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Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display

Slashdot.org - Pre, 24/06/2016 - 5:30pd
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has officially told several news sites that it plans to discontinue the Thunderbolt Display, which has been available online and in Apple retail stores since it was first introduced in 2011. "We're discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It will be available through Apple.com, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users," said an Apple spokesperson. Rumors suggest that Apple will launch a new version of its Thunderbolt monitor later this year, featuring an upgraded 5K resolution and discrete GPU. The new Thunderbolt Display may even launch alongside next-generation Skylake Retina MacBook Pros, which too are rumored to be released later this year. fyngyrz writes: So, bought into the whole Thunderbolt monitor thing from Apple? Might want to collect a few right now, while you still can. It appears that the Thunderbolt monitor is going the way of the analog [headphone] jack over at Apple. Isn't it fun to be part of an unsuccessful experiment?

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Comcast Admits It Incorrectly Debited $1,775 From Account, Tells Customer To Sort It Out With Bank

Slashdot.org - Pre, 24/06/2016 - 3:25pd
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Consumerist: Consumerist reader Robert is fighting with Comcast over a $1,775 early termination fee that should not have been assessed after he tried to cancel his business-tier service with the company. Comcast itself has even admitted that the money should not have been debited from Robert's bank account, but now says it's his responsibility to sort the mess out with his bank. The Consumerist reports: "In an effort to save money in 2014, Robert called to have their service level downgraded to a more affordable rate. Shortly thereafter, correctly believing that he was out of contract, he cancelled his Comcast service. That should have been the end of the story, but only weeks after closing the Comcast account, the boys from Kabletown decided that Robert was not out of contract, debiting $1,775.44 from the checking account tied to the Comcast service. Skip forward to Jan. 2015 -- two months after being told he'd get made whole; still no check. Robert says that when he called Comcast, 'the rep actually laughed when I told her I didn't get a check yet. She said it would take three months.'" Two calls later, one in June 2015 and one in Jan. 2016, Robert still didn't receive the check even after being reassured it was coming. More recently, he received an email from someone at Comcast "Executive Customer Relations," saying: "I understand you're claiming that someone advised you Comcast would send a refund check for the last payment that was debited but this is generally not the way we handle these situations. [...] For your situation, you would have to dispute the payment with your bank." Good news: The Consumerist reached out to Comcast HQ and a Comcast rep wrote back. "More information just came in," reads the email, which explains that an ETF credit was applied to his account in Dec. 2014, but "through some error the refund check never generated." Comcast is reportedly sending the check for real this time.

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Clinton's Private Email Was Blocked By Spam Filters, So State IT Turned Them Off

Slashdot.org - Pre, 24/06/2016 - 2:45pd
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Documents recently obtained by the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch show that in December 2010, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff were having difficulty communicating with State Department officials by e-mail because spam filters were blocking their messages. To fix the problem, State Department IT turned the filters off -- potentially exposing State's employees to phishing attacks and other malicious e-mails. The mail problems prompted Clinton Chief of Staff Huma Abedin to suggest to Clinton (PDF), "We should talk about putting you on State e-mail or releasing your e-mail address to the department so you are not going to spam." Clinton replied, "Let's get [a] separate address or device but I don't want any risk of the personal [e-mail] being accessible." The mail filter system -- Trend Micro's ScanMail for Exchange 8 -- was apparently causing some messages from Clinton's private server (Clintonemail.com) to not be delivered (PDF). Some were "bounced;" others were accepted by the server but were quarantined and never delivered to the recipient. According to the e-mail thread published yesterday by Judicial Watch, State's IT team turned off both spam and antivirus filters on two "bridgehead" mail relay servers while waiting for a fix from Trend Micro. There was some doubt about whether Trend Micro would address the issue before State performed an upgrade to the latest version of the mail filtering software. A State Department contractor support tech confirmed that two filters needed to be shut off in order to temporarily fix the problem -- a measure that State's IT team took with some trepidation, because the filters had "blocked malicious content in the recent past." It's not clear from the thread that the issue was ever satisfactorily resolved, either with SMEX 8 or SMEX 10.

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HTML5 Ads Aren't That Safe Compared To Flash, Experts Say

Slashdot.org - Pre, 24/06/2016 - 2:05pd
An anonymous reader writes: [Softpedia reports:] "A study from GeoEdge (PDF), an ad scanning vendor, reveals that Flash has been wrongly accused as the root cause of today's malvertising campaigns, but in reality, switching to HTML5 ads won't safeguard users from attacks because the vulnerabilities are in the ad platforms and advertising standards themselves. The company argues that for video ads, the primary root of malvertising is the VAST and VPAID advertising standards. VAST and VPAID are the rules of the game when it comes to online video advertising, defining the road an ad needs to take from the ad's creator to the user's browser. Even if the ad is Flash or HTML5, there are critical points in this ad delivery path where ad creators can alter the ad via JavaScript injections. These same critical points are also there so advertisers or ad networks can feed JavaScript code that fingerprints and tracks users." The real culprit is the ability to send JavaScript code at runtime, and not if the ad is a Flash object, an image or a block of HTML(5) code.

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Internet Trolls Hack Popular YouTube Channel WatchMojo

Slashdot.org - Pre, 24/06/2016 - 1:20pd
An anonymous reader writes: WatchMojo, one of the most popular channels of YouTube with over 12 million subscribers, has been hacked. Subscribers of one of YouTube's most popular channels, WatchMojo, were greeted with an unusual surprise on Wednesday evening, as a couple of hackers, known only as Obnoxious and Pein, hacked the lineup of the channel's videos. The two hackers then proceeded to rename almost all of WatchMojo's videos with the title "HACKED BY OBNOXIOUS AND PEIN twitter.com/poodlecorp." Since the channel was compromised, the hackers have uploaded two new videos, "Top 5 Facts About the Yakuza," and a video about Neanderthal myths. Apart from these, however, the hackers have not touched anything else on the channel. Though, most of WatchMojo's videos still remain hacked as of writing. The popular channel announced that it is fully aware of the hack. WatchMojo further stated that it has already contacted YouTube about the incident and that it is already starting to fix the changes to its videos.

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SanDisk Made an iPhone Case With Built-In Storage

Slashdot.org - Pre, 24/06/2016 - 12:40pd
An anonymous reader writes: SanDisk has made its iXpand Memory Case to alleviate the problem that Apple creates when they release an iPhone in 2016 with only 16GB of on-board storage. The iXpand Memory Case is an iPhone case with flash storage built directly into the case itself that connects/charges via the Lightning port. You won't need a new phone and you won't need to carry around an extra charging dongle, which is the case for many other third-party cases and accessories. Since Apple doesn't make expanding your storage with third-party devices easy, you will need to download/install the companion SanDisk iXpand Memory Case app on your iPhone, which will automatically back-up your camera roll and password-protect your photos and files. If you need some extra juice, you can spend an extra $40 to receive a 1900mAh battery pack that attaches to the case. The iXpand Memory Case is only available with the iPhone 6 and 6s and is available with 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of extra flash storage for $59, $99, and $129, respectively. Oh, and of course there are varying color options: Red, Grey, Sky and Mint. Maybe your phone battery is running low (God-forbid it is dead) and you just so happen to be nearby a KFC in Delhi or Mumbai, KFC has you covered. They have introduced a meal box that doubles as a smartphone charger.

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Federal Court: The Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect Your Home Computer

Slashdot.org - Pre, 24/06/2016 - 12:00pd
An anonymous reader writes: The EFF reports that a federal court in Virginia today ruled that a criminal defendant has no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in his personal computer (PDF), located inside his home. The court says the federal government does not need a warrant to hack into an individual's computer. EFF reports: "The implications for the decision, if upheld, are staggering: law enforcement would be free to remotely search and seize information from your computer, without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any suspicion at all. To say the least, the decision is bad news for privacy. But it's also incorrect as a matter of law, and we expect there is little chance it would hold up on appeal. (It also was not the central component of the judge's decision, which also diminishes the likelihood that it will become reliable precedent.) But the decision underscores a broader trend in these cases: courts across the country, faced with unfamiliar technology and unsympathetic defendants, are issuing decisions that threaten everyone's rights.

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Boston Dynamics' SpotMini Is All Electric, Agile, and Has A Capable Face-Arm

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 11:20md
An anonymous reader writes: Boston Dynamics has shown the world their "fun-sizeified version of their Spot quadruped," the SpotMini robot. It's a quiet, all electric machine that features a googley-eyed face-arm. IEEE Spectrum notes some observations made from watching their YouTube video. First of all, the SpotMini appears to be waterproof and doesn't rely on hydraulics like the other more powerful robots of theirs. The SpotMini is likely operated by a human, and is not autonomous, though the self-righting could be an autonomous behavior. The video appears to show two separate versions of the SpotMini: an undressed and dressed variant (it's hard to tell if the "dressed" variant features differing components/abilities). There is a MultiSense S7 video camera on the front, some other camera-based vision system on the front, a butt-mounted Velodyne VLP-16 system, and what may be a small camera on the face-arm's mouth. One particularly noteworthy observation is that during much of the video, the SpotMini is traversing through a house. In other Boston Dynamics demo videos, the robots are outside. The author of the report says, "[...] it wouldn't surprise me if we're looking at an attempt to make an (relatively) affordable robot that can do practical things for people who aren't in the military."

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Crispr Wins Key Approval to Fight Cancer in Human Trials

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 10:40md
Tom Randall, reporting for Bloomberg Technology:An experimental cancer treatment that alters the DNA of patients has won a key approval to proceed with its first human tests using the controversial gene-altering tool known as Crispr. Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania want to edit the immune systems of 18 patients to target cancer cells more effectively. The experiment, backed by internet billionaire Sean Parker, won approval from the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC), a federal ethics panel set up at the National Institutes of Health 40 years ago to review controversial experiments that change the human genome. The trial still needs final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The experiment targets difficult-to-treat cases of multiple myeloma, sarcoma, and melanoma. The scientists will remove blood samples from patients and alter their T-cells -- central to human immune response -- to more effectively target and pursue cancer. The T cells will then be infused back into patients and studied for the safety and effectiveness of the technique.STAT News has an article in which it discusses the probable consequences of altering the DNA of a cancer patient.

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Comodo Attempting to Register 'Let's Encrypt' Trademarks, And That's Not Right

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 10:00md
Let's Encrypt is a nonprofit aimed at encrypting the entire web. It provides free certificates, and its service is backed by EFF, Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai and others. Despite it being around for years, security firm Comodo, which as of 2015, was the largest issuer of SSL certificates with a 33.6% market share on 6.6% of all web domains, last year in October filed for the trademark Let's Encrypt. The team at Let's Encrypt wrote in a blog post today that they have asked Comodo to abandon its "Let's Encrypt" applications, directly but it has refused to do so. The blog post adds: We've forged relationships with millions of websites and users under the name Let's Encrypt, furthering our mission to make encryption free, easy, and accessible to everyone. We've also worked hard to build our unique identity within the community and to make that identity a reliable indicator of quality. We take it very seriously when we see the potential for our users to be confused, or worse, the potential for a third party to damage the trust our users have placed in us by intentionally creating such confusion. By attempting to register trademarks for our name, Comodo is actively attempting to do just that. Update: 06/23 22:25 GMT by M :Comodo CEO has addressed the issue on company's forum (screenshot).

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Facebook Offers Political Bias Training In Wake Of Trending Controversy

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 9:20md
Michael Nunez, reporting for Gizmodo:Facebook is adding political scenarios to its orientation training following concerns, first reported by Gizmodo, that workers were suppressing conservative topics in its Trending news section. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, announced the change during an interview with conservative leader Arthur Brooks, president of the prominent conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute. Brooks also attended a private meeting between Facebook executives and prominent conservative leaders following the controversy. "We had an ex-contractor on that team who accused us of liberal bias," Sandberg said during the interview. "Frankly, it rang true to some people because there is concern that Silicon Valley companies have a liberal bias. We did a thorough investigation, and we didn't find a liberal bias."

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Volkswagen To Pay $10.2 Billion In Emissions Lawsuit

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 8:40md
Reader Khashishi writes: Slashdot has been following the story of Volkswagen manipulating diesel emissions tests for some time now. The control software contained algorithms which reduced emissions during testing but not during normal driving. Well, now Volkswagen has agreed to pay $10.2 billion (alternate source: BBC) to settle the case, according to Associated Press. This is higher than the $430 million damages estimated in this story. It appears that vehicle owners will have the choice of fixing their cars or selling them back. Most of the money will go towards fixing the cars, buying them back, and compensating owners.

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Google Launches Android Programming Course For Absolute Beginners

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 8:00md
If you're on the fence on whether or not should you spring for learning how to code, Google is willing to offer a helping hand. The company has partnered with Udacity to offer a "nanodegree" class designed for people with no programming experience at all. The program costs $199 per month. ZDNet reports:The course material, developed by Google, is hosted on learning platform Udacity and builds on earlier programs such as the Android Nanodegree for Beginners. The basics course takes around four weeks if the student commits six hours a week and upon completion they'll have created two basic apps built in Android Studio."Google, in partnership with Udacity, is making Android development accessible and understandable to everyone, so that regardless of your background, you can learn to build apps that improve the lives of people around you," Google announced on its developer blog.

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Senate Report Says Charter, Time Warner Cable Overcharges Its Customers

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 7:20md
According to an investigation by a U.S. Senate, Charter and its new subsidiary Time Warner Cable have been overcharging customers at least $7.2 million per year for equipment and service. Time Warner Cable over-billed customers nationwide an estimated $639,948 between January and April period this year. This projects the sum to a yearly total of $1,919,844. Charter admitted that it overbilled its customers by "at least $442,691 per month." A report on BroadcastingCable states:The study found that "Time Warner Cable estimates that, in 2015, it overbilled 40,193 Ohio customers a total of $430,393 and 4,232 Missouri customers a total of $44,152," while "Charter estimates that it has annually overcharged approximately 5,897 Missouri customers a total of $494,000 each year. Charter does not provide service in Ohio." The report also said that Charter and Time Warner Cable have taken steps to correct the situation as a result of the investigation.

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BitTorrent Adds Music, Video Streaming Options With Re-Launched BitTorrent Now

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 6:40md
Dan Rys, reporting for Billboard:As streaming continues to consolidate its foothold as a major force in the music-listening community, more and more players are getting into the increasingly crowded space. Today, BitTorrent announced it is adding an ad-supported streaming option to its BitTorrent Bundle offerings, which is officially re-launching as BitTorrent Now. But before anyone thinks the company is throwing its hat into the ring alongside Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal (or even Netflix and Hulu), BitTorrent Now isn't designed as a full-catalog competitor. Rather, its streaming component will be part of the distribution framework established with BitTorrent Bundle in 2013, giving artists who use its direct-to-fan platform the option to allow fans to stream their releases rather than download them. BitTorrent Now is currently available as an app on Android devices, with iOS and Apple TV apps on the horizon "shortly," according to a rep.

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Huawei Is Working On Its Own Mobile OS In Case Things Sour With Google

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 6:00md
According to a report from The Information, Huawei, the world's third largest smartphone manufacturer is working on its own mobile operating system (paywalled; alternate source). The report adds that the team that is developing this new operating system includes ex-Nokia employees. Additionally, Huawei is also putting efforts on making big changes to EMUI, its Android-based skin. From a report:According to The Information, changes could include the addition of an app drawer, redesigned icons (they're all currently iPhone-like rounded squares), and a new, "very clean, fresh" color palette. EMUI's current color scheme focuses on unusually dingy and muted colors -- grays and browns. Abigail Brody (an ex-Apple designer, which Apple hired last year) is reportedly planning to change these for brighter tones including blues and whites, and is looking to animals like jellyfish for inspiration.

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Xiaomi Launches Foldable Electric Bike QiCycle At a Price Of $450

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 5:20md
Xiaomi on Thursday unveiled its first ever electric bike -- the QiCycle Electric Folding Bike. The bike, made of carbon fibre, packs a host of sensors and weighs just 7kg. From a report on IndianExpress:QiCycle has an integrated electric motor, which can be used for propulsion. The bike is powered by 250W-36V electric motor, and uses Torque Measurement Method (TMM) to assist the rider's pedal-power. It comes with Shimano Gear Shifters to let users switch gears based on the terrain. It also has a bike computer display to show all the fitness-related parameters such as calories burned, distance traveled, speed, etc. Xiaomi says the QiCycle has a large Panasonic 18650 battery, which can last up to 45 kms on a single charge. Qicycle can be folded and kept in the trunk of a car.The QiCycle is priced at roughly $450, and is currently only available for sale in Chinese cities.

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Apple Says iOS Kernel Cache Left Unencrypted Intentionally, Nothing To Worry About

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 4:40md
The iOS 10 kernel, which Apple released to enthusiasts last week, is not encrypted, according to a report. Security experts expressed their surprise and puzzlement over this in a report by MIT News. The iPhone maker, after remaining tight-lipped over the matter for a week, has now offered an explanation. In a statement to The Loop, Apple said: The kernel cache doesn't contain any user info, and by unencrypting it we're able to optimize the operating system's performance without compromising security.It is worth mentioning that Apple is talking about kernel's cache, whereas MIT News' original report talks about kernel code.

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Leaked Docs Provide An Unprecedented Look At Income Of Uber Drivers

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 4:00md
In 2013, Uber told the Wall Street Journal that a typical Uber driver takes in more than $100,000 in annual gross fares. The ride-hail platform, which has shared similar estimates many times since, says that the company's efforts toward its drivers is a pathway to a modest, more attainable American dream. Turns out, the it has been exaggerating. According to BuzzFeed News, which obtained leaked documents, drivers in some markets don't take home much more than service workers at major chains like Walmart when it comes to net pay. According to the publication, drivers in three major U.S. markets -- Denver, Detroit, and Houston -- earned less than an average of $13.25 an hour after expenses. From the report:Based on these calculations, it's possible to estimate that Uber drivers in late 2015 earned approximately $13.17 per hour after expenses in the Denver market (which includes all of Colorado), $10.75 per hour after expenses in the Houston area, and $8.77 per hour after expenses in the Detroit market, less than any earnings figure previously released by the company.

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Google Fiber To Acquire Gigabit Internet Provider Webpass

Slashdot.org - Enj, 23/06/2016 - 3:00md
An anonymous reader writes: Google Fiber has announced a deal to acquire high-speed internet service provider Webpass. Webpass is a 13-year-old company that provides high-speed internet, including gigabit service, for businesses and residential customers across parts of the U.S.. Webpass is most widely known in California, with service running in San Fransisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and San Diego. It also has service in Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Chicago, and Boston. The President of Webpass, Charles Barr, said in a blog post: "Joining Google Fiber will be a great development for our users because the companies share the same vision of the future and commitment to the customer," he said. "Google Fiber's resources will enable Webpass to grow faster and reach many more customers than we could as a standalone company." The acquisition should help Google Fiber with its plans to grow to more than 20 U.S. cities in the near future, helping connect to business and residential markets.

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