/.

Syndicate content Slashdot
News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 12 hours 28 min ago

New FAA Rules Allow US Companies To Fly Drones Without a Pilot's License

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 8:00am
On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced new rules for commercial drones. It states that drone pilots can now fly without waiting to get permission from the government. Previously, commercial operators were required to apply for a waiver from the FAA to operate small drones for commercial purposes. According to the new regulation, a drone must weigh less than 25kg, and it must fly under 400 feet (122m) and at a maximum speed of 161km per hour. DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg said: This is a major development for the future of drones in America. It means that businesses and farmers and government agencies and academic researchers can put drones to work without having to get an airplane pilot's license or follow other onerous rules. Those were pretty high barriers to entry. Part 107 is a vote of confidence from the FAA that drones can be safely integrated into the national airspace, and that a wider adoption of drones for all sorts of non-recreational uses will bring real benefits to America.More coverage on The Verge, and Reuters.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Instagram Hits 500 Million Users

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 7:20am
Instagram announced on Tuesday that it has reached 500 million monthly users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service also said that 300 million users check the service everyday. To recall, Instagram had hit 400M users about nine months ago. From a Time report: "It's a big milestone for us because we set to create a community, not just a photo-sharing app," Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom tells TIME in an exclusive interview. "One of the things we said early on is that everyone can create a photo-sharing app, but not everyone can build a community that lasts. And [these 500 million users] are not in silos. They are all interacting with each other. It's a global community, with over 80% of those people outside of the United States."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Is Finally Making Two-Step Verification Less Annoying

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 6:40am
Google, which first introduced two-factor authentication about five years ago, is now making it a little easier to utilize this security measure. Instead of users having to manually enter a code that they received in a text message, they will now see a prompt message that only requires them to tap on the phone to approve login requests. The feature will be available on Android as well as iOS soon. The Guardian reports: You do have to turn this service on even if you already use two-step. To turn it on you need to first login to Google and then go to My Account > Sign-in & security > Signing in to Google > 2-step Verification. There you will have options to turn on two-step verification, add Google prompt as an extra form of authentication or replace your existing two-step method. Google isn't the first to use notifications as a method of login verification, both Twitter and Facebook allow users to confirm logins using notifications from their respective smartphone apps. But even they require entering the app, viewing the alert and tapping confirm. Google's one-tap confirm is much faster.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Fujitsu Picks 64-Bit ARM For Post-K Supercomputer

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 6:00am
An anonymous reader writes: At the International Supercomputing Conference 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany, Fujitsu revealed its Post-K machine will run on ARMv8 architecture. The Post-K machine is supposed to have 100 times more application performance than the K Supercomputer -- which would make it a 1,000 PFLOPS beast -- and is due to go live in 2020. The K machine is the fifth fastest known super in the world, it crunches 10.5 PFLOPS, needs 12MW of power, and is built out of 705,000 Sparc64 VIIIfx cores.InfoWorld has more details.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Invoking Orlando, Senate Republicans Set Up Vote To Expand FBI Spying

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 5:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the FBI's authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information. The move, made via an amendment to a criminal justice appropriations bill, is an effort by Senate Republicans to respond to last week's mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub after a series of measures to restrict guns offered by both parties failed on Monday. Privacy advocates denounced the effort, saying it seeks to exploit a mass shooting in order to expand the government's digital spying powers. The amendment would broaden the FBI's authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails' senders and recipients. NSLs do not require a warrant and are almost always accompanied by a gag order preventing the service provider from sharing the request with a targeted user. The amendment filed Monday would also make permanent a provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on "lone wolf" suspects who do not have confirmed ties to a foreign terrorist group. A vote is expected no later than Wednesday, McConnell's office said. Last week, FBI Director James Comey said he is "highly confident that [the Orlando shooter] was radicalized at least in part through the internet."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google To Offer Better Medical Advice When You Search Your Symptoms

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 2:00am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via CNBC: Google said Monday that it will be improving its catalog of searched Googled health symptoms by adding information on related health conditions that have been vetted by the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. For example, if you type "headache on one side," Google will offer up a list of associated conditions like "migraine," "common cold" or "tension headache." When it comes to general searches like "headache," the company will also give an overview description along with information on self-treatment options or symptoms that warrant a doctor's visit. In Google's official blog post, the company said roughly 1 percent of the searches on Google, which equates to millions of searches, are related to symptoms users are researching. However, search results can be confusing, and result in "unnecessary anxiety and stress," Google said. It plans to use its Knowledge Graph feature, which contains high-quality medical information collected from doctors, to enhance search results.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ultra-Thin Solar Cells Can Be Bent Around A Pencil

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:00pm
angry tapir quotes a report from Computerworld: Scientists in South Korea have developed solar cells thin enough they can be bent around a pencil. The cells could help usher in the use of solar energy in small portable gadgets where space is at a premium. The cells are fabricated onto a flexible substrate that is just a micrometer thick -- one-half to one-quarter the thickness of other "thin" solar cells and hundreds of times thinner than conventional cells. [The team at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea managed to reduce the thickness by directly attaching the cells to the substrate without the use of an adhesive. They were stamped onto the substrate and then cold welded, a process that binds two materials together through pressure, not heat. The scientists tested the cells and discovered they can almost be folded in half -- wrapped around a radius as small as 1.4 millimeters. A paper describing the work was published on Monday in Applied Physics Letters, a journal of the American Institute of Physics.]

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitch Brings CFAA and Trademark Claim Against Bot Operators

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 12:50pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Techdirt: I think most people agree that bots that drive up viewer/follower counts on various social media systems are certainly a nuisance, but are they illegal? Amazon-owned Twitch has decided to find out. On Friday, the company filed a lawsuit against seven individuals/organizations that are in the business of selling bots. Twitch's lawsuit uses a CFAA claim and a trademark claim. The CFAA is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was put in place in the 1980s in response to the movie War Games and is supposed to be used to punish "hackers" who break into secure computer systems. Techdirt reports: "It's a pretty big stretch to argue that bots accessing your open website that anyone can visit requires some kind of specific "authorization." Yes, cheating bots are annoying. And yes, they can be seen as a problem. But that doesn't mean that Twitch should be trying to expand the definition of the CFAA to include accessing an open website in a way the site doesn't like. The trademark claim is also somewhat troubling, though not as much. No one is visiting the sites of these bot makers and assuming that they're endorsed by Twitch. I mean, they're all pretty clear that their entire purpose is to inflate viewers/followers on Twitch, which is clearly something that Twitch is against. Twitch doesn't need to use either of these claims, and it's disappointing that they and their lawyers have chosen to do so. This is not to say that bots and fake followers are okay. But these kinds of cases can set really bad precedents when a company like Twitch decides to over-claim things in a way that harms the wider tech and internet industry."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Mark Zuckerberg Votes To Keep Peter Thiel On Facebook Board

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 12:10pm
Mark Zuckerberg has decided to keep billionaire VC Peter Thiel on Facebook's board of directors. The decision comes after weeks of controversy over whether it was appropriate for billionaire Thiel, who recently admitted to secretly funding a campaign of third-party lawsuits to bankrupt Gawker Media (more relevant but paywalled link, to remain on the board of a company that now plays such a powerful role in publishing. From a Gizmodo report: At Facebook's annual shareholders meeting today, every board member was up for re-election. The decision was made by shareholder vote, but ultimately fell to Zuckerberg, who controls more than 60 percent of the total voting power on the Facebook board.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New York Criminalizes the Use Of Ticket-Buying Bots

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 11:30am
An anonymous reader writes: If you failed to get tickets for your favorite band, even though your finger was poised on the "buy" link the instant they went on sale, don't worry -- you never stood a chance. They were probably snapped up by bots that, in one case, bought 1,012 Madison Square Garden U2 tickets in less than a minute. The state of New York has declared that scalpers who use them could get fines and even jail time. "New Yorkers have been dealing with this frustrating ticket buying experience for too long," says state assembly member Marcos Crespie. Using such bots was illegal before, but only brought civil, not criminal sanctions. However, a three-year investigation by NY attorney general Eric. T. Schneiderman found that the practice was so widespread that the state had to take harsher measures. Ticketing outlets and credit card companies revealed that bots scoop up the best seats in seconds, which scalpers then resell at prices many times over face value. Scalpers who exploit such software could now face criminal, class A misdemeanor charges.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

High IQ Countries Have Less Software Piracy, Research Finds

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 10:50am
Ernesto Van der Sar, writing for TorrentFreak (edited and condensed): There are hundreds of reasons why people may turn to piracy. A financial motive is often mentioned, as well as lacking legal alternatives. A new study from a group of researchers now suggests that national intelligence can also be added to the list. In a rather straightforward analysis, the research examined the link between national IQ scores and local software piracy rates -- from data provided by the Business Software Alliance. They concluded that there's a trend indicating that countries with a higher IQ have lower software piracy rates.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FCC To Vote On Spectrum For 5G Wireless Networks

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 10:10am
5G has been in the news for years, but it's not available for commercial use just yet. Things will become clearer this week. The Federal Communications Commission will vote on July 14 to decide new rules to identity and open spectrum for next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications. Reuters reports: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said if the FCC "approves my proposal next month, the United States will be the first country in the world to open up high-band spectrum for 5G networks and applications." He said the FCC also will seek comments on opening other high-frequency spectrum bands. Policymakers and mobile phone companies say the next generation of wireless signals needs to be 10 to 100 times faster and be far more responsive to allow advanced technologies like virtual surgery or controlling machines remotely.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Alicia Keys Latest Artist To Enforce No Cell Phone Policy at Concerts

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 9:30am
Shane McGlaun, reporting for SlashGear:It appears that artists of all sorts are getting very serious about keeping fans from using smartphones while they are at their concerts or events. The latest musician to ban cell phones at her events is Alicia Keys. Fans aren't forced to give up their smartphones at the door to be locked up in some locker or box until the show is over. Rather, fans are handed a special pouch that is locked up with their smartphone inside the fan keeps that pouch with them during the event, but they can't get to the device to call, take photos, or shoot video. If they need to use their device during the show the users can go back to the door and a worker passes a disc about the size of a bagel over the bag to unlock it and the fan can step outside to use their smartphone.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Slashdot Asks: What's Your Preferred Music Streaming Service?

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 8:50am
Spotify announced on Monday that it has hit 100 million users on its music streaming service, with over 30 million paid subscribers. The Swedish music company's service rivals with Apple Music, Pandora, and Google's Play Music. Apple's streaming service, which was launched last year, has over 15 million paid customers as of earlier this month. Amazon also reportedly plans to launch its music streaming service later this year. YouTube is also a stop for many music listeners, and so is radio. How do you get your music? Do you still purchase CDs and DVDs? Anyone with a turntable in the audience?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tesla Model S Floats Well Enough To Act As a Boat, According To Elon Musk

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 8:03am
It appears a Tesla Model S car can float and effectively drive on water. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted a video of a Model S car which was able to float well through a flooded tunnel in Kazakhstan. Musk also noted that the company "definitely" doesn't recommend trying this -- but still vouched for the availability of this feature. The Guardian reports: The car appears to power through the water using the thrust of the wheels turning in the water, as the bow wave laps over the car's bonnet. Most internal combustion engine cars are sunk in water when the exhaust becomes flooded, which is why serious off-roaders have big exhaust scoops leading to the roof. Electric cars don't suffer from that particular issue, but how the rest of the car will react is unknown.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hacker Taunts Blizzard After Knocking Gamers Offline

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 7:23am
Reader itwbennett writes: A person nicknamed AppleJ4ck, who has been previously been linked to Lizard Squad, a group notorious for DDoS attacks against gaming platforms, including the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, has taken credit for server outages affecting gaming giant Blizzard (Alternate source: ZDNet) Monday morning. The outages led to authentication lockouts for gamers attempting to access Overwatch, Hearth Stone, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Heroes of the Stone, and others. During the outage, AppleJ4ck said Monday's problems were just a test, promising more outages in the future.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Says Edge Browser Is More Power-Efficient Than Chrome

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 6:45am
An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret that Google's Chrome browser eats up a considerable amount of memory (and by extension, battery). On Monday, Microsoft announced that its Edge browser has succeeded on that front. Citing several tests, Microsoft claims Edge browser is a better choice for portable device owners. The company took four identical laptops running Windows 10 to see which of the four most popular browsers would be most efficient when it comes to battery life. Interestingly, Chrome was the first to kill the laptop in the video streaming test at 4 hours and 19 minutes. Firefox closely followed its rival at 5 hours and 9 minutes, while Opera (running on the same tech as Chrome) managed to hit 6 hours and 18 minutes. In Microsoft's tests, it was found that Edge was best of the bunch when it came to enjoying a video online, lasting for 7 hours and 22 minutes. That's worked out to be 70% longer than Chrome.In a blog post, Microsoft wrote: "We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China Builds World's Fastest Supercomputer Without U.S. Chips

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 6:00am
Reader dcblogs writes: China on Monday revealed its latest supercomputer, a monolithic system with 10.65 million compute cores built entirely with Chinese microprocessors. This follows a U.S. government decision last year to deny China access to Intel's fastest microprocessors. There is no U.S.-made system that comes close to the performance of China's new system, the Sunway TaihuLight. Its theoretical peak performance is 124.5 petaflops (Linpack is 93 petaflops), according to the latest biannual release today of the world's Top500 supercomputers. It has been long known that China was developing a 100-plus petaflop system, and it was believed that China would turn to U.S. chip technology to reach this performance level. But just over a year ago, in a surprising move, the U.S. banned Intel from supplying Xeon chips to four of China's top supercomputing research centers. The U.S. initiated this ban because China, it claimed, was using its Tianhe-2 system for nuclear explosive testing activities. The U.S. stopped live nuclear testing in 1992 and now relies on computer simulations. Critics in China suspected the U.S. was acting to slow that nation's supercomputing development efforts. There has been nothing secretive about China's intentions. Researchers and analysts have been warning all along that U.S. exascale (an exascale is 1,000 petaflops) development, supercomputing's next big milestone, was lagging.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ask Slashdot: How Can You Manage Developers Distributed Across Multiple Projects?

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 3:30am
An anonymous Slashdot reader asks whether it's possible to manage a "distributed" team of software developers in different locations who are all assigned to different projects, each with their own independent project managers: All embedded software engineers from multiple offices in different countries are now being reorganized into this new distributed team [with] better control of its own development practices, processes and tools, since everyone is working in embedded software... While there's extensive material throughout the Internet on best practices for managing distributed teams, it seems to either take an agile perspective, the project manager's perspective or be otherwise based on the assumption that everyone in the team are working in the same project. In my case, I'd be managing a distributed team of developers all assigned to different projects. How can I build cohesion, alignment and trust for my team of embedded software developers in this new three-dimensional distributed matrix organization? Anyone have any relevant experiences to share with distributed teams or "matrix" organizations? Leave your answers in the comments. How can you manage developers who are all distributed across multiple projects?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hacker Who Stole Half-Life 2's Source Code Interviewed For New Book

Sun, 06/19/2016 - 11:30pm
"Can you love a game so much you must take its sequel?" asks Ars Technica, posting an excerpt from the new book "Death By Video Game: Danger, Pleasure, and Obsession on the Virtual Frontline." At 6am on May 7, 2004, Axel Gembe awoke in the small German town of Schonau im Schwarzwald to find his bed surrounded by police officers bearing automatic weapons... "You are being charged with hacking into Valve Corporation's network, stealing the video game Half-Life 2, leaking it onto the Internet, and causing damages in excess of $250 million... Get dressed..." The corridors were lined by police, squeezed into his father's house... Gembe had tried creating homegrown keystroke-recorders specifically targeted at Valve, according to the book, but then poking around their servers he'd discovered one which wasn't firewalled from the internal network. Gembe spent several weeks discovering notes and design documents, until eventually he stumbled onto the latest version of the unreleased game's source code. He'd never meant for the code to be leaked onto the internet -- but he did share it with another person who did. ("I didn't think it through. The person I shared the source with assured me he would keep it to himself. He didn't...") Eventually Gembe contacted Valve, apologized, and asked them for a job -- which led to a fake 40-minute job interview designed to gather enough evidence to arrest him. But ultimately a judge sentenced him to two years probation -- and Half-Life 2 went on to sell 8.6 million copies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.