Linux fréttir

Japan To Allow Visa-Free Travel After 2 1/2 Years of Mostly Closed Borders

Slashdot - Fri, 2022-09-23 01:25
Japan will allow visa-free, independent tourism and abolish a daily arrival cap as of Oct. 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday, marking a major policy shift after nearly 2 1/2 years of strict COVID-19 restrictions. The government will also launch a nationwide travel discount program, which had been shelved due to the spread of COVID-19 infections. The Japan Times reports: Kishida made the long-awaited announcement during his visit to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. "I hope many people will utilize it," Kishida said at a news conference. "I want to support the travel, entertainment and other industries that have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic." Japan has been allowing tourists since June, starting with people on guided tours. On Sept. 7, the government allowed those on nonguided tours who had booked their flights and hotels through registered travel agencies. But those measures have been unpopular with many foreign tourists who want greater freedom during their trips. Tourists will need to be vaccinated three times or submit a negative COVID-19 test result ahead of their trip, Kyodo News reported, citing government sources. A nationwide domestic travel program offering discounts for travel, entry to theme parks, and for sporting events and concerts is also set to start on Oct. 11. People who have been vaccinated three times or submit a negative test result will be eligible for the discounts, according to the report. The program offers financial assistance of up to $77 per person for a one-night stay. The moves will be welcomed by the nation's tourism sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. "In 2019, a record 31.88 million foreign travelers visited Japan, but the figure plummeted to about 250,000 in 2021 due to the closed borders," notes the report. "The daily arrival cap has been raised gradually over the past six months, first to 5,000 on March 1 and eventually to the current 50,000."

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23-Year-Old 'Crypto King' Has Luxury Cars Seized After $35 Million of Investor Money Vanishes

Slashdot - Fri, 2022-09-23 00:45
Five luxury cars, including two BMWs, two McLarens, and a Lamborghini, have been seized from 23-year-old Aiden Pleterski, the self-described "crypto king" of Canada, during bankruptcy proceedings according to a new report from the CBC. But those cars are only worth a fraction of the $35 million that Pleterski allegedly took from investors who thought he'd make them rich in the cryptocurrency market, and it's not clear whether they'll ever see their money again. Gizmodo reports: Pleterski and his company AP Private Equity Limited are facing at least two civil lawsuits after 140 people have come forward to say they invested a combined $35 million with Pleterski. Those people believed they were investing in cryptocurrency, and Pleterski's online presence -- including photos of the 23-year-old on private jets and next to luxury cars-- helped create the image that he knew what he was doing. Pleterski's YouTube channel and Instagram account have been deleted but it appears he purchased articles on websites like Forbes.mc (the top level domain for Monaco) and the far-right news outlet Daily Caller to get his name associated with success in crypto investment. The Daily Caller article from December 2021 includes a photo of Pleterski looking at his phone in what appears to be a private jet. Notably, December 2021 was a time when cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum were trading near all-time highs. The headline reads, "Aiden Pleterski: Meet the Young Canadian Investor Who Is Taking the World of Crypto By Storm." The question remains whether Pleterski actually invested any of the money in crypto to begin with, and speaks to just how strange the crypto market has been over the past year. For all anyone knows, Pleterski may have actually invested the money and lost it like so many others since the peak of November 2021. Bitcoin is down 56% since its price a year ago, while ethereum is down 57%. Pleterski insists he invested the money but that he's just bad with record-keeping. But some investors suspect Pleterski didn't even bother investing the money, instead pocketing it for himself, according to people who spoke with the CBC. Investors are trying to get their money back through the bankruptcy court and two civil lawsuits, but criminal charges haven't been pursued, even though some have reported their incidents to Toronto police, according to the CBC.

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The secret to Sparrow, DeepMind's latest Q&A chatbot: Human feedback

TheRegister - Fri, 2022-09-23 00:40
Thanks for the advice

DeepMind has trained a chatbot named Sparrow to be less toxic and more accurate than other systems, by using a mix of human feedback and Google search suggestions.…

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Google Wants To Take On Dolby With New Open Media Formats

Slashdot - Fri, 2022-09-23 00:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Protocol: Google is gunning for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision: The company is looking to introduce two new media formats to offer HDR video and 3D audio under a new consumer-recognizable brand without the licensing fees hardware manufacturers currently have to pay Dolby. Google shared plans for the media formats, which are internally known as Project Caviar, at a closed-door event with hardware manufacturers earlier this year. In a video of the presentation that was leaked to Protocol, group product manager Roshan Baliga describes the goal of the project as building "a healthier, broader ecosystem" for premium media experiences. The company's primary focus for Project Caviar is YouTube, which does not currently support Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision. However, Google also aims to bring other industry players on board, including device manufacturers and service providers. This makes Project Caviar one of Google's most ambitious pushes for open media formats since the company began working on royalty-free video codecs over a decade ago. Google's open media efforts have until now primarily focused on the development of codecs. The company acquired video codec maker On2 in 2009 to open source some of its technology; it has also played a significant role in the foundation of the Alliance for Open Media, an industry consortium that is overseeing the royalty-free AV1 video codec. Project Caviar is different from those efforts in that it is not another codec. Instead, the project focuses on 3D audio and HDR video formats that make use of existing codecs but allow for more rich and immersive media playback experiences, much like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision do. Baliga didn't mention Dolby by name during his presentation, but he still made it abundantly clear that the company was looking to establish alternatives to the Atmos and Vision formats. "We realized that there are premium media experiences where there aren't any great royalty-free solutions," he said, adding that the licensing costs for premium HDR video and 3D audio "can hurt manufacturers and consumers." Dolby makes most of its money through licensing fees from hardware manufacturers. The company charges TV manufacturers $2 to $3 to license Dolby Vision, according to its Cloud Media Solutions SVP Giles Baker. Dolby hasn't publicly disclosed licensing fees for Atmos; it charges consumers who want to add immersive audio to their Xbox consoles $15 per license, but the fee hardware manufacturers have to pay is said to be significantly lower. Still, in an industry that long has struggled with razor-thin margins, every extra dollar matters. That's especially true because Dolby already charges virtually all device makers a licensing fee for its legacy audio codecs. A manufacturer of streaming boxes that wholesale for $50 has to pay around $2 per unit for Dolby Vision and Dolby Digital, according to a document an industry insider shared with Protocol. "For lower-cost living room devices, the cost may be prohibitive," Baliga said during his presentation.

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China Claims NSA Infiltrated Country's Telecommunications Networks

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 23:20
A U.S. intelligence agency gained access to China's telecommunications network after hacking a university, Chinese state media claimed Thursday. CNBC reports: The U.S. National Security Agency used phishing -- a hacking technique where a malicious link is included in an email -- to gain access to the government funded Northwestern Polytechnical University, the Global Times alleged, citing an unnamed source. American hackers stole "core technology data including key network equipment configuration, network management data, and core operational data," and other files, according to the Global Times. As part of the NSA's hack, the agency infiltrated Chinese telecommunications operators so that the U.S. could "control the country's infrastructure," the Global Times alleged. The Global Times, citing its unnamed source, reported that more details about the attack on Northwestern Polytechnical University will be released soon. China first disclosed the alleged attack on the Northwestern Polytechnical University earlier this month. "The agency also accused the U.S. of engaging in 'tens of thousands' of cyberattacks on Chinese targets," adds CNBC.

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As Unrest Grows, Iran Restricts Access To Instagram, WhatsApp

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 22:40
Iran curbed access on Wednesday to Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the last remaining social networks in the country, amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody, residents and internet watchdog NetBlocks said. Reuters reports: Last week's death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police in Tehran for "unsuitable attire," has unleashed anger over issues including freedom in the Islamic Republic and an economy reeling from sanctions. NetBlocks also reported a "nation-scale loss of connectivity" on Iran's mail mobile telephone provider and another company's network. WhatsApp's servers have been disrupted on multiple internet providers, hours after Instagram's services were blocked, London-based NetBlocks said. The group's data shows a near-total disruption to internet service in parts of Kurdistan province in west Iran since Monday, while the capital city of Tehran and other parts of the country have also faced disruptions since Friday when protests first broke out. Two residents in Tehran and southern Iran said they could only send text and not pictures on WhatsApp and that Instagram appeared to be completely blocked.

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Update your Tesla now before the windows put your fingers in a pinch

TheRegister - Thu, 2022-09-22 22:33
Musk fumes at NHTSA 'recall' of a million-plus cars

Tesla owners ought to check for firmware updates, or risk their windows proving to be less than (h)armless.…

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Boeing To Pay $200 Million To Settle SEC's Probe Over 737 Max

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 22:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Boeing agreed to pay $200 million to settle US Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that the company and its former Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg failed to properly disclose safety issues with its 737 Max jetliner. The settlement, which was announced by the SEC on Thursday, follows a probe by the regulator's enforcement division. Investigators examined whether Boeing was adequately forthcoming to shareholders about material problems with its jetliner that crashed in 2018 and 2019. Without admitting or denying the SEC's findings, Boeing and Muilenburg consented to cease-and-desist orders that include penalties of $200 million and $1 million, respectively. The twin tragedies killed 346 people and prompted one of the longest groundings in aviation history. The SEC enforcement action is one of the last remaining government investigations. Boeing had cautioned in its most recently quarterly filing that the "outcome of which may be material." Boeing paid a $243.3 million fine as part of a $2.5 billion settlement with the US Justice Department to end a criminal investigation in January 2021.

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Federal agencies buying Americans' internet data challenged by US senators

TheRegister - Thu, 2022-09-22 21:53
Maybe we don't want to go with the netflow, man

US government agencies have been buying, to some degree, details of Americans' internet activities from data brokers – and US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants an explanation.…

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25% of Netflix Subscribers Planning To Leave Service, Survey Finds

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 21:22
Netflix already lost 1.2 million subscribers in the first two quarters of 2022. While the company hopes to add one million new users with its new ad-supported tier, a survey shows that 1 in 4 Netflix users are planning to cancel their subscriptions this year. From a report: Here's what this could mean to other streaming services, such as Apple TV+. Reviews surveyed 1,000 Americans to gauge their streaming habits in 2022. According to the report, the average American is subscribed to four streaming platforms. Netflix is still the most popular streaming service with nearly 4 out of 5 (77%) Americans currently subscribed to the platform. In addition, 70% say they use Netflix the most, followed by: HBO Max: 9.91%; Disney+: 6.18%; Peacock: 4.25%; Hulu: 3.86%; Apple TV+: 2.70%; Paramount+: 2.70%. That said, of all the Netflix subscribers, 25% are planning to cancel their subscriptions. Of those who plan to leave the streaming service, two-thirds say increasing costs is one of the reasons. According to the survey, Netflix has the highest average plan cost among the eight more popular streaming services in the US. The other big complaint from Netflix users is two-fold: 1 in 3 respondents said Netflix no longer has the shows they want to watch; 30% said that they use other streaming services more.

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DocuSign Names Former Google Executive Allan Thygesen As New CEO

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 21:00
DocuSign shares rose almost 5% in extended trading after the electronic signature software maker announced it has hired an Alphabet executive, Allan Thygesen, to be its next CEO. CNBC reports: The announcement comes three month after DocuSign said its CEO for the past five years, Dan Springer, was stepping down. Like other cloud software companies, DocuSign enjoyed a wave of greater interest among investors during the Covid pandemic as consumers and corporate workers became more reliant on digital ways to sign documents. But the interest has died down. Notwithstanding the after-hours move, DocuSign shares have fallen 64% so far this year.

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Mozilla Urges Action To Unpick Platform Browser Lock-ins

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 20:40
As antitrust regulators around the world dial up scrutiny of platform power, Mozilla has published a piece of research digging into the at times subtle yet always insidious ways operating systems exert influence to keep consumers locked to using their own-brand browsers rather than seeking out and switching to independent options -- while simultaneously warning that competition in the browser market is vital to ensure innovation and choice for consumers and, more broadly, protect the vitality of the open web against the commercial giants trying to wall it up. TechCrunch: "Billions of people across the globe are dependent on operating systems from the largest technology companies. Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Meta each provide their own browser on their operating systems and each of them uses their gatekeeper position provider to preference their own browsers over independent rivals. Whether it is Microsoft pushing Firefox users to switch their default on Windows computers, Apple restricting the functionality of rival browsers on iOS smartphones or Google failing to apply default browser settings across Android, there are countless examples of independent browsers being inhibited by the operating systems on which they are dependent," Mozilla writes in a summary of its findings. "This matters because American consumers and society as a whole suffer. Not only do people lose the ability to determine their own online experiences but they also receive less innovative and lower quality products. In addition, they can be forced to accept poorer privacy outcomes and even unfair contracts. By contrast, competition from independent browsers can help to drive new features, as well as innovation in areas like privacy and security."

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Check out this Android spyware, says Microsoft, the home of a gazillion Windows flaws

TheRegister - Thu, 2022-09-22 20:15
While issuing an emergency patch for Endpoint Configuration Manager

Data-stealing spyware disguised as a banking rewards app is targeting Android users, Microsoft's security team has warned.…

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Jamie Dimon Slams Crypto Tokens as 'Decentralized Ponzi Schemes'

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 20:00
Jamie Dimon didn't mince words when a US lawmaker mentioned the executive's history of criticizing cryptocurrencies. From a report: "I'm a major skeptic on crypto tokens, which you call currency, like Bitcoin," the JPMorgan Chase chief executive officer said in congressional testimony Wednesday. "They are decentralized Ponzi schemes." Stablecoins -- digital assets tied to the value of the US dollar or other currencies -- wouldn't be problematic with the proper regulation, and JPMorgan is active in blockchain, Dimon said. The comments represent the latest criticism leveled against digital currencies by Dimon, who once called Bitcoin "a fraud" before eventually saying he regretted the comments.

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FDA Warns Against Cooking Chicken in NyQuil. For Real.

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 19:21
The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to abuse nonprescription drugs as part of social-media challenges, including cooking chicken in NyQuil. From a report: The regulator issued a warning cautioning the public that social-media challenges where people misuse nonprescription medications can be dangerous or even fatal. It pointed to a recent challenge where people cook chicken in NyQuil or similar medications. The agency says that boiling a medication can make the drug more concentrated and that inhaling a medicine's vapors while cooking with it could cause a person to ingest a high amount of the drug. In the case of the NyQuil-chicken challenge, the FDA says a person could hurt their lungs. "The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing -- and it is," the FDA said. "But it could also be very unsafe."

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Japanese boffins build solar-powered, remote-controlled cyborg cockroach

TheRegister - Thu, 2022-09-22 19:04
Neat idea until you remember that roaches and sunlight, not a good mix

A research breakthrough in Japan could mean future search and rescue missions are conducted using cyborg cockroaches. What's more, an ultra-thin solar film is the real star of this show. …

Categories: Linux fréttir

4-Day Workweek Brings No Loss of Productivity, Companies in Experiment Say

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 18:40
More than 70 companies in Britain are undergoing a six-month experiment in which their employees get a paid day off each week. So far, most companies say it's going well. SpzToid shares a report: Most of the companies participating in a four-day workweek pilot program in Britain said they had seen no loss of productivity during the experiment, and in some cases had seen a significant improvement, according to a survey of participants published on Wednesday. Nearly halfway into the six-month trial, in which employees at 73 companies get a paid day off weekly, 35 of the 41 companies that responded to a survey said they were "likely" or "extremely likely" to consider continuing the four-day workweek beyond the end of the trial in late November. All but two of the 41 companies said productivity was either the same or had improved. Remarkably, six companies said productivity had significantly improved. Talk of a four-day workweek has been around for decades. In 1956, then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon said he foresaw it in the "not too distant future," though it has not materialized on any large scale. But changes in the workplace over the coronavirus pandemic around remote and hybrid work have given momentum to questions about other aspects of work. Are we working five days a week just because we have done it that way for more than a century, or is it really the best way? Some leaders of companies in the trial said the four-day week had given employees more time to exercise, cook, spend time with their families and take up hobbies, boosting their well-being and making them more energized and productive when they were on the clock. Critics, however, worried about added costs and reduced competitiveness, especially when many European companies are already lagging rivals in other regions. More than 3,300 workers in banks, marketing, health care, financial services, retail, hospitality and other industries in Britain are taking part in the pilot, which is one of the largest studies to date, according to Jack Kellam, a researcher at Autonomy, a think tank that is one of the organizers of the trial.

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Equinix tests out fuel cells as alternative for datacenter power

TheRegister - Thu, 2022-09-22 18:16
Teams up with National University of Singapore on proof-of-concept designs

Equinix has teamed up with the National University of Singapore to investigate the potential of hydrogen as a green fuel source for datacenter infrastructure.…

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Microsoft CEO Is Confident About Activision Deal Approval, Handling of Economy

Slashdot - Thu, 2022-09-22 18:02
Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said he's confident the company can gain regulatory approval for its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard even in the face of an in-depth regulatory probe in the UK. From a report: "Of course, any acquisition of this size will go through scrutiny, but we feel very, very confident that we'll come out," he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Nadella's prediction puts him at odds with investors' skepticism about the deal. While Activision rose Thursday, outperforming a slump in tech stocks, Wednesday's close of $75.32 still left the company more than 20% below the offer price -- a signal of massive doubt that Microsoft will ever be able to consummate the transaction. Microsoft is either the No. 4 or No. 5 competitor in the video game industry, depending on how you count, Nadella said. And the No. 1 player, Sony Group, has made several recent acquisitions. "So if this is about competition, let us have competition," he said. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority said earlier this month that it decided to kick-start a longer review, a move that was expected after the CMA flagged concerns that the deal could lessen competition in the markets for consoles, subscriptions and cloud gaming. The combination with Activision -- which owns franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero -- will make Microsoft the world's third-largest gaming company. Nadella also expressed optimism that Microsoft can cope with a weaker economy and rising inflation -- and help its customers endure as well. "The constraints are real -- inflation is definitely all around us," he said. "I always go back to the point that in an uncertain time, in an inflationary time, software is the deflationary force."

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Meta told to pay $175m to walkie-talkie techies for infringing IP

TheRegister - Thu, 2022-09-22 17:30
Facebook and Instagram Live use same programming described in Voxer patents, says jury

A Texas jury this week ordered Meta Platforms to pay more than $174 million for infringing patents held by walkie-talkie techies at Voxer, who sell an iPhone app that lets you instantly send messages across the internet as you are speaking.…

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