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Yahoo To Fire Another 15% As Mayer Attempts To Hang On

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 15:29
New submitter xxxJonBoyxxx writes: Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has announced plans to cut the company's workforce by 15% and close five foreign offices by the end of 2016 after announcing a $4.4bn loss. Yahoo shares have fallen 33% over the past year, including a 17% drop in the last three months. Its shares fell again in after-hours trading after Mayer announced her plan. Yahoo expects its workforce to be down to 9,000 and have fewer than 1,000 contractors by end of 2016. About a third of Yahoo's workforce has left either voluntarily or involuntarily over the last year. And the cuts may just be starting: one activist investor (SpringOwl) says the total number of employees should be closer to 3,000 for a company with its revenue.

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Microsoft To Acquire SwiftKey Predictive Keyboard Technology Company For $250M

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 14:49
MojoKid writes: SwiftKey has been one of the more popular predictive keyboard offerings in the mobile space since it was first released in beta form on the Android market back in 2010. What made SwiftKey so appealing was its intelligent predictive texting technology. SwiftKey isn't a simple keyboard replacement. Rather, the software uses a combination of artificial intelligence technologies that give it the ability to learn usage patterns and predict the next word the user most likely intends to type. SwiftKey refines its predictions, learning over time by analyzing data from SMS, Facebook, and Twitter messages, then offering predictions based on the text being entered at the time. It is estimated that SwiftKey is installed on upwards of 500 million mobile devices. According to reports, Microsoft is apparently buying the UK-based company for a cool $250 Million. What Microsoft intends to do with SwiftKey is not clear just yet, but the company has been purchasing mobile apps at a good clip as of late.

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Journalist Claims Secret US Flight 'To Capture Snowden' Overflew Scottish Airspace

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 14:08
schwit1 writes with a story in The National (a newspaper which makes no bones about it support for an independent Scotland) describing the charge laid by a Scottish journalist that in 2013 a secret U.S. flight involving a plane involved in CIA renditions crossed Scottish airspace, as part of a secret plan to capture whistleblower Edward Snowden. Alex Salmond, then Scotlandâ(TM)s First Minister, is calling for transparency with regard to the knowledge that the UK government had of the flight and its mission. According to the report, The plane, which passed above the Outer Hebrides, the Highlands and Aberdeenshire, was dispatched from the American east coast on June 24 2013, the day after Snowden left Hong Kong for Moscow. The craft was used in controversial US 'rendition' missions. Reports by Scottish journalist Duncan Campbell claim the aircraft, traveling well above the standard aviation height at 45,000 feet and without a filed flight plan, was part of a mission to capture Snowden following his release of documents revealing mass surveillance by US and UK secret services. ... [N977GA, the aircraft named as involved in this flight] was previously identified by Dave Willis in Air Force Monthly as an aircraft used for CIA rendition flights of US prisoners. This included the extradition of cleric Abu Hamza from the UK. Snowden accused the Danish Government of conspiring in his arrest. In response to flight reports, he said: âoeRemember when the Prime Minister Rasmussen said Denmark shouldnâ(TM)t respect asylum law in my case? Turns out he had a secret.â

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Homemade Speed Trap Made By Former UVA CS Professor

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 11:19
An anonymous reader writes: Irritated by speeders in his neighborhood and frustrated with the City of Charlottesville's inability or unwillingness to enforce the speed limit, a former professor in the Computer Science department of the University of Virginia created a program in openCV to track vehicle speed on his residential neighborhood street: "You'll find that almost 85 percent of the cars going by are violators [of the neighborhood's 25mph limit]". This includes a city bus doing 34mph.

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Shopping Mall SMS Parking Notifications Could Be Used To Track Any Car

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 08:22
Bismillah writes: Westfield's Scentre Group has removed SMS notifications for its ticketless parking system after it was discovered they could be used to track other people's cars unnoticed. The system allows you to enter any licence plate, which in turn will be scanned upon entry and exit at mall parking facilities — and when the free parking time is up, a notification message is sent to the mobile phone number entered, with the exact location of the car.

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How Uber Profits Even When Its Drivers Aren't Earning Money

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 05:32
tedlistens writes: Jay Cassano spoke to Uber drivers about "dead miles" and what work means when your boss is an algorithm, and considers a new frontier of labor concerns and big data. "Uber is the closest thing to an employer we've ever seen in this industry," Bhairavi Desai, founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, told him. "They not only direct every aspect of a driver's workday, they also profit off the entire day through data collection, not just the 'sale of a product.'"

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Ask Slashdot: How Can We Improve Slashdot?

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 02:42
Hi all. Most of you are already aware that Slashdot was sold by DHI Group last week, and I very much enjoyed answering questions and reading feedback in the comments of that announcement story. There's no doubt that the Slashdot community is one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and prolific communities on the web. I wanted to use this opportunity to get a discussion going on how we can improve Slashdot moving forward. I am not talking about a full re-design that will detract from the original spirit of Slashdot, but rather: user experience, bug fixes, and feature improvements that are requested from actual /. users. We appreciated many of your suggestions in the story announcing the sale, and I have taken note of those suggestions. This story will serve as a more master list for feature requests and improvement suggestions. We welcome any and all suggestions. Some ideas mentioned in the sale story were, in no particular order: Unicode support, direct messaging, increased cap on comment scores, put more weight on firehose voting to determine which stories make the front page, reduced time required between comments, and many more. We'd love a chance to discuss these suggestions and feature improvements and pros and cons here before we bring them back to our team for implementation.

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Severe and Unpatched eBay Vulnerability Allows Attackers To Distribute Malware

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 00:50
An anonymous reader writes: Check Point researchers have discovered a severe vulnerability in eBay's online sales platform, which allows criminals to distribute malware and do phishing campaigns. This vulnerability allows attackers to bypass eBay's code validation and control the vulnerable code remotely, to execute malicious Javascript code on targeted eBay users.

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Magic Leap Raises $794 Million To Accelerate Adoption of Secretive AR Tech

Slashdot - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 00:26
An anonymous reader writes: A massive new $794 million Series C investment in secretive AR startup Magic Leap puts the company among the world's most valuable startups, now reportedly valued at $4.5 billion. The company has aggressively teased what they believe to be revolutionary augmented reality display technology, allowing a mixture of the real and virtual dimensions in a way previously not achieved. Although they've played coy to the public, offering little more than bold claims, investors like Alibaba, Google Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures have bought into the company's vision to the tune of $1.39 billion in total raised by Magic Leap thus far. Also at Network World, which notes that their demo must be amazing.

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EU Proposes End of Anonymity For Bitcoin and Prepaid Card Users

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 23:45
An anonymous reader writes: In June the European Commission will propose new legislation to effectively end the possibility of anonymous payment, by forcing users of virtual currencies like Bitcoin, and of prepaid credit cards, to provide identity details. Additionally the EC intends to propose monitoring inter-bank transfers within Europe, a measure which had not been implemented with the launch of the EU-US Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme (TFTP). Though the proposed measures are intended to heap new pressure on the financing of terrorism, a report from Interpol last week concluded that terrorist funding methods have not changed substantially in recent years, stating 'Despite third party reporting suggesting the use of anonymous currencies like Bitcoin by terrorists to finance their activities, this has not been confirmed by law enforcement.'

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Barracuda Copy Shutting Down

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 23:26
New submitter assaf07 writes: I received a notification [Monday] that Barracuda's excellent online storage option Copy will be shuttting down in May. A blog post by Rod Matthews, VP of Storage at Barracuda gives the usual business doublespeak excuse. Having used Google's Drive, Box, Dropbox, and Spideroak, I am very disappointed to lose Copy as its native Linux, Android, IOS, and Windows clients are/were wonderful.

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Morgan, Maker of Classic Handmade Sports Cars, Is Going Electric

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 23:05
Ars Technica reports that Morgan, idiosyncratic maker of idiosyncratic cars, is about to make a move that might seem surprising, in light of the company's tradition of conservative design. "Yes," says the article, "you'll be able to buy a wood-framed electric car in 2019." From the article: The Morgan Motor Companyâ"best known for still using postwar styling and wooden body frames for some of its carsâ"will have a full hybrid and electric range within the next three years. The British car maker is going to invest $8.6 million (£6 million) to develop hybrid and electric powertrains for all the models in its range by 2019, working in conjunction with Delta Motorsport and Potenza technology.

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Socat Weak Crypto Draws Suspicions Of a Backdoor

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 22:24
msm1267 writes: Socat is the latest open source tool to come under suspicion that it is backdoored. A security advisory published Monday warned that the OpenSSL address implementation in Socat contains a hard-coded Diffie-Hellman 1024-bit prime number that was not prime. "The effective cryptographic strength of a key exchange using these parameters was weaker than the one one could get by using a prime p," the advisory said. "Moreover, since there is no indication of how these parameters were chosen, the existence of a trapdoor that makes possible for an eavesdropper to recover the shared secret from a key exchange that uses them cannot be ruled out." Socat said it has generated a new prime that is 2048 bits long; versions 1.7.3.0 and 2.0.0-b8 are affected. The advisory adds that a temporary workaround would be to disable the Diffie-Hellman ciphers.

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Perfect Coin-Toss Record Broke 6 Clinton-Sanders Deadlocks In Iowa

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 21:43
schwit1 writes: While it was hard to call a winner between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders last night, it's easy to say who was luckier. The race between the Democrat presidential hopefuls was so tight in the Iowa caucus Monday that in at least six precincts, the decision on awarding a county delegate came down to a coin toss. And Clinton won all six, media reports said.

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Utility Targets Bitcoin Miners With Power Rate Hike

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 21:00
1sockchuck writes: A public utility in Washington state wants to raise rates for high-density power users, citing a flood of requests for electricity to power bitcoin mining operations. Chelan County has some of the cheapest power in the nation, supported by hydroelectric generation from dams along the Columbia River. That got the attention of bitcoin miners, prompting requests to provision 220 megawatts of additional power. After a one-year moratorium, the Chelan utility now wants to raise rates for high density users (more than 250kW per square foot) from 3 cents to 5 cents per kilowatt hour. Bitcoin businesses say the rate hike is discriminatory. But Chelan officials cite the transient nature of the bitcoin business as a risk to recovering their costs for provisioning new power capacity.

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Carbon Nanotube Films Stronger Than Kevlar

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 20:18
ckwu writes: Carbon nanotubes are exceptionally strong and stretchy. But so far, films made out of them have come nowhere close to having the mechanical strength of individual nanotubes. Researchers now report a simple fabrication method to make carbon nanotube films that are five times as strong as those made before—and stronger than films made from Kevlar or carbon fiber. The films had an average tensile strength of 9.6 gigapascals. By comparison, Kevlar fibers and commercially used carbon fibers are around 3.7 and 7 GPa, respectively. The films are also four times as pliable as conventional carbon fibers, able to elongate 8% on average.

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World's First Robotic Farm To Produce 11 Million Heads of Lettuce Per Year

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 19:39
MikeChino writes: Japanese company SPREAD is preparing to open the world's first robot-controlled farm. The facility is designed to produce 11 million heads of lettuce each year, and it's expected to ship its first crop in Fall 2017. The new 47,300 square feet Vegetable Factory in Kansai Science City will also reduce construction costs by 25 percent and energy demand by 30 percent.

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Video Game Cheaters Outed By Logic Bombs

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 18:58
Lirodon writes: A Reddit user decided to tackle the issue of cheaters within Valve's multiplayer shooter Counter Strike: Global Offensive in their own unique way: by luring them towards fake "multihacks" that promised a motherlode of cheating tools, but in reality, were actually traps designed to cause the users who installed them to eventually receive bans. The first two were designed as time bombs, which activated functions designed to trigger bans after a specific time of day. The third, which was downloaded over 3,500 times, caused instantaneous bans.

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Windows 10 Passes Windows XP In Market Share

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 18:14
An anonymous reader writes: Six months after its release, Windows 10 has finally passed 10 percent market share. Not only that, but the latest and greatest version from Microsoft has also overtaken Windows 8.1 and Windows XP, according to the latest figures from Net Applications. Windows 10 had 9.96 percent market share in December, and gained 1.89 percentage points to hit 11.85 percent in January. Maybe it will jump even faster soon, but not necessarily for the best of reasons.

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EasyJet May Trial Hydrogen Fuel Cells For Taxiing

Slashdot - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 17:32
An anonymous reader writes: Low-cost airline easyJet is discussing plans to install hydrogen batteries as part of a proposed zero emission fuel system, which would power its aircraft during taxiing. The budget service revealed designs for a hybrid plane this week, and said that it would begin trialling the technology later this year. The system will involve embedding a hydrogen fuel cell on board the aeroplanes, with the energy captured from the brakes on landing able to power the jet on the ground. As the only waste product from a hydrogen cell would be fresh, clean water, Ian Davies, head of engineering at easyJet, also suggested that this could be used to refill the planes' water systems during the flight, providing a water source for passengers to drink and for flushing toilets.

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