Technology News

Apple proposes devices using depth mapping for gesture controls, contextual responses

Apple Insider - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:15


Home entertainment devices like the HomePod could be improved by analyzing the local environment and a user's actions, an Apple concept suggests, with monitoring of a room potentially able to improve gesture-based control of audio, as well as contextual responses like turning down the volume if the room is empty.
Categories: Technology News

Bitcoin Sinks Below $6,000 as Almost Everything Crypto Tumbles

Slashdot - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:00
Several readers have shared a report: Bitcoin touched below $6,000 and dozens of smaller digital tokens including Ether retreated as this month's sell-off in cryptocurrencies showed few signs of letting up. The largest digital currency fell as much as 6.2 percent to $5,887, the lowest level since June, before paring some of the drop, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Ether sank as much as 13 percent, while all but one of the 100 biggest cryptocurrencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com recorded declines over the past 24 hours. The total market capitalization of virtual currencies dropped to $193 billion. Thatâ(TM)s down from a peak of about $835 billion in January.

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Google Voice for iPhone & iPad gets new UI & Contacts tab

Apple Insider - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 07:43


Google this week updated the iOS edition of Google Voice with a significant redesign, modernized in both interface and aesthetics.
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Trump Signs Defense Bill With Watered-Down ZTE Sanctions

Slashdot - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 07:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: President Donald Trump on Monday signed a $716 billion defense policy bill that weakened efforts to punish Chinese telecom giant ZTE for violating trade laws. The bill, named for ailing Arizona Sen. John McCain, prohibits the U.S. government and its contractors from buying certain telecommunications and video surveillance equipment from ZTE, Huawei and a handful of other Chinese communications companies. The ban covers components and services deemed "essential" or "critical" to any government system. Some lawmakers had hoped to use the bill to reinstate tough penalties against ZTE, but the compromise bill removed a provision that would undo a deal the Commerce Department struck in June for ZTE to pay a $1 billion penalty to resume business with U.S. suppliers. But lawmakers agreed to abandon that effort in late July. Huawei called the inclusion of its products in the bill "ineffective, misguided and unconstitutional." They added: "It does nothing to identify real security risks or improve supply chain security, and will only serve to stifle innovation while increasing internet costs for U.S. consumers and businesses. We believe that the American people deserve equal access to the best possible connections and smart device options, and will keep working to make this happen."

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Turkey's president calls for boycott of Apple products

Apple Insider - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 06:34


Amid rising trade tensions with the United States and local economic catastrophe, Turkey's president has named Apple specifically as a boycott target.
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Siri multi-user support could offer personalized responses to different voices

Apple Insider - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 06:22


Apple is considering ways to allow Siri to provide personalized results for specific users speaking to it, by making the digital assistant recognize the user's identity, with the added possibility of limiting queries to just one user's voice.
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Apple Pencil support, 512GB flash storage might be coming to 2018 iPhone refresh

Apple Insider - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 05:35


An analyst firm has chimed in on 2018 iPhone rumors, adding the possibility that Apple Pencil support may be coming to the high-end releases in the fall.
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Android Pie Breaks Pixel XL's Ability To Fast Charge

Slashdot - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 04:00
Google's recent launch of Android 9.0 Pie hasn't gone off without some early bugs and issues. According to The Verge, users are reporting that Android Pie prevents their phone from fast charging when plugged into many chargers. Google's own charger doesn't even appear to be working. From the report: Other Pixel XL owners say the bundled charger still functions properly and displays "charging rapidly," but third-party USB-PD (power delivery) chargers no longer juice up the XL as quickly as they did pre-update. Google has oddly marked a bug report on the problem as "won't fix (infeasible)," which is likely alarming to see for those experiencing it, especially since it can very clearly be attributed to the Android 9.0 update. Things were working normally, then Pie came, and then something broke. A second thread has been posted with more users chiming in to confirm they're affected.

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NVIDIA Unveils Next-Gen Turing Quadro RTX Professional Graphics Cards

Slashdot - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 01:00
MojoKid shares a report from Hot Hardware: We been hearing a lot about NVIDA's next-generation GPU architecture since late last year, and today NVIDIA is announcing the first products based on Turing. NVIDIA is targeting the professional graphics market first with its new Quadro RTX 8000, RTX 6000 and RTX 5000 GPUs. Turing GPU architecture replaces Pascal, which has served both the consumer and professional markets since 2016. But as its 8th generation GPU architecture, NVIDIA is ushering in a number of advances with Turing and it's billed as the "world's first ray-tracing GPU." When it comes to content creators, NVIDIA claims that with the power of Turing, "applications can simulate the physical world at 6x the speed of the previous Pascal generation." Getting down to brass tacks, the entry-level Quadro RTX 5000 has 3,072 CUDA cores, 384 Tensor cores, and will come with 16GB of 14Gbps GDDR6 memory. Its ray-tracing performance is dialed in at 6 GigaRays/sec, according to NVIDIA. Both the Quadro RTX 6000 and RTX 8000 have 4,608 CUDA cores and 576 Tensor cores; the only difference between the two is that the former has 24GB of GDDR6, while the latter doubles that to 96GB. Ray-tracing performance for both of these GPUs tops out at 10 GigaRays/sec. NVIDIA is also claiming up to 16TFLOPs compute performance for the Quadro RTX 8000. NVIDIA's new Quadro GPUs will also be among the first to support both USB-C and VirtualLink for next-generation virtual reality and mixed reality headsets. Other VirtualLink backers include AMD, Oculus, Microsoft and Valve. The Quadro RTX 5000, RTX 6000 and RTX 8000 will all be available during the fourth quarter of 2018 priced at $2,300, $6,300 and $10,000 respectively.

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AI Identifies Heat-Resistant Coral Reefs In Indonesia

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 21:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Between 2014 and 2017, the world's reefs endured the worst coral bleaching event in history, as the cyclical El Nino climate event combined with anthropogenic warming to cause unprecedented increases in water temperature. But the June survey, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's family foundation, found the Sulawesi reefs were surprisingly healthy. In fact they were in better condition than when they were originally surveyed in 2014 -- a surprise for British scientist Dr Emma Kennedy, who led the research team. A combination of 360-degree imaging tech and Artificial Intelligence (AI) allowed scientists to gather and analyze more than 56,000 images of shallow water reefs. Over the course of a six-week voyage, the team deployed underwater scooters fitted with 360 degree cameras that allowed them to photograph up to 1.5 miles of reef per dive, covering a total of 1487 square miles in total. Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia then used cutting edge AI software to handle the normally laborious process of identifying and cataloguing the reef imagery. Using the latest Deep Learning tech, they 'taught' the AI how to detect patterns in the complex contours and textures of the reef imagery and thus recognize different types of coral and other reef invertebrates. Once the AI had shown between 400 and 600 images, it was able to process images autonomously. The Ocean Agency has published a short 2-minute video on YouTube about the Coral Triangle survey.

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California May Become First State To Require Companies To Have Women On Their Boards

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 20:30
Two female state senators from California are spearheading a bill to require companies to have women on their boards. "SB 826, which won Senate approval with only Democratic votes and has until the end of August to clear the Assembly, would require publicly held companies headquartered in California to have at least one woman on their boards of directors by end of next year," reports TechCrunch. "By 2021, companies with boards of five directors must have at least two women, and companies with six-member boards must have at least three women. Firms failing to comply would face a fine." From the report: "Gender diversity brings a variety of perspectives to the table that can help foster new and innovative ideas," said Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara, who is sponsoring the bill with Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego. "It's not only the right thing to do, it's good for a company's bottom line." Yet critics of the bill say it violates the federal and state constitutions. Business associations say the rule would require companies to discriminate against men wanting to serve on boards, as well as conflict with corporate law that says the internal affairs of a corporation should be governed by the state law in which it is incorporated. This bill would apply to companies headquartered in California. [A] legislative analysis of the bill cautioned that it could get challenged on equal protection grounds, and that it would be difficult to defend, requiring the state to prove a compelling government interest in such a quota system for a private corporation.

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Apple held secret meeting with developers in 2017 to push app subscriptions

Apple Insider - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 20:11


In a meeting in a New York loft last year, Apple told around 30 developers that they ought to embrace subscription models.
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'Do Not Buy a Smartwatch Right Now'

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:50
Since Qualcomm is set to launch a new wearable chipset on September 10, Kellen from DoidLife argues against buying a new Google Wear OS-powered smartwatch in the meantime. The new chipset will be able to execute commands quicker, and provide for substantially longer battery life. From the report: This new chipset is said to be built from the ground up, will allow watches to look pretty when you aren't using them (like a normal watch sitting idly by your side), and extend battery life. More importantly, Qualcomm is betting that this Snapdragon Wear chip will "significantly change the Wear OS ecosystem, what you expect from a smartwatch." If you buy a smartwatch today, before Qualcomm announces this chip, you will be stuck with a 2+ year old Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. All of the new Wear OS watches that have been announced recently, use that chip. It's old. It's never been great. And it's about to be replaced by something potentially game-changing for smartwatches. A report from WinFuture says that this new Snapdragon chip will be called the Wear 3100 and will allow for "Ok Google" detection even when the display is off. It is rumored to come with Google's Pixel-branded smartwatch, although DroidLife thinks that LG will be one of the first to launch a watch with this new processor. "This LG watch is said to have physical watch hands, as well as the smarts of Wear OS and a touch display," reports DroidLife. It is expected to make its debut on September 10.

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Apple hosts Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai at Apple Park, touts cooperation with Malala Fund

Apple Insider - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:32


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai visited Apple Park on Monday, where she discussed Apple's ongoing Malala Fund partnership with hosts CEO Tim Cook and VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson.
Categories: Technology News

Court Blocks FCC's Attempt To Take a Broadband Subsidy Away From Tribal Areas

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:10
Jon Brodkin reports via Ars Technica: The FCC decision, originally slated to take effect later this year, would have made it difficult or impossible for Tribal residents to obtain a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service for poor people. But on Friday, a court stayed the FCC decision pending appeal, saying that Tribal organizations and small wireless carriers are likely to win their case against the commission. "Petitioners have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their arguments that the facilities-based and rural areas limitations contained in the Order are arbitrary and capricious," said the stay order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. "In particular, petitioners contend that the Federal Communications Commission failed to account for a lack of alternative service providers for many tribal customers." The tribes and small carriers that sued the FCC "have shown a substantial risk that tribal populations will suffer widespread loss of vital telecommunications services absent a stay," the court said. The FCC hasn't proven that its plan won't result in "mass disconnection," the court also said. The court ruling was welcomed by the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and Oceti Sakowin Tribal Utility Authority, which are among the groups suing the FCC. Several small carriers and the non-profit National Lifeline Association are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

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Zuckerberg Doesn't Care About Publishers; Media Firms That Don't Work With Us Will End Up 'In Hospice': Facebook Executive

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:30
Olivia Solon, writing for The Guardian: A senior Facebook executive told Australian media companies that if they didn't cooperate with the social network, their businesses would die. According to a report by The Australian, Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of news partnerships, told a group of more than 20 broadcasters and publishers that she wanted to help media companies develop sustainable business models through the platform. "We will help you revitalise journalism ... in a few years the reverse looks like I'll be holding your hands with your dying business like in a hospice," she said, in comments corroborated by five people who attended the meeting in Sydney on Tuesday. The Australian also reported that Brown said that Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, "doesn't care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes," although both Facebook and Brown vehemently deny this comment was made, referring to a transcript they have from the meeting. Facebook would not release the transcript from the meeting.

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FBI Warns of 'Unlimited' ATM Cashout Scheme

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:50
The FBI is warning banks about a global fraud scheme known as an "ATM cash-out," in which criminals hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to fraudulently withdraw millions of dollars in just a few hours. "The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cyber criminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an 'unlimited operation,'" reads a confidential alert the FBI shared with banks privately on Friday. Krebs on Security reports: The FBI said unlimited operations compromise a financial institution or payment card processor with malware to access bank customer card information and exploit network access, enabling large scale theft of funds from ATMs. "Historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cyber security controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities," the alert continues. "The FBI expects the ubiquity of this activity to continue or possibly increase in the near future." Organized cybercrime gangs that coordinate unlimited attacks typically do so by hacking or phishing their way into a bank or payment card processor. Just prior to executing on ATM cashouts, the intruders will remove many fraud controls at the financial institution, such as maximum ATM withdrawal amounts and any limits on the number of customer ATM transactions daily. The perpetrators also alter account balances and security measures to make an unlimited amount of money available at the time of the transactions, allowing for large amounts of cash to be quickly removed from the ATM.

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Australia To Pass Bill Providing Backdoors Into Encrypted Devices, Communications

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: The Australian government has scheduled its "not-a-backdoor" crypto-busting bill to land in parliament in the spring session, and we still don't know what will be in it. The legislation is included in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's schedule of proposed laws to be debated from today (13 August) all the way into December. All we know, however, is what's already on the public record: a speech by Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Angus Taylor in June, and the following from the digest of bills for the spring session: "Implement measures to address the impact of encrypted communications and devices on national security and law enforcement investigations. The bill provides a framework for agencies to work with the private sector so that law enforcement can adapt to the increasingly complex online environment. The bill requires both domestic and foreign companies supplying services to Australia to provide greater assistance to agencies." Apart from the dodgy technological sophistry involved, this belief somewhat contradicts what Angus Taylor said in June (our only contemporary reference to what the government has in mind). "We need access to digital networks and devices, and to the data on them, when there are reasonable grounds to do so," he said (emphasis added). If this accurately reflects the purpose of the legislation, then the Australian government wants access to the networks, not just the devices. It wants a break-in that will work on networks, if law enforcement demands it, and that takes us back to the "government wants a backdoor" problem. And it remains clear that the government's magical thinking remains in place: having no idea how to achieve the impossible, it wants the industry to cover for it under the guise of "greater assistance to agencies."

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Linux 4.18 Releases With Steam Controller Kernel Driver, Spectre Updates

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 16:30
fstack writes: Linus Torvalds has released Linux 4.18 as the newest kernel bringing a Steam Controller kernel driver, Spectre updates for ARM64, power management updates, a "Restartable Services" system call, AMD Radeon graphics driver improvements, V3D DRM as Broadcom's new graphics driver, DM writecache support, USB 3.2 support, and many other updates. Linus Torvalds wrote of the 4.18 final release: "It was a very calm week, and arguably I could just have released on schedule last week, but we did have some minor updates. Mostly networking, but some vfs race fixes (mentioned in the rc8 announcement as 'pending') and a couple of driver fixes (scsi, networking, i2c). Some other minor random things (arm crypto fix, parisc memory ordering fix)." In a separate article, Phoronix details all the changes and new features available in this release.

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Apple Delays 32-Person Group FaceTime From iOS 12 Launch

Slashdot - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 16:00
Developer Guilherme Rambo has revealed that the 32-person FaceTime group chat feature "has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12." Apple says the feature "will ship in a future software update later this fall." The Verge: Group FaceTime chats will allow 32 participants in a video call, with tiles of people's faces where you can manually select people to highlight them in the main interface. Apple's delay to group FaceTime chats comes after the company delayed its AirPlay 2 introduction in iOS.

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