no longer be valid in Chrome. By November 2018, Chrome 70 will come out and will completely remove trust in all Symantec certificates that have ever been issued. Website operators can replace their old Symantec certificates with certificates from DigiCert from December 1 or from any other CA trusted by Google's Chrome browser.

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The New Corporate Recruitment Pool: Workers In Dead-End Jobs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's business-tactics department:
New submitter cdreimer writes: According a report from The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled, alternative source), corporations looking to hire new employees are opening offices in cities with high concentration of workers in dead-end jobs who are reluctant to locate but are cheaper to hire than competing locally in tight labor markets. From the report: "Pressed for workers, a New Jersey-based software company went hunting for a U.S. city with a surplus of talented employees stuck in dead-end jobs. Brian Brown, chief operating officer at AvePoint, Inc., struck gold in Richmond. Despite the city's low unemployment rate, the company had no trouble filling 70 jobs there, some at 20% below what it paid in New Jersey. New hires, meanwhile, got more interesting work and healthy raises. Irvine, Calif.-based mortgage lender Network Capital Funding Corp. opened an office in Miami to scoop up an attractive subset of college graduates -- those who settled for tolerable jobs in exchange for living in a city they loved. 'They were not in real careers,' said Tri Nguyen, Network Capital chief executive. He now plans a similar expansion in Philadelphia. Americans have traditionally moved to find jobs. But with a growing reluctance by workers to relocate, some companies have decided to move closer to potential hires. Firms are expanding to cities with a bounty of underemployed, retrieving men and women from freelance gigs, manual labor and part-time jobs with duties that, one worker said, required only a heartbeat to perform. With the national jobless rate near a 16-year low, these pockets of underemployment are a wellspring for companies that recognize most new hires already have jobs but can be poached with better pay and room for advancement. That's preferable to competing for higher-priced workers at home in a tight labor market."

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Volkswagen To Build Electric Versions of All 300 Models By 2030
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drastic-times-call-for-drastic-measures department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller announced sweeping plans to build electric versions of all 300 models in the group's lineup as the world's largest automaker accelerates the shift away from combustion engines and tries to draw a line under the emissions-cheating scandal. Speaking on the eve of the Frankfurt auto show, the CEO laid out the enormity of the task ahead, vowing to spend 20 billion euros ($24 billion) to develop and bring the models to market by 2030 and promising to plow another 50 billion euros into the batteries needed to power the cars. Volkswagen is throwing the fire power of its 12 brands behind the push, aiming to catch up with the likes of Tesla Inc. and transform from a battery-vehicle laggard into a leader. Underscoring the enormity of the shift taking place in the industry, Mueller said VW will need the equivalent of at least four gigafactories for battery cells by 2025 just to meet its own vehicle production. At 50 billion euros, the CEO announced one of the largest tenders in the industry's history for the procurement of batteries. By 2025, VW aims to have 50 purely battery-powered vehicles and 30 hybrid models in its lineup, with a goal of selling as many as 3 million purely battery-powered cars by then. The transformation will pick up speed after that to reach the 2030 goal as economies of scale and better infrastructure help bring down prices and accelerate sales.

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ShadowBrokers Releases NSA UNITEDRAKE Manual That Targets Windows Machines
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's target-acquired department:
AmiMoJo shares a report from Schneier on Security: The ShadowBrokers released the manual for UNITEDRAKE, a sophisticated NSA Trojan that targets Windows machines: "Able to compromise Windows PCs running on XP, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Vista, Windows 7 SP 1 and below, as well as Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, the attack tool acts as a service to capture information. UNITEDRAKE, described as a 'fully extensible remote collection system designed for Windows targets,' also gives operators the opportunity to take complete control of a device. The malware's modules -- including FOGGYBOTTOM and GROK -- can perform tasks including listening in and monitoring communication, capturing keystrokes and both webcam and microphone usage, the impersonation users, stealing diagnostics information and self-destructing once tasks are completed."

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California Bans Drones From Delivering Marijuana
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 03:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's regulatory-rules department:
In what will surely be disappointing news for a host of start-ups promising to deliver marijuana by drone like MDelivers and Eaze, California's Bureau of Cannabis Control has recently unveiled new regulatory rules that will ban drones from delivering marijuana. "The Bureau is currently developing regulation surrounding weed use and sales under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) after recreational marijuana was legalized in California," reports The Verge. From the report: "Cannabis goods will be required to be transported inside commercial vehicles or trailers," the proposed program description reads. "Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles." Under the rules, deliveries can only be made by licensed retailers, "in person by enclosed motor vehicle," and the vehicles used for deliveries must have a GPS that allows the seller to track the package. The Bureau also specifically states that those delivering the cannabis aren't allowed to consume the substance while out on the delivery. Further reading: Ars Technica

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Equifax Blames Open-Source Software For Its Record-Breaking Security Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's finger-pointing department:
The blame for the record-breaking cybersecurity breach that affects at least 143 million people falls on the open-source server framework, Apache Struts, according to an unsubstantiated report by equity research firm Baird. The firm's source, per one report, is believed to be Equifax. ZDNet reports: Apache Struts is a popular open-source software programming Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework for Java. It is not, as some headlines have had it, a vendor software program. It's also not proven that Struts was the source of the hole the hackers drove through. In fact, several headlines -- some of which have since been retracted -- all source a single quote by a non-technical analyst from an Equifax source. Not only is that troubling journalistically, it's problematic from a technical point of view. In case you haven't noticed, Equifax appears to be utterly and completely clueless about their own technology. Equifax's own data breach detector isn't just useless: it's untrustworthy. Adding insult to injury, the credit agency's advice and support site looks, at first glance, to be a bogus, phishing-type site: "equifaxsecurity2017.com." That domain name screams fake. And what does it ask for if you go there? The last six figures of your social security number and last name. In other words, exactly the kind of information a hacker might ask for. Equifax's technical expertise, it has been shown, is less than acceptable. Could the root cause of the hack be a Struts security hole? Two days before the Equifax breach was reported, ZDNet reported a new and significant Struts security problem. While many jumped on this as the security hole, Equifax admitted hackers had broken in between mid-May through July, long before the most recent Struts flaw was revealed. "It's possible that the hackers found the hole on their own, but zero-day exploits aren't that common," reports ZDNet. "It's far more likely that -- if the problem was indeed with Struts -- it was with a separate but equally serious security problem in Struts, first patched in March." The question then becomes: is it the fault of Struts developers or Equifax's developers, system admins, and their management? "The people who ran the code with a known 'total compromise of system integrity' should get the blame," reports ZDNet.

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China Joins the Growing Movement To Ban Gasoline, Diesel Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's picking-up-steam department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: China has become the latest country to publicly discuss plans to ban the production and sale of gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. In July, both France and the UK published plans to phase out sales of conventionally powered vehicles by 2040. China will now add another nail to the coffin of the internal combustion engine. However, unlike the French or British plans, in this case there's no target date -- yet. The news comes from an automotive policy forum in Tianjin. China's vice minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, said that his ministry has begun work on a timetable to phase out fossil fueled vehicles. The Xinhua news agency also reports that Xin told automakers they need to begin to "readjust their strategies" accordingly. For foreign car companies hoping to sell EVs in China, that will mean investing in the country, as imported vehicles come with stiff import duties attached.

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Google Accused of Trying To Patent Public Domain Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 01:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: A Polish academic is accusing Google of trying to patent technology he invented and that he purposely released into the public domain so companies like Google couldn't trap it inside restrictive licenses. The technology's name is Asymmetric Numeral Systems (ANS), a family of entropy coding methods that Polish assistant professor Jarosaw (Jarek) Duda developed in the early 2000s, and which is now hot tech at companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook, mostly because it can improve data compression from 3 to 30 times. Duda says that Google is now trying to register a patent that includes most of the ANS basic principles. Ironically, most of the technology described in the patent, Duda said he explained to Google engineers in a Google Groups discussion from 2014. The researcher already filed a complaint, to which WIPO ISA responded by calling out Google for not coming up with "an inventive contribution over the prior art, because it is no more than a straightforward application of known coding algorithms." A Google spokesperson refused to comment, and the mystery remains surrounding Google's decision to patent something that's in the public domain since 2014.

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Torvalds Wants Attackers To Join Linux Before They Turn To the "Dark Side"
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 01:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's dispatch department:
darthcamaro writes: People attack Linux everyday and Linus Torvalds is impressed by many of them. Speaking at the Open Source Summit in LA, Torvalds said he wants to seek out those that would attack Linux and get them to help improve Linux, before they turn to the 'dark side.' "There are smart people doing bad things, I wish they were on our side and they could help us," Torvalds said. "Where I want us to go, is to get as many smart people as we can before they turn to the dark side. We would improve security that way and get those that are interested in security to come to us, before they attack us," he added.

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T-Mobile Named Fastest US Mobile Carrier by New Wirefly Report
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 11:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's internet-speeds department:
T-Mobile offered the fastest internet speed to subscribers between Q1 and Q2 of 2017 (which ended in June), according to the Wirefly Speed Test, which combed through thousands of test results made using its service. T-Mobile scored highest in overall speed while Verizon ended up with a close second spot, Wirefly, which doesn't require Java or Flash for its tests, added. AT&T and Sprint rounded out the ranking at third and fourth, respectively, the report added, which was done in collaboration with SourceForge. T-Mobile also topped the chart for offering the fastest mobile download speed. An anonymous user writes: T-Mobile offered 22.18 Mbps download speed, while Verizon Wireless ended up with another close second with 21.45 Mbps download. AT&T came in with an average download speed of 17.00 Mbps, and Sprint was trailing all with 15.76 Mbps. You can read the full report here.

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Apple Suffers 'Major iPhone X Leak'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 11:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's apple's-leak-problem department:
Details of new iPhones and other forthcoming Apple devices have been revealed via an apparent leak. From a report: Two news sites were given access to an as-yet-unreleased version of the iOS operating system. The code refers to an iPhone X in addition to two new iPhone 8 handsets. It also details facial recognition tech that acts both as an ID system and maps users' expressions onto emojis. One tech writer said it was the biggest leak of its kind to hit the firm. [...] "As best I've been able to ascertain, these builds were available to download by anyone, but they were obscured by long, unguessable URLs [web addresses]," wrote John Gruber, a blogger known for his coverage of Apple. "Someone within Apple leaked the list of URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. I'm nearly certain this wasn't a mistake, but rather a deliberate malicious act by a rogue Apple employee." Neither Mr Gruber nor the two Apple-related news sites have disclosed their sources. However, the BBC has independently confirmed that an anonymous source provided the publications with links to iOS 11's golden master (GM) code that downloaded the software from Apple's own computer servers. It's a big blow to Apple, which uses surprise as a key element at its events. The leak could take some wind out of its sails as it looks to wow consumers. In 2012, Tim Cook had said the company was planning to "double down on secrecy." At the quarterly earnings call, he blamed the leaks about the upcoming iPhone models as one of the reasons that slowed down the sales of current generation iPhone models. However, an analysis published over the weekend found that Apple itself has been the source of several of these leaks in the years since. Earlier this year, the company held a meeting to boast about its internal progress to curb leaks. The hour-long recording of the meeting ironically got leaked. Nearly all details, except the final press renders of the new iPhone models, have leaked. In a subsequent post, Gruber wrote: The BBC doesn't say definitively that the leak was sent by an Apple employee, but I can state with nearly 100 percent certainty that it was. I also think there's a good chance Apple is going to figure out who it was. [...] That person should be ashamed of themselves, and should be very worried when their phone next rings. Moments ago, 9to5Mac reported about a new tvOS firmware leak, which appeared "to be out in the wild today" that details the upcoming features of the next generation Apple TV streaming device.

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Silicon Valley Avant-garde Have Turned To LSD in a Bid To Increase Their Productivity
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 10:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's correlation-is-not-causation department:
Every three days Nathan (not his real name), a 27-year-old venture capitalist in San Francisco, ingests 15 micrograms of lysergic acid diethylamide (commonly known as LSD or acid). From a story on 1843 Magazine: From the start, a small but significant crossover existed between those who were experimenting with drugs and the burgeoning tech community in San Francisco. "There were a group of engineers who believed there was a causal connection between creativity and LSD," recalls John Markoff, whose 2005 book, "What the Dormouse Said", traces the development of the personal-computer industry through 1960s counterculture. At one research centre in Menlo Park over 350 people -- particularly scientists, engineers and architects -- took part in experiments with psychedelics to see how the drugs affected their work. Tim Scully, a mathematician who, with the chemist Nick Sand, produced 3.6m tabs of LSD in the 1960s, worked at a computer company after being released from his ten-year prison sentence for supplying drugs. "Working in tech, it was more of a plus than a minus that I worked with LSD," he says. No one would turn up to work stoned or high but "people in technology, a lot of them, understood that psychedelics are an extremely good way of teaching you how to think outside the box." San Francisco appears to be at the epicentre of the new trend, just as it was during the original craze five decades ago. Tim Ferriss, an angel investor and author, claimed in 2015 in an interview with CNN that "the billionaires I know, almost without exception, use hallucinogens on a regular basis." Few billionaires are as open about their usage as Ferriss suggests. Steve Jobs was an exception: he spoke frequently about how "taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life." In Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography, the Apple CEO is quoted as joking that Microsoft would be a more original company if Bill Gates, its founder, had experienced psychedelics. As Silicon Valley is a place full of people whose most fervent desire is to be Steve Jobs, individuals are gradually opening up about their usage -- or talking about trying LSD for the first time.

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Google Challenges Record EU Antitrust Fine in Court
Posted by News Fetcher on September 11 '17 at 10:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-back department:
Google appealed on Monday against a record 2.4-billion-euro ($2.9 billion) EU antitrust fine, with its chances of success boosted by Intel's partial victory last week against another EU sanction. From a report: The world's most popular Internet search engine, a unit of the U.S. firm Alphabet, launched its appeal two months after it was fined by the European Commission for abusing its dominance in Europe by giving prominent placement in searches to its comparison shopping service and demoting rival offerings.

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