Technology News

Testing an AMD WX 9100 eGPU with the 15-inch i9 MacBook Pro

Apple Insider - Sat, 08/25/2018 - 09:28


Apple's eGPU support extends beyond consumer-grade cards. AppleInsider takes a look at the AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 GPU workstation card, inside a Sonnet eGFX 650 Breakaway Box.
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America's Energy Department Works With Bill Gates To Test Mini Nuclear Reactors

Slashdot - Sat, 08/25/2018 - 08:34
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Examiner: The Energy Department is participating in a major push with electric utility Southern and a company founded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to develop small nuclear power reactors that are less expensive and more efficient than their much larger cousins. "Molten salt reactors are getting a reboot," the Energy Department tweeted late Wednesday, offering a schematic of a battery-like power plant module that "could power America's energy"... The Department of Energy linked to a detailed description of how its Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other federal labs are teaming up with Southern Company, a big coal utility with several nuclear plants, and Gates' TerraPower to test and develop a type of reactor that uses liquefied sodium "as both coolant and fuel." These liquid-metal reactors are sometimes referred to as nuclear batteries because they are small, self-contained units, which theoretically can be deployed anywhere, although the version being tested at Oak Ridge appears to be one requiring a permanent structure and housing. TerraPower was awarded a $40 million award by the Energy Department in 2016 to pursue the project. Currently it's in the "early design phase" to assess commercial viability, but testing will begin in 2019, "which will help validate the reactor's safety systems for license certification by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

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App Roundup: Evernote, Tropico, Jamf Now, Rome: Total War, more!

Apple Insider - Sat, 08/25/2018 - 06:28


New apps and updates to existing software are pushed to the App Store and other online marketplaces all the time, and there are simply too many of them to keep track of all changes. AppleInsider collects together some macOS and iOS app highlights from the last week that you should know about.
Categories: Technology News

No, a Teen Did Not Hack a State Election

Slashdot - Sat, 08/25/2018 - 05:30
Headlines from Def Con, a hacking conference held this month in Las Vegas, might have left some thinking that infiltrating state election websites and affecting the 2018 midterm results would be child's play. Articles reported that teenage hackers at the event were able to "crash the upcoming midterm elections" and that it had taken "an 11-year-old hacker just 10 minutes to change election results." A first-person account by a 17-year-old in Politico Magazine described how he shut down a website that would tally votes in November, "bringing the election to a screeching halt." But now, elections experts are raising concerns that misunderstandings about the event -- many of them stoked by its organizers -- have left people with a distorted sense of its implications. From a report: In a website published before r00tz Asylum, the youth section of Def Con, organizers indicated that students would attempt to hack exact duplicates of state election websites, referring to them as "replicas" or "exact clones." (The language was scaled back after the conference to simply say "clones.") Instead, students were working with look-alikes created for the event that had vulnerabilities they were coached to find. Organizers provided them with cheat sheets, and adults walked the students through the challenges they would encounter. Josh Franklin, an elections expert formerly at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and a speaker at Def Con, called the websites "fake." "When I learned that they were not using exact copies and pains hadn't been taken to more properly replicate the underlying infrastructure, I was definitely saddened," Franklin said. Franklin and David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, also pointed out that while state election websites report voting results, they do not actually tabulate votes. This information is kept separately and would not be affected if hackers got into sites that display vote totals.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Teenaged YouTube 'Counter-Strike' Star Dies, Kills Two In Fiery Wrong-Way Highway Crash

Slashdot - Sat, 08/25/2018 - 02:00
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports: The 18-year-old who sped the wrong way down state Route 805 Thursday, crashing into a SUV and killing himself, a 12-year-old girl and her mother, was a YouTube star who had made a small fortune in video gaming gambling, according to authorities and hundreds of gaming fans on Twitter. The California Highway Patrol identified him Friday as Trevor Heitmann of San Diego. But the nearly 900,000 subscribers to his YouTube video channel and his Twitter followers knew him as "McSkillet"... Kevin Hitt, editor in chief of VPesport.com online gaming news outlet, said Valve, under constraints from the state of Washington gambling commission, confiscated about $200,000 worth of McSkillet's skins and shut down his ability to acquire more. VPEsports reports: Heitmann was one of the biggest names in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) skin trading when in late 2017, Valve, developers of CSGO, banned all of Heitmann's Steam platform accounts, shutting down his entire skin trading and collecting empire... The ban by Valve precluded Heitmann from being able to unbox, gamble, or trade skins which directly affected his ability to monetize his YouTube videos which saw viewer counts anywhere between 250,000 to 4.3 million. He hasn't posted a video since.... Before the fatal crash, Heitmann purposely drove his vehicle into the Ashley Falls Elementary School front gate that had a sign on the front that had the word "STEAM" printed on it in reference to a magnet program which supports science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. After breaking a window, he then drove onto the soccer field, spinning his car in circles a couple of times before leaving. A CHP office says Heitmann's speed was estimated at over 100 miles per hour before his final fiery crash -- and that Heitmann's $250,000 McLaren sports car "disintegrated", while the SUV was so badly burned investigators couldn't determine whether its two passengers -- Aileen Pizarro and her 12-year-old daughter Aryana Pizarro -- had been wearing seat belts. Aileen's 22-year-old son has started a GoFundMe page "to help aid my family with funeral costs and any additional expenses related to Aileen and Aryana's deaths."

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This week on AI: Apple's iPhone event on the horizon, a new Mac mini & more

Apple Insider - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 22:16


Faint drums are already beating in the distance for Apple's September iPhone event, but this week rumors also emerged about a long-awaited Mac mini refresh, along with plans for lower-cost MacBooks.
Categories: Technology News

Apple worried about constitutional changes in considering North Carolina campus

Apple Insider - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 22:15


Apple, though interested in putting a new campus in the state, is concerned about North Carolina politicians "meddling with constitutional amendments for political influence," according to one report.
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Elon Musk Says Investors Convinced Him Tesla Should Stay Public

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 21:48
Weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk expressed his intentions to take his company private, on late Friday, he said investors have convinced him that he shouldn't take the company private, so the firm will remain on the public stock markets. From a report: The eccentric and sometimes erratic CEO said in a statement late Friday that he made the decision based on feedback from shareholders, including institutional investors, who said they have internal rules limiting how much they can sink into a private company. Musk met with the electric car and solar panel company's board on Thursday to tell them he wanted to stay public and the board agreed, according to the statement. In a blog post, Mr. Musk shared the rationale behind his decision, to which he arrived after speaking with investors, both large and small, banks and others. He said: Given the feedback I've received, it's apparent that most of Tesla's existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company. Additionally, a number of institutional shareholders have explained that they have internal compliance issues that limit how much they can invest in a private company. There is also no proven path for most retail investors to own shares if we were private. Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was "please don't do this." I knew the process of going private would be challenging, but it's clear that it would be even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated. This is a problem because we absolutely must stay focused on ramping Model 3 and becoming profitable. We will not achieve our mission of advancing sustainable energy unless we are also financially sustainable. That said, my belief that there is more than enough funding to take Tesla private was reinforced during this process.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Epic's First Fortnite Installer Allowed Hackers To Covertly Download and Install Anything on Users' Android Phones, Google Researchers Say

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 20:00
Epic decided to ditch Google Play Store for its sleeper hit Fortnite. By doing so, while Epic may have saved some money that it would have had to split with Google, it also ran into an issue that it could have avoided had it not parted ways with Google. AndroidCentral reports: Google has just publicly disclosed that it discovered an extremely serious vulnerability in Epic's first Fortnite installer for Android that allowed any app on your phone to download and install anything in the background, including apps with full permissions granted, without the user's knowledge. Google's security team first disclosed the vulnerability privately to Epic Games on August 15, and has since released the information publicly following confirmation from Epic that the vulnerability was patched. [...] When you go to download "Fortnite" you don't actually download the whole game, you download the Fortnite Installer first. The Fortnite Installer is a simple app that you download and install, which then subsequently downloads the full Fortnite game directly from Epic. The problem, as Google's security team discovered, was that the Fortnite Installer was very easily exploitable to hijack the request to download Fortnite from Epic and instead download anything when you tap the button to download the game. It's what's known as a "man-in-the-disk" attack.

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Linux Turns 27

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 18:50
It's been 27 years since Linus Torvalds let a group of people know about his "hobby" OS. OMGUbuntu blog writes: Did you know that Linux, like Queen Elizabeth II, actually has two birthdays? Some FOSS fans consider the first public release of (prototype) code, which dropped on October 5, 1991, as more worthy of being the kernel's true anniversary date. Others, ourselves included, take today, August 25, as the "birth" date of the project. And for good reason. This is the day on which, back in 1991, a young Finnish college student named Linus Torvalds sat at his desk to let the folks on comp.os.minix newsgroup know about the "hobby" OS he was working on. The "hobby OS" that wouldn't, he cautioned, be anything "big" or "professional." Even as Linux continues to have lion's share in the enterprise world, it has only managed to capture a tiny fraction of the consumer space. Further reading: Ask Slashdot: Whatever Happened To the 'Year of Linux on Desktop'? Which Linux-based distro do you use? What changes, if any, would you like to see in it in the next three years?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Flaws in Apple & Asurion websites expose PINs of millions of iPhone users

Apple Insider - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 18:22


Although already fixed, security vulnerabilites at Apple's online store and the website for Asurion, a phone insurance firm, recently exposed the PINs of millions of mobile accounts, a report revealed on Friday.
Categories: Technology News

Massive Recall of Homeopathic Kids' Products Spotlights Dubious Health Claims

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 18:10
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement that the homeopathic drug company King Bio is recalling 32 of its children's pain-relievers. According to the FDA, a "small percentage" of those products tested positive for bacterial contamination during regular, random testing by King Bio. From a report: The announcement does not provide any specifics about the contamination or potential risks. However, the North Carolina-based manufacturer behind the recall, King Bio, issued a similar announcement back in July. At that time, the company recalled three other products after an FDA inspection found batches contaminated with the bacteria Pseudomonas brenneri, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Burkholderia multivorans. Pseudomonas brenneri is a bacterium recently found in natural mineral waters, and its clinical significance is murky. However, Pseudomonas fluorescens is known to be an opportunistic pathogen, causing blood infections, and Burkholderia multivorans can cause infections in people with compromised immune systems and cystic fibrosis. It was also recently found to be a rare but emerging cause of meningitis. King Bio did not respond to Ars' request for comment on the contamination, its potential source, or the company's actions to prevent further contamination. Homeopathic products, as Ars readers are likely familiar, are those based on a pseudoscientific belief that substances generating similar symptoms to an ailment can cure that ailment, aka the "law of similars." The potentially dangerous substances are generally safe to consume because homeopaths believe that "vigorous shaking" and excessive dilution -- often to the point where no atoms of the original substance remain -- make them more effective. As King Bio puts it, this preparation "potentizes" the substances. King Bio told the FDA that the items of concern were a group of various over-the-counter remedies produced between August 1, 2017 and April 2018.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Review: JBL's Link 20 Bluetooth speaker with Google Assistant nails it

Apple Insider - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 17:47


The JBL Link 20 is expensive as Bluetooth speakers go, but an absolute steal in the world of smartspeakers, especially ones with Google Assistant.
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Airbnb Sues New York City To Block User-Data Bill Over Privacy

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 17:25
Airbnb has filed a lawsuit against the city of New York over a recent law the city passed, requiring the home-sharing site to hand over information about its hosts. From a report: The company is hoping to avoid millions in losses when the law, designed to police short-term home rentals, takes effect this winter. The New York City legislation, which passed with a 45-0 vote, would require Airbnb to share the names and addresses of its hosts with the city's Office of Special Enforcement. "The ordinance is an unlawful end-run around established restraints on governmental action and violates core constitutional rights," the company said in a claim filed in New York court on Friday. New York, which faces an affordable housing shortage, has struggled with how to enforce regulations to control Airbnb and other home-sharing services like Expedia's HomeAway. Regulators argue that short-term rentals, which can be more profitable than long-term leases, disrupt neighborhoods and drive up rents. The new legislation is designed to give officials enough information to catch Airbnb hosts who operate outside of strict home-sharing laws.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Senators Demand Voting Machine Vendor Explain Why It Dismisses Researchers Prodding Its Devices

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:47
Four US senators, members of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter on Wednesday to Election Systems and Software (ES&S), the largest voting machine vendor in the US, asking for clarifications on why the vendor is trying to discourage independent security reviews of its products. From a report: The four senators who signed the letter are Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and James Lankford (R-OK). The senators sent the letter to ES&S following the conclusion of the Voting Village at the DEF CON 26 security conference held in Las Vegas at the start of the month, where security researchers found several security vulnerabilities in the company's products. "We are disheartened that ES&S chose to dismiss these demonstrations as unrealistic and that your company is not supportive of independent testing," the letter reads. "Many of the world's leading electronics and software companies have opened their arms to the research community, maintaining active presences at the largest security research conferences and inviting 'white hat' hackers to probe their products to identify how they can improve product security," the letter continued. At DEF CON, security researchers found vulnerabilities in the voting machines of other vendors. Only ES&S is mentioned in the senators' letter because of the company's dismissive approach to external security research.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Apps & developers hit by day-long Apple CloudKit outage

Apple Insider - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:37


Apple's CloudKit service is in the middle of an extended outage, causing headaches both for developers and people using apps that depend on iCloud for sync and storage.
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Google Might Be Hiding the Fact That Its Own Reviews Are Shoddy

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 16:00
Google appears to have quietly purged its own user-generated review content from its search results. From a report: This is significant, critics of Google say, because it obscures the fact that Google's search engine judges the company's own reviews poorly. Google's search engine ranks content by relevance and quality, and Google's review content previously showed up deep into the search results, far from the first page of links that takes most of the clicks. A Google spokesperson disagreed that the review content was "de-indexed," simply noting that because Google reviews don't currently live on a web page, they are not displayed as web results. Given that reviews once showed up in regular Google search results and now do not, it follows that the reviews were moved from a web page to the Maps platform, whose code prevents search engines from crawling it. What was once searchable is now not searchable, something Google did not explain. As a result, Google reviews do not have to rank highly in search engines. Instead, the Google snippet -- the map and reviews box above the standard search result -- allows the company to capture clicks that would otherwise flow off the platform to whatever website had the best result in the algorithm made by the search team down the hall at Mountain View deemed as the best.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Dongles & AirPods emerge as most popular Apple products at Best Buy

Apple Insider - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 15:51


Possibly to the retailer's chagrin, the bestselling Apple products at Best Buy may be accessories rather than the iPhones, iPads, and Macs they're made for.
Categories: Technology News

China Shuts Down Blockchain News Accounts on WeChat App, Bans Hotels in Beijing From Hosting Cryptocurrency Events

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 14:55
China has shut down numerous blockchain-related news accounts on the WeChat social app, and banned hotels in downtown Beijing from hosting events promoting cryptocurrencies, in a renewed crackdown on activities related to the digital money. From a report: At least eight blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused online media outlets -- some of which raised several million dollars in venture capital -- found their official public accounts on WeChat blocked on Tuesday evening, due to violations against new regulations from China's top internet watchdog. Tencent, operator of WeChat, said in a statement that it has shut down these accounts permanently as they are "suspected of publishing information related to ICOs [initial coin offerings] and speculations on cryptocurrency trading." It cited regulations enacted earlier this month by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which, among other things, demand content providers within chat apps comply with "national interests" and "public orders."

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Europe To Ban Halogen Lightbulbs

Slashdot - Fri, 08/24/2018 - 14:15
After nearly 60 years of brightening homes and streets, halogen lightbulbs will finally be banned across Europe on 1 September. From a report: The lights will dim gradually for halogen. Remaining stocks may still be sold, and capsules, linear and low voltage incandescents used in oven lights will be exempted. But a continent-wide switchover to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is underway that will slash emissions and energy bills, according to industry, campaigners and experts. LEDs consume one-fifth of the energy of halogen bulbs and their phase-out will prevent more than 15m tonnes of carbon emissions a year, an amount equal to Portugal's annual electricity usage. Philips, the lighting manufacturer estimates consumer savings of up to 112 pound ($144) a year from the switchover because LEDs last much longer than halogens and use far less power.

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