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Slashdot Asks: Do You Install Preview Version Of An OS On Your Primary Device?

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 13:50
On Monday, Google released a new -- and also the final -- version of the Android N Developer Preview. Android Nougat, which is the latest version of Google's mobile operating system comes with a range of new features and improvements, including a notification panel redesign and additions to Doze power saving. The fifth preview, which is releasing today offers a "near-final" look at Android 7. Interestingly, Apple also released the public beta versions of iOS 10, and macOS Sierra to users earlier this month. Microsoft continues to offer preview builds of Windows 10 OS to enthusiasts. We were wondering how many of you choose to live on beta version of an operating system on your primary devices. Does anyone here wait for the final version of an operating system to release before making the switch? Also, what does the setup of your office/work computer look like? Anyone who is still on an older version of an operating system because of reliability and compatibility concerns?

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SpaceX Successfully Lands Falcon 9 Rocket On Solid Ground For the Second Time

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 13:10
SpaceX successfully landed another Falcon 9 rocket after launching the vehicle into space on Sunday evening from Florida. The Verge reports: Shortly after takeoff, the vehicle touched down at SpaceX's Landing Complex 1 -- a ground-based landing site that the company leases at the Cape. It marks the second time SpaceX has pulled off this type of ground landing, and the fifth time SpaceX has recovered one of its rockets post-launch. The feat was accomplished a few minutes before the rocket's second stage successfully put the company's Dragon spacecraft into orbit, where it will rendezvous with the International Space Station later this week. It's also the first time this year SpaceX has attempted to land one of its rockets on land. For the past six launches, each rocket has tried landing on an autonomous drone ship floating in the ocean. That's because drone ship landings require a lot less fuel to execute than ground landings.

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Germany To Require 'Black Box' in Autonomous Cars

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:30
Autonomous cars should be able to account for themselves, that's the thinking behind new legislation proposed by German's transport ministry. The country is planning new laws that require self-driving cars to include a black box, Reuters reports, similar to the flight recorder required on aircraft. From the report: The fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S car in its Autopilot mode has increased the pressure on industry executives and regulators to ensure that automated driving technology can be deployed safely. Under the proposal from Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt, drivers will not have to pay attention to traffic or concentrate on steering, but must remain seated at the wheel so they can intervene in the event of an emergency. Manufacturers will also be required to install a black box that records when the autopilot system was active, when the driver drove and when the system requested that the driver take over, according to the proposals. The draft is due to be sent to other ministries for approval this summer, a transport ministry spokesman said.

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Star Trek CBS Series To Be Streamed Internationally On Netflix

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 12:05
An anonymous reader writes: Netflix has announced that it has secured a deal to stream every episode of the new Star Trek TV series within 24 hours of its original network broadcast. However, neither the U.S. nor Canadian subscribers are included in the deal, which otherwise covers every territory that Netflix operates in worldwide. Stateside viewers will be able to stream the new show via CBS's own All Access digital subscription video-on-demand and live streaming service, with Canadian streaming provisions yet to be announced. The deal represents a potential major step forward in the company's determination to bypass regional licensing, and at one stroke eliminates the typical years of delay that occur when a U.S. program seeks foreign audiences.

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Millennials Set To Earn Less Than Generation X

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 11:40
Reader AmiMoJo writes: Millennials are set to become the first generation to earn less than their predecessors, new research suggests. The Resolution Foundation found that under-35s earned 8,000 pound ($10,600) less in their twenties than Generation X workers. If wages for millennials follow the same path as Generation X, average career earnings will be about 825,000 pound ($1.1m). That would make them the first generation to earn less than their predecessors over the course of their working lives. Research found that some of the pay squeeze was due to under-35s entering the job market as the recession hit, but it also concluded that generational pay progress had ground to a halt even before the financial crisis struck in 2007/8.

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Microsoft's New Xbox One S Will Go On Sale On August 2 -- Will You Buy One?

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 11:00
Microsoft announced on Monday that its new Xbox One S console will go on sale on August 2. To recall, the Xbox One S is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One (also the power supply packed in the console itself), and has the processing muscle to stream video in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. BetaNews reports: August 2 is the big date which also sees the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The Xbox One S also features up to 2TB of storage. In all, three versions of the console are available. It's the 2TB model that's grabbing the headlines and the attention of keen gamers, and this model will launch in "limited numbers" priced at $399. The console will launch in Australia, Canada, UK and United States among several other regions. For anyone looking for a slightly cheaper option, the 1TB model will cost $349, while $299 will get you a 500GB version. If you want to add to the single Xbox Wireless Controller included as standard, this will set you back a further $59.99.Are you planning to purchase one of these?

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Hacker Uses Premium Rate Calls To Steal From Instagram, Google, Microsoft

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 10:20
Reader Orome1 writes: Some account options deployed by Instagram, Google and Microsoft can be misused to steal money from the companies by making them place phone calls to premium rate numbers, security researcher Arne Swinnen has demonstrated. Swinnen calculated that, in theory, these options would allow an attacker to milk over 2 million euro per year from Instagram, 432,000 euro per year from Google, and nearly 700,000 euro from Microsoft by using a slew of fake accounts, multiple premium numbers, and different tools and approaches to automate the process.

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Chinese Consortium's $1.24B Bid To Acquire Opera Software Fails, $600M Deal Agreed Instead

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 09:40
The $1.24 billion takeover of Opera Software by a Chinese consortium of internet firms has failed, Opera said on Monday. The deal did not receive the required regulatory approval in time of a final deadline. But they will be doing some business. The consortium will now acquire only certain parts of Opera's consumer business, including its mobile and desktop browsers, for $600 million on an enterprise value basis. Tech.eu reports: What will not be acquired by the consortium is: Opera Mediaworks, Apps & Games and Opera TV. In 2015, Opera says these business units combined delivered revenues of $467 million. The company will report second-quarter results on August 31, 2016.

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SoftBank To Buy British Chip Designer ARM For $32 Billion

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 09:00
SoftBank has agreed to acquire British chip designer ARM Holdings for $32 billion in cash. The purchase will give Japan's multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation a slice of virtually every mobile computing gadget on the planet and future connected devices in the home. ARM, unlike Intel, doesn't manufacture chips, but licenses the design for it. ARM customers shipped roughly 15 billion products with ARM chips inside in 2015. This also marks the first large-scale, cross-border transaction in Britain since it voted to exit the European Union last month. "I have admired this company for over ten years," SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son told reporters at a press conference in London on Monday. "This is an endorsement into the view of the future of the U.K." ARM assumes the tentpole position in chips for mobile devices. It was one of the first companies to aggressively focus on mobile devices while other semiconductor companies were ramping up their efforts on desktops. SoftBank, which is based in Tokyo has become one of the most acquisitive companies in the recent years. It heavily invests in technology, media, and telecommunications companies. ARM could provide an additional boost to SoftBank's mobile strategy. SoftBank, for instance, also owns about 83 percent of the American wireless operator Sprint. Hermann Hauser, one of ARM's founders, said, "ARM is the proudest achievement of my life. The proposed sale to SoftBank is a sad day for me and for technology in Britain." BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones asked, "Question -- if ARM goes, what's left as a worldbeating UK-owned tech player?"

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Slashdot Asks: What's Your Computer Set-Up Look Like?

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 06:30
I thought it'd be fun to ask Slashdot readers one of the same questions we asked Larry Wall: What's your computer set-up look like? Slashdot reader LichtSpektren had asked: Can you give us a glimpse into what your main work computer looks like? What's the hardware and OS, your preferred editor and browser, and any crucial software you want to give a shout-out to? Larry Wall is running Linux Mint (Cinnamon edition), and he surfs the web with Firefox (and Chrome on his phone) -- "but I'm not a browser wonk. Maybe I'll have more opinions on that after our JS backend is done for Perl 6..." And for a text editor, he's currently ensconced in the vi/vim camp, though "I've used lots of them, so I have no strong religious feelings." So leave your answers in the comments. What's your OS, hardware, preferred editor, browser, "and any crucial software you want to give a shout-out to?" What does your computer set-up look like?

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The Slashdot Interview With Larry Wall

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 02:30
You asked, he answered! Perl creator Larry Wall has responded to questions submitted by Slashdot readers. Read on for his answers...

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New Zealand Crowdfunds $1.7 Million To Buy A Private Beach

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 22:30
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes an article from FastCoExist: When debt-troubled businessman Michael Spackman put his private New Zealand beach on sale, Kiwis started a crowdfunding campaign to buy it back for the public... The crowdfunding campaign raised $1.7 million in donations from around 40,000 people. Even the New Zealand government contributed $254,000. The BBC reports that the campaign "snubbed a businessman who offered them money in exchange for private access to part of the beach," with the campaign's creator calling this an example of technology's power to unite people for a common cause. "Sometimes you can feel powerless, so for us, it's been a marvelous experience... There's been a real feeling of coming together."

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DARPA Will Stage an AI Fight in Las Vegas For DEF CON

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 20:39
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "A bunch of computers will try to hack each other in Vegas for a $2 million prize," reports Tech Insider calling it a "historic battle" that will coincide with "two of the biggest hacking conferences, Blackhat USA and DEFCON". DARPA will supply seven teams with a supercomputer. Their challenge? Create an autonomous A.I. system that can "hunt for security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to attack a computer, create a fix that patches that vulnerability and distribute that patch -- all without any human interference." "The idea here is to start a technology revolution," said Mike Walker, DARPA's manager for the Cyber Grand Challenge contest. Yahoo Tech notes that it takes an average of 312 days before security vulnerabilities are discovered -- and 24 days to patch it. "if all goes well, the CGC could mean a future where you don't have to worry about viruses or hackers attacking your computer, smartphone or your other connected devices. At a national level, this technology could help prevent large-scale attacks against things like power plants, water supplies and air-traffic infrastructure. It's being billed as "the world's first all-machine hacking tournament," with a prize of $2 million for the winner, while the second and third place tem will win $1 million and $750,000.

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The Case Against a Universal Basic Income

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 18:35
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: A prominent think tank founder argues that a Universal Basic Income is more likely to increase poverty than decrease it. Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, estimates just in the U.S. the cost would reach $3 trillion a year, "close to 100 percent of all tax revenue the federal government collects... A UBI that's financed primarily by tax increases would require the American people to accept a level of taxation that vastly exceeds anything in U.S. history..." In a long interview with Vox, he warns that "If you have big, very expensive, and therefore highly politically unrealistic proposals, then I worry that people will look at them and say, 'Okay, we can do one or two pieces,' and too often the pieces that get selected out are pieces where a lot of the money goes to the middle or upper middle class... even UBI's staunchest supporters say we can get there in 15 to 20 years. I am totally not comfortable with any policy prescription that says we wait 15 to 20 years to deal with very deep poverty." He suggests instead focussing on the neediest people first, possibly by subsidizing jobs programs and making housing more affordable.

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Cities Struggling To Crack Down On Airbnb Renters

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 17:39
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: A California man has been charged with eight misdemeanors for renting several apartments under his own name, and then subletting them all. "Apartments in Santa Monica that might fetch $3500 a month as ordinary rentals, are worth three or four times that on a daily or weekly basis," reports one newsweekly, and the subletter notes that he only received two years of probation plus a $3,500 fine, "what one of my properties makes in a month." On Wednesday three prominent U.S. Senators "called for a regulatory probe into whether short-term rental websites such as Airbnb are taking housing away from long-term renters and pushing up prices," but the number of Americans planning to use Airbnb this summer has apparently already doubled since last year. The Hotel and Lodging Association of Alaska is complaining that the state's renters "are not required to follow the same state and federal safety mandates that are required for other hotels and lodges creating an unsafe and unfair market for consumers as well as hoteliers." But it seems like currently the only pushback is coming from local and city officials, like the short-term rental rules that Airbnb is currently fighting in their home city of San Francisco. For example, in Maine, the owner of one of Portland's 425 rentals units is now fighting a city order "demanding that he stop renting out part of his home through Airbnb. "Portland has a limited staff to enforce zoning rules, so it comes down on the most egregious cases, said City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Grondin." I laughed at the quote from the City Hall spokeswoman. "It's kind of like speeding on the highway. You know it is illegal, you do it anyway, and you get caught."

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U.S. Curtails Federal Election Observers

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 16:39
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fortune: Federal election observers can only be sent to five states in this year's U.S. presidential election, among the smallest deployments since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to end racial discrimination at the ballot box. The plan, confirmed in a U.S. Department of Justice fact sheet seen by Reuters, reflects changes brought about by the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to strike down parts of the Act... Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Friday the Justice Department's ability to deploy election observers had been "severely curtailed" by the Supreme Court's decision... Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Voting Rights Project, said federal observers are especially needed this year because 17 states have tightened restrictions on voting since the last presidential election.

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The World's Most Powerful Telescope Just Discovered 1,230 New Galaxies

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 15:39
An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from Vice: On Saturday night astronomers at the South African MeerKAT radio telescope array fired up 16 of its recently completed dishes and released the first ever image from what is slated to become the worldâ(TM)s most powerful radio telescope. The initial results were incredibly promising: operating with only one quarter of the 64 dishes that will eventually comprise MeerKAT, the telescope was able to find 1300 galaxies in a small corner of the universe where only 70 galaxies were known to exist previously. Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes a report Agence France-Presse: MeerKAT's full contingent of 64 receptors will be integrated next year into a multi-nation Square Kilometer Array (SKA) which is is set to become the world's most powerful radio telescope. The images produced by MeerKAT "are far better that we could have expected," the chief scientist of the SKA in South Africa, Fernando Camilo said at the site of the dishes near the small town of Carnarvon, 600 kilometres north of Cape Town. When fully up and running in the 2020s, the SKA... will have a discovery potential 10,000 times greater than the most advanced modern instruments and will explore exploding stars, black holes, dark energy and traces of the universe's origins some 14 billion years ago.

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The Freeware Hall of Fame Enters Its 20th Year

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 14:35
After our story about the ongoing development of FreeDOS, long-time Slashdot reader reybo shares another valuable resource that's been "All free, all the time since 1984": Younger FreeDOS users may not know of the Freeware Hall of Fame, a source of old DOS freeware some of which is on-line 24/7 at www.freewarehof.org . This file base of free programs was begun in 1984 to help small businesses enter the world of computers. It became an international file base distributed to BBSs around the world via floppy disc until Bobbie Sumrada in Memphis gave it a home on CHEERS, her premier BBS. The entire history is on the FreeHOF web site. Also there are downloadable copies of PCBoard, one of the great BBS platforms of all time. Anyone can create a dial-up BBS with this to see what they were like, so long as they have a DOS partition for it. I think MS DOS is also there to download, version 5.n or 6.n. Something you won't find at this site is games. FHOF never distributed games. "No Flash, no Java, no goddam rollovers..." reads one page, which notes that in the mid-'90s they were picked as one of the world's 25 best BBSs by Boardwatch magazine.

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Did Armenia Censor Facebook?

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 13:38
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "Only one day after Twitter was throttled in Turkey during an ill-fated coup attempt, social media again seemed to become a target during unrest in Armenia's capital, Yerevan," reports Mashable. A day after Turkey's president declared that Friday's coup has failed, armed men had taken hostages in nearby Armenia, and "The National Security Service accused the hostage takers' supporters of spreading false rumors on the internet about an uprising and the seizure of other buildings," according to Reuters. "Early Sunday, journalists and others in Armenia used Twitter to suggest Facebook had been blocked for a period as the incident unfolded," Mashable reports, noting that later Facebook access appeared to be restored. Facebook was unavailable for comment.

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Google, Tesla, and Facebook Attract 'Hordes of Tech Tourists' To Their Headquarters

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 12:39
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "We just came from Oracle, then we go to HP, Google; we're going to do Tesla, Intel, eBay and Yahoo. And Apple, I forgot Apple..." says one San Francisco resident, describing a tour he's providing for his friend from Tokyo. In fact, Silicon Valley's iconic tech companies have discovered tourists are now dropping in on their headquarters. "It was nice to walk between the buildings, take some pictures and see the employees enjoy their lunch break," wrote one visitor to Google's campus, before complaining that Google hadn't also provided them with bathroom access. "We got told not to use the Google bikes as they are for employees only, which was a bit of a shame," another visitor complained. "Hundreds of people a day visit the Facebook sign and Google's Android sculpture garden in Mountain View," reports the Bay Area Newsgroup, "with many stopping at other tech giants as well, snapping photos and shooting video..." In fact, Tesla, Apple, Facebook, and Google have all now installed stores where tourists can purchase branded merchandise. (Google sells figurines of their Android mascot for $15). "What you're seeing are people on a pilgrimage..." said Stanford communications professor Fred Turner. "Folks are looking for a physical place behind the kind of dematerialized experience that they have online." Intel has its own museum, and the Los Altos garage where Steve Jobs started Apple has even been designated a historic site. Are there any other historic tech sites that should be preserved to inspire future generations of tourists?

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