Technology News

Apple recruits senior Waymo engineer & NASA veteran for self-driving car project

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 13:28


The latest addition to Apple's self-driving car team is Jaime Waydo, previously a senior engineer at Alphabet's Waymo as well as NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Categories: Technology News

Verizon's New Phone Plan Proves It Has No Idea What 'Unlimited' Actually Means

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 13:25
Verizon has unveiled its third "unlimited" smartphone plan that goes to show just how meaningless the term has become in the U.S. wireless industry. "In addition to its Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited plans, Verizon is now adding a premium Above Unlimited plan to the mix, which offers 75GB of 'unlimited' data per month (as opposed to the 22GB of 'unlimited' data you get on less expensive plans), along with 20GB of 'unlimited' data when using your phone as a hotspot, 500GB of Verizon cloud storage, and five monthly international Travel Passes, which are daily vouchers that let you use your phone's wireless service abroad the same as if you were in the U.S.," reports Gizmodo. Are you confused yet? From the report: And as if that wasn't bad enough, Verizon has also updated its convoluted sliding pricing scheme that adjusts based on how many phones are on a single bill. For families with four lines of service, the Above Unlimited cost $60 per person, but if you're a single user the same service costs $95, which really seems like bullshit because if everything is supposed to be unlimited, it shouldn't really make a difference how many people are on the same bill. As a small concession to flexibility, Verizon says families with multiple lines can now mix and match plans instead of having to choose a single plan for every line, which should allow families to choose the right service for an individual person's needs and help keep costs down. The new Above Unlimited plan and the company's mix-and-match feature arrives next week on June 18th.

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Some Prominent Tech Companies Are Paying Big Money To Kill a California Privacy Initiative

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: As data-sharing scandals continue to mount, a new proposal in California offers a potential solution: the California Consumer Privacy Act would require companies to disclose the types of information they collect, like data used to target ads, and allow the public to opt out of having their information sold. Now, some of tech's most prominent companies are pouring millions of dollars into an effort to to kill the proposal. In recent weeks, Amazon, Microsoft, and Uber have all made substantial contributions to a group campaigning against the initiative, according to state disclosure records. The $195,000 contributions from Amazon and Microsoft, as well as $50,000 from Uber, are only the latest: Facebook, Google, AT&T, and Verizon have each contributed $200,000 to block the measure, while other telecom and advertising groups have also poured money into the opposition group. After Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on privacy during congressional hearings, Facebook said it would no longer support the group. Google did not back down, and the more recent contributions suggest other companies will continue fighting the measure.

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The Most Remote Island in the World is Home to Seals, Seabirds, and an Internet Top-Level Domain

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:05
An anonymous reader shares a report: Bouvet Island has little to offer. The most remote island in the world is fewer than 20 square miles in size, and it's almost entirely covered by a glacier. Long ago, it was an active volcano, but those fiery days have long since passed. Now, it's home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, a Norwegian research station, and its own top-level internet domain. Top-level domains serve as part of the Internet's architecture. Aside from generic domains like .com and .edu, every country has a specific two-letter domain assigned to it. The United Kingdom, for example, uses .uk; Japan uses .jp. The United States has .us, though it's not widely used. The original idea was that each country could manage the websites registered by individuals and organizations within its borders by issuing them websites that use their country-specific domain. But here's the weird thing about Bouvet Island having its own top-level domain: It's uninhabited. It's always been uninhabited. Located in the southern Atlantic, the closest land to Bouvet Island is the coast of Antarctica, 1,100 miles to the south. The closest inhabited land is the island Tristan da Cunha, a British overseas territory located 1,400 miles to the north (Interestingly enough, Tristan da Cunha does not have its own top-level domain).

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Apple, Oprah Winfrey sign multi-year deal for TV programming

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 11:19


Apple and Oprah Winfrey have teamed in a long-term partnership to develop programming and original content for what will likely become Apple's streaming video service.
Categories: Technology News

Apple Maps Was Down For All Users Earlier Today

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 11:15
An anonymous reader shares a report: Apple Maps is down and has been for a few hours today, 9to5Mac reports. Users are noting on Twitter and Apple Support that the service isn't working on phones, Apple Watch or CarPlay and searches for certain places or points of interest result in a "No Results Found" response. Apple has noted on its system status site that all users are experiencing issues with both Maps search and navigation. Update: It is functional again.

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DeepMind Self-training Computer Creates 3D Model From 2D Snapshots

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:41
DeepMind, Google's artificial intelligence subsidiary in London, has developed a self-training vision computer that generates 'a full 3D model of a scene from just a handful of 2D snapshots," according to its chief executive. From a report: The system, called the Generative Query Network, can then imagine and render the scene from any angle [Editor's note: the link maybe paywalled; alternative source], said Demis Hassabis. GQN is a general-purpose system with a vast range of potential applications, from robotic vision to virtual reality simulation. Details were published on Thursday in the journal Science. "Remarkably, [the DeepMind scientists] developed a system that relies only on inputs from its own image sensors -- and that learns autonomously and without human supervision," said Matthias Zwicker, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland who was not involved in the research. This is the latest in a series of high-profile DeepMind projects, which are demonstrating a previously unanticipated ability by AI systems to learn by themselves, once their human programmers have set the basic parameters.

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Here are over 150 new features and changes in iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:28


When Apple introduced iOS 12 during the WWDC 2018 keynote, they barely scratched the surface on what was changed in their latest major update. We've tracked down well over 150 features to find everything new in iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad.
Categories: Technology News

South Africans in Cape Town and Johannesburg Pay Much More For Internet Usage Than New Yorkers

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:00
South Africa may have some of the world's cheapest cities to live in, but using the internet in Cape Town and Johannesburg is surprisingly expensive by global standards. From a report: South Africans living in the country's two major cities spend more on their monthly internet costs than people living in New York, Tokyo, and even the perennially expensive Zurich, according to a report by Deutsche Bank. When comparing life in the global financial capitals, most other things, from rent to the cost of a cappuccino, were far cheaper in Johannesburg and Cape Town, making the cost of getting online even more of a shock to the pocket. Out of 50 cities surveyed, Joburgers spent the second most on monthly internet, beaten only by oil-rich Dubai. The amount shelled out by Capetonians ranked seventh behind Dublin, San Francisco, and Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand, according to the report, which compared daily prices and living standards of cities around the world.

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Microsoft Program Manager Mistakenly Tweets Office 365 Will Be Rewritten in JavaScript

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 09:34
"A Microsoft employee claimed publicly that 'all of Office 365' was being 'completely rewritten' in JavaScript," writes Paul Thurrott, adding "And then all hell broke loose." First things first. It's not true. So if you were freaking out that Microsoft was somehow abandoning C# and C++ for its most mission-critical offerings, freak out no more. It's not happening. So what is happening? A Microsoft program manager named Sean Larkin perhaps got a little overly-exuberant on Monday... he tried to clarify things in follow-up tweets when his original missive exploded intro controversy. Which shouldn't have been a surprise. And yet, somehow, it was... [H]e finally corrected himself on Reddit, blaming Twitter's character limitations for his many factual errors. "We are not abandoning C++, C#, or any of the other awesome languages, APIs, and toolings that we use across Microsoft," he clarifies. "Nothing [in Office 365] is converting to 'all/completely' JavaScript/TypeScript." Thurrott, a long-time Windows blogger, concludes that "getting something this big this wrong is inexcusable."

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6 Fitbit Employees Charged With Stealing Trade Secrets From Jawbone

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 09:20
Six current and former Fitbit employees were charged in a federal indictment Thursday filed in San Jose for allegedly being in possession of trade secrets stolen from competitor Jawbone, according to information from the Department of Justice. From a report: The indictment charges the six people -- Katherine Mogal, 52, of San Francisco; Rong Zhang, 45, of El Cerrito; Jing Qi Weiden, 39, of San Jose; Ana Rosario, 33, of Pacifica; Patrick Narron, 41, of Boulder Creek; and Patricio Romano, 37, of Calabasas -- with violating confidentiality agreements they had signed as former employees of Jawbone after they accepted employment with Fitbit, according to an announcement from Acting U.S. Attorney Alex G. Tse and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin. San Francisco-based companies Fitbit and Jawbone were competitors in making wearable fitness trackers until Jawbone, once valued at $3.2B, went out of business in 2017. Each of the defendants worked for Jawbone for at least one year between May 2011 and April 2015, and had signed a confidentiality agreement with the company, according to the Department of Justice.

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University of Chicago To Stop Requiring ACT and SAT Scores For Prospective Undergraduates

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: For years, a debate has simmered at the nation's universities and colleges over how much weight should be given to standardized tests as officials consider students for admission -- and whether they should be required at all. A growing number, including DePaul University, have opted to stop requiring the SAT and ACT in their admissions process, saying the tests place an unfair cost and burden on low-income and minority students, and ultimately hinder efforts to broaden diversity on campus. But the trend has escaped the nation's most selective universities. Until now. The University of Chicago announced Thursday that it would no longer require applicants for the undergraduate college to submit standardized test scores. While it will still allow applicants to submit their SAT or ACT scores, university officials said they would let prospective undergraduates send transcripts on their own and submit video introductions and nontraditional materials to supplement their applications.

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Widespread outage strikes Apple Maps search, directions

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:37


Apple Maps is currently undergoing a partial outage of service, with a large number of users unable to use the navigational functions to get directions on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac versions of the app.
Categories: Technology News

Apple & tech's disproportionate share of S&P index raising eyebrows

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:06


Tech companies, including Apple, take up a large percentage of the index's value, as well as its growth, leading some observers to question whether Big Tech has gotten too financially powerful.
Categories: Technology News

Stephen Hawking's Voice Beamed Into Space as His Ashes Are Interred

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:00
The ashes of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking were interred at Westminster Abbey in London on Friday in a memorial ceremony attended by a mixture of celebrities and members of the public. From a report: Astronaut Tim Peake and British actor Benedict Cumberbatch and both gave readings, and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees paid tribute to the Hawking's work. Following the service, Hawking's words, set to an original score by composer Vangelis, will be beamed into space by the European Space Agency. Hawking died in March aged 76 after a lifetime of studying the science of space and time. His final resting place is situated between the remains of two other great scientists: Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. It is a rare honor to be interred at the Abbey, and one that has not been afforded to a scientist for almost 80 years. Before Hawking, the last scientists laid to rest at Westminster were atomic physicists Ernest Rutherford in 1937 and Joseph John Thomson in 1940.

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Podcast discusses the end of the lightning connector, waterproof patents, and interviews Moog iOS developer Geert Bevin

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 06:48


This week on the AppleInsider Podcast, Victor and Andrew O'Hara discuss rumors of the Lightning connector's demise, patents on making connectors waterproof, network building tips, and an interview with the Geert Bevin, Moog Music's iOS Product Manager and Software Engineering Lead.
Categories: Technology News

Intel's next iPhone cellular modem could completely replace Qualcomm chips

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 06:24


Intel has commenced manufacturing of modems that will reportedly be used in the 2018 iPhone refresh this fall, one that could be used across a wide variety of cellular communications technologies, and could eliminate the need for Apple to produce iPhone variants using Qualcomm modem chips.
Categories: Technology News

How the World Cup Plays Out Among Hackers

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 06:00
The World Cup began today in Russia, and hackers were watching the games. From a report: In prior years, Cybersecurity firm Akamai has seen declines in cyberattacks while the World Cup games are in play -- "at least until games are out of reach," said Patrick Sullivan, Akamai director of security technology. Once games are well in hand, attacks from the losing team's nation spike well above normal. Often, said Sullivan, that takes the form of attacks designed to take down news stories in the victor's country that tout a home-team win. Sullivan notes activists frequently use various forms of cyber attacks during major sporting events to protest the host nation -- often targeting sponsors to get their point across. He points to protestors upset with the amount of money spent in the recent Brazillian World Cup as an example.

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Cheaper 6.1-inch LCD 2018 iPhone expected to be Apple's most popular model

Apple Insider - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 05:53


Apple has reportedly made some alterations to its 2018 iPhone orders, and is expected to deliver more of the 6.1-inch LCD 2018 iPhone in the fall than the OLED models combined.
Categories: Technology News

A British Plumber May Show Uber the Future of Employment

Slashdot - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:30
A British plumber may show Uber the future of employment. From a report: The U.K.'s top judges ruled Wednesday that Pimlico Plumbers Ltd. should've treated one of its tradesman as a "worker," giving him the right to vacation pay and to sue the company in a decision that could have ramifications for other gig economy lawsuits. Supreme Court judges found that plumber Gary Smith, who worked for London-based Pimlico Plumbers between August 2005 and April 2011, wasn't self-employed or a client of the firm, giving him the right to sue the company under discrimination laws. "This is one of the most significant employment status decisions we have seen in the last five years," said James Murray, an employment lawyer at Kingsley Napley in London. Uber and other app-based firms will be watching the ruling with interest as they face similar legal challenges over the way they treat employees. Uber's appeal of a decision granting its drivers benefits including overtime and paid vacation is scheduled to be heard by another court October 30. Meanwhile Deliveroo, the food-delivery service, is currently battling the IWGB union over its riders' employment status and in May, taxi service Addison Lee lost an appeal over whether drivers were independent contractors or employees with rights to benefits.

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