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Bill Gates To Spend Billions on Coronavirus Vaccine Development

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-04-06 15:25
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said his foundation will spend billions of dollars to fund the construction of factories for the most promising efforts to develop a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus. From a report: Mr. Gates, a billionaire philanthropist who is one the richest people in the world, said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work with seven makers of a possible vaccine to build these factories. Mr. Gates, who announced the efforts in an appearance on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" Thursday, acknowledged that billions of dollars would be wasted on vaccines that won't pan out. "Our early money can accelerate things," Mr. Gates said. "Even though we'll end up picking at most two of them, we're going to fund factories for all seven, just so that we don't waste time in serially saying which vaccine works and then building the factory."

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New Jersey Desperately Needs COBOL Programmers

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-04-06 14:44
In New Jersey, the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in something that few people outside that state's tech department would have foreseen: a dire need for COBOL coders. From a report, shared by reader AmiMoJo: Standing for Common Business-Oriented Language, COBOL's day came and went long ago. It initially made a splash by giving coders a programming language that could work across the proprietary computers of multiple manufacturers. That was in the early 1960s. After becoming a staple of mainframes, it eventually came to represent dusty legacy code, including during the Y2K crisis 20 years ago. In New Jersey, experts are now needed to fix COBOL-based unemployment insurance systems -- more than four decades old -- that are overwhelmed due to pandemic-related job losses. At a press conference yesterday, governor Phil Murphy asked for the help of volunteer coders who still knew how to work in COBOL. Of course, as cyber-security expert Joseph Steinberg noted on his blog, such volunteers are likely well over 60 years old, making them especially vulnerable to Covid-19.

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RHEL pusher Paul Cormier appointed CEO to lead Red Hat into the IBM era

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 14:42
20-year veteran takes over as Jim Whitehurst becomes Big Blue prez

Long-serving Red Hatter Paul Cormier has been named president and chief exec as his predecessor, Jim Whitehurst, sets off for fields Big and Blue.…

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'Quit Trying To Make Quibi Happen'

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-04-06 14:03
Devindra Hardawar of Engadget, writing about Quibi, a new streaming service that launched today: Nobody asked for Quibi. Nobody, that is, except for Jeffrey Katzenberg, the founder of Dreamworks Pictures and famed Hollywood producer. Where other mobile video startups failed, like Samsung's long-forgotten Milk Video and Verizon's own Go90 (RIP), Katzenberg figured he could succeed by pouring money (somehow he's raised $1.75 billion so far!) into top talent and well produced shows. At CES in January, Quibi also revealed its core innovation, Turnstyle, which allows you to seamlessly switch between portrait and vertical video playback modes. I was intrigued by that technology at the time. The company's chief product officer, Tom Conrad, the former CTO of Pandora and Snapchat product VP, also seemed excited about its potential. Still, it was hard to truly judge Quibi until I got a look at some of its shows. And after spending a few days with the app, which launches today, I can't say I'm impressed. Sure, Katzenberg and crew managed to bring some professional-looking "quick bites" of entertainment to phones, but the shows I've seen aren't nearly as compelling as anything on Netflix or Hulu. And their slick production values makes it harder to connect with Quibi shows than your favorite YouTube personality. Why, exactly, would anyone want to pay $5 a month (it's also launching with a 90-day free trial) for this stuff -- especially when you still have to deal with ads and can't even watch it on other screens? Quibi CEO Meg Whitman had an answer for me at CES, though it's not entirely convincing: "We think we're a third category of this on-the-go viewing opportunity that people will make room for in their entertainment budget, because it's going to be great content for a mobile use-case." But that logic is difficult to follow after watching several episodes of Dishmantled, a cooking show hosted by Titus Burgess that's part hyper-accelerated Chopped, part voyeuristically punishing Japanese gameshow. In every 5 minute episode, chefs are blindfolded and assaulted by an exploding mystery dish. Their goal: To eat the disgusting remnants from the floor and walls to figure out what that dish actually is, and cook it within 30 minutes. It feels more like a parody cooking show from 30 Rock, than something on a legitimate network.

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Microsoft 365 Business to gain more Azure Active Directory toys... oh, and it's called Microsoft 365 Business Premium (from 21 April)

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 13:46
Because this Office branding shake-up isn't confusing at all

Microsoft is adding a full Azure Active Directory Premium P1 licence to its Microsoft 365 business subscription even as it aims the rebrandogun at its product line.…

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Americas' SAP Users' Group chief reckons upgrades to S4/HANA will gather pace despite COVID-19 disruption

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 12:30
If you're almost finished with the ordeal, there's no looking back now

Although most organisations would probably put ERP upgrade plans on ice amid a global pandemic, SAP users are likely to press ahead with existing projects to upgrade to S/4HANA, Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG) says.…

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Kaspersky cleans up poisoned watering hole, Google presses pause on cookie crackdown

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 11:59
Plus: SystemD has a privilege escalation flaw that needs patching, and more bits and bytes

Roundup Kaspersky has detailed its takedown of a massive so-called watering-hole attack appearing to target dissidents in China, in the top story in The Reg's infosec roundup that looks at issues of the past week beyond our own detailed coverage.…

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Apple Begins Making Millions of Face Shields and Sources 20 Million Face Masks

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-04-06 11:34
"Apple announced Sunday it's launched a companywide effort to design, produce and ship face shields to medical workers battling the coronavirus outbreak," reports CNET: The first shipment was delivered this week to a Kaiser facility in the Santa Clara Valley, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a video posted to Twitter. "Teams across Apple have been working hard on ways we can support our heroic front-line medical professionals," Cook said, explaining that the fully adjustable shields pack flat and can be assembled in two minutes. "The feedback from doctors was very positive." "We plan to ship over 1 million by the end of this week, and over 1 million per week after that," he said. Cook said the company is coordinating with health and government officials across the US to get the shields delivered where they're needed and hopes to expand distribution beyond the US quickly. "Apple is dedicated to supporting the worldwide response to COVID-19," Apple's CEO said on Twitter. "We've now sourced over 20M masks through our supply chain."

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Washington state governor green-lights facial-recog law championed by... guess who: Yep, hometown hero Microsoft

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 11:24
Plus more news from the world of machine learning

Roundup Here's your quick-fire summary of recent artificial intelligence news.…

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We're number two! Microsoft's Edge browser slips past Firefox in latest set of NetMarketShare figures

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 10:42
Though Statcounter puts Moz's finest second. Chrome still top dog

It's official that Edge is number two. At least according to NetMarketShare.…

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Virtually – no – actually borked: We'd slap ailing ATM's 'OK' button but it's probably against government guidance

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 09:25
Remember when we went outside and used cash machines? Haha, good times

Bork!Bork!Bork! Microsoft Windows is everywhere. Everywhere. And sometimes it can catch out the unwary, as the administrator behind this ATM has hopefully discovered.…

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British Airways and Marriott UK data protection fines deferred again as coronavirus shutdown hits business

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 08:15
May and June are new due dates and neither firm is going down quietly

The UK Information Commissioner's Office has yet again postponed its £280m in fines against British Airways and Marriott Hotels for data leaks.…

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Elon Musk Shares a Video: Making Ventilators From Tesla Parts

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-04-06 07:34
Elon Musk shared a new video today from Tesla Engineering. "We're trying to make some ventilators from some car parts, so we can help the medical industry without taking away from their supply," it begins. (All three people who appear in the video are wearing a face mask.) It ends with a demonstration of a prototype using a touchscreen display from the Model 3 infotainment system. "There's still a lot of work to do," the video concludes, "but we're giving it our best effort to make sure we can help some people out there." Yesterday ventilator manufacturer Medtronic also tweeted that Musk's other company SpaceX "is now making a vital component for critical care ventilators," meaning more of the devices would arrive sooner for Covid-19 patients. Meanwhile, the New York Post writes: Musk promised last month to shift production to the sorely-needed medical devices, but evidently found that buying existing ventilators with his own largesse was more practical. He shelled out to send 1,000 of the life-saving machines to California, and also vowed to buy some for New York, earning the gratitude of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Musk made good, with the city's public hospital system on Saturday tweeting their gratitude for ventilators Tesla donated, now in use at Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx. But, with the apex of the contagion possibly upon New York, Cuomo said Sunday that time had run out for Tesla to make new ventilators. "Their time-frame, frankly, doesn't work for our immediate apex, because whether we're talking two days or 10 days, you're not going to make ventilators at that time," said Cuomo, noting that the hang-up is that some parts have to come from overseas.

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Real-time tragedy: Dumb deletion leaves librarian red-faced and fails to nix teenage kicks on the school network

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 07:15
Commanding & Conquering when nobody is looking

Who, Me? Another week is upon us, and while April continues to be an uncertain beast, we will always have Who, Me?, and another story from the more sinful niche of The Register's readership.…

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Minister slams 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories as ‘dangerous nonsense’ after phone towers torched in UK

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 06:18
Looks like Michael Gove has decided to listen to the experts for a change

UK Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has used a daily briefing to slam those advancing baseless theories that 5G radios are in some way responsible for the coronavirus.…

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Bose shouts down claims that it borked noise cancellation firmware to sell more headphones

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 05:07
But reverses its policy on downgrades anyway, to quiet noisome critics

Bose has hit back at critics who say that the firm's latest headphone firmware intentionally broke its active noise cancellation feature.…

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NASA reveals the new wavy Martian wheels it thinks can crush the red planet

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 04:42
The Perseverance rover gets its grousers ahead of planned July/August launch

NASA has revealed the wheels it’s just bolted onto the Perseverance Rover, the new Mars assault robot it plans to send to the red planet in July as part of the Mars 2020 mission.…

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After Four More Phone Masts Attacked, YouTube Promises To Remove Some 5G Conspiracy Videos

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-04-06 03:34
The Guardian reports that YouTube "will reduce the amount of content spreading conspiracy theories about links between 5G technology and coronavirus that it recommends to users, it has said, as four more attacks were recorded on phone masts within 24 hours." The online video company will actively remove videos that breach its policies, it said. But content that is simply conspiratorial about 5G mobile communications networks, without mentioning coronavirus, is still allowed on the site. YouTube said those videos may be considered "borderline content" and subjected to suppression, including loss of advertising revenue and being removed from search results on the platform. "We also have clear policies that prohibit videos promoting medically unsubstantiated methods to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us," a YouTube spokesperson said. "We have also begun reducing recommendations of borderline content such as conspiracy theories related to 5G and coronavirus, that could misinform users in harmful ways...." YouTube says that since early February, it has manually reviewed and removed thousands of videos that spread dangerous or misleading coronavirus information.

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How Robert Cringely Scored 5 Million N95 Masks From China

Slashdot - Mon, 2020-04-06 01:34
This week, tech pundit Robert Cringely described how a chance conversation with China-based entrepreneur Anina led to a friend with a garment factory "now making fully certified N-95 respirators with no clear distribution plan." Late on a Sunday night with the tech world in shut-down, how long would it take for me to find someone looking for up to five million N-95 masks? It took 10 minutes. I reached out to Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and to Mark Cuban from the Dallas Mavericks and Shark Tank... Mark Cuban put me in touch with ProjectN95, a just-created national clearinghouse for urgently needed medical equipment... It's important to realize what a miracle we accomplished. Normally there are lots of middlemen in Chinese distribution, but in this case, there were none, which meant maximal speed and minimal price. The goods were U.S. FDA certified, too, and the certification could be verified... We are tech people attempting to function during a pandemic, but what really counted here were personal relationships. Anina knows and trusts the factory owner. Anina and I have known each other for 15 years and I've known Marc Benioff and Mark Cuban even longer. We spend billions as a culture trying to build digital versions of such webs of trust, but sometimes it is better to do it the old fashion way.

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Pan-European group plans cross-border contact-tracing app – and promises GDPR compliance

TheRegister - Mon, 2020-04-06 00:24
As India joins the list of nations offering Bluetooth-enabled virus-visit-visualisers

A European consortium based in Switzerland plans to this week launch an opt-in location-detecting app to expedite contact-tracing those who have encountered coronavirus carriers.…

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