By EditorDavid from Slashdot's scratching-the-Surface department
An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica:
Microsoft was the fifth-biggest PC maker in the U.S. in the third quarter of this year, according to industry advisory firm Gartner. The top spot in the U.S. belongs to HP, with about 4.5 million machines sold, ahead of Dell at 3.8 million, Lenovo at 2.3 million, and Apple at 2 million. The gap between fourth and fifth is pretty big -- Microsoft sold only 0.6 million Surface devices last quarter -- but it suggests that Microsoft's PC division is heading in the right direction, with sales 1.9 percent higher than the same quarter last year. The company pushed down to sixth place was Acer. The current quarter should be better still; the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Studio have all been given hardware refreshes which, when combined with the always-busy holiday season, should stimulate higher sales. Globally, both Gartner and IDC reported a flat PC market (up 0.1 percent in Gartner's view, down 0.9 percent in IDC's), after the previous quarter's modest growth.
"The PC market continued to be driven by steady corporate PC demand, which was driven by Windows 10 PC hardware upgrades," said one Gartner analyst.
In defining what constitutes a PC, Gartner includes notebooks and "premium" ultramobile devices -- but does not include iPads or Chromebooks.Read Replies (0)
By FirehoseFavorites from Slashdot's open-up-your-golden-gate department
DevNull127 writes: In a remarkable odyssey, documentary-maker Cary McClelland interviewed more than 150 San Francisco residents — including a tattoo artist, a longshoreman, a venture capitalist, and a pawnshop owner — to capture the real voices of a changing city, in a kind of oral history of the present. It becomes a magical "documentary without film... panoramic, complex — and surprisingly well-balanced," writes one reader, applauding the book's "dazzling omniscience." Legendary Silicon Valley marketer Regis McKenna speaks fondly of the days when young Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were dropping into his office, and despite the apparent challenges facing San Francisco, many people interviewed remained surprisingly hopeful.
"Idexa, a German-born tattoo artist who'd hitchhiked to the city from Los Angeles as a teenager, says despite the new displacements happening today, 'It's also beautiful. There's been a lot of money put into the neighborhood and into the buildings. Buildings that would have fallen apart have been renovated. Oh, it's the end of the world soon. We're not the first generation who thinks that.' It's an almost poetic picture of San Francisco that proves the world isn't as simple — or as discouraging — as it's often made out to be, and the book's passionate purpose seems to spontaneously find its way into the words of each interview subject."
"Until you're standing in front of someone and listening to them with your own ears, you're never going to understand them," says a survivor of one of California's recent wildfires. So Cary McClelland listens — writing in his introduction that his book asks us to hear the city of San Francisco speak in a chorus of voices, with a message for all the other cities. "The goal of the book," he says, "is to reflect people's subjective perspective, their experience — lived, visceral, emotional, intimate. The living-room experience..."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's internet-of-things-in-all-the-things department
schwit1 shares a report from The New York Times: More than 40 years ago, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft with a vision for putting a personal computer on every desk. [...] In recent years, the tech industry's largest powers set their sights on a new target for digital conquest. They promised wild conveniences and unimaginable benefits to our health and happiness. There's just one catch, which often goes unstated: If their novelties take off without any intervention or supervision from the government, we could be inviting a nightmarish set of security and privacy vulnerabilities into the world. And guess what. No one is really doing much to stop it. The industry's new goal? Not a computer on every desk nor a connection between every person, but something grander: a computer inside everything, connecting everyone. Cars, door locks, contact lenses, clothes, toasters, refrigerators, industrial robots, fish tanks, sex toys, light bulbs, toothbrushes, motorcycle helmets -- these and other everyday objects are all on the menu for getting "smart." Hundreds of small start-ups are taking part in this trend -- known by the marketing catchphrase "the internet of things" -- but like everything else in tech, the movement is led by giants, among them Amazon, Apple and Samsung. [American cryptographer and computer security professional Bruce Schneier] argues that the economic and technical incentives of the internet-of-things industry do not align with security and privacy for society generally. Putting a computer in everything turns the whole world into a computer security threat. [...] Mr. Schneier says only government intervention can save us from such emerging calamities. "I can think of no industry in the past 100 years that has improved its safety and security without being compelled to do so by government."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's done-deal department
In an effort to build faster, more efficient chips, Apple is paying a total of $600 million to Dialog Semiconductor, a chipmaker based out of Europe that it's been working with since the first iPhone. According to TechCrunch, Apple is paying $300 million in cash to buy a portion of the company, including licensing power-management technologies, assets, and more than 300 employees, as well as "committing a further $300 million to make purchases from the remaining part of Dialog's business." From the report: While Dialog is describing this as an asset transfer and licensing deal, it will be Apple's biggest acquisition by far in terms of people: 300 people will be joining Apple as part of it, or about 16 percent of Dialog's total workforce. From what we understand, those who are joining have already been working tightly with Apple up to now. The teams joining are based across Livorno in Italy, Swindon in England, and Nabern and Neuaubing in Germany, near Munich, where Apple already has an operation.
In some cases, Apple will be taking over entire buildings that had been owned by Dialog, and in others they will be colocating in buildings where Dialog will continue to develop its own business â" another sign of how closely the two have and will continue to work together. The Dialog employees Apple is picking up in this acquisition will report to Apple's SVP of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji. Dialog says post the acquisition, the remaining part of the business will focus more on IoT, as well as mobile, automotive, computing and storage markets, specifically as a provider of custom and configurable mixed-signal integrated circuit chips.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's pocket-friendly department
The CEO of Samsung's mobile business, D.J. Koh, said you'll be able to use its upcoming foldable smartphone as a tablet that you can put in your pocket. While the phone has been teased and hyped up for several months, Koh stressed that it will not be a "gimmick product" that will "disappear after six to nine months after it's delivered." It'll reportedly be available globally. CNET reports: However, the foldable Samsung phone, like the Galaxy Round, will be Samsung's testbed device to see how reviewers and the market react. The Galaxy Round, which bowed vertically in the middle, was Samsung's first curve-screen phone. It's a direct ancestor to the dual curved screens we see on today's Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones. The larger screen is important, Koh said. When Samsung first released the original Galaxy Note, he said, competitors called its device dead on arrival. Now, after generations of Notes phones, you see larger devices like the iPhone XS Max and the Pixel 3 XL, proving that consumers want bigger screens. A foldable phone would let screen sizes extend beyond 6.5 inches.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's last-but-not-least department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: When Stephen Hawking died in March at the age of 76, the world mourned a beloved and visionary scientist. But it is some consolation that Hawking's final paper has now been published on the preprint journal ArXiv, demonstrating that even during his last days, he was still pursuing the epic cosmic questions that defined his career. Entitled "Black hole entropy and soft hair," the paper was authored by Hawking along with physicists Sasha Haco, Malcolm Perry, and Andrew Strominger. The work is the third in a series from the team and addresses Hawking's famous brainchild -- the black hole information paradox. Like many physics conundrums, the paradox emerges from the lack of coherence between quantum field theory and general relativity. On the smallest scales of matter, where atoms and quarks abound, there exists a different and seemingly contradictory set of rules to the largest scale of matter, involving stars and galaxies. The search for a "theory of everything" that reconciles these two models is one of the holy grails of modern physics, and was a lifelong fascination for Hawking.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's academic-disciplines department
The head of the Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker, is warning that companies need to diversify their hiring practices to include more people from backgrounds in philosophy and psychology if they want to tackle the problem of misinformation online. He also "warned that hiring employees who mainly come from Stem -- science, technology, engineering and maths -- will produce a new generation of technologists with the same blindspots as those who are currently in charge, a move that will 'come back to bite us,'" reports the Guardian. From the report: "Stem is a necessity, and educating more people in Stem topics clearly critical," Baker told the Guardian. "Every student of today needs some higher level of literacy across the Stem bases. "But one thing that's happened in 2018 is that we've looked at the platforms, and the thinking behind the platforms, and the lack of focus on impact or result. It crystallized for me that if we have Stem education without the humanities, or without ethics, or without understanding human behavior, then we are intentionally building the next generation of technologists who have not even the framework or the education or vocabulary to think about the relationship of Stem to society or humans or life."
"Stem is a necessity, and educating more people in Stem topics clearly critical," Baker told the Guardian. "Every student of today needs some higher level of literacy across the Stem bases. "But one thing that's happened in 2018 is that we've looked at the platforms, and the thinking behind the platforms, and the lack of focus on impact or result. It crystallized for me that if we have Stem education without the humanities, or without ethics, or without understanding human behavior, then we are intentionally building the next generation of technologists who have not even the framework or the education or vocabulary to think about the relationship of Stem to society or humans or life."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's promising-solutions department
Researchers at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and Google AI, a division within Google dedicated to artificial intelligence research, are using cancer-detecting algorithms to detect metastatic tumors by autonomously evaluating lymph node biopsies. VentureBeat reports: Their AI system -- dubbed Lymph Node Assistant, or LYNA -- is described in a paper titled "Artificial Intelligence-Based Breast Cancer Nodal Metastasis Detection," published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology. In tests, it achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUC) -- a measure of detection accuracy -- of 99 percent. That's superior to human pathologists, who according to one recent assessment miss small metastases on individual slides as much as 62 percent of the time when under time constraints. LYNA is based on Inception-v3, an open source image recognition deep learning model that's been shown to achieve greater than 78.1 percent accuracy on Stanford's ImageNet dataset. As the researchers explained, it takes as input a 299-pixel image (Inception-v3's default input size), outlines tumors at the pixel level, and, in the course of training, extracts labels -- i.e., predictions -- of the tissue patch ("benign" or "tumor") and adjusts the model's algorithmic weights to reduce error.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's that's-a-lot-of-zeros department
bbsguru shares a report from New Atlas: Slow-motion video has always been fun to watch, with the best rigs usually shooting on the scale of thousands of frames per second. But now the world's fastest camera, developed by researchers at Caltech and INRS, blows them out of the water, capturing the world at a mind-boggling 10 trillion frames per second -- fast enough to probe the nanoscale interactions between light and matter. For the new imaging technique, the team started with compressed ultrafast photography (CUP), a method that it is capable of 100 billion fps. That's nothing to scoff at by itself, but it's still not fast enough to really capture what's going on with ultrafast laser pulses, which occur on the scale of femtoseconds. A femtosecond, for reference, is one quadrillionth of a second.
So the team built on that technology by combining a femtosecond streak camera and a static camera, and running it through a data acquisition technique known as Radon transformation. This advanced system was dubbed T-CUP. For the first test, the camera proved its worth by capturing a single femtosecond pulse of laser light, recording 25 images that were each 400 femtoseconds apart. Through this process, the team could see the changes in the light pulse's shape, intensity and angle of inclination, in much slower motion than ever before.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
As Apple continues to update its iPhones with new security features, law enforcement and other investigators are constantly playing catch-up, trying to find the best way to circumvent the protections or to grab evidence. From a report: Last month, Forbes reported the first known instance of a search warrant being used to unlock a suspect's iPhone X with their own face, leveraging the iPhone X's Face ID feature. But Face ID can of course also work against law enforcement -- too many failed attempts with the 'wrong' face can force the iPhone to request a potentially harder to obtain passcode instead. Taking advantage of legal differences in how passcodes are protected, US law enforcement have forced people to unlock their devices with not just their face but their fingerprints too. But still, in a set of presentation slides obtained by Motherboard this week, one company specialising in mobile forensics is telling investigators not to even look at phones with Face ID, because they might accidentally trigger this mechanism. "iPhone X: don't look at the screen, or else... The same thing will occur as happened on Apple's event," the slide, from forensics company Elcomsoft, reads. Motherboard obtained the presentation from a non-Elcomsoft source, and the company subsequently confirmed its veracity. The slide is referring to Apple's 2017 presentation of Face ID, in which Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, tried, and failed, to unlock an iPhone X with his own face. The phone then asked for a passcode instead. "This is quite simple. Passcode is required after five unsuccessful attempts to match a face," Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft, told Motherboard in an online chat, pointing to Apple's own documentation on Face ID. "So by looking into suspect's phone, [the] investigator immediately lose one of [the] attempts."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's just-trying-to-help department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A Russian-speaking grey-hat hacker is breaking into people's MikroTik routers and patching devices so they can't be abused by cryptojackers, botnet herders, or other cyber-criminals, ZDNet has learned. The hacker, who goes by the name of Alexey and says he works as a server administrator, claims to have disinfected over 100,000 MikroTik routers already. "I added firewall rules that blocked access to the router from outside the local network," Alexey said. "In the comments, I wrote information about the vulnerability and left the address of the @router_os Telegram channel, where it was possible for them to ask questions." But despite adjusting firewall settings for over 100,000 users, Alexey says that only 50 users reached out via Telegram. A few said "thanks," but most were outraged. The vigilante server administrator says he's been only fixing routers that have not been patched by their owners against a MikroTik vulnerability that came to light in late April.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has refused to answer a list of questions from U.S. lawmakers about the company's secretive plan for a censored search engine in China. From a report: In a letter newly obtained by The Intercept, Pichai told a bipartisan group of six senators that Google could have "broad benefits inside and outside of China," but said he could not share details about the censored search engine because it "remains unclear" whether the company "would or could release a search service" in the country. Pichai's letter contradicts the company's search engine chief, Ben Gomes, who informed staff during a private meeting that the company was aiming to release the platform in China between January and April 2019. Gomes told employees working on the Chinese search engine that they should get it ready to be "brought off the shelf and quickly deployed." [...] In his letter to the senators, dated August 31, Pichai did not mention the word "censorship" or address human rights concerns. He told the senators that "providing access to information to people around the world is central to our mission," and said he believed Google's tools could "help to facilitate an exchange of information and learning." The company was committed to "promoting access to information, freedom of expression, and user privacy," he wrote, while also "respecting the laws of jurisdictions in which we operate."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's not-holding-any-punches department
Apple has strongly criticized Australia's anti-encryption bill, calling it "dangerously ambiguous" and "alarming to every Australian." From a report: The Australian government's draft law -- known as the Access and Assistance Bill -- would compel tech companies operating in the country, like Apple, to provide "assistance" to law enforcement and intelligence agencies in accessing electronic data. The government claims that encrypted communications are "increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption," without citing evidence. But critics say that the bill's "broad authorities that would undermine cybersecurity and human rights, including the right to privacy" by forcing companies to build backdoors and hand over user data -- even when it's encrypted. Now, Apple is the latest company after Google and Facebook joined civil and digital rights groups -- including Amnesty International -- to oppose the bill, amid fears that the government will rush through the bill before the end of the year. In a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament, Apple said that it "would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat." The company adds, "We appreciate the government's outreach to Apple and other companies during the drafting of this bill. While we are pleased that some of the suggestions incorporated improve the legislation, the unfortunate fact is that the draft legislation remains dangerously ambiguous with respect to encryption and security. This is no time to weaken encryption. Rather than serving the interests of Australian law enforcement, it will just weaken the security and privacy of regular customers while pushing criminals further off the grid."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Last spring, long before Get Out's eventual Oscar win, the movie was released on home video with a commentary track from its writer-director. A decade ago, in the pre-streaming era, this wouldn't have been news: Back then, seemingly every movie got a commentary track, even Good Luck Chuck. Then the DVD market began to decline, and the commentary track went from a being standard-issue add-on to relative rarity. Even recent Best Picture nominees like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, and Spotlight were released sans tracks -- bad news for anyone looking for behind-the-scenes intel on Mark Ruffalo's little-Ceasar haircut. In the last few years, though, several high-profile films -- everything from Star Wars: The Last Jedi to Lady Bird to Get Out -- have been released with commentary tracks. That means you can spend your umpteenth viewing of Peele's film listening to him talk about how he modeled the opening credits on those of The Shining, or how the film's title was inspired by a routine from Eddie Murphy Delirious. For casual movie watchers, such details may not be too thrilling. But for film nerds who absorb behind-the-scenes trivia and how-we-made-it logistics, tracks like the one for Get Out remain the cheapest movie-making education available.Read Replies (0)