Linux fréttir

Among those pardoned by Trump this week: Software maker ex-CEO who admitted hacking into rivals' systems

TheRegister - 2 hours 22 min ago
There's always a tech angle

The former CEO of education software business Symplicity was pardoned by President Donald Trump this week, almost six years after the suit admitted hacking into two rivals’ computer systems.…

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Protein-Powered Device Creates Electricity From Moisture In the Air

Slashdot - 2 hours 55 min ago
Slashdot readers fahrbot-bot and operator_error share a report from Phys.Org: Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air, a new technology they say could have significant implications for the future of renewable energy, climate change and in the future of medicine. As reported today in Nature, the laboratories of electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley at UMass Amherst have created a device they call an "Air-gen," or air-powered generator, with electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter. The Air-gen connects electrodes to the protein nanowires in such a way that electrical current is generated from the water vapor naturally present in the atmosphere. The new technology developed in Yao's lab is non-polluting, renewable and low-cost. It can generate power even in areas with extremely low humidity such as the Sahara Desert. It has significant advantages over other forms of renewable energy including solar and wind, Lovley says, because unlike these other renewable energy sources, the Air-gen does not require sunlight or wind, and "it even works indoors." The Air-gen device requires only a thin film of protein nanowires less than 10 microns thick, the researchers explain. The bottom of the film rests on an electrode, while a smaller electrode that covers only part of the nanowire film sits on top. The film adsorbs water vapor from the atmosphere. A combination of the electrical conductivity and surface chemistry of the protein nanowires, coupled with the fine pores between the nanowires within the film, establishes the conditions that generate an electrical current between the two electrodes. "We are literally making electricity out of thin air," says Yao. "The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7." Lovely adds, "It's the most amazing and exciting application of protein nanowires yet." The current generation of Air-gen devices can power small electronics, and they are expected to be brought to commercial scale soon.

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Redbox Enters the Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Market

Slashdot - 3 hours 35 min ago
Redbox has entered the ad-supported streaming market with the launch of Redbox Free Live TV. "But despite its name, Redbox's new streaming service isn't offering 'live TV' similar to what you'd get on a TV streaming service like YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV," reports TechCrunch. "Instead, the new service offers a curated set of ad-supported movies and TV shows, similar to The Roku Channel, IMDb TV or TiVo Plus, for example." The news was first reported by Cord Cutters News. From the report: The service, which began rolling out last week, expands on Redbox's earlier efforts in streaming, known as Redbox on Demand. Launched publicly in 2017, Redbox on Demand is the company's online marketplace for movies and TV for rental and purchase. Those titles can then be saved in your Redbox On Demand library and watched on a compatible smart TV, media streaming device, PC, tablet or phone. They also can be cast to a TV by way of AirPlay, Chromecast, Miracast or Screencast. Redbox Free Live TV, meanwhile, is currently available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices, in addition to the web. However, the company says the service is "only available to a select audience" at this time, but will soon be offered nationwide. (Perhaps as soon as this week.) Like other free, ad-supported streaming services on the market, Redbox Free Live TV doesn't require users to subscribe, but instead runs commercial breaks as a means of generating revenue. On top of that, the content on Redbox Free Live TV is fairly niche -- news and entertainment, but limited to older shows and movies, for the most part, along with content from digital brands.

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One man is standing up to Donald Trump's ban on US chip tech going to Huawei. That man... is Donald Trump

TheRegister - 3 hours 54 min ago
President slams his administration's 'ridiculous' China crackdown

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wants America's semiconductor industry to be able to do business around the globe, calling into question a reported trade rule change targeting Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei.…

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SpaceX Wants To Launch 4 Tourists Into Super High Orbit

Slashdot - 4 hours 18 min ago
SpaceX is working with Space Adventures to launch up to four tourists into a super high orbit, possible by the end of next year. "Ticket prices are not being divulged but expected to be in the millions," reports NBC Los Angeles. From the report: For this trip, paying customers will skip the space station and instead orbit two to three times higher, or roughly 500 miles to 750 miles above Earth. It's a lofty goal that would approach the record 850-mile-high orbit achieved by Gemini 11's Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon in 1966. The tourist flight "will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement. SpaceX will use the same kind of Dragon capsule that will launch NASA astronauts to the space station, possibly in another few months. The capsule has flown only once in space so far, making its debut last year in a successful test flight without a crew. Space Adventures spokeswoman Stacey Tearne said the tourist flight could occur in the last quarter of 2021. The company is in discussions with "several potential clients." No professional pilot or astronaut will be required, Tearne said, because the Dragon is fully autonomous. But passengers will be able to control the spacecraft if required, she said in an email.

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Almost Half of Connected Medical Devices Are Vulnerable To Hackers Exploiting BlueKeep

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Connected medical devices are twice as likely to be vulnerable to the BlueKeep exploit than other devices on hospital networks, putting patients and staff at additional risk from cyber attacks. This is especially concerning when healthcare is already such a popular target for hacking campaigns. BlueKeep is a vulnerability in Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) service which was discovered last year, and impacts Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008. According to figures in a new report from researchers at healthcare cybersecurity company CyberMDX, 22% of all Windows devices in a typical hospital are exposed to BlueKeep because they haven't received the relevant patches. And when it comes to connected medical devices running on Windows, the figure rises to 45% -- meaning almost half are vulnerable. Connected devices on hospital networks can include radiology equipment, monitors, x-ray and ultrasound devices, anesthesia machines and more. If these devices aren't patched, it's possible that destructive cyber attacks searching for machines vulnerable to BlueKeep could put hospital networks -- and patients -- at risk. "One of the key problems for hospitals is that many devices are classed as obsolete: Windows 7, for example, is vulnerable to BlueKeep and no longer supported by Microsoft, but remains common across hospital networks," adds ZDNet. "Any further vulnerabilities uncovered in Windows 7 -- and other out-of-support operating systems -- aren't guaranteed security patches, leaving networks potentially at further risk going forward."

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Google Stadia Is Coming To Samsung, Asus, and Razer Phones On February 20th

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 23:00
In a blog post today, Google announced that Stadia will work on some Android phones from Samsung, Asus, and Razer starting on February 20th. Up until this point, Stadia only worked on certain Pixel phones. The Verge reports: Here's the full list of the 19 newly supported phones, which includes the Samsung Galaxy S20 line that's releasing on March 6th: [Samsung Galaxy S8 --> Galaxy S20 Ultra, Razer Phone, Razer Phone 2, Asus ROG Phone, and Asus ROG Phone II.] These new additions -- combined with the current support for the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3A, Pixel 3A XL, and Pixel 4 -- mean that you can now play Stadia games on 26 different Android phones. Stadia's iOS app doesn't let you play games, though, so you will have to keep waiting if you want to play Stadia games on your iPhone or iPad.

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Google Cloud rolls up in an AMD second-gen Epyc test car, looks you in the eye, pats the passenger seat

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-02-18 22:49
Meanwhile: Chip fabs still running just fine in China, FYI, says analyst

Google has added rentable virtual machines powered by AMD's second-generation Epyc Rome server processors to its cloud platform line-up – as a beta, we note.…

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We've Just Seen the First Use of Deepfakes In an Indian Election Campaign

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 22:40
The Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has partnered with political communications firm The Ideaz Factory to create "positive campaigns" using deepfakes to reach different linguistic voter bases, reports Nilesh Christopher reports via Motherboard. It marks the debut of deepfakes in election campaigns in India. From the report: On February 7, a day ahead of the Legislative Assembly elections in Delhi, two videos of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Manoj Tiwari criticizing the incumbent Delhi government of Arvind Kejriwal went viral on WhatsApp. While one video had Tiwari speak in English, the other was him speaking in the Hindi dialect of Haryanvi. "[Kejriwal] cheated us on the basis of promises. But now Delhi has a chance to change it all. Press the lotus button on February 8 to form the Modi-led government," he said. One may think that this 44-second monologue might be a part of standard political outreach, but there is one thing that's not standard: These videos were not real. [The original video can be viewed here.] "Deepfake technology has helped us scale campaign efforts like never before," Neelkant Bakshi, co-incharge of social media and IT for BJP Delhi, tells VICE. "The Haryanvi videos let us convincingly approach the target audience even if the candidate didn't speak the language of the voter." Tiwari's fabricated video was used widely to dissuade the large Haryanvi-speaking migrant worker population in Delhi from voting for the rival political party. According to Bakshi, these deepfakes were distributed across 5,800 WhatsApp groups in the Delhi and NCR region, reaching approximately 15 million people.

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Got a few million burning a hole in your pocket? Why not hitch a robo-ride with SpaceX for orbital hols in 2021-ish?

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-02-18 22:04
Elon touts tickets for a trip on his autonomous space tourism capsule

Updated SpaceX has pledged to carry four passengers into Earth orbit aboard its Crew Dragon capsule – its first crewed mission for private space tourism – as early as 2021.…

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ISPs Sue Maine, Claim Web-Privacy Law Violates Their Free-Speech Rights

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 22:03
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The broadband industry is suing Maine to stop a Web-browsing privacy law similar to the one killed by Congress and President Donald Trump in 2017. Industry groups claim the state law violates First Amendment protections on free speech and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution. The Maine law was signed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills in June 2019 and is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020. It requires ISPs to get customers' opt-in consent before using or sharing sensitive data. As Mills' announcement in June said, the state law "prohibits a provider of broadband Internet access service from using, disclosing, selling, or permitting access to customer personal information unless the customer expressly consents to that use, disclosure, sale or access. The legislation also prohibits a provider from refusing to serve a customer, charging a customer a penalty or offering a customer a discount if the customer does or does not consent to the use, disclosure, sale or access of their personal information." Customer data protected by this law includes Web-browsing history, application-usage history, precise geolocation data, the content of customers' communications, IP addresses, device identifiers, financial and health information, and personal details used for billing. Home Internet providers and wireless carriers don't want to seek customer permission before using Web-browsing histories and similar data for advertising or other purposes. On Friday, the four major lobby groups representing the cable, telco, and wireless industries sued the state in US District Court for the District of Maine, seeking an injunction that would prevent enforcement of the law. In the lawsuit, the groups said the state law "imposes unprecedented and unduly burdensome restrictions on ISPs', and only ISPs', protected speech," while imposing no requirements on other companies that deliver services over the internet. The plaintiffs are America's Communications Association, CTIA, NCTA, and USTelecom. The law allegedly violates the First Amendment because it "limits ISPs from advertising or marketing non-communications-related services to their customers; and prohibits ISPs from offering price discounts, rewards in loyalty programs, or other cost-saving benefits in exchange for a customer's consent to use their personal information," the lawsuit claims. As for how the Maine law violates the Supremacy Clause, the lawsuit says it's "because it allows consumers to dictate (by opting out or declining to opt in) when ISPs can use or disclose information that they must rely on to comply with federal law, rendering 'compliance with both' state and the foregoing federal laws 'impossible.'"

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Fast-and-Loose Culture of Esports is Upending Once Staid World of Chess

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 21:25
Grandmasters and upstarts are reinventing the game online, becoming its most visible ambassadors and arguably its first entertainers. From a report: On Twitch, the most popular internet platform to livestream esports, time spent watching chess has risen by more than 500 percent since 2016, according to data from the company. With that consumption has come some money, mostly donations from viewers facilitated by Twitch but also in sponsorship dollars. That growth persuaded Botez in September to try livestreaming chess full time. She now has more than 60,000 followers on Twitch. And while streaming is offering players like Botez a new way to make a living from their chess skills, it's also giving new life to one of the oldest games in the world. "It's crazy to me to have this kind of support and this kind of viewership online for chess," Botez said. "Chess has always been a passion of mine, but it was never something that was popular. It was never something I would have imagined would have grown to what it is today." Chess came to the attention of Twitch less than four years ago, when the company formed a partnership with Chess.com, the largest chess website, with almost 33 million members. "Across all the different various competitive games on Twitch, chess has seen some of the most substantial growth in the same period of time than any other esport in the world," said Justin Dellario, Twitch's vice president of global esports. The rise of esports -- both in terms of competitive gaming and more social online gaming -- first gained attention in the 1990s and the early 2000s before emerging in the past 10 years. The gaming and esports market research company Newzoo forecast that 2019 esports revenues would hit $1.1 billion. Twitch is by far the largest esports platform. Chess hasn't enjoyed similar growth. While the game has a young, marketable genius in world champion Magnus Carlsen, it has struggled to attract the kind of money that can help sustain its growth.

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Hard Disk Dri, er, Connive: Two sales execs accused by Uncle Sam of bumping up HDD component prices

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-02-18 20:45
Japanese supplier's biz model, like its products, were straight as a spring

Two former sales executives at NHK Spring Ltd, Hitoshi Hashimoto and Hiroyuki Tamura, were indicted in America last week for alleged participation in a worldwide conspiracy to fix the prices of hard disk components.…

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Can Solar Power Compete With Coal? In India, It's Gaining Ground

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 20:45
Electricity from sunlight costs less, a hopeful sign for developing nations building out their power grids. From a report: In a dusty northwest India desert dotted with cows and the occasional camel, a solar-power plant is producing some of the world's cheapest energy. Built in 2018 by India's Acme Solar Holdings, it can generate 200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power all the homes in a middle-size U.S. town. Acme sells the electricity to distributors for 2.44 rupees (3.4 cents) a kilowatt-hour, a record low for solar power in India, a country that data trackers say has the world's cheapest solar energy. More remarkable, the power costs less to generate in India than the cheapest competing fossil fuel -- coal -- even with subsidies removed and the cost of construction and financing figured in, according to the Indian government and industry trackers. Price-conscious Indian utilities are eager to snap up that power. "We are infamous for low cost," says Sandeep Kashyap, Acme's president. Solar power has entered a new global era. The industry was long dependent on subsidies and regulatory promotions. Now, technological innovation and falling solar-panel prices have made solar power inexpensive enough to compete on its own with other fuel sources in some regions [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled.], when it comes to newly built plants. That could turbocharge growth of renewables in the global energy industry, especially in fast-growing Asian markets where much of the world's energy infrastructure expansion will take place. Governments in many solar markets -- including China, the biggest -- are phasing out or reducing supports. Solar-plant development is going mainstream, with finance provided by global investors like Goldman Sachs Group, Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund GIC and huge Western pension and private-equity funds.

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This Could Be Microsoft's Most Important Product in 2020. If it Works

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 20:04
Alfred Ng, writing for CNET: Building 83 doesn't stand out on Microsoft's massive Redmond, Washington, headquarters. But last week, the nameless structure hosted what might be the software giant's most important product of 2020. Tucked away in the corner of a meeting room, a sign reading "ElectionGuard" identifies a touchscreen that asks people to cast their votes. An Xbox adaptive controller is connected to it, as are an all-white printer and a white ballot box for paper votes. If you didn't look carefully, you might have mistaken all that for an array of office supplies. ElectionGuard is open-source voting-machine software that Microsoft announced in May 2019. In Microsoft's demo, voters make their choices by touchscreen before printing out two copies. A voter is supposed to double-check one copy before placing it into a ballot box to be counted by election workers. The other is a backup record with a QR code the voter can use to check that the vote was counted after polls close. With ElectionGuard, Microsoft isn't setting out to create an unhackable vote -- no one thinks that's possible -- but rather a vote in which hacks would be quickly noticed. The product demo was far quieter than the typical big tech launch. No flashy lights or hordes of company employees cheering their own product, like Microsoft's dual screen phone, its highly anticipated dual-screen laptop or its new Xbox Series X. And yet, if everything goes right, ElectionGuard could have an impact that lasts well beyond the flashy products in Microsoft's pipeline. ElectionGuard addresses what has become a crucial concern in US democracy: the integrity of the vote. The software is designed to establish end-to-end verification for voting machines. A voter can check whether his or her vote was counted. If a hacker had managed to alter a vote, it would be immediately obvious because encryption attached to the vote wouldn't have changed. The open-source software has been available since last September. But Microsoft gets its first real-world test on Tuesday, when ElectionGuard is used in a local vote in Fulton, Wisconsin.

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Instagram influencer fools followers into thinking Ikea photoshoot was Bali holiday

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-02-18 19:29
Following this?

An Instagram/YouTube ad horse has carried out a cunning meta-Marshall McLuhan-style spoof by faking an influencer holiday in Bali photographed entirely in her local Ikea.…

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China Enlists Tech Titans To Help It Track Coronavirus With Color-Based QR Codes

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 19:25
In its latest dystopian stab at curbing the spread of COVID-19, the Chinese government has employed two of the biggest tech giants in Asia to help it roll out a nationwide color-based tracking system to keep tabs on those suffering from coronavirus symptoms, according to a new report. From a report: Companies enlisted for this real-life sci-fi movie endeavor to contain COVID-19 -- the World Health Organization's name for the deadly coronavirus behind this global health emergency -- include Alibaba Group Holdings, Asia's largest digital advertising, e-commerce, and cloud platform as well as Tencent Holdings, one of the world's largest video game companies and the force behind the popular messaging app WeChat. As part of a collaboration with Beijing, Alipay, a payment app operated by Alibaba's subsidiary Ant Financial, recently released a new feature that sends a color-based QR code to individuals via smartphone based on their answers to an online health survey. Depending on what symptoms they've been experiencing or whether they've traveled recently, they're assigned one of three colors that's tied to their ID number. Green means the user can travel freely; yellow prompts instructions for the user to remain quarantined for seven days; and red -- used in the most severe cases -- carries a 14-day quarantine period and instructs users to regularly check-in via an Alibaba chat app.

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Are Plastic Containers Safe For Our Food? Experts Say It's Hard To Know

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 18:45
Many of us have an overflowing kitchen cupboard of plastic containers to store our leftovers. But as awareness grows over the health and environmental pitfalls of plastic, some consumers may be wondering: Is it time to ditch that stash of old deli containers? From a report: Only 9% of all the plastic waste ever created has been recycled. From its contributions to global heating and pollution, to the chemicals and microplastics that migrate into our bodies, the food chain and the environment, the true cost of this cheap material is becoming more apparent. There are thousands of compounds found in plastic products across the food chain, and relatively little is known about most of them. But what we do know of some chemicals contained in plastic is concerning. Phthalates, for example, which are used to make plastic more flexible and are found in food packaging and plastic wrap, have been found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in measurable levels across the US population (including in the body of Guardian journalist Emily Holden). They have been linked to reproductive dysfunction in animal studies and some researchers have suggested [PDF] links to decreased fertility, neurodevelopmental issues and asthma in humans. BPA, another chemical widely added to food plastics and can linings, has been subject to increasing regulations after studies linked the chemical to neonatal and infant brain and reproductive harm. But BPS and BPF, two common replacements used in products marketed as "BPA-free," may have similar effects to their predecessor: studies out of both the University of Texas and Washington State University found that even at a dose of one part per trillion, BPS could disrupt cell functioning. A 2019 study from New York University linked childhood obesity with BPS and BPF. There are many other chemicals added to plastic during production, and researchers concede that many gaps remain in our understanding of how they affect health and development. But research that is adding to concerns about the "miracle material" is growing.

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Japan would like to offer 5G firms cheap loans – because subsidies are only bad when Huawei gets them

TheRegister - Tue, 2020-02-18 18:30
Look over here! Mmmmm, tax breaks

In an effort to counter the influence and spread of Chinese-built kit, the Japanese government has approved a draft bill that will offer low-cost finance to firms looking to develop 5G and drone technologies.…

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20 Years After Dot-Com Peak, Tech Dominance Keeps Investors on Edge

Slashdot - Tue, 2020-02-18 18:06
As Wall Street approaches the 20th anniversary of the piercing of the dot-com bubble, today's decade-old rally led by a few small players shows some similarities that cautious investors are keeping an eye on. From a report: March 11, 2000 marked the beginning of a crash of overly-inflated stocks that would last over two years, lead to the failure of investor favorites including Worldcom and Pets.com and take over 13 years for Wall Street to recover from. That bust ended a 1,000% decade-long Nasdaq .IXIC rally that had been fueled by low interest rates and a rush to invest in the emerging World Wide Web, often at any cost. Now, after hitting a record high on Feb. 13, the Nasdaq has reached over 9,700 points, almost double its high point in 2000 and about eight times the level of its trough in 2002. Among the so-called "Four Horsemen" of tech stocks that fueled much of the 1990s tech rally, only Microsoft's stock price has recovered from the dot-com bust. Intel and Cisco Systems remain below their 2000 highs, while Dell, the fourth member, has since been taken private and then relisted on the stock market. Microsoft is dueling with Apple for the title of Wall Street's most valuable publicly listed company, with its stock quadrupling since CEO Satya Nadella took over as chief in 2014 and refocused the maker of Windows on cloud computing, a technology central to the current rally in Silicon Valley stocks. With a market capitalization of $1.4 trillion, Microsoft is now trading at over 30 times expected earnings, its highest valuation since 2002, but still less than half of the highest PE it reached during the dot-com era. Intel and Cisco, no longer among Wall Street's most-favored tech stocks after investors refocused on software, are trading at PEs in line with recent years. Further reading: NYU Professor Scott Galloway adds: In the last 13 months Apple and Amazon have added Disney, AT&T/Time Warner, Fox, Netflix, Comcast, Viacom, MGM, Discovery, and Lionsgate to their market capitalization.

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