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RIAA Obtains Subpoena To Expose 'Infringing' Cloudflare Users
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 02:11 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's aggressive-crackdown department:
The RIAA has obtained a subpoena from a Columbia federal court ordering Cloudflare to hand over the IP and email addresses and all other identifying information related to several allegedly infringing users. The RIAA notes it will use the information it receives to protect the rights of its member companies. From a report: The RIAA has a long history of going after, what it sees as, pirate sites. The problem, however, is that many owners of such sites operate anonymously. The group, therefore, often has to turn to third-party intermediaries to find out more. While some services may be willing to voluntarily share information with the music industry group, many don't. Cloudflare falls into the latter category. While the CDN service does voluntarily reveal the true hosting locations of some of its users, it doesn't share any personal info. At least, not without a subpoena. Luckily for rightsholders, getting a subpoena isn't very hard in the US. Under the DMCA, copyright holders only have to ask a court clerk for a signature to be able to demand the personal information of alleged copyright infringers. That's exactly what the RIAA did last week. In a letter sent by Mark McDevitt, the RIAA's vice president of online anti-piracy, the music group informs Cloudflare that it requests personal details including names, addresses and payment information relating to the operators of six domains, which are all Cloudflare users.

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Microsoft Offers Software Tools To Secure Elections
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 12:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
Alongside sharing updates on many of its platforms, Microsoft said at its Build developer conference today that is also getting ready to release several new tools to shore up security for political parties and candidates and at the ballot box. From a report: Microsoft announced an ambitious effort it says will make voting secure, verifiable and subject to reliable audits. Two of the three top U.S elections vendors have expressed interest in potentially incorporating the open-source software into their proprietary voting systems. The software kit is being developed with Galois, an Oregon-based company separately creating a secure voting system prototype under contract with the Pentagon's advanced research agency, DARPA. Dubbed "ElectionGuard," the Microsoft kit will be available this summer, the company says, with early prototypes ready to pilot for next year's general elections. CEO Satya Nadella announced the initiative Monday at a developer's conference in Seattle. Nadella said the project's software, provided free of charge as part of Microsoft's Defending Democracy Program, would help "modernize all of the election infrastructure everywhere in the world." Microsoft also announced a cut-rate Office 365 application suite for political parties and campaigns for what it charges nonprofits. Both Microsoft and Google provide anti-phishing email support for campaigns. Three little-known U.S. companies control about 90 percent of the market for election equipment, but have long faced criticism for poor security, antiquated technology and insufficient transparency around their proprietary, black-box voting systems.

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1 Million Species Are Threatened With Extinction Thanks To Humans, UN Report Says
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 11:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's where-things-are-going department:
A comprehensive United Nations report compiled by more than 450 researchers warns of a dire future for both humans and nature if business continues as usual. From a news report: Human activities have put as many as one million other species at risk of extinction, according to the first comprehensive United Nations report on global biodiversity. The report, a summary of which was released on Monday, emphasizes humanity's devastating impact on the natural world, which is accelerating extinctions at an unprecedented rate in human history. People have altered or destroyed three-quarters of land environments, two-thirds of marine habitats, and 85 percent of the most important wetland regions. This leaves few areas unaffected by human activities such as agriculture, commercial fishing, industrial pollution, and urbanization, according to the report. Meanwhile, the environmental effect of these activities -- human-driven climate change -- has disrupted the habitats of 47 percent of flightless land mammals and 23 percent of threatened birds. Ecosystems that are particularly sensitive to warmer temperatures, such as coral reefs, could be virtually wiped out worldwide over the coming decades.

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Google Prepares To Launch New Privacy Tools To Limit Cookies
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 11:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department:
Google is set to launch new tools to limit the use of tracking cookies, a move that could strengthen the search giant's advertising dominance and deal a blow to other digital-marketing companies, WSJ reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source.] From the report: After years of internal debate, Google could as soon as this week roll out a dashboard-like function in its Chrome browser that will give internet users more information about what cookies are tracking them and offer options to fend them off, the people said. This is a more incremental approach than less-popular browsers, such as Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox, which introduced updates to restrict by default the majority of tracking cookies in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Google's move, which could be announced at its developer conference in Mountain View, Calif., starting Tuesday, is expected to be touted as part of the company's commitment to privacy -- a complicated sell, given the torrent of data it continues to store on users -- and press its sizable advantage over online-advertising rivals.

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'The Future of Work is Remote'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 11:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's future-of-work department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Facebook's F8 2019 developer conference dominated last week, with talk of AI and AR/VR and privacy. But the news and reactions were all largely expected, and frankly, I was disappointed there was no detail on end-to-end encryption messaging across Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. No, what really stood out for me this week was last night's Stripe announcement: Its fifth engineering hub will be remote. Stripe has decided that hiring 100 remote engineers makes more sense than hiring 100 engineers in one place. Housing and relocation certainly played a role in the decision, but not enough to just choose a location with a low cost of living. Stripe would rather hire the best 100 engineers, regardless of where they are in the world.

That's huge. It's also inevitable. Remote work is happening everywhere you look. Coffee shops and restaurants, temporary offices and co-working spaces, train stations and airports -- private and public spaces are full of people doing their job remotely. I've been thinking a lot about this, and not just because VentureBeat's editorial team is almost all remote workers. In my personal life, I've noticed a clear pattern. All my friends, and their friends, choose to "work from home" every chance they get. If their job allows once a month, they work from home once a month. If the maximum is once a week, they do exactly that. If their boss is on vacation or traveling for work, they work from home for as many days as the office environment permits. Whatever the maximum is, that's what they do.

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Microsoft Unveils a New Terminal for Windows 10 and Windows Subsystem for Linux 2
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 10:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Windows 10 is getting a new terminal for command-line users, Microsoft announced at its Build developer conference today. The new so-called "Windows Terminal" will launch in mid-June and promises to be a major update of the existing Windows Command Prompt and PowerShell experience. From a report: Indeed, it seems like the Terminal will essentially become the default environment for PowerShell, Command Prompt and Windows Subsystem for Linux users going forward. The new terminal will feature faster GPU-accelerated text rending and "emoji-rich" fonts, because everything these days needs to support emojis, and those will sure help lighten up the command-line user experience. More importantly, though, the Windows Terminal will also support shortcuts, tabs, tear-away windows and theming, as well as extensions. It also will natively support Unicode and East Asian fonts. Microsoft also unveiled a new update to WSL, a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables natively on Windows. From a report: WSL 2 is based on a Linux 4.19 kernel coming soon to Windows. This kernel uses technology built for Azure. In both cases, it helps to reduce Linux boot time and streamline memory use. In fact, Microsoft is promising developers âoetwice as much speed for file-system heavy operations, such as Node Package Manager install.â WSL 2 will also support running Linux Docker containers natively, so that VMs are no longer required. WSL 2, like Windows Terminal, is coming in mid-June.

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Microsoft is Bringing Visual Studio To the Browser, Unveils<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET 5
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 10:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Krystalo writes: At its developer conference Build today, Microsoft previewed new Visual Studio features for remote work, the .NET roadmap, and launched ML.NET 1.0. In April, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2019 for Windows and Mac. Two notable features were Visual Studio Live Share, a real-time collaboration tool included with Visual Studio 2019, and Visual Studio IntelliCode, an extension offering AI-assisted code completion. At Build 2019, Microsoft shared that IntelliCode's capabilities are now generally available for C# and XAML in Visual Studio 2019 and for Java, JavaScript, TypeScript, and Python in Visual Studio Code. And IntelliCode is now included by default in Visual Studio 2019, starting in version 16.1 Preview 2. The company also previewed an algorithm that can locally track your edits -- repeated edit detection -- and suggest other places where you need that same change. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft is experimenting with features that let developers work from anywhere, on any device. The company today announced a private preview for three such new capabilities: Remote-powered developer tools, cloud-hosted developer environments, and a browser-based web companion tool. If the future of work is remote, Microsoft wants to be ready.

< article continued at Slashdot's how-about-that department >

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Microsoft is Building Internet Explorer Into its New Chromium Edge, Adding New Features
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 10:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
Microsoft is unveiling a number of new features for its upcoming Edge Chromium browser today. From a report: The first big addition is a new "IE Mode" for Edge that will allow businesses to load old sites directly in the new Edge Chromium browser, using the Internet Explorer rendering engine. Microsoft is building IE directly into Edge for this purpose, so businesses aren't forced to directly use IE for ancient internal sites. "What we're going to do is make this totally seamless," explains Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, in an interview with The Verge. Currently, the existing version of Edge will open Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10, which has a separate interface, favorites, and doesn't work well on modern websites. This new IE mode literally loads the content within Edge, so you'd never be able to tell the difference, apart from a small IE logo on the tab that indicates that this mode has been enabled.

This new IE mode is designed exclusively for businesses, and Belfiore admits it's a big pitch to get them to use Edge Chromium instead of a combination of Chrome and Internet Explorer. "We've got a browser for you that updates regularly that will go on Windows 7 and the Mac that handles things like IT customization of the New Tab page and Microsoft Search, and IE built-in," says Belfiore. Microsoft is also allowing businesses to customize the New Tab page for Edge Chromium. This will involve a custom company logo, the option to load some sites into the top tabs, and integration with Microsoft Search and Office 365.

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In a First, Israel Responds To Hamas Hackers With an Air Strike
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's growing-tension department:
For the first time, Israel has used brute military force to respond to a Hamas cyberattack, three years after NATO proclaimed "cyber" an official battlefield in modern warfare. From a report: The "bomb-back" response took place on Saturday when Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched an air strike against a building in the Gaza Strip. They claimed it housed Hamas cyber operatives, which had been engaging in a cyberattack against Israel's "cyberspace." "We were ahead of them all the time," said Brigadier General D., the head of the IDF's cyber defense division. "The moment they tried to do something, they failed." Israeli officials did not disclose any details about the Hamas cyberattack; however, they said they first stopped the attack online, and only then responded with an air strike. "After dealing with the cyber dimension, the Air Force dealt with it in the physical dimension," said IDF spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis. "At this point in time, Hamas has no cyber operational capabilities."

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Linux 5.1 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's marching-forward department:
diegocg writes: Linux 5.1 released has been released. The main feature in this release is io_uring, a high-performance interface for asynchronous I/O; there are also improvements in fanotify to provide a scalable way of watching changes on large file systems; it also adds a method to allow safe delivery of signals in presence of PID reuse; persistent memory can be used now as hot-plugabble RAM; Zstd compression levels have been made configurable in Btrfs; there is a new cpuidle governor that makes better power management decisions than the menu governor; all 32 bit architectures have added the necessary syscalls to deal with the y2038 problem; and live patching has added support for creating cumulative patches. There are many other features and new drivers in the changelog.

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Apple Faces Inevitable Antitrust Headache as EU Launches App Store Investigation
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 06:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple is facing an antitrust investigation that could have been predicted the moment it announced it was getting into the music streaming business four years ago. The company can most likely expect a similar investigation down the road after it launches its video streaming service later this year. The first investigation follows a complaint lodged by music streaming leader Spotify earlier this year, according to the Financial Times. Citing sources, the newspaper reported that the European Commission's competition division has officially opened the case, which will likely involve talking to other services that have been quietly chafing under Apple's App Store rules.

[...] One can debate the relative merits of Apple Music and Spotify in terms of their design, subscription models, and payment to artists. But the reality is that there is nothing revolutionary about Apple Music. Had it been launched by another startup, it certainly wouldn't have 56 million subscribers by now. In Silicon Valley, leveraging one's platform is standard practice and applauded. The EU takes a very different view. European regulators believe it is their job to protect consumers from such practices, which they argue harm innovation, and therefore indirectly limit choice.

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Is Facebook's Suicide-Prevention Tool Doing Any Good?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 03:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's good-intentions department:
"Facebook knew there was a problem when a string of people used the platform to publicly broadcast their suicides in real time," reports Business Insider, raising questions about what the company has done since:
Facebook has a suicide-monitoring tool that uses machine learning to identify posts that may indicate someone is at risk of killing themselves. The tool was involved in sending emergency responders to locations more than 3,500 times as of last fall. A Harvard psychiatrist is worried the tool could worsen health problems by homing in on the wrong people or escalating mental-health crises... "We as the public are partaking in this grand experiment, but we don't know if it's useful or not," Harvard psychiatrist and tech consultant John Torous told Business Insider last week....

Without public information on the tool, Torous said big questions about Facebook's suicide-monitoring tool are impossible to answer... "It's one thing for an academic or a company to say this will or won't work. But you're not seeing any on-the-ground peer-reviewed evidence," Torous said. "It's concerning. It kind of has that Theranos feel...." Because of privacy issues, emergency responders can't tell Facebook what happened at the scene of a potential suicide, said Antigone Davis, Facebook's global head of safety. In other words, emergency responders can't tell Facebook if they reached the scene too late to stop a death, showed up to the wrong place, or arrived only to learn there was no real problem.
< article continued at Slashdot's good-intentions department >

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NASA Seems Open To Even More Re-Uses Of SpaceX Booster Rockets
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '19 at 12:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's fourth-time's-a-charm department:
The International Space Station tweeted Sunday that a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft was expected to arrive early Monday morning. "Get up early and catch live coverage of the rendezvous and capture on nasa.gov/live beginning at 5:30 a.m. EDT."

But Teslarati reports that there's also good news about its booster rocket:

SpaceX has safely returned Falcon 9 booster B1056 to port and lifted the rocket ashore after successfully supporting Cargo Dragon's 18th mission to the International Space Station. B1056's safe return is by no means a surprise, but it is still a relief after mild issues caused Falcon Heavy center core B1055 to topple over just a few weeks prior. SpaceX's robotic "Octagrabber" was visibly attached to newest Falcon 9 booster, taking advantage of compatibility not available to the Falcon Heavy core. According to NASA and SpaceX, the booster's recovery was weighing on the minds of both stakeholders thanks to interest in reusing B1056 on future Cargo Dragon launches....

SpaceX VP of Flight Reliability Hans Koenigsmann noted that SpaceX is moving to a concept of operations where booster recovery is just as important and just as necessary as any other technical aspect of launch. In other words, when SpaceX drone ship Of Course I Still Love You suffered a rare hardware failure that hobbled its redundant power supplies, NASA had no qualms with the company's decision to scrub the launch attempt. In fact, confirming educated speculation previously published on Teslarati, NASA had a "vested interest" in the successful recovery of B1056. According to NASA ISS manager Kenny Todd's comments, NASA unequivocally wants SpaceX to fly its next Cargo Dragon mission -- CRS-18, NET mid-July -- on the newly flight-proven booster. NASA is even open to flying on B1056 for a third time on CRS-19, pending the condition and availability of the booster.
< article continued at Slashdot's fourth-time's-a-charm department >

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Boeing Believed a 737 Max Warning Light Was Standard. It Wasn't.
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '19 at 08:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's plane-truth department:
"When Boeing began delivering its 737 Max to customers in 2017, the company believed that a key cockpit warning light was a standard feature in all of the new jets. But months after the planes were flying, company engineers realized that the warning light worked only on planes whose customers had bought a different, optional indicator," reports the New York Times.

"In essence, that meant a safety feature that Boeing thought was standard was actually a premium add-on.... Because only 20 percent of customers had purchased the optional indicator, the warning light was not working on most of Boeing's new jets."

An anonymous reader quotes their report:
After discovering the lapse in 2017, Boeing performed an internal review and determined that the lack of a working warning light "did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation," it said in its statement. As a result, Boeing said it did not inform airlines or the Federal Aviation Administration about the mistake for a year. Only after the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 last October did Boeing discuss the matter with the F.A.A. The company then conducted another review and again found the missing alert did not pose a safety threat, and told the F.A.A. as much...

Boeing detailed its initial confusion about the warning light in a statement released on Sunday, adding new details to what was already known about the flawed design and introduction of the 737 Max, its best-selling jetliner. The initial lack of knowledge about the feature's functionality, along with the delayed disclosure, add to the concern about Boeing's management of the Max's design... This light could have provided critical information to the pilots on two flights that crashed shortly after takeoff in recent months.
Boeing also apparently told pilots in one meeting that their alert would work on the ground before takeoff, so pilots would have time to abort the takeoff, according to the Times.
< article continued at Slashdot's plane-truth department >

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Ask Slashdot: Is the Information Asymmetry Between Producers and Consumers Good?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '19 at 06:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's buyers-beware department:
dryriver asks a philosophical question:

The producer of a tech product -- thanks to internet data mining -- may know all sorts of things about me, the buyer of a product. Gender, age, income level, education level, profession, geolocation, what I read online, who my social media friends are, what interests me intellectually, which way I swing politically, and more. For a few dollars spent, I am no "mystery" to the producer of this tech product.

But if I were to ask the producer of the product simple questions like "How much did the GPU component in this laptop you are selling me cost you?" or "What portion of the final asking price of this product is profit that goes to you?" I likely wouldn't get an answer. Information asymmetry is at play now -- the producing party in the buying transaction knows far, far more about me than I can possibly know about the producing party. And unlike the producing party, I cannot simply open my wallet and purchase "data mined information" about the producing party. Company secrets are company secrets. The "info buying" works in one direction only.

Is it a good thing for consumers that this "information asymmetry" exists in the first place? That pretty much any tech producer can learn about me with a few bucks spent, but I cannot get simple information like "How much did the Nvidia 1060 Mobile GPU in this 1,200 Dollar notebook cost the producer"?

Anyone have an answer? Leave your own thoughts in the comments. Is this information asymmetry between producers and consumers good?

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Second Firefox Fix Repairs Broken Browser Extensions For More People
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '19 at 04:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Fire-fix department:
An anonymous reader quotes CNET:
"Mozilla on Sunday began distributing new Firefox updates to fix a problem that broke extensions for many browser users on Friday," reports CNET:
Mozilla had released an update Saturday, but Sunday's fix should help more people who were still affected. "There are some issues we're still working on, but we wanted to get this release out and get your add-ons back up & running before Monday," Mozilla said in a tweet Sunday...

"No active steps need to be taken to make add-ons work again. In particular, please do not delete and/or reinstall any add-ons as an attempt to fix the issue," Kev Needham, Mozilla's product manager for add-ons, said in a blog post about the problem.

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FCC Warns About 'One Ring' Robocall Scam Seeking Callbacks To a Toll Number
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '19 at 03:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's one-ring-to-scam-them-all department:
"Don't return that middle-of-the-night phone call if your cell phone only rang once," warns the New York Daily News:

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday alerted consumers about a wave of "One Ring" robocalls after detecting "widespread overnight calling" in both New York and Arizona. The scam calls, also known as "Wangiri" -- which is Japanese for "one ring and drop" -- are an attempt to trick customers into phoning the number back. If you do, it can result in getting billed toll charges as though you called a 900 number... "They may call repeatedly, hoping the consumer calls back and runs up a toll that is largely paid to the scammer," the FCC said in a press release.

According to the FCC the callers are using the "222" country code of Mauritania, a nation in West Africa, to carry out their scheme. In addition to not returning the phone call, officials encouraged people against calling back numbers they don't recognize -- especially if they appear to be international.

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Game Devs Allege Extreme 'Crunch' Overtime at 'Mortal Kombat 11' Studio NetherRealm
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '19 at 02:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's achievement-unlocked department:
Days after Mortal Kombat was inducted into the World Videogame Hall of Fame, multiple sources at its creator (Warner Bros Interactive studio NetherRealm) are alleging a toxic workplace with 100-hour workweeks, Variety reports, citing seven current and former full-time employees and contractors:

Reports of low pay and the crunch of extreme overtime as workers tried to finish the game on time initially surfaced about NetherRealm Studios on social media earlier in April, but those issues appear to be symptomatic of a long-term poisonous work culture at the studio, according to seven people who spoke to Variety -- five of whom asked that their names not be used for fear of reprisals... The common thread among all the sources was that they said they felt the pressure to work long hours came with the threat of being replaced or denied a chance at a more... One current employee said that he and others at the studio have been working 60 to 70 hours per week, seven days a week since January. While he said various factors are to blame for the crunch, such as poor communication and mismanagement, he cited a January marketing event for "Mortal Kombat 11," called MK Day, which put the studio behind significantly...

< article continued at Slashdot's achievement-unlocked department >

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Facebook's New 'Secret Crush' Feature Called Creepy, Stupid
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '19 at 12:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's loves-me-not department:
This week Facebook announced a new feature that let's you tell the service that you have a "secret crush" on up to nine Facebook friends, reports the Bay Area News Group:
Facebook will send you a notification if a person has added you as one of their secret crushes. However, you don't get to know who that person is unless you happened to have put them on your crush list. At that point, Facebook -- because it really does know everything about everything you do at all times -- will then match you together and reveal your crushed to one another. You also have to be signed up for a Facebook Dating profile in order to get the crush notifications....

Facebook Dating and Secret Crush won't be available in America until later this year. But if you live in Canada, Mexico, Argentina or 16 other countries... well, you can let the crushing begin now.

The Guardian describes it as "harking back to Facebook's humble beginnings as a tool for ranking strangers' attractiveness... Or you could always, you know, try telling them in person." And other sites also gave the feature a negative review. BGR says Facebook's new feature "isn't cute, it's creepy," adding "it would be foolish to trust the company with even more sensitive data about yourself."

But the harshest response came from Mashable, which writes that "the whole point of a secret crush is obviously to keep it a secret. The term really could not be clearer." They call Facebook's proposed solution "truly, madly, deeply sad... We as a society rely on tech for so much, but we shouldn't rely on it for declarations of love. We have to be braver than that."

Or, in the words of one Twitter user, "this is dumb as shit just tell them you like them cowards."

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Windows 10 Will Now Ask Before Installing Massive Feature Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on May 05 '19 at 12:50 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's checking-for-updates department:
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet:
As Microsoft promised in early April, Windows 10 is gaining a new option that gives users better control over when its twice-yearly major feature updates are installed. That option is called 'Download and install now' and should help Windows 10 users avoid unintentionally accepting a feature update after using Windows Update to check for new patches. While clicking 'Check for updates' could mean checking for monthly or security updates, historically it's also triggered the installation of a feature update, which can be a major disruption...

Choosing to download and install when offered a feature update is taken as confirmation that the user wants that update. From that point on, the feature update can then only be paused for up to 35 days. By not clicking on 'Download and install now', the new feature update can be avoided so long as the version of Windows 10 currently running is supported and not nearing end of support.

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