news

Are Tesla's Data-Gathering Cars Secretly Improving Autopilot's Algorithms?

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 20:34
"When the history of autonomous cars is written, the winner will be Tesla," speculates long-time technology pundit Robert Cringely. "Heck, I think they've already won." But his article includes a disclaimer that it's "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write." Tesla has more than a million data-gathering devices on the roads. We call them cars. Tesla cars have no LIDAR but they have eight cameras and RADAR. Every night all those cars wirelessly report their driving data back to Tesla. I would love to know how Tesla decided what to put in those reports. Given the limited bandwidth LTE connection involved, it can't be a complete data dump. They have to pick and choose what to report. And what does Tesla do with the reports? I think it comes down to algorithms, mapping, and exceptions. They are logically trying to improve their algorithms, improve their maps, but mainly — after having already parsed billions of miles of driving data — they are looking for exceptional events that are testing their algorithms in ways never seen before... Tesla has a dual processor system in their cars — two completely distinct computers. Why...? Because every night is an A-B test for Tesla — a test that is running on your car. One processor is driving the car (or following the driver's actions if Autopilot isn't being used, which is most of the time) with production software while the second processor is running beta software, simulating the drive, and noting discrepancies between the two software versions. Multiply this times a million cars per night. Whether Autopilot is used or not doesn't matter: the evolution of the software continues. And it's finished when the beta software stops improving and the outcome shows the only difference between human and Autopilot driving is that Autopilot does it better. Continue for another month or year or decade just to confirm your results, then announce that full autonomous mode is available. That is exactly where I believe Tesla has been heading for as long as those two-processor cars have been on the road. Tesla's autonomous driving software could be ready right now for all we know. Elon certainly hints at this from time to time in his tweets. And THAT's why I believe Tesla has already won the autonomous driving war, because they have real cars facing real exceptions that you won't find in a simulation, and their dual processor system knows what it knows. Yes, I reached out to Tesla about this last week. They still haven't replied. Again, Cringely wants that this is "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

US Judge Blocks Attempt to Ban WeChat

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 19:34
"The popular Chinese messaging and payments app WeChat looks like it might still be available in the U.S. beyond Sunday night, after all," reports the Street: U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of San Francisco stopped the Trump administration from forcing Apple and Alphabet to take the Tencent Holdings' messaging app offline for downloading by late Sunday, according to a report from Reuters. The decision — which also blocks other restrictions imposed by the U.S. government on the app — follows the U.S. Commerce Department's move on Friday to virtually eliminate access to the application and impair its ability to function, in part by prohibiting companies from distributing or maintaining it and blocking financial transactions over the app in the U.S... The order also stated that the Commerce Department's orders "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government's significant interest in national security, especially given the lack of substitute channels for communication."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Chinese Intelligence Compiles 'Vast Database' About Millions Around the World

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 18:34
Australia's national public broadcaster ABC reports: A Chinese company with links to Beijing's military and intelligence networks has been amassing a vast database of detailed personal information on thousands of Australians, including prominent and influential figures. A database of 2.4 million people, including more than 35,000 Australians, has been leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data which is believed to be used by China's intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security. Zhenhua has the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients. Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs. It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours. While much of the information has been "scraped," some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles. The company is believed to have sourced some of its information from the so-called "dark web". One intelligence analyst said the database was "Cambridge Analytica on steroids", referring to the trove of personal information sourced from Facebook profiles in the lead up to the 2016 US election campaign. But this data dump goes much further, suggesting a complex global operation using artificial intelligence to trawl publicly available data to create intricate profiles of individuals and organisations, potentially probing for compromise opportunities. Zhenhua Data's chief executive Wang Xuefeng, a former IBM employee, has used Chinese social media app WeChat to endorse waging "hybrid warfare" through manipulation of public opinion and "psychological warfare".... The database was leaked to a US academic, who worked with Canberra cyber security company Internet 2.0 and "was able to restore 10 per cent of the 2.4 million records for individuals... "Of the 250,000 records recovered, there are 52,000 on Americans, 35,000 Australians, 10,000 Indian, 9,700 British, 5,000 Canadians, 2,100 Indonesians, 1,400 Malaysia and 138 from Papua New Guinea."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Marvel's Avengers' next patch fixes "over 1000 issues" reported by players

Eurogamer - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 17:37

Marvel's Avengers developer Crystal Dynamics has revealed the action game's next patch will address "over 1000 issues" that have been identified by fans and the game's community.

"Patch V1.3.0 is our first major patch since launch and addresses over 1000 issues you've helped surface these past two weeks, ranging from several progression stoppers to small graphical fixes," Square Enix said in the update, which addresses problems on all versions of the games: PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.

"While the focus of this patch was resolving bugs, future near-term patches will integrate more quality-of-life adjustments and feedback-driven features/tuning. We can't thank you enough for your patience and support. Please keep it coming; you are helping shape the future of Marvel's Avengers."

Read more

Categories: Video Games

Is Momentum Growing for Universal Basic Incomes?

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 17:34
"A successful basic-income trial in Stockton, California, has inspired a chain of similar pilots in other cities," reports Business Insider: The city council of Saint Paul, Minnesota, voted to approve funding for a pilot there on Wednesday. The program is set to begin this fall and will give up to 150 low-income families $500 per month for up to 18 months — no strings attached... "I think there's a budding realization that not only is this a good thing for us to try, but that we may not have any other option," St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter said on a Wednesday press call... "We're obviously seeing an unprecedented crisis in our communities across our country," Carter said. "We're coming to a recognition that we don't have a funding problem. We have a priorities problem." Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced he was donating $3 million to a coalition of "Mayors for a Guaranteed Income." The group currently has 25 mayors -- two who are already overseeing pilot programs in their own cities -- while Chicago, Newark, and Atlanta "have created task forces to help design their programs," and the mayor of Pittsburgh would like to launch one of their own by the end of the year. In another article, Business Insider created a map showing the locations of 48 basic income programs that have happened around the world (based on data from the Stanford Basic Income Lab). But they also provide this summary of their current state: So is basic income the real deal or a pipe dream? The results are still unclear. Some, like the initial pilots for Uganda's Eight program, were found to result in significant multipliers on economic activity and well-being. Other programs, however, returned mixed results that made further experimentation difficult. Finland's highly-touted pilot program decreased stress levels of recipients across the board, but didn't positively impact work activity. The biggest difficulty has been in keeping programs going and securing funding. Ontario's three-year projects were prematurely cancelled in 2018 before they could be completed and assessed, and the next stages of Finland's program are in limbo. Likewise in the U.S., start-up incubator Y Combinator has been planning a $60M basic income study program, but can't proceed until funding is secured.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Epic blames Apple for the closure of Fortnite Save the World on Mac

Eurogamer - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 17:04

Epic Games has stated that because Apple is blocking it from releasing patches and fixes for its games on Apple products, it will be shutting down Fortnite: Save the World on Mac on 23rd September, 2020.

In the latest instalment of Apple and Epic's regrettably public spat, Epic Games released a statement saying that because Apple won't let it release games or patches, it's no longer able to update the game.

"Apple is preventing Epic from signing games and patches for distribution on Mac, which ends our ability to develop and offer Fortnite: Save the World for the platform," Epic said (thanks, The Verge). "Specifically, our upcoming v14.20 release will cause bugs for players on v13.40, resulting in a very poor experience. Since we are no longer able to sign updates and release fixes for these issues, beginning September 23, 2020, Fortnite: Save the World will no longer be playable on macOS."

Read more

Categories: Video Games

You Can Microwave This Notebook When It's Full - Then Reuse It Again

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 16:34
A new product wants to upgrade the act of taking notes in a spiral-bound notebook — with the resuable "Rocketbook Wave Smart Notebook": You can write on it using any Pilot Frixion pen, marker, or highlighter, and once you're done, you can scan the notes, doodles, and drawings into the Rocketbook app to store them in a cloud. Used up all of its pages? No problem. Make sure you've scanned all your notes, and then throw your notebook into the microwave. Yes, the microwave. Throwing it into the microwave will erase everything you've written from the notebook. To avoid getting into the science of it, let's just call it magic. The notebook's pages are designed with grids, so it's perfect for either writing or drawing, and they actually feel like real paper, so you'll still feel the joy of handwriting. That's really a thing. Ask anyone who journals. Inside the app, you can use the smart search to quickly find something in your notes, according to date or a search term.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

These drawn-to-scale diagrams show just how the PS5 and Xbox Series X will fit into your home

Eurogamer - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 16:32

A series of drawn-to-scale diagrams are helping gamers better understand how next-gen consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X/S will fit into their homes and media centres.

In a series of tweets, illustrator Keisawada drew a number of scaled diagrams that show how each of the next-gen systems will look compared to existing hardware, and... they're big. Really big. Here, take a look:

Although we already knew that both Sony's and Microsoft's new systems are pretty chunky, the addition of other existing hardware helps contexualise just how much room the next-gen systems will take up, particularly for those playing on smaller monitors or television sets.

Read more

Categories: Video Games

Developing for next-gen - and 120fps - with Codemasters and Digital Foundry

Eurogamer - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 16:30

It often falls to racing games to be some of the first over the top when a new console generation comes around - there's something about those gleaming car models that makes for excellent graphics showreels. This time, Codemasters' Dirt 5 is leading the charge. The off-road racing game launches day-and-date with Xbox Series X/S on 10th November, just ahead of PlayStation 5. It will appear on current-gen consoles too, but the next-gen version will be the subject of much interest, especially for its claimed 120 frames per second performance.

How do you go about developing for next-gen when it's still an unknown quantity? How does Microsoft's cut-price, cut-back Xbox Series S change the game? Digital Foundry's Rich Leadbetter talked to Codemasters' technical director David Springate to find out - and they had a very interesting conversation. It has jut finished streaming as part of PAX Online x EGX Digital, and you can watch it in the embed below.

PAX x EGX, which is operated by our parent company ReedPop, is running all week, concludes on Sunday 20th September and is completely free. Check out the full livestream schedule and the virtual show floor for more.

Read more

Categories: Video Games

Production of the new animated Super Mario Bros. movie "is moving ahead smoothly"

Eurogamer - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 16:04

Nintendo has reportedly confirmed that production on a new animated Super Mario Bros. movie "is moving ahead smoothly".

Given its very much early days not much is known about the project, but according to a recent report by Esquire (thanks, GQ Australia), it's thought Nintendo has joined forces with production company Universal Studios to jointly-fund the movie.

It's not clear if this is the same project that was first mentioned back in 2018 or an entirely new venture, but the striking similarities - Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto will reportedly serve as co-producer, along with Illumination's Chris Meledandri, who brought us the animated Minions and Despicable Me movies - suggest it's very possibly one and the same.

Read more

Categories: Video Games

Could Smart Technology Help Save the World's Honey Bees?

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 15:34
CNN Business reports: Climate change, intensive agriculture, and the use of pesticides and fungicides in farming is ravaging the world's bees. Commercial beekeepers in the United States lost 44% of their managed colonies in 2019, according to research from the University of Maryland. Now, technology startups are developing smart devices that give beekeepers access to detailed information about the state of their hives, aiming to reduce losses and improve bee health. Among them is Ireland's ApisProtect, which has just launched a sensor that alerts beekeepers if there is a problem in their hives. The small internet-connected sensor is placed under the roof of the beehive and measures a number of metrics including temperature, humidity, sound and movement. Data from the sensor is sent via the cloud to ApisProtect's HQ in Cork, Ireland, where the data is processed, analyzed and then sent back to the beekeeper... With bees in demand for a booming pollination industry, there are a number of other startups promoting new technologies, including Pollenity in Bulgaria, Arnia in the United Kingdom and BeeHero in Israel.Pollenity was founded in 2015 by Sergey Petrov and has raised $1.2 million in funding. Its Beebot smart sensor device is aimed at small and hobbyist beekeepers, and it is also working with six universities from across Europe on an EU-funded research project called HIVEOPOLIS. The project aims to improve the welfare of bees by reinventing hives using a number of technologies, including a robot bee capable of "dancing" to direct the hive's swarm. "The robot bee will tell the other bees where to go to find nectar and pollen," Petrov says. "Not only will this direct them to certain fields for pollination but also navigate the bees away from dangerous areas, like where pesticides are being used."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Cyberpunk 2077 will be "slightly shorter" than The Witcher 3 because players complained The Witcher 3 was "too long"

Eurogamer - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 15:18

Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red has revealed Cyberpunk's main campaign will be shorter than that of The Witcher 3 because the studio "got a lot of complaints" about the length of Geralt's story.

In an interview after the last Night City Wire stream, senior quest designer Patrick K Mills acknowledged the team was mindful that as "tremendous amounts of people [...] never made it to the [end of The Witcher 3]", it decided to make Cyberpunk 2077 "slightly shorter".

"We do know that the main story run in Cyberpunk 2077 is slightly shorter than The Witcher 3," Mills said (thanks, ResetEra). "We got a lot of complaints about The Witcher 3's main story just being too long. And looking at the metrics, you see tremendous amounts of people played through that game really far, but never made it to the end.

Read more

Categories: Video Games

US Teens Are Being Paid to Spread Disinformation on Social Media

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 13:01
The Washington Post covered "a sprawling yet secretive campaign that experts say evades the guardrails put in place by social media companies to limit online disinformation of the sort used by Russia" during America's last presidential campaign in 2016. According to four people with knowledge of the effort, "Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages..." The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out, at least in part, by humans paid to use their own accounts, though nowhere disclosing their relationship with Turning Point Action or the digital firm brought in to oversee the day-to-day activity. One user included a link to Turning Point USA's website in his Twitter profile until The Washington Post began asking questions about the activity. In response to questions from The Post, Twitter on Tuesday suspended at least 20 accounts involved in the activity for "platform manipulation and spam." Facebook also removed a number of accounts as part of what the company said is an ongoing investigation... The months-long effort by the tax-exempt nonprofit is among the most ambitious domestic influence campaigns uncovered this election cycle, said experts tracking the evolution of deceptive online tactics. "In 2016, there were Macedonian teenagers interfering in the election by running a troll farm and writing salacious articles for money," said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab. "In this election, the troll farm is in Phoenix...." The messages — some of them false and some simply partisan — were parceled out in precise increments as directed by the effort's leaders, according to the people with knowledge of the highly coordinated activity, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the privacy of minors carrying out the work... The messages have appeared mainly as replies to news articles about politics and public health posted on social media. They seek to cast doubt on the integrity of the electoral process, asserting that Democrats are using mail balloting to steal the election — "thwarting the will of the American people," they alleged. The posts also play down the threat from covid-19, which claimed the life of Turning Point's co-founder Bill Montgomery in July... By seeking to rebut mainstream news articles, the operation illustrates the extent to which some online political activism is designed to discredit the media. While Facebook and Twitter have pledged to crack down on what they have labeled coordinated inauthentic behavior, in Facebook's case, and platform manipulation and spam, as Twitter defines its rules, their efforts falter in the face of organizations willing to pay users to post on their own accounts, maintaining the appearance of independence and authenticity. One parent even said their two teenagers had been posting the messages since June as "independent contractors" — while being paid less than minimum wage.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

The Elder Scrolls Online's new DLC, Markarth, boasts a "dangerous new zone" and "powerful, hidden secrets"

Eurogamer - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 11:16

The Elder Scrolls Online's year-long event, Dark Heart of Skyrim, is coming to a close with new DLC, Markarth.

Offering a "dangerous new zone with the Reach", a new solo arena, challenging bosses, multiple unlockable paths, and "powerful, hidden secrets", Markarth will release on PC and Mac on 2nd November 2020, and on PS4 and Xbox One on 10th November, 2020.

Revealed via a livestream, Bethesda says the new DLC will be coming to the Public Test Server tomorrow (Monday, 21st September), and there'll be "more of Markarth in the weeks to come". There's also a teaser for those not on the PTS, too.

Read more

Categories: Video Games

Newly-Released Trove of Recordings from the 1980s Includes Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 09:34
"Steve Jobs is now known for revolutionizing just about every part of the tech world, but back in 1988, he was perhaps best known for getting fired," remembers SFGate: In his first product reveal since his dismissal from Apple in 1985, Jobs unveiled a new project called NeXT at a meeting of the Boston Computer Society. An audio recording of the event was unearthed and released as part of a trove of early tech recordings released by Charles Mann, as reported in an extensive feature by Fast Company... Computing advances included a UNIX operating system that allows multi-tasking, a one million pixel display, CD quality sound and a then unprecedented 256 MB of storage. The computer would be completely built by robots rather than a human assembly line, which he said resulted in a defect rate 10 times lower than its competitors. The partnership with academia makes even more sense once you consider the price-tag of $6,500. Fast Company's tech editor Harry McCracken was at the 1988 event, and quotes Jobs as saying "The Macintosh architecture is going to peak next year sometime. And that means that there's enough cracks in the wall already, and enough limitations to the architecture, that the Mac's pretty much going to be everything it's ever going to be sometime next year." Some clips are available on Soundcloud, but the full trove of tech recordings includes 200 full hours of audio and 16 more of video (available on a USB drive for $59.95) showing luminaries from the early days of personal technology. "In 1985, for instance, a month after Commodore announced its groundbreaking Amiga computer in New York City, president Tom Rattigan came to Boston to show it to BCS members and argue that it left the Mac in the dust." Other recordings include Dan Bricklin, co-creator of VisiCalc, Osborne computer designer Adam Osborne, and investor Esther Dyson, McCracken writes: Jobs is on three recordings — one from his first Apple tenure, and two from NeXT. Bill Gates is on five. There are folks who were already legends (mobile-computing visionary Alan Kay, marketer extraordinaire Regis McKenna) and up-and-comers (budding PC tycoon Michael Dell, age 23). Everyone from Sony cofounder Akio Morita to psychedelics advocate and part-time technologist Timothy Leary is represented; just the Apple-related material, including CEO John Sculley talking about the company in the 21st century and Hypercard creator Bill Atkinson demoing his brainchild, is a feast... The audio of Jobs's NeXT demo at the BCS — and dozens of other recordings — exist solely because Mann realized more than 35 years ago that the talks going on at computer user-group meetings and conferences were history in the making... In May 1982, the BCS hosted Applefest, an Apple II-centric fair that featured already-iconic Apple cofounders Jobs and Wozniak as keynote speakers. In this excerpt, fielding a question from the audience, they talk about software copy protection. Woz does so from a technical bent; Jobs, who speaks of a future involving low prices and convenient electronic distribution, sounds like he was thinking about the App Store decades before it appeared. This is rare, rare stuff; if you know of even one other example of surviving audio or video of Jobs and Wozniak talking about Apple together, I'd love to hear about it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Last-Minute TikTok Deal Averts Shutdown

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 06:30
"President Donald Trump said Saturday he's given his 'blessing' to a proposed deal that would see the popular video-sharing app TikTok partner with Oracle and Walmart and form a U.S. company," reports CBS News: Mr. Trump has targeted Chinese-owned TikTok for national security and data privacy concerns in the latest flashpoint in the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. The president's support for a deal comes just a day after the Commerce Department announced restrictions that if put in place could eventually make it nearly impossible for TikTok's legions of younger fans to use the app. Mr. Trump said if completed the deal would create a new company likely to be based in Texas... TikTok said Oracle and Walmart could acquire up to a cumulative 20% stake in the new company in a financing round to be held before an initial public offering of stock, which Walmart said could happen within the next year. Oracle's stake would be 12.5%, and Walmart's would be 7.5%, the companies said in separate statements. The deal will make Oracle responsible for hosting all TikTok's U.S. user data and securing computer systems to ensure U.S. national security requirements are satisfied. Walmart said it will provide its ecommerce, fulfillment, payments and other services to the new company. "We are pleased that the proposal by TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart will resolve the security concerns of the U.S. administration and settle questions around TikTok's future in the U.S.," TikTok said in a statement. "According to a source close to the matter, ByteDance would keep the rest of the shares," reports a public TV station in Australia. "But since the Chinese company is 40 per cent owned by American investors, TikTok would eventually be majority American-owned." Today America's Treasury Department told CBS that the deal still needs to close with Oracle and Walmart, and those documents and conditions then need to be approved by government regulatory. But because of today's announcement, "the department said Saturday that it will delay the barring of TikTok from U.S. app stores until Sept. 27 at 11:59 p.m."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

New Reality Show's Prize? 10 Days on the International Space Station

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 03:35
CNN reports: A planned reality show will seek to give the winner of its on-air competition "the greatest prize ever given out on Earth" — a 10-day stay on the International Space Station... The production company's press release said that the team is "now looking for global brand and primary distribution partners." Space Hero is planning to open the application process for the show in the first half of 2021 before broadcasting begins in 2022, a spokesperson said via email Friday... Space Hero, which is headed by a former News Corp executive named Marty Pompadur, said it is working with Texas-based startup Axiom Space to coordinate the trip into orbit. Axiom was co-founded and led by Michael Suffredini, who led NASA's International Space Station Program from 2005 to 2015. The company plans to serve as a go-between for NASA, launch providers such as SpaceX and Boeing, and any private-sector individuals interested in booking rides to space for tourism, entertainment or other business purposes. Axiom has also said it can provide all the training necessary to prepare individuals for a trip to the ISS... Private citizens have visited the space station before: A company called Space Adventures previously organized eight trips to the International Space Station for ultra-wealthy travelers between 2001 and 2009 using Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Allowing tourists and other private citizens to make use of the space station — via SpaceX's or Boeing's new spacecraft — is part of NASA's goal of commercializing outer space. CNN notes that Axiom is also handling the training and coordination for that Tom Cruise movie that's going to be filmed in space.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

'At This Point, 5G is a Bad Joke'

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 01:49
An anonymous reader shared this skeptical opinion piece from Computerworld: Let's start with the name itself. There is no single "5G." There are, in fact, three different varieties, with very different kinds of performance... But, what most people want, what most people lust for is 1Gbps speeds with less than 10 milliseconds of latency... [T]o get that kind of speed you must have mmWave 5G — and it comes with a lot of caveats. First, it has a range, at best, of 150 meters. If you're driving, that means, until 5G base stations are everywhere, you're going to be losing your high-speed signal a lot. Practically speaking, for the next few years, if you're on the move, you're not going to be seeing high-speed 5G. And, even if you are in range of a 5G base station, anything — and I mean anything — can block its high-frequency signal. Window glass, for instance, can stop it dead. So, you could have a 5G transceiver literally on your street corner and not be able to get a good signal. How bad is this? NTT DoCoMo, Japan's top mobile phone service provider, is working on a new kind of window glass, just so their mmWave 5G will work. I don't know about you, but I don't want to shell out a few grand to replace my windows just to get my phone to work. Let's say, though, that you've got a 5G phone and you're sure you can get 5G service — what kind of performance can you really expect? According to Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler, you can expect to see a "diddly squat" 5G performance... ["roughly the same as on 4G LTE," while some places "actually have been slower."] It wasn't just him, since he lives in that technology backwater known as the San Francisco bay area. He checked with several national firms tracking 5G performance. They found that all three major U.S. telecom networks' 5G isn't that much faster than 4G. Indeed, OpenSignal reports that U.S. 5G users saw an average speed of 33.4Mbps. Better than 4G, yes, but not "Wow! This is great!" speeds most people seem to be dreaming of. It's also, I might add, much worse than any other country using 5G, with the exception of the United Kingdom.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Oracle's Plan to Keep Java Developers from Leaving for Rust and Kotlin

Slashdot - Sun, 20/09/2020 - 00:39
ZDNet reports: Oracle has released version 15 of Java, the language created 25 years ago by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems, which Oracle snapped up in 2009 for about $7.4bn to gain what it said was the "most important software Oracle has ever acquired". Java 15, or Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) 15, brings the Edwards-Curve digital signature algorithm, hidden classes, and former preview features that have been finalized, including text blocks, and the Z Garbage Collector, while the sealed-classes feature arrives and pattern matching and records emerge as a second preview... In July, Java fell out of RedMonk's top two positions for the first time since 2012 and now resides behind JavaScript and Python in terms of popularity. Tiobe in September ranked Java in second position, behind C and ahead of Python.... But Java is still hugely popular and widely used in the enterprise, according to Oracle, which notes it is used by over 69% of full-time developers worldwide... It counts Arm, Amazon, IBM, Intel, NTT Data, Red Hat, SAP and Tencent among its list of notable contributors to JDK 15. Oracle also gave a special mention to Microsoft and cloud system monitoring service DataDog for fixes... As part of Java's 25th anniversary, Oracle commissioned analyst firm Omdia to assess its six-month release strategy for Java and whether it would be enough to keep millions of Java developers away from memory-safe alternatives such as Kotlin, the language Google has endorsed for Android development, and Rust, a system programming language that was created at Mozilla. "In Omdia's opinion, the work Oracle began a few years ago in moving to a six-month update cycle and introducing a new level of modularity, puts the vendor in good stead with its constituency of approximately 12 million developers," Oracle said in its report on Omdia's analysis. "However, Oracle and the Java programming language need an ongoing series of innovative, must-have, and 'delightful' features that make the language even more user friendly and cloud capable. These will keep existing Java developers happy while steering potential Java developers away from newer languages like Rust and Kotlin."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Should Employers Cut Your Salary If You Change Cities?

Slashdot - Sat, 19/09/2020 - 23:41
CNN reports: Stripe is paying employees $20,000 if they relocate from expensive cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York, where the company has offices. But workers who make the move will have to take a 10% pay cut. "Twitter Inc. and ServiceNow Inc. have all considered similar measures," reports Bloomberg. And Forbes notes that other companies are also grappling with similar policies: According to Bloomberg, "employees who worked at VMware's Palo Alto, California, headquarters and go to Denver, for example, must accept an 18% salary reduction. Leaving Silicon Valley for Los Angeles or San Diego means relinquishing 8% of their annual pay." Rich Lang, VMware's senior vice president of human resources, offered a positive alternative. When a person relocates and works remotely, they "could get a raise if they chose to move to a larger or more expensive city..." Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg forewarned his personnel, saying those who flee to lower-cost cities "may have their compensation adjusted based on their new locations." The chief executive added, "We'll adjust salary to your location at that point. There'll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
Syndicate content