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Kik app won't shut down after acquisition by MediaLab - Kik was about to shut down, as it announced earlier, but it has now been bought by a holding company, MediaLab, which owns another anonymous messaging app called Whisper.
Apple may launch high-end AirPods Pro later this month - One of Apple's most popular products may soon be getting a high-end counterpart.
Google confirms Pixel 4 face unlock works with eyes closed - Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are Google's latest smartphones and they can be unlocked by facial recognition. But you can also unlock your phone with your eyes closed, Google confirmed.
Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO, has died - Mark Hurd, CEO of Oracle and former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, two of Silicon Valley's most storied companies, has died. He was 62.
Mark Zuckerberg gives speech depicting Facebook as at the center of struggle for free expression - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sought to recast the challenges facing his company in a historical light on Thursday, describing social media as a kind of "Fifth Estate" and describing politicians' calls to clamp down on tech companies as an effort to restrict the freedom of expression.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sought to recast the challenges facing his company in a historical light, describing social media as a kind of "Fifth Estate" and describing politicians' calls to clamp down on tech companies as an effort to restrict the freedom of expression.
We asked a hacker to try and steal a CNN tech reporter's data. Here's what happened - I thought my social media posts merely betrayed my desperate need for attention and likes. It turns out, though, that they're also a goldmine for hackers.
Samsung warning: Galaxy S10 and Note 10 owners should remove their screen protectors now - Samsung's new high-tech fingerprint reader on the latest Galaxy smartphones has a major flaw: It can be fooled by the residue left by your fingers on a screen protector. The company is warning customers who own the latest Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 phones to remove their screen protectors until Samsung releases a software update.
China says Apple CEO met top regulator in Beijing for a 'deep discussion' - Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China's top regulator this week for a "deep discussion" about a range of issues, according to the Chinese government.
Intel will release data on how much it pays women and employees of color - Intel plans to release data on how much its employees are paid, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity, by the end of this year, the company confirmed to CNN Business on Thursday.
India is trying to build the world's biggest facial recognition system - India is setting up a countrywide facial recognition system, which will be one of the largest ones ever built. It will assist police forces, which are among the most understaffed in the world, to arrest criminals and find missing persons.
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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg: Private companies should not censor politicians - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't believe Twitter should take away President Donald Trump's digital megaphone.
New privacy bill threatens years of jail time for companies that misuse consumer data - A privacy-focused US senator is introducing sweeping legislation on Thursday that imposes sharp penalties on companies and executives who fail to protect consumer data, bringing additional pressure to bear on the tech industry.
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iOS 13 is now on more than half of all iPhones - Apple's call to action to get people to use iOS 13 is working: More than half of all iPhone models introduced in the past four years now use iOS 13.
This startup is saving crops by making 'super bees' - One company wants to help farmers adapt to a world of rapidly declining bee populations.
A Q&A with Beth Moses, the first passenger ever on Virgin Galactic's space plane - Beth Moses is the first person to fly into space as a passenger aboard a commercial spacecraft.
Marc Benioff says it's time to break up Facebook - Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff hasn't been sparing with his criticism of Facebook. But in an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow Wednesday he went one significant step further and added his name to the list of those who support breaking up the social media giant.
Universal is using Alibaba technology to try and beat Disney in China - Universal has teamed up with tech giant Alibaba, a move that could be a big boost to the entertainment company's efforts to lure Chinese costumers to its upcoming Beijing theme park.








Slashdot

News for nerds, stuff that matters

'How I Compiled My Own SPARC CPU In a Cheap FPGA Board' - Long-time Slashdot reader ttsiod works for the European Space Agency as an embedded software engineer. He writes:After reading an interesting article from an NVIDIA engineer about how he used a dirt-cheap field-programmable gate array board to code a real-time ray-tracer, I got my hands on the same board -- and "compiled" a dual-core SPARC-compatible CPU inside it... Basically, the same kind of design we fly in the European Space Agency's satellites. I decided to document the process, since there's not much material of that kind available. I hope it will be an interesting read for my fellow Slashdotters -- showcasing the trials and tribulations faced by those who prefer the Open-Source ways of doing things... Just read it and you'll see what I mean. This is the same Slashdot reader who in 2016 reverse engineered his Android tablet so he could run a Debian chroot inside it. "Please remember that I am a software developer, not a HW one," his new essay warns. "I simply enjoy fooling around with technology like this."

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Mathematician Solves 48-Year-Old Problem, Finds New Way To Multiply - An anonymous reader quotes Popular Mechanics:An assistant professor from the University of New South Wales Sydney in Australia has developed a new method for multiplying giant numbers together that's more efficient than the "long multiplication" so many are taught at an early age. "More technically, we have proved a 1971 conjecture of Schönhage and Strassen about the complexity of integer multiplication," associate professor David Harvey says in this video... Schönhage and Strassen predicted that an algorithm multiplying n-digit numbers using n * log(n) basic operations should exist, Harvey says. His paper is the first known proof that it does... The [original 1971] Schönhage-Strassen method is very fast, Harvey says. If a computer were to use the squared method taught in school on a problem where two numbers had a billion digits each, it would take months. A computer using the Schönhage-Strassen method could do so in 30 seconds. But if the numbers keep rising into the trillions and beyond, the algorithm developed by Harvey and collaborator Joris van der Hoeven at École Polytechnique in France could find solutions faster than the 1971 Schönhage-Strassen algorithm. "It means you can do all sorts of arithmetic more efficiently, for example division and square roots," he says. "You could also calculate digits of pi more efficiently than before. It even has applications to problems involving huge prime numbers. "The question is, how deep does n have to be for this algorithm to actually be faster than the previous algorithms?" the assistant professor says in the video. "The answer is we don't know. "It could be billions of digits. It could be trillions. It could be much bigger than that. We really have no idea at this point."

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Vandal Who Keyed A Tesla Discovers That It Filmed Him - For the third time, someone who vandalized a Tesla discovered that the car's "Sentry Mode" had filmed them -- and after the video went viral online, decided to turn themselves in. An anonymous reader quotes Electrek:The 20-year-old said that he was frustrated after a car cut him off and he thought the Model 3 might have been the same car. The Edmonton man said that he saw the video online and "became overcome with disappointment and embarrassment." He added that he doesn't have anything against Tesla and he regretted doing it right away... Earlier this month, we reported on the case of Alan Tweedie's Tesla Model 3 being keyed badly by a woman for seemingly no reason while he was at his daughter's soccer game. The Tesla Sentry mode video of her keying the car went viral and she ended up turning herself in. There was also another similar incident involving two men who ended up turning themselves in earlier this year and now this new incident in Canada becomes the third example of vandals turning themselves in because of Sentry mode. While Tesla Sentry Mode is useful to capture those incidents and pressure the vandals, the hope is that the feature gets publicized enough that people become less inclined to vandalize Tesla vehicles in the first place.

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Facebook Forges Ahead With Libra Despite Some Major Setbacks - "Facebook is facing a lot of pushback for Libra, its proposed cryptocurrency, but that's not stopping the social media giant from forging ahead," reports the Motley Fool:Earlier this week, it announced the 21 founding members of its digital token project at the signing of the Libra Association charter in Switzerland. The founding members include Uber, Lyft, Spotify, and PayU, among others... Despite all the odds against it, Facebook is forging ahead, pulling out all the stops to convince the world's skeptics that it is capable of controlling a digital currency that can't be regulated. Its latest attempt: warning regulators of the impending danger from China if Libra fails. David Marcus, the Facebook executive heading up the Libra initiative, told Bloomberg that China is moving ahead with its own digital payments system, which could have global appeal. That could be a big threat to the U.S. if regulators drag their heels in approving Facebook's digital coin. He painted a picture of an environment five years hence in which a large portion of the world won't have to worry about sanctions from the U.S. because they will have a digital currency waiting in the wings.

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Mercedes-Benz App Glitch Exposed Car Owners' Information To Other Users - An anonymous reader quotes TechCrunch:Mercedes-Benz car owners have said that the app they used to remotely locate, unlock and start their cars was displaying other people's account and vehicle information. TechCrunch spoke to two customers who said the Mercedes-Benz' connected car app was pulling in information from other accounts and not their own, allowing them to see other car owners' names, recent activity, phone numbers, and more. The apparent security lapse happened late-Friday before the app went offline "due to site maintenance" a few hours later.... "There was a short interval [Friday] during which incorrect customer data was displayed on our MercedesMe app," said Donna Boland, a spokesperson for Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.... "When we became aware of the issue, we took the system down, identified the issue and resolved it," she added.

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Samsung Won't Support Linux on DeX Once Android 10 Arrives - An anonymous reader quotes Engadget:If you've been using Linux on DeX (aka Linux on Galaxy) to turn your Samsung phone into a PC, you'll need to make a change of plans. Samsung is warning users that it's shutting down the Linux on DeX beta program, and that its Android 10 update won't support using the open source OS as a desktop environment. The company didn't explain why it was shutting things down, but it did note that the Android 10 beta is already going without the Linux option... Samsung is still committed to DeX, and recently enabled its desktop-style space on Macs and Windows PCs. However, it's clear that the dreams of fully replacing a PC with your Galaxy phone will have to wait, at least for now.

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8chan's Original Founder Is Now Urging ISPs To Keep The Site Offline - 8chan's current owner is still having trouble getting the site back online -- and that's due at least partly to lobbying against 8chan by the site's original founder:In early August, web security company Cloudflare stopped protecting the board, and 8chan was immediately swamped with denial of service attacks that crashed it. At first, 8chan found a new home with another security site, Bitmitigate. But in a long and complex chain of events, the new web service company turned out to be renting servers from a different infrastructure firm, Voxility, which wanted nothing to do with 8chan. They kicked Bitmitigate off its equipment, deplatforming not only 8chan, but also the neo-Nazi forum The Daily Stormer, which shared the same server. It looked like 8chan would jump from host to host, like an unwelcome guest crashing on an endless series of digital couches. But that didn't happen. The last real attempt until earlier this month was some 8chan users trying to revive it through peer-to-peer sharing, only for it to fall apart when users began getting swamped with malware... So far, multiple attempts to get the board back up as anything other than a test version have failed -- and original 8chan creator Fredrick Brennan couldn't be happier... Brennan has been contacting service providers urging them not to work with 8chan's current owner, Jim Watkins. And the article notes that "Because few companies own the servers that could host a site, the security software to protect it, and the infrastructure to get it out to the world, Watkins has to deal with multiple firms..." Brennan tells their reporter that "the more [internet service providers] I get to say 'no thanks'... the more they'll have to rely on expensive 'bulletproof' providers who charge more to cover [the] costs of police raids and high powered attorneys."

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Alphabet's 'Wing' Finally Launches America's First Drone Delivery Service, Beating Amazon - An anonymous reader quotes Newsweek:Wing, an offshoot of Google parent company Alphabet, officially launched its drone delivery service Friday, delivering a FedEx package -- a birthday gift for Susie Sensmeier from her husband, Paul -- through the air from a distribution center to the couple's home in Christiansburg, Virginia, according to the company's blog. the first company to receive Federal Aviation Authority approvalfocusing on drone delivery in dense, urban environments" according to TechCrunch, Wing decided to launch its pilot program in small-town Christiansburg. Snuggled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with a population of 22,000, Christiansburg describes itself as a "tight-knit community." Without high-rises or other obstructions, Wing's drones can fly from their "Nest" in North Christiansburg, pick up parcels from local retailers, and deposit them at the doorsteps of qualifying homes. Along with FedEx, Wing will also deliver packages from Walgreens and local boutique Sugar Magnolia. "We are thrilled, honored, and humbled to be the first small business in the United States to have our products delivered by drone," said Sugar Magnolia's co-owner. The article notes that the delivery drones "don't land at drop-off sites; instead, they hover 23 feet in the air and lower their cargo to the ground on a tether."

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Nissan's Next Electric Car Could Also Provide Power To Your Home - From a report:The owner of an electric car will be able to meet household power needs from the vehicle itself based on a technology developed by Nissan, the Japanese auto giant. It plans to introduce the new 'Leaf' electric cars in the Indian market next year and is on the look-out for local partners for collaboration on the application of its latest 'Vehicle-to-Home' technology (V2H) in the state. The technology allows electric vehicles to not only receive power but also store it and send it back to the source. The 'Leaf' could be an alternative to a home battery system like inverter. Household power can be supplied from the 'Leaf' lithium-ion battery (40 kWh) of the car by installing a power control system connected to the household's distribution board. The vehicles can also be charged from the household power supply at night (lean usage period).

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Is Andrew Yang Wrong About Robots Taking Our Jobs? - U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang "is full of it," argues Slate's senior business and economics correspondent, challenging Yang's contention (in a debate Tuesday) that American jobs were being lost to automation:Following the debate, a "fact check" by the AP claimed that Yang was right and Warren wrong. "Economists mostly blame [manufacturing] job losses on automation and robots, not trade deals," it stated. But this was incorrect. No such consensus exists, and if anything, the evidence heavily suggests that trade has been the bigger culprit in recent decades. All of which points to a broader issue: Yang's schtick about techno doom may be well-intentioned, but it is largely premised on BS, and is adding to the widespread confusion about the impact of automation on the economy. Yang is not pulling his ideas out of thin air. Economists have been debating whether automation or trade is more responsible for the long-term decline of U.S. factory work for a while, and it's possible to find experts on both sides of the issue. After remaining steady for years, the total number of U.S. manufacturing jobs suddenly plummeted in the early 2000s -- from more than 17 million in 2000 to under 14 million in 2007... [But] America hasn't just lost manufacturing workers; as Susan Houseman of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research notes, the number of factories also declined by around 22 percent between 2000 and 2014, which isn't what you'd expect if assembly workers were just being replaced by machines. In a 2017 paper, meanwhile, economists Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University concluded that the growth of industrial robots in the U.S. since 1990 could only explain between between 360,000 and 670,000 job losses. By comparison, the proof placing blame on trade and China is much stronger. Justin Pierce of the Federal Reserve Board and Peter Schott of Yale have found evidence that the U.S.'s decision to grant the People's Republic permanent normal trade relations in 2000 led to declines in American jobs... New technology will change the economy and the way people work. It already is. But those shifts will be more complex than Yang admits and probably won't look like the wave of mass unemployment that he and his like-minded supporters tend to envision... It's not just unrealistic. It's lazy. When you buy the sci-fi notion that technology is simply a disembodied force making humanity obsolete and that there's little that can be done about it, you stop thinking about ideas that will actually prevent workers from being screwed over by the forces of globalization or new tech. By prophesying imaginary problems, you ignore the real ones.

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'How Andrew Yang Would Fix The Internet' - For the "Privacy Project" newsletter of the New York Times, opinion writer Charlie Warzel interviewed U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Their far-ranging conversation covered everything from whether Facebook should be able to run political ads to his proposed Department of the Attention Economy: Andrew Yang: I was talking to a researcher recently and she described a concept called data dignity, which I thought really says it all. Right now we're being systematically deprived of our dignity and we think it is fine because we're getting these incredible services. Perhaps that worked in the early stages of the internet. But now we're waking up to the fact that the trade is much more serious and profound than we originally realized... I think we should be getting paid in a data dividend. Every time we post a photo or interact with a social media company we're putting information out there and that information should still be ours... We've become like rats in a maze where we're constantly hit by messages from these companies know everything about us. They know more about us than our families do. We're responding to stimuli and we think we're making choices. But it's because we've shared so much over time that they have a keen sense of what we want. There's something fundamental at stake here, which is: What does human agency look like? What are our rights as citizens? Yang also points out that when it comes to making things better, "it's not like individual consumers can band together to make this happen. Government needs to be a counterweight to the massive power and information inequities between us and the technology companies." Yang also says people would be less desperate to sell their data if they were receiving his proposed Universal Basic Income -- but "if individuals want to share their data or information or even their private lives with other people, then that's their prerogative."

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Is America's Federal Banking System Considering Its Own Digital Cryptocurrency? - America's lawmakers and Federal Reserve officials "are so concerned about Facebook's plans to launch a new digital currency," reports Politico's financial services reporter, "that they're contemplating a novel response -- having the central bank create a competitor."Momentum is building for an idea that was once considered outlandish -- a U.S. government-run virtual currency that would replace physical cash, a dramatic move that could discourage major companies like Facebook from creating their own digital coins. Facebook's proposed currency, Libra, has forced the Fed to consider the issue because of a fear that private companies could establish their own currencies and take control over the global payments system. Some Fed officials share the concern about a new balkanized currency system outside government control that Facebook has threatened to unleash. "Libra bust this way out into the open," said Karen Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics who advises executives on coming policy shifts. But it's not just Facebook. The matter is also taking on urgency as other countries consider creating their own digital currencies -- another potential challenge to the primacy of the U.S. dollar. The head of the Bank of England has floated the idea that central banks could create a network of digital currencies to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency... The Bank for International Settlements, which represents the world's central banks, said early this year that most were conducting research into central bank digital currencies and many were progressing from conceptual work into experimentation and proofs-of-concept... The details of a possible [U.S.] Fed-developed digital currency are still vague. But advocates and experts say such an instrument could give consumers a new way to make payments without having to rely on banks and without incurring fees when they transfer money. The digital currency would likely take some inspiration from the technology that underpins other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The discussions are informal at this point. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have written to the central bank asking officials to consider how they might approach a digital currency, and some Fed officials have begun to acknowledge the government might someday play a role. "It is inevitable," Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said at a recent conference, according to Reuters. "I think it is better for us to start getting our hands around it." The article argues that America's central bankers "worry that another major company could enter the space. If the Fed doesn't establish a digital currency, who will...? "The growing pressure on the Fed is evidence of how rapid developments in technology are beginning to shake the foundations of the financial system, raising questions about whether policymakers are prepared."

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'South Park' Nears $500-Million Deal for US Streaming Rights - An anonymous reader quotes the Los Angeles Times:"South Park" is the latest beneficiary of Hollywood's rerun mania. The show's creators and media giant Viacom Inc. expect to share between $450 million and $500 million by selling the streaming rights to the animated comedy, one of the longest-running TV series in U.S. history, according to people familiar with the matter. As many as a half-dozen companies are bidding for exclusive U.S. streaming rights to past episodes of the show, which has been available on Walt Disney Co.'s Hulu in recent years. Viacom and the show's creators hope to secure a new deal by the end of 2019 and could decide on the winning bidder as soon as this weekend, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. The value of popular TV reruns has skyrocketed, fueled by new streaming platforms seeking programming that can attract subscribers and provide an edge over rivals. Viacom and "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone expect the multiyear deal to net more than double what Hulu paid in 2015.... One company that probably won't be bidding is Apple Inc., the people said. The tech giant has eschewed controversial programming that could damage its brand, and it's wary of offending China, where it sells a lot of iPhones. "South Park" was just banned in China after an episode mocked the country's censorship of Western movies and TV.

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Australia's Buggy Automated System Suspended 1 Million Welfare Payments This Year - An anonymous reader quotes the Guardian's report on last year's update to Australia's automated system for welfare benefits:Welfare advocates say the consequences have been disastrous... In 12 months, welfare payments were stopped an extra 1 million times... [A] recipient's money is cut off automatically until they satisfy their job agency consultant that they are committed to looking for work... Consultants have less discretion when a welfare recipient does not turn up to an appointment or misses another compulsory activity. They enter a code into a system that automatically triggers a payment suspension. The same goes when the welfare recipient fails to report their income or confirm they met their job search requirements via digital channels. Money is stopped first, and questions are asked later. The idea is that this will encourage people to follow the rules. "In some cases it's left single parents without money for food for their children over a weekend because they haven't logged in and reported their attendance," says Adrianne Walters, a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre. "And so the computer says, 'No payments'. And then that person is left without anywhere to turn until their employment service provider opens up again on the Monday...." Since the new policies were introduced, about 50,000 suspension notifications now go out to welfare recipients across the country each week... analysis of government statistics by the Guardian shows about 75% of the time, benefits recipients who had their payments suspended under the new system were not at fault... Meanwhile, across a controversial welfare-to-work program for single parents with children under five, 85% had their payments suspended automatically but were later cleared of wrongdoing. The overwhelming majority were single mothers.

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Why The 'Not-Com' Stock Bubble Is Popping - "In the dot-com bubble, public investors got hosed," remembers The Atlantic. "Today, it's public investors that are doing the hosing."When the web browser Netscape went public on August 9, 1995 -- the day many cite as the beginning of the dot-com bubble -- its stock skyrocketed from $28 to $75 in a matter of hours, even though the company wasn't profitable. In today's market, the opposite is happening: Unicorns with no positive earnings are getting slaughtered at the gates. WeWork's valuation fell more than 80 percent pre-IPO when investors balked at its mounting losses. Peloton, Lyft, and Uber have also struggled to persuade public markets to grade them on a curve; all saw their stock prices fall on the day of the public offering. Institutions and retail investors are refusing to fork over to unicorns the valuations that private investors were expecting -- particularly Softbank, a major backer of Uber, Lyft, and WeWork. This isn't a picture of mass mania. It's a picture of public sobriety, where the masses are diagnosing an acute fever in private markets. Second, there is little sign of a crisis for firms whose main product is pure software. Judging from the news, you might think this has been a terrible year for technology companies. But tech IPOs have been strong for the past two years, "as long as what you're buying is actually a real tech company," JP Morgan's chair of market and investment strategy, Michael Cembalest, wrote in an October 7 research note. By "real tech," Cembalest was referring to companies whose principal product is software, rather than, say, WeWork, which is in truth a real-estate company caught wearing an Actual Tech Company costume before Halloween. The article makes it case by citing three "real tech" companies which grab fewer headlines because they sell cloud services or business-to-business software. "But all of them are trading more than 100 percent above their listed IPO price."

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