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Ajit Pai's FCC Can't Admit Broadband Competition Is a Problem

Slashdot - 1 hour 36 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from DSLReports: While the FCC is fortunately backing away from a plan that would have weakened the standard definition of broadband, the agency under Ajit Pai still can't seem to acknowledge the lack of competition in the broadband sector. Or the impact this limited competition has in encouraging higher prices, net neutrality violations, privacy violations, or what's widely agreed to be some of the worst customer service of any industry in America. The Trump FCC had been widely criticized for a plan to weaken the standard definition of broadband from 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, to include any wireless connection capable of 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up. Consumer advocates argued the move was a ham-fisted attempt to try and tilt the data to downplay the industry's obvious competitive and coverage shortcomings. They also argued that the plan made no coherent sense, given that wireless broadband is frequently capped, often not available (with carrier maps the FCC relies on falsely over-stating coverage), and significantly more expensive than traditional fixed-line service. In a statement (pdf), FCC boss Ajit Pai stated the agency would fortunately be backing away from the measure, while acknowledging that frequently capped and expensive wireless isn't a comparable replacement for fixed-line broadband. "The draft report maintains the same benchmark speed for fixed broadband service previously adopted by the Commission: 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload," stated Pai. "The draft report also concludes that mobile broadband service is not a full substitute for fixed service. Instead, it notes there are differences between the two technologies, including clear variations in consumer preferences and demands." That's the good news. The bad news: the FCC under Pai's leadership continues to downplay and ignore the lack of competition in the sector, and the high prices and various bad behaviors most people are painfully familiar with.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Nintendo's Newest Switch Accessories Are DIY Cardboard Toys

Slashdot - 2 hours 16 min ago
sqorbit writes: Nintendo has announced a new experience for its popular Switch game console, called Nintendo Labo. Nintendo Labo lets you interact with the Switch and its Joy-Con controllers by building things with cardboard. Launching on April 20th, Labo will allow you to build things such as a piano and a fishing pole out of cardboard pieces that, once attached to the Switch, provide the user new ways to interact with the device. Nintendo of America's President, Reggie Fils-Aime, states that "Labo is unlike anything we've done before." Nintendo has a history of non-traditional ideas in gaming, sometimes working and sometimes not. Cardboard cuts may attract non-traditional gamers back to the Nintendo platform. While Microsoft and Sony appear to be focused on 4K, graphics and computing power, Nintendo appears focused on producing "fun" gaming experiences, regardless of how cheesy or technologically outdated they me be. Would you buy a Nintendo Labo kit for $69.99 or $79.99? "The 'Variety Kit' features five different games and Toy-Con -- including the RC car, fishing, and piano -- for $69.99," The Verge notes. "The 'Robot Kit,' meanwhile, will be sold separately for $79.99."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Norway Will Make All Short-Haul Flights Electric By 2040

Slashdot - 2 hours 56 min ago
Norway's public operator of air transport plans to make all short-haul flights in the country entirely electric by 2040. "State-owned Avinor, which operates most of Norway's civil airports, is aiming to be the 'first in the world' to switch to electric air transport," reports The Independent. From the report: "We think that all flights lasting up to 1.5 hours can be flown by aircraft that are entirely electric," chief executive Dag Falk-Petersen told AFP. The announcement confirms Norway's reputation as a leader in electric power. In a 2017 report, Avinor announced that in cooperation with the Norwegian Sports Aviation Association and major airlines, it had set up a development project for electric aircraft. Avinor said it had "called for Norway to be established as a test arena and innovation center for the development of electric aircraft." Avinor intends to reduce aircraft greenhouse gas emissions in the short term by phasing in biofuels in the coming years, and then build on these reductions by phasing in electric planes.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Says He Does Not Regret Firing James Damore

Slashdot - 3 hours 36 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded today to the firing of employee James Damore over his controversial memo on workplace diversity, stating that while he does not regret the decision, he regrets that people misunderstood it as a politically motivated event. Speaking in a live conversation with journalist and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher, MSNBC host Ari Melber, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in San Francisco, Pichai said that the decision to fire Damore was about ensuring women at Google felt like the company was committed to creating a welcoming environment. "I regret that people misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another," Pichai said. "It's important for the women at Google, and all the people at Google, that we want to make a inclusive environment." When pressed by Swisher on the issue of regret, Pichai stated more definitively, "I don't regret it." Wojcicki, who has spoken publicly about how Damore's memo affected her personally, followed up with, "I think it was the right decision."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Security Breaches Don't Affect Stock Price, Study Suggests

Slashdot - 4 hours 16 min ago
Computer security professional Bruce Schneier highlights the key findings of a study that suggests security breaches don't affect stock price. The study has been published in the Journal of Information Privacy and Security. From the report: -While the difference in stock price between the sampled breached companies and their peers was negative (1.13%) in the first 3 days following announcement of a breach, by the 14th day the return difference had rebounded to + 0.05%, and on average remained positive through the period assessed. -For the differences in the breached companies' betas and the beta of their peer sets, the differences in the means of 8 months pre-breach versus post-breach was not meaningful at 90, 180, and 360 day post-breach periods. -For the differences in the breached companies' beta correlations against the peer indices pre- and post-breach, the difference in the means of the rolling 60 day correlation 8 months pre- breach versus post-breach was not meaningful at 90, 180, and 360 day post-breach periods. -In regression analysis, use of the number of accessed records, date, data sensitivity, and malicious versus accidental leak as variables failed to yield an R2 greater than 16.15% for response variables of 3, 14, 60, and 90 day return differential, excess beta differential, and rolling beta correlation differential, indicating that the financial impact on breached companies was highly idiosyncratic. -Based on returns, the most impacted industries at the 3 day post-breach date were U.S. Financial Services, Transportation, and Global Telecom. At the 90 day post-breach date, the three most impacted industries were U.S. Financial Services, U.S. Healthcare, and Global Telecom.

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Trump Signs Surveillance Extension Into Law

Slashdot - Sat, 20/01/2018 - 00:30
President Trump took to Twitter this afternoon to announce that he has signed a six-year renewal of a powerful government surveillance tool. "Just signed 702 Bill to authorize foreign intelligence collection," Trump tweeted. "This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election. I will always do the right thing for our country and put the safety of the American people first!" The Hill reports: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which the Senate voted to renew with a few small tweaks this week, allows the U.S. to spy on foreigners overseas. The intelligence community says the program is a critical tool in identifying and disrupting terror plots. But the broader surveillance law, which governs U.S. spying on foreigners, has become politically entangled with the controversy over the federal investigation into Trump's campaign and Russia. Some Republicans have claimed that the FBI inappropriately obtained a politically motivated FISA warrant to spy on Trump during the transition and on Friday, Capitol Hill was consumed with speculation about a four-page memo produced by House Intelligence Committee Republicans that some GOP lawmakers hinted contained evidence of such wrongdoing.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Facebook Will Now Ask Users To Rank News Organizations They Trust

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 23:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: Facebook is doing a very un-Facebooky thing: It's going to start declaring that some news sources you see in your Facebook feed are better than others, and act accordingly. But Facebook being Facebook, it's going about it in the most Facebooky way possible: It's going to rely on users -- not the super-smart people who work at Facebook -- to figure out which of those sources are better. Mark Zuckerberg says the move is part of an effort to prioritize "news that is trustworthy, informative, and local," within the network and suggests that there will be more announcements to come. The one he describes today will prioritize what kind of news sources pop up in your Facebook News Feed, and will reward ones that Facebook thinks are "broadly trusted," based on user polls, so it can "build a sense of common ground." Facebook is also using today's news to refine last week's roll-out: Zuckerberg says the previously announced changes will reduce the amount of news stories people see in their feed to 4 percent, down from 5 percent.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Linking Is Not Copyright Infringement, Boing Boing and EFF Tell Court

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 23:10
An anonymous reader shares a report: The popular blog Boing Boing has asked a federal court in California to drop the copyright infringement lawsuit filed against it by Playboy. With help from the EFF, Boing Boing argues that its article linking to an archive of hundreds of centerfold playmates is clearly fair use. Or else it will be "the end of the web as we know it," the blog warns. Late last year Playboy sued the popular blog Boing Boing for publishing an article that linked to an archive of every playmate centerfold till then. "Kind of amazing to see how our standards of hotness, and the art of commercial erotic photography, have changed over time," Boing Boing's Xena Jardin commented. Playboy, instead, was amazed that infringing copies of their work were being shared in public. While Boing Boing didn't upload or store the images in question, the publisher took the case to court.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Top Bug Hunters Make 2.7 Times More Money Than an Average Software Engineer

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 22:30
An anonymous reader shares a report: A survey of 1,700 bug bounty hunters registered on the HackerOne platform reveals that top white-hat hackers make on average 2.7 times more money than the average salary of a software engineer in the same country. The reported numbers are different for each country and may depend on a bug bunter's ability to find bugs, but the survey's results highlight the rising popularity of bug hunting as a sustainable profession, especially in less developed countries, where it can help talented programmers live a financially care-free life. According to HackerOne's report, it pays to be a vulnerability researcher in India, where top bug hunters can make 16 times more compared to the average salary of a software engineer. Other countries where bug hunting can assure someone a comfortable living are Argentina (x15.6), Egypt (x8.1), Hong Kong (x7.6), the Philippines (x5.4), and Latvia (x5.2).

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Tim Cook: 'I Don't Want My Nephew on a Social Network'

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 21:50
Tim Cook, speaking at Harlow college in Essex, shared his views on the limits on technology and social media he feels should be imposed on kids. He said: "I don't believe in overuse [of technology]. I'm not a person that says we've achieved success if you're using it all the time," he said. "I don't subscribe to that at all." Even in computer-aided courses, such as graphic design, technology should not dominate, he said. "There are are still concepts that you want to talk about and understand. In a course on literature, do I think you should use technology a lot? Probably not." The 57-year old chief executive, who took the reins at Apple after the death of Steve Jobs in 2011, said the company cared deeply about children outside the classroom. "I don't have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Jolly dystopian survival game We Happy Few delays full launch, Early Access to be suspended

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 21:25

Developer Compulsion Games has confirmed that its jovial 1960s-inspired dystopian survival game We Happy Few will no longer release on April 13th as was previously announced, and is now delayed until "this summer". Its Early Access programme will also be suspended.

We Happy Few was revealed in 2015, and entered Steam Early Access in 2016 following a successful Kickstarter campaign. It's enjoyed regular updates since then, and is now, says Compulsion, "content complete". However, after "a thorough review of the game, beginning to end", the developer has decided to delay final release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, in order to improve its structure and flow - as discussed in the video update below.

Alongside the delay, Compulsion has also announced that it's taking steps to address complaints around We Happy Few's controversial price hike last year - when the game rose from £23 to almost £40 following the decision to partner with Gearbox as publisher.

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Categories: Video Games

Buying Headphones in 2018 is Going To Be a Fragmented Mess

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 21:10
Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge: At CES this year, I saw the future of headphones, and it was messy. Where we once had the solid reliability of a 3.5mm analog connector working with any jack shaped to receive it, there's now a divergence of digital alternatives -- Lightning or USB-C, depending on your choice of jack-less phone -- and a bunch of wireless codecs and standards to keep track of. Oh, and Sony's working hard on promoting a new 4.4mm Pentaconn connector as the next wired standard for dedicated audio lovers. It's all with the intent of making things better, but before we get to the better place, we're going to spend an uncomfortable few months (or longer) in a fragmented market where you'll have to do diligent research to make sure your next pair of headphones works with all the devices you already own.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

A Cheap and Easy Blood Test Could Catch Cancer Early

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 20:31
A simple-to-take test that tells if you have a tumor lurking, and even where it is in your body, is a lot closer to reality -- and may cost only $500. From a report: The new test, developed at Johns Hopkins University, looks for signs of eight common types of cancer. It requires only a blood sample and may prove inexpensive enough for doctors to give during a routine physical. "The idea is this test would make its way into the public and we could set up screening centers," says Nickolas Papadopoulos, one of the Johns Hopkins researchers behind the test. "That's why it has to be cheap and noninvasive." Although the test isn't commercially available yet, it will be used to screen 50,000 retirement-age women with no history of cancer as part of a $50 million, five-year study with the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, a spokesperson with the insurer said. The test, detailed today in the journal Science, could be a major advance for "liquid biopsy" technology, which aims to detect cancer in the blood before a person feels sick or notices a lump. That's useful because early-stage cancer that hasn't spread can often be cured.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Crytek's multiplayer swamp horror Hunt: Showdown starts its closed alpha this month

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 20:03

Crytek has announced that its intriguing multiplayer swap horror, Hunt: Showdown, will enter closed alpha on January 31st, and players can sign up to participate now.

Hunt: Showdown debuted at last year's E3 and looks to offer an atmospheric blend of first-person PvE and PvP. When a match begins, up to five teams (consisting of either one or two players) must roam the thick Louisiana swampland in a bid to be the first locate and eliminate a specific, boss-like creature. The first team to fell the target gets the bounty, whereupon every other team on the map will turn their sights on the victors as they make their escape.

Crytek plans to launch Hunt: Showdown in Steam Early Access prior to its full release. Before that, however, it will be holding closed alpha sessions with a select group of players. These early alpha phases are designed to test gameplay, balancing, and backend functionality, and to gather community feedback. New content - including weapons, equipment, traits, and ranks - will be continuously released and tested as the alpha progresses.

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Categories: Video Games

Pedestrian Attacks Self-driving Car in the Mission

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 19:52
An anonymous reader shares a report: Cruise AV, a self-driving car company owned by General Motors, reports that earlier this month an unidentified man in the Mission flung himself onto one of the company's autonomous vehicles while it was conducting a road test. According to a report filed with the California DMV (all companies testing self-driving cars on California public streets are required to make public reports any time an accident happens), the close encounter of the vehicular kind happened at 9:27 p.m. as the car was waiting to make a turn and "stopped at a green light in between crosswalks of Valencia Street and 16th Street, waiting for pedestrians to cross." The car's human driver says that a pedestrian then unexpectedly ran into the street against the traffic signal and "shouting....struck the left side of the Cruise AV's rear bumper and hatch with his entire body." The driver adds, "There were no injuries, but the Cruise AV sustained some damage to its rear light." No witnesses called the police.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

BMW's Apple CarPlay Annual Fee is Next-level Gouging

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 19:13
BMW announced this week that the company plans to shift Apple CarPlay infotainment support from a one-time fee to a subscription service. Tim Stevens, writing about the implications of the move for CNET: While GM and other manufacturers happily include Apple's CarPlay service for free even on their most attainable models, BMW and plenty of others have levied upgrade fees to enable CarPlay, or bundled the service inside pricey packages of widgets you may or may not want. That, sadly, is par for this margin-rich golf course, but when we learned this week that BMW would change from a single, up-front fee to an annual fee, in my mind that changed everything. Instead of a one-time, $300 fee, starting on 2019 models BMW will charge $80 annually for the privilege of accessing Apple's otherwise totally free CarPlay service. You do get the first year free, much like your friendly neighborhood dealer of another sort, but after that it's pay up or have your Lightning cable metaphorically snipped. On the surface this is pretty offensive, and it seemed like something must be driving this. The official word from BMW is that this is a change that will save many (perhaps most) BMW owners money. Indeed, the vehicle segments where BMW plays are notorious for short-term leases, and those owning the car for only a few years will save money over that one-time $300. But still, the notion of paying annually for something that's free rubbed me the wrong way. And, based on the feedback we saw from the article, it rubbed a lot of you the wrong way, too.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

China's Smartphone Maker OnePlus Says Up To 40,000 Customers Were Affected by Credit Card Security Breach

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 18:39
sqorbit writes: OnePlus, a manufacturer of an inexpensive smartphone meant to compete with the iPhone, states that data from 40,000 customers credit card information was stolen while purchasing phones from its website. Even as the company has just confirmed the breach, it says the the script stealing information had been running since November. It is not clear whether this was a remote attack or the attack happened from within the company. Credit purchases on the OnePlus site have been suspended and will remain that way while an investigation takes place. [...] Earlier this week, OnePlus had temporarily shut down credit card payments on its website following reports that customers' payment details were stolen after they bought goods through its online store. The company says it's disabling credit card payments "as a precaution," but will still be accepting purchases through PayPal. The investigation began after a poll posted by users on OnePlus' forums found that many customers had experienced the same problem.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Instant Messaging Company Snap Threatens Jail Time for Leakers

Slashdot - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 18:05
An anonymous reader shares a report: Snap has a simple message to its employees: leak information and you could be sued or even jailed. The chief lawyer and general counsel of Snapchat's parent company, Michael O'Sullivan, sent a threatening memo to all employees last week just before The Daily Beast published an explosive story with confidential user metrics about how certain Snapchat features are used. "We have a zero-tolerance policy for those who leak Snap Inc. confidential information," O'Sullivan said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Cheddar. "This applies to outright leaks and any informal 'off the record' conversations with reporters, as well as any confidential information you let slip to people who are not authorized to know that information."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Why the people behind crowdfunded Camelot Unchained won't sell spaceships or castles

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 17:43

When Camelot Unchained ran out of crowdfunding money, Mark Jacobs did something unusual by today's standards: he put his hand in his own pocket and paid for development himself. Camelot Unchained didn't begin offering houses or castles or spaceships (let's call them horses) for real money, didn't become an intoxicating shopping mall for pledging support. Being delayed was developer City State Entertainment's fault so why should the community foot the bill?

"It hurt," Mark Jacobs told me on the phone. He had already added $2 million of his own to the game's $2.2m Kickstarter tally to get the game made, but that was back in 2013, when Jacobs was talking optimistically about a 2015 Camelot Unchained release. He didn't realise programmers would be like gold dust and near impossible to find; he didn't realise the game's ability system would fail and need rebuilding; and he couldn't predict his wife would battle with breast cancer. $4.5m only took a team of 30 people so far. Something had to be done.

"It hurt my bank account a lot because I wasn't a billionaire or super-rich by any standard," he said. "But look, I made a deal, and I told backers I would do it. It's our fault. It was on us as a development team to deliver the game; we did not. The bottom line is we did not meet what our projections were. I made a choice and it wasn't an easy one: do I honour our commitment to those same people who gave us this chance by not treating them as walking wallets, or not?

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Categories: Video Games

Why the people behind crowdfunded Camelot Unchained won't sell spaceships or castles

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/01/2018 - 17:43

When Camelot Unchained ran out of crowdfunding money, Mark Jacobs did something unusual by today's standards: he put his hand in his own pocket and paid for development himself. Camelot Unchained didn't begin offering houses or castles or spaceships (let's call them horses) for real money, didn't become an intoxicating shopping mall for pledging support. Being delayed was developer City State Entertainment's fault so why should the community foot the bill?

"It hurt," Mark Jacobs told me on the phone. He had already added $2 million of his own to the game's $2.2m Kickstarter tally to get the game made, but that was back in 2013, when Jacobs was talking optimistically about a 2015 Camelot Unchained release. He didn't realise programmers would be like gold dust and near impossible to find; he didn't realise the game's ability system would fail and need rebuilding; and he couldn't predict his wife would battle with breast cancer. $4.5m only took a team of 30 people so far. Something had to be done.

"It hurt my bank account a lot because I wasn't a billionaire or super-rich by any standard," he said. "But look, I made a deal, and I told backers I would do it. It's our fault. It was on us as a development team to deliver the game; we did not. The bottom line is we did not meet what our projections were. I made a choice and it wasn't an easy one: do I honour our commitment to those same people who gave us this chance by not treating them as walking wallets, or not?

Read more…

Categories: Video Games
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