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Android Is 'Fair Use' As Google Beats Oracle In $9 Billion Lawsuit

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 10:50md
infernalC writes: Ars Technica is reporting that the verdict is in, and that the jury decided that Google's duplication of several Java interfaces is fair use. Ars Technica writes that Google's Android OS does not infringe upon Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use." The jury unanimously answered "yes" in response to whether or not Google's use of Java APIs was a "fair use" under copyright law. The trial is now over, since Google won. "Google's win somewhat softens the blow to software developers who previously thought programming language APIs were free to use," Ars Technica writes. "It's still the case that APIs can be protected by copyright under the law of at least one appeals court. However, the first high-profile attempt to control APIs with copyright law has now been stymied by a "fair use" defense." The amount Oracle may have asked for in damages could have been as much as $9 billion.

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Consumer Campaigners Read T&C Of Their Mobile Phone Apps To Prove a Point

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 10:05md
From a BBC report: Norwegians have spent more than 30 hours reading out terms and conditions from smartphone apps in a campaign by the country's consumer agency. The average Norwegian has 33 apps, the Norwegian Consumer Council says, whose terms and conditions together run longer than the New Testament. To prove the "absurd" length, the council got Norwegians to read each of them out in real time on their website. The reading finished on Wednesday, clocking in at 31:49:11. Some of the world's most popular apps were chosen, including Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Skype, Instagram and Angry Birds. Finn Myrstad from the Norwegian Consumer Council, said: "The current state of terms and conditions for digital services is bordering on the absurd."

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A Third Of New Cellular Customers Last Quarter Were Cars

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 9:25md
Ina Fried, reporting for Recode: With the U.S. smartphone market saturated, most of the growth in the cellular industry is actually coming from other kinds of devices including tablets, machine-to-machine connections and lots and lots of cars. In the first quarter, for example, the major carriers actually added more connected cars (Editor's note: amounting to a 32 percent capture) as new accounts than they did phones.

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Slashdot Asks: Should It Be Legal To Resell E-Books, Software, and Other Digital Goods?

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 8:45md
There's no one stopping you from selling the CDs and DVDs that you buy, so why can't you do the same with e-books, music albums, movies, and other things you've downloaded? Ars Technica reports about a Dutch second-hand e-book platform called Tom Kabinet which has been "at a war" with Dutch Publishers Association (NUV) over this issue. This is seen as a threat to the entire book industry. German courts have suggested that the practice of reselling e-books should be stopped, whereas Dutch courts don't necessarily see it as an issue. What's your view on this?

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Microsoft and Facebook Building Underwater Transatlantic 'MAREA' Data Cable

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 8:05md
An anonymous reader writes: On Thursday, Microsoft and Facebook announced a partnership to build a transatlantic subsea data cable. Called 'MAREA' (Editor's note: it is Spanish for "tide"), it will connect the United States to Europe. More specifically, it will connect the State of Virginia to the country of Spain. The project will begin this August, with a targeted completion date of October 2017.Microsoft says: "MAREA will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic -- featuring eight fiber pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps. The new 6,600 km submarine cable system, to be operated and managed by Telxius, will also be the first to connect the United States to southern Europe: from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain and then beyond to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This route is south of existing transatlantic cable systems that primarily land in the New York/New Jersey region. Being physically separate from these other cables helps ensure more resilient and reliable connections for our customers in the United States, Europe, and beyond." The fact that these two giants felt the need to have their own cables indicates how much data they intend to move. Wired has an in-depth piece on it (though the publication blocks users with adblockers).

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E-Cigs Are Exploding In Vapers' Faces At An Alarming Rate

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 7:25md
E-cigs are becoming increasingly popular, but are they safe enough? BuzzFeed News is reporting about accidents where e-cigs have exploded in vapers' faces. The report claims that these incidents are occurring at an alarming rate. From the report (condensed): Across the country, defective e-cigarettes -- the nicotine delivery machines that have taken over every strip mall and sidewalk, seemingly overnight -- are creating hundreds of victims like Cavins (a 63-year-old Orange, California-based family therapist who lost an eye after an e-cig device exploded in his face), people whose lives are suddenly and horrifyingly changed when their devices blow up. They are people like Thomas Boes, whose vape exploded while he was driving outside San Diego and struck him with such force that two of the three teeth he lost lodged in his upper palate; Kenneth Barbero, whose exploding device ripped a hole in his tongue; and Marcus Forzani, a 17-year-old whose left leg was charred from his calf to his thigh after a vape battery exploded in his pocket. An unpublished FDA analysis found 66 reports of e-cigarette overheating, fires, and explosions in 2015 and the first month of 2016, a number the agency calls "an underestimate of actual events."

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Virtual Assistants Such As Amazon's Echo Break US Child Privacy Law, Experts Say

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 6:45md
Mark Harris, reporting for The Guardian: An investigation by the Guardian has found that despite Amazon marketing the Echo to families with young children, the device is likely to contravene the US Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), set up to regulate the collection and use of personal information from anyone younger than 13. Along with Google, Apple and others promoting voice-activated artificial intelligence systems to young children, the company could now face multimillion-dollar fines. "This is part of the initial wave of marketing to children using the internet of things," says Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy advocacy group that helped write the law. "It is exactly why the law was enacted in the first place, to protect young people from pervasive data collection."

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Lenovo: Motorola Acquisition 'Did Not Meet Expectations'

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 6:05md
Lenovo acquired Motorola from Google in 2014. Since then, the Chinese technology conglomerate has been trying to merge Motorola's offering into its large portfolio. But things aren't going as planned. Lenovo on Thursday announced that the "integration efforts did not meet expectations". The company, however, insists that it has drawn many lessons from the experience since the close of the Motorola acquisition, and it is making changes to them quickly. It's not the best time in the market if you're an Android smartphone maker. There's an increasingly growing competition especially from companies such as Xiaomi, Meizu, Micromax, Yu and others that are making premium smartphones with a razor-thin margin. Any unique feature a smartphone maker introduces is seen replicated in others' offerings within weeks.

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Comcast Users Must Now Pay $50 Per Month Extra To Avoid Caps

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 5:25md
Karl Bode, reporting for DSLReports: In a letter being sent to Comcast customers in usage capped markets, the company says that with the recent announcement of usage caps being bumped to 1 terabyte, the company is also capping the amount of additional charges capped users can incur -- to $200 in a single month. As it stands, customers that cross the 1 terabyte limit face overage fees of $10 per each additional 50 GB consumed. But under the revised plans, customers have to pay $50 (up from $30 to $35) extra per month to avoid usage caps entirely. "Because you are an unlimited data customer, we will maintain your current rate of $35 until the end of 2016," the letter reads. Comcast's recent decision to bump their caps to 1 terabyte weren't driven by altruism. With the FCC preventing Charter from imposing caps for seven years as a merger condition, the agency has signaled that it may start getting more serious about cracking down on usage caps in the broadband market.

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Get Ready To Be Bombarded With Ads When Using Google Maps

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 4:45md
An anonymous reader writes: The chance to squeeze some extra advertising dollars is something rarely missed by Google. This week the company quietly announced changes to two of its most widely used services, offering businesses the chance to pay for featured advertisements in Google.com and Google Maps. In a blog post, Google senior ads vice president Sridhar Ramaswamy outlined the likely changes to Google Maps that will see users met with pop-up ads for local businesses when they use the GPS-based app. The announcement has been facetiously described online as "the Ad-pocalypse" but Google has shown more tact in their use of language, referring to the ads as "promoted pins".

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Adidas To Sell Robot-Made Shoes In Germany

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 4:05md
Adidas, the German sportswear and equipment maker, has announced that it will start marketing the first series of sports shoes manufactured by robots in Germany from 2017. Deutsche Welle reports: The announcement came as Adidas unveiled its prototype "Speedfactory", a state-of-the-art, 4,600 square-meter facility meant to automate shoe production, which is largely done manually in Asian factories at the moment. The company has struggled with steadily rising wages across the continent, where it employs around a million people. Still, Adidas insisted that the aim was not to immediately replace their workers, saying the goal was not "full automatization".

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American Schools Teaching Kids To Code All Wrong

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 3:00md
theodp writes: Over at Quartz, Globaloria CEO Idit Harel argues that American schools are teaching our kids how to code all wrong. She writes, "The light and fluffy version of computer science -- which is proliferating as a superficial response to the increased need for coders in the workplace -- is a phenomenon I refer to as 'pop computing.' While calling all policy makers and education leaders to consider 'computer science education for all' is a good thing, the coding culture promoted by Code.org and its library of movie-branded coding apps provide quick experiences of drag-and-drop code entertainment. This accessible attraction can be catchy, it may not lead to harder projects that deepen understanding." You mean the "first President to write a line of computer code" may not have progressed much beyond moving Disney Princess Elsa forward? Harel says there must be a distinction drawn between "coding tutorials" and learning "computer science." Building an app, for example, can't be done in a couple of hours, it "requires multi-dimensional learning contexts, pathways and projects." "Just as would-be musicians become proficient by listening, improvising and composing, and not just by playing other people's compositions, so would-be programmers become proficient by designing prototypes and models that work for solving real problems, doing critical thinking and analysis, and creative collaboration -- none of which can be accomplished in one hour of coding," she writes.

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Xiaomi Unveils Budget-Friendly Mi Drone, $460 For 4K Or $380 For 1080p

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 12:00md
An anonymous reader writes: Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi has officially journeyed into the drones product category. The Xiaomi Mi Drone is a quadcopter with a three-axis gimbal, 4K camera, and a remote control that uses your Mi smartphone as a viewfinder. The 4K version retails for about $460 while the 1080p model retails for about $380. When compared to drones from DJI or Yuneec, the Mi Drone seriously undercuts them as they typically retail for more than $1,000. Some other features of the Mi Drone center around modularity and serviceability -- the camera module and rotors are detachable. The 5,100 mAh battery that Xiaomi claims can last 27 minutes of continuous flight time on a single charge is also replaceable. It uses GPS and GLONASS for positioning. It even features a visual positioning system on the rear that allows itself to remain stable when flying at low altitudes in environments where a satellite signal cannot be reached. Some of the autonomous flight modes include: takeoff, landing, return to home, waypoint navigation and orbit, with the ability to create a geofence to limit its movement. The 1080p Mi Drone "will be crowdfunded on the Mi Hope app starting May 26, 2016," while the 4K Mi Drone "will be available for testing via an open beta program at the end of July." With such an affordable price tag relative to the competition, the Xiaomi Mi Drone may help increase revenues for the company whose sales barely grew last year.

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Major DNS provider hit by mysterious, focused DDoS attack

LinuxSecurity.com - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 10:30pd
LinuxSecurity.com: Unknown attackers have been directing an ever-changing army of bots in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against NS1, a major DNS and traffic management provider, for over a week. While the company has essentially shunted off much of the attack traffic, NS1 experienced some interruptions in service early last week.

Hacker faces 10 years in prison for hacking highway sign with "Drive Crazy Yall"

LinuxSecurity.com - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 10:28pd
LinuxSecurity.com: Eltgroth a 26 year-old hacker from Texas was arrested on Sunday for reprogramming an electronic highway sign to read "DRIVE CRAZY YALL." As we have reported over the years, hacking highway signs, billboards, advertising boards are pretty commonplace in US but Eltgroth seems to have hacked and defaced the highway sign at a wrong time and wrong place.

FBI refuses to release Tor exploit details, evidence thrown out of court

LinuxSecurity.com - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 10:26pd
LinuxSecurity.com: The FBI's refusal to release the full details of an exploit used against the Tor network to track alleged paedophiles has resulted in evidence against a user being thrown out of court.

Tor To Use Distributed RNG To Generate Truly Random Numbers

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 9:00pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: Tor developers have been working on the next iteration of the Tor network and its underbelly, the Onion routing protocol, in order to create a stronger, harder-to-crack anonymous communications system. To advance the project, the developer team schedules brainstorming and planning meetings at regular intervals. The most recent of these meetings took place last week, in Montreal, Canada. In this session, the team tested the next generation of the Tor network working on top of a revamped Onion protocol that uses a new algorithm for generating random numbers, never before seen on the Internet. The Tor Project says it created something it calls "a distributed RNG" (random number generator) that uses two or more computers to create random numbers and then blends their outputs together into a new random number. The end result is something that's almost impossible to crack without knowing which computers from a network contributed to the final random number, and which entropy each one used. Last week, two University of Texas academics have made a breakthrough in random number generation. The work is theoretical, but could lead to a number of advances in cryptography, scientific polling, and the study of various complex environments such as the climate.

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Researchers Teaching Robots To Feel and React To Pain

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 5:30pd
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Leibniz University of Hannover in Germany are developing what they call an "artificial robot nervous system" that would allow robots to "feel" pain and react accordingly so they can avoid potential damages to their components. According to IEEE, the system uses a "nervous robot-tissue model that is inspired by the human skin structure" to measure different pain levels and move the robot in a way that prevents damaging interactions. [The model transmits pain information in repetitive spikes if the force exceeds a certain threshold, and the pain controller reacts after classifying the information into light, moderate, or severe pain.] Johannes Kuehn, one of the researchers, argues that in addition to avoiding potential damages to their components, robots will be protecting humans as well, since a growing number of them will be operating in close proximity to human workers. Kuehn, who worked on the project with Professor Sami Haddadin, reasoned that if our biological mechanisms to sense and respond to pain are so effective, why not devise a bio-inspired robot controller that mimics those mechanisms?

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Microsoft May Ban Your Favorite Password

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 3:25pd
wiredmikey writes from a report via SecurityWeek.Com: Microsoft is taking a step to better protect users by banning the use of weak and commonly-used passwords across its services. Microsoft has announced that it is dynamically banning common passwords from Microsoft Account and Azure Active Directory (AD) system. In addition to banning commonly used passwords to improve user account safety, Microsoft has implemented a feature called smart password lockout, meant to add an extra level of protection when an account is attacked. [Alex Weinert, Group Program Manager of Azure AD Identity Protection team explains in a blog post that] Microsoft is seeing more than 10 million accounts being attacked each day, and that this data is used to dynamically update the list of banned passwords. This list is then used to prevent people from choosing a common or similar password. Microsoft's new feature comes after last week's leak of 117 million LinkedIn credentials.

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FCC Formalizes Massive Fines For Selling, Using Cell-Phone Jammers

Slashdot.org - Enj, 26/05/2016 - 2:40pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: Two years ago the FCC announced its intention to fine a Chinese electronics maker $34.9 million and a Florida man $48,000 for respectively selling and using illegal cell-phone jammers. Today the agency has issued press releases telling us that those fines have finally been made official, without either of the offending parties having bothered to mount a formal defense of their actions. From the press release announcing the fine against CTS. Technology: "[...] The company's website falsely claimed that some jammers had been approved by the FCC, and advertised that the company could ship signal jammers to consumers in the United States." The company did not respond to the FCC's allegations, although the agency does report that changes were made to its website that appear to be aimed at complying with U.S. law. Next up is Florida man, Jason R. Humphreys, who is alleged to have used a jammer on his commute: "Mr. Humphreys' illegal operation of the jammer continued for up to two years, caused interference to cellular service along Interstate 4, and disrupted police communications." Last Fall, a Chicagoan was arrested for using a cell-phone jammer to make his subway commute more tolerable.

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