Technology News

Facebook Wanted Banks To Fork Over Customer Data Passing Through Messenger

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 21:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: For years, Facebook has publicly positioned its Messenger application as a way to connect with friends and as a way to help customers interact directly with businesses. But a new report from The Wall Street Journal today indicates that Facebook also saw its Messenger platform as a siphon for the sensitive financial data of its users, information it would not otherwise have access to unless a customer interacted with, say, a banking institution over chat. In this case, the WSJ report says not only did the banks find Facebook's methods obtrusive, but the companies also pushed back against the social network and, in some cases, moved conversations off Messenger to avoid handing Facebook any sensitive data. Among the financial firms Facebook is said to have argued with about customer data are American Express, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. The report says Facebook was interested in helping banks create bots for its Messenger platform, as part of a big push in 2016 to turn the chat app into an automated hub of digital life that could help you solve problems and avoid cumbersome customer service calls. But some of these bots, like the one American Express developed for Messenger last year, deliberately avoided sending transaction information over the platform after Facebook made clear it wanted to use customer spending habits as part of its ad targeting business. In some cases, companies like PayPal and Western Union negotiated special contracts that would let them offer many detailed and useful services like money transfers, the WSJ reports. But by and large, big banks in the U.S. have reportedly shied away from working with Facebook due to how aggressively it pushed for access to customer data. Facebook said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal: "Like many online companies, we partner with financial institutions to improve people's commerce experiences, like enabling better customer service, and people opt into these experiences. We've emphasized to partners that keeping people's information safe and secure is critical to these efforts. That has been and always will be our priority."

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Code in iOS 12.1 beta hints at Memoji syncing over iCloud, references 'iPad2018Fall'

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 20:52


Lines of code unearthed in Apple's first iOS 12.1 beta, released earlier on Tuesday, suggest a future version of the operating system will support syncing of Memoji characters over iCloud, a feature that points to potential integration with a rumored iPad Pro with TrueDepth camera array. Further spelunking reveals references to an "iPad2018Fall," hinting that the device could launch soon.
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Wharton Professor Says America Should Shorten the Work Day By 2 Hours

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 20:10
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, New York Times best-selling author, and The Wharton School's top professor, says Americans should work two hours less. Instead of the typical 9-to-5, people "should finish at 3pm," says Grant in a recent LinkedIn post. "We can be as productive and creative in 6 focused hours as in 8 unfocused hours." CNBC reports: In the LinkedIn post, Grant was weighing in on an Atlantic article about the time gap between when school and work days end, a bane for many parents. But it's not the first time Grant has given his stamp of approval to less work with more productivity. "Productivity is less about time management and more about attention management," Grant tweeted in July, highlighting an article about a successful four-day work week study. For the study, a New Zealand company adopted a four-day work week (at five-day pay) with positive results; the company saw benefits ranging from lower stress levels in employees to increased performance. In a recent blog post, billionaire Richard Branson also touted the success of a three-day or four-day work week. "It's easier to attract top talent when you are open and flexible," Branson said in the post. "It's not effective or productive to force them to behave in a conventional way." "Many people out there would love three-day or even four-day weekends," said Branson. "Everyone would welcome more time to spend with their loved ones, more time to get fit and healthy, more time to explore the world."

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Linux On Windows 10: Running Ubuntu VMs Just Got a Lot Easier, Says Microsoft

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 19:30
Liam Tung reporting for ZDNet: Ubuntu maintainer Canonical and Microsoft have teamed up to release an optimized Ubuntu Desktop image that's available through Microsoft's Hyper-V gallery. The Ubuntu Desktop image should deliver a better experience when running it as a guest on a Windows 10 Pro host, according to Canonical. The optimized version is Ubuntu Desktop 18.04.1 LTS release, also known as Bionic Beaver. Microsoft's work with Canonical was prompted by its users who wanted a "first-class experience" on Linux virtual machines (VMs) as well as Windows VMs. To achieve this goal, Microsoft worked with the developers of XRDP, an open-source remote-desktop protocol (RDP) for Linux based on Microsoft's RDP for Windows. Thanks to that work, XRDP now supports Microsoft's Enhanced Session Mode, which allows Hyper-V to use the open-source implementation of RDP to connect to Linux VMs. This in turn gives Ubuntu VMs on Windows hosts a better mouse experience, an integrated clipboard, windows resizing, and shared folders for easier file transfers between host and guest. Microsoft's Hyper-V Quick Create VM setup wizard should also help improve the experience. "With the Hyper-V Quick Create feature added in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, we have partnered with Ubuntu and added a virtual machine image so in a few quick minutes, you'll be up and developing," said Clint Rutkas, a senior technical product manager on Microsoft's Windows Developer Team. "This is available now -- just type 'Hyper-V Quick Create' in your start menu."

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Apple stores now sell Spire Health Tags for holistic self quantification

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 19:25


Apple retail channels this week started sales of Spire Health Tags, small, machine-washable devices with a long battery life that sticks to a user's clothes to monitor heart rate and track steps, breathing, stress levels and sleep patterns.
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Chrome OS Revamp Delivers a New Look and Linux App Support

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:50
Google has released a Chrome OS 69 update that introduces a range of new features. From a report: Most notably, there's now support for running Linux apps. You'll need a supported machine (a handful of machines from Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Google itself). Still, this could be more than a little helpful if you want to run a conventional desktop app or command line terminal without switching to another PC or a virtual environment. The new software also adds the long-in-the-making Night Light mode to ease your eyes at the end of the day. Voice dictation is now available in any text field, and there's a fresh Files interface that can access Play files and Team Drives.

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EU Drops Court Case After Apple Repays More Than $16 Billion In Taxes and Interest To Ireland

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:10
"Ireland's government has fully recovered more than [$16 billion] in disputed taxes and interest from Apple, which it will hold in an escrow fund pending its appeal against a European Union tax ruling," reports The Guardian. From the report: The European commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives from the Irish government. Both Apple and Dublin are appealing against the original ruling, saying the iPhone maker's tax treatment was in line with Irish and EU law. Ireland's finance ministry, which began collecting the back taxes in a series of payments in May, estimated last year the total amount could have reached -- [$17.5 billion] including EU interest. In the end the amount was [$15.2 billion] in back taxes plus [$1.4 billion] interest. For its part, the commission said it would scrap its lawsuit against Ireland, which it initiated last year because of delays in recovering the money. "In light of the full payment by Apple of the illegal state aid it had received from Ireland, commissioner (Margrethe) Vestager will be proposing to the college of commissioners the withdrawal of this court action," the commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said. Ireland's finance ministry said its appeal had been granted priority status and is progressing through the various stages of private written proceedings before the general court of the European Union (GCEU), Europe's second highest court. The matter will likely take several years to be settled by the European courts, it added.

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People Tend To Cluster Into Four Distinct Personality 'Types,' Says Study

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 17:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A new study has sifted through some of the largest online data sets of personality quizzes and identified four distinct "types" therein. The new methodology used for this study -- described in detail in a new paper in Nature Human Behavior -- is rigorous and replicable, which could help move personality typing analysis out of the dubious self-help section in your local bookstore and into serious scientific journals. What's new here is the identification of four dominant clusters in the overall distribution of traits. [Paper co-author William Revelle (Northwestern University)] prefers to think of them as "lumps in the batter" and suggests that a good analogy would be how people tend to concentrate in cities in the United States. The Northwestern researchers used publicly available data from online quizzes taken by 1.5 million people around the world. That data was then plotted in accordance with the so-called Big Five basic personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The Big Five is currently the professional standard for social psychologists who study personality. (Here's a good summary of what each of those traits means to psychologists.) They then applied their algorithms to the resulting dataset. Here are the four distinct personality clusters that the researchers ended up with: Average: These people score high in neuroticism and extraversion, but score low in openness. It is the most typical category, with women being more likely than men to fit into it. Reserved: This type of person is stable emotionally without being especially open or neurotic. They tend to score lower on extraversion but tend to be somewhat agreeable and conscientious. Role Models: These people score high in every trait except neuroticism, and the likelihood that someone fits into this category increases dramatically as they age. "These are people who are dependable and open to new ideas," says Amaral. "These are good people to be in charge of things." Women are more likely than men to be role models. Self-Centered: These people score very high in extraversion, but score low in openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Most teenage boys would fall into this category, according to Revelle, before (hopefully) maturing out of it. The number of people who fall into this category decreases dramatically with age.

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Apple shares several early iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max reviews ahead of launch

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 17:05


Ahead of the iPhone XS and XS Max release this Friday, Apple has highlighted a few of the early reviews praising the latest handsets.
Categories: Technology News

Google's Android OS To Power Dashboard Displays

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 16:50
schwit1 shares a report from The Wall Street Journal: Google is making a major push into the auto industry, partnering with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to use the tech company's Android OS to power media displays (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) that will eventually be sold in millions of cars world-wide. The auto-making alliance, which together sells more vehicles than any other auto maker, is picking Google to provide the operating system for its next-generation infotainment system, marking a major victory for the Silicon Valley tech giant, which has spent more than a decade trying to replicate the success it has had with the smartphone in the car. The alliance, which last year sold a combined 10.6 million vehicles globally, will debut the new system in 2021, giving drivers better integration of Google's maps, app store and voice-activated assistant from the vehicle's dashboard, the companies said. The move comes as other auto makers have been reluctant to cede control of this space to tech rivals, in part because they see the technology as generating valuable consumer data that can be turned into new revenue streams. Slashdot reader schwit1 adds: "But can I get it unlocked and can it be turned off, like this traveling telescreen?

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iPhone XS, XS Max Are World's Fastest Phones (Again)

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 16:10
According to "several real-world tests and synthetic benchmarks," the new iPhone XS and XS Max, equipped with the world's first 7-nanometer A12 Bionic processor, are the world's fastest smartphones, reports Tom's Guide. They even significantly outperform Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chip. From the report: Geekbench 4 is a benchmark that measures overall performance, and no other phone comes close to Apple's new handsets on this test. The iPhone Xs notched 11,420, and the iPhone Xs Max hit 11,515. The older iPhone X scored 10,357, so that's about an 11 percent improvement. There's a lot more distance between the new iPhones and Android flagships. The fastest Android phone around, the OnePlus 6, scored 9,088 on Geekbench 4 with its 8GB of RAM, while the Galaxy Note 9 reached 8,876. To test real-world performance, we use the Adobe Premiere Clips app to transcode a 2-minute 4K video to 1080p. The iPhone X was miles ahead last year with a time of just 42 seconds. This time around, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max knocked it down further to 39 seconds. The Galaxy S9+ took 2 minutes and 32 seconds to complete the task, and that's the fastest we've seen from an Android phone. The OnePlus 6 finished in 3:45, and the LG G7 ThinQ took 3:16. One good way to measure real-world performance is to see how long it takes for a phone to load demanding apps. Because the phones have the same processor for this round, we just used the iPhone Xs Max and put it up against the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 9. The iPhone XS Max was faster every time, including a 15-second victory in Fortnite over the Note 9 and 3-second win in Asphalt 9. The phones were closer in Pokemon Go but the iPhone XS Max still came out on top. The new iPhones did lag behind the competition in the 3DMark Slingshot Extreme test, which measures graphics performance by evaluating everything from rendering to volumetric lighting. The iPhone XS Max and iPhone X received scores of 4,244 and 4,339, respectively, while the OnePlus 6 received a score of 5,124. As for the GFXBench 5 test, the iPhone XS Max achieved 1,604.7 frames on the Aztec Ruins portion of the test, and 1,744.44 frames in the Car Chase test," reports Tom's Guide. "The Note 9 was far behind at 851.7 and 1,103 frames, respectively. However, the Galaxy S9+ edged past the iPhone XS Max on this test."

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iOS 12.1 beta includes support for Face ID in landscape mode, likely for iPad Pros

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 15:56


The first iOS 12.1 beta, released earlier on Tuesday, appears to include support for Face ID authentication while a device is in landscape mode, though the option is likely to be reserved for upcoming iPad Pros.
Categories: Technology News

Tesla Is Facing US Criminal Probe Over Elon Musk Statements

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 15:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Tesla is under investigation by the Justice Department over public statements made by the company and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. The criminal probe is running alongside a previously reported civil inquiry by securities regulators. Federal prosecutors opened a fraud investigation after Musk tweeted last month that he was contemplating taking Tesla private and had "funding secured" for the deal. The tweet initially sent the company's shares higher. Tesla confirmed it has been contacted by the Justice Department. The investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of California follows a subpoena issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking information from the electric-car maker about Musk's plans to go private, which he has since abandoned. Tesla said in a statement following Bloomberg's report: "Last month, following Elon's announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it. We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ's desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received."

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Low heart rate monitoring included in watchOS 5

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 15:01


Apple debuted a trio of new heart rate monitoring features set to be included in the Apple Watch Series 4. As it turns out, at least one of them was included in watchOS 5 for existing Apple Watch owners.
Categories: Technology News

Cyber Sleuths Find Traces of Infamous iPhone and Android Spyware 'Pegasus' in 45 Countries

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 14:50
Security researchers have found evidence that a piece of malware peddled as "lawful intercept" software to government agencies has been deployed against victims located in 45 countries, a number that far outweighs the number of known operators, meaning that some of them are conducting illegal cross-border surveillance. The findings come from a report published by Citizen Lab, a digital rights watchdog at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. ZDNet: The malware, known as Pegasus (or Trident), was created by Israeli cyber-security firm NSO Group and has been around for at least three years -- when it was first detailed in a report over the summer of 2016. The malware can operate on both Android and iOS devices, albeit it's been mostly spotted in campaigns targeting iPhone users primarily. On infected devices, Pegasus is a powerful spyware that can do many things, such as record conversations, steal private messages, exfiltrate photos, and much much more. Citizen Lab's researchers explained how they were able to arrive at the conclusion. They said they identified 1,091 IP addresses that matched their fingerprint for NSO's spyware. Then, they clustered the IP addresses into 36 separate operators with traces in 45 countries where these government agencies "may be conducting surveillance operations" between August 2016 and August 2018. Motherboard adds: Some of the countries where the researchers spotted Pegasus in democratic countries, such as the United States, France, and the UK, but there's also countries with questionable human rights records such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mexico, Turkey, and Yemen. There's a caveat though. In some cases, the researchers aren't sure if the traces they found indicate an infection -- thus a target that may have been hacked from a foreign country -- or an operator. [...] "I can only hope that our research is causing these companies to think twice about sales where there is the potential for spyware abuse, causing potential customers to think twice about being associated with a company dealing with repressive governments, and causing potential investors to think twice about the inherently risky business of selling spyware to dictators." The report includes a corroboration of sorts from security firm Lookout, which noted that it had detected "three digits" Pegasus infections around the world.

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What's new in watchOS 5.1 beta 1

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 14:25


The first beta of watchOS 5.1 was released to developers on Tuesday and while we aren't able to test every feature quite yet, we do know a few things about the forthcoming update.
Categories: Technology News

Google Maps becomes first third-party navigation app with Apple CarPlay support

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 14:20


Google on Tuesday updated the iOS version of Google Maps with CarPlay support, taking advantage of iOS 12's ability to employ navigation options beyond Apple Maps.
Categories: Technology News

Google is Giving up Some Control of the AMP Format

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 14:10
Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, has been a controversial project since its debut. Critics say AMP is a Google-specific project and it is creating a walled-garden, which would only serve Google's best interests. On its part, Google has insisted that AMP's mission is to benefit the open web, and that many who contribute to AMP are non-Googlers. On Tuesday, Google announced that it would be giving up some control of how the code behind AMP is managed. A report adds: It plans to move the AMP Project to a "new governance model," which is to say that decisions about the code will be made by a committee that includes non-Googlers. Until now, final decisions about AMP's code have been made by Malte Ubl, the tech lead for the AMP Project at Google. A model with a single person in charge is not actually all that rare in open source. That person is often cheekily referred to as the BDFL, or "benevolent dictator for life." Ubl's been that person for AMP, but, he writes, "we've found that it doesn't scale to the size of the AMP Project today. Instead, we want to move to a model that explicitly gives a voice to all constituents of the community, including those who cannot contribute code themselves, such as end-users." [...] Google has already signed up non-Google people for the Advisory Committee, which will include representatives from The Washington Post, AliExpress, eBay, Cloudflare, and Automattic (which makes WordPress). Ubl says that it will also include "advocates for an open web," including "Leonie Watson of The Paciello Group, Nicole Sullivan of Google / Chrome, and Terence Eden." Of course, as anybody who's taken part in a committee knows, it's neither a fun solution nor a guarantee that a single company or person won't dominate it. But it's a step in the right direction, and Google is encouraging people to comment on the plan at the AMP Contributor Summit on September 25th.

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Activity app challenge awards go missing for some iOS 12 upgraders

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 13:47


Some iPhone owners may notice some of their Activity Challenge awards have disappeared from their list of achievements after updating to iOS 12, Apple warns, advising a fix to restore the missing accolades is on the way.
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Everything new in iOS 12.1 beta 1: Group FaceTime returns!

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 13:30


The first developer beta of iOS 12.1 has been seeded to developers. AppleInsider takes the plunge to discover any new features or changes buried within.
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