Technology News

EU's Antitrust Commissioner Opens Preliminary Probe into Amazon

Slashdot - 44 min 28 sec ago
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has begun questioning merchants on Amazon's use of their data, Vestager said Wednesday. The issue, she said, is whether Amazon is using data from the merchants it hosts on its site to secure an advantage in selling products against those same retailers. From a report: "These are very early days and we haven't formally opened a case. We are trying to make sure that we get the full picture," Vestager said during a news conference Wednesday. The probe comes as the world's largest online retailer faces growing calls for regulation. Investors and insiders have long cited Amazon's size and reach as reason to break the company up. President Donald Trump has hinted at antitrust action against Amazon as part of continued attacks against CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was set to meet this month with state officials to discuss antitrust concerns in Silicon Valley, though much of the regulation on Big Tech thus far has come out of Brussels.

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Hands on: Apple's Walkie-Talkie app in watchOS 5 will let you talk to your friends in an instant

Apple Insider - 48 min 28 sec ago


Demonstrated for the first time at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference Apple's Walkie-Talkie feature is one of the biggest additions in the now-available watchOS 5 this year. AppleInsider goes hands on with the upcoming app.
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Larger camera bump in iPhone XS may prevent reuse of some iPhone X cases

Apple Insider - 1 hour 22 min ago


Owners of the iPhone X upgrading to the iPhone XS may not be able to use their existing smartphone cases with the new mobile device, after the discovery the rear camera protrusion on the iPhone XS is larger than the one on the earlier model, which could cause an issue for some protective accessories.
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China's Leaders Soften Their Stance on AI, Say They Will Be Sharing Their Findings With Other Countries

Slashdot - 1 hour 28 min ago
China might be at loggerheads with the United States over trade, but it is calling for a friendlier approach to the development of artificial intelligence. From a report: Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai this week, China's vice premier, Liu He, said that AI would depend heavily on international cooperation. "We're hoping that all countries, as members of the global village, will be inclusive and support each other so that we can respond to the double-edged-sword effect of new technologies," He said through a translator. "AI represents a new era. Cross-national and cross-discipline cooperation is inevitable." President Xi Jinping delivered a similar message in a letter presented at the same conference. Xi said that China would "share results with other countries in the field of artificial intelligence." He also called for collaboration between nations on AI topics such as ethics, law, governance, and security. This new, softer approach to artificial intelligence comes just over a year after the Chinese government announced an ambitious and aggressive AI plan. This blueprint called for Chinese AI researchers to lead the world by 2030, and for domestic companies to build an industry worth more than $150 billion. China's tech industry has already embraced machine learning and AI at an impressive rate.

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We Hold People With Power To Account. Why Not Algorithms?

Slashdot - 2 hours 8 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: All around us, algorithms provide a kind of convenient source of authority: an easy way to delegate responsibility, a short cut we take without thinking. Who is really going to click through to the second page of Google results every time and think critically about the information that has been served up? Or go to every airline to check if a comparison site is listing the cheapest deals? Or get out a ruler and a road map to confirm that their GPS is offering the shortest route? But already in our hospitals, our schools, our shops, our courtrooms and our police stations, artificial intelligence is silently working behind the scenes, feeding on our data and making decisions on our behalf. Sure, this technology has the capacity for enormous social good -- it can help us diagnose breast cancer, catch serial killers, avoid plane crashes and, as the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has proposed, potentially save lives using NHS data and genomics. Unless we know when to trust our own instincts over the output of a piece of software, however, it also brings the potential for disruption, injustice and unfairness. If we permit flawed machines to make life-changing decisions on our behalf -- by allowing them to pinpoint a murder suspect, to diagnose a condition or take over the wheel of a car -- we have to think carefully about what happens when things go wrong.

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Hands on: Google Maps in CarPlay fights Apple Maps for your dashboard

Apple Insider - 2 hours 33 min ago


After being teased during WWDC, we finally have our hand on Google Maps in Apple's CarPlay. AppleInsider takes a spin to see how it compares to Apple's own option.
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Hackers Stole Customer Credit Cards in Newegg Data Breach

Slashdot - 2 hours 58 min ago
Newegg is clearing up its website after a month-long data breach. TechCrunch: Hackers injected 15 lines of card skimming code on the online retailer's payments page which remained for more than a month between August 14 and September 18, Yonathan Klijnsma, a threat researcher at RiskIQ, told TechCrunch. The code siphoned off credit card data from unsuspecting customers to a server controlled by the hackers with a similar domain name -- likely to avoid detection. The server even used an HTTPS certificate to blend in. The code also worked for both desktop and mobile customers -- though it's unclear if mobile customers are affected. The online electronics retailer removed the code on Tuesday after it was contacted by incident response firm Volexity, which first discovered the card skimming malware and reported its findings. Newegg is one of the largest retailers in the US, making $2.65 billion in revenue in 2016. The company touts more than 45 million monthly unique visitors, but it's not known precisely how many customers completed transactions during the period.

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LLVM 7.0 Released: Better CPU Support, AMDGPU Vega 20; Clang 7.0 Gets FMV and OpenCL C++

Slashdot - 3 hours 38 min ago
LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg announced Wednesday the official availability of LLVM 7.0 compiler stack as well as associated sub-projects including the Clang 7.0 C/C++ compiler front-end, Compiler-RT, libc++, libunwind, LLDB, and others. From a report: There is a lot of LLVM improvements ranging from CPU improvements for many different architectures, Vega 20 support among many other AMDGPU back-end improvements, the new machine code analyzer utility, and more. The notable Clang C/C++ compiler has picked up support for function multi-versioning (FMV), initial OpenCL C++ support, and many other additions. See my LLVM 7.0 / Clang 7.0 feature overview for more details on the changes with this six-month open-source compiler stack update. Wennborg's release statement can be read on the llvm-announce list.

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Testing the speed of iOS 11 versus iOS 12 on the iPhone 6 and iPad Mini 2

Apple Insider - 4 hours 7 min ago


Apple made some big speed improvement claims regarding iOS 12 on older devices, like as some apps launching twice as fast, and CPU ramp-speed increasing across not just older devices, but also newer ones as well. AppleInsider puts the claims to the test.
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Sony Announces PlayStation Classic, a $100 Mini PS1

Slashdot - 4 hours 18 min ago
Sony announced Wednesday that it will release the PlayStation Classic micro console on December 3. It will cost $100 and come with 20 built-in games. From a report: Like Nintendo's NES Classic and SNES Classic, the PlayStation Classic will come packed with a list of beloved hits from the system's original library. There will be 20 games in all, but Sony only announced five of them today: Final Fantasy 7, Jumping Flash, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms. "All of the pre-loaded games will be playable in their original format," the company said in an announcement post on the PlayStation Blog. Sony plans to launch the PlayStation Classic worldwide on Dec. 3 -- the 24th anniversary of the PlayStation's release. (The PS1 debuted in Japan on Dec. 3, 1994, and Sony didn't bring it to the West until September 1995.) The retro console will retail for $99.99 in the U.S., 89.99 pound in the U.K., 99.99 euro in Europe and 9,980 yen in Japan. For that price, customers will get the system and two controllers. The gamepads are full-size replicas of the PS1's original controller, not the DualShock, so they and don't include analog sticks or vibration. As you can see in the gallery above, the gamepads are wired USB devices that plug into the console in the same spot as the original system's controller ports.

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iPhone XS, XS Max, XR Battery sizes, RAM revealed by Chinese regulator

Apple Insider - 4 hours 25 min ago


Regulatory filings in China have revealed a number of interesting details about Apple's newest iPhones, including that the iPhone XS and XS Max both use 4GB of memory, and while the iPhone XS Max and XR have larger batteries than the iPhone X, the iPhone XS uses a smaller capacity power source.
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New price drops knock up to $400 off 2018 Apple MacBook Pros, delivering the lowest prices ever

Apple Insider - 4 hours 34 min ago


Adorama has issued new, steeper discounts on Apple's Mid 2018 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros exclusively for AppleInsider readers. Shoppers can now save up to $400 on a variety of models thanks to instant rebates and our exclusive coupon. Plus, there's no tax collected outside NY and NJ, with 0% financing for up to 12 months on approved credit.
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Apple planning to ramp iPhone XR production to 'over 50 percent' of new iPhones

Apple Insider - 4 hours 52 min ago


Although much of its media hype has been focused on the iPhone XS and XS Max, Apple is reportedly planning to boost production of the iPhone XR past the 50 percent ratio by December.
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Evernote culls 15 percent of its staff in bid for increased efficiency

Apple Insider - 4 hours 55 min ago


Productivity app Evernote has made a major reduction to its workforce, eliminating approximately 15 percent of its employees in a bid to make the company more efficient, shortly after the departure of key employees from the business.
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Life In the Spanish City That Banned Cars

Slashdot - 5 hours 18 min ago
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via The Guardian: People don't shout in Pontevedra -- or they shout less. With all but the most essential traffic banished, there are no revving engines or honking horns, no metallic snarl of motorbikes or the roar of people trying make themselves heard above the din -- none of the usual soundtrack of a Spanish city. What you hear in the street instead are the tweeting of birds in the camellias, the tinkle of coffee spoons and the sound of human voices. Teachers herd crocodiles of small children across town without the constant fear that one of them will stray into traffic. "Listen," says the mayor, opening the windows of his office. From the street below rises the sound of human voices. "Before I became mayor 14,000 cars passed along this street every day. More cars passed through the city in a day than there are people living here." Miguel Anxo Fernandez Lores has been mayor of the Galician city since 1999. His philosophy is simple: owning a car doesn't give you the right to occupy the public space. "How can it be that the elderly or children aren't able to use the street because of cars?" asks Cesar Mosquera, the city's head of infrastructures. "How can it be that private property -- the car -- occupies the public space?" Lores became mayor after 12 years in opposition, and within a month had pedestrianized all 300,000 sq m of the medieval centre, paving the streets with granite flagstones. "The historical center was dead," Lores says. "There were a lot of drugs, it was full of cars -- it was a marginal zone. It was a city in decline, polluted, and there were a lot of traffic accidents. It was stagnant. Most people who had a chance to leave did so. At first we thought of improving traffic conditions but couldn't come up with a workable plan. Instead we decided to take back the public space for the residents and to do this we decided to get rid of cars." Some of the benefits mentioned in the report include less traffic accidents and traffic-related deaths, and decreased CO2 emissions (70%). "Also, withholding planning permission for big shopping centers has meant that small businesses -- which elsewhere have been unable to withstand Spain's prolonged economic crisis -- have managed to stay afloat," reports The Guardian.

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Inside iOS 12: Apple's ARKit 2 and USDZ usher in a new era of collaborative augmented reality

Apple Insider - 5 hours 40 min ago


With iOS 12, comes Apple's collaboration with Pixar on the USDZ format for a common augmented reality data file format. AppleInsider explains what it is, and how it helps expansion of AR.
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Music Modernization Act passes Senate unscathed in bid to fix music streaming royalties

Apple Insider - 5 hours 52 min ago


The Music Modernization Act, a bill that aims to update laws relating to music licensing and royalty payments to take into account new services like Apple Music and Spotify, has taken one more step closer to becoming law, after the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the proposal.
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VW Group, BMW and Daimler Are Under Investigation For Collusion In Europe

Slashdot - 8 hours 18 min ago
The European Commission has launched an antitrust investigation into the Volkswagen Group, BMW and Daimler, over allegations they colluded to keep certain emissions control devices from reaching the market in Europe, according to a statement the Commission released on Tuesday. CNET reports: The technologies the group allegedly sought to bury include a selective catalytic reduction system for diesel vehicles, which would help to reduce environmentally problematic oxides of nitrogen in passenger cars, and "Otto" particulate filters that trap particulate matter from gasoline combustion engines. "The Commission is investigating whether BMW, Daimler and VW agreed not to compete against each other on the development and roll-out of important systems to reduce harmful emissions from petrol and diesel passenger cars," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of competition policy for the European Commission, in a statement. "These technologies aim at making passenger cars less damaging to the environment. If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers."

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Senate Passes Music Modernization Act With Unanimous Support

Slashdot - 11 hours 18 min ago
After the House's unilateral support back in April, the Senate has unanimously voted to pass the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act, which is named in honor of the Republican senior senator from Utah -- a songwriter himself -- who will retire at the end of the year. Billboard explains the bill: The bill creates a blanket mechanical license and establishes a collective to administer it; reshapes how courts can determine rates, while making sure future performance rates hearings between performance rights organizations BMI and ASCAP and licensees rotate among all U.S. Southern District Court of New York Judges, instead of being assigned to the same two judges, Judge Denise Cote for ASCAP and Judge Louis Stanton for BMI, as its done now; creates a royalty for labels, artists and musicians to be paid by digital services for master recordings created prior to Feb. 15, 1972, while also eliminating a Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 carve out for "pre-existing digital services" like Sirius XM and Music Choice that allows for certain additional considerations not given to any other digital service when rates are set; and codifies a process for Sound Exchange to pay producers and engineers royalties for records on which they have worked. Over on the music publishing side of the business, there was much happiness too. For example, ASCAP noted that the legislation reforms an "outdated music licensing system and give music creators an opportunity to obtain compensation that more accurately reflects the value of music in a free market." Billboard notes that the revised Senate version "will go back to the House where it needs approval due to all the changes made to the bill in order to get it passed in the Senate." Once the House approves, it will then head to President Trump's desk.

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Qualcomm dealt early blow in second ITC action against Apple

Apple Insider - 11 hours 53 min ago


Qualcomm's second U.S. International Trade Commission complaint against Apple is not going as planned. Staff for the agency this week issued a recommendation that found none of the chipmaker's remaining patents-in-suit infringed, adding that an iPhone import ban would adversely impact the cellular modem market.
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