Linux fréttir

Microsoft bins Azure Blockchain without explanation, gives users four months to move

TheRegister - 1 hour 25 min ago
Says picking a replacement is your next step. Seriously, that’s Redmond's first piece of advice. Eventually it recommends Quorum

Microsoft has announced the imminent death of its Azure Blockchain service.…

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Neural Implant Lets Paralyzed Person Type By Imaging Writing

Slashdot - 2 hours 54 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: This week, the academic community provided a rather impressive example of the promise of neural implants. Using an implant, a paralyzed individual managed to type out roughly 90 characters per minute simply by imagining that he was writing those characters out by hand. Somewhere in our writing thought process, we form the intention of using a specific character, and using an implant to track this intention could potentially work. Unfortunately, the process is not especially well understood. Downstream of that intention, a decision is transmitted to the motor cortex, where it's translated into actions. Again, there's an intent stage, where the motor cortex determines it will form the letter (by typing or writing, for example), which is then translated into the specific muscle motions required to perform the action. These processes are much better understood, and they're what the research team targeted for their new work. Specifically, the researchers placed two implants in the premotor cortex of a paralyzed person. This area is thought to be involved in forming the intentions to perform movements. Catching these intentions is much more likely to produce a clear signal than catching the movements themselves, which are likely to be complex (any movement involves multiple muscles) and depend on context (where your hand is relative to the page you're writing on, etc.). With the implants in the right place, the researchers asked the participant to imagine writing letters on a page and recorded the neural activity as he did so. Altogether, there were roughly 200 electrodes in the participant's premotor cortex. Not all of them were informative for letter-writing. But for those that were, the authors performed a principal component analysis, which identified the features of the neural recordings that differed the most when various letters were imagined. Converting these recordings into a two-dimensional plot, it was obvious that the activity seen when writing a single character always clustered together. And physically similar characters -- p and b, for example, or h, n, and r -- formed clusters near each other. (The researchers also asked the participant to do punctuation marks like a comma and question mark and used a > to indicate a space and a tilde for a period.) Overall, the researchers found they could decipher the appropriate character with an accuracy of a bit over 94 percent, but the system required a relatively slow analysis after the neural data was recorded. To get things working in real time, the researchers trained a recurrent neural network to estimate the probability of a signal corresponding to each letter. Despite working with a relatively small amount of data (only 242 sentences' worth of characters), the system worked remarkably well. The lag between the thought and a character appearing on screen was only about half a second, and the participant was able to produce about 90 characters per minute, easily topping the previous record for implant-driven typing, which was about 25 characters per minute. The raw error rate was only about 5 percent, and applying a system like a typing autocorrect could drop the error rate down to only 1 percent. The tests were all done with prepared sentences. Once the system was validated, however, the researchers asked the participant to type out free-form answers to questions. Here, the speed went down a bit (to 75 characters a minute) and errors went up to 2 percent after autocorrection, but the system still worked. The findings have been published in the journal Nature.

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India’s vaccination-booking API criticised for excluding millions, bugs, and elitism

TheRegister - 3 hours 26 min ago
It’s buggy, struggling to scale and lacks a dedicated privacy policy

As India struggles to cope with its savage second wave of COVID-19 infections, its government is being criticised for an API that critics say is creating inequities in the nation’s vaccination program.…

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Elon Musk hits the brakes on taking Bitcoin for Tesla purchases

TheRegister - 5 hours 21 min ago
CEO wakes up to BTC's connection to coal, holds onto the stash until mining becomes more eco friendly

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced his electric car maker will stop accepting Bitcoin payments for its vehicles.…

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GasBuddy Tops Apple App Store Amid Gas Shortages From Colonial Pipeline Shutdown

Slashdot - 5 hours 34 min ago
GasBuddy, an app that helps users find and save money on gas, topped the Apple App Store on Wednesday, as some consumers across the East Coast continue to struggle to find fuel after a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline. CNBC reports: The company's pipeline has served as a vital link between the Gulf Coast refiners and the Eastern Seaboard, but the company had to take its entire system offline Friday after it fell victim to a ransomware attack. Much of the system is still offline. Now, consumers are flocking to grab gas before tanks run out. Sixty-five percent of stations in North Carolina are out of fuel, according to data from GasBuddy. In South Carolina and Georgia, 43% of stations are without fuel, and 44% of stations are dry in Virginia, according to AAA. Gas prices have also surged because of the supply issues and fear of shortages. On average, Americans are paying $3.008 for a gallon of gas, up from $2.985 on Tuesday and $2.927 one week ago, AAA said earlier this week. This has all led consumers to seek gas stations that have supply and potentially cheaper prices. That's where GasBuddy comes in.

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When it comes to cybersecurity, there's always time for summer school or winter training

TheRegister - 6 hours 2 min ago
Get ready for SANS Institute's biggest ever Asia-Pacific training event

Promo Whatever your plans for the third quarter of 2021, an emerging security vulnerability or a network security breach has the potential to throw them into disarray. Unless, of course, you’ve made the effort to hone your existing skills or expand your knowledge into new areas ahead of time.…

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Apple-Epic Judge Hints at Compromise in Feud Over App Store

Slashdot - 6 hours 14 min ago
The judge overseeing the high-stakes trial between Epic Games and Apple hinted at a compromise that turns on the iPhone maker allowing developers to inform users through their mobile apps that they can buy virtual goods on the web at a cheaper cost. From a report: U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers appeared to be looking for middle ground while hearing from economists called by both companies as expert witnesses in a case that threatens to upend the multibillion-dollar marketplace for apps that run on mobile phones around the world. The judge questioned Apple's App Store rule that blocks developers from including a link or other information in their apps to steer users away from the store to buy virtual goods elsewhere online at a discounted rate. The anti-steering policy is at the heart of Epic's argument that Apple maintains a near-monopoly and juices profits by barring developers from offering alternative payment options in their apps. "What's so bad about it anyway, for consumers to have choice?" Gonzalez Rogers asked Richard Schmalensee, an economist and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, who was testifying Wednesday as an expert witness for Apple in the second week of trial in Oakland, California. Her question drew pushback from Schmalensee, who noted that the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 2018 ruling, threw out a lawsuit that accused American Express of thwarting competition by prohibiting merchants from steering customers to cards with lower fees. "If the app vendor can say, if you press this button you can buy this for less, that means the App Store can't collect its commission," Schmalensee said. That amounts to "undercutting" Apple's App Store sales, he said. Gonzalez Rogers said she didn't think the situations were "factually the same."

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Valve's Gabe Newell Teases Console-Related Plans For Steam Games

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 23:30
Gabe Newell, the co-founder and president of Valve, has hinted that the company could bring Steam games to consoles during a recent question and answer session. TechRadar reports: The session took place at Sancta Maria College in Auckland, New Zealand, and a student's question and Newell's answer were recorded and uploaded to Reddit by user Odysseic (via VGC). When asked "will Steam be porting any games to console, or will it just stay on PC?", Newell somewhat hesitantly replies "You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year," adding, "and it won't be the answer you expect. You'll say, "Ah-ha! Now I get what he was talking about.'" Newell's comments are, of course, pretty vague and have caused a great deal of speculation. The most common interpretation of his words is that Valve could be planning to bring its own games, currently available on Steam, to consoles in the future. Valve games have previously been ported to consoles so this is perfectly possible.

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FCC starts probing effects of semiconductor drought on the US telecoms supply chain

TheRegister - Wed, 2021-05-12 23:16
If only there was a business to consult about chip shortages? Ah, that's right. Huawei, awks

America's communications watchdog has issued a public request for comments from telco providers and suppliers to see how they're faring amid the ongoing chip crunch.…

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Researchers Have Developed a Way To Wirelessly Charge Vehicles On the Road

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 22:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Jalopnik: [R]esearchers at Cornell University, led by Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Khurram Afridi, have developed technology that would allow vehicles to be charged on the road while in motion. It would essentially turn U.S. roadways into wireless chargers. Afrindi says he has been working on the tech for the last seven years. Here's how it would work, according to Afrindi via Business Insider: "'Highways would have a charging lane, sort of like a high occupancy lane,' Afridi told Insider. 'If you were running out of battery you would move into the charging lane. It would be able to identify which car went into the lane and it would later send you a bill.' The science behind Afridi's project goes back over 100 years to Nikola Tesla, the inventor who used alternating electric fields to power lights without plugging them in. Afridi's technology would embed special metal plates in the road that are connected to a powerline and a high frequency inverter. The plates will create alternating electric fields that attract and repel a pair of matching plates attached to the bottom of the EV.No need to worry about stopping to charge unless you're down for the night. They have run into a problem, however. They can't seem to find the parts that can handle the high levels of power needed to charge vehicles enough while they are in motion. It would have to be a material that's not only weatherproof but able to withstand high voltage and heat from the passing vehicles."

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Pentagon backs away from labeling smartphone maker Xiaomi a military org run by China's communist elite

TheRegister - Wed, 2021-05-12 22:29
Biz to be removed from naughty list following out-of-court settlement

The Pentagon has agreed it will no longer label Xiaomi a Communist Chinese military company after the smartphone maker sued Uncle Sam to overturn the designation.…

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Bill To Ban TikTok On US Government Devices Passes Committee

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 22:10
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed a bill that would ban U.S. federal workers from downloading the popular app TikTok onto U.S. government devices, Senator Josh Hawley, a bill sponsor, said in a press statement on Wednesday. Reuters reports: The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a similar measure in August 2020. Representative Ken Buck has introduced a similar bill in the House. The app, which is popular with teens eager to show off dance moves, has come under fire in the United States because of concerns over its Chinese owner, ByteDance. TikTok has sought to distance itself from Beijing with mixed success. Hawley called the company "an immediate security threat." "This should not be a partisan issue and I'm glad to see my colleagues in the Senate act together to address Beijing's covert data collection campaign," Hawley said in a statement after the vote.

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Colonial Announces Pipeline Restart After Being Shut Down For Five Days Due To Cyberattack

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 21:50
Colonial Pipeline, operator of the largest U.S. fuel pipeline, said Wednesday it is restarting operations after being shut down for five days due to a cyberattack. NBC News reports: The company shut down its entire operation Friday after its financial computer networks were infected by a Russia-tied hacker gang known as DarkSide, fearing that the hackers could spread to its industrial operations as well. The shutdown led to widespread gasoline shortages and caused temporary price spikes. "Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today at approximately 5 p.m. ET," the company said in a statement on its website. "Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal."

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Vizio Makes Nearly As Much Money From Ads and Data As It Does From TVs

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 21:30
In Vizio's first public earnings report today, the company revealed that in the first three months of 2021, profits from its Platform+ business -- the part that sells viewer data and advertising space via the SmartCast platform -- were $38.4 million. Engadget reports: As execs said on the call, the company continues to court relationships with brands and agencies, following the same plan laid out six years ago with a business built on its Inscape Automated Content Recognition tech. Its device business (the part that sells TVs, sound bars and the like) had a gross profit of $48.2 million in the same period, up from $32.5 million last year. While the hardware business has significantly more revenue, profits from data and advertising spiked 152 percent from last year, and are quickly catching up. Vizio did say that hardware profits were affected by products getting stuck at ports due to a shipping glut that has impacted many companies over the last year, buts forecast is that Platform+ revenue and profit will continue to grow in Q2, as device profit margins "trend toward the single digits." Vizio said it now has 13.4 million active SmartCast accounts, with viewers spending 52 percent of their viewing time on SmartCast inputs (the built-in apps, or casting from another device). 34 percent of viewing time went to linear TV, with 7 percent for game consoles or over the top devices. If you have a Vizio TV, you can opt out of anonymized tracking by following these steps.

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If you said the semiconductor shortage will last until Q2 2022, you would be correct, according to Gartner

TheRegister - Wed, 2021-05-12 21:19
Chip in if you want more chips, analyst house suggests

Gartner indicated today the ongoing chip shortages are likely to persist until the second quarter of 2022 as production simply can't keep pace with orders.…

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328 Weaknesses Found By WA Auditor-General In 50 Local Government Systems

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 20:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: The Auditor-General of Western Australia on Wednesday tabled a report into the computer systems used at 50 local government entities, revealing 328 control weakness across the group. It was Auditor-General Caroline Spencer's intention to list the entities, but given the nature of her findings, all case studies included in Local Government General Computer Controls [PDF] omit entity, and system, names. The report states that none of the 11 entities that the Auditor-General performed capability maturity assessments on met minimum targets. For the remaining 39, general computer controls audits were conducted. The audit probed information security, business continuity, management of IT risks, IT operations, change control, and physical security. Of the 328 control weaknesses, 33 rated as significant and 236 as moderate. Like last year, nearly half of all issues were about information security. The capability assessment results, meanwhile, showed that none of the 11 audited entities met the auditor's expectations across the six control categories, with 79% of the audit results below the minimum benchmark. [...] The report provided six recommendations, one for each of the security types audited. These included implementing appropriate frameworks and management structures, identifying IT risks, and patching.

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Apple's Find My network can be abused to leak secrets to the outside world via passing devices

TheRegister - Wed, 2021-05-12 20:28
You gotta work hard for those three-bytes-a-second transfers, though

Apple's Find My network, used to locate iOS and macOS devices – and more recently AirTags and other kit – also turns out to be a potential espionage tool.…

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Several Top Chinese Sellers Have Quietly Disappeared From Amazon

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 20:09
Rita Liao, reporting for TechCrunch: If you ever bought power banks, water bottles, toys, or other daily goods on Amazon, the chances are your suppliers are from China. Analysts have estimated that the share of Chinese merchants represented 75% of Amazon's new sellers in January, up from 47% the year before, according to Marketplace Pulse, an e-commerce research firm. Chinese sellers are swarming not just Amazon but also eBay, Wish, Shopee and Alibaba's AliExpress. The boom is in part a result of intense domestic competition in China's online retail world, which forces merchants to seek new markets. Traditional exporters are turning to e-commerce, cutting out excessive distributors. Businesses are enchanted by the tale that a swathe of the priciest property in Shenzhen, an expensive city known for its tech and manufacturing, is now owned by people who made a fortune from e-commerce export. But the get-rich-quick optimism among the cross-border community came to a halt when several top Chinese sellers disappeared from Amazon over the past few days. At least eleven accounts that originate from Greater China were suspended, according to Juozas Kaziukenas, founder of Marketplace Pulse. Several accounts belong to the same parent firms, as it's normal for big sellers, those with more than a million dollars in annual sales, to operate multiple brands on Amazon to optimize sales. TechCrunch has reached out to Mpower and Aukey, whose Amazon stores are gone and were two of the most successful brands native to the American marketplace. In total, the suspended accounts contribute over a billion dollars in gross merchandise value (GMV) to Amazon, said Kaziukenas.

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Ethereum Founder Regifts Unsolicited DOGE Knockoffs, Donates a Billion Dollars Worth of SHIB To an Indian COVID Relief Fund

Slashdot - Wed, 2021-05-12 19:20
Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, has signalled dog-themed memecoin creators to bark up another tree, reports CoinDesk. From the report: In a move that captivated the attention of Crypto Twitter on Wednesday, the Ethereum founder re-gifted tokens sent to his public wallet by the creators of Shiba Inu coin (SHIB), Dogelon (ELON) and Akita Inu (AKITA). Notably, Buterin donated 50 trillion SHIB tokens (worth a nominal $1.2 billion at press time) to the India Covid Relief Fund kicked off by Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal late last month. Memecoin creators started sending large amounts of their tokens to the Ethereum figurehead in recent days. Vitalik was sent trillions of SHIB tokens worth over $8 billion dollars at one point. The knockoff tokens are beginning to tank.

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With Gelsinger back at Intel, VMware picks new CEO from within, shakes up execs

TheRegister - Wed, 2021-05-12 19:15
vRangarajan vRaghuram is vBoss after vMotion to vTop

VMware has announced a new CEO and a major shakeup in its management team following the departure of Pat Gelsinger to head up Intel.…

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